If you knew Tracy Taylor Ward in early 2009, she was working as an interior designer and hosting television shows for MTV and HGTV. When it came time to say “I Do” to the love of her life later that year, Tracy and hubby-to-be Matthew (a graphic designer) knew they wanted to be involved in every aspect of the planning process. What they didn’t realize is just how much they would fall in love with wedding planning.

Tracy Taylor Ward

Today, the happily married couple runs a full-service wedding planning and design firm. In fact, they were recently named one of the top in the country by Martha Stewart Weddings. Our team is honored to add Tracy Taylor Ward Design to our list of Breakers Blue Book partners! We sat down with her to chat about her inspirations…

“Only two months after our wedding we knew that a venture into the wedding and events industry was the right decision for us,” Tracy recalls. “Now five years later, we have a terrific team of planners and designers and feel very fortunate to wake up every day and get to do what we love.”

Q: Where does your inspiration come from?

A: Given our backgrounds in interiors and graphics, we find ourselves most inspired by each venues architecture, but are always inspired by textiles and fabrics, fonts, and color schemes. Whether I am walking down Madison Avenue each day on my way to work looking at the gorgeous window displays, or thumbing through interior design and fashion magazines, I’m constantly snapping photos of bits and pieces which remind me of a client so I can find creative ways of translating those ideas into unique designs for my clients.

> Take a peek at Matthew’s inspiration sketches from a recent visit to The Breakers…

Spotlight on a Guru: Tracy Taylor Ward

Q: Favorite Breakers’ event space?

A: While all of the ballrooms at The Breakers are beautiful, The Circle Ballroom really stands apart for me because there is no other venue like it! It’s so unique and the space is the perfect size and shape for an intimate reception.

The Circle Ballroom at The Breakers

Q: How do you connect with your clients to discover their personal style?

A: I love finding out about my client’s personal style outside of their wedding-centric needs. I’ll ask about their favorite stores, restaurants, neighborhoods and vacation spots which tells me a lot about who they are and what their taste is. Once I have this information it makes it much easier for me to get inside their heads to help make recommendations on menu items they will like, venues and ambiances they will feel comfortable in, and to create tailored designs that I know will resonate with them.

Spotlight on a Guru: Tracy Taylor Ward
{Photo by Ira Lippke Studios}

Q: What’s in: What hot new wedding trends do you see emerging?

A: Rigging is currently having a major moment. From specialty lighting treatments like clusters of chandeliers hung en masse, to suspended floral designs floating over each table or over the dance floor, many couples are responding to the ethereal and whimsical quality of decor that is draped from above. Additionally, in fashion we are seeing more and more illusion necklines (which I personally love), and dresses with additional coverage of the arms- either with lace or small embellishments that gracefully dust the skin.

Spotlight on a Guru: Tracy Taylor Ward
{Photo by Scott Andrew Studio}

Q: What’s out: Any trends you could leave behind?

A: Traditional wedding favors such as small knickknacks that often get thrown away shortly after an event are losing their presence at weddings. Instead we’ve noticed our clients gravitating towards edible take aways, such as food trucks. Or, in lieu of something physical altogether, they are opting to make donations to a charity of their choice.

Q: What advice would you give to a bride who wants a traditional wedding with a modern twist?

A: It’s all about the little details. You can have a traditional wedding by following etiquette guidelines and making aesthetic choices that are classic and refined, but by opting for paperie that has a modern edge (i.e.: a clean sans serif font), or selecting a bold color scheme (i.e.: black and white), you can create a very chic juxtaposition between the two.

Spotlight on a Guru: Tracy Taylor Ward
{Photo by Ira Lippke Studios}

Q: Give us three of your favorite wedding must-haves.

  1. 1) One extra special “pop” piece of decor to make a beautiful and unexpected statement at the event.
    2) Many small decor elements that tell the couple’s story so guests will leave the event feeling like they know more about the pair then they did before arriving.
    3) Carefully curated linens and tableware that enhance the floral designs and make the food and drink look even more delicious.

