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!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Covet Mondays: Boring Sydney Millinery

I am a sucker for anything that is truly couture, especially if it is also actually wearable. Now, of course "couture" has become a word that is loosely thrown around. At Bella, we have long used "Couture Floral" in our media, since everything we create is made-to order, custom for each event - no packages, no list to choose from - every detail, down to the ribbon treatment and use of beading from the brides gown on her bouquet is custom...but I digress! (I just despise when floral designers who have pre-designed arrangements and ftd samples call themselves couture - it happens!)

In any case, I stumbled upon local "Boring Sydney's" creations and instantly thought, "This is true couture." A quote from her etsy profile reads "True millinery; hand blocking, creating hat blocks, steaming and building buckram frames is almost a lost art, having apprenticed under a master milliner in the theatre I was lucky enough to learn old world millinery techniques and acquire vintage hat blocks, trims, and fabrics."

Belle both creates finished designs from vintage and self-designed patterns, as well as making custom, couture creations - the old fashioned way. I can't even imagine the work that goes into these! I would love to see one of her designs on a fashion forward bride looking for some unconventional glamour...
I love finding great artists on etsy - and even more when they are local here to Seattle! Thanks, Belle, for your gorgeous creations...I personally covet the black hat - YUM! I want to wear that THIS WINTER!! If I was a bride, I would love the feathery floral headpieces.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Real Weddings: September 13th

Since our new opening of our Bainbridge Island studio a few years ago, we have done quite a few weddings on "that" side of the water. Although we still do about 80% of our design work n the greater Seattle area, our Bainbridge studio allows us easy access to a studio and floral cooler when we work at Kiana Lodge, Alderbrook, Farm Kitchen, etc. Fall is stunning at Kiana Lodge, who books up almost a year out for weddings! For Shannon's wedding, we got to play with texture and those great autumnal colors - these are just my non-professional pictures - we'll be sure to post the professional ones when we get them!

The ceremony on the garden lawn...

A "tree" out of manzanita branches held small hanging vases of miniature roses and berries, while calligraphied escort cards were displayed underneath on a huge bed of moss.

The centerpieces were full of rosemary, pomegranates and other textures.



Monday, September 22, 2008

Covet Mondays: Growing Jewelry

One of the blogs I love to follow is Earth Friendly Weddings. Since we strive to be eco-conscious in all we do here at Bella Signature Design, and have recently created a environmentally friendly/organic section of our company, we love to learn from those who are already fabulous at putting on amazing events with less of a a carbon footprint than necessary. Earth Friendly Weddings has one of th ebest blogs for great eco-conscious wedding and event ideas! Although I don't usually post about items I have just seen on another blog, I just loved this piece by designer Hafsteinn Juliusson - and I can only COVET it because it's not currently for sale - sigh.

Although here at Bella we have made some fantastic floral bracelets and necklaces out of wire and orchids, I've never seen an actual "growing" piece of jewelry - the concept of combining couture jewelery and organic nature is what I adore about this (and of course, the fact that the moss is my favorite color of chartreuse helps too). True innovation, and while some on his site commented that it was not practical; I say art has no need for practicality - art should make you think or feel, that's it.
Now the men's piece is decidedly a bit bold, but the women's piece? I would definitely wear that ring! How fun, what a great conversation starter and statement...can't you just see it on bridesmaids as a 'green' wedding?

Currently on display at the Reykjavik Art Museum in Iceland.



