Category: Press

Hey everyone!  If you couldn’t tell by the gap between posts, wedding season is upon us and I am busy busy busy prepping for our summer of beautiful events.  :)  For this reason, my guest post on Sugar and Charm yesterday is perfectly timed.  Click over and check out my 5 tips for planning a charming wedding.  All photos in the post are courtesy of my incredibly talented pal, Ryan Ray.

If you haven’t discovered Eden and Sugar and Charm yet, go subscribe and thank me later.  She is a dear friend and writes the loveliest blog full of recipes, entertaining ideas and local (southern California) lifestyle posts.  After reading a few posts you’ll feel like you’re chatting with an old friend.  I’m so grateful she’s in my life!

Is anyone out there planning a wedding?  Let me know if you have any planning questions; I’d love to address them in a future installment of The Nuptial Primer.  ;-)

Enjoy the rest of your Thursday and see you again soon!

We’re so excited to have the absolutely beautiful vow renewal of Hannah & Matt up on Style Me Pretty today!  Please click over and visit their featured post and leave us some love there, won’t ya?  ;-)

I was truly so blessed in working with Hannah and Matt on their vow renewal this summer.  Hannah and I actually went to high school together (different years, but we served on ASB together!) so it was a fabulous blast from the past when she reached out to me about this special day!  They chose Chateau Le Dome at my beloved Saddlerock Ranch as the site for their intimate celebration, and brought on some of our favorite vendors to bring the day to life.  I loved the soft and romantic palette she selected (dusty mauves + blush + sage + kraft), which perfectly complements the natural setting.  Hannah and Matt integrated a subtle travel theme into the details of the day, which was perfect for this jet-setting couple.  I also loved how they brought in elements of their cultures and personalities to make the day truly unique.  My favorite example is with the dessert bar; in addition to the rustic cake from Vanilla Bake Shop and dainty macarons from ‘lette, they served Marie Callender’s apple pie because it was something the groom enjoyed as a kid with his late father.  So, so special.  And delish!

It was a day full of belly laughs and joy; you can see the genuine heart and soul of this couple in every photograph, stunningly captured by Sara of One Love Photography.

I’m about to inundate you with gorgeous photos… Enjoy!

the breathtaking bride

sweet vintage hankie invites

I could post pics of this cute couple all day…

love the bridesmaids’ expressions in the background!

every cake deserves a perch as pretty as this one from {found}

grand entrance

Fabulous Vendors:

Photography: Onelove Photography | Designer & Coordinator: Angel Swanson of Love and Splendor | Venue: Saddlerock Ranch | Cake: Vanilla Bakeshop | Bridesmaids Dresses: Joanna August | Caterering: Command Performance Catering | Hair and Makeup: Kelly Zhang | DJ: Red Shoe LA (DJ WesLee) | Groom’s Attire: Custom Suits by Modern Tailor | Cake plates and stands: Casa de Perrin | Dress: Custom Gown by Seo Ho Seok of Shin Bu Bridal | Floral: SEED Floral Couture | French Macarons: ‘lette | Vintage Rentals: Found Vintage Rentals | Rentals: A Rental Connection| Security: Sandman Security | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Valet: Premiere Valet

Hannah & Matt — We love you guys!!  Your love and joy is contagious and we all left inspired.  Watching you two love on one another reminded us of the importance of laughter and companionship.  Thank you for bringing us on board such a special celebration; it was such a delight to work with you and your families!!  xo

being goofy in our hedley & bennett team aprons!

Hope you all are having a great Wednesday afternoon & evening!  See you soon!

Hello everyone!!  I’m excited that today I’m featured on The Effortless Chic (a lovely lifestyle + fashion + home blog) for the Savvy Girl’s Guide to Hosting a Stress-Free Holiday Party!  Definitely mosey over to their blog to check out the post and read my simple tips for keeping holiday stress to a minimum, and face-time with your guests at a premium.  ;-)

I LOVE entertaining, especially during the holidays, and it’s kinda coincidental that I’m having a dinner party for 8 tonight!  I mentioned in the guest post that one of my fall/winter entertaining staples is my hot apple cider.  It is utterly delicious and I will take any excuse to make it.  I am definitely making a batch for tonight’s festivities and I hope you give it a try, too.  It’s wonderfully simple, makes the house smell divine and is an instant mood lifter!  I always feel festive sipping a mug of cider, even if I’m alone in my PJ’s!  I add fresh whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel to my cup but this delicious cider is sweet enough to enjoy on its own by the ladleful.  Enjoy!

