Archive for December 2011




Ritz-Carlton Laguna wedding

Each year I have a couple who are looking for something different than a hotel wedding celebration, yet when I am walking/talking them through what they believe they want/are looking for for their guests to experience, I always come back to the same thing, the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel has what they are looking for, they just don’t realise it.

This couple and all the guest came from NY.  I did not realise before we got going that they had actually come over and looked at every hotel/location (including the Ritz) they could think of but not found what they wanted, so thus when they got home the mother of the groom decided they needed help as they knew they wanted the wedding here on the West Coast.

Mom called me (found me on line), we chatted, they wanted exclusive, maybe an estate (I then explained to her the possible pitfalls of going that route), all outdoors (we have a 10pm outside noise ordinance in most places so that can mean relocating the rest of the party/more expense etc) and their group size could be 120ish.  After chatting, she had the groom  call me, we chatted, and then the process began.  I started sourcing ideas/websites for them to look at for estates (a lot they had found on their own, others they had not, some I had more info on which they were not aware of), but always in my mind, this couple was looking for a 5 star celebration with the reason why they had everyone coming across the country to celebrate obvious, and that is the Pacific Ocean right below the Ritz-Carlton, Dana Point.  They came out on a site visit and we visited 4 estates in the SD area, all very unique and fabulous, and one on the top of the hills of Laguna Beach – this one was perfect – a home lived in by a family that I did not feel could be in need of helping to pay the mortgage, it was italian/grand and the view was unbelievable.  Very special is the best way to describe it.  The owner was a very gracious lady who did not do weddings or allow just anyone to come and look at her home, she does a few fundraising benefits with celebrities per year (I had a contact who suggested I contact her, tell her a bit about myself and  my client and maybe she would make an exception).  She had, and we were now there looking and loving it.  The site fee was huge but could still work with our budget and for exclusivity there is a price.    At the end of the day at Sunset time (planned or not, what do you think!!!??) we stopped by the Ritz.  I took them to the Sunset Terrace where the ceremony would be with the ocean glimmering beyond, and then had them open their minds to using this space differently to how it normally is sold.  Ceremony on the cliff, cocktails on the balcony of the Plaza Room (all normal so far), but as their guest count was too high for all to be sat for dining inside the Plaza Room and that feel was not for them, we walked into the courtyard and talked about this being the dining area – it’s sheltered, feels like being in the courtyard/open area of a mansion, use lots of candles along with the greenery in place to give the feeling of romance/elegance, and then lead everyone to the party room where it’s all about the dancing/partying/socialising.

They decided there were pros and cons with the Laguna mansion – we had to shuttle everyone up to it and then to a second location for the dancing/party portion of the night, so there was extra expense there for the shuttles as well as F&B minimums at the restaurant we selected to party on at, and with the Ritz they really wanted that feeling of exclusivity and how were we going to do that at a hotel.  Well fate always steps in, we could not get a contract together with the mansion and had to say goodbye, and due to my B&G being flexible with dates, we chose a Sunday night for their event which did a couple of things.  It gave us lower F&B minimum and site fees for the areas we wanted to use, and we ended up being the only event at the hotel that night, which meant – the feeling of being at a mansion and it being your own. 

As I mentioned, each year I have a couple that like this setup and are willing to pay the additional fees incurred to the hotel for using the space accordingly, and are willing to be flexible with their day of the week/date to fit in with when the hotel is able to offer the space this way.  I already have my couple for next year and can’t wait to see that celebration come together.  But below you will see the courtyard/dining area, and then the Plaza Room  which is normally for dining/dancing for groups of 74 max and very popular due to it’s non ballroom and intimate feel.  We also rented some  curved sofas to go on the balcony and did smores on an open firepit around midnight. So for these guests who had travelled so far, it was one fun element/wow moment after another.

Thanks to Tony Florez for providing the pics below and again  being such a pleasure to work with.

After cocktails the guests were lead into this area to pick up their placecards and then make their way to the dining tables beyond:

Then after dinner we had the mom invite the guests to follow the B&G to the party room:

If you are loving this look/feel, or can tell I am the person to help you pull your celebration together whether here at the Ritz-Carlton or another location, give me a call or email.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Oh, and thanks to Fernanda Jaime as always at the Ritz, for being so patient and working with us to make this all happen as they hoped for.

