Micro Wedding at Montelucia

Allow us to be real for a few…. there are definitive trends in wedding palettes.  Blush, gold, navy, peach, sage…. the colors you choose truly depends on the design style you lean towards.  When Stephanie called us looking for a designer and planner for her intimate wedding at the Montelucia‘s Camelback Villa, she warned us (her words) that her vision was unconventional.

Not wanting a large scale event, but not wanting to elope, Stephanie and Jesse opted for a micro-wedding – an intimate gathering of family and friends.  A traditional elopement is the bride, groom, minister and maybe two witnesses.  Inviting 14 or so members of your family doesn’t qualify as an elopement.  Enter the term micro-wedding – a celebration containing all the elements of a traditional large-scale wedding but with far fewer guests.  We have seen an uptick in micros over the past few years and honestly, we are digging the trend.

But we digress, back to Stephanie and Jesse… We may, or may not, have done a small happy dance at the prospect of designing a fall-time jewel-toned wedding.  Stephanie, a destination bride, turned over design control to us and we ran full-speed ahead.

With no bridesmaids, Stephanie was hanging with us in the immense and gorgeous Camelback Villa.  Normally I would be a bit on edge with a bride watching our every move during install and set, but Steph just chilled, cool as a cucumber and comfortable in her denim shirt and shorts, against the door jamb of the master suite and chatted.  If we ever let a bride lift the veil and watch our controlled chaos again, then she must promise to be as relaxed as Steph.  I mean, come on, who else can pull off this look?!!

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One of my favorite selling points about the Camelback Villa is the amazing view of Camelback Mountain.  Granted, in the following photo, you only see the head, but trust me, that camel is magnificent. Steph and Jesse opted for no attendants to share the altar which set the tone that, while family is important, they have each other. They also opted for a simple altar set, two manzanita trees adorned with hanging candles and Moroccan lanterns – both to provide ambient light once the sun set.

 

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The couple didn’t want a unity candle or sand ceremony but wanted to commemorate their union in a unique and meaningful way so Gwen Waring of Arizona Ministers suggested a ring warming ceremony.  Now, normally we would not advocate for passing the actual wedding rings around during the ceremony, but this group seemed pretty trustworthy so we decided to throw caution to the wind! The concept is that the family and friends each have the opportunity to hold the rings and pray over them or offer a wish, hope or dream for the couple’s future.

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While the ceremony reflected a simple palette, Steph’s love for bold colors was clearly visible inside the Villa.  The 20-foot wooden dining table served as the foundation for a garden of orange, purple, violet, red and yellow flowers nestled in wooden boxes and gold leafed vases and surrounded by gold mercury votives. The hydrangea were the perfect shade of purple.  We couldn’t have planned it better.

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The piece de resistance, in our opinion, was the white pumpkins, set atop plum satin napkins and gold beaded clear glass chargers.  Each pumpkin was dual purpose, serving as a place card and brining a bit of fall to the table (after all, this was a Thanksgiving weekend wedding).

We mentioned that micro-weddings contain all the elements of a traditional large-scale wedding and this wedding was no different.  From cake cutting, to the first dance as husband and wife, to favors and the most ingenious money tree I’ve ever seen, this wedding was rich on emotion.

 

How to Manage Rain on your Wedding Day

It’s like rain on your wedding day” … queue Alanis Morissette. We have come off of an unusually rainy four days in Phoenix and, if you asked us, we’d say that rain is undoubtedly the number one fear of any bride. But is rain getting a bad rap? Some cultures believe that rain is a good sign on your wedding as it symbolizes fertility and cleansing but in the US, rain causes tears and often increases already high stress levels.  With that in mind, here are some tips for creating a rainy day backup plan.

  1. Create a backup plan early in the planning process. If you are working with a planner, pat yourself on the back for making a smart business decision because your planner should have already created this plan with you. If any crucial part of your wedding is outdoors (ceremony or reception) you will want to discuss rain options.  If moving the event indoors is not an option, call the local rental company to price an appropriate size tent or canopy.  Permits may be required depending on the laws of your town or city so be sure to ask early on as they take time to acquire.

