The Secret to Stunning Flowers: A Workshop with Tulipina

Images by Jose Villa

Nothing brightens a space like breathtaking flowers, and nobody does it better than Kiana Underwood of Tulipina. So when Jesse had the chance to team up with her and Jose Villa for a workshop in Mexico, he jumped at the chance. Jesse spent a few spectacular days with two dozen creative minds in Cabo san Lucas, playing with fresh blooms, striking color, and beautiful models.

Centerpieces and personal flowers have never been more striking or more smile-inducing — we’ll let Jose’s photos speak for themselves!

Floral Styling and Design: Tulipina // Photography: Jose Villa // Event Design: Jesse Tombs for Alison Events, Assisted by By Jason Lloyd // Table Settings: Small Masterpiece // Onsite Coordination: Pina Cate // Paper Goods & Calligraphy: Design House of Moira // Artwork: Claire Tollstrup // Hand-dyed Ribbons: The Poetry of Silk // Painted Backgrounds: Valerie Teele // Gowns: Francesca Miranda // Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen // Event Rentals & Furniture: Event Design by Marianna Idirin // Hair & Makeup: Maripili7 // Venue: Flora Farms // Travel Planning: Ever After Honeymoons // Models: Loreto Ayuso and Jeniffer Hijar // Hotel: The Cape Hotel


Venue Spotlight: Rancho Valencia

All images by Braedon Photography

California is full of totally gorgeous venues for weddings and celebrations. While we wish we could visit them all, sometimes we need a fantastic reason to get in the car and drive. That’s why we were so thrilled when Brooke Keegan invited us to spend the weekend at Rancho Valencia! Located in Rancho Santa Fe, this resort and spa has it all: Hacienda styling, inviting courtyards, cozy suites with in-room fireplaces, and incredible food that will make your guests wish they could stay forever. Take a peek at these incredible photos by Braedon Photography, and you’ll see what we mean!

Thank you so much to Brooke and the Rancho Valencia team for having us as your guests!

Venue: Rancho Valencia // Photography: Braedon Photography // Cinematography: Cloudless Weddings // Welcome Floral & Décor: Blush Botanicals // Monday Breakfast Floral & Décor: Isari Flower Studio // Monday Lunch Floral & Décor: Flowers Annette Gomez // Monday Dinner and Tuesday Breakfast Floral & Décor: Olive Willow Designs // Press: Wedding Chicks // Rentals: Classic Party Rentals San Diego // Paper: Jen Simpson Design // Turndown Gifts: Plum Pretty Sugar, B. toffee


Venue Spotlight: Timber Cove

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All images by Christina McNeil

After an extensive (and totally gorgeous!) renovation, we were so excited to head back to Timber Cove for our end-of-the-year retreat with the Alison Events team. This seaside property, situated on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, is everything a California bride could want: rugged, relaxed, sophisticated, a hippie chic-meets-modern hotel with ‘60s styling, indulgent farm-to-table cuisine, and a plethora of spaces for both indoor and outdoor celebrations.

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Our retreat embraced that casual, woodsy vibe, with invitations that combined raw denim and cork, fresh and textured flowers drawing inspiration from the coastal setting, and a tablescape that mixed Timber Cove’s luxe lodge vibe with the property’s Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired architecture.

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The rooms and suites, with stone and wood accents and a mix of ocean and forest views, are as inviting as they come. There are 46 rooms on-site, plenty of space for an intimate wedding weekend surrounded by your closest friends. Tuck 60 people into the Ansel Adams room, with panoramic views and a redwood deck, to immerse yourselves in the hotel’s history and identity as an artist’s destination.

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Photography: Christina McNeil // Venue: Timber Cove // Planning & Design: Alison Events // Stationery: Yonder Design // Floral Design: Shotgun Floral Studio // Dinnerware, Flatware, and Glassware: Frances Lane // Rentals: Bright Rentals // Linens: La Tavola // Catering: Coast Kitchen // Wine: Jessica Lasky Catering


Venue Spotlight: The Barn at Green Valley

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Images by Sally Pinera

Tucked away in the hills of Napa Valley is a breathtaking barn venue like no other. The Barn at Green Valley is a secluded escape, a relaxed and welcoming property where you won’t know if you’re still in California or if the winding drive somehow transported you to the fields of Provence. Custom-built in 2015 for the owner’s daughter’s wedding, it’s now part of the Event Space Consulting family — and available to rent for your own wedding!

