what entering my late 20's has taught me

27: you have been my favorite.

People say getting older sucks. And in a sense, I honestly do feel a little bummed out when I think back to how easy life was when I was 16-17, but this past year was different. This was truly a year of profound self-discovery, freedom, and growing up. 

I'm pretty cheesy and love doing little retrospectives during milestone moments in life; birthdays, a new year, etc. As I walk right into year 28 today with my head held high, I felt like it was time to take a look back and celebrate.

This was the year where I OFFICIALLY fell into the demographic of "late 20's." That blows my mind. Unfortunately, I think our society does a pretty bad job of preparing its youth to fend for themselves in the real world after 20+ years of living in such a structured environment where your next move is pretty cut out for you. So at this point, you definitely need to have your ish together, according to society, haha.

I think the liberating part for me is that I no longer feel that pressure to live up to the world's standards. I have something else driving me and that is the identity Jesus has given me. 

Going into this past year with that truth in tact, I think I had one of the most fulfilling years to date. In every regard. Read on past the jump for the 10 most valuable lessons revealed to me and the milestones that I'll be remembering forever. 

Sunshine-Shannon-Photography-209.jpg

A Retrospective at 27

& hopes for 28

Milestones: 

  • 2017 marked my first FULL calendar year at Naseem Events. I started my business officially in April of 2016 and do count that as my first season for sure, but this was like solidifying it in place :) I did 15 weddings at amazing venues all over the Bay Area + booked my first out of state destination wedding for 2018!
  • I did five styled shoots and all were published in various blogs that I had not yet been published in.
  • I got word that three of my real weddings will be published in big name blogs nation-wide in the coming months :) 
  • Weddings are already booked (and continuing to be booked) for 2018 and I'm getting more and more exposure and opportunities to go more in depth with design and creative direction when it comes to these events.
  • I was interviewed on The Real Female Entrepreneur Podcast and received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback and support from the topics I candidly discussed on the episode. 
  • My vision for Naseem Events has become so grounded in its place this year. The more clients I have the pleasure of working with, the more clear it becomes to me why I do what I do. On top of the fun of the actual planning, my goal is to be that breath of fresh air for my brides. I want to provide them peace, patience, and a listening ear to get through one of the most pivotal seasons of their lives. To me it's so much more than getting a menial task done but to leave a lasting impression. I believe we have all been called to create and it's an honor for me to use my talents and abilities to have established my own business that is thriving.
  • I started working simultaneously on staff at my church as our Communications/ Connection Ministry Team Lead which has been SO life giving. I now fully understand what it means to be working with purpose and on mission. How lucky am I to work two jobs, each of which have such a special spot in my heart? This role at Awakening Church has changed my life in such a personal way. I have seen God use a gift He's given me for connectivity and empowerment to encourage and activate those around me FOR His glory. 

Lessons:

  • Your early 20's suck. It gets better. 

    • Hold on tight to that truth (I promise, it's the truth). But save yourself the time, effort, and pain of riding the roller coaster of emotion and seek to figure out WHO you are. Not who your friends say you are, not who your job says you are, and definitely not what society says you are. Your identity is not correlated with your circumstances. Stop trying to do things to impress others or gain their acceptance. Be unapologetically you. I went through some of the darkest seasons until this became clear to me at age 26/27.
  • Comparison is not the thief of joy; the "triple E" is: 

    • Hear me out. The old adage above has always been my go-to mantra. I've struggled with the joy-depleting repercussions of comparison for so long, especially in my 20's. But then I dug into the root of this issue further and realized something. Comparison is not the root of the joy depletion; in fact comparison on a straight forward level is pretty objective. I can compare that my friend is a size 7 shoe, but I am a size 9.5. No real emotions stirred there. But when you dig into what comparison is rooted in is when you can tackle exactly WHAT is depleting your joy. I like to call it the "triple E" -- envy, expectations, and entitlement. 
    • When we become jealous of what someone else has and start coveting // when we let our expectations get the best of us and begin comparing (oh well I did X for my BFF's birthday but she only did Y) // when we let a sense of entitlement about what we DESERVE get in the way -- these are all the root of the joy loss that comparison brings. I think this was one of the biggest lessons I learned this year. I began checking myself each and every time the comparison reared its ugly head in my emotions and realized that every single time, the emotion was rooted in one of the 3 E's. The key lesson here is first identifying which E it is and then getting outside your own head and uprooting the pride that our flesh keeps us in. We can't do it on our own. I think this is where I might lose some of you, but that's ok because this is simply my revelation. So often self-help theories of thought teache us that it's all about within. Our mindset. The energy we take in. The type of person we choose to be, etc. It makes it ALL ABOUT US. That's a lot of pressure, right?
    •  Friends, it's not about us at all. It's about JESUS. In my own flesh, I am a mess. Simply put. Yet when I choose to actively pursue Him each and every day and look at the amazing grace He bestows on me with my new form and identity, I am amazed. I am liberated. I am free. When we choose to let Him take over, we surrender the crap that drags us in the mud. We surrender the entitlement, the pride, the envy, and the expectations. Because it's not about us. I've been challenged this year to think in an UPWARD / OUTWARD mindset, vs. inward and downward (focus on me and myself). I am reminded of two of my favorite verses in the Bible: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Cor.5:17) // and once we believe we are a new creation, what do we do? -- "Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know God's will for you; which is GOOD and PLEASING and PERFECT." (Rom.12:2). How freeing is this? I want to walk in this new perspective daily. 
  • Friendship is a verb not a noun:

