Archive for Buying Guides

Elegant, Gold and Red Wedding


I’m so excited I get to design an inspiration board and buying guide with an elegant, sophisticated feel to it for my friend and his beautiful bride-to-be! The wedding will be held on the San Gabriel Hilton rooftop underneath a GORGEOUS white gazebo with city skyline views.

The color palette is primarily traditional Chinese wedding colors of gold and red. The bride also loves cherry blossoms, so I’ve carried the delicate pink of cherry blossoms throughout the design.

Here is an inspiration board and buying guide I created for the happy couple!

Here’s how to pull off this look while still sticking to your budget:

Manzanita Trees

1. Make the Manzanita tree centerpieces yourself. California — and indeed many Western states — have abundant Manzanita. Drive out into the country a bit and you’ll see some! Trim the trees of any leaves, wipe down the branches, and finish with some matte or metallic gold spray paint.


While you have the spray paint handy, another inspiring centerpiece idea would be to spray paint regular wine bottles and use them throughout the venue as vases:


Reception Decor

2. Vintage keys hanging from Manzanita branches are another look the bride loves. Find keys to decorate escort cards from Etsy or eBay.


You could also create an amazing wedding favor by tying a vintage key to just about any keepsake or leaving it by itself for guests to use as an ornament.

Try working the vintage key theme into other aspects of your wedding:


Wedding Favor Ideas

3. Since the couple are in need of some other wedding favor inspiration, I came up with these very usable options guests would enjoy:

Soaps in a cherry blossom scent, from the always-elegant L’Occitane

Another cherry blossom soap favor idea:

A bottle of wine with a personalized label:

Remember, this doesn’t have to be an uber-expensive gift. It could be a special favor to give to family members only. Also, many guests will neglect to take favors, so you may not even need a bottle for each guest. Another idea to cut costs is to leave a bottle of wine for each couple attending your wedding (and of course each single, above-21-years-old guest!) Get thee to BevMo quick! They’re having their 5 cent sale. 🙂

A cherry blossom candle:

Or how about something tasty as a favor? Edible favors are always a big hit! You won’t have to worry about left-behind favors with these ideas.

Try cupcakes or cookies decorated with the same cherry blossom motif:


Petal shaped cookies. Yum! And SO totally unique.


For an even more low-cost favor, try slipping a home-baked cookie into a simple favor box or cellophane wrapper and decorating it with a personalized label

or personalized tags!

Ceremony Site Decor

4. The ceremony gazebo would look amazing either draped in florals, or with hundreds of origami cranes:



Pick up some lovely red and gold origami paper and do the folding yourself. Hey, if even I could figure it out after a few shots, I bet anybody could!

Another lovely look would be ribbons and origami cranes, together:


I envision the gazebo’s white columns flanked in rich, red organza fabric, with a border arrangement of flowers along the top, and streams of ribbons and origami cranes making up a backdrop behind the bride and groom. I sort of picture it like this, but imagine the appropriate colors instead of green, and cranes and ribbons instead of crystals:

Source: Designs by Hemingway, LLC

Underneath the gazebo, the table holding unity candles or other ceremony items could be decorated like this:


And finally, for that total “wow” factor that only costs a couple hundred bucks, order rose petals from your florist and have a creative, artistic friend scatter them down the aisle in a beautiful design:


And there you have it! An elegant, red and gold wedding for the lovely bride and groom! Good luck planning, my friends, I know it’s going to be simply gorgeous!

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A Modern Purple Wedding Inspiration + Buying Guide

purple modern wedding buying guide

I would just die if I saw a wedding using the details and colors in the modern purple wedding inspiration board and buying guide I created above! Just die and swoon and instantly demand of my husband that we get married all over again just to use this design.

Paper Goods

For this gorgeous, modern wedding with deep purple colors accented with bright chartreuse, I would recommend this Paper Source invitation that you assemble yourself choosing this backing card in the 5×7″ size in the fig color.

