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Colorful Backyard Wedding

Whimsical weddings are a beautiful thing, especially when combined with vibrant colors and a gorgeous backyard setting.  The team at Flour And Flower Designs went above and beyond with one stellar detail after another (think baskets of florals and yummy cookies) and every last magical moment was captured by Ashlee Raubach Photography.  You know what that means?  One seriously stunning gallery.  Join me there for more.


From Flour and Flower Designs… This was no regular reception for blue-eyed bride Natalie and her groom PJ. From the very beginning of their engagement we knew this would be no ordinary wedding. It was more like a barn-raising than a wedding reception, as loved ones and family came together and celebrated these two and their commitment to love and each other. There couldn’t be more detail packed into their perfect day. Everything the bride chose for her reception had special meaning and value attached. From the generations-old family recipes pinned on the chicken wire frames to the hand-embroidered tea towels by the honey favors, every aspect that caught the eye reminded their guests why they were there — to celebrate PJ and Natalie, love and family.

The whole day was captured by Ashlee Raubach — one of our absolute favorite photographers. She is one of those talents that not only takes phenomenal pictures but has a gift in bringing out the personality of her subjects. There was no exception for PJ and Natalie’s shoot. There couldn’t be a better representation of the couple than her photos of PJ and Natalie walking in the bare foothills of Southern California: Natalie holding eggs (she raises chickens), PJ holding her pale pink dress up as they walked so it didn’t get dusty, and the two stopping mid-shoot (while assistants held reflectors and family members trudged along with props and extra clothes) to admire the small caterpillar that they found along their trail. It is just so perfectly them, captured perfectly by Ashlee.

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Natalie and PJ married in the Newport Beach Temple and the reception was held in Natalie’s parents’ backyard in nearby San Clemente. There just was no other place that reflected the couple better. A ballroom dripping in crystals is not who they are. They are all about one another, who they are together and how grateful they are for everyone who loves and supports them along their way. That is what Natalie wanted to reflect in her reception. We could not get her to pick a theme or even settle on a color scheme (she knew she wanted orange), she simply wanted a feeling. So we went about to create that – feeling.

We discovered that Natalie loves to quilt, and she showed us the smooth worn hand-stiched seams that a pioneer relative had sewn more than a 100 years ago. So we pulled out all the old quilts that her family had collected that represented warmth and enduring commitment. The groom’s great aunt graciously let us haul her antique buffet to the site to use as the cake/pie table where we strung his great-great grandmother’s wedding napkins that she had brought with her from Holland when she immigrated to Canada. The small octagon honey jar favors we made contained pure Tupelo Honey, which can only be found in NW Florida where PJ served a full-time Mission for the LDS Church. We displayed the 300 mini jars on Natalie’s old-fashioned armoire that we moved downstairs and outside into the courtyard for the day.

Natalie wanted everything bright and colorful with an organic earthy feel. She did not want cookie-cutter table toppers that copied one another. We used chocolate brown floor length table covers topped with a truly rustic burlap runner. We created centerpieces from crates of rich produce and flowers. Some guest tables had dark stained wood boxes filled with artichokes and colorful produce and others had worm-wood framing milk and mercury glass containers filled with simple flowers like Circus Roses, Stock and Queen Anne’s Lace. We made sure to represent Natalie and her horticulture background (she is getting her degree in Landscape Management) on the centerpieces with small terracotta pots filled with herbs and (here comes our favorite table detail…) we hand punched small tin plant markers that said “PJ & Nattie.”  Too dang cute.

As desserts is one of the things that we do best, we whipped up over 1200 of the couples favorite mini-desserts, including the groom’s all-time favorite sumptuous maple cupcakes, mini lavender-vanilla cakes, super-yummy lemon tarts made with the Kate’s (the bride’s mom) curd that she made fresh the day before. We also made special olliaberry tarts (from Natalie’s favorite place in northern California where the couple honeymooned) and to-die-for chocolate coconut cakes with toasted merengue tips. But, the biggest hit on the dessert table was by far the strawberry shortcakes in a jar with the wooden spoons tied on with colorful baker’s twine. We made these especially for the bride’s father, Mark, who along with the other 300 guests absolutely LOVED them. (They were the first to go.)

Cookies! We also wanted to make sure the guests were pumped full of sweetness at every turn and who doesn’t love homemade cookies? So many people who loved the couple wanted to contribute to their special day and this was the perfect way. Ann Myer, family friend to both the bride and groom made her famous (and for good reason) double chocolate cookies. We made PJ’s favorite peanut butter cookies complete with fork crosshatch marks and other favorites like frosted sugar cookie hearts and chocolate chip. The vintage copper tub was so truly vintage that we had to line it with plastic to be sure it wouldn’t leak to keep the milk icy cold, but it looked so gorgeous on the cookie table filled with the old-fashioned milk bottles and their guests loved it. We made a bunting from the couples engagement photos and crisscrossed it against the old paned window we found.

