Ocean Blue for Baby Leu


Did you see we are featured on Lauren Conrad's Friday Favorites!!! 

Click  HERE  to see the full feature

Click HERE to see the full feature


When Jenny Leu, of Forrest and J, asked me to design her baby shower, I was flattered.  Ok, I was scared, lets be real.  It is no easy task to design a baby shower for another event designer.  There is so much pressure to make it look perfect and even more pressure to make perfection fit into a budget.  Not an easy feat.  On top of that, I have a lot of my editorial props and party supplies packed away in storage as my family and I are transitioning from one home to another.  We are currently living in an apartment complex, so I don't have the extra space to build backdrops or installations as I typically would for an event.  I think that is what makes this event so special.   There are creative DIY pieces in every area of the shower and they are all things that any one can create with little space and limited time.  



The key to stretching your event budget is to to secure a venue that can elevate what you already have,  a space that comes with a lot of "stuff",  and also to repurpose elements that may have been used for past events. 



Jenny and her husband Adam, live their life on the California Coast.  Adam wakes up and surfs everyday and they spend most of their free time on the sand.  They are excited to welcome their boy into this world and raise him in this laid back lifestyle so I decided that the a Coastal surf inspired baby shower layering shades of blue was the way to go for this event.   



Sourced. , is a venue in Laguna Beach, California that truly embodies the surf shack vibe.  This pale blue shake shingle house has been transformed into a creative workspace.  The rustic hardwood floors on the interior feel like they could have been made from aged beachwood and the white walls and natural wood vaulted ceiling are a designers dream canvas.  Renting the venue space allows you access to their custom bar, use of plants, succulents, tables, and large assortment of lounge furniture.  There are no additional fees to use or not use the furniture that they have in house.  Having an assortment of decor and props already in place to work with that only require you to position and style can make a budget go a long way.  This is what I mean about "Stuff".  The less money I had to spend on props and lounge rentals, the more I could spend on the other unique details.  



My focus on pulling in the coastal elements for the beach was to have the splatter reflect the spray of the ocean.  I wanted something different than your typical watercolor or dip dye.  The shades of splattered blue ran through the invitation suite, signage and the dessert spread.   

The laser cut signage from Midnight Confetti was repurposed from Jenny's gender reveal party.  I left some of the birch wood elements natural and others I spray painted with dark blue spray paint to make them look new.  


I added in a few DIY elements that were all budget, time, and space friendly.  All of my DIY instructions, plus where to buy all of this fun decor can be found on Black Twine.  


Design + Styling: Niki Stoller of Seventh Bixel | Photography: Wisteria Photography | Venue: Sourced. | Florals: MV Florals | Dessert: Sugar Crush Sweets | Invitations + Laser Cut Signage: Midnight Confetti | Paper Plates and Cutlery: Sophisti Plate | Plastic Glassware: L'entramise | Sparkling Wine: Le Grand Courtage | Napkins + Candles: Target | Custom Surfboard: Agave Surf | Party Blue Print: Black Twine

Brunch Is The New Black

Wedding trends evolve year to year but this year, there is a new trend in style that everyone is toasting to. Brunch style receptions and showers are becoming the go-to catering style for those who want to mix things up in an unexpected way or stretch their budget. We all know that breakfast food goes a long way and, it’s a favorite for most!  You can have ‘breakfast for dinner’ at a nighttime affair, or stay more traditional with your classic 11am-2pm brunch times.

Photo by  Studio EMP  // Table Design + Catering  24 Carrots  //Chalk Art  Inviting Occassion

Photo by Studio EMP // Table Design + Catering 24 Carrots //Chalk Art Inviting Occassion

Food stations for breakfast are virtually limitless with waffle bars, parfait bars, coffee bars, and omelet stations.  Not all of the food should be heavy so add in some fresh fares like mint grapefruit salad or whipped ricotta with fruit. Think also of salmon, light salads, or mix things up by adding a twist on classics like French toast shooters and bacon wrapped puffed pastries.