Lisa

www.lisasimpsonweddings.com

714 305 7112

Add a comment December 21, 2011

Unique Elements

Yum, just got home from some floral meetings with a couple and the bride’s parents, and mom had a lovely xmasy container with homemade fudge in it for me.  Needless to say, 1/2 of it was gone on the drive between appts.  Thank you Gayle.

But onto my next topic ……..

I had a few weddings this year that wanted to do something different for the guests as an ‘ending’ element, or to go item.

The late night snacks by the hotel/caterer – sliders/fries, ice cream sundae station, mini dessert stations, speciality coffee station, were still popular, as they have been for the past few years, plus  the candy stations, some where they had no more than 6 containers already filled/bags/scoops etc, and I would put them out at the time we designated, or the brides who paid for the Candy lady to come and do the beautiful/elegant candy stations that matched their color theme or favorite candys and had more options/decor layout etc.

Still had the boxes of godiva chocs or some food item that was easy/color co-ordinated etc, some spending $5-6 per box and some making them themselves.  And of course the wine stoppers/glass identity items. Flipflops that come out at dancing time (to be honest most women seem to prefer bare feet), color themed to the wedding or just random colors and sizes for all guests.

When you are spending $300-400 per person I don’t  feel you should feel you must give them something to take, but if you feel you must, then I always suggest you make it personal, a recipe you are known for, a thank you note or seeds to plant with a cute poem attached, an item others can use that is relative due to a hobby everyone knows you do, or your job/your business.  I just had a wedding where the couple  were from Mexico City and all the guests flew in (quite an affluent group) and their favor was a mini bottle of the best tequila and a shot glass-normally this may seem  a bit tacky, but this group appreciated it.   Just remember, sometimes 1 or 2 (if a couple) of something isn’t enough for them to do a lot with, ie napkin rings etc.

But for those where the options above were a bit old, or there was a personal reason, we did In N Out burgers at the end or during the dancing time.  Now for most locations your guests  can’t see the truck from where they are dancing, so you either end the party and lead them to the loading dock or outside the gates and then they stand by the street or wander back eating, so not a great end result in my mind, you pay for the truck that is the bulk and they can’t do the hot french fries normally, so I have had my assistant go to the nearest say In N Out burger place, get the order you have pre-ordered and paid for, they normally start cooking when she arrives, then we time it that when she is back with them, the hotel has french fries ready and the staff then walks around during the dancing time passing the fries and burgers.  A great memory especially for out of towners, for those that have had a bit to drink a great alcohol soaker, and for others that don’t want any something they remember and tell others about.

One bride had a group that wasn’t going to be a big dancing group, so she had a magnet station with a back drop that from the moment it opened through the 1/2 of overtime we paid them, had a line.  The magnets were couples, groups, anyone that wanted them done.  She also had  a crepe station, lovely man who came with an assistant, they had 2 burners going non stop, one did savory dinner style crepes, the other desserty ones.  Yum. 

My fave photo booth is the Epod, it talks back, normally takes the people inside a while to realise it but then they start cracking up.  Towards the end of the night if the group is right, it can get a bit raunchy, love it.  This is such a nice looking booth and tucks into any corner.  so many of the other booths are very rickety looking boxes and the guys setting them up and running them are just doing a job, they can’t wait to end and don’t put a lot of effort into guest service.  With Epod you have the owners there and they are wonderful.

Quite a few weddings with the Pashminas this year, not a bad idea.  Even though we have notified the guests the ceremony and normally cocktails are outside, we still have ladies that are wearing that new dress no matter what, so during the course of the event end up wearing their dates jacket.  You can buy them all the same color as your wedding, or have a variety of colors.  Keep the ladies warm and  we all like a pashmina for many events/reasons throughout the year.

Napkins rings  – these are big due to the wedding books with the beautiful place setting photo shoots that are being showcased.  I love them, they do look fabulous.  It’s just one of those ‘gifts’ that one or two of them isn’t normally enough to do something with them at home when you are normally going to use them, at a dinner party.  But I do see the smart ladies gathering a group of them due to people leaving them behind or ladies who at that moment have completely forgotton about them, so some do manage to collect enough to do a table of 4 or 6 at their home!!! LOL

The world is your oyster when it comes to favors/gifts/items.  Just google and you will be suprised what may come up.  It’s really about spending small or big amounts on something the guest will find useful or chuck away or just leave (which normally if mom realises at the end people didn’t take them she starts running around collecting whatever it is, not wanting it to go to waste, I always wonder in that situation is it worse for you to realise your guests didn’t appreciate/want what you spent good money on??), and how you feel about their reaction to it and what you spent, or would you have been better using that money to rent cool furniture they could sit on during the dancing, or more money for the bar.  You know your priorities and what is worth it to you either in item or $$ spent.  Always something to have to think about eh.