    • I've made some of the tightest friendships I've ever had in this past year. Some who had been in my life for over a decade and our bond just went to that deeper place this year. Others who I met earlier this year who now feel like life-long friends. I realize now the importance of having friends in your life who are intentional with you. Who challenge you. Who force you to look in the mirror and check yourself when you're walking in your flesh too much or you're letting distractions get in the way of the beauty around you. One life mantra that has become my M.O. = quality over quantity when it comes to friends. Being an extrovert and extremely relational, this has always been tough for me. But I felt like God taught me this year the difference between investing in people vs. investing yourself in too many people. 
    • Not everyone deserves your whole heart. No one can meet the needs and expectations you feel unmet inside. So don't place that burden on people.  BUT, friendship is a verb. It takes work, effort, and reciprocation on both ends. Value yourself to invest in the few who meet you in that sweet spot and show up for you. Let go of anyone bringing you down or not making you feel valued. And seasons change. Expect that reality (don't learn it the hard way and let it come as a shock to you. Been there!). 
    • I read this article that said, "There are friendships that belong in different places and at different times, with different versions of who we are. Because a friendship’s time has passed does not mean that it was not and is not important — still. Sometimes the only way to get to have a forever friendship is to let it go in the form that it was and allow it to take on the form that it needs to be — all the while holding it steady in your heart."
    • Above all, just LOVE selflessly. That's all I want to do when I meet people and when fostering the friendships already in my life. I love love; and I love hard. But with that, remember to protect your heart. I think for me, experiencing God's love on the daily more tangibly this past year is truly what's led to me being able to love expecting nothing return because it's just out of the overflow of my heart thanks to Him. 
  • You have NOTHING to prove. To anyone: 

    • I'm a work in progress. And one thing that's been/still being demolished is this complex of caring too much for people to affirm me/accept me/want me in their lives. It took a few really nasty experiences but I was able to come out shining bright. This was a year of the negative, forcefully being sucked out. Wow just writing that reminds me of the quote at the end of Mean Girls where Cady talks about sucking the venom out of her life.

I never thought I'd get deep with a Mean Girls reference, but there it is.

  • Often times we don't realize how much that venom is blocking us from living our best life. The venom can clothe itself with the glitz and glam of allure (i.e. being well-liked; on social media or real life), and it will suck the life out of you over time. Biggest turning point for me has been realizing my self-worth and learning to protect my heart. Remember, your story is valid and worth hearing. It's GOOD to be vulnerable. Do it for the right reasons though. Not for affirmation from others, but because you want to showcase who you are // apart from the filters social media places on us (or that we ourselves place!). Finally: You have been created uniquely and are loved by a God who DELIGHTS in blessing you. Believe that.  I realized the absolute biggest take away for me is choosing to DAILY walk in the freedom and security I have through Jesus. Those are the two concepts that will bring me full contentment and confidence through my life. "When our lives tell others that He is our greatest treasure, He begins to look as great and glorious as He truly is. He made us to show His glory and by showing us more of Himself he planned to make us the happiest people who have ever lived" 

When you trust in Him and who He has called you to be, you begin shedding the layers of societal expectations and living for others' approval.

 

xx, Nas

indigo xx succulent dreams [[styled shoot inspiration]]

This week I had the honor of being published on the highly coveted White Magazine for a styled shoot I had been dreaming up all summer long. SO exciting! Before jumping to the gallery, I wanted to share the inspiration for what led to my initial vision for this shoot. This is hopefully right up your alley if you're all about organic, boho style and your spirit animal is a succulent ;)

The initial inspiration for this photo shoot came to me in a very simple form; texture.

I had just finished taking a Ginny Au styling course and felt led to start creating a mood board based off of particular textures that spoke to me. I ended up with a palate whose end result birthed in the shoot below. I wanted to showcase a “bohemian meets Anthropologie” aesthetic, if you will. There are so many couples who fit this look/demographic and I wanted to create a set of vignettes to cater to this particular vibe. Enter DIG Gardens in beautiful Santa Cruz. This space brought my vision to life the moment I stepped in. Every where you turn, there’s something to marvel at. 

