Monthly Archives: February 2010

A photograph worth pausing for

I came across this photograph shot by Jessica Claire (@jessicaclaire) and had to pause. I could go on and on about the setting, the table, the chairs, the flowers, the pine tree… but I won’t. Everything just works. This is a photograph worth pausing for.

Grace Ormonde

The therapeutic effects of a photograph.

Earlier today I had a rather painful (but I was told necessary) experience at my dentist; root canal is not my thing. I returned to my office and had a number of things to review. I found this image from Leanne Pedersen Photographers to be particularly soothing.

Aleene Jinn Hang and Joseph George, June 26, 2009
Warren, Michigan

Photography: Jessica Johnston Photography

As the weekend unfolds before us, I would like to share with you a wedding beautifully captured by Jessica Johnston Photography. (@jessjohnston)

Happy Friday

Grace Ormonde

At our wedding reception, my sister and maid of honor, Aubrey, said it best when she toasted: “today my sister married her Prince Charming.” Our relationship has always seemed like a romantic fairytale. It’s a love story that one can only dream about. I still feel so blessed that such a perfect gentleman swept me off my feet. Joseph is and will always be my prince charming. Joseph is the kindest, most caring, sincere, genuine and loving person I know. He has the qualities, demeanors and manners only a true prince would posses; he is truly one-of-a-kind.

We met in college at Michigan State University where Joseph was a freshman and I was a sophomore. Joseph used to tutor me in economics, which was a class that I struggled with. During our friendship, I used to always think, “whomever he marries will be the luckiest girl in the world.” Little did I know, that friendship would blossom into more, and ultimately that “lucky” girl would be me.

Fours years later, on a perfect summer day, he proposed to me on top of the Empire State Building in New York City. I had been told we were going to the city for a business meeting my father-in-law had scheduled, but that was a ploy to prevent me from suspect anything. Later, I found out there was no business meeting; the trip was strictly for the engagement.

We arrived in NYC early in the morning and had lunch with my fiancés family. Then Joseph asked me what I would like to do all afternoon. I hadn’t been to NYC in years and was truly overwhelmed by the options so he suggested the Empire State Building since I had never been there before.

When we made it to the top, Joseph handed our camera to a fellow bystander to take our picture, while he proceeded to get down on one knee. Surprised, I asked “What are you doing? I thought we were taking a picture,” until I realized he was on one knee for a reason and said the magical words, “will you marry me?” The rest is history and 363 days later we were married.

We truly had a fairytale wedding. There were over 450 guests in attendance, a five-course dinner, appetizers, orchestra, ice sculptures and so much more. The color scheme was white and gold, which was carried out throughout the entire day. Everything from the bridal bouquet to the ceremony, reception and bridal party dresses fit that scheme. It was something that I had always dreamed. Being 50 percent Chinese, I wanted to incorporate aspects of my culture into our wedding. Earlier in the day, we performed a tea ceremony where I was presented with gold pieces as gifts. Towards the end of the reception I changed into a traditional red Chinese gown. At this time I wore all of the gold pieces I had received earlier. The day was perfect and something I will remember for the rest of my life.

Ceremony: St. Paul Catholic Church
Reception: Andiamo Italia
Cake: Sweet Dreams Bakery
Florist and Event Planner: Jerry Stockie for Venetian Flowers
Hair: Kristina Mara for Figo Salon Birmingham
Makeup: Dawn Baker
Invitations: Flair Necessities
Wedding Gown: Pnina Tornai at Kleinfield
Photographer: Jessica Johnston Photography

Dom Perignon Wedding- A special touch for the wedding day

This week passed so quickly. Between spending two days in New York and putting the final touches on an exciting project I have been working on, I have had very little time to write this week.

I spent yesterday in New York doing a bit of shopping and attending an event at the LVMH Tower for the unveiling of Dom Perignon’s “Dom Perignon Wedding.” The thirteen bottle Vintage 2000 collection is meant to add a special touch to the wedding day. One of the 13 bottles comes in a keepsake white box and is personalized with the couple’s name and wedding date on a beautiful silver label. The presentation is stunning. The only time Dom Perignon has personalized something like this before was for the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

Lunch was beautifully created by chef Daniel Boulud of Feast & Fete in The Magic Room. My good friend and talented event designer Jeff Leatham created a delightful atmosphere with his signature style floral design. Colin Cowie was our host and coordinated the decor. I was happy to see some old friends and make some new ones. Sylvia Weinstock, Reem Acra, Georgina Chapman, Keren Craig, Raul Avila, Marcy Blum, Laurent Boidevezi, Peter Davis, Mark Ingram, Katie Lee, Darcy Miller, Nicole Miller, David Monn, Cathy Riva and Antony Todd were some of the guests.

