A Conversation with: A Charleston Bride

Spring is here and Charleston, SC is in full bloom with bougainvillea and magnolias covering the town. In other words, it’s the perfect time of year in one of the most beautiful cities of the U.S. and A Charleston Bride is hard at work producing another dream wedding. Between designing and coordinating, we were able to sneak in some time with this all-star team of women to hear what it’s like to create gorgeous weddings for lucky couples in Charleston. Scroll through to hear from Abby, Amanda, Haley, Lindsay and Melissa and then probably go ahead and book a flight to their gorgeous town and explore it for yourself!

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

A Charleston Bride: [Melissa Williams] In 1999, I worked for a real estate development company as an assistant leasing agent. Part of my duties were organizing and planning quarterly broker parties at their properties. This led to newly engaged friends inquiring about various vendors while planning their weddings.

In 2001, I created a website with stock wedding photos and planned 6 weddings the following year! Fast-forward 15 years, and A Charleston Bride has planned over 400 weddings!!

ND: Your designs are always so unique from each other, where does this inspiration come from?

ACB: [Lindsey Shanks] The overall inspiration for us really needs to start with our clients. We try to hear about them, learn their style, learn their overall spirit and go from there. It’s like putting all of your ideas on a big white board in your mind that make up their event and then organizing it so the client can translate it from there!

ND: Charleston is a gorgeous place with so many special characteristics. How does the city play in to your aesthetic, designs, etc.?

ACB: [LS] The backdrop of the city provides an historic and romantic base for almost all our designs. The natural beauty of the landscape from flowers to the moss covered trees next to an antique antebellum home. It’s certainly why most brides chose the city [for their wedding].

ND: You never double-book weekends with clients, how does this exclusivity foster the planning relationship with your couples?

ACB: [Haley Kelly] We only take one wedding per weekend for a few reasons! One – we want to be fully focused on that particular couple. We want to be at the ceremony rehearsal and all-in mentally and physically on their big day! It would be impossible to do that being responsible for more than one wedding [in a weekend]. Two – for the majority of our clients, we are involved with the entire wedding weekend – a welcome party, rehearsal dinner, brunch, etc. so we like to be available for them first and foremost!

ND: How is the collaboration process with your clients?

ACB: [LS] The collaboration is certainly mutual, as we want our clients to feel involved and reflect their personal style. Obviously, it’s great when they have full faith in our design direction, but of all the components they want to stay out of, I don’t think this is it! They want to hear their story from us and to be involved and excited. As a designer, I want them to be prideful and pleased with their wedding design. This only occurs when we find the sweet spot between our lofty goals and their dreams. We start with a shared Pinterest board with texture and style inspiration and ask lots of questions about their story, style, and vision. We then take that information plus what we know of our locations and their overall budget, and go from there.

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

ACB: [HK] We try and get to know our clients very well. So, usually before going into a design meeting, we know how much we can push them into an idea and in what areas they are willing to budge. We feel like we are doing our jobs when we pitch new and fresh ideas – hopefully of things they have never seen before! But yes, pushing clients beyond their comfort zone is tough. However, we have been lucky to have great clients who trust us explicitly which has resulted in so many amazing and unique events!

ND: What are some of your trademark styles?

ACB: [LS] I would like to think our trademark is to never repeat something from the past or another wedding. Let it be part of the inspiration, but make your wedding your own. We actually had one of our peers, a highly respected planner here in Charleston, give us the best compliment; he said he loved our designs because they were not only logistically feasible, but clean and unique. It was great to hear!

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

ACB: [HK] We always like to think outside of the box so we generally take their ideas and then spin it in a way that is timeless and unforgettable. We feel that usually we can sell it better if it is something different and makes them feel unique and special! For example, they may love greenery runners but if they hear they can do a hanging installation over the head table dripping in lights that sounds like more fun!

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

ACB: [LS] India Hicks or Marchesa…. totally different spectrums, but both have deep appreciation for texture.

[MW] Ivanka Trump or Reese Witherspoon. Both have great style.

ND: What is your favorite thing about designing weddings?

ACB: [LS] I call the wedding day “game day” because it feels like the big rally of a Friday night football game. Everything comes together and it’s truly magical to see ideas come to life! I love their reaction to it all the most!

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

ACB: [LS] I think we are going to see a return to the ballroom glam. I think we will also hopefully see bolder and pronounced colors vs. so soft and romantic.

[MW] I think copper is going to be the hot metallic for the next couple of years.