The vessels I picked out were all from DIG and each unique in their own way. Even in constructing the dessert table vignette, I wanted to showcase multiple tables of different sizes and shapes. I think there’s something so enamoring about aesthetics you don’t see every day. We’re so used to seeing one cake on one table at weddings, so this look was so fun for my team to put together. 

The table set up was personally my favorite part of this shoot because of all the elements I was able to incorporate. We used DIG Garden’s beautiful farm table and chairs, and topped the table with Rachel Wadlow’s beautiful hand-dyed indigo napkins, a gorgeous set of mismatched Anthropologie plates I picked out, and natural wood cut flatware. Angie of Bobo Design Studio came alongside my vision and created these stunning vellum menus and laser cut name cards for each seat.

 

CREDITS

bilbo baggins-inspired wedding in abandoned train station

Elise and Erik. Or "Ee" as they like to go by... 

Joining forces with Elise on planning her wedding was so special to me this past July. I will always look back on this wedding with such fond memories because: 1) it was my biggest so far with 450 guests 2) the guests were SO loving and warm. It was one of those crowds where even though it was massive, you could feel the love in the room. Plus with most of us being from the Bay Area, I actually ran into several mutual friends from my past where I literally did a double take while working & said, "you know them too?!" :) 

My personal favorite part? The venue. One of my favorite childhood cartoons is Anastasia. So being in this abandoned train station in Oakland just transported me back to that movie and her Russian castle. I was literally singing "Once Upon a December" under my breath during our walkthrough haha. 

I'll let the photos do the talking for this one; there really is not much else to say. Katrina Nicole did a STUNNING job capturing these beauties. Elise's vision for her wedding was a Bilbo Baggins dinner party and her creative family did an amazing job bringing it to life. Just look at their throne. Vegetable centerpieces.That bouquet. Her dress. WOW.

So blessed to have been a part of this team.

[[entire vendor team below the gallery!]]

Vendor Team:

Planner: Naseem Events

Photographer: Katrina Nicole Photography

Florals and Decor: Aunt of Bride

Calligraphy and Signage: Rachel Wadlow Art

Venue: 16th Street Station, Oakland CA

Videographer: Moments in Time Media

Bartender: At Your Service

Catering: Taste for the Senses

Dessert: Johnny Doughnuts

kathy & phil's wedding, conservatory of flowers SF

A month ago I got to watch Kathy and Phil tie the knot in front of their family and friends at the GORGEOUS Conservatory of Flowers in SF. This wedding was super special to me since Kathy hired me on as her planner back in the fall so we had naturally grown super close during the course of the months leading up to the wedding. 

One thing I loved was that Kathy did not care at ALL about taking creative control over the decor/ design of the wedding; that's why she hired me! (#plannergoals). So I took the liberty of helping shape the aesthetic of the wedding from A to Z. Kathy and Phil are not traditional in the slightest so we dreamed up ideas that were special to them as a couple. For instance, I suggested a message in a bottle idea for them instead of a regular guest book for guests to leave them. I also helped Kathy create little disposable utensil packets (we skipped traditional plateware altogether and saved a TON), for their guests to pick up at the food trucks as they licked their fingers clean of the gourmet goodness. The lovely Keegan of Petal Atelier adorned the long dinner tables with different sized floral arrangements for a simple and clean look. With the stunning backdrop of the conservatory at our fingertips, there was so much natural beauty to play with. 

A highlight for me was the ice cream taco cart we had for dessert. I can't suggest this idea more in lieu of a traditional cake.

Guests were able to wander the conservatory during cocktail hour, wine in hand. One fun project I took on was co-designing all of Kathy's signage for the wedding. She told me straight ahead that was not a fan of calligraphy (to each their own!) and so I worked with Nicole of Penny Lane Papery to make my modern, minimal signage vision come to life.

Best part was guests were able to enjoy the light show that takes place at night on the actual conservatory walls -- peep the photo below to see just how beautiful that was! 

Huge thank you to my friend and amazing photographer, Yasmin Roohi, for capturing these images.

white hot engagement party

Get ready to swoon. I had the pleasure of planning Natasha and Enrique's engagement party which took place last weekend at her parents' home in the gorgeous hills of San Carlos. Natasha and her sister Negisa have both been dear to my heart since we were teenagers, so when Natasha got engaged to Enrique I was ecstatic that her sister called me to help them plan their party! Natasha lives in Chicago so her sister and I tag teamed in dreaming up a white hot engagement party fit for their classy fam. 

