Photos By Ashley Williams
By Lauren Kathryn on Nov 25, 2015 at 4:00 am in Bohemian
Friendsgiving—a laidback get-together with friends before or after the typical Thanksgiving feast with family—is fastly moving from trend to tradition. Last week, photographer Ashley Williams rounded up some of her favorite people, including floral designer Diamant Winter of Blue Ladder Botany, to show how it’s done in SoCal style. “We recently got our first glimpse of chilly weather in San Diego, so we decided to kick-start the season with a glamped-up potluck picnic in a local wooded park,” Ashley says.
Garlanded with winter wheat, corn husks, and pampas grasses that mirrored the neutral colors of the surroundings, a rustic table was set with candles in tarnished gold goblets and a casual gourmet spread of rosemary harm, spiced yams, pomegranate salad, blackberry pie, branded bread, and honey-drizzled brie topped with candied pecans and blood orange slices. The food was eaten family style atop plaid blankets and pillows fashioned into a cozy alfresco lounge space on the grass of a sunwashed clearing.
“Once the sun set over the hill, we were able to enjoy the twinkling of fairy lights and the flicker of oil lanterns strung from the branches of nearby trees, as well as the low glow of a miniature camping stove that kept our spiked cider warm,” Ashley says. “The gathering provided the perfect opportunity for everyone to dig out their favorite winter sweaters and socks and snuggle up together with soothing sips and slices of pie. We might not see a white Christmas here, but we still know how to get everyone in the holiday spirit.”
Photography > Ashley Williams Photography / Location > / Event Design and Planning > Blue Ladder Botany / Flowers > Blue Ladder Botany / Desserts > Betty’s Pie Whole / Furniture Rentals > Adore Folklore / Paper Goods > Samantha Louise Moments / Calligraphy > Samantha Louise Moments / Candles > Often Wander / Wine > Carruth Cellars / Mugs > Terrain / Stove > World Market
You Might Also Like
By Lauren Kathryn on Nov 24, 2015 at 4:00 am in
D.C.-based nutritionist and recipe developer Carlene Thomas offers a festive take on traditional tiramisu by way of this very pear-y version topped off with honey-drizzled almonds for a satisfyingly sweet and crunchy kick. Seasonal deliciousness aside, its most appealing aspect might be how easy it is to make in advance. “We all know that oven space is at a premium during the holidays, so this make-ahead dessert will reduce your stress level when it comes to ensuring that everything makes it to the table,” Carlene says. “Plus, it’s a nice change from the predictable pie.”
♦ 1 cup of boiling-hot water
♦ 2 tablespoons of ginger (grated)
♦ 1/4 cup of sugar
♦ 1 tablespoon of honey
♦ 1 1/2 tablespoons of Amaretto (almond liqueur)
♦ 2 large egg yolks
♦ 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of dark rum
♦ 8 ounces of mascarpone
♦ 1/2 cup of chilled heavy cream
♦ 18 savoiardi (crisp Italian ladyfingers) from two 7-ounce packages
♦ Cinnamon for dusting
♦ Sliced/slivered almonds (honey-roasted if possible)
♦ 3/4 of a large, ripe, and peeled Bartlett pear
♦ Drizzle of wildflower honey
Stir together water, ginger, honey, and Amaretto in a shallow bowl until honey has dissolved, then cool.
Beat egg yolks, rum, and sugar in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of lightly simmering water using a whisk until tripled in volume, which will take approximately 5 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. Beat in mascarpone until just combined. Beat cream in a large bowl until it holds stiff peaks. Gently fold mascarpone mixture into whipped cream.
After dipping both sides of each ladyfinger into the Amaretto-infused ginger-honey mixture, line the bottom of a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with half the ladyfingers in rows, trimming edges to fit if necessary. Spread half of the mascarpone filling on top. Press down thin slices of pear into the mascarpone filling and dust cinnamon over this layer. Arrange remaining ladyfingers over filling in pan. Spread remaining mascarpone filling on top and dust with cinnamon. Chill, covered, for at least 6 hours.
