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!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Inspired by: Romeo and Juliet

As a designer, I get inspiration from many sources, the richest usually being other art forms. I love contemporary art, classical ballet, the deep sound of a cello....
The other night I was lucky enough to take my daughter to opening night of Pacific Northwest Ballet's Romeo and Juliet, and I was absolutely stunned by the dancing, the set design, the lighting...the creative part of me was doing leaps and bounds as I sat spellbound, listening, watching, experiencing.

What I love about Pacific Northwest Ballet is that they are not afraid to take chances. Romeo and Juliet is a very classical ballet, and I expected a frilly balcony for Juliet to look down from, heavy curtained sets and lots of romantic lighting. As nice as that may be, I was absolutely wrong, and delighted by the very stark, ultra modern set designed by Ernest Pignon-Enerst that was the ideal backdrop to focus on the passion developing between the two main characters. The set consisted of large, slightly curved off-white 'walls' which moved at times to provide a set change, and were the perfect dramatic backdrop for incredible lighting (by Dominique Drillot), which was often used to hint at the environment, such as the projection of a cross. The combination of the sleek walls, texture from the lighting and definitive, strong moves from the dancers was utter perfection.

The designer in me loved the use of the lighting and the set design, since those elements are more important in successful event design than most people realized. I adored most of the costumes as well, which were part romance, part sleek...
All images by Angela Sterling

The dancing was stunning itself, strong, powerful, sensuous, dynamic. Having been a dancer in the past (my pointe shoes are now safely tucked away save the occasional class and random local performance), I so appreciate the insanely hard work and talent it takes to move your body in that fashion, with that much power, while displaying grace and emotion. The passion and desire between the two main characters was so poignant, it made you want to experience that feeling of new love all over again, that intoxicating feeling of first falling in love with someone and being utterly unprepared....and willing to do almost anything to be with that person. Ah, love.

Which all ties in perfectly to a stunning design we submitted last week for an online contest, also inspired by that incredible feeling of falling in love, titled "Orbital influence") Check it out!

What avenues do you explore for your inspiration? How does that present itself in your art?



Monday, September 21, 2009

Green Your Theme

A red rose design, by our new subsidiary, BLOOM, sits on the runway

Wednesday evening I had the pleasure to attend and facilitate The “Green Your Theme” event – an eco-aware event in Seattle created for sustainability leaders in the event industry. GreenYourTheme.com is produced by Jessie Upp, Jessie Upp

and is so worth checking out, and listing your business on - and if you have an event that you want to 'green up" Green your theme is the perfect place to start, as many fabulous eco-aware business list their services there.

Every exhibitor who participated in the event is now nurturing this B2B resource, helping produce economic and sustainable growth for their local communities. This is a hot area in the event industry and one that we are continuously following and leading in Bella's own business practices.

Our new subsidiary BLOOM provided 14 eco-friendly centerpieces for this event, all with sustainably grown or recycled flowers (you can hear more about our recycling program when BLOOM officially launches next week!)

I loved these Echevaria plants that stayed planted, and were simply covered with carnations: when the carnations pass on, we will re-use the plant in a different way! Fabulous photos by Philip Meadows .

And we certainly were the “elephant in the room” at this green hob-knobbing, eco-tip-sharing Seattle affair! Yes, we brought an elephant and no she is not part of our creative team, but the hours put into creating the all flower elephant made her feel like family this past week!
It was a pleasure to lead the panel of knowledgeable experts: Gabriel Scheer for Seattle Green Drinks, a social environmental networking organization, Heather Smith Teegarden with Woodland Park Zoo emphasizing greening fundraiser and association events and who loved our "Ellie" (yep, when you work on a flower elephant for 30 hours, you eventually name it). Ms. Mike Thomas with Margo Wendorf & Associates spoke on greening corporate meetings and events, while Nancy Skipton of Simply Celebrations & Events shared ideas and tips for greening weddings and receptions. Mariners Director of Event Sales & Marketing, Jill Hashimoto shared how they are working to green sporting events and Eddie Redman from Grand Event Rentals (whose company built the runway for the models, provided the draped entrance and the dressing room behind the stage) jumped in when one panelist had to cancel, lending his insight on a moment's notice and described how his products from Grand Event Rentals move large gatherings towards a Greener Event. Each panelist presented their own green event case study and I was impressed with the dedication that everyone shared. We are all working towards one goal in an industry that can benefit in so many ways from moving towards green habits. Stay tuned for how Bella Signature Design will continue our green venture…We've been green for all of our almost ten years!


