weddingsweekly wrap up

weekly wrap up + hollywood i do’s

by Grace Bonney

i wanted to wrap up the week with these pretty pictures from a hollywood wedding i’ve been obsessing over for a few days. the dress alone makes me weak in the knees. photographer jessica claire sent over these lovely images of a california wedding that was designed and styled by kate holt. even if weddings aren’t your thing, i think the way this event was styled provides so much inspiration for valentine’s day parties. the pomegranates, heart banners and raspberries in flowers- perfect for a casual dinner for two or a more festive party for friends. click here for more images of the big day.

i’m signing off for the weekend- i hope you all have a wonderful weekend. see you on monday! below is a summary of this week’s highlights:


Suggested For You


  • Jessica Claire meets Design Sponge – one of my fave photographers and one of my fave bloggers! So glad to see this match up happen! (and I thought this wedding was lovely when I first saw it on Jess’s blog– equally so here!)

  • Love it!

    I saw this wedding on Jessica Claire’s site yesterday and it is definitely on my to post lists.

    I just love her dress!

  • these are really beautiful photos and this is a really beautiful photoshoot, but i always prefer real wedding photos to staged photoshoots. a really happy bride and groom just exude something that even the best, most beautifully “styled” set can’t achieve.

  • these photos (and all the rest on jessica’s website that i just checked out!) are beautiful. and the timing is perfect — i literally JUST started my search for a wedding photographer! can’t wait to get in touch with her. thank you for the post!

  • Everything looks so beautiful….I love the dress, and the flowers and the whole feel.

    But, Im not so sure about the length of the dress on her, It almost makes her look a bit short…but maybe that was what they were going for seeing as how his pants are short too…still cute though.

  • Beautiful pictures. That’s why I love this blog :)
    I love the fact that the bride is barefeet! But I definately don’t like the length of the groom’s pants.

  • Oh my, that bouquet is incredible! What kind of flowers are those? I’m working with a very similar color scheme for my bouquet. This is all so adorable!

  • Wow – I must join the comments on the white flowers with the deep purple/navy center. Someone must know: what are those?

  • This is the sweetest, most amazing wedding I’ve ever seen. Whomever put all of this together has fabulous taste and lives a happy, healthy life. Just incredible, beautiful strangers in the best setting, ever!

  • Hi ! I just wanted to tell all those curious about the name of the white flowers with purple centers that they are called anemones.

  • That wedding was really pretty. I love the way couples these days really do incorprate what they like and their life style into their wedding. Everything doesn’t always have to be so formal. I love the style of that wedding and I hope that the couple will be very very happy.

  • OHMYGOD! I RECOGNIZE that groom from when I lived in Denver! How freaking bizarre is that?! Good to know he got married, he was sweet whenever I’d chit chat with him!

    • hi guys

      quick note- no one’s promoting this as a real wedding. i’m making note of this wedding for its design details, not for the story behind the couple.


  • Hi Grace,

    I completely understand that it’s the design details that are the focus of this post and they are gorgeous, but the phrases use in your post do suggest quite firmly that this is an actual wedding and personally I feel that that puts unrealistic pressure on women who are having real weddings to make a real event with all of the emotion and stress that that involves look and feel as perfect as a photoshoot.

    But you are right, the design elements are stunning and great inspiration and I do love this photoshoot for what it is. I just have a personal issue with the blurring of reality and fantasy when it comes to weddings!


    • cara

      i’m sorry but i completely disagree. whether or not the wedding is real shouldn’t have anything to do with putting pressure on people. we’ve run far “fancier” weddings and i’ve never heard anyone complain about feeling pressure from those. if a high quality event, image or product makes someone feel pressured then they’re going to have a hard time reading this site in general because we try to choose the highest quality content possible.

      the same way that we occasionally run prototypes or student work that isn’t for sale, we often share content that we think will be inspiring or provide ideas for someone, even if it isn’t ready for sale or use yet. and i think this wedding does just that. i don’t think anything about the design details here is unattainable, elitist or in any way “pressuring” people to do something. in essence the wedding, real or not, is cut paper hearts, flowers with raspberries, a mix of old glass plates and a cute vintage dress- i can’t imagine an easier set of design details to reproduce in your own way.


