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A Blog for the Discerning Bride

Meet Our Friends: Sterling Weddings
categories: for your ceremony, Meet Our Friends, Scottsdale Weddings, Sedona Weddings

When we think about planning a wedding, we start at the beginning- the dress, the photographer and the venue, right? Wrong! The whole reason you are planning the biggest and possibly most expensive event of your life is for the ceremony! Often, and I can’t blame you, engaged couples get wrapped up in the “fun” decisions that need to be made like the colors, the food, the flowers and the cake but the most important part of the day is when you actually make the commitment to spend your life together as one. Your ceremony is, as Reverend Shanandoah Sterling says, the “heartbeat” of the entire day.

Shanandoah Sterling (owner of Sterling Weddings) and I chatted recently about her work and I don’t think I can quite express to you you how much I would want her to be my officiant at my wedding if I could do it all over again. She knows what’s important and she makes sure you remember it amongst the hubbub of wedding planning. She centers people, works magic in the quiet moments and makes sure you feel completely connected to your ceremony. That’s saying a lot, isn’t it?

(Photo courtesy of: Sedona Bride Photographers)

(Photo courtesy of: Cameron Kelly Studios)

What makes Shanandoah special is the lengths she goes to make each ceremony a customized and thoughtful reflection of the couple. She encourages her couples to write personal vows, allows for couples to incorporate their unique traditions and cultures, asks the parents for words of wisdom to be used in the ceremony, and helps couples savor the engagement period. I especially liked her “keepsake vow booklet” idea. She takes all the literature (vows, readings, words of wisdom, blessings, etc.) that will be used in the ceremony and keeps them in one beautiful booklet; this is then given to the couple to keep after the wedding.

Shanandoah, who performs Native American ceremonies and is part Native American herself, allows couples to incorporate any traditions they see fit for their ceremony. If a non-Native American couple wants a Sage or Ring Blessing, they can have it because it is THEIR ceremony. Unfortunately, this concept seems so foreign to many other officiants. Perhaps one of the most touching ceremonies she performs is the Wedding Blanket ceremony. As the couple searches for a blanket for the ceremony, they must be represented individually and together in some aspect in the actual blanket. What a beautiful way to symbolize that the two people getting married are important on their own and as a couple.

(Photos courtesy of: Andrew Holman Photography)

(Photo courtesy of: Sedona Bride Photographers)

Your take-away from today’s blog is that you do not have to do anything in your ceremony other than give a verbal consent to marry but with a committed and flexible officiant like Shanandoah, you can make it yours in so many unique ways. The invitations, the linens, and the DJ all come second to the reason you are marrying each other. Make sure you align yourself with someone who truly understands that on a deep level.

To find out more about Shanandoah (who is based in Sedona but travels regularly to perform ceremonies in the Scottsdale area) and her unique ceremonies, please visit her website and blog. She is also a member of the Sedona Wedding Studio– a stellar group of wedding professionals you will want to check out for all things wedding.

I can’t wait to hear how you are going to make your ceremony special to you!

Chatting Soon~Kelly


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Wedding Inspiration: Rose Petal Carpets
categories: floral inspiration, for your ceremony, Meet Our Friends, Sedona Weddings, Trends, Wedding Inspiration

Every once in a while I engage in a conversation that reminds me how lucky we are here in Arizona to have such talented and innovative wedding vendors to work with. While talking “wedding world” with people who are not in the industry or planning a wedding, their eyes gloss over when I  speak about escort card displays, candy bars and late-night sliders. I guess I take all those things for granted but one thing that all people can appreciate as soon as I explain it is the Rose Petal Carpet.

(Photo by: Sedona Bride Photographers)

As far as I’m concerned, this floral concept is the #1 way to impact the look of your ceremony and Events by Showstoppers specializes in them. Ken and Jim, Showstoppers’ founders,  consistently design spectacular carpets and never stop innovating with their designs. It’s cutting edge floral that rocks my world!

(Photo by: Sedona Bride Photographers)

(Photo by: Sedona Bride Photographers)

(Photo by: Sedona Bride Photographers)

(Photo by: Sedona Bride Photographers)

(Photo by: Sedona Bride Photographers)

(Photo by: Phyllis Lane Photography)

(Photo by: Sedona Bride Photographers)

(Photo by: Phyllis Lane Photography)

(Photo by: Phyllis Lane Photography)

Events by Showstoppers creates carpets for corporate functions as well- fashion shows, photoshoots, etc. This carpet may look familiar since it was designed for our 10th Anniversary Issue cover (and our 10th Anniversary Gala)!

