Styled Inspiration Shoot: Let Love Grow

Now that our beautiful styled shoot has been shared on 100 Layer Cake’s Blog, I can finally share with you some of the MANY images that didn’t make it into the final post.

Narrowing down which photos to submit for publication was hard enough — but we managed to get it to 100.  Narrowing it down for the blog?  Oh my!  I didn’t even count.  Ready?

I’ll include the original description of our inspiration and thinking that we sent along with the submission, just in case you’re interested. :)

“Spurred by the thawing of winter, the blossoming of spring, and the gorgeous silhouettes of oak trees in the Sonoma area, this shoot focuses on blending natural textures with bright, bold colors and details. The result is an soft and inviting combination of light-hearted playfulness and serene sophistication, which maintains an authentic, personal feel.

We began with a simple theme that we wanted to incorporate throughout the details of the day: Growth — of love, of nature, of pleasure and passion. This is reflected primarily in our location choice. Running Rabbit Ranch is a small, private, well-manicured winery in Sonoma, but instead of shooting amidst the rigidity of the vines and buildings, we selected the raw, untouched portions of the property, overgrown with wild grasses and trees. Our main table, provided by Amanda, was set in a grove of oaks, which provided shade and an elegant natural arbor for an intimate gathering. The floral arrangements, created by Leigh, highlight stages of growth — from charmingly delicate single buds to an explosion of full blooms in oranges, yellows, and corals. And the oak vases were custom made by Molly, who hollowed them out from fallen limbs collected on her family’s property, being careful to leave the natural lichen intact. Our living place cards, made by wrapping flag banners around a sprig or two of fresh herbs (in this case, thyme), were a clever, quick and cheap (especially if you grow your own ahead of time!) addition of Laurel’s. Molly also sewed the burlap runner — a great (and extraordinarily cheap!) alternative to rented linens — the raw edges of which added a dose of rough texture to an otherwise feminine tablescape.

The guest “book” table is nod to elementary school: an interactive paper link chain, which guests “grow” as they write notes of congratulations and add their links. Laurel selected brightly colored paper in a variety of shades, sizes and weights (including vellum, which glowed in the sunlight) to add depth to the station — one of our favorites! We also carried the theme to our favors — individual basil, zinnia, and sage seedlings, grown in biodegradable pots to make for easy planting once guests return home. These were sown weeks ahead of time, requiring only occasional watering — a great timesaver. Laurel designed the sweet thank you cuffs which slipped easily around each pot and helped to carry along our color scheme. And the precious labels (so guests knew exactly what they were taking home) tied into the place cards on the main table, too.

We had a hard time choosing our absolute favorite table, but the drink and dessert station was a strong contender! The gorgeous table itself, also provided by Amanda, was a precious backdrop that allowed us to focus on color, from bright paper straws and gorgeous flowers, to tasty sodas (both for the eyes and the palate). Keeping costs down for a small wedding was an important consideration for us, so we baked and frosted our own cake a couple days ahead of time — and it was funfetti! A simple flower adornment was all it needed. But one of the crowning glories was our ice cubes: they’re heart-shaped! Laurel snagged some adorable trays and started making the ice early. They acted as a perfect reminder of the spirit of the day.

Finally, a big nod to our gorgeous models, who are marrying this fall in San Francisco. Julie and Cole did a fabulous job, and Julie looked stunning. Betten kept her hair soft and loose, with a couple of cute braids, and her makeup bright, but not overpowering. And a thank you to Julie for selecting and styling their outfits!

This process was truly a team effort, as we met regularly to discuss everything from flower types, to frosting flavors, to transportation plans. While each contributor is being credited with what they “major” in, a truly fluid team was born. We’re already scheming on what their next inspiration should be, so stay tuned…! :)”


The dessert table was so freaking amazing.  If we’d had time to actually eat and drink all that gorgeousness, we absolutely would have.  Sadly, the funfetti cake went to its early grave uneaten.  Tragedy.  Check out those heart-shaped ice cubes, though!

Our favors were individual basil, zinnia and sage seedlings in biodegradable pots.  Freaking adorable, right?

But the pièce de résistance was, without a doubt, the guest book table.  I mean, holy heck, what’s not to love about this?

And of course, my very favorite part: the people.  My friend Julie and her fiancé Cole were gracious enough to take off work and drive up to Sonoma to model for us.  Julie may very well be the most beautiful woman I have ever photographed.  And to top it off, she’s super kind, too.  Amazing.

This was such an awesome and rewarding experience for me.  I don’t really have words for how lucky I feel to have been a part of this, and to have walked away with such good friends in my collaborators.  I can’t wait for the next one we’re planning — we’re going modern! :)

Event Styling + Design: Laurel of Esla Events • Vintage Furniture + Details: Amanda of One True Love Vintage Rentals • Florals: Leigh Okies of Leigh Okies Events • Hair + Makeup: Betten Chaston • Party Rentals: Hartmann Rentals • Venue: Running Rabbit Ranch

June 23, 2011 - 12:52 pm

debbie SO AMAZING!! Wish I could’ve booked y’all for my wedding.

June 25, 2011 - 6:51 am

Barbara Photography amazing shots!

August 9, 2011 - 9:19 pm

Mel LOVE all of this… can I put you on retainer? :)

July 5, 2011 - 9:09 pm

Featured: Style Me Pretty California » MEF Photography Blog! […] Click the photo below to see the full post on Style Me Pretty, or check out my writeup with a TON of photos! […]

July 5, 2011 - 10:26 pm

July 2011 Goals » MEF Photography Blog! […] Hopefully unveil the rest of our styled shoot — check it out! […]

February 1, 2012 - 4:09 pm

2012 + February Goals » MEF Photography Blog! […] was long and lonely.  But I am thankful to acknowledge there were a few bright spots (namely our styled shoot from last spring, and beginning and fostering sweet and meaningful relationships with some wonderful local vendors […]

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