I want to become a society lady Rockin' a new rock?!

Brianna and Chris’ Chicago wedding planned by Estera Events is a lovely blend of historic elegance and modern sensibilities. Playing with a mix of historic Chicago architecture and new modern and sleek design, a ceremony at the Grainger Ballroom at the CSO set the tone for a Grand urban affair, while the celebration following at Modern Wing at the Art Institute was totally contemporary.  Beautiful rich hues and stunning florals by HMR Designs shine against the urban setting and photographer Kina Wicks was on hand to capture it all.

Elise & James – Highlight from Amari Productions on Vimeo.

Planning: Estera Events // Photographer: Kina Wicks // Floral & Design: HMR Designs // Paper: Sarah Drake Design // Ceremony Location: Grainger Ballroom at the CSO // Reception Location: Modern Wing at the Art Institute // Bridal Gown: Amsale // Cake: Elysia Root Cakes // Hair & Makeup: Nika Vaughan Bridal Artists // Catering: Bon Apetit Catering via the Art Institute // Band: Becca Kaufman Orchestra // Linens: BBJ Linen

 

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Vanessa and Fabien live in Paris but adore the landscape and lifestyle of California. Sharing a dream of splitting their time between the West Coast and France, the couple chose the Ventana Inn & Spa for their intimate 45-person wedding. Rustic details spearheaded by Posh+Folk charmed guests and a show-stopping floral altar by Christine Cater framed panoramic views of the ocean and hills of Big Sur. The couple enlisted Arnau Dubois  to capture all the details in these lovely photographs of  Vanessa and Fabien’s beautiful day.

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What made the wedding special and unique?

From the bride: The greatest triumph of the day and evening was that we felt like we had opened a window to our love and our relationship that everyone was able to step into. It felt like a celebration of our love, but also of love in general. We were also happy to see that everyone had fun — I have never seen a crowd enjoy music and dancing as much as we did that night. Everyone went into a beach-y wedding trance and we were carried away by the magic of a warm summer night in Big Sur.

What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?

From Posh+Folk: Champagne and cocktails were passed on the Terrace, followed by an elegant dinner. Tables were adorned with copper vessels, vibrant coral flowers, and illustrations of the couple’s favorite spots in Paris that were hand-drawn by one of the bride’s younger sisters. Hundreds of fairy lights among dripping greenery and white flower stems hung above the head table, adding a further sense of romance to the stunning views.

What was the most memorable part of the day?

From Posh+Folk: One of our favorite moments from the wedding was when an impromptu receiving line was formed following the ceremony. The heartfelt words exchanged between the pair during the ceremony left virtually every guest in tears as they congratulated the couple.

Photography: Arnau Dubois // Event Planner: Posh+Folk // Floral Designer: Christine Cater // Invitations: Bella Figura // Venue: Ventana Inn & Spa // Cake: Parker Lusseau // Officiant: Soaring Starkey // Hair & Makeup: Melissa Hoffmann // Dress: Claire Pettibone // Suit: Chris Kerr // Rentals: Chic Event Rentals // DJ: DNA Entertainment

 

Elise and James’ festive and colorful Frida Kahlo-inspired wedding at The O’Donnell House embodied everything the couple loves and everything that brought them together—art, music, poetry, the desert, laughter, our family and friends. With the help of planner The Events Department, the couple created their big day through a “Frida filter” focusing on whimsical flower arrangements and installations by Magnolia Flower Shoppe, embracing pops of vibrant color in the bridal party and venue, and “planning their wedding as if it were the greatest art project of their lives.” We are LOVING the pure joy of the couple (and of course all the bold details) as captured beautifully by Grey Collective member Kathleen Geiberger Art.

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What made the wedding special and unique?

Our festive and colorful Frida Kahlo-inspired wedding embodied everything James and I love and everything that brought us together: art, music, poetry, the desert, laughter, our family and friends. James and I elected Frida as our theme when we decided that we wanted our wedding to be the opposite of reserved and demure; we yearned for a celebration rife with creativity, passion and a life-as-art perspective—everything we believe Frida Kahlo personifies. Creating our wedding through our Frida filter allowed us to throw caution (and, at times, tradition) to the wind and focus on the details that were truly important to us like having whimsical flower arrangements throughout our venue, embracing pops of vibrant color, and planning our wedding as if it were the greatest art project of our lives.

Another aspect of our wedding that made it so unique is our venue, The O’Donnell House—a historic Spanish-style estate perched on the cliff-side of Palm Spring’s San Jacinto Mountain with a view of the entire Coachella Valley. It provided the perfect canvas for our Frida Kahlo-inspired wedding with its bright, fuchsia bougainvillea flowers blooming all around and iconic desert cacti dotting the landscape. At night, after the sun set, the valley lights twinkled below making our festive affair all the more intimate.

Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!

My gown is by Catherine Deane for BHLDN. Before I’d ever even imagined being engaged I dreamed of one day wearing a BHLDN dress. It was a three piece gown: a skirt, a sweetheart corset top and a cap sleeve, lace topper. It went so perfectly with our theme and our venue. Crazily enough, I found my dress three weeks before the wedding. Luckily the wonderful staff at BHLDN had the dress rush shipped and my seamstress worked hard to have it all finished in time. I picked up my finished dress three days before the wedding. Nothing like a little excitement to start off the special weekend!

What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?

Our officiant, Sven, is James’ and my mutual best friend since freshman year of high school. Never once in high school did we imagine that James and I would end up married one day. Sven crafted the most sentimental ceremony by keeping the focus solely on James, me and the story of how our relationship came to be. He told funny and sweet stories of us and secretly interviewed our parents so he could share their perspectives on our relationship. This allowed our audience to learn more about us and, ultimately from the feedback we received, feel more connected to us.

My cousin Mackenzie has the most incredible voice and she sang and played the piano for our ceremony. Then at the reception, she invited all of our guests onto the dance floor to dance to her rendition of Edith Piaf’s “La Vie En Rose”. Afterwards our DJ segued into a fun song that kept everyone dancing.

We named all of our tables after our favorite musicians, poets and painters. We had a Frida Kahlo table, of course, along with a Rumi table, an Edith Piaf table, a Georgia O’Keeffe table, etc. We had paintings of quotes around the reception area like Frida Kahlo’s famous “Take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic” and Pablo Neruda’s “I long to do to you what spring does to the cherry trees”. Our hashtag was “When two brows become one”, paying homage to Frida’s iconic unibrow.

For dinner we had a taco bar with all the fixings and a margarita station with a pineapple jalapeno margarita, pomegranate margarita and a traditional. For dessert we served churros, Spanish style crema cantalana (crème brulee) and a simple but delicious (and amazingly affordable!) two-tiered cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes. Our guests demolished the food and that’s exactly what we wanted to happen!

 

What was the most memorable part of the day?

I can’t pick just one, sorry!! Having my mom help me button my dress, fasten my jewelry, kiss my check and send me on my way down the aisle. Then walking arm in arm with my dad to my cousin Mackenzie playing the piano and singing her rendition of George Ezra’s “Blame It On Me”, while seeing all of my most favorite people in the audience and up front under the most beautiful floral altar. Our ceremony space was narrower than most, meaning our bridal party had to squeeze close together which made it so intimate—not only did I see my groom gazing back at me, I saw all of my very best friends gazing back at me, too.

Then, standing at the altar alongside James, listening to his incredibly heartfelt vows; saying “YES!” instead of “I Do” when asked if I take James as my husband (a meaningful accident and one that worked better with my vows, anyway); and, accidentally kissing James when I first got up to the altar—oops!! Sacrilege!

Having a matron of honor, Katie, a maid of honor, Torrie, and the most amazing tribe of bridesmaids: Krista, Mackenzie, Kristin, Amanda, and Britney stand by my side throughout the day and throughout the entire year of wedding planning. Also, being so in love with all of James’ groomsmen! Some are my best friends, some are part of my family. I love them all so much and it truly means the world to me they were part of our day.

Photographer:  Kathleen Geiberger Art // Event Planner: The Events Department // Floral Designer: Magnolia Flower Shoppe // Invitation Designer: PaperPlum // Reception Venue: The O’Donnell House at The Willows // Dress Designer: Catherine Deane // Shoes: Badgley Mischka // Apparel: Kenneth Cole // Jewelry: Lauren Wolf of Esqueleto // Bakery: Nothing Bundt Cakes // Apparel: Show Me Your Mumu // Caterer: Westwood Catering // Equipment Rentals: Signature Party Rentals

 

Bonnie Sen Photography  and Bright Occasions were inspired by the artistic and whimsical nature of music to create this wedding inspiration shoot that flowed smoothly with elements of lush foliage and perfect blooms by Petals by the Shore and gorgeous paper by The Dandelion Patch. Set at the National Cathedral School, the overall mood, story and color palette is soft and romantic, with added surprises of modern elements. We’re loving the highlights including piano escort card display, painted marble backdrop, and the vintage gold bar cart used two ways. Get inspired when you check out all the gorgeous images by Bonnie Sen Photography.