Till next time

Lisa

www.lisasimpsonweddings.com

714 305 7112

Add a comment December 20, 2011

Timelines/how I work and Thank Yous

Well, I just got off the phone from a 3 1/2 hour long detail/timeline meeting with a bride in Boston (50% of my brides/couples, and some to all the guests, are coming from other states/countries, such is the call of the great weather and scenery of S.CA).  I mention this due to the length of time our call took.  I am very detailed and am known for that not only with all the hotels, but also some of the djs who consider my timelines overkill.  But in the 20 years I have been doing this, and as I was mentored in the hotel industry by a Japanese man and a  German man, their mantras to me were, it’s all in the details.  So when I tell a couple who are doing an in person detail/timeline meeting we may be 4 hours (shortest was 2 1/2 hours and that was when the B&G gave yes or no answers only, they had a restaurant reservation to make, so no time for digressing/chatting, longest was 8 hours and that was when I didn’t hone the groom in early enough,) or by phone 2 hours (most of the time we are doing these late at night after you are home  from work, so some have gone as late as 1am, if that is what it takes, that is what I do), no-one ever believes me and they can’t for the life of them figure out what we are going to talk about.  Then once we get going they get it, and then totally know everything has been thought out.  This year I had a few moms sit in on the details and this was their 2nd or 3rd child, and each time, the mother would leave saying, none of the other weddings whether there was a planner or not involved, had ever gone over so much of the details pre wedding, and they felt good knowing that some of the suprises or things that could have happened would not be happening at this wedding.

No matter how big or small a service you book for me, the meeting above happens, as I will never take on a wedding where I have not had contact with vendors prior for confirmation of services/timing/details, and I have not been able to create my timeline/script (normally 4-6 pages long).  All hotel staff know/see me carrying each page of my script on the day as to where we are at and that I am going by it, unless of course there are things happening that are needing us to divert a bit, and if needed, of course we do so.

Our detail meeting whether by phone, small (meaning the week of the wedding for a day of service) or large service, comprises of, the first hour or so is spend on vendors/who you have hired, confirming you know what you have hired them to do/finessing timing-your needs of them (then I contact each vendor involved to be sure they are in agreement-no misunderstandings), then we create the timeline/order of events, first the basic order of the important things from ceremony on (takes sometimes 2 hours), then I back everything  back and start with the hair/makeup beginning times-where groom will be etc, who/where for photos, all leading to the cere time, then it gets really detailed as to who walking with who, to what, etc.  At the rehearsal I verbalise the key times for everyone involved, if no rehearsal (which happens a lot now) I send a copy to you day prior with the key times/people indicated so you can pass that info onto them so hopefully they won’t be bugging you on the day) I give you options, you make the final decision (obviously the flow I suggest if you are amicable  is what I see as being the most successful, you can’t do weddings as often as I do and not get a feel for what the reality will be).  There is no right or wrong way, it really is what you want/are happy with, and I do guide you but what you say is how it will be is what we all orchestrate.  Normally what we put down during the meeting is how it stays, sometimes couples change it after they have thought on it, and this year I had two different grooms that re-worked it several times right up until a few days before the event,  and kept asking me what I thought of their tweaks, in both cases I did not feel there was a flow, it was a lot of start/stop, and I would give my thoughts back, but ultimately with both these grooms we used their order of events during the dinner/dancing portion (I think with some of these the brides have no idea how often the groom and I are corresponding/going back and forth), with one of the weddings, the groom was actually having an issue with the band they had booked (don’t think the bride even knew), he did not feel they were responsive to him at all, I chatted with the band rep about the timeline etc , he then became much more responsive to the groom (who thanked me for that) and in the grooms words the band rep ‘was very complimentary about the conversation with you and it really sounded like you had it all under control. To which I told him you absolutely do.’  In the end. this band rep was not a fan of the grooms order of events but went along with it also, and to this point due to the flow not being the best (again grooms end decision no other way he was going to have/want it) the groom became  quite panicky each time the band was not in the room playing when there would be a bit of a lull.  So do listen to the suggestions of your planner who is suggesting things from an overall perspective, to an individual vendor who is of course doing it to make themselves look fab and forget that they aren’t the stars, or that may not be the type of event you want.

