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Their Modern Wedding Felt Like the Ultimate Party

This colorful gallery is my ultimate version of happy. For starters, the couple wanted a wedding that felt more like a fun summer party than a formal affair and I’m pretty dang sure they delivered. Many of the details, including the hanging geometric figures were handmade by the duo and the Drunken Pixel photo booth and cheeky paper goods tied it all together. Keep the party going with The Great Romance Photo gallery and film by Memo Collective.

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Modern

From the Bride…Sam and I started dating at the age of 19, so it would be an understatement to say that I’ve been dreaming about our big day since…Well, forever.

We’ve always envisioned having our wedding at a very modern chic space, and the Fig House fit our vision perfectly. I remember the exact moment we stepped inside The Fig House for the very first time – we felt as if we were being transported into a secret world and instantly knew it would be the “one.” The art-deco design, the colorful mid-century modern furniture, and the open yet intimate setting of the space was everything we dreamed of.

One of the biggest focuses of our wedding was making sure that our wedding felt more like a fun summer party rather than a formal affair. Despite having a guest count of 160, we created an intimate feel, by confining our cocktail hour and dinner to a smaller space, arranged the dinner tables into long rows, and served American barbeque for dinner.

Majority of our décor was handcrafted because we both personally love DIY projects and creating things with our hands. With the help of our amazing wedding party, we handmade key pieces like the hanging geometric figures, personalized place card holders, and dessert forks. The table florals and ferns were hand-picked from the Los Angeles Flower Market and arranged on our own as well. We tried to keep our décor as low-key and as simple as possible because we didn’t want to take away from the charm of the venue.

My favorite moment of the day was our first dance. About 15 seconds into our (slightly awkward) slow dancing, Sam resorted to his silly self and began lip-syncing the lyrics of our song to me to help me feel more relaxed (let’s just say it’s a little overwhelming to see 160 pairs of eyes watching you dance). I remember feeling incredibly happy and thankful in that moment – everything seemed so timeless.

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Photography: The Great Romance Photo | Cinematography: Memo Collective | Coordination: Sage Event Planning | Floral Design: Twig & Twine | Wedding Dress: BHLDN | Cake: Out of Thyme | Bride's Shoes: Ted Baker | Bridesmaids' Dresses: ASOS | Catering: Gus's BBQ | Hair + Makeup: E2 Beauty | DJ: IFTW | Groomsmen's Bow Ties: The Tie Bar | Groom's Attire: No. 33 | Groomsmen's Attire: Zara | Venue: The Fig House | Beverage Services: IV Events | Desserts: Merely Sweets | Groom's Shoes: Allen Edmond | Photo Booth: Drunken Pixel | Tableware Rentals: Signature Party Rentals

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See Why Couple Wins the Award for Most Unique Venue!

If there ever was an award for a couple that chose a totally unique venue, then Clara and Tim would absolutely win it. For the venue they chose for their colorful and modern celebration was none other than an old smog check center (I mean, how unique is that?!)! It’s a day that’s both contemporary and crazy chic and thankfully Ether & Smith has captured it all in The Vault.

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From the Bride… One can find love in a lot of places- ours just happened to be in the library memorizing the brand and generic names for the Top 100 Drugs. Tim and I met in USC School of Pharmacy back in 2009. One would think having two meticulous pharmacists plan a wedding could be either a gift or a curse- but one thing was for certain, every little detail of the wedding would not go untouched.

One of the biggest challenges was picking a venue we both equally loved and that represented us as a couple. Tim is your typical guy who loves cars, racing, and video games, while I am your typical girly girl who loves all things bright, sparkly, and pink. We were lucky enough to find SmogShoppe, a gem hidden in the heart of Culver City. It used to be an old smog check center in to 80’s, so it still has old car parts hanging on the walls and bits and bobs from its past life. Tim loved the fact that the reception would be inside of a garage. In addition to the industrial feel, the massive succulent walls and seas of green added a secret garden feel that I loved. Although the venue was beautiful as is, I wanted to add splashes of bright color and Milieu Florals went above and beyond in creating the most beautiful arrangements using all of my favorite flowers.