Beyond all our professional planning and preparation, months of thrift shopping, collecting and the hundreds of texts and emails (the couple lives in Utah) the most meaningful part of the day was to see all the women who came together and provided the extra love and detail beyond what a hired hand can do. It was truly heart warming, and ultimately defined the whole event, to see those who love the bride and groom make something even more than all it’s amazingly executed details separately. The loving hands that stacked the honey on the shelf, and another friend on her knees (in her dress) arranging the potted flowers under the cookie table so it looked perfect impacted more than just decor. We sat for hours with sisters and friends of the couple who helped us bring our vision for Natalie and PJ together at every level –tucking snippets of rosemary from the garden into the burlap wrapped napkins, fishing stray leaves from the pool before other guests arrived, cleaning up after us as we scurried around creating, they cheerfully set up tables, washed dishes, and so much more.

The whole experience was more than what can even be described. As much as we would like to say it was purely our professional expertise and experience as wedding planners -florist and baker- it is really more than that. It was the families and people who love Natalie and PJ that created that feeling that the bride ultimately wanted when she set out to describe the wedding she wanted all those months ago –and everyone, especially the bride and groom, felt it: Happy!

Bride's Hair & Make Up: Swell Beauty | Bridesmaid Dresses: H&M | Ceremony Location: Newport Beach LDS Temple | Floral & Event Design + Planning: Flour And Flower Designs | Groom's Suit: Mister Mac | Photography: Ashlee Raubach Photography | Reception: Private Residence | Shoes: Soft Calypso (Aubergine Suede) Via Nordstrom | Wedding Gown: Anne Barge

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Secret Garden Mother’s Day Brunch

Though there’s no shortage of lovely here at SMP headquarters, every so often an event sneaks into my life and throws me for a loop. As it turns out, when you pair RomaBea Images with Jill Fawcett, magical things ensue. Things like Mother’s Day brunches that are so lovely it’s almost painful. Ones that are dripping in delicious details every which way you turn. And if you like what you see here, you’re going to love the rest.

From RomaBea Images… Nestled in the seaside hills of the picturesque little town of San Clemente, five women were gathered in the Secret Garden. Two incredibly talented Mothers, along with their daughters gathered to honor the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday with a fabulous array of florals, scrumptious foods, and appreciation for their respective Legacy, the talents passed on from generation to generation.

Jill of Studio Mama’s, has passed on the love of art to her daughter Jenna, talented calligrapher and artist of Monvoir, as well as her love of gardening, always encouraging her gifts along the way.

Laura, a caterer and Culinary graduate in her own right, inspired daughter Caitlin with the love of food and presentation, and encouraged her talents in the culinary field, leading to Caityln’s newest venture, a boutique catering company. Her other daughter Madeline inherited Laura’s love and passion for gardening.

Each Mother watered the seeds of creativity in their daughters, and continue to support them along the way. The love they shared was evident, not only in their mutual respect and admiration for one another as accomplished artists, but for that special Mother/Daughter bond they so fortunately embrace.

I was so honored to have been included in their special celebration at the Secret Garden, so full of love, laughter, and a little touch of magic.


Mother’s Day Secret Garden Menu

Smashed peas, fava beans & burrata on toast
Salad Giverny
Baby lettuce, fresh spring herbs, organic rose petals, yellow pear tomatoes, & crushed hazelnut vinaigrette
Buttermilk biscuits and kumquat marmalade
Heirloom chocolate chip cookies
Strawberry rhubarb crostata and mint crème anglaise
Meringue cake, fresh berries, roasted pistachios, caramel and sea salt
Pink Lemonade with floral garnish
A dash of love

Photography: RomaBea Images | Florals/Table Scape: Jill Fawcett Of Studio Mamas | Screen Printing: Jill Fawcett Of Studio Mamas | Catering: Caitlin Vartanian Of The Abode Kitchen | Wardrobe Stylist: Jessica Ambrose | Cutting Boards: Andrew Penniman Of Eastwood Hertiage | Make Up: Shanna Campbell | Clothing: Sweeet Repeeet | Accessories: Petals And Stones | Calligraphy: Jenna M. Rainey | Hair: Jamie Dana

Jacquelyn Clark

Romantic Southern California Wedding

This, my friends, is what I call an amazing start to the weekend.  A blush-hued, light-filled day of Southern California beauty styled to perfection by Chic Celebrations that literally makes you want to run outside and soak in every ounce of spring sunshine.  It’s a good thing we have an entire day to do just that, don’t you think?  See it all captured beautifully by Krista Mason in the full gallery.