It wasn't hard at all to beautify this home -- you can see from the photos just how gorgeous their family's home truly is. That spiral staircase for one. That VIEW. Anyways, Natasha is all about simplicity -- and I totally believe in "less is more," so we went with a fun backdrop for the bar, paired with classic vignettes around the deck. I decided to go with various white florals (added textures), accented with greenery and silver linens. I did the floral design personally and Rose Xpress Florals executed my vision perfectly!

Major props to my friend Yasmin Roohi Photo for capturing these stunning photos; it's always magic working together on projects! 

roya's pretty in pink bridal shower

Planning and styling this bridal shower was so special to me as the bride is a dear friend. Roya's mom was the main powerhouse behind this shower. When she first met with me she told me her goal was to throw a pink-filled, joyful bridal shower fit for a princess. She had already booked the venue, Faz Restaurant's Tea Room in Sunnyvale to pay homage to their Persian roots. After hearing her vision, I got my creative juices flowing and the rest is history!

Indoor venues can sometimes present a challenge aesthetically so my goal was to create a focal point to really steal the show. Thanks to Lynn Jones at Jones & Posy, we were able to conceptualize and create a stunning paper flower backdrop (all handmade by Lynn!). This mix of vibrant hues contrasted against the white draping made for a perfect backdrop not only for photos but for our dessert bar. 

Guests were treated to a gourmet Persian buffet of kabob and saffron-spiced rice, along with traditional pastries and a mix of cake pops, candy, and of course -- a wedding cake fit for a princess. 

See all the vendors below the gallery -- each of whom contributed their phenomenal talents to make this day possible. Special thanks to Sunshine Shannon Photography for these gorgeous images.

Vendor Team:
Event Planning/Design:   Naseem Events

Photography: Sunshine Shannon Photography

Floral Design: Petal Atelier

Venue and Catering: Faz Sunnyvale
Paper flowers: Jones & Posy
Cake Pops: Just Bakecause
Cake: C'est Si Bon
Calligraphy: Britni Chon (little things everywhere)

 

forest fête amidst redwoods and succulents

This late spring wedding celebrating the union of Nadia and Eddie was so special to me. This was Nadia's second wedding so the highlight for me was seeing her joy with her two daughters and how close the family of four had become. Not to mention her DRESS. She got it from Anthropologie and totally redid everything herself. Even the color lining to make it more bridal. She had a vision in mind and brought it to life perfectly.

Nadia and Eddie got married at Walden West in the hills of Saratoga. Total cabin in the woods vibes (not the horror movie lol). The couple absolutely loves the outdoors and hiking, so everything was centered around wood textures and greenery. You might know by now how much I love details, so it was a treat for me to work with Nadia on brainstorming how to make her venue pop -- from those gorgeous oak crossback chairs, to the table numbers named after trees, to the lawn games during cocktail hour. Her daughter is such an artist and created the corn hole and ring toss games all on her own. I loved how much the colors popped with the venue. Other notable mention are those centerpieces created entirely from scratch by Nadia's florist Marci Hayden of RockStone Gardens. Succulents galore! 

It was such a special evening. Something else that was a treat for me was getting to meet and work with Sunshine Shannon Photography  -- who is Nadia's coined "second daughter" :) How gorgeous are the photos she captured?! Enjoy. 

dana & jake's wedding 4/1/17

It's only the start of this wedding season and I already have a favorite that is so near to my heart. Dana and Jake are super special to me because they were my first official wedding where I had all the creative control from start to finish. I not only designed and styled this wedding but also helped them book a few of the vendors they were looking for. It's so awesome to have a team of creatives I am comfortable working with and believe in, so I was ecstatic to work with my friend Keegan of Petal Atelier on so much of the design elements of this wedding. It's not every day you'll find a florist who will deconstruct a MOH bouquet that isn't being used and create a breathtaking floral display on a naked cake (see below for more!). 

For this wedding, I started with really getting to know my clients and what they wanted. As Oakland natives, Dana works as a school teacher and Jake dabbles in graphic design. They decided to have their wedding at the Oakland Museum of CA. Perfect fit, right? Jake designed their invite suite too and with the usage of lines, I decided to go with a geometric theme for the wedding. I didn't want this to be too over the top so I just added subtle touches to the details here and there. My favorite piece was the hexagon ceremony backdrop I found on Instagram after hours of digging! (Courtesy of Petite Pomme Design). I also decided on doing cement hexagon tiles for each escort card (doubled as a favor for guests too!). The lovely Joy + Confetti  did all the calligraphy on those! 

The wedding was so special, especially because you could just see the couples' love for one another. High school sweethearts, Dana's class and simplicity exudes elegance, and Jake has such a genuine and down to earth spirit.  I loved working with these two and creating some magic!

All photos courtesy of Manali Anne Photography.  See full vendor list under the gallery.

