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picture-perfect weddings

Best Ceremony Setting

    Unseasonably hot weather—103 F and climbing at 11 a.m.—and wind gusts of 50 to 60 miles per hour made setting up this summer solstice ceremony décor challenging for designer Suzanne Smith and her team of five assistants, including her husband, Alan. But despite losing several orchids in the wind, the easygoing bridal couple and their colorful wedding elements—set atop a hill surrounded by rolling mountains and rustic rocky points, with views of the vineyard and lush valley below—still made this nuptial event one of the florist’s favorites to date.


   best ceremony setting  

Suzanne M. Smith
Suzanne M. Smith Designs
Huntington Beach, Calif.
June 21, 2008
Ceremony site: Saddlerock Ranch Vineyard; Malibu, Calif.
Reception site: Chateau Le Dome Malibu, Calif.
Number in wedding party: 20
Number of guests: 80
Approximate retail floral bill: $4,500
Photos by Joy Marie Photo

    The bride, a well-known graphic artist who walked barefoot down the aisle, and her groom, a natural healer and author of a top acupuncture reference guide for practitioners of the Eastern art, both are vegan and requested that all botanicals used in their wedding be natural and organic.

Combining elements of Christianity and Eastern philosophy, this winning ceremony featured the florist’s signature ribbon poles, which lined the aisle leading to the natural grapevine arbor under which the couple was married and later were transferred to the dance floor and surrounding reception area. The poles were topped with fresh white daisy spray chrysanthemums and anchored in cement-weighted vintage vineyard baskets filled with ‘Thompson’ grape clusters and preserved green Hydrangeas. Strands of orange, yellow and white orchids, as well as permanent petals with crystals, were hung around the sides and back of the arbor. Coordinating ‘Circus’, ‘Voodoo’ and ‘Yellow Island’ rose petals graced the aisle.

    An officiant wearing a garland of braided ti leaves presided over the nontraditional ceremony. And the wedding party was nontraditional as well: The bride’s sister was her only actual attendant; she chose to have a “goddess walk” of 10 female friends instead, each of whom carried a long single stem of lucky bamboo and a ‘Mango’ calla braided with green raffia.


  The ceremony site was surrounded by breathtaking scenery including rolling mountains, a lush valley and the Saddlerock Ranch Vineyard. Here, the three flower girls, with floral wreaths atop their heads that coordinated with the whimsical ribbons blowing in the breeze, enjoy a prewedding photo shoot.

  Despite wind gusts of 50 to 60 miles per hour, floral designer Suzanne Smith’s signature ribbon poles remained upright throughout this winning ceremony, thanks to the heavy cement that secured them into the vintage vineyard baskets. Clusters of ‘Thompson’ grapes and preserved green Hydrangeas concealed the cement bases and were a perfect accompaniment to the wedding’s vineyard setting.


Beneath the grapevine arbor, the couple pours ocean water from their favorite beach into a bowl of “gathered blessings,” which also included sand from their favorite childhood playgrounds and other natural elements.


Click on any of these categories to see more of the 2008 winners
Picture Perfect Wedding - Best Wedding Winner
Picture Perfect Wedding - Best Reception Decorations Winner
Picture Perfect Wedding - Best Bouquets & Best Cake Decorations Winner
Picture Perfect Wedding Sponsors


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