  • Grace,

    If you don’t feel that it matters whether or not it is a REAL wedding, then why not simply state in the intro that it is a photo shoot rather an an actual wedding? If only because it is a little strange to promote something as a wedding when it is staged…


    • jl

      i didn’t “promote” this as a “real” wedding. i said that it was a wedding styled by a stylist and shot by a photographer.

      the bottom line is this: i got an email from a photographer with a pretty wedding she shot. i thought the design details were cool. i posted it. end of story. i seriously have no idea why anyone is upset. this is a real couple posing for a wedding shoot. i’ve seen all sorts of upset in the comment section over the past 5+ years and this is the first one that has me completely stumped.


  • Long time reader, first time commenter. You used the word “wedding” three times — no mention that there was no wedding, only a photo shoot of a wedding. Weddings are very different from photo shoots about weddings. It’s hard for me to swallow the idea that you don’t understand why the blurb made readers think it was a real wedding — in the future, if you could point out whether the pictures are from an event or styled, I’m sure some of us would greatly appreciate it. For those of you who had the same reaction, this blog entry is hilarious.

    • kim

      i’ll be sure to make the “real” vs. “fake” weddings clearer in the future, but honestly- i don’t get it.

      do the design ideas in the wedding seem less inspirational because they didn’t actually tie the knot? i don’t post weddings for the personal stories most times, i post them because they have design elements i think people will find inspiring (it’s a design blog after all, not a wedding or romance blog) and i just do not get what makes these design ideas any less inspirational if you know the couple didn’t actually get married.

      i think the blog entry you linked to is great. i can see why some people would be over the faux engagement shoots and wedding shoots (there are a lot of them out there right now), but if they have good IDEAS in them, what difference does it make that there isn’t a “real” personal story behind them? i’ve been to a lot of real weddings in my life that had design ideas chosen purely for aesthetic reasons and it didn’t ruin the event for me.

      having spent the last year pouring through wedding inspiration for my own big day, i’ll have to say, the majority of magazines, blogs and newsletters i read for 8 months were FULL of “fake” weddings with great ideas, and it didn’t make me feel betrayed or lied to because the nuptials didn’t actually occur. i was excited to get great ideas and saw right past the people and only imagined how i could customize the concepts to suit my own style.


  • Good Gracious! I had no idea this little shoot would cause such a stir! I do not want to stoke the fire…but I have to fully support Grace and not because I styled this piece – but because we all go to design sponge for inspiration and to see what is happening on the front lines of style; whether it be for your apartment, your closet, or your wedding.
    There was no blatant deception on anyone’s part here. Jessica and I came together to create this simple and lovely shoot. A friend and her main squeeze modeled for us. A beautiful day was had by all and we wanted to share it. There is nothing overly complicated about his shoot. Sometimes, it’s nice to create something purely for the sake of inspiration. I’m thankful all the time for the inspiration I get from Design Sponge and other fabulous resources on the web. Honestly…we live in a world filled with deceptions of all kinds. This hardly seems worth noting in the grand scheme of things.

  • not everyone who reads this blog is a professional designer, photographer or magazine editor. when i saw the term “styled” i assumed you were referring to a wedding planner or stylist that coordinated the wedding.

  • The thing is, you keep calling IT wedding, when it has already been stated that it was not a wedding but a photoshoot.

    What irks so many people is the unrealistic expectations these kind of highly styled pictures can give people. Brides-to-be end up feeling bad, frustrated, or unhappy with their own weddings, because they don’t look like these images. And the thing is that their weddings could never look like this, because WEDDINGS DO NOT LOOK LIKE THIS.

    This is the affirmation that everyone is making, again and again, and you still seem to be defensively avoiding.

