I love the holiday season and the way it lends itself to fantasy and whimsy and even a little mystery. Today’s wedding board was inspired by this idea, and by the laurel garland from Tail of the Yak*, with the olive green, the pop of pink ribbon, and the aged gilt of the mirror behind it. I think it’s a luxurious and unexpected twist on the traditional Christmas green and red, and it’s definitely full of holiday fantasy.

(*Tail of the Yak is an incredibly well-curated and magical little shop in Berkeley, and if you ever have the chance to visit, do. It also happens to be where my engagement ring came from, which might make me a little biased, except that it actually is the most wonderful shop ever to exist. Promise.)

Mood: sumptuous holiday whimsy
Palette: laurel and pine green, fuschia velvet, bronze and chocolate

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Top row from left: laurel leaf garland with pink ribbon from Tail of the Yak via Oh Happy Day, chocolate taffeta dress photo by Rodney Smith, centerpiece with magenta rose and begonia leaves by Ariella Chezar
Row 2: place setting with red napkin photo by Silvana di Franco via Wiley Valentine, vintage-style Roman-inspired crown from Heather Bullard, fuschia velvet chairs via My Little Apartment
Row 3: snowy library from Anthropologie’s Nov. ’09 catalog, bouquet with deep pink garden roses and jasmine by Artfool, hand-lettered menu with pink garland border by Cynthia Warren for Chez Panisse (photo by Aya Brackett)
Row 4: vintage fuschia velvet shoes via Nostalgia at the Stone House, designer Christmas tree with glass ornaments in shades of pink, chocolate chestnut wedding cake with sugared fruit and laurel leaves and diamond engagement ring in fuschia velvet box both from Martha Stewart Weddings

(I know I’ve been writing a lot more lately, and I hope that’s okay with everyone. Some of you are probably just here for the pictures, and that’s okay too.)

In the context of our recent conversations about keeping things simple, today’s wedding inspiration board might not make much sense, especially if you are thinking of “simple” as “minimalist.” There is certainly nothing minimalist about this sumptuous holiday wedding that I’ve imagined for today – it’s full of outrageously rich fuschia velvet, it’s decorated with garlands and Christmas trees, there’s a crown and illustrated menu and fabulous vintage shoes, and a tiered chocolate cake covered with sugared fruit. I think, no matter how you try to make it fit, “simple” just doesn’t apply here.

But I don’t believe that richness and thoughtfulness are mutually exclusive. In fact, I think that they can and should go hand in hand. That was how I thought about today’s inspiration board – it’s the way I’d like to approach the holidays, my own wedding planning, and most parts of my life. It includes finding and creating beauty – both material and spiritual – in every day, thinking carefully which objects you choose to surround yourself with, giving to others, and doing these things in a way that is authentic for you. Below is part of an email I wrote to my friend Meg awhile back (she even posted it on her blog!) that seemed appropriate for this conversation, and that I thought I’d share with you:

…[I was thinking] about was why do I love all of the wedding details? Because I really do love them (well, most of them; there are a chunk that I find absurd). And I realized that it’s because I love details in general, I love things that are done thoughtfully and beautifully, that are meaningful, and that are little gifts to other people whether they realize it’s a gift or not. And if a bride doesn’t feel that way about the details, and if all she feels is pressure and like she doesn’t measure up, then that’s not thoughtful or meaningful in a good way, and it’s not a gift to anyone! People need to remember that their wedding day should reflect who they are, and if for them that means walking down the aisle to Johnny Cash, and not perfectly coordinated vintage stamps, then THAT’S their gift.

So, what do you think? How you feel about this idea? Is it something that resonates with you? How are you applying it to your own wedding planning (or holiday shopping, or whatever)?

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I apologize for repeating images from time to time – there are some that I return to again and again. It seems like every year around this time, this sweet ruffled dress by Oscar de la Renta makes an appearance in one of my inspiration boards (like here, and here). I just can’t help it – I love it! And even though it’s short, it feels like the perfect winter wedding dress to me.

Though winter weddings are generally more formal than in other seasons – I think it’s the fact that we’re stuck indoors and wearing more clothes – that’s no reason to sacrifice the simplicity that we’ve been talking about lately. Choose a dress that makes you feel beautiful, a classic color palette (inspired by this post), and choose a few details that matter to you and make them extra-special (like quirky calligraphy, or a wreath in lieu of a traditional bouquet, or miniature panettone for your guests to take home). As Gia Canali wrote in this insightful post (which I linked to on Friday, but in case you missed it), take it easy and do a few things well.

Update! Check out what Meg posted this morning over on A Practical Wedding!

Mood: classic sophistication, elegant whimsy
Palette: ivory and evergreen

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Top row from left: tea-length Oscar de la Renta dress from Martha Stewart Weddings, shoes and birdcage veil photo by Jose Villa, olive branch heart via Cafe Cartolina, miniature panettone favors from Martha Stewart Weddings with letterpress tags by Austin Press
Row 2: bay leaf garland from Martha Stewart Weddings via The Bride’s Guide, chapel photo by Mark Staff, white rose petals photo by Jonathan Canlas
Row 3: laurel-wreath table number from Alison Events, cake with greenery decorations photo by Jose Villa, whimsical calligraphy by Betsy Dunlap, wreath “bouquet” from Martha Stewart Weddings via The Bride’s Guide

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If you’re in the midst of planning a wedding, I imagine that you might be looking for ways to save money without sacrificing style. Or maybe you’re a newlywed, wondering what to do with the extra 200 balloons left over from your wedding reception. Enter BravoBride. It’s an online marketplace where brides, newlyweds and wedding vendors can buy and sell new and pre-owned wedding items. From dresses to jewelry to decorations, on BravoBride you can buy and sell just about anything to do with weddings.

How about a Rivini gown for less than half the original price, or a never worn platinum engagement ring and wedding band set (that retails for $6500) on sale for $2500? Plus, with the holidays coming up, BravoBride is a great place to find the perfect gift or party decorations. Definitely stop by and see what they have – you might find just the thing you’re looking for, but cheaper!

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It is definitely starting to feel like the holidays around here. I’ve started a bit of my holiday shopping, drinking chocolate is making regular appearances in our apartment, and there’s even talk of snow! In Texas! What are you doing to get in the holiday spirit? How about some of these great links from around the web this week (like roasting chestnuts!)…

Beautiful brides in pink ombre and black sashes.

Mmmmm. Lavender.

Striped icebergs. Absolutely unreal.

Q is for Quail, and for sassy bridesmaid dresses.

How to roast chestnuts.

I’ve never been so excited about food coloring in my life.

My newest dream wedding, via Once Wed.

Oh, snap!

A magical little nook.

Isn’t this what we’ve been talking about all week?

Great inspiration-to-reality series on SMP.

Best Christmas card ever.

One of my inspiration boards became this reader’s wedding. How fun!

These would be a nice surprise in my stocking this year.

I always enjoy Hollister’s gift guides.

And a big congratulations to Elizabeth Anne Designs on the beautiful new site!

Have a happy happy weekend!

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