Designing A Couture Wedding in Provo, UT
Let’s be honest here. Provo, Utah isn’t exactly known for being a mini Milan, Paris, London, or New York. When fashions and trends hit our scene, they’re literally 5 years behind Europe, and as they come over the Rocky Mountains and enter Utah County, they tend to take a little twist and become heavily adapted to our local culture and fashion scene.
A typical Utah wedding is cream, blush, and gold, with just a few pops of burgundy. Every bride is wearing a lace wedding dress of some variety, and has her hair down in loose, bohemian waves or curls. Admit it. You’ve been to this wedding a hundred times over the last five years :) It’s a lovely look, hence the reason it’s popular, but I worked with an amazing team to design a wedding that will prove to you that you can have an elegent, couture wedding right here in good ole’ Provo, UT. One that’s romantic, dramatic, and truly one-of-a-kind. You can also see this wedding inspiration featured on Utah Valley Bride!
The main source of inspiration for this shoot was this amazing artisan chocolatier shop named Taste. With an elegant black and antique gold exterior façade, an incredible interior design that can stand on its own as far as décor goes, in house artisan chocolates for guests to sample, and a fantastic menu, this is a dream venue for a small-town upscale wedding. Check the small town you live in, or one nearby! There may be a gorgeous historic building that will let you host an event!
Ashley with Hawkeye Photography and I designed our tablescape featuring Taste's beautiful built in gold tufted benches, marble tables, ghost chiavari chairs, and cream and champagne linens and chair sashes.
We’ve accented this with gold chargers, white gold-rimmed place settings, gold flatware, crystal stemware, a red accent goblet, and antique gold monogrammed trivets for the coffee cup. I love the neutrals and golds together with the pops of red and how it keeps the table stylish and classy.
To decorate each table, we’ve set out white pillar candles on mercury glass holders and small floral centerpieces and each place setting at the table has a bar of Taste’s artisan chocolate set out as their wedding favor.
Taste has a full menu to choose from, but we opted to highlight their absolutely divine artisan chocolates and this amazing charcuterie board filled with the most delectable meats, cheeses, nuts and fruit. To top it off they have something called “Sipping Chocolate” on their menu and when I tasted it, I basically swooned it was that good. I wish you could have seen us behind the scenes trying to put bits of bread and cheese or a spoonful of sipping chocolate into models’ mouths without spilling on raw silk because they’re wearing gowns that would cost me a glass full of unicorn tears and my firstborn child :)
The bars of artisan chocolate made exclusively at Taste were wrapped up as darling wedding favors or Thank You gifts for bridesmaids, vendors, etc.
The refreshing drink of choice to go with all this rich food was an ice-cold glass of strawberry mint lime Sprite. This was a super simple, DIY drink to freshen up a basic soda – just add a strawberry, two mint leaves, and a quarter of a lime – but it was a big hit all around. As someone who doesn’t drink alcohol, I love finding easy yet fancy, family-friendly drink options, so win win!
Because this is Utah and Utah loves its DIY-ness, I created a DIY chocolate-themed seating chart for weddings that have sit-down dinners. I used 3” raw silk ribbons, black chalkboard stickers, and gold chalk markers (all from JoAnn’s) to create a seating chart. Then, I filled vases with Lindor truffles and set gold table numbers (from Partyland) down into each vase. Finally, each separate ribbon seating chart was placed with its table, ready for guests to come up, find their names, grab a few chocolates, and head to their seats. Forget laser-etched seating charts, or charts of artistic modern calligraphy and give me all the chocolate seating chart ideas!
Pam with Bitsy Bridal provided the perfect dress to go with our upscale venue; the couture, fit and flare, Anthony Gual gown “Erin” made from 100% raw silk. This dress felt like butter, my friends, and fit our model Cindy like a glove. The silhouette accented every beautiful curve in the most flattering ways and was breathtaking.
I love the smooth, clean lines of the silhouette, and I can’t get over how gorgeous and luxurious that raw silk is. Every step and every movement was sheer beauty and grace. FYI to all my Utah brides: if you’re looking for something a little more couture than a fitted lace dress, Bitsy Bridal is one of my favorite shops!
I’m totally wishing I could pull of a dress like that, but with my pear shape and birthing hips that have now birthed three beautiful baby girls, there would be a little too much squeezed into the bottom, and not near enough to fill out the top. One can dream amiright?!?!
