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We love revisiting some of our past weddings… Today, pretty pastels and pattern play were the name of the design game here, with photos so pretty from Corbin Gurkin.  Bridesmaids dresses in the lovliest shade of not quite lavender and not quite violet from Jenny Yoo at Bella Bridesmaid.

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The bride wore a Monique Lhullier gown and elegant flats from Dolce and Gabbana.

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Our beautiful bride carried a cascade of phalenopsis orchids, roses, and fern fronds. We were overjoyed when we found the perfect blue and white bird themed fabric at fabric.com, we used it as a photo wall back drop, to make pillows, and cover the bar.

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The blue and white papers designed by Lettered Olive made a statement with colored stock, pattern, die cut shapes, and letterpressed motifs.  Our wedding welcome bags were filled with local cheese biscuits, handmade chocolate, and wine all in a custom Charleston map tote featuring all of the weekend locations noted.

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The ceremony was held at one of my truly favorite local churches, the French Huguenot Church.

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After the ceremony, guests tossed rose petals on the couple exiting the church, all to the tune of a local gospel choir.

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Playing off of the cascading orchid bridal bouquet, the bridesmaids carried a fluffy and colorful mix of roses, orchids, and lilacs.

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I always advise my clients when developing our timelines, to allow themselves to steal away some private time with the photographer, in order to capture images like these.

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Long tables were dressed in custom linens with patterned toppers, while the smaller squares were dressed in all blue and white. I love that our bride let us play with all of these patterns and colors!

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The flowering cake by Jim Smeal, resting atop a bed of greens made for a drop dead centerpiece in the after dinner lounge.

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The after dinner lounge had a glamorous and feminine feel, and lots of thoughtful touches- one of my favorites was the phone charging station designed with the wedding hashtag signage. Oh, and the sliders on pretzel rolls by PPHG, were a HUGE hit!

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After a quick change and pretty sparkler send off, the couple departed by a vintage Rolls Royce ready to “Skip Down the Aisle” Together…

You can see more of this wedding on  Charleston Weddings

3.12.19   |   TARA GUÉRARD
Cakes, Charleston, Event Design, Event Planning, Flowers, Food and Drink, Photographers, Press, Reception, Stationery, Invitations and Pretty Papers, The Lettered Olive, Uncategorized, Weddings | Comments >>
Mar 04, 2019


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photo by Liz Banfield

 One of the most popular topics that remains at my speaking engagements or questions we receive are how to look at food serving and displays in new and different ways. So, we’re sharing some ways we have styled food or incorporated it into the decor… Like above- for a wedding with stations and over 400 guests, we had to make the food accessible and interesting. We took a garden fountain from a hardware store, sealed and treated it with food safe materials, and then turned it into a cocktail shrimp focal point.

photos by Corbin Gurkin and  Liz Banfield

We find cocktail hour and passed hors d’eouvres an easy place to get creative. Of course, the trays you use can be customized and you’ve seen us talk about printing paper liners to fit your look.. but ask your caterer about different ways to present the food. Here, mini tacos are served in lime wedges that can also be used to squeeze atop the taco for a bit of extra flavor, chicken and waffles are much more elegant in mini waffle cones; and ceviche in scallop shells makes such a pretty presentation.

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photo by Corbin Gurkin

I feel like a big part of my job is to make sure that guests have a fun and and seamless experience. So, again, for receptions where the guests aren’t served a plated dinner, finding easy and creative ways to serve the food is important. Here, shot glasses are pre filled with hummus and veggies for a quick pick up option.

photos by Nickie Stone and Corbin Gurkin 

photos by Liz Banfield

Another popular item we are playing with are cheese or antipasta displays during cocktail hours, or even as late night food around the dance floor area.  We have been using different pieces of furniture to create a display, which works well for a self serve function. We have also built tall lucite tables with butcher block tops for some cocktail hour antipasta displays, I love how guests can access them from all angles.  And we have a marble topped push cart that we use often for serving, so doing a classic glamorous cheese cart after dinner is one of my favorite things to do!

photos by Tec Petaja

I love this new twist on a classic celebration food- caviar.. For a recent cocktail hour, we recently designed a beautiful  self serve station including all the varieties of accompaniments, and even chilled vodka.

