Archive for ‘Get Inspired’

December 8, 2011

Baby It’s Cold Outside: Warm Up Hot Cocoa Party

Nothing says wintertime fun like hot chocolate! Steaming cocoa fragrant with chocolate and half melted marshmallows is a favorite with children and adults. Why not use this simple treat as an opportunity for holiday socializing? A hot chocolate party is an inexpensive way to host an informal party and share in the joy of the season. Are you newly engaged? Why not have a hot cocoa engagement party, what a warm and cozy way to celebrate with your friends and family.

Table Decor & Cocoa Toppings

Set up a table, with festive cloth and décor for your hot cocoa station and snack bar. You can fill the table with platters of sweet treats to dip into your cocoa. We love the idea of making marshmallows a bit fancy; why not dip them into sprinkles that sparkle? Your guests will be sure to love making their own personalized hot cocoa. Use bowls to offer an array of different toppings or mix-ins to the cocoa.

 

It is as simple as that! Don’t forget to make your holiday play list and invite your guests. We suggest something as easy as evite.com or make it a Facebook event for your friends to RSVP to.

Happy Holidays,

La Vita Bella Events.

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October 30, 2011

Our Halloween Cocktail at La Vita Bella Events

Sinister Cider
Serving: Makes 1 cocktail
• Fine black sanding sugar
• 1 lady apple, chopped
• 1/2 lime, cut into wedges
• 1 ounce maple syrup
• 1 ounce apple cider
• 2 ounces vodka
• Ice
• Club soda
• 1 thin crosswise slice lady apple, for garnish
Directions
1. Moisten the rim of a martini glass with water. Place sanding sugar in a saucer and dip rim of glass in sanding sugar to coat; set aside.
2. In a cocktail shaker, muddle together apple cubes and lime wedges. Add syrup, cider, and vodka; fill with ice. Cover and shake until well combined. Strain into prepared martini glass; top with club soda. Garnish with apple slice and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credit : The Martha Stewart Show, October 2009

October 8, 2011

Benefits of Having a Fall Wedding

Many people prefer to have their special day during the summer months, but a fall wedding can be charming, romantic, and friendly on your budget. The fantastic colors and mild climate that this season provides can inspire a beautiful wedding. Let’s take a look at some of the best reasons to have your wedding in the fall months.

A great time for weddings

The Décor: Be inspired by nature’s warm fall color palette

Autumn brings many beautiful colors and it can be a great idea to theme your wedding around the season. The colors of fall such as burnt oranges, browns, purples, and rich reds can be warm and romantic, and they can be easily incorporated into your wedding décor. You could even have your flower girls throwing colorful golden leaves down the isle rather than flower petals.

Fall color palette

Fall leaves on a tree

You can use this color scheme to inspire your wedding invitations as well. Choosing fall colors for your invite perhaps a brown with burnt orange accents. You could even order in bulk or buy at your local craft store gold leafs to slip into each invite with your wedding date stamped on for there reminder cards.

Depending on the time of day that your wedding will be held, it could be a great idea to add candlelight to the ceremony. Not only will it create a captivating and attractive backdrop but it’s incredibly romantic. Imagine saying your vows to your partner in the warming glow of candlelight. Another great idea to bring candlelight to your wedding is via your bridesmaids; how about have them carry lanterns with a candle softly lit? This could be a potential money saver; no extra bouquets to buy from the florist and it will result in lots of romance for your special day.

Bridesmaid carrying candle lanterns

Plan an autumn-themed menu

This is a season that brings many tasty foods, and you can easily conjure up a menu that breathes the delicious flavors of autumn. Why not greet your guests with a glass of warm mulled cider, a butternut squash bruschetta with a sage pesto, perhaps serve a game bird like Cornish hen or quail for the main course.

Butternut squash bruschetta with sage

No extreme weather

The weather can be just perfect in fall – depending on where you live. In sunny California you’re in luck, with only slight chances of cool wind or a drizzle of rain. This gives you a great reason to appreciate the outdoors and bask in the comfortable temperatures and magnificent autumn scenery.

