Creative Spirit

Jo Gartin gives wedding planning a unique, personal touch

If you’re daydreaming about a classic white wedding, with hundreds of guests gathered in a hotel’s palatial banquet room, then please don’t call Jo Gartin to plan your affair.

That’s because the Hollywood-based Gartin, whose red-carpet brides and grooms have included Molly Shannon, Elizabeth Berkley and Benjamin Bratt, doesn’t accept clients with by-the-book aspirations. "My style is modern, yet quite simple. I don’t create weddings that are too ornate." In fact, Gartin’s thoughtful

approach to nuptials may more accurately describe her function as an event stylist than as a planner. She strives to define each bride’s individual style, and in doing so, makes every wedding she works on more meaningful.

Gartin’s approach to wedding planning evolved from her own experience as a bride in 2001. She moved from Australia to the United States to embark on a modeling career and fell in love with an American in the process. Gartin quickly discovered that the lavish wedding how-tos she found in books here were very foreign to her Australian sensibilities. "It’s not about extravagance, really, in Australia," she explains. "So candelabra-type opulence wasn’t my style." By casting aside convention, Gartin planned a wedding that was inventive and memorable, donning a dusty-rose dress instead of the traditional white and decorating her ceremony site with brightly colored Balinese silk lanterns rather than classic flowers. In 2002, her event-planning business, Love, Luck and Angels, was born. Soon her clever style—and à la carte menu of services from custom invitation design to complete event planning—grabbed the attention of Hollywood’s elite, who’ve been calling upon Gartin for all kinds of celebrations ever since.

So Gartin has published a photo-filled book, Jo Gartin’s Weddings: An Inspiring Guide for the Stylish Bride (Rodale, January), that’s very unlike the ones she flipped through when she was engaged. Gartin says each chapter tries to inspire a bride, not dictate elements that she can mimic. "If you want traditional, there are so many good books for that," she says. "I want to inspire the woman who wants to tell her love story on her wedding day."

Gartin’s Good Ideas

  • Give a sense of your setting on your invitations. Use descriptive phrases like "at sunset," "in the rose garden," "lakeside" or "under a star-filled sky."
  • Before sealing your invitations, lightly spray them with a scent that complements the season or location. For a spring wedding, use gardenia; for a tropical wedding, try coconut.
  • Order custom pendants or leather- or cloth-bound journals for your bridesmaids. Have them engraved with a word or verse that represents your friendship, like a nickname, the name of a song you both love, or an adjective, such as "blessed" or "inspiring."
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