An Intimate though Chic Affair
April 18, 2007

In all it's corny me, a perfect wedding is just about as good as it gets. And a perfect proposal...magical. Before I share the details for today's inspiration board, I wanted to share their oh-so-romantic proposal story.

Fabian proposed to Karmen while at a concert at the House of Blues in Cleveland, Ohio. He had coordinated the proposal with Cary Brothers, a musician from the Garden State Soundtrack, who began playing their song, "Blue Eyes" right after she said yes. cute is that??

Karmen and Fabian have had a long distance relationship since they began dating, so this wedding is definitely a complete and unabashed celebration. They are fusing their cultures and their lives, and want the event to reflect just that. The ceremony will be held outdoors at the Hanna Gardens in Cleveland, the ceremony at a sophisticated downtown, ballroom with distinctive views of the city skyline.

Here is what I have come up with for Karmen and Fabian, based on their city chic, brown and robin's egg blue affair...


Top Row: Cake by April Reed, Gown by Vera Wang, Chocolates by Recchiuti; Middle Row: Photos by Tic-Tock; Bottom Row: Chair decor by Oh How Charming, Gown by Vera Wang; Lanterns on Brides.

I think that when a wedding is as rich in tradition and ceremony as this one, it is important to keep the focus on the event at hand...and you can do this, by keeping the ceremony ambiance soft... colors of creams and whites, the decor unfussy though elegant and the seating arranged such that all eyes are on the bride (oh, and groom). For Karmen and Fabian's outdoor garden wedding, I think that arranging the chairs in a semi-circle, framed with sleek hanging lanterns and tall white florals is perfect. A matte white runner leading up to a simple and sophisticated alter to complete the look.

Karmen and Fabian hope to bring in elements from their individual cultures that will help define their own history for their guests(she is African American and he is Puerto Rican/Colombian), like jumping the broom and having bilingual vows. So I thought that infusing the entire event with really personal touches would be the perfect way to accent their multi-cultural event, and bring in even more intimacy and personality. Here are some thoughts...

*At the ceremony, chairs adorned with easy-to-make photo books filled with pictures of the two families would be lovely.I actually don't always believe that a program is necessary (seriously, don't we all know what happens at a wedding?), but I do think that guests like something to look at as they wait. This photo book is the perfect way to quietly introduce the couple...perhaps with a handwritten note of thanks at the back of each program.

*I love the idea of placing a single flower, with a note adorned to it, on the chair of each family member...the bride writing a note to the groom's family, and the groom writing a note to the bride's family, expressing their love and excitement. Writing the notes in the families native language would be even more touching.

*When the guests arrive at the reception, they should feel the celebratory mood...have ice cold champagne waiting, and perhaps an upbeat Jazz band playing in the background. Start the passed appetizers immediately. I am thinking really artfully presented, elegant comfort food that fuses both cultures...warm fall soups in shot glasses, shrimp and goat cheese empanadas, you get the drift.

*I love the idea of using creative table cards...rather than having numbered tables, what if each table had a picture of the couple (black and white), with a clever or romantic story about their relationship. Whether it was their first trip to the ball park or a magical moment in the park...anything that helps your guests get to know you even better. Remember that when you do things like this, you need to think really hard about the presentation. A simple black and white photo mounted on heavy white card stock, with the text in a simple, modern block font is perfect. Absolutely no chaos on the card. You can even put it in a great frame, to add a little somethin' somthin'.

*Since the room itself is much like a blank canvas, I really think that you need to bring in one large focal if you can. I love the idea of hanging Japanese lanterns, dense and all overlapping each other, right above the dance floor. At first you might think that it sounds overwhelming, but it will help cut down on overall costs as you won't need as much detail. When you have a rather plain room, I think that it is always best to bring in something that the eye naturally gravitates to.

*I see the table settings as really utilizing their color palette...chocolate brown linens, with square white china and sleek wine glasses, clean lines. I like the idea of wrapping the chocolate napkins with a ribbon to bring in a bit of texture. I also love the idea of using short, square-ish vases that house creamy, white flowers of varying height and texture...different at every table. I can definitely envision this palette working perfectly in a sophisticated room.

*Because Karmen and Fabian want to keep the affair focused on family and friends, I really love the idea of focusing on "abundance." Think family style dinner, served in overflowing (but modern) platters...bottles of red and white wine at the tables for guests to help themselves, small towers of chocolate treats at each table. By serving your guests this way, they will get the feeling that they are at their best friend's house for a special dinner, creating a feeling of warmth and family. When guests feel like they can relax, conversation and fun will flow much better. PLUS, this serving style completely counters the ultra modern feel of the decor, which I love. I can't stand it when events are too modern, or too my opinion, you should always strive for a balance of the two.

Of course there is a style and an ambiance for everyone...sometimes a seated affair is just what the wedding calls for. Other times a buffet is perfect, or stations, or heavy hor'dourves. Every wedding demands a different ambiance. Karmen and Fabian want to keep the focus on intimacy and warmth, and yet maintain a modern aesthetic thus it makes perfect sense to really marry the old and the new...within each element of their affair.

Note...I have had lots of questions lately about inspiration boards and how I choose them. Here is the basic run down...I sift through all of the requests until I find a wedding that, for one reason or another, really jumps out at me. Perhaps I can tell that the bride is really lost, or perhaps I just love the description that she provided. Regardless, I try really hard to no be too redundant on styles, so if there are two weddings that are really similar, I typically only choose one of them. So, keep sending your requests. I will do my absolute best to get to each of them!