{Diana Toma} A Fresh Take on Live Wedding Painting

One of the things I’ve noticed in working with couples is that they want their wedding to be as unique as their personalities. Whether this means doing something completely different or just adding a couple unique touches, I can completely relate and am always looking for ways to help my couples come up with ideas that can best reflect who they are.

One idea that I love (and that hasn’t been overdone–yet!) is wedding painting. This can be live event painting or painting from pictures of the event. One of my favorite Atlanta-based artists, Diana Toma, does both of these, and the result is incredible! So much of what happens during the wedding festivities is fleeting–the décor, the food, the flowers–and yet we capture these elements as best we can with photography. Imagine though all that you love about wedding photos translated into fine art. This lends a certain sense of permanence to all that you felt and saw on your special day. (And as a florist, it was so fun to see Diana paint one of my bouquets! :) )

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Read on to learn more about Diana and her journey into art and weddings:

Tell me about yourself and your journey into art // For as long as I can remember I was always somewhere holding a pen, drawing. I got an A+ in arts on my very first day of school first grade! My teacher must have noticed something different about my drawing to feel compelled to do that because no grades were ever given on the first day of school. After attending a high school specialized in physical science I finally followed my calling and went to art school, graduating with a bachelor in fine arts from the West University Faculty of Arts in my home town Timisoara, Romania. Then I moved to another Romanian metropolis for couple of years to further my studying, getting my master’s degree in graphic arts from University of Arts & Design in Cluj-Napoca.

Art is so organically integrated in my everyday life that I can’t tell my work apart from my life any more. It reflects in the way I live, the way I parent, the kind of person I am – always looking to find beauty around me. I live and breath trough artistic expression, painting and drawing on every surface I can, with my brush or with my eyes if I don’t have a tool handy :) When I don’t paint, I often up-cycle, re-invent, and re-purpose objects, take photographs, or teach art classes.

Diana Toma Painted Wedding Cake

As an artist, what is your favorite subject matter and why // The art that I create is meant to bring a sense of wonder, engaging the viewer at an emotional level. I paint to capture a moment in time. I am in love with color and my paintings are exulting with shades from the entire color spectrum. I take delight in painting portraits as I see the portrait as the flower of the body. There is something genuinely moving to be present to someone’s state of being and connect trough capturing the form with the tip of the brush. When observing curiously, wholeheartedly, I relate. I experience a communion with another’s essence. There is a profound meaning to be found in that place where we overlap.


What wedding services you offer // In addition to my custom portrait services I am now offering a couple of new services, specifically designed for weddings! One is painting the bridal bouquet in watercolor. The wedding bouquets are a symbol of new life, joyful lovemaking, and good luck, and I adore capturing that tenderness in a painting, offering newlyweds a unique piece of art to bring into their homes and treasure for the years to come out in the open on a wall, not just in a photo album. Weddings are full of symbolism. They mark the essential union between two that come together to create and nurture new life – and that is something I love to be part of.

The other service I am now offering is painting a large canvas at the very wedding event. I set up my easel on a side and paint live, capturing the emotion of the celebration. People love watching an artist at work. Every wedding should have an artist capturing the moment. There is freshness and unique energy that goes in the painting when present at the event, and that is a beautiful thing to capture in a painting.


What is your ideal client // All my clients are ideal! Everyone that approaches me is because they have a love for art and painting, and they hire me because they love my work. You should see some of the emails I get from my clients – they move me to tears, so full of appreciation and excitement. I’ve always been humbled by other’s excitement about my work. It gives me a sense of fulfillment and brings me so much joy.


Where can someone see your work and contact you // Here are the links to my work. I love to stay connected to my fans trough my Facebook art page. I also keep a visual blog where I upload my recent pieces, and even pieces that are in progress. I recently opened an online store via Etsy where you can request custom orders. You may also email me with any questions at diana@artbydianatoma.com.

