Category Archives: Wedding Colors

Q & A’s with Borrowed & Blue

Events of Distinction recently teamed up with Borrowed and Blue, a locally-focused online wedding resource, to give couples everything they need to know about our event planning services.

Here’s our Q&A with Borrowed & Blue:

1.      If you could possibly narrow it down, what would be your favorite moment of a wedding day?

My favorite moment of the wedding is when all the talented wedding professionals arrive at the venue to begin the installation and setup of the wedding. The wedding couple secures the services of these professionals, and like a perfectly oiled machine, we magically transform an empty canvas into a wedding work of art.  We take the vision and dreams of our wedding couples, and together, the perfect team executes a wedding beyond the imagination of our clients.  It’s so rewarding to be of service to our wedding couples on one of the most important days of their lives.


2.      Describe your event aesthetic in three words.

Euphoric, Experiential, Epic.


3.      The first thing you ask when you sit down with a couple?

I always ask these questions:

  • What would you like your guests to say about your wedding?
  • What does that experience feel like?
  • What don’t you want to see or experience at your wedding?


4.      Top three pieces of advice for couples who just got engaged?

My advice is to first just revel in your engagement…quietly. Don’t tell everyone until you have had time to take it all in and discuss the details between the two people who matter the most, yourselves.  It’s time for you to simply savor the moment and celebrate your engagement quietly together.

Second, there is nothing more important in your initial steps of wedding planning than getting a grip on your guest list.  The number of guests you decide to invite will greatly affect the cost of your wedding, as well as many decisions that you will need to make.  For instance, you wouldn’t want to select a site for your reception without first knowing how many people you expect to have there on your big day. Create a guest list with the correct spelling of first and last names and correct addresses.

Since I am a wedding designer and planner, I willing acknowledge that I may not be totally unbiased about the subject of securing the services of a wedding planner.  With a myriad of wedding details that can be all time-consuming to plan, most busy engaged couples are enlisting the services of a wedding planner.  While you can certainly plan a wedding yourself, it will not have the same outcome if planned professionally. And the more complex the details of your wedding are, the greater the level of skill is required for your professional wedding planner.  Therefore, my third piece of advice for couples is to weigh the pros and cons, especially if you want a fabulous you-don’t-have-to-worry-about-a-thing day!


5.      Most important detail of wedding decor?

You want your wedding to reflect your personal style and elicit an emotional response from guests as the day unfolds.  My advice is to start and finish with a flourish and utilize the five senses.  Incorporate your style / design concept into the first communication about your wedding, such as your Save the Date card or invitation.  When choosing a style/design concept, make sure it can be communicated through not only the invitation, but your decor, music, food, beverage, tabletops and vignettes. Continue to thread elements of your style/design concept throughout the wedding, from the start of the ceremony to your last dance or final getaway.


Tamara & Damon’s Save the Date and Grand Get-away


6.      Your thoughts on DIY weddings?

I’ll repeat it again, and quote myself this time from my book Countdown to Your Perfect Wedding: “While you can certainly plan a wedding yourself arguably, it will not have the same outcome if planned professionally.”  Ever try doing your own highlights on your hair, give yourself a manicure or cook a gourmet dinner for 100?  It’s worth the time and money to pay a professional to do these things, not to mention relieving yourself from the aggravation and stress.


7.      What would your ideal tablescape look like?

Rather than focusing on one individual tablescape, I prefer to design with the entire dining area in mind.  When guests first transition into the dining area, I don’t want them to see a sea of sameness.  Instead, I try to create a sense of excitement and interest through a variety of tabletop designs that complement each other.

A good example is Marissa and Matt’s wedding, where we had a combination of nine 54” square tables from Classic Party Rentals with “Williamsburg Celery” linens from La Tavola, four kings banquet tables with Rico Jungle Green linens, and two long farm tables.  Each type of table had its own sensational tablescape.

For the 54” squares, arrangements of plum, raspberry and fig flowers were placed into large clear square glass vases with added green accents.  On the banquet tables, low rectangular ceramic containers each had their own monochromatic arrangements. And for the two dramatic rows of farm tables, vessels of various shapes and sizes created a chic and modern look. Eclectic place settings featured a Green Swirl charger on the natural wood farm tables and a white square charger on the squares and kings banquet.  Each charger was layered with the Sophia dinner plate and a Camelot Kiwi folded napkin, which showcased the custom menu.

Photos: Arrowood Photography


8.      Your favorite of all the San Francisco wedding venues?

As a native San Franciscan, I love the iconic views of the Golden Gate Bridge from the James Leary Flood Mansion in Pacific Heights.  Known as the Convent of the Sacred Heart by day, this private all-girls’ school turns into a fabulous wedding venue for special events on weekends and evenings.