But my point is, even with a  service that starts the week of the wedding, I go through this same process with you.  It means you have thought about everything, all the important moments have been incorporated, the people involved/doing anything have been told/know, and on the day there are no suprises from an orchestration point of view. and you can relax on the day knowing I know what is supposed to happen/when and will make it happen.  I am also known for keeping meal times within 5 mins of the time on the hotel paperwork.  Ceremony may start late, cocktails may go over, but I have buffer time in my timelines that covers all these things, but as the meal is what you have spent the most of your budget on, I don’t want that food compromised.

So anyway, as I started off, I just finished a 3 1/2 hour phone detail with a bride, now her event is 1 1/2 days so a bit more to go thru, thus the longer time.  All open items  are then emailed to you to check on/answer/tweak/change etc.  I do everything by email so you can always refer back when you have time and update me or change things, and from my perspective I have what you told me written down/know that I have covered everything with you/heard back on open items/decisions,  and can always refer back.  No stone is left unturned with me, believe me, ask your hotel person.  So feel safe and confident knowing you can enjoy your day, I am doing what I was hired to do ultimately, run your day with you not having to worry about anything.

I have been doing weddings for over 20 years now, first in my hotel life, and now 11 years independently.  I am referred by the best hotels in the OC,  since the day they opened (St Regis & Hyatt HB) or as with the Ritz-Carlton for 11 years, others have come and gone off the lists (as with my list you can be pulled off at any time) so that tells you a lot I believe, and that my formula/way I work suits the hotels and has meant many happy couples/families. 

THANK YOU FOR THE THANK YOUS

I was in the office sorting some filing out on Friday, and counted up thank you notes and emails from 26 weddings this year/2011, thank you to you all for taking the time to think of me after, always touches my heart (I have books of thank you notes from all the years I have been doing this, I have kept every one, one day I will count how many are there, with email now it is really easy so they come nice and quick after the day-instand gratification for me!! LOL).  Some even sent me wee items from their honeymoon or make sure I see pics from the wedding.  I also got xmas cards from a few couples already this year,  some it’s their first year married, for others I am getting cards 3-4 years into their marriage, brings back memories.  I also came across an email that touched my heart, it  came in Oct, it was from a groom saying they had been in S CA during the summer with their 2 young kids, and it reminded them of me, and he wanted to check in and say hi (internet is a great thing for finding people that you would not have found otherwise) and let me know they still thought about me and had great memories from their wedding, which was …. back in 1994!!!! Wow. 

I have had couples call me from their 1 year anniversary dinner, and this year even had three couples call me when I was driving home from their weddings (so around 1am), I see their number and have a panic as to what the heck can be wrong I knew they left the wedding and all was well, and it is one or both of them on the line thanking me for such a great day/celebration.  Of course, I say thanks, but please, get back to what you should be doing right now, which is not thinking about me!!!! Oh dear.  So thanks right back to all of you, it really touches me that I have a special place in your memory/heart, just as you have mine.  I was shredding files from 2005/06 about a month ago, and when I saw the couples names was able to recall  things about their weddings, always seems like yesterday.

So lucky lucky, can’t imagine doing anything else and don’t want to.   And if you are reading this, then it means you have checked out weddings on my blog, maybe pics on my website, so you can see how varied my brides and their visions are, and that I have the experience to help you too, you are not  trusting all the money and most important hours of your life so far, with a novice or someone who doesn’t really care if they do this for a short or long while. This is my life and career.

That’s definately enough words for today.  But if you are looking around/considering a co-ordinator, the above info is the reality/truth of how I work, check with your hotel person if you need extra confidence, they are not going to steer you wrong, it only comes back on them.  Anyway, email or me call, let me know your date/time, how many guests, and how much or little help you are looking for from a co-ordinator, and I will email over a detailed service option for you to look at, they are in full and have pricing showing.  Then we can phone chat or in person meet/chat, and see if you would like to move forward.  I have a lovely office where you can  see tons of albums/photos of past weddings, and get inspired if needed, or at least see your room/site and get a feel or what you may want to do/not do, based on what others before you have done.

