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Classic Santa Barbara Estate Wedding

From the dress to the florals, reception and every detail in between, this California beauty is classic elegance in every sense. Bringing all the formality of a ballroom wedding outdoors, Alegria By Design made certain this bride’s aesthetic came to life and all 2o guests left the day feeling special. The lovelies of TEAM Hair & Makeup beautified the bridal party, and Jasmine Star captured the gallery filled with so much more.


From Alegria By DesignThis gorgeous wedding was designed around a palette of creams, champagnes, pale pink and ivories with mixed metals, candle accessories. Flowers used was latte dahlias, pink and cream double bloom garden roses, cream and pink lisianthus, Dusty Miller, pink star jasmine, gardenia, white hydrangea and white phalaenopsis orchid.

From her Pinterest board I could tell that Karen was a classic bride, more black tie and ballroom than garden. My challenge was to create an homogenized design honoring both Karen’s aesthetic and the beautifully lush backdrop that Villa Verano offers up. For Karen and Mohamed’s interfaith ceremony we utilized the overgrown built-in grandstand as the main focal point. We added two flanking large-scale overflowing pedestalled garden urns dripping with florals in muted pinks and creams; we then punctuated the short aisle with piles of rose petals.

In my opinion there is just nothing like an canopy overhead to evoke a sense of wonderment. Canopies make me feel like I did when I rode “It’s a small world” at Disneyland for the first time…small, special and happy. With just 20 guests in attendance I though an simple canopy over the richly textured feasting table was just the ticket! The table was illuminate by candle light after guests were treated to an exceptionally dazzling Santa Barbara sunset. It was such a pleasure to design Karen’s beautiful day. It was appropriately formal and graciously casual at all the right times and places!

Photography: Jasmine Star | Event Design: Alegria By Design | Event Planning: Alegria By Design | Floral Design: Louloudi Designs | Cake: Christine Dahl Pastries | Shoes: Prada | Caterer: Cook Better Live Better | Hair And Makeup: TEAM Hair & Makeup | Linens: La Tavola | Musicians: Marc Bosserman | Rentals: Town And Country | Transportation: Tours A La Carte | Venue: Villa Verano

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Retro Pastel Wedding Inspiration

This piece of pretty has pastel perfection written all over it. Cotton candy? Check! Confetti filled balloons? Check! Funfetti sprinkle cake? Check! Blush coupe champagne tower? Check! From soft pastel Noonan’s Wine Country Designs blooms, to big blue skies, to the pool-side lounging a la Bon Puf, every sweet detail coordinated by Lovelyfest Event Design was seamlessly captured by Kelsea Holderhere

From Lovelyfest Event Design… This wedding shoot was inspired by the whimsy of summer- soft pastels, big blue skies, and pool-side lounging. We wanted this shoot to have a cotton-candy pastel look, and to incorporate a romantic retro feel. Taking inspiration from photographers like Gray Malin, we created a soft pastel palette with water being the central focus of a lot of this shoot! From the bright blue pool water behind the sweets table, to the dining table on the dock of a beautiful lush pond, topped with adorable natural lily pads. We incorporated hints of a retro feel within the bride’s soft curls and simple makeup, and in the dining tables with bright gold stars on lucite looking ghost chairs. We just knew we had to get the adorable Bon Puf to bring in the cotton-candy aspect of our shoot, and her cheery face did not disappoint! Her large poofs of cotton candy matched perfectly with the color scheme and added that bit of fluff that we wanted! Not to mention it is a super cute idea to have her little cotton candy cart at your wedding! We took this cotton candy feel and also incorporated it into the linens, using the most ruffled, full, and gorgeous linens we could find! Atop the dining table, Borrowed Blu provided the perfect antique place settings and gold flatware, adorned with vintage lucite place cards and lovely florals by Noonan’s Designs. We accented this glittery table with pastel confetti and tall gold candelabras with bubblegum pink taper candlesticks. All contributing to the adorably retro and fun feel of our shoot!

We hope this shoot inspires brides and grooms alike that the retro whimsical feel of summer can be recreated at any time of the year and is such a fun way to relive the best season of the year!!

Photography: Kelsea Holder | Event Design: Lovelyfest Event Design | Floral Design: Noonan's Wine Country Designs | Wedding Gown: Ivy And Aster | Cake: Paper Cake Events | Makeup: Alex Evans | Hair: Becky Wolfe | Groom's Attire: Men's Wearhouse | Cotton Candy: Bon Puf | Linens: La Tavola | Model: Shawnee Badger | Reception Dress: Lovely Bride | Rentals: Borrowed Blu | Venue: Private Estate

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Meet SMP Blogger Bride Cambria Grace!

