As we continue through the “corona-coaster” of 2020, more and more couples are opting to host tiny weddings in lieu of their larger, more traditional celebrations. As a wedding planner and designer, it has been so much fun (and such an adventure) to work alongside couples to plan these “minimonies,” “tiny weddings,” “intimate weddings,” and all the other fun names people are dubbing this emerging trend with 50 guests or less. Some couples are opting to host a tiny wedding instead of a larger affair, and others are hosting a tiny wedding in 2020 and will have a larger-scale party when all the COVID-craziness ends (let’s hear it for how EPIC those parties will be!).
(This was featured on Wedding Chicks, here).
Tiny weddings are a great option for couples to consider. Across the nation, there are various rules and regulations that need to be followed - so rethinking a large celebration and planning something more intimate may be the right choice. If you are having a smaller soiree than originally planned, you can still make it an incredible experience for you and your guests!
Here are a few tips:
The Team of Creatives that made it all happen:
Florals/Design: Tyler Speier Events, firstname.lastname@example.org, @tylerspeier
Venue: Chandon (Inga Winkler), email@example.com, @chandonusa
Press: Bridal Bar (Harmony Walton), @bridalbar
Photography: James and Jess, @jessfairchild @jameswitty
Videography: Elysium Productions (Julie Hill), @elysiumweddings
Calligraphy: Jessica Yee Calligraphy, @calligraph.yee
Linens: La Tavola Fine Linens, @latavolalinen
Specialty Rentals: Theoni, @theonicollection
Rentals: Bright Event Rentals, @brighteventrentals
Cake: Crushcakes, @crushcakescafe
Favors: Sugarfina, @sugarfina
Chiffon: Bella Vista Designs, @bellavistadesigns
Female Fashion 1: BHLDN, @bhldn
Female Fashion 2: Amsale, @amsale
Men’s Fashion: Friar Tux, @friartux
Models: Look Model Agency, @lookmodelagency
Hair and Makeup: PMA Style (Maria Chang) @pmastyle
We were so honored to have Gabriel and Celeste's beautiful tiny wedding at San Ysidro Ranch featured Martha Stewart Weddings this month! Their celebration was so full of warmth, love, and beautiful details - captured by the amazing Jose Villa.
Here is a link to the feature on Martha Stewart Weddings.
Celeste wore an Oscar De La Renta lace gown and carried a bouquet I created using Cappuccino Roses, Combo roses, and Carmel colored blooms. We commissioned a calligrapher and artist to create a hand lettered invitation suite, menus, and calligraphy details. Their monogram was their initials intertwined with olive branches, representative of the beautiful olive trees lining the entrance to San Ysidro Ranch. Hand-painted roses also were included as an accent, since the ceremony was held in the rose garden.
The string quartet played as guests arrived to rose gardens at San Ysidro Ranch. We created a stunning arch with Caramel, taupe, and beige roses to anchor the space, and then create crawling arrangements of blooms, vines, and greenery behind the chairs. The natural colors in the florals was soft and beautiful against the bright green grass and trees. Celeste and Gabe exchanged their vows in front of their family and friends, and were married by a close family friend. After the ceremony, guests enjoyed sips and bites in the rose garden as the sun set.
For dinner, guests were welcomed into the Hydrangea cottage. We created a large “crawling” arrangement of roses on the fireplace, covered the ceiling in vines and greenery, and entertained all of the guests at one long feasting table. At the table, we set the table with traditional china, a soft natural linen tablecloth with a stitched “vine” pattern, hand-painted menus, dozens of pillar candles, and organic floral arrangements. The cake was placed on a long table and surrounded by a “garden” of flowers and pillar candles. Each guest received local handcrafted chocolate truffles, wrapped in handmade paper. The favors also served as place cards, with hand printed curled paper on each one denoting each guest’s seat. The guests enjoyed a multi-course meal until late in the evening. It was a beautiful, intimate celebration!
Planner/Florist: Tyler Speier
Photographer: Jose Villa
Venue/ Catering: San Ysidro Ranch
Rentals: Town and Country
Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen
Hair/Makeup: TEAM Hair and Makeup
Musicians: Simone Vitucci
Officiant: John Jones (Friend of Groom)
Calligrapher: By Paper and Cloth
Bride Fashion: Oscar De La Renta
Ring :Tiffany & Co
Last autumn, we had the amazing opportunity to partner with Chandon in Napa to help them curate some amazing content for their beautiful spaces available for site rental! I always love partnering with companies to develop materials for their marketing portfolio, and collaborating with the Chandon team was such an incredible honor. We designed this shoot in collaboration with the Chandon team and The Bridal Bar. It was recently featured on Destination I Do, and I am so excited to be able to share the images with you all!
