Lovely Gulf Coast Wedding

South Florida, we love you, you’re our home and we would never put anyone else before you…BUT, there is something to be said about North Florida beaches. Nestled in the panhandle, their white sugar-fine sand and turquoise waves looking out over the Gulf of Mexico make these beaches an enviable wedding destination. So, when Kellie McGehee of Florals by the Sea sent us these Panama Beach nuptials with us, we had to share them with you!

The day started with a beachside ceremony where the couple said “I do” under a delicate driftwood canopy decorated with pretty little blooms from Florals by the Sea. The bride’s bouquet, a bursting assortment of lavender and light pink flowers coordinated perfectly with the bridesmaid’s lilac dresses.

With the sun setting over the Gulf Coast, everyone headed over to the intimate reception at the Grand Pointe Pavilion of Inlet Beach. A family style table was set with glowing candlelight to welcome the newlyweds and their guests for dinner. At each seat, the couple’s monogram was water colored and delicately placed atop ivory satin napkins. Our favorite surprise was the pink flamingo peeking out at the top of their customized menu cards – such a cute souvenir from Florida!

The event’s color palette, warm ivories mixed with soft pastel shades of lavender and blush, had us head over heels! We love how the texture of the Ivory Rose linen from our Preston Bailey collection played against the smooth flower vases and pearlized chargers. Looking down the long table there were so many lovely little details to catch our eye!

Seeing this beautiful wedding on a perfectly clear night catching a cool ocean breeze, there’s no wondering why they call it the Emerald Coast.

Florals + Design Kellie McGehee of Florals by the Sea | Photography Olimb Photography | Coordination Savoir Faire Weddings | Rentals The Big Day Rentals | Linens Nuage Designs | Entertainment Top Hat Live

A Conversation With Events Luxe

Events Luxe creates some unbelievable events! From parties beaming with bold color combinations to weddings built around interestingly laid out floorplans, there’s never a dull moment with Amanda and Tiffany, the awesome duo behind Events Luxe. These two are design geniuses that can also wrangle logistics like it’s nobody’s business. From keeping an eye on the catwalk to tabs on interior décor trends, they pull inspiration from across industries to stay ahead of the curve in event design, always creating something unique and current while making sure it will stand the test of time.

Oh, and when you work with Events Luxe, you don’t have to pick between Amanda or Tiffany, you get both! This dream team spearheads each event together, with one of them focusing on design and the other leading the planning side. Let’s find out more about these two and the behind the scenes at Events Luxe…

Nüage Designs: Tell us your story – how did you begin designing and planning weddings & events together?

Events Luxe: We [Amanda and Tiffany] met when Tiffany’s husband-then- boyfriend’s roommate brought home a new girlfriend (Amanda). We were wearing the exact same pair of Armani Exchange jeans (remember when AX was cool?) and the rest is history! Quickly after, Amanda was married, living in St. Louis, and wanting to leave her career in insurance to pursue a much more fun and creative path in event planning. She reached out to Tiffany with the idea, knowing that as a St. Louis native with years of corporate and charity event planning experience in the area she was her ideal partner. Fast-forward to present day, seven years later, their business focuses on weddings and other celebrations, bringing a unique design to each event.

ND: Your designs always feel so fresh and unique, where does this inspiration come from?

EL: We gain inspiration from the TV shows we watch, the runways we follow, home fashions, hot colors and patterns, and what we like to see ourselves. Usually we’re not looking for inspiration – but something can just strike us just the right way. What we focus on is never doing what is “hot” right now. We like to get inspiration from what we see, and create what we think is unique or could be hot in the future – once you do what is hot right now, it’s over. We never want any client’s wedding to look dated or drab when looking back a few years later. We want them to always look fresh, unique, and fun. It’s also important to us to never make anyone’s wedding look like us – but look like them. We will have our ideas, but our ideas will always come from the inspiration of our clients as a couple, so that every wedding looks like THEM.

ND: You like to consider yourselves designers first, who are also great planners, instead of vice-versa, how does that set you apart from your competition?

EL: We like to consider ourselves designers who are great at planning, versus planners who can “do” design. This is important to us because design is what gets us up in the morning. What sets each wedding apart from the next is the design: the look, the feel, and the experience. The planning part is pretty standard across the board, but every wedding will feel different and unique. We think that focusing on this methodology sets us apart because we will never provide anything cookie cutter.

ND: How is the collaboration process with your clients? Where does the basis for their wedding begin?