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

ACB: [MW] We always encourage our clients to relax and enjoy the planning process. Will it be stressful at times? Of course! But the wedding will be here before they know it and life and reality will set in. This is such a special time and one they should be able to look back on fondly. We hope that’s where we step in and really make a difference!

Photography Virgil BunaoSposa Bella PhotographyDecisive MomentShannon Michelle Photography, Ashley SeawellTim Willoughby | Venues Lowndes GroveThe Cedar RoomThe Sanctuary on KiawahHibernian HallWilliam Aiken HouseThe Governor Thomas Bennett House

Diamonds or Tanzanite? – A Conversation with Très Chic Southern Weddings & Events!

Whitney Carillon, the owner and lead planner of Très Chic Southern Weddings & Events has a couple of tricks up her sleeve. The Orlando-based planner originally hails from Atlanta, Georgia where she grew up dancing ballet and getting early exposure to performing for a captivated crowd. Couple that with her time working at Tiffany & Co. (i.e. a leader in luxury customer service) and her innate Southern charm and you’ve got one pretty awesome event planner on your hands! We sat down with Whitney to pick her brain on the magic behind her events (spoiler alert: Mickey Mouse is a friend of hers) and why guest experience should always be top of mind. Read on to find out more…

Nuage Designs: First and foremost, let’s get this one out of the way, how do you get your hair to be so long and beautifully shiny?

Tres Chic Southern Weddings & Events: Well I would say, my hair has definitely become a bit of a trademark of mine. Honestly I just don’t use a lot of product. I have always had longer hair for as long as I can remember but it has been Rapunzel like over the past couple of years and it has just kind of stuck!

ND: Now that we have that covered, tell us about your story. We know you have a dance background, how did you go from that to event planning?

TCSWE: I began dancing at the age of two and had many incredible opportunities and experiences through dance over the years. I performed in many stage productions at beautiful theatres surrounded by incredible sets and costumes. I danced with the Atlanta Ballet and trained over the summers with American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet. Every event I produce, I think of as a stage production and no matter what happens, the show must go on.

ND: How does your time working at Tiffany & Co. inform how you work with your clients at TCSWE?

TCSWE: Tiffany & Co. is a true leader in customer service and creating an experience for their clients. From my time in leadership at Tiffany, I am inspired to always create a luxury experience for my clients and their guests. Tiffany & Co is built on brand recognition, quality, strength in originality and lasting excellence; I strive to do the same in my business but with the events I create.

ND: Originally from Atlanta, you certainly have a built-in Southern Hospitality. How does that play into your client experience?

TCSWE: Yes, I am definitely a City Southern girl. I grew up learning the finest ways of treating one another and how to not only present yourself with grace, but also how to put on one heck of a dinner party! True Southern Hospitality is being very welcoming, kind and gracious. I try to emulate this with my events, especially throughout the weekend festivities. We want our couples to create a warm and welcoming environment for their guests, which can start with a personalized note and gift in their hotel room at check in. We can carry this through all the way to the end with a send-off gift at the Sunday brunch. Even a wedding with more than 300 guests can feel more intimate when you bring in small personalized touches along the way.

ND: “Southern” is also in your company’s name – what was the impetus behind including that?

TCSWE: Growing up my parents had multiple businesses that included the word “Southern” in the name. I lost both of my parents in my 20s and as I was forming my business I decided as a way to honor their memory and their successes, I would also include “Southern” in my business name. I changed things around a bit by adding “Très Chic” to represent my then new French family for my husband’s side.

ND: Your designs are always so dreamy, where does your inspiration come from?

TCSWE: I am inspired by both current and past styles. I like to design modern styles in a timeless manner. I am inspired by everything around me honestly, from nature to theatrical sets, galleries, movies, interior designs and more. I feel that inspiration is all around us if we just open our eyes.

ND: How does (or doesn’t) Orlando and Disney World play into inspiration for your events?

TCSWE: For our events in and around Orlando, we find that many of the guests are coming from out of town so we bring a little fun and whimsy into the welcome bags at times. We also do many events at The Four Seasons Resort Orlando, which happens to be on Disney property, so we are able to bring special guests from Walt Disney World to our weddings sometimes. It can be really fun to have a black tie, super fashionable wedding and all of a sudden Mickey and Minnie come in and dance with your guests and are there to cut your cake. It’s something you just can’t do anywhere else, and we are able to bring some magic and pixie dust to our luxury weddings.

