Here in Santa Fe, we honor many Mexican Folk Art traditions. With Día De Los Muertos fast approaching, you will see many sugar skulls, marigold garlands, altars for the dead and skeletons around town, gracing windows, cemeteries and homes alike.
Weddings, too, will give a nod to the Día de Los Muertos traditions. It’s not uncommon to see tiny skeletons in wedding garb perched on top of wedding cakes. (Sometimes out-of-towners are unnerved by the morbid image, but it’s all in good fun!)
This weekend we will be gifting guests with these sweet hand-made sugar skull cookies from Picket Fence Confections. ¡Qué cute!
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My favorite part about planning a wedding is the design process. I love getting to know the couple’s aesthetic when it comes to color, texture and style and put my right brain to work! I usually ask the couple questions like: “how is your house decorated, where do you like to shop, and how would you describe your ideal day?” Basically anything that gives me insight into their world helps me to develop a look and feel for their wedding. (Might I also add that Pinterest is an amazing tool for helping me understand what a bride has envisioned! )
Once I feel I have a clear idea, I love to draw sketches and renderings of what the designs may look like. I’m always amazed when the final product is nearly a replica of the sketch. See for yourself, how Maggie and Kosta’s wedding reception came to life! Photos courtesy of Ginger Russell Photography
The reception took place in the very beautiful Tabla Restaurant at the Hotel St. Francis. I love this space because it offers a very clean and sophisticated canvas on which to design. Maggie loved materials like peacock feather, pods, pine cones, moss and succulents. Luckily the arsenal within my studio had everything she needed, like vintage teal mason jars and birch stump planters (not to mention my succulent farm). But the best thing for me was receiving two giant bushels of dried cotton from her father’s farm! I worked those into the design of the tables and wow, was it stunning. It completed the look in addition to being a very sentimental part of the wedding.
I created custom table runners with fabric from Santa Fe Fabrics. We wanted to keep Tabla’s beautiful wood tables exposed, but bring in a touch of teal, while at the same time keep it rustic with a frayed edge linen.
Then, there was cake. Now this wasn’t just any cake, it was a fine Maggie Faralla exquisite creation, shaped like a church in Santorini! Oh, snap! The cake was not only an homage to Kosta’s Greek heritage, but it signified the very Church where Kosta proposed to Maggie. They even had a family friend create a beautiful watercolor of the special spot which also graced the cake table.
10 months prior, Maggie and I were brainstorming and cooking up plans for a beautiful wedding. After all of our hard work and thoughtful design it was a pleasure to see a beautiful reception filled with smiles, laughter, great food, fabulous desserts and even some Greek dancing!
Custom Jars, Ginger Russell Photography, Greek Wedding, Hotel St. Francis, Infused Rum, Infused Vodka, Instagram, OPA!, Paper stripey straws, Santa Fe Barman, Santa Fe Wedding, Signature cocktail, Suctom Cocktail, Wedding Cocktail Hour
One of my favorite ways to create a memorable experience for the guests is to encourage interactivity. For Maggie and Kosta’s wedding, I wanted guests to feel part of the experience, not just stand around and observe. We wanted cocktail hour to be filled with laughter, smiles, a bunch of fun and guests hollering, “OPA!”
Enter the custom cocktail bar:
We decided to take the signature drink to a whole new level. We worked with Hotel St. Francis’s very own Santa Fe Barman, Chris Milligan to create infusions of cucumber vodka and lemon infused rum. The flavored spirits were pre-poured into customized jars and then guests were invited to choose their own combination of summer berries and fresh herbs to add to their concoction. The drinks were topped off with soda and ice, covered with a lid and the guests could shimmy and shake their very own cocktails!
First and last photos courtesy of Ginger Russell Photography. Middle photos via the Hitching Post Instagram Feed.
Just wanted to give you a peek into the inspiration for this weekend’s wedding. There will be beautiful shades of purple and silvery sage, lots of spring wildflowers provided by Artichokes and Pomegranates, and corazon Milagros, all set against the beautiful backdrop of the Hacienda Dona Andrea. The bride will be walking down to the aisle to John Lennon’s, Grow Old With Me played on banjo, which I think is going to sound so cool!
