Lo’Vonia’s ‘Kiss’ Illustrates the Climax of Every Wedding Day

The Kiss – It’s the most anticipated moment of every wedding. It’s the reason the bride went through all the trouble to put on the dress and walk done the aisle. It’s the inspiration the groom needed to show up with the ring. For the rest of us, it’s our chance to be at the taping of a reality show. Finally, it’s Wedding Day! So, you “scoot up” and lean just a little further to make sure you see the groom “salute the bride.”

Well, illustrator, Lo’Vonia Parks,’ “Wedding Day – The Kiss,” depicts the climax of every wedding. It captures the explosion of suppressed passion and truly represents the real emotion that everyone wants to see at a wedding.

The inspiration for the piece came from international recording artist, E. Walter Smith’s recent release “Wedding Day! Precious Moments.” This is a collection of original wedding music that includes titles like, “I Do,” “First Dance,” and “Little Girl” featuring teen diva, Star Search finalist and AMERICAN IDOL contestant, Tatiana McConnico.

“Since love and marriage crosses all socio-economic, racial, and cultural boundaries I wanted a logo that would simply say, “Wedding Day,” says Smith. It is important for everybody to be able to see themselves in the picture. The only way to do that way is with line art. So, I posted listings on everywhere from Craig’s List to at least 10 – 15 art schools and message boards. I received at least 75–100 inquiries and submissions.
To help me navigate the process, I solicited the help of freelance art director, James Mason Bartlett of Mason Dzign (clients include Urban Influence Magazine, an official publication of the National Urban League [http://www.urbaninfluencemagazine.com] as well as several other entities throughout the country.) I new that he had over 20 years of experience in this field and would be very critical of the entire process. In fact, his comment was, “we need something that will be iconic.”

Finding an illustrator that would have the ability to create an iconic piece in an industry that has thousands of interpretations of “Wedding Day!” can be compared to another fairy tale challenge of “kissing a lot of frogs to find a prince.” The competition is fierce and the critics are ruthless. However, a recent graduate from the Savannah School of Art thought that she had what it would take to change the image of weddings forever.

“My friends and professors recommended that Craig’s List was a great place to look for freelance work. Most of the stuff posted was for landscapes and other stuff I wasn’t interested in. But, one day I saw that a singer wanted a piece done in Ty Wilson’s style with a subject being wedding day with minimal color. I was like, “Oh, my God this is it!” Oh, my God, this is my style; very minimal, fluid lines, high movement. So I called, gave my credentials and E. called me back. I was so excited, and of course, my dad was happy that it was paying!” says Parks.

As Smith and Bartlett went through the submissions, the major hurdle they had to cross was deciding what exactly did “iconic” mean for the “Wedding Day!” project and the E. Walter Smith brand. The market had come to expect a certain look for a wedding day image and the issue soon became how far Smith was willing to push the envelope. Few other recording artists had produced a project composed of only wedding music and many industry veterans said that those kinds of projects would only work for established artists. After much deliberation they began the process of reviewing sketches and tweaking ideas.

“When I opened Lo’Vonia’s file I was completely blown away!” says Smith. “For starters, it was no where near what I was looking for. However, in my opinion it was amazing…it absolutely took my breath away. The problem was that my close circle of friends and advisors thought that it was just too much for the theme of the project. Consequently, we decided to move forward with another artist, but that only confused us more. So, I took both pictures to choir practice and did a poll. I felt pretty safe surveying this pool of people because Christ Our Hope Catholic Church is comprised of at least 35 different nationalities and the choir member age range is from 6 to about 70. All but two chose Lo’Vonia’s illustration. In fact, they said, “That’s what a bride and groom should look like on their wedding day!”

When asked about E’s comments pertaining to the fact that her submission was not even close to what was posted, Lo’Vonia said that her mentor, Justin Galloway, and professor, Don Rogers said that she should go with her gut feeling.

“After realizing that E. wanted something iconic, I listened to all of his music. I wanted to be in the mood to make sure that I could represent E’s true spirit. I thought about what is the happiest part of the wedding. I would want to give my husband a kiss. Nothing mundane. Something huge. Real love. So, I made the woman take the initiative and kiss the man. I wanted to illustrate the emotional whirlwind of the moment as a dance, so I made sure that the lines had movement and showed the passion they had they had for one another. I wanted it to say, ‘We are now one in God’s eyes.’ This illustration captured the explosion of that moment,” says Parks.

Will this union of artists be fruitful and multiply? As with any relationship, communication will be the key. “The collaborative creative process requires that all of the principals be clear on what the expectations are in the beginning of the project. We were blessed with an early illustration submission that really was a happy accident and were able to massage a final solution that was to my client’s complete approval. And, at the end of the day, that’s everybody’s goal.