EL: Each wedding begins with a custom budget. Once the budget is approved, we get started on the design process. The first step here is providing each client with his or her Style File, which is created, based on an initial design meeting. It is a one-page inspiration board collage that mainly highlights how we will showcase their proportion of color. Many weddings could be blush, gold, and ivory – but it’s the proportion of color that makes weddings different. Does the wedding, overall, look ivory with some metallic accents? Is the wedding overall more blush? Once the Style File is approved, we begin a Design Proposal, which highlights each and every element that we think should be included and how they all work together to create to cohesive design to suit that particular client. Once the design proposal is approved, we start selecting and booking every detail!

ND:Do you ever find it difficult to push clients towards what they might see as an “edgy” design?

EL: Sometimes clients come to us with ideas of what they want included in their Big Day and sometimes, they don’t know more than maybe a color or two that they have in mind. Either way, we have no problem bringing ideas together and creating something they never knew they always wanted. It is always a collaborative effort. It’s not our show. We just bring the ideas that we think will be “them” to the table and make our recommendations of what we think will be the most interesting and unique. Not all clients who want to work with us are edgy; sometimes they are more traditional or want to do certain things. We’re happy to work with any request so long as we are able to recommend a unique floor plan, a fun idea for the guest experience, a cool ceiling treatment, napkin fold, or even if it’s just a different way to utilize the! We find most modern brides are looking for this type of personalization.

ND: What are some of your trademark styles?

EL: Creating unique floor plans is one of our trademarks. We don’t usually design a room full of all round tables (but we can if that’s the client’s dream). Typically, other shaped tables are included and are laid out in a unique or interesting pattern. We also love ceiling treatments to draw the eye up, whenever possible. Also, when given the creative freedom, we love an interesting and bold color palette. We aren’t ever afraid of color (or pattern!) and we don’t think you should be, either!

ND: What is your advice to couples coming to you with a “trendy” design in mind?

EL: We usually advise against anything that is trendy right now. Once they see their beautiful photos six months later, the trend will be outdated. We like to find the balance between forward-thinking and traditional, so that their photos always look amazing and not outdated, yet look unique and special to them!

ND: If you could plan/design a party for anyone in the world, who would that be?

EL: [Tiffany] I want to plan Lady Gaga’s eventual wedding.

[Amanda] Princess Kate Middleton! This is pretty funny because Amanda and I love to blend hard and soft, sexy and romantic, modern and traditional… if we were to blend these events we’d really have something interesting!

ND: What is your favorite thing about designing weddings?

EL: Doing it differently every single time. Creating something unique to each individual couple is what gets us out of bed in the morning, what fuels our fire for this business. We love creating something that they will find incredibly special forever!

ND: Last one, because we have to pick your brain while we have you, what trends do you see for the spring wedding season?

EL: We saw that natural organic feel of bohemian inspiration big in 2016 and see that continuing in 2017, but being elevated a bit to a more elegant place. Or maybe that’s just how we like to do “Bohemian”! We call it Boho-Luxe, of course. We also see a trend of accessories or props as centerpieces versus traditional vases. This can combine modern unique candleholders, marble accent décor, piñatas (yes we’ve done that!) or even a canister or jar like you would see as an accent piece for home décor at Z Gallerie. Pro tip: not all centerpieces sit on your table. Sometimes they can hang above it! (We do this a lot).

ND: Are there any color palettes that you’re dying to use?

EL: We would love to work with a mauve/green or mauve/blue combination. We love choosing colors that seem like they won’t really go together and then making something truly striking and fabulous. We love using a range of colors in a palette instead of one single tone of each color. We think this makes things feel more organic and looks much better visually.

ND: Any other thoughts that you’d like to share with us?

EL: Trust your planner and designer. If you have hired them, you are obviously drawn to their eye and creative approach, and have seen what they can do on their site or Instagram. If they’re experienced and creative, know that they will do whatever they can to create something special for you to remember forever. They probably want you to participate and know who you are as a person or couple, so they can wow you on your wedding day when you walk into that room and it feels just like you!

Venues The Ritz Carlton St Louis, Wildwood Hotel,Hyatt Regency at the Arch, Forest Park World’s Fair Pavilion, Westin Downtown St Louis, The Caramel Room at Bissingers, Missouri Athletic Club, Downtown | Floral The Crimson Petal, The Special Event Florist, BUDS Florist, Belli Fiori | Photography Grace Havlak, Clary Pfeiffer, Kurtis Hall, Lisa Hessel, Eichar Photography, Pinxit Photo, Image Service Photographers (Italy), Mike Cassimatis | Stationery PaperCut Invites, PK Paper Art | Furniture Rentals Aries Co, Weinhardt, Premier Rentals | Linens Nuage Designs 

Rustic meets Modern in Atlanta

We’re so torn when it comes to planning our dream wedding – honestly, how do you even get started? We love string lights and exposed wood tables but also acrylic chairs and marble chargers…can this rustic and modern design exist? We weren’t sure it was possible…until we saw this unbelievable wedding from Lila Wilson Weddings!