Spotlight on a Guru: Tracy Taylor Ward
Q: What is your most important piece of advice for brides?

A: Hire a team of wedding vendors whose work you admire, whose expertise you trust, and whose professionalism sets you at ease. By surrounding yourself with the right vendors it will help ensure that you feel confident and relaxed from the very beginning until the very end of the planning process.
Tracy Taylor Ward Design
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The making of a momentous event starts with the selection of a single flower… and no team knows that better than The Design Studio at The Breakers. From the simplest to the most extravagant, our in-house design and décor team can create it for you.

With more than 35 team members working behind the scenes, The Design Studio is a passionate group of talented and super creative individuals who love to collaborate and inspire. Meet our Design Studio Sales Managers…

The Breakers’ in-house Design Studio Sales Team

The Breakers’ in-house Design Studio Sales Team:
(from Left) Aime Dunstan, Robert J. Peczka Jr. and Jennifer Herrera

Our full-service team promises if you can dream it, The Design Studio at can create it. Or better yet, let the team dream it up for you. Enjoy an inside look at their design vision…

>Where do you find your inspiration?

Aime Dunstan: “Little details often inspire big ideas, so my eyes are always open. Whether I’m driving slowly by a tightly manicured tier of Palm Beach hedgerows that contrasts in color and texture, or noticing the way sunlight shines through a historic pane of glass. I think there is something to be absorbed from every visual experience. Social media brings lots of inspiration as well, as it offers the opportunity for worldwide collaboration among creative individuals.”

Robert J. Peczka Jr: “My inspiration comes from many sources, for example; Fashion editorials, Visual merchandising, New York City, trees, flowers, nature, my clients…”

Jennifer Herrera: “People inspire me. I am very much a people person and in meeting brides, grooms, and their loved ones it’s important for me to hear their vision to be able to express it to their guests through decor. I work with an amazing team who inspire me every day. Each day is an inspiration, there just isn’t enough time to share it all.”

Decor by The Breakers’ in-house Design Studio

{Photo by Matt Horton/Artist Group}

>Hottest new décor trend?

Aime: “I love that pattern is making a comeback. From graphic fretwork to chintz, it lends great personality to a space.”

Robert: “Gold is back! Expect to see wonderful shades of violet, grape, plum and heliotrope up-coming for fall 2015. Also mixed metals… be daring and mix the right shades of gold and silver.”

Jennifer: “Color – I love pops of color in the right places, it really makes a statement. A fuchsia chuppah, dramatic ombre florals or an all-white wedding where the room lighting dramatically changes. I love rich colors.”

Decor by The Breakers’ in-house Design Studio

>The first thing you consider when you start to plan an event’s decor?

Aime: “The first consideration is tied directly to the host: What does he or she hope to achieve visually for his or her guests, and how can I help realize that vision? What is the priority in terms of design? Is it one show stopping display, or an overall aesthetic that’s truly unique? After that determination, I work to ensure each element communicates with the next in a sequence that reveals that priority in just the right light at just the right time. And I let it sing.”

Robert: “The first thing that I consider when I start to plan the decor for an event is my client’s vision.  I want to get to know my clients taste, expectations and design goals. I am here to help you design your dream event, and I want to deliver!”

Jennifer: “There are so many elements to take into consideration, it’s all a perfect storm of creation. Once I have the client’s vision in mind, I go directly to what is available at the time of the event and at its peak of gorgeousness. I love when I show a bride a flower or shade of a flower that she never thought of and see it hit her… ‘That’s it, that’s my wedding.’”

Decor by The Breakers’ in-house Design Studio
{Photo by Chris Joriann Photography}

>What is the number one piece of advice you would give a bride?

Aime: “Your wedding day is the start of your new life with the most important person in your life. Savor every moment with each other and those who mean the most in your lives. Leave the details to us.”

