Drawing Up Catalina Island Invitation Ideas

My #1 Invite. Image from Ceci New York.

One of my favorite parts of wedding planning has been looking at invitations online and in-person. I love, love, love invitations! You can go so many different ways and instantly give the opener an idea of what your wedding will be like. After coming across an article in Real Simple Magazine titled, “What is Your Invitation Style,” I decided to show Mr. Pashmina the pictures of the invites (without telling him what style was which) to see what he would like our style to be. According to the magazine there are four different styles: formal (traditional/sophisticated), semi-formal (modern/classic), thematic (reflecting a location or activity), and whimsical (quirky/creative). He couldn’t decided between two: thematic and whimsical. His reasoning for the two he chose: because they looked “fun” and “we are fun people” (yep, that is my man!). For thematic invitations we brainstormed that it could be island themed with palm trees, maps and charts; or nautical with ropes and anchors; cross-country themed with New York to California emblems. For whimsical ideas we mostly talked about how we could mix fonts and use something like the loose, curly one in the picture.

Mr. P's #1 Invite (on right.) Image from RIFLE.

I was super lucky and knew from the get-go that my friend, and bridesmaid, would be able to help me create custom invites so I was pretty much free to come up with whatever I could imagine (how cool is this, right?!). Over the next few months whenever I came across an invitation I liked on the internet I added it to my folder titled “Invitation Ideas.” Then the time came to narrow down my favorites! I pretty much was in love with two companies that made invitations Rifle and Ceci New York (especially their Destination line). They were whimsical and thematic–perfect. I thought the best way to decide on our invitations was to draw a rough outline using these sites as inspiration but use our wording, our names, and our Catalina-inspired elements! Then we would really be able to imagine them, then we could send these to my friend and she could work something up with these things in mind.

Here are a few of the ideas I came up with (I’ve blocked out personal info for privacy):

How did you decide on your invitations? Did you have a fun time researching and coming up with ideas like I did?

Our Venue: The Catalina Country Club

After all of this, I haven’t even introduced you to our venue! Let me bring you up to speed.

Image from Arcadia Weekly

After deciding on Catalina Island instead of a hometown wedding, we eagerly searched for a location. This took me months and months! Where…without visiting the island in person? I searched feverishly on the web. Googling, Flickring, and aimlessly searching photographer’s sites that contained images of other weddings on Catalina Island. Yep, I pretty much stalked Catalina Island trying to find out what locations were out there and what I would like best.

There was one thing guiding my search: I had my heart set on was that the ceremony was going to be outdoors. This is what I always imagined for myself. For the reception, I’d like it outdoors as well but that was slightly more open to what was out there.

There were two sites that had what I was looking for: Catalina Island Conservancy and Santa Catalina Island Company. From what I understand most of Catalina Island is actually administered by the Conservancy since it is protected land, while much of the city of Avalon was once owned by Wiley Rigley (yes, the chewing gum guy) and now his property is ran by The Santa Catalina Island Company. Hence, these two sites were the major players on the island.

Image from The Santa Catalina Island Company

The Conservancy offered 10 locations that consisted of beaches, gardens, and scenic bluffs. While The Company offered a Country Club, Beach Club, and a Ballroom. Mr. Pash wan’t that crazy about having a beach wedding since we had been to so many the year before. So that took away all the locations where you would need to stand on sand. My preference was either a garden or overlooking the ocean on the bluffs. So this is what I focused in on.

At first it seemed like the final contenders were going to be between the Summit Overlook and the Botanical Garden, both owned by The Conservancy. But then the Overlook would need a vehicle to transport people and all ceremony items rented, so it got canceled out after pricing and logistics got factored in to it. Then after talking to a coordinator about the Botanical Gardens that idea got canceled out. The Garden’s memorial building courtyard was a bit too small for 75 people and would be quite dusty that time of year.

So after researching a bit more that left one place we both loved: The Catalina Country Club. It had an outdoor courtyard (yes!!) and beautiful, historic architecture (super yes!!). I had a vision of an vintage California wedding so it seemed like a perfect match for us!