For a truer purple, try this backing card in eggplant. Use glue dots or double-sided tape to do the assemblage. Doing it yourself will save a ton of money to create a layered and high-end look! Use the matching fig envelope in A7 from Paper Source, or a matching eggplant envelope.

I’d line it in this shimmeringly STUNNING purple and chartreuse paper from Paper Source. Make your own liner template and hand cut out the liners to save tons. (Ask me for advice on how to do that if you’re curious!) But if cutting out envelope liners isn’t your thing, you can always take the paper to a local printer who can do it for you!

Display escort cards in both chartreuse and fig to get an effect just like this:

purple wedding escort cardsSource

If you don’t want to go the print-em-on-your-computer route, get an Etsy seller to do the printing and assembling for you, in the colors of your choice. Etsy is also a good spot to get a custom monogram designed. You can always message the seller with an inspiration photo of a design (like the fabric print above) and get them to create a digital file incorporating that design into a monogram of your initials. That would be simply A monogram could be printed on cute circular tags and used to seal a ribbon belly band tied around your invitation suite, or used as tags/labels on your favors.

Create Ambience

With all these rich colors against a clean, white and modern backdrop, they’d really pop! I’d serve up a signature cocktail in a similar deep purple hue. Try a signature drink like Sangria. Make it yourself the day before and save tons off your bar bill. Sangria’s always a crowd pleaser. If you want the recipes for several 5-gallon signature cocktails (3 containers will be enough to satisfy a crowd of 130) just let me know. I have them!

Some accent throw-pillows tossed on a clean white rental lounge sofa and chairs made out of this fabric pattern I found would tie in the whole design perfectly. This print mimics the colors and design found in the envelope liner paper. Alternatively, try a few of these gorgeous fig-inspired pillows from Etsy.

It also comes in a more vibrant hue:

purple modern wedding throw pillow

Another small detail I would add using the fig-inspired design is using the same fabric linked to above to line a basket holding flip-flops (for high-heel-weary guests), and to line baskets in the guests’ bathrooms holding complimentary essentials like soaps, q-tips, etc. It’s funny how you can find wedding inspiration almost anywhere: fabric prints, magazine tear-outs and architecture to name a few. Find a pattern and go with it!

Try taking an extra sheet of the Paper Source invitation liner paper and use it to wrap soaps, then place those in clear glass cylinders in the bathroom. Such gorgeous little details really help take a wedding to the next level.

Bridesmaid Dresses

For bridesmaids’ dresses that would compliment this palette, try the vivid silk faille dress in wild plum from J.Crew. Or add in some nice layers of purple hues with J.Crew’s silk taffeta bow dress in spice wine, driftwood and caspian blue.

I found the dresses in sizes ranging from 4 to 12 on sale on 100 Layer Cake!

purple bridesmaid dresses

Reception Flowers

At the reception, repeat the hydrangea pattern found in the lovely Paper Source invitation above, by using large white hydrangea blooms in large, glass cylinder vases, like in this photo:

wedding reception flowers, hydrangea bloomsSource

Something like the above would be SO easy to DIY! Just head to a florists’ wholesale store (try the flower district in downtown LA) and pickup large glass cylinder vases. The day before the wedding, assign somebody to help with flowers or hire a just-starting-out florist who can pick up dozens of large white hydrangea blooms along with white gladiolus.

To arrange the flowers, place them into a circular piece of floral foam cut to fit in the vase. Cover the foam entirely with flowers, ensuring the top part overflows with flowers that will rest over the edges of the vase.  Fill the cylinder with water, place an orchid or a few gladiolus’ facing down into the water (to add interest and also obscure the view of the bottom of the floral foam from guests’ vantage point), then place the floral foam arrangement on the top.

Oh, such a wedding would be so gorgeous! If you want to hire me to pull off this design and get tips on even more amazing, totally original details/ideas you could use, don’t hesitate to ask!

Are you a bride who’s struggling with creating a color palette or styling your wedding? Or simply struggling to pull together your vision or find the items you need? I do custom design and buying guides for brides! Give me a holler!

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