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, June 29, 2009

Recap of Engage09 Part 2

Day 3 of Engage09 was again, fabulous. The panel discussion started off bright and early, and I was excited to be sitting in front of Michelle Rago, Abby Larsen (Style me Pretty) and Randy Fenoli. (Kleinfeld Bridal). Michelle Rago, of course is an amazing designer/planner out of New York – I love her point of view. It made me wonder why here in Seattle, so many vendors and clients alike don’t understand the idea of a designer/planner – I often get the questions “So, are you a florist or coordinator?” where in New York or Los Angeles, some of the best producers of weddings are those that plan and design the event as a whole. Abby didn’t talk much, but it was fun to hear about her new projects for Style Me Pretty. It was Randy that stole the show in our panel however, talking about how much he loves his brides, finding them the perfect gown, etc – he was very enigmatic, and wants to make me get married again just so he can find me “the Gown” If you’ve never been to Kleinfeld’s in New York, you have to check it out while there – it is an amazing experience – they even have video cameras so family member s who can’t make it can see you in your gowns. I’ve got a special invitation from Randy to bring a few brides down, so if you are needing a gown and want to fly to New York, I know we can find the perfect one, and have a fabulous time doing it.

Our second panel was all about Destination Weddings, and although we do not do a lot of these, I feel very comfortable now with several island of Hawaii, Virgin Gorda (where I married myself), Anguilla and of course, Grand Cayman, where we got the rundown on everything on how to get work permits for the photographer and how to bring linens in.

The third panel was one of those where I rushed to get a seat up front! Lara Casey (editor of Southern Weddings), Kim Bee (Wedding Bee) and the brilliant Liene Stevens). The Smartplanner/Think Splendid). I got some great tidbits overall (ie, as a business don’t have a facebook page if you don’t keep it up, makes you look sloppy – good point) and some real sold advice about blogging, twittering, etc. As vendors, if you are not already reading Liene’s thinksplendid blog, go now and catch up (After you finish mine of course! J

Our last panel consisted of Laura Novak (Laura Novak photography), Harmony Walton (the Bridal Bar) and the brains behind Preston Bailey Designs, Sean Low. I’ve had a few email interactions with Sean, who is just incredibly kind and most of brilliant. Anyone who has had the chance to consult with him says it’s completely altered their business. I set my mind on “sponge mode” and just took it all in, from how to structure one’s business, how to brand yourself etc.

I could go on – my mind is SO full of all the things I learned. I think what surprised me the most were the fabulous connections I made with other attendees – some fabulous designers out of Texas and Arizona, planners from all over the country…and all those twitter friends I had never actually met. That alone was worth it, not to mention all the speakers, amazing attendees like Tara Guerard of Soiree and Karen Tran of Karen Tran florals…Great five days, and best money ever spent invigorating my company. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

I can't thank those enough who had a hand in me attending Engage09 and those who opened my mind to new opportunities and possibilities.



Friday, June 26, 2009

Cocktails with Preston Bailey?

Phaelanopsis tree created by Michelle Rago
I just had to write a headline that grabbed the attention of all those who love Preston Bailey's designs! This last week I had the most amazing experience: being part of the luxury wedding symposium, Engage09.
I have to admit, the first thing that caught my attention, was that by attending, I would get to meet one of my design idols, Preston Bailey. The lure of listening to panels by the incredible Marcy Blum, Sylvia Weinstock, and the editors of fabulous magazines such as Darcy Miller of Martha Stewart Weddings and Antonia Van Der Meer of Elegant Bride/Modern Bride made it that much more tempting, and when I took The Smart Planners' (now ThinkSplendid) Blogging Bootcamp a few months ago Liene Stevens made me realize that I could not miss this event. Thanks Liene, you were so right!!
What I hadn't expected was how much I learned from my peers who also attended - We shared information, sources, strategies...more about this on the next post!
The first day started out by a Welcome Party on Seven Mile beach at the Ritz Carlton, Cayman Island. The hotel is beautiful already, but the uber-talented Michelle Rago, with the help of staff from Celebrations, (a full service event decor company on Cayman), put together an AMAZING beach party, complete with a steel drum band on a boat and fireworks on the beach. The decor included cabana style tents, comfy and stylish ottomans, and an incredible manzanita tree created with 100 stems of Phaelenopsis Orchids. Swoon.

Day two was a full day of speakers. Marcy Blum was hilarious, blunt, and cut through to some issues we face as planners/designers of weddings. What a wonderful, warm, sharing person! Talking with her over the rest of the 3 days I was there I got an idea of how passionate she is about what she does, and how willing she is to share with those eager to listen. Thanks Marcy, for willing to share and teach - and being so direct! Daniela and Marcy Blum

Sylvia Weinstock was SO funny, insanely talented, and her story of how she started absolutely inspiring. Her husband and her were one of the sweetest couples I have ever met, getting up early to swim in the ocean, and staying up late to party with us into the night. An incredible amount of talent and personality all in one person. (she even learned to twitter at the conference!)