Monday, September 14, 2009

True Blood Inspired Wedding, Part Two: The bouquet

Wow, what a great response we got on yesterdays True Blood Inspired Wedding Part One on Twitter! (I love all the feedback on twitter, and please leave comments on the blog as well! )
As promised, today's post will focus on the bouquet we created for a "True Blood" inspired wedding.

When thinking of a bouquet for a bride getting married at night, in the woods, to her vampire love, my first thought was of Black Magic and Black Bacarra roses. Black Magic's are always so lush and velvety, with a huge aperture and the most amazing petals. The even darker, yet smaller Black Bacarra is the darkest rose I have seen, so dark red it touches on black. Perfect!
a close up of one of the Black Magic roses, by Philip Meadows

I also envisioned dripping red amaranthus - something about the red cascading tendrils made me think of when a vampire bites...okay, a bit morbid, but the creative mind wanders a bit!
To add brighter spots of color and bring in more texture, I added viburnum berries - I so adore these, they are just absolutely juicy looking, with a great range of red tones. Black eucalyptus added a fethery, wild look, and at the last minute I tucked in a bit of black feathers.

Now, having watched the finale yesterday with it's crazy Maryann wedding and hints of another wedding in the works, there are all sorts of ideas in the works! What kind of bouquet do you think Sookie would carry? (I keep envisioning her with ivory to yellow garden roses and gardenias - very southern). ..

Don't forget to check out the blogs of ItsaJaimeThing, Sasha Souza, Masterpiece Weddings and Regal Affairs for their True Blood inspired wedding ideas all week!


Sunday, September 13, 2009

True Blood Inspired Wedding - Part One

As mentioned in yesterdays post, a few of us Wedding bloggers were asked by Jaime of Its a Jaime Thing to create some True Blood inspired wedding ideas, whether it be the characters of the show getting married, the actors themselves, or anyone wanting a wedding inspired by the vibe of the HBO show True Blood.

I wanted to create a wedding bouquet that a bride marrying a vampire would carry. Since I always design my bouquets for the bride, I started creating the bride in my mind as well, and that started a whole process of imagining the bride, the setting for the ceremony, etc. I love putting together things that aren't normally seen together, so I loved the idea of a human bride marrying her vampire love (as corny as that sounds) and what she would look like just before the ceremony. I imagined this "girl next door," with long blond curls, waiting for her dark (yet pale!) handsome vampire to start their life together, her last evening in the truly human world of daylight, as she enters into a life spent mostly in the evening time.

I got together with the incredibly talented British Photographer Philip Meadows, and we had some fun with a photoshoot done at twilight - which ended up going well past daylight until the perfectly full moon rose! (stay tuned for a behind the scenes post from this photoshoot next week). Wow, I have never seen anyone shoot such amazing photos in the dark - it was pitch dark, yet with some great lighting placed in the trees behind the model (we were in the middle of a forest for most of the shoot) it came out incredibly well! MY camera would laugh at me if I even tried to take photo in those light conditions.

I imagined our bride in the forest, where the ceremony will take place at night, having one last thought about leaving the daylight world behind. Even if she chooses to remain human and age while her husband remains immortal, she will be spending less time in the daylight, and more in the dark of the night to be with her love. And then there is that choice to make, human life or immortality? We see her here as she ponders her choices, although one thing she knows for sure - that she is undeniably in love and wants to spend the rest of her life with her soon-to-be- husband.

It was so nice of the moon to cooperate that night! I love the texture of the bark of the tree -the roughness of it, compared to the softness of the brides ivory satin wedding gown. That perfect moon glowing in the inky night sky...
Now this whole photoshoot started off with me designing a bouquet for the bride, so stay tuned for tomorrows post with details of the bouquet, and a post on ceremony ideas later this week!

Don't forget to check out the blogs of ItsaJaimeThing, Sasha Souza, Masterpiece Weddings and Regal Affairs for their True Blood inspired wedding ideas all week! And photographer Philip Meadows hinted at a technical behind the scenes post from this shoot on his blog, so for all those camera techies (or those of you just curious) check out his blog here.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

TrueBlood Wedding

Ah, for all those True Blood fans out there, tomorrow is the finale of the sexy, dark show that has created such a following ! (For those of you not in the know, Trueblood is a HBO show about vampires trying to adjust and live in today's society - well, in Lousiana, anyway). Jaime from It's a Jaime Thing invited a few of us wedding bloggers to create some True Blood inspired wedding ideas, so Jaime, Sasha Souza, Melissa from Masterpiece Weddings and Jennifer from Regal Affairs will be posting about True Blood inspired wedding ideas all week! Stay tuned tomorrow before the finale for pictures from our fun photoshoot!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Collaborating with the bride

When I design a tabletop or an event, I think not only in terms of color, but also texture, depth and variation of hues, warm versus cool tones, dark versus light. There are a ton of elements to bring together harmoniously while creating what the clients wants.

