Archive for December 24th, 2011




Out & about in 2011

Well you can’t be of use to your current couples, let alone future couples, if you have no idea what else is out there, or what seems to be the ‘in’ thing etc.  So if I get an invite, I am there.  Below is a smattering of some places I was invited to events at in 2011 that I normally don’t get to do weddings at, and any comments/thought I may have.

Fairmont Newport Beach, a really nice yet I think forgotton property on MacArthur Blvd close to John Wayne Airport.

Dove Canyon Country Club, a really lovely area tucked up under the Saddleback Mountain.  A couple of hotels about 10 mins down the toll road for your guests to stay at.  If a canyon/nature backdrop that comes with a feeling of elegance and specialness is what you are looking for, this could be the spot for you.

The Waterfront Beach Resort – also in the past known as the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort, still under the Hilton umbrella, just rebranding the name.  Had a couple of events to go to here this year including just recently their first every xmas tree lighting which I was honored to be part of a very small group invited to.  The girls who handle the weddings here, Vanessa and Danielle are a blast, love their jobs, brides, and having a good time.

Bella Collina Golf Club – this is a  pretty new facility that has got such a lovely italian feel to it, from the long driveway lined with the olive/cypress trees to the view from the ballroom/restaurant and the lovely ampitheatre area they have created for wedding ceremonies.  But the big secret here is, just off the main parking lot is a lovely little organic farm called Villa Romano Green farms.  They sell produce and everything is so fresh and good.  I happened to enjoy a dinner on the farms land where we were up above the golf club, sitting at vintage style tables and items that had been placed there for our dinner, with views to the ocean in the distance.  We ate fresh beautiful vegetables and meats and drank some lovely wines provided by a couple of the chefs that buy their food from Farmer John.  I see this for a never to be forgotton rehearsal dinner or a group of friends that enjoy good food, wine & views but can’t get to italy together, or a special birthday or dinner celebration.  Really inspiring and memorable.

Surf & Sand in Laguna – well this is a great hotel (had my 30th birthday on the top floor when it was a restaurant) with a pool area that looks right to the waves crashing/sand, has a lovely spa, great food in Splashes, and very popular for wedding celebrations, the only kicker here, is that the reception rooms don’t have ocean views, but the F&B minimums reflect that, so it evens out.

The Deck/Pacific Edge – I had done a wedding here at the end of 2010 and I had a feeling things were a foot, I was so right.  You can still rent out the house/deck area for a private event, but it really is now set up as a great place for cocktails/food open air looking out to the ocean, cool hip bar & funriture all on the deck.  Then the hotel rooms that connect to the ‘deck’ have been setup now so they can be rented out as loung rooms with cabanas outside or you rent the cabana for the day.  Very unique use of space, but so makes sense and I can see locals even booking a cabana for the day, hanging out on the beach, eating from the Beach house restaurant (they will bring the food & drink to you all day long), nice and comfy and a lot less than owning land along the coast.  For out of towners, if you are in town pre wedding, I see the girls hanging out in a cabana for a day/afternoon, there is a nice day spa just up the road you can utilise too or take the loungey room too and have a masseuse there all day to pamper you all.

Casa Romantica, San Clemente, a view that is hard to beat looking out to the San Clemente pier.  The Villa itself is different, you can make use of the inside or as most seem to, do the dinner/dancing in the courtyard area.  Think everything must be done by 10pm, and my only real thought here is, by the time you pay their site fee, get the caterer, rentals etc, I think you may be just under what it would cost to be at a five star like the Ritz Carlton, so then it really comes down to if this feel/look is more you and your guests and you are okay paying that much.

Was invited to an evening at a Mansion up on the hills in Yorba Linda.  As I was getting off the 91 I happened to look up and saw a blue glow on the top of the hill and wondered if that was where I was going, sure enough.  Right on the peak, surrounded by huge homes/mega homes, this massive white  mansion with a huge glass enclosed pool, an upper ballroom area with a stage, tennis courts and grounds all around that can be used for everything, ceremony thru cocktails to dinner/dancing with views to the ocean that were pretty stunning.  I happened to be in that area again last week during the day and looked up, no blue light as it was daytime, but that house is very hard to miss once you have been there, seen it or know where to look.  Amazing.

Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club & Talega Golf Club, seems to always be a couple of events a year at these properties, very calm, both offer different feel/style of events, very reasonable pricing!!!

Wyndham Orange County – as happens with all/most hotels, the catering/wedding teams change.  We are now with our 3rd lot of new people since I have been showing this hotel to couples as a potential for their budget & style, and doing weddings there.  As this industry is small it is a team I know, and in order for this behind the OC performing arts center hotel to become known, needs this team under the leadership of Terri.  It really is a gem of a hotel in a great location with a water view (may not be the ocean but it is water!!) and a nice modern/contemporary feel.  A small group of us experienced the chef’s creativity at a lovely lunch, very impressive, the service was great also.  Here you can do the cere ‘lake’ side, cocktails also, then move to an upstairs ballroom, very private and a good size for100-150 guests to have a ballroom feel but not feel like they are in a huge cave.

Planet Hollywood – fun fun.  What a great hotel, great rooms, just a cool vibe.  For your bachelorette party or even a quick honeymoon if you considered your S Ca destination wedding part honeymoon too, stop here on the way home for a whole different  feel.  Vegas is soooo great now for excellent restaurants, night clubs, shopping, shows, and of course, around the pool people watching!!

Disney’s Grand Californian hotel, had a end of year dinner there last week.  I was part of the thought process that went into the ceremony and ballroom  areas of that hotel and when it opened had my wedding office with bridal salon right there in the hotel.  I go back quite often, it doesn’t change, keeps to the plan, the different feel/atmosphere it offers to anyone in the area.  Anyway, this is the least Disney of the banquet rooms between the three hotels, excellent food, and funny to say, but after 11 years away, pretty much the same staff there both in banquets and in the wedding team, offering the service you expect from Disney.  It’s like going/being home anytime I am with those lovely folks.  Very comfy.

A small group of us co-ordinators get together each month and experience some of the newer/older restaurants in the area that are great for rehearsal or pre/post wedding events, as well as hotels or locations that are a bit more boutique feeling.  So too many of them to mention.  Yes, the seasoned girls of the OC are all friends and share info on great vendors (and unfortunately sometimes, not so good, so we warn each other in order to protect our couples), things we have seen/learned etc.  We are a great resource to each other and that in turn rubs off onto our brides.  We each have different styles and personalities and offer different  services, so very rarely do we get interviewed by the same couple, so there is no competition between us, we have come together due to our passion and love for what we do and our longevity/knowledge.  We have seen many vendors come and go, as well as co-ordinators!!  One of our group is even a guy, so he is great to calm us down when we get a little bit too passionate over a certain situation that may have come up.

And, there are places/events I went to, that I would not mention for various reasons, but none of them good.  So good thing I do get out there or your time may have been wasted also, much better to be my time.

Till next time

Lisa

www.lisasimpsonweddings.com

714 305 7112

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