French Inspired Engagement Party from Elizabeth Duncan + The Observatory
September 19, 2011
I literally gasped aloud when I first laid eyes on this Maryland engagement party, captured brilliantly Rachael Spiegel of The Observatory. And gasping is always fine by me on a Monday morning. First of all, I have such a bride-crush on the bride. That gorgeous Monique Lhuillier gown she wore? I'm in love. The whole affair seemed to take place around the gorgeous dress, from the beautiful cake from Kendall's Cakes, to the delish looking nosh from Well Dunn, to the absolutely stunning decor, designed by Elizabeth Duncan Events. What we got was such a cohesive look for so many fantastic and chic details. Seriously, right out of a dream. Dream your day away in the full image gallery!

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From Elizabeth Duncan Events ... French.  Vintage.  Garden.  In our first conversation, these were the three words Lena used to describe the engagement party she would like to have.  She had me at French, but downright giddy with vintage and garden!  The bride’s family home in Bethesda, Maryland had a modern, minimalist design that proved to be the ideal blank canvas upon which to create this beautiful, romantic and elegant celebration.

Lena and Reda’s parents were friends, so they had known each other since childhood, but it wasn’t until Lena and Reda were in High School and College that their friendship blossomed into love one summer.  Reda is completing medical school in Dublin, so they have been long distance for some time now.  With friends and family also scattered around the world, the most important thing to them about the party was having quality time to spend together visiting and catching up with their nearest and dearest.

Lena’s gorgeous Monique Lhuillier floral watercolor design gown reflected the color palette of the event.  Lush blossoms in coral, butter yellow, creme and soft green were abundant throughout the event.  From the flowers to an ivy archway entrance to custom topiary to vintage garden sculpture, we wanted to make guests feel like they were in a garden, even when they were indoors.

For dinner, farm tables with a mixture of vintage-inspired placesettings, French cheese sharing plates, and French café music played by a roaming accordion player combined to evoke an ambiance and intimacy of a Golden Age Parisian party.

Lena and Reda also wanted to add a touch of whimsy to the event.  Custom-designed mobiles and a chandelier in the foyer showcased 1,000 origami cranes “in flight” while a colorful dessert display with a ribbon streamer backdrop featured mini French desserts and a specialty cake.  As a small thank you, Lena and Reda ordered custom treasure keepers made from old books, which we adorned with bunches of dried lavender from a local farm.

Event Planning and Design:  Elizabeth Duncan Events / Catering: Well Dunn / Flowers and Décor: Capital Décor & Events / Photography: Rachael Spiegel, The Observatory / Tent: Sugar Plum Tents / Lighting:  Frost Lighting / DJ: Bialeks Music / Cake:  Kendall's Cakes / Accordionist:  MSE Productions / Hair:  Christophe Jouenne / Make-up:  Adrian Avila, Nectar Skin Bar / Valet:  MarcParc Valet / Calligraphy: Arney Walker / Lavender: Blue Skye Farm / Bride's Dress: Monique Lhuillier