photography Jose Villa / productions Laurie Arons
Whether you enlist the help of friends and family or choose to hire a professional team of vendors, selecting the right team that can bring your vision to life is crucial. After all, you are entrusting that the people you bring on board will understand your vision, and ensure that you can focus on the most important part of your special day: getting married. But not all vendors are created equal and it is important to understand what your vendor will or will not do, the scope of his/her experience, and quite frankly, if you will enjoy working with the vendor throughout the entire process. Take the time to do your homework and interview each vendor prior to bringing him/her on board.
You may wish to inquire if the vendor has previously collaborated together on a wedding with another vendor from your list since it helps ensure that planning for your wedding will be a seamless process for all parties involved. Once you have narrowed down your final choices, remember to secure a written contract that clearly outlines the terms of the agreement.
For the team of Laurie Arons Special Events, the decision to bring on a floral designer was driven by the bride’s vision. “We knew we wanted to use local, seasonal flowers in an abundant way. Wilhelmina [our bride] wanted a floral designer who would forage the Napa Valley landscape to create something special, so we brought in Sarah Winward who is a true talent that way,” notes founder Laurie Arons. From there, Arons’s team worked with Windward to design a hanging garden installation that appeared above guests’ dinner tables in the reception. “We wanted it to feel lush and wild, and to warm up the big space there at Durham Ranch. The vines from the installation hung down low enough to make it feel sort of interactive for guests, so they felt like they were a part of it. The installation cast beautiful shadows on the walls that moved as the leaves fluttered in the breeze,” notes Winward.
A great way to personalize your wedding, while adding in a subtle, yet noticeable design element is to layer the details. For our couple, each aspect of their wedding received a stand-out installation of floral that would progress in richness of color.
Starting with the ceremony, Winward and her team created a full dramatic arch for the couple’s backdrop. The arch was constructed of incredible blooming branches that are only available for a couple of weeks during the season. After cocktails, guests moved into the barn at Durham Ranch for dinner under a magical ceiling installation of green vines and delicate hanging candles. It covered forty feet of ceiling and was a labor of love for the teams of Winward and Got Light, a local lighting company, both of whom executed it to perfection. Since the ceiling was so dramatic, the table centerpieces focused on smaller groupings of arrangements that contained garden roses, ranunculi, poppies, hellebores, spirea, blooming branches, pieris, fritillaria, and sweet pea in a mix of soft and vibrant colors. This color combination created a joyful vibe on the tables. “The bride and groom love Heath Ceramics stoneware, so we enlisted Casa de Perrin to outfit the table top in Heath dinnerware, pewter flatware, and beautiful crystal stemware,” says Arons. “To close out the night, we revealed a dance tent built over the venue’s pool that was full of bold yellow flowers. My favorite part of the tent was the bright yellow entryway valance Winward constructed using forsythia and mimosa. It was unexpected, yet so perfect to set the fun tone inside.”
When every event on the day of the wedding occurs at a different venue, this usually adds a layer of complexity for guests who must factor in more time and energy into getting from point A to B, which may lead to a series of unpleasant experiences to an otherwise celebratory occasion. “The flow of an event is extremely important,”Arons emphasizes. “The event needs to progress in an organic way at the venue, and be designed with the guests’ comfort in mind. It is also an opportunity to treat your friends and family to new experiences through the wedding. Almost all of my events have some sort of ‘reveal,’ where guests are invited into a new space. I find it reenergizes the party and makes for a memorable wedding over all.”