Today’s wedding has so many lovely details and personal touches, I just knew you would enjoy it. Says Neela, the beautiful bride: “Planning our wedding was a unique experience coming from two different cultural backgrounds. My family is from Afghanistan, so we wanted to incorporate the cultural elements of a traditional Afghan wedding into a sort of fusion with the grand outdoor manor style weddings that I have loved since a little girl.”

And that’s just what they did!

The ceremony took place at the Love Temple on the grounds of Villa Montalvo.

Instead of one beautiful cake, Neela and Marshall had three! “Our cakes echoed antique Wedgwood patterns and Victorian cameos,” says the bride. Dessert also included pink Persian Rose macarons.

Neela shared all about the day with us:

Why did you choose this location?  Picking the venue was my favorite part. I wanted to find a mansion or a home that had large manicured gardens, like something from an E.M. Forster novel or the Great Gatsby. Villa Montalvo was such a beautiful location, with its gorgeous historical villa, with both a sprawling natural landscape and a manicured Italianate garden and great lawn, and a beautiful Spanish style courtyard with fountains. The theme for the wedding went from there.

Tell us about incorporating Afghan wedding traditions into the day.  Bringing in my culture and my family’s traditions was very important, but I was a little stumped at how to work things in seamlessly. Amy Nichols was wonderful with helping me solve this problem. She researched the cultural traditions and worked them into our timeline. We had a very memorable Afghan ceremony on the veranda that was elegant and touching. Part of this ceremony involves henna, so I thought it would be fun to have a henna artist on hand during the dancing portion of the event. It was a huge hit! She was wonderful and it was really great to have something else going on during the dancing that guests could occupy themselves with. Our caterers were also integral in working in all of the traditions and cultural elements. Our wedding occurred during Ramadan, so some guests were fasting. Global Gourmet made certain that they were not neglected and that they were served properly at exactly sundown. The menu that they created for our wedding was spectacular, and they were able to incorporate some Middle Eastern flavors. The guests had the most fun during the dancing. The DJs are friends of ours who know our taste in music very well, and they managed to track down a lot of very hard to find Afghan music as well. They were going to play it by ear, to see what people loved dancing to the most, and we were both surprised that everyone loved dancing to the Afghan music! It really brought both families and cultures together. It was so fun to see my family teaching my husband’s American family some of the Afghan dance moves.

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?  Our wedding was a perfect marriage of two very different cultures, which represents my husband and me as people so well. We wouldn’t have been able to pull it off and make it look as beautiful without our all-star team of vendors. It’s so important to do your research in this regard. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results (especially the gorgeous photos by Cooper Carras).



Photography: Cooper Carras / Venue: Villa Montalvo in Saratoga, California / Planner: Amy Nichols Special Events / Bride’s dress: Vera Wang / Bridesmaid dresses: BHLDN / Hair, makeup: Armando Sarabia / Flowers: Natalie Bowen Designs / Henna artist: Henna and Beyond / Cakes: Cake Coquette / Macarons: Chantal Guillon / Catering, rentals: Global Gourmet

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Today I get to share Ed Peers‘s work with you for the second time, and I’m just as excited about it as I was the first time around! Not only are his photos some of the loveliest I’ve seen, but his clients are so thoughtful in the way they approach their weddings. Perfect inspiration for those in the midst of planning…

Alex wore a custom gown (in silver satin!), made by a friend from the theater, costume designer Lynn Hamilton. The bride tells us it was “based on combination of my grandmother’s dress, some dresses I tried on, some seen on blogs, and some vintage patterns Lynn had access to. The monogrammed ‘W’ back buckle was a bargain find on eBay.”

Though the wedding wasn’t especially traditional, there were a few wedding customs followed. Say Mike and Alex: “We threw confetti after the ceremony, and we accidentally found ourselves in a receiving line (a good idea in the end)!”