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  1. Consider your photography locations. Depending on where you live, a stormy sky may be a photographer’s blessing. In Arizona, Mother Nature tends to show up in a huge way bringing dark billowing clouds as her companion.  She makes a grand entrance and paints a canvas that is better than you can imagine.  If outdoor shots are completely out of the question, a good photographer will already have a plan and alternate locations, but they may not be ideal to you, the bride.  A hallway may not be ideal when you had garden photos in mind but trust that your photographer will capture the artistic shots you desire.

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  1. Guest comfort. We had a bride a few years ago that said “come hell or high water, I am going down that aisle outside as planned!” I admire her fire and will admit that the high winds created amazing photos of her veil floating parallel to the ground as she walked down the aisle to greet her groom.  What she didn’t consider was the comfort of her guests who braved cold temperatures with high winds to bear witness.  Consider providing wraps or umbrellas to make the experience more enjoyable. After all, they want to be smiling, not shivering, when you are pronounced husband and wife.

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  1. Hair and Makeup Artists.  If you have a glam squad taking care of hair and makeup services for you and your wedding party, you may want to ask them if they can stay longer to manage makeup touchups or tuck in flyaway strands of hair post ceremony. This will leave you feeling fresh and beautiful before your grand entrance. If they are not able to stay, some strategically sprayed hair spray, softly smoothed with the cold metal can, will suffice.fort-mcdowell-wedding-photos-14
  1. Remember the reason for the day. Rain is water. Yes, it is unfortunate but it isn’t going to ruin your day.  Keep a positive attitude and know everything will work out. Your bridal party and your guests will feed off your attitude. Keep smiling and remember the real reason is to marry the one you love and, at the end of the day, that is all that matters.dreamstime_s_69189589.jpg

 

Real Wedding| Kari & Ryan

If you asked me what skills you need to possess as a good event designer and director, I would tell you that fluidity – the ability to change course on a dime – was in the top three.  Today, I did just that – I changed course quickly and left some heads {slightly} spinning.  We had prepared another blog post for today…. one showcasing smaller weddings…. one you will undoubtedly see later this week or maybe next.  But then, a Facebook memory popped into my personal page today that had me texting “Reschedule the blog post.”

You see, today is Kari & Ryan’s three year anniversary!  This past weekend I came across some of their wedding photos, perfectly shot by Chadwick Fowler of ModWed, and smile as I reminisced about this fun, untraditional wedding that was 100% a tribute to their story, their love, their life.  And this morning, when the memory popped up in my feed I just knew I had to share it with you.

Kari and Ryan met at a beer festival in Northern AZ (Flagstaff to be exact).  She was standing in line behind him and, as we all often do, he turned around and she said “Do you like my eyes?”. He was hooked.  Who wouldn’t be?  She has a bubbly personality, an infectious laugh and they both love life and live for today. They are a perfect match.

When it came to planning their wedding, they knew what they wanted.  The details were in their heads.  They were uber specific.  But they needed someone to pull everything together for them.  That’s where we come in.

When Kari and Ryan shared their vision for a beer garden themed wedding, I think I may have clapped like a giddy school girl.  I love everything weddings but this was so unconventional, so untraditional that I knew we had to be involved.  They had already found The IceHouse and most of their vendors but still needed help with floral elements, rentals, layout and overall day-of coordination.  Our job, should we choose to accept it, was simple: think beer garden, incorporate chamomile and hops, and design a party that isn’t truly a wedding with a short (and I mean short) ceremony sandwiched in between a hopping cocktail hour and an honest to beer-centric party.

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The Cathedral Room at the IceHouse is a popular ceremony location.  Ivory drape was used to conceal the gray steel door that connects this open-air patio to the Silver Room.  Edison bulbs, strung asymmetrically on the drape added an ambient light at the altar. Al fresco lighting, provided by the venue, lit up the night and the aisle decor, consisting of oil lamp illuminated wax vessels, lit a path for Kari and her dad.