Since details were very important to us, we wanted someone on our team who thought so as well. We were so blessed to have had the privilege to work with the amazingly talented Catherine Leo (from CCL Weddings) who was our biggest cheerleader throughout the whole wedding planning process. Although there are tons of great inspiration on Pinterest and on various wedding blogs, Cat constantly challenged us to take those ideas and make them our own. For example, we named our signature drinks after prescription drug names, put a silhouette of our dog on our cocktail stirrers, and custom made car air fresheners that doubled as our escort cards/gift for the guests with the phrase “Love is in the Air”.

If Tim and I had to choose one thing to eat for the rest of our lives, it would definitely be oysters on the half shell. So it only made sense to have an oyster bar during cocktail hour for our guests to enjoy our favorite food. Hungry Bear Catering made our dream a reality by shucking three different kinds of oysters and serving them along side three delicious sauces. Not only is their food hands down THE BEST catering we’ve ever had (and we’re not just being biased- till this day our guests still RAVE about our food!), their presentation and plating is equally as stunning.

Our favorite moment of the wedding was when the entire wedding party was gathered in the bridal suite as cocktail hour was about to begin. The bridal suite was an open loft so we were able to look down into the crowd and see the faces of all our loved ones gathered together in one place to celebrate our love story. Tim and I just looked at each other and smiled, and knew we were the luckiest couple in the world to have such loving, supportive, and inspirational people in our lives. Surrounded by our family, friends, and vendors who we’ve grown attached to throughout the year, we definitely felt that love was in the air.

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Photography: Ether & Smith | Cinematography: David Rho | Floral Design: Milieu Florals | Wedding Dress: Sarah Seven, Practically Perfect | Cake: M Cakes Sweets | Invitations: Small Paper Co. | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids' Dresses: David's Bridal | Catering: Hungry Bear | Hair + Makeup: Kelly Zhang | DJ: Miss DJ Bliss | Ties: The Tie Bar | Venue: SmogShoppe | Air Fresheners: Make My Freshener | Alcohol: Sunseri's | Event Design + Event Coordinator: CCL Weddings & Events | Ice Cream: A La Minute | MC: ProKreation/Paul Kim | Men's Socks: Happy Socks | Rentals: borrowed BLU | Rentals: Modest Peach | Rentals: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Slo-mo Booth: A Little Scene | Veil + Sash: Untamed Petals by Amanda Judge

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The Ultimate Black-Tie Wedding

This couple first met on the confetti-laden floor of “Dancing with the Stars”, so obviously you know their wedding is going to be one stunning affair. Complete with Jaime Byrne Events at the helm planning perfection and onelove photography capturing it all to share, we’ve got every bit of beauty waiting for you in The Vault!

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From the Bride… Will and I met as many couples do – on the confetti-laden floor of “Dancing with the Stars.” I, a publicist for the show at the time, and he, a reporter for E! News, spent countless hours backstage and in the ballroom as co-workers and slowly, as friends. In a bold move, I gave him my number, and he called me…5 months later. We went out to dinner a bit after that and our work friendship flourished into a loving and wonderful relationship.

I think it’s fair to say that I had been cultivating a “someday” wedding inspiration Pinterest board from the moment Pinterest was introduced to me. The only thing that could tear me away from my wedding board was a home décor board. Luckily, Will and I were fortunate to buy a house in Los Angeles a little over a year ago after 7 years of dating. On the morning of the final walk-thru, he proposed on the walkway of our new home with his great-grandmother’s 100+ year old family diamond that his father and sister had re-set. It was perfect, and I wouldn’t have changed a single thing getting us to that moment.

Almost immediately I began culling through SMP and Pinterest, attempting the daunting task of trying to actually pull together what I wanted for my – our – wedding day. I frantically deleted and then re-added pins. I searched every magazine. I envisioned myself walking down the aisle and tried to piece everything together but my brain was a never-ending spiral of wedding images. I knew I wanted it to be black tie. And the venue had to have a romantic but glamorous vibe, with an outdoor or courtyard ceremony, and a big room that was not a hotel ballroom where we could hold the dinner AND our dance space so that people could eat, sit, and dance at any given moment all in the same room. Enter The Fig House in Highland Park, an up and coming “hipster area” on the East side of Los Angeles, near our new home in Atwater Village.