In the heart of Atlanta, Summerour Studio set a fairytale backdrop with its ivy-covered brick walls and cobblestone-clad courtyard. And of course, just the perfect touch of string lights shimmering above the couple during their “I Do.”

Inside the reception, guests were welcomed to take a seat at an exposed wood table or a sparkling sequin round arrangement. We love this combination of rustic tables with the modern Natural Mini Koi sequin linen, adding just the right touch of sparkle to the night. Whichever your choice, they both featured lush green florals from Bloomin’ Bouquets and perfectly printed paperwork from the bride’s own stationery company, Foglio Press.

The wedding palette, a dreamy combination of grey, taupe and the loveliest shade of blue just bridged together the rustic meets modern design. From the “Hey Y’all” on the wedding invitation to the minimal floating candles, every detail made sure the night was imbued with southern hospitality in a modern light.

Sowing Clover Photography caught this magical night to share with us proving that you can really have it all on your wedding night!

Venue  Summerour Studio | Florals Bloomin’ Bouquets | Catering Bold American Events & Catering | Rentals CRUSH Event Rentals , Miss Milly’s Event Rental & DesignUnique Event ElementsPeachtree Tents & Events, Nuage Designs | Paper Goods Foglio Press | Calligraphy MM Ink Studio | Desserts For Goodness Cakes, Amelie’s Bakery | Hair & Makeup Jennifer C Nieman | Planning Lila Wilson Weddings | Entertainment  One Sound and Entertainment, ShutterBooth Atlanta, Mace Hibbard | Photography Sowing Clover Photography

Editor’s Edge Feature

Fun fact: There are over 1.8 billion images shared daily…that’s a lot. Kristi Drago-Price, founder of Editor’s Edge, knows that and thinks it’s kind of awesome. She also thinks that your images now need to be worth waaaay more than a thousand words to compete with all those selfies and cat memes!

That’s what Editor’s Edge is all about – finding (or creating) the perfect visual content to represent your brand and connect with your ideal clients to make your business a great success. That can entail anything from photo shoot art direction to re-branding or even just curating your images better. We sat down with Editor’s Edge to get a sense of how visual content curation can really up the ante and it was eye opening!

They curated a styled photo shoot for us, for anything from digital to print, showing us how the right images can tell the right story so that your brand rises above the rest. Get ready to take some notes to #sharpenyourbrand!

Nuage Designs: Why is image curation so important?

Editor’s Edge: We are in the midst of a visual revolution! Visual content is processed 60,000 times faster than text and with just eight seconds to grab a person’s attention (or, slightly less than that of a goldfish), creating compelling visual content is the only way to stand out in an over-saturated market. It’s crazy but a viewer will remember only 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read and 30% of what they see.

ND: What elements should be included in the telling of a styled wedding story, such as on a business website or for editorial?

EE: Styled shoots are all about providing the viewer with inspirational ideas and eye candy. In general florals, cakes, table settings, stationery and the occasional fashion item are what potential brides/grooms are looking for – something that they would tear out to show their wedding vendor.

ND: Is there a balance to strike between overall shots, details shots, bride shots, etc. in a photo gallery?

EE: Yes, you need a little of everything to show range. Think of it like a movie; you need to set the scene, introduce characters, go in for the close up and use transitional images to get to the next scene. You are telling a short story with a gallery of images (key word is short story), like a trailer to the movie.

ND: What should be the goal with each gallery of images?

EE: Your goal should be to make the viewer feel something in 3 seconds or less. I call it the Liz Lemon/Tina Fey “I want to go to there” feeling. Backstory on that – Tina Fey was on Fallon and explained where that line came from. She was up late on the computer researching family vacations and clicked on Disney World. Unbeknownst to her she heard “Oh Momma I want to go to there!” which came from her daughter who had sneaked out of bed. In one 3 second click Disney World created all the feels!

ND: How many images do you recommend when curating a gallery? Is more always better?

EE: This is a question I receive all the time and I wish there was a set equation. It really depends on how a gallery is presented and viewed. For example an overview grid style gallery can have more images because the viewer is absorbing content quickly whereas a slideshow should have less images because viewers don’t have patience. Think of yourself when you are browsing online. How many clicks before you move on? You need to present images that say more with less clicks/swipes.

Editor’s Edge Public Service Announcement: While trendy, sideswiping galleries are the WORST. Viewers need to have control of speed and have a sense of how many images are there. Sideswiping galleries should only be used as a decorative element.

ND: How often do you recommend going through to update online portfolios/galleries to keep your brand fresh?

