Welcome to the Bella Signature Design Blog!

We are so happy that you came to visit our blog! Bella Signature Design focuses on creating a custom, stylish event that is highly personal, with details that synergistically come together to create an atmosphere that is a direct reflection of you. My passion, as a designer, is to infuse your event with all the little things that speak to who you are, and to share that with your guests in a stylish, unexpected way. Our blog will be changing in the next few weeks to reflect our vision and our passion, so hang on for the ride and enjoy!

Feel free to peruse the posts, look in our archives for some great advice and be sure to leave comments on what you like. We love hearing from you!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Green Tuesdays: Conflict free bling

Eco-Friendly, Ethically Sourced Diamonds?

We all go into marriage with expectations of honesty, and ethical beliefs – in fact it’s safe to assume that ethics are a pretty darn good-sized chunk of how marriage comes about…or at least we hope! The there is the RING (one of my favorite parts - I do love good bling!) Yet…have you ever thought about where the beautiful rock that’s glistening on your finger came from? It's SO easy to get caught up in the moment and about the style of the ring (and size of the diamond), and worrying about uncompromised ethics in diamond mining is probably not in the forefront. Yet, if you are still reading, it may be one of many things to consider (and for some, the only, or main, issue).

With all the hype of ‘green’ trends – weddings have moved full speed ahead with going green – it’s the hottest trend in the industry and diamonds are a part of that trend. Ethically sourced, conflict-free, fair labored diamonds show a commitment that extends into your marriage and future. There are other ways to go green with your engagement ring or wedding bands – why not pair your ethically sourced diamond with a recycled gold or platinum band?

Brilliant Earth offers a fabulous selection of Canadian mined and Namibian diamonds. Brilliant Earth has amazing design techniques and a wide selection of bands, diamonds, sapphires and recycled gold and metals. Plus, they honor only 100% fair labor and eco-friendly practices, and 5% of profits are donated to help local African communities.

Brilliant Earth uses environmentally responsible precious metals, including recycled gold, silver, and platinum.

Why choose conflict-free diamonds? Conflict free diamonds are guaranteed to originate from ethical and environmentally responsible sources. Conflict free diamonds are free from violence and human rights abuses, and are produced with minimal environmental impact. What is a Conflict Diamond? Conflict diamonds have funded devastating civil wars in Africa, ending millions of lives. These conflict diamonds, also known as "blood diamonds", are associated with rights abuses, and environmental damage.
With so many ethically sourced, conflict-free choices these days, it seems only natural to do your homework before making the purchase. If we all do our part, maybe we’ll make a healthy impact in an industry that has too long thrived on violence, abuse and unethical practices. Know that the symbol of love you’ll cherish for a lifetime was a product of a fair trade industry. What a great way to celebrate the commitment of marriage!

Kudos to Brilliant Earth for their commitment to the wedding industry, ethics, and charities. Fantastic design, exceptional values and a commitment to the environment make Brilliant Earth our green pick of the week! Check out their site for beautiful pieces! I'll take a few myself!



Holiday workshop, new date added!

We had so much fun on our thanksgiving workshop that almost everyone signed up for our Dec 21st holiday one! That date has since sold out, so we are adding another:

Sunday Dec 13th, 4:00pm

See class description below!

'Tis that time of year!!!!
Throughout the year, I receive a lot of interest in DIY Workshops for flowers–so much so in fact, that I’ve decided to host TWO workshops to create the perfect centerpiece for each of the upcoming holidays. You are invited to join me in a creative environment (hot buttered rum included), and other eager DIY-ers in demystifying floral design.

When: Just in time for Thanksgiving or Winter break of course!
Thanksgiving: "No Horns of Plenty" November 22nd, at 4pm
Winter Holiday: "Monochromatic Elegance" December 21st, 6:30 pm

Investment: $45 plus materials
Where: Bella’s Bainbridge Island Studio (not the Seattle one!), with owner/creative designer Daniela Ferdico Faget.