This last weekend we designed a wedding at the beautiful Fairmont Olympic. The room is filled with natural light and has ceiling at least 20 feet tall! I love designing for this space, which usually is an easy and fun task. In all honesty, I felt a bit challenged at first on this one, as the bride was very adamant about a color scheme of ruby red, tangerine and light pink, against a stark ivory backdrop. Usually I advise against strong colors against white or cream, as it can be harsh when not done just right. Our bride had fallen in love with centerpieces we had created at a past wedding, with lush autumn colors of ruby and persimmon, and she absolutely had to have them - but she really really loved pink, and insisted on adding that into the centerpieces. I suggested a rich fuchsia to match the vibrancy of the other hues, but she wanted a paler pink, so the search was on! I found a medium pink hue in the "Attache" rose, and let it play off of the orange and ruby tones, mixed in with some neutral green to fit in with the garden atmosphre of the space (the Garden Room at the Fairmont).

Being a more traditional bride, she also wanted cream linens, so we showed her lots of options that would create depth through texture, to avoid a flat, high contrast feel. She chose a perfect netted overlay with a hint of sparkle, from the always fabulous Wildflower Linens. Adding some texture to the linen made the contrast between the cream and the bold color much less severe, and made a nice transition from the tabletop to the height of the centerpieces. My favorite votive holders from Glassybaby looked amazing throughout the room!
The colors really came alive, and the special touches made all the difference. We were very lucky to have two great photographers there - we'll post photos from the night's official photographer Seattle's Azzura Photography as soon as they come in.

We were also really excited for our first opportunity to work with the incredible Philip Meadows, a photographer out of the UK (now living in Seattle). Philip is an amazing artist, and we were honored to have him shoot our designs!

The aisle pieces...

Details: strung rose petals suspended from the centerpiece

One of our duchess rose bowls, individual petals layered by hand to create a larger, lush rose:

(all images copyright Philip Meadows Photography). Thank you Philip, for some beautiful images!

Overall, a successful collaboration between a bride's wishes and our design, don't you think?


Friday, September 4, 2009

Floral Fridays: Orange and Gray Bridal Bouquet

It's September, and autumn is teasing us already - hints of rain, leaves falling... Autumn has always been a favorite season of mine, I love the crisp air, the smell of the leaves, and most of all, the stunning colors: I am pulled towards the joyful, warm hues like deep yellow, burnt orange, persimmon and ruby red...ah, the composition of it all! So inspiring. Gray was a really big color this year still (I LOVE gray), and I like how the gray plays with the orange hues in this bouquet - even though gray has usually been seen as more of a wintery color (especially when next to burgundy or cream). The bouquet has contrast, but in a unique way, not as harsh as red and cream, for example.

For all you wedding professionals joining me at "Engage09, the Encore" (A luxury Wedding Symposium), this one's for you - inspired by the "Poppy and Cement" color palette of this year's event!

I think the gray next to the orange adds a nice sophistication, and an element of surprise. What do you think? What new color palettes do you want to see this fall?


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Green Your Theme!

We are so excited for Bella Signature Design to be a part of Green Your Theme Seattle, a fabulous B2B event that encourages vendors that offer green services to talk, connect, and support each other in continuing to provide green services (and hopefully encourage others to do the same). If your company does weddings, special events, or even meetings, this is a great place to meet others who do eco-friendly events, or for you to learn how to make your events more eco-friendly. If nothing else, come see the fabulous treats from Tallant House, Mt Townsend Creamery and of course, Herban Feast, whose home is right there at SoDO Park. We'll be leading a panel discussion all about how to green your events, from meetings to weddings, lighting to drinks. We have some great panelists, so come and ask questions!

Where: Sodo Park
When: 5:30 pm, Sept 16, 2009

For more details, visit the website.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009


So excited to be nominated for King 5's Evening Magazine Show's "Best of Western Washington." Although we do so much more than floral, it's an absolute honor to know you love our work! I feel the love when I read all those wonderful reviews! If you want to see what all the fuss is about, write a review or even vote (Feel free! :) ) simply click here to view our nomination. Thanks to all our brides and clients who love us - we love you right back!