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{Vanessa Gilbreth} More than Fine China

If I had a choice for how I meet new people, it would be a two-step kind of deal: 1) early morning breakfast: it’s interesting to watch what someone does with a breakfast menu at a new place early in the morning; 2) working together: I like to see people at work in their element, where true colors really come out. And in my life of work, I am likely to see people working in stressful situations under tight deadlines, as weddings can often be, which can either seal the deal or break a potential working relationship.

That's how I met Vanessa Gilbreath from Vintage English Tea Cup. It was probably 11 PM on a Sunday night, and we were both cleaning up after a wedding at Monday Night Brewery. Before helping her pack some dishes, I said to her: "Well that's the sweetest cliché I have seen yet...an English lady renting out fine china". Thankfully that honest comment didn't upset her, and We hit it off. We grabbed some breakfast a couple weeks later to get to know each other a little better. (see how I did that? #1 and #2, just in reverse :) ) After talking with her for just a little bit, I realized that hers is the kind of business I want to support and promote. As I learned more about her and her interests outside of weddings and business, I realized why I like to share these interviews on the blog. There is so much more to the people you hire for your weddings, or vendors you select as part of your planning, and I'd like to share that with you all.

© 2013 | Haley Sheffield | www.haleysheffield.com

Read along for a short interview with this inspiring, encouraging lady, and feel free to show her some love in the comments!


Business // Providing vintage English mismatched fine china for rent in Georgia and the Southeast..."jewelry for your table"

My most cherished moment // I usually get up before everyone else and I make coffee, feed my cats, Max and Shelly, and sit quietly and contemplate my day. Utter peace!

Business success most proud of // Beginning anything new is quite frankly terrifying! It is also deeply empowering and life affirming. I am most proud of jumping off that cliff!

Why fine china // I chose china because it is something I know well. I have visited most of the locations where these pieces are made. I have been to stately homes on three continents and visited china collections. I know what to buy and what I love. It is important to me to share this part of my culture.

Something about myself // I have learned to manage my time! I volunteer in Juvenile Court with children in care; this is priority number one for my time. Next is the business, it is important to plan ahead and be organized. Plan for the unexpected and you will always be prepared.

What person inspires you most // Alexis Amadan at Whitlock Inn is inspiring to me. She has run her venue for almost 20 years. She has twin preschool boys and she is always smiling. To find someone that is universally liked and who is successful long term is a blessing and a joy!

Whats your ideal client // Someone who truly appreciates my china.

Business change // I love to work with historic venues as I feel they are a perfect back drop for my china. I would like to work in beautiful venues big and small in the coming year.

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Photo Credits // Haley Sheffield Photography Andie Freeman Photography NJM Photography

{Pearl & Godiva} Conjuring Wedding Magic

If you’re in the wedding business, or planning your own wedding, more than likely you’ve heard of the dynamic duo at Pearl & Godiva–Pearl Collins and Sheena Murray. P&G provides wedding planning, design and florals in Ireland and the world over. Incredibly talented, these two manage to conjure up pure wedding design magic out of thin air. Timeless as their designs are, P&G’s work speak to the literature lover in me and I always come away with something–a word, color, texture, movement. In short, if you are searching for inspiration, their work is a safe bet!

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On the blog today, Sheena, Creative Director for P&G, shares beautiful images from their woodland wedding shoot, captured by Alexander James, as well her thoughts and experience in the industry. Hopeful her advice is as useful to you as it was to me!

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What makes one successful in the event/wedding field? // Each couple we work with are special to us. This is the biggest day of their lives, and to trust us to bring their dreams to life is an enormous honour. We strive to create the most utterly breath-takingly beautiful day filled with precious moments… and to do this we constantly push ourselves to go above and beyond their wildest expectations. We aren’t afraid to take risks, to go with our instincts, and this keeps our work fresh, surprising and fabulous. Our couples know and trust that their special day will be utterly unique and breath-taking.