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

TCSWE: Typically, my clients will have some general colors in mind that they like for their wedding. From there we talk about overall styles they like and then we create a mood board for them with linen choices, floral options, inspiration design. We also talk about how the music and the menu will be intertwined to create a cohesive environment. My performing background looks at every event as a stage production.

ND: We know you always put the “experience” at top of mind. How do you keep that the focus of the event in every detail?

TCSWE: We look at the experience of the event in the eyes of every guest in attendance. We look at what they will see from the moment they first get the invitation in the mail to set the overall tone of the event. Some people don’t view the invitations as being as important, but they truly are and set the expectation for your wedding! The next point of contact is in the welcome they receive at the hotel whether in the form of an itinerary or custom gift. The food we choose on the menu and the music at each stage of the night should go with the style of the event. We love bringing unexpected surprises in as well when appropriate. Every single detail is thoroughly thought out so your guests walk away thinking it was an incredible party and they had the time of their lives!

ND: Do you ever find it difficult to push clients away from “trends” and towards a more unique design?

TCSWE: In the past few years we have had many clients who wanted either an all-white wedding or the blush, gold and ivory wedding. Both of these are beautiful and elegant, but they are also very popular. We like to work with our clients to create a unique take on these styles to make them more them rather than just the same wedding you have seen done a million times.

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

TCSWE: My best advice is to remember that this is your wedding and you want to always be able to look back on your pictures in 10, 20, 30 plus years and think how special the day was. You don’t want to look back and say “What was I thinking?” I always try to find ways to personalize a wedding by bringing in details that represent the couple whether it is something with where they are from, favorite foods, flowers, colors…you name it!

ND: What are some of TCSWE’s trademark styles?

TCSWE: I would have to say some of our trademark styles are an elegant and sophisticated glam. We also love to do a mix of table types with long kings tables and round tables and always encourage lounge furniture around the dance floor so those who may not be dancing fools still have a place close to the excitement!

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

TCSWE: I love my clients so it’s an honor to be a part of all of their events! But, I would have to say I would love to plan a party for the Royal family….there may be another wedding coming up in the near future with Harry and Meghan.

ND: What is your favorite thing about designing weddings?

TCSWE: I love being a part of one of the most important days in a couple’s life and helping them start their happily ever after. It is such a joy and honor to get to share in the moments leading up to the wedding and to create a personalized event for them to share with their guests! To get to see the excitement and love shared by all of their close friends and family as they see the ceremony unfold and onto the revealing of the reception is pure magic!

ND: We hear you’re a Graduate Gemologist…what’s your absolute favorite gemstone and why?

TCSWE: Oh it is so hard to pick just one! I of course love my Diamonds, but for colored gemstones a beautiful Tanzanite that is a royal blue with just a hint of violet is definitely one of my favorites! Tanzanite is only found in Tanzania and I secretly would love to go on an adventure to climb Mt Kilimanjaro and possibly find a beautiful rough Tanzanite just waiting to be discovered. Tiffany & Co is actually responsible for naming Tanzanite.

ND: Last one, because we have to pick your brain while we have you, what trends do you see for the spring wedding season? Any color palettes or themes that you’re dying to use?

TCSWE: I am seeing some color come back, but definitely still staying with the trend of greenery and white weddings. I would love to play with more colors as we go through the year. We have some weddings coming up where our brides are excited to use rich deep colors or some bright. So I think we are about to see a change for sure! We have some events coming up this year that have some personalized details and color that we are super excited for! Very Town and Country style design.

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

TCSWE: This year we are continuing to expand on more Destination Weddings and going to more amazing locations with our couples. We are also doing some fun social events at the Four Seasons Orlando and are looking to expand this segment throughout the year to other locations!

Photography Leah Langley PhotographyStill 55 PhotographyVictoria Angela PhotographyConcept PhotographyDisney Fine Art StudioDonna VonBrueningBumby Photography, K & K Photography | Rentals A Chair Affair, AFR Furniture Rentals, FH Weddings, Nuage Designs | Stationery Très Chic Southern, Ceci New York | Florals FH WeddingsRaining RosesTrès Chic, Occassions by Shangri La | Dance Floor Let’s Dance on It | Venues Four Seasons Orlando, Vinoy Renaissance Hotel, Bella Collina | Planning and Design Très Chic Southern

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 

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

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!

