In early November, I had the pleasure of working with a fabulous team on a winter-inspired shoot.  Yesterday the fruits of our labor were featured on Style Me Pretty, and we couldn’t be more thrilled!  Make sure to mosey over to see both of the posts (HERE and HERE) which take a peek at two unique “takes” on the same table.  And lots of love to the team at SMP for their support of our work throughout the years.  <3

I don’t do a lot of staged shoots, but the idea for this unique project was borne out of a desire to capture the holiday spirit and bring it to life with REAL people, REAL food, and a REAL gathering.  Instead of perfectly manicured models traipsing around opulent tables that are big on WOW and short on practicality (i.e. tables you would never have at an actual wedding), our shoot would feature real people (including me and my husband and some of our dear friends from Cana VP) sitting at a rustic table that you could easily recreate at home.

The hearty winter menu featured beautiful seasonal produce including a ribolita (a Tuscan bean and cabbage stew), fig and chipotle stuffed pork loin, herb and parmesan-crusted pumpkin wedges, cider-braised brussels sprouts dotted with pomegranate jewels and warm farro with grilled raddichio, pistachios, dried cherries and a white truffle shallot vinaigrette.  The meal was presented on my favorite Spode Jewel china from Casa de Perrin (did you know you can rent their wares for more than just weddings?  Their gorgeous tabletop décor is perfect for intimate dinner parties, holiday festivities and more…) — a subtle and lovely white-on-white pattern that gets me every time.  Gold flatware added a touch of luxury, and emerald goblets paired with clear pressed glass made for a festive tabletop.  Simple pine boughs draped along the center of the table, punctuated by pinecones and potted olive trees (hint hint) brought a touch of the season in, without going overboard.  The endlessly talented Julie Song of Julie Song Ink created lovely placecards, menus and placards for the food using reclaimed wood and gold ink.  The coasters she made from wood slices with gilded edges are my favorite!  Our friends from Enjoy Cupcakes provided the sweetest ending with a gorgeous cake (the sugared cranberries were show-stopping!) and scrumptious cupcakes in flavors like gingerbread, cranberry cobbler, and spiced pear butter chardonnay.  YUM.

To really showcase the versatility of the tabletop, we ended up doing two set-ups: the original vision as described above, along with one more luxe and lush that could translate beautifully into a wedding.  Our wintery elegant tabletop swapped the branches for creamy textural florals in ceramic glazed trophy cups and striking pillar candles.  The greyish green tones of natural air plants added a bit of modernity to an otherwise classic look.  Our cozy lounge vignette featuring pieces from {found} vintage rentals made the perfect accompaniment, using flokati pillows and a warm cable knit throw.  The entire look was luxurious yet accessible.  The floral designer, Camilla of Camilla Flowers, is a true artist.  Her creativity and talent blows me away…  (She did my mother’s wedding back in 2008 and I am still in awe of her work from that day!)

Here is a peek…

you can always gauge how happy I am when i smile by how much of my gums I show.  so… I’m pretty darn happy here.  :)

yes, that is my adorable husband above on the right!

cheers!

As we sat down to wrap up our “shoot,” we realized that the inspired setting we had created was more than just a still-life for eyes only.  Our intention all along was to design a table that could actually be enjoyed, food and treats that could actually be consumed, a place that would become an actual venue for laughter, conversation and holiday cheer.  As the sun set and we clinked glasses and passed dishes across the table, I couldn’t help but marvel at what we had created.  It was more than a tabletop.  It had become an event.

My hope is that this Christmas, this season, at your wedding or at your next gathering with those you love, you would turn your table into an event. Even a casual dinner can become an occasion when you set the mood and incorporate a few well-conceived details.  In the end, what set this shoot apart (in my mind, anyway) was the warmth and love of all those involved, coming together for something more than just a pretty picture.  Of course thanks to Ryan Ray we got the stunning images, but more than that, they evoke a lovely day filled with laughter and good friends.  Your setting is just the stage for creating beautiful memories.

Here is a roundup of the fabulous team that brought this gathering to life…

Thank you for stopping by!  With Christmas and the end of the year rapidly approaching, I have a handful of blog posts coming your way.  ;-)  Keep your eyes open for 1) Olive’s 9 months post, 2) A gorgeous Santa Ynez wedding feature, 3) Another great giveaway and 4) An exciting announcement!

Let me know in the comments: what are YOUR plans for gathering during the holidays?  Enjoy your weekend!!  xoxo, Angel

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Comments (2)

  1. Nicola Haggins: December 24, 2012

    Beautiful, we love!

  2. CV Love: February 25, 2013

    Loveeee

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