Tag Archives: eco-weddings

G&C : Elegance & Whimsy – An Enchanted Wine Country Wedding with Amy Kaneko Events

04 | 24 | 2012

We loved so many things about this wedding, not the least of which was the couple’s dog, Lola, who was a total show-stopper with her sweet and spunky personality.  Rare is a wedding as thoughtfully and soulfully planned out as this one.  The couple considered every single detail, and Amy Kaneko designed their extraordinary lush, natural ceremony “altar,” the olive tree “guest book” (aka wishing tree) and the escort card tree, which was hung with mica “fairies,” crystals, and quotes from the bride’s brother’s poetry, as a memorial to him.  The escort cards were hand-wrapped with wire and attached to gemstones that matched the gemstone table names.

The bride planned a ton of extra time for getting ready and for pre-ceremony photographs, so that no matter what, they wouldn’t be rushed or stressed out as they prepared themselves for their ceremony.  This kind of foresight had great pay-off, not just for the couple, but also for their photographs.  They look well-composed, relaxed, happy, and excited because they are well-composed, relaxed, happy, and excited.  (What a good trick, huh?!).

photos: Gia Canali

design & planning: Amy Kaneko Events; venue: Meadowood; videography: LoveSpun Films; florals: Cherries Flowers; officiant: Dr. Judith Caldwell; Linens: La Tavola Linens; Rentals: Hartmann Studios; Hair & makeup: Sarah Hyde; On-Site Dressing/Pressing: SewHeidi Wedding De-Tailor (707.479.0790); Paper goods, Gemstone escort cards, Table numbers: Amy Kaneko Events

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J + TJ’s Rustic Handmade Colorado Ranch Wedding (With Rainbows and a Rodeo Arena Reception)!

08 | 03 | 2011

Now, finally on to Jess and TJ’s actual wedding day!  By the morning of the wedding, it really did feel—as Jess and TJ had so hoped and schemed—like everyone there was one big family.   We woke before dawn to take in the “jingle” with some of TJ’s cousins.  Then, everybody else began readying themselves for the day.  I’m not sure what I could really say to do this wedding justice, so I’m keeping my notes uncharacteristically brief.

Jess and TJ saw each other for the first time in a wide open field, a couple of hours before the ceremony was scheduled to start.  We had planned to make a bunch of portraits during that time … but it started to rain just as they finished with that first quiet moment, so we retreated to stay dry.  Wedding party and immediate family portraits were made in the little sliver of shelter under the eaves of the barn.

Jess’s grandfather was quite the photographer in his day, and he even used to make carbro prints (the vintage photographic process on which I have the second biggest crush).  So when he asked me to make a portrait of him (with his bow tie!), I obliged using one of my favorite vintage cameras.

Jess and TJ’s wedding ceremony was perhaps my favorite part of the whole weekend.  It took place atop a cliff overlooking an incredible valley.  We loved how they made the ceremony so, so personal … and got everybody involved!  One friend officiated, others did readings, or sang songs.  Their dog, Midas, was the ring bearer (bearing the real rings). And Jess and TJ’s guests had sent them pieces of fabric with their reply cards to make a quilt that was incorporated into the ceremony.  Here’s what Jess says:

“I wrote the ceremony (which I would also recommend since it made it sooo personal for us) and as part of that, we did a “community blessing” where everyone in the audience held hands and connected all the way to us—as we were wrapped in the quilt with pieces of them all around us. It was one of my favorite moments of the ceremony, and maybe one of my favorite pics from the entire wedding (maybe also because this was when it started to pour rain!). We then used the quilt as a backdrop for our photo booth which was fun because people got to go up and pick out where their piece was on the quilt. TJ and I now have the quilt on our bed and it’s an awesome reminder of that amazing moment.”

I did my best to hide under an umbrella while the rain pour downed and keep my cameras (more or less) dryish while I was shooting (although I was more conspicuous than I would have wanted to be for sure).  But I love the photos from the recessional, with light reflecting through raindrops on my lens glass.  By then, I think I’d dashed out from under the umbrella!