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 

An Interview with Christopher Confero

With his boyish good looks, coy southern charm and distinctive sense of style, who could help but fall in love with Christopher Confero? Certainly not us. From Atlanta to New York, Amsterdam to Australia this jet-setter has been keeping busy! We were lucky enough to sit down with the event planner, designer, and dreamer extraordinaire to learn more about his inspiration, design process and why he is #BLESSED. Scroll through the full interview for a peek behind the scenes of Christopher Confero Design…

Nuage Designs: Tell us your story – how did you get into event planning and design?

Christopher Confero: I was a performer, so I grew up on stage and was always surrounded by creative individuals. Combine that with a degree in Public Relations and Marketing, and here we are. I still surround myself with creatives, but now my clients are in the spotlight and I’m behind the scenes directing the show. I’m not a checklist party planner. On that side, I see what I do as more time and logistics management. My strong suit lies in scripting the visual story of my clients and creating experiences for those who attend a Confero event. When I am at the helm of a party, every nuance is thought out to ensure cohesive flow. It tells one story, start to finish.

ND: You produce events with every little detail in mind, what is your favorite part of the process?

CC: It’s so cliché, but seeing the big picture come to life as the final details are placed and the candles are lit will always be a moment I live for. We spend 9 months or more toiling on a party that lasts but mere hours, so every detail is just as important as the next – what paper the invitations are printed on, when the music and lighting cues hit, the dinner napkins are freshly pressed. Elements that are sometimes overlooked tend to be the perfect opportunity to showcase my creativity and provide a broader cohesive vision. Designing the paper suite and the cake are such fun to me and always allow me to push my clients beyond party standards.

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ND: You seem to always be on the move jet-setting across the globe, how do you pull from your constant adventures for your designs?

CC: Sleeping in my own bed is a luxury for me! I feel like I am always on the go, but when I’m working, I always make room for a little play so I dare not complain about it either. I’m blessed to travel often and to so many places. I produced a wedding in Africa earlier this year, traveled to Amsterdam and Paris, all throughout the US, and am currently planning my first trip to Australia for early 2017. So needless to say, yes I am inspired by every location I visit and every person I meet. Even if it’s not an initial “AH-HA” moment, I always store memories away to pull from later as I need them. Cultures can inspire color stories, skylines will inspire stage design. Anytime you step outside, open your eyes and be aware of what beauty is surrounding you – the inspiration is endless.

ND: We love all of your designs, and find that they are all so fresh and unique. Where do you look for inspiration?

CC: Every single client is different than the one before, and there will never be another after. I aspire for all of my designs to uniquely reflect the style and personality of whomever I am working for. In our initial conversation, I ask them where they shop, what music they listen to, what their date-night spots are or what their favorite travel destinations may be. I have unifying style standards that I implement to every project, but every event is a new show being seen. Now, my brand is very reflective of who I am and my personal style – clean, simple, classic but always with an edge of irreverence. I personally pull a lot from music and fashion. I live for everything Tom Ford – the man can do no wrong. I firmly believe that more is more, but I’m just not a gaudy designer. Editing is the hardest and most valuable thing to learn.

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ND: How is the collaboration process with your clients? Do you ever find it difficult to push them towards what they might see as an “edgy” design?

CC: I feel like “edgy” design borders on being trendy, and as Karl Lagerfeld said, “Trendy is the last stage before tacky.” I am quite lucky in that my clients never try to micromanage my design process. I wouldn’t define my process as a collaboration, but rather that I start with their style and then simply amplify it with my approach to large scale entertaining. While every party is totally bespoke and its own creation, I have a very systematic method of how I execute certain things. Every place setting and seat is neurotically positioned. Every dinner napkin is hand-pressed – and yes, I have sat for hours pressing hundreds myself. It’s these touches that allow for a seamless flow for the eye. You may not notice that all 20 chairs are in a perfect line, but you will notice the one that is out of place. When these things are perfectly presented it ensures that future clients trust me to dream and create without interference.

ND: With wedding season upon us, what trends/colors/styles are you looking forward to using for fall/spring?

CC: Trends are something I shy away from completely. Hand to heaven, I’ve never used the chevron pattern or burlap – and only mason jars once in 2009. If it’s trendy now, it’s going to be out-of- date soon enough. I aim for classic design interjected with my client’s individual style. Looking to the seasons ahead, I would love to see people make bold (but smart) color choices. We all love blush and bashful, but let’s put it to bed ladies. Now I’m not saying pull all of the crayons out of the box, but select one dominant color and be brave! A rich plum with rose gold and navy accent for fall – yum!