Let tiramisu stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving, then sprinkle with slivered almonds and add a drizzle of honey if desired.
You Might Also Like
Photos By Candace Nelson Photography
By Lauren Kathryn on Nov 23, 2015 at 4:00 am in Classic
Bryan Neal, a field artillery captain in the Army, and Diana Lee, a special education teacher, met in the summer of 2013 by a stroke of destiny at a winery in Clarksville, Tennessee. “Our meeting was definitely providential,” says Diana. Although the Alabama belle was instantly smitten with the dashing officer, she initially thought him too charming for comfort. “He was so handsome, I thought he must have a string of ladies after him,” she says. “I didn’t think I’d ever see him again, but there was something about him I couldn’t shake.” Plus, Bryan was persistent, texting Diana for months despite at first receiving the cold shoulder from her. Finally, the two struck a deal when their respective alma maters, Auburn and Texas A&M, battled it out on the football field that fall. “If his Aggies won, he would drive to Auburn to take me out,” Diana says. “If my Tigers won, I would drive to Nashville to take him out.” It was a win-win either way. With Auburn prevailing, the pair shared their first official date on Diana’s turf over Veterans Day weekend. A year later, on the very day Auburn and Texas A&M met again, Bryan proposed with an engraved Bible, a bouquet of peonies, and the most beautiful diamond sparkler Diana had ever set eyes on.
The couple exchanged vows the following spring in Montgomery, Alabama, at the Young Meadows Presbyterian Church, then dined and danced the night away at the historic Oaks Plantation in Pike Road. Inspiration for the day’s details was drawn from the bride’s Scottish heritage and her love of all things Southern, as well as from the groom’s military background. They endeavored, Diana says, to create “feelings of warmth, inclusion, tradition, chivalry, and community.”
“My grandmothers were full-blooded Scotswomen who lived in, and loved, the South,” Diana says. “Since they have passed, I wanted to honor their memory and the impact their roots have had on me. As a little girl, I dreamed of getting married in either a Scottish castle or an old country church, neither of which had room to host all of the people we love. It was up to the details to evoke the moods of these places.”
Diana’s eldest brother, Andrew, is an artist and designer, so he volunteered to create the couple’s monogram, which became the detail that set the tone for their wedding. “We decided to keep the tradition of having my maiden surname initial on the invitation and wedding program and my married surname initial on all monogrammed pieces at the reception,” Diana says. “Andrew’s design captured the look of an ancient Scottish church, with a nod to the South’s live oaks in the form of leafy branches shaped into a Celtic cross. The initials contained horizontal lines that reminded me of the shiplapped country churches I once dreamt about.”
Andrew worked with local calligrapher Courtnie Johnson and local stationer p. press to create the cream-and-gold paper goods.
Bryan’s band belonged to his beloved grandfather, after whom he’s named, and Diana’s diamond-studded band belonged to her Scottish great-great-aunt, after whom she’s named.
Lisa Thorne, the couple’s floral designer, intertwined their Scottish and Southern roots by including tartan and thistles in the boutonnieres, pinning the bridal bouquet wrap with an heirloom amethyst thistle brooch that had belonged to the bride’s Scottish great-grandmother, and creating lush garlands and arrangements using greenery familiar to the South.
The altar was garlanded in greenery accented with the same kind of sunrise-shaded peonies that Bryan gifted to Diana when he popped the question.
“To personalize the reception space, my mother brought in family pieces, including antique Persian rugs, a gilded frame from the 1800s, and a hand-embroidered turn-of-the-century settee,” Diana says. “Other family members also contributed items, including antique silver candlesticks, silver goblets, and silver platters. Over the mantels, our florist hung large gray-toned murals that looked like they could have come from the pages of an old illustrated edition of a Jane Austen novel.”
A bagpiper piping “Scotland the Brave” serenaded the couple as they passed beneath an honorary arch of sabers. “I am partial to Bryan in his dress whites, which are not the common choice for military grooms,” Diana says.
