Esther & Silas’ Vancouver Wedding

My cousin Esther got married this past spring, and I was happily recruited to help with all the decorations, flowers, and event design for the joyous occasion! Esther is like a big sister to me, especially since we share the exact same genes (I’m not sure how scientific this is, but my dad is her dad’s brother and my mom is her mom’s mother). We have all the same relatives and call them all the exact same titles in Chinese, and if you know Chinese extended relative titles, you know there are always too many to remember on your own! My sister and I were blessed to be able to see Esther and her brother Jere twice as much during our childhood and even now, as our family gatherings can be few and far between.

Esther’s wedding was definitely a reason for our families to gather and celebrate! And, oh my, it was a blast. :) We feasted, we wedding-prepped, we stayed up late, and we walked around and lounged around doing nothing in particular, but loved every minute of togetherness.

Here are some photos from Esther and Silas’ wedding day, captured by her talented photographer Jaime Delaine. More pictures can be found on her blog.



You might remember that when I got married (5 years ago just last week :)), I put together my own wedding bouquets and flower arrangements (and Esther actually helped out SO much too!). This time, I think I was better prepared for the daunting task — I did a lot of research, made “recipes” and sketches for my helpers and knew a little bit more in general about flower care and aesthetics.

Esther wanted a romantic, lush bouquet with lots of white, pink, and peonies. We also worked in some ranunculus, roses, pink spray roses, silver brunia berries, and dusty miller. I love the texture and color that the silver berries and dusty miller leaves add to the bouquet.


Esther also requested silk boutonnieres since Silas is highly allergic to many flowers. I put these together before we even put in the flower order, but it was a happy coincidence that we ended up using a lot of the same flowers! We even had pussy willows incorporated into the altar decorations up front.


Oh, and we can’t forget to mention the cutest little ring bearer and flower girl (aka my nephew and my cousin’s daughter)!


The venue was a beautiful light-filled church in Vancouver. It had a gorgeous, exposed-beam ceiling and little twinkle lights strung up all over. We didn’t have to do too much to the space, since it was decorated in purple for Easter already. We decided to keep the purple up and just added some pink in there. You can also see the large arrangements up front that one of Esther’s bridesmaids helped me put together.


Over at the reception site (Westwood Plateau), I had another team of people who helped me set up everything for the dinner. What a lifesaver they all were! Here are some shot of the reception area. I love that we included fresh flowers on the seating chart and the banner (flowers can be surprisingly resilient; we used hot glue!)

esthersilas487photo by Becca

For the table centerpieces, we decided to pair some rustic touches to match the reception room with some softer, romantic florals. Each table centerpiece consisted of a twine-wrapped wine bottle, a lace-covered mason jar with soft florals, a white pillar candle, and a framed table number. All the elements sat on top of a wooden tree slice, which rested on top of a linen table runner.




As favors, we decided to set up a tea buffet for guests to help themselves to various flavors of tea. My sister hand-carried all of this tea to Vancouver from China! She spoke to the tea vendors she purchased the tea from and made brewing and tasting notes for each different type of tea. We typed those up and made little cards for guests to take home with them along with their teas.


Westwood-Plateau-Wedding-Photos-49photo by Becca


Here are a couple of photos of my (and Esther’s) grandparents from the photo garland behind the tea table. The black and white one in the middle top is a photo of my dad’s parents, and the one to the right of that is a photo of my mom’s parents.


For the head table, I wanted to keep it pretty simple with just one main element that draws your attention. I enlisted the help of my cousin Janet to help me create a banner with Esther and Silas’ names in calligraphy. She did a fabulous job, and it looked beautiful with fresh flowers and hung up in front of the white drapery and twinkle lights (that Esther’s architect/pastor friend Jon put up for us!).


photo by Becca

The wedding ceremony was so beautiful, and the reception was filled with AMAZING food (Hello king crab legs, raw oysters, mussels, cocktail shrimp, and smoked salmon. And that’s just what was on my first plate.), corny MC jokes courtesy of Esther’s brother Jere, and plenty of heartfelt speeches. It was so markedly evident that Esther and SIlas are dearly loved! Love you, Es! Welcome to the family, Silas. :)

Baby Audrey’s French Baby Shower

Lavender's Blue Designs | Yunah's Baby Shower_3

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There must be something in Grenada water because it’s baby season for (practically) all my Grenada friends! Grenada’s become a very special place for Yunah and Jin because not only did they get married there, but they’ll soon be bringing back their baby girl Audrey to her new home in Grenada.

Some friends and I thought it would be fun to throw Yunah a French themed baby shower since Jin and Yunah just had their honeymoon in Paris this past summer. We went with a simple pink and black theme and threw in some polka dots and stripes for some extra Parisian flair. :)

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We kept the menu simple with French foods like cheese and grapes, croissants, lavender lemonade, and vegetable crudites.

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And for dessert, we had creme brulee cupcakes! So yummy.

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We played a fun memory game and had a friendship flag activity to help decorate baby Audrey’s nursery.

Lavender's Blue Designs | Yunah's Baby Shower_13 Lavender's Blue Designs | Yunah's Baby Shower_14 Lavender's Blue Designs | Yunah's Baby Shower_15The party planners with the mommy-to-be.

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Congrats on your baby girl, Yunah! We can’t wait to meet sweet Audrey.