I’m also excited to have quintessential decor for a Santa Fe wedding like Papel Picado and of course the most adorable succulent place cards. We’ve been planting our hearts out over here at the studio, and loving every minute!
Table number 1, table number two, table number three….that’s boring, huh? Serrano Table!!! Poblano Table!!! Cayenne Table!!! Muy caliente, no? I love it when couples opt to name their reception tables NOT numbers, especially if when they name their tables after peppers!. It’s brings a little interest, keeps it thematic, makes things spicy; it’s perfect for a Santa Fe wedding!
This lovely wedding took place at the Hotel St. Francis, a charming spot for intimate nuptials. The ceremony was al fresco, on the patio and we dressed up the wooden gates with a simple ivory swag and lovely floral clusters created by Artichokes and Pomegranates.
The bride and groom were so stoked for the fabulous mariachi band…and I’ll admit, I was singing along too- I LOVE mariachis!
Here are some snaps from a video shoot that I designed for Inn and Spa at Loretto, one of Santa Fe’s most popular destination wedding venues. They were named 2012’s Best Wedding Destination by the Travel Channel and were featured on their “Best Of” episode. I styled a bride and groom in all the typical events of the wedding day: a ceremony, cocktail hour, the reception and even the spa! My favorite part about this project was that I had complete creative license. As an event planner, I typically play the role of consultant, where I help clients work off of themes they already have in mind. So, it is such a treat when I get to start from scratch and design and style the whole shebang!To mirror the elegant Southwest vibe the Loretto offers, I centered the design around a unique and beautiful color palette. I chose colors like coral and peach paired with gray/greens. I accented the tabletop with metallic coppers and golds. The flowers provided by Marisa Peluso popped beautifully off of the linens provided by Classic Party Rentals.
I even designed the look for the lovely couple’s ensemble. I had a blast attending a fitting at the elegant bridal atelier, Laura Sheppherd. There we chose a dress to coordinate with our theme, as well as a beautiful veil and jewelry. Monica Stark of Makeup Santa Fe perfected pouts and rosied cheeks with her incredible make-up artistry!
Our couple, Jamy and Erik are friends of mine and what I love most about this shoot is that they are married in real life. They eloped, so they only had a few disposable camera pictures of their wedding day. This shoot recreated a magical moment for them both and let them fill in their wedding album!
Part of the shoot centered on the wedding cocktail hour where we showcased delectable appetizers and a Prickly Pear martini with a gold leaf rim. Yum!
I put together a little behind the scenes video for you to see. Disclaimer *** I am by no means a professional film maker and all of this was shot with my iPhone; so it’s not exactly Oscar-worthy, but it does give some insight to our process.
What is a “first look”?, you may ask. Well, it is becoming an increasingly popular way to do portraits of the bride and groom. Though, instead of the photographer whisking the newly wed couple from the party right after the ceremony, the couple meets before the nuptials, for an intimate and sweet photo sesh of their “first look” at one another. Now, this is not the best idea for the superstitious, but for the bride and groom that don’t want to miss out on the cocktail reception or the wonderful appetizers they hand picked for their guests, this is the way to go!
Some may worry that this will take away from the first time the groom sees the bride walking down the aisle, but I have heard from my couples that have opted to go for this, that the “first look” is romantic, helps with any jitters and even makes the ceremony that much more special!
The couple pictured above were married at the Gerald Peters Gallery and we planned to have their “First Look” portraits down the street at the Nedra Matteucci Gallery. They have a lovely garden and if you call ahead of time, you’re welcome to schedule a portrait session there. We were in luck because the Water Iris were in bloom, along with the Oriental Poppies and Garden Roses!
…On a different note, one of my favorite things about this wedding was the color palette! Punchy corals, peaches, oranges and golds were a great choice for this early summer wedding. I also loved that each bridesmaids picked their own dress that suited their own personalities, but they were all in the same color family; it really looked beautiful!
First Look Venue: Nedra Matteucci Gallery, Ceremony and Reception Venue: Gerald Peters Gallery, Florist: Artichokes and Pomegranates, Photos: Stacey Adams Photography, Coordination: MARRIED by Jessie Abrams Baca