EE: I suggest every 3-6 months so by years end you aren’t overwhelmed. Curating your own work is not easy. You need to treat is like exercise. First you need to drop the weight (remove images/galleries that no longer represent your brand) and then you can go in and sculpt (re-organize images).

ND: Do you encourage curating your visual presence on social media?

EE: Yes! Social media, specifically Instagram is an outreach of your brand. Consistency is key. Instagram has even replaced blogging for many brands.

ND: How can images on social media drive business?

EE: We are a multiscreen society. Potential clients are looking at your brand from all angles. I use the Zappos example. When you find a pair of shoes that interest you, you can click to see them from all angles, read the reviews and in come cases watch a little video of a person wearing those shoes. Couples will “stalk” potential vendors from all angles (not just your website) and Instagram is one of those angles. It is like a mini portfolio.

ND: Where do you look for “eye-candy” as inspiration in your work?

EE: I have to say living in NYC there is “eye candy” all around! Walks in the park, visiting museums and even the fonts used on subway ads can inspire. You just need to open your eyes and absorb.

ND: How does an edited, curated brand presence grow business and help reach the ideal client?

EE: What you put out is what you will get back. If you no longer like working at a particular location then don’t show it! Only put out what you would do again in a heartbeat.

ND: What’s on the horizon for EE?

EE: We just completed a rebrand Editor’s Edge including a new website. It was an interesting experience to put myself in my client’s shoes and feel the feels of such an intense process. Hunkering down, swallowing my own advice and basically saying, “God, no wonder people hire Editor’s Edge this is SO hard!” It is exciting (and nerve wracking) to put your brand out in the world. I’m looking forward to working with new clients to discover their visual voice and sharpen their brand.

ND: Any advice you’d like to leave us with as we continue to explore our own visual brand?

EE: Taking the first steps to discovering your brand’s visual voice can seem daunting. You are not alone.

Photography Whyman Studios | Coordination + Design Color Pop Events | Florals, Design and Styling Juli Vaughn Designs | Rentals Patina Rentals | Dresses Amsale | Hair Styles on B | Makeup Nicole Sievers Make-Up Artistry | Suit J. Crew | Jewelry Confetti by Annette and Susie Saltzman Custom Fine Jewelry | Cake Nine Cakes | Linens Nuage Designs | Calligraphy Everly Calligraphy | Paper Goods Sincerely, Jackie | Venue Weylin B. Seymour’s

The Perfect Neutrals

We are always on the search for that perfect neutral. Be it a light shade of blush or a golden shade of champagne, there’s the right neutral tone for every event. So when Jenny Corts, of Jenny Richter Special Events, shared this Country Music Hall of Fame wedding with us, we were so in love with the combination of neutral hues that came together like magic!

The wedding was set in a palette of warm champagne tones, with high back sofas lining the room, tables dressed with the Sand Web alternating with the Goldmine Faux Dupioni and sunset streaming in at just the perfect moment – captured perfectly by Kristyn Hogan. A simply elegant cake, from Dessert Designs by Leland, sat a top the Blush Scalla, adding a tinge of blush to the night.

Our favorite thing about a netural palette is how it gives flowers the space to shine! Branches Event Design & Florals brought in pretty pops of color in the centerpieces, from bright corals to lush greens, to brighten up the room.

From the perfect palette to the dreamy draping, this event really just came together beautifully. And we’re not sure if someone planned on that golden hour light streaming in, but we definitely want that one at our wedding too!

Venue Country Music Hall of Fame | Photographer Kristyn Hogan | Planner Jenny Richter Special Events | Florist Branches Event Design & Florals | Paper Goods Ink Nashville & Val Cole | Bride’s Dress Romona Keveza from The Bride Room | Groom’s Tux Custom from Loring & Co (Stitch-It) | Cake Dessert Designs by Leland | Videographer Catchlight Cinema | Rentals Please Be Seated, Nuage, BBJ Linens

We Believe in Pink

There’s just something about the color pink, in all of its many shades that we will always love. From light hues of blush to deep shades of fuchsia, it just magical to us!

So what happens when Karen Tran takes lots of lovely pink things, such as vintage glassware, sequin overlays and many, many roses and puts them all together at The Santaluz Club? Basically it’s the prettiest event that you have ever seen! The Youngrens captured this magical night, pink glow and all, so scroll through and find out why we’re seeing the world in a whole new –pink- light after this!

Are you as obsessed as we are? Find more rose-colored inspiration here, in our lookbook! 