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From the creative team: Our beautiful bride is wearing a soft blue-gray bridal gown and lace coverlet by pas de deux bridal, with understated and natural hair and makeup. The lace coverlet is a perfect addition for winter months and also gives the look of separates, which is a trend we are seeing a lot more of in bridal fashion. We chose pas de deux, which literally means a dance for two, perfect for our music-inspired shoot. Their romantic and versatile line of gowns and separates are both fresh and timeless.

We emphasized the organic movement of greenery throughout the ceremony and reception details. Our bride and groom are surrounded by beautiful foliage in a way that feels as though it is growing up and around them. The 25 foot long gray marble hand painted backdrop and aisle anchors the space, giving it added depth and richness. The painted backdrop is also a perfect compliment to the blush and gray watercolor invitation and stationery set with modern gold lettering.

The gold vintage bar cart was a perfect addition for the shoot and became a great way to display our wedding cake and dessert table, as well as for our grapefruit and thyme cocktail and bar set-up. Finally, our long dinner table brought the whole look together. The lush flowers and candlelight on the table with a backdrop of rich greenery to bring the outdoors in and offer a sweet surprise to the reception. The soft gray linen, white dinner plates, gold flatware and mix and match glassware fit with the simple and elegant aesthetic of the shoot. And the clear lucite chairs give the table a contemporary look, while fitting in with the timeless design.

Photography: Bonnie Sen Photography // Wedding Planner: Bright Occasions // Florist: Petals by the Shore, Kelly Shore // Invitation Suite: The Dandelion Patch // Venue: National Cathedral School // Dress Designer: pas de deux bridal // Suit: Alton Lane // Wedding Cake: Catherine George Cakes // Wedding Gift: Marigold & Grey // Hair Stylist/Make-up Artist: Amie Decker Beauty // Artist: By Brittany Branson // Drape: Drape Kings // Rings: Susie Saltzman // Rentals: Select Event Group // Vintage Furniture: Something Vintage// Models: (Bride) Anastasiia Putkova / (Groom) Sepehr Hajireza

 

Liana and Adam decided to forgo a fussy black tie wedding, and chose an outdoor Sonoma venue with breathtaking views. The couple enlisted Grey Collective member Bustle Events to fill Kunde Family Winery with gorgeous bright and fun flowers in pinks, oranges and yellows by Nancy Liu Chin and cheerful details like pink watercolor paper goods by Tina Yang and a lounge area with relaxed vintage vibes. Photographer Meg Messina was on had to capture all the beautiful moments and we’re thrilled to be sharing them with you today!

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What made your wedding feel special and unique?

We wanted our wedding to be a great representation of us, so we ditched some of the typical wedding rules. Also, I’m used to fussy black tie weddings, and I didn’t want any of that. So we chose an outdoor venue with breathtaking views, gorgeous bright and fun flowers in pinks, oranges and yellows from the amazing Nancy Liu Chin, and California seasonal simple food served family style from one of the best restaurants in all of wine country – Glen Ellen Star. Another example of how we made our wedding our own was that we didn’t have a typical bridal party. We are both very close with our siblings, and wanted them in our wedding party. But in thinking about it, I realized I wanted my brothers standing up next to me, and my husband wanted his sister standing up next to him on his wedding day. So we decided that my brothers would be my “bridesmen” and my husband’s sister would be his “groomswoman.” Also, because our families are big, we have so many kids in the family that are special to us, and I know how fun it can be for a little girl to be a flower girl. So we ended up having five flower girls and three attendants, made up of our niece and nephews, my cousin’s three kids, and my husband’s cousin’s two kids. I loved having so many of our family members be a part of our special day.

Also, it might sound cliché but our wedding spot just felt magical. My husband is from Chicago and I’m from Montreal, so we chose Kunde in Sonoma as a way to share one of our favorite spots with everyone. Getting married up on a hill in the middle of a vineyard on a gorgeous summer day, and having a beautiful sunset and full moon that night, just made the night feel special. And being able to share such a special spot with all of our family and friends, and see them marvel at the magic of that spot, was so special.

Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!

I really had no idea what kind of gown I wanted when I started shopping. All I knew was that I didn’t want my dress to look like a standard wedding gown. I lost my mom in 2009, and not being able to share the experience of buying a wedding dress with her was tough. So I made sure to bring along some really special people with me, including my two cousins, my husband’s sister and one of my best friends. We only planned to go to two stores, and after the first one we had found some good options but didn’t have that wow moment. As we walked into our second store, Marina Morrison in San Francisco, my cousin spotted a Carolina Herrera dress that was displayed at the entrance. I tried that dress on, along with some other suggestions from my party. When I tried that dress on, I realized it could be my dress. Everyone in my party seemed blown away by the dress, and it made me feel amazing. But I wasn’t convinced. So I tried on another dress that I had thought was another contender, and as soon as I put on that other dress, I started to cry because I realized it was wrong and the Carolina Herrera dress was mine. So did everyone else. It was hard to explain why I knew that the original dress was mine, but I just knew. I totally had the bridal moment in the wrong dress!