Vendor Team:

Planning/Styling: Naseem Events

Floral Design: Petal Atelier

Photography: Manali Anne Photography

Calligraphy: Joy + Confetti

Hexagon Hoop Backdrop: Petite Pomme Design

Cake: JustBakeCause

 

my one year retrospective

Fun fact about me, I love love love to look back on life's milestones and do little retrospectives along the way. One year check ins, seeing what I was doing this time 5 years ago, etc. The one app I check religiously every day on my phone is TimeHop. I don't know what it is, but I love being able to track growth. Sometimes when we're in the thick of things, we can't see the big picture so there's something so rewarding about taking a step back and seeing just how much we've done in a short time. Life is so fleeting. It's important to celebrate the big milestones as well as the tiny victories. That being said, today is a very special day for me. Exactly one year ago today (well, in actuality it was a two-day process so April 20th and 21st to be exact!), I officially launched Naseem Events.

 

It's so crazy to think about just how much has happened in only a year. Last April, I was so determined to push myself outside my comfort zone and simply try this out. I wasn't sure where it would lead but I told myself the least I could do was try and worst case, it would flop. The opposite couldn't be more true. The amount of positive feedback and growth of this business has been truly overwhelming. Just looking at this grid of memories gives me #allthefeels.

If I told you how much I charged for my first wedding you'd laugh. But my mentor, Satra (Events by Satra), told me I'd look back in a year and laugh too. So I'm here laughing with you, haha. To see the growth from then to now and how much those sacrifices have paid off is invaluable. I've been able to establish myself as a reputable brand, delivering quality product and customer service.

I was looking back on my journal entry the week I started this venture and I had listed out quite a few "one year goals" and "five year goals" -- it's been so amazing to be able to check off goals from both columns already. Some things were small, like wanting to do 3 weddings my first season. I did 6. This season, that number has doubled with 12. There were bigger things like wanting my first styled shoot to be published. This was a dream I fought so hard for. The feeling of pay off of seeing that acceptance email is something I will never forget. Not only that, the first FOUR shoots in a row I did were all simultaneously published in some of the biggest wedding blogs in our country. 

I had the opportunity to work with some amazing vendors in the creative community (some of which have become great friends) and push myself personally past some challenges that seemed impossible at the time. 

So happy one year birthday, Naseem Events. You truly are my baby and I am so proud of you. Here's to another fruitful year of multiplied growth, new accomplishments, and most importantly more satisfied clients who love the work I put out. Last but not least, all glory to God who is able to do exceedingly more than I could have ever ask or imagine. <3 

la la land-inspired proposal shoot

As soon as i saw "La La Land" I felt inspired. The whole film brought on so many emotions for a wedding creative; after all, one of the most iconic songs from the film was called, "Here's to the ones who dream." 

The vision for this styled shoot was heavily inspired by the film. The goal was to recreate an evening that transported the couple back to the film for her surprise proposal dinner. The groom had planned a proposal dinner for the two of them outside under the stars. We had the record playing on vinyl, bistro lights at sunset, and cocktails named after songs from the film.

The aesthetic goal in my design was to remain reminiscent of celestial skies and the playful improvisational vibes of jazz music. 

The most exciting part about this shoot was that Fire & Brilliance (ring company) was so ecstatic about this idea that they designed a new, custom ring inspired by the film as well to feature in the shoot wth us. Photos captured by my lovely friend, Yasmin Roohi Photography. 

Full vendor team below <3 

Full vendor team:

Styling/ Design/ Planning: Naseem Events

Photography: Yasmin Roohi

Florals: Blair Dugan Floral Design

Cake: JustBakeCause

Farm table:  Lost and Found Vintage Rentals

Ghost chairs and plate chargers: The Chiavari Guys

Table Linens: Party Crush Studio

Calligraphy: Inkcitra

Makeup/Hair: JirehArtistry

Models: Lucy and Sam

Ring: Fire and Brilliance

Ring Box: Mrs. Box  

muted baroque x classic romantic styled shoot

Crisp winter air. The perfect sunset. This shoot was an absolute dream. The vision was to create a modern baroque aesthetic with whimsical elements of a romantic wedding reception. Often times when we think "baroque," the words "gaudy" and "luxurious" come to mind. But I wanted to stay true to my personal style which is much more modern so I came up with a muted baroque aesthetic, if you will. You can see that present in the dessert options, created by the ever-talented La Vie Douce Designs, and the intricate wedding gown by Ju.Lee Collection. I absolutely loved how different the dress was from what we're used to seeing; the details are so beautiful.

I think the small details go a long way in setting yourself apart as a stylist / designer. I went with the vintage handkerchiefs instead of napkins to add some character & I loved that we were able to give so much life to the tabletop with something as simple as a blush pink. And those FLOWERS - Petal Atelier worked her magic as usual! 

