Archive for August, 2010

This utterly sweet couple had their wedding at the gorgeous Monte Verde Inn in Foresthill.  Their “Georgia Peach” wedding was chock-full of one-of-a-kind, incredible details, many of which were created by DIY Bride Anna.  Guests were greeted with hand-painted wood signs and picked up programs and favors from an antique, faded white dresser.   Burlap and button details were added to napkins and centerpieces, and the guests’ favors were homemade.  Anna and Mike’s adorable Boston Terriers acted as flower girl and ring bearer, complete with a little tux and flower garland – too cute!!  Cranberry draping surrounded the ceremony space to create a more intimate feel and to separate it from the reception space.  This draping was later closed completely to hide the ceremony space while it was transformed into a chic dancing space, complete with black and white lounge furniture and nightclub lighting.  The day was a huge success – congratulations Anna and Mike!!Varley White Wedding at Monte Verde InnAnna the Bride at Monte Verde InnFavors in an antique wood dresserCeremony site decorated by Catrina Maria DesignsBride and Groom with Flower Girl and Ring BearerWildflower BouquetNapkin with Burlap and Button detailsPostcard seating assignmentsThe ceremony site turned into a lounge areaBride and Groom in a photo boothThe stunning photos in this post were taken by the oh-so-talented Allison Stahl – thank you, Allison!!  DJ Joe of SJ’s Disc Jockey kept things moving, while a photo booth provided by Wild Rose Photobooth gave guests a fun activity.  Flowers were created by Ambience Floral, ceremony draping was done by CMC Event Designs, and Celebrations provided the rentals.  Thank you to all of these vendors who made this day such a success!


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A huge thanks to The Memory Journalists for featuring Catrina Maria Designs on their blog!  Check out the full post to see photos from an incredible wedding at Wine & Roses and find out Catrina’s answers to some interesting wedding questions…

The Memory Journalists blog

We absolutely love The Memory Journalists’ work and we feel honored to be featured on their blog — thank you!!

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We were so excited to learn recently that one of our former couples is expecting a baby girl!  Jen and Michael were married in 2007 at the Library Galleria in Sacramento.  Theirs was an elegant, classic winter wedding with a silver, black, and red color theme.  Both of them looked incredible and Michael could really cut a rug!  They are a couple of such warmth and beauty, and we are so happy to hear that they are about to begin a new chapter in life together.  Jen and Michael, we wish you and your daughter all the joy and blessings in the world and wonderful times to come!

The beautiful brideThe Groom and his GroomsmenBlack, silver, and red themed weddingWedding at the Library Galleria in SacramentoBride and Groom DancingThe Bride and GroomThank you to Sharpe Photographers for documenting Jen and Michael’s celebration!

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We just got pictures in from Shannon and Alex’s wedding at Nicholson Ranch Winery and, boy, are they gorgeous!  Allison Stahl caught plenty of pictures of this glowing couple and their simple, elegant affair.  Shannon and Alex got married next to the pond at Nicholson Ranch, with sprays of flowers by Julie Stevens Design and live guitar strumming in the background.  They then led their guests down to the wine caves for an oh-so-classy cocktail hour.  Back up at the reception site, Shannon and Alex kept decorations simple and natural to avoid competing with the beauty of the surrounding countryside.  Shimmering green and eggplant linens from Wine Country Party & Events set the scene, while a delicious array of Latin foods from Wine Valley Catering was set out in stations.  Everyone enjoyed the stunning cake by Patisserie Angelica and danced late into the night to the music of Latin band Latido and a local DJ.  Shannon and Alex couldn’t have been happier at the end of the night, and all three of us at Catrina Maria Designs were so glad to be there!  Thank you Shannon and Alex for sharing your big day with us, and congratulations!Nicholson Ranch WineryThe bride and groom by the pondBridesmaid bouquet set in wheatgrassThe bride and groom with their initialsPictures from family members' weddingsSeating assignments set in a bed of peasSeafood Paella from Wine Valley CateringA centerpiece of Purple Fringed TulipsPurple and white wedding cake

Soccer ball cookies

A view of the reception

The bride and groom in the vineyard

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Check out our new video on Youtube! And thank you to all the photographers whose images we used, including Allison Stahl Photography, Ashley Forette Photography, Jessamyn Harris Photography, Marc Weisberg Studio, and Love at First Click Photography.  You are the best!!

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Alright, this couple is just unfair.  They are beyond gorgeous together, they’re totally committed (they’ve been together for 8 years!), and the photos that Tinywater Photography captured of them are truly breathtaking.  We love the cool, urban feel of their engagement photos and the way Carla and Loren seem so blissful and at ease.  Check them out!