I am still so in love with my dress. What makes it so special is the entire dress is covered in hand painted silk. It is all hand painted with a honeycomb pattern and flowers, that is sort of like an illusion because it looks like lace from afar. It is just so special and unique. And I love how the dress’ shape was fitted and not fussy, but still gave me a bit of pouf in the skirt and a gorgeous long train.

What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?

One way I made my day extra personal was to incorporate meaningful items into what I wore that day. I wanted to have my mom with me that day, so I had her garter from her wedding sewn into the tulle in my dress and wore all of her jewelry. I had a locket with her picture and signature on it attached to my bouquet. Another special touch was that my mother’s best friend took me shopping for my wedding shoes and bought me my super fun bright blue Charlotte Olympia heels. She ended up not being able to attend the wedding due to her health (and has since passed away), so having those shoes to wear was extra meaningful. I also had some pictures of my mom displayed during cocktail hour, so I could have her there.

My husband loves old maps, so we worked with Cara from Underwood Letterpress to have her hand-design a map of all of our wedding weekend locations. It is so personal and she did such an amazing job! She even incorporated my love of hot pink into the invitations in a modern and non-girly way.

And since we love to cook, and my husband is a trained chef, we wanted the food to reflect us as a couple and for the dinner to just feel like a big dinner party. So we ended up choosing to serve the meal family style, with food from a local restaurant (through their catering branch) that is known for delicious simple seasonal California cuisine – it was so delicious! And since they are also known for their homemade ice creams, we decided to forego the traditional wedding cake and instead served ice cream and cobbler for dessert.

What was the most memorable part of the day?

Our first dance was probably my favorite part of the wedding. My husband and I do not share a similar taste in music, so agreeing on a song took some serious work! After he shot down my country music suggestions, he seemed receptive to my suggestion of Jason Mraz’s I Won’t Give Up, but wanted to explore other options. We spent hours listening to songs, making lists, cutting down the lists, and then making new lists. And then 3 days before the wedding we realized that that Jason Mraz song had been the perfect song all along since it perfectly described how much we are each other’s rocks. Once our first dance started, I remember only focusing on my husband, and being absolutely caught up in that moment – it really felt like we were the only ones there. We both spent most of the dance singing to each other, crying and swaying, rather than really dancing, but it felt so intimate and romantic.

I also remember my husband pulling me away from the dance floor at one point later in the evening to share a moment. We stood there, staring at this amazing full moon, with all of our loved ones in the background and just soaked in the moment. I cannot remember a time where I have ever felt more at peace and more blissfully happy.

Tell us how you met and became engaged.

My uncle and my husband’s sister actually set us up! My cousin (my uncle’s daughter) and my husband’s sister are actually really good friends from college. One night my sister-in-law was having some of her girlfriends over for a bridge night (including my cousin) and invited my uncle to help teach them bridge. My husband happened to be there, and offered to cook for everyone since he loves to cook. My uncle saw this cute guy who could cook and immediately started grilling him about his dating life. After learning my husband was single, my uncle asked my husband if he had any interest in meeting his niece in law school, and gave my husband my email. We both figured drinks couldn’t hurt, so we decided to meet for drinks one night in Palo Alto. We met totally blind, and ended up spending the whole night talking over just one glass of wine…and the rest is history!

My husband ended up proposing to me on a hike in the Presidio in San Francisco, one of our favorite spots in the city. I guess he had scouted out some good spots, and found a spot overlooking the beach with amazing views of the golden gate bridge (my favorite San Francisco icon). One Saturday morning he suggested we take our dog for a hike in the Presidio, so I put on my sweatpants and a baseball cap and we headed out. As soon as we got to the spot, I was standing to admire the views and he got down on one knee to propose. I don’t remember much except that as soon as he kneeled to propose I crouched down to be on his same level, and just kept repeating “are you serious?” We went back to that spot for our engagement photos, which was pretty special.

Liana Rabinovitch + Adam Johnson Overview Film from Well Spun Weddings on Vimeo.

Photography: Meg Messina // Planning and Design: Bustle Events // Florals: Nancy Liu Chin // Invitations/Menu: Underwood Letterpress  // Venue: Kunde Family Winery // Calligraphy: Tina Yang // Bride’s Dress: Caroline Herrera // Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Show Me Your Mumu // Rentals: Bright Event Rentals // Hair and Makeup: The Glamourist // Catering: Stellar Catering // Videography: Well Spun Weddings // DJ: Boutique DJs