Napa is such an amazing location to get married. There are so many amazing options for good wine, luxury accommodations, incredible dining experiences, and outdoor adventures. It’s close enough to major cities (San Francisco and Oakland) to be an easy destination location, and far enough away from the city to feel like you are on a relaxing get-away. With all destination weddings, we work with our clients to find locations that can entertain guests for not just a wedding day, but a full weekend experience. In Napa, we recommend that couples make their weekend full of good wine, amazing culinary experiences, and full of lots of outdoor/natural elements. At least some portion of the weekend should take place in a traditional vineyard - whether it’s the ceremony, rehearsal dinner, brunch, or welcome drinks.
Domaine Chandon is such a fun spot to host a wedding or celebration because it’s one of the only Vineyards in Napa that can host events. The beautiful lawns, sprawling oak trees, and rolling hills with grape vines make it an incredible spot to host a Napa celebration.
We designed this shoot to be playful, fun, and modern. I mixed colorful flowers with dried elements to create textured arrangements that are playful, modern, and fun. The bride’s bouquet was one of my favorites - so much color and unique texture. The feasting table was also super fun - I loved the mismatched taper candles and terra cotta candles. The Theoni inventory we got to use - from the modern velvet chairs to the natural wooden tables - was absolutely stunning! Me and my team created the menus in collaboration with Jessica Yee Calligraphy , using small clipboards and modern fonts.
The design was not just for a shoot - we hosted several event planners the following day to showcase the space, so the table was enjoyed during an incredible brunch.
The Team that made it all happen:
Florals/Design: Tyler Speier Events
Press: Bridal Bar , Destination I Do
Photography: James and Jess
Videography: Elysium Productions (Julie Hill)
Calligraphy: Jessica Yee Calligraphy
Linens: La Tavola Fine Linens
Specialty Rentals: Theoni
Rentals: Bright Event Rentals
Chiffon: Bella Vista Designs
Female Fashion 2: Amsale
Men’s Fashion: Friar Tux
Hair and Makeup: PMA Style (Maria Chang)
Entertainment (Brunch): Elan Artists
Kelsey and Justin had an “East Coast Meets West Coast” affair at the iconic Rancho Dos Pueblos on the Santa Barbara coast. This wedding was just featured on Style Me Pretty - I am so excited to share these images with you!
Here is a link to the Style Me Pretty Feature.
Kelsey, a New Yorker, and Justin, a Californian, wanted to celebrate their love with their family and friends - bringing everyone together from around the country to celebrate! We worked closely as a team to design a beautiful wedding that captured the elegance of the east coast and the laid back California vibes.
Kelsey wore a timeless sheer long sleeve bridal gown Her bridesmaids wore mismatched dresses in silver. We created their bouquets with textured white blooms and lots of eucalyptus, which grows locally in Santa Barbara.
The traditional Jewish ceremony was held on a bluff overlooking the ocean. Guests were greeted with welcome drinks, customized yamakas, and pashminas. A vintage Mercedes brought Kelsey and her parents to the ceremony to come down the aisle. We designed a custom-built chuppah with beautiful chiffon draping and abundant flowers. I love the traditions in the Jewish ceremony - especially when the parents stand with the couple under the chuppah.
Cocktail hour took place on the beach. The signature cocktails were an “east coast” a greyhound with a bubbly twist and a “west coast” a refreshing cucumber margarita reminiscent of Santa Barbara. The appetizer menu was also so fun, including roasted corn and poblano empanadas, brie and truffle honey grilled cheese, and grilled shrimp skewers.
After an incredible sunset by the ocean, guests went to the barn for an incredible evening of dinner and dancing. The barn was draped in natural linen. Guests got their hand-lettered escort cards out of boxes with lavender, and then found their seats at mismatched tables with velvet or exposed wood. Abundant flowers adorned the tree in the barn and the wooden tables, and tall arrangements with greenery were created on the tables with velvet linens. All of the little details were so amazing - from the coordinated bathroom amenities to the flip flops available for guests, each guest was so well taken care of! The love in the room was so tangible - such a memorable celebration with such an amazing group of people. It was truly an honor to be a part of it.
The Team that made it all happen...
Coordinator/Florist: Tyler Speier
Venue: Dos Pueblos Ranch
Rentals:The Tent Merchant
Specialty Rentals:Elan Event Rentals
Lighting: Bella Vista Designs
Linens: La Tavola
Catering: Omni Catering
Photographer: Natalie Bray
DJ/Band: American Events Network
Transportation: Jump on the School Bus
Specialty Car: Santa Barbara Speedster
Bathroom and Trash Pickup: Marborg Industries
Hair/Makeup: TEAM Hair and Makeup
Calligraphy: Jessica Yee Calligraphy
Custom Chuppah: Event Planting
Dessert: Enjoy Cupcakes
Officiate: Rabbi Janice Mehring
It was the summer after I graduated from high school. Two of my friends announced they were getting married - they had just graduated from college, and they were excited to plan a little wedding. They had $1,000 in their budget. When they approached me and asked if I would make their special day come to life, I was so excited! I had always loved hosting parties, being creative, and doing flowers. This was an amazing opportunity!