Monday, September 15, 2008

Covet Mondays: ILee Design Invitations

Happy Monday Morning! This week for our "Covet Mondays" I wanted to write about one of my all time favorite stationery design studios, Ilee Design. For years now, Ja has been hand-painting flowers, creating exquisite motifs, and overall creating some of the most beautiful invitations around. I never fail to recommend her to any of my brides, because she always creates something that is stunning, beautiful, and most important of all, truly reflective of the couple. Even when I am only doing decor for a couple (versus planning the whole wedding) I ask them to send me an invitation, as they really set the tone of the event nd really help me get an additional feel for the way the couple sees their day. The wedding I worked on yesterday was no different, and I was immediately impressed when I saw Shannon and Hans' invitation - bound together in slightl iridescent copper stock, in an unexpected sideways, book style, with the most beautiful green fern motif - it REALLY set the tone for an elegant yet outdoor fall wedding. (And boy, did the weather cooperate!) I did not know Ja at Ilee had created them, but I should have known! When I arrived at Kiana Lodge for set-up, I was impressed by the coordinated tablecards, hand-calligraphied escort cards cards (Ivory ink on cooper cardstock - yummy! - see below) and menus - impeccable. Shannon (the bride) and I went on to talk about Ja's many talents, and the appreciation of pulling together all the details into a whole concept that fits together perfectly.
We presented Ilee's escort cards in a ribbon-adroned box full of moss...
Table cards for each table...

I love it when brides create this first taste for their guests, especially when it comes from great artists such as Ilee Design.
See below for some sample of Ilee's creations...



Sunday, September 7, 2008

Covet Mondays: Glassybaby

On our second post of items I covet, I knew I had to bring up Glassybaby. I had long heard about these vessels, these candleholders/mini vases...and the amazing story that brought these glass creations into existence...But honestly, when I first heard the price (and had not actually seen one in person) I thought "wow, $40 for a candleholder." Still, the beauty just from the photographs of these yummy little vessels led me to call them up last month and ask them to be part of a photoshoot we had been asked to do for Bride and Bloom Magazine. Sweet Marissa promptly sent me 8 samples, and I swooned! They feel amazing in your hand - heavy, yet comforting, thick glass with saturated color (there are translucent ones as well!) These are no ordinary candle holders!

Glassybabies come in hundreds of colors, with amazing shades of every hue you can think of. Amazing bridesmaids gifts, thank you gifts for people who helped out at the wedding, or very decadent favors. Best of all, Glassybaby now has a rental program where you can rent them for your wedding! I imagine tables bedecked in every shade of amber to orange, or purple and raspberry...

I so fell in love with these that I bought one of the samples that Marissa had sent - a thick, yummy gray one named "Battleship." Something about the gray glass lit from within reminded me of calm, of hot tea on a gray northwest day. But alas, one Glassybaby is NEVER enough. And with new names like "Molten, Frog Hunting and Windowpane"? I don't know what they will look like, but I am coveting "Molten" just from the name!



Autumn Weddings

Fall has always been my favorite season - I love the weather, the colors, the idea of a fresh start (I guess that's from goign to school for way too long!). Yesterday's wedding perfectly captured the idea of an early fall day, without the obvious "maple leaf in the bouquet" type of thing.

Our bride Amy loved the idea of warm color and texture, so imagine our delight when we found these fabulous viburnum berries! (I almost wanted to eat them, they were so pretty!) I love using dahlias at this time of year too, the colors are insanely saturated, and almost luminescent when they hit the sunlight. The bridesmaid bouquets were simple with gorgeous colors, yet textured, and I had fun adding in a modern twist like the pleated laurel leaves. Hurrah for warm fall days, outdoor weddings that don't get rained on and glorious color.



Friday, September 5, 2008

Real Weddings - Teaser

One of my a favorite photographers, Bradley Hanson sent me over this fantastic photo from a wedding we worked on together this July. He manages to not only capture the essence of every wedding, but gets every detail in an artful way, makes everyone so comfortable in front of the lens that they are always at their best, and just overall is great to work with. I am always excited to know he is going to be capturing the day - and all my work! We'll be featuring Bradley's work in Desiree and Jon's wedding next week, so be sure to come back and check it out - for now, here is a sneak peek!



Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ask the Expert - SeattleBrideMag.com

The Editor of Seattle Bride Magazine recently asked us to write a guest editorial for the online version of Seattle Bride; and of course, we were happy to oblige. Working as both a planner and a designer has it's definite advantages, as we are well versed in areas of planning, vendor selection and budgeting, as well as the design details takes to pull a wedding together as a whole. This allows us a unique perspective, and gives us the ability to give each client great advice on how to get the most out of the money they are spending. While not everyone can afford some of the more lavish things you see on Platinum Weddings or in Grace Ormonde, the article gives some hints of where to spend money for the most ROI (return on investment) so that you can approach decor from both a design AND a budget perspective. To read the article, click on this link for Seattle Bride Ask the Expert.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Real Wedding: Rachel and Brett 8-1-2008

Rachel and Brett were married at the Golf Club at Newcastle on August 1st. Rachel and I had worked a lot on the decor ideas, as she wanted elegance in a more natural, unexpected way. We started with more classic tones of cream and chocolate brown (and more tailored arrangements) and slowly added in champagnes and chartreuse. What a beautiful palette, which would work for any season! We added in some great natural touches, such as branches and the use of artichokes in some of the centerpieces...
The Ceremony was set atop the terrace, which is rare for Newcastle Weddings (most weddings use the tent because of size, but Rachel's guest count allowed her to use the terrace - which is stunning - and the ballroom!!) Guests were treated to a view of the skyline as they picked up a parasol and seated themselves in anticipation of Rachel's entrance down the aisle...

We had planned on the most beautiful golden green runner, but alas, the wind on the terrace held fast and there would be no putting down (or rather, keeping down) of fabric that day.

Even Rachel's veil didn't quite make it through the ceremony due to the wind, although a most helpful groomsman caught it as it flew off!! But despite the wind, the sun was warm and the ceremony absolutely touching and beautiful, and a triumphant Rachel and Brett came down the aisle as husband and wife.
Tania from Azzura Photography was there to capture all of the amazing moments and little details, and not only was she a pleasure to work with, but her photos were absolutely fantastic. Azzura does a lot of work at Newcastle, and you can see why!

For the reception we used manzanita branches for the structural aspect, and hung candles to add more romance in the addition to the votives on the chocolate brown satin linens. Additionally, we warmed up the ceiling with amber lighting, and as the evening got darker, a magical starry sky appeared on the ballroom's ceiling, through the use of some gobos.

The low arrangements were held in copper urns and held an abundance of cream and champagne roses, hydrangea and even chocolate brown artichokes, punctuated by chartreuse cymbidium orchids. What an elegant and joyful night that was - thank you, Rachel and Brett, for letting us be part of your wonderful day!


Monday, September 1, 2008

Coveted Item: Dawes Design Bling!

Every Monday we will be featuring a new luxurious wedding/event related item that I would LOVE to own or use at an event...yes, unfortunately I have a long list of coveted items that I dream of - but it's all in the name of work, right? Well, as my luck would have it, I recently actually became the lucky owner of one of my coveted items, so I figured what better to start off our Coveted Monday's with!

I first came across Jennifer Dawes Designs on the fantastic blog Ecochic weddings (which you should all checkout!) The pictures of her designs made me check out her website immediately - and I was in love! Jennifer creates custom pieces of exquisite jewelery, using only recycled gold and conflict-free stones, which appealed to be immensely. We hit it off on the phone, and have worked up a great working relationship since then. When my husband said "why don't you order that ring already you keep staring at" I leaped at the chance - and soon Jennifer was searching for that perfect Peridot. For those of you who know me well, imagine when I saw this giant chartreuse colored gem stone perched on my finger (my love of the color chartreuse borders on obsession).
Once she found the perfect stone, she created the ring, and sent it my way- it was that easy! The setting is gorgeous, the stone AMAZING - I love it, and wear it anytime I don't have my fingers deep in floral arranging...
Next on my list of coveted items by Dawes Design? It would have to be the stunning diamond below - I can definitely see that on my hand! Jennifer has an online catalog that shows a lot of her great designs, and in addition, she will also custom-create items such as bridesmaids gifts (think orange sapphire pendants) or a special gift from the groom to his bride. I have talked to her about some of my brides, and she has come up with some fantastic ideas for the bridesmaid gifts!
Thank you Jennifer, for not only creating stunning jewelery, but doing it in a sustainable, responsible way that allows us to enjoy it guilt-free. I cherish my ring that you created.