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Advice for brides and their families as they embark on wedding planning // Our number one advice is to not rush into booking your venue and vendors. Do your research and find people who share your style, ethos and are the best at what they do. A stylist or event designer, whose style really resonates with you, can help you build your dream team who will work seamlessly to make your day perfect.

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If on a limited budget, what might be the most important thing(s) the couple should invest in to still get an amazing wedding experience // For us, we feel that having a meaningful and beautiful aesthetic running throughout your wedding brings the experience to a new level. It doesn’t have to be a lavish expensive style, some of the most stunning weddings are the simplest. A common mistake for a DIY wedding is to incorporate too many complicated features – sometimes bare is beautiful and some tasteful florals and clean stationery can be beyond gorgeous.

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A little about us….
Over the past three years, Pearl & Godiva have built an eponymous brand and reputation for creating out of this world and beauteous events. The launch of Pearl & Godiva not only caused a sensation, it caused a storm.

Pearl & Godiva is now the repository to explore when planning an event, the most beautiful and unusual style on offer. Their events are never mass produced, are timelessly chic, rhapsodic and oozing originality. The design philosophy behind the designer duo is natural instinct, an intuitive process, never too over-thought or contrived. Pearl & Godiva certainly put their own spin on style, and thus remain completely unrivalled in the industry.

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{Intimate Weddings} What to Do About Wedding Attire

One of my reasons for choosing to work on intimate weddings is that I appreciate people who think outside the box. So naturally, I gravitate towards couples who approach their wedding in much the same way. Why have 150 people at the wedding when you can have 75? Why take a year to plan when you can do it in 3 months? But these scenarios can also be tricky, especially when it comes to ordering wedding attire. Robin Gibbs with Bridals by Lori shared that receiving a dress order typically takes between 6-8 months, depending on the design and any customizations that are needed.

Here are some great alternatives for securing some great attire for your entire wedding party without a long lead time:

Elisa Event Design Wedding Dress Options for the Intimate Wedding Bride

Once Wed | For Wedding Gowns: with over 11,000 dresses to choose from, you can find your dream dress between 10-70% off the retail price. You may need to figure in a couple weeks for alterations, in case the dress does not fit as well as you’d like. And if you’re anxious about how well the dress will fit, try out dresses by the same designer at a bridal store to figure out what size you need.

Rent the Runway | For Bridesmaid Dresses: let’s face it ladies, it just doesn’t seem right to ask your friends to spend beaucoup cash for a dress they will wear for only one night. Consider a rental option, such as those offered on Rent the Runway. RTR has amazing selection in all price ranges! The only problem is making sure the dress fits, but RTR makes it easy and offers a free second size for one dress so you can be sure to get the perfect fit. And if that still doesn’t work, they can overnight the right size and make sure you are covered on wedding day.

Tradesy Weddings| For Tuxes: there is not as much selection online for used wedding tuxes (or used men’s clothing in general…guys just keep their clothes longer!). But Tradesy has taken Once Wed’s model and applied it to both women’s and men’s wedding wear. While the volume isn’t there, the quality is, and your groom can get a name-brand suit (think J.Crew and Hugo Boss) without breaking the bank.

Some other ideas:
Off the rack: larger bridal salons, such as Bridals by Lori, will be able to offer more off-the-rack options (but even these will be in sample sizes 8-12).

Do you have wedding attire ideas to share? Please share in the comments!

{Inspiration} Intimate Outdoor Wedding

I recently published an article over at The Not Wedding about how I’d like to specialize in intimate weddings this year. And just a couple weeks ago, I hear from a bride who couldn’t be planning a more perfect intimate wedding if she tried. I won’t spill any details but just feast your eyes on this inspiration board. I am feeling so blessed to have met this bride and I cannot wait to share more on how we turned her vision into reality!