Golf Club

From Chic Celebrations… Raina and Matt wanted an intimate wedding comprised of their closest family and friends. They had about 60 guests join them from all over the country and so they wanted to embrace the southern California coast. They fell in love with the courtyard in front of those amazing palm trees at Talega Golf Club. They used soft pinks and neutral ivories accented with light greens from succulents and other soft greenery. For the guest tables we created “runners” of grape wood with clusters of dahlias, garden roses, succulents and surrounded by sea urchins and mushroom coral pieces. Each napkin was treated with a raw linen tie and a sprig of eucalyptus. Large amounts of candles gave the whole room a soft glow later in the evening that felt so romantic!

Ceremony Venue: Talega Golf Club | Event Design: Chic Celebrations | Flowers: Heavenly Blooms | Hair + Make-up: E2beauty- Hair And Makeup Team | Make-up: Melissa Caufield-Breunig | Musicians: Timothy Espinosa | Photography: Krista Mason | Rentals: OC Gazebos | Stationery: Copper Willow Press | Wedding Cake: It’s All About The Cake

Coral Wedding at San Clemente Historic Beach Cottage

There’s almost nothing that makes me happier than a coral-colored lovefest. It’s the kind of wedding palette that can instantly slap a smile on my face, and when it just so happens to be captured by heidi-o-photo? Even better. Wildflowers of San Clemente whipped up the epically pretty bloomage, and you can find your Wednesday happy place right over here.

Beach Resort

From the Bride… Our wedding day was more perfect than I could have ever imagined (which was a surprise considering how much time I had spent imagining the day). The weather turned out to be perfect- not too hot and not too cold, all of our DIY elements came together to look so perfect that it brought tears to my eyes when I walked into the reception space, and we had a sunset that was so beautiful it looks fake! There were so many special moments on our wedding day that it’s very difficult for to sum it up briefly. Our families and friends did everything possible to make our day perfect. There are three gifts that I received on my wedding day that stand out as extra special moments from the day.

The first gift was my wedding present from Bryston. I knew that I wanted to give him a nice watch and I hinted about diamond earrings big time! In the weeks leading up to the wedding I know that he spent countless hours researching the perfect pair of diamond studs. On the morning of our wedding Bryston’s best man, Taylor, delivered my perfect diamond earrings with a special note from Bryston. The delivery was almost as special as the gift itself since the first time that I met Taylor was when he delivered a secret gift from my sorority Big Sis freshman year of college. Seven years later, here was Taylor delivering another very special gift.

The second gift was a necklace from my mom and sister. This gift comes from a tradition that we started when my mom got married two years ago. My sister and I decided to give her a necklace to represent the three of us on her special day. When it came time for my wedding, my mom and sister decided to continue the tradition and chose a beautiful pearl necklace to give me right before I put on my dress. We spent most of my life as a three person family unit and even though our family has expanded, our trio will always have a special relationship and our necklaces represent that.

The third gift was something different and definitely unexpected. It came at the end of the night and it is still one of my favorite memories. My stepdad and my sister’s boyfriend spent the day of the wedding setting everything up and they both worked extremely hard along with the rest of the set up crew to make everything perfect and beautiful. Of course that was a big gift in itself, but they pulled me aside at the end of the night to give me something else. During our rehearsal on Friday the big AC unit outside of the cottage turned on and was very loud in the ceremony area. I mentioned in passing that I was worried that it could turn on during the ceremony. At the end of the wedding they pulled me aside to show me the fuse box that they pulled out of the AC unit to make sure that it didn’t turn on during the ceremony. Don’t worry, they put it back and everything works just fine!”

Bridesmaids Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids | Cake: Sweet & Saucy Shop | Catering: Saltwater Catering | DJ: Dillon Morris | Floral Design: Wildflowers of San Clemente | Grooms Attire: JCrew | Photography: heidi-o-photo | Pre-Wedding Venue: The Teal Seal | Rentals: Signature Party Rentals | Venue: San Clemente Historic Beach Cottage | Wedding Dress: Wtoo Watters

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
San Clemente Home Tour with Shea McGee

Shea McGee’s name seems to pop up in our offices at least once a week. Mainly because the spaces that she designs are truly lovely. But also because from the moment we spotted this nursery on Instagram…it was all over for us. We basically got on our hands and knees and begged Shea to sit down with us to and talk shop, inspiration and all things McGee Fabulous.