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The centerpiece is the barn itself, with a perfectly pitched roof, stone patio, and massive barn doors just begging to frame your ceremony. The covered veranda oozes refined Southern charm, just the place for cocktails on a warm Napa evening or an open-air dinner for a smaller crowd.

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Inside, the custom bar area is lit with vintage Edison bulbs, and the 8,000 square foot space easily seats 250 guests for a seated dinner or 350 for a standing reception. So whether you’re envisioning an indulgent multi-course meal (prepared in the property’s on-site catering kitchen!) or an evening of mingling and delicious libations, there’s space for everything. Follow the curved staircase up to the open-air loft, where you can sneak away for a moment to toast as newlyweds — or send the kids to play once the party gets underway!

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To really show off what the space can do, Jesse created an incredible shoot and opening party for some of our dearest friends in the industry. Found Vintage Rentals created the most inviting vignettes, Casa de Perrin helped set a stunning table, and Tulipina Design tucked breathtaking blooms on every surface. Élan Artists set the tone for an easy, relaxing afternoon, and Estate Events at Meadowood served an indulgent meal, delicious cocktails, and wine made from grapes grown on the property. And the incredible photography? Sally Pinera really outdid herself!

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The shoot itself captured the intimate, isolated nature of the property. Icy blue and misty lavender hues popped against the dark wood and warm leather of the space. Rich velvets and soft linen added a lush feel to the furnishings, and garden-inspired centerpieces dripped over the tables.

Looking to escape for your wedding (while still celebrating just 20 minutes from Napa Valley and 40 minutes from San Francisco)? Look no further than the Barn at Green Valley. We can’t wait to see what sort of stunning celebration takes over the space next.

Photography: Sally Pinera Photography // Venue: The Barn at Green Valley // Planning & Design: Jesse Tombs of Event Space Consulting / Alison Events // Floral Design: Tulipina Design // Rental Furniture: Found Vintage Rentals // Tabletop: Casa de Perrin // Linens: La Tavola Fine Linens, Silk and Willow // Paper Design: Yonder Design, Broadsheet Design // Calligraphy: Little Miss Press // Catering: Estate Events by Meadowood // Entertainment: Elan Artists


In the Press: Kim’s Bachelorette Party at Viansa Sonoma

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We never pass up a chance to get creative with Sylvie Gil and the Flutter Magazine team! Jesse jumped at the chance to head to Napa, along with Paula LeDuc Fine Catering, Kathleen Deery Design, and Sylvie to create an incredible Tuscan-inspired bachelorette bash like no other for Kim Wiseley, set at Paula LeDuc’s newest exclusive venue, Viansa Sonoma.

We created a fall-hued table that was every bit as indulgent as the pairing menu. Instead of the dining room, the table was set al fresco, with the building’s rustic shutters and sprawling ivy in the background. Stoneware chargers were set on warm woven linens, then topped with terracotta-hued napkins and die cut place cards shaped like grape leaves. Organic materials, like ceramic, wood, and marble, let the delicious food and soft florals really shine.

Speaking of food, the offerings were absolutely mouthwatering. Cocktails combined sparkling wine with pineapple syrup, then the girls dined on an elegantly casual menu of parmesan cones filled with Mt. Tam cheese and apricot jam, duck confit and roasted corn fritters, oven-roasted B.L.T. salad with pork belly and grilled romaine lettuce, and almond torte with figs and Grand Marnier sabayon — each expertly paired with Viansa Sonoma wines, of course!

If your mouth isn’t watering yet, it will be when you’re done taking a look at the feature, in the latest issue of Flutter!

Photography: Sylvie Gil // Venue: Viansa Sonoma // Design & Styling: Jesse Tombs for Alison Events // Floral, Décor, Design & Linens:Kathleen Deery Design // Catering & Paper Materials:Paula LeDuc Fine Catering // Furniture Rentals: Urban Parlour // Tabletop Rentals: Mrs. Peasy, March // Hair & Makeup: Gabriel Perez for Katie Nash Beauty

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Want to be the Best Dressed Guest? Here’s How.