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The bride and her maids carried bouquets of white roses, white ranunculus, bluplerum and chamomile.  Boutonnieres of simple white ranunculus accented with a small sprig of chamomile adorned the left lapel of stunningly simple grey suit jackets.

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The 8-minute ceremony (yes, 8-minutes) gave way to a party that highlighted everything Kari and Ryan love. Seven microbeers on tap, street food style fare and an amazing kettlecorn truck provided all-night nosh opportunities.

Hoping for a rustic picnic style affair, mahogany farm tables provided by Encore Creative provided a base for whimsical centerpieces that featured galvanized buckets filled with chamomile and bluplerum situated amongst glowing wax candles and pillar candles atop hops, malt and barley.

icehouse phoenix wedding planner The crowning jewel of this event has to be the cake.  Not a fan of sweet frostings, Kari and Ryan opted for a naked cake and what a treat it was.  Three flavors offered something for everyone’s sweet tooth. We may have sampled a bite, or twelve, because we are all about quality assurance.

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Kari and Ryan dreamt of a wedding that truly reflected their laid back personalities and love of everything beer.  We think we nailed it.  Don’t you agree?

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Classic Garden Wedding | Montelucia

We love brides that give us their vision and let us run with the design.  Hannah was just that bride.  We aren’t going to lie, her vision for a garden inspired elegant wedding at the Omni Montelucia in Paradise Valley, AZ, made us a little more than giddy.  From eucalyptus garlands adorning the ceremony chairs, to an elaborate floral treatment on the Valencia Lawn gazebo and a 42-foot (yes, foot) hydrangea runner down the bridal party table, we were in designer’s heaven.  We know you will love this wedding as much as we did!

Design & Coordination: Us! Stellar Event Management; Photography: Jennifer Bowen Photography

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Scott & Bridget’s Rustic Chic Wedding

We are digging in the archives for this wedding.  To this day it remains one of our most favorite weddings as the entire day was infused with bits of the bride’s and groom’s personalities.

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Bridget and Scott met online in 2011 and were engaged within three months. You can tell by looking at these two that they were genuinely in love…. the kind of love that would last a lifetime.  Due to the nature of Scott’s job, the couple planned their wedding in 90 days which put their wedding date smack dab in the middle of June – one of Arizona’s hottest months.  Daytime temps easily soar to 115-120 degrees during the day so following the timeline would be critical.

We selected a secret garden on the campus of Arizona State University for the ceremony. This lush area is sequestered between four buildings near the center of campus and is a haven of lush flowering plants and tall shade trees that are home to many birds. The raised patio with outdoor fireplace was the perfect spot for this intimate ceremony.

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The bride and her sisters crafted each detail of this wedding, from the bouquets and boutonnieres, to the aisle decor, centerpieces, favors and directional signage.

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The reception was held at Old Main, ASU’s oldest building where guests danced the night away before sending the couple off with a sparkler exit.

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5 Aisle Decoration Ideas

Decorate your aisles with one of these great ideas to give your ceremony a personal touch.

Add a twist to your aisle with one of these very cool, and clever, ideas.

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Baby’s Breath Ceremony Decor

Galvanized buckets filled with baby’s breath lined the ceremony aisle creating a romantic feel to this rustic chic wedding.

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Ceremony Chair Greenery Bundles

Natural bundles of seeded or silver dollar eucalyptus, rosemary or lavender hung from the chairs along the aisle perfectly complimented this couples outdoor ceremony.

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Tissue Paper Decor

The bride added bursts of white and green to the wedding aisle with large tissue paper pompoms and mason jars filled with baby’s breath and bells of Ireland .

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Hanging Floral Decor

Small, delicate glass cones filled with a single peony hung from the chairs along the ceremony aisle.

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Photo Ceremony Decor

White and yellow frames with pictures of the bride and groom throughout the years hung from the pews which created a talking point among guests.

How are you decorating your aisle?