SMP: What’s the best piece of design advice you’ve ever received?

Shea: The things you love are worth the wait – true in life and in decorating. My formal dining room is still not finished based on this advice. I think it’s worth it to wait (within reason, of course) and save for major pieces that you will love for years to come.

SMP: When it comes to designing for clients, what’s the one thing you always convince them to splurge on? And where do you typically save?

Shea: I usually convince clients to splurge on designer pillow fabrics and save on rugs. Some clients scoff at first over the price of a throw pillow, but they usually come around once we compare the difference. Designer prints really stand out and elevate the entire room. I love using neutral rugs like seagrass and jute because they are design classics that are very budget-friendly. I also find great wool rugs (often on sale) at Pottery Barn, West Elm and Rugs USA.

SMP: Tell us a little bit about your own home…

Shea: My husband and I bought our first home two years ago and have poured a lot of time and love into transforming into a bright and happy retreat in our little beach town in San Clemente, CA.

It started out as a typical Orange County tract home – brown and beige everywhere. Not exactly what I had in mind for our “dream home”, but it had an awesome lot, great natural light and the perfect floor plan for our future family.

We renovated the kitchen, changed out the floors, added moulding, built-ins and paint – and then we were finally ready to add furniture. As a designer, I naturally had a few specific pieces in mind, but the rest of the process has been very organic – collecting pieces along the way.

SMP: Well, to say we’re in love with your house would be a massive understatement. What was the inspiration behind your décor?

Shea: It is important to me to live in bright, clean spaces and be surrounded by things that I love. Nearly every single decision in our home has been made based on the can’t stop thinking about it principle. I pour over magazines and Pinterest until I find a look or idea that I just can’t get out of my head – when that happens (and my husband agrees), I know it’s right for our house.

SMP: If you had to choose, what’s your favorite item in your home?

Shea: My favorite item in our home is the Paule Marrot “Feathers” artwork in the family room. It’s unabashedly pink and brings a very neutral space to life – I’m so glad I just went for it. My favorite room in our home, however, is my daughter Wren’s nursery.  I had my eye on that wallpaper for years and ordered it as soon as I found out I was having a girl. It is made by Cole & Sons and available at Anthropologie.

SMP: I’m kind of obsessed with how clean and organized everything feels. Any tips for creative storage or organizing solutions? Where is all your stuff!

Shea: Baskets, baskets, baskets! They look great next to a sofa, under a console or in a closet. I keep them all over the house to store toys, blankets, and fabric samples. Whenever I find a good one at Target or HomeGoods, I snatch it up immediately. We also try really hard to give away the things we aren’t using anymore to someone who will.

SMP: One color that will stand the test of time?

Shea: White is always right. Walls, trim, furniture, or décor, white is clean and chic regardless of the style or era.

Interior Design: Shea Mcgee | Photography: Brooke Palmer

Jacquelyn Clark

Casa Romantica, San Clemente Wedding from Dapper Images

A tried and true ingredient for any fabulous affair?  Romance.  Yep, add a dash of the big R to any wedding and you can guarantee a day that is not only drop-dead gorgeous, but chock-full of meaning. And this pretty little day captured by Dapper Images?  Overflowing with romance, from the pretty pink hues to the lush blooms from A Good Affair Wedding & Event Production to the seriously stunning setting (hello Casa Romantica).  See so much more in the full gallery.

And a sweet little film from Dapper Images?  Yes, please.

From Dapper Images... Romantic themed seaside wedding in a Spanish styled Casa in San Clemente, California. Lush plants surround the ceremony that overlooks the ocean and pier. The first half of the reception and dinner takes place in a Spanish outdoor courtyard rimmed with towering exotic trees followed by dancing and dessert inside the Casa. Casa Romantica was previously owned by the founder of San Clemente, every inch of this gorgeous property is meticulously preserved and cared for and is not only breathtaking on it’s own, but then add the hilltop ocean view! Pink and Cream romantic blooms adorn the property and are a beautiful contrast to the various cacti growing around every corner of this estate.

Emily looks so lovely in her custom made lace and leather gown. The energy and love she and Ryan share is so sweet and it’s easy to see that they are a perfect match for each other. 

Bakery: Susie Cakes | Caterer: Iva Lee's Catering | DJ & Lighting: Just Imagine Entertainment | Florals: A Good Affair Wedding & Event Production | Hair & Makeup: Sweeter Than Honey, Liz Rivas | Officiant: Seth Longhurst | Photographer: Dapper Images | Planning & Design: A Good Affair Wedding & Event Production | Transportation,: Classique Limos | Videographer: Dapper Images | Wedding Venue: Casa Romantica

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here