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Photo by Elizabeth Messina

The second you get engaged, you’re inundated with questions from your friends and family. How did he ask? When’s the wedding? Where will it be? While most of the questions are easy to answer (especially once you’ve set out invitations!) there’s one that takes a little more guidance: What should I wear?

We always try to keep the dress code clear so everyone arrives appropriately dressed and looking — and feeling — their best, but even something as simple as “Cocktail Attire” or “Black Tie” can still be met with confusion. Enter The Black Tux. This suit and tuxedo rental company was founded to help dress the groom and wedding party, but has expanded to helping dress male guests, too. After all, not many people have a tuxedo in their closet these days, but you can’t just add a bowtie to a black suit and call it a day! We love this service (in fact, Alison’s husband and his groomsmen rented suits from The Black Tux for their wedding, above!) and how easy it makes it for men to arrive at a wedding, dressed to the nines and ready to celebrate. Not only do they offer a wide variety of suits for every dress code, they’ve made it even easier: Check out The Black Tux’s Wedding Guest Style Guide, check out the stylish options available to rent for your next jaunt as a wedding guest, then keep reading for our tips on making sure you’re the best dressed man at the reception — after the groom, of course!

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When in Doubt, Ask.
Did your friends decide to get creative with their dress code? If “Mountain Chic” just isn’t ringing a bell for you, send an email or make a phone call to get a little more information. You could ask the best man or maid of honor or, if that’s not helping, go straight to the source. Just make sure it’s more than a week before the wedding — any sooner than that and your friends will be busy with wedding prep and may not appreciate the extra questions.

Stay True to Your Style.
Is your closet full of color or prints? A black tie wedding doesn’t mean you’ve got to go strictly black-and-white. Rent a tux and invest in a beautiful patterned bowtie and cummerbund set, which will keep your look formal while still letting your personality shine through.

Overdressed is Best.
While “Black Tie Optional” does mean you can wear a black suit without offending anyone, we always say it’s better to be the most formally-dressed person in a room instead of the one who showed up in a sports coat in a sea of tuxedos. Go for a less traditional option (like the Midnight Blue Tuxedo) to expertly embody the dress code.


In the Press: Elizabeth and Patrick on Style Me Pretty

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There’s nothing like a wedding at home, especially when your family’s backyard is as gorgeous as Elizabeth’s! She and Patrick pulled out the stops for their elegantly rustic wedding at Elizabeth’s mother’s home in Napa, with stunning mountain views and an intimate garden vibe. From the softly textured invitations to the linen tablecloths and lush blush and white centerpieces, it was everything you’d imagine for a wedding on a September afternoon in California.

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The lace appliqué on Elizabeth’s gown gave the classic silhouette a modern spin, while Patrick was so handsome in a traditional tuxedo. And those kids! From ring bearers in pink suspenders to flower girls (six of them!) in blush dresses in flower crowns, the little ones almost stole the show — almost. Elizabeth came down the aisle carrying a bouquet that included blooms from her mother’s garden, then the couple’s wedding bands were passed amongst the guests before the couple exchanged vows.

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The sweet ceremony was capped off with an indulgent spread from Paula LeDuc Fine Catering, from tuna tartar cones and miniature tacos to a salad of tomatoes and smoked mozzarella and local beef filet with grilled corn ragout. A white dance floor overlooked the valley, full of grape vines, and Project M kept it packed until guests headed to the grotto for the after-party.

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Want more about this fabulous fall celebration? Head over to Style Me Pretty to see the feature!