One of my favorite elements that really inspired me from the beginning of the planning process was finding the vintage scale from the lovely Lost & Found Vintage's collection. We had this displayed on a side table during the reception as as symbol of the couple's love outweighing anything that life might throw at them. I chose to have the ring weighed down on the scale by rice, which has symbolized prosperity in weddings from the beginning of time.

It was so ethereal shooting at the SSS Ranch in Calistoga in the crisp winter air. The sun came out at the very end, making for some gorgeous candid moments for the couple on the Persian rug in the grass. Huge shout out to Michelle Chang for these amazing photos. See full vendor team below the gallery. 

Vendor Team

Planning/ Design: Naseem Events

Photography: Michelle Chang Photography

MUAH: Bun Bun Bridal Lab

Cake and desserts: La Vie Douce Design

Wedding dress: Ju.Lee Collection

Florals: Petal Atelier

Rentals: Lost and Found Vintage Rental

Calligraphy: Shasta Bell Calligraphy

Venue: Triple S Ranch

Ring: Susie Saltzman

Linens: The Linen Bar

Videography: Carisma Films

Ring box: Secret Keeper Box

old world, regal styled shoot

Would you believe me if I said I was inspire by a wine goblet? Well yes, that statement is entirely true. My vision for this styled shoot that happened back at the start of January was brought upon after seeing the vintage wine glasses you'll see below. I wanted to embody an ethnic meets modern aesthetic, while incorporating old world, regal elements. You don't see it done much these days and I had this itch to scurry away from the typical mason jar/rustic/boho look that's been so popular the las season (not hating on it at all, mind you!). But just felt like something new would be refreshing.

That, paired with Nataly Zigdon's moody style made for some gorgeous photos. Some elements that really brought this shoot together included the wedding dress, which as you can see has Middle Eastern-inspired embroidery, tons of metallics (how unique is the plateware?!), and deep, winter floral tones. Best part? Having real food during the shoot which is something you don't see every day! My lovely friend Shivani of the Plate Escape created these gorgeously artistic plates which totally brought the regal notch to a whole new level. <3

Full vendor team below the photo gallery.

Full vendor team:

Styling/ Design/ Planning: Naseem Events
Catering: Shivani Singh - The Plate Escape
Photography: Nataly Zigdon Photo
Florals:  Blair Dugan Floral Design
Cake: JustBakeCause
Rentals/Furniture: Personal collection of caterer
Calligraphy: Plan My Wedding Please
Wedding dress, hair pieces: La Soie Bridal
Makeup/Hair: Nicole Jamora

botanical bliss // greenhouse styled shoot

There's something so calming about greenhouses. I always thought a wedding held within one would be so beautiful because the couple is coming together and growing into the next season of their lives, surrounded by botanical life which is constantly growing as well. It truly is love personified. And that's where this vision stemmed from - the venue! 

My vision with this styled shoot was creating an absolutely ethereal moment for the couple. I wanted to go with more neutral, earthy colors (deep reds, grey, lavender) that were more on the muted side so the true beauty of the venue itself (all that plant life!) could speak for itself. I didn't want to limit the scope of the concept by categorizing it under a specific season, but the colors and dress are definitely geared more towards the winter aesthetic. 

 I wanted to include some unique details, and one of my favorites was serving coffee in these vintage Turkish coffee cups and saucers that belonged to my great grandmother. That, paired with the romantic calligraphy decor incorporated really brought the entire look together. The entire day was simply magical. 

These stunning photos, both film and digital, are courtesy of my talented friend Yasmin Roohi Photography -- See our full vendor list under the gallery! 

Full vendor team: 
Styling/ Design/ Planning: Naseem Events
Photography: Yasmin Roohi Photography
Venue: Shelldance Orchid Gardens
Florals & Wreath: Petal Atelier
Rentals & linens: Chairs & Cups
Calligraphy: Danika.Ink
Makeup: Neda Abootorabi
Cake: JustBakeCause
Wedding dress, veil, accessories: Dean & Willow
Models: Sohrab Fatemi and Jessica Johnson 
Men's Suit and Shoes: Tuxedo Wearhouse
Hair: Nicole Jamora (One of a Kind Beauty)
Turkish Coffee Cups and Saucers: Naseem Events (personal collection) 

 

dessert table styling // winter mini shoot

December has been so busy for me in the best way possible. I managed to pack in planning 3 shoots simultaneously, and this one I'm sharing here is super special to me. It's always a treat to collaborate with friends in the creative sphere and I was stoked to work on this mini shoot with two of my favorites, Yasmin Roohi Photo and JustBakeCause to showcase Amanda's winter offerings. In styling the dessert table for her, I thought I'd share a few of my tips and tricks that helped me envision what I wanted the final product to look like:

1) Always start with a staple piece: When I go shopping to scout out pieces for shoots I always look until I find that one piece that I fall in love with. For this shoot, it was the antler-shaped gold tray. I absolutely loved this and thought it was the perfect embodiment of the holiday season. I based the rest of my decor off that piece and what would mesh well with it. 

