beyond the big day: summer fiesta

[Wedding inspiration board credits: Bride photo by Robert Sukrachand, Church photo by Elizabeth Messina, Drinks, Tissue paper, Cactus, Couple photo by Robert Sukrachand ]

We absolutely love the desert wedding of Val + Brett shot by the talented Robert Sukrachand and thought it would be the perfect wedding to draw inspiration from for this month’s column. So, we decided to keep true to the desert theme, but added a little festiveness and color into the mix to create the ultimate summer fiesta. We hope this outdoor shoot will inspire you to invite your friends and family over to create your own fiesta using these simple (and affordable) decorations.

I was fortunate enough to work with Ashley Meaders and Jesse Chamberlin of The Flashdance again for this shoot. Here’s a little more about this inspiration shoot from Ashley…

Using tissue paper for entertaining is great! It’s easy to cut, cheap, comes in great colors, and can be sewn. We made two different invitations for this Summer Fiesta. The first was with fringe sewn at the top and bottom. The other is featured below with rows of tissue paper sewn towards the bottom in alternating colors.

For the overhead decor, we simply folded the tissue paper in half a couple times and then used scissors to fringe the bottom. Then, using fishing line and thick wooden dowels or poles that have been placed in the ground, you can hang the tissue paper gently onto the fishing line. If the ground is hard, you can also get buckets or pots and then fill with dirt/sand and rocks. Hanging the banners from tree to tree also works as well. We made drink stirrers by wrapping a little piece of fringed tissue paper around the top of the stirrer and then securing with hot glue.

CLICK HERE for the full post (and 11 more gorgeous shots) after the jump!

The place cards doubled as cactus planter favors for the guest to take home. All the plants and cacti were purchased from IKEA, along with the containers and are very easy to recreate. Simply print out the names of your guests, cut them down to the size you like, sewn or stitch on some fringe, then attach to a thick stick with a nail.

Since Emily and I aren’t the best cooks in the kitchen we decided to leave the dinner menu up to you and instead chose to go with something sweet and simple for dessert, Mexican Wedding Cookies.

Event Design & Styling: Ashley Meaders of The Flashdance

Photography: Jesse Chamberlin of Our Labor of Love

Venue: The amazing Summerour

Plants and Containers: IKEA

  1. Sara G. says:

    Adorable! And I must know where the doily plates are from?!

  2. I want to come to this party! Maybe my favorite type of theme! Great work everyone!

  3. Laura says:

    The use of the little cacti as place card holders and center pieces? GORGEOUS and so creative! I never would have thought of that! How great.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    i love it! so sweet and serene.

  5. Harper says:

    I’m so in love with this! The fringe details are amazing.

  6. Autumn says:

    So lovely I assumed it was a staged shoot until I went back and read it more carefully. Gorgeous wedding and photography. Hard to strike that balance btwn fun details and elegance – well done.

    1. grace says:


      the wedding inspiration shots are from a real wedding, but the fiesta party (ie: the bulk of the post) was styled and shot by emily and her talented friends (credited in the post above). this column is all about taking inspiration from a real wedding and turning into a real-life (ie: non-wedding) event that anyone could have. emily always puts together the most amazing shoots and then we break them down in the body of the post so people can get ideas for throwing their own home events.

      grace :)

  7. Autumn says:

    Ha! So much for “reading carefully”! Thanks for the clarification.

  8. Meagan says:

    So awesome. I want to go to this party RIGHT NOW!

  9. Elizabeth says:


    I’m partial to the desert, so I really liked this. Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Brook says:

    Beautiful! This may finally give me the incentive I need to buy a tortilla press and throw a summer party.

  11. Sierra says:

    Great job ladies! It’s a gorgeous spread and makes me really excited for summer.

  12. Maria says:

    that card with the tassle banner is FUN!

  13. Junia Isabel says:

    I wish all photos were taken with that lighting! These photos reflect the perfect vibe for this kind of party. It’s definitely a party I want to plan and attend at the same time. Beautiful photography, seriously. It’s making me wish for Summer to get here already!

  14. ashley says:

    the plates are from anthropologie awhile back, jesse’s personal collection

  15. Star Bossom says:

    This is beuatiful! I love the idea of giving guest a little cactus to take home. Those are gifts that will last.

  16. maesa says:

    you guys nailed it! so beautiful, light and simple – I had to smile about the place card ‘Gracyn’ – also my daughter’s name :)

  17. oh so fantastic.
    such a great and pretty use for inexpensive tissue paper!

  18. Monique says:

    So pretty! looks like lots of fun! Great and simple ideas that I’ll have to remember for any future parties!

  19. Jesse Lu says:

    my favorite wedding so far!

  20. WOW! That is just so beautiful… You just gave me a lot of ideas for a party!

  21. Vebosh says:

    OMG…!! is so nice!! i must to confess ii just hate the idea of a wedding… cuz i dont want to be stress, but after seen this lovely pics and ideas.. well i just change my mind!!

  22. Ashley Meaders makes everything off the chart extraordinary! LOVE this.

  23. I’m totally inspired. :) Thanks so much!!!

  24. corinne says:

    Manifique !!! I wouldn’t mind to be invited to such a party ! I’m sure they had a great time !

  25. LOVE the tissue paper details. Super job guys. xo

  26. Syndi says:

    Wow. Stunning! and Mexican Wedding Cookies… YUM!

  27. Kimberly says:

    God I love this. I love all these ideas so much – the Mexican cookies in lieu of cake – brilliant!

  28. stephanie says:

    great styling and really really amazing photography- will be checking out labour of loves web site-
    wonder if they used a lomography type camera?

  29. emma says:

    anyone who knows where the white dress the girl with the card wear is from?
    LOOOVEEE it!

  30. jenifer says:

    love the fringe details they are so cool

  31. Whitney says:

    This just looks like such a FUN wedding! great!

  32. jenny says:

    Mmmmmm, Mexican wedding cookies…..

  33. Jenni says:

    Loved this wedding–so much in fact that I linked to it as part of my post on great Cinco de Mayo ideas. Lovely!

  34. Lise M. says:

    Just Awesome! Do you know who created the invitation? I would love to see more details of the cards.


    Lise M.

  35. Allison says:

    who makes those plates? they are darling!

  36. Karen says:

    I saw some doily plates very similar to those at Pier 1 the other day. So cute, I loaded up on them!

  37. Anna says:

    Any idea where the beautiful one-shoulder wedding dress is from?

  38. These are great pictures, I’ll give you that!

  39. It is really beautiful pictures of wedding, I think best photography is used in this pictures. It is just awesome. It is really looking funny wedding. Thanks for posting.

  40. Elsa says:

    Absolutely stunning photos! WOW!

  41. kristen haddick says:

    Can you tell me who created these invations – i would love them for my daughters birthday next month…

  42. Great looking photos! Love every ideas you’ve made.


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