ARAGONA - ARLEDGE WEDDING

The Aragona family has been clients and friends for over a decade, so doing Sarah’s wedding was like doing a wedding for family.  Sarah’s mom, Sandra, said from the start that she wanted to see possible venues, but that their home was a back up option.  Their house is a beautiful property on Lake Austin with a perfectly flat, expansive green yard that comes right up to the water, with the cliffs of Mount Bonnell creating a dramatic backdrop directly across the lake.  So I told Sandra that I could show them venues, but none of them would be as perfect as their home.

For the ceremony, we built a round stage that was large enough to fit Sarah and Cole plus all 24 of their wedding party.  Townsley Designs can build anything you can dream up and they’re known for making it absolutely perfect, whatever it is. We asked them to take on the task of making our giant round stage.

I also had the pleasure of working with my favorite florist, David Kurio, to take things to the next level.  David and his team finished out the stage with jaw dropping arrangements of cantilevered calla lilies in tall modern vases and a border of lush hydrangeas.  We had unforgettable floral “walls” that formed the entry for guests and the wedding party.  If you’ve never walked through two walls of solid flowers, you should give it a try.

After the ceremony, guests walked a few steps for cocktails and passed appetizers by one of Austin’s longest reigning "best restaurants," Uchi.  Uchi was the brainchild of James Beard award winner, Tyson Cole.  His creations are technically sushi, but the word “sushi” doesn’t quite do his food justice.

Once the cocktail hour finished, guests found their seats for dinner  under a sailcloth tent.  I love sailcloth tents because they give gorgeous light and visual details when the sun shines through the fabric.  Word of Mouth took over the food from that point and knocked it out of the park with a high-end comfort food family-style dinner, if that description makes any sense. Think of everything you love to eat and now picture the best, most beautiful version of that.

The entire wedding was designed in shades of taupe, white and gray.  We used one of my favorite combinations for the escort cards and place cards: gray card stock with white calligraphy (by Teri Gaus with At Long Last Letters). The escort cards were displayed in sparkling white sand in acrylic trays. Our linens were a beautiful taupe from BBJ Linen called Taupe Lamour.  It’s the perfect neutral linen that gives the perfect warm backdrop to almost any tablescape.  To make the dinner tables glow, David used mixed arrangements with varying shades of white blooms and large cut glass hurricanes.

After dinner, everyone moved out to the yard and pool for dancing, where Townsley Designs had turned the ceremony location into cozy lounge areas with fire pits. Perfectly mixed chandeliers hung from a tree over the reception area making us almost forget we were outside.  The Jimmy Vali Band had them dancing way past the city’s noise ordinance curfew. P. Terry’s burger truck pull up in front of the house to surprise guests with late night snacks.

My favorite shot by photographer, Robert Evans, was the first dance in front of our vintage marquee sign that says DANCE.  There were so many amazing photos though, it’s hard to say “my favorite.”  Robert captured everything perfectly as always.

Sarah and Cole’s wedding was featured in Inside Weddings. You can read the article here and learn more about their story.

WES ANDERSON BAT MITZVAH

A good friend, Jill Dachis, was planning her daughter Ruby’s Bat Mitzvah in NYC.  She had chosen a great venue on the Lower East Side called Angel Orensanz Foundation. It is the oldest synagogue building in Manhattan.  When Jill called me, Ruby had informed her that she wanted a Wes Anderson Bat Mitzvah, which 1, was awesome, and 2, would require a lot of detailed design and production to bring to life.

We named each table after a Wes Anderson movie, then made the design for the table true to its movie. This meant that each centerpiece was unique, including the menus, place cards and table signs that our designer, Emily Young, created.

Jill is super creative herself so she was excited to work with us to create the vision.  Living in NYC, she had access to flea markets and other resources that we just don’t have in Austin.  So the process went that we would brainstorm on the look then Jill would go out to the flea markets with a shopping list to find the props we needed.  She would send us photos of her daily haul.  When we went up for our site visits and event meetings, we visited rental companies for the loose ends and pulled together the final looks.

In the mezzanine, we had a ping pong table with spectator seats. The kids (and adults) could hang out in tents with vintage record players and headphones.  One of the favorite things of the night was a desk where the guests could write a letter to Ruby, seal it with a wax stamp and put it in a letter box for her to read later.