 (Photo by: Sedona Bride Photographers)

(Photo by: Sedona Bride Photographers)

This is from Wildflower Linen’s Arizona warehouse debut  fashion show (see more from the Wildflower Linens Show) :

Now do you see why I love these? Rose petals will never be the same again!

As you can imagine, the process of designing and executing these very special carpets is labor intensive but I think Events by Showstoppers founders Jim and Ken really have a passion for it. Here’s what they had to say when I asked them a few questions about their work:

KG: You always seem to be on the cutting-edge when it comes to floral design. Where do you get your inspiration from?

J/K: We get our inspiration from all kinds of sources. One source is from our love of old classic movies. We love to incorporate, for example, lighting effects we see in old ” film noir ” movies from the 40s and 50s. Some of our best inspiration comes from the old classic biblical movies where we get great ideas for fabric draping, unusual color schemes, and other lighting effects. The half circular rose petal carpet we produced for a PB&G shoot at L’Auberge ( a few issues ago ) was actually inspired while watching Cleopatra. I designed the carpet like an Egyptian jeweled collar. When I explain the inspiration for this design, people immediately ” get it .”

KG: How long have you been doing rose petal carpets and what do you love most about them?

J/K: For about 4 years. I especially love the process of drawing the concept, selecting the colors and calculating the quantity. Seeing the final result and how it pleases the onlookers is very fulfilling.

KG: What challenges do you face when creating rose petal carpets and how do you overcome them?

J/K: Wind. You don’t overcome it. You have to go with it.

KG: If you could create your dream rose petal carpet, what would it look like?

J/K: A kaleidoscope. Lots of interesting things can be done.. especially indoors.

KG: What floral trends are you seeing for Winter ’11/Spring ’12 weddings?

J/K: I don’t know about other designers but we are interested in one color ( monochromatic ) color schemes with multiple, muted derivatives of that color, combined with various tones of grey. Like muddy mustard colors combined with charcoal and lighter grey. Also interested in complimentary and split-compliment schemes like mustard colors against raspberry and fuchsia with grey or silver.

Events by Showstoppers just launched their new website too- it’s full of their gorgeous floral designs. And yes, the Rose Petal Carpets have a dedicated section!

Chatting Soon~Kelly

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Sedona Wedding Studio’s Bridal Bootcamp!
categories: for your ceremony, from the consultants, health and beauty, Meet Our Friends, open houses, photography, Tips and Advice, Trends

A few months ago I couldn’t stop tweeting and facebooking about Sedona Wedding Studio’s Bridal Bootcamp. I went, I gushed, I took copious notes. Today I am sharing with you what I gleaned at the bootcamp and some of my not- so- great images. It turns out my Blackberry doesn’t take the best pics and SWS co-founders and photographers, Sedona Bride Photographers, were busy teaching people stuff to take very many; here’s a game for you: see if you can discern between my pics and theirs (haha)!

In case you haven’t been there, Sedona Wedding Studio is a charming place where you can meet all the vendors you would want to meet for your wedding. You can browse samples of vendors’ work, schedule meetings with vendors and be inspired by the sites and smells. OH, the smells! Sedona Cake Couture is in the space adjacent to the studio and there is always something that you just have to try. Look at this irresistable sweets case:

Guests of the bootcamp received invaluable advice from professionals such as Liz Margin, make up artist; Dana DeLuz, Dance Instructor; Andrea Carusetta-Blount, cake artist; coordinators Margaret Van Damme, Judi Bloomfield and Karen Lynn; Bobby Russell, DJ; Katrina and Andrew, photographers and co-founders of Sedona Wedding Studio; and Ken and Jim, floral designers and co-founders of Sedona Wedding Studio.

They also set up some cute vignettes throughout the space for wedding inspiration:

The macarons were a big hit:

I am pretty sure Sedona Wedding Studio is going to host another Bridal Bootcamp in the future and if you didn’t go, I urge you to do so. They are the nicest people around, the bootcamp is intimate and personal, Sedona is gorgeous, and every single Sedona Wedding Studio vendor travels, especially to Phoenix.

