Archive for June 2013

DIY weddings don’t necessarily save you money

It sounds romantic/fun to create a vision that is shabby/chic, intimate/personal etc, and have the friends/family all willing to help you put it together on the day, but …..

If you are going the DIY way because you think it will save you money, or you are trying to fit within a budget and think this is the way to do it, you could end up spending more than if you went to a location that provides everything. Maybe it’s the atmosphere you are wanting to create, well your money may now be spent on props and other things that don’t cost a lot alone but after time and adding them up you spend more than you planned/thought.  Also your time, everyone’s time is worth something too, so not paying vendors to do a job from beginning to end can end up coming back to bite as someone has to do it and that is when your cost is frustration/stress/or just being left ultimately responsible to make it happen or clean it up.

Less is more, don’t get so caught up on doing a lot or more, most of the guests won’t notice half of what you did, just a few items at the key areas/times will remain in their memories.  if you are the type of bride who is going to do a lot of cutsey fun signs/things etc and would be upset if the guests don’t comment or notice every thing you put time/effort into, then cut it down to a few and expect to hear lots of kudos on those instead and use the time you saved by not doing more on other things like relaxing and enjoying the process. It could be you find a nice everything included or fits in the budget location, but you add the cute signs/items in the key areas and your quests will still get a DIY feel/effect, but you saved money/time and actually got better value overall than if you went to an empty field or home backyard where you had to rent/bring everything in. Add it up and compare, you will be suprised.

Not trying to put you off, just want you to think it through and do the comparisons, as most of the time brides choose DIY thinking they are spending less.

See the blog below, it takes you through what was involved with creating a wedding that had a DIY/personal vibe to it. After was all said and done, it cost more than if we had of had their celebration at a five star resort, but that wasn’t their type of location. You will see the work that was involved. I hope this will have you reconsider trying to do it all yourself or rely on friends/family members who are also going to be guests, and hire a co-ordinator/planner to help you through it all, or even better, contact me.

Till next time
714 305 7112

Add a comment June 6, 2013

DIY wedding/vibe & the work involved & why you need a co-ordinator

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 customise the elements.


We rented tables/chairs that came in on the Friday and used them for both events, just tweaked them a bit. On the Friday night event we did the burlap plants and western overlays over the regular rental linens.  And always be prepared, it was windy, so thank goodness for the extra horseshoes the bride had brought for decor, they were great table linen weights for Friday.  But simple florals that they got at the store Fri morning, then dressed them up, and they look so happy and pretty.


Now the wedding day, starts early for the DIYers, don’t rely on the bride/mothers, as they don’t realise how the day starts to get caught up in hair/makeup early on and time then just runs away with you, so you have to know who is doing what/when etc, and be prepared for needing things you hadn’t thought of.  Plus do you really want to work all morning/day, then go and get ready, by the end of the event you will be exhausted, and you should be invigorated.  So either pay people who are not guests, or be prepared to do the work/thinking yourselves, because kindly friends/family volunteer, but they look for direction from you and sometimes get distracted or lose interest if something fun is going on somewhere else.

I was there early and never saw this sign until the photographer sent me these pics I am using.  This was the grooms job to make and then have it in place by a certain time, and he did.  Great job Dan, it by far exceeded what I thought was out there.


