Archive for March 2010

New Zealander living in S.Ca planning weddings

Well, life is starting to get crazy again with wedding season getting ready to go into full swing in April and go on through the end of October.  So the tastings/detail meetings and keeping everyone on task has been the main focus for the past couple of months, as well as orchestrating the weddings that are happening in our ‘off’ months.  I have another this weekend at the Hyatt Huntington Beach Resort & Spa, so looking forward to seeing that come together, a lovely couple and the bride’s parents are just the nicest nicest people.

This time of year is also when it seems we have locations showcasing themselves so that we keep them in mind for future weddings, either this year or next year.  So I am going to update you with what is near and dear around here that I have been fortunate to update myself with.

The St Regis Resort & Spa in Monarch Beach put on a lovely event to showcase the property a few Sundays ago.  Many vendors participated, the food & beverage was lovely as always, and it was a gorgeous day to spend close to the coast.  Great job to the team at St Regis who pulled it together, and to some of my pals who were also involved.

Above is a picture of myself with Antonietta, together with her husband, they own Vogue Salon at the St Regis and in Newport Beach, a lovely Italian couple, I have known them from when they opened the salon at the hotel and now they have 2 gorgeous wee young boys who are going to grow up and be heart stealers!!!  We are holding those fabulouse brooch bouquets that Amanda from Fantasy Florals has created and is now selling worldwide, so creative and a wonderful keepsake after the wedding, you can have them made from brooches that mean something to you, or give her your color palette and she will create one for you – it seems English and Australian bride’s are really into them.  Also in the ‘bride’ pic at the top, if you look to the right, you will see Miss Kelly O’Dell who took one for the team when one of the models did not show, you go girl, looking fab by the way!!  Thanks to Bleu and Allison Cotton who were there snapping away.

I went up to Beverly Hills to a dinner at a steakhouse belonging to Wolfgang, now silly me, didn’t think anything of it, and thought it was a new venture of Wolfgang Pucks, but no, it’s another Wolfgang, German also, was a waiter in Germany as a young man and dreamed of owning a steakhouse in America.  Now he is an older man and his dream is a reality.  The food was excellent, especially the steak,mmmm mmmm.  Will go back there again for sure, a great location for rehearsal dinners for anyone having their events up in the Beverly Hills/LA area, two great private rooms.

Now talking of Wolfgang, and I do mean Puck this time.  They had an open house/showcase of a property along the beach Santa Monica/Malibu border area, unique property combining ultra modern/contemporary with historical.  The site used to have an old wooden hotel on it (not that I knew that was what it was the many times over the years I drove by it) which was boarded up and the Northridge Earthquake was the end of it.  So the hotel came down to make way for this new building with great ocean views, all windows and a huge balcony, but they kept the guest house which is a wonderful wooden building which has been restored and has such a great feel to it, a lovely lower/private area for a cere, then cocktails in the home where you can look out over the beach, then back down to the cere area to have dinner/dancing later.  This complex was built by Randolph Hearst for his lady friend Marion Davies, another place for them to entertain and impress their celebrity pals without everyone having to make their way to San Simeon and the Hearst Castle.  What an understanding wife he had!!  Anyway, Wolfgang Puck is one of the preferred caterers for this complex and totally suits them, there is no kitchen, so all food must be room temperature presentable, and it worked.

Took my lovely assistant co-ordinators Teri and Peni to the Tea and Tinis at the St Regis last week. Held in the Motif Restaurant it is a very relaxing way to enjoy the afternoon on a Saturday, or use the experience for a bridal or baby shower.  You get to pick a glass of lovely champagne (of course my pick) or a unique martini, all the tea you can drink/various lovely styles and flavors, and the food is more than just tea sandwiches and cakes as I was expecting, it was a lovely luncheon buffet.  Sandwiches and cakes of course, but salads, grilled vegetables, finger foods, quite savory and very very enjoyable.  You must find the occasion to go and experience it, or don’t wait for an experience, just go do it!!

For those lovers of the 7 Degree style venue for your wedding event, but you can’t quite swing 7 Degrees, a new venue showcased itself last week, in Irvine, it is the Contempo Events Center.  Very unique, lots of cool rooms around with couches/seating areas, and a clear area in the center for the dining tables/dancing.  You could either do a small group say under 100 with the normal dining table/dancing area and use the other areas for cocktails and after dinner movement, or have a larger event where it was cocktail tables and more socialising/dancing feel.  Currently they have offices along one side of the dining area which I thought was a bit odd, so I would probably drape those off, but I was told that once they get a certain amount of event business booking they will take the offices out/away so they won’t be an issue.  Very interesting.  Never know when something is going to work for someone, so if there is something to be seen, I am out there.

