In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
– from Touched By An Angel by Maya Angelou
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
– from Touched By An Angel by Maya Angelou
Bride and Groom on their wedding day, 1960. Photo via Vintage Brides.
Lisa and Jed celebrated their wedding day at the beautiful Carondelet House in Los Angeles. We love the traditional yet urban atmosphere that needed only a few soft touches to complete the wedding of her dreams. A reception surrounded by exposed brick walls and candlelight made their evening especially romantic.
Photography by Esther Sun.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Live in the moment.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Try hard not to lose sight about what the day is about, take moments with your fiance to reflect and to truly enjoy the planning process together because it goes by so fast!
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Before you begin, set your top priorities as a couple and budget for what’s important to you. Invest in areas that will give you lasting memories beyond your wedding day.
“We knew within moments of walking through Carondelet House that it was the perfect location for us. It had a charm about it and offered us a perfect intimate space that was exclusive for just us and our celebration. We also loved that Carondelet was an historic building with lots of character and vintage touches. It only took a few modern runners, a beautiful collection of vintage vases, hanging glass orbs and an adornment of soft white florals to make our ceremony and reception absolutely gorgeous.”
Your ceremony in three words. Beautiful, personal, funny
How did you go about planning your ceremony? Our officiant helped us write our ceremony. He gave us questions that drew out special qualities about our relationship and story, and how we felt about each other. He wrote our ceremony based on his experience and thoughts about us as individuals and as a couple.
What was your ceremony music? The bridal party, along with our ring bearer and flower girl, walked out to an instrumental version of “Can’t Help Falling In Love”. I walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of “Falling Slowly”. The recessional was “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors.
Who officiated your ceremony? Scott Jones, a good childhood friend of Jed. We wanted our officiant to be someone that truly knew us and watched our relationship evolve and to be able to add a personal touch to our ceremony. Standing in front of our family and friends, we knew we would feel a little nervous and we wanted someone that we could feel comfortable with and could help keep us calm and centered.
What were your vows like? It was important that our vows were meaningful and special to us. We wrote them together along with our officiant. They were short, sweet and captured everything we wanted to promise each other in the moment and to our future.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? It made us smile and laugh. It was very personal and truly written for us. It allowed us to focus on each other.
“Our reception was an elegant and intimate dinner party with our closest family and friends—from the beautiful open air courtyards to the candlelit tables adorned with soft, lush white flowers, it made for a perfect white summer wedding.”
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? I enjoyed designing and printing the individual menus and place cards, escort cards & signs myself. My cousin also made a beautiful bouquet for our flower girl made out of paper flowers with a matching bout for the ring bearer.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Our family and friends were our main inspiration. Since most of them were traveling in from all over the country and the world to be with us, we wanted to host them with an amazing celebration to honor our relationship and for their roles and support they have given us throughout our lives. We also made sure that our wedding truly reflected our style as a couple.
Menu: Reception: Tray Passed Hors d’oeuvres of Fried Bearnaise with Seared Filet/ Smoked Gouda Arancini / Mini Lump Crab Tacos / Trout Deviled Eggs // Plated Served Dinner: Cherry Tomatoes tossed with Basil and Olive Oil served with Buffalo Mozzarella and Grilled Crostini / Seared Scallops / Grilled New York Steak / Potato Puree / Baby Artichokes with Red Wine Reduction Sauce
Catering by Tres LA.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? Our wedding cake was a Swedish Princess Cake which had layers of vanilla cake, raspberry preserve, homemade custard and covered in delicious marzipan. We also had a dessert table with assorted macaroons, brownie bites, assorted fruit and banana pudding.
Dessert by Tres LA.
What was your first dance song? Our first dance was to “When You Say Nothing At All” by Alison Krauss. We had a father-in-law and mother-in-law dance to “100 Years” by Five For Fighting.
Music by All The Above Events.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? There was a moment after dinner was served when Jed pulled me aside and told me how great everything looked and thanked me for all the work I put in to our wedding. It was a sweet and touching moment between us in the midst of all the excitement, and one that I’ll never forget.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? For the most part, everything came together beyond what we could’ve imagined. Maybe we would’ve tried to eat more and enjoy all the amazing food that our guests raved about!
This year we’re so excited to bring you weekly DIY projects that are lovely, attainable, and cost effective, too!
Photos by Christina McNeill.
We’ve teamed up with Adelphi Events and Max Gill to create these totally charming Tin Can Table Number Luminaries (try saying that ten times fast!). While they do take some time, they can be done over several months – don’t be afraid to pull in your best friends for a crafting night to hammer and paint away! We’ve chosen a chic matte black paint for the outside and copper for a warm glow on the inside, but you can certainly go with other colors to fit your wedding design.
Download and print the number templates HERE (thanks to Adelphi Events for creating these!). Or, if you like the idea of luminaries but don’t need them for table numbers, you can easily incorporate the same steps to make lanterns to hang in trees, or to line pathways at night.