Actually most of the Catalina Island was build in the 1920’s and The Country Club was part of this boom. In fact, it was built in 1921 as the Chicago Cubs’s spring training facility by Mr. Wrigley–the Cubs’s owner. Now the place has been turned into a country club/restaurant.

Here are a few pics of the place. I absolutely love the Mediterranean feel of The Club. The red tile roofs, the heavy wooden doors, the white washed archways, and the black wrought iron lights. All of this combined with my most favorite element: the colorful tilework on the floor and in the fountain. These tiles were created in Catalina Island due to Wrigley’s building projects. The tiles are glazed in the most beautiful colors and depict amazing geometric designs and also pictures of native animals and oceanlife, not just at The Country Club but throughout the island.

*all images from The Santa Catalina Island Company or Panoramio.com


What is Your Style?

There have been a handful of weddings that I have seen on the internet that have totally inspired me. They have proved to be immensely helpful, if even just for me to refer back to. But I’ve sent them to my vendors when trying to describe what I want. Showed them to friends and family members when asking them their opinion on something similar. I loved collecting images that captured a style that I liked. Even if I didn’t know why I liked the wedding, it was totally worthwhile to keep it and often times later on it came in handy.

The wedding between Jill Stonerock & Jason Schwartz was one of my most influential (check out my blog post What Wedding Has Inspired You the Most for more of my favorite nuptials). Rustic but not country. Relaxed but not casual. Beachy but not near the ocean. (?) I don’t know exactly how to describe it. It as if Malibu met Napa and had a baby that they named Austin. Perhaps I just should call it simply what it is…naturally beautiful.

Their wedding is set in one of my favorite wedding venues–The Figueroa Mountain Farmhouse. This location made it into our top five when we were narrowing down where to hold our own wedding. The Farmhouse is actually an old Appalachian home transported to the hills of Los Olivos, which is the most spectacular small town in Central California. Just two hours from Los Angeles and thirty minutes from Santa Barbara. The Farmhouse also could double as accommodations which is pretty nifty. But ultimately we would need to bring in a lot of rentals so it got crossed off our list. But ooh its location adds to this wedding’s rustic beauty!  The view, the rolling hills, it is just majestic.

Besides setting it is also the styling really struck me. Everything looks like it was plucked from mother Earth moments before the wedding! That is the main thing that I ultimately love. Rustic and raw–it so pretty! The greens from the herbs and the purples from the lavender, it is so scrumptious and sensuous. Early on I loved the ideas so using herbs for our wedding and seeing this sealed the deal.

Also, I love having a range of colors for the bridesmaid and MOH dresses. Its a great way to have your most honored girls stand out by having them wear the same dress in a different hue. Everything flows in the wind and with their loose curls all the ladies look so fresh, bohemian and free. Very relaxed and chic! And their organically arranged bouquets and the mini bouquets on the table are so underworked it really seems so new to me.

Was there a wedding that encapsulated your style? Did you collect images for visual reference like me?

Today I am in the Sky! Marriage Bound

(I wrote this post on July 27th–the night before I was going to leave for the wedding. I thought I was going to post it to the hive the day I left. But with so much to do I guess I forgot to do that part! Anyways I thought you might like to read how frazzled I was!!! So here it is….)

I am a mess you Bees! My apartment is a disaster. I already left one of my bridesmaid gowns at work (it was delivered there by the tailor but I forgot to bring it home. Thankfully my co-worker was thinking and called me). But by the time you read this I am going to be up in the sky somewhere between New Jersey and California. It is 10 p.m. the night before we leave. At this moment my fiance is doing laundry, I am printing out the Menu cards, and I am freaking out about leaving my cat for twelve whole days. I didn’t think there were so many things still to do last minute but then this month totally snuck by me. July has been crazy!

Image from US Weekly

Fourth of July weekend, then the Bachelorette Party in Vegas the next weekend, then The Bridal Shower the weekend after (more on this later). And then it was THIS weekend. Wedding weekend! Boom, boom, boom. Who knew I was gonna be so busy.

