Rustic Vintage Winery Wedding Inspiration

Nothing exudes romance to me more than the ethereal age of the Renaissance. From it’s flowering of literature, science, art, religion and politics, this golden era flourished from every angle. Combining my passion for art, fashion, history and, of course, Italy, this age became proliferate with some of the greatest minds in our history. Starting in the 14th century in Florence, Tuscany, the Renaissance age boasted incredible works of art by Michelangelo, Donatello, Botticelli, da Vinci and great thinkers such as Dante.  With inspirations from this indelible age, the 4th installment of our Art History for Brides series was born.


For my interpretation of the Renaissance, I wanted to create softer and simpler, pastel version of what we conceive to be the traditional Renaissance palette consisting of darker jewel tones. My vision was to create a pair cherub-esque brides longingly lounging around a beautiful vineyard feast while waiting for their loves to return, as if a scene from a Botticelli masterpiece.

Patterns / Graphics

Florentine patterns featuring intricate floral designs and illustrations were used throughout the shoot including the silverware trays on the table and on the invitations. The ‘Fleur di Lis’, which was a popular symbol of this time, reflected the political and royal. Born in France and then later adopted by Florentine’s as their city’s emblem, this symbol appeared on crowns, clothes and even currency as seen in the fiorini, an early Florentine currency.

To create our lounge worthy dining area we started by layering vintage rugs from Casa de Perrin then brought in a rustic sun bleached table and a soft vanilla hued velvet couch and love seat from Archive Vintage Rentals. Contrasting patterns of china and Florentine trays by Casa de Perrin were used to display the vintage silverware, fresh loaves of bread and rich raspberry hued pomegranates. Soft pink hued glassware offered pomegranate sprinkled bubbles and a romantic balance to our cut crystal decanters.

Inspired by a Renaissance still life, Isari Flower Studio created a trio of contrasting centerpieces featured in ethereal golden-footed glass. For the berry hued centerpiece, Isari intricately designed a masterpiece brimming with champagne kissed cafe au lait dahlias and stunning merlot hued garden roses boasting ruffled petals, exposing green centers.

For the softer sunset hued centerpieces, sheer pink lilies, Californian oak twigs, fall kissed green hydrangeas, and unexpected Dutch tulips were trailing with bejeweled china berries to make it’s meandering statement amidst sprawling desserts and other vintage dishes unexpectedly featured on this magnificent table scape.

For a tall dramatic statement a taller amber vase boasted simple organic stems of tall camellia branches, with their waxy foliage in hunter green.Feast

To carry out our Tuscan worthy feast we created a rustic spread of fruits, nuts, breads, meats and cheeses offered upon layers and layers of Florentine, copper and silver trays. Vintage glassware, still life paintings and tapered candlesticks added height and interested for a layered effect.


For a Renaissance style dessert bar we featured home-style cakes and fruit tarts by Scootabaker in this vineyard setting-boasting vine covered walkways and majestic vineyard and mountain views. Buttercream cakes were displayed on silver cake plates and layered upon mirrored trays atop a vintage French table. Beautiful berries, pomegranates, pears and plums were scattered about to sweeten up this already scrumptious still life inspired presentation.Fashion

I wanted to invoke the romance of the Renaissance through the artisanal style of handwork and details seen in the beautifully detailed Allison Simone gowns, jewelry and accessories, which were featured on each of our brides. From the detailed beading on the neckline to the long sleeves with detailed hems, these gowns exude an air of romance from a time long gone.

