Archive for August 2012

Destination Wedding-San Luis Obispo

Lauren’s words to me when we realised what she was looking for was not in our local area were, ‘but will people come?’.  Of course I said. 

So, we started out planning 150 max for the wedding event and thinking it would go down a tad, and maybe a small barbeque the night before, but ultimately ended up with 130 at the barbeque and 170 at the wedding event.  Boy the caterer was a happy guy.

Planning a destination wedding from here in the OC (or anywhere) to elsewhere takes a bit of work and thought.  Sometimes you are a flight away no choice which can limit the amount of trips you can make to the location, or you can pick a location that is driving distance.  For some of my brides coming here for their weddings, there is 1-2 trips in the planning months, and this year I have had a couple where there were no trips, we did vendor selection by phone/internet interviews, or after us going to know each other, they trusted that who I felt was right for their style/budget, was indeed right, and went on the ride with me, and no-one has ever been disappointed.  With this particular wedding, we were going elsewhere and it was a driveable distance/4 hours, so I went with mom/bride on 2 trips and they did a 3rd on their own.

A resort destination wedding is a lot different to the one you will see below.  Whether you do this style of wedding in your local area or not, any wedding celebration that is done in a venue such as below takes work, you either pay people to do everything, or you still pay people to do most things and you have to put in the elbow work for a lot of the ‘detail’ items.  Either way DIY is going to be the look/feel  the guests get which makes it feel more intimate and hopefully a reflection of you, as opposed to you were trying to do it on the cheap, and be aware, your time and anyone elses time is worth something, so even if you choose DIY because your vision is maxed with the $$ but you are happy to put in the time/effort for everything else, these weddings do end up costing more than if you found a venue where everything was done for and included or you custom the elements.

I was really impressed at how the guests got into the swing/theme.  The pre wedding get together was a hoe-down barbeque at the ranch where the wedding was going to be and suitable attire was suggested, everyone took it to heart.

On the Friday night event we did the burlap plants and western overlays over the regular rental linens, don’t these look so happy and pretty.

At her sisters wedding which I did about 4 years ago, totally different on the beach and then at a private club house under a canopy for the dinner/dance, we had a line dance caller which I thought was a bit different but they knew their crowd and that they would love it, and sure enough they did.  Such a hit we did it again for this wedding on the Friday night for 2 hours (kept them all warm too as again it was a bit cool and breezy-remember you can’t control outside elements), and on the wedding night, but on the wedding night we only did it for around 45 mins, and more for  anyone who hadn’t been at the previous nights event.  For this one the photographer for the wedding day also came and took pics for about 2 hours night prior.

This sign was the grooms job to make and then have it in place by a certain time, and he did.  Great job Dan.

From our first ladies trip up (mom, me, and bride) Lauren kept saying her horse was coming to the wedding, mom and I would just laugh and say ‘sure she is’, well that Lauren made it happen, Violet was there in all her beauty, and the photographer and dad got beautiful pics of Violet and Lauren in the grass running around.  Just beautiful.

Anyone who knows me knows I love a good looking dining table and the hang napkin fold, so the picture below makes me very happy.   I had been dying to find a location to be able to do a couple of long tables for a 150 person wedding and a bride who loved that idea too, and here we were, we ended up doing 3 long tables due to the guest count increasing, but how fab they look.   Now again, here’s to the DIY side of things:, the chargers were very personal, we were brainstorming rental plates etc and I said, wouldn’t it be neat to have some old fashioned plates, and mob said, we have a whole bunch from grandma (she died just prior to the sister’s wedding and we had her hat she was going to wear at that wedding displayed in a cool way), and I said, that is fabulous, that was grandma is there too, so then we had Dan’s mom get plates from the grandparents, and some of the aunties had plates that belonged to grandmas etc and those were the plates we used, loved it.   We had gone to every op shop in San Luis on the two trips I went up on and brought mason jars, cool vases etc for flowers and candles to go in, mostly clear but also some blue and green.  Lauren and mom went to op shops down here too (we dropped these off to the florist the day prior and she filled them up with flowers then delivered them back the morning of the wedding).

