Feb. 9 2018
In the spring of 2017 Arizona's Finest Wedding Sites Magazine offered me the opportunity to design one of their covers and 4 page editorial spreads. I was especially excited when I learned this shoot was taking place at the majestic Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa. This location has truly the best views of the valley as it's nestled atop of Camelback Mountain.
After touring this property and climbing up and down the mountainside with a then (very pregnant) Ashley Lopez, Assistant Publisher of the publication (such a trooper) I immediately had a concept in mind. Something I tell all my clients is to first and foremost, chose a venue that you LOVE. Secondly, always strive to chose designs that work with your venue, not against it.
With that said, I knew that the astonishing views of the Sanctuary needed to be highlighted in a big way. I also knew that the feeling of tranquility needed to be represented. You see, the moment I set foot on this property I instantly feel completely relaxed. And yet, with the natural desert views, and feelings of calmness, the Sanctuary still feels extraordinarily fresh and modern. And "that's where my concept of "Luxury Modern Zen" was born.
But how do we bring this to life? It wasn't easy, but with some incredibly talented creative collaborators I think we pulled it off quite well. For our color palet we decided on green to bring in the ZEN (as greenery was Pantone's color of the year in 2017), along with white and silver to add in elements of MODERN and lastly natural browns/woods to bring in the DESERT and MORE ZEN.
Back to those incredible views....here enters the wild idea of setting up scene on a somewhat slanted side of a mountain. Yes, we actually set up an entire lounge set with heavy furniture (as the sky teased us with rain clouds.) But once you see that shot with the praying monk rock formation in the background, you'll realize how much it was worth it, right?
All and all I couldn't be more proud of this shoot. The collaborating creative team was incredible and the freedom yet immense support given by the team at Arizona's Finest was perfection. Thank you again for the amazing opportunity.
Creative Partner Team:
Publication: Arizona's Finest Wedding Sites Magazine | Venue: The Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain | Floral Design: Flowers By Jodi | Photography: CWLIFE Photography | Cake: Kick Ass Kakes | Hair and Makeup: Babydoll Weddings | Bridal Gown: La Bella Bridal Boutique | Jewelry: Syd Jewellery | Paper Details: Posh Invitations | Furniture: Inspired Environments | Groom’s Attire: Mr. Formal | Linens: Southwick Linens | Event Design & Planning: J.Starr Stylized Weddings
Oct. 16 2017
JENNIFER STARR: OWNER, DESIGNER, SENIOR LEAD PLANNER
Meet Jennifer ~ She's an Arizona Native who loves anything and everything about the creative process, a music lover, and completely addicted to being an entrepreneur. She's truly obsessed with any reason to celebrate, even though cooking is one of her struggle area~ although she's improving. This is mostly because she's the wife of Justin and the mama to her four year old twins Hannah & Emma, and her one year old son Hunter. Hunter's appetite is the size of football team, forcing this girl to get better in the kitchen. Her favorite wedding moment is sneaking the couple into their reception room right before their wedding begins and allowing them to see a glimpse of their wedding day vision come to life. Jennifer's been working collectively in the wedding industry for 12 years & started her company in February of 2011.
APRIL WARNER: SENIOR LEAD PLANNER
Meet April ~ She's a transplant from Michigan who is a musical fanatic, TV junkie and intense lover of Disneyland. She makes lists for almost everything she does, even though she's the only person who can read her handwriting. During football season, she never misses a Michigan game. Her favorite wedding moment is right before the bride walks down the aisle. She's married to the most incredible man and they have the sassiest little 2 year old...who 100% gets her sass from her mama. She's been working collectively in the wedding industry for 12 years & has been rockin J.Starr Weddings since 2016, and was even a J.Starr Bride herself!
MELISSA BAILEY: LEAD PLANNER
Meet Melissa ~ She's a helpless romantic, married to her hot shot fire fighting husband and mom to two adorable boys and beloved kitty cats. A girly-girl country girl that can still hang with the boys that loves God, her family and friends. In her spare time you can find her watching one of her many favorite movies with a bowl of popcorn by her side or finding something to organize in her home. She loves a great margarita, believes chips and salsa should be served at every meal, and every night looks forward to her coffee the next morning. One day when she tires of this dream, she will be a Professional Latin Ballroom Dancer. Melissa has be rockin' J.Starr Weddings since 2011.
