Spotlight on Virginia Edelson

Based in beautiful Aspen, Colorado, Virginia Edelson of Bluebird Productions creates unforgettable events for the experience of a lifetime. Ever conscious of her impact on our environment, Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles asked Virginia how she achieves so much while keeping the region so gloriously gorgeous!

 

 

  •  Seasonal Flowers – We recommend consulting with your floral designer to select flowers and greenery that is seasonal and sustainable. The environmental impact is less (transportation, fuel, keeping cool, etc) and the design feels more appropriate. Bonus points for using a floral designer who works with farmers to source flowers that limit the use of pesticides and herbicides!

 

  • Potted Plants – We suggest incorporating potted plants and trees into the design when appropriate. These potted components of a design can then be gifted, put into homes, planted or repotted and used in a different capacity. We adore cut blooms and can’t imagine a wedding without them… but mixing cut and arranged with potted is a lovely approach to lessen the impact on the land.

 

  • Compost florals (and food) at the event – We recommend composting any green products after an event. It may not be the glamorous part of an event to discuss,  but it certainly has a large impact on our landfills.  

 

  • Group Transportation – When venue appropriate, we recommend providing transportation for all of your guests to and from a wedding. This will cut down on the fossil fuels burned by many many cars.

 

  • Local Food – Not only does local food just taste better, it’s better for the environment and supports the local community.

 

 

Spotlight on Amy Nichols

Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles sat down with bridal consultant, Amy Nichols, to talk about working on the East and West Coasts, her favorite venues, and more.

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AA: You’ve worked extensively on both coasts. What’s easier about working in New York and what’s easier in the San Francisco Bay Area?

AN: That’s a great question! I think transportation is easier in New York — everyone fends for themselves and knows how to get places. In the Bay Area for weddings, clients usually coordinate transportation for their guests, which might mean several hotel pick-ups and multiple vehicles to book! For San Francisco, I’d say sourcing flowers is pretty fantastic here, since so many of the growers are local or in California.

 

AA: To generalize, do you find that your West Coast clients differ much from those on the East Coast?

AN: Not really — in general, my clients tend to be smart, professional and generally quick decision makers! They’re busy in their work lives, and while they enjoy the wedding planning process, they often have limited time to plan, so they make a decision and move on, rather than going back and forth on 10 different shades of pink. They also trust me and value my recommendations, which makes the process go smoothly!

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AA: Please tell us about your favorite classic and elegant venue and would you mind sharing a hidden gem that we might not know about?

AN: Hands down, Beaulieu Gardens in Rutherford is the epitome of classic and elegance. I remember seeing a wedding at Beaulieu Gardens when I was a teen in Town & Country. I had no idea where it was (or that I’d become a wedding planner!) but when I saw beautiful lights under a tree arbor, I knew it was a special place. In terms of a hidden gem, I have always been obsessed with the South (my grandmother was from Georgia). Two places I’d love to work at Pippin Hill in Virginia, and Lonesome Valley in North Carolina.

 

AA: We’re seeing a return to understated yet still opulent wedding papers and even an uptick in requests for the most traditional fold-over invitations. Are you seeing any new recent trends in wedding invitations?

AN: I think that understated and classic wedding invitations never go out of style. There is something so timeless about thick ecru paper and gorgeous calligraphy, but couples can add their own spin with a color they love or a motif.GM_1137_King_B_3405

 

AA: We always love hearing about an incredible logistical challenge. What was your biggest and how did you turn it into a success?

AN: Early in my career, I had a client get married at a stunning estate in Montecito (near Santa Barbara), and all vendors and all guests had to be bussed in. There literally was not room for more than maybe 2 or 3 cars next to the house. A lot of vendors and guests are used to planners saying there is no parking, but there truly was no parking! This meant that every single vendor was trying to unload (imagine a band with 12 members, each carrying their instruments), a caterer, a beverage company, etc. all wanting to arrive and set up at the same time! We had a strict schedule of when everyone could access the space to unload and booked several vans to get the vendors to/from a nearby parking lot. And then we repeated the whole procedure at the end of the night. I learned a lot at that wedding!

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AA: When you pack for a client’s destination wedding, what are the first five items that go in your bag?

AN:

  • Sunscreen! Not just for me, but for guests who forget it, the bride & groom, or anyone else who needs it!
  • Scissors. I use them at every wedding. And I like to have one really sharp pair for cutting ribbon
  • Hopefully a bathing suit in case I get a few minutes to relax after the wedding or event!
  • iPad mini for airplane reading, Pinterest, etc.
  • Camera, which these days means an iPhone 6 so I can document the day, my travels, and hopefully post a few pics to Instagram

AA: If you got to pick the next destination to design for, where would it be?​

AN: I have a serious case of wanderlust right now, I have travel on the brain! I’m dying to work on a wedding in Europe — Italy, France or Spain would be amazing. But a few domestic weddings outside of California would be amazing. On my short list — Nantucket, Montana, and anywhere in the South!

 

Photo credit: Gertrude & Mabel

A Spotlight on Virginia Edelson of Bluebird Productions in Aspen

Dempsey & Carroll curator, Austin Ackles, sat down with Virginia Edelson to discuss her work as an event planner in Aspen.unnamed

AA: Aspen is one of my favorite summer places. Do you do many weddings there in the winter or are most in the summer?