This is Lauren’s reaction after she saw the dining table area.  This is a girl that loves and I mean truely loves, so when she hugs you, you feel the raw realness of her appreciation and thanks.  Just love her, she is a real end result of her great parents and their example, you too Meredith!!!

Love my placecard tables, but knew what I like to do was not going to work with this event, just wouldn’t make sense, so at one of our brainstorming sessions, I suggested clothesline on the paddock fence that everyone walks thru and I would attach the cards, what about pegs,  love it.  So here is the end result.

Lauren wanted the front of the house for the ceremony, I thought the bridge that you see at the bottom, would be lovely but the property nixed the bridge idea, so the front of the house was where it was at.  Most couples at this property however, use the paddock that we used for dining.  See how fun it is to never look at a place and just do what everyone else does, no matter where your event is, there are always options to be able to implement to make it ‘your’ event.

Only the parents and grandparents sat, everyone else stood around, to again give that feeling of intimacy/friendliness.  It was funny seeing everyone so much more dressed up for this event, as opposed to their country attire of the night before.

Just a short stroll from the dining paddock, this is where they spent their wedding night, isn’t that cool!!

Aaah, don’t you want to be at this table.  The food was excellent, a local caterer that uses mostly organic/locally grown food, it tasted sooooo good, and fun to work with too.

Here’s the bridge, so reminded me of that Madison county movie.  Love it.  The amount of different areas the photographer got to use, their album is going to be awesome.  A fabulous couple, families, and celebration for all those that were lucky enough to attend.

Thanks to Colleen Rosenthal for the photos, she is a local photographer in San Luis Obispo that does really lovely work, and is a very nice nice person, I really enjoyed working and seeing her on both evenings.  We did use a local florist and dj and both were aok, but the beauty of a driveable destination wedding is that you can actually take your home local vendors with you.  Even with destinations where you are flying to, check the pricing for a local photographer and dj to go with you, they may be wanting to expand their destination wedding market and give you a price that is comparable to the vendors in the area you are going to, or their normal price may be comparable.  I am doing this in September, taking a local photographer with us to Hawaii for a destination wedding.

If you are considering a Destination wedding to the OC, or you are here and considering going elsewhere, having me help you look at your options/pull it together for you, is going to save you a lot of frustration/time and probably money, becomes a win win for you and for me, as I get to work with you and get creative.

Just received this thank you card from the couple:

How could Daniel and I ever thank you enough for helping us create one of the most magical days of our life.  You truly made our vision into reality, every aspect of it from the stunning venue, to the tables, to making events go down on the day – you made it happen flawlessly.  You are a master of your work, and I am honored that we got to use your skills and experience. You are a special aldy and Dianiel and I will be forever grateful for makingour wedding day the finest day there ever was.  I will miss our visits. With love, Lauren & Dan

Till next time


714 305 7112

Add a comment August 28, 2012

Pavilion Ballroom, Ritz Carlton, Laguna, 2 nights in a row

This doesn’t happen very often but so fun when it does.  I happened to have two weddings two nights in a row in this wonderful ballroom, that doesn’t have the normal cold/big feel associated with the word ‘ballroom’.

Two different looks, both fabulous, two fabulous brides (and grooms), people who travelled from all over the world to each, two similar setups (not the normal setup for this room and funnily enough both these brides were about not splitting the tables up, so we had dining all together and dancing at one end – and the major item they had in common – great guests who danced and danced and danced.  Both events ended around 1:15am with sweaty, happy people, who were there to celebrate and enjoy, and they sure did.

This is why I love my job, never the same wedding, the vision/bride/vendors always different, because I recommend those I know are right for you and throw in a few others so you also know who is right for you. Quality and the right style, working with the budgetted $$ (even if really big) always makes it a fun process, and as with all my weddings, on both these nights I drove to the hotel in anticipation of how wonderful they were both going to look and how happy I knew both my brides would be.  I can see how it will be, but I know for a bride, it really takes for her to come into the room to really realise the full impact of what we spent months/weeks pulling together.  My lovely bride last night, walked into the room and only said one word, but that one word was huge ‘PERFECT’.     Aaaah,

When there is a great sunset, can’t beat the Pavilion & Plaza balcony views 

We did a mix of round/square and long tables for this celebration.