Michelle Rago, Daniela and Sylvia Weinstock

I had heard of Simon Bailey, but wasn't prepared for how inspirational his talk would be! Within a short time I was able to create my top ten goals for the next ten years, and rank them in order of importance. Through an AMAZING 30 minute coaching session I did with him later, I got a ton of perspective on how to start accomplishing these goals. Watch out world, because I am inspired AND enlightened! A dangerous combination for a passionate Sicilian/determined German girl. :) Thanks Simon, for taking the time!

Antonia Van Der Meer of Elegant Bride/Modern Bride spoke about the incredible Top 25 Trendsetter List and what it means to be a trendsetter. Nothing like being inspired to keep improving oneself!

Darcy Miller shared some fabulous insights into Martha Stewart Weddings, as well as sharing stories and images of her own wedding. What a woman full of humor, talent, and elegant tenacity. Oh, to spend a whole day working with just one of these women!

Darcy Miller and Daniela

And of course, seeing Preston Bailey speak and talk about his jaw-dropping talent was exquisite. Images from his events and his design philosophy were a delight to watch.

Daniela and Preston Bailey

And that was only day two! Kathryn and Rebecca of Engaging Concepts who put together Engage09 really outdid themselves with this symposium - it has changed how I see my business and how I approach it's daily workings and outcome, and utilizing all that passion that I have for Bella Signature Design to create stunning events for all my clients.
Thanks Kathryn and Rebecca, for letting me a part of something so wonderful - hopefully I can assimilate it all by the Encore!

More about Day 3 in the next post - the brilliant Sean Low (President of Preston Bailey Designs), fabulous Randy Fenoli of Kleinfeld, and practical and smart Liene Steves from the Smart Planner gave us a ton of advice over a course of four small panels - I'll go more in depth next post!



Friday, June 19, 2009

Engage09 here we come!

So excited to be headed off to the Cayman Islands for THE Luxury Wedding Symposium, Engage09.
I mean, honestly, what can be better than being on Grand Cayman Island with Preston Bailey, Marcy Blum, Sylvia Weinstock, Darcy Miller (Martha Stewart Weddings), Antonia Van Der Meer (Elegant Bride), Liene Stevens (The Smart Planner & Think Splendid) Lara Casey (Southern Weddings)...the list goes on!
Only 100 or so attendees get to go, so I am so excited to be going, along with Renee Metty of Its Eventful and Tania Sheppard from Azzura Photography - we are going to have a blast, learn a lot, and bring it all back to you!

Get ready for TONS of inspiration, creativity and who knows what else! I'll blog all about it next week when I return, and in the mean time, don't forget to follow me on twitter, where I will be updating moments and pics from Engage09.



Monday, June 15, 2009

The "After": Pink and more Pink Wedding

On Friday's "Before" post I showed you some pictures of the blooms we got in for Melissa and Nate's wedding. Well, the Wedding was a huge success, and everything turned out beautifully!
(Bridesmaids bouquets, above)

No one crashed into our van, so the lillies made it without creasing :) The ceremony was pretty, with smilax garlands and orchids cascading down from candelabras, adorned with peonies and lisianthus. The altar pieces were pretty and lush, and asymmetrical which looked great with the light coming in from the church windows.

The Reception was at the beautiful Edgewater Hotel, with it's amazing view and walls of windows! (If only you didn't have to load-in through the lobby!!) That feeling of being suspended over the water - so Pacific Northwest!

Melissa wanted both tall and low centerpieces, with a clean look but a lush feeling. To achieve this we used glass cylinders in two sizes, with the small ones lined with aspidistra leaves to focus on the flowers themselves and hides the stems and mechanics. The tall pieces rested atop tall cylinders, with hanging amaranthus coming down. All the centerpieces featured white spider Chrysanthemums (to get the feeling of the Dahlias she loves), luscious peonies and those lilies (Stargazers, Sumatra, and more)!
Although mums and lilies are often not used in more contemporary design, they worked well in this application -had we used bunches of greens with just lilies or the mums, the look would have been much different. We also added in some fun textures, such as fuchsia coxcomb, for a bright pop of color and shape.
Melissa, a very design-oriented bride, had fabulous paper items, such as table numbers and menus, as well as a fun popcorn bar and the cutest pink paper flowers on each napkin. We can't wait to see the professional photos from the talented Laurel McConnell, and share them with you! We'll share all the fun details, photos and sources. so stay tuned!



Friday, June 12, 2009

Before and After: Pink Pink and Pink!

The wedding this weekend is a fun one - Melissa, our bride, doesn't love roses, so they were to be used minimally (except for garden roses in her bouquet), and she LOVES Dahlias. Okay, so it's June, and the Dahlias that were shipped in to our wholesaler here were NOT looking so good. That's the thing with out of season flowers, even though we can often get them from a warmer place on the planet, that doesn't mean they look good. Dahlias like August. (I won't mention that all my August brides WANT peonies, which of course are incredibly stunning this week). Sigh!