During the Renaissance the most popular color of bridal gowns were actually blue, which was considered a symbol of purity. If the bride didn’t wear blue she would often still carry something blue, in which the tradition was born “something old, something blue”


Some of the most common wedding traditions derived from the Renaissance are still celebrated today. Here are a few of the most popular (and interesting! Hand-fasting?) traditions from that time:
•    Hand-fasting- One of the most common rituals is hand-fasting. Hand-fasting is a joining of hands between the bride and groom. Actually, their hands may be literally tied together with a piece of material or cord. In some ceremonies, hand-fasting is symbolized by cutting a lock of each others hair and placing the locks in a box, or by the bride and groom drinking out of the same cup. However this ritual is performed, the meaning is essentially the same. The couple’s lives are joined together for eternity.
•    Throwing Rice- You may be surprised to discover that one of the most common wedding traditions, the tradition of throwing rice, dates back to Renaissance times. This is an essential part of the wedding, and symbolizes fertility and luck for the couple.
•    Tiered Cakes- The tiered or layered wedding cake also dates back to Renaissance times. The guests would bring small cakes to stack on top of each other. If the couple could kiss over the top of the stack without knocking them down, they would have good luck.
•    Garter- The throwing of the garter dates back to the Renaissance era. It was said that if a male guest at the wedding gave the bride’s garter to his love, he would receive faithfulness.


•    Event Design & Styling by Alchemy Fine Events & Invitations
•    Invitation Design by Alchemy Fine Events & Invitations
•    Photography by Luna Photo
•    Flowers by Isari Flower Studio
•    Tableware settings & Props by Casa De Perrin 
•    Furniture & Props by Vintage Archive Rentals
•    Cake & Pastries by Scootabaker Bakery 
•    Bridal Gowns & Jewelery by Allyson Simone of Provence Brides
•    Venue Orfila Winery

Monopoly Korean 1st Birthday Party at the London West Hollywood

Last spring I was fortunate enough to design my first Korean 1st birthday party. In the Korean culture, the 1st birthday is a highly celebrated special time in their babies life that symbolizing great health, luck and also to help forecast their life to come. When Jina Parks of Ultimately Plush  asked me to create this creative and luxurious bash at the London West Holllywood I knew I’d be in for a treat!

Here are some sweet words from Jina herself regarding the special day:

Jina Park, founder and creator of PLUSH, the posh little urbanites show in Los Angeles just celebrated her second son’s 1st birthday this past April.  Always looking for the best and most innovative ideas, Jina wanted Brendan’s 1st birthday party to be an event never seen before, so she decided on a Monopoly-themed party with an elegant twist.

“We knew right away that a Monopoly themed birthday party would be perfect for Brendan for various reasons.  First, he looks just like a baby version of that jolly Monopoly man!  And since Brendan’s dad is a real estate developer, it was perfect!  I also knew immediately who I wanted on my team to make this dream party become reality.

First, I had no doubt that Vanessa of Alchemy Fine Events & Invitations was the perfect person to help me create that elegant Monopoly party.  Vanessa is incredibly creative and is also a very gifted graphic artist, so I knew she could take my ideas and create the most gorgeous party even beyond my wildest imaginations.  Second, I chose Melody of Sweet and Saucy Shop to create the dessert table I envisioned, with the perfect mix of elegance, charm and a delicious combination of goodies that no one else can imitate!  And let me just say, her cakes for SO DELICIOUS, and the beautiful dessert table that Vanessa put together was something I’ve never seen before!  Finally, what’s the point of all this planning if we didn’t have the perfect photographer to put this together?  I’ve been admiring Corbin of Corbin Gurkin Photography for a long time, and just had to have her photograph this party!

From the very beginning, I knew what I wanted in terms of invitation pieces that I created to look just like a Monopoly board but customized to depict Brendan’s first year of his life.  There were also some must-haves like dessert iterations, such as the money bag cake pops, the color theme of pale blue, black & white and gold, and customizing verbiage to go along with the Monopoly theme.  But I must say that all these ideas would not have been possible without the collaboration of Vanessa, Melody and Corbin to make this dream a reality!”