A Rain-Themed Baby Shower for Baby Hallie

LavendersBlueDesigns_RainShower_1I had the chance to throw a baby shower for my dear friends Hoi and Nick this past summer (with the much-needed help of Valine and Christina too!). What a treat it was to love on them and to shower them with blessings and encouragement! Baby Hallie has since arrived, and she is every bit as darling as I imagined (those kissable cheeks!!). :)

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Congratulations on your new little bundle of sunshine, Hoi and Nick!

A Bridal Tea Party for Yunah

Throwing a party in Grenada is almost as hard as throwing a party in Beijing. No Michael’s, no Paper Source, no Etsy, no boutique party decor stores. Not even a Wal-Mart. We’re lucky when we go to the grocery store and the milk and butter are in stock. :)

That being said, I was determined to pull off a beautiful bridal shower for my friend Yunah, even if it meant making everything from scratch! Luckily, we were able to find a few things that we could work with like tissue paper, coffee filters, recycled bottles and jars, and jute twine. I also had an awesome team of crafters and bakers who helped me do everything from crocheting doilies to fluffing pom-poms to making scrumptious treats like Chinese egg tarts, biscotti, and bubble tea!

We held the bridal tea party at the Grand Anse Beach Pavilion, which is located right next to the beautiful Grand Anse Beach. The pavilion had a breathtaking view of the ocean, a cool breeze, and beautiful lighting.

Mocha cake pops and tea favors

The beautiful bride-to-be

An assortment of pom-poms made from tissue paper and dyed coffee filters hung over the table.

Check out that view!

 Party games

Yunah chooses the winner

 Toilet paper creations

 My awesome team of crafters + bakers with the bride-to-be.


Photos by the talented Kat Fung.


Elijah’s Red Balloon Birthday Party

A Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

I was so lucky to be able to celebrate my nephew Elijah’s first birthday with him this past weekend in his new Beijing home. My sister is a major francophile – she lived there for a year, fell in love with her husband there, and just returned there for the first time this past spring with Elijah! How appropriate it is that the inspiration for Elijah’s first birthday party came from the classic French film, The Red Balloon.

The Red Balloon is a charming film about a little boy in Paris who befriends a red balloon. Together, he and the balloon wander through the neighborhoods of Paris, making new friends and getting into trouble.

The Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

The concept for the party began with the invitations, which features a red balloon and string floating around Paris, outlining the city as it floats across. I thought it would be so fun to run with this string idea and turn it into a 2D/3D effect by “drawing” on the walls with black tape to create our own little Paris in Beijing. I added a little cafe, complete with table, chairs, and a lamppost. :)

The Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

Can’t have a French party without berets!

The Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

The Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

My sister handled most of the food preparations and cooked up some scrumptious French foods for our birthday brunch, including quiche lorraine, croque monsieurs, French toast, and an onion tart. Read more about the food details and recipes here.

The Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

The Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

The Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

Our drink bar featured Vietnamese coffee and a DIY mimosa station.

The Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

The Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

The Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

Since we didn’t have a red egg party for Elijah when he turned one month, we thought it would be meaningful to have them for his one year birthday.

The Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

The Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

The Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

Sour cream chocolate cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting. Elijah approves!

The Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

A Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

C’est magnifique!

The Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

Nice to meet you!

The Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

The Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

The Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

A teddy bears’ picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower.

A Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

Say cheese!

The Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

And I’ll leave you with this awesome pic of Elijah. I can just hear him saying, “Oui, oui, oui, hon, hon, hon.” What a ham!

The Red Balloon birthday party | Lavender's Blue Designs

Olympic Fever

London 2012 Alernative Poster by Andrew Maunders

It’s Olympic season, and we’ve officially caught Olympic fever!

It all started two weeks ago when we were walking down Constitution Ave. in D.C when we looked up and saw these guys standing atop a tall building. We squinted and strained to see which Olympians these might be….and realized to our surprise that it was the Men’s Olympic Basketball Team – Team USA. Dean unashamedly screamed their names (in the middle of the street with an officer close by and strangers walking past) and was actually validated by a few of them turning around and waving back! That’s my Deanie. We ran away laughing and repeating excitedly to each other, “Can you believe we saw them?! Tyson actually waved back! We’re the only ones who saw them! We are so cool!”

We decided to take our coolness even further by having a small Olympic Opening Ceremony viewing party, despite our lack of a tv or proper dishware and furniture (we’ve been staying for the last month in a near-empty apartment with whatever furniture/cooking/eating utensils we’ve been able to find via Craigslist/kind neighbors). But we were able to muster up some creativity and had an array of international fare: Mediterranean quinoa, Thai shrimp, and Mexican taquitos!

It looks like we weren’t the only ones with Olympic spirit. Check out some of these cool ideas:

Olympic party favors by Netsyandcompany

London cupcakes by TimesFood

Olympian Lunch printables by Confetti Sunshine

Opening Ceremony Bingo by Tinyme

DIY Pie Wedge Box + Free Printable

One of my friends had a birthday last week and I wanted to gift her a little treat, so I thought this flourless chocolate Nutella cake was just the thing to make. To present it to her, I put it into this little mini pie box and finished it off with a doily and twine. Perfect!  Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:

Supplies: Pie Wedge Box template (available for download at end of post), doily, twine, scissors, double-sided tape

Step 1: Print and cut out template.

Step 2: Fold along dotted lines.

Step 3: Put double-sided tape on tabs and attach to sides.

Step 4: Repeat with another copy of the template to make your top and bottom.

Step 5: Fill with cake or pie!


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