Scotch-Brite Stainless Steel Scrubbing Pad
Montana Gold Acrylic Spray Paint. (We used Copper Chrome for the interior and Coke Black for the exterior)
Free Printable Number Templates
Step 1. Remove paper label from outside of tin can.
Step 3. Wash tin can again, inside and out, with soap and water and let dry completely.
Step 4. Print out number templates and affix to the can with Masking Tape by taping one end first, then wrapping around tin can so the number is visible, and tape the other end down.
Step 5. Using nail and hammer, hammer nail into tin can on each dot of the template – starting at the OPENING of the tin can and working your way to BOTTOM of the tin can (keeps integrity of the tin can) TIP: Use Needle Nose Pliers to push any dents made while nailing, push out any dents from INSIDE the tin can
Step 6. Once you’ve finished creating the holes, remove paper template (reserve for future use) and use nail to reshape all holes.
Step 7. Spray paint interior of tin can multiple time. Let it dry in between each layer, and let it dry completely before moving to the next step. TIP: Metallic colors are best for the interior as they will reflect the most light from the candle.
Step 8. Place the number template inside the can to ensure that exterior spray paint won’t seep through nail holes while spraying. Flip the can upside-down (with the open end on the ground) and spray the exterior of the can. Let dry completely. TIP: Darker exterior colors will hide any imperfections made while nailing better than lighter colors.
Step 9. Flip can again so it is right side up. Cover open end with a disposable plastic or heavy paper plate, and spray paint to fully coat exterior of can. Let dry completely. TIP: Use markers to fix any teeny imperfections in the paint.
Step 10. Place a candle (tea light or votive will work) inside the can, light, and ENJOY!
– Not all cans are created equal. We found the cans with non-metallic interior (usually white) are IMPOSSIBLE to hammer a nail into. Save as many cans as you can and, as you go through the process, throw out any cans that give you immediate issues with major bending and warping from the get-go. They’ll only give you more problems as the can gets more holes.
– We tried painting the cans first and then hammering the nails. This method did not work for us and caused more problems. It’s best to hammer first then paint!
– When you remove the lid with a can opener, sometime a small jagged piece of metal remains. Use needle nose pliers to remove or bend back into place.
– Some cans need an extra pass with Goo Gone… Do your best to remove ALL adhesive goop (even deep in the ridges!), as it becomes much more obvious once spray painted.
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We started our trip in Tokyo, and headed to Kyoto as our second stop. Tokyo is “new Japan” and Kyoto is “old Japan.”
Places to go Kyoto:
Kyoto used to be the capital many many years ago, and it’s still the home of thousands of temples and shrines, and it’s where the few remaining Geisha’s still live and work.
The government encourages people to dress up in traditional dress by offering discounts to restaurants and shrines for those wearing Kimonos. So you see a lot of people you could easily confuse for Geishas.
Getting there from Tokyo is easy via the Shinkansen high-speed train. Getting train tickets was also easy – we went to the station on the day we were leaving for Kyoto and just purchased tickets there. Trains leave about every 20 minutes so it’s not hard to get on one of them. As I mentioned in my “tips” section, be sure to send your luggage ahead of you for an easy ride. If you’re feeling flush, take the “green car,” which is the first class cabin on the train – you get assigned seats, more room and more comfortable seats.
As in Tokyo, we started off our visit to Kyoto with a guided tour from “Tours by Locals,” and asked our guide to help us get to some of the sights at outlying areas that we were interested in seeing. We started the day at the “Golden Shrine” (really called Kinkaku-ji), which is one of the most visited shrines in Kyoto. There were tons of people there, but our guide told us it was “practically deserted” by local standards and that the best time to go is in the morning.
After that, we went to Arashiyama Monkey Park, which is an area where you can hang out with monkeys and watch them interact with each other. It sounds random, but is the most captivating thing ever. To get there, you hike through a bamboo forest, walk along a gorgeous river, and once you reach it, there’s the most spectacular view of all of Kyoto. I was hesitant to go here (monkeys aren’t really my thing), and I’m so glad we did.
The Nishiki Market in Kyoto is worth a visit. It’s a long hall filled with food shops, gift shops and other shops where it’s a little unclear what’s for sale. Like the fish market in Tokyo, there are tons of food stalls here so it’s a great place to visit at lunchtime.
There’s a scene in the movie version of Memoirs of a Geisha where the main character is running through a shrine with thousands of orange gates, and it happens to be the Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine. You could easily spend the day here as it’s set in the hills and there’s a walking path that takes several hours to do completely. Along the way there are vending machines and tea houses, so you won’t go hungry or thirsty.
The Gion District is where the Geisha’s still work. This is best to visit at night as it’s fun to people watch and there are a lot of restaurants and bars to pop into in this area.
There are so many temples and shrines to choose from, but another to put on your list is the Sanjusangendo Temple. It’s home to 1001 statues of the goddess of mercy, that are life-size and date back to the 1200s. It’s an amazing sight to see and well worth a trip. There’s not much else to do by this particular temple, so it’s good for a day when you’re feeling low energy and just want to see something cool. They don’t allow photos to be taken here, and they’ll take your camera if you get caught trying.
