Thursday, February 23, 2012

Elise Bergman dresses

My sister, Elise, has always had an interest in fashion. After graduating from college, she decided to try and make a career out of it. She landed a pretty sweet job with a group, run by the city of Chicago, that helps local designers start and grow their business. She was able to meet some really amazing people and bulk up her already deep closet. Elise Bergman was one of her new friends. Elise asked Elise (who also has a sister named Natalie!) to design her bridesmaid dresses.
My sister wanted something unique and flattering, in shades of grey. At our fitting/dress selection, Elise made it so easy by handing us a card, covered in swatches, and asking us to pick one. We all tried on several dresses and found the most fun and flattering. Elise measured us up for a great fit. Here we are, all pretty and not-too-matchy. 

Elise was great to work with and I love my dress. She has so many fabrics and colors- solids and patterns. If you are having a hard time finding something great out there, consider custom.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Vintage Valentines

Happy Valentine's Day! I do really like today. It is the anniversary of my first date with my husband. It is a day when I always get lots of wonderful, homemade treats- even when I make them myself. I like having another excuse to spoil Eloise. It is also something fun to look forward to when Chicago's winter is at its worst.

There is a really sweet antique mall close to my in-law's lake home in Michigan. We go almost every time we are in town as we love to dig around for treasures. On our last trip, I picked up a few adorable vintage valentines.

I love the drawings and the corny messages. How cute is this little guy? 

I took my sweet time searching through boxes, trying to find the right message. It was much more fun than going to Hallmark (or even Paper Source). The one above is going to my sister and her husband, Bill. Pretty perfect, right? 

I hope you all have lots of chocolate today!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pemberley Events featured on Elizabeth Anne Designs!

We've actually been on Elizabeth Anne Designs twice in the past week (lucky us!), but I'll get back to the earlier post soon.

Our entry for the Indie Wed Inspired Creations Contest was featured yesterday and I am pretty darn excited. We haven't been able to share our official photos until now- I think to add a little drama for the contest. Here is a little peak. Head over to Elizabeth Anne Designs and let us know what you think. We'd love some comments.

If you are interested, here is our full write-up on what inspired us/what we used to create Come Fly with Me!

Our vignette was inspired by a photo of a fun-loving couple in a hot air balloon. From that idea, we branched out to a playful, organic feeling wedding vignette. Most of our display was vintage, with many items from either Viviana or Renee's shop. What wasn't vintage was handmade or inexpensively purchased.

We started with a natural looking canopy/chuppah to “frame” our display. The chuppah was with PVC piping; the posts wrapped in ripped and lightly burned pieces of muslin. A ceiling of branches created the perfect organic structure to hang a multitude of lanterns and candles. We also created two papier mache hot air balloons to hang from the chuppah, flowers springing from their baskets.

We chose a natural wood table and 6 mismatched chairs for our dinner party. We created a natural colored runner (to highlight the wood) with a variety of coordinating ribbons attached and muslin napkins to match. Pops of color came to the table in the glassware (translucent red and yellow hobnail), and patterned dishes. Saucers with a “come fly with me” cloud cup cake and a muslin favor bag added a little whimsy. We wrapped our flatware and napkin in a themed menu band.  Three floral arrangements in vintage earthenware were displayed along the length of the table. The florals were seasonal, lush and natural in feel.

We hung our balloon and a sky-themed backdrop along the back wall. The balloon and its basket were made from foam board, then papier mache'd a bit for texture and pai nted for color. Rachel set up a camera in front of the balloon so that we could host a photo booth. Guests really enjoyed taking their photo in a hot air balloon! They took advantage of a few props as well- chalkboard text bubbles, hats and fascinators. They received an email shortly after the event letting them know how they could download their photo.

We also set up a small blue table with a vintage typewriter, seating chart, cake, a small floral arrangement and a few vintage books. We created the seating chart with a typewriter font and fed it into the typewriter. Behind the table, we hung a burlap map ("Where in the world are you sitting?") and attached small hot air balloons to show guests to their "continent." The main table included a small "Africa" sign to tie the two together. Our sweet, mint green cake with sugar anemones added a final, lovely touch to our display.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Thought on Floral Samples

I LOVE Sarah at Saipua. Her flowers are always just perfect and her blog posts are fun to read. This is usually because she comes across as grounded, sweet and funny. Last week, she wrote something a bit inspirational. I kept thinking about it last night and today, so I thought I would share it with you.

Her post was on florists providing samples of wedding arrangements. These can be bouquets or centerpieces. They can include the works- linens, glassware, lit candles- or can just be a loose arrangement to show color and style. Sarah says that her samples can cost her up to $300, and afterward there isn't much she can do with them to make up for this cost. Commenters from other parts of the country (Saipua is in Brooklyn) confirmed that estimated cost. While she has no trouble offering "the works" to clients with a budget of $10k or more, she must charge if the budget is less. I thought this post, and the comments, gave some great background. Although you are hiring your vendors to help you, they can't do everything to please you. It isn't economical for them.

When I tag along with my clients to floral appointments, this conversation almost always comes up. Often the florist offers before we have a chance to ask. Sometimes the offers are free, sometimes it is just a heads up so that we know the cost. I never ask for samples before booking because 1) it is rarely the same season as the wedding, and so the flower options will be totally different and 2) florists almost always provide a wealth of photos (digital or printed) of their work, and the client and I can get a good sense of her or his style. It is usually too early for even the client to know exactly what she or he wants.

I am always surprised when they are offered in advance of booking or shortly after. I know it is a big expense, both in money and time. After booking and close to the wedding, a sample with linens and glassware is so helpful so that we can see everything together and add or remove small touches. This isn't always in budget, however. It pays to do your research and hire good help if a sample isn't an option for you. Of all the things I love about my job, pulling it all together has to be the best- even if it is just photos on an inspiration board.

I think this demand for samples comes from bad advice. After being a bit of an addict as a bride, I am now totally out of the loop on message boards. I do, however, remember floral samples were brought up time and again. "Just ask for a sample!" This could apply to make-up artists, cake bakers, custom dress designers...  Trust the relationship you have developed with your vendor rather than the advice you get from message boards. Being considerate will do more for you than being demanding. As Sarah said-
Trust is pretty important to me. If you trust me, and I love you than I'm going to go above and beyond for you... There is NOTHING more exhilarating in my work than making incredible flowers for clients who love what we do. Nothing. And no budgets, whether big or small will ever stop us from finding those people we can make happy with flowers.

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