Downstairs, we had a photo booth with the iconic red zebra wallpaper from Royal Tenenbaums as a background. We had The Haiku Guys and Gals there writing haikus for guests on an old typewriter.  I don’t know how they did it but the guest would give them a few bits of info and they would craft a personal haiku. DJ Ben Aqua traveled from Austin in true Life Aquatic attire.

The invitation suite for this event was inspired by Grand Budapest Hotel and was absolutely gorgeous. The save the date was reminiscent of a letter from Madame D.  The formal invitation was modeled after Mendl’s pink pastry box in the film. You can see more about this in our DETAILS post.

xx TC

CELEBRITY CHEF SERIES : WOLFGANG PUCK

In 2011, we developed a fundraising concept for Livestrong Foundation that was a lot of fun to produce.  We called it the Celebrity Chef Dinner Series.  First, we found a donor that was willing to host a dinner at their home.  Next, we found  celebrity chef that was willing to create and prepare the menu.  Lance has great relationships with some amazing chefs, so they were more than willing to be involved, which made that ask easy.

We kept the guest list of prospective donors under 30 people.  Craven + Co. came in and planned everything to make the dinners run smoothly, so that the host didn’t have to worry about any of the details. We were grateful that they had opened their home and invited people they thought would be inspired by the Livestrong mission.

This one was in Aspen, Colorado.  Michael Goldberg, owner of Belly Up Aspen, offered the use of his home. Our chef was renowned celebrity chef and restauranteur, Wolfgang Puck.  I think Wolfgang was a celebrity chef before we even had the term "celebrity chef."  He brought his amazing staff from Spago in Beaver Creek.  They took over the kitchen and blew the guests away.

I worked closely with Wolfgang’s right hand man, Tom Kaplan. He has been working with Wolfgang for 34 years now. The two of them have worked side by side to take the company from a few restaurants in 1982 to the mega brand it is today.  Tom is incredible to work with. He is generous, creative and was beyond helpful with getting the entire celebrity chef dinner series off the ground.


Wolfgang came out for each course and talked about why he chose the menu he did.  We also had the incredible winemaker (and former race car driver) with the infectious laugh, Randy Lewis, there and he took turns talking about the pairings he had made for Wolfgang's menu.  Lance has been friends with Wolfgang and Randy for a long time, so they did their usual banter back and forth and the guests loved it.

 

We had stainless steel menus screen printed that Lance, Wolfgang and Randy autographed at the end of the night for guests to take home.  We used calligraphed tags tied with LIVESTRONG yellow ribbon to coordinate the wine glasses with the dinner courses they were paired with.
 

The gorgeous floral was from Mountain Flowers of Aspen.  We finished out the tablescape with bold black glass candles by Dayna Decker with her signature wide wooden wicks in our modern glass and chrome hurricanes.  With Aspen Mountain as our backdrop, it was an unforgettable night.  And with the generous donation of the food, wine and venue, it was a great night helping empower cancer survivors.

xx TC

40TH BIRTHDAY WITH KATIE KIME

When the amazing designer Katie Kime called and asked us to help plan her husband, Greg’s, 40th birthday celebration, we were excited to say the least.  We love her style and everything about the brand she’s created.  From the start we knew that between running her business and family, she needed our help to pull off her vision for the night.

Katie and Greg have an amazing property that she envisioned using to create different areas for guests to seek out and lounge.  The Craven + Co. team brainstormed on activities that would bring guests to the different areas then finished them with the right design to make things pop.
 

By the pool, we had a custom cocktail station. Guests started at the beginning by grabbing a tool box marked with Greg’s monogram, which had also been used on the invitation.  First, the guests added the spices of their choice to a spice tin to create a custom blend to put on the rim of their cocktail glasses. Next they moved to the produce stand to choose the fruits they wanted in their cocktails. Finally, they moved to the bar to pick their poison so the mixologist could put all the pieces together for their perfect drink. (Read more about our SPICEBAR here!)

For dinner, guests worked their way through an elevated street taco buffet by the talented chef of Eat + Drink, Eric Brown.  For dessert, we had a 3D turkey cake by Blue Note Bakery  since Greg is an avid turkey hunter and was actually missing a hunting weekend for the party.