Went with a group to Buca di Beppo the other night.  Now if you are looking for a fun, relaxed place to go for a rehearsal dinner or just a group of friends getting together, it’s a winner.  The plates are piled with food, it tastes good, the atmosphere in the restaurant is quirky and very old world Italian feeling, check out the Pope’s room which each restaurant has, I believe you can get up to 18 around that table, I’m just not sure if I want to be the one with the Pope staring at me while I eat.  Make sure you get some of their mashed potato, it is to die for!!  You can be as noisy as you want as they put in your own area, and each area has nooks and crannys everywhere.    For rehearsal dinners they have a great menu with  5 courses and unlimited drinks for 2 hours, which runs $46++ per person, I believe, a great deal for a good time – just provide the transportation to get everyone back to the hotel or wherever they came from, you may even need to wheel them out of the restaurant due to being so full.  It’s funny how anything Italian can make everyone feel good and ready for fun. 

Yesterday on The View on tv, Dame Edna Everage co-hosted with the ladies, most of you probably have no idea who she is, but coming from  downunder we are very familiar with her.  She had a tv show a while ago here that did not last long, she has a very unique sense of humor that cracks most English/Aussie/Kiwis up, but  American’s aren’t so sure.  Well anyway she gave me my smile for the day with everything she said and did, and they just showed an after interview where she said she didn’t have a good time at all and shouldn’t have worn her best as obviously the ladies don’t!!  Gotta love her, gave me another smile for today.

Loving the blossom trees out right now, I love the summer, but spring is so pretty and motivating for me.  My Wisteria is flowering right now in the backyard, I have the purple and the white, gorgeous, such a shame it’s only for a few weeks in a year.  The jasmine is out and in full bloom and smells divine, the lavender plants are flowering, birds are tweeting, love it.

Off to do the rehearsal for tomorrow.

Until next time, live, laugh and love.


Add a comment March 26, 2010


Ok, if renting tuxes or suits.  Use Friar Tux.  Have referred them for years, never any challenges, nice range to choose from, and now

Groom’s tux is free (with 5 paid rentals) so that is his gift, and if you pre-register and use this promo code


The lovely bride can use the $100 Visa Gift card that will be included/is your gift!!!

Go for it!!



Add a comment March 4, 2010

Been Busy!!!

Well, how time flies when you are having fun.  Seems like I just got off the plane from downunder, but a month has gone by.

Hope Valentine’s Day was enjoyed by all!

So what have I been up to, no pics to show, but hopefully info of interest.

Had a lunch meeting at a very neat restaurant on Balboa Island, The Dock, really cute/intimate environment.  I can see it working beautifully for Newport/Pelican based wedding events, for rehearsal dinners, or welcome dinners, or one of the meals being done for a group around a wedding event.

Got caught up with Monica who handles rehearsal dinners at French 75, Laguna,  and Savannah Chop House, Bear Brand/Dana Point.  These have been two restaurants my couples have used a lot in the past for rehearsal dinners, prewedding get-togethers, both have separate rooms/areas which are lovely.  Due to their parent company having some probs over the past year, I thought they were gone forever, but these two restaurants are back in business with a new ownership group, and back for pre-wedding events.  Excellent food/lovely atmospheres/great service – contact Monica if interested in either of these locations, at 949 718 4631×4

Classic Party/Event Rentals, on Harbor Blvd here in the OC, had a few of us over to see new items they had to offer.  Piping & draping, some beautiful chandeliers, and I noticed some really unique baseplates/chargers on display also.  24 Carrots catered the food, and it was lovely, nice showcase by all.

Didn’t make it to an event at Erin Cole Couture where selections from Vera Wang were being celebrated.  Busy with a couple meeting with florists, that took longer than it should have, but well worth it, they love their choice and how their vision is becoming a reality.

I went to an event up in Hollywood last week, it was held at the Taglyan Cultural Complex.  There is a church next door that apparently is available for ceremonies, but the facility itself seems to be more reception only.  A nice outdoor entrance area, good size foyer, and then lovely square ballroom.  The ceiling was unbelievable, very Tiffany glass style/feel, just gorgeous.  Had to remember to look up to appreciate it though. 

Roy’s in Pasadena had a wee open house/showcase of their banquet room where you can hold rehearsal dinners.  Great entrance to this restaurant and nice feel inside.  If you love seafood this is a great option for you, if you are having your event at the Langham or other hotels/locations in this area.  Gets you into the downtown area which is nice as Pasadena has such a nice small ‘town’ feel in the town!!  If that makes sense.