For both we did white ‘south beach’ looking furniture/candles etc on the balcony.

Thanks to Katie Clark for the photos above.  I smiled a lot when I saw these, such a great couple and I know Susie the bride has got to be loving her album and the memories of their fabulous celebration it brings back.  Thanks also to Nisie and her team from Enchanted Florist, I knew you were the right choice for her from the get go, Peter/Vive Ent for being just a pleasure to always see and work with, Elysium/Julie for being always so easy to work with.

 For the wedding below, the bride & her parents are French Canadian, and they suprised the guests by having the music for start of dancing be by a band/singer/entertainer who is very famous in Canada.  His name did not mean anything to me or it seemed to the grooms side of the family in the room when he came on, but when I saw all the Canadian ladies look shocked, then start to swoon and get their cameras out, I immediately googled him, and yes he is a pretty big deal up there.  Too funny. 

Note in the picture above the shape of the dancefloor, this is when you need someone in the room during setup on your side (ie me!) to handle any challenges logically and make it work.  The band had huge equipment and had had the stage made bigger taking up more space into the room and then had huge speakers (this was like concert equipment) that were on the floor infront of the stage.  Band would not move anything, dancefloor guy was at a loss as to how he was to setup the floor as if he started it past the speakers there would be a big carpeted gap between it and the stage, but the space he had to the tables was now not enough space for the size ordered/needed, so he ultimately came to me with his hand up in the air.  Hmmmm, David from Square Root and his team, helped me move every table in that room (some already had the big centerpieces on them) away from the stage area, only by inches for some, but by doing that we gave ourselves the ability to use all the dancefloor pieces and as I was not really into the carpet space infront of the stage, I got creative & had the dancefloor guy work out how to create the T-shape you see.  I loved the end result,

Thanks to Karen French for the photos (she always manages to get a pic of a gazebo lawn cere from above even when the couples room was not in that wing, wonder how??!!  She’s good!!),and  Square Root for the beautiful floral design.

Common to both weddings was my/our use of Fusion for helping me create the right look/feel with the excellent quality chairs/linens/furniture & dancefloor they deliver/setup & same night pick up, all with no drama or excess fees for the couple,  and to Angel the owner who listens and orders new stock of items I know my couples will love/use, and to Design Visage for doing all the hair and makeups, as always keeping everyone on time, and looking great right through to the end of the event, and enhancing my already beautiful two brides .

Till next time


714 305 7112

Add a comment August 19, 2012

Small budget/nice effect

These two weddings whose pictures you will see below, were both working with very tight budgets,they spent their money differently, but the same end result happened, a good time was had by all attending and great wedding celebration memories were made.

Hyatt HB – Vista Ballroom.  This bride was very soft and lovely, and by using white in the centerpieces, and the lovely new white linens the Hyatt has just received, adding the chivaris and the white dancefloor, the end result is everyone thinking a lot more was spent than actually was.  When they came to me they had their photographer and videographer, but needed music and floral, and the dancefloor/chairs.  They took my advise and used my favorite great value for money florist and dj, quality and experience does not have to be compromised.  But they just couldn’t swing the quote we got for chivaris and dancefloor, so she found someone north LA area.  Well here is the lesson, as long as you have a good co-ordinator, and a vendor and hotel team there for you, you never know what goes on to make it happen.  The dancefloor/chair vendor was 30 mins late getting to the room, and very slow in unloading, I had to ask the hotel if they would mind assisting with their setup crew to put the chairs at the tables, not only did they do it but my dj jumped in too.  The chair cushions were quite stained (but thanks to dim lighting  and us turning the really bad ones over, the guests did not notice,) and the dancefloor did not piece together as it should, not to where it could be dangerous, but this was not the best.  If you were at a location where they were not keeping an eye on vendors (I called to see where chairs/dancefloor were, right at the time the guy showed up at the ballroom all sweaty saying he didn’t realise the hotel was so far south of them (uh hello, mapquest or gps??) and a freeway was closed, and hotel staff willing to help keep things on time, this could have been a disaster.  Just remember, you do get what you pay for.  The good news here is, if you look below it is pretty and calm, and only us professionals know what it took to get it that way for when the guests entered, right on time.