Theme idea & Concept:  Jina Park (PLUSH, LLC)
Event Design, Dessert Tablescape & Graphics:  Alchemy Fine Events and Invitations
Photography:  Corbin Gurkin Photography
Desserts & Cake:  Sweet & Saucy Shop
Invitations:  Jina Park (Ink Monster Invitations)
Florals:  Isari Flower Studio
Rentals:  Elm Concierge
Head Table Rentals:  Kiki Events

 Aqua and Peach Modern Beach Wedding Inspiration

Last January Utterly Engaged hosted a design challenge inspired by your interpretation of ‘Snap Crackle Pop’. I conjured up a vision inspired by Pop Art with an opulent yet retro beachy spin. Images of David Hockney’s cool pools, Warhol’s iconic portraits and Lichenstein’s comic style of typography popped into mind but I wanted to showcase a softer and more romantic twist on these vivid graphic styles for a modern beach wedding. A look that could express a bride that is mod and glamorous, yet still a California beach girl at heart. Don’t forget to check out the latest issue of Utterly Engaged! (Our feature is on page 29)

We collaborated with the talented Isari Flower Studio and Justin Lee for a stylish sun drenched afternoon in my own ‘backyard’. This photo is such a perfect example of what I like to call ‘the golden hour’ at Pillbox in Solana Beach. When the sunsets’ warm rays bathe everything in its magical golden light.

Tam of Isari Flower Studio had found these super chic baroque style vintage chairs that I was dying to use for an extra opulent edge. We combined a cool color palette of aqua and peach and infused fun graphic prints and bold shiny textiles such as the custom made silver sequin pillows. Our center arrangement nestled into vintage pressed glass featured white anemones, lilac and lisanthus flowers ranging from whites to creams. We layered these ultra-chic table settings with thick cut glass plates, mirrored chargers and gold rimmed Ralph Lauren china and then paired vintage gold and crackled glass goblets. Each guest was treated to

In a vintage golden vase Isari Flower Studio created lush arrangements ranging from creamy roses, ruffled tulips, lisianthus and china mums for a layered textural effect.

Silver coral and shells were layered onto the tables for a fun and quirky punch of drama. Floating cymbidium orchids were featured in glass bowls in top of modern crystal candlesticks for a fun play on the dramatic while Lichenstein inspired menus made a bold graphic impact.

Inspiration to Illumination: Bruce Munro’s dramatic installation art

When designing a statement piece for a dramatic entrance to a special event  nothing is more spectacular than wonderful lighting installations. Today, again, I am awe inspired by Bruce Munro’s work of lighting and environment installations. He not only works with interiors creating interesting focal points and scultpures with his creations,  but is a daring fine artist in the world of installation art.

Exploring scale and repetition (such as the Tara Donavon exhibit seen here) through lighting and light reflective elements such as cd’s and bottles of water (a must see!), Bruce creates wonderlands of illumination and shine that transport you into another world.

In the event design world, such installations such as these may seem like an impossible fete to accomplish for a single events, but don’t let that stop you from dreaming big!

Alchemy Fine Events & Invitations’ Goals for 2011 that I would like to share with you…

It’s barely 2011 and the exciting possibility of starting off with a clean slate of goals lie ahead of us. All of the opportunities that we can imagine for this year are still a possibility and with this post and a positive attitude they can become a probability. The year can be full of wonderful dreams and aspirations that we create for it and make for a wonderfully successful and stylish 2011 where we can not only grow but forge wonderful relationships with other creative people in the event design industry and reach out to brides and clients to make their wedding dreams come true.

It seems as if  just imagining these wonderful goals sets them into action and have already had a wonderful start to 2011. With even more goals to conquer then ever, I wanted to share them all with you.

To work with other planners to design and style their clients weddings and special events.

With a background in interior design and art direction our love of design is what drives us in this industry.  We of course love to plan as well and bring all of the components such as catering and music and coordination together but our heart is driven by style. We love to focus on the small details, one-of-a-kind ideas, custom made linens, hand ombre dyed napkins, embellished and intricate styled dessert bars. We can oversee and direct all of the creative design aspects including floral, lighting, linens, and detailed site plans or even just take over specific areas such as tablescapes, lounges and dessert bars. Being able to work with other planners as their go-to designer not only allows us to focus solely on the design that we love but also allows the planner to focus on all of the other intricate details involved in planning while knowing that their clients event design will be

To work with other planners to design their clients invitations and wedding stationery & to design even more gorgeous custom luxury wedding invitations.