MEET RENATA HODL: LEAD PLANNER
Meet Renata~ "This girl is on fire!" would be her favorite lyrics to sing at karaoke~ that is *if she could* sing ~so instead she'll just rock out in her car. She is a European transplant and has lived in several different states here in the USA. She loves traveling with her young son as he is her favorite travel buddy. Her favorite recent adventure included traveling to Thailand and visiting with the little tigers. If she's not jumping out of a plane, hiking, or lifting some weights she's pursuing her dream in the kitchen of participating on the Food Network's "Chopped" show. Renata has been working with Jennifer Starr since their earliest days in the Wedding Industry ~ a combination of 12 years. Renata loves the excitement and beauty of wedding days and especially loves all things design & floral related.
MEET CHRISTINA GAGLIANO: LEAD PLANNER
Meet: Christina ~ She's a newlywed, fur baby mama, Disney lover and Arizona native who loves the desert and all the unique features it brings. She loves traveling, daily adventures and cuddling up next to her new husband to watch documentaries. During the week Christina enjoys rock climbing at a local gym and trying new restaurants. Her favorite part of the wedding day is telling the couple " it's time" to head to the ceremony~ as each couple have such sweet emotions at that very moment. Christina has been loving working in the wedding industry for 6 years. She's been rockin J.Starr Weddings since 2016, and was even a J.Starr Bride herself!
Oct. 16 2017
Recently, I was asked to be the Event Chair for the May WIPA (Wedding Industry Professional Association) Event. I gladly said YES. I knew this would be an amazing opportunity for me to be insanely creative, have the chance to work with some incredible people, and put together something really special for my industry peers.
The Overall Concept:
Two key factors were already in place before I was assigned as the "Event Chair" for this event: the location and the time. Knowing that this would be a morning event, I wanted the overall theme to feel fresh. I also wanted to take into account the venue that it would take place in. After touring the Hyatt Scottsdale Resort, I felt that it gave a strong feeling of a "Desert Oasis." I started brainstorming and designing inspiration boards~ I knew the "look" I desired but didn't have the right "name." I then sent over my design board to my BFF, who lives in LA (and happens to be a little bit cooler than me) and asked her...."What is this look?" she replied back with some perfect wording/concept ideas and the "WIPA Wanderlust Experience" was born.
Next I got busy curating my Creative Team. I tried selecting team members who I knew could NAIL my vision and who would be easy to work with. I always try not to get too fixated on everything initially ~ as these types of events tend to flourish themselves when you pick the right people and show them your inspirations.
The first place I started was working with Tami from Posh Invitations on the "Save the Dates." I especially appreciated Tami's amazing patience as there was a ton of pressure on creating the "Save the Date" as it served as the first "visual" into the event.
I worked with "Glamour & Woods" for all of the rental and furniture pieces. I actually had the opportunity to tour their showroom and warehouse firsthand and was blown away with all of their amazing inventory. Next we actually all walked and "space planned" the entire venue along with Amy Dressor (Event Sales Manager Extraordinaire of the Hyatt.) The space we had to work with was quite large and we really needed to "fill" the space appropriately yet still make it feel causal and cozy. The Glamour & Woods team knocked my concept out of the park with the pieces they offered, it truly took my vision to a whole new level. They also were able to work "with" the venue, not "against it" and I was especially impressed by how in sync their pieces worked with the carpeting in the ballroom~ seamlessly.
Next, I knew I needed to work with Floral Designer that was truly "different." One that could pair a "high end" vibe with a "ultra cool" twist. Mandy of Butterfly Petals is known in the industry as a true creative. I can always spot her work out of a crowd because their is always some really interesting element to it.
For the linens I worked with Laurie & Shelby of Southwick Linens. They provided all the linens for the high top tables in the cocktail area, and the tables and napkins for the reception. I always trust Laurie to suggest which linen colors will really work to compliment the look and not overpower or take away from the concept. We always were very creative with the table layouts (not the normal) so Laurie new exactly how to make the linen sizing "work" with our unique room set up.
