Thursday, April 16, 2009

Springtime in North Carolina

I had the wonderful opportunity to assist with the "day of" Paige Sparkman and Brandon Goodwin's wedding in March. Paige and her mom Cy had done the majority of the planning, and I helped them to pull together the final details so that the weekend of the wedding would run smoothly and they could relax.

I always say that the one thing we cannot control is the weather. The Sparkman-Goodwin wedding was, unfortunately, a prime example of this. While it had been 75 and sunny here in Durham the week prior, it was about 35, bitter cold and rainy for this wedding weekend. A lot of brides would have cracked under the pressure of this - an outdoor cocktail reception at the rehearsal dinner, having to walk under an umbrella in her dress from the car to the Chapel and back, but not Paige. She was a consummate lady who shrugged off the inconvenience of it, brushed off her shoulders, and did not let the soggy weather dampen her spirits.

After all, you are getting married, not weddinged. If you stay focused on what you are doing and not how, then looking at the smiling, loving faces of your friends, family and sweetie, and feeling the support and enthusiasm around you will always triumph over bad weather. And what do I always say: despite your immaculate planning, the only thing anyone will remember is a stressed out bride.

It was my first time working with the photographer Tracy Turpen out of Charleston, and I loved her and her husband Lance. Enjoy the fabulous slide show she put together, and also check out
her website sometime - her photos are stunning. Thanks Tracy, and thank you to the Sparkmans and Goodwins for having me be a part of such a very special and beautiful weekend. You reminded me of the ingredients necessary for an unforgettable wedding: unconditional love, a good sense of humor, wonderful friends, great organization with a touch of irreverence, and a lot of go-with-the-flow attitude.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Purple Passion Part Deux: Gelato Bar

Instead of a wedding cake, Milyeri wanted to have a fun and delicious, interactive and SWEET marble slab gelato bar. After dinner, guests got up from their seats to go to the counter and place their dessert orders with one of the purple apron-clad servers.

The gelato was served from an authentic ice cream service cart, courtesy of Sugarland in Chapel Hill, NC.
Guests could choose from the variety of gelato flavors and toppings offered, which were then mixed together on top of the cold, marble counter top and then served in custom stamped white cups with purple spoons, of course!

Toppings included rich chocolate brownie bites, fresh whipped cream, walnuts, fresh fruit, and house made waffle cone cups.
If anyone needed a little inspiration, they could select one of the three concoctions created by the bride herself, which incorporated her favorite flavors and toppings, as well as those of her groom and her mom.

How sweet it is! And how original, too.

Purple Passion

March brought Milyeri and Neil's wedding: an elegant event in the heart of Durham which we'd been planning for just over a year. Milyeri is a Duke grad and a savvy New York lawyer and Neil is a gregarious South African whom Milyeri met while studying abroad, so we had a lot style and inspiration from which to draw ideas.

Milyeri's dream for her wedding was to have a sophisticated and expertly executed three course served dinner, an incredible band that could play everything from Luther to Mary J. (and all things in between), and a breathtaking room bathed in her signature color, purple. While I think we succeeded on all counts, nothing was more stunning that day than Milyeri, a timeless beauty who looked like she stepped out of Hollywood's golden era.

Enjoy a few photos below, mostly courtesy of our lighting guru, Dave Watson. Thanks for the gorgeous pics, Dave!

Milyeri and her bridesmaids, in amazing hand-made dresses. Check out the vertical bow on the backs of them!
Had to include a fabulous lounge area, of course.

Chandeliers placed strategically throughout the room brought down the massive height of the ceiling and added to the feeling of it being an elegant dinner party with just a splash of drama.

Crystals were hung from the tall, branchy arrangements placed in the cocktail hour on the bars and escort card table.

Purple crystal Waterford flutes for the bride and groom.

A shot of the room: we used 72" round tables, gold chiavaris with ivory cushions, gold rimmed china, three different varieties of centerpieces, and gorgeous menu cards printed with each guest's name at the top (in lieu of separate place cards). Tables were named for some of the couple's favorite songs. Fete accompli!