Outdoor fall wedding venue

Your wedding photographer will be in their element with a backdrop of attractive golden foliage for your wedding photos. Due to mild weather your wedding party will not be sweating in their tuxes and beautiful dresses while standing around for pictures. The best part, in case you are afraid of a little chill you can purchase a beautiful bolero jacket to accent your dress and cover your arms.

Various bolero jackets for the bride

Many venues will have cheaper fall rates

With most people preferring to tie the knot in the brighter spring and summer months, having your big day in autumn can save you a lot of money. Hotels, halls, historic buildings, even a park and garden venues are likely to be cheaper (just don’t forget the time change when you plan your day).

There are many benefits of having a fall wedding– take advantage and set the date today before it’s too late and all you have to wait is another year before you tie the knot!

Congratulations to you all,

From all of us at La Vita Bella Events

July 21, 2011

A Look at Ethnic Weddings

One of the most fun parts of wedding planning is making a wedding personal. We love when brides and grooms incorporate bits of their cultures into their wedding, making the event a truly unique experience that epitomizes the backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities of the couple and their families.

Over the years, we have seen many of these weddings and have fallen in love with some of the traditions that other cultures have. Some are truly inspiring! Who knows: maybe it will inspire your future affair?

 Mexican Weddings

The ceremony:

Traditionally, during the ceremony couples have a “lazo” (white rosary) around their necks while they kneel at the altar. This symbolizes the couple’s unity. In very traditional ceremonies, the groom places 13 coins (called “arras”) in the bride’s hands: this symbolizes the groom’s role as the family provider.

 

The reception:

Mole, a sauce made of chilies, peanuts and chocolate (among many other spices!) is a traditional meal at Mexican weddings. In fact, saying “there is going to be mole” (va a haber mole) is a Spanish idiom meaning that someone is going to be married!

Live mariachi bands are common at Mexican weddings, and DJs often play Spanish version of popular rock n’ roll and hip hop songs.

 The décor:

Bright colors are everything in Mexican weddings. We love the festive feel that blues, oranges, reds and pinks bring to the occasion!

 For inspiration:

The bright colors are one of the most fun ways to draw on Mexican weddings for inspiration. Translate this colorful feel into bouquets and centerpieces for added fun, making sure to incorporate lots of yellow, orange, and bright blue.

We love the paper flags often seen at Mexican celebrations: they are a fun design element for invitations and décor.

We love this beautiful archway as well!

For an added touch, draw on the Mexican and Spanish tiles for a truly unique (and gorgeous!) wedding cake. Stunning!

We recently covered inventive “late night snack bar ideas”… how about a late night taco bar with these fun watermelon bites?

Indian Weddings

The ceremony:

Ceremonies vary from region to region (and are also different depending on the religion of the families), but generally the ceremony is broken up into pre-wedding ceremonies, wedding day ceremonies, and the “Vidaai”,  when the bride is formally sent from her father’s house to the house of her new husband. Brides typically wear red or pink saris and paint their hands and feet with beautiful henna patterns the night before the wedding.

 The reception:

Perhaps the word “festival” is more appropriate: receptions for Indian ceremonies can last for days! Typically, the entire family contributes to the festivities in order to fund such elaborate affairs and dancing, music and food abound. Fun!

The décor:

As with Mexican weddings, color is key in Indian weddings! We love the bright colors, the beautiful patterns of the fabrics, and the many flowers used. Marigolds are a traditional stem for Indian ceremonies and can usually be found throughout the décor: their lively golden-yellow is a perfect match for the turquoises, reds, and plums of the wedding.

For inspiration:

Colorful shamiana (tents), low seating on comfortable cushions, lots of bright colors, lots of tea lights, and marigolds. We love the idea of a henna-inspired everything: invitations, placecards… even the wedding cake!

Chinese Weddings

The ceremony:

A Chinese wedding ceremony encompasses over 2,400 years of tradition and celebration! We couldn’t possibly do each of these age-old traditions justice in this short post, so we are mainly focusing on the tea ceremony, which is an intricate part of a Chinese wedding.

The reception:

Historically, the bride would serve tea to her family before the wedding ceremony, then after the vows, the couple serves tea to the groom’s parents. Today, it is common to have one tea ceremony for both parents.