Hot Apple Cider (12 servings)

*I make this cider in a crockpot but feel free to use a large saucepan or dutch oven — any non-reactive pot should work on a low simmer!*


  • 2 quarts of apple cider (I use raw and unpasteurized fresh-pressed Gopher Glen cider made with local apples grown only 10 miles from my house!)
  • 2 cups of orange juice (I squeeze my own organic oranges)
  • 1 medium orange (separate from the ones you squeezed)
  • 15-20 whole cloves
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tsp of allspice
  • pinch of ginger
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • optional: 1/4c of brown sugar, fresh whipped cream, caramel for drizzling
  1. In a large crockpot, saucepan or dutch oven, combine the cider and OJ.  
  2. Slice the medium orange (five or six slices) and press the cloves into the slices (sort of like studding them!  I like to press them in a pretty pattern).  
  3. Float the clove-studded orange slices on top of the cider mixture.
  4. Add all of your spices and the cinnamon sticks.  Stir gently to combine.
  5. If desired, stir in 1/4c of brown sugar.
  6. In your crockpot, heat on low for 3-4 hours.  If using a saucepan or dutch oven, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes to 2 hours.  The key is to keep the heat LOW.
  7. Ladle in to cups and add whipped cream and carmel drizzle as desired.  ;-)  Fresh cinnamon sticks make a lovely garnish as well!

Enjoy!!  Let me know if you make some yummy cider for your holiday gathering!  And don’t forget to check out the feature post on The Effortless Chic!

Hello everyone!  Today we’re delighted to share a beautiful 2012 wedding with you, which was recently featured on Style Me Pretty California!  It is always an honor to have our weddings showcased on SMP — thank you Abby & co. for your years of support!

Since last year was “the year of Olive” for me (Angel), I was incredibly fortunate to pass the reins off to my lovely Michelle (planner extraordinaire!) for most of my 2012 events.  I had the pleasure of meeting Bri & Jeff at their wedding, but Michelle guided them through the planning process and made sure their day was flawless.  Their sweet and rustic celebration took place at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu.  Here is Michelle’s recap, followed by photos from two of my favorite people on the planet: Nate & Jaclyn Kaiser of The Image is Found.

The minute I met Bri and Jeff, I instantly fell in love with them.  their love, their laughter, and their infectious vibe — it was everything I look for when meeting with a couple to see if we “fit” together. I remember calling Angel immediately afterwards saying I couldn’t wait to work with them on their wedding day!  And over the course of the next few months, they not only became a favorite couple, but true friends.  It’s those clients I cherish the most when it doesn’t really feel like work, but just months of fun together.  They were such a joy to work with and so completely laid back which was a blessing in disguise come the night of their wedding!  

Their wedding took place on a Friday evening, the same night as the massive wildfires near the Getty Museum shut down multiple lanes of the 405 freeway and caused hours of delays.  Their shuttles, loaded with all of their guests, were stuck in that horrendous traffic jam.  Yet, Bri and Jeff remained calm despite it all and the wedding couldn’t have been filled with more happiness once everyone arrived and the ceremony was underway.  The photos speak for themselves on how the rest of the night went: a true blast from start to finish!  

Bri and Jeff — I was honored to be a part of your wedding and I’m thankful for the friendship we still have to this day.  

Until next time, find what you love and truly enjoy it — I know I have been!!  xo, Michelle

Bri is the quintessential California beauty!

Vendors: Photography: Event Planning: Events of Love and Splendor |Photography: The Image is Found | Wedding Venue + Catering: Calamigos Ranch | Flowers: Tanya Parker Mitchell | Wedding Cake + Cupcakes: SusieCakes | DJ: Ian Gotler / Red Shoe LA | Shoes: Nina Shoes | Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Hair: Jennifer Ballard | Make-up: Alex George | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bill Levkoff | Guest Favors: Plant a Memory Tree Seeds

Psst: If you’re reading this before 9p today, you need to scroll down to the next post and make sure you enter our Casa de Perrin giveaway!

I hope you are all having a lovely week!  Today I’m excited to share an interview I did with the Central Coast Wedding Standard — a great blog/site all about the fabulous wedding community here on the central coast of California!  I had answered the interview questions last fall so re-reading my answers today made me smile.  I like how I predicted Pantone‘s color of the year!  (Not joking… you can ask my friends Ryan, Jeni and Diana who know I was fixated on emerald green last year when we starting planning our winter gathering shoot last October!)