Saturday is the big day! And I am going to leave the comfort of my own home where there is crafting supplies, my computer files, my temperpedic bed. Just a few more hours till we leave. Can I complete all the things that MUST get done? Will I sleep tonight. OMG! I feel like that how Russell Brand looked in that photo that Katy Perry Tweeted. I think the caption was “Bridezilla much?”

So wish us luck these next hours!

15 Months of Planning = A Big Relief!

Photography by Marion Jameson

Getting married is a lot of work! It takes months of research, hours of planning, perhaps a few fights, and the coordination of so many people. So when it finally happens it is like bursting a piece of bubble wrap–it is awesome and so rewarding!! I can’t wait for all of you to experience it!!! Ours was the perfect celebration! But it wasn’t perfect because nothing went wrong. Oh no, we had our issues. But I didn’t let those parts interfere. It was perfect because in its entirety it succeeded my expectations. And that is a very nice feeling!

The most unexpected greatness…it was fun! Really, why did I not realize how fun it would be? I guess because I was so obsessed for 15 months of my life planning it. I almost didn’t even try to picture how the experience of it would be. I guess I didn’t want to get my hopes up or have a vision that wouldn’t match the real thing. I am so glad I stopped all that Type A personality stuff!! Once I got to the island I just let things be as there were. So this is my hope for you too. Don’t worry so much or freak out about things. Have fun!! Revel in its specialness.

And ours did feel so very special! I literally felt the energy of all of us coming together on magical island. It was everything I love about weddings and nothing I’ve always hated about them. But I guess that is part of it…it felt so very, very us! My husband says it was “quaint, romantic, and intimate.” And it was! A dinner party with dancing for 65 of our closest loved ones, a mediterranean courtyard filled with aromatic herbs, and the warm Californian sun shining down on us–two people madly in love! It was wonderful! (Can you tell I still have the glow of a newlywed!)

So let the recaps begin!! I can’t wait to tell you about the events leading up to the wedding and some of the details I didn’t get a chance to tell you about before.

Hairstyles: The Half-Up

Image from the Knotty Bride
Image from the Knotty Bride

Lily & Frank’s wedding is one of my personal favorites. A backyard wedding with sweet, beautiful and heartfelt details. Lily’s hair is half-up with loose curls and two flowers pinning it in place. This is one of the hairstyles currently in the running. What do you think is elegant enough to walk down the aisle? Romantic enough to suit my girly personality?

Image from the Knotty Bride
Image from the Knotty Bride

“Hey…Save that Wine Cork!”

When I shrieked this to my fiance, as the waiter approached, his hand quickly cupped the cork and placed it on his lap. As if it was something he outright stole. As if I told him to grab the salt shaker because I just had to have it come home with us. It was hilarious seeing him in autopilot as a sneaky one. I’m sure he had no idea what I was up to. So what was/am I up to?

Free from Napa Valley Grill

Answer: Place card settings!

So while I was eating dinner at Napa Valley Grill the next day with the fiance that shriek came out! “Hey…Save that Wine Cork!” I didn’t even know I was gonna do it. All of a sudden I realized that popped bottle of wine could be our first cork!

After visiting BAM in Brooklyn for the bridal event, I started looking around for place card stands like they used. Did you know it is hard to find classy stands? I still have yet to find the no-frills ones they used. I don’t want fortune cookies, sandals, or bride and groom keyboard dusters. And on top of it stands are a bit more money than I expected! I thought they would be at max $1.00 a piece. For the classy ones most are more like $2.00-3.00 a stand.

This is my budget-thinking-cap process: I try to evaluate how important these elements are before I purchase them. Would I be disappointed if the place cards were folded and just set on the table? No. Then $2.50 x 75 people is not worth it. That would be $187 before shipping–and not even including the papers to go inside them which are about $12 for a pack of 12. So in total that would be $300 after all is set and done. This completed my evaluation of the stands as unnecessary.

But, what could I use for free? I thought back to a wedding I saw a few months back at a vineyard. They had wine corks. What if I collected these? Would I drink 75 bottles of wine in 5 months? Probably not but I could Facebook and Twitter it. Maybe we would get lots…for free!