We worked with Katie and our awesome video editor to make a “This is Your Life” video for Greg as the surprise of the night. Guests saw photos of Greg from baby to today mixed with videos from family and friends sharing stories and messages from the heart.  There were plenty of laughs and just a few tears.  You can tell from the photos of Greg watching the videofor the first time standing next to Katie that Greg’s heart was full.


The late night party was down in the lower yard where we nestled a yurt filled with cozy lounge furniture + lanterns.  Just outside of the yurt, guests could sit in Adirondack chairs and smoke cigars by the fire pit. The party went into the wee hours of the night, mostly inside the yurt.  We kept hearing the chant “what happens in the yurt, stays in the yurt.”  We couldn’t agree more.

 

xx TC

CHEESE + WINE

When Joe called us to to help with Kirstin’s birthday dinner, he had already secured their favorite chef, Berty Richter (who specializes in Eastern Mediterranean food but does everything well and is the owner of Hummus Among Us). Joe also had in place sommelier Nathan Prater and his (and my) favorite specialty cheese purveyor, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop.

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Craven + Co. was tasked with the tablescape design and rentals to make the food presentation special.  We used our individual marble cheese boards for Antonelli’s cheese tasting.  For centerpieces, we used our natural wooden slabs with cut glass decanters filled with red roses.  Our brass votive holders and bowls full of rose petals gave the whole table a glow. Our place cards were marble hexagons with gold calligraphy by Averi with an Eye.  We used Joe and Kirstin’s beautiful containers to bring the red roses inside.

xx TC

 

 

EAST COAST IN AUSTIN

When we started this project with Morgan Burnham for her husband John’s 40th, we knew she wanted to have an East Coast vibe, because John is from there and they spend a lot of time in Newport, RI. In the invitation, Morgan encouraged guests to dress East Coast Preppy. . . and they did.  Even the guys.

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We had the most beautiful cookies made by Hayley’s Cakes and Cookies with with East Coast graphics + colors, and others with John’s initials.

Garbo’s Lobster Truck pulled back into the driveway and after passing lobster mac n’ cheese during cocktails, they offered truck-side service for the main course: lobster rolls + clam chowder. We had a raw oyster bar (with a shucker!) available all night for guests to stop by for more.

Our centerpieces were our silver Amalfi lanterns alongside our galvanized buckets filled with gorgeous, white hydrangeas.

xx TC

CHAMPAGNE + PEONIES

We love doing events at Josephine House. It is one of the restaurants in McGuire Moorman Hospitality. MMH restaurants are guaranteed to have impeccable design, incredible food and outstanding staff.

Josephine House is in a Clarksville cottage right next to their more formal restaurant, Jeffrey’s.  The indoor space is small and cozy. They also have a great outdoor space with booths tucked in alcoves and tables under big beautiful trees, but the outdoor space isn’t able to be tented. All of that to say, your guest count has to fit their maximum capacity, but if it does, you won’t be disappointed.
 

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For this engagement brunch, we used the JH white washed farm tables for seating and added bright, coral peonies.

The party favors were splits of champagne with a  straw and note tied with hand-dyed ribbon.  We added a note box for guests to write message of marriage advice for Kaelin and Andrés to read later. 

xx TC

EMILY'S 21ST

This 21st birthday was a blast to produce.  By the end of the night, we were wrangling 21 year olds from 6th Street in Austin.

We started the night at Malverde on 2nd Street for modern Mexican food and margaritas.  It’s a great space with food from the La Condesa kitchen downstairs.  After dinner, the guests boarded a Party Bus to continue on their tour of four Austin hot spots: Gibson, Highball, Lustre Pearl and Clive Bar.

At the beginning of the night, the guests received jewels to redeem for drinks at each stop along the way.  We kept them busy with a Word Game in which they had to find one letter of the alphabet at each bar. Then, once they had all four of the letters, they had to scramble them to figure out the winning word.  The word was SHOT.  :-)

We made a “What did I just drink?” book, so that Emily could record her night as a 21 year old with a Polaroid of her and her partners-in-crime with a few notes about WHAT, WHO and WHERE.

xx TC