Robert: “The number one piece of advice that I would give a bride is to always stay true to yourself and the vision that you have always imagined for your special day.”

Jennifer: “Stop and smell the roses. (Especially my favorite, the O’Hara garden rose!) All of our planning and hard work is going to lead up to one of the most important and wonderful times in your life – enjoy it. You are here at The Breakers and we are here to make sure it’s perfect.”


Our full-service team promises if you can dream it, The Design Studio at The Breakers can create it.
Or better yet, let the team dream it up for you…

 Photo Tour: Peek at some of The Design Studio’s work
and enjoy a look at some of our featured Real Weddings.

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Known internationally as a top luxury invitation designer and style expert, Ceci Johnson attracts a global clientele of royalty, A-List celebrities, and design savvy Breakers’ brides and grooms.

Breakers’ Dream Maker: Ceci Johnson

A leader in couture invitation design and visual styling, The Breakers is honored to partner with Ceci and her company Ceci New York to offer an array of exclusive Breakers-inspired designs.  See her stunning collection of invitation ensembles here.

One of our many favorites, the Coral Cove ensemble…

Breakers’ Dream Maker: Ceci JohnsonHow did you use The Breakers’ immense history and amazing architecture to inspire your exclusive Breakers collection?
The beautiful thing about The Breakers is that there is inspiration everywhere I look. The architecture in particular is overflowing with ornate details and the lines create a really nice movement. Even the patterns in the carpets are eye candy to me. These details just make it easy for me to run with design ideas and imagine how they will translate into wedding invitations. Check out some of my favorite inspiration pictures I took with my iPhone while I visited…

Breakers’ Dream Maker: Ceci Johnson

Where does your inspiration come from?
I am always inspired first and foremost by my clients, and I combine that with my loves of fashion, culture, design, art and travel. Inspiration is everywhere I look in my world.

Breakers’ Dream Maker: Ceci Johnson

How do you connect with your clients to discover their personal style?
It’s all about getting to know each other! I love having an informal conversation about what they love, how they met, what details excite them. Essentially sharing anything and everything about their hopes and desires for their wedding day!  After hearing all of this information, I’m able to create a vision for their invitation design that suits their personal style and desires.

Breakers’ Dream Maker: Ceci JohnsonWhat’s in: What hot new wedding trends do you see emerging?
Personalization is huge and still going strong. It’s the most incredible luxury to have a talented designer create something one of a kind just for you on your wedding day. Whether it’s your dress, your cake, or your invitations, being able to receive something created just for you is beyond. I love to create unique, never-been-seen before, jaw dropping invitation statement pieces exclusively for my clients.

Breakers’ Dream Maker: Ceci Johnson

What’s out: Any trends you could leave behind?
The email wedding invitation. This is not acceptable in my book. Whenever I’m asked, “Is it ok to send an email wedding invitation?”  I always say, “Would you wear sweats and Ugg boots to your own wedding?’” To me it’s the same thing!

What is it like designing a new collection for an event at The Breakers?
One of my favorite things to do! The Breakers never ceases to amaze me. Every time I visit, my senses are immediately awakened and I’m inspired by everything I see around me. From the architectural detail to the beauty of the sea when I’m walking on the sand, The Breakers has so much to work with!

Breakers’ Dream Maker: Ceci JohnsonDepending upon the type of bride, I focus on different aspects of The Breakers. For one, it might be the gorgeous ceiling in the Gold Room. For another, I may choose the relaxed vibe of the tropical sea breezes. Whatever our angle, I make sure to design a couple’s invitation to be the perfect combination of their personalities and the magnificent splendor that is The Breakers Palm Beach.

Breakers’ Dream Maker: Ceci Johnson

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be doing?
I would be an actress on Broadway singing and dancing my heart out every day (that was my life before I went into Graphic Design). Either that, or a fashion designer.