Looking very forward to hearing from you

Here’s to your wedding

Lisa

www.lisasimpsonweddings.com

714 305 7112

Add a comment December 20, 2011

Mariners Ballroom, Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

What a pleasure it was working with Amita on her wedding.     Not only did she go with the ballroom I love at the Hyatt the most (due to no windows a lot of brides can not see the end result, it’s such a great space that you can create areas with different uses/feel for your guests, cocktails that turns to club, cake or buffet in area on it’s own, dining in one area/dancing in another, or mix/mingle the events – it really depends on the guest count as to how much/little you can do, there are shimmery curtains that separate the areas and you can have them all open or use them partially.  I love it, very dramatic and not what any of the guests are expecting.  It’s funny now I think of it, I think all my weddings down in this ballroom have either had eggplant colors or browns, makes for a rich environment), but she was open to my room layout suggestions  and picked the one I knew would have the most impact, yay.  She had a fabulous cup cake stand made and that table with the cupcakes (by Tomgirl) was the first thing people saw when they entered the room, with her dancefloor with the gobo pattern on it beyond and then her lovely sweetheart table/decor against the far wall.  The tables were placed between the ‘cake’ table and along the sides of the dancefloor, this room has big pillars in it, so you have to keep those in mind when planning any kind of screen show etc, we had the dj off to the said for this one,  made the most sense and kept him out of the visual which I appreciate he was open to.

From the beginning when we did the budget to where she had her ‘hoped for’ max guest count which fit in the budget and gave us room for some extra items, to her finding out the parents were inviting double that number, she never got fazed.  We worked through the months, ended up with around 50 more than we had budgetted for and gave up a few of the ‘non-essential but nice things to have’ which didn’t affect the event at all.  She was also always on it, I would give her her tasks and she would respond within minutes that it was done or when it would be, we seemed to spend a lot of the months with not a lot to do.

Amita was fun because she was going against the grain in everything I knew should be done for an Indian wedding.  She was not interested in the traditional colors, and her choice were my two faves lavender and purple.  Some of the other traditions she did to make others happy, so she chose her battles.  Lovely parents/groom/celebration.  And the event, really was a reflection of Amita once you got to know her, loved it.

It wasn’t all roses though, so if there are times when you are planning your wedding and you are getting frustrated/mad at others opinions etc, take a moment and remember it could be worse, here is what they were going through ….  Two weeks before the wedding the grooms  mother  was admitted to hospital not well, after testing they realised cancer that she had had a while ago was back and she was given a limited time, but that time covered the wedding so we were relieved.  However her release from hospital kept getting put off and the wedding was getting closer.  The week of the wedding it was not looking good, I had been hoping she may make it out just for the cere and then go back, but in the days before it was obvious this was not going to happen, so then I suggested maybe skyping the cere, the day before they weren’t even sure if his mom was even going to be coherent to understand what was happening, they were all called to the hospital in the early hours of the morning prior to the wedding day so things were not good, but she made it through that day.  The wedding day came, she was still alive, we got them married, guests went to the hospital and showed her pictures from the cere (there was the usual gap between cere & reception at Indian wedding events), during this gap the groom/father were told it was only a matter of time.  The reception/dinner happened and this was a bunch of people that were there to ensure the bride & groom still had a great celebration no matter what was happening around, they wanted them to enjoy and forget for a moment and have a good time.  They did.  The end of the event came and I said goodbye to our bride & groom who were now with friends in the bar.  His mom died the following morning & thank goodness they were all able to be there with her.  I think she held on as long as she could so their anniversary day would not be her last day.

Enjoy the visual created below, we had a lot of joy creating this end result. Nisie’s Enchanted Florist of course did the florals & mandap decor (known for her lovely elegant looks), and the photos below are by Global Photography/Yogi Patel, very nice and easy to work with.  Thanks also to Mark at the Hyatt who I have the pleasure of working with a lot, such a gentleman.

Till next time

Lisa

www.lisasimpsonweddings.com

714 305 7112

Add a comment December 19, 2011

Hotel Maya, Long Beach, wedding

Well I had no idea this old hotel that was down from the Queen Mary had been taken over and rethemed/worked.  So when I was booked by a couple from that area who had seen the hotel and liked the vibe but wanted to see what else was out there, off we went.  From Temecula, South OC, back to Long Beach, and in the end Hotel Maya was the perfect fit for them and their celebration.