If you are thinking about a central coast wedding, you’ve gotta check out Central Coast Wedding Standard.  It has an incredibly thorough venue search tool, a blog full of inspiration and real weddings, and lots of artist interviews, helping you get to know the fabulous vendors out here.  I have to say that this stretch of California coast is home to a lot of industry giants and I am truly humbled and honored to join this vibrant community of creatives.

Take a peek at my interview and hopefully you’ll learn something new about me!  There are also lots of pics of me and Olive shot by Cameron Ingalls, the site’s creator and curator.  ;-)

Thank you again, Cameron, for this great feature!  Grateful to know you and call you friend!

Everyone else — I’ll be back soon to announce the giveaway winner *and* will share more photos of me and Olive from this impromptu shoot with Cameron!  And you know those post-partum baby hairs??  I’m finally doing something about them today.  It’s time for a new look!

xoxo, Angel

Remember how my sister’s wedding was published in the spring/summer issue of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine??  Well today we are thrilled that a lot more of its gorgeous, vibrant, citrus-hued details are featured on Style Me Pretty!  We couldn’t be more excited about this extra exposure and are so thankful to Abby for sharing it with her readers!

I have been chomping at the bit to share more about her wedding with you — from the design process to the fine point details.  I look forward to highlighting some of those items in coming posts!  Today, it is going to be a lot of eye candy.  Lots and lots of scrumptious eye candy.  If you love photos of people in love, gorgeous florals and pretty settings, you are in for a treat.  :)  Thank you (again and again!) to my dear friend Ryan Ray, who perfectly captured the beauty and emotion of the day.

Here’s my little write-up, for those of you interested in the background.  I promise not to mind if you simply skip to the photos!!  ;-)

Anna and Sean are an extra-special couple to me, because Anna is my beloved younger sister!  It was a complete delight to plan and design her intimate Ojai wedding to Sean, my now-brother-in-law.  The two of them had been friends in college years ago, and I remember her telling me about her freckled crush back then.  They reunited in the fall of 2011 and knew right away that it was “it.”  Only a few months later, they were engaged and we began planning their springtime wedding!

do you see that tear that ryan captured??!

They decided early on that they wanted to have a semi-destination wedding: a celebration that was close enough to their native Los Angeles for easy guest travel, but unique enough to feel like a getaway.  They landed on the charming hillside town of Ojai, known for an excellent farmer’s market, quaint shops, and organic produce.  Ojai is also famous for their dramatic pink-tinged sunsets, created when the sun is setting across the Topatopa Bluffs.  Anna and Sean selected the fabulous Ojai Valley Inn and Spa as the setting for their nuptials because it is the perfect balance of luxury and that signature Ojai charm.  The sprawling property features an incredible full-service spa and wellness center, great golf (Erik may or may not have gone everyday that we were there!), meandering bike baths, beautiful gardens and fabulous dining.  Most of the wedding guests ended up staying with us at the property and I think I speak for everyone when I say no one was ready to leave!

Anna envisioned a small, intimate wedding set in the Herb Garden, where they would exchange vows and then dine al fresco under a gorgeous vine-covered pergola.  She and Sean drew up a guestlist of closest family and friends, and then really gave me the reins to create the beautiful day for them.  I was completely ecstatic to run with my vision for their wedding; I can’t tell you how fun it is to plan a wedding for your sister, a person you know so well!  Anna has worked with me planning and designing weddings for years, so I had picked up on her style over time.  Anna has a vibrant and vivacious personality, so I knew that we wanted to embrace a bright and cheery palette for the wedding.  She completely entrusted me with most of the details, which allowed me to really get creative.  We began with a lovely range of citrus-inspired hues: coral, raspberry, tangerine and yellow.  Ojai, the setting of the celebration, is known for their citrus (especially their pixie tangerines — in season now!), so I wanted to reference that in the design of the wedding.  I enlisted talented illustrator and graphic designer Julie Song, of Julie Song Ink, to create a beautiful watercolor stationery suite for their invitations.  She incorporated images of lemons, coral charm peonies, sunflowers (a nod to Anna’s favorite bloom) and of course the magnificent pink-tinged Ojai sunsets in her pieces.  The hand-lettering and whimsical feel of the stationery really set the tone for the playful look of the wedding.

