Showing posts with label entertaining. Show all posts
Showing posts with label entertaining. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Night in Wonderland - An Event Design

I recently had the pleasure of designing a very special event for The Evergreen Montessori School. Donna Kerr of Pure Energy Real Estate (the same amazing woman who sponsors The Haunted Garden) decided she would sponsor and donate the event production for the show. The theme was called A Night in Wonderland with a Queen of Hearts dinner and Silent Auction to benefit the school.

After visiting the site and watching Alice in Wonderland, the movie, I decided I would build a classic Wonderland feel in the outside garden of the venue for people to walk through on their way into the Queen of Hearts dinner and then create a full Queen of Hearts space in the interior.

We reused the arch from past events but I built this Wonderland sign out of plywood, paint and glitter. It is illuminated with 2 Par 46 up lights. I bought some faux Wisteria to drape at the top to create a garden feel.
As you walk through the entrance, you are immediately welcomed by The Cheshire Cat. I cranked him out the night before the event like a crazy person after day 1 of install. I don't even know how i got my second wind. Pure passion I guess. He is made of plywood, paint, purple fur that I ordered from Amazon, spandex and batting at the nose, wood, paint and glitter on the eyes and then black sticks for whiskers! Those whiskers were attached with a hot glue gun and they held very well. He is probably my favorite piece. I brought him home to give to my son for his room. He loves cats and the color purple after all.
Next on the path was a handmade This Way That Way sign. This was done by cutting pieces of wood, creating a stencil, then painting and glittering. I will have some video of the making of this piece soon.
As guests approached the entry to the actual dinner, they were met with a long red carpet, red spandex and my handmade versions of the Queen's Guards flanking the doors. These were made of a very thin underlayment wood, paint and glitter. 
The room was a long rectangle, so the idea was to create a Mad Hatter Tea Party but Queen style. The school had put out a red, black and white theme for their brochures. Donna came up with the idea of covering all the chairs with black chair covers and red organza bows. It turned out beautifully.
The table was a lot of fun to design. Overall the room was going to be very Queen of Hearts heavy but I wanted to incorporate a lot of the garden feel from the movie. I got some tropical topiary plants from Home Depot to bring height to the table and a red & yellow floral centerpiece in a big vase with this beautiful Burlap wrapped around it. The rest was bought from a wonderful store near my residence in West Virginia called Hobby Lobby. They just happened to have large chess pieces and other Wonderlandy props that worked out fabulously! We also found some great pieces from a lady that had decorated a Queen of Hearts wedding  that included vases, printed Wonderland quotes, teapots, candles etc. 
For the perimeter of the room we wanted to create more seating areas to go behind the auction tables. This is where the Pure Energy Design Team came in to play. Since they stage houses and have a warehouse of furniture, they were able to bring in a ton of mismatched chairs and small tables as well as some fitting lamps and wall pieces. Jenn Clark (my best friend in the world who I could not do this without) hung big tissue paper flowers from the ceiling and installed black fabric over the windows using wire and pins. 
One of the things I took away from the Alice in Wonderland movie was the outside courtyard at the Queen of Hearts castle and her long red flags. The venue had 8 pillars on the perimeter of the room so what better reason to create long red flags! Cara Hunt from the Pure Energy Design Team sewed the edges and created a loop at the top for me to attach them to wooded dowels that I could attach to the pillars. They were all illuminated with Par 46 Up lights and some were accessorized with live bamboo stalks. These were very simple and classic. The fabric is just a basic flowy polyester from Joanne Fabrics.
Last but certainly not least was my 10' Heart for the stage. It was very important to have a big piece on stage that would bring the whole event together. A piano player would be performing on stage and the Cosmopolitan fountain and catering stations would be in the front on the main floor. So i constructed a huge heart out of underlayment wood since it is so incredibly light weight. It was 6 pieces total, painted and glittered, then  pieced together on site, hung in the ceiling and illuminated with 2 Par 46 up lights. 
The evening was a huge success. The school was very impressed and the guests were blown away. Thanks to Donna Kerr and the Evergreen Montessori School for the opportunity. I had a blast! 
For build and tutorials on the props:
More photos in my photo bucket.

Video of the event below

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A D.I.Y. French Bohemian Farm Wedding!

Photo by Cindy Alderton

I had the honor of hosting and designing a French Bohemian Farm wedding for my very good friends Antonette & Clément Vasseur. I knew from the day i moved into this farm, that it would be the most wonderful location for a wedding.

Well it just so happened that they needed to have one, a French Bohemian one. On a Farm.

I worked over the course of weeks - hand making special items and collecting various vintage items from thrift & antique stores that i thought would represent the French, the Bohemian and the Farm, not to mention this beautiful couple and all their glory.