Where, you might ask, is the Dom Perignon Wedding collection available? In New York, only by special order at Crush Wine & Spirits. Elsewhere, visit

Romance and Nostalgia

Who doesn’t like receiving gifts? Especially from people we love. Regardless of how valuable or how simple or inexpensive a gift may be, it is the thought that excites and pleases me the most.

I was looking at a submission of a destination wedding in France shot by Punam Bean Photography and this was one of the photos; the groom’s gift to the bride. I love the crinkled wrapping paper, the beautiful clutch, the hand written note that is partly blurry yet “love you” just jumps out. Shot in black & white along with the style of this clutch and the hand written note, this photograph exudes romance, nostalgia and alludes to a bygone era. Thank you for sharing this photograph @punambean.

Grace Ormonde

Avatar Fever

In the past month I can’t count how many times the following exchange took place: “Have you seen Avatar?”, “No, I haven’t seen it yet” I would reply. After a while, I felt as if I was living under a rock. Last night I decided to crawl out from under my “no, I haven’t seen Avatar” rock.

I was told I had to see it in 3D on an IMAX screen. Popcorn in hand, I found myself in my IMAX seat, smack in the center, eagerly anticipating the Avatar phenomenon to begin. And what a phenomenon it is!

This is not an attempt to write a movie review for Avatar. I can only say that I enjoyed the movie immensely; I found it to be visually amazing.

What I want to share with you is an observation. In my opinion, the creators of Avatar have set a new standard for how we can expect movies of this genre to be made. Be it because of technology, creativity, inspiration or whatever other reason or combination of reasons, every so often, every industry experiences benchmark breakthroughs. The key is to recognize the need for improvement in whatever we do and to identify and put into use ways to achieve those improvements, constantly raising the bar and setting ourselves apart.

If anything, Avatar has inspired me to strive to be better at what I do, personally and professionally.

Grace Ormonde

PS. These photographs are from a wedding I featured in the 2000 issue of Grace Ormonde Wedding Style. (Yes, I have been doing this magazine that long- in fact, even longer and it feels like I only started yesterday.)

The bride and groom were Rhode Island School of Design graduates and the wedding took place at the New York Botanical Gardens. Their invitations included a request for guests to celebrate nature by coming to the wedding dressed as bug, bird or gnu.

Bridesmaids were dressed as butterflies, groomsmen as lizards, the minister as a cardinal of the church. The bride’s dress was transformed into pea hen wear while the groom wore a cloak covered in peacock feathers. The bride’s stepfather walked her down the aisle dressed in formal skunk attire.

This wedding was so much fun and the only one of its kind ever submitted. It was shot by Jasper-Sky Photographers.

Mr. Abet the Cobbler

In my neighborhood there is a little cobbler shop owned by a sweet man in his 70’s – Mr. Abet. Every now and then, when the heels of a favorite pair of shoes are worn or some major malfunction happens to a pair I simply cannot part with, I will stop in and leave them in his expert care.

Mr. Abet is a true craftsman. You would be amazed at some of the repairs he has made.

I must have been in his shop dozens of times, yet, today, I noticed a sign hanging behind his working counter that I had never noticed before. Its message struck me and I wanted to share it with you.

It reads: “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after low pricing is forgotten.”

For those who set their standards high, let this message be a reminder and an inspiration.

Grace Ormonde

P.S. This photograph was submitted by Liza Gershman Photography (@photosafari22). Thank you Liza.

Pause, Notice and Appreciate

I came across this photograph from @catherine_hall and immediately paused.

What an absolute sense of tranquility and peacefulness this little baby exudes. And the bride looks so relaxed – tenderly cradling this precious little boy.

Do you think at this particular moment she is worrying about all the details that have consumed her leading up to her wedding day?

Pause, notice and appreciate,

Grace Ormonde

Cold, yet Cozy

Despite the frigid weather here in New England, today started out with a cozy feeling. The sun is shining bright and the days are getting longer by the minute as each new day unfolds. Although still early, the anticipation of spring is starting to set in.

I came across this photo from @genehiga and along with a cozy feeling, it reminded me of relaxing afternoon strolls in warmer weather with a light breeze, just enough to lift and sway a delicate veil.

If winter is here, can spring be far behind?

Grace Ormonde