Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Lori's Rustic Italian Bridal Shower in Los Angeles

Some days I think I should give it all up and design pretty events for a living. Then I think of everything it took to plan my sister's rustic Tuscan villa theme bridal shower—all the late, late nights, the nitpicking over the rose varieties in the centerpieces, and all of the handiwork it took to make everything look personal and customized—and I think…nah. But I'm so proud of how this event turned out that I thought I would share some of my favorite details. More about the event and vendor info below.

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The party was intimate and special. The guest list of 45 closest friends and family was the perfect size to allow for one-on-one time and memorable moments. Deciding on d├ęcor was a no-brainer, considering the venue lent itself to the rustic, Italian countryside aesthetic that we were hoping to achieve. Because of the olive/olive oil theme that I was trying to achieve, I filled the space with as many olive branches as I could, adding them to the centerpieces and DIY-ing a hand-tied bouquet of branches for the bride-to-be's chair.

My sister is low-key and a self-proclaimed minimalist, so grand venues and towering arrangements aren’t her jam. If you’re planning—or helping plan—an event, consider the venue when seeking inspiration. Ours was a local restaurant with a magical, verdant outdoor dining space that is surrounded by overgrown hedges that create a canopy of leaves. The venue provided both rustic, wooden tables, as well as white marble ones that sat under a beautifully distressed iron chandelier. We wanted guests to feel like they stepped into the courtyard of an old Italian villa...nestled somewhere in Los Angeles! Because the venue was one of the most “finished” (and most pricey) parts of the shower, I opted to DIY a lot of the other elements—including hand-calligraphing the escort cards and mirrors, gold-embossing the menus, designing the recipe cards, and developing the shower games—and worked closely with the other vendors to capture our vision.

A variety of floral arrangements were meant to give a deconstructed look, as if we had wandered through a garden and arranged the stems in containers as we walked. After contacting a few different vendors, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I wanted to work directly with the florist, so I walked into my local supermarket (you read that right) that always brings in the freshest and most abundant blooms and told them exactly what I wanted. I showed them photos for inspiration and explained exactly which flowers would help me achieve the look I was going for at the event. I highly recommend this approach if you’re a perfectionist like I am and want to be involved in every step of the process. The florist was even able to order bundles of olive branches that I had requested. They were added to the bouquets of white roses, hydrangea, and eucalyptus leaves, and accented with curly willow. She even let me take a few bundles with me to decorate the venue. I had chosen the most incredible buttery yellow garden roses that were in stock when I first visited the florist, but when I picked up the arrangements the day of, they were nowhere in sight. Expect this. They were substituted with white roses (which ended up being fine, ultimately), but I was hoping for a bit of that weathered, antiqued hue to add to the arrangements that were placed in different containers (thanks, Target! Yup. Target).

Guests took home bottles of Tuscan herb olive oil and mission fig balsamic vinegar custom designed to fit the theme. It was one of the most magical days and one that my family will remember forever!

Vendor Information: 
Venue: The Villa
Photography: Sanaz Photography
Flowers: Local grocery store
Flower pots: Target
Buttercream and gold naked cakes: The French Confection Co.
Invitations: Minted
Olive oil favors: DASH Oil and Spice
Paper goods: Paper Source and Michael's

 
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