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ND: What else is on the horizon for Christopher Confero Design?

CC: Complacency is death. I will always push myself to grow and evolve in every aspect of my life, both personally and professionally. Thinking about the not too distant future I have a few things stirring. Mum’s the word, but there are actually some big things coming down the pipe for me in the next couple years. New things are always exciting and challenge our human potential.

ND: So, you’re an absolute Southern gentleman but also a totally cool ATL urbanite. If we came to visit you in Atlanta, what would be our 24 hour adventure together?

CC: I’m required to boast our amazing Southern city and list the classic tourist highlights; World of Coca-Cola, The Georgia Aquarium, a Braves game, The Varsity and so on. But if I’m being honest – it’s rare that I even frequent most of those places. Twenty-four hours is plenty of time for an amazing adventure, let me see…

For planning purposes we will plot out Saturday shenanigans. We would start for breakfast at West Egg Café – always a line, but always worth it. The Georgia Benedict is my vice; two eggs, turkey sausage patties and gravy over a split homemade biscuit. I forgo the grits and potatoes and order fruit – I have to maintain this figure somehow! Now that we’ve stuffed our faces, it would be time to work off a few of those calories. The Atlanta Belt Line is a jewel. Though you’d be hard-pressed to complete the entire journey in one day, I suggest breaking it into sections. It connects most of Atlanta’s neighborhoods with amazing views of the city.  Whether you walk, run or bike, I’d suggest hopping off at Krog Street Market. Built into a 1920’s warehouse, it’s an eclectic mix of restaurants and retailers. Krog is also home to a tunnel that is made up of ever-changing street art – it’s a must-see while you are in the area. Our lunch stop would be at Cockentrice. 

If I didn’t weigh you down during breakfast, you have to try the pimento cheese with bacon jam – dear damn it’s good. Back on the beltline and head up to Piedmont Park. It’s 185 acres of open-air goodness complete with several built in attractions; walking/bike paths, Lake Clara Meer, and if it is a Saturday there is bound to be a festival going on. Note that a late afternoon in the park is prime photo opportunity with the beautiful midtown skyline in the background. After a long morning and afternoon of nature outdoor adventure, it’s time to freshen up for our early dinner reservations at Ecco. It’s on the top of my list for favorite restaurants in Atlanta. In fact, it’s my standard first date go-to. The corner booth and round table along the back wall gives the best view of the entire restaurant and kitchen while still being close to your dinner date. If I’ve been a good tour guide and planned the day well, we’d end the night at the Fox Theatre to a see whatever amazing show is on stage. The magic of the Fox is something you have to experience – words can’t even describe it. We’d end our adventure with a nightcap at Proof and Provision, which is in the basement of the Georgian Terrace Hotel. I fancy a Moscow Mule, but they have a drink menu that will literally knock your socks off – or you out of your socks depending on what you drink.

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ND: Any other wisdom or advice you want to leave us with here?

CC: I certainly don’t have any magic words or profound wisdom that are going to change your life. I believe in the power of openness & learning so I would like to share what I feel held myself and so many of us back from reaching full potential. I spent so much of my early career terrified of judgment and worried with being on par with others in my industry – not others who were new to the business as I was, but those who had been in business for decades. How could I expect to be as established in five years as someone is after 20? I was taught to focus on my journey and not be influenced by how or why other people do what they do. I’ve been so blessed to have mentors such as David Beahm to teach, love and guide me. Friends and colleagues, like the team at Nuage, who support and share my work and talent. To everyone and anyone who has cheered me on, words can never express my love and gratitude.

Saying “I Do” in Tulum

Our love of weddings knows no bounds. From a mountainside ceremony in Colorado to a Cipriani extravaganza in New York, we love it all. So when Kerry Beach, of Kerry Beach Events, brought us along to Tulum, Mexico to join her and Chellise Michael, of Chellise Michael Photography, we were beyond thrilled! These two incredible women have spent the last decade escaping NYC for the beautiful beaches of Tulum and in the past few years have expanded their businesses to this tropical paradise – to the benefit of wanderlusting couples everywhere. (PS did we mention they are not only total babes but also best friends? #LifeGoals ) We sat down with this dynamic duo to chat about how they split their time between the city and the beach, what inspires them when they are working with couples in Tulum and what a perfect day looks like in tropical Mexico.

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Nüage Designs: How is it splitting your time between NYC and Tulum? What are the different sorts of energies that you get from these very different locations?