Guests arrived at the Herb Garden for the ceremony, and discovered an enchanting set up of vintage settees and sofas in lieu of traditional chair seating.  With the gorgeous inventory of vintage furniture of {found} vintage rentals, we were able to design a much cozier and elegant space for exchanging vows.  Each settee was unique, but the arrangement felt cohesive in feel, with lots of feminine and neutral colors, luxe fabrics like velvet and linen, and button-tufting and gilded details.  Small side tables were placed amongst the upholstered seating for guests to set down their watermelon lemonades once the ceremony was underway.  In keeping with the residential feel, a stunning vintage mantel from {found} was the focal point of the ceremony, covered with framed photos of the couple and copious candlelight, flowers, and garland from Heavenly Blooms.  With such an intimately-sized group, it felt like a gathering at someone’s home.

A vintage vanity was used as a guest sign-in station, and guests tucked handwritten well wishes into the drawers.  A welcome beverage station was decked out with stunning citrus topiaries and featured fresh watermelon lemonade, iced tea and citrus & cucumber water.  Classical guitarist Brandt Jacobus played in the background, completing the idyllic scene.

There ceremony was a traditional Christian ceremony, and the bridal party was made up of only siblings: me and Sean’s brother.  I walked in with my husband and 3-month-old daughter (their new niece!) and Anna was escorted in by my mom and stepfather.  Brandt played Beatles songs including “Across the Universe” and “Here Comes the Sun” for the processional.  There were joyful tears shed as they exchanged vows, and they recessed to “Better Together” by Jack Johnson, also performed by the guitarist.

Cocktail hour took place on a lower lawn where guests could enjoy a phenomenal spread of California artisan cheeses, truffle honey, local citrus chutneys, nuts and more.  Passed hors d’oeuvres included some of Anna and Sean’s favorite treats, including bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with gorgonzola and double smoked bacon-wrapped scallops with maple glaze (sensing a trend?).  Bocce ball and croquet were also set up for guests to enjoy as the sun slipped behind the mountains for that magical “pink moment.”

As the sun set, guests were invited back up to the garden underneath the long covered portico.  We had a local singer and guitarist, Ray Fortune, play for this portion of the evening.  His beautiful voice was the perfect accompaniment to the setting we created.  All 39 guests were seated a long table (created using multiple vintage dining tables) in an eclectic mix of upholstered and bistro-style vintage chairs.  Overhead, delicate crepe paper blooms (which I handmade) were strung alongside glass spheres sparkling with light.  The scene was positively enchanting.  A citrus “chandelier” was suspended over the cake at one end of the portico, and the bar was placed at the opposite end.

The magnificent table was overflowing with stunning floral arrangements nestled in pressed glass goblets and footed bowls.  Tangerines and lemons were nestled amongst peonies, amaryllis, garden roses, bougainvillea, craspedia and more.  The look was lush and abundant, feminine and romantic, yet also youthful and fresh.  Of course, tons of candlelight added drama and mood to the table.  The entire setting was sparkling!  Placesettings featured the white-on-white lacy designs of gorgeous Spode Jewel china, via Casa de Perrin tabletop rentals, as well as their clear pressed glassware.  Guests found their assigned seats via dainty paper “lemon slices” affixed to each wine glass like a little garnish.  Cherry yellow and white patterned napkins from La Tavola added a touch of fun.  Guests also discovered an amazing menu atop their plates.  I teamed up once again with Julie Song on these labors of love.  Her charming illustrations and hand-lettering were designed in a menu that was over 2′ long printed on crisp white linen.  I handcut each menu and then sewed them along the top to roll up as a scroll on porcelain branches (actually drink stirrers I repurposed from BHLDN!).  I hand-dyed lace trim as a tie to each scrolled menu.  I loved hearing the gasps of delight as each guests unfurled their scrolls at the dining table, stunned at the dramatic display of the feast to come!  The memorable meal included a crab and corn chowder with green chile corn fritters, a composed tomato and burrata salad, merlot braised short ribs with garlicky prawns, a berry trifle and a delectable wedding cake made with Ojai’s signature pixie tangerines.

The meal was punctuated by a welcome by our stepfather, a prayer by my husband, Erik, and toasts by both siblings (me and Brian).  Anna and Sean shared a simple first dance to Ray Fortune’s creative rendition of “Honeybee” by Blake Shelton.  After the meal, guests lingered over coffee and cake, enjoying conversation and laughter with one another in the magical setting.  It was a natural ending to a truly impeccable day.  I remember stepping back and feeling so overwhelmed with the beauty of what I saw.  The setting was dripping in details and aesthetic beauty, but it also radiated with the unspeakable joy of the newlyweds and their loved ones.  The night was unforgettable in every way, and I am so grateful I could be a part of creating it for my darling sis!


