Archive for December 2013

New Thank You

Bringing back the memories seeing the xmas cards coming in from my couples, thank you so much.

I got an email on Monday from my lovely Jun, whose wedding I orchestrated the Saturday just before. I had worked with Jun from the beginning, starting with the budget, creating the vision/design, getting her the right vendors to consider & then select from, and of course planning the event detail by detail. We had a good time and I will miss her.

Thank you so much for everything!
Dear Lisa
I do miss you!!
I can’t say how much I appreciate your help. You made our dream come true and our wedding day perfect. Though it rained, it was still just perfect. I have nothing to say about it. All the guests enjoyed themselves and I got tons of good feedback, such as “the wedding was among the best I ever attended” “super smooth and very well planned” “every part of the wedding is memorable. Absolutely fun!” We owe you a big Thank You. You’ve been very patient, graceful, supportive and organized. Not only professional but also very personal.
I appreciate so much that you taught us everything about western weddings, and being very decisive when I freak out. It was absolutely a great experience working with you. I will put my recommendation onto yelp for sure. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you need me to write anything for you. I would definately recommend you to my friends as well.
Thank you! Wish you all the best.
Sincerely, Jun

Add a comment December 11, 2013

Arroyo Trabuco wedding

Sandy was a referral from a bride that I think went all the way to about 4 brides back, love it, one to another, to another to another to another.
We started from scratch, budget, then location sourcing, had a great day driving from one location to another. Thought we had found the perfect spot, then as these things do, the stars realigned and Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club was where we ended up. We had a window of dates, but unfortunately due to dates that worked better for the family the date they ended up contracting for, I was not personally available, but never fear, my lovely Teri is here. Teri orchestrates wedding events on the day when this happens or if someone wants me to help them in the planning months and get the timeline/details down and books me from the get go knowing they will not see me on the day, so she is experienced and a nice calm person to have around, nothing flusters her.
All the vendors of course came from my preferred vendor list, which has a range of vendors from inexpensive to the top of the line/infamous etc, I narrowed down my list to the vendors that I felt matched their style and budget, personalities, and after meeting with them and having some fun doing that also, they made their choices, and it all turned out beautifully.
Thanks to Frank Salas for the photos below, and to the lovely ladies over at Arroyo for being so easy and nice to work with. We look forward to our next wedding with you.



Till next time
instagram lisasimpsonweddings
714 305 7112

Add a comment December 5, 2013

Ritz-Carlton, Laguna, Sunset Terrace & Plaza

Had the best time helping this couple pull this celebration together. They were bringing everyone (27 people) from Montreal/Canada to S CA for a family vacation and had a full itinerary of all the normal touristy things to be doing, and threw in a wedding celebration to top it off.

Martin, my lovely groom, comes to the OC for business quite often so we met a few times when he was here and would get his lovely bride Maude on the phone, and get things done that way. Maude did not speak english that well so Martin was a great help/translator at times. We did have some long phone chats with me here and both of them in Canada and inspiration photos etc going back and forth over email, gotta love technology.

In the beginning Martin was thinking Jazz style music for the dining room/after dinner vibe but couldn’t commit to it, after a few months I took the bull by the horns and suggested my fave band who were going to cost more than a jazz trio etc and be a different style of music (more broad spectrum), but would ‘make’ the celebration. He was unsure/took a bit of convincing and finally went for it. Actually in the end had 2 of the 5 piece band handle the ceremony and cocktails, and of course the 5 piece play during dinner and then………………..they got the party started. From the 1st song after dinner until the end of the event all 22 adults were up dancing non-stop or only stopping for the odd song to get some cool air, drink, bathroom break etc. My lovely Martin gave me the thumbs up at one point while he was dancing and mouthed to me ‘they are great’, and after their last song/dance, Martin came and hugged me and sobbed how fabulous the band was and this was the best night of his life. I was so touched. I knew it and was so pleased that any expectations he had had been exceeded and any concerns he may have had had been dispelled. Sometimes we really forget how much trust you couples are really putting into a bunch of strangers for the most important get together/meal/party of your lives so far.

They were thrilled when I told them that for a group their size we could get everyone at one dining style table in the Plaza Room, which I love being able to do. Maude wanted a clean/modern look for the table itself and these pictures don’t really do it justice as to how really pretty/elegant it looked, but the funny thing is, the dining table pics have been the most liked on my instagram and repinned on my Pinterest than other grand/full looking weddings I have posted recently. I wonder what that says??!!

Thanks to Tony Florez ( for the pics below and for always being so calm/easy to work with on a wedding day, to Shane Productions/Kimberly for doing the video (again so easy to work with, love referring and working with her), Paul Uhlar for officiating another ceremony in his articulate/humourous way, Fusion for the furniture & linens, Full Spectrum, my fave band for many years now. Design Visage for enhancing Maude’s beauty, without a preview too!!! Karen Donovan/Karen’s Flowers for making it easy for Maude to have a comfort level from one country to another that her vision was going to be the end result. And last but not least, to the team at the Ritz-Carlton Dana Point, love love love you all, nothing more to be said.