Because the tea ceremony is an opportunity for the bride and groom to show respect for their parents, the order in which family members are served is very important. Traditionally, parents are served first, followed by grandparents, grand-uncles and aunts, uncles and aunts, older brothers and sisters, and then older cousins, in that order. The father’s family is always served before the mother’s.

Lotus seeds and two red dates are used in the tea for two reasons. First, the words “lotus” and “year,” “seed” and “child,” and “date” and “early,” are homophones (they have the same sound but different meanings in Chinese). Secondly, the ancient Chinese believed that putting these items in the tea would help the newlyweds produce children early in their marriage, which would ensure many grandchildren for their parents. Also, the sweetness of the special tea is a wish for sweet relations between the bride and her new family.

 The décor:

Red is considered a lucky color in Chinese culture, and brides typically wear a red jacket, skirt, and shoes. Gold is typically used as accent color.

Traditionally, the families would decorate the new couple’s house and ceremony location with these colors along with “happiness banners”, red paper banners with Chinese writings wishing the new couple well. Dragons and phoenixes are also symbols often used.

For inspiration:

The purpose of the tea ceremony is to show respect to the bride and grooms families and recognize their importance in the union. We love this concept! A tea ceremony might not be for everyone, but this concept certainly is: consider doing something special to recognize your family members and your groom’s family members during the nuptials and/or the reception. Some brides choose to present the mothers with a flower, others pay homage to family members with a table of photos, and other incorporate family into the ceremony with readings, etc.

Cakes decorated with a dragon and phoenix are traditional wedding cakes. We love the idea of a dragon snaking around a circular cake!

July 8, 2011

“Tutto lei deve è l’amore” (All you need is Love): Italian Country Wedding

Italian Country Wedding

It goes without saying that an Italian inspired wedding must focus on three things: a beautiful country setting, food, and wine!

 The Décor

Nothing screams “Italian” more than olive oil, but the olive tree itself is also a beautiful element to the décor. The beautiful silvery leaves of an olive tree are great additions to table arrangements and sprigs can be used in bouquets for an added “Italian” touch.

Olive trees are also used for their wood, as seen in many Italian stores selling dinnerware, so incorporating wooden bowls or vases gives an authentic feel to the dinner. We love this table decor with Italian stemware and herb garden favor at each place setting.

Southern Italy is known for its lemons, which are great décor accents. Use them sliced in vases, or even use potted lemon trees as decorations. Lemons also make great place card holders!

The Food

For a perfect Italian-inspired menu, we suggest simple family-style, rustic dishes with local ingredients.

Coursing a reception meal can be a bit formal, but keeping the dishes family style will also keep the meal a bit more casual. Talk with your cater for some Italian-inspired dishes: appetizers of crusty bruschetta with tomatoes confit, truffle butter crostinis (a staple in Central Italy), bite-sized frittatas and prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and cantaloupe… the options abound!

Keep the salad simple: Central and Northern Italy are known for pine nuts, sheep’s milk pecorino cheese and aged balsamic vinegars, why not have a simple butter lettuce salad featuring these three beautiful ingredients?

 The Wine

One of the best things about Italian wines is the affordability. For a white wine, skip the ubiquitous Pinot Grigio and opt for a light Frascati, Grechetto, or Orvieto: all are reasonably priced white wines that are light and have a lot of citrus and good acidity!

For reds, keep in mind that many wine producing regions make two types of red wine: one that is meant to be aged (and is much more expensive) and one that is meant to be drunk now (obviously, the more inexpensive of the two!).

An example of this is in Montepulciano: the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a wine that must be aged for at least two years. It is a beautiful, rich wine… and a bit pricey! Opt for the Rosso di Montepulciano: this is the lighter red wine from the same region. It is only aged for roughly six months, is lighter in body, has bright fruit, and is a perfect accompaniment to many tomato-based dishes and chicken. Ask your caterer for these young Italian wine options: this is a concept that is practiced throughout Italy, so you should be able to find some steals!

Make sure to toast with Prosecco, the Italian champagne (and much more affordable option). Its bright bubbles are great with desserts, although we also love it poured over a scoop of lemon sorbet for a lovely treat!