Here are a few tips that I think would be helpful to anyone planning their wedding, brought to you by the members of Sedona Wedding Studio:

Liz Margin Makeup: stay away from blue undertones since red/pink on the eyes can make you look tired; avoid super bright lips

Dana DeLuz Dance Studio: practice your wedding dance in different surroundings so that the wedding floor surroundings don’t throw you off

Sedona Cake Couture: add crunch to your cake! Use pralines, coconut, etc. for texture

Van Damme Weddings: define your style by gathering materials, pictures, etc. then see what color palette emerges. Once you determine the colors, don’t change! Huge trends: grey suits/dresses, 40’s inspired details, shades of blue, honeysuckle, Hollywood Glam

Sedona Wedding Planner: seek a variety of venue options and determine your priorities.The Forest Service properties are beautiful but you cannot bring anything onto them, including chairs; B&B’s are great for intimate weddings; Resorts offer guest convenience; Private Properties are beautiful but may have noise curfews; Vineyards are great, etc.

Events by Showstoppers: Be open to suggestions about flowers since the time of year determines what looks best; have an idea of what you want and the style you are looking for but be open to the designer’s professional opinions- they are not necessarily trying to get you to spend more money, but they do want the floral to be the best it can be.

Sedona Sounds: Make sure your DJ is professional and practices the pronunciations of names well before the wedding day. Bobby Russell actually tapes the way you pronounce names and practices them!

Sedona Bride Photographers: it’s best to have 2 photographers; consult with your photographer before sending out the invites- time/lighting are important factors; if possible, choose  a prep area with lots of natural light; candles and up- lighting are really important; meet wiht the photographer- do not base your decision on website alone.

And my tip, that I humbly offered to the bootcampers: listen to your gut. If you meet with a vendor and you just don’t feel like you are connecting well, don’t hire them. They may not be connecting with you either. Often, the best weddings are not those where the most money was spent but those that are made up of a team of vendors who really get you and your style.

I will be sure to keep you posted on the next Sedona Wedding Studio Bridal Bootcamp- those who did attend had a blast!

The food was catered by  Heartline Cafe and it was delicious!

Chatting Soon~Kelly

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From Our Pages: Sedona Surprise
categories: bridal fashions, cakes and sweets, fabulous reception sites, favor and gift ideas, floral inspiration, for your ceremony, from the consultants, reception ideas, Trends, Wedding Inspiration

In everything they do, the Sedona Wedding Studio is a rock solid team. The studio itself is a really cool destination for couples planning their weddings but it’s the creative forces that work behind the scenes that consistently blow me away.  The members of the studio, founded by Events by Showstoppers and Sedona Bride Photography, conceptualized a genius wedding inspiration eye candy plethora that I am overjoyed to share with you today. We published it in our most recent magazine issue and it was so gorgeous that it was featured on Style Me Pretty too. This is prettiness at it’s best readers!

Liz Margin, make-up artist, always does such a beautiful job. Read more about her here. And Patricia Vega  styled the hair- I really like the male model’s cool ‘do.

Notice the eclectic mix of styles and design elements throughout. There’s rustic, vintage, DIY, modern and elegant features all playing very nicely together. Wedding Coordinator Margaret VanDamme has created some amazing wedding inspiration for those of you who want a creative and custom feel at your wedding.

This is one of my all time favorite wedding bouquets- it’s vibrant colors are so happy!

All the food sounds and looks scrumptious but the baskets of peaches and plums have my heart- an edible wedding favor is always best!

Dancing Apache Lodge is unique to Arizona in that it has a rustic charm and lush vineyards…it’s not easy to find landscapes that rival California’s but these do the trick!

What did I tell you? It’s wedding inspiration galore!

More info on the shoot can be found in our latest print issue and here on the web.