Location, Catering, and Cake: Ojai Valley Inn & Spa  – Sarah in catering is AMAZING.
Event Planning and Design: Events of Love and Splendor
Photography: Ryan Ray  – our talented and dear friend, who is more like family to me!
Flowers: Heavenly Blooms  – Jaclyne always goes way way above and beyond!
Rentals: Found Vintage Rentals  – Jeni’s beautiful furniture set the stage.  Her styling is impeccable!
Tabletop Rentals: Casa de Perrin  – CdP’s wares made the tabletops shine.  I wish every meal was served on their beautiful china, and every toast made with their gorgeous glasses!
Stationery, Menu, and Calligraphy: Julie Song Ink  – such a sweetheart and a brilliant artist!
Videography: Elysium Productions – Julie shot my wedding, my mom’s wedding, and now Anna’s wedding!  The circle is complete!
Music: Brandt Jacobus and Ray Fortune  – two people you NEED to hire.
Linens: La Tavola Linen  – always my pick for lovely linens!
Hair and Makeup: Nicole Deanne  – our cherished friend helped us look our best!  Loved her being there on the big day!!

Hope you guys enjoyed this special & more detailed look at such a special day for my family.  If you have any questions, let me know!  See you all very soon — enjoy your Thursday!!  xoxo, Angel

Happy Monday, everyone!!  First things first, congrats to the 3 winners of Olive’s birthday giveaway: Vivian, Delia and May!  I’ve contacted the three of you so check your email so we can get your goodies out to you!  I’ll be sending out all the giveaway prizes (these 3 + the 2 winners of the Martha Stewart Weddings giveaway) on Thursday!

Today I’m thrilled to have a guest post up on the Blog “Word of Mom.”  It’s a fun blog with original content from the WTE editors as well as real moms like me!  I was so honored when they reached out to me in January (I was in Big Bear at the time and remember squealing on the couch, in fact) and really enjoyed writing this post for them.  The post centers on 5 lessons I learned during my first year as a mom, and I’d love if you went over to check it out!

I’ll be back later this week with some wedding sneak peeks (yay!  So overdue!) and Olive’s official 12-month summary post!  Enjoy this beautiful day!

xoxo, Angel

Happy Monday, everyone!!  I am SO excited to let the cat officially out of the bag today and let you all know that we were PUBLISHED in the latest issue of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine!  { pinch me! }

Yes, the Spring 2013 issue features one of our beautiful weddings on its pages… and it happens to be the wedding of my baby sister, Anna!  My love & splendor clients and colleagues all know and adore Anna, as she has been an assistant coordinator for me since the very beginnings of the company.  Anna was married to my wonderful brother-in-law, Sean, last June, and it has been sooooo hard to keep this gorgeous wedding under wraps for so long.  But, we knew this stunning wedding was destined to be shared somewhere special.  It is a true honor (and honestly, one of my proudest biz moments ever!) to see this wedding on the pages of Martha Stewart Weddingsit is a dream come true.  The fact that the wedding is my sister’s takes it over the top because the event held so much personal meaning to our family.  I will never ever forget that day… It was filled with so much beauty and love and emotion.  I kept looking over at Anna throughout the evening and her expressions were filled with so much pure joy.  Designing this day for her and Sean was a true labor of love and I hope it shows!

photo by my dear friend, Ryan Ray

When we found out that the wedding would be featured in the magazine, I nearly keeled over!  I have been counting down to this date for months!  Okay so I’m already thrilled, I am pushed to the limits of my excitement, and then imagine when I found out that a photo of my precious family was included in the magazine as well!  Yes, a photo of me, Erik, and a 3-month old baby Olive are featured in the magazine, too!!  AHH!  

I cannot tell you how much my heart is exploding.  It’s a business-personal-family-press milestone all wrapped into one big ball of joy and now I want to celebrate with YOU!

To mark this fabulous occasion for love & splendor and my family, I wanted to host a little giveaway!  The prize includes a fresh copy of the Spring 2013 Martha Stewart Weddings magazine to enjoy, a Starbucks gift card (because we all know reading magazines is always better accompanied by a latte) , and a few surprises.  ;-)

To enter, just comment below and let me know either your favorite thing about spring.  It could be a flower, a tradition, a local event…  I can’t wait to read about your seasonal favorites!  One of my favorites has to be fresh English peas.  They are like tiny bubbles of happiness!  I love their mild sweet flavor and I try to eat as much of them as I can while they’re available!