June 5, 2011

A Bohemian Wedding: Inspired by the movie Chocolat’

One type of bohemian table decor

We have a confession to make: years after the movie came out, Chocolat is still high on our list of favorite films of all time. Who doesn’t love a movie featuring a gypsy-clad Johnny Depp and chocolate?  One of our favorite scenes is the dinner party. We love the effortless Bohemian style of the affair: the beautiful colors, the dripping candles, and the massive amounts of delicious food. We had a lot of fun imagining a wedding that pulls on this scene for inspiration with a modern touch. We hope you enjoy!

One “must” for a Bohemian wedding is COLOR. Think vibrant, beautiful draped fabrics!

Tara Arrowood Photgraphy- We love to work with Tara

Lighting is also key: dripping candles set the scene at the tables, while fun globes light overhead. How about a clear tent to let the moon and stars shine down on your night, now that’s stunning.

Tara Arrowood Photography

Arrowood Photography

Balance the colorful décor with romantic, flowing bridesmaids dresses in soft, neutral colors like tan, brown, or black. The dresses work as a blank canvas for beautiful, colorful bouquets, accessories like fun hairpieces.

Shelley Paulson Photography

Shelley Paulson Photography

Serious about going Boho? Have fun with beaded slippers: they are a million times more comfortable than any heels and certainly more fun!

Moroccan Beaded Slippers

A bohemian bride MUST wear flowers in her hair. Or, take it a step further and use one of the halos that are quite popular at the moment.

Untamed Petals Halo

Don’t forget about a fun fair accessory for the flower girl!

Untamed Petals

A mismatched hodgepodge of dinnerware completes the effortlessly beautiful theme. Incorporate as much greenery as possible to continue the natural, bohemian feel. Or, keep the dinnerware simple and mismatch vases full of colorful flowers for a fun centerpiece.

Elizabeth & Designs

Invitations and menus printed on handmade paper give a beautiful, rustic touch.

Of course, as in the movie Chocolat, food is key at a Boho event! We imagine heaping family-style dishes of plates like the shrimp passed around in the movie. Plates of vibrant grilled vegetables, salads, and pastas being passed around is a sure-fire way to get guests mingling and comfortable. And Boho is ALL about effortless comfort!

Arrowood Photography

April 16, 2011

Spice Up Your Wedding Favors

As the heat rises, we have summer weddings on our minds, and we are so excited to share our latest inspiration: spicy wedding favors!

We came up with a few sizzling ideas that summer wedding guests are sure to enjoy, and because most of these are DIY projects that brides can make ahead of time, they are also major money saving ideas. Worried about the projects being time consuming? Elicit the help of your bridesmaids and make it a fun “night in” a few weeks before the big day!

Curry paste

Looking for an ethnic twist to the idea of a spicy wedding favor?

Grab your mortar and pestle and get to grinding! Simple Thai curry recipes require very few ingredients and can be whipped up in an afternoon. Attach a recipe to the jar of paste (we love this butternut squash and red curry recipe!) to help guests put their new gift to use.

Chili chocolate

Salted caramels and chili chocolates are currently all the rage in the world of chocolatiers: jump on this trend by giving them to your guests as a thank you. Search online for your local artisan chocolate shop; or better yet, stop into their store for a tasting!

Jalapeno jam

Strawberries come into season around June: put them to good use by creating this delicious jalapeno and strawberry jam. The sweetness of the strawberries works well in contrast with the spicy jalapenos, creating a unique favor your guests are sure to rave about.

Once Wed- Photo credit Steven Myers

Not a fan of super spicy things? Limit the number of jalapenos in the recipe for a jam with a little less kick (or add a few more jalapenos if you’re really brave!). There are also many stores that carry spicy jams that will make a perfect favor for your guests if you do not have the time to make your own.

 Pepper seeds or baby pepper plants

Giving guests packets of flower seeds has grown in popularity over the last few years.

Giving guests packets of flower seeds has grown in popularity over the last few years. We suggest a spin on this popular gift: give guests a packet of spicy pepper seeds instead of the typical flower seeds, or give a small seedlings that they can take home to plant. Guests will think of you and your wedding in the late summer when their peppers begin to ripen!

