Artists at Work | Sweet Marie Designs

I recently spent some time with Alise at Sweet Marie Designs as part of my Artists at Work Series. There is such an abundance of creative talent that goes into a wedding day and it's so amazing to get to know other vendors in the industry and to discover what fuels them. Alise and I were in Santa Barbara a couple months ago with our dear friend Ashley and one morning she created a truly beautiful and unique piece and let me capture her process. I always get to see her creations when they are finished, so watching her create something from nothing and seeing how she works was completely inspiring. 

What do you do?

We are a floral design and event styling company focused on creating unique and one of a kind arrangements that encapsulate the essence and heart of our clients. Our designs are soft and romantic while still whimsical, as if it’s been put together from foraged foliage and blooms from the garden.

What inspires you? Or who?

Nature is the one thing that puts me back into my place. If I am having a crazy hectic week, month, day, whatever … and I retreat into nature I am refreshed and see things properly. As far as a person goes, Carissa from JL Designs and Heather from Amorology are two people in the industry that I am constantly looking at for creative inspiration. Those women have great design minds and are constantly impressing me! The greatest part too is they are both really humble amazing and caring individuals.

Where are you located?

We are located in Orange County but love traveling to design for events as well.  Most of our clients are based out of Orange County or LA but we frequently have events spanning from San Diego all the way up to Santa Barbara.

Who is your favorite artist?

Photography: Edward Weston

Art Architecture: Richard Serra

Floral creations: Flowerwild

Can you go into your process a little? How do you like to work with a client?

All right, get comfy because floral design entails much more than one might assume. 

After receiving an inquiry from a client and reviewing their needs (to make sure the design request aligns with our brand), we sit down with our clients and get to know them a little bit better. Each design is unique to the person requesting it and we want to make every effort to understand each vision.  After the consultation process we provide a proposal and go from there. As their event date approaches, whether it is a party, wedding, corporate meeting, or in house installation, we check in with the client to see if any last minute changes need to occur. Depending upon the event type this happens about a month away from the date of the event as final payments and floral orders are due three weeks prior. We send in our stem counts and floral orders to our vendors at three weeks to make sure the growers have time to fill the order and communicate to us, via our vendors, if there are any foreseeable crop issues.  

Two to three days prior to the event (dependent on bloom type, event size, and design intensity) we go to the market(s) to pick up our ordered product. We inspect all the blooms to ensure quality, check to make sure each stem ordered is there, and then prep the blooms. Each stem is cleaned of undesired leaves and/or thorns, given a fresh cut, and placed in fresh water to hydrate (flowers are shipped to the market out of water and kept at the proper temperature to stay alive). Once all the blooms and vessels are prepped and cleaned we start to design the base of greenery for our arrangements.  These two processes together take a full day to two days.  Once we have our base set, we start the fun stuff!! We add in blooms and play with the shape and design of the arrangements. We start first with any focal floral (these tend to be your larger blooms), work our way to difficult stemmed items, add in the base blooms such as garden roses, ranunculus, and lisianthus (just to name some of out favorites), and then add the fishing touches with our most whimsical and wild blooms to create that effortlessly natural feel. 

When designing for a wedding, personals are left to the last design day. They are made first thing in the morning as we are then well rested and ready to start a fresh day. The whole day is dedicated to personals and they are kept fresh in a floral cooler. 

The day of the event we greet our clients and show them their pieces. The best moments are when clients stop in their tracks and give us a hug out of excitement or when brides tear up as we hand them their bouquets. From start to finish the process of one event is anywhere from 35 – 75 hours.

What are some of your favorite tools that you use?

My teal pair of ARS HP-130DX 7-Inch shears. Even though the other colors are the same I always go for those ones. I love the lock feature they have on them. I’m constantly cutting my fingers so an easy lock feature is helpful. Also they cut like a beast!

What is favorite type of Italian food?

Oh man. Well pizza is a given but manicotti has been a favorite for a long time.

What is your favorite way to unwind?

Yoga at Corepower, walks on the beach, or sipping a really good Carmel cappuccino at a cute little café. Right now I really love Café Zinc in Laguna Beach by my house.

If I’m being lazy, then TV.

Where is your favorite place to travel to and why?

Big Sur. It’s the one place close that has both the mountains and the ocean!! What more could you want. Also Big Sur has always held a special place in my heart as many major road trips have centered around this location. 

Sweet or Salty?

Both simultaneously, but if I have to pick one sweets for sure – I have a problem.

Mountains or beach?

Can’t a girl have both? Remember Big Sur is my favorite place!!

What is your favorite photo in your possession?