Get crafty and create uncommon stations for food, drinks, and desserts. Incorporate a biscuit bar or a chicken and waffles station.  This can be casual or as elegant as any formal reception.  Have fun with the theme by mixing in DIY drink stations like a mimosa, bellini, or bloody mary bar.  We have also seen some great create your own coffee stations.  Bakers love to create new confection treats so give them the creative freedom to add their spin on dessert bars, mini tarts, themed macaroons and pies.

TSOS Nashville  Champagne Bar courtesy of  Le Grand Courtage  // Photo by  Shalyn Nelson  of Love, The Nelsons

TSOS Nashville Champagne Bar courtesy of Le Grand Courtage // Photo by Shalyn Nelson of Love, The Nelsons

Perks for a brunch time event start with cost savings.  We all know that alcohol at a wedding can lead to a stiff price tag. With a mid-day brunch, your guests will be less likely to consume as much alcohol as they would at an evening soiree.

Second, your brunch can be as simple or formal as you desire.  Brunch tends to be more kid-friendly as well because of the time.  This can be appealing to your friends with little kids or your nieces and nephews that you want to include in your event.  If you love the idea of brunch but would rather do ‘breakfast for dinner’, then host an adults-only evening reception.  It’s always a great surprise when guests show up and see that breakfast is being served for dinner!

original photography for apartment 34 by  ashley batz  // florals by  natalie bowen designs  // dishware by  mrs. peasy  // styling by erin hiemstra + bianca sotelo // produced by bianca sotelo

original photography for apartment 34 by ashley batz // florals by natalie bowen designs // dishware by mrs. peasy // styling by erin hiemstra + bianca sotelo // produced by bianca sotelo

Now you may find you can reallocate your budget on the fun things that brides typically scale back because of food cost,  like your photographer, flowers, and hiring a designer and stylist (LIKE US.. wink wink) to bring your vision to life.

We talked with Laura Kilts, the owner and floral designer of Magnolia’s Florals & Event Design, and asked her some questions on how to elevate a brunch reception utilizing floral design.

Q:  When you think of floralizing a brunch event what types of flowers or arrangements come to mind?

A:  When I think of a brunch event, I envision Spring flowers with bright, bold colors, huge blooms and lots of fragrance.  Tulips come in a variety of colors and shapes and peonies and garden roses are just starting to come into season.  There are more options to play with for a daytime wedding and it is easier to create a whimsical look. 

A brunch style event gives brides or the planner more options to go out of their comfort zone when deciding on color palette and patterns.  The time of day can lend itself to china and linens that have more character and florals that are spilling over onto the table. 

Incorporating props with the flowers into the tablescape design also pairs well for this type of setting.  You can make each table uniquely different within the same design.

Photo by  Erin McGinn Photography  via  Style Me Pretty  // Design, Styling + Food by  Couture Pastries

Photo by Erin McGinn Photography via Style Me Pretty // Design, Styling + Food by Couture Pastries

Q: If people are cutting alcohol costs and they have more dollars to spend on flowers, what types of arrangements would you recommend that may not have previously been an option with budget?

A: Garlands have been a trend the last few years and they are on the more expensive end of the floral design realm. I love it when a bride allows for a full dimensional floral garland, rather than just greenery laying flat on the table with placed flowers. 

Full flower garlands are considerably more expensive than a single centerpiece, so you can choose to do a few tables with some and the others with centerpieces.  Flowers have the ability to draw a guest into the reception.  People use their senses to see, feel, touch and smell so when your budget allows you to have a variety of floral arrangements then you are encouraging your guests to move around the room.

Q:  If you had just one area in a space that you were given full creative control over what area would you choose to floralize?

A:  People tend to cluster in an area and that area is often the bar.  Having a bar set up that allows for enough space for décor and your cocktail items is crucial.  Creating a backdrop for a mimosa bar or floralizing a cocktail area that allows for movement and feel makes for a great party.  Giving guests something to look at while they are waiting or standing around keeps their interest.  Flowers are always great accents to your bar that can really elevate the overall look.

So, there you have it.  Brunch is the new Black.