Claire Thomas, the force behind The Kitchy Kitchen, may shine when basting and baking, but after obsessing over her wedding pics by Max and Friends, it’s pretty obvious that she has some planning talents up her sleeves as well. From the fab food (of course!) to Moon Canyon Design’s florals and romantic rentals from Yeah! Rentals, every piece of the party sparkled. Lucky us, we not only get this gorgeous glimpse into her special day but hop on over to SMP Living for a fav summer recipe as well!
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From the beautiful Bride…For us, we wanted our wedding to feel like the best intimate dinner party my guests had ever been to, the kind of dinner party where you all of a sudden come out of your wine and food induced haze and can’t believe it’s gotten so late. We needed to lock down the caterer first, find fabulous photographers, but then create a space where amazing photos would happen. This means we needed a venue that had beautiful light and character. But because I wanted to spend more of the budget on food, high quality photographers, and details like the table settings and flowers, I needed to find a venue that was already “photo ready.” I also found lower budget places to add intimate details, like creating DIY cocktail kits as the favors, where I hand sourced every vintage glass, designed the bottles and coasters, and even made the smoked orange bitters; or designing the invitations myself; or designing all of the paper elements myself as well. I worked with the florist to extend her past just bouquets and centerpieces to do flower cones and special floral moments – it made her bid a bit more expensive, but it was cheaper than spending in rentals or bringing in an additional vendor.
A little about Craig and I… In a small seminar class in college, I started explaining the thesis of a paper I had written that week and noticed Craig’s ears perk up from across the room. He asked me if I wanted to write papers with him and that’s what started their long, unrequited courtship. Craig had a big, really poorly hidden crush on me, and I was completely intimidated by him, and both of us were too cowardly to do anything about it. Six years and a few relationships later, Craig and I reconnected. One day he came over at about 2 pm to catch up, and then that turned into dinner and a movie, and then talking until 2 am, then their first kiss, and then on their fifth date he accidentally told me he wanted to marry me. Eighteen months later, I said yes.
When it came to wedding planning, Kate and Ellen were a god send! My sister and I were getting married four months apart, and I was in charge of finding wedding planners that could work for both of us. My favorite thing about Beau and Arrow is that not only are they design oriented, but they’re buttoned up. They understand your vision rather than applying their own, but you also know all of the paper work is getting done.
Finding a venue in Los Angeles was so challenging. Every place required you to use their caterer and/or required we shut everything down by 10. We’re not party animals by any stretch, but that just wouldn’t work. I ended up looking at filming locations as possible venues, and my planners and I stumbled onto Hummingbird Nest Ranch at the same time. The property is huge, and the first time we visited I thought, “this is WAY too much,” but then I saw the little hacienda. There’s an adorable home, covered in bougainvillea, that’s original to the property, and it felt like we in a private villa. That’s the vibe we wanted, and it was perfect.
My parents had a photographer friend set up a portrait studio at their wedding, and the photos they got from the experience were gorgeous. Trying to create a portrait studio during the era of photo booths was a challenge, and trying to explain what we were going for was a challenge. Foxes and Wolves immediately zeroed in with our Irving Penn references, and captured gorgeous moments. No props, no contrivance, just fun, unexpected moments captured beautifully.
The day we got engaged, Craig and I immediately thought about asking Jason to cater it. Jason Neroni is a buddy of mine, and is my favorite chef. His approach is rooted in amazing technique, but the food is always unpretentious, joyous, and most importantly – delicious. I was so nervous about asking him, but he thankfully said yes. We sat down and I gave him some ideas and references for the menu, but I wanted him to have fun with it. For me, I wanted to reference some of the dishes Craig and I grew up with in California (like Cocos Frescos we would get on street corners), our favorite ingredients (Burrata – it’s a must, right?), and some of our favorite meals we had by Jason (his pasta and porchetta are ridiculous, the carbonara is a thing of beauty).
Kristin has been one of my favorite florists for years. She has an amazing eye and will pull in elements you never expected. I had initially envisioned more citrus notes and poppies, but because my wedding was at the start of spring, Kristin turned toward a softer palette. The result was like a Roccoco painting come to life. It was so romantic. There were so many details she tackled: the petal cones, my favorite moment with her was asking for a wall hanging in the shape of a laurel crown for the table chart, and she just went with it. It’s probably my favorite detail from the entire wedding.