You might recognize Cambria Grace from her ever-popular Instagram feed, but today she’s stepping behind the SMP desk as our newest Blogger Bride-to-be. She’ll be sharing her wedding planning journey – the good, the bad, and the oh-so-pretty – and we’re kicking things off with her stunning engagement. Scroll on to get to know Cambria a wee bit better, and don’t miss the mountaintop gallery from Dylan and Sara.

From The Bride… My fiancé, Ross and I met the first day of our freshman year at Bates College. He won me over with his sense of humor and chutzpah, which lent itself to much witty banter over meals in the dining hall. It didn’t take long for me to realize he is one of a kind, and someone that I wanted to spend endless amounts of time with. Seven years later he asked me to marry him on a family trip to California.

Ross has always known how much I love spending time with my parents. We are a very tight little unit. Last spring, when we were all on vacation, he turned to my parents and asked for their permission to ask me to marry him. They of course said YES! I, still unknowing and utterly oblivious that he was proposing thought it was so sweet of him to involve me in his ‘asking for my hand’. He then turned to me, pulled out my Aunt Grace’s wedding ring, and said ‘want to get old with me’? I am never surprised, but he totally got me. I burst into tears and the rest of the memory is pretty much a black-out –  but I DO know that it was by far the happiest, most wonderful moment of my life.

Ross is the co-founder of Downeast Cider House, and I am a wedding and lifestyle photographer here in Boston. We live and work in Charlestown. Thus, we decided to get married here! We chose a pier in the navy yard, with a view of the city that we love. Keeping the wedding ‘us’ is pretty important and has been a big factor in the planning process. Being in the industry certainly gives me a different perspective on wedding planning, which I’ll be sharing about as a blogger bride here on SMP.

Style Me Pretty has been a part of my career and life for several years now. My first inspiration shoot was with Lauren WellsPollen Floral Design and Kacie Corbelle Makeup Artistry. We worked so hard, had an awesome time together, and were featured on SMP. It was my first time getting published, so I immediately called Ross and shrieked into the phone. Luckily, I still have Lauren, Krissy and Kacie on my side for the wedding day as vendors and friends. Lauren is even taking on matron-of-honor duties, as well as styling the entire event. The impressive creative community in Boston has certainly become a big part of my life, personally and professionally, and I’m excited to see and share my wedding planning adventures with you!

Photography: Dylan And Sara Photography | Floral Design: Hilary Horvath | Venue: Saddle Mountain

Top 12 Questions to Ask Your Caterer

Hands down, one of my absolute favorite parts of planning my wedding has been working with our on-site caterer to select our menu, cocktails and do the tasting. But I also realized just how important it is to be on the same page as your caterer—from the style of service you choose to where your food is sourced. So we’ve partnered up with one of the greats in the industry, Paula LeDuc Fine Catering (who’ve been whipping up gorgeous bites for years) to round up some of the key questions you should be asking.


It is possible for event rentals to be provided by the caterer, the planner or even the client; however we recommend that the caterers contract and manage the event rentals. This is especially helpful for a variety of reasons. We at Paula LeDuc Fine Catering offer, as part of our management, the service that we meet the rental provider, direct load in and count in all rental equipment as well as inventory these items at the end of the event. This reduces/eliminates the question of loss and breakage; ultimately saving you money. In managing this order from the beginning, your caterer is able to make sure that they have everything that they need for service to be successful.


Style of service refers to the overall flow of the culinary portion of the event. Are guests sitting with served plates, is it family style service or is it a roaming food station event. Knowing this information and talking through what that means affects staffing, equipment and cost to the client. An understanding of the client’s goals for the event helps to steer this decision. Do you want to imbibe a familial atmosphere? Then maybe family style is for you. Do you want your guests up and mingling because they have been traveling all day or maybe you want different groups to have a chance to meet each other? Then a food station event might be just the thing.


Understanding whether your caterer provides alcohol is important to your planning process. If your caterer does have a license, it streamlines the planning and creative process to offer a beautiful food and beverage event that is fully cohesive. Having a trained bartender is extremely important, not only for your guest experience but also for licensing issues. Corkage can vary widely based on wedding location, if the caterer is providing liquor and you are providing the wine, etc. At Paula LeDuc we offer our dinner wines on consumption which is often a cost savings since many clients would need to purchase the wine that they may not fully consume.


