Monthly Archives: July 2010

Negar & Peter’s Elegant Downtown Los Angeles Wedding

07 | 22 | 2010

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Negar and Peter’s wedding was fantastically formal, glamorous, and richly textured in a way that very few weddings here in California ever are.  If I could think of one phrase to describe this wedding, it would definitely be, dressed to the nines.  Of course, that phrase makes a lot of sense when a fashion stylist weds a writer.

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Above: Tiny Pine Press designed and handmade these formal letterpress wedding invitations for Negar & Peter.  I love how they look like they might have come out of grandma’s wedding album … or an F Scott Fitzgerald novel.  They make me hope for a return to classical wedding design.

Negar & Peter had a traditional Persian ceremony, fireside, with a beautifully decorated sofreh. In Persian ceremonies, I love when all the girls (sisters, friends, mothers, aunts, etc.) get up and sprinkle the couple with sugar flakes.  What wedding couldn’t use a little sweetness like that?

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Negar called on her gifted pals, Joseph Free and David Rogers, who are usually busy designing events for Vogue and fashion designers, to design the florals and decor for her wedding. Inspired by their handiwork, and not surprisingly, this is the wedding that made me rethink baby’s breath.  Heaps of lacy-soft baby’s breath and the warm glow of candlelight, it turns out, are pure magic. Here are a few of the intricate and particularly stellar details:

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Even the wedding’s tiniest guests were dressed up and ready to party:

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We were honored to have this wedding featured in C Magazine’s C Weddings this April and are doubly thrilled that it’s being shown off on Style Me Pretty {here} today as well.

photographs: Gia Canali; venue, The California Club; invitations: Jennifer Parsons, Tiny Pine Press; floral design: Joseph Free; event decor: David Rogers; gown: Monique Lhuillier; bride’s jewels, vintage Neil Lane; shoes, Valentino

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Interview with Yifat Oren: Tips for Everyone from Celebrity Wedding Planning, Part II

07 | 17 | 2010

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We’ve got celebrity wedding planner, Yifat Oren, back with us today, offering one more expert wedding planning tip and it’s an especially good one to heed:

“There’s a whole art to the pacing of a party and the energy of a party.”

“If you create too many lulls, your reception will not be as great as it could be.  Waiting in between courses too long without giving guests something to do – like geting them up and dancing or listening to toasts – can really suck the life out of a party.   When creating your timeline, pay special consideration to timing.  A good rule of thumb is to serve a course and then have a couple of toasts.  After the toasts, clear the course and either get your guests up for some dancing or come out with the next course immediately.  For all this to run smoothly, your caterer/banquet captain at a hotel and band leader must work closely together with a well-thought-out timeline.  Ideally, you would also have someone there on the day of the wedding to manage this process and be the liaison.”

Thinking about the flow of your party when you create your timeline is essential, particularly in considering your guests.  But a wellthought-out timeline won’t help you if you don’t stick to it (or, at least, as much as is up to you). I’m not saying, don’t let yourselves be spontaneous. I’m saying: plan for the experience you want to have and share with your guests and then have it (don’t just think it’ll happen).  Your wedding crew will be busy doing the best job they can to realize that dream wedding day for you.  Poor planning and big deviations can impact what they can do for you and can halt the party you’ve hoped for and imagined.  Plus,  a lively party renders much better on film.  Thanks (again!), Yifat.

photo: Gia Canali

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Interview With Yifat Oren: Tips For Everyone From Celebrity Wedding Planning, Part I

07 | 16 | 2010

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Yifat Oren has spent the last dozen years planning weddings and parties for some of the most discerning folks in Hollywood. When asked about her work, Yifat says, “I love what I do because I love what goes into weddings:  design and décor, food and wine, fine papers, entertainment, and even the creativity that goes into executing it all flawlessly.   I think the best weddings I do are a great collaboration between the clients and myself—that kind of collaboration breeds the most creative, trend-setting results.”

Those clients are high-powered and high-profile, everyone from Mariska Hargitay & Peter Hermann and Christine & Kevin Costner, to a host of Hollywood producers and business moguls.  And while a lot of what these folks do for their weddings seems (or is!) totally unattainable for most of us, some of the most important and impactful aspects of planning a fantastic wedding translate perfectly to diy (or do-it-with-a-little-help) wedding planning.  You don’t necessarily need more money or a bigger wedding budget; you just need a little forethought.

Consider The Guest Experience:

“Be thoughtful and cover your bases. When I’m planning a wedding, I walk through the entire event ahead of time, as if I am a guest. I imagine, for instance, “I just got off the shuttle. I left my hotel room an hour ago.  I’m probably thirsty and I need shade because it’s hot.  So we would serve cold beverages as soon as people get off the shuttle to quench their thirst and either a canopy or some market umbrellas for shade.  The grass is tricky to walk on because ladies’ heels will sink. So we put out ‘heel savers’ … and so on, throughout the rest of the party, ending with a heater near the valet station, to be sure your guests aren’t freezing as they wait for their vehicles.”

