Friday, July 29, 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wine country inspiration shoot

The amazing Anne Sage styled my dresses for a blissful wedding shoot in Northern California wine country. See the whole story on
Keepsake gown
Oyster chiffon one-of-a-kind dress

Moss Wedding Decor Inspiration

Several of our previous clients have incorporated moss into their wedding design, and I absolutely love it! Something about the rustic, natural look of it makes me think of growing up in the South. Moss is really quite simple, yet incredibly versatile. I never get tired of seeing those moss covered initials either. Seriously. I love them! Since moss is fairly easy to work with (and readily available), it's also the perfect ingredient for the DIY bride too. 

Tip :: Artificial and preserved moss can typically be found in most craft stores, but if you are looking to order it for a large DIY project, contact your florist to see if they can order it at a discounted bulk rate.

Photo credit # 1 :: The Wedding Chicks
Photo credit # 2 :: Spotted Leopard Etsy Shop
Photo credit # 3 :: Spotted Leopard Etsy Shop
Photo credit # 4 :: Wedding Dress Blog
Photo credit # 5 :: Elizabeth Anne Designs 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Alternative Outdoor Seating :: Hay Bales

Hay bales are the perfect alternative seating arrangement for a rustic outdoor ceremony. You don't have to be getting married on a farm to pull it off either. Hay bales work great for backyard weddings, barn weddings, and even lakeside weddings...really any outdoor space will do.

Where to find? Finding hay bales is likely a lot easier than you would think. Check with local farms or horse stables as a 1st option. Often times, farms and stables will let you borrow the hay for a small nominal fee (sometimes free!), with the promise that you will return the hay bales post-wedding. If you don't live in an area with many farms or horse stables, you may want to check with a local landscaping company. Landscaping companies use hay when they spread grass seed, so it is very likely that they will have hay on hand. 

Accessorizing? Yes, accessorizing. You will need to find some way to cover the hay bales, because you certainly do not want your guests sitting on bare hay for a 30 minute ceremony. Umm...can you say "uncomfortable"?! get the idea. Accessorizing is fun! You can cover your hay bales with virtually anything...blankets, quilts, pillows, name it! 

Allergies? It's important to keep in mind that some of your guests may be allergic to hay; therefore, having a few extra chairs on hand is recommended. Don't forget about your elderly guests who may also need a chair to sit on as well. 

Reuse? Hay bale seating isn't just for ceremonies. Don't forget about reception and/or lounge seating later on in the evening!

Photo credit :: Tec Petaja via C is for Charmed.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vintage Book Table Numbers

I'm a sucker for pretty little details, and let's face it, these vintage book table numbers are quite charming. I think they add such an element of interest to the tables that guests are sure to love! After all, it's all in the details, right?

Photo credit # 1 :: The Found Blog
Photo credit # 2 :: 100 Layer Cake
Photo credit # 3 :: Amanda Rae Blog
Photo credit # 4 :: Next Exit Photography via Every Last Detail

Stripey Straws

Yes, stripey straws. These cute little straws pictured above are popping up EVERYWHERE lately! We have gotten dozens of questions regarding these adorable little things, so I thought a blog post would be fitting :) And yes, those are the official name. I didn't just make that up.

While there are many stripey straw resources out there, our favorite place to get these from is Shop Sweet Lulu. If you have not been to Shop Sweet Lulu's website yet, I recommend you check it out now! There are SO many delightful details available that you just have to see it if for yourself!

Photo courtesy of Leeann Marie Photography

Monday, July 25, 2011

Real Weddings 2011 :: Kate & Adam 06.18.11 {Part 1}

I first chatted with Kate back in April 2010 - 14 months before their big day, and since Kate and Adam are one of our out-of-town couples (they reside in the beautiful city of Boston), I didn't have a chance to meet Kate until just a month before their wedding. Even though Kate and I didn't officially meet in person right away, we instantly clicked! I remember listening to Kate explain her wedding day vision to me many months ago - "Kate Spade Garden Party" and boy, did she nail it on the head with all of the adorable details she incorporated. In fact, there are so many yummy details to share, that we will have to make this blog a two-part series (yay!). First up, the story of their wedding day...

June 18th began as a picture perfect sunny day while Kate and her bridesmaids got pampered at the Fairmont Pittsburgh Hotel downtown. Julie from Pittsburgh Makeup did a fabulous job with the ladies' makeup. Fun fact: Kate was SO set on hiring Julie for her makeup, that she was one of the first vendors she booked! Smart lady! Leah from Bridal Beauty in Motion also did a fab job styling everyone's hair.  

After the ladies were glammed up and ready to go, the bridal party made themselves scarce while Kate met up with Adam for their "First Look" photo session with Leeann (the photographer who is responsible for the fabulous images above). After their First Look, Kate & Adam, along with their bridal party, made their way over to Phipps Conservatory for some pre-ceremony photos in the outdoor garden area.

The ceremony and reception also took place in the outdoor garden at Phipps, and just before the ceremony was set to begin a nasty little thunderstorm struck. We decided to delay things just a few minutes (in order to avoid having to use the rain plan), and lucky for us the clouds parted and the sun began to shine again! Whew! HUGE sigh of relief! 

After the ceremony, guests were able to enjoy themselves in the garden for cocktails (still no rain - yay!), and eventually made their way over to the tent for the reception festivities. Kate & Adam's guests were treated with a delicious three-course sit down dinner courtesy of Big Catering. Following dinner, guests stormed the dance floor and never left an empty space on it thanks to the awesome Eric Schiemer, who kept the dance songs coming one after the other! The rain held off the rest of the night, and judging from the packed dance floor, every single one of their guests had a wonderful time!

