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!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bella Signature Design in Seattle Bride

After a much needed Holiday break, we are back in swing here at Bella Signature Design! Angela, Tom, Sara, Jessica and I enjoyed our break, and are excited to be working on the 2009 Wedding Show, which is next weekend, January 3rd and 4th at the Seattle Convention Center. We've been busy creating and designing our booth, and those of a few others...if you are in Seattle you'll have to come see!

It was a wonderful surprise to find an advance copy of the Spring/Summer 2009 Issue of Seattle Bride in our mailbox, and to see the stunning feature on "Color theory." We had a lot of fun creating a golden/orange hued bouquet for the photoshoot, and I loved how it came out in print! I have been working on adding some different couture details to our bouquets, and for this particular bouquet I first bound the bouquet with Midori ribbon, and then created a ruffle out of the same ribbon by sewing in pleats, and then sewed the ruffle onto the stem-covering ribbon - what do you think?
Be one of the first to see the full issue of Seattle Bride, premiering at the Seattle Wedding Show, and on newstands thereafter. Be sure to see our other features in the Spring /Summer issues of Seattle Metropolitan Bride and Groom (also premiering at the Seattle Wedding Show) and Grace Ormonde Wedding Style (on newstands in January).



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cans for Comments

As designers/artists/planners in the wedding industry, we often get caught up in the details of the wedding or event, and don't always get the opportunity to give back to our communities. After the last post I made Giving back, I came across Liene's post from Blue Orchid Designs blog (one of the blogs I LOVE to read, written by a fabulous fellow planner), about encouraging all of us bloggers to donate food items in exchange for readers commenting on our blog. She first got the idea from Anne Ruthman's amazing photography blog, and now I have it and hopefully that list will go on! As Anne described it, we bloggers all love seeing comments, so for the next week, for every one (non-spam) comment we receive on the Bella Signature Blog, we'll donate one can of food to Helpline House, which is a local charity that helps get food, shelter and other necessary items to those in need. Simply leave a comment on any one of our blog entries until December 17th, and you'll be adding to that list of donated food. Thanks Anne, Liene, and the others for participating in such a fabulous project!


Monday, December 8, 2008

Giving Back

Last year at this time we were lucky enough to participate in an event that benefited a very important cause, the Children in Darfur. If you don't know about the crisis the women and children of Darfur, Sudan are experiencing, click here to watch a short video clip of George Clooney's March interview on the International Rescue Committee Website; George Clooney has been a long time supporter of this very important cause. The benefit event took place at Grant Heslov's home (Heslov and Clooney collaborated on "Good Night and Good Luck"), and drew in celebrities such as Heather Graham, Cindy Crawford and Forest Whittaker, to name a few. The event was planned by celebrity event planner by Jo Gartin of Love Luck and Angels, and she skillfully managed everything from the decor, catering, to the celebrity shopping and silent auction. Participating sponsors, such as Michelle Jonas (who we adore) and Rock and Republic were on hand to offer their wares at wholesale pricing, with the proceeds going to the Benefit. (And if you have never worn Michelle's clothes - you MUST try them, she has a devout following from the likes of Heather Graham and Angelina Jolie, and her clothes are the most comfortable, figure flattering clothes on the planet! I own at least 10 pieces from her last three collections, and they are my favorite pieces of clothing....)

We flew down to L.A. just in time to pickup our blooms from Mayesh, one our our favorite (non-local) wholesalers, and put together several large arrangements (see picture with Cindy Crawford above) and some small accent pieces. We had a blast watching the celebs shop for a cause, and felt good about putting our talent to use for an excellent cause.

Cindy Crawford, Forest Whitaker and his wife Keisha and Lisa Rinna (wireimage.com)

Heather Graham, Grant Heslov and Michelle Jonas (wireimage.com)

As this year winds itself to a close, with all its financial hardships, we've donated our services to some local services such as Teen Talking Circles, and several smaller children's programs in the area. We urge everyone, even in these more difficult times, to find a cause that speaks to them, and give their time, their talent or whatever they can, no matter how little - it all adds up!