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Here are a few specific areas you can consider:

1.    Be thoughtful about parking.

If you’re not doing a valet, it’s okay—just make sure there’s plenty of parking so your guests don’t have to walk too far or fight for spots.”

2.    Consider the weather.

If there’s sun in everybody’s eyes during the ceremony, it’s awful.  So offer some parasols or change the direction of the ceremony if possible.  It’s nice to let people know, especially the ladies, what they can expect in terms of weather and terrain for the wedding day.  If they’ll need to wear wedges, let them know.  If it’s going to be cool during the evening but hot during the day, they might not think to bring wraps, so let them know ahead of time or provide them yourself.”

3.    Consider the general appeal of the food.

You can be a total foodie, but if you want to serve something that’s wild and out there, do it as one of six appetizers, not as the main entreé that comes out for dinner.”

4.    Consider your bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Usually they have to be there hours ahead of time.  Make sure there are cold drinks for them, somewhere for them to hang their coats and stash their stuff, somewhere to sit down, and some shade, especially in the summer.”

5.    Consider the bathrooms.

Have someone checking the bathrooms throughout the night.  Make sure they are clean, well-stocked, and that the plumbing is working.  We like to set out nice hand-towels, not linen ones, but nice linen-like paper ones.  We also leave things your guests might need in the bathroom—a nail file, clear nail polish, extra deodorant, nice soap, lotion, safety pins, a mini sewing kit, and feminine hygiene products.”

I think that we (the wedding-ready universe) spend a lot of time thinking about who to invite and about hiring services, but not so much time about the experience of those services for ourselves and our invited guests. Hiring services is not the same thing as creating an experience. These tips are really helpful in taking diy wedding planning that one very important step further—having bathrooms at your venue, for instance, isn’t the same thing as having continually clean, well-stocked bathrooms for you and your guests all night long.  Small but important details can be not-thought-of at all.  Of course, in a world where we all had business-mogul-sized wedding budgets, we’d want to hire an experienced and expert wedding planner to think of all these things for us (because, believe me, Yifat thinks of everything).    Check back tomorrow for part two. Thanks, Yifat!

photo: Gia Canali

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Collaborating With Your Wedding Photographer, 109: Planning Picture Perfect Wedding Toasts

07 | 15 | 2010

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We love wedding toasts!  For one thing, hearing how other folks love the bride and groom makes us—and everybody at a wedding, I think—adore the bride and groom even more.  And the photographs of the bride and groom and the guests reacting to toasts can be so fun (though, in fact, that could go either way if the toasts are deadly-long or if there are too many of them, come to think of it).

Somehow, toasts are more-often-than-not overlooked in the orchestration and choreography of the wedding day—but they’re important because the toasts themselves can be very meaningful and the photos do actually sometimes make it into the finished wedding album. So, naturally, you want the toasting photos to be their best selves.  (And don’t think that this magically won’t happen to you on your wedding day … )

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Here are a few easy tips for setting yourself up to have picture perfect toasts:

  1. Have the speaker stand somewhere with a nice background and nice light, even if that spot is right at his or her dinner table.  Ample ambient light is the best kind.
  2. Please don’t put your toaster in front of an EXIT sign. (This is just an expansion of point #1, I suppose).
  3. Make sure your photographer is present. If you have a planner, he or she can help with this.  If you are diy-planning, you’ll need to keep an eye on this yourself.  Although your photographer may stick close by your side the entire rest of the day, during dinner time, she could be off taking photographs in another part of the event, or trying to take a quick dinner break.  If unscheduled or unannounced toasts happen, she can miss them.
  4. Toasts REALLY TRULY need to be short and sweet.  Haute wedding planner, Yifat Oren, notes,”it’s a toast, not a roast.  Toasts should be short and sweet and moving and anecdotal. The longest amount of time for any one toast should be seven minutes, but preferably no longer than five.  You can say a lot in seven minutes.”  And, “if you’re planning to have 35 minutes of toasts, don’t do it all at once.”  It’s hard for the guests to sit through a bunch of long toasts (read: boring) and can bring the whole party to a halt. If someone really wants to give a long toast or say something much more expansive to or about you and your beloved, the rehearsal dinner might afford a better and more intimate opportunity for that kind of thing.

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Check back tomorrow for an interview with Yifat, full of tips from celebrity weddings that are applicable to weddings on any budget.

photographs: Gia Canali

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Getting Great Wedding Photos, Tip #15: Allow Plenty of Time To Put Your Wedding Dress On

07 | 05 | 2010

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Allowing at least 30 minutes for just the “dressing” part of getting ready is really important—even if you’re wearing a really simple dress.  Not only do you not want to be rushed, but you never know when you might need that extra time.  Sometimes a zipper breaks, or you need to be sewn into your dress last-minute, or your straps are too long and need to be altered on the fly, or you’ve forgotten some totally essential part of the getup, or … or … or.  In any case, even if everything goes off without a hitch, you’ll still need time for putting on all your glorious accessories.

photo: Gia Canali

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