Photo Shoot Designed and Styled by: The Sedona Wedding Studio and Margaret Van Damme of Van Damme Weddings

Location: Dancing Apache Lodge

Photographer: Sedona Bride

Floral Design: Events by Show Stoppers

Cake: Sedona Cake Couture

Paper Products: The Event Essentials

Rentals: Classic Party Rental

Make-Up Artist: Liz Margin

Hair Styling: Patricia Vega

Catering: Dan Martin Perfection Catering

Gown: Destiny’s Bridal

Grooms Attire: Saverio

Models: Katie and William of M Model Management

Special Thanks to: Nancy Palme for the use of her Vintage Corvette

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Sedona Bridal Bootcamp and Wedding Soiree
categories: cakes and sweets, destination weddings and honeymoons, Meet Our Friends, open houses

Brides, can I suggest a little multi-tasking during your Valentine’s weekend this year? Head up to Sedona where this near-north neighbor provides cuddle worthy weather & beautiful hiking trails along with wedding planning heaven at the intimate Sedona Bridal Bootcamp and Wedding Soiree brought to you by the Sedona Wedding Studio!

The members of the Sedona Wedding Studio are hosting a lovely gathering for engaged couples to mingle with others planning their weddings. If you are newly engaged and are still searching for your venue and other wedding vendors, Sedona is an option you should not overlook.

As an attendee of the Bridal Bootcamp and Wedding Soiree, you will have the opportunity to sample tasty treats and explore the latest in bridal beauty,  floral and decor. You will also get to chit chat one- on- one with the exclusive vendors from the Sedona Wedding Studio. I’ll bet you have questions and they definitely have answers!

The Bootcamp portion of the event is where you will glean information from said experts such as tips on how to get the most out of your wedding day photography, planning advice from a team of coordinators, ideas for entertaining your guests throughout your wedding weekend and floral and cake design inspiration.

You will also learn how to define your style through details, get menu planning tips from caterers and discuss first dance ideas with a dance instructor. There is no doubt in my mind that heading up to Sedona will be good for your wedding!

Here is a peek at what the vendors of Sedona Wedding Studio are up to:


And it gets even BETTER! One lucky couple will win a Grand Prize of a two night stay at L’Auberge de Sedona, with a $75 resort credit. L’Auberge de Sedona has recently been named to the 2011 Conde Nast Traveler Gold List and the Travel + Leisure 500 Best Hotels in the World.  When experiencing L’Auberge, you’ll see why countless couples choose to have their weddings or honeymoons there. It’s completely gorgeous!

I have to confess, I’m just a teensy weensy bit tempted to show up and pretend to be a bride! Attendance is complimentary but you must register prior to the event- click here for more information and to link to the registration form.

Gals, surprise your guys by planning a romantic “planning trip” in Sedona. You will spend quality time with your love and  mingle with other engaged couples  (bonus!)- it’s Valentine’s weekend perfection!

Hope to see you there~Kelly

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Valentine’s Day Thoughts…
categories: favor and gift ideas, upcoming events

Holidays can place a bit of pressure on people.  As we try to make everyone happy (impossible), plan everything perfectly (often foiled) and remain calm and charming (grumpy much?), at the end of the day, we realize that what’s important is simply being together. Valentine’s Day comes with it’s own special set of pressures, especially if you are getting married soon- you’ve heard of grand gestures, romantic trips and overwhelming gifts- but truly, if you keep it all in perspective, it’s about love.

Here are some ideas, little nuggets and inspirations for you to consider on this day of kisses:

Surprise your sweetheart with these charming  fortune cookies (and notice they are not too super girly so they are great for guys too)! This is an example of very little effort and huge reward brought to you by Deliverance05 on Etsy:

Valentines Day Fortune Cookies

Check out these adorable DIY ideas for Valentines’s Day, brought to you by Design Sponge:

DIY blocks_Design Sponge

Ummm..have you heard of LoveOpoly? It’s Monopoly but personalized and more fun!

You and your darlin’ are planning a wedding, right? How about taking a planning trip Valentine’s weekend to beautiful Sedona where you can use the chillier weather as an excuse to cuddle all day long AND you can get a little planning in at  the Sedona Bridal Bootcamp and Wedding Soiree? You will be treated to yummy samples, sage advice and insider tips from the Sedona Wedding Studio, which is comprised of Sedona’s top weddding vendors. It’s free but you must register prior to the event- click here for more info!  

Sedona Bridal Bootcamp and Wedding Soiree

Sweet on You by Philosophy is just the right scent for the day:

And what better way to start off your morning coffee routine than with a  bit of subtle  decor to give a quiet nod to the day ahead (Paper Heart Garland from PaperPolaroid on Etsy):

Paper Heart Garland

And lovebirds, remember to  just love your honey in the best way you know how. All the rest will fall into place…

Enjoy and kisses! Kelly

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