One of the Teen Talking Circles centerpieces...



Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Real Weddings: Madhuri and Karthik

Maybe it's because of our passion for color, or our experience with a ton of cultural weddings over the last ten years; but whatever the reason is, this was the year we got to create a plethora of culturally infused weddings! One of our favorite weddings this year was Madhuri and Karthik's fabulous marriage and celebration. We first designed the ceremony decor, as we knew Madhuri would wear the traditional red and gold for the beginning of the ceremony. We used fabulous gold chaircovers from Wildflower Linens and created a custom duppioni silk aisle runner in "spun gold." Down the aisle, we created a pattern of out lush, fresh crimson rose petals as a surprise for the bride. After draping the stage in red duppioni silk, we built a ten foot Mandap (similar to a Jewish Chuppah), which is the structure that holds the ceremony. Since Madhuri and Karthik wanted the gold silk draping tied way back to allow better viewing of the ceremony, we added a lush pave rose topper of about dozen roses in various hues of red.

all images courtesy of Jane Lee Photography)

After Madhuri's trip to India to purchase her reception gown, which was custom made in beautiful hues of blue, we sat down to collaborate on the design of the reception. The use of shades of blue with touches of gold, both to match her gown and to have some continuity from the ceremony, proved to be the perfect backdrop for this fabulous evening. We utilized the white linens from the Westin, and topped them with exquisite beaded overlays from Wildflower Linens in a subtle Champagne color. Madhuri wanted more traditional flower arrangements, so for hr we created mounds of roses in simple glass cylinders, line in leaves and lit from underneath, for Karthik, who loves contemporary design, we created super tall cylinders again lit from beneath, and topped with various orchids, roses and calla lillies in persimmon and raspberry hues. Floating orchids were lit up inside the vase for a visual treat, practically glowing at night. Ten foot wide voile was draped across the ceiling to add some texture. The finishing touch was the lighting, which changed throughout the night. We started with blue and amber lighting to illuminate and color was the lights, and as the reception turned from dinner to dancing, the lighting moved with the beat of the music to create a nightclub atmosphere. Aj from Kumba Entertainment flew up from LA, and kept the music spinning, and kept everyone on the dancefloor with both Indian bollywood and American music.

Look below the credits to see a short video montage from Cabfare Productions, who was the fabulous videographer
at this event. You can see some of the decor, inlcuding the slow change lighting behind the headtable, and the floral elephant sculpture created by us, as well as an elephant Ice Carving created by Steve Cox of Creative Ice Carvings.

Thank you, Madhuri and Karthik, for letting me be a part of your special day!
Floral and overall Design: Bella Signature Design
Lighting: Bella Signature Design/Av-pro
Photography: Jane Lee Photography
Videography: Cabfare Productions
Venue: Westin Hotel, Bellevue
Music: Kumba Productions, Los Angeles


Monday, December 1, 2008

Fabulous new blog, Pink Galoshes

Vodka anyone?

Amy from Pink Galoshes just contacted me today about their blog, and I had to share! "PinkG" is a fabulous photographer in New York City, and their blog is full of eye candy and hip tips for weddings - as their blog reads "irreverant hip tips for the slightly naughty bride" - Indeed!

I love their spin on wedding tips, such as some delightful cocktail recipes and discussions on details. And the photography, especially for the
tips on fun and new libations to try, are fantastic eye candy!

Since we do not accept advertisements on our blog, we are also quite careful about our blog roll - we feel no need to list every wedding vendor out there, and instead will try to find some fun, helpful and enticing wedding blogs for your viewing pleasure that may be a bit off the beaten path. Check out Pink Galoshes when your out for a blog stroll!