Laura is a dear friend of mine, and we had the best time figuring out the look for the tables. I knew I wanted the tables to be in a U formation, to encourage a “dinner party” vibe, and to do a mix of gilding, depression glass, and candlesticks – but beyond that I didn’t have any details locked in. Laura was hunting for plates and came across a set she felt were perfect for the wedding: white ceramic with blue accents, very rustic Italian. Mixed in with the more refined glassware, it gave the tables a “thrown together” ease.
My family are epic bakers, and my aunt Tina is the best. For the wedding cakes, I wanted to feature Craig and my families’ cakes. Tina baked her buttermilk mango layer cake and her crackle cake; one of my best girlfriends, Laurel from Sweet Laurel Bakery, baked Devil’s food cake with Marshmallow frosting and Craig’s Mom’s pecan pie; and I baked a few recipes of brownies with a tart crust.
You can’t have a wedding without wine, and I turned to my friends at Club W for the best. They went above and beyond. They used the invitations I had designed as inspiration for the wine labels, and luckily I nabbed a few bottles as keepsakes. They recently launched a new sparkling wine, Oh Snap, which is perfect for a champagne toast.
I wanted a dress with an old world feel to it – sleeves, delicate details, a feminine shape – but that was surprisingly hard to find among the more modern designers. I came across Ersa while shopping with my mom at L’Fay Bridal in New York, and I fell in love with the line.
We didn’t really start a “ring hunt,” it sort of happened upon us. I was scrolling through the Erie Basin site, like you do, and all of a sudden I started noticing the engagement rings. I found myself gravitating towards a few, and sitting there on the couch, drinking whiskey in sweatpants, Craig and I decided to get one. Russell, the owner of Erie Basin, was so sweet and accommodating, sending us a few rings to try out. I fell in love with a deco ring with just a teaspoon of emerald, but the shape didn’t work for me. Then I found a ring with the perfect shape, but I couldn’t shake my love for the emerald. Craig scurried off, and dozens of emails with Russell later, he had my perfect franken-ring: a petite, art deco ring with just a little bit of emerald.
My sister Amanda is the designer behind Luv AJ, and recently started working with fine jewelry. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, but I loved the delicate stacked ring look she rocks, so she designed two wedding bands – one for each hand. They can be switched around and give the look an eclectic feel. She also designed the bands I had made for my bridal party, each with a tiny pearl.
Craig is so passionate about music, so that was his top priority. We turned to my cousin, Ryan, who’s a vinyl DJ to handle the first set. He played Latin boogaloo, lots of soul, and was the best MC. Our friend Fran, who’s the drummer in Young the Giant, sang a cover of Hang With Me by Robyn with the OC Strings backing him.
Caffe Luxxe is our favorite local coffee shop, and we knew our guests would need a little pick me up after dinner, so the decision was easy. Gary, the owner, hand-made cappuccinos for the bridal party while we were getting ready; it was amazing.
When thinking about what kind of wedding favor we wanted to give guests, a few ideas began to form. 1) We wanted it to be personal 2) It can’t be lame swag (Craig is a consultant and has EVERY possible trinket you can emblazon with a corporate logo clinking around his junk drawers) 3) It can’t be so personal that it’s lame.
Here’s the thing, no one needs anything with your initials monogrammed on it, unless they happen to share those same initials. Everyone is super happy about your wedding, but they don’t need a framed photo of you to remind them of it. How do you say “Thank You” and make it a little bit about you (it is your wedding, after all), but not too much about you?
Craig and my solution was our perfect old fashioned kit. It’s a combination of so many things we love, and the recipient ends up with a delicious cocktail and a cute tumbler.
Photography: Luke And Katherine From Max And Friends | Videography: Wade Koch, Shark Pig | Event Planning: Beau & Arrow Events | Floral Design: Moon Canyon Design | Wedding Dress: Ersa | Cake: Sweet Laurel Bakery | Invitations: Claire Thomas | Rings: Erie Basin | Rings: LuvAJ | Catering: Jason Neroni | Hair And Makeup: Sunnie Brook | Calligraphy: Katt Qian | Wedding Venue: Hummingbird Nest Ranch | Coffee: Cafe Luxxe | Eyelashes: D'lashes | Music: OC Strings | Portrait Studio: Foxes & Wolves | Rentals: Yeah! Rentals | Tabletop Rentals: Dish Wish Events