Design Karen Tran Floral Designs | Planner Crown Weddings & Events | Vintage rentals Cheri’s Vintage Table | Garden Roses Rosaprima | Custom Stationery J Grace Luxurious Event Stationery | Venue The Santaluz Club | Photography The Youngrens | Linens and Chair Interlaces Nuage Designs

Valentine’s Day Inspiration

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner we’re seeing pretty pink hearts and lovely red roses everywhere we look. And while we’re big fans of these traditional tokens of love, Gretchen Culver, of Rocket Science Weddings, kind of gotten us thinking about Valentine’s Day in a different way with this styled shoot, inspired by Francis Bacon’s painting, “1946.”

Right off the bat we’re drawn in by this unique venue. Machine Shop, in Minneapolis, sets the tone for this styled shoot with its unique original details and modern loft feel. Couple that with the incredible ceremony backdrop, designed to fit in seamlessly with the existing elements and we’re obsessed. Avant Décor draped sheer pink fabric so beautifully (note: from a crane!) to contrast against a tiered hanging installation. Also let’s not miss the candle installation; an assortment of tapers and pillar candles in shades of deep red and black anchored the design at the foot of the fabric. This was truly a dreamy place for these gorgeous grooms to say, “I do.”

The tabletop was just incredible! Gretchen mixed unique textures, from the black leather linen to the pink chiffon draped chair backs, giving the design an elevated feel. The centerpiece, an amazing arrangement of red flowers crafted by Rocket Science Weddings, is a true statement piece sitting on Event Lab’s tall stand.

Gretchen Berry’s unique menu design laid a top of The Festive Frog’s pink glass plates and black & white Monique Lhuillier plates from Ultimate Events made for a gorgeous stack – almost too pretty to eat on!

Photography Cadence & Eli | Floral and Decor Design Rocket Science Weddings & Events | Stationery Gretchen Berry Design Co. | Venue Machine Shop | Tuxedo Isaia | Bowtie Ryan Seacrest Distinction | Ring David Yurman | Table and Couch Bethings | Chairs, Clear Steamware and Napkins Apres Party & Tent Rental | Black and White Plates Monique Ultimate Events | Linens Nuage Designs | Glassware and Pink Plates The Festive Frog | Chair Draping Avant Decor | Centerpiece Stand Event Lab | Candle Holders and Flatware Beverly & Co. | Candles Koehler & Dramm | Rug On Solid Ground Vintage Rentals | Desserts and Cake Stands Cocoa & Fig | Paintings Steph Guidera

Top Styling Tips by Tinsel & Twine!

Have you met the ladies of Tinsel & Twine? Liz Castelli, Adette Contreras and Erica Taylor are the girl bosses behind the Brooklyn-based event design and production studio that concepts and creates dream atmospheres for everything from weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs to experiential marketing activations. We’ve been long-time fans of their work, finding ourselves completely in love with their grand ideas and their attention to detail. We had a chance to hang out with this all-star trio and pick their brains on how to decorate like a pro. Scroll through to find out their top styling tips that’ll make every party you throw a hit!

1. People usually gravitate towards burlap for a more rustic event, but we always recommend something with a bit of sheen and metallic threads to help elevate the table. The texture is still there but with the added glint of candlelight.

2. We love the trend of anchoring place settings with unexpected details like figs, feathers, or gold-painted kumquats. Something as simple as a palm frond or gemstone goes a long way as a unifying design detail.

3. Luxurious textures and tabletop details with some weight help otherwise rustic tables from feeling too casual. We like to incorporate elements like statement placemats and chargers in heavy, traditionally masculine materials like slate, leather, or hammered metal.

4. Angular elements, like rectangular placemats and long menu boards placed at each place setting, help to frame the table. This is especially important with free form, organic floral arrangements and garlands.

5. Placing taper candles at varying heights in collections of mixed holders gives a table more visual interest and movement.

6. Add furs and throw blankets to the backs of chairs to create an extra cozy environment for guests — especially for an intimate, winter party.

7. Table garlands that cascade off the edge of the table and pool onto the floor always look more glamorous and luxurious. We love this technique for dressing up dinner parties or making a statement at a head table.

8. Dress your table with things you love. Tabletop decor doesn’t have t be limited to flowers and candles. We encourage clients to explore objects and themes that bring them joy. Think: miniature statues and figurines, snow globes, books, framed artwork.

9. If one color is boldly used throughout an event — i.e. hot pink up lights, hot pink balloons, hot pink flowers — incorporate neutral tones as a foil. To balance blocks of color, we recommend more sophisticated choices in linens, vases, and room furnishings.

10. Never too many candles! Place votives and hurricanes in mixed heights and materials for a million points of light to warm up any space.

11. A canopy of balloons with shimmering garland accents is a striking and exciting way to make an entrance.

12. Once you establish a visual theme, explore ways to incorporate those details in unique but complementary ways. For example, use a geometric theme to explore various lines, patterns, shapes, and sizes through vase selections, tabletop details, lighting patterns, linen choices, and plating.