DSCN0095 DSCN0082 DSCN0089

For the wedding below, I started with them from the beginning, budget was tight and guest list was big.  They were not willing to budge on the guest list.  So after securing a church which gave us our date and time (got to get that done first, saves a lot of stress and frustration), I gave them about 15 locations to look at the websites of and see if many appealed, they narrowed it down to about 12, then B&G and brides parents (it was always the 5 of us having fun, lots of pizza and beer after our meetings!!!) and I set out and looked at them all over the course of two nights.  We walked into the Radisson Newport Beach and they fell in love with the Pavilion.  It is a structure with roll up sides, some lovely tropical plants behind where the headtable should go, and the feeling of being in a tent.  We then got  creative with the linens to compliment her colors, black/white & burgundy, using garden chairs to give a comfortable summer feel and overlaying linens that were complimentary, then focused on florals to bring in the burgundy, we kept them low to keep the budget in line and the depth of the burgundy broke up the black linen top.  It really did turn out lovely for them.  Now, this is a party group, so a lot of the guests were staying at the hotel even though they are local), you get great rates at a corporate/airport hotel on a weekend, and today just happens to be very very hot (and here we were a year ago making sure the hotel had heaters they could roll in as well as turn on the ceiling heaters if it got cold!!!! ) so about an hour into the dancing, a lot of the guests went to their rooms and came back nice and comfy in shorts and tshirts, including the B&G, and now they are really just relaxing and having a really good time.  When it ends here, the hotel bar (which has the feeling of an English pub bar which they loved from the minute they saw it) will be the place to be.

167H5332 167H5300

The staff here are very lovely to work with and assist with anything needed.  And the food is always good, chicken was served to all and it was quite delicious, moist/plump and the sauce quite yummy.

We came in on budget and they never had to compromise on anything, so all are very happy.

Till next time


714 305 7112


Add a comment August 11, 2012

Fabulous look

I loved Estella, such exotic looks, vivacious and so family connected, everything about her celebration had her family totally in mind, and then there was Ben our groom, quiet, thoughtful, so full of heart, and you could see that.  In fact when Ben’s daughter stood to make her toast, everything I thought was what she talked about and made him even more endearing to everyone in the room, and solidified why this couple was perfect for each other.

A second marriage for both, which I feel gave Estella the chance to  go the way of heart in colors, not only for the cere and dining room where eggplant was predominant, but in her gown!!  Fabulous, she looked stunning, I love it when a bride is willing to go there.  I have to say as we were pulling the vision together for the feel in the ballroom, I knew the black chivaris were going to be perfect, and they both went along with me on that, and boy they looked great.  Two weddings in a row with the black chivaris and I am loving them.  Fruitwood tweaks the feel a bit, gives it a more ‘organic’ feel,  and some brides just feel a bit strange with a black chair, but I have to say for elegance/statement, the black chivaris are perfect and the way to go, especially when you are doing the dark tones for the linens/mood.

Great vendor team selected as they really trusted me with who I knew would be right for them, they had options of course, but the best team for them was selected, so going in to the event I knew it would be smooth sailing, and it was.  Everyone there for the right reason.  Thanks to Jeff, EPOD, Kimberly etc and of course to the fab Frank Salas for the photos above. 

Till next time


714 305 7112

Add a comment August 10, 2012

Awesome St Regis celebration

Just had two days of an awesome celebration for a couple I have really enjoyed and know will share many champagnes with in the future.  Ceremony and upscale barbeque on Friday, then the shi shi cocktail party followed by dinner/dancing event on Saturday night.  Fab u lous, is the only way to describe the couple and the events.