But guess what? I left the restaurant with a gold mine!!! It took a little initiative, but as we were leaving, while Mr. Cali Girl was in the bathroom, I asked the hostess if they had any corks around that they didn’t need. She smiled and said “Yes, actually we do. Lots! How many do you need?!” I let her know and she came back with a big bag. “I don’t know how many are in there but around that!”

I don’t have all that I need but it has officially started the project! So if you know me, send me your cork. I am still collecting 12 more! The best part: the wine cork place card holders go for $2.00 each on beau-coup.com, so wish me luck on my let’s-save-some-money do-it-yourself project!

Catalina Inspired Table Numbers

So I have been playing around a bit in my sketch book–playing with the idea of using native California and Catalina Island animals for table numbers. I found a great site that lists and describes all the endemic animal species. Cataina Island is like a little Galapagos Island so there are a lot of animals that are very specific to the island. I like the idea of using animals instead of flowers because it feels a little bit more rustic–like the island. But will this be too much? Should I go for the more refined numbers?

Pictured Below Left to Right:

The Catalina Island Fox, Allen’s Hummingbird, California Quail, Bald Eagle, Saw-whet Owl, Lady Bug, Great Blue Heron, Brown Pelican, Avalon Hairstreak Butterfly to name a few. Would you leave out the adorable Deer Mouse, well, because he is a mouse and may not make the guests so hungry? What about the bat for the same reasons?

Drawing by Miss Cali Girl

There are a few things for me to think about logistically.

Should they be framed cards on the table? Standing upright with a clip?

Should I have a drawing of the animal on the front of the card and a number on the back? Or should I incorporate a number into the design of the face of the card? Should I put a smaller version of the animal on the escort card and no number on the table number?

Things to think about!

My Dream Shoes…in 5 to 7 Days!!

Image from Nordstroms.

I just purchased my dream shoes–the Badgley Mischka Randee! Ever since I saw them back in January I was in love. When I went back to try them on at Nordstroms–where they originally caught my eye–they were gone

But today I was walking past Wink on Broadway and 69th Street, and I saw the familiar ruffles that I had seen nowhere else until then.

They were black, but those petals hung like full bloom ranunculus.

I tried on the size 9 and 10 at Wink.

The size 9 fit well in length but it felt a bit snug at the ball of the foot. The 10 was a little long and you could see the gold tag sticking out beneath the heel of my foot. I am not crazy about that!

So I went home and went to Nordstroms to see if they had them online. Nope! Now removed from their site. I then went to Zappos.com. They had them in white, antique gold, blush, and black. Originally I swooned over them in the antique gold but then I started thinking that the white would make me feel really elegant. But how wearable after would they be. My guess was not that much, don’t get me wrong–I could still rock em. But antique gold would be much more versatile.

Image for M-Dashing.

Do I want to be versatile on my wedding day? Can I not just buy shoes that went with the dress. That doesn’t seem like that big of a thing. Just get the shoes that go with the dress! This was my internal dialogue. So needles to say I had a bit of a hard time deciding between white and antique gold when it was time to put them into the cart. Ultimately I decided to go with what I originally saw–what made my heart go pitter patter in the first place.

This is the theme of my wedding planning–just go with your gut! Take the option that was your first instinct.

@Wink...Why not in my size!! Bummer. I'll have to go next door to Magnolia's Cupcakes for a little treat to soothe the pain 😉

So that is how I got from shoe lover to shoe buyer. But what made today the day that I bought them. This photoshoot from Style Me Pretty of a California bride in Napa Valley at the Canaros Inn. Her shoes are inspired by the Randee Badgley Mischa. Her wedding totally encapsulates my loves. It is romantic, laid back, elegant, naturally Californian. I saw her shoes and said “I am still in love!” So when today again they were featured in the window that I pass by day after day it was fate. I knew it was a sign! It was time for me to say ‘I Do’ to these shoes. It has been way too many months since I first fell in love.

This is my shoe love story…now let’s just hope I can wear them in my gown without tripping!