The Flood Mansion is a symphony of classical styles—Italian Renaissance, Rococo, Tudor and Georgian—featuring a “Grand Hall” with marble floors and great views of the Bay.  There is also a lovely enclosed courtyard off of the Grand Hall available for outdoor  ceremonies and receptions. The Flood Mansion is definitely a venue to show off the City by the Bay!


Photo:  Grace Image


9.      What about Lake Tahoe wedding venues?

Just south of Tahoe’s most spectacular beach, Sand Harbor, the Thunderbird Lodge is the premier place to get married in the Lake Tahoe area.  An historic stone house and lush grounds by the shoreline, together with the azure Lake and surrounding mountains, provide an unparalleled backdrop for a sensational celebration.


10.  The most important part of wedding planning?

The most important part of wedding planning is learning the ability to be able to make a decision together.  The wedding planning process is the beginning of your many decisions you will make together as a married couple. Where will we go on a honeymoon? Where will we buy our first house? Who will do the cooking, cleaning and take out the garbage? Will we have children? How you make decisions and communicate with each other will affect every day of your married lives. Your wedding is a day, but your marriage is a lifetime.

Rustic & Vintage Weddings: Fad or Fixture?

I was honored to be contacted by Special Events Magazine to offer my perspectives on the current popularity of rustic and vintage weddings.  I am most grateful that some of my comments were even included in an article published in their weekly “Eventline” e-newsletter.

But since this is such an important topic into today’s wedding world, I thought it would be helpful to share the complete set of comments I made on this subject.  So below, I have listed the questions posed to me by Special Events, and my responses immediately following.

1)      Is the rustic/vintage wedding theme still a hot trend, or is it starting to fade?

First of all, there is a difference between “rustic” and “vintage.”  Rustic is weathered, time-worn pieces (furniture) and accents (accessories) in a more casual setting.  Examples include an old barn or a vignette of weathered country furniture.

“Vintage” applies to more refined furnishings, from the early 1900’s to the 1950’s, typically more “refined” than rustic.  Examples are painted French chairs, glided sconces, toile or lace fabrics, mercury glass containers, pieces of silver and crystal chandeliers.  “Antique” furniture is 100 years or older.

I don’t think rustic or vintage is a fad, but a style that will stay with us.  However, it’s also important to note that neither rustic nor vintage should be considered a “theme.”  Rustic and vintage are styles (and 2 of many style options) for a wedding couple to potentially select.  Typical styles include:  traditional, formal, casual, contemporary, modern, rustic, vintage and whimsical.

2)      If it’s still hot, what are some of the “must haves” for the rustic/vintage wedding? (That is, in linen, floral, tabletop, chairs, venue, etc.)

The plethora of bridal blogs show the typical items used at rustic or vintage weddings.  But unfortunately, I believe these blogs are all swimming in a sea of sameness.  If the rustic or vintage style truly resonates with the couple, I would encourage them to develop a unique “theme” which fits within that style, but also incorporates their unique tastes and personalities.

For example, Tamara and Damon’s wedding had a distinctively vintage style, but we developed a “Signs of Love” theme to make their wedding uniquely their own.  Here’s a synopsis of their story:

As their relationship blossomed, Tamara and Damon created many romantic rituals that reflected their playful personalities.  They loved to take drives in Tamara’s Mini Cooper convertible with the top down.  Every time they stopped at a red light, they would kiss.  Whenever they spotted a Volkswagen Beetle on the road, they would play a game of “Slug Bug,” giving each other a love tap on the arm.  And if they ever found a photo booth during their travels, they would always stop for a strip of pictures.

At home, Tamara and Damon kept mistletoe hanging in the hallway all year round, so they could kiss whenever they passed underneath.  Once each week, they would take turns cooking “lovey dinners” – culinary creations that they had never tried before.  And before quaffing a cocktail, they would dream up a poetic toast that rhymed.

After this darling couple selected Events of Distinction to design and plan their wedding, we first set out to develop an appropriate color palette for the celebration.  When we asked Tamara what her favorite color was, she replied, “poppy red… and cobalt blue, aqua, peach, taupe and gold.”  OK, no problem.  Working with a graphic illustrator, we were able to develop a logo for their wedding that included all of these colors, while vividly depicting the couple’s “signs of love.”  We used this logo on several printed pieces, including the Save the Date from Union Street Papery, beautifully photographed by Caroline Ghetes:


 On the wedding day, for a pre-ceremony beverage, guests were greeted beside a vintage truck at Beltane Ranch and a display of vintage linens and boxes in the color palette of the wedding.


During the ceremony, the chuppah included a vintage needlepoint heirloom that Tamara’s grandmother had made.


