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Once Wed Feature: Elegant Garden-Inspired Wedding



So, we in the creative industry always aspire to work towards or with our “ideal.” Usually, this refers to an “ideal” client: someone who not only truly values our work, but who offers us the creative freedom and expression we long for. Well, I recently had the opportunity to work with a team of “ideal” fellow creatives in the events and wedding industry on an “ideal” piece. Let’s be real, the entire inspirational photo shoot and experience was ideal. Working with this team on this particular artwork to help create these images? Oh, and to be featured on Once Wed? One of the most prestigious publications featuring gorgeous, high-end weddings? Well, I’m going to be very honest and say it has made me take a wonderfully powerful look at the direction and future of my own business and perspective as an artist. And so, I’m very thankful. Below you’ll find some of my favorite images and inspirational ideas from the watercolor wedding inspired shoot. If you would love to check out the full online feature, head on over to Once Wed – Elegant Garden-Inspired Indoor Wedding Ideas.

 What Started It All

Our fearless leader Margo of Bright Occasions was approached by Heidi of The Dandelion Patch with the idea that ultimately brought us all together: this watercolor wedding stationery. The soft blush, white, and gray of the watercolor with touches of gold became our color palette, and we all ran with it, never forgetting the natural softness of any watercolor work. Being an artist, of course I was inspired.

watercolor wedding invitation suite by the dandelion patch

Watercolor Invitation Suite by The Dandelion Patch

I spoke with Margo about having always wanted to tackle a more lengthy backdrop piece. It was so refreshing and inspiring to work with a planner and stylist who not only trusted my vision, but shared it. But then…I ran into what, in my artist’s mind, was a bit of a hurdle. I specialize in acrylic backdrops painted on woven linen canvas. It’s always my personal goal to have my acrylic paintings look and feel like watercolor…but two very different mediums. It didn’t feel right to use an acrylic on canvas backdrop for a watercolor wedding shoot. I knew I just had to get out of my head and over myself. Bonnie, our amazing photographer of Bonnie Sen Photography, had about 25 feet of heavy card stock paper ready to go…and off I went with her and Margo’s blessing!

Getting Out of My Head and Over Myself

25 foot watercolor marble backdrop with green vines pink roses and white drapery

25 Foot Watercolor Marble Backdrop with Florals and Drapery

It was quite a scene in our apartment: 5’5″ me (and my arm-span) tackling 5 x 25 feet of card stock paper. I may or may not have had to line up our kitchen table, followed by our coffee table, followed by my desk (yes, all three different heights) to paint the thing! First, I cut off a few squares from the bottom to test out my watercolors. I actually had the PERFECT shade of bluish-gray, the perfect compliment to the blush watercolor-stationery! I was all set and ready to play…when disaster struck. Ok, it wasn’t a real disaster, but for picky ole me it was! The watercolor was not taking to the card-stock…at all. Instead of the pigment neatly and equally drying into the paper as the water of the paint evaporated…well, the water was evaporating…but the pigment decided to seek out its lost brothers and sisters and clump together…On top of that, once it did dry, the final color looked nothing like what I had dropped! It was a struggle. I quickly turned to my old friend: acrylic paint. But, I knew she would look too artificial if I simply dropped her as is. Instead, I mixed a color consisting of gray and blue and watered her down like crazy. I then dropped the tinted water from the bowl onto the paper and pushed it around with my bare hands, thinning it out where I thought a lighter spot was needed, or leaving it be. I still had frequent heart-attacks, as the final color still ended up looking different from what I dropped (and let’s not even talk about how often the paper was on the verge of ripping). But, in the end, it turned into the 25 feet of watercolor marble backdrop and aisle runner goodness you see before you (thank you Jesus)!

bride and groom models standing in front of ceremony watercolor marble backdrop and florals

Our Beautiful Models at the Ceremony Set Up

“Starting with a 25-foot long hand-painted marble backdrop and aisle runner, the fresh foliage was added in a way that feels as though it’s growing up and around the couple.” <- actual Once Wed quote.