Moody Magic Wedding Inspiration
Photo Credits: Table Setting // Figs // Florals // Color Palette

{Kate T. Parker Photography} Savor the Moments

There were so many moments when the kids were little when I wished I could just freeze time. But since I knew this wasn’t possible, I did the next best thing and obsessively collected every little piece of art, love note, and drawing (I’m a pen to paper kind of person). I wrote down every funny thing they said in a memory book, all so that I could just savor those moments, one more time.

When I look at Kate T. Parker's photography, I get that same feeling--of a moment in time captured so well that it stays with you forever. A fine art photographer in the truest sense of the word, her images of children, families, weddings, and nature will blow you away. I cannot say enough wonderful things about this Atlanta photographer, so I am just going to be quiet now and share a brief interview we did, as well as a couple of my favorite photos. To see more of her stunning images and how she turns special moments into art, head to her Facebook page or her website. You'll be glad you did!

Most cherished everyday moment? // I love at the end of everyday, we all say our "highs and lows". The best moments and the worst moments of the day…I love hearing about what my kids (and husband) did that day.

Business success you are most proud of? // I was recently asked to have a gallery show. (Feb. 7th at Mason Murer Gallery in Atlanta!) This was a huge moment for me and I kind of still feel like it isn't real until I see it hanging on the walls. I am beyond excited and honored to be hanging in such a respected gallery.

What inspires you to create? // My girls are my largest inspiration, by far. Their purity, their silliness, their take on things.

How would you like to see your business change or grow in the next year? // I would love to work more commercially and more in the fine art world. I love new challenges and want to grow more each year.

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{Chloe Youm} Meet The Little Canopy

I couldn’t think of a better way to start off the year than sharing this interview with the talented duo from The Little Canopy. Chloe Youm and her husband Philip are the designers behind this “event designing studio that specializes in artsy weddings, vintage weddings or any kind of non-traditional wedding”. They offer full wedding design, day-of coordination and custom private workshops (what a great alternative to traditional bridal showers!). Read this interview to get to know a little more about Chloe, and go to their website to learn more about how The Little Canopy can serve you!

Most cherished everyday moment? // The most cherished everyday moment would be when the whole gang (my husband, me, and our two chihuahua-babies) are all sitting on our couch after our daytime jobs, sharing what happened during the day, and what creative things we’ll be working on that night.

Business success you are most proud of? // I’m not really sure if we had one big moment of business success, but at the moment I must be most proud of the blog. Over the year since the launch, we have worked so hard to build traffic and publicity, and with the new blog design, it has been bringing more people together for inspirations. we still have a long way to go for it to be where I visualize it, but the support we get from all the readers is such a big motivation for us to keep working!

Why wedding design? // I love weddings! I love all events where people get together to leave their worries behind at home to share joy and happiness and just celebrate each other presence. I got into wedding especially, because wedding planning is very challenging. I feel like sometimes that we get too caught up in the preparation part that we forget what wedding is all about. I wanted to create a community where I can help couples make it a fun, intimate part of their journey, and focus on themselves and prepare for their marriage.

Something you’ve learned about yourself this year? // Something important I’ve learned this year about myself is that I can do whatever I want to do. Meaning, it really doesn’t matter what the outcome is in the beginning, I just need to start what I vision myself doing. Last year, I found myself saying “Hmm, I really want to do wedding designs,” and so I started The Little Canopy. And I’m already “successful” that I’m working towards what I love.

What inspires you to create? // Honestly, I get inspired by all the DIY brides out there. I was a DIY bride, and although I had so much fun creating every details of our wedding, I also felt a little helpless at the same time. The whole reason I started The Little Canopy is to not only provide inspirations but hoping to be the go to place for all questions and comfort.

What’s your ideal client? // My ideal client would be an artsy, creative couple who has an idea of what they want, but need a helping hand putting together their visions.