Hair and Make-up Artist (HMUA)
To complete the bridal look, Julie from Blushing Blonde swept Cindy’s hair into an elegant chignon updo (and that’s all her hair people – no extensions necessary!) with just a few subtle tendrils framing her face.
Julie gave Cindy a formal “evening wear” look on make-up with a dramatic smokey-eye, but then contrasted that with a nude lip color. I love how this makes Cindy’s eyes full and gives them depth.
We love this stunning bridesmaid's dress from Ypsilon Dresses! Their Salt Lake formal-wear shop is filled with gorgeous gowns. For a truly chic, black-tie affair, go for one of these amazing black cut-out dresses. I love the sleek elegance of the silhouette and the beaded trim around all of the cutouts is absolutely increadible!
Our groom has some serious smoke show vibes going with his tuxedo from DC Tuxedos, a Utah-county based tuxedo shop. We chose a deep charcoal tuxedo with black lapels and black piping, a black vest, and a sophisticated charcoal on black striped tie.
Now if this were truly a traditional black tie affair, the groom would be in full black tuxedo/vest/tie, but I ended up falling in love with this tux at the tux shop and couldn’t resist putting my own little spin to “black tie”. It’s still very couture and very formal, but it’s not stuffy either.
We pulled in the true black tie tuxedo on our groomsman to match him to the bridesmaid. Our Groomsman is wearing a matte black tuxedo from DC Tuxedos with satin black lapel and piping, a satin black vest, and black tie. Black tuxes and bridesmaid dresses are the ultimate “black tie affair” attire, and will lend real elegance to an event if you’re going for the couture/luxury look. Plus, I have this little pet peeve about being able to pinpoint the groom amongst the groomsmen in wedding photos, which is almost impossible when they're all wearing matching tuxes, so keep that in mind when making your selection.
Nothing says dramatic, couture, and romance to me like deep red roses, but an all rose bouquet was soooo 2002. When I was designing these florals, I really wanted to find a fresh, modern way to design the classic red rose bouquet and I’m so so happy with the result. I took the red rose bouquet and added in burgundy peonies, protea, red snapdragons and alstromeria, and then accents of cream hypericum berry and curly willow to create a textural, romantic hand-tied bridal bouquet that feels luxurious, but also very natural.
I rounded all of this out with this amazing greenery, grevelia! It’s the perfect touch of wood-nymph on these red wedding flowers. It did make me break out into a light rash on my arms as I was designing with it, and a few other designers have mentioned this as well; however, our model didn’t experience any of these issues while just holding the bouquet, but if you’re prone to plant-based allergic reactions, you may want to select something different. This bouquet would also look amazing with Italian ruscus, agonis, or honey myrtle and those would be more allergy-friendly options.
For the bridesmaid – I created a bridesmaid bouquet of similar florals, just in a slightly smaller size, and for the groom and his best man, we have the classic red rose boutonniere. Very dashing and debonair if I do say so myself.
You’ll see more of these fabulous red florals in the table centerpieces. I love the look of lush centerpieces, but let’s be real here. Most brides don’t want to spend $300 per centerpiece (times 18 tables), and I do like the styled shoots I put together to be inspiration that a bride could actually achieve, so I went with a small, glass, bowl-shaped vase that’s low to the table (low enough for guests to easily see and talk over) and filled that with roses, snapdragons, alstromeria, and greenery. It’s the same luxurious color palette, but in a much more affordable size. A centerpiece like this could be in the $35-$50 range as opposed to the $150-$300 range.
One of the big floral focal points for this shoot was the wedding cake! I worked with Marcia from Sweet Cravings 12 to do the cakes on this shoot. She created the most stunning four-tier wedding cake and then I topped it off with a coordinating fresh flower topper, center section, and floral base. I can’t get enough of the drama here!
But, I’ll be honest, my very favorite part of this whole shoot was the red rose petal ceremony aisle installation. Taste has incredible stenciled wood flooring and it was just BEGGING to have red rose petals on it.
This is just a small-scale installation for inspiration only, but you guys, I’m seeing a whole long aisle of this rose petal ceremony aisle decoration. It would be absolutely fantastic. The red rose petal ceremony aisle is gorgeous as stand-a-lone décor, but then you add the bride in and my heart just stops! Red rose petals and raw silk were meant to get married together. Crossing my fingers a bride will want to do this someday!
Our invitation suite was provided by the lovely Jeneze Designs. We love her elegant, antique gold laser cut card and the touches of red and black in in the text along with black envelopes and the dramatic, rose red liner.