I think that Lo’Vonia is very talented and has a bright future. Many times I run into young illustrators and designers who haven’t garnished enough experience to truly understand the business side of the art industry. The back and forth tweaking of a design and ultimately presenting the finished product in a format that the end user requires is part of being a professional. To be a recent graduate, I was impressed with Lo’Vonia’s ability to work with E. I think I’ll be involved in the beginning planning stages of E’s next project and hopefully will be able to hire her to do some freelance work for some of my clients. As long as she consistently brings her “A” game to the table, I think that she will find steady residence on my list of preferred service providers,” says Bartlett.

“I have a lot of ideas that will require the same kind of line art style that Lo’Vonia used for Wedding Day!, says Smith. I’m excited about the possibility of using her on more of my projects. I know that working with me can be challenging because I do require everybody to step up with their best all the time. When all is said and done everything tends to point back towards me, so I try to put out the best product that I can. Every project like this starts with a blank canvass and ends in an Adobe Illustrator file. I look forward to her next submissions and wish her the best of luck.”

And now…the moment you’ve all been waiting for:

You can view more of Ms. Parks’ work on the following websites:

Where to Get Married: Hidden Wedding Venues in Los Angeles

Today’s brides are so savvy, and often thinking outside of the box on every aspect of their wedding, including where to get married. Below you will find a list of unique wedding venues that will host your wedding in a very unconventional way. Hopefully you will find one of these places for wedding receptions perfect for you.

The Smog Shoppe is probably the most unconventional and unique location for you not so run-of-the-mill kind of bride. This location has been converted from an old smog shop into a rustic and swanky venue to host your wedding. And if you are looking for an eco-friendly venue the Smog Shoppe is a top rated sustainably designed urban space in the U.S.

Dodger Stadium is a home run for any couple that is a die-hard Dodger fan. This unique venue allows for a couple to say their “I do’s” right on home plate. No guest can deny the feeling of being a part of legacy of the LA Dodgers when attending your True Blue wedding.

LA Live is a chic and sophisticated location in the heart of downtown LA. The glitz and glimmer of having your wedding in this location will wow your guests and leaving them feeling like they attended one of LA’s most exclusive weddings.

Peterson Automotive Museum is a location for couples that are car enthusiasts will drool over. It offers a stunning rooftop view for guest to enjoy while witnessing the bride and groom say their vows. The richly decorated detail of the venue is dramatic, entertaining, and exciting all wrapped up in a perfectly neat package that everyone would enjoy!

Calamigos Ranch offers both a whimsical and fun experience for both you and your guests. There are four different locations within the ranch that can host your wedding that the possibilities are endless!

Nixon Library is most exclusive because it has the only replica of the White House East Wing. The rose garden is impeccably maintained to perfection. For those of you who dreamed of having a wedding that is unparalleled this location should definitely be at the top of your list.

The El Rey was converted from a movie house for 50 years and is now one of LA’s historic landmarks. It offers an art deco feel throughout and is perfect for unconventional couples that enjoy entertaining their guests.

Carondelet House is stunning with beautiful textures and natural lighting. It was built as an Italian Villa with an urban feel. This location has so much character from the architecture to the design that makes it a charming location for your wedding.

To find out more information and see a complete list on where to get married, visit my website at http://www.kishanahighgate.com to see the TOP unique wedding venues in Los Angeles.

Hip Loft Weddings

If a traditional church ceremony followed by a sedate country club reception isn’t exactly your style, consider an alternative venue. One of the most chic places to hold a wedding is in an urban loft setting. This is what you will need to know about how to throw a hip loft wedding, including décor, attire, catering, and more.

The first thing that is necessary is to find the perfect space. Lofts can be much harder to find than traditional wedding venues, so you will need to put on your detective hat. The easiest way to find a great loft space is to hire an event planner. This is a good idea in general for a wedding in an open space, as it will be helpful to have a professional to help you know what to do with the room. If you are hoping to find a loft on your own, you can try calling around to art galleries, photographers, and other artists who might have a space to rent. Before signing a contract, do some research into the safety of the neighborhood, especially at night. “Up and coming” neighborhoods might not be the sort of place where you would want to invite your grandmother.

Once you have located the perfect loft, it is time to start filling it. The fun part about a blank slate is that you can be as creative as you like. Nix the traditional wedding decor in favor of elements that are unique, bold, and contemporary. One of the hottest trends in loft weddings is to have bright hip color schemes like crimson and lime. The white walls really call out for some color in your flowers, candles, and linens.