Salsa

Try making your own salsa (which is SO simple to do!) and buy basic jars to seal them in. Finish off the treats with a personalized label: there are plenty of kits on the market (and free downloads on the internet), or you can create your own using a program on Martha Stewart’s website. We like this simple canned salsa recipe from Pick Your Own: they even break down the cost of canning ($0.95 per jar—including the cost of the jar itself—if you grow your own tomatoes, and slightly more if you purchase them. Not bad!)

Spice rub

Another fun and incredibly simple spicy wedding favor is an all-purpose spice rub.

Martha Stewart

A simple recipe of salt, brown sugar, paprika, oregano and thyme make a delicious addition to any grilled chicken or vegetables, and making the favor is a snap: simply combine the ingredients and store in a tin or small spice jar, and finish it off with a DIY label.

Spicy BBQ sauce

From The Stone Soup

Guests will most certainly enjoy a bottle of homemade barbecue sauce: for brides who have not made it before, believe it or not, the majority of recipes call for a few very simple ingredients: ketchup, chilies, brown sugar, paprika and onions. We love this recipe from The Stone Soup: unlike many other BBQ sauce recipes, she also teaches you how to sterilize your jars so that the sauce will last for months, and has an instructional video on the process.

For the Saucy Couple!

Spicy pickles

Emerils Pickles

Pickles are the perfect topping for burgers grilled at upcoming summer barbecues (and a delicious treat on their own!). Emeril Lagasse’s recipe for spicy pickles on the Food Network has received rave reviews from amateur cooks.

As we have said before, the wedding favor is a chance to thank your guests for their love, their support as friends or family, and their dedication to the two of you as a married couple. In essence, it is a chance to say “thank you” to some very important people, for some very important reasons! But just because the symbolism of the wedding favor is serious does not mean that wedding favors cannot be fun. We encourage our brides to find a gift that is creative, reflective of the couple, and above all, something that the guests will actually use. Have fun spicing up your wedding with our suggestions!

April 11, 2011

Repurposing Items: DIY Vintage Green Projects

We love the idea of incorporating rustic and vintage looks into a wedding: a touch of “something old” here or there adds a lot of charm to your big day… and if the project is refurbishing gently used items, then costs will certainly stay down! We came up with a few fun, inventive projects to inspire our future brides.

Antique tea cups and saucers as table settings and wedding favors

A fun, quirky idea for a table setting is to use old, mismatched teacups and saucers. We love the idea of a table set with these beautiful pieces, which can be picked up for a few dollars at any antique store. They can also be used as a party favor for each guest by pouring wax into each tea cup as a unique candle gift.

CraftStew.com

Boutonnieres from old books

Image from Van Horn Visuals Photography

Instead of the traditional boutonniere with cut flowers, use paper from old books (you can pick one up at a thrift store for pennies!), making the project both cost-saving and eco-friendly.

Burlap and lace ring bearer pillow

Grace Antiques at Etsy

Any old pillow can be recovered with burlap and then finished off with lace for this fun, country-inspired ring bearer pillow. It is a perfect touch for a summer wedding with a country feel! Not a crafty bride? Grace Art and Antiques from Etsy.com sells beautiful ring bearer pillows made from burlap and lace.

Mason jars

Image Courtesy of Moureen Lunn

Mason jars add a touch of home and comfort to any event, and can be purchased very cheap. Fill them with fresh stems or tea lights, then hang them from eaves or sprinkle them throughout the wedding and reception sites for little country touches here and there. After the wedding, use the jars for canning homemade treats, or stock up on them in your kitchen and channel your inner Southerner with some sweet tea!

Lanterns By Treasure Again

Moss

Instead of a table runner, use moss to decorate your tables for a romantic feel. Purchase the moss yourself and then sell it to a party store after your big event, or save it for future soirees that channel the feelings of romance and the outdoors. We love this one from Bragging Bags on Etsy.

Bragging Bags from Etsy

Moss can also be used as an alternative for the traditional ring bearer pillow, incorporated into boutonnieres, corsages and bouquets, or as centerpieces or wedding favors, like with this fun DIY project from Project Wedding.

From Poject Wedding

Old bottles: painted for a fresh touch of color

From Dianne Zweig "The Kitchy Collector"

Style Me Pretty-Sedona Bride Photographers

Collect old bottles from flea markets and thrift stores to use as table décor: a simple stem in each is an adorable addition to any table.