It was a hot summer day in LA. Taylor (my wife, who at the time was my girlfriend) came to help me bring the wedding to life. We used a tetherball pole to suspend bistro lights and create a “tent” of lights. We covered old youth group couches with white sheets from Ross to have soft seating for guests. Daisies and Baby’s breath were arranged in jam jars and placed around. Guests brought dessert potluck items. A friend took pictures, a friend played music. It was a reception full of warmth, personality, joy, and love.
At that wedding, two of the guests asked me to plan their weddings. I said yes.
By word of mouth, my freshman year of college, I ended up planning 14 weddings. No joke.
It was just a side-job so I could support myself through school. I had no idea it would become my career one day. I am so thankful that I said yes to the opportunity when it came up. We all start somewhere, and reflecting on how far I’ve come is pretty amazing. From a $1,000 wedding to a $1,000,000 wedding, it has been quite the adventure!
This spring, I’ve had so much time to reflect on where I’ve been, where we are now, and where we are going. While I’m missing being “in the field,” producing beautiful events and traveling around the world to partner with some amazing companies, I’m thankful for the time I’ve had at home. And thankful for the time I’ve had to really invest on the “back-end” of my business.
I’ve had a “never-ending” To-do list for years. I’ve always wanted to re-do my accounting system, work with an HR professional to “tighten” up my employee practices, and re-visit the systems I have in place in my business. As entrepreneurs, we often don’t have the luxury of taking time away from the craziness of life to really invest administrative time into our companies. During wedding season, our main focus is bringing amazing events to life, supporting our clients who are getting married in the coming months, and bringing on new clients as they inquire. And even during the off season, we are often focused on marketing strategies, corporate projects, networking, and preparing for the year.
With COVID-19 shutting down life as we know it, it has definitely been really challenging. There have been some really hard days. But, there have also been some really good, productive days. I am confident that when I look back on this time, I will see how me, my family, my team, and my business came out stronger.
Here are some of the things that I’ve been focusing on. If you are a fellow event professional reading this, some of these may apply to you, and some may not, but I hope you can find some inspiration on things you may want to work on!
Every event professional has lost clients and income during this crazy time. It’s ok to grieve those losses. I had some wedding designs in particular (and three international trips planned) that I was especially proud of and excited about. Those are all delayed at this time, and even when they happen in the future, they may look differently. Rather than be stuck in the loss, invest this time to build your future. Make it better. Make it what you want it to be. Make your dreams a reality. We have the gift of time right now...make it count.
It was Mother’s Day. I was 14-years-old, and I wanted to do something special for my mom. The nearest store was down the hill - exactly 1 mile away. I had some extra cash from babysitting, mowing lawns, and tutoring, and I wanted to do something extra special for my mom.
I didn’t have my driver’s license yet, so I walked down the hill to the nearest store. I picked out the perfect gift - a small basket of arranged flowers. It was $25. I walked it all the way home, covering it under my sweatshirt, and hid it in my room so I could surprise my mom the next morning. It was on the table when she woke up, and of course, she loved it.
Now, this story actually begins on Monday. You see, the flowers in this store-bought arrangement started to wilt. So, I started pulling out the dead pieces. And then, I had an idea...as much as I was proud of that little arrangement I bought my mom, I did think it would look so much better if it wasn’t so tight. So, I went in our garden and cut some rosemary, small branches, and pink roses. I completely rearranged all of the flowers in the basket, adding fresh cuts from our garden, and made it much more whimsical. I loved it. And even more importantly, my mom came inside and exclaimed, “This is so much prettier than it was before! Wow!”
I’ll never forget that sense of pride and accomplishment. Friends, I had no idea this was the start of a career. But, I’m so glad that I grew up with supportive parents. I’m especially thankful for my mom, who loved (and still loves) my floral design work. I’m thankful that I decided to just CREATE an arrangement in my own way that Mother’s Day Week. It sparked a deep joy in me, and here I am, years later, still finding that joy in creating beauty with nature.
Happy Mother’s Day, to all the moms, grandmas, and strong female leaders out there!
Trying to Plan a 2021 Wedding or Event on Lockdown? Here are some tips for booking vendors remotely…
If you are a couple who got engaged and is looking to plan your wedding in 2021 (or even at the end of of 2020), it can feel daunting to start planning your wedding in the current climate. It can be hard to focus on the joy of your wedding day ahead when things are hard now. But, I’ve found that when things are hard, it’s so good for me to focus on joyful times ahead. Just think…after all this social distancing, your family and friends are going to be SO EXCITED to GATHER TOGETHER and eat, drink, dance, and celebrate the night away.