Wedding Cake and Groom’s Cake
I was thrilled when Marcia with Sweet Cravings 12 reached out and wanted to collaborate on a wedding cake set-up together. She pulled together the most beautiful 4-tier, white fondant wedding cake with gum paste floral accents. We paired her incredible cake artistry with my florals to create an elegant confection designed to really wow!
And because I love cake…and I REALLY love chocolate (I mean we’re doing this shoot at a chocolatier’s venue for cryin’ out loud) I created this triple chocolate brushstroke groom’s cake. The bottom tier is layers of dark chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and the top tier is milk chocolate cake with Nutella buttercream filling.
The outside is frosted in a watercolor-esque blend of dark, milk, and Nutella frosting and I love the shading it gives the cake. It’s also decorated in accents of gold leaf and adorned with semi-sweet and white chocolate brushstrokes and a darling laser-cut “Love” cake topper in golden script from Partyland. I was so excited when this cake was featured byUtah Valley Bride as one of the top cakes of 2017! See the feature here.
Soooo funny story about what was going to be an awesome brushstroke cake. The chocolate brushstrokes were supposed to extend up onto the top tier as well to complete the look. I spent FOREVER creating a bunch of these babies and then left them on the counter to cool…and guess what wasn’t there when the kids and I got back from errands?!?! Most of my brushstrokes. Because my husband ate them. The night before the shoot. Good thing I love him right?!?!
Have you ever walked into a jewelry store and then walked out again with $25,000 worth of jewelry??? WITHOUT stealing it?! Me either. Until now. For the record…I’ve also never walked out of a jewelry store having stolen that much either :) but I know you'll love these jewelry details our bride is wearing! There's some serious bling from Tresor Jewelers. Her raw silk gown is adorned with diamond-studded necklace, bracelet, and earrings and our groom got in on the action with custom cuff-links and groom's ring.
No wedding is complete without a send-off and get away car. I’ve seen pretty much every type of send off you guys can imagine. Rice, birdseed, confetti, biodegradable sugar rice, sparklers, bubbles…you name it, I’ve seen it. The bubbles and confetti are two of my faves, but nothing, and I mean nothing will ever have my heart like the drama and romance of a rose petal send off.
They’re romantic, smell absolutely heavenly, and flutter down perfectly so they can be captured on photo or video (rice and birdseed are too heavy and fall too quickly :) These luscious red rose petals are expecially vivid! As a little budget hack, create your rose petal ceremony aisle and once your wedding ceremony is over and the venue is flipping the room, have them gather up the petals in baskets to save for the send-off toss. We did that at the shoot as a trial run and it worked like a charm.
Once your wedding guests have bid you a’dieu, it’s time to make your getaway, and nothing fit our couture bridal inspiration like this gorgeous limo that is available to rent from Antique Limo of Utah. Now let me be real here for just a sec and say that by the time you get to this detail in your wedding budget, renting a car may just be the fluff that isn’t going to happen that night. I would know. My hubby and I drove away in his magical 98’ Honda Accord and that seems to have set a nice practical, reliable, economical tone for our marriage. Did the sarcasm come across well there? I wasn't sure it would :)
But then we aren’t what I would call “car people”. Cars aren’t something we dream about, invest money into, or follow as a hobby. I do know there are loads of people out there who love cars like I love cake, and those are the people that may want to squeeze renting a luxury getaway car into their wedding budget. And if that’s so, I highly recommend looking into a Utah luxury rental car company that would be willing to incorporate using a luxury car in a portion of your formal photos. By the time you exit your reception it will most likely be dark and the images of you snuggled in the back of the car won’t be the quality you’re looking for, so get some images done with the car earlier! Then you can enjoy lovely memories like this!
If these heart-stopping images by Ashley with Hawkeye Photography and Kylie with Life Looks Photography weren't enough, Kylee with Kylee Kay Videography filmed the sweetest wedding video inspiration!
So for you lovely couples that enjoy the finer things in life, it is possible to do haute-couture in Utah! Below, you’ll find convenient shopping links to help you achieve this same look at your wedding, as well as a list of amazing vendors who have the talent and skill to pull off this type of wedding. Be sure and check them out!
The Pear Blossom
The Pear Blossom
Dress Designer: “Erin”
Kylee Kay Videography
The Pear Blossom
Cindy Perez Roberts
Groom: Adam Colvin
Groomsman: Riley White