Kerry Beach: Tulum has this energy about it that makes you feel like you can take deeper breathes. You can dream big and do great things while really being connected to the ocean, nature, and a deep Mayan tradition. It is spiritual and sophisticated all at once. Alternately, after some time in Tulum it’s fun to return to New York. New York is always pulsating. It’s alive and upbeat and a great place to explore your goals and dreams because there is simply so much to experience. I’ve grown so much as a professional in NY.

ND: With events all over the US and the world, why is working in Tulum unique to you? 

Chellise Michael: The country of Mexico has always been a favorite of mine. I love the people, food, culture, and simplicity of life that they have. Tulum is a very magical and grounding place to be. Every time that I am there, I quickly acclimate to their slow pace of life. What I love most about it is having the option of a comfortable, accommodating beach life, or spending the day in the lazy town of Tulum which is full of charm, and great little taco shacks.

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ND: What inspired you to start planning and designing weddings in Tulum?

KB: I started visiting Tulum 9 years ago. I would travel there alone to simply take some time to myself to reflect and enjoy the beach. I took kite-boarding lessons, read books, and just let myself unwind. My now husband was the first person I really invited there to share my love for it. After we got engaged there was no question that we wanted to be married there. Working in luxury events for years, and really loving my experience with my own wedding in Tulum, it was clear to me that this was a passion I wanted to pursue professionally.

ND: With the wedding industry just starting to pick up in Tulum, do you find yourself coming up with creative solutions to problems that you might not face if planning something domestically?

KB: I’ve learned so much about destination weddings. Hiring vendors you trust, considering all possible issues and planning for them, it all comes with choosing this profession. Truly, the most challenging thing for my clients and why they decide to hire me is because I understand the community and challenges of Tulum and my vendors are solid. Whether it be the wind, power requirements or simple service needs, we always find creative solutions to make it work with the beach environment!

CM: I can’t say that we have any problems with shooting in Tulum! The light is incredible and there’s nothing better than feeling the sand under my feet as I take pictures. If couples do choose to get married on the beach, I highly suggest not having their ceremony at sunset. As romantic as it sounds, being backlit with deep orange skin isn’t going to look good in photos. Save sunset for cocktail hour, it’s a lovely way to end the day as you transition to dinner.

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ND: How do you consider the natural Tulum environment when working on a Tulum wedding?

KB: I always say, don’t argue with the jungle. Tulum is very rustic and romantic while still exuding a chic and stylish vibe. I go for linens that go along with that. For example for Jason Wu’s wedding I selected a textured white table linen, White Sand Tuscany, whose contrast to the White Hemstitch napkins, which had gorgeous stitching, gave it a bohemian elegance and created interest rather than choosing, say, a more straightforward un-textured linen. It was altogether romantic, elegant and chic. Alternately, rustic wood tables are a favorite here and allowing the wood to be exposed lets me play around more with lace runners, like the Ivory French Lace I used for a recent shoot, and airy light napkin fabrics. I do avoid things that are too heavy looking or argue with the jungle, like satin or dupioni.

CM: Photo shoots in Tulum are always full of so much more freedom! Colors and textures are naturally abundant from the landscape and the breeze is incredible! It’s such a romantic place, so my couples are so much more relaxed and playful in front of the camera. We carry our cameras with us as we experience Tulum ourselves whether we are in town, walking the beach, etc. so there’s a story of being in Tulum given to our couples. On the wedding day, if the couple wants to shoot in the colorful town we create a timeline that allows us to, or we can do an intimate shoot with the couple a few days after the wedding in other locations.

ND: When it comes to a Tulum wedding, what do you think rank as the most important things for your couples?

KB: Quite honestly, the venue truly starts the experience. Knowing your clients vision and truly getting them connected with the right venue that best suits their needs and budget is so very important. The venue will really set the tone for the rest of the planning process. At the same time, I listen to my clients’ priorities and let that guide the process.

CM: People get married in Tulum because of the beach so that’s definitely a focal point for photos! But there’s so much more to Tulum than the beach, so we like to incorporate the architecture of the properties, the forest, and the colorful town of Tulum.

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ND: Why should couples planning their Tulum wedding reach out to work with you? What kind of expertise do you bring to the wedding process?

KB: I offer more clarity and guidance in the booking process and cut out a lot of time it could take if doing it on their own and alleviate a lot of stress they might face if trying to plan from abroad with little or no experience with the area. I also work with an elevated list of vendors who I trust and who I truly believe offer the best services in their fields. We work well as a team and that’s where the magic happens!