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 means grandma will be at this wedding 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.  The tables came in the night prior with all the rentals and there were tarps over them, probably totaled about 30 tarps or so, we had a team of men/guys/ladies taking these tarps off, all time, they were dirty from being out overnight and needed to be folded up, then even though the tables were covered, somehow they got dirty so now time needed to be spent wiping the tables down.  Then the burlap runners went down, we had a breeze so as soon as you got one in place you had to put something on it to keep it down, plus I wanted them straight, as little curving as possible, it takes time to keep multi runners straight.  We then had to fold the napkins the way I wanted them, so a team did that, then we set up a factory line set up for assembly, 6 lines of people, each side of each table, first ladies with napkins -they went down the table putting the napkins down, following right behind (remember the wind so no time to not put the plate down on top or the napkin would have blown away) was a lady who took a charger off the pile of chargers being carried by the guy/man right behind her (boy were they happy the closer to the end of the row of tables they got).  Great, sides of tables done, now have to do the centers, consisting of burlap runners and florals/vases, and mason jars with candles in.  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, they had a relative up there, so kindly they allowed the storage of anything brought up there to stay at their place for 5 months.  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, first wrong move, pay the florist to put them all out on the table for you), the end result in pics is great, but I ended up putting nearly 150 vases on the tables and it took a lot of time, and it was windy and the little cute ones kept falling over, a florist would have known how to group them to deal with the wind (especially a local florist), I was not having a lot of fun and it was taking a lot of time that I needed to be overseeing/doing other things.  Then after the floral vases were down, the mason jars with candles on needed to go down, I am going to say another hundred, not only down, but now they need to be lit, so that is more time, oops where are my helpers/volunteers, oh they all realised others were relaxing having fun/drinks on the lawn and went over to join them/losing interest in what I/we had been doing, and for some of the ladies they realised how the day was going and disappeared to do their hair/makeup start getting ready for the wedding, so I was alone doing this. Good thing I had started doing things so early, but if they had not have had me, things either would not have been done, or done so well/same, or they would have been done by people working right up to cere time and now they are stressed and have to run/get dressed and are not happy/having fun. It comes down to either have a ton of people who are friends and not going to be guests and ensure they have the time to get all this done, or if these people are guests you are going to have to start earlier in the day, and between the time you finish and the time everything starts you need to have someone overseeing that all is still well, ie vases falling over, water on the table, candles blowing out. Or you pay people, so your friends can be guests and you aren’t involved/worrying, so a co-ordinator to oversee such as we did/me, and paying the vendors to do their job from A-Z, not A-W because good hearted friends have offered to help on the day, but the reality is, when you really need them to help they need to be getting ready or really now the time is here, aren’t quite so into the helping, is really what you need to do. Then the next part to getting a picture to look this lovely, you need to go along and line up every plate and every chair, again it takes thinking about the details to get this kind of shot/feel, and going up and down the tables and adjusting chairs and plates take time.  And not only that, you have to get all the other things you are providing there, so mom’s and several other cars were packed to the gills with plates, burlap etc, and then of course, need people to unload them.  I have a wedding coming up where they have the week prior to setup which takes a lot of this same day setup pressure off, however, dusting of all tables etc is going to need to be done and linens can’t go down too early due to birds pooping, leaves/dust due to wind maybe messing them up, so only so much can really be done hours and hours or days ahead.

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, however, in between the time I was last there with them and the wedding some plants had grown so the fence facing the guests as they would walk to the paddock was not going to work, I had to use the other side of the fence and then stand at the gate and as people came on direct them to whichever side their name would be on (had to do two sides, or with 175 guest there would have been bedlam with everyone trying to get them from one area) and ensure they realised they needed their card to know which table to go to, this was not a sit where you want, it was all assigned even with doing 3 long tables (the line also did not hang as I really wanted, so I spent time trying and trying and ended up having to tape some of it, pegging and taping, all took time, much longer than normal placecard table).  So again, I am now standing for 15 mins while guests are coming in, can’t move, got to give the directions.  And as happens there was a guest challenge, that had to wait until I had everyone in the area, before I could deal with it, otherwise I would have had more.


You must have someone overseeing/working/seeing everything.  Florist brought hooks to have florals hanging on for the cere, but did not set them up, so I did.  Then as the day became night I realised they were still over at the cere site and that was the way most guests would be exiting and in the dark, possibly not see these poles and we would end up with some injuries, so I took them down.  Tarps needed to be put back on the dining  tables overnight or there was a hefty fee, sounded simple enough, however, I had to get the tarps/about 30 from where we had stored them, they were large so had to unfold them then lay them down, then secure them with chairs so they would not blow off.  This took me about an hour during the dancing part of the evening, and I was doing it in the pitch dark.   But before I could do that, I had to undo everything we had done for hours during the day, take the vases off the tables, candles, then the burlap.  We had announced several times that the guests were welcome to take vases/flowers, but no one did, they wanted to leave the tables and go dance, not worry about taking vases of flowers.  Undoing the tables was probably another hour of time and then moving the boxes of vases/florals to an out of sight place but good place for them to be able to be moved the next day.  With venues like this, you must leave them as you found them, so any of your junk/trash/items must go with you.


Another thing when doing DIY you must think about, if I did not have someone sitting at the drive directing people where to park, the photographer would not have been able to get some good distance shots of the ceremony. I noticed the night before that the parking with all over, so had to get it a bit more tidy for the wedding day and no one blocking the main entrance/gate to the house as that was part of the whole charm/look that enticed the bride to choose this location.   The person who was originally going to be the greeter and just do the welcoming, ended up being more of a parking supervisor, which became more important.