Guests played card games and got silly with a limbo pole, including the best man who demonstrated his gymnastic skills by somersaulting over the it.

A friend designed the Deco-inspired signage, and Alex silk screened 100 tea towels with a hilarious quote from The Princess Bride

Instead of a formal wedding cake, the couple asked their guests to bake treats. Says Alex, “One of our favorite moments was when we sneaked off into the great hall before the guests, and the cake table – beautifully lit, covered in a spectacular display of our guests’ cakes – just took our breath away. The cake table looked STUNNING, and it was such a wonderful reminder of how much our friends cared.” Instead of a cake cutting, the couple had a ribbon cutting to kick off the dessert course!

Alex and Mike kindly took the time to share some details about the day!

Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  When we first discussed our wedding, we agreed only two material things mattered – the venue and the food. We stumbled across Eltham Palace and fell in love with it. Discovering that our favorite Sunday brunch place was an approved caterer was pure kismet, and the look and feel of the day just followed – vintage (with nods to Art Deco), a bit rustic, but not overly-fussy or feminine. We’re a very relaxed and informal couple, so we wanted our guests to feel the same way.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  We have a house filled with items that are antique, vintage, retro and modern, and love the informal feel it creates. Alex spent an afternoon creating a mood-room: a display of all the objects around the house that spoke about the look we were going for. We were in full agreement, and sent photos of that display to our vendors so they could see what we were aiming for. Also, as we met working in theater, we wanted a few subtle nods to that, and wanted the tone to be slightly bawdy and not too serious at all – see our cocktail names for a taste of that!

Do you have any DIY tips for other brides?  For DIY projects, make a list well before, budget this up, analyze what you can do yourself and what can be farmed out to helpful mates in the months and weeks leading up to the day. Cross off anything that isn’t something within your comfort zone (I wish I’d done more screenprinting at college – it was crazy getting 100 of those tea towels done!), but enlist friends wherever possible. As we saw it, they’re the ones who’ll shape your memories of the day, so having them involved throughout makes it all so much more special.

What advice do you have for other brides?  Don’t panic when seemingly-important things go wrong – Alex’s bespoke wedding ring, picked up the day before the wedding after a second attempt, was a disaster, and the maid of honor had to talk Alex down from floods of tears! Alex rang her mother and discovered that, when she married Alex’s father, her wedding ring wasn’t finished yet. Her mum ended up getting married with her engagement ring – so Alex did the same.



Signature Drinks: “Bitter Union” (Orange Juice, Ginger, Whiskey) and “The Mayday” (Rose, Elderflower, Melon, Sparkling Mint, Gin) // Canapes: Giant Green Olives, Crudités, Selection of Toasted Breads // Seabream Filet with Rosemary and Garlic served with Rouille / Shoulder of Lamb Stuffed with Preserved Lemons, Apricots, Spinach, Pink Peppercorns served with Salsa Verde // Braised English Tomatoes and Aubergines with Herbs, Olive Oil and Garlic / Charlotte Potato Salad with Sour Cream and Samphire / Spanish Chopped Salad with Smoked Paprika and Sherry Vinaigrette / Slaw with Roast Garlic and Lemon Mayonnaise / Asparagus and French Beans, with Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette / Foccacia and Sourdough // Artisan cheeses / Homemade Cakes



Photography: Ed Peers / Venue: Eltham Palace and Gardens in London / Bride’s custom dress: Lynn Hamilton / Bride’s shoes: Anthropologie / Bridesmaid dresses: H&M and COS / Groom’s suit: A Suit That Fits / Groom’s shirt: Charles Tyrwhitt / Flowers: Violets & Velvet / Catering: Hand Made Food

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It’s almost Halloween! Time for costumes and candy! Remember trading treats with your siblings? Getting my sister to take two Tootsie-Rolls and an Almond Joy in exchange for a Butterfinger was always a tough sell. But bad candy was always better than raisins – what is that about? Anyway, I’m trying to think of a clever last-minute getup – probably a fancied up mask or headband – and I’d love to hear your suggestions and costume ideas.