Carla and Loren Engagment by TinywaterCarla and Loren Engagement by TinywaterCarla and Loren Engagement by TinywaterCarla and Loren Engagement by TinywaterCarla and Loren Engagement by Tinywater

Carla and Loren Engagement by Tinywater

Awwwww!  Warm fuzzies all over!!  We are in the midst of wedding planning with Carla and Loren and we can’t wait to see their big day come together.  This stylish couple is getting married in Los Lagos and then heading over to Sacramento’s Elks Tower for their reception.  There, they’ll be pampered by a great team, including DJ Mike Regan, Accents by Sage Floral Design, Tinywater Photography, and, of course, yours truly!  It’s going to be a fabulous day!

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Marianna, the Bewildered Bride-to-BeI’m not sure if this is the case for most newly engaged ladies out there, but one of the first things that came to mind when I started wedding planning was whether or not to have an engagement party.  On the one hand, an engagement party is a opportunity to get your families to meet if they don’t already know each other, or spend a little more time together if they do.  And even though your family and close friends probably know that you’re getting married, a party is a nice way to make your engagement seem more “official.”  On the other hand,  an engagement party represents one more thing to plan…and one more expense in an already expensive undertaking.

I was conflicted on this one for a long time.  The idea of an engagement party seemed a little old-fashioned (I mean, most of my friends found out I was engaged through Facebook), and a little like saying, “Hey keep congratulating me because I can’t get enough!”  I didn’t want to spend the time, the money, and the effort to put something together that might be a waste of time.

Well, after a lot of doubt and going back and forth on the issue, my fiance and I  ended up deciding to throw one.  We thought that we might as well use our engagement as en excuse to have a party and spend a little quality time with our nearest and dearest.  Let me tell you what I learned: engagement parties can be amazing, meaningful, and cheap.  Intrigued?  This is how we did it:

Invitations: We eschewed traditional invitations, which seemed too formal and expensive, and opted for an online invitation service called Paperless Post.  With Paperless Post making a basic invitation is free, but you need to buy stamps in order to send your invitations.  Fortunately, when you sign up you get 20 or so free stamps, so we were able to invite all of our guests for free.  The invitations were super cute and we got to track RSVPs and comments from our guests.  So easy!

Setting: Rather than going to a restaurant for a sit-down meal, we opted for a backyard cocktail-type party with finger foods and fun drinks.  This allowed our guests to mingle and talk and ultimately created a more lively, informal atmosphere.

Backyard engagement party

The backyard, almost all set up

Theme: Your engagement party doesn’t necessarily have to have a theme, but themes can be a fun way to incorporate some of your personality and story into the evening.  My fiance and I love, love, love sushi, so we decided on a Japanese theme with red and blue as our main colors.  We served sushi and Japanese beer and created a “Sake Tasting” station, which was a big hit with our guests.  We made red cocktails and gave them names like “Death by Samurai” and “Red Dragon”.  My brother’s baker-extraordinaire girlfriend baked red velvet cupcakes for dessert, and wrote “Husband” and “Wife” in Japanese characters on the tops.  All of these little elements added up to make our backyard party stand out from normal  summer BBQs and family get-togethers, and they gave our guests something to talk about.

Husband and Wife red velvet cupcakes

The red one says "wife," the blue one says "husband"

Decorations: We borrowed things like candles and vases from family members, and made our own floral arrangements with bouquets from Costco.  We strung lights from the fence, hung lanterns around the patio, and set up a mister to make sure our guests stayed cool.  To keep our party looking cohesive, we  ended up renting chairs for our guests and linens for our food table and bar, but for just those few things the cost was minimal.

DIY Centerpieces

Just finished putting together our centerpieces

DIY: Since there was no DJ we created a playlist of upbeat music, lugged our stereo outside and hooked our iPod up to it.  Since we had no bartender, we pre-mixed cocktails and poured them into self-serve carafes, and set out cute ice buckets for beer and wine.   Just remember, if you’re going to  set up a completely self-sufficient bar, make sure to place signs out identifying unlabeled drinks, provide a trash can, and designate a place for dirty glasses.

The result?  A cool, comfortable, stylish party for 35 people for about $500.  Our guests had a blast, and we ended up feeling like an officially engaged couple.  Yay!  So, to all the Brides-to-Be who are considering the pros and cons of the whole engagement party thing, I say go for it!  For a pretty small amount of time and money, you can throw a great event that celebrates the fact that your lives are about to change…big time.  And seriously, with all this planning who doesn’t want an excuse to party?

Friends at our backyard engagement party

Enjoying the evening with great friends!

Go ahead, throw yourself a party!!

Your Bewildered Bride-to-Be, Marianna

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