Once we saw The Fig House, we knew that was where we could see ourselves getting married. We had been to 24 weddings together over the course of our relationship – and The Fig House just felt special. We were incredibly lucky to have our families help us, but my Pinterest dreams had really lead me to believe that I was going to have a million dollar wedding. Tackling our budget and figuring out what I could cut out, what I could DIY, and what I would have to splurge on were the hardest decisions. We decided that the food and beverage were important to us – we enlisted RoomForty catering for the meal and the bar – and we immediately knew we were in good hands.

I started with the bridesmaids and found a great DIY for my 7 ladies who all love a glass of rosé and a good cry (much like myself) – so I turned to Etsy and printed out “Will You Be My…” wine labels and personalized cards, as well as had handkerchiefs embroidered with “No Ugly Crying,” our date, and their initials – all before I had settled on any color scheme or plan for the day. Luckily they all said yes. I narrowed in on the Adrianna Papell neutral beaded bridesmaid’s dresses I had been coveting – again, without any plan for the other stuff. Since The Fig House had such vibrant and distinct colors, I knew I wanted tons of greenery, big white flowers like garden roses and ranunculus, and metallic and crystal clear elements but I still wasn’t sure how to tie it all together.

After agonizing over the Vera Wang dress I desperately wanted but could not afford, I quickly chose my dress, an Alvina Valenta gown that I found at a sample sale – it was a budget save that I was so happy with! My generous friend lent me her Lazaro veil and Maria Elena headpiece from her wedding, which to be honest, were the show stoppers of my look and put my long lost Vera Wang dreams to rest. I bought my Stuart Weitzman heels on eBay, as well as most of the vases for the tables. My future husband borrowed a gorgeous Ted Baker tuxedo from his job and I enlisted a family friend as our florist. I sent her my Pinterest board link along with pictures of my dress, the bridesmaids’ dresses, and the venue, and she put it all together. My advice to all brides on a budget: save where you can. With a little bit of Internet sleuthing and time, you can find what you’re looking for without breaking the bank – for the most part. It also helps to have super talented friends and family.

My incredibly brilliant friend and bridesmaid, Lauren Darling, helped be my “wedding creative director” as the driving graphic design force being all of the invitations and design work throughout the wedding. She is the Creative Director of Town & Country Magazine, and as my friend since we were 5 years old in the same kindergarten class, she knows me better than anyone. Her sense of design helped me select the floral envelope liner on Etsy that my mom & sister painstakingly hand cut 200 copies of. And she was single handedly responsible for not just the invitations, but the save the dates, menus, bar signs, etc – she also taught me that in fancy art director talk, it’s called “collateral.”

The hardest part was the last 3 months. My running list of DIY ideas had officially gotten too long and I felt like I hadn’t really tied everything together. Luckily, my wonderful friend is a skilled event planner who stepped up to the plate when I started questioning every. Single. Choice. I had made. My other piece of advice – hire Jaime Byrne Events! She listened to my stream of consciousness rants about table linens, hair & make-up, and everything in between. She advised me on layouts and food choices, and also gave me the pep talks I needed to make decisions and move on. I agonized over table linens for much longer than I would like to admit. Finally, we took a few linen samples over to The Fig House, and quickly determined that the black linens would look great in the space and would tie everything together. Looking back on it, I realize it was the best (and most budget friendly) decision we made.

I had long been obsessing over finding some sort of crystal or geode type of place card holder, but no amount of Googling was providing me with any sort of solution. Finally, in what I can only account as divine intervention – I stumbled upon designer Emily Henderson’s blog about a winter tablescape, and low & behold, there was a crystal place card holder DIY tutorial. I ordered the crystals and wire on Amazon and I enlisted my handy sister to help me make them. As a skilled DIY-er and interior designer who is not afraid to get her hands dirty, she became a place card holder-making machine. It took a little while to get the hang of it, but after making 180 of them and seeing them all lined up ready to go to the venue the day before the wedding – I knew the hand cramps from cutting and tying the wire were worth it.