And now, as promised, a longer-than-usual link list since there was no weekend post last Friday. Have a Happy Halloween weekend everyone!

Black Halloween by Sweet Paul.

Who doesn’t want a pet porcupine?

I wish I had a reason to wear every single thing in Alexander McQueen’s Resort collection.

And Marchesa makes me want to dress like a princess.


What’s better than confetti? Giant confetti!

And cashmere is better with metallic leather elbow patches, of course.

Apple pie cookies. Mmmmm.

The bride wore plaid.

It’s always good to have a sense of humor, for things like when the sprinklers turn on in the middle of your outdoor wedding.

Winning invitations, via Oh So Beautiful Paper.

Pretty prints by Rebekka Seale.

Chocolate cake is pretty, too.

If anyone is wondering what to get me for Christmas, a foldover clutch is one idea…

This sweet wedding makes me smile.

Fun paper station wagon and letterpress boombox – Christmas ornaments maybe?

Have you checked out yet? Daily Candy and Glamour think you should!

Happy Anniversary Laurie (check out that lily-of-the-valley bouquet)!

Congratulations to Corbin Gurkin and Mae Mae Paperie on their new websites!


Laurie Arons Special Events is a sponsor of Snippet & Ink.

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Few things will make a bigger visual impact for your wedding than a stunning venue. The Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse on North Carolina’s Outer Banks is just such a place, and it’s where Kristen and Danny opted to tie the knot.

Bridesmaids were asked to wear a little black dress of their choosing.

The couple’s favorite part of the day?  “Right after the ceremony, as we walked back down the pier together,” says Kristen. “I remember looking at Danny and both of us breathing a sigh of relief and laughing together. The nerves build to such an extreme high throughout the day, and that moment of relaxing together really sealed the deal – it was finally time to party the night away, and start our new life together.”

Kristen and Danny wanted their wedding to have both a relaxed beach feel as well as a classic lounge vibe…

Kristen shared some details with us about the day…

Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  We have both vacationed in the Outer Banks for years with our families, and for the last five years together as a couple – it’s our favorite place to unwind and have a good time.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  We wanted things to be personal and meaningful, so we were careful to spend our budget on things we cared about and cut corners on things that we felt we’d never remember years later. Mostly, we wanted people to kick off their shoes, celebrate and dance. I think we succeeded!

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  Etsy should be your best friend! And don’t be shy about asking family members and friends to pitch in their time and skills – you’ll save money and save your sanity.  My grandmother made the table runners when we couldn’t find ones to rent in the right shade of blue, and she still beams from ear to ear when someone mentions how lovely they were.

Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  Not so much traditions as tributes. The groom’s family has roots in Wisconsin, so to honor his late grandparents we brought in varieties of Wisconsin cheeses for one of our appetizer stations. I wore my grandmother’s vintage Mikimoto pearl necklace. My father and I danced to “You Are So Beautiful To Me” by Joe Cocker as a tribute to my late grandmother, who was known for singing this to all her children and grandchildren.

What advice do you have for other brides?  It is truly just one day, so make sure you spend your time and money on things that really matter to you. Don’t be afraid to leave things out if you don’t care about them. Don’t be afraid to start your own traditions. One thing you should spend your money on? A fantastic, reputable photographer. At the end, you’ll have a new husband and hundreds of pictures that will become your memories, so choose your photographer wisely.



Photography: Gabe Aceves / Planning: Platinum Party Planning / Ceremony venue: Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse in Manteo, North Carolina / Reception venue: 108 Budleigh / Bride’s dress: Moni’s Bridal Boutique / Bride’s necklace: vintage Mikimoto / Groom’s suit: Joseph Abboud / Flowers: Renee Landry / Stationery: Wedding Paper Divas / Rentals: Metro Rental

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