CM: Things are run on “Tulum Time” there, so don’t expect anyone to get anything to you “now” it just won’t happen, sorry! It’s a very slow place to be and live in, so you must understand and accept that the people of Tulum live in zen and on very slow wi-fi. So if you want to get married there, you must have trust in your experienced vendors and go with the pace given.

ND: You get to work with your best friend and an incredible wedding professional fairly often on these dreamy Tulum weddings. What’s the secret to the magic that comes to life when the two of you are together?

KB: Trust and fun. I trust her and her team when it comes to scouting locations, doing their best to understand the environment to create amazing shots, and that those photos will really capture the vibe and personality of the clients. They are so very fun on top of being professional and this brings out an ease in couples that lets their energy really come through in the photos. They truly care about connecting with their clients so the entire process feels amazing.

CM: 100% trust in each other, big time. We have a non-verbal communication and understanding of what the overall feeling of the wedding/styled shoot is and how to visually accomplish it together. As friends, we definitely have the same taste in style, so it’s easy to appreciate what she creates.

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ND: If we came to visit you in Tulum, what would be your top recommendations on things to see/eat/do?

KB: Los Aguachiles at the end of town is a lovely local eatery. Tacos, tostadas, ceviche, you name it. The seafood there is so fresh. And to boot, 4 people can eat and drink there for no more than $40 total. It’s amazing! Also, a visit to the bio reserve is a must. You can take a tour that takes you through a fresh water river with mangroves all around you. The water is crystal clear. You sit in your life jacket, which has been flipped upside down and look like bright orange diapers. It’s hilarious fun while taking in some of the most beautiful nature in the area. Definitely visit Coba ruins and any of the amazing cenotes. The list goes on, but those are a great start!

CM: Spend the first day doing absolutely nothing but eating guacamole and drinking Micheladas on the beach. You must get acclimated properly! Then go into Tulum town proper, get off the main strip and eat tacos at Aguachiles, walk around and take pictures. There are several cenote tours, but the best ones are the kind that you can rent 4x4s and drive to them, it is so fun!

ND: If you had a whole 24 hours to yourself in Tulum, what would a perfect day look like?

KB: I would get my usual iced coffee from KiBok in town. Then I’d head to Uno for their super healthy breakfast. I’d then head to Casa Violeta to do some work at my favorite corner table facing the sea (maybe with a glass of bubbly) then I’d go for a swim before heading out to grab the Octupus Ahau at Ahau Tulum for lunch. More swimming or even some paddle boarding on the ocean with my dear friends at Mexican Caribbean Kitesurf would come next. I’d then hit the beach road for some early evening shopping, especially at Calo Calo. A “kisses in the car” cocktail at Gitano followed by dinner at Arca and I’d call it the best day ever.

CM: Wake up in my hut to the sounds of crashing waves and chirping birds, go to breakfast in my swimsuit, then walk down to the beach and lay there all day. No phone, no music, just the ocean, a big shady umbrella, guac, and a Michelada. After that, I would rinse in the ocean, put on a comfortable dress and walk to Gitano for dinner and make some new friends. I would be in bed by 10pm so I can wake up wit the birds again.

ND: What else is on the horizon for Kerry Beach Events in Tulum?

KB: I’m actually building a house there at the moment. It’s going to be a bed and breakfast with a highly curated concierge service, from rooftop Mayan cooking classes with custom cocktails to private excursions to hidden gems with some of my favorite tour companies.

ND: Any other wisdom or advice you want to leave us with here?

KB: When visiting Tulum, just breathe. Know that you are there to experience something amazing, even if that is undefined and you’ll feel it for yourself. It’s that happy place when you are sitting on the beach with the sun shining and the salt water in your hair. Tulum is not Cancun, it’s not Paris, it’s a quiet place full of inspiration, so sit back and get inspired!

CM: When working with us, all that couples need to do is get dressed and have trust and comfort in our direction. We always do a pre-wedding portrait session to gain this comfort. And for destinations like Tulum, we pre-scout amazing locations for them. Sometimes a specific location does not work out when we return because of the weather, lighting, or other distractions, but we just roll with it and hope our couples do too because it always works out! We also suggest being prepared for adventure, there’s a lot of incredible photos to be made that will require the bride and groom to walk up a cliff near the ocean, thru some grass, or sand, so bring extra shoes that will protect your feet.