I loved the feel of the hotel, it has touches of old Mexico or South America all around and a bit funky too.  The cere site has Long Beach over the channel as a background, and the banquet room we had was upstairs with glass doors that disappeared into the walls so you were open to an awesome balcony that gave you views that went from glistening glass from the buildings in Long Beach during the sunlight, to reflections during sunset, to a fairyland of lights in the darkness of night.  It was really neat.

Now what made this wedding even more fun for me, the groom was from New Zealand and a lot of guests were coming from NZ (I am  a NZer in case you don’t know), both the bride and groom were travellers as am I, and they both play rugby in Long Beach (as I sure don’t!!!! LOL).  So there was really a cool connection to this whole celebration.  The color scheme chosen I loved, lemon yellow and bright greens, and we made use of 1/2 cut lemons for placecard holders, table name stands etc, and the hotel has funky banquet chairs in colors that normally would not work, but totally worked for this wedding.  Love it when it all comes together like that.

From the rehearsal where I started to hear the twangs of home through the rehearsal dinner, a lot of the guests staying at the hotel which puts them immediately in a more relaxed frame of mind (even local folks), and then the big day where the toast by the bestman who is totally a kiwi boy from  Chch cracked me and everyone else there who could understand him and what he was saying up (as he said when he started, if you don’t understand what I am saying, watch a kiwi if they are laughing laugh, and he was soooo right, even my assistant and the dj both looked at me afterwards while I was wiping my eyes from  crying with laughter, and they both said to me ‘we didn’t understand anything further than ‘hi”), to me getting the dj to play Land Downunder by Men at Work  (which he disclaimed before playing because he did not believe me when I said the kiwis present would fill that dancefloor up and sing really really loud) and of course the kiwis filled the dancefloor and sang really really loud.  It was a great celebration and the hotel with the firepits and view to Long Beach from  all private and public areas and relaxed vibe was a perfect fit.

Enjoy these pics courtesy of Furious Photography:.

Until next time

Lisa

www.lisasimpsonweddings.com

714 305 7112

Add a comment December 17, 2011

La Costa Resort & Spa

I just had 24 hours at this resort.  A friend had been given a night/spa package and her husband could not go, so she asked me and off we went.

I had heard about it for a long time, was never really sure where it was, and was very pleasantly suprised.

An easy trip from the OC south down the 5, took us about 45 mins.  Maybe 10 mins off the freeway and suddenly we were driving into a ‘world’ that seemed very different to our freeway drive a few minutes earlier.  What a great location not only for a wedding, either local/very driveable for S CA people, some lovely ceremony site/backdrops, and outside areas for dinner/dancing or even ballrooom/indoor space that you can get creative with if you feel the need, but also, for ‘girls weekends’ pre wedding, for showers etc.  And of course for couples considering S  CA and not needing ocean views for the wedding event itself but being close by, this would be perfect also.  The spa goers, golfers, shoppers, would  all be taken care of.  You feel relaxed so quickly.  Great food, and spots to have a nice drink abound.  Pools and lovely grassy areas to just hang out and read a book too if you want.  The spa was fab, and was impressed by how busy they were on a Sunday, couples, girl groups etc, it was not quiet, I heard they have 42 treatment  rooms or something along those lines.

So, if you need more info, are considering this location and would like my help.  Let me know and off we go.

Till next time

Lisa

www.lisasimpsonweddings.com

714 305 7112

 

Add a comment December 16, 2011

Hyatt Regency Newport Beach – Terrace Ballroom

Well it is so nice when you see a hotel that used to be the grande dame of weddings, get a redo in the lobby/public areas, and a new sales team that like weddings, and suddenly we find ourselves back here again, orchestrating celebrations that are looking for a boutique feel property that is in the middle of the fabulous OC/Newport Beach area.  We found ourselves in the  Terrace Ballroom room several times this season (very unique room as it is round so very fun to center everything), and below you will see just a few I picked to showcase, because they are all so different.  The big benefit to a smaller  property is the flexibility of the areas of the hotel, with all the weddings we did there, 2 different ceremony sites were used and 3 different cocktail areas, all with this one room.  Welcome to Eddie who is going to be the wedding king for 2012 I believe. We look forward to seeing a lot more of him and the great team there !!