What is French Bohemian exactly? Romantic + Hippy + Farm = French Bohemian. I let my imagination go wild and my creative side followed. The following is the design and creation of a wonderful theme in a beautiful country setting and how to Do. It. Yourself...... if you are ever in the need for one :)

The wedding was extremely cheap to produce. It was super casual. There were no chairs at the ceremony. They didn't walk down an aisle. The guests were asked to each bring a dish and beverages. The decor was purchased at thrift stores and the wildflowers were picked at a local farm.
I started with an invitation. The idea of a postcard all began because Antonette and I both stumbled upon another French Bohemian Wedding online. I must mention it as it had so much to do with  the inspiration for the design of this wedding. Tahni & Joseph's Bohemian French-Inspired Wedding! Tahni & Joseph decided to have their guests write notes on the back of postcards instead of doing a guestbook. We both loved the idea as the thought of a guestbook just wasn't fitting. So to play with that, i went to and downloaded some vector files of a vintage postcard and some stamps, put it together in Adobe Illustrator, added a few custom touches to bring France {Clément} & Italy {Antonette} together.

I found a ton of these old wooden boards lying around the barn, so i hand painted {ceremony}. I originally wanted to do more of these, but time got away from me.

The first and most important detail of the wedding, for me, was to make the couple a special Wedding Gift. Something that could be a major decorative piece for the reception, but also something they could take home. The latter was fairly challenging as most people wouldn't want something "weddingy" in their house. So it had to be formal enough for the reception and casual enough for their {simple & classic} home. I pondered this project for some time and then it came to me. 

Make a framed cork board covered in natural linen - celebrating the couple that people can also use to display their postcards.

The piece is made from a 4'x4' piece of plywood, Whitewood Chair Rail moulding and some detail pieces to finish it off {all stained black}, 6 packs of cork tiles from craft stores, 1.5 yards of natural linen, photos of the couple from Zebra Giraffe Photography {clipped to twine with clothespins}, some clippings from a French inspired " craft paper pack" bought at Michael's for $24.99, a peacock feather i bought at an Antique Shop for $1, vintage postcards that Antonette found on Ebay for $7, decorative thumbtacks and a custom sign asking guests to write messages on the postcards. 

Using the same graphic from the invitation, i added text in both French and English, printed it on a special linen paper and pinned it to a felt decorative backing.
I found the bottles at Past and Present Antiques in Brunswick, MD. It is an amazing store. Each beautiful vintage bottle was only $3!!!
I wrapped the green bottle with one of the craft papers and tied it with twine. 

The books were borrowed from Beans in the Belfry - a charming coffee house in an old church in Brunswick, MD. The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry was a little touch i added from my own personal collection. Antonette brought over the tea kettle. Her mother put the lanterns together with moss & wildflowers. The candles, which say, Papillon {butterfly} were another wonderful find @ Michaels for $4 each.

Special touches for the corner - my picnic basket, 2 baskets purchased at Goodwill for $1.80 each, some twine, decorative wicker balls, & flowers.
I hand made the monograms out of thin wood, using a jigsaw, twine and ebony wood stain. 
 The drink table was filled with a variety of knick-nacks from various thrift stores as well as jars, bottles and other odds and ends from Antonette & Echo's homes.

I wrapped the candles with some of the craft paper from the French Inspired pack i used on the cork board. 
The wildflowers were picked from a local farm in Purcellville, VA {}. They give you a bucket and a floppy hat and let you pick your own until you fill the bucket for $30. Wildflowers are officially my favorite arrangement. You don't even need to do much. Arrange them according to  height and their beauty does all the work. 
Bouquet designed by the bride's mother :)

The sunsets on the farm are breathtaking. I hand made swings out of wood i found in the barn, twine and a tree that just so happens to bask in the glory of the sunset on any given evening. 
I wanted to capture vintage farm. I found the old window frame in the barn. That barn is a treasure box, i tell you. :)
That is my chicken. Love her. 
Antonette's beauty and style is breathtaking. She hand picked her accessories and dress. 
Antonette's dress is from Christin Tina on Etsy {}
Headband from Lucia Bella Handbags & Accessories on Etsy {}
The reception/party took place on my screened in patio and outdoor deck. For the evening's festivities, i hung lanterns in turquoise, orange and white over the deck. I strung Christmas lights inside them to keep costs down.  The 10" lanterns were $20 for a dozen from Ebay. Lanterns are an affordable way to create ambient light.
 On the porch, i used red up lights in corners for the plants. The mirror tube {above} is one of my older handmade pieces from my nightclub days. It is made of pvc tubing and broken mirror pieces. Hung from a mirror ball motor and illuminated with 2 pin spots, it creates a wonderful party atmosphere. 
The guests {who were almost all French}, were asked to bring a dish. I love the Frenchies and their amazing food. It was heaven. 
The Croquembouche wedding cake was from a local bakery in Martinsburg {Sweet Inspirations} This one, slightly different than the traditional, had larger cream puffs. It was AMAZING.
For a late night treat, we opened some champagne and served chocolate fondue with strawberries and bananas. 

Congratulations to you both {Clément & Antonette}. You are a beautiful couple and i was honored to be a part of your unforgettable day. 

Photos by me, Rania Peet unless otherwise noted by Cindy Alderton of {}
Cindy specializes in Boudoir photo shoots and her wedding site is under construction. 
Thank you for all the wonderful photos Cindy!