VE: Although Aspen winter weddings are absolutely magical, summer is the prime time for events and weddings in Aspen. The saying here goes: “people come for the winter and stay for the summer.” This is certainly true when events are the focus. There is significantly more for guests to do in the summertime (and hotel rates are much better!).

 

AA: Are there any extra considerations for those who want that dramatic high-peak mountainous backdrop for their ceremony?

VE: Indeed! Whenever we plan an outdoor wedding, weather and guest comfort are key items to keep into consideration. We always recommend a strong weather back up in case that gorgeous mountain backdrop is covered in clouds and rain. Moreover, guest comfort is always front and center at our events. Communication of proper attire, how weather can change, and proper footwear is always communicated to guests to ensure maximum comfort. We may just throw in a few extra goodies for their comfort at the event as well!!

 

AA: And are there any special concerns about the guests response to elevation changes?

VE: Fortunately, we rarely have any issues with guests coming to altitude for the wedding. However, we always remind guests to consume a lot of extra water prior to their arrival in Aspen and we often have an oxygen bar or mini cans of oxygen available for guest use once they arrive here.

 

AA: Have you ever done a wedding where skiing was somehow involved in the event itself?

VE: We have! One of the most memorable grand departures was a couple in full wedding attire skiing through a sparkler departure and then down Aspen Mountain with a special ski patrol escort. (I have photos!).

 

AA: What about wildlife? Any great sightings or surprise guests at a wedding or reception?

VE: There is a resident fox that tends to make a “surprise” appearance at almost all of the weddings on top of Aspen Mountain. Although we have our fair share of bears around town, we have yet to see one at a wedding. Most guests see them on their way through!!

 

AA: By now, you must have been involved in an event with a weather nightmare. Can you tell me about how it ended happily?

VE: Unfortunately we have. We tend to get storms that come and go relatively quick so they don’t impact our events to a great extent. However, we had an east coast style rainstorm all day one Saturday this summer. Our 300 person wedding was scheduled for mid-afternoon in a gorgeous meadow followed by a tented reception in the meadow. The weather broke shortly before guest arrival but it was clear we didn’t have too long until it returned. About 3/4 of the way through the ceremony, the rain returned and all of the umbrellas opened. As the mother of the groom exclaimed afterwards: “It was like hundreds of bottles of champagne popping open!” Although we didn’t have out picture perfect Bluebird day, it was certainly a dramatic and memorable one for the books. DSC_2702

A Spotlight on Mark Ingram

From the first visit to delivery, how long does the process of acquiring the perfect dress usually take?

It can be quite a long process.  We recommend that brides begin shopping for their gown ten to twelve months before their wedding.  They should order their gown no less than eight months before their wedding.  Designer gowns may take as long as 5 months to be delivered to the salon. Purchasing less than six months prior to your wedding may incur a designers rush fee. In some cases the gown may not be able to completed at all.  Our gowns are all made to order and this takes time, plus we need to make sure that each gown arrives in time to have proper fittings and alterations period. That can be minimally two months.

 

How many people is too many to be involved in the selection and fitting reed? 

I recommend that a bride only bring one or two people close to her that she trusts.  Too many people in the fitting room can confuse the bride and really make the whole selection process more difficult.  Many brides often shop alone for their first appointments and bring their mother, sister, maid of honor back to make the final selection.  If a bride feels they need to bring a gaggle of bridesmaids, wait for the final alterations fitting or book a VIP appointment where we will close the shop which will then allow room for all and everyone.

It must feel fantastic to have made so many brides absolutely elated for the most important day of their lives! Has it become an addiction?  It is definitely the best part of the job.  I wish I could be in the fitting rooms with the brides all day to see the tears of joy, but someone has to run the business and find the designers and gowns to feature in the Atelier.  I do make it a priority to try and meet every bride at some point during her appointments, especially when she is in a final fitting to see the completed look.

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What’s the craziest accessory you’ve ever known a bride to have hidden under her dress? 

I don’t know if they really show me those things since I am a man!  But our brides often like to have something sentimental, like an heirloom or a token from their mother or grandmother either sewn or tucked into their gown.  And some of the designer shoes they are wearing now are fierce!  My girls are not wearing simple dyables, we see the most extraordinary shoes! Just last week we did have a client who came in with the most incredible gold and feather cape and wanted to find a gown to go with!!!

 

After a number of years of experimentation and some pretty outrageous themes, we’ve been seeing a large increase in requests for a more timeless, elegant invitation. Is the same thing happening in dress design?

Yes and no.  Our brides seem to be falling into two camps lately, those who want the classic, timeless styles a la Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera and those that want to push the envelope fashion wise.  The more adventurous girls are really adapting more of their personal style and ready to wear sensibilities into their bridal style.  They are opting for sexier, more bare and sophisticated gowns.  Then we have many girls who opt for a classic look for the ceremony and something outrageous and fabulous for the reception!

 

God forbid, if you couldn’t do what you’re doing now, what would be your runner-up dream career? 

Who knows, something creative for sure!  I have always liked the idea of designing something myself.  Now that I have designed the paper collection, I really am looking forward to what else I can do creatively.  I am very inspired by men’s tailoring lately, so who knows what I might be doing next!