The pictures below are courtesy of Larry Crandall  www.crandallphoto.com  Such a lovely, gentle man.  He loves getting artistic with your pics for the album if you are game.  With the wedding below Kimberly & I started the planning from the get go, always planning the ceremony undercover and knowing what colors she wanted, and she stayed true to that vision/feel throughout the process:

The fabulous florals were of course Nisies Enchanted Florist, linens&chairs by Fusion, all music from  cere thru cocktails-dinner-dancing was Al of Alvarron Ent-perfect for this intimate/relaxed group, hair and makeup by Design Visage-always have everyone on time and the hair and makeup looks good until bride is off to bed!!  Custom favors/packaging by Luisa Chocolatiere-that was a fun tasting!! And another lovely ceremony with Paul Uhlar.

The photo below is courtesy of Bob Ortiz www.bobortiz.com   Bob has been a wedding photographer in the OC for many years, and I am sure, like me, he is pleased to see Hyatt NB back on the radar.  With the wedding below mom and the bride and I started from budget on.  The brides vision was always to have manzanettas for the centerpieces, mom not so keen, but by adding floral buds to the manzanettas we were able to soften the look and come to a compromise and everyone was thrilled with the end result.  As I was already booked for another wedding on this date, Julie booked our services for me to take them through the planning process/pull everything together, and then have  my Peni orchestrate the actual wedding day itself, and as always a great job by Peni.  Always hard for me, I get so invested in the visual and the details I miss not being there to see the end result, but I kept in touch with Peni so I knew how everyone was doing/how it all looked and how the celebration was going.

Till next time

Lisa

www.lisasimpsonweddings.com

714 305 7112

Add a comment December 15, 2011

Palm Springs

I had not been to Palm Springs for a few years and had the op to experience two of the properties out there recently, so off I went. 

Went in late Sept, the weather was still hot during the day but very nice at night to walk around in no sleeves/sit outside until very very late.  Any earlier would have probably been a bit too hot, and I love hot.

Hyatt Regency Palm Springs Suites  – right on the main road.  Great location to walk around, nice restaurants within walking distance if you want to leave the hotel.  As the name says, each room is a suite, quite a big living/tv area and then the bedroom with the good size balcony.  The restaurant area is awesome.  Very creative designer who has used the height of the lobby to ceiling area and created a restaurant out of this open space, very cool.  The pool area is lovely, very hip/cool vibe, plenty of sundeck and the bar in that area as well as in the lobby (by the looks of thing a hip hangout place for locals and visitors) both offer great champagne options you don’t see elsewhere.  There is a sundeck above the outside bar that has outdoor lounge furniture, so another nice spot to hang/relax.  I was quite impressed.  I see this property more for pre wedding events/get togethers when having the wedding elsewhere in Palm Springs, great for the Hyatt loyals who want to stay Hyatt no matter which hotel your event may be at, and turns into a great option to invite everyone to experience during the events.

Villa Royale Inn-ok this boutique property kind of takes you back in time, hey day of Palm Springs/hollywood stars type feel.  The restaurant is old elegant/get dressed up style that you don’t see anymore (kind of sad), rooms-varying sizes/looks/feel are fine, two pool areas and a great staff very willing and able to help.  They have a lovely courtyard where a ceremony would be held (actually have a couple of nice areas, another for an intimate group), couple of options for the cocktails, but dinner/dancing would be done around the larger pool/center area of the hotel.  If you have a wedding for 50 or so you could book out the whole place, if the wedding is larger you could take all the rooms and have other guests but they can stay at other hotels depending on style/budget  etc.  Always nice to see these properties as they just aren’t the ones that jump up on search engines or come to mind as the name doesn’t mean anything.

Of course the big hotels/resorts are out in Palm Springs also, with the multi banquet/ballrooms, ceremony sites, hotel style we are all used to etc, many boutique properties, outlet shopping, tons of restaurants, golf etc.  This is a great option for a destination wedding if the ocean if not your thing.  Options, options, options.

Let me know if I can help you with a Palm Springs destination wedding.

Till next time

Lisa

www.lisasimpsonweddings.com

714 305 7112

 

Add a comment December 14, 2011

Club 19, St Regis – 2011

We love, love, this area at the St Regis.  An Italian style cere site, cocktails looking over the golf greens to the ocean beyond, outdoor dining and then create a club feeling inside the dancing/bar area.  Love it.  So many different vibes in this area to keep your guests guessing and admiring.  Here are some pics from just a few of the lovely celebrations we did in this area this year, these ones used unusual colors or did the layout or decor a little different, so I am sharing, the others were lovely too, but there’s only so many pics you want to see, right!!   I just realised that with the weddings shown below, all had booked me to assist them from the beginning (budget/vendor selection & keeping them on track with the tasks to be done along the way) through the day of the event.  You will notice each wedding has a different look/feel, which shows that I am  an advocate of  ‘it is your wedding, not mine’.  Your colors/style, I just help you achieve it, and thus my job is never boring and you are not having a ‘Lisa Simpson’ wedding, it is your wedding.