We started out where they really didn’t know what they wanted, allowed me a lot of creative freedom to come up with thoughts/ideas, and being very busy professionals and living in Texas and only having two trips out here during the planning months, went along on the ride with me.  So I was full of excitement and anticipation both days, knowing I could see how everything was going to turn out, and being beside myself waiting for the moment for them to see the end result.  Tears, hugs, happiness.  I was sooooo happy for them and their response to both days.  Great group of family and friends I got to know over the two days and they were there to celebrate.  Intimate group of 65, but that dancefloor never had less than 60 on it, and they danced for 3 hours non stop!!!

Thanks to the great team that had the product and expertise to make me look fab, and the couple so happy, Square Root/David you went over and above, tx.  Fusion for the dancefloor/furniture and other elements I needed.  Classic for the chameleon chairs, leather or suede, well suede of course, and they were fab.  E motion picture studio, thanks to Kimberly and Marc for both nights.  Julius our dj (who I worked with earlier in the year) and was the only component on board before me (small small world this biz is), then we confirmed the hotel and started with the rest of the vendors.  Along the way I tried to come up with unique/different elements to incorporate. 

The details: now, I have to admit I ‘borrowed’ the thought from another florist I love, but it was the first time Square Root and the hotel had done it and they were both a bit sceptical, but as you can see below, the ‘suspended cake’ was wonderful and definately caught everyone’s attention and was a center focal point of the dining area. We did mirror tops on the rectangle tables, and by positioning the furniture the way I did, we made 2 sofa/chair sets, look like a lot more.  The couples sweetheart table was a water filled box with orchids floating in it.  We framed the center tables with the icon Square Root look on the outer tables.  We used the drapes in Club 19 to reveal each area at the right time to reveal, ie, when the guests came into Club 19 for the grand entrance and a few dance songs they only saw that setup as we opened the drapes on their way in, after the few dances we swung open the drapes to the dining patio with the couple leading the guests in, and a lot of gasps and oohs/aahs photos were being taken as they went in and found their seats, with all the candles it looked spectacular.

As everyone knows, I am too busy at a wedding to take pics, so James Johnson thanks for these great pics and for as always being the great sport, creative soul, and the just nice guy you are.

Of course, can’t forget, Kelly and her bosses at the St Regis for helping us make these events happen.  The guests were telling me how fabulous the service had been all weekend and the staff in all depts/areas at the hotel (all the guests were staying in house).  Jose, Blass, and the banquet staff, thanks as always, we are a team and the guests feel it, and appreciate the respect we all have for each other.

Now out to the pool and a champagne with a big smile on my face

Till next time


714 305 7112

Add a comment August 5, 2012

Hyatt Huntington Beach fun

What a great planning time we had and it all resulted in a fabulous celebration for this so fun couple and their guests.  I have never laughed so much at every meeting than I did with mom and bride when we were interviewing vendors, and the tasting was just hilarious, I am sure Mark from the Hyatt wondered what the heck was going on, they were just fun fun people.  My lovely bride got busy so the groom stepped in and became my partner in the details/planning and boy what a great job he did, and he never became a bride or groom zilla much to the disappointment of the groomsmen who wanted to know and I think really hoped I would say he did!!!

I could see where we would end up with colors/feel, and it did not disappoint, the dark burgundy linens with a blackish hue to them along with the black chivaris and then the black vases for the florals just looked fabulous. 

From the beginning the groom had wishlisted a casino, and as time went along it got put further back on the list due to spending in other areas that became important as we were going through the process.  But two weeks ago I gave him an offer too good to be true, I approached a vendor who had just bought some brand new tables and was going to start rolling out that he had them, and I asked if to get the ball rolling he would give me a great price for this groom that I just enjoyed so much, and he did (another reason why using a seasoned/known co-ordinator who has relationships with locations and vendors can be so beneficial to you), and the groom was so happy, and so was the lady last night that won the IPAD that was the prize for the raffle tickets that were either switched for raffle tickets, or if you played the more you won the more raffle tickets you got.  Between that and the photo/prop area they had and the only band I refer/endorse, this party went on until midnight on a Sunday night with probably 80 guests still there at the end, not bad.

Thanks to Frank Salas for the great photos. below:

Till next time


714 305 7112

Add a comment August 3, 2012






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