When Crusin Photo Bus agreed to be on board, my beach loving spirit did about ten somersaults, and when Amy (from the Hyatt) agreed to allow us to drive the van INTO the ballroom and serve as a MAIN décor element nestled next to the stage, my Wedding Designing heart jumped for JOY. I knew that would be key factor in the "WOW" element.
Jesse Jo, the talented owner of Freed Hands provided acrylic signs with her signature hand calligraphy that were placed throughout the event, truly telling a "story" as guests experienced each area.
I brought Karma Lighting onboard to provide the uplighting~ something to really "set the mood." They also provided a beach projection scene of rolling waves on the side wall, giving the entire room a sense of movement.
Lastly, I needed a true artist to capture this event~ and that's where Andrew & Jade Photography stepped in. Known for their natural & intimate style of photography, I knew they would capture the overall sense of beauty and softness that I needed for this rather untraditional look and feel.
Additionally, our friends over at Serendipity Cinematography captured our event on video for us. (see video link below)
Bringing in the Elements of FUN!
Now that I knew the event would look beautiful, I had to ensure that it would be fun!
The talented Linda Valenzuela and her team not only provided the hair & make up for our bride model, they also offered a "Boho Braid Bar" for all of the guests to get their "Wanderlust" look on.
Dave from Desert House Productions made the party~ "a party" as he played the perfect mix of jams. I was so thrilled when Dave (a yogi himself) agreed to lead the group in some yoga stretches before we opened the doors for the Reception.
Gypsy Cup~ a traveling café was another WOW piece that I was so thankful to have be a part of the event. As guests finished their initial passport led tour of the Hyatt, they we greeted by owners: Linsay & Neil's amazing coffee truck. Each guest was treated to a personalized cup of coffee before they entered the "morning cocktail hour."
I was so thrilled to work with the Champagne Creative Group, they are known for bringing key SUPRISE elements to take any party from an event to an EXPERIENCE. They provided a strolling carousel with two "wanderlust greeters" to walk through the party serving fresh berries and Greek yogurt parfaits to all of the guests.
Dane Sanders , author and speaker truly inspired our crowd with his very personal and motivating presentation.
Lastly, with this much beauty and excitement I just knew that we had to add a Bride & Groom model into the mix. I was so happy when my intern: Annamarie and her boyfriend Vinny said YES to modeling. (special thank you to Annamarie's mom for saying it was okay for her 19 year daughter to ROCK out a wedding dress ;) Annamarie's beautiful gown was provided by Labella Bridal Boutique. Mary Zarob, of S.W. Wilson Bespoke Clothier has a custom suit created for our Groom model.
If I can be totally honest, this particular event was an exhilarating total booty kicker for me. Whenever you host an event for the "Industry" it's completely different than working with my clients. Don't get me wrong, I put an tremendous amount of energy and love into all of my events...but industry events involve a lot of PRESSURE. Reason being, the guests attending these events aren't as necessarily easy to "WOW" because they work/live/breath in this wild world. This means I have to try and find ways to impress and entertain them with things that they haven't seen or experienced before.
But the really cool part about hosting an industry event, is the outcome. These people KNOW how much work goes into all of these moving pieces. I was so appreciative for all the amazing feedback that I received. Thank you so much to the WIPA Board for asking me to be the Event Chair, thank you to all of the incredible CREATIVE partners that collaborated with me on this, and thank you so much to my team members: April, Melissa, Renata & Christina who showed up at the crack of dawn that morning to SUPPORT me and help me with this event. This will go down in history as one of my favorite events of all time.
Link to event video: https://mediazilla.com/ios0ftxb0
Photographer: Andrew + Jade Photography | Venue: Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch | Florist: Butterfly Petals | Stationary: Posh Invitations | Calligraphy: Freedhands | Rentals & Décor: Glamour & Woods | Hair & Make Up: Linda Valenzuela | Bride's Dress: La Bella Bridal | Groom's Suit: SW Wilson Bespoke Clothiers | Speaker: Dane Sanders | Event Chair: Jennifer Starr | Cinema: Serendipity Cinematography | Linens: Southwick Linens | Lighting: Karma Event Lighting | Photobooth: Crusin' Photo Bus | Entertainment: Desert House Entertainment | Entertainment: Gypsy Cup | Entertainment: Champagne Creative
Jul. 3 2016
WIPA: "LUXURY SPA INFUSED" COCKTAIL PARTY
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