Why: I know budgets are tight right now and many hosts are looking for ways to cut costs, cut back on gifts, yet still celebrate the season. My goal is to give you the knowledge, practice and confidence in our workshops to prepare for your own future events. And who doesn’t love a little hot-buttered rum?! Yes, we'll provide the warm, yummy drinks !

The workshop is open to anyone–so make it a girl’s night out, bring your mom’s group, tell a friend. Besides, there’s nothing like gorgeous blooms, dirty hands and a little creativity to make your weekend that much brighter.

Questions & Registration
206.679.1059 or Kelly {at}bellasignature {dot} com

Want to donate your arrangement? May we suggest donating a beautiful piece for the holidays to those who do not experience the beauty of the season? Many elderly in our community are without loved ones. Maybe you have a neighbor who could use some holiday cheer. We also recommend the senior-focused facilities here on the island – everyone deserves a little holiday cheer. We'll happily deliver them for you.



Monday, November 30, 2009

Little Green (wedding) List

Green Wedding Faves for 2010 - Fabulous Design AND green!

I’m passionate about eco-friendly décor, favors and everything under the sun, especially when it is well designed. Let’s face it, this is our earth, and one we’re passing along for brides & grooms, children & grandchildren…so why not do what makes sense? Weddings can be a big-ticket event with a lot of unfavorable favors…for mother earth that is. 2009 has been a year of green-wedding growth in popularity, and a bandwagon I’m happy to claim I jumped on many years ago. I’ve been green for as long as I can remember, using as much recyclable, reusable products I can get my hands on at every given opportunity. With the economy as it is (need I say that dastardly … “R” word?) going green for your wedding is not only the trendiest thing out there – it’s also more economical. So you can feel good about saving a little ‘green’ by going green!

So here is my “little green list” for weddings – I have a million favorites but for lack of time and holding your attention, I’ll share just a handful - can’t wait to hear what others are finding – share it with us a Bella; we’d love to add it to our new Weekly "green tuesdays!"

For the Bride…green garters...environmentally friendly, mix-n-match wedding garters by Julianne Smith, otherwise known as Garter Girl! I first met Julianne at Engage09 The Encore and love her stuff! Julianne creates a gorgeous line with ribbon detail (ummlooooove ribbon), and a completely environmentally friendly selection. These first-ever, green garters are environmentally friendly (and chic). The wedding garters are made from recycled plastic bottles. The background and accent colors can be mixed and matched to find your perfect style. So, be you and be green! Slate gray with chartreuse? Mmmmm….scrumptious! For information, go to Julianne's site at Julianne Smith.

And eco-friendly wedding dresses? Adele Wechsler has them! Her eco-couture collection offers modern couture gowns crafted from eco-materials like hemp, vegetable dye, and organic silk and recycled lace, not to mention fair trade workers. Organic design elements, individually hand-cut, couture hand detailing, crafted in Canada - the perfect choice for the ECO conscious bride. Can't wait to do photoshoot with these beauties! (hint hint!)

For the Guest
Plantable Wedding Invitations and Favor tags to adorn guest favors! Made from 100% post-consumer waste and embedded with high-grade, pure North American wildflower seed, these tags will give your favors the perfect final touch. When your guests plant the invitation or tag, it recycles itself into wildflowers.

Natural Bamboo Eco-Friendly Coaster Favors by Kate Aspen are an affordable, useful favor. Chic and natural! Bamboo is a symbol of luck and success because of its strength, resilience and ability to grow quickly. It is said that bamboo is luckiest when you receive it as a gift, which makes these beautiful, Natural Bamboo Coasters a thoughtful favor for a green wedding or bridal shower! Check out dream green weddings to see a whole slew of fabulous ideas including the bamboo coasters and the new very cool tree branch place card holder made from reclaimed/fallen tree branches. Just love it!!

For the Groom…I’m all about the funky, fun and unexpected! I love the eco-friendly cufflinks from eco-artware.com. You're not really "finished" until you add a pair of cufflinks to your shirt. Imaginative designers are recycling authentic typewriter keys from vintage typewriters, obsolete subway tokens, out-of-date coins, unusable circuit boards and orphan SCRABBLE tiles, and more, into stylish cufflinks - the perfect accessory or gift to enhance any groom or his groomsmen.

