Under the stars in Palo Alto

Wedding at the Palo Alto University Club | Olivia Smartt Photography | Bella Notte Events | Palo Alto Weddings

Its not too often I am contacted by the groom for wedding planning, but when I am, I always know its going to be special. Tom contacted me, nervous about the planning, worried about his over stressed bride to be, and told me he wanted to ensure his sweet Emily had the wedding of her dreams. They had their venue, a family estate in Palo Alto, but few other details secured and with 5 months to go, it was becoming too much. I got to meet with Tom and Emily and hear all about the bohemian, relaxed but elegant feel they wanted, discussed the stunning color palette of navy and peach, and we spent a couple hours just laughing and chatting. My biggest memories of these two are the their smiles, just such a great happy couple, with lovely friends and family. I am so honored to have been a part of creating their magical day.

A Classic San Francisco Wedding at City Hall

A Classic San Francisco Wedding at City Hall | Bella Notte Events | Jennifer Skog Photography

As an iconic landmark in San Francisco, City Hall is on top of the list. The stunning architecture lures all brides wish to wed upon the landing at the base of the stairs. Our couple wanted to bring a fun modern touch, and balance it against the stunning detail of City Hall and the War Memorial. This afternoon soiree included a delicious mashed potato martini bar, a cigar bar, spiced pecans flown in by the groom grandmother in South Carolina ( for the southern touch) and live performances from many talented artist friends. 

Photography:  Jennifer Skog

Floral Design:  Waterlily Pond

A DIY Wedding in Oregon with Images by Robert McNary Photography

We were so excited to be featured on Style Me Pretty for this Oregon wedding with DIY details!  Below are excerpts from the feature:

Brent and I said “I Do” overlooking the McKenzie River near Eugene, Oregon – a setting that was both beautiful and emotional for us. Our dear family friends invited us to hold our wedding at their gorgeous property, Holden Creek. Picture five acres of rambling pasture complete with a red barn, rose and vegetable gardens, and sweeping views of the peaceful river. Their son, Ramsey, was Brent’s best friend; he passed away several years ago due to complications from diabetes. Having the wedding at Holden Creek helped make up for the fact that our best man wasn’t able to attend.

Almost all of the wedding was DIY, from the invitations, favors, programs, menus and decorations. And we planned it all in the less than three months! Looking back, I can’t believe we pulled off a destination, DIY, budget-friendly wedding in such a short amount of time – and it was the perfect day!

It “felt” exactly the way we wanted it too – casual, fun and filled with love. Brent set the tone by singing me a song he wrote as part of his vows (yeah, pretty much everybody cried).  But, there was lots of fun and silliness too! We kicked off happy hour with games like “extreme croquette” and bocce ball. We also had an old-school band that got everybody out on the black and white checkered dance floor. At the end of the night, our caterer said our wedding was “oozing with love”, which we thought was a good sign since she does a lot of weddings!

Here are some of the DIY details…

Table Settings: We rented the linens, chairs, and dinnerware from a local party shop but spruced things up with personal details. There were two table runners – casual striped linen runners laid on top of strips of burlap, which we bought in bulk at a local fabric store ($100 for 100 yards). Each table was lit with a handful of mismatched blue mason jars, which we bought at flea markets and garage sales. At night, the light looked gorgeous shining through the blue glass! We also wrapped some of the mason jars with copper wire, filled them with sand and votive candles, and strung them through some of the trees. The flowers were in “copper” vases, which were really just metal flower vases that we spray painted with shiny copper paint. Oh, and to let guests know where they were sitting, we sprayed painted and old kitchen cabinet door with chalkboard paint, wrote the table numbers / names in chalk, and propped it up on an old easel.

Decorations: Handmade wooden signs led guests to the ceremony site, where they were greeted by a lemonade stand. For cups, we scoured flea markets and garage sales for mason jars. For happy hour, we set up a small tent in the middle of the field, hung twine from the poles and attached black and white images of our friends and family with clothespins. (My mom scanned a LOT of photos for this!) And instead of a formal guestbook, we asked each guest to write us a note on individual pieces of linen, which my sister later made into a quilt. We created a farmers market-like stand with baskets full of fresh fruit, bug spray, sunscreen and wedding favors, which we also made ourselves. The favor was a CD of our favorite love songs wrapped in a craft envelope that mirrored our wedding invitations. The cake stand was protected by an inexpensive mosquito net and lit with more flea market-found mason jars. Finally, we hung huge burlap drapes from the barn to hide the caterer’s tables and used some of the leftover strips to create runners for the dining tables. Burlap is so inexpensive! We bought 100 yards for $100 at a local fabric shop.

Photographer: Robert McNary Photography / Caterer: Marche Provisions / Florist: Family friend / Location: Family friends’ house / Rentals: Party City / Band: Fun House / Invitation Design: Printable Press / Invitation Materials: Paper Source / Day of Wedding Coordinator: Bella Notte