This wedding was a group of 80 that all flew in from Denver, including their photographer Travis (www.broxtonart.com), thanks for the pics Travis.  The father of the bride was very involved in the planning,  I miss you Fred!!  The bride and mom came in for one visit during the planning months and we had a lovely couple of days where hair/makeup preview was done,  the hotel tasting/detail meeting, linens/floral sample etc, so we were all set when they came into town for the actual wedding, they could just relax and enjoy the resort.  Apart from Travis (who was a pleasure to work with) dad and bride were very smart and allowed me to guide them to the right vendors where they got the best experience/quality and never went over budget – The A team on this one were, Ashley Video, my lovely Judge Monroe, Design Visage who keeps all my brides/girls/moms on time and looking good until the event ends, White Flite/Pamla-best dove release-I always suggest 100 for the best effect, Naples Chamber Ensembles for the cere & cocktails, Fusion for the linens/chairs/furniture, and my lovely Peter/Vive for the elegant mceeing/djing he provides-he doesn’t make it all about him.

The wedding below was an all white wedding, I just love white chivaris, they give such a complete look, and white/clean was what Kimmy was wanting.  Such a lovely couple to work with, I am so lucky. My Peni took this pic on her phone, so not the best but you get the jist.  We used Fusion again and Al from Alvarron Entertainment for his nice low key dj style.

The wedding below belongs to my lovely Stella.  Stella and her mum are best friends and mum was with us every step of the way but as support nly, she never once said what she preferred/thought.  Stella wanted yellow and green which was refreshing, such a happy feel (this color palette became quite popular through the season).  We did some cool white furniture on the lower patio which she brought pillows for.  Irmina photo took some great pics of Stella around the grounds as Stella was as daring as Irmina wanted her to be, I saw one pic where Stella was lying on a credenza by the elevator, very hip/cool shot!!  We had my fave/the best band out there, Full Spectrum that kept the party going all night long (well it felt like that and when it ended no-one was ready), linens/furniture/chivaris through Fusion Linens, Pamla the dove lady, Newport Bay Productions for video (Kamran is such a lovely man to work with), and Design Visage who kept everyone looking fab all event.

The wedding below was for a very busy bride who ended up being out of the country/travelling through most of the planning months, so our lovely groom and I became hitched at the hip.  He did a great job.  Euna had great taste and it was fun working with a new color for our base (platinum silver – which again became popular through the season) and with the florals there was that refreshing green again but this time with some white.  And for that outdoor event the white chivaris I love so much for that look/feel.  Another perfect team for this wedding – www.tonyflorez.com for photography (thanks for the pics Tony), we do a lot of weddings with Tony and love him to pieces, great style, so relaxed, captures all the moments with such ease and can get as artsy with the end result as you want.  Andrea Thiele for harp for cere/cocktails, Fusion for the linens/chivaris, and Al again for the relaxed/mellow style of mceeing/djing he offers, that again was perfect for this day time event.

Till next time

Lisa

www.lisasimpsonweddings.com

714 305 7112

Add a comment December 13, 2011

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills

Calling all fearless brides, if you have an edge to you, or your style, or just like things that make you laugh or keep your mouth open, then the SLS of Beverly Hills is for you.

I went there for a dinner event, had nice freeway traffic and got there early, got to wander around loving everything I saw and touched, and ended up sitting in their bar area through the entrance doors having a glass of champagne while I waited for the event to begin.  The food was fab, they are very creative with both the food and the beverage.  Then I asked where the ceremonies would be held and got a full on tour from a lovely man, who showed me the courtyard which you could use a variety of ways, and then ended my tour by taking  me to the hippest coolest restaurant/bar area I had seen in a long time.   Fab u lous.

So I am putting a call out, looking for a couple who aren’t looking for traditional, are hip and cool, let’s get together and plan your wedding at the SLS, I can’t wait.

Till next time

Lisa

www.lisasimpsonweddings.com

714 305 7112

Add a comment December 12, 2011

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