13. Our newest obsession is using vinyls to give a new look to floors and walls. We especially like taking inspiration from textiles or other familiar surfaces to create new (and temporary) environments. Think: Vinyl of an oversized oriental rug for a dance floor, log cabin walls, or an ombré gradient aisle runner.

Take notes because these ladies are in the know and always creating new trends with it comes to styling. Keep up with their latest endeavors via Instagram where they are always posting inspirational event eye- candy!

Winter Wanderlust

As the temperatures dip and there’s snow on the horizon, we’re going to just ignore it and pretend everything is fine. In fact, we’ll just close our eyes and take a little trip to…Santorini. And why not? Let’s wanderlust the afternoon away with Sabrina Seymore Events to guide us there!

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Here we are at the Rocabella Resort in unbelievable Santorini, Greece. Everywhere we look its white washed buildings, romantically narrow alleyways and cliffside views for days. Certainly no complaints from us!

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The bride and groom say “I Do” while looking out across the water with the sun starting to set behind them. As the guests make their way to their tables, the magical sunset casts warm shades of pink and orange on the Sultry Beige Faux Dupioni linens with the gold décor shimmering with the last rays of sunshine. The flowers, by Fabio Zardi, are perfect shades of mauve and peach with bright little bursts of greenery. This is true destination wedding paradise!

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While we were getting ready to party under the Grecian sky, the bride and groom sauntered away without us noticing. They snuck off with Blue Spark Photography who captured some of the most surreal images of the two together. I mean, honestly, the bride and groom set against the clear blue sky with her veil flowing in the wind? Words cannot express the power of that photo!

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With winter seemingly not going anywhere and Santorini on the mind, you might excuse us a moment while we book the next flight outta here!

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Photo Blue Spark Photography | Planning Sabrina Seymore Events | Décor & Flowers Fabio Zardi Weddings | Venue Rocabella Resort (Santorini) | Stationery Royale Amethyst

The Sketchbook Series Feature

You’ve just met with a newly engaged couple and hit it off immediately, what fun! They book you to help design their wedding and off you all go on this adventure together. You have the Pantone book out and colors are selected, fabric swatches are lined up with ribbons to match and Pinterest boards are aglow. You have big ideas and things are starting to come together…now, how do you depict your concept so that the couple, their parents, the vendors and your team can bring your vision to life?

Cue Mary Phan, creator of The Sketchbook Series. Mary is a true artist and a big believer in the power of sketching for creatives. With sketching, you could take your great unique idea, put it on paper and convey it in a way much more impactful than words.

We’ve attended The Sketchbook Series ourselves and were so impressed with how Mary makes sketching feel so approachable and simple (and trust us when we cannot draw a thing!) while also making it a so much fun! We were curious to see a bit further into the sketching process so we sat down with Mary to pick her brain and play around with some mood boards to see how they would translate to sketches. Needless to say, the sketches were amazing and we’re ready to sign up for The Sketchbook Series again!

Read on to find out more and get inspired to start sketching!

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Nuage Designs: How did The Sketchbook Series come to be?

Mary Phan: Before launching The Sketchbook Series, I had been running Very Merry Events wedding planning and design (since 2008). I had always offered sketches to help design clients bring their visions to life through art before actually bringing them to life. My background included a degree in design with retail merchandising and interior design experience prior to rebranding to Very Merry Inspired. Sketching was always part of the planning process and soon people started asking if I could teach them. Due to increasing demand, I launched my first class in Sonoma in 2013. It was small but it was a hit!

ND: Where did you learn the magic of sketching? What’s your background prior to The Sketchbook Series?

MP: I have to say that it runs in the family. My dad was very much into drawing and my brother was an architect. I always thought I’d grow up to become a fine artist but I ended up doing more rendering in school for interior design.

ND: How does your experience in interior design influence your sketching when put in an event or wedding context?

MP: In interior design, one has to visualize a space, which is similar to designing an event. It is critical to visually communicate effectively with partners in order to create a clear concept to share with a client. Following the client approval, the sketches would be showcased to the vendors and creative partners.

ND: What is the biggest reason clients come to you for sketches?

MP: There is a market for leveraging sketching as part of your process in executing creative projects. I was always known for sketching out my ideas and I offered a unique style as part of the planning/design service.

Since I started offering classes, naturally other event planners and designers started asking if I could create sketches for their clients. We also have an in-house hand-renderist who can create whole scale room concepts and he is quite amazing!

ND: What makes the ability to sketch for a wedding and event clients such an asset as an event professional?