We believe that great event design starts with the invitation and should be just as beautiful and luxurious as the linens and the flowers that you put on your table. Great invitations and stationery is like another design accessory in your overall creation. We love to collaborate with other great planners to create custom wedding stationery suites for their clients events. We don’t just look at invitations as a single element but as part of a whole. Being able to work with other planners and learn about how we can incorporate their clients inspirations  into the stationery including invitations, welcome booklets, dessert tags is a wonderful way to add our design value into another planners work.

As an event designer in addition to stationery designer we know how the creative process works and know how to bring in unique paper elements that add to the overall decor of an event. Custom illustrations, unique embellishments such as chain and stone and new techniques such as laser cutting allow us to create one-of-a-kind custom invitations and stationery that serve as fashionable accessories to your clients special day.

To plan and design weddings and celebrations in Italy and throughout Europe.

While living in Florence for my masters in graphic design I also worked with a boutique luxury travel company as a personal concierge. I would coordinate castle rentals, villa rentals, wine tours, truffle hunts and gallery visits for weddings and holidays for clients throughout Europe. With so many wonderful connections in Tuscany and throughout Italy and Europe, planning events there would be the perfect transition into being known as a luxury destination wedding planner. My Italian is starting to get a bit rusty so would love the excuse to ‘parla Italiano’.  Whether it be an intimate wedding in your own private villa in Tuscany,  a 4 day trip to Monaco with your closest friends gambling along side you in Monte Carlo, a private perfume tour of Fragonard in Eze or taking a cruise on a yacht for your 1 day anniversary party around the Mediterranean, we can make it all happen while still having the high level of design that you can expect with Alchemy Fine Events.

To plan and design weddings and celebrations in San Diego.

As ironic as it may sound, we haven’t had the opportunity to do many events in our own back yard! We love to travel and because of our blog and other blogs that have been kind enough to post our work, the majority of our events have been out of county and out of state. From Santa Barbara to San Francisco, New Orleans, Hawaii, Miami, New York and New Jersey, we have worked with many wonderful clients, but it would also be so amazing to do more events in the city that we’re so proud to be from! San Diego was voted the #1 Destination Wedding location last year and who better to show you all that our wonderful city has to offer then a born and bred local.

To collaborate with talented Chefs and to grow my passion for food into a large part of the events that I design.

For as long as I can remember I have been one of food’s biggest fans. With and Italian/Spanish/Mexican/Dutch family food always played a huge part in our lives and this passion has only grown larger and larger every year. Even in high school I toyed with the idea of culinary school but art school won. What some people don’t appreciate is that food is such an art form that shouldn’t have to be sacrificed for budget or design. I have such a high respect for chefs and love to collaborate with them to create unique recipes, menus and desserts for my clients events. When I see brides that have amazing decor, stunning flowers and extraordinary invitations only to server their guests dry chicken with rice pilaf I’m shocked at how this huge element of celebrating is overlooked. I believe that the food should be the star on the table and that it doesn’t have to be boring when catering a large group of people. In 2011 my goal is not only to bring more daring and gourmet cuisine into my events but hopefully work work with clients that appreciate the art of dining as I do.

To get my work published in top design magazines and to work with publications themselves to show their readers new possibilities in combining event design, fashion, food and the luxury lifestyle.

Working with top magazines, blogs and other publications is such an exciting and great way to show readers what we’re made of and what we can really do. We’re already off to a great start with such wonderful publications as Style Me Pretty, Style Unveiled, Utterly Engaged, Hostess Blog and San Diego’s Riviera Magazine! Creating styled and designed shoots is such a great way to ‘show off’ a bit and test the limits in design while also inspiring brides for their own big days. What I would love to do is not only contribute design ideas but fashion, food, traveling and music which also play such an important role in weddings and celebrations in addition to an overall stylish luxury lifestyle.

Oh, and to add a lot more Missoni to my closet wouldn’t hurt.

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