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photo by Elizabeth Messina

Sometimes food can make an impact just being used in an unexpected way… For a bride whose father grew watermelons- we had our ice sculptor put slices in ice for a pop of color on a seafood display.

photos by Tec Petaja and Corbin Gurkin

Speaking of seafood displays, oysters are a long standing wedding food, especially in Charleston when we can get local ones. They can be a challenging food to serve because you have to find a nice way to present them and to deal with the shells when finished. We built wooden oyster tables that allow us to serve oysters on the half shell over crushed ice – of course with mini tabasco bottles and lemon wedges… Catering here by Cru Catering.

photo by Liz Banfield

This couple chose pies over a traditional wedding cake.. Individual pies in an array of flavors were displayed on tiered stands, with printed flavor flags!

photo by Virgil Bunao

For one wedding, a bride wanted to have a self serve champagne station with different mixers and embellishments… A rented bakers rack made a pretty and unexpected buffet set up. If guests have to serve themselves, then better make it thoughtful, right?

3.04.19   |   TARA GUÉRARD
Entertaining, Event Design, Event Planning, Food and Drink, Parties, Uncategorized, Weddings | Comments >>
Feb 26, 2019

photo by Liz Banfield

There are many ebbs and flows in weddings as years go by, we find ourselves being asked by clients to design different elements all the time, but one thing stays constant and that is making each one personal.  Here are just some of the ways we have personalized our events for our clients (aside from the obvious in the printing areas i.e. invitations), so hopefully this will trigger some thoughts or ideas for you.  Above, a jazz band led our couple out to their send off, a nod to the “second line” tradition in New Orleans, where they met. photos by Tec Petaja

This was one of my favorite touches at this wedding… The father of the bride had an impressive wine collection that he had been working on over many years. So, we built a display as one of the centerpieces of the dining room. The bottles were served up in labeled decanters and guests were encouraged to help themselves during dinner service.

photo by Christian Oth Studios

One of the easiest places to add personal touches is in the wedding welcome gifts. For our couple, marrying in Palm Beach, but from Texas, lots of custom elements filled this goodie bag. A filled beach bag for guests to enjoy while in Florida, perhaps not having packed one seemed like the perfect choice- along with turkish towels in the wedding colors.  Texas shaped corn chips and Texas salsa were just some of the snacks included along with Florida salt water taffy… all of these little thoughtful details go a long way to personalize your weekend for your guests. photos by Corbin Gurkin 

For this Southern beach wedding at home, lots of playful touches were woven throughout.  The mother of the bride and bride herself gave us their favorite quotes from movies, books, etc. and we used them to jazz up pillows on the lounge seating, cocktail napkins, and coasters.  Guests loved seeing and seeking out all of the different ones throughout the party.  top photos by Tec Petaja; bottom photos by Liz Banfield

Many of our clients love seeing details featuring their dogs incorporated into their wedding.. Water bottles featuring our couple’s Frenchie on the label were included in the wedding welcome bags and served up again at the reception. Another couple’s two Australian Shepherds made their first appearance on the save the dates, and then again in custom take home cake boxes we called “doggie bags”…

photos by Corbin Gurkin

Of course, one of the easiest and most traditional ways to personalize your day is with a monogram.  Here, the first initials of our bride and groom were design elements all throughout the design. First on a floral version greeting guests at the front door, then on aprons worn by the cocktail servers, and mixed in on pillows throughout the lounge seating.

There are so many other ways and details that can be personalized, so share with us any that you have done or are planning to do!

2.26.19   |   TARA GUÉRARD
Entertaining, Event Design, Event Planning, Food and Drink, Gifts, Parties, Reception, Stationery, Invitations and Pretty Papers, The Lettered Olive, Uncategorized, Weddings | Comments >>