An important thing to consider is how to divide up the loft for good flow throughout the event. In general, you will need to have a separate area for the ceremony and the food. Lofts often are completely open, so you may need to create these divisions through creative use of furniture, fabric, and foliage. Your guests should enter into the ceremony area, and proceed from there to cocktails. You never want the guests to see the reception area first, as it takes away from the big reveal (not to mention that there will probably be caterers and other vendors setting up in that space).

Speaking of caterers, it is important to select one that has experience working in alternative spaces. Before you put a deposit on a loft, check out the kitchen facilities, and make sure that they are adequate. It often works better to have a cocktail and appetizer reception instead of a formal seated dinner. Stations tend to work well for loft weddings, as well. They give you a chance to showcase a wide variety of trendy and interesting cuisines, and since the chef can cook right at the station, the size of the kitchen becomes less of an issue.

Naturally, the bride will want to find a wedding gown that is as hip as her loft venue. Most brides will opt for chic styles with a sexy edge to them. Bridal gowns made from flowing silk charmeuse look right at home in an urban loft, especially when paired with dazzling crystal jewelry. Modern pieces of crystal bridal jewelry like long stiletto earrings are the ideal complement to a slinky gown.

A loft wedding allows you to be as creative as you like. You can really put the wide open space to good use by putting your personal stamp on it. A contemporary loft can be the perfect place to create your dream wedding.

Creating an Environmentally Friendly Wedding

With all of the talk today of global warming and environmental impact the question looms: “How do we create a environmentally friendly wedding? How do we put together a ceremony and celebration that will linger in our memories but leave little to no impact on the environment? Or better yet… an environmentally friendly wedding.

The answer is simplicity. Create a simple wedding with your own personal touch to make your wedding memorable rather than trying to out stage last year’s big wedding productions – a simple environmentally friendly wedding can save you lots of money! And the good news is that you can do it in such a way that your wedding can be a unique event that people will talk about for years to come.

Now there is no way to cover every possible situation but consider these possible scenario’s as inspiration for your green wedding:

Urban Setting for Your Environmentally Friendly Wedding:

Plan a period themed wedding from your own city’s history. For example, 19th century wedding theme. Design your dress based around the theme – not a problem, wedding dresses are special order anyway – and remember, you don’t have to choose to emulate the rich of that period, just something representative or suggestive of the period. Choose a local hall with lots of windows within walking distance of your borough or neighborhood to hold your ceremony and reception and ask your guests to walk or take public transportation to and from the celebration. Schedule the event for midday or early afternoon so you can use as much natural lighting as possible. Hire local musicians to provide background music that might have been played in that time period. Use live plants for decor instead of cut flowers. And arrive and depart from your wedding via horse drawn carriage or on foot.

Suburban Setting for Your Environmentally Friendly Wedding:

Find a garden setting, such as your own backyard, that you and your personal community can cultivate to create a memorable setting for your wedding and a garden setting that you and your friends and neighbors can enjoy for years to come. Put your effort and resources into creating this garden oasis full of live plants and natural beauty instead of worrying about all the normal trappings of a wedding ceremony. Choose to have a tea reception with the finger food that fits whatever theme you have decided upon.

Rural Setting for Your Environmentally Friendly Wedding:

If you live in a small town, chances are good there’s an old chapel sitting in a weed strewn field somewhere around town. These old treasures are a great opportunity for you to build your green wedding and help the community as well. The idea is to rent the use of the grounds for a daylight wedding (perhaps you want to theme your celebration around the styles of your town’s founding fathers) and either in preparation for the ceremony pull your wedding party together to landscape the grounds in advance (see above) or to simply make the planting of trees and bushes a part of your celebration. Ask your guests to bring a live plant in lieu of a gift and make planting them a part of the fun!

In such a setting an ideal way to begin the festivities is by having your groom on horseback (or at least a horse drawn carriage) lead your guests in a procession through town toward your ceremony. Afterwards, with the new plants all in the ground enjoy the warmth of a summer evening to celebrate around a bond fire with local music with your friends and family.

Notice that none of the above suggestions involved going out and renting the biggest and the best facility available. None were held in fancy hotels. Rather they were all focused on improving your own community – the part of the world you can positively impact. You can have a cake if you want, or do without it. Likewise, photography is entirely optional depending on your own convictions about the impact of the use of the computer and printer or film processing lab.

Yes, a environmentally friendly wedding celebration might not be as elegant or sparkling clean as the wedding celebrations we have come to be familiar with, but with a little bit of effort it can save you money and really do something to improve the life of the community you are in.

Of course, your green wedding theme should extend to your wedding favors as well. Plantable Wildflower Favors are an obvious choice. Imagine seeing patches of wild flowers all over your community as a direct result of your wedding and the favors you expressed your gratitude with. Other choices might be hand painted ceramic pots, or even “magic” beans (bean seeds that when planted will sprout with the word ‘love’ imprinted on the sprout – these are great favors for the children), or any number of soap favors might be appropriate as well.