2) Build upon textures: I knew I wanted most of my aesthetic to be gold (obvi), but I also didn't want it to look super regal or old-fashioned. I purposely mixed in more modern, earthy textures like the marble cake stand you see -- as well as the subtle pops of red in the holly and candles to balance everything out.

3) Less is more: I knew Amanda's desserts speak for themselves (no I don't just mean the taste); she is a true artist as you can see in the photos below. Because of that, I wanted to let the desserts speak for themselves which is why I went the more minimal approach with the colors and table decor. I wanted the focus to be on her work, with the decor as unique accents to highlight (i.e. acorns with the bells). 

Ok enjoy these beautiful photos and let me know what you think! What's your go-to for designing your holiday tablescape?

(Special shout out to my girl Neda for being on glam squad patrol for this shoot <3). 

holly, jolly holiday parties

Ahh the holidays! I love Christmastime SO much. It's crazy to see how quickly it came upon us this year -- but I'm not complaining! I absolutely love the crisp air, rosemary garnishes everywhere, and the warm winter colors. I had the privilege of working with my home church, Awakening last weekend to help bring to life our vision for our annual Christmas party. My favorite part was that we held it at this amazing warehouse venue in downtown SJ, Forager Tasting Room-- that brick wall in the back?! Swoon! We had an indoor gelato cart, photo booth, dance floor, raffle, and of course - drinks & light bites. I decided to go a more minimal route with the table centerpieces and went with long wreathy garlands (save a buck or two and get these from Trader Joe's) that I cut into shorter pieces, and then added texture with candles and ornaments. Who says ornaments only belong on the tree?!

It was such a fun time for all of us:) Thanks to the talented Oh.Pictures for taking these photos,  Cafe Primavera for catering, and my amazing friend/ planning parter Kathryn for helping make all of this come together so seamlessly. 

elegant, outdoor winery wedding

On the blog this morning is one of my favorite weddings from this season. I had the honor of helping Shauna and John with their wedding this past September at one of my all-time favorite venues: the lovely Regale Winery in Los Gatos. The wedding was held the last week of September, yet the weather was well into the high 80's all the way through the ceremony and early evening cocktail hour. It was such a gorgeous day. The photos speak for themselves so I'll keep this short and sweet. Thanks to the talented Courtney of Photoflood Studio for capturing these images. See full vendor list below the photos! 

Photography: Photo Flood Studio

Florals: Petal Atelier

Venue: Regale Winery

Catering: Cafe Primavera

Planner: Naseem Events

moroccan-inspired bridal shower

Hello November! This is officially my favorite time of year. I have to say, it's mostly because I'm biased and my birthday is mid-November. But in addition to that, I love the fact that my birthday kicks off the entire holiday season :) My family is huge on celebrating so it's always one party after the next as soon as Thanksgiving hits. 

This bridal shower styled shoot was created from a Moroccan-inspired vision I had. I wanted to incorporate autumn season elements such as pears, pomegranates, and persimmons, which worked perfectly against the florals and greenery, and the earthy wood tablescape. The details are what matter most to me: sparkling pear cocktails, custom "maca-s'mores" for dessert, and a textured Persian rug to bring all of the aesthetic to life. We decided to incorporate a DIY floral jewelry-making station which I think is so unique (and let's be real, flower crowns are so last year!). 

Best of all, the models were all my friends! It was so special to me to introduce my friends from all different parts of my life and have them celebrate together.  Not to mention, it was such a joy to tag team with my bestie, Amanda Az who took these gorgeous shots. Enjoy!

*Currently booking for holiday parties // see entire vendor team below photos* 

Vendor Team:

[Styling/Design: @naseemevents | Photography: @amanda.az | Florals: @petal_atelier | Desserts: @justbakecause | Calligraphy: @inkcitra | Makeup: @nedaknows | Tables, Chairs, Tableware rentals: @williamspartyrentals |Dresses: @anthropologie @freepeople | Pillows: @pier1 |

(Pewter antiques and Persian Rug: Naseem Events) 

styled shoot basics // my top 3 tips

Hello lovely readers! I'm so pleased to share part 2 of a recent styled shoot I put together with an amazing team of vendors who all came together to make my vision a reality last month. (See below the photos for the full list of creatives!). For this shoot, the vision was more girly/classic and romantic; more focus on pinks and gold, + tulle as you can see in the bride's gorgeous two-piece skirt & crop top. We had such a fun time shooting this; so much laughter and also so many things to learn.

