C California Style

Santa Margarita Ranch. PHOTO: Kelsey Stewart of Ken Kienow Wedding Photography.
A citrus spread by Hollyflora. PHOTO: Kelsey Stewart of Ken Kienow Wedding Photography.
A delivery of ranunculus from Silver Lake Farms. PHOTO: Kelsey Stewart of Ken Kienow Wedding Photography.
Lars Francisco and Stephanie Giles of Finch Events. PHOTO: Annie Bang.

Conscious Coupling

by C California Style

Keeping style at the forefront, the wedding gurus behind Finch Events take a less-(waste)-is-more approach to nuptials

Like so many L.A. stories, the origin of Finch Events can be traced back to the elusive Hollywood dream. “We both came out here 10 years ago to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts—that’s where we met,” says Lars Francisco of his introduction to best friend and business partner (and self-proclaimed Grace to his Will), Stephanie Giles. In the ensuing years, they both waited tables while notching up acting jobs on the side before taking on more permanent positions; Francisco held the post of event coordinator for Beth Helmstetter Events, while Giles worked in public relations and marketing for Radio Disney and Universal Studios. One night two years ago, over margaritas at Don Cuco, they hatched a plan: to turn their mutual love for “dinners, parties, and being together” into an event production business with a bent toward all things eco-friendly—as evidenced by their moniker (“We went through a plethora of ‘naturey’ nouns and landed on Finch,” says Giles). Launched a year ago, Finch has already won over a devoted client base of brides and grooms, and been tapped for high-profile gigs such as Jo Malone’s recent Hollywood Hills bash hosted by Poppy Delevingne. We asked the pair to share their tips and go-to vendors for pulling off a better, greener big day. finchevents.com.

The Meal

“One-and-a-half million tons of food are wasted through caterers and weddings throughout California every year,” says Giles. To counteract this trend, she recommends teaming up with a compost company like Cater Green as well as joining forces with Angel Harvest, an organization that picks up unserved food and delivers it to social service agencies. Choosing a caterer that prizes local, seasonal sources is also a positive—Finch’s go-tos include Taste of Pace  and Transitional Gastronomy.

The Flowers

“Instead of getting tired of them, people are really embracing cacti,” says Francisco of the succulent craze. For a less-expected twist on the reusable centerpiece, the duo hang macramé baskets with greenery and ferns over tablescapes, and incorporate fruit-centric tableaus or potted plants like heirloom tomatoes that guests can take home. For DIY brides, Silver Lake Farms and The Bouqs source seasonal blooms.

The Venue

“Find a place that you love that you’re not fighting to make different: That way you don’t leave too large a carbon footprint by bringing in fabrics or indoor trees to hide walls, for example,” says Giles. For green-conscious venue options, Finch likes Downtown L.A.’s Millwick, Santa Margarita Ranch  and Huron Substation.

The Dress

Going the vintage route is always an eco-friendly decision—Finch points brides in the direction of Shareen Bridal for one-of-a-kind looks. If you’ve got your heart set on a made-to-order number, but aren’t interested in preserving and keeping your frock for posterity, consider passing it on for a good cause: Brides Against Breast Cancer  mounts wedding-gown sales to raise funds that benefit wellness and educational services for those impacted by the disease.

Finishing touches

It’s hard to avoid paper products for a formal event. “Use recycled paper, and think of alternatives where possible: like a chalkboard or a mirror for your table plan, or linen napkins at cocktail hour,” says Francisco. As for favors, “it’s great to have something that people can use right away,” says Francisco, who loves Los Angeles County Store for locally made artisanal items.