What an incredible night! Congratulations again to Kate & Adam!

The Wedding Team

Wedding Planner Simply Perfect Weddings 
Ceremony/Reception Venue Phipps Conservatory 
Catering Big Catering
Makeup Julie w/ Pittsburgh Makeup
Hair Bridal Beauty in Motion 
Lighting ADS Lighting  
String Ensemble Steven Vance
Transportation Pittsburgh Transportation Group

All photos courtesy of Leeann Marie Photography

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Displaying Your Family Photos

Many of our brides & grooms come to us for creative ideas when it comes to displaying old family photos. Often times our clients want to display childhood or parent/grandparent wedding photos, but are looking for a creative way of doing so. We hope these unique ideas inspire you!

Clothespin line. One of my favorites :)

More clothespin line inspiration. 

Mason jar/flower vase. 

Hanging frames from ribbons. 

Photo wall display.

How are you planning to display your old family/childhood photos? We'd love to hear your ideas!

Photo credit # 1 :: Style Me Pretty 
Photo credit # 2 :: Unknown
Photo credit # 3 :: Style Me Pretty 
Photo credit # 4 :: Yasmin Khajavi Photography
Photo credit # 5 :: Bustled Blog 

Friday, July 22, 2011

New things.

The machines are humming, scissors are snipping and things are busy, busy here in the studio. Dress orders for summer weddings, and finishing up a really exciting custom gown. Also: designing my new collection! Can't wait to show you more...stay tuned.

Friday, July 15, 2011

For Your Dancing Feet :: Flip Flops

Some say flip flops at weddings have gone "out of style". I disagree. What girl doesn't like to kick off her heels, throw on a pair of comfy flip flops and let loose on the dance floor?! Comfort doesn't go out of style. See my point? Not to mention, I still see flip flops at over half of our weddings each season. This "trend" doesn't seem to be letting up anytime soon. In fact, I've had at least 3 brides contact me within the past few weeks asking for advice on flip flops. Therefore, I thought I would write up a few helpful tips on this subject. 
  • How many? Go through your guest list and count each woman/girl attending. I recommend having enough pairs for just about every single one of them. You don't want to leave anyone out. They will go quick, trust me!
  • What sizes? This is tricky. Obviously, you aren't going to ask each guest their shoe size; therefore, I recommend purchasing the most common sizes: 7, 8, & 9. Be mindful of the little girls too - if you're inviting children, you should also think about purchasing a few smaller sizes as well.
  • How to display? Get creative...there are no rules here! Think about your wedding style, and what type of container would suite your style best. Most common way of displaying? In a tub (as pictured above), basket, bucket, or even wooden box. Don't forget a cute sign too ;)
  • Where to purchase? Hands down one of the most popular stores to get cute & cheap flip flops is Old Navy. Don't forget about stores like Target and Kohls too.
Tip :: If you have the ability to color coordinate the flip flops by size, I highly recommend doing so! As you'll see in the photos above, the bride not only color coordinated them, but also added fun little size tags to each pair as well. Totally optional, but definitely practical! 

Photos courtesy of Leeann Marie Photography.

Interview on Feather Factor.

The lovely Katherine does a great interview series on her blog, Feather Factor. She recently asked me a few questions about my work--you can read the whole interview here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


As much as we love it when our couples are all about extravagant details and decor, sometimes keeping it simple is what best represents them and I must admit I’m just as head over heels about these weddings as I am about the extravagant ones.

Probably the most laid back easy going couple out there, Emily & Tim had their wedding ceremony and reception at The Wakefield Mill back in June and Viva was absolutely thrilled to help them with the planning and execution of their intimate day.

Just a few of Viva’s favourite details of their wedding:

~ Emily & Tim were married on the MacLaren House lawn. Two rows of chairs were set up for immediate family and the remaining guests gathered around creating a very warm, intimate ceremony.
~ Emily had nine flower girls. Yes, nine! It was important for her to include all of these lovely girls in the ceremony so they lined up creating an aisle for Emily to walk down and as she did, she was handed flowers from each of them which created her bouquet.
~ Instead of flowers, the girls in the wedding party all carried handmade pinwheels and the guys wore pinwheel boutonnieres.
~ While the ceremony took place, Emily & Tim’s rings were passed around so that each guest could hold and bless them with their best wishes for the soon to be newlyweds.
~ Representing the librarian in Emily, Emily & Tim’s guests signdd their congratulations to the bride & groom on library cards which were held in card catalogue drawers.
~ After a fabulous cocktail hour full of wine and tasty hors d’oeuvres, guests visited several food stations (offering pasta and seafood crepes to name but two) and could help themselves to the most amazing cheese platter in honour of the groom’s love affair with cheese.

These wonderful images below are all courtesy of Ottawa Wedding Photographer Blair Gable.
Viva’s always excited when we get the chance to work with Blair! Simply put, he's awesome!! After photojournalism school, Blair Gable worked his way through seven newspapers before leaving a staff position to freelance for some of Canada’s largest media outlets. Blair also shoots a limited number of weddings each year with the same style and intensity as his newspaper assignments – A blend of contemporary storytelling, real moments and dramatic portraits captured naturally.

“When hockey season ends and the politicians head home for the summer I shoot weddings. The pressure situations and tight deadlines I work in prepare me for the chaos and emotion of a wedding day”