    • gloria

      i’m sorry, but i think this entire line of thinking is completely off base. and you’re darn right that i’m going to defend the content i post here- this is my job and i think very seriously about what i put up and don’t up, so if i choose to post something, it’s because i think it’s a good idea- not something that is going to make people feel bad.

      when you say (i’ll leave out the caps) “weddings do not look like this”- well, yes they do.

      i can’t tell you how many beautiful weddings i’ve been to (and have posted here) that look just as lovely- and i’m not talking about weddings with stylists and planners- real weddings with real people. i think it’s pretty sad to assume that “real” brides can only produce plain weddings, and that they can’t handle looking at images of a beautiful wedding shoot. are we all that insecure that we immediately feel bad about about ourselves when we see something pretty?

      i have the same issues of self-doubt that any normal human being would have, but i, and many others, find wedding shoots, real or not, a fun way to imagine styling an event- not an attack on my own personal abilities.

      the bottom line is this: weddings do look like this, i’ve been to many of them (real, non-designer weddings) and they exist. you do not have to be a pro to produce something that’s beautiful. just look at all of the weddings we’ve posted for proof- 99% of the weddings we’ve posted are with “real” people who’ve created something really beautiful.

      i feel strongly that if someone looks at paper hearts, pomegranates and a vintage dress and thinks “i feel HORRIBLE about myself” then i think their issues of self-doubt are possibly bigger than this post (this girl is lovely, she’s a real person, too). yes, a stylist has a way with arranging things, but this particular wedding design isn’t complicated, and all you have to do is look at our archive of wedding posts to see that real people can do just as well. i find it incredibly sad and disappointing that anyone would assume “real” brides are all this insecure and can only expect to have a wedding that is somehow plain and sub-par.


      *for some other great examples of real weddings that are just as lovely and well styled as this one, check out: http://www.oncewed.com/ emily posts a great selection of weddings that are designed and styled by the couples themselves, and are just as (if not more) amazing than this shoot.

  • Grace,

    Thank you for taking your time to explain yourself so thoroughly, I appreciate it. The thing is, I’m not discussing the beauty, the feelings, the styling, or the overall gorgeousness of the portrayed event. I’m talking about perfection. And these pictures are perfect. When someone strives to achieve this in a wedding… they are, in my opinion, missing the point.

    This is not a bride, she hasn’t been nervous the night before. She is a model, whose work is to look good. She didn’t choose the dress (dresses) by herself, and the shoes, and the amazing necklace. She didn’t put together the menu, and stressed over a guest list. There were no issues with overbearing family members, no-shows, or wrong-flavored cupcakes.

    Those things happen, and when they do, you see the truthfulness and beauty of a wedding still coming trough.

    I visit http://www.oncewed.com regulary, and that is what I see there. Flawed, gorgeous weddings. But not perfectly lit, professionally modelled, painstackingly staged images. In my humble, non-professional opinion, when those images pass as natural, real wedding-ly, they can put pressure on future brides, because they tell you that this is attainable. Its awful, but true.

    And I hope I am explaining myself correctly, as I’m not, at all, saying that ““real” brides are all this insecure and can only expect to have a wedding that is somehow plain and sub-par.”, as you put it.

    The bottom line is, this was not a wedding but a photoshoot, and that is the correct way it must be called. Your readers can see the images as fuel for their insecurities, or amazing inspiration, but give them the correct information, and let them go from there.

    Best regards,

  • I see your point Grace. However, if you take a quick look at the comments prior to your statement- 90% congratulate the bride and groom, talk about how they love how couples integrate parts of their “real” life together, mention how happy they are for the couple….

    your readers thought it was a real wedding.

    My fiance thought you stated it was a real wedding.

    I thought it was a real wedding- because you said it was “a california wedding” and “hollywood wedding”. I’m sorry if i’m behind the times, but I thought the definition of “wedding” meant…. getting married. I did not realize that professional photographers were using the term “wedding” for “photoshoot” interchangeably.
    I guess what I mean to say is: if the couple didn’t get married, or joined, or handfasted etc etc: I don’t consider it a “wedding”.

    The reality is that most women (let alone “brides”) deal with social and media pressure every day to be something that we’re not. From perfect body, perfect hair, perfect face etc etc. The wedding industry has capitalized on this to add another layer of pressure.

    Many brides to be look at your space (and others) to find a meaning of what a wedding looks like. So many of us have never even really thought about getting married before we were engaged. Trying to define what is “wedding” while planning it is stressful and emotional, with family, social and traditional expectations. We look to “real” weddings to see a glimpse of what to expect, what we like and don’t like.