Guests moved to the indoor rodeo arena for dinner, dancing, and bull-riding.  Despite the enormity of the space or the fact that it was really (really!) just a barn, Jess and TJ made it feel cozy, welcoming and even (kind of, but not too) fancy.  The warm happy color palette seemed especially appropriate after a day that had gone from clear and beautiful, to dark and stormy, to rainbows …

Below: Jess and TJ’s first dance and the beginnings of a long, happy night of dancing.

The photo booth was so fun!  You might recognize the quilt, re-purposed …

Maybe the best thing, though, was the mechanical bull!  I loved seeing everybody’s best wild west moves!  Jess made the operator buck her off (although she really, really didn’t want to buck the bride).  It was so funny!

The wedding is featured {here} today on 100 Layer Cake (hooray!).  Be sure to stop back tomorrow and Friday for photographs from Jess’s bridal session and Jess and TJ’s post-wedding love shoot, plus a peek at some of their paper goods …

photographs: Gia Canali

wedding planning: Stacy McCain; wedding design, Duet Events (the bride and her friend’s design company); florals, Sweet Pea Flowers, Denver; lighting & other magic tricks, Pink Monkey Solutions; dj: DJ Smiles Davis; dessert buffet, Tee and Cakes; venue and catering: C Lazy U Ranch

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J+TJ Rehearsal Dinner Party

08 | 02 | 2011

After Jess and TJ’s guests thoroughly wore themselves out in the field day tournament, everyone dressed up for a tented rehearsal dinner party.  It was the weekend’s most formal event.  Guests dined in a tent that opened up on a little pond and it was embellished with dressy-up, woodsy decor and lots of sweet, handmade touches.  We especially loved all the wooden table numbers, the tree-bark wrapped “vases,” and the escort card heart made of stones with each guest’s name.

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We stole Jess and TJ away for a few minutes, just before sunset for photographs along the dirt road out to the horse pasture (and spa!) at C Lazy U.   Taking a few minutes here and there out of a busy wedding weekend schedule—particularly in moments with perfect light—to make some beautiful portraits always has a huge impact on the overall coverage of your wedding. We’ll hurry you back to your guests, promise …

I think getting great wedding photographs is one part trained eyeballs (by which I mean vision) and two parts time-management, both on the part of the photographers and on the part of the couple. One little great time-management helper with multi-day weddings is to space out the group photographs across the events.  Not every family photograph needs to be on the wedding day.  We photographed Jess and TJ’s extended families separately at the rehearsal and then TJ requested this lodge-style combined family photograph, which I just love.

Jess and TJ’s friends and families also made almost all their toasts at the rehearsal dinner.  Except for a quick welcome toast from the bride’s father at the wedding reception, this freed them up on the wedding day for an uninterrupted party (!) … a fantastic bonus since it always goes by too too quickly, even when you have four days of celebrating.   This was a sweet way for everyone to get to know each other, too.

~♥~

The event is also featured {here} on 100 Layer Cake!  Come back tomorrow for more from Jess and TJ’s wedding day!

photographs: Gia Canali

event design: Duet Events (the bride’s design company); planning, Stacy McCain Events; venue and catering, C Lazy U Ranch; florals: Lisa Anderson, Sweet Pea Flowers; dessert (aka tower of awesomeness), Shamane’s Bake Shoppe, Boulder CO.

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Jillian & Dax’s Romantic Handmade Everything California Mountain Elopement

05 | 27 | 2010

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Seeing two of your beloved friends marry is its own particular joy, and although I might be (therefore) biased in saying so, Jillian & Dax’s super-secret informal mountain wedding celebration was just about perfect: romantic, personal, and really laid-back.  Everything was handmade. Everything. And everyone who came pitched in to make the wedding happen.  One friend made the cake, another painted the wooden cake-toppers.  One friend did Jillian’s makeup (actually, the same friend who painted the cake toppers); another did Jillian’s hair.  Of course, I took the photographs.  My husband Matt was making fruit salad until just before he started taking pictures himself. Their friend, Kelly, who married them also barbequed the meat for dinner.  Lots of folks pitched in to make dinner … and the tissue paper pom poms you can just barely see in the few reception photos.  I was “off-duty” at the reception; we just set up a photo booth and let people snap pictures of themselves which are too, too hilarious to share on this blog.