Even though we have fabulous connections with wholesalers and growers in Los Angeles, Holland and Ecuador, pink dahlias weren't meant to happen in Seattle this weekend. Design-oriented as Melissa is, we came up with some alternatives.

Instead of Dahlias, we came up with some fun Chrysanthemums that had a similar feel. I think these get a bad rap, along with carnations. It's all in how you use them! All greens and filler flower with a few roses and mums? Ick. But a lush design of all one flower, or these Mums as a showcase, along with peonies, is different and refreshing.
Melissa also wanted some Stargazer lillies(we found a view variations on this theme), so I obliged, although I am NOT a fan of lillies usually! (I'm actually allergic to the white Casablanca ones, but so far, so good on these Fuchsia beauties.) They require way too much babysitting! From the moment they arrived tightly closed, you place them in warm water, and out in the sun if possible, to get them to open up. Coaxing them along, as they each open at different times, you place each open one immediately in the cooler to keep them at that aperture. Not to mention taking out the stamens! Melissa, if my hands are stained yellow this weekend, it's because of those lillies!! :)
They are also incredibly fragile, creasing terribly when bent. So, no one crash into my delivery truck please! (Good general rule, actually, lillies or not!)

The lillies did provide a nice shade of pink, as we ended up bringing in some other lillies to replace some of the not yet blooming pink dahlias we had wanted. Melissa wanted various shades of pink, with accents of white, and a background of slate blue (ribbon/bridesmaids dresses/ties).

Here is a bucket with flowers for one type of centerpiece, waiting to be arranged. How will it all turn out? Check on Monday to see!



Green Tuesdays (on a friday): Water Bottle Decor

I subscribe to a ton of blogs, from wedding blogs, design blogs, to eco-friendly resources, and one of the newsletters I find daily in my inbox is Ideal Bite. This site offers great, small, easy ideas for greening up your daily life - inspiring and super simple to read and DO. Today's read (from Seattle Bite) spotlighted the Urban Affirmation Water Bottle. When I saw this chic bottle with the giant words "celebrate" I immediately thought about how cool these bottle would look on your table at any wedding or event, especially one with modern or contemporary vibes. Can you imagine these gracing the table at a modern art museum or loft venue?

Now, at $25 each they are a bit much for each guest (unless you have a super high budget, and if you do, call me ;) ) but a few on each table would look fabulous and could work as a small water 'pitcher' (they are 25 oz, 2.75 inches wide & 11.5 inches tall)). Since they are glass they are completely re-usable so they would make great take-away gifts (I can see the guests fighting over these!)

I know I want one!



Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bella Signature Design Featured on Blog!

We're so honored to be featured on Modern Day Floral's fabulous blog!

Jenn has an amazing eye for design, and recently launched a new venture, Modern Day Event, a fabulous event design boutique in Michigan, where she also has her amazing shop Modern Day Floral. Jenn is super talented, with a sumptuous modern style to her work - yum!

We were excited to be one of her featured designers; Jenn and I actually met on Twitter, and instantly struck a chord with one another - yay for social media!

In Jenn's words:

"I have made some fabulous twitter friends from all over the country. It's amazing how the internet has made the world such a small place! Just a few months ago I started tweeting with an amazing floral designer out of Seattle and although this may sound funny I knew just after a few "tweets" and reading her blog, this girl was my kindred spirit. Daniela has honestly and openly offered her expertise and for that I'm so grateful. She is an industry leader, has been featured in Bride and Bloom, Seattle Bride, Seattle Metropolitan Bride and Groom, Elegant Bride and Grace Ormonde and has one of the most fascinating stories I have ever heard... "

Alright, I'm blushing! To see more of the post, click here!

And Jenn, thank you, and I feel you are a kindred spirit as well!



Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Green Tuesdays: textile-inspired cupcake wrappers.

I love textiles - the various textures, the colors...so when Carrie of Bella Cupcake Couture created cupcake wrappers based on textiles I had to see them! (nice name too!) Cupcake wrappers have become a very fashionable item, and one more way to bring your pattern, color palette or personality into your event.

What I love about Carrie's Bella wrappers is that they are made with recycyled paper and soybased inks - yes! Guilt free beauty! For everyone who opts for cupcakes for their weddings and events (or weekly treat) because it is less wasteful than cake (I mean, who wastes a cupcake?) Bella Cupcake Couture has a eco-friendly way to adorn them.

Carrie wanted something fashionable for the bottom portion of her cupcakes and always said "Why should the frosting have all the limelight?"
Why indeed? And although I admit to being obsessed with the pure beauty of luxury cupcakes like yummy Trophy Cupcakes or those AMAZING cupcakes from Jen's desserts, how nice will they look all wrapped up in these pretty wrappers?

You gotta love green beauty!