Went and checked out the the Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa yesterday.  First off, living here so close to the ocean and with most couples I work with wanting to have an ocean backdrop, whenever I go to see ‘inland’ locations I always wonder why someone would choose to go inland over ocean, if budget wasn’t an issue (and sometimes it is not less expensive depending on the resort).  Well, it was well worth the drive.  What a lovely resort, you feel like you have entered another world.  Reminded me a bit of the feel of  The One and Only in Cabo.  A hacienda/spanish feel resort to me, with lovely landscaping, and the accommodations are gorgeous – from lead in up.  The ceremony would be outside on a lovely lawn, and you can have your reception inside or outside in a tent you would bring in, or open to the sky.  After parties are big for the outdoor events, as the music must be off at 10pm when outside.  The food was lovely, staff there love their jobs and the location and most have been there a long time.  I love it when I stumble upon something new that suprises and impresses me.

The drive to and from Rancho Valencia was lovely.  The rain that we all complain about has made our hills and brown grass fields beautiful and green.  Very european feeling when you look at the countryside right now.  Blossom trees are starting to flower around us, daffidols are popping up, aaah life is good, and spring must be close.  Enjoy our views for now, won’t be long and the summer/heat will be back and we will have the brown scenery again (if you aren’t looking at the ocean that is!!).

The rain, I had a lovely couple who had planned their wedding celebration for Sat Feb 27.  Yes, the day that the weather website showed 100% chance of rain, which I have never seen before.  Yikes.  Well the good news is, my groom was able to ride in on a white horse, and we had a weather backup planned inside, which we were able to move last minute to another room where the view of the ocean was still visible to the guests, yet we were inside, could hear clearly, and not have to deal with any of the elements, rain/cold etc.  And around 10 mins into the cere, it persisted down, torrential rain, haven’t seen anything like it for a looooong time.  Fate plays such a part in any plans, there are no guarantees, you can steer events based on past history/time of year and day, but when you plan a winter wedding, even here in S Ca, you have to be ready in case things are going to happen naturally, as opposed to a heatwave that would be really out of the ordinary.  The great news is, after the day was over, my bride was thrilled with how everything turned out, and in fact, used the word ‘perfect’.  Aaah.

Well the big event this weekend is the Oscars.  Last year I was lucky enough to be at the Oscars and walked the red carpet!!  Now before you get too excited, I was a limo door opener, which meant I stood out on the street where we had 4 lanes of limos that came at you, celebs walking past you from the eco car line, or out of the limo someone else just let them out of, and of course we never knew who would be in the limo we were opening the doors for.  Very exciting.  Then ……. after eating a pasta buffet at the Hollywood Bowl with all the limo drivers, we went back and walked the red carpet (see told you I did) to our new position which was at the bottom of the grand staircase, and all the celebs would come down and have us call their limo drivers to come and get them.  It was a long day, but really a fun neat experience.  Sean Penn even gave us his oscar to hold/pass around while he waited for his limo driver to respond to the call.  See life is funny you can have goals and plans.  I walked my father into the Ritz Carlton/Laguna around 23 years ago and told him I would work there one day, now I do, but not quite the way I thought I would be (ie working for them in the catering/sales office), and I did drama/acting in New Zealand and belonged to the Screen Actors Guild and always said I would go to the Oscars one day, guess the part I left off that could have made the difference is if I also said what I would wear, ie  a gown.  As we wore black pants and tuxedo jacket to open the doors.  I was in NZ when the call came to volunteer again, so missed the deadline, but  I am very happy to stay home and watch it on tv, as I did miss that part of the event (have watched it every year on tv as I really enjoy it), and having Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin hosting as well as the great movies that are nominated and seeing if there will be suprises, it will be nice to sit in the chair eating and drinking (couldn’t go to the bathroom for hours last year) and be warm and cosy.  I saw the movie An Education on the plane coming back, had never heard of it but watched it and loved it, kind of a Nine feel movie, that bygone era where europeon everything seemed exotic and really just, very european, loved them both.  Also be interesting to see if George Clooney gets the award for Up in the Air, he really did suprise with that role, it wasn’t what you expected walking in and during at all, great acting/good movie.

Had a lovely wedding planned for earlier in Feb, unfortunately it got cancelled a week before, wee suggestion, before committing to and spending a lot of money that will not be refunded or be able to be reused – get pre-nups or other challenges handled.  Will save a lot of heartbreak for everyone involved.  Oh dear!!!

So that’s me for now.

Back later with whatever tidbits I have to share.


Add a comment March 4, 2010






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