Archive for February 2013




European Wedding River Cruise

I was fortunate to take a river cruise on the Rhine from Vienna/Austrai to Nuremburg/Germany this past December.  The cruise was focused on the Christmas markets and was the last one of the season.  As always I travel thinking I know what areas could be of interest for couples for future weddings, and while I was in Vienna and then Budapest I saw locations that could work, but nothing was really gripping me which was disappointing.  We left on our cruise and spent the next 6 nights stopping at neat villages along the way.  One stop included a monastry which had a beautiful chapel and I thought what a shame it is in the middle of nowhere, how/who would want to make this their destination for their European wedding.  It struck me on the plane coming home, I was actually doing what would be the perfect European destination wedding……………..

Our river boat cruise was operated by a charter company, so you could charter a boat also.  We had 107 people on board, that would mean if you had 40-50 couples or some singles that would come on the trip, perfect.  People could fly into Vienna at their own leisure (we had a few days there prior to departure, but some people did fly in on day of departure) and see or do whatever they want in the preceding days.  Then the cruise begins, it is a great way to relax and enjoy lovely scenery as the boat winds its way along the Rhine.  We had snow and ice on our cruise, so if you were a couple who loved the cold and wanted to do some skiing along the way then Dec is a good month, I hear during the summer it’s also great, as the top of the boat is the sun deck and people relax and enjoy drinks while enjoying the same scenery I saw it just looks totally different.  Vineyards were bare when I cruised by and wine bars were closed, but I can just imagine in the summer stopping at a village and walking up to a wine bar and enjoying some local wine while looking out to the boat and the Rhine.  Then a couple of days into the cruise you come to the destination where you will have your wedding.  Melk is the name of the town, and the chapel (picture below) can be the location for your truly European ceremony for 250 euro, can you believe that!!  Then everyone walks down the steps to the Charles Dicken looking village below, maybe have drinks and hors d’oeuvres at one of the bars/restaurants there, then everyone walks back to the boat where you have dinner and then dancing the night away in the lounge/bar area.  The next few days are you honeymooning with your nearest and dearest, visiting some more villages, and maybe some side trips to Salzberg or skiing or whatever is of interest to the guests.  Then when you get to the end of the trip, you can head off to Paris or Portofino/Amalfi, or Spain and continue your honeymoon, and your guests can head home or head to destinations in Europe that appeal to them.

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photo2  photo1I

If this sounds like your dream wedding experience, let me know and I will help you make it a reality.

Till next time

Lisa

www.lisasimpsonweddings.com

www.pinterest.com/lisasimpsonweddings

Add a comment February 18, 2013

St Regis Wedding Showcase

For anyone who is considering the St Regis for their upcoming or future wedding but you have not gone by yet to check it out, or for those brides who want to see what the hotel has to offer but have been wary to make contact, this coming Sunday is their showcase when you get to come and see the locations, taste some fabulous food and enjoy some champagne as well.

You can get more info by going to www.stregismb.com/showcase    I believe you may need to rsvp

Not sure right this minute if I am able to make it, but if you do go and decide this is the venue for you, I would love to help you, so please make contact with me after the showcase and we can get the ball rolling

Till next time

Lisa

www.lisasimpsonweddings.com

www.pinterest.com/lisasimpsonwdgs

Add a comment February 7, 2013

PROPOSALS

Well this came about without any planning/intention and it was really fun, so thought I would add it as one of my offerings to potential couples.

I had a call from a ‘nearly groom’ to see if I could help him with his proposal.  They would be flying in (all a suprise to the bride) and making their way to their favorite hotel and then flying back home a few hours later.  What could I do on this end to set everything up so this could go seamlessly, hmmmmm.

I came up with three options –

1) a canopy setup on a lawn overlooking the ocean with a table with lovely linens/chairs and flowers.  A waiter with champagne at the ready, and once the question was asked and answered, a lovely lunch. 

2) a hotel room at the hotel with petals leading from the door to the balcony where a table would be setup with lovely linens/chairs and florals, same thing with a waiter/champagne, and after the question is asked, a lovely lunch, and some private time!!!