For décor
…Nothing’s greener than the great outdoors! Choosing an organic farm or garden is a prime choice when the weather is right! Nature at it’s best is the ultimate canvas, but for winter weddings, or indoor weddings, choosing seasonal blooms grown by local farmers is a favorite choice for me. Hang an orchid chandelier, reuse it for the next mornings brunch, aisle pieces can adorn tables after the ceremony, and all flowers can become mulch after the big day, or get recreated into flowers for a local hospital. Stay tuned for more on eco-friendly wedding ideas, suggestions and just some of my favorite things!


Let us know about your fabulous green designs!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The perfect Engagement Proposal

Designing the Perfect Engagement Proposal!

Yep, it’s that time of year where men & women in every city are shopping for the perfect diamond, preparing to ask the ultimate question, and give the memory of a lifetime of love and happiness! We at Bella Signature Design absolutely adore weddings, but the only thing more adoring that gets us giddy with excitement and the thrill of weddings to come is the actual proposal. Afterall, without proposals, we’d have no weddings! We all know the stories of a friends’ perfectly planned, well-thought out and rehearsed, romantic proposal, and then there are those that are not as spectacular or well-rehearsed (though filled with just as much love and adoration I’m positive!).

With the holidays just around the bend (ahem…time to get your toosh in gear and get some flowers and a ring Mister!), it’s a season filled with proposals yet to come – and we love love love being a part of the entire process. So c’mon guys…let us help you. We can plan the perfect venue, flowers - centerpiece, décor, drinks, dinner, etc – we’ll set the entire scene so that all YOU need to do is create the perfect words and bring the little ribbon-wrapped box (by the way, we’re incredible at wrapping too…) and we’ll create an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind proposal! We'll even bring a professional photographer, to discreetly capture your once in a lifetime moment! The story of your proposal will be told a dozen times over – why not make it spectacular? (and have amazing pictures of it?) The most memorable proposal I created was down a long dock...we had hundreds of candles lining the dock, and at the end was the most beautiful, romantic lush table, with an exquisitely prepared dinner, a personal waiter to server the couple - and she thought it was just a birthday present, until the waiter served up the ring...Ahh, romance! (Of course she said YES!!!!)

Hmmm, you say you want a few more ideas that we created for our couples?

1. One couple we worked with went sailing on a lake in the city, and as he unfurled the sails, the proposal was written out in tape on the sail - for the whole city to see!
2. Another couple went through a driving safari at a animal park, and the groom-to-be had arranged to have the ring box tied around a bears neck (the bride loved bears), with a hand written proposal
3. An established businesmann was able to connect with tenants in the huge skyscraper office building he worked in, and have the right configuration of lights in offices turned on to spell out his beloved's name and 'will you marry me' - all out of office windows!

The Knot offers insightful engagement tips which we fully support: If you don't trust an amateur to capture this once-in-a-lifetime moment, hire a professional photographer to hide nearby.

Can’t fly your beloved to Paris for the New Year to propose? Think about re-creating the romantic scene and getting the ‘yes’ your hoping for.

Got the perfect ring yet? If not, check out these fantastic tips from The Art of Manliness
for some great tips on ring buying! Make sure you pick what she would love – She will be wearing this forever!

We know budgets are tight – hey, it’s no surprise we’re in a recession! With all your thoughts and pennies directed towards the diamond, Bella makes sure your proposal will be just right, and that you get a great return on your investment (ie, she says yes!) It just makes sense to hire a professional to help design your critical moment…The Proposal!

Happy Holidays….oh, and congrats in advance!



Monday, November 23, 2009

Leah and Adam, part three: The sketch

Our final post for this series is the design process that went into this particular event (see post 1, the feature on Azzura Cafe, and post 2, the fun before and after photos).