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Jillian made her own wedding gown, including the pattern for it.  She deconstructed a vintage dress to make the pattern for the bodice, sewed it, and then began to work on the doilies.  It took three weeks and over two miles of crochet yarn to complete the effect.  I am still marveling at all the detail.  Nobody I know can envision a wildly ambitious project and then pull it off like Jillian can.

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If you look closely at those little cake-toppers, you’ll see that they’re “dressed” just as Jillian, Dax, and their daughter Phi were, right down to the tiniest details (even Dax’s ascot—Jillian made the real life version from the lining of her dress!).  After the cake-cutting, Jillian changed into a custom-made safari suit to match Dax’s. How cute is that?

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photographs: Gia Canali; hair, Angelina Yuge, 562.686.6200 (she is actually a makeup artist!); makeup, Nicole Burg, 818.970.9582; cake topper forms, Goose Grease Undone (she also makes custom-painted ones, here); Dax and Jillian’s custom safari suits, safarisuits.biz; flowers, LA Flower Mart, arranged by the bride.  We’re thrilled and honored that Jillian & Dax’s wedding is being featured over on {100 Layer Cake} today!

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Interview with Annette Garcia-Kerslake of Simply Natural Events

03 | 10 | 2009

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Annette has found a niche planning lovely natural, organic, and green weddings. It makes sense that she has decided to call her company “Simply Natural Events.”  I love her happy style and good energy (Annette has lots of spirit and lots of patience).  I’ve asked her to chat with us a little bit about planning environmentally-conscious, beautiful weddings.

How did you get started in event planning?

“It kind of started more planning my own wedding. I was a wardrobe stylist, so it was a creative outlet… I had a couple of (film industry) friends who  asked me to help them plan their weddings and it took off from there. A design background is really helpful for weddings, aesthetically.”

Why plan green weddings?

“I’ve always been pretty organic as far as food and natural medicines.  For myself, I try not to do any chemicals, etc.  It’s the way I live—I’ve had that homeopathic lifestyle for maybe ten years. And now it’s huge and popular.  It’s nice to see that people are going that way.  I don’t want to impose it on anyone, but there are so many green, natural resources.  Why not add them into your wedding?”

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So, it seems like the age of irresponsible consumption / irresponsible weddings is over.  But we all want gorgeous weddings.  What are ways to go green and still be beautiful?

“I would say, I think the number one thing is to go for locally grown food. It’s not only healthy for your guests and you, it supports local farms.  I’m big on trying to support [other kinds of] local vendors, too.

“You can use organic silks … Now you have the option to buy a dress from a designer who’s using all organic fabric.

“Using vintage dresses is a great way to go green. There are tons of vintage dress shops now. And a lot of those shops have Vera Wang gowns that were $4000 a year ago, for $2000.

“Herbs and locally grown flowers are great for your centerpieces. Lavender, rosemary, and succulents, for instance, are plentiful, inexpensive, and have a low carbon footprint.

Annette says: “Renting is re-using. So you can rent.  Repurpose.  Use family heirlooms. You’ll start to become green in that way.”

“Instead of favors, try tree seedlings  … or you can donate to charity:  your guests will remember it more and it’s a cash write off.

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What are some other easy ways to go green?

There are tons of parks, vineyards, et cetera, that aren’t harsh on the earth. If you go to state parks or the LA mountain park system, at least you know the funds go to keep up the park.

Annette and I both love Temescal Gateway Park and Upper Las Virgenes Open Space Preserve.

What trends do you see or would you like to see in weddings?