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Between the gorgeous photos and the perfect day agenda, these ladies have us dreaming about the beauty and magic of this Mayan beach town. Go ahead and book us on the next flight to Tulum because we are definitely believers!

Designer/Planner Kerry Beach Events | Venues Casa Violeta, Sanara TulumVilla Pescadores | Photographer Chellise Michael Photography Hair & Make Up Sharon Becker Beauty | Dresses Rebecca Schoneveld | Rentals Archive Mexico

A Conversation with Jassi Lekach

Welcome to Miami – the city of beaches, bikini-clad beauties and perfect party weather! We’re pretty sure that the all-white party originated here and is still going strong, but is there more than meets the eye in this palm tree paradise? We turned to Jassi Lekach, of J Group Events, to hear about her version of Miami and get the real scoop on what’s happening down south. Spoiler alert: there’s more to see than just acrylic bars and glow lights.

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

Jassi Lekach: I grew up with a large family that was constantly hosting events, from weekly Friday night dinners to countless weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthday parties, and brises. So when I interned for Conde Nast incorporate sales during my first summer of college, it was only natural that I should gravitate to the corporate events department.  After interning and later working at Karla Conceptual Event Experiences in Miami, there was no denying my love for designing events.

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ND: We know you do a good bit of corporate work, how is this a different process from the wedding and social events process?

JL: When planning corporate events, we are working with experienced professionals who have a clear vision, budget, and goals for their event. Whereas with social and wedding clients, it’s a more emotional process, since we are working with people who are celebrating the most special times of their lives and they usually need more guidance in executing their vision.

ND: You’re always coming up with fresh concepts to incorporate at events, where does this inspiration come from?

JL: I am inspired by life, music, art, interior design, and random observations. Naturally curious, I always seek out new experiences, restaurants, and destinations to visit. I also love Instagram & Pinterest, but will go offline when I am designing something totally new.

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ND: How is the collaboration process with your clients? Do you ever find it difficult to push them towards what they might see as an “edgy” design?

JL: Most clients come to us saying they want something totally new, different, and never seen before, so we don’t really have to push them to let us get edgy on the design. If they are more classic in their tastes, we also love to create events that are wholly elegant and traditional – we just do it with a stylized precision.

ND: Miami is changing, has been changing so quickly these past years, do you find a lot of inspiration in the direction it’s taking?

JL: Definitely! Miami has grown up to become a cultured city with amazing museums, buildings, restaurants, and performance spaces, many with an oceanfront view.

ND: What does a perfect day in Miami look like to you?

JL: A morning at the beach with my family and friends, children’s philharmonic concert at the New World Symphony, late lunch & book shopping at Books & Books on Lincoln road, ending with watching the sunset & the cruise ships from South Pointe Park.

ND: What are your favorite places to hang out, eat, have a drink, relax, dance late into the night?

JL: Some of my favorite places include the Perez Art Museum (lunch & art with great views), Zak the Baker, The Dutch at the W hotel, being poolside at The Edition, the spa at the Ritz Carlton Bal Harbour, The Mandarin Oriental (they always have great music and the restaurants and views are perfection). I also love going by boat to Seaspice or Zuma. I also love walking around Wynwood, the Design District, Coconut Grove, and Sunset Harbor.

ND: You’re a full-time business owner, lovely wife and incredible mom, how do you make it all happen?

JL: I could not do any of this without the incredible support of my family (especially my mother), my team, and all of the amazing vendors I work with. I make it all happen with my calendar, to-do lists, and working without interruption in the evening hours after my kids are asleep. I also observe the Sabbath, which is the greatest day to recharge my battery and spend quality time with my husband and kids.

ND: What are your life-essentials?

JL: My iPhone, laptop, my car (which is like my second home), workouts, books, great music and Instacart.

ND: We have to pick your brain while we have you, what trends do you see for the fall wedding season? Any color palettes or themes that you’re dying to use? Is there a Nüage linen that you’re obsessing over right now?

JL: I see metallics like rose gold, brass, silver, and gold, especially mixed, as a big trend for fall 2016. Jewel tones softened by pastel colors are also going to be big for fall. We are loving statement napkin rings, unconventional printing methods, and personal touches incorporated into weddings. I was dying to create a large scale digitally mapped flower wall which a very cool couple let me do for their wedding this past January. 

Right now I am obsessed with the Sultry Beige Anita, Black Alumettes, Grey Laurel, and any cool swatches I find in your sample closet.

ND: If you could leave us with one piece of advice, what would it be?

JL: Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.