3) rose petals at a certain spot at the hotel (which I would be keeping others away from) where they would end up, he would get down on his knee and propose and then they could go/do whatever they wanted

With all of the options, I could have a photographer and video there to capture everything forever, and for sure the bride would get to take some of the florals with her on the trip home.  A harp could be added for ambiance or ipod music.

He chose option one.  Lucky girl who was a fiance by the end of the trip.

So if you have a groom who you think may need some help here in S CA subtly leave my name/number lying around, or if you are a groom and want some help in getting things setup here or elsewhere, contact me so I can help you.  Fun and fabulous, what a great start to the rest of your lives.

Till next time

Lisa

www.lisasimpsonweddings.com

www.pinterest.com/lisasimpsonwdgs

714 305 7112

Add a comment February 5, 2013

Terrace Salon, Ritz Carlton

This is space at the hotel that was a restaurant, so has atmosphere built in, as there are no ocean views.  The goldish hue to the walls really gives a warm feel.  I have done four celebrations in this room and I am liking it more and more each time.  It gets paired with the Gazebo Lawn for the ceremony, then onto the Dana Lawn for cocktails unless you want to use the rooms balcony overlooking the pool for cocktails.

Here’s some pics from the last two I orchestrated in this room.

EMP_5352 EMP_5391

Thanks to Joel of Eckman Maus for the two pics above.  These were taken prior to doors opening and it was daylight still.  Once the guests entered it was dim/dusk and the walls and uplights along with the candlelight on the tables really created a beautiful elegant feel.

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For the picture above all the centerpieces were tall and dark red, the linens were golden and we used fruitwood chivaris, so a totally different look to the top wedding, both had a great feel, just very different, in fact quite reflective of each bride.

Till next time

Lisa

www.lisasimpsonweddings.com

www.pinterest.com/lisasimpsonwdgs

714 305 7112

Add a comment February 3, 2013

Hawaii Wedding

Well here I am in Hawaii, Oahu, Ko-olina to be exact, getting ready for a wedding that will be happening in a few days.

It all started with the couples wish list and the budget, they  didn’t match.  So during the budget meeting the bride said, what about if I throw this out, could we do this in Hawaii, less guests, same monies.  Sure I said, and that is what brings us to today.

Having been to the main islands a few times each and the Waikiki area multi times, I took all the important elements for the bride & groom and then narrowed down the hotels/locations that would work, then gave them the ones to look at/narrow down/mark off.  I knew from the calls I was making, what was going to be the perfect match for them, and ultimately that is where we are.  And sometimes fate just steps in and helps you along which it did in this case.  Where we are doing the celebration did not match the budget and amount of guests, however, in my calls/information seeking I found out there was going to be some renovation happening at the hotel, and due to that managed to get the site fees reduced and some reduction on the Food & beverage, now it not only fit in the budget, but they are going to get the privacy/seclusion they want and have full run of the hotel/grounds, as there will be no guests staying.  5 star wedding for 3 star price.  Love it.

This kind of situation may not have been discovered by you making calls on your own or looking at websites, but as I do this for a job, when I hear certain things, I know what to ask and whether it is really going to be a concern for the celebration.  Good to have someone on your side.

photo1 Cain_0006 Cain_0128 Cain_0289 Cain_0532 Cain_0970  photo

It’s now several months later, and as you can see from the photos above, we had a lovely ocean backdrop to our ceremony celebrated on a lush lawn/palm tree area.  Cocktails were held on a lanai with a garden view, then dinner was on a lawn with a koi pond backdrop and the architecture of the hotel, we added hanging lanterns & lit torches around the area to  enhance the Hawaiian feel.  Then after dinner everyone went to an intimate banquet room which we enhanced with a few uplights in the ‘theme’ color, for dancing/socialising.  Most of the guests were still there when we waved goodbye to the couple as they headed off to their   Thanks to Joe and the team at the JW Marriott at Ko-Olina, so great to work with and I look forward to many more weddings with them.

From a vendor standpoint, we took Frank Salas with us from here/our local area (thanks for the photos above Frank) as the photographer.  We did that for a few reasons, 1) they got to meet him/get a feel for him and see his work in person, 2) after the wedding it would be much easier for them to have him local when pulling the album together or any other needs they may have, and 3) based on my relationship with Frank and the wedding being on a week day, they did not pay much more for his package/services than they would have paid a local photographer over there, so well worth it.  The dj was a local Oahu guy who the bride & groom knew so that was easy, however I had made inquiries and felt good about some of the local guys I had been chatting with, if we had of gone that route. 