I think for me, it’d probably have to be … Exotic or not exotic, small destination weddings – less people, but tons of—I don’t want to say decadence in a time of recession … Make it a whole weekend of several intimate parties, with 20-30 of your best friends.

I would love to see picnic weddings.  You could even get beautiful blankets, and each family could get a basket and a bottle of wine. That would be my dream trend.  For everybody to start doing picnic weddings.

For colors, I love teal and charcoal grays together.

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I love the thought of Frida inspired weddings, too: warm deep colors, with coppery or iron colored accents. Little vibes of Cuba and Mexico.  I would like people to use more colors and a variety of colors. I like colors that pop.  I think that’s [just] my personal preference.

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Annette ♥s:

  1. Chamomile Tea:  I drink at least 2-3 cups a day, keeps me calm and it’s good for the blood sugar.
  2. Vintage Fabrics: You can make scarfs, pillows, the list goes on.  I’ll hold on to fabrics for years and one day it’s just what I need.
  3. Greenstream Gourmet. The chocolate mint cookies …
  4. Fresh flowers or herbs in my house lifts my spirits and provide inspiration.
  5. Top Stick and a sewing kit are must have on wedding days and good to have for everyday emergency.
  6. Super Greens when I’m feeling low on energy.
  7. Del Bondio Wine (Bio dynamic, organic wine)
  8. Your Day Wedding and The Bride & Bloom magazines

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To enjoy more of Annette’s work, check out her website and her new blog which is full of news and wedding (and other fun) finds.

photo credits: top images, Sharaga Studios; images of the wicked Corpse Bride cake by Amelia Lyon; others by Gia Canali … and more images to follow.

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Interview: Jennifer Parsons from Tiny Pine Press Chats About Letterpress

02 | 17 | 2009

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Jennifer Parsons is the creative force behind Tiny Pine Press, a boutique letterpress design studio based in Los Angeles.  She prizes handmade elements and gorgeous papers. Her exquisite craftwomanship has earned her a discerning clientele over the last four years and she routinely prints for celebrities, including Mariska Hargitay, Jerry Ryan, Kevin Costner, Charlie Sheen, Katherine Heigl, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Joely Fisher, and Will Oldham … just to name a few.  Her work appears regularly in magazines. Today, she’s taking a little time to chat with us about her letterpress practice.

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How did you get started in letterpress?

“Well, really it started because a friend of mine got engaged on her birthday. On that day, I gave her a ‘sewn’ birthday card, with a painting and some stitching on paper. She called me that day and thanked me for the birthday card and said, ‘Will you do my wedding invitations?’  I said yes, but I didn’t know what it meant. So I did research. I became a real paper detective – I found all these sources, learned all I could. Her invitations were actually off-set printing because I didn’t know about letterpress then.  After that, I got a job at Soolip where I learned about designing for letterpress and type-setting. Then I got more interested in doing it on my own, so I took a secret letterpress class. It was secret because it was at nighttime. My friend Joel Larson taught me letterpress basics in Donna Columby’s garage.  When I learned enough to get started,  I bought my own Chandler & Price press and started Tiny Pine.”

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Tiny Pine Press is such sweet name.  Where did that come from?

“There are two stories. The romantic part of the story and why I’m attached to pines is that I’m from Sugar Grove, V.A., and when I was in the 4H Club, they’d give you free pines to plant in your yard.  So my dad and I planted the little trees all around our yard. The second part of the story is that when I was working in the belt buckle factory, someone gave me a little circle belt buckle.  She said it was the perfect belt buckle for me.  It’s vintage, probably from the 60s, and all it has on it is a tiny pine and a sunset in the background. I decided that was me, so I named the company Tiny Pine.”

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Your Chandler & Price Press has a pretty great name, too: Verdie.  Where did that come from?

