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{Featured Event} "Luxury Spa Infused Cocktail Party at the Sanctuary


Event Chair: Jennifer Starr, J.Starr Stylized Weddings
Venue Host: Sanctuary Resort

Thursday evening, I had the honor of serving as the Event Chair for the WIPA Cocktail Party.  Planning an event like this is so much fun for me because in a sense I get to play! I was able to create the concept, select my creative partner team, and bring my vision to life from start to finish.  This is like "Christmas Morning" to a Wedding Designer. 

When the WIPA committee told me this event would take place at the Sanctuary Resort I was thrilled.  Have you been to this property?  It is truly something special; the moment you step foot on this property, you instantly feel so relaxed.  The way that this venue is nestled in the mountains lends itself to some of the most spectacular desert views that I have ever seen. 

The concept I came up with was a "Luxury Spa Infused Cocktail Party."  In a sense, it's kind of an oxymoron.  I love, love, love taking ideas that are kind of opposite and pairing them together.  If you take a look back at some of my other design concepts you will see this tends to be a trend with me.  I knew two things for sure....this was a Cocktail Party (the first members only Cocktail Party that WIPA has ever hosted...which also encouraged 5 new Wedding Professionals to sign up!) and I needed to really incorporate the vibe of the property....thus "Luxury Spa Infused Cocktail Party" was born. 

The color scheme really served as the foundation for everything else.  I met with the talented Laurie Southwick of Southwick Linens to discuss options.  Laurie is truly a color expert and starting with the linens is incredibly important because it sets the foundation of everything else.  Laurie and I went back and fourth on many options.  We first looked at doing "traditional" spa like colors, but we both felt that they weren't fitting for a "cocktail party" that's why we moved to darker/cooler tones.  We finally decided on shades of pewter, grey, ivory, with a pop of sparkle. 


The next step was to select the furniture and rentals.  Again, because this wasn't a typical "sit down dinner" event, selecting the appropriate furniture pieces was crucial to giving this event the feel of a "cocktail party." I was so thrilled to partner with Glamour and Woods.  This company was founded by one of the valley's top interior designers and as you can see, their product line is quite exquisite. 

All the floral pieces were designed by Jan Dekker or Jan Dekker Designs.  I've had the joy of working with Jan on many beautiful weddings in the past.  She is a true artist and always goes the extra mile to make sure her creations are not only breathtaking but also appropriate and fitting to the overall design concept.  Jan met with the Glamour and Woods team ahead of time and selected vases and structures from their collection to pair with her floral. 

The outcome was stunning.  I just loved the sold hardwoods mixed with metal fine finishes, topped with flowing romantic floral pieces.  Jan's floral creations really brought a sense of softness and relaxation to the event setting.  The room was also set with several gorgeous vessel candles...really pulling in the feeling of a spa environment.

My most favorite design element was definitely the "Vase of Venus" provided by Rolando Espinoza of the Champagne Creative Group.  As guests first entered the room....their eyes were naturally directed to the front of the room where our live model was positioned up on top of a beautiful light up vase.  This over the top design piece really created a sense of relaxation yet glamour at the same time (yes! this makes me happy). 

And yes the photo to the right is yours truly...welcoming our guests and giving recognition to all my talented creative partners.  Bringing a group of "creatives" together to bring an experience to life is really a beautiful thing.  In fact, it's one of my most favorite things.


The Sanctuary provided a lovely spread of deliciousness...Seasonal Fruit Display, Summer Harvest Vegetable Basket, Domestic and International Cheeses with Artisan Breads, Melon Gazpacho, Seared Tuna on Cucumber Noodles, Chicken Satays, Bruschetta Bar, and Dessert Station.

I was thrilled to have Dave and Drea of Desert House Productions provide the music for the evening.  Desert House Productions is known for their upscale beats and bringing a modern edge into the event.

It was a truly a fantastic event.  The sights, the sounds, the smells...but mostly the people.  The room was filled with individuals who really appreciate an "experience." I received so many compliments that meant so much to me, because these guests aren't "normal" people.  This group of people are regulars at over the top weddings and events. 


Jennifer Newman of The Wellness Bar AZ provided an "Essential Oil Bar." Everyone was able to create their own custom bath salts to take home and enjoy.  Jennifer also provided all of the lovely paper details compliments of her business Envelope Envy.  It's always very important to communicate to your guests via delicate pretty signage. 

A Very Special Thank You to the Team of Creative Partners: (Left to Right/Front Row)  Jennifer Newman, Jan Dekker, (Me) Jennifer Starr, Rachel Soloman, Rolando Espinoza, Drea and Dave Strickler, (Back Row) Jennifer Dudones, Michael Dobbs, and Laurie Southwick. (Not pictured Taryn Pollock and Jeff Bills of Serendipity Cinema). 

A very special thank you to the Phoenix WIPA Board for asking and trusting me to Chair this special evening.  I'd also like to send a special thank you to Miss Emily Bollinger (My Intern) who spent many hours hammering this day out with me, rock star style.

P.S. There were many additional beautiful photos taken this evening, stay tuned I'll be sure and post the album to my facebook page very soon.

Luxury Spa Infused WIPA Cocktail Party Creative Partner Team:

Planner/Designer:  J.Starr Stylized Weddings
Venue: Sanctuary Resort Spa / Leah Digirolamo & Brittany Martenson
Photographer: Rachel Solomon Photography
Floral: Jan Dekker Designs
Furniture/Rentals: Glamour and Woods
DJ: Desert House Productions
Entertainment: Champagne Creative Group
Essential Oil Bar: The Wellness Bar, AZ
Cinematography: Serendipity Cinema
Paper Products: Envelope Envy
Specialty Linens: Southwick Linens
Draping: Event Rents
Hair and Make Up (on Me): Linda Valenzuela of Mia Cosmetics