This is the money picture and what makes all that work worthwhile, but it is work and you need to really weigh the cost of paying someone to handle/oversee things for you, versus the cost of time/stress etc on friends/family and your experience, are you being a bride and enjoying the day, or working it.

Thanks to Colleen Rosenthal for the photos.

Till next time


714 305 7112

Add a comment June 5, 2013

Who said weddings are a no repeat business!!??

Well if you are fortunate to love what you do and the couples you get to work with, then you do see them again.

I have married two of my brides twice (new grooms each time), I have done weddings for sisters, brothers and sisters (love to keep it in the family), friends of past brides and grooms (yes I will even hear a past groom told someone to call me), and I just did a 40th birthday party (themed to the Hollywood of old) for a past groom, pulling it together with his wife/my bride (I did this grooms sisters wedding before his wedding, and I did their wedding about 5 years ago), and believe it or not guests at this party were the parents of two sisters whose weddings I both did, total suprise to me that they even knew each other. It is a small world and the great thing about being in this business for a lot of years, as it becomes smaller and smaller, or maybe it actually becomes bigger and bigger!

I get random emails from past brides, and calls, when they see something and it reminds them of me or their wedding, or as seemed to happen a lot last year, see my past couples at their friends wedding that they had referred me to, so nice. In fact yesterday a box was delivered to my house, I was not home and the person delivering it called me as she wanted to make sure would be home soon as there were perishables in it, after chatting for a few minutes, she said to me, Lisa you did my wedding 7 years ago. Wow, so we chatted for a bit, love it. Another past bride sent me pics of her baby shower and happened to mention where it was and who the hotel person was helping her with it, and I said to her, well you say hi from me, because we did her wedding a few months ago.

Here is a note from my lovely Amita – over a year after her wedding –

Hi Lisa, hope all is well with you. I wanted to write to let you know that we finally received our wedding albums and DVD of wedding images – it gave us a renewed appreciation of all your hard work and help leading up to our wedding. We can never thank you enough.

Since Amita’s wedding I have done one of her friends, and seen my lovely Amita pregnant.

Thanks everyone
Till next time
714 305 7112

Add a comment June 4, 2013

Hawaii Destination wedding

A beautiful new location is about to open in Maui – the Andaz Maui at Wailea. This property is under the Hyatt umbrella but as you can tell from the photos on line (google it) and more to come when they actually open, it’s a very special resort with a really calm/relaxing feel to it.
If you are considering a wedding in Hawaii, let me know and I will chat with my pal (who got in touch with me and is keeping me updated on progress pre opening) who oversees the weddings and we will see what we can do to make it work. The best time to have a wedding at a resort is when it is in it’s opening months, it tends to be quieter as it is not as known, and the properties tend to be willing to make it work to get you in.
Let me know, love to help you on both sides, from here and there.

Till next time
714 305 7112

Add a comment June 3, 2013

St Regis Monarch Beach – plan your wedding in 90 days

Well this is an awesome op for anyone who is right now thinking about their wedding, not wanting it to be next year, not sure how long they need, but if you are interested in starting now and being married by the end of August (you could do it in July also), St Regis has rolled out a nearly all inclusive package for up to 100 guests for $39,000 including all food/beverage, cere site, Club 19 for dining and dancing, florals (exception of bouquets/bouts-personals), chivari chairs for the dining patio and ……… it includes your wedding co-ordinator (four of us are part of this, and I am fortunate to be one of the four). You would need your key vendors on top of this, photo, music, officiant, but aside from that, the essentials are covered. So a 5 star/5 diamond wedding for really the price of a 4 star hotel wedding. If you have under 100 guests then there is a per person amount that would be taken off this total. Not sure if it has an end date for this fabulous offer, but if you need the push to get it started/planned and happen within 90 days, this is for you.

Let me know if interested and I can check dates/availability for you, then get you going

Till next time
714 305 7112

Add a comment June 2, 2013

Out and About

Part of what I do is to attend events/accept invites to go and see locations/vendors that I may not be familiar with, or get updated/new info on, this of course can be fun, but it does make me more valuable to you if you are wanting options/thoughts for your wedding location or even rehearsal/pre wedding dinners.
So for the past couple of months it has been tough fitting the lunch/dinners (I officially call them food tastings or quality control!! LOL) around my lovely brides whose weddings are coming up, but someone has to do it.  So here’s some of the latest ……….

