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Colorful Al Fresco Wedding – DIY’d from Top to Bottom!

Unless you’re part of the lucky few who live where winter still shines (looking at you, Cali), I imagine most of you are waking up to grey skies. Fret not dear friends because we’ve got a colorful feast for your eyes right here thanks to Elyse Hall. With pretty pastels in shades of mint, coral, yellow and more, it’s the sign of spring we all need right about now. Sit back and soak it all up in our Vault right here!

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Farm
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Rustic

From the Bride… Mat and I met – as modern romance-seekers of the digital age do – on the internet. On our first date, we met up for drinks, and ended up having such a good time that we shut down the bar. Not long after, we fell for each other. We made a home together in a tiny, lovely apartment in San Francisco, and about a year later, Mat pulled a ring out of his pocket on a bluff overlooking the city. Among other things, Mat and I share a deep love of nature, food, and making things. On weekends, we’re often hiking, camping, undertaking all-day cooking ventures, or getting excited about messy art projects. Mat is passionate about ceramics, and incredibly talented – in fact, his creations have now replaced all of our plates, mugs, and bowls at home. I love to draw and DIY in general. Whenever I’m roaming in the city, I’ll see a display at a shop and think, “I bet I can make that” (whether I actually can is debatable, but with DIY, blind confidence usually gets you 90% of the way there).

When we started planning, we agreed that the wedding would be a joint project, that we’d make as much as we could (without driving ourselves crazy), and that it would feel true to who we are – something in nature; something casual; something that felt playful and fun.

The first decision you make while planning a wedding is definitely the hardest – ours was finding the right venue. After a somewhat angst-filled search (It’s pretty, but does it feel right? Do you think our guests would like to camp? etc.), we decided to get married in Phoenix, Arizona, where Mat grew up and where much of his family still lives. We wanted to be married outside – surrounded by nature and (with any luck) in the sun, so when we walked into the Farm at South Mountain, we knew it would be the perfect place to gather our friends and family. As soon as you walk into the Farm, you are surrounded by a lush, green lawn, broad pecan trees arching overhead, and a bright garden with fresh vegetables growing just off the path. From our city apartment, Mat and I dream about someday having a home with a big garden and chickens, so the space felt cozy and familiar from the start.

There were a number of advantages to having the wedding in Arizona – proximity to Mat’s family, nearly assured warm weather, and insanely beautiful desert sunsets. But more importantly, we would be able to work with the extremely talented Charlee Geisler of Signature Events, who – in addition to being one of the best wedding planners in Phoenix – is also Mat’s step-mom and my new mother-in-law! If anyone out there is thinking what incredible luck it is to have a wedding planner in the family – you’re right. Charlee was with us every step of the way, helping us execute on the vision we had painted, handling logistics and vendor management, and making a typically stressful process seem incredibly easy.

With Charlee on board, we were able to focus on the parts of wedding planning that we were excited about – for one, making things! I drew and watercolored our wedding invitations, and Mat made unique ceramic bud vases for the tables. We also figured out how to make marquee letters for the pie table (thanks, YouTube), and wrote our own vows. What’s more – our whole community got involved! Mat’s mom threw a party with friends in Arizona, who spent an afternoon making strings of wax paper cones (a DIY project we found on Style Me Pretty, in fact!), which became a stunning backdrop for the ceremony. My mom, sisters, and friends came over for an afternoon of wine, nail-hammering and yarn-stringing to make our table numbers. And a good friend helped us use Photoshop to convert the art I had made for the invitations into table-assignment coasters and beer coozies that we gave out as favors.

At the end of the day, the wedding was exactly what we wanted it to be – not because we had planned it to perfection, and not because we had achieved every single thing on our to-do lists (we didn’t and we hadn’t) – but because it felt love-filled, easy, and reflective of who we are. I loved looking around the space on the night of the wedding and seeing what we had made together. It was a beautiful collection of the shared efforts of people we love, and it infused the space with warmth and joy (and the edges of imperfection that we happily embrace). And of course, we danced our hearts out into the night.

I received a lot of advice when I was planning the wedding, all of which I appreciated, but too much of which can make you crazy. If I were to offer any of my own advice to brides currently in the process, I would say: a) use your community! People sincerely want to help, and allowing them to do so not only takes stress off of your plate, but also lets people you love share in the experience and feel connected to the finished product; b) when you get to the wedding, let go of whatever you didn’t finish and enjoy what you’ve spent so long planning. Mat and I promised that when the wedding weekend started, we’d just press play and let it happen. We stopped focusing on our to-do lists, lingering crafts we thought we’d get to, and should’ve done’s, and had the best weekend of our lives. In the end, the wedding is about celebrating your love with the most important people in your lives and having a great time. And no one (including you) will even notice the little things that veer off course. And if you do, you’ll be having too much fun to care.

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Photography: Elyse Hall Photography | Event Planning: Signature Events | Floral Design: The Knot | Wedding Dress: Sarah Janks | Wedding Venue: The Farm At South Mountain | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
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Do You Dream of a Perfect Sunset at Your Destination Wedding?

Not many people really wish for rain on their wedding day (although it can be equally as dreamy!). But a perfect sunset? Always a welcomed guest. With a dramatic desert landscape in Phoenix, rich florals from Carte Blanche Design and one seriously gorgeous duo, this destination fete features a golden hour like no other. Want more sun-soaked goodness? See it all captured by Rachel Solomon in The Vault!