“Hire a photographer you can trust,” Diana says when asked about her best piece of advice for soon-to-weds. “As the day goes by in a flash, it is vital to have a skilled photographer who can capture the moments that might otherwise slip by undocumented. We were blessed to have Candace Nelson as our photographer. Candace picked up on the heart of our wedding and the essence of who Bryan and I are. She has a beautiful perspective and artfully captured moments and emotions that we will cherish forever.”
Guests dined on a feast of Southern comfort food catered by Jennie Weller. The mouth-watering menu included fried green tomatoes, made-to-order gourmet pizzas, barbecued shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, scallops, macaroni and cheese scooped out of a parmesan cheese drum, and melt-in-your-mouth beef tenderloin with sweet potato biscuits. The couple’s four-tiered cake was brushed with edible gold.
Photography > Candace Nelson photography / Creative Direction > thorne & thistle / Second Shooter > david nelson / Ceremony Venue > young meadows presbyterian church / Reception Venue > the oaks plantation / Event Design and Planning > thorne & thistle / Day-Of Coordination > thorne & thistle / Flowers > thorne & thistle / Catering > jennie weller catering & events / Cake > sonshine cakes / Furniture Rentals > the event group / Ceremony Music > trotline / Bride’s Dress > monique lhuillier / Bridal Boutique > Ivory & White / Bridesmaids’ Dresses > BELSOIE FROM THE CLOTHES RACK / Groom’s Attire > / Invitations > andrew lee, brides brother / Programs > andrew lee, brides brother / Paper Goods > sherry scruggs of p. press / Calligraphy > poppy pedals / Bagpiper >
You Might Also Like
Photos By Ryan Graham
By Lauren Kathryn on Nov 13, 2015 at 4:00 am in Bohemian and Colorful
Kate Rawbone and Julian Diaz met four years ago on a cold, rainy night in the dead of a Cape Town winter. Exhausted after a long work week, Julian had wanted to hole up indoors for the evening, but he’d promised friends that he’d join them for drinks, so he’d grabbed his coat and headed to meet them at a place he doesn’t usually frequent: Planet Bar, a posh, glittery establishment housed in the city’s oldest hotel. Kate, who’d been itching for a girls’ night out, had shown up with a friend to kick off the revelry with a bit of bubbly. The pair’s paths might never have crossed, but it seems the stars conspired to align. When the two first spotted each other, the attraction was as instant as it was electric. “We couldn’t take our eyes off each other, and we wound up chatting all night,” Kate recalls. “I was so swept up in the conversation that I didn’t even notice when my friend slipped away! Julian finally kissed me, midsentence, and I blissfully forgot what I was even talking about. It’s been a ridiculously fun, love-fueled ride ever since.”
Once Julian proposed—on his own birthday a year later—the couple began planning a winery wedding at Beaumont, a Bot River family farm and vineyard steeped in time-honored traditions. Since Kate works for Wedding Concepts, one of South Africa’s most sought-after event planning companies, she and Julian had a running head start on designing a day of dreams. The duo drew on their different roots—he’s Colombian-American, she was raised in Johannesburg—to create a vibrant, eclectically romantic setting suffused with a South American-inspired palette of fuchsia, burnt orange, cream, and green. As the couple had hoped, it turned out to be “a true celebration for all the senses.”
The couple’s elegantly modern monogram featured gradated gold foil lettering. The paper goods were created by Lara’s Designs, which specializes in bespoke stationery.
Heike le Cordeur, South Africa’s most wildly imaginative floral designer, used trailing amaranthus and russet-colored orchids to put an edgy spin on a classically soft and feminine bouquet of peonies.
The branchy ceremony arch was twined with tree peonies, bougainvillea, and golden grevillea. A local weather phenomenon known as a black south-easter—very strong and gusty winds—forced the ceremony indoors, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The couple ended up exchanging vows in Beaumont’s cozily cavernous wine cellar, which is the oldest in the region. “The space actually made the ceremony far more intimate and special,” Julian says.