MP: With sketching you are able to create unique ideas without just pulling together Pinterest images, which often leaves loopholes when communicating the overall end vision. Clients are interested in custom looks that haven’t been recycled from other peoples’ designs. As for the administrative work behind every project, big or small, sketching improves communication by helping to cut down on back-and- forth emails. Words, by themselves, cannot convey what visuals can.

ND: Do you find it’s a skill that event professionals can charge for in their services? Does it give them an edge over their competition?

MP: Definitely! I feel that it’s an asset and service to add to their packages once they’ve put in at least 100 hours in practice. In order to get really confident and good at something you have to put in the time to practice. When I used to offer wedding planning and design, I offered sketching as part of the planning process. In fact, it elevated my business. I’d fold it into my cost, not as a line item that was optional but instead as an upcharge in the cost. To accommodate this, you could charge more for your service package as a whole. Taking my Level 1 or Level 2 courses will get you basics, but I would want you to become great at what you do before you start charging. Practice makes perfect!

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ND: Do you think that this is a skill limited to event designers? Or can other event professionals benefit too?

MP: Not at all! Any creative discipline that’s selling a creative idea can benefit, from tech to jewelry, and interiors to fashion designers.

ND: What’s your favorite part of the sketching process with your clients? Is there a special collaboration that comes to life in the process?

MP: Sometimes I get people asking, “Do you sketch in front of clients?” The answer is if it’s quick then yes. Otherwise, mostly no because for me, the process is about being able to take their ideas and treat it like a survey to figure out what their tastes are. Afterwards, you do the research and pull images as necessary to create a sketch. It’s not really a collaborative process for me since I think of the sketches as my art. My favorite part of sketching is that being able to make ideas come to life feels fulfilling and therapeutic to me. I don’t think clients usually visualize what their ideas are going to look like in real life either, which makes it exciting when the event comes to life.

ND: How do you feel watching the event come together, from mood board to sketch to conception? Can you see elements of your sketches in the final event?

MP: I love it! I’m so used to seeing the things I sketch turn into reality, and often so closely, that I’m not surprised by the outcome. I also love the element of surprise for my clients, but don’t like surprises myself.

Eliminating surprise factors takes away anxiety for me. If you can’t visualize what an event you’re designing looks like, how can your clients visualize it? Once I have a clear picture in my head, I put it down on paper, and then my clients, who have invested lots of money for their big day, relinquish control. Ultimately, as a planner all you want and need is your client’s trust – once you have that budgets can be stretched much farther than before. For me, the sketches are the blue print. If we solely used mood boards, they could convey feelings but you’d still have no idea what the event was going to look like. That just leaves a little too much interpretation for a client to have the potential to be disappointed.

ND: What’s the secret to sketching? Can anyone really do it?

MP: I think it’s about patience and trusting that it’s a process. I’m amazed at the improvements some of my attendees have in just the two days they are with me. My style is simple and quick techniques, but impactful. During the class, I break techniques down step-by- step that are really fun! I give you the tools necessary in a low-pressure environment. I do believe that we all have the ability to sketch!

ND: What’s on the horizon for The Sketchbook Series?

MP: We have a lot coming up soon! This year’s workshops will include Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Tulum, Mexico, Vancouver, San Francisco, an exclusive class with Pantone and Italy Inspires in Milan. We are starting our enrollment process, something new this year but we really wanted to create a unique experience for each of our cities so make sure to sign up to our newsletter! Other activities include the opening and closing of our e-course as well as international expansion into Mexico and Canada.

ND: Any advice you want to leave us for sketching, designing, etc?

MP: Every designer or anyone selling creative or design work should know how to do this. It’s something they need to invest their time in to learn how to do it or have someone on their team do in order to make project processes seamless from start to finish. Plus, who doesn’t love seeing a sketch of their design? It’s just cool!

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MODERN ROMANCE Marble Charger Borrowed Blu | Rose Glassware Casa de Perrin | Dinnerware Borrowed Blu | Rose Gold Flatware Casa de Perrin | Florals via Style me Pretty // RUSTIC DINNER Wood charger Plates Borrowed Blu | Flatware Casa de Perrin | Glassware Casa de Perrin // LUXE LOUNGE Furniture Nuage Designs | Floral Inspiration via Karen Tran 

New Year Zen

With the holidays behind us and the New Year in full force, it feels like we could use just a minute to catch our breath. As we do with every new start to the year, we like to zen out a little bit. So, what better way to do that than with our friends at Avant Gardens?

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This stunner of a 60th birthday, planned by Sari Sosa Events, is beautiful bliss itself. The blue and white color palette sets just the serene mood we are dreaming of. Pairing the Royal Papel Chino linen with white Moroccan-inspired lanterns and votives floating in tall-stemmed glasses, this table setting is light and airy. We love the soft introduction of fuchsia in orchids, placed gently on the place settings and throughout the floral arrangements.