Good luck on the giveaway — you have until WEDNESDAY, March 6th at 6p PST to enter.

P.S. I highly recommend grabbing the magazine in all its printed glory, but right now you MUST get the gorgeous iPad version.  It’s currently FREE (woohoo!) with the code GEhhNG.  Just go HERE, fill out the info and the promo code, and they will email you instructions on how to obtain your free iPad copy.

I will eventually be sharing a LOT more of this wedding so stay tuned!  For now, here are the incredible vendors who made this day what it was.  I am truly thankful to every single one of these amazing folks…

Location, Catering, and Cake: Ojai Valley Inn & Spa  — Sarah in catering is AMAZING.
Event Planning and Design: Events of Love and Splendor 
Photography: Ryan Ray  – our talented and dear friend, who is more like family to me!
Flowers: Heavenly Blooms  — Jaclyne always goes way way above and beyond!
Rentals: Found Vintage Rentals  – Jeni’s beautiful furniture set the stage.  Her styling is impeccable!
Tabletop Rentals: Casa de Perrin 
 — CdP’s wares made the tabletops shine.  I wish every meal was served on their beautiful china, and every toast made with their gorgeous glasses!
Stationery, Menu, and Calligraphy:Julie Song Ink  – such a sweetheart and a brilliant artist!
Videography: Elysium Productions – Julie shot my wedding, my mom’s wedding, and now Anna’s wedding!  The circle is complete!
Music: Brandt Jacobus and Ray Fortune  — two people you NEED to hire.
Linens: La Tavola Linen  — always my pick for lovely linens!
Hair and Makeup: Nicole Deanne  — our cherished friend helped us look our best!  Loved her being there on the big day!!

And THANK YOU, to the wonderful editors at Martha Stewart Weddings who gave us this incredible feature.  I’m off to enjoy this beautiful Monday!  Thank you for sharing in my joy today!!!

xoxo, Angel

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!


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

Niki & Will are such a rad couple.  They are stylish, hilarious, and head-over-heels in love… and we had a blast working with them!  Their playful wedding was featured on Green Wedding Shoes last month (thank you, Jen!) but we wanted to share some photos here, too.

The shindig took place at one of my new favorite venues: Santa Margarita Ranch in Santa Margarita, CA.  I love the old marquee out front (which Will and Niki customized with their own welcome wording), the vintage train, the ceremony courtyard strung with market lights, and the barn — oh! the barn! — is a 100-year old structure built over original walls from 1817!  The building was initially built as an asistencia to Mission San Luis Obispo.  When I stepped into the barn for the first time, I was taken aback by the incredile stone + mortar walls, the warm sunlight pouring in through wooden slats, the overhead lighting that is enchanting in its simplicity.  It is a wonderful setting for a wedding (or any celebration!) and I look forward to returning there soon!

Niki and Will both work in the entertainment industry (Niki writes for The Office, and Will is an actor) and have a great sense of fun.  Their crowd is also an incredible party crew; I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more packed and lively dancefloor!  Their day was infused with lots of personal and whimsical touches like…  tables named after the funny Texas sayings of Niki’s father // custom paper bibs for a proper Southern feast // a pie bar // a ceremony backdrop made by the couple using salvaged screen doors // readings from Steve Martin and Rumi and a re-enactment of a scene from “True Romance” // a pom pom toss for the recessional …

We LOVE this couple and we know you will too after you take a peek at these great photos from onelove photography.

i had fun making the chalkboard dinner menu + window pane welcome sign for the couple :)


photography: onelove photography // venue: Santa Margarita Ranch // event design + planning: Angel Swanson and Michelle Cardona at Love & Splendor // wedding dress, shoes + bridesmaid dresses: J. Crew // hair + makeup: Felicia Howe of Primrose Organic // groom suit: Bloomingdale’s // invitations + paper goods: DIY // catering: Trumpet Vine Catering // pie: The Avila Barn // music: Red Shoe LA // transportation: Ride-On Transportation

I hope your week is off to a great start!  In my world, recent events include… planning an upcoming visit for some much-missed Texans (Hi Ryan and Cary!) // knitting two new scarves (drop stitch and lace ladder stitch) // house-hunting (so exciting!!) // brainstorming for Christmas cards // starting Olive on solid food (quite the adventure!).  I’ll be back soon but as always, feel free to follow along my day-to-day journey on Instagram (@loveandsplendor).  Thank you for stopping by!  xoxo, Angel