Photo By Carly Taylor

For added color, mix 1 cup of water with 4 cups of paint and dip the bottom of the bottles into the mixture: after they dry, use a wet cloth to remove paint and make designs in the bottles (since you added water to the paint, it will come right off with a wet cloth).

Potted plants as decorations and parting gifts

Who says you always have to use cut flowers for your wedding decor? Wine barrels that are cut in half make great planters: set one on either side of your archway for an eco-friendly ceremony decoration and fill them with flowers and ivy.

Use potted plants to decorate the aisles and the tables as well: guests can take them home as favors and enjoy their beauty throughout the year!

Image courtesy of intimateweddings.com

We hope that these ideas inspire our brides to add some creative, homemade touches to their weddings. Best of luck and congratulations to each of our couples who are planning their upcoming spring and summer nuptials!

April 3, 2011

Reinventing the Late Night Reception Snack Bar

Guests work up an appetite as they dance the night away, and we can’t think of a better way to fuel them than with the late night snack bar. The candy bar has gained in popularity over the last few years, but we thought we’d take the idea a step further: we put together some unique ideas for spring and summer wedding snack bars that are sure to re-energize your guests for the next round of dancing!

Ice cream bar

From My Bride Story

Cold ice cream is a perfect way to cool off after a few dances, and we love the look of the toppings arranged on a table in a pretty display. For added flare, order personalized wooden spoons. We found these adorable ones from Paper Cup Design:

From Paper Cup Design

Vintage Sundae Bar

Cookies and milk

Nothing says “late night snack” like the traditional cookies and milk. We love how these tiny cookies look when arranged on top of little shots of milk, and the guests are certain to enjoy!

From My Bride Story

Veggie Bar

Opt for the healthy late night snack: set up cut veggies and fruit and supply different dips for each: hummus is an excellent combination with sliced carrots and cucumbers, and caramel is a delicious dip for fresh sliced apples and pears. Make sure your caterers lightly coat the fruits with a mixture of lemon and water: the citric acid will keep fruits from browning.

The Veggie Buffet

Popcorn bar

The ideas for popcorn flavors are endless (caramel, kettle corn, parmesan, truffle oil, cheddar… we could go on and on!) and so are the ways to display popcorn for your guests’ late night treat. We love the idea of apothecary jars displaying each of the popcorn flavors alongside little bags to serve up the treat.

Cereal bar

A new idea that is sure to catch on is the cereal bar. The setup is simple—just a few containers with your favorite childhood cereals, a pitcher of milk, and some bowls and spoons—but the idea is fresh, new and a surefire hit for hungry guests. Who doesn’t love a late night bowl of Cap’n Crunch?


We love each of these fun, fresh ideas and can’t wait to incorporate them into our upcoming summer weddings!

March 13, 2011

Anthropologie Launches its Bridal Line

J. Crew and White House Black Market expanded their markets to serve brides, and now Anthropologie has done the same: on February 14, they revealed their line of bridal gowns, bridesmaid gowns and bridal accessories. We are in love!

Anthropologie Short Dress

The line BHLDN, (pronounced “beholden”, which means “to keep” in Dutch) includes bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses and bridal accessories. Each of the pieces showcases Anthropologie’s classic femininity and style, yet their gowns seem to appeal to many different bride styles: the knee-length gowns are perfect for a bride looking for a shorter, non-tradition wedding dress that still has a romantic feel, while the sweet eye-lit gown is a must-have for the boheme bride. Chic, sophisticated brides will revel in their gorgeous ruffled one-shoulder gown.

Anthropologie Eyelit Dress

Anthropologie One Shoulder Dress

The majority of their dresses are only offered up to size 14; however, many of them are styles obviously designed for a slimmer bride. Their bridesmaid dresses, however, are designed for various body types. We love this detailed, blush-colored dress which compliments many figures.

Anthropologie

Perhaps the most unique part of the Anthropologie line is their cover ups: fun boleros and wraps for brides and bridesmaids. They are fun, feminine, and a perfect opportunity to further accessorize on your big day.

Anthropologie Bolero

How fun to be able to say that as a bride, you wore a dress from Anthropologie’s first bridal line.  We can’t wait to style a bride who chooses these designs!