Monthly Archives: June 2011

I’ve always been a fan of simplicity – some of my very favorite weddings have been the simplest. Nothing fussy or overdone, just love and loveliness. Julia and James had just such a wedding, and I love how they described it, “The whole evening felt intimate, warm and fun. It was the happiest blur of our lives.” Photos by Jonathan Ong.

Julia’s bridesmaids each wore the black dress of their choice – a surefire way to keep attendants happy!

Says Julia, “Our wedding was an incredibly personal celebration of our relationship – we wrote our own vows, were married by a longstanding and dear friend, and another friend wrote a beautiful poem as a reading for our ceremony.”

Thank you to Julia and James for answering some of our questions about the wedding…

Why did you choose this for your wedding? We wanted our wedding to feel warm, relaxed and more like a party than a formal event. We are very much urban dwellers, so the venue was chosen because of its location in the center of Melbourne’s central business district, and its commanding views of the cityscape.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? The streets where we live – the beautiful open spaces and street art that are a context for our lives. We also thought about the elements which would help to create the party atmosphere – for example, we had our photo’s taken before the wedding so that we could launch straight into the festivities after the ceremony, and we chose a band who appeals to everyone.

Did you include any traditions in your wedding? As the bride has a Polish background, we incorporated a few Polish touches in the wedding. We had a traditional Polish blessing after we were ‘presented’ to our loved ones, which involved sharing a taste of bread so that we will never go hungry, a sip of wine so that we will enjoy the sweetness in life, a pinch of salt so that we can overcome any bitterness in life and were given a silver coin so that we can be in good health and without financial stress. Vodka, specially flavoured by Julia’s father, brother and James, also flowed throughout the evening, along with many rounds of the traditional celebration song, ‘Sto Lat.’



Photography: Jonathan Ong / Venue: Alto in Melbourne, Australia / Bride’s dress: Jane Hill / Groom’s suit: Filippa K / Groom’s tie: J.Lindeberg / Floral design: Cecilia Fox / Music: Mister featuring Stella Angelico / Catering: Damm Fine Food

23 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings

Tropical secret garden, flowers by Ariella Chezar, lavender gray wedding dress… the inspiration from Serena and Matthew’s wedding is endless!

Instead of a traditional guest book, guests were invited to get creative with watercolors, markers, and colored pencils. A friend of the couple created a 3D stereoscopic camera that was used for guest photos.

Serena shares the story behind their tattoos: “Matthew and I have been contemplating tattoos for a long time, and after ten years together and in honor of our love and forthcoming nuptials we took the leap (both with the tattoos and marriage). We chose keys – to our hearts, life, love.”

Says Serena, “We loved the meaning of folding 1000 cranes for our wedding, both the bringing of good luck and that it is an exercise in all of the things it takes to make a marriage work. Our invitations included instructions for folding origami cranes, an explanation of the meaning of the 1000 cranes, origami paper and return envelopes. It was especially meaningful to have those blessings from those who could not join us. Matthew is an artist and came up with the gorgeous installation for hanging the cranes at our reception – it really was so stunning in the space!”

Serena kindly answered some questions for us about the wedding…

Why did you choose this place for your wedding? I grew up on Maui and we have a wonderful community of family and friends there. We wanted to share the Maui we know with all of our dearest friends and planned a week together to explore and celebrate.

What was your favorite part of the day? What I hold most dear is how connected and present Matthew and I were, and the ceremony was incredibly moving for both of us. We wrote our own vows and worked closely with our officiant, my stepfather, to create the ceremony. It was important for us to create a community of witnesses to our vows, so we made time for our closest friends and family to offer something as part of the ceremony, including my sister and stepfather who sang a song written by my father who passed away.

What advice do you have for other brides? As much as I love how much we did ourselves, the days leading up to the wedding were incredibly busy and hectic. Don’t leave too much till the last minute! And don’t be afraid to delegate as much as you possibly can – magic happens in trusting others to contribute and it becomes a true labor of love. Also, remember to come back to what it is all about. I was overwhelmed with love and gratitude for my husband and for our friends and family who were there to share it with us. It’s all about the love.