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Fall
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DesertResort

From the Bride… Ryan and I began as colleagues, quickly became friends and not long after that, became an office romance. Since the day we became more than just friends we have almost not spent one day apart. We work in the entertainment industry and get to support each other in our work and come home to each other at night. We quickly built our own traditions – including spending the holidays with one another’s families. On Christmas Eve of 2015, Ryan proposed and the next day we began dreaming up our ideal wedding. I was never the girl who grew up dreaming about my wedding, so once I got engaged I had no secret bridal manual to whip out and pull plans from. We started from scratch. What we did know was that we wanted the wedding to reflect us as a couple and exude FUN! I grew up in Arizona, Ryan is originally from Chicago, and we both have been living in Los Angeles for many years. We quickly realized that the majority of our guests weren’t familiar with the dramatic desert landscape that we love so much. Hosting our wedding in Arizona felt like an easily accessible location that would be a destination to most of our guests and we knew it was an incredible place to have a good time.

Once we decided on the location, our biggest priority was to feature the spectacular sunsets you can only find in Arizona. We almost immediately locked in the Sanctuary Camelback Resort as our venue. We loved that it is an iconic property in the Phoenix area that sits on the renowned Camelback Mountain and has views that can’t be beat. Further, it is nestled a few hundred feet away from where I attended elementary school, giving it a beautiful sense of nostalgia. We chose a luxurious and dramatic palette of oxblood, blush, green, and ivory to enhance the natural colors of the desert and honor the fall season. We then selected velvet fabrics, brass metals and tons of candlelight to infuse romance and warmth into the black tie optional affair.

Upon arrival, our guests were greeted by the sounds of a string quartet playing some of our favorite modern love songs. The aisle was lined with floral-adorned lanterns leading to a magnificent view of the valley. I chose an elegant, structured, crisp white Vera Wang gown and Ryan was suited up in a gorgeous midnight blue Burberry tuxedo. Through tears, we read the vows we wrote for one another and honored our parents by including them in part of the ceremony. Following the ceremony, guests were invited to enjoy cocktails, passed hors d’oeuvres and – in another attempt to honor the southwestern ambiance – the sounds of a Spanish guitarist. All under a stunning Arizona sunset, something most of our guests were seeing for the very first time.

The formal plated dinner consisted of an Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad, Hunan Braised Short Ribs and Chinese Crusted Mustard Salmon. We also offered wedding cake and a dessert bar full of our favorite sweets: chocolate truffles, chocolate dipped strawberries, éclairs, fresh fruit tarts, and mini mousse cakes. And, since I’m such a pizza lover, we provided each guest with a personal pizza at the end of the night. After dinner, the party got rowdy and guests were bouncing between the high energy dance floor and the hilariously entertaining photobooth – which resulted in all sorts of props and costumes on the dancefloor! Post reception, we moved the party to the hotel bar and shut it down with our closest friends and family before retiring to our honeymoon suite for the night – which had been decorated with candles, flower pedals, champagne and gifts by our best friends.

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Photography: Rachel Solomon Photography | Videography: Amore Films | Event Planning: Ashley Gain Weddings and Events | Floral Design: Carte Blanche Design | Gown: Vera Wang | Cake: Classic Cakes And Confections | Invitations: Goodheart Design | Reception Venue: Sanctuary on Camelback | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Makeup: Michael Franco | Hair: Joey's Hair Couture | DJ: Desert House Productions | Groom's Attire: Burberry | Groomsmen Attire: Calvin Klein | Calligraphy & Signage: Autumn Matney | Day of Paper: Song & Pen | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Photo Booth: The Live Photobooth | Strings: Sweetwater Strings

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Looking for the perfect Houston venue? We found it.

Guys, we know finding the right venue for your Big Day isn’t always easy.  We’ve been there, done that. So when it comes to choosing the perfect locale that is drop-dead gorgeous AND filled with amenities that will make your life that much easier, trust usThe St. Regis Houston is IT. Think of it as a little slice of wedding heaven with everything you’ll EVER need for your dream day. We promise.

The perfect mix of traditional and modern, The St. Regis Houston is located smack-dab in the heart of the city’s vibrant epicenter, which means a wedding that is convenient AND fun with a never-ending list of awesome perks that will seriously wow you AND your guests. I’m talking over 13,900 square feet of event space, curated signature menus with fresh + local ingredients and a seriously skilled Event Specialist who will walk with you step by step throughout the entire process. Not to mention the crazy cool traditions that each St. Regis address is sooo well-known for, like fresh flowers, afternoon tea and midnight supper events. It’s like a vacation of a lifetime meets a wedding you never dreamed could happen. I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Whether you are hosting an intimate soiree for 10 of your nearest and dearest or 400 of your closest friends and family, contact your very own Event Specialist at the St. Regis for a celebration that is luxurious, sophisticated AND fun.

PROMOTION

Don’t forget that when you select The St. Regis Houston as your wedding destination you’ll receive special rewards and bonus Starpoints® which you can apply towards honeymoon nights. Earn up to 100,000 bonus Starpoints® by contacting a Wedding Specialist at (713) 840-7600 or request more information here.