What’s does your dream office/work space look like? // My dream work space would have brick walls, tall ceilings, lots of windows, and hardwood floors. And in the middle of the whole office would be a wide and long working table for all the custom creations to come alive! The office will also have a nice garden area for our doggies to play around while we work. ;)

How would you like to see your business change or grow in the next year? // Next year, I would like to see us finding and concentrating on our area of expertise. This year we’ve been doing a lot of various things, to see where we have our most passion. Right now The Little Canopy team consists of me, my husband Philip and our designer Kelly. I would like us to bring in more team members, bringing more opportunities to help creative brides in the world.




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Photo credits: Philip and Chloe // Flower Petal Curtain // Floral Paper Backdrop // Cake Topper // Floral Centerpiece // Pom Pom Centerpiece

Why You Will Want to Plan an Intimate Wedding for 2014

Intimate family

Yesterday, I had the priviledge of guest posting on The Not Wedding about the benefits of having an intimate wedding. In the post, I share some great benefits of having an intimate wedding, from simplifying wedding planning to choosing unique venues. Head on over to The Not Wedding Blog to read more!

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Photo credits: Intimate outdoor wedding // Cave wedding // Destination wedding // Family affair // Unique wedding venues

Thank You for the Music!

Today I am revisiting the Destin inspiration shoot that I participated in with Simply Sarah Photography. This shoot has generated quite a bit of interested in the last few months and so I wanted to take a moment to share my happiness but also to send dear Sarah a big shoutout! This shoot was entirely her vision and I was just fortunate enough to be a part of the fun, along with some really great vendors!

Here’s our internet roundup of press for this shoot, from Style Me Pretty Florida, Burnett’s Boards and Weddings Unveiled! Thank you so much for sharing our work–truly an honor!

Style Me Pretty Florida Photo Shoot

Burnett Feature Destin

Weddings Unveiled Feature

Credits: Photography: Simply Sarah Photography // Masks: Artisan Maskers // Starfish cookies: Cookies by Becky // Calligraphy: Ink & Honey // Watercolor boxes: Boxes Squared // Sea shell soap: Latika Soap // Sea fan: Nature’s Bounty Supply // Kraft tubes: Sparkle and Posy // SPF bar: Blackberry Ranch // SPF bottle: Bohemian Atelier
// Utensils: For Such a Time Designs // Rope knots: Karen’s Wedding Shop // Florals: Supposey Florals // Hair & makeup: Brooke Miller // Wedding cake: Cupcake Emporium // Invitation suite & placecards: Lauren Chism Fine Papers // Dress designer: Badgley Mischka // Bridal accessories: Madison Lane Bridal // Design & styling: Elisa Event Design

{Ipomea Floral Design} Peachy Chicago Wedding

I think that if I could, I would incorporate a shade of peach into every wedding design. You can go ahead and blame this crush on the fact that I am a Georgia peach through and through. So when Diana Lupu shared these images with me from a Chicago wedding she shot earlier this year, I just knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share them with you!

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The florist behind these charming creations is Sheila at Ipomea Floral Design. Here's more from her on the inspiration for these florals: "The inspiration for the florals were California-inspired colors of coral, poppy, peach and pink combined with lots of lush greenery in loose, natural compositions. AnaMaria's bouquet and was soft, feminine and colorful. It was hand tied in a natural shape, yet we kept it from getting too large and competing with the bride for attention.

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The bridesmaid's bouquets were even more natural in form with similar colors, but we added more white flowers and greenery to help tie all of their different color and texture dresses together. The boutonnieres were succulents and hypericum berries.

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The flowers we used were coral peonies and roses, peach garden roses, green hydrangea, pink larkspur, coral snapdragons and lots of seeded eucalyptus and other greenery and flowers. We also included real peaches in the centerpieces for added interest!"

In addition to the flowers, here are some images Diana captured of the sweet, romantic nuances of this wedding.

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I love how it looks like the couple is about to run off into a world of their own.

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Thank you to Sheila for the much-needed colorful inspiration on this bitter cold day (to clarify--I am a Georgia peach who hates the cold!), and to Diana for the stunning photographs!

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