August 2018

Aug 21, 2018


photo by Corbin Gurkin

We’ve recently been getting several questions and comments on our bars that we build and style, so I thought sharing a post with tips and suggestions would be a great post for Tip Tuesday. The first tip I can start with would be to keep the top of the bar clear and clutter free… Meaning, no plastic straws, cut fruit/garnishes, and the bottles of every brand and type of liquor you are serving. The tables supporting the tops of the bars are the perfect place to stash all of these necessities.


photo by Liz Banfield

One of our client’s favorite design elements are our fabric covered bars. It’s a great way to take a be space that is less than pretty and make it pop with pretty. It also provides a great area to bring in a design element used elsewhere in the event design. Spoonflower is a great resource for printing fabric (or wallpaper which you could also use). We have used a variety of different materials for toppers too- marble remnants, butcher block, copper sheeting, even inexpensive laminate.


photo by Corbin Gurkin

photo by Corbin Gurkin 

Another design idea that has given our bars major wow factor, is using natural elements en masse. Chopped wood gives a luxurious fall backdrop, and greenery simply stapled on the base covers the bar with affordable glamour.  We have even used a tree that was blown over in a recent hurricane to jazz up a rehearsal dinner bar space!


photo by Corbin Gurkin

For an outdoor bar, using two interior lamps changes the feel of the bar instantly.  Anchoring the top with lamps (hello, TJMaxx) offers the perfect lighting solution with a glamorous glow all night.


 photo by Liz Banfield

If you don’t have the manpower to construct the bars on your own, but have access to a good party rental company, they can be a great resource. These two half moon bars from  Snyder Event Rentals put together give a space big enough to serve hundreds. They are formal, sophisticated and EASY. I’ve even seen patterned paper or fabric put  in the squares for added design.

photo by Corbin Gurkin

I’m a big fan of bookshelves housing the rental glassware, votives, and signage decluttering the serving area, and offering guests a nice visual.


photo by Corbin Gurkin

For easy bar styling at home, arrange a buffet, console table, or dining table in an area away from the food to avoid crowding. Trays gathered from around your home (or home decor store) can be used to display pretty bottles, cocktail napkins, and bowls of cut fruit or garnish. We used washable dry erase markers to display handwritten beverage options and signature drinks on a framed mirror- EASY, inexpensive and clever!

photo by Gayle Brooker

Decant your wine collection, and display them with handwritten tags for a self serve wine bar.  I love this especially for your holiday get togethers.


photo by Corbin Gurkin

A simple linen and embroidered fabric swatch (which is so easy to have made) along with a table lamp give a home made bar a custom and tailored look.

8.21.18   |   TARA GUÉRARD
Entertaining, Event Design, Event Planning, Food and Drink, Parties, Photographers, Uncategorized, Weddings | Comments >>
Aug 21, 2018

photo by Corbin Gurkin 

We have shared several of our favorite outdoor ceremony set ups with you, but realized how pretty that many of the churches we have been lucky enough to work with are so lovely too.  Yes, we don’t always have as much freedom to add design elements as we would outside, but sometimes the buildings themselves have pretty elements that can be recreated. Just like the wood elements in this chapel on Sea Island, GA. The antique hardwood floors and ceiling beams added just enough rustic to this formal affair.

photos by Corbin Gurkin

 I have a certain affinity for this church, since it’s the church in Charleston that my family attends, St. Philip’s. This is a centuries old church has grand details like marble floors, a stained glass picture window, and wooden balcony box seating. The wrought iron gates outside are just asking for gorgeous greenery and blooms.

photo by Corbin Gurkin 

One of my other very favorites in Charleston is the French Huguenot Church. It’s an intimate space, so guests will get to really be a part of the ceremony, and the architecture is stunning. They do allow weddings of visitors and non members, making it ulitmately appealing for many of our destination clients.

photo by Liz Banfield

The inside of this Catholic church makes you think you could be in Florence, Italy- spectacular!

photo by Liz Banfield

This church in San Antonio, Texas featured a grand gothic stone front, making it lovely for portraits of the bride and groom.

photos by Perry Vaile

The chapel at Palmetto Bluff is everything..Truly special and serene.  We love to add gracious touches to the front entrance, and of course soften the inside.

photo by Liz Banfield

This church in the Hamptons, had that true New England feel with the shingled exterior and woody gardens. The interior boasted super details like a domed penny tiled ceiling windows, gorgeous stained glass, and vintage lighting.