At cocktails we had a vintage display of silver champagne buckets used for the escort cards and a vintage stop light at the bar.


The dinner area had crystal vintage chandeliers from Twilight Design hanging over a tablescape of “Sevres Antique” china from Classic Party Rentals and floral centerpieces from Michael Daigian Design.



3)      Do certain color palettes dominate the rustic/vintage wedding? If yes, what are they?

Absolutely NOT!  All it takes is a little courage and confidence to create color schemes for any theme wedding (and style).   Start with your  favorite colors.   Change your mood (from ceremony to cocktails to dinner and dancing) with color.  For Tamara and Damon’s wedding, we used peach to poppy red for ceremony; cobalt blue and gold for cocktails and aqua and peaches for dinner.  After dinner we used gold, aqua and peach, as shown in these delightful desserts from Patisserie Angelica.


4)      Is there a certain profile of the “typical” rustic/vintage bride? (Maybe her age, where she’s from, other?)

For some city-dwelling couples, a farmstead wedding may serve as an escape from the urban concrete jungle.  After all, the grass is always greener on the other side (even when we’re in a drought).  Couples who have an appreciation for history may find the vintage style particularly appealing.


5)      Why do you think the rustic/vintage wedding is so appealing to brides? (Does it seem more “authentic” or more human in a high-tech age, other?)

The vintage-inspired wedding started to become popular as the economy was taking a downturn around 2008-9.  Couples in the luxury market did not want to appear “over-the-top” and started thinking more about “green” weddings.  Hence, vintage items from neighborhood garage sales and flea markets found a new life as nuptial décor.

I also think this style of wedding may be partly a generational issue.  Millennial couples who have embraced the rustic and vintage styles may be doing so just to assert their independence from their parents (and style of wedding their parents had).


6)      But if the rustic trend is starting to fall off, what trend is coming on strong? Old World elegant? Hip minimalist? Strong personal themes? Other?

I believe the word “trend” should never be used in the context of wedding & event design, because the key to developing a “trendy” design does not come from following the latest fads, but from capturing the couple’s unique personalities.  Following a “trend” only results in creating a copycat look.  That’s why I always focus on developing very personalized designs.


7)      What are the biggest drivers that influence your brides’ desires—Pinterest images? Bridal magazines? What their friends just did at their wedding? Your advice?  Other?

Brides do have an insatiable appetite for what’s new, but they are also inspired by great ideas from wedding design professionals.  It’s up to the designer to be the creative genius and convert the couple’s personal tastes into a workable design.  So the biggest drivers that influence our clients’ desires are my creative juices, along with their combined shared interests, ethnic heritage and personalities.

The Compass Points to Love

In celebration of Cortney & Scott’s wedding anniversary, we take this opportunity to reminisce about their Napa Valley nuptials with some festive photos from Sharpe Photographers.

If Cortney & Scott’s story were summarized into a newspaper headline, it would read:  Navy Doctor from Michigan Meets West Coast Intern in Our Nation’s Capital.  The Smithsonian sang, cherry blossoms bloomed, and the Republicans & Democrats cheered in unison as this darling duo found love exploring the attractions of Washington D.C.

To capture the essence of this delightful couple, Events of Distinction came up with a compass logo for their wedding design, as shown here on their invitation:

The compass was divided into four quadrants. North represented Michigan, the groom’s home state, using the automobile and Mackinac Bridge as symbols.  East represented D.C. where the couple met. South represented the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where the groom proposed. West represented the bride’s birthplace and their wine country wedding location, The Vintage Estate in Yountville.

Cortney & Scott’s compass-themed wedding celebrated much more than finding each other. It also symbolized the new direction they were embarking upon in their married life together.  Here are some of our favorite images of their special day:

Many thanks to the fabulous team of wedding service providers who came together to make Cortney & Scott’s celebration a day to remember, including Blueprint Studios, Branch Out, Classic Party Rentals, Got Light, La Tavola and Perfect Endings.

3 (More) Wedding Planning Tips for 2011

1. Embrace Color

Photo Credit: iboy_daniel

Everyone loves a splash of color and no better way to use color at wedding than by clearly dividing your space.  Approach designing a wedding as if you were designing rooms in a home.  From the ceremony to cocktails to dinner to the after-party, each space has its own personal identity, so no two rooms need to have the same colors, same linens and same flowers.