Hum… I feel like I have two that I constantly go back to. There is the photo of my husband and I in a barrel room on our wedding day in black and white that I really love and also a photograph of a model holding a huge arrangement I made out of the back of my car in front of her face.  Both mean a lot to me because they represent a moment where I let go of a lot of struggle and just lived in the moment.

Thank you Alise for taking the time to share your your space and your talents with me.

Artists at Work | Lovely Paper Things

I recently sat down with Caroline at Lovely Paper Things as part of my Artists at Work Series. She is one of my nearest and dearest friends and I was so honored to spend some time with her. There is such an abundance of creative talent that goes into a wedding day and it's so amazing to get to the heart of why people in this industry do what they do.

What do you do?
I’m the designer & creator of Lovely Paper Things, a boutique hooray & yay studio! I create custom branded paper goodies for weddings, events & parties! From invitations & other lovely mail-able goodies, to day-of pieces such as menus, hand-lettered place cards, guest gifts, stationery & journals… I adore creating it all. Really, the sky’s the limit!  If it’s creative & inspires you & it helps celebrate your love story or party or event, I’m in!  Do you want an enormous fold out poster invite…oh oh pick me! Looking to send a custom party pack to your amazing guests…when can I start?!?

I have the absolute delight of celebrating love stories, one custom branded design experience at a time… it doesn’t get better than that! More in depth: I’m a graphic designer, painter, illustrator, typographer… & let’s be real, I adore doing anything creative & working with amazing, inspiring people makes my soul happy!

What inspires you? Or who?
Traveling is hands down the most inspiring thing to me. Just getting out of my typical environment & every day routine, noticing the little things, exploring new cultures, experiencing the differences in my home & where I’m adventuring to… LOVE IT! Also, the amazing people around me, from my incredible husband & family, to strangers on the street, constantly inspire me. I adore chatting up interesting characters, people watching & creating stories about passers by. I love the arrival gates at airports – so much happiness everywhere. It gives me goose bumps thinking about all of those people being reunited with loved ones – how could that not be inspiring?! A fantastic run always leaves me feeling refreshed & a walk on the beach never fails to inspire me, dorky I know, but it’s so incredibly true. 

Who is your favorite artist?
Oh my goodness, this one is a toughie! As a graphic design & painting major in college & an art history minor, I constantly find myself flipping through old books filled with amazing artists & designers & searching the interwebs for inspiring artists. Right now I would have to say that I’m most inspired by Richard Scary, Wes Anderson, Helen Frankenthaler, Paul Gaugin & Matt Chase… plus one million more insanely talented artists! 

Can you go into your process a little? How do you like to work with a client?
With Lovely Paper Things, it’s not just about the beautiful paper goodies! It’s about concepting, creating & celebrating each couple’s unique love story through a cohesive, custom branded design experience. I absolutely adore my clients & getting to know them & learning their love stories is SO much fun & so important to the design process! My clients are all over the world, so whether it’s through in person get-togethers, Skype dates or phone calls, it’s always a blast & a total giggle fest! 

Next, I collect all sorts of inspiration from nature, blogs, magazines, etc. & build mood boards, which help couples choose a stylistic direction & visual aesthetic vibe. From here, I generally get out of the studio to allow fresh inspiration from the outdoors to come my way. I use my favorite pencils to create sketches inspired by the selected mood board. Wedding suites are so much fun to create because each one is so totally different than the last. I adore using unique materials like fabric, metal, wood, leather & anything else you can imagine! And I’m constantly experimenting with new techniques, printing processes, mark making tools, paints/inks & more to help create the perfect, final & unique goodies!

Almost all of my projects incorporate a combination of hand painted, hand-lettered or illustrated techniques which are then scanned in to my computer. Then depending on the project I add digital typography or other vector aspects to button up the final designs. Each project is printed using a variety of awesome printing techniques & I often add back in hand painted details. For some extra special projects, each piece is hand painted or hand lettered, which is just another reason I love custom design’s flexibility & ability to give a client exactly what they want!

What are some of your favorite tools that you use?
An array of magical paintbrushes, gauche + watercolor, pencils & pens.

What is favorite type of Italian food?
GNOCCHI with fresh pesto & spinach!!!!

What is your favorite way to unwind?
I adore doing anything outside! From running to paddle boarding, get me outside & I’m instantly refreshed & rejuvenated! Also yoga is so good for my soul! Oh yes that & a fun cocktail & tasty treats....

Where is your favorite place to travel to & why?
Botswana, Africa, hands down. It’s pure, unfiltered, beauty. The people, the animals, the environments are all absolutely incredible. There’s not a place on Earth as incredibly inspiring, unspoiled & completely wild with beauty. Also there is something pretty amazing about the feeling of going back to my family’s home in Leawood, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. The Midwest is so full of the warmth & kindness that I crave, that it always leaves me feeling refreshed when I come back to California. Plus nothing, and I mean nothing, beats my mom’s cooking!! Now, excuse me while I go make her double chocolate oatmeal cookies & pour an enormous glass of milk.