Breakers’ Dream Maker: Ceci JohnsonWhat advice would you give to a bride who wants a traditional wedding with a modern twist?
Go for an invitation that has classic flourished script letterpress printed on thick, heavy card stock. Opt for gold foil accents to dress up the names, then mount it to an unexpected folio that closes with a clasp presenting your personalized emblem. Pair it with a gorgeous liner that boasts a beautiful print and you have the perfect modern spin on tradition.

Breakers’ Dream Maker: Ceci Johnson

Give us three of your favorite wedding must-haves.
1. An amazing gown – I’m still giddy about my Oscar de la Renta!
2. Surround yourself with your closest friends and family
3. A couture designed invitation suite (of course!)

Ceci New York
212.989.0695 x12
Website | Twitter | Facebook

CECI DELIVERED: Get a free dose of Ceci Johnson’s inspirations every week! Discover her style letter, CeciStyle, and sign up today. www.CeciStyle.com 

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For Amy, wedding photography is all about capturing a bride and groom’s unique style and personality. She says it is her job to tell the story of their special day in the most “timeless, creative and unobtrusive way possible.” We couldn’t agree more!

Amy Hill Photography

“After graduating from Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, I realized my passion for photographing weddings and events,” Amy says. “I started shooting on my own in 2004… and the rest is history!”

Q: What is it like photographing at The Breakers?
A: Ever since I started my career it was my dream to be a preferred vendor for The Breakers. Shooting at the hotel is such a positive experience for many reasons.

  • First of all, the grounds are perfect. There are so many different spaces to create dynamic imagery. From the front entrance to the beach, there are unending backgrounds to use to create the most gorgeous photographs.
  • Secondly, I love coming to work at The Breakers because of the staff! They are so pleasant and helpful, and we truly work together like a family. It makes a huge difference the day of the wedding to have such symbiotic relationships surrounding the clients.
  • Lastly, the quality of EVERYTHING at The Breakers is top notch, making my job so much easier. You just can’t take a bad photo.

Enjoy a few of Amy’s favorite images from Breakers weddings…

 Breakers’ Dream Maker: Amy Hill
Q: What inspires you?
A: My inspiration comes directly from my clients – every time. I feed off of their energy, sensing their wants and needs. I pay attention to their mannerisms, their likes and dislikes, the family dynamics, translating everything into my interpretation of their wedding day.

Breakers’ Dream Maker: Amy Hill
Q: Wedding Trends: What’s in? What’s out?
A: I rarely concern myself with trends; I like to focus on delivering TIMELESS images to my clients. Instead, I focus more on how I can capture the most clean, simple, emotional images possible. A well-lit, well-composed image of a bride or groom interacting with each other and their friends and family on the happiest day of their lives will never go out of style.

Breakers’ Dream Maker: Amy Hill

Q: If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?
A: I hope I would be involved in the music scene in some way. My second obsession, after photography, of course, has always been music.

Breakers’ Dream Maker: Amy Hill

Q: Give us your three wedding must do’s:
1. First Look: See each other before the ceremony, please! You will be so glad you did. There are so many gorgeous places to photograph on the grounds of The Breakers, it’s such a shame when my clients make me do all of the bride and groom portraits within a half hour of their cocktail hour once the sun has gone down.

Breakers’ Dream Maker: Amy Hill
2. VIPs: Limit the number of people in the room with you while you are getting ready. When you have the entire bridal party, parents, the hair and makeup team, videographers plus photographers all in one space… this tends to stress you out. Make another room the main place to get ready for everyone else and you enjoy your suite with a select few people.

Breakers’ Dream Maker: Amy Hill
3. More Dancing: Plan an after party! No one wants to leave a Breakers wedding. When the music stops give the leftover party-goer guests a surprise after party to attend complete with DJ and awesome finger foods.

Breakers’ Dream Maker: Amy Hill

Q: What is your most important piece of advice for the bride and groom?
A: Relax. You’re in good hands. Enjoy your loved ones and every moment… the rest will take care of itself.

Amy Hill Photography
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