What we couldn’t account for was the unknown heartbreak we were about to experience. Late in January, just about 2 months before our wedding, Will’s father unexpectedly passed away. It was, and still is, a shock to our system. All wedding planning came to a halt as we spent 2 weeks on the east coast with his family. His father had relished in the planning of our wedding. As the heart and soul of this big Italian family I love so much, this was a devastating loss. Before his death, as the CEO of Victory Optical – a 4-generation family run eyewear design company started by Will’s great-grandfather in New Jersey – he designed and ordered custom Victory sunglasses for all of our guests as our favor. He had personalized them even more than we expected by creating a one-of-a-kind matte black-on-black styles for the men and the women based on the favorite styles that Will and I wear. He also added our names and wedding date on the inside of the frame. It is the most special wedding favor I have ever seen, and something our guests still rave about today.

When we returned to Los Angeles with less than 2 months until the wedding – and a whole new perspective on what was important – our wedding day became less about the design details and more about our families. We wouldn’t have made it through those 2 months, and our wedding day, without the love and support of all of the people around us. My best friends and family stepped in and helped finish all the last minute projects like the guest bags, the welcome sign, the table assignment board, and the “for happy tears” individual tissue packets. The caterers at RoomForty brought us dinner one night while I was stuffing envelopes. I stopped obsessing over Pinterest details and focused on writing our ceremony and finding the best way to honor Will’s dad. Luckily, we had recruited our wonderful friend, PJ Byrne, as our officiant. As a talented actor and one of our closest friends, his wit, comedic timing, and ability to captivate an audience made him the perfect person to marry us.

The actual day-of was a total blur. I cannot thank the Jaime Byrne Events team and everyone at The Fig House and RoomForty enough. Everyone tells you to enjoy the moment and take everything in. I really tried, but it was incredibly overwhelming. Walking down the aisle felt like I was underwater – looking at the pictures now – I realized I just cried the entire time. My future husband selected the song for my processional, “Wonderful” by My Morning Jacket. I had heard it before, but never loved a song more until after hearing it through my tears as I looked out at all of our loved ones who were there celebrating with us. The reception was everything I wanted it to be and more. Our friends and family’s speeches were a highlight, each person giving poignant and heartfelt toasts to our future. We had an epic dance party, followed by the most delicious chocolate naked cake filled with chocolate Bavarian cream and chocolate chips from Great Dane Baking Co., and Room Forty’s famous “gutter nachos” served in an actual 10’ long rain gutter to top things off as our late night snack. The end of the night culminated with a very special dance circle to Katy Perry’s Firework as our last song. We did not want the night to end.

We owe a lot to every single person and vendor who helped us get to that last song. It was the best day filled with happy and sad tears, but tons of laughter and love.

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Photography: onelove photography | Cinematography: TrumpetBird Productions | Event Planner: Jaime Byrne Events | Floral Design: Karen Donovan Flowers | Wedding Dress: JLM Couture, Inc | Cake: Great Dane Baking | Cupcakes: Lark Cake Shop | Invitations: Custom Design + Print by Lauren Darling | Bride's Shoes: Stuart Weitzmen | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Nordstrom | DJ: Gumbo Entertainment | Transportation: Exclusive Sedan Services | Wedding Venue: The Fig House | Bridal Undergarments: Nordstrom | Bride's Clutch: Rent The Runway | Cake Serving Set: Kate Spade | Card Box: West Elm | Catering & Bar: RoomForty | Groom's Shoes: Hugo Boss Red Label | Groom's Tuxedo: Ted Baker | Guest Welcome Bags: DIY | Guestbook: Blue Sky Papers, Fine Handmade Guest Books & Albums | Hair & Make-Up: BE.NYLA | Headpiece: Maria Elena | Invitation Envelope Liners: GreyBerry Design | Linen + Table Rentals: Town And Country Rentals | Personalized Cocktail Napkins: For Your Party | Place Card Holder Crystals: Amazon | Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Sunglasses: Victory Optical Collection | Table Assignment Board: DIY Custom Covered Cork Board | Table Numbers: Etsy - GaugeNYC | Valet: American Limo Service | Vases: Assorted from eBay | Veil: JLM Couture | Will You Be My... Labels + Cards: FeatheredHeartPrints

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