Sweet or Salty?
Have you met me? Sugar baby here for sure. See above answer for evidence. ;)

Mountains or beach?
Beach, the ocean is a magical & inspiring.

What is your favorite photo in your possession?
It’s a photo of my grandpa wearing his big old cowboy hat (which hangs in my studio) & riding my little cousin’s tiny tricycle. It reminds me to always have a sense of humor, work incredible hard, be kind & love with my whole heart. 

If you could revisit one moment in your life over & over again what would it be?
The moment right after I first kissed my hubby (then about to be boyfriend). We were 18, sitting in a car, in an empty parking lot & he had just epically rescued me (long story involving an epic senior year game of glorified tag with water guns). We were saying good nights & were both SUPER awkwardly stalling & giggling. I was SO nervous yet so excited I thought I would burst if I didn’t kiss him… so I just did it. Seeing the delighted surprise in his baby blues & that mischievous grin spread across his cute face… it was the best feeling I had ever felt. That look on his face, is one of my most favorite memories…. then butterflies in my tummy fluttered away & I just giggled nonstop for like 5 minutes… it was awesome & perfect & so nerdy & still feels like yesterday, nearly 10 years later. Also, if you ask him, he will always say he kissed me first – typical man. ;)


Thank you Caroline for taking the time to share your your space and your talents with me.

Artists at Work | 10.11 Makeup

I recently sat down with Erica at 10.11 Makeup as part of my Artists at Work Series. There is such an abundance of creative talent that goes into a wedding day and it's so amazing to get to know other vendors in the industry and to discover what fuels them. 

What do you do?
We are a full service, mobile, hair styling and makeup artistry company. 

Where are you located?
Our studio is based in Orange County, specifically Costa Mesa. But we travel all over.

What inspires you? Or who?
Gosh, thats a hard one. I feel like we are surrounded by so much beauty in life - people, places, textures, colors... I feel like I draw inspiration from all of that... I genuinely stop, take it all in and smell the roses...and then think about how the color of that rose would make an amazing liptstick or rouge, naturally :) 

Who is your favorite artist?
Lisa Eldridge is unbelievable, and really inspiring.

Can you go into your process a little? How do you like to work with a client?
We really focus on the wedding industry specifically, so the majority of our clients are brides. We typically meet with our clients prior to their wedding date, go over hairstyles as well as makeup looks and create/design a look that is specific for them. I love that each client brings something different and unique with them, each beautiful in their own way. We also encourage clients to bring in photos of what they love AND don't love - with the understanding that everyone has their own personal styles and what one person may love another may not. 

What are some of your favorite tools that you use?
Right now I can not live without my Beauty Blender or my Makeup Forever Hd Elixir. The beauty blender does a beautiful job of pressing the makeup into the skin, leaving it looking dewy and fresh. The Elixir is amazing for its hydrating properties and is perfect especially during the summer months. 

What is favorite type of Italian food?
My favorite type of Italian food would be baked mostaccioli - we have it every year on Christmas Eve. My favorite food in general is probably dessert. I love chocolate, and I would eat dessert every night if my metabolism would let me. 

What is your favorite way to unwind?
I love family time. Watching my kids play, snuggling on the couch with my husband, yelling at my dog to stop licking my kids' faces off... its my favorite time of the day.

Where is your favorite place to travel to and why?
I'm almost positive that if I went to Bora Bora it would be my most favorite ever (working on the hubs for that one). In the meantime, I love Hawaii. We go fairly frequent, and there is a sense of home away from home for me there... its so peaceful and now that I have been during whale watching season, I have a new love for it. 

Sweet or Salty?
Yes. I have a new found love for sweet AND salty, combined. 85 degrees has the best sea salt coffee drink ever, its my jam. And I make a bacon chocolate chip cookie thats amazing... like Im pretty sure my husband wanted to marry me all over again after he ate one. 

Mountains or beach?
One of the most beautiful places I have been to is Big Sur... where the mountains meet the beach. Takes your breath away. 

What is your favorite photo in your possession?
I have a photo of my brother and I squishing my mom in a giant hug sandwich, and I love it... I love our expressions in it- I can hear the laughing that took place as we snapped the photo - its definitely one of my most favorite photos ever. 

If you could revisit one moment in your life over and over again what would it be?
The moment I watched my husband become a father... seeing him hold our son for the very first time - I have never experienced a joy and love like that ... my heart exploded in that very moment. 


Thank you Erica for taking the time to share your your space and your talents with me.