“The highlight for me was that heart-racing moment when I got out of the car and began walking down the aisle to meet Julian,” Kate says. “I’ve never experienced anything like that before. It was a complete rush of emotions that I simply could not control.”
“As I saw Kate arrive and walk toward me in her wedding dress for the first time, I was overcome with emotion and couldn’t hold back the tears,” Julian says. “I underestimated the impact this moment would have on me and was just not prepared for it. It was a very special moment that will remain engrained in my memory for the rest of my life.”
The seating chart was framed by a bounty of roses, peonies, and greenery.
“Even though we had 150 guests, we still wanted the reception to feel warm and intimate,” Kate says. “In my design work at Wedding Concepts, I always find that suspended décor, be it lighting or florals, instantly transforms the ambiance of a room, lending a coziness and a mood of magic that can’t be created any other way.” Lovingly built by Kate’s father, wooden canopies were draped with floating ferns, foliage, and fresh flowers, then strung with a potpourri of luminaries, including jarred tea lights, crystalled chandeliers, Edison-style lightbulbs, and fairy lights, for a dreamy glow.
A sloping wheat field overlooking Beaumont’s homestead provided a picturesque setting for portraits.
Photography > ryan graham / Videography > vision on fire / Ceremony Venue > beaumont family wines / Reception Venue > beaumont family wines / Event Design and Planning > bride in collaboration with wedding concepts / Event Coordination > wedding concepts / Flowers > fleur le cordeur / Catering > zest / Cake > kanya hunt / Rentals > urban tonic / Ceremony Music > / Reception Music > dj rené / Bride’s Dress > Klûk CGDT / Hair > Shanti O’Hagan of Mop Hair / Makeup > yolande du toit / Lighting and effects > something different / Groom’s and Groomsmen’s Attire > / Stationery > lara’s designs
You Might Also Like
By Lauren Kathryn on Nov 12, 2015 at 4:00 am in
Handwritten communications may have long ago been left in the dust of the digital age, but there are still some occasions that demand putting pen to paper, and inscribing thank-you letters to wedding guests is one of those times, no ifs or buts about it. Luckily, even cash-strapped couples can craft fancy-looking notes of gratitude with designer Susan Brand’s latest free printable: hand-painted floral thank-you cards that come with corresponding envelope liners and a handy envelope template. Keep scrolling to download these beauties, and get your writing hand ready!
These photos and artworks are copyrighted material. They are intended solely for personal use and not for republication, distribution, sale, preparation of derivative works, or any other non-personal use. If you’d like to blog about this post, feel free to share the photos (with a proper credit line and a link back to this post), but please do not distribute these downloadable PDFs on your site or anywhere else. Thank you!
Sharing is Happiness
You Might Also Like
Photos By Ashlee Mintz
By Lauren Kathryn on Nov 11, 2015 at 4:00 am in Vintage
We’re giving a little nod to the red, white, and blue on this day of remembrance with a beautifully unconventional bridal shoot awash in the colors of our country. Mesmerizingly captured through the lens of film photographer Ashlee Mintz, the outdoor session revolved around a daringly romantic red gown. In many Eastern cultures, brides often wear red as a symbol of auspiciousness, but the hue has a place in Western weddings as well; during the Revolutionary War, American brides thought it patriotic to don the color, which betokened the Colonies’ drive for independence. And it was resurrected a few seasons back by iconic bridal couturier Vera Wang, who designed an entire collection inspired by the passionate shade. Here, its boldness is softened by delicate details, such as a floral watercolor invitation suite and a lacily finespun Venetian mask in lieu of a traditional veil.
Photography > ashlee mintz / Location > the waterfall / Flowers > ridley park florist / Cake > clay’s creative corner bakery / Makeup > makeup by katie marie / Paper Goods > paper garden / Film Scanning and Processing > The Find Lab / Masquerade Mask > Higgins Creek
You Might Also Like