Instead, put together extraordinary and unexpected color combinations… be daring!  Here are some palettes to ponder:

  • Turquoise with Amparo Blue (a bright, energetic blue) and a shot of Orange
  • Coral paired with a Aurora Yellow and Dover Silver
  • Honeysuckle (Pantone’s Color of the Year) with fuchsia and purples
  • A pale, cool palette of Violet, Lavender and Deeper Hues of Purple, paired with vibrant Gold accessories
  • Turquoise with Copper and a splash of  Seafoam Mint and Spray Whites

Photo courtesy of Branch Out Floral Design and Napa Valley Linens

Reinvent the color wheel and glam it up!

2. Sensational Ceremonies

Not all couples marry in a house of worship, so there are ways to make the ceremony aisle unique and personal other than the traditional church pews for seating.  You can create seating in the “round” or “square” with the wedding couple and officiant in the center.

Photo:  Kevin Chin

There are so many options in various colors and sizes of chairs, cushions, chair caps and liners to chose from.  Create an aisle border with all lemons as we did for our Citrus theme wedding or use another fruit or vegetable.  For a beach theme wedding, use benches with cushions.  If you have a lush lawn, my most favorite is the spiral circle of ottomans…

Photo: Kevin Chin

Oh so zen!

3. Sweet Dreams

Cutting the wedding cake will always remain a nuptial tradition, but other imaginative ways abound for giving guests their just desserts.   Melons Catering creates a fabulous “All Things Chocolate Station” which includes every imaginable form of chocolate – ice cream, truffles, mousse parfait, hot chocolate shots, macaroons, paired with dark chocolate martinis – even the tabletop surface is made of chocolate!

Photo:  Grace Image

At a wedding we designed that was catered by Paula LeDuc Fine Catering, I felt like there was so much food throughout the wedding.  Instead of serving all hors d’oeuvres at cocktails and all the dessert at a dessert buffet, I suggested we butler-pass “Good Night Treats”, memorable parting edible eats to guests as they exited the wedding and waited for their valet cars.  Everyone loved the idea, so we severed miniature burgers on slider rolls with balsamic onions, ketchup and mustard (originally on the cocktail menu), and waffle ice cream cones filled with raspberry sorbet, rich chocolate gelato and vanilla bean ice cream.  Bottled waters to go were placed in each car by the valet parking attendants.

Overall, you can be sure that imaginative new ideas will continue to make wedding celebrations fascinating and joyful in 2011.

Wedding Color Trends for 2011

We interrupt our regular sequence of blog posts to talk about a topic that is of immediate importance to brides and grooms…

Last week, I was in Las Vegas speaking at Catersource, the premier industry conference for caterers, in a joint presentation with Leighsa Montrose of Branch Out Floral and Event Design.  The Catersource conference takes place in parallel and in partnership with another conference called Event Solutions.  Our Catersource presentation was scheduled at the same time as a keynote presentation for the Event Solutions conference, delivered by David Tutera.  I was a bit disappointed by this scheduling because I was hoping to attend David’s presentation.  But I really couldn’t tell the 800 people who jammed into our presentation to just sit and wait while I took off to see David for the next hour and a half.

So later that day, I tuned into Twitter to find out what I had missed.  Judging by the torrent of tweets it unleashed, the most memorable comment that David apparently made during his presentation was his prediction of the new “it” color for this year’s weddings:

While I may be taking things out of context by relying on Twitter, I must respectfully disagree with David’s apparent statement, for several reasons.

First of all, red is so 10 years ago!  Back around the turn of the century, red was a happening hue for brides looking to break away from the traditional all-white wedding.  I realize that some “trends” tend to repeat themselves over time, like the yo-yoing widths of fashionable belts and ties.  But I find myself wanting more time to pass before I see red as all the rage again.

Second, and most important for the nearly-weds, the colors at your wedding should be based on your personal preferences, not on a trend forecast.  So if you’re a true blue fan, then do blue.

Photo:  Sherman Chu

If you adore orange, then opt for orange.

Photo:  Kevin Chin

Or if you prefer pink, then pick pink:

Photo:  Events of Distinction

OK, I hope you get the idea…  Finding a color that works for your wedding does not come from following the latest fads; it comes from considering your own unique preferences.  No bride really wants her wedding to look like someone else’s, but following a “trend” may have the unfortunate result of creating a copycat look.

If you find that you are still “colorfully challenged” and in need of inspiration for your celebration, you might want to check out what the people at the Pantone Color Institute have to say, since they live and breathe this stuff every day.  Pantone works closely with the fashion industry to monitor and report on popular palettes being used in the world of wardrobes.  To see their most recent Fashion Color Report, click here.

And finally, whatever you do, please don’t feel constrained to feature only one color at your wedding!  (That obsolete idea dates back to an even earlier time than when red was previously popular.)  I will have to return to this subject in future blog posts.  But for now, suffice it to say that we don’t live in a monochromatic world, so you can make your wedding lively by bringing multiple colors into your celebration.