Admire and Be Inspired - A Modern Holiday Party for Engaged Couples in New York City

The holidays might be over, but I’m not ready to give up the festivities just yet. So today I’m recapping a holiday party I had the privilege of planning for The Knot and Allure Bridals back in late November. Geared towards engaged couples, “Admire and Be Inspired” was equal parts cocktail party and wedding design inspiration, and every detail was beautifully captured by Petronella Photography.

All photos by    Petronella Photography

Not to steer too far off course at the start, but couples frequently ask me how I incorporate event design into my services, if at all. The way I’ve come to describe my role in terms of design is that I’m the creative director of a couple’s wedding. I help couples determine their vision, narrow their focus, identify the relevant design elements they crave, and then pair them with the florist or maker who can bring that vision to life. I’m not in charge of making or creating anything myself, but I do assist in setting color palettes, determining overall style/vibe/feel and incorporating details personal to the couple. Not to pat myself on the back, but I’ve been told I have a great eye and unique style, but I don’t actually get down and dirty in the making process, as my recent failed attempt at getting cast on NBC’s “Making It” confirms.

My role in putting together Admire and Be Inspired is the perfect illustration of my jobs as planner and creative director. After The Knot brought me on board, I immediately went to work on the look and feel I wanted for the party. I knew I was going for clean and modern with a holiday twist and obviously, lots of color. I landed on a palette of fire engine red, fuchsia, turquoise and mustard yellow.

Having worked there before, The Knot suggested Home Studios in Manhattan as the venue. With its loft apartment-style open layout and high ceilings, the space was the perfect home for a cocktail party set up plus design vignettes. As the planner and creative director, it was my job to figure out how to use the entire space to make it feel full, what elements to incorporate and not overdo it, and what to put where without having the party feel cramped.

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I was also responsible for creating an environment that seamlessly intertwined wedding inspiration with a fun cocktail party. That involved determining how best to incorporate the models showcasing Allure’s attire, how to make design vignettes feel like they are part of the party and not out of place, and how to have areas unrelated to wedding inspiration, like the photo booth and seating area.

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Once I had my vision for the party firmed up (and a location), I knew exactly who I wanted to bring on board as my creative partner, Michelle Edgemont. Michelle and I work really well together because we’re always on the same wavelength when it comes to a colorful and creative modern aesthetic. With Michelle, I fleshed out the details of our design vignettes—a reception tablescape, a ceremony set-up and a dessert table—and got to work sourcing all of the elements for that, along with all of the vendors I needed to throw a kick ass party.

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I was absolutely THRILLED with how the party came together and while I could go on and on about how every single vendor I brought on totally knocked it out of the park for me, I’m sure your attention span can only handle a few highlights.

Once I decided on having a cake table as part of the wedding inspiration piece of the party, I knew that I wanted something other than a traditional tiered wedding cake but not something that was so out there that it wouldn’t be accessible for couples. I had the idea to do four individual cakes rather than one large one but knew I needed the perfect cake designer to create four unique designs that all still fit the overall aesthetic of the vignettes. Enter Sarah from Sarah & Simon Cake Design, who absolutely blew me away with her creations. Each one looked like a piece of fine art!

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I would be remiss if I didn’t also highlight the photo booth backdrop that Michelle Edgemont created for Flux Photobooth Company’s set up. From far away it looked like an abstract color-blocked design, but up close you could see that the whole thing was made from gift wrap bows. An absolutely incredible piece of work—I can’t imagine how long it took to peel the sticker off the back of every bow!

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Michelle also created stunning bouquets and boutonnieres for the models to complement our color palette.

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In order to tie everything together, I wanted some kind of “wow” factor. I’m absolutely obsessed with balloon installations and unfortunately haven’t found myself in too many positions to have them at my events yet. I knew this could be a great opportunity to incorporate one, but at the same time I was hesitant because I wanted to make sure that it truly fit with the aesthetics of the event (rather than me just being selfish and wanting a balloon installation) and wouldn’t overwhelm the space. I had come across Always Poppin’ on Instagram (side note: Instagram connections are real people and can actually make you real money) and had Tatiana, the owner, visit the space with me. We agreed on a location and size for the installation that would be a perfect complement to the party as a whole rather than seeming large and out of place. I could not believe how perfectly it turned out!

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I also can’t forget all of the yummy desserts provided by Cookies for a Cause NYC, The Hudson Cakery, and Popt by Lily!

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This entire event would not have been possible without the help of an incredible team of vendors, all of whom are listed below. It’s these vendor relationships that enhance my value as an event and wedding planner. I have a solid roster of vendors who I know and trust (and who are also at a variety of price points), so I know exactly who to point my clients to for their event needs. And when I’m able to bring those vendors together on an event, the possibilities are endless.

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Venue: Home Studios

Planning and Design: Color Pop Events

Photographer: Petronella Photography

Photo Booth: Flux Photobooth Company

DJ and Lighting: MD Music and Entertainment

Florist: Michelle Edgemont

Balloon Installation: Always Poppin’

Caterer: Purslane

Cakes: Sarah & Simon Cake Design

Cupcakes: The Hudson Cakery

Cookies: Cookies for a Cause NYC

Tarts: Popt by Lily

Lip and Lash Bar: Pre-Dame

Paper Goods: Suitesmith

Officiant: Once Upon a Vow

Rentals: Something Different Party Rental

Furniture: Patina Rentals

Linens: Nuage Designs

Wine: Terlato Wines

Sponsors: The Knot, Allure Bridals, Olay, and Charles & Covard