From a floral standpoint, we narrowed it down to a couple of options, and we had a few phone conversations with the florist they chose.  Her work on the day was lovely, however……………. if it had of been up to the florist the ceremony would have been inside, and she wanted to make that call at 8am for a 5pm ceremony.   My eyes were opened to what a bride who does not have an advocate/planner on her side, must go through and possibly end up with a wedding based on the decisions of others, rather than the bride.  I got a call from the florist at 10am asking me what the backup plan was, I had been in Oahu for 2 weeks and not seen any rain along the coast, with the exception of one day we went inland and had some afternoon showers, so when I got the call I went straight to the window, could see nothing but blue sky and had to ask the florist had she seen something on the weather forecast that told her it was going to be raining at 5pm, she said no but it is very changeable and can happen at any time.  I told her I would meet her at the site at 3pm and would not make a decision until then, which she was not happy about.  I arrived at the ceremony site and found the florist quite irritated that I had not made a decision to move the ceremony inside, she had called the hotel catering person to come down and support her in her effort to move the ceremony inside.  Again I looked at the sky and asked what info she had that would make me understand her concern with the rain, I  had been looking online at the weather hour by hour and there was nothing saying it was going to rain, so I was a bit bamboozled.  I stuck to my guns, and told them we had come too far, their dream was the ocean in the background and as they could not give me any definitive reason to move it inside, outside we are staying.  I asked the florist when she would have made the call to move it inside, and she told me hours ago.  Now, not sure if we got lucky (ceremony of course happened outside and no rain!!!) or if the local vendors are a bit lazy and used to getting their own ways due to their own agendas (the harpist we used was out of line on the day for a couple of reasons also, but the bride knows nothing about what I was dealing with with her, our photographer saw what was going on and couldn’t believe it) but here in the OC, I have had some florists move their cere decor 2-3 times based on rain, then no rain, then rain, then no rain, they may have been a bit frustrated, but we were all of the same understanding, all brides choosing an outdoor ceremony location is going to want to keep her vision/backdrop unless it is pouring down rain or bitterly cold, our job is to work with what is going to meet/exceed the brides expectations/vision, not take it away without it being her choice or as it would have turned out on this day, We get sea haze and mist and rain along the OC coast, and I will let a bride make the final call 1/2 hour prior to ceremony time if that is what it takes.  I found out later that the florist had called the bride 2 hours prior to me/8:00am and told her then we needed to think about moving inside, I was so upset when I heard this, if I was not there my bride would have moved inside, or been panicking all day/worrying about rain, instead of enjoying her day getting ready/being happy.  Due to me being there and her telling the florist to contact me and have me make the decision, she could relax knowing I was going to make the right decision.

My thought here is, having an ‘outsider’ on site for your tropical wedding is a positive, we are more likely to take risks (even though in this case there was no risk as far as I could see).  A local planner probably would have sided with the florist, in order to keep her happy, as she has to deal with her many times in the future. 

I will say, it did end up misting, towards the end of dinner about 2 1/2 hours later and in the dark, and it wasn’t for long, we finished dinner and then everyone went inside to the party room, which was always the plan.

We had thought 40 guests would come over, ended up with 60 (including a past bride of mine and her family-they were the ones that recommended me to my lovely bride, it was so good seeing them again), people stayed where they were comfortable for location/budget, most got together for the rehearsal/pre wedding day dinner held at another location in Ko-Olina.  Some came early and left the day after the wedding, some came wedding day or day prior and then stayed on for a few more days in the same area, or went to other islands.  Hawaii really is a great place for a destination wedding (our air was only around $400 pp, so a lot less than going to the Caribbeam from the west coast)

Let me help you plan your Hawaiian wedding, on any island, and be there on the day to ‘deal’  with things for YOU.

Till next time

Lisa

www.lisasimpsonweddings.com

www.pinterest.com/lisasimpsonwdgs

714 305 7112

Add a comment February 2, 2013

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