When Leah first approached me to design her wedding, she wanted shades of red, with black and champagne; but she wanted the ceremony to feel light...so we designed a mostly light, champagne colored ceremony with punches of black and red, and a deep red and sumptuous reception

Here is our original ceremony sketch: (illustrated by the fabulous Lisa, who does all of our renderings for us - it really helps our clients to see what they are going to get!

My original design included ceiling draping, to soften up the ceremony space. I really wanted guests to feel ‘enveloped’ in the space! The room itself was also draped, and everything was to be lit in a soft champagne color. Leah, our bride, absolutely LOVED this look!

Several months later, however, we had to make some drastic budget cuts, and we had to go back back to the drawing board (Pun intended!). Sketches are expensive (I myself can't draw at all!) so we worked from the first sketch, and Leah put her faith in me that the changes I suggested would keep the look she wanted yet be affordable under the new budget.

Knowing how much Leah had liked this original look, I really wanted to keep as much the same as possible, while still making a significant cut in her cost. This isn’t always possible, but if the client is flexible, sometimes there are great ways to cut down on expenses! Instead of having stand-alone aisle flowers such as seen above, I thought we could get double use out of the square centerpieces we had designed for the square guest tables, so instead of the black cylinder vases and round arrangements above, we simply used square stands and some of her square centerpieces.

We replaced the champagne aisle runner with a less expensive white one, and decreased the quantity of the red roses on the ‘altar piece’, but added in some fabric to keep it lush. Unfortunately the ceiling draping had to be cut as well, which made the look not as soft as I had designed, but the square lighting fixtures in the venue matched the square containers, which helped keep the overall design integrity.
What do you think?

Photo by Philip Meadows


Monday, November 16, 2009

Leah and Adam part 2, Before and after

Leah and Adam's wedding was full of glamour, fun and color! Their venue, the newly remodeled Lynnwood Convention Center, wasn't the typical wedding venue, which made it all the more fun for me to transform. Here are a few before and after shots of Leah's venue:
(shot by Azzura Photography)
(even their before pictures are better than mine!) :)

and a photo from my Iphone, with just a few tables in the space...

The room above was used for the ceremony, are you ready for the transformation??

Image by Philip Meadows

Yes, that's the same bulletin/board covered space! Amazing what we can do with fabulous draping and lighting! We'll go more into the actual design process in our next post, but one of the fun changes was completely transforming the space during the cocktail hour...the right hand walls you see in the ceremony picture above went away, to make the room twice as big for the reception (guests were outside enjoying cocktails!) We hung our chandelier, changed the lighting to a deep red, and brought in the dining tables - Voila!

We wouldn't have these great images except for the exceptional talent of Azzura Photography and Philip Meadows Photography, so thank you to two talented artists! We also could not have made this transformation without our fabulous set-up and tear-down crew, the great lighting and draping technicians, and the fabuous staff at Lynnwood Convention Center
The staff literally bent over backwards to make everything fabulous for the bride and groom!

Stay tuned for part 3 of Leah and Adam's wedding, discussing our inspiration, design process and sketches! (and visit Part one of our series, Azzura's feature of this wedding, here)


Bella Signature Design featured on Azzura Cafe

One of my favorite (and most challenging) weddings was just a few weeks ago - Leah and Adam's October wedding. After changing her venue half-way through the design process, I must admit I was a bit concerned when I first saw the new venue - as nice as the Lynnwood Convention Center is, it's fluorescent lights and bulletin board covered walls didn't scream "wedding" at all, and I was concerned that the budget would not cover the transformation I had in mind. However, despite quite a few cuts from the original design, I was very happy with the overall transformation, and how we turned a meeting hall into Leah's dream wedding. The venue is actually perfect for such a transformation!!

The wedding was shot by the wonderful Tania from Azzura Photography, and is featured on their blog this week, click on Azzura Cafe to see the post! Stay tuned later this week for a timelapse video of the transformation, more photos from photographer Philip Meadows (who stopped by to shoot a few photos as well, including a room panorama), and a post on our design process, including sketches.

Thanks to Tania form Azzura, for capturing all our work (and this amazing couple) beautifully, and for featuring it on Azzura Cafe. Always a pleasure to work with you!