    Design ideas are great, essential and beautiful. Yours are gorgeous. If you polled your readers, how many do you think would understand the professional jargon of the photography and styling world? Most are regular people, trying to figure it out.


    • Lisa

      i’ll have to respectfully disagree- mainly because we’ve been posting weddings on this site for a while now and no one has complained of this issue before. I think our readers are particularly savvy when it comes to design concepts, and I for one do not see anything in this shoot that would make anyone feel inadequate.

      1. the couple is real, the girl is not a professional model

      2. the design concepts are: flowers and pomegranates, paper hearts, vintage plates. NONE of these things are complicated, trade-only, or too difficult for a “regular” person to pull off

      i understand what everyone is saying about wanting more clarification about real vs. styled weddings: your messages are coming in loud and clear. i mentioned in my last comment that i will be sure to clarify that in any future posts.

      but, aside from the post being labeled a wedding when an actual ceremony didn’t take place- i don’t see a SINGLE thing in this shoot that would make someone feel pressure.

      i feel like people are ignoring that this shoot is as simple as can be- simple decorations, real people and ideas that are easy and affordable to replicate. the photos look beautiful because they were taken by a professional photographer, but i think a lot of brides choose to work with professional photographers, so it’s not fair to assume that no one could afford to work with a pro photog- they’re available for a wide range of prices.

      after that, i just don’t see anything here that would make anyone feel inadequate or pressured- nothing here is too hard to replicate. if the girl was 6 feet tall and 100 pounds and waltzing around in a couture gown surrounded by swans, then yes, that seems like something that would be out of some people’s grasp, but this? no way. it would be a fun and easy look to replicate on a “real” budget.


  • fret not grace. this shoot is amazing despite all the drama and haters.
    not sure about you, but its her blog and she’ll blog about what she wants.
    i can’t help but think if this shoot was real, will it only than quench the insatiable thirst of readers? advocators of “REAL ONLY PLEASE!” weddings.
    if this upsets you so much than only ask yourself one more thing, why are you still reading?

  • Do magazines do weddings shoots like this for their spreads? I dont see the difference. However it is slightly creepy that since its a blog it comes off as a real wedding when in fact it is all staged. But after reading countless wedding magazines for inspiration I cant help but think that this is how a lot of people get inspired? It would be insane to think all the photoshoots in those magazines are “real”. When in fact all they are meant to do is show latest trends and styles to brides who are planning.

    • randi

      most wedding magazines feature mostly staged shoots and weddings. i know some like MS weddings are trying to include more real weddings, but the bulk are photoshoots designed to tell a specific theme or style story.


  • Kudos for posting such a magical INSPIRATIONAL wedding shoot. Who cares if this wedding took place or not- it’s a wonderful source for ideas and to get the creative wedding juices flowing! What is there to complain about? Weddings DO look like this, and these images are not far from what I have been seeing in every other blog of “real” weddings! I don’t see any images of anything that is so far out of reach of the normal public.

    Keep em coming!

  • Just stumbled upon your website, love it and this shoot! I love the contrast of the rich reds and pinks next to the muted grays and greens.

    And just to jump in on the drama, I see absolutely nothing wrong with this being a wedding shoot rather than an actual wedding. I personally found it aesthetically pleasing and inspiring, and I believe that real weddings can and do look this good all the time.

    Can’t wait to see more!!

  • What a lot of fuss! I’m just happy to know the name of those amazing white flowers with purple centers, anemones.
    They’re INSPIRING, which is what this blog is all about.

  • Gorgeous! What wonderful design details, and the couple look lovely. It’s great aesthetic inspiration.

    I’m so pleased to read that you’ll be more clear about what is a *real* wedding and a staged “wedding”/photoshoot in future.

  • I know this is super old, but, I gotta throw in here…. I am planning my wedding on almost no budget, and I am scrounging for every source of inspiration possible… if someone can put together something full of such fantastic replicable ideas as this, I am thrilled! I love love love the anemones, and don’t care one bit whether real people actually got married here.

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