8.21.18   |   TARA GUÉRARD
Charleston, Event Design, Event Planning, Interior Design, Travel, Uncategorized, Weddings | Comments >>

Bride and groom color

Today for Wedding Wednesday, we head to Sea Island, Georgia for this natural beauty. This was one of my favorite weddings to design, I love the location, and this bride had fantastic personal taste and style (see her custom made Austin Scarlett gown). Liz Banfield took all of the pretty photos. Since there are so many pretty images, we’re going to make this into a 2 part post. But, you can see more in the meantime over at Martha Stewart Weddings.

Stationary Collage

For the couple’s save the date, Lettered Olive designed a custom monogram incorporating some of Sea Island’s local flora and fauna.  That theme plays throughout much of the rest of the paper and wedding designs.  Ceremony programs were passed out to guests on trays lined with printed paper used in the programs and matched the invitation liners. Notice the Elvis Presley stamps on the reply cards- a nod to the bride’s hometown of Memphis, TN.

guest bag

Guest bags were a canvas zipper pouch full of a mix of goodies and items from the groom’s native, Australia, and the U.S.- including a homemade chocolate chip cookies made by one of the bridesmaids’ mother.

flower Collage

Orchids are a favorite of the bride’s and her mother also had them at her wedding, so it was nice to continue that tradition.  Special family members like grandmothers wore wrist flowers versus having to carry something.

Church exterior

Church Collage

bride and groom church window

The ceremony took place at a chapel at Frederica, and with the architectural elements of the church, Liz was able to get some spectacular images.

door and draping

Guests made their way to the Ocean Forest Golf Club for cocktails, dinner, and dancing.

Cocktail Collage

Edwards fountain

Sea Island is known for the Spanish influence in its architecture… The Club opens up onto a courtyard with a grand fountain, since our cocktail hour was to take place there, we incorporated the fountain by making cushions for guests to sit on and enjoy.

Cocktail hour Collage

The elegant cocktail hour included little enclaves for guests to grab a drink and sit and enjoy conversation.

bride and groom walkingBride and groom portrait

The couple takes advantage of the sunlight and scenery to get portraits and some moments alone to take in the day.

Place card Collage

Since the venue itself is full of pretty scenery and architecture, we really wanted to incorporate some of it into the design elements. During cocktail hour, guests picked up their escort cards at a table anchored by a  simple but lush floral arrangement. Escort cards are held in place by pieces Georgia granite.
Dinner tent overall


The dinner tent was swathed in blue fabric, reminiscent of the traditional porch ceilings in the South.  To bring the natural feel of the overall wedding design to the tent, trees were “planted” throughout and created a wall between dinner and the dancing portion of the tent.

Dinner Collage

Guests dined under strands of orchids accented by candlelight. Taking a note from the centerpieces, fern fronds decorated each place setting… Modern brass flatware keeps the table elegant but not fussy.


Cake Collage

wedding cake

The wedding cake by Jim Smeal included intricate patterns similar to the windows at the Chapel where the couple were married. The hand made icing flowers add that feminine frill just perfect for a wedding cake.

Bride and groom first dance

The couple takes the floor for their first dance as husband and wife.

Cocktail bar

Ok, now this is one of my most favorite things we’ve ever done!  We created a half moon cocktail bar with copper tops. Then, we had Spoonflower print fabric with the brides’ favorite painting from the St. Regis bar in New York.  I mean…

Nighttime Collage

Landscape lighting sets a moody tone for guests dining and dancing into the wee hours. To announce the bride and groom’s departure, a Dixie jazz band paraded everyone out to the front of the venue for the send off.

B&W couple

After a quick change in to a departure dress by Anaesia, guests tossed rose petals at the bride and groom…

Car Collage

A vintage convertible decorated with lush greenery made for a one of kind getaway..


8.21.18   |   TARA GUÉRARD
Bridal Style, Event Design, Event Planning, Fashion, Flowers, Food and Drink, Photographers, Reception, The Lettered Olive, Uncategorized, Weddings | Comments >>