Knowing a client’s price range is so helpful and really is imperative to creating an accurate proposal. At Paula LeDuc Fine Catering, since we do customize every proposal, we have the ability to tailor the menu and equipment and even staffing ratios to fit a client’s budget. For example, creating a menu that features a delicious roasted game hen as opposed to a filet of beef can have a great affect on overall cost – but is a delicious and very San Francisco option for dinner. Looking closely at things like chair styles, flatware and glassware styles also can help have some control over cost. And while we always want to staff an event comfortably for the ultimate in 5 star service, depending on the layout of the venue (how close the kitchen is, etc) and the seating specifics (are we seating for 8 or 10) there can be some ability to adjust staff for cost savings.


Every caterer should be operating under a license and out of a health inspected and certified kitchen. However, some caterers also have liquor licenses and that is an important question to ask. Selecting a caterer with a liquor license helps you to streamline your preparations and enables the food and beverage to be in perfect harmony for your event.


A tasting is the perfect opportunity for a couple to test drive their wedding menu. We recommend doing this once you have selected your caterer (based on reputation, recommendation of your planner, etc), narrowed down your menu and within the same season of your wedding when possible. The purpose of the tasting is to decide between items that you aren’t sure between and to, where necessary, taste items for palate adjustment (a bit less spice; we love the fresh herbs, can we have more?, etc.) If there is an item that you have tasted before or just know that you want it as is – don’t taste it. Instead, focus on the decisions that you are trying to make to solidify your menu. It isn’t a good idea for the tasting to have so many items that everyone walks out too full and overwhelmed to make decisions or even remember one item from the next. Also – don’t forget about the beverages! At Paula LeDuc Fine Catering our Sommelier sees the tasting as the perfect opportunity to finalize wine pairings for the dinner, and our mixologist loves to shake up those featured cocktails. Be selective but thorough in working with your caterer to select your tasting menu and it will be a successful rehearsal for your event.


The flow of your service is an important discussion point. May service continue quietly during toasts or a presentation or no? This will affect the length of dinner service. Also, important aspects such as toasts can often be shifted 5 minutes here or there. But a seafood entrée will suffer if it sits 5 minutes. Have a plan, discuss your plan with your caterer and then be flexible.


This is an important question to ask. Not all caterers provide staff or if they do, the staff is subcontracted from a staffing agency. While there are pros and cons to each, we at Paula LeDuc Fine Catering do provide our own staff and feel that the training and certification of this staff is part of our brand and part of your experience. Your guest may not come in contact with our chef or our sommelier, but will most definitely interact with the staff throughout your event. It is important that the interaction and experience is consistent with our brand and with the goals for your event.


Gratuity is such a personal discussion and should be based on your ability to add this cost, your overall feeling about your experience, etc.


Paula LeDuc Fine Catering sources seasonally, locally and sustainably. The company has long been convinced that the best tasting and most nutritional food is organically grown and harvested in ways that are ecologically sound. With this understanding, we began cultivating an organic garden in the center of the Napa Valley to produce seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs for our dishes. How your caterer sources should be a part of every food discussion and part of your decision in selecting your caterer. However, remember that geography, cost and availability can affect this. We are fortunate to be located in the Bay Area which has long growing seasons and a wide variety of local culinary options, but every region has reasons to shine.


Additional fees can occur when venue challenges arise, special requests (which we love!) necessitate additional work hours/coordination/shipping fees etc. However, at Paula LeDuc Fine Catering it is important to us that your proposal as closely reflects your actual cost as possible. We enjoy having a phone call or even a personal meeting with every client so that we can ask these questions, determine your food, beverage, aesthetic and budgetary goals and then build your proposal based on your answers. We do not provide immediate and cookie-cutter proposals as this is a disservice to our clients in the long run. We enjoy that personal touch and look forward to it as part of the planning process.


This is an important question as it varies widely by caterer and hotel banquet department. As a full service caterer, Paula LeDuc has a full-time Pastry Chef and Pastry Department, continuously developing and creating innovative and delicious dessert options. We do not specialize in wedding cakes and realize that this is a niche in the pastry world already filled with incredible talent. We are happy to coordinate, manage or recommend someone to craft your ideal wedding cake. We do not charge a cake cutting fee — our staff is working hard to make your event perfect and are happy to cut your wedding cake for you!

Catering Expertise Provided By: Paula LeDuc Fine Catering

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