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What better location to play host to this intimate and relaxed affair than the SLS South Beach. With it’s Phillippe Starke-designed event space and Lenny Kravitz-designed suites, it is the perfect combination of modernity and laid-back vibes. Junior Gamez Photography captured the lovely balance for us to enjoy! And because even on our most zen days cake still makes everything better, we cannot get enough of this gorgeous dessert! With a pattern that reflects the Papel Chino design with pink and fuchsia sugar flowers, it just makes the night.

And with that, we take our pause, reinvigorated to take on the New Year!

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Planning Sari Sosa Events | Florist Avant Gardens | Photography Junior Gamez Photography | Venue SLS South Beach

How to be a Boss like Tony Conway

It’s no surprise to us that Legendary Events has been in business for nearly twenty years, we have, after all, met Mr. Tony Conway himself. His premier special-events company is behind many of Atlanta’s most renowned events, providing their expertise in everything from planning to floral design for political figures, beloved celebrities and everyone else wise enough to book them. So, in the spirit of the New Year, inspired by those in the events industry who have set the bar so high, we sat down with Tony to pick his brain and kick off our 2017 goal setting.

Read on to hear about how he got started in events, his secrets to running a successful business and what is on the horizon for Legendary Events!

Nüage Designs: Tell us your story – how did you get into the event world?

Tony Conway: I started in the hotel industry when I was 16 at Holiday Inn. I then moved to Marriott Hotels for 12 years, Stouffer Hotels for 4 Years and Ritz Carlton for 4 years as Director of Catering and Conference Services.

ND- What made you decide to explore so many different aspects of the event process (catering, florals, design, planning)?

TC -It’s really a natural progression because they all are part of what we do to make an event happen. Plus I also decided that this would give us more control over the product and a better return on investment (ROI).

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ND – You also own and operate venues in Atlanta, what was the impetus to make that leap?

TC – It’s good to have spaces that we have full control over for all aspects of an event. It gave us the freedom to create an environment for our clients that I felt was missing in the marketplace. In the end it made sense as a business owner and for all of the clients we enjoy creating special moments for.

ND – You’ve been in business for almost 20 years, what would you say is the secret to that success?

TC – Four things.

1. The team. I am surrounded by amazing members of the special event industry that do it better than I can. I have always felt like the conductor of the symphony and the talent in my orchestra is what makes the music happen.

2. Knowing when to make calculated changes and take risks.

3. Listening to our customer.

4. Making sure I have a trusted team of accountants and attorneys that keep a watchful eye over everything, so that we can concentrate on providing the best possible service for our clients.

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ND – How do you find great team members to join Legendary Events? Do you find that you hire employees that stay for a long time with the company?

TC – I am fortunate that so many of the team have moved up in the company. We also benefit from positive word of mouth recommendations that often produces great talent. I tend to hire slowly and carefully in order to make sure that every new team member understands the mission of the company, has a passion for the industry and for making a profit. The Legendary Events family are a tight knit group who work extremely hard; if you don’t pull your weight as part of the team they are usually the ones moving you out!

ND – How do you maintain long-standing client relationships to ensure continued projects together?

TC – Listen…Listen…Listen. We’re honest with our clients and take them “along the journey” with us when planning their events. We let them know if something does not work. We always provide alternative solutions and we’re honest if their request does not fit into our budget guidelines in advance. It’s always important to remember that this is not what they do but they have some ideas and we need to help them bring that to life. I have a philosophy, our clients are part of our overall sales team: they put us in front of their guests who are also potential clients…and they pay for this! Our clients are THE BEST form of advertising for we have. So we are always trying to make sure the entire guest list is treated as though they were the client.

ND – Legendary Events always wows us with new ideas, where do you find inspiration to always innovate?

TC – Everywhere: The fashion industry, other colloquies and what they are doing, conferences, our clients, restaurants, social media, TV, film. You name it.

ND – Of the entire event process, which is your personal favorite?

TC – I enjoy the first meeting. Listening to the client and talking through how we can make those ideas come to life never gets old.

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ND – When speaking with newer business owners in the weddings and events space, what would be your advice to them on growing their business and brand in a way that is true to self?

TC – Have a plan and continue to change that plan. Make sure you learn this business, not just work in the business. Make sure you have your finances in order and be prepared for slumps in the business. Hire slow, fire fast. Surround yourself with talent that is smarter than you.

ND – If you could plan a party for anyone, dead or alive, who would that be?

TC – Tina Turner – She’s a legend, need I say more!

ND – What else is on the horizon for LE?

TC – Possibly acquiring additional venues and continuing to look for ways to improve upon what we are already doing.