If you are currently socially distanced at home and working on planning your wedding, here are some tips on how you can book vendors:
1) If you have decided which geographic area you want to get married in, start by looking at planners in that area! A wedding planner is crucial right now (and I’m not just saying that because I am one…). Good wedding planners know how to find good vendors, guide you through the decision-making process, and most importantly (especially in this current climate), how to navigate unexpected situations with peace, joy, and flexibility. You’ll be spending a lot of time with your planner, so be sure and set-up a FaceTime or Zoom meeting with them (or a good phone call) so you can get a feel for their personality. If you feel like it’s a good fit, sign on with them to start the process.
2) The hardest thing to book without seeing in person is typically the venue. Here are some helpful hints:
Of course, if you aren’t comfortable moving forward without seeing a venue in person, wait. You don’t want to sign any contracts you aren’t comfortable with.
3) As you’re considering various vendors, there are several you can book without meeting in person. With all of these people, setting up a phone or video consultation can be really helpful. Remember, you’ll be spending a lot of time with these people on your big day, so take the time to make sure your personalities check out and that your questions are answered. Without meeting in person, you can book your:
4) As you’re working with your planner, you can also start booking:
In conclusion, don’t feel like you need to put your wedding planning action items on hold. If you and your fiancé are stuck at home, this is actually a perfect time to brainstorm, plan, and get excited for your big day! Remember…Coronavirus can’t cancel love. So friends, plan away!
If you are faced with the need to postpone your wedding, you need to communicate with your guests to ensure people can adjust their travel plans, hotel reservations, and such. If your wedding invitations have already gone out and you have already collected RSVPs, the first thing you need to do is communicate quickly with your guests that the date has been postponed. While informal, a heartfelt email can quickly get that information out so your guests can adjust their plans quickly. If someone isn’t tech-savvy, a phone call is also a good idea.
In addition to informal communication, a postponement card is also a great idea.
Here is my advice regarding any guest communication regarding a postponement:
Minted has some great options for postponement cards
If you want some free options that you can personalize, our friends at Wedding Chicks have some great options!
Here is my favorite.
This one is cute too.
Just remember: Communication Is Key. Your guests have invested their own funds into travel, taking vacation time, reserving time in their busy schedules, etc. - so you want to be respectful and communicate the updates quickly and efficiently so they can change their plans as needed.
To all of the couples who are getting married later this year:
You probably have your venue, your vendor team, and most of the bigger details lined up for your big day. (If you don’t, that’s ok! I’ll be sharing tips on booking vendors remotely in the coming weeks).
I know it can feel funny to be thinking about brighter times (especially about your wedding) when life is uncertain right now. I’ve found that focusing on positive things in the future is a great way to redirect my energy during this time.
As you are socially distancing and on quarantine, if you have extra free time, here are 5 things you can consider working on for your big day!
1) Invitation Design and Day-of Paper Details - Work with your graphic artist and your planner to finalize concepts for your wedding invitation and day-of paper details. Don’t have a graphic artist? Do some online research and see if any styles, artists, or things stand out to you. Personalize a draft and save your work! It may be a little premature to order invitations right now, but having a design ready-to-go is a fun way to look forward. If you save your favorite design, it will be super easy to order them as you get closer to the big day.
2) Music - Talk about your favorite songs (any special music you like? Specific preferences for music before the ceremony? Cocktail hour? Dinner? Dancing?). Do you have a first dance? Father daughter dance? Mother son dance? What about the song you’re coming down the aisle to? Often, Bands or DJ’s will give you a list you can fill out with your preferences. Doesn’t hurt to get this stuff taken care of while you have extra time at home. Bonus Points: Practice your first dance in your living room!
3) Ceremony - Have you decided what order you want everyone to stand in your ceremony? What the officiate will say? Have you written your vows? So many couples complain to me that they didn’t have enough time to really focus on their ceremony. Well, for so many of us, we’ve been given the gift of time! Use this time together to create something meaningful for your wedding ceremony.
4) Signature Cocktails - have you chosen your signature cocktails? If not, get some supplies and try creating some cocktails at home! Vote and decide which ones are your favorite, and then pass along your notes to your caterer or bar tender to incorporate into your bar menu.
5) Timeline Details - Work with your planner to fill in all the details on your timeline. Review the timing of the day, and include notes like:
Focusing on these details with your significant other can help you focus on brighter times ahead. None of these items require signed contracts or cash payments, and they can be applicable even if you do need to postpone your event.
Hang in there, friends, and don’t forget that LOVE ISN’T CANCELLED.