L07A0867 copy

L07A1260 copy

L07A1263 copy

Till next time
instagram lisasimpsonweddings
714 305 7112

Add a comment December 2, 2013

Location/on site/included co-ordinators

Well I have posted on this topic before. Having come from a hotel background and knowing what the priorities are and where the responsibilities begin and end for an on site, knew that I could write on that topic with confidence.

I haven’t gone to a wedding as a guest for a while, but this summer got to go to one. We have actually done weddings at this location, but having a co-ordinator is not required. So it was interesting to be on the other side and see if the on site co-ordinator was really going to on the day step it up (as in the planning they may give you a vendor list and suggestions, but they don’t help you with budget and really matching vendors to your budget/style or keep you on track with the tasks that need to be done along the way/through the planning months so it really does come down to how good is that person going to be on your day) as someone (hopefully, because sometimes brides do pick unseasoned co-ordinators online or through other means and they get what they paid for there also) you are paying to co-ordinate things on your behalf would do.

Unfortunately what I thought would be the reality, was. I kept gripping my seat at the cere I was getting so hot and bothered with how badly things were being done, and at the reception I just kept shaking my head. Now would any or most of the guests know the difference between a really smooth event or not, if most of the weddings they have gone to have not had paid co-ordinators then chances are they would have no clue that things could have been much better, but they probably did not leave that wedding saying it was the best wedding they have ever gone to (as all my couples tell me their guests tell them, and I hear that from guests as they are leaving also). Would the bride & groom have any idea, probably not, as they are in a bit of an out of mind/body state during most of the event, unless they have someone like me reminding them to take things in/live in the moment etc.

So what happened at this wedding (and I don’t believe the bride knew what I do for a job, and maybe the groom didn’t know if he did it would not have stuck, as I was the wife of someone he knew, so I was not the invited guest, but the wife of someone the groom knew)………….
The dj was hidden in a tree/bush area for the cere, great he was out of sight, but the sun was in his eyes, and he was getting absolutely no ques from the on-site co-ordinator, so he started playing music and played music based on visuals he could see (which is the worst way to do it) and because he was having such a hard time with no ques and the sun in his eyes, all of the guests were aware of him. No idea why the on-site stretched the walking down the aisle out as much as she did, but there was sometimes such a gap between people the guests were laughing. The bride was not hidden, all the on-site had to do was move bride back 5′ and we would not have been able to see her waiting while everyone else was being sent off.
When the ceremony was over, there was no direction/invitation to cocktails, people were left to their own devices as to when to leave the cere and where to go. As I said, having been there before and deciding I needed a drink, I headed off once the family had left the site, and was the first to the cocktail area, others followed, so ultimately everyone found their way there.
For the entrance/dinner/dance portion, I never saw the on-site again and it seemed to be in the djs hands as to the flow of the event. So not sure if the on-site had ever created an order of events and the bride okayed it, or the dj created it and the location basically worked from what he was saying/doing, but there didn’t seem to actually be a plan. There were a couple of toasts and then dinner was served. People were dancing as the meal service took a while and when it was over there was no real announcement of special moments happening. After a bit of dancing, and by this time a lot of the guests had left (started off around 200 I think) the dj had the B&G cut the cake, cake was in a terrible location that sitting at your table you could not see it, and if 10 people had of got up to stand around, you wouldn’t have known it was happening anyway, but no-one seemed to care they were cutting the cake, so it didn’t matter, then they did their first dance, father/daughter, mother/son, again a lot of guests were gone and it seemed so sad to me. Then the worst part of all, the father of the bride, who I am assuming was hosting the wedding talked. Only my table and maybe two others were even looking like we were paying attention to him, other tables were talking, people were over by the bar area, and as I said, a lot of people had left. I was horrified, not sure how he felt but it had to be obvious to him that no one was really listening or caring.

A small note for a bride & groom to consider. A lot of the guests may have left earlier, as from during dinner on the music was very clubby with that electronic sound and heavy beat. The dj played way fewer top 40/current songs we hear on the radio than this club music during the dancing after dad had spoken (and prior also), I don’t get to dance when I am working a wedding, and hear such great songs and see people dancing and enjoying themselves, I was really looking forward to having a good dancing time for once. I only got to hear maybe 4 songs I hear at most weddings I do, everything else was the electronic type music, so we didn’t stay much longer, I know the music is off in that area at 10pm due to noise restraints, and we left at 9pm, I was not ready, but couldn’t stand not dancing and listening to that same sound anymore. My point is, whether it is club music, or country music or jazz music you prefer, if you are inviting a small or large group to your wedding and paying for them to be there, wouldn’t you want them staying and enjoying themselves as long as possible. So have the dj play a variety of music/styles up until around the last 45 mins then when it normally is your close friends left who probably love the same music you do, play that music then. Also maybe give your dj the opportunity to read the crowd and play songs based on what is keeping the dancefloor full or not. The dj was pretty young, so could have been that music was all he knew/thought would work, and