That being said, I wanted to share the wealth! One of the biggest takeaways for me from planning this shoot was not to underestimate the amount of work that goes into one of these. From start to finish as a planner your role is Indian Chief/ Ringleader. I'd love to share the three tips I think are the most beneficial when planning a shoot (good for those who might not even know where to start!) --

1) Build your vendor team: this is one of my favorite parts of being in the creative world because there is such a big network of talented folks to collaborate with. I absolutely love building relationships and getting to know new people so this kind of came as second nature. If you're having trouble nailing down lets say a florist or something, one thing I found that helped (might just be my creeper social media stalking abilities, but hey who's labeling it) -- is that I would search via hashtags for the right vendor. I.e. "#bayareaflorist" or something along those lines and then see who had an aesthetic that really resonated with me and my personal brand.

2) Nail down the venue: this is HUGE. I honestly think this is the hardest part of planning a styled shoot. Big lesson for me was to do my research ahead of time. For example, we had scoped out a certain park in the North Bay and come to find two weeks before the shoot it's strictly open to residents of that city. Always do your homework about the permits needed and whatnot.

3) Finally, the biggest piece of wisdom - be prepared for rejection and take it with a grain of salt. Whether it's a vendor who can't work with you on this shoot or a blog who declined you from publishing the shoot, I think it's super important to remember that we're all hustling; and that will often times include rejection or maybe things not always turning out your way. What grows your character is how you respond to that sudden left turn. I never really understood the weight that the world "hustle" really carries but I can confidently say as a business owner who is only six months in, I am dailyyy pushing myself above and beyond what I'm used to in order to make my business successful. And sometimes that might even mean you don't have the support you expected but a wise friend once told me that it's not others' support that will matter in the long run or bring in the big bucks ;) You have to hustle because YOU believe in your craft and you visualize that long term goal coming to fruition. 

Ok that's all from me! Enjoy xx

fall inspo // styled shoot

While we in the Bay Area are currently stuck in the middle of Indian Summer at its finest, autumn is quickly upon us. When I think about color trends and inspiration for styling fall events and weddings, I really see shades of jade being prominent this year. There's just something so poignant about the color that makes everything pop. 

With this recent styled shoot I put together, my vision (that played out perfectly I might add!) was super boho, airy, and intimate. I love the freedom planners have with styled shoots because it's your chance to really showcase your own personal aesthetic and encapsulate your brand. 

Currently booking for fall weddings, photoshoot styling, holiday parties, and more. Please reach out. See below for all the amazing vendors I partnered with on this shoot. xx

DIY beer tasting & bbq

It's always fun to change things up and get creative in the events department. Last night I switched from wedding planning mode to birthdays after one of my closest friends asked me to throw her husband's 28th birthday party. First thought: a guys' birthday; how can I style this in the most manly way possible? Haha. What initially came to mind (and call me stereotypical if you will) was meat. Yes, meat. I'm very close with our fellow birthday boy too so I knew he'd appreciate a nice, meaty feast. So I went with a good old fashioned Southern BBQ theme for dinner, along with a beer tasting flight station to start the night off right. 

Putting together a DIY beer tasting flight is not as hard as one might think, and if anyone has ever wanted to style one, I wanted to give my top 3 tips/ suggestions for how to go about it:

1) Keep it simple: I wanted to keep the focus on the beers so I went with three types that I thought would be interesting to each palate. Lagunitas IPA, a Radler, and Chocolate Stout. Pro Tip: Trader Joe's personal beer selection is bomb and their visual design is very appealing to the eye. Win win.

2) Beer snacks; a must: I had a little bit of everything going to compliment each of the three beers. Some suggestions I have are olives, pretzels, almonds, and even plantain chips. Yes, you heard that right. Funny enough, those were the most popular of the night and were gone before anything else. 

3) Presentation: How you present something will always make or break it. When it comes down to food especially, studies have shown that people are universally drawn to pretty looking things; therefore my priority after I nail down what my "content" is (in this case, a beer flight), I focus on how to present it in a way that will be most visually appealing when the guests walk in the door. For this party, I wanted the aesthetic to be generally very earthy so I went with butcher paper for my table runners and wooden platters to serve most everything on. My favorite part though was the glassware for the beer flights. I've had these glasses in the family for about 10 years now, straight from Moscow. It was great to bring them out and give some flair to the design. 

 

It was fun adding other little tidbits to spice up the decor. When hosting an indoor party; especially one that's pretty intimate like this was, the little things matter most, namely making something ordinary pop. So whether it was writing out each dish name in calligraphy on the butcher table, fruit skewers instead of plain cut up fruit, or the BBQ set in the background on display,  each small thing added to the overall look and feel. And in the end, party was a success! Enjoy the photos below. Huge thanks to my fellow creative friend, Parastou Bartley, for helping me take these! <3