 

Photography: Jesse Leake // Planning & Design: Alison Events // Venue: Bride’s Family Home // Floral Design: Kathleen Deery Design // Invitations: A Day in May Design // Officiant: Lisa Francesca // Hair & Makeup: SHE Artists // Rentals: La Tavola Fine Linen, Urban Parlor, Standard Party Rentals // Draping & Tent: Bright Event Rentals // Lighting: Illusions Lighting Design // Catering: Paula LeDuc Fine Catering // Cake: Perfect Endings // Band: Élan Artists // DJ: Boutique DJs // Photo Booth: Magbooth // Cinematography: Max and Molly Films


In the Press: Tyler & Mary’s Big Sur Wedding in Destination I Do

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When we found out Mary and Tyler’s wedding was going to be featured in the Fall 2016 issue of Destination I Do Magazine, we were thrilled. Then we found out that one of Feather & Twine Photography‘s portraits of Mary, in a gown from Stardust Celebrations and a bouquet and flower crown by Natalie Bowen Designs, was going to be on the cover… Well let’s just say we couldn’t contain our excitement! We are so honored to have this gorgeous celebration at Ventana Inn & Spa featured so beautifully. With only 13 guests, the Pacific Coast serving as the backdrop, and an indulgent dinner full of heartfelt toasts and fabulous food, we loved having the chance to pull out all the stops for Mary and Tyler’s destination wedding. Take a peek below, and pick up a copy of Destination I Do to see more!
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Photography: Feather & Twine Photography // Planning & Design: Alison Events // Venue: Ventana Inn & Spa // Floral Design: Natalie Bowen Designs // Wedding Gown: Stardust Celebrations // Groom’s Attire: Armani // Officiant: Life Celebrations // Rentals: Wine Country Party & Events // Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen // Music: Kelly Productions


In the Press: Katelyn and Anthony on The Southern California Bride

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We had so much fun celebrating Katelyn and Anthony’s wedding at the Parker Palm Springs, and loved getting to see it on Southern California Bride! Desert-inspired hues of berry and ochre, paired with warm wood, gold, and gray, accented the setting while creating a warm and inviting space for the couple and their 140 guests. Katelyn loves the Beverly Hills Hotel’s iconic banana leaf print, so we sprinkled a hand-painted version of it throughout the day, from the invitation belly-bands to the calligraphed dinner menu.

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Anthony and Katelyn wed beneath a creamy draped tent-like structure, with vintage pews and wooden chairs taking the place of traditional seating. Their ceremony was incredibly personal, written and performed by two of the couple’s closest friends. At dinner, we mixed mismatched chairs with bare farm tables, arranging an eclectic collection of vases full of burgundy dahlias, peach peonies, and white ranunculus amongst votive candles and geometric objects. The theme continued overhead, with geometric light fixtures strung above the tables.

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Katelyn and Anthony’s priority was to create an amazing weekend for their friends and family and ensure every guest felt special. They pulled it off with aplomb, and we are so thrilled we could be a part of such a special day!

Photography: Abby Ross for Lauren and Abby // Venue: The Parker Palm Springs // Event Planning & Design: Alison Events // Floral Design, Rentals & Decor: Brown Paper Design // Paper Materials: Paper Plane Paperie // Hair & Makeup: Jessica Belknap & Amanda Chaney // Ceremony & Cocktail Music: Elan Artists // DJ: Dart DJ // Videography: Shark Pig

In the Press: An Interview with Jesse Tombs of Alison Events on Borrowed & Blue

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Photos by Leo Patrone

We recently had the chance to speak with Stephanie, a Napa & Sonoma Market Specialist for Borrowed & Blue, about what we do, why we do it, and what we love most. She spoke with managing partner Jesse Tombs, and we’re so excited to share the interview with you! Here’s a little peek into the world of Alison Events.

If you’ve ever sat down and thought about everything that goes into planning an event—let alone, your wedding day—then you know why it’s sometimes just best to leave it all to the professionals. Enter: your very own wedding planner and designer.

“Trust us when we say that wedding planners and designers will make your life a WHOLE lot easier. That’s why Borrowed & Blue loves Alison Events, who time and time again proves they’ve earned the title of one of the top wedding planners in the world (as instituted by Vogue Magazine). Today we’re doing an exclusive interview with Alison Events and after working closely with Jesse Tombs, Managing Partner of Alison Events, we’re going to give you a peek into the stunning, spectacular world of an event planner.”  – Stephanie, Borrowed & Blue’s Napa & Sonoma Market Specialist

Here’s Borrowed & Blue’s Q&A with Jesse Tombs of Alison Events:  

If you could possibly narrow it down, what is your favorite moment of a wedding day?
I love watching the client as they see the whole picture come to life, seeing the excitement in their eyes and on their faces. We see weddings as a way to tell stories from the beginning of the guest experience (usually a mailed save the date) to the final goodbye at the end of a wedding weekend. I want to help our clients create a vision that gives their guests a glimpse into who they are, both individually and as a couple. It can be a challenge for some of our clients to visualize the concept we’re creating, so the most gratifying moment for me as a wedding planner and event designer is when they see all the details and beauty come together on their wedding day and can truly understand the vision we have brought to life for them.