A gem encrusted shell from
the infamous John Hardy was
featured on Pink Galoshes blog
recently.... how fun for a
beach wedding...



Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Permanent Couture blooms

For a while now we have been making art pieces for our brides - sometime it is a posie of organza blooms for the back of a gown, sometimes tiny blooms for a ringbearer pillow, and most often, a birdcage veil with flowers or a floral headpiece. Our permanent blooms are made out of organza, silk, velvet, you name it - and adorned with anything from feathers, crystals, beading and so on. After a lot of requests, we've finally opened up an etsy shop to develop more of these creations, which are especially fun to create specifically for each client. Here is a sneak peek at a few of our creations, with new additions to the etsy page over the following week, once we take some nicer photographs! We'll even have a fabulous give-away starting next week - stay tuned!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Soy Candles

Thanks to one of my current, eco-conscious brides, (thanks, Darcy!) we recently brought in soy candles for a wedding. Although more expensive than regular candles, this couple was willing to pay a bit extra for them and the organic food they served their guests. The decor we created was eco-friendly as well, from sustainable silk fabric panels to organic flowers, and of course, the afore mentioned soy candles! (More on this couples' wedding in a future post)! Why soy?
Paraffin wax (the wax contained in most regular candles)is a heavy hydrocarbon that comes from crude oil. Paraffin waxes are produced by refining or separating the waxes out of crude mineral oils. Obtained from the ground, crude oil is a compositionally varied product, consisting of a mixture of hydrocarbons. Another name for crude oil is fossil fuel. Crude oil is transported to refineries where it is refined into finished products by complex processes. (read more about this here )
Soy wax, on the other hand is made from vegetable matter. Soy wax is a vegetable wax made from the oil of soybeans. After harvesting, the beans are cleaned, cracked, de-hulled, and rolled into flakes. The oil is then extracted from the flakes and hydrogenated. The hydrogenation process converts some of the fatty acids in the oil from unsaturated to saturated. This process dramatically alters the melting point of the oil, making it a solid at room temperature. The leftover bean husks are commonly used as animal feed. The U.S. grows the vast majority of the world's soybeans, primarily in Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana.
A lot of information does mention that Soy candles emit no soot - while this is impossible, they do tend to emit a lot less, and the soot (often called white soot) that can not be seen, and certainly does not leave a mark on your candle holders or anything else.
Additionally, unlike wax, which is nearly impossible to remove out of containers (which means you or your florist/designer/ planner will likely throw away many of the votive holders they 'rented' to you.) The soy does not cling to the walls of the container, and literally just pops out of the container, allowing anyone to recycle and reuse those containers.
Since we are committed to be as green as possible at Bella, we are now going to carry these in our inventory, so that they are available to anyone. Every small step counts!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Back to planning those weddings!!

History has been made - what an exciting time for all of us! As the week and all it's excitement with the election settles down, it's time to get back to the planning of your wedding, or your client's wedding for all you vendors out there. I hope you had a small break to partake in the election (those breaks are hard to find!) and are ready to tackle everything anew with fresh hope and excitement. I know I, for one, feel hopeful and energized!

With that in mind, I hope to cater this blog to it's readers - you. What do you find most helpful/fun to read? Design Ideas? Planning help? Pictures for inspiration?



Monday, November 3, 2008

Please Vote - find out where here!

Tomorrow is a great chance to drop the wedding planning for a day, grab your significant other and head to the polls. Don't know where you are supposed to go to vote? Simply go to this google application, put in your address and it will show you a map and directions of where to go!
I can't wait to make my vote count!


Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Halloween has never been my absolute favorite holiday (although I love holidays in general) because I'm not as much into the scary aspect of it, but I love some of the fantasy that comes along with it! I went to a halloween party last night and saw a fabulous pumpkin that looked just like Cinderella's carriage - the pattern can be found at the Hallmark website, and here is the picture from the site:

In thinking about how to host a non-scary, elegant Halloween Party, I would use the traditional colors, playing them up with mixed shapes of plates and glassware, and have lots of fabulous fabrics and textures, like this one see on M-A-Belle's blog:
Fall, festive and pretty
without being too spooky.
I LOVE the orange feather wreath (also found on M-A-Belle's blog) above - fabulous!
We do get the occasional Halloween wedding - a few years ago I did a fabulous Halloween wedding at a warehouse - that was SO fun to decorate! The bride dressed in a beautiful Ball gown- she was incredibly elegant, and her veil was made up entirely of peacock feathers and went all the way to the floor -stunning! All the guests dressed up, which made for a very fun and unique evening - I'm sure that is one wedding those guests will never forget!
What is the most remarkable/unforgettable part of your wedding?


Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Ah, I love the fact that we can Peonies in the fall! Peonies are one of the most fabulous flowers in the world, and our great connection with growers in Chile and Peru allows us to offer these for amazing bridal bouquets and even centerpieces - if you are willing to pay the price! Importing these beauties are not cheap, and although we do not usually encourage people to import product from far away during the summers season when there is plenty of local product available, the local pickings are slim October through March, and so there is not a lot of choice but to bring something in from a warmer climate. And if you are going to do it, it may as well be fabulous AND help support a sustainable flower farm!
Here's what will be available (in somewhat limited quantities - when they are gone they're gone!) November through January:

I LOVE the pink one that looks like a giant Ranunculus!



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Color Trends: Gray

Gray has been the new black/brown for a while now, and this past weekend we had a lovely color palette of aqua, sage, dove gray and pops of burnt orange. Being that this wedding had a Pacific northwest coastal theme, the colors were perfect: subtle, mysterious, beautiful. To put this kind of color scheme, especially gray, into flowers, can be a tough call for floral designers, however. There's always the easy route when presented with a difficult color; to go with all white/cream and just incorporate the color into the ribbon, and the ghastly choice of using dyed or fake flowers...(although I LOVE the use of vintage millinery flowers). I really wanted to past both of these options, even though we really wanted to use gray. Luckily, there is some great gray foliage out there, like lambs ear, dusty miller, and gray Brasilia berries, silver tree and eucalyptus. We even used the back of bear grass in the centerpieces, as they have a gray tone versus the front sides glossy green. Centerpieces themselves were made out of driftwood, with clusters of roses and loops of grasses - very northwest coastal!

The bridal bouquet featured ivory garden roses, lisianthus, gardenias, fluffy ranunculus, pampas grass, brasilia berries and dusty miller.One of the driftwood centerpieces. Other centerpieces included tall tufts of grasses, steel cubes with mounds of burnt orange roses and mint julep cups of lambs ear.

The Chuppah was made out of driftwood, draped with eucalyptus duppioni silk and accented with roses and grasses...pictures to post when we get professional ones (we were a bit too busy to get any ceremony set-up shots!)



Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Chiavari Chairs

Wow - sorry for the long delay in posts, we have a big event this weekend that we have been making custom furniture for, sewing wall drapery for and today, stripping about 1000 stems of roses for - phew! We also had a fantastic time doing a photshoot today for a stunning bridal magazine - we can't tell any details until the magazine is published, but we'll give you lots of details then !

One of the blogs I read is Sasha Souza's great blog, Sparkliatti (see blog roll on the right). Today she mentioned the new line of Chiavari Chairs that is coming out, and I had to share!
We use Chiavari Chairs A LOT at weddings, the most common colors being the walnut brown and gold, but we have also used white, silvers and black...some of the new colors coming from Royal Table USA out are bright red, clear, and Glow-in-the-dark!! Not so sure about glow-in-the dark chairs at a wedding, but perhaps at a party...Sasha on her blog mentioned a bar mitzvah, and I could totally see that! I LOVE the idea of the clear bubble Chiavaris though, modern yet elegant. Will someone PLEASE bring these to Seattle??