beautiful gray candles and greenery flank the aisle runner backdrop

Beautiful Gray Candles Flanked the Aisle Runner

 P.S. I had the absolute best time helping Kelly of Petals by the Shore drape these vines and carefully pin the roses. Y’all know how much I love fresh flowers! Isn’t it perfection?

beautiful greenery and pink roses provided by petals by the shore

Beautiful Greenery and Roses by Petals By the Shore

The Florals

There’s not much more I can say other than “perfection.” I’m a sucker for a few things in life, and fresh flowers is one of them (paintings of oceans, Starbucks very berry refreshers, and Golden Retriever puppies are a few others…just FYI). I swear I was a florist in a past life. Kelly of Petals by the Shore truly brought a whimsical garden to our indoor space at the National Cathedral School, but in a way that was elegant and sophisticated, as opposed to Tarzan-worthy junglesque.

lush bouquet of roses and pink flowers with dangling pink ribbon

Gorgeous and Lush Bouquet by Kelly of Petals by the Shore

Pas de deux bridal’s perfect something-blue gown looked just stunning amongst the organic gray and blush garden goodness.

It’s All in the Details

beautiful wedding gift by marigold and grey

Beautiful Gift by Marigold & Grey

What wedding, event, or corporate guest wouldn’t want to be welcomed by this artisan gift inspiration courtesy of Marigold & Grey? I mean, yes way to bottles of rose!

signature blood orange cocktail in martini glass

Signature Cocktail

Signature cocktails are a must. Even our cocktail was inspired by Petals by the Shore’s whimsical vines!

white wedding cake with pink and gold sugar flowers by catherine george cakes

Wedding Cake by Catherine George Cakes

Catherine George Cakes and I have worked together a few times now, and she never ceases to amaze me with her confectionary creations. Not only did she provide this incredibly crafted cake, but macaroons and other dainty treats as well! Because, you know, your guests need options! And Something Vintage’s bar cart repurposed as a cake table? Inspiring.

pink and gold dessert bon bons by catherine george cakes

Dessert Bon Bons by Catherine George Cakes

wedding cake displayed on a vintage gold bar cart in front of watercolor backdrop

Cake by Catherine George Cakes Displayed On a Vintage Bar Car by Something Vintage

Some of the most incredible styling by Bright Occasions.

The Venue

I’ve lived in the DMV for quite a few years now, and the National Cathedral has never stopped being a site of wonder and inspiration. Even living on the VA side…the Cathedral is that ever-present, beautiful landmark you see in the distance on the hill just across the Potomac. When Margo told me that the Cathedral and National Cathedral School would be our venue? In that moment it didn’t matter if she simply needed me to spray paint a twig…I wanted to be a part of this.

exterior photograph of the national cathedral school

The National Cathedral School

bride and groom walking outside the washington national cathedral

bride and groom walking outside the washington national cathedral

exterior photograph of the washington national cathedral

The Washington National Cathedral

I’m so grateful to have been a part of such a talented and inspiring team. And, as I said earlier, this shoot really has changed my perspective on my business and heart as an artist. I can’t wait to share with you the fruits of the that change in the new year! But, one thing I can promise you is this: it will be pretty!

The Team

Wedding Planner: Bright Occasions

Photography: Bonnie Sen Photography

Venue: National Cathedral School, Danielle Capecchi

Invitation Suite: The Dandelion Patch, Heidi Kallett

Wedding Cakes: Catherine George Cakes

Florals: Petals by the Shore, Kelly Shore

Wedding Gift: Marigold & Grey, Jamie Kutchman

Hair & Make-Up: Amie Decker Beauty

Artist: Brittany Branson

Draping: Drape Kings, Meredith and Marybeth

Rentals: Select Event Group

Vintage Furniture: Something Vintage

Wedding Dress: pas de deux bridal

Rings: Susie Saltzmen

Groom’s Suit: Alton Lane

Models: Anastasiia Putkova + Sepehr Hajireza


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