Have you ever wondered where wedding planners find inspiration?  Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the design process from DC wedding planners Emily and Amber at Amber Karson Events.  The recently participated in Engaged! magazine’s  luxury bridal event, which allowed couples to visit three premier hotels in DC and interact with local wedding vendors.  Mike B Photography was able to capture Emily and Amber‘s yellow hued garden tea party theme. Take it away, ladies…


We love finding inspiration for events everywhere around us.  We are influenced by everything from our own gardens and neighborhood shops, to fashion runways and interior design trends.  We, of course, also browse tons of wedding blogs and magazines to keep up on what is fresh and love the collaborative spirit of this industry.

We were thrilled to learn that our Engaged! hotel assignment was The Hay-Adams hotel and the beautiful Lafayette Room would be one of the spaces we were working in.  When looking for inspiration, the venue often plays a big role in our design and decor direction.  The airiness of the Lafayette Room and fabulous natural light were elements that we wanted to highlight in our initial design plan for the event.

For this particular look, our main influences were: garden accents, shades of yellow, ruffles and vintage china/silverware.  Here is our inspiration board layout:


Garden Accents
With the promise of spring just a few weeks away, a garden motif heavily influenced the look we created.  Our botanical print china and tea-cup place cards complimented the amazing display of garden delight from Romance of Flowers.  We also displayed a fingerprint tree from Etsy vendor Bleu de toi, which allowed our tree to “blossom” throughout the event – this is a wonderful alternative to a traditional guest book.



Shades of Yellow
As the weather starts to turn the presence of daffodils popping up in the garden signifies spring in all its glory is on its way!  We knew a palette of yellow was the perfect color choice for this design.  We always recommend working with a color palette instead of picking just one or two wedding colors.  Look at a paint swatch for inspiration.  Using various hues in the same color family is an instant way to create depth in your design.  The various shades of yellow make this look feel luxurious and rich versus casual.




We love the romance of ruffles that we are seeing in bridal gowns and in fashion – a trend we are glad is sticking around!  The custom ruffle linen we used was certainly swoon-worthy!


dramatic-florals-for-yellow-garden-party-wedding-theme elegant-yellow-and-white-wedding-table

The Hay-Adams is so timeless and we wanted to create a look that would have worked years ago and will also work years from now.  A look that your grandmother would love and so would your best friend.  To go along with our indoor garden tea party vibe, our initial plan was to incorporate vintage china.  We love vintage, because a.) we love a good hunt and often operate with a you-don’t-really-know-what-you-are-looking-for-but-when-you-find-it-you’ll-know approach to shopping, and b.) there is something so rewarding when you source something that is one-of-a-kind.  However, when deciding to use vintage you are also limited to what you can actually find.  We were putting this look together relatively quickly and we weren’t able to find any green vintage china that we fell in love with.  We did however stumble upon adorable bee plates at Anthropologie and instantly knew we HAD to have them!  We mixed various china patterns from Anthropologie to create a great layered look.  We found the napkin rings from Pottery Barn (inspired by vintage silverware) that were perfect.



So there you have it, a behind-the-scenes look into what inspired us for this particular event.  We’ll leave you with a few final tips:

  • Be open to receiving inspiration from a variety of sources.  You’ll probably find that one great detail when you are not even looking for it.
  • Collect your ideas into a cohesive plan.  Use sites like Pinterest and tools like Style Me Pretty’s inspiration boards to help you.
  • Be flexible – keep true to your original design ideas, but be open-minded to make adjustments throughout your design process as the end product might be better than you even imagined!
  • Enlist the help of professionals whose work inspires you.  Hiring the right team for your big day makes all the difference.

The following Washington, DC area vendor contributed to this inspiration:

Event Concept & Design:  Amber Karson Events
Floral:  Romance of Flowers
Venue:  The Hay-Adams
Rentals:  Perfect Settings
Cakes:  Kendall’s Cakes
Photography:  Mike B Photography


Thank you Amber and Emily!  I adore this table scape and love your tips for how to pull it all off.  If you want to see more from Amber Karson Events, check out their website.

Looking for more more?  Check out our inspiration galleries or browse vendors in the DC area.

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