“Verdie has personality. She’s named after my great-aunt who I never met who received lots of postcards from sailors. She lived in a port city and had lots of boyfriends. She was really independent, never married, worked at GE. I like her name. It reminds me of a bird and the color green, even though Verdie [the press] is gray.  She’s my friend. She helps me get things done around here.  I don’t think of her as an employee, though. She’s a partner.”

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Do all letterpressers name their presses?

“No. But I think some people name their presses because they spend so much time with them. They have arms, faces.”

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What do you wish you could tell brides about their stationery?

“A lot of times I really wish I could tell everybody that what they want is something timeless. They want to have a piece of paper they could hold in their hands, that their family could look at it in a hundred years and say, “That was their wedding invitation!”   Stationery that’s elegant, simple, beautiful.  There are some people who get that, of course. I wish I could tell them they don’t want something that’s current and cutesy.  Not fashion-based. Not all the complicated stuff you get in the mail nowadays. You want something that you’re going to be proud of when you’re 80. When you get married, you’re not thinking about [just] now, you’re thinking about the future.  That’s why brides and grooms hire photographers and all that, for the present and the future. You have to think about that.”

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Why do you think stationery is an important visual / design aspect of the wedding?

“I think it really sets the tone. The save-the-date and wedding invite tells everybody way ahead of time what to expect. I really believe that it should be coming from not just the bride.  There should be a masculine twist, at least a little bit.  A lot of times men get lost in weddings … and that’s sad.  The stationery can also tell us if the wedding is going to be playful or formal. It’s pretty much the only clue (unless you know the couple really well).

“The guests shouldn’t be surprised when they receive the invitation, they should think, ‘oh, that makes sense.’ I’m doing an invite for a wedding in Jackson hole, Wyoming – you think of Jackson Hole as a wintery place. This is a wedding in summer. I would never put a fall leaf on an invite.  That sets the opposite tone.

One of my goals as an invitation designer and just in life is to be a really good ‘emotional translator’ — understanding people quickly and translating it to a piece of paper. So I think being sensitive to [a client] is really important. That’s why they hire people—they don’t know how to do it themselves, so they pick people who can.

Also the invite is a memory.”

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How green is letterpress?

“Well, it’s pretty green. It’s not ultra green, but you can be really pretty green.”

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What do you do to make it as green as possible?

“I print with soy ink, which is as green as ink can be. I saw a tv show, I think it was Ugly Betty, and they were talking about not liking soy inks because they rub off. But it’s not true. Soy ink sticks really well. It dries fastest. That’s one of the reasons people don’t like it (but I like it).  There aren’t as many VOCs (fume things).

“I mix really small amounts of ink. I can do a whole job with maybe a tablespoon or two of ink. I keep and reuse ink if possible. So I was pretty upset to see it put down on a tv show.

“I do use wood-backed magnesium plates. So there’s some wood. But I can’t really get around it right now.

“I also don’t print a lot of overage. A lot of times with offset printing, they use so much extra paper that there’s a lot of waste. I actually only print about 15% over, and most of those are samples for me. The process is slow and I hand-feed and hand-print. I see everything and I’m watching it so I don’t make lots of mistakes.  If I do make a mistake, I catch it right away. I save scraps and use them as make-ready. I use scraps for crafty projects, too.  In the end, I really don’t throw a lot away.”

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What trends would you like to see happen in wedding stationery?

“I think that it’s getting more organic. I’d like to see it keep going that way. I think it already is. People want more natural stuff. That’s my style.”

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Jennifer Parsons ♥s:

  1. Printing photos on paper and making it look good
  2. Photoshop skills
  3. Scotch quick-dry adhesive glue
  4. Epson printers
  5. I don’t have to say I heart my little letterpress because everybody already knows I do.
  6. Lori D (and the ability to illustrate like Lori D).
  7. Dirty Byrd Paper, which is hand made by my friend Jocelyn Todd.
  8. Fabriano paper because it’s Italian and hand-torn.
  9. Vintage stamps

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For more inspiration and to see more of Jennifer’s work, visit her site, and take a read at her blog, which is full of paper-crafty goodness.

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