Your options are really only limited by your imagination. Look around for ideas for ways to celebrate your new marriage. They don’t have to be traditional, but they do have to reflect you and your values. That is what you will look back on with fondness when you think about your environmentally friendly wedding.

8 Tips For Finding The Perfect Wedding Venue

At the top of every engaged couple’s to-do list is finding the perfect wedding venue. Some couples know exactly which venue they’d like to host their wedding at from the moment they get engaged, while some of you may not have a clue as to what you want and what is even available to you in your area. The wedding venue is the first thing you will book as a newly engaged couple and it sets the tone for the overall feel for your wedding day.

The options are endless. From grand hotels to quaint bistros, sprawling gardens to urban rooftops, and rustic barns to modern cityscapes – the choices can become overwhelming. So how do you narrow down what you want in order to find the perfect wedding venue for your day? Even if you have a general idea of what you are looking for, there are so many factors to consider. Here are some tips to help guide you in finding the perfect wedding venue.

Determine your style.

A casual affair with outdoor elements, or a formal soirée at a grand hotel? Downtown chic or a lakeside retreat? A rustic country feel or modern urban ambiance? Determining the style of your wedding is the first step in deciding which venue fits your vision best. Every couple is different and will have a unique list of qualities that they are looking for in a venue. Once you nail down the style and feel you are looking for, you can contact venues that fit that description.

Pick a season.

A summer wedding in July or a winter wedding in December – you need to decide on the time of year you’d like to have your wedding so that when you contact venues they can let you know what dates are available in that particular month. Most weddings happen in the summer months, but autumn is also becoming a popular choice for couples to tie the knot. The month you choose to get married in will help determine the best fit for a venue. Depending when you want to get married, you might have to be flexible with your date as good venues book up at least a year in advance.

Come up with a budget.

This is the biggest factor when choosing a wedding venue. When you contact venues, ask them what the average cost is to have a wedding at their location. Costs vary greatly, and you want to make sure the venue fits within your budget before you go on a site visit. Otherwise, you may just be wasting your time, or fall in love with a venue that you can’t afford. Anyone contributing to the cost of the wedding should go along on the venue tours so that everyone has all of the information needed when making a decision on booking a venue. Make sure to get all of the information in writing so that you can review everything later and compare each venue properly to ensure they fit within the budgeted costs.

Determine the number guests.

You should have an idea on the number of guests you will be inviting to your wedding so that you can make sure the venues you visit can accommodate the number of guests you will be inviting. Always book a venue that can accommodate all invited guests – don’t book a venue hoping you will have fewer guests that can attend. Just in case most of the guests RSVP yes, you want to make sure your venue can accommodate everyone comfortably.

Do you want the ceremony and reception at the same location?

If so, you need to choose venues that can accommodate both. If you’d like an outdoor ceremony, does the venue have outdoor space to hold a ceremony and what is their plan B in case of rain? Will you need time in between the ceremony and reception to flip the room? Is there an extra rental fee to have the ceremony on site? If they don’t offer ceremony space, can they recommend a location close by that provides this service?

Ask the right questions.

Some venues offer full service – catering, tables, chairs, linens, glassware, dishware, lighting, bartenders, alcohol, tents, décor, music, and audio/visual. You will have to determine your needs before meeting with a venue to ensure they can provide everything that you need. Do they also provide a list of preferred vendors and are you required to book those vendors or can you bring in your own? What are all of the costs involved – rental fees, taxes, gratuities, service fees, cake cutting fees, set up fees. Get everything in writing before signing a contract and putting down a deposit.

What are your expectations for food and drink?

This is often the most important part of the wedding – some couples can be very particular on the style and quality of the food and drink that they serve their guests. Generally speaking, the higher the quality and service, the higher the price. What kind of food and beverages would you like to serve at your wedding? If you have a certain idea in mind – let’s say food stations or family style service, a casual bar-b-que feel or a gourmet five-course meal – you will need to make sure the venue can accommodate your requests. If not, will they allow you to bring in your own caterer? Do they have set menu packages and can they customize a menu for you? Do they provide a menu trial dinner? Will they provide the alcohol or do you need to provide it yourself and apply for your own permit? Will your expectations require extra servers and fees?

Consider the out of town guests.

Will you have a lot of out of town guests that will need accommodations and transportation? If so you’ll want to choose a venue that is close to hotels and where guests can be transported to easily. If the venue you absolutely love is a little out of the way, you may need to look into bus and shuttle services to get guests to and from the wedding site.