Maestros Restaurant by South Coast Plaza, who knew that you could consider them for your wedding event. They have partnered with the courtyard behind their restaurant so you can have your ceremony there (quite modern, artsy look) then your guests go upstairs at Maestros to the balcony (passing the cool bar that is yours on the way, then you can either do dining tables inside and on the balcony or more of a cocktail table type setup in and out and the dancing is held indoors which has a cool club type vibe.

Warner Brothers Studios – I have checked out Universal and Disney for backlot weddings before, but didn’t realise Warner Brothers also had a cool backlot with a bunch of backdrops, jungle/outdoors, 50s, a NY city street with the stoops/steps folks sit on, a business/shopping street which you could via your table linens/florals/decor turn into Paris or the mid west and you can even personalise the shop windows. There are a couple of nice town square areas which have gazebos and grassy lawns, great for a ceremony or the cocktails or even the dining/dancing, and there is a really beautiful lawn area where you can do it all. You can arrange small trams to take the guests on tours during cocktail time around the backlot, how unique an experience and what great memories and after wedding talk your wedding would give the guests.

Hotel Portofino
I have done a wedding up here where you got married at the pool area (they had to close it to hotel guests) and then we went to the smaller banquet room overlooking the Redondo beach area. I have been to a wedding here, and I have stayed here. The great news is, they have really hipped up the restaurant/bar area and now are using a side lawn by the ballroom for the ceremonies. So if you are looking for water surroundings and great food, and a feeling of really being somewhere else, this could be the place for you.

TP-Bayside Ballroom THE KNOT.COM - WEDDING


Surf & Sand Hotel Laguna Beach – it’s hard to beat the ceremony backdrop at this property and the banquet rooms not having ocean views has always bothered me a bit, however if you do a sunset ceremony then when the guests go into the ballroom/banquet room, it won’t matter as it will be dark and now the focus can strictly be on the celebrating of what they just witnessed – you getting married. Why I bring this up is, I stayed the night and was really impressed with the quality of the room, the balcony and the view. We were overlooking the pool area with the ocean behind/beside, so I could see the cool cabanas around the pool, and see the waves crashing on the beach. We kept our balcony door open all night so we could hear the waves, being the water/ocean girl I am, that was heaven. So even if not considering having your wedding here, for some of your guests or even for a special night for you, do check this out, I don’t believe there is a hotel in S CA as close to the sand/waves as your room would be here and this level of quality.

Hyatt Irvine – they hosted a luncheon where they brought a lot of us in who had not been there for a while, so we forget. Their ceremony area which is against a back wall of the hotel was decored beautifully and the tent was setup/decored really well. Hard to beat their weekend rates for your guests and it is in such a central location right off the 405/Jamboree that you can do pre and post events anywhere.

Talking about Hyatt’s, Hyatt Newport was the location for an Assn event I belong to, always good to see Eddie. They are undergoing some remodelling which will bring the rest of the property into the cool vibe look/feel their lobby/bar area has had for the past year or so. This is really a boutique property where even if you weren’t the only wedding you would not know it and feel that you were.

Five Crowns, Corona del Mar, everyone knows of this restaurant, you have either passed it or eaten there. But not many people know they have a really sweet ceremony site in the back and a couple of dining/dancing options for intimate weddings under 75. I have had a couple of looks and now have a wedding that has booked there, can’t wait to show you the pictures, you will be suprised.

Wyndham Orange County (behind Performing Arts Center) has just remodelled their restaurant/bar area, everyone is going hip/cool, love it, you just want to sit back in a couch with a mojito and enjoy the chill music playing. Again, great for pre/post events and then use their lake backdrop ceremony site and go into one of their banquet rooms. They have a ballroom that gives the ballroom feel but is perfect for the wedding of 150 without the cavernous empty space.

Back up to LA, had another Assn event at the Intercontinental Hotel on the West side, always makes you feel big city hotel/cosmopolitan when you are here as opposed to the resort feel I am fortunate to spend so much time at. In fact the speaker at this event was from New Zealand, I had no idea until he started talking. You can’t forget that this hotel has a lovely ceremony location and some great banquet space also.

There were a bunch of other places I had been to/checked out, but this is enough for today.

If you are interested in knowing more about these properties, let me know, and if you are already booked at any of these or other properties don’t hesitate to make contact about my helping you with your celebration.
Till next time

714 305 7112

Add a comment June 1, 2013






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