How’d you get into wedding planning?
I have an extremely mixed professional background. I worked in catering in high school and college, and then after in the fashion industry. I returned from New York to the Bay Area and worked in restaurants and hotels. I have always loved taking care of people and feel like hospitality runs in my veins. I also love to create and make things with my hands. When I was six or seven, I moved all the furniture in my parents house and re-hung all the pictures on the walls. I’ve always had an innate design capacity and enjoy using the skills I have gained over the years to provide unparalleled personalized service to my clients. My background enables me to bring a truly hands-on approach to design and aesthetics. I’m not the type of wedding planner that sits in a corner barking orders. I am a servant leader: In the room, moving furniture, folding napkins, and personally making sure that every detail is seen to so that the client’s vision can be brought to reality.

Describe your event aesthetic in three words.
Effortless, Innovative, Rich.

The first thing you ask when you sit down with a couple?
Who are you? What turns you on? What makes you laugh?

Top three pieces of advice for couples who just got engaged?
Don’t rush into anything. Enjoy the planning process, it should be fun. Spend what feels right to you.

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What’s your favorite thing about your job?
My team and the people I get to work with. I love our vendors and consider many of them dear friends, if not family.

What’s the best thing about having your wedding in Napa?
The weather, the views and the amazing local vendors and venues.

What about Sonoma?
I really enjoy the relaxed, laid back feel of Sonoma, it is less pretentious than Napa, and also provides beautiful backdrops for weddings and events.

Most important detail of wedding decor?
Paper Materials. Guests come in direct contact with these, and they make a huge impact. Paper sets the tone for the whole event so take that into consideration when you’re deciding on the design and materials. The invitation can be simple, with the majority of the information for guests on an inexpensive custom website, but the feel of the piece of paper they do receive is important, and that usually costs a bit more.

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Photos by Christina McNeill

The celebrity wedding you wished you planned?
Carolyn Bessette & John F. Kennedy Jr.

Your thoughts on DIY weddings?
I certainly don’t have anything against clients making things themselves for their wedding. I had a client this year design the invitations and they are stunning, however he is a graphic designer by trade, so that was a project that made sense for him to take on. If you are not a painter or a sculptor, don’t paint a backdrop or create a sculpture for your alter. Hire professionals to do the jobs that aren’t in your wheelhouse. But if there is something that you love doing, like making granola, by all means make granola as the parting gift for each guest. In my opinion, doing it yourself should be a way to to make things more personal, not more affordable.

Your favorite out of all the Napa wedding venues?
Z Modern.

What about Sonoma wedding venues?
Annadel Estate Winery.

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Photos by Elizabeth Messina

Tell the story of the biggest day-of disaster and how you swooped in to save the day.
I worked my first wedding when I was 15 and worked for a caterer, and I dropped the wedding cake. I was able to save the top and ran to the closest store to buy frosting and another cake. I pieced it back together and did the best I could with frosting and flowers. It wasn’t beautiful, but the couple saw the amount of effort (as well as the tears) that I’d put into fixing it. They forgave me and ended up having the best day of their lives! It was a day I’ll never forget. After the wedding, the client sent a thank you note and specifically thanked me for all of my hard work. They said their cake was one of the things they would never forget, which was terrifying but also made me realize that my hard work will be remembered, even in the shadow of an embarrassing error.

Describe your dream wedding.
My dream wedding would be small, with my closest family and friends. It would feel authentic to me and the location, as well as intimate and personal in both size and details. I want all the weddings I plan and design to feel like a dinner party —not overly produced or overthought, but specific and planned with thoughtfulness, clarity and purpose. Design should be a big factor, but practicality is also at the top of my list. I want everything you need, and none of the things you don’t, so everything is just right.