Monday, October 6, 2008

Covet Mondays: Schwa Designs

Not only is Lauren of Schwa Designs sweet and unassuming, but very talented! Her designs are organic yet clean, beautiful yet, at times, simple. I think what I love most is her color combinations, she has a way with combining colors and hues that just makes me want to buy something for every day of the week!

I totally love those smoky gray quartz earrings, below - what a fabulous bridesmaids gift if your wedding is one of this season's HOT colors, like slate or charcoal.
I covet these earrings below, though - elegant, fabulous go with an evening dress or your favorite pair of jeans.

Thanks for your great designs Lauren - Seattle is lucky to have you!



Friday, October 3, 2008

Bella Signature Design featured in Bride and Bloom Magazine!

The latest issue of Bride and Bloom Magazine arrived today, hot off the press - and we are featured as a "Featured Coordinator"! B&B is an amazing design magazine read by both brides and those in the trade, and while based out of Los Angeles, they have gone nation wide and are found at Barnes and Nobles and all major book stores and magazine shops. We extremely honored when they chose us a few months ago to be one of their featured coordinators!

I was asked how I would interpret the theme "Hollywood Glamour." Since I knew two other Planner/Designers would be interpreting the same theme, and always of course trying to do something new, I wanted to mix the more typical "old Hollywood glamour" that brings to mind black and white, with the new Hollywood of today which is just as glamorous, but in a more contemporary way with clean lines yet overflowing lushness...

I dreamt up a color palette of gray (the new contemporary "black"), lacy nude (Old hollywood glamour) and fuchsia (Fresh color in Hollywood right now). This immediately brought to mind Wildflower Linens, with whom we had worked previously on a photoshoot for Grace Ormonde, and whose linens we have utilized at some of our most luxurious weddings here in Seattle. We used a silvery gray duppioni silk linen, fuchsia napkins and Chiavari chair pads and a fabulous nude "Empress Lace Linen" chair cover. Stunning! We wrapped our vases in a slightly darker slate gray silk, to really make the Fuchsia "Milano" roses pop off the table (and of course used them in reckless quantities!!). The bouquet featured fuchsia Peonies and exotic Aranda orchids, wild Sweet Peas, Astilbe, Tulips and Garden Roses, bound by a slate gray double satin ribbon. Pedersens Event Rentals is our all time favorite rental company here locally, and naturally we went there to pursue their newest choices in stemware and flatware. We ended up using their brand new platinum and gold rimmed glassware which really fit in with our gray and nude palette, and fabulous square gold chargers and white square china. Fabulous! Even the flatware was intriguing, with an almost sparkling yet contemporary design.We invited Jen of Jen's Desserts to create a glamorous cake, and she surprised us by bringing two! Her first design was her sparkling sugar cake, which I think is absolutely exquisite - clean, simple, yet ultra glamorous. It was the one Bride and Bloom chose too! Her second cake was also very creative, and featured a gigantic fuchsia/purpley flower (Jen said she was inspired by the Sex and the City movie!) For invitations, Brown Sugar Design created fabulous menu's, placecards and table numbers to go with a rich letterpress invitation they have in their line, on ecru paper and gray letterpress. The menu's and other table designs featured thick dove gray stock with yummy ivory writing.Check out Brown Sugar website (above) for some fabulous designs! Favors, which unfortunately weren't shown in the magazine (they only have so much room on one page) were by Glassybaby, and if you've followed my blog, you've read my previous blog about these great votiveholders!
And of course, none of this would have been possible if we weren't allowed to shoot in the fabulous Sodo Park, one of my very favorite new venues, and had it all captured by one of my all-time favorite photographers, Bradley Hanson (who is all over this blog!). I can create all the beauty in the world, but if it's not captured in an artistic way, it is lost forever.

Thanks to all the vendors who allowed me to bring them together in the very short two-week time frame we had, and thanks to Bride and Bloom for believing in us!