Can you tell us more about the flowers? Ariella is one of my childhood friends, so we were lucky to have her share her talents. Some cut flowers were flown in from California, but mostly we brought orchids straight from a farm on the big island, and we were able to harvest a lot of local tropical goodies from friends’ farms and estates on Maui. I was absolutely blown away with the bouquet that Ariella made for me: white catteleya orchids, vintage French ribbon, fine gray feathers, and even a piece of ribbon from Ariella’s own bridal bouquet.



Drinks: Mango Lemonade, Tropical Iced Tea with Starfruit, Pineapple-Infused Ice Water, Guava Mojito, Hibiscus Champagne Cocktail // Passed Pupus: Lemon-Pepper Seared Ahi on a Fried Wonton topped with Wasabi Cream and Sprouts, Caramelized Maui Onion & Goat Cheese Tartlet topped with a Candied Pecan, Pan Fried Garlic Chicken Dumplings with Spiced Shoyu // Dinner: Mixed Greens with Bleu Cheese and Mandarin Oranges, Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi topped with a Mango-Papaya Salsa and Ginger-Lilikoi Cream, Pumpkin and Chard Ravioli with Gran Padana Sage Butter, Roasted Pineapple and Apricot Molokai Sweet Potatoes, Big Island Vanilla Bean Steamed Jasmine Rice, Warm Asparagus with Mango Dressing // Dessert: Genoise Cake with Passion Fruit Mousse and Italian Buttercream



Photography: Anna Kim Photography / Venue: Haiku Mill on Maui, Hawaii / Floral design: Ariella Chezar / Bride’s dress: Morgane Le Fay / Bride’s shoes: Jimmy Choo / Groom’s suit: Hugo Boss / Catering: Catering From Soup to Nuts / Cocktail catering: Garnish Events / Cake: Ghiselani Designer Cakes / Rentals: Maui Rents, La Tavola Linen


Thank you to Serena and Matthew, and to Ariella and Anna! You can see more of this wedding on Anna’s blog, and on Ariella’s website.


27 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings

Diamonds will always be a classic choice for engagement rings, but they’re certainly not the only choice. Aquamarines, emeralds, rubies are all unexpectedly beautiful alternatives. At Gemvara, you can choose from 26 different stones to create a ring that’s as unique as you are. I spent a little time playing around with the customization tool, and thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you, starting with aquamarines and sapphires (inspired by the gorgeous ring Prince William gave to Kate, of course)…

bottom left, top left, top right


In addition to 26 different stones, you can also choose from 8 different metals to fully customize your ring. I love the look of rose gold! (And that smoky quartz reminds me of my own engagement ring…)

bottom right, bottom left, top left


Remember the black diamond ring that Big gave to Carrie in Sex & the City 2…?

Carrie ring


While Gemvara is known for their colorful gemstones, they also carry classic diamond rings in a variety of styles, some with the option of colorful accent stones.

top right, bottom right, bottom left


Not only does Gemvara carry engagement and wedding rings for women, they also carry earrings, necklaces and men’s wedding bands, all of which can be customized. I warn you, it’s easy to lose track of time while you’re getting lost in the infinite variety of styles that they have to offer. Are you considering an engagement ring with a colored stone? What type of gemstone is your favorite?



This post sponsored by Gemvara.

8 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Sponsored Posts

Tomorrow I’m headed to Sonoma for a wine tasting bachelorette party – believe it or not, I’ve spent most of my life in Northern California and never been wine tasting! So it should be a fun weekend, especially since it looks like we’re rain free for the time being. It also got me thinking that I’d love to hear your best ideas for bachelorette and bridal shower celebrations – any favorite themes or games or places?

via Kissssing


Some links for your weekend!

Cinemagraphs are just about the coolest thing ever.

I’d love to attend a crawfish boil wedding shower, wouldn’t you?

Whimsical Maui wedding.

Well-Groomed – a blog for the boys!

12 months of caramels, via Oh Hello Friend.

White charcoal pencils… I sense some DIY chalkboard projects in my future.

Stripes are in, even when it comes to popsicles.

Can you tell I’m loving watercolor wedding stationery?

I want this $6000 punch bowl. What? A girl can dream.

I was a guest judge! See the winners of Elizabeth Anne Designs‘ and The Sweetest Occasion‘s Inspired Creations contest today.


Have a happy weekend lovelies!

20 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Weekend Round-Ups