Reception Style: Two Takes on "Something Blue" at Ember SLC

Local planners/designers Michelle Leo Events and FUSE Weddings & Events dream up fresh event styles at the downtown Salt Lake City venue.

With twoolf and photographs by Britt Chudleigh June 16, 2017 Published in the Winter/Spring 2017 issue of Park City Magazine

1) SUNNY DELIGHT | Michelle Leo Events

Envisioning white pumice buildings overlooking the cobalt blue waters of the Aegean Sea, Michelle Cousins of Michelle Leo Events designed this Mediterranean tablescape to transport guests to Santorini, Greece. “I was inspired by the city’s exquisite architecture and bold, romantic colors,” she explains.

The design is in the details: a blue-patterned cement tile tabletop sets the stage for baked ceramic dinner plates, hemstitched napkins, hand-painted dinner menus with calligraphy on crisp linen paper, abundant baskets of bread, bottles of olive oil (which double as wedding favors), bougainvillea-inspired florals, and potted herbs including thyme, oregano, lavender, and sage.

Cousins drew on fond childhood memories to create the Old-World wedding environment. “I’m Italian and grew up in a small town surrounded by Greeks and Italians who love to eat and celebrate,” she explains. “Every celebration is based around dining, so you eat, talk, eat some more, talk some more, and flourish in an environment surrounded by loved ones and the coziness of home.”


“I opted for a tiled tabletop, finding inspiration within Santorini’s use of stone and pumice,” explains Cousins. “I sourced a beautiful cement tile boasting several blue colors that complemented my Mediterranean vision.” Inspired by the plethora of colorful bougainvillea found throughout the streets of Santorini, Cousins and florist Erin Keller of Urban Chateau Floral chose vibrant sweet pea, cosmos, olive branch, and asparagus vine to re-create the look. They arranged the blooms in local handmade pottery placed alongside baskets of artisan bread for nontraditional centerpieces.


“Food is prevalent at almost every type of celebration that exists in the Greek culture,” says Cousins. “The menu often consists of fresh breads, fruits, veggies, cheeses, olive oils, pastas, meats, and more.” She called upon Cuisine Unlimited to create a menu of farm-to-table eats, including an olive oil tasting bar and a spread of rustic berry-filled desserts.

Santorini’s simplistic textiles inspired the stone escort cards, which mimic the pumice used to construct most of the buildings. An escort-card board by Hammer Time Designs features custom nail art. The hand-painted invitation suite by Lynn + Lou and Inkling Calligraphy also reflects the Greek city’s organic environment. Cousins chose a natural linen paper in crisp white for the suite to complement the other natural textiles found throughout her design. And as a final nod to handmade décor, Cousins commissioned macramé artist Bonfire Heart to craft a swingy hammock perfect for after-party hangs.

Ember is a great space for organic, urban-chic vibes. —Michelle Cousins


What’s a bride to wear for this Grecian wedding? We love local designer Chantel Lauren’s blushing ball gown, featuring a rose gold skirt hand-painted by her husband, Tyler. Rose gold jewelry, including earrings, a bracelet, and a necklace with blue tanzanite and chocolate diamonds, adds the finishing touch.


Overall Design Michelle Leo Events

Table Diamond Rental; modified by Michelle Leo Events

Chairs, Place Settings, Flatware, Glasses & Napkins Diamond Rental

Rug Utah Rugs

Paper Goods Lynn + Lou and Inkling Calligraphy

Flowers Urban Chateau Floral

Handmade Pots Moki Pottery

Nail Art Escort-Card Board Hammer Time Designs

Food & Desserts Cuisine Unlimited

Breads Pierre Country Bakery

Favors Mountain Town Olive Oil

Macramé Hammock Bonfire Heart

Bridal Gown Chantel Lauren

Bridal Jewelry Morgan Jewelers

Hair & Makeup Anya Zeitlin and Vince Abram

Model Grace Winkel / Sixis Management

Venue Ember

2) ENCHANTED EVENING | FUSE Weddings & Events

“Ember offers such a great blank canvas,” says Mara Marian of FUSE Weddings & Events. “Although the space naturally lends itself to clean, minimalist design, I wanted to venture in the opposite direction and show how well a really luxe, polished design would shine against the venue’s clean lines.” The result? This lush, elegant tablescape brimming with soft florals and sumptuous fabrics, prime for winter or spring celebrations.

She chose a bold color palette of royal blue, lavender, and burgundy rather than playing it safe with a neutral palette. Her design truly shines thanks to glam mixed-metal accents, including brass floral vases, gold chargers, rose gold flatware, and the foiled details on a custom invitation suite, as well as a wall of glowing bistro lights hung behind the table. “The bulb wall was a key element in marrying the urban feel of the venue and the softness of our design—the glow from the bulbs is romantic and enchanting,” Marian explains. “Lighting is so important. It immediately warms a space and makes even a large event feel intimate.”


“Plum is the new blush,” proclaims florist Kellie Jackstien of Artisan Bloom. She teamed up with Marian to design the table’s blooming runner of champagne and dusty plum roses; antique hydrangea; merlot dahlias; and accents of deep blue privet berries, purple artichokes, and velvety dusty miller. “To introduce a secondary focal element, we used tall florals in cast antique brass-footed vases filled with large bouquets of the same floral blend,” says Jackstien. “Deep eggplant draping calla lilies added texture.”

Lighting is so important. It immediately warms up a space and makes even a large event feel intimate. —Mara Marian


Marian commissioned Carrie’s Cakes to whip up this luxe five-tier cake with layers of varying heights and gilded accents. “I decided on the cake first,” she explains. “This often happens with our clients: one element can spark the design for an entire event.”

Keep your new wedding bling safe in a stylish, personalized velvet ring box by The Mrs. Box.

Raise a glass to your love with a chic custom cocktail by Perfect Pour. “I love a signature cocktail at an event,” says Marian. “It serves double duty as something exciting for guests as well as a décor detail if the cocktail has a special glass, interesting garnish, or unusual color.”


Overall Design FUSE Weddings & Events

Bistro Lights Moonlight Lighting

Table & Chairs Diamond Rental

Table Linens La Tavola Fine Linen

Place Settings, Flatware & Glasses Diamond RentalFUSE Weddings & Events

Paper Goods Ann Elizabeth Print Studio

Flowers Artisan Bloom

Cake Carrie’s Cakes

Cocktail Perfect Pour

Bridal Gown Harlow Brides

Rings O.C. Tanner Jewelers

Ring Box The Mrs. Box

Hair & Makeup Anya Zeitlin and Vince Abram

Model Grace Winkel / Sixis Management

Dog Model Cashius the bulldog

Venue Ember


Housed in a 100-year-old building, Ember is a spacious, blankslate venue for celebrations in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City. The modern and minimalist 3,700-square-foot space boasts exposed brick, raw wood beams, fresh white walls, concrete floors, and vaulted ceilings. There’s also a custom bar with a butcher-block top, a spiral staircase that leads to a small loft, two marble-accented bathrooms, and a private outdoor patio that offers an optional back entrance. The space can accommodate 200 guests seated or 450 guests standing. Rental pricing starts at $1,800.