Things to eat and drink in Kyoto:
The food scene in Kyoto was a little harder to navigate than Tokyo’s. There are tons of Michelin-starred restaurants there, so if you have the budget it’s easy to dine well. It was a little more challenging finding good, reasonable places. We just popped into a few restaurants that looked popular and had decent meals, but none I’d say are “must do’s.” That said, there were a couple of stand-outs:
Kappo Sakamoto: Gion Sueyoshicho, Higashiyama-ku | 1F EF Bldg., Kyoto 605-0085 – is a kaiseki (many small plates) restaurant in Gion. The chef/owner speaks perfect English (which he learned while living in San Francisco and helping to found local-cult-favorite Blue Bottle Coffee) and spent a long time chatting with us as he cooked our meal. We felt like we visited the home of someone local who treated us to course after course of delicious food. We mentioned that we were planning to buy some chopsticks while we were in Japan, and the chef sent us home with a couple of sets from the restaurant as a gift. I can’t recommend this place enough. We also had our hotel make reservations for us here a few weeks before we arrived.
The Ritz Carleton Bar: The Ritz is an easy call as a place to get a drink in just about any city, and in Kyoto, it oozed old-world charm. The bar was cozy and mens-club swanky. We dressed up and had drinks here. You could also have dinner either in the bar area or in their similarly cool lobby-lounge.
Issen Yoshoku: This is a spot for Okonomiyaki, which is a savory Japanese pancake (it’s actually more like a crepe that’s filled with a bunch of savory things). There’s only one item on the menu – their version of the pancake, and beer to drink. The decor is funky (lots of ancient erotic drawings and life-size mechanical statues), but it’s a fantastic find little find and great for a cheap meal.
Going to an Onsen at a Ryoken:
To really make our trip to Japan feel like a honeymoon, we decided to spend a few days in the mountain town Hakone. Hakone is famous for its local hot springs, and many of the hotels in the area have their own onsens (private and public baths) that are filled with water from the hot springs. We stayed at a ryoken, which is a traditional Japanese hotel, called Gora Hanaougi . Staying at a ryoken is a wonderful way to immerse in Japanese culture.
At check-in, you’re treated to a cup of tea and afternoon snacks. Then they provide all the clothing you’ll need for your stay. We were given “formal” robes for dinner, informal pants and a top for hanging out, and slippers to wear (you check your shoes with the front desk upon arrival). As long as you’re inside the ryoken, there’s no need for any western clothes.
Each room had a private onsen on an open-air deck, and ours looked out into the mountains. Our favorite way to end the day was with a bottle of sake, in the onsen, watching the sun set.
Our room came with breakfast and dinner, both of which were simply amazing experiences. The breakfast was a traditional Japanese feast, with tons of tasty things served in little dishes. The presentation was worth the price of admission alone. Dinner is an elaborate 10-course meal, served in a private room.
During the day, we went into town to visit the Hakone Open Air Museum . We took the “cable car” down the mountain from our hotel and spent the afternoon exploring this space – if you’re into sculpture, it’s something to definitely put on your list. There’s a lot of hiking in the area, and a few other museums to visit as well.
It’s worth noting that the ryokens expect you to leave for a few hours during the day so that they have time to clean your room and prepare the place for afternoon tea and dinner. The public hot springs (which are only public in the sense that hotel guests can use them) are open in the early morning and late afternoon, but not during the day. You should also know that many of the ryokens do not permit people with tattoos to use their public onsens. Going to the onsen is the main reason people visit Hakone, so it’s worth staying somewhere with a private onsen if you have a tattoo (and it’s more romantic anyway). Bathing suits also are not permitted in the public onsens.
Hakone is easy to get to from Tokyo – there’s a “Romance Car” that goes directly there from Shinjuku station on the JR Railroad line (there’s nothing particularly romantic about this train, Hakone is just a popular couples destination). You can get tickets on the same day in the station (although we heard weekends were busier times to travel) and we didn’t have any trouble with language issues. We preferred to have reserved seating and requested that when we bought our tickets.
While you can take public transit all the way to a lot of the ryokens from the train station, we found it easiest to just take a taxi from the last stop (which is Odawara) to our ryoken. The system makes sense once you’re there, but it’s confusing on the way in because of the cable car portion. To make things really easy, we sent our bags from Tokyo to our hotel in Kyoto and just took an overnight bag to Hakone. You don’t need a lot with you since you’re given clothes to wear the whole time you’re in the ryoken.
Because the ryoken provided such a large breakfast and dinner, we never felt the need to eat out anywhere at lunchtime, we were still stuffed from breakfast! We did pick up some snacks at the train station – the train stations in general are a great place to get snacks. The Open Air Museum does have a cafe, and it’s a pretty spot to stop for a cup of tea or a coffee.
I’d highly recommend going to a ryoken while visiting Japan – the old-world set-up allowed us to really experience the culture, and not having a few fast-paced exploration days was a needed respite from touring.
All words and images by eLLe PHOTOGRAPHY.
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