While we are on the west coast, Lisa Vorce, our tastemaker for December, invited us into her design studio. Lisa, the creative force behind the unforgettable wedding weekend of Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, let us into a whole different world of weddings full of soul and story.
Walking into her space, you are transported into a capsule of travel, romance and design, which is not a surprise given that her name has become synonymous with heavily-pinned destination wedding weekends for modern couples.
We walk into the freshly painted first floor of her loft and the metal garage style doors are rolled up to let in warm Santa Ana light. A wall of fabric patterns is pinned behind her desk in a neutral to boldly hued gradient and a tree of ribbon samples greets us to our left. Lisa is perched at a work table in the middle, with two of her team members, Nicole and Shelley, poring over cognac leather and metallic ribbons for invitations. Leather and metallic, mixed, are Lisa’s favorite new design elements.
She brings us upstairs where she kicks up her riding boots on the edge of her nap-worthy gray couch and talks wedding with us over coffee.
Z: What about your home life translates to weddings?
L: My professional self and personal self are one and the same. That’s always been important to me so I don’t have to put on my “business” hat. I want to be 100% genuinely “me” when I work with my clients. It’s too much effort to be a different person!
Z: Does that translate to your design sensibility?
L: Absolutely. My natural aesthetic is understated and laid-back, yet well thought-through and well designed.
Z: What drew you to designing weddings?
L: It picked me, really. My first event was a birthday party for Nina Clooney (George’s mother). It confirmed how much I love taking care of people — and that’s really such a huge part of a successful wedding experience.
My dad is Mexican-Italian and my mom is German-Italian. I grew up celebrating and sharing with fifty plus cousins. I was raised around family, food and wine. With my clients, I share the same closeness and familiarity that I have with my own family.
Z: What’s the most memorable wedding you designed?
L: An elopement to Vietnam. To help with the budget, we skipped the site visit months in advance and opted for a guerilla-style planning and design process. We landed in Vietnam five days before our bride & groom and searched for interesting people and places and listened for stories. We found a well-known chef who owned a charming fishing boat. He ended up cooking an incredible meal for our clients on the boat and took them on a sunset cruise. We brought vintage lace with us from the States and found a local artisan to make traditional lanterns using the lace – which we later strung to create romantic lighting throughout the boat.
Z: What helps make your weddings so special?
L: Our weddings are really authentic and natural. I encourage my clients to stay true to who they are at their core – and we take the clues from there. I infuse my clients’ personalities as I design and take in to account the location, the blending of cultures, etc. Because of that, our events have a lot of soul and they tell a beautiful story.
Z: How would you describe your couples today?
L: My clients are worldly, savvy, conscientious and extremely gracious. The bride that I pair best with is one that recognizes the wedding is about her and her fiancé – but also about all the wonderful people that are joining to share in their celebration.
Z: What was your wedding like, 14 years ago?
L: It was right before I started wedding planning. I loved everything about my wedding and it was perfect for who I was at the time. Now, however, I would do things a bit differently! It would be much smaller and without a doubt in a very obscure location!
Z: What would you register for now?
L: All Vietri. It’s so me. Its organic, natural, not forced. I love the diversity of what is offered on Zola… from the china to the “experiences.” It’s perfect for my clients – well-traveled and cultured.
Z: Post-wedding season, what’s your resolution for 2015?!
L: Finding balance. A little me time.
Z: What’s does more “me time” look like?
L: Ironically…traveling. I am happiest on a plane. It’s the one place, the phone is not ringing and it’s where I get my most treasured sleep. The ascent is one of the most peaceful moments for me.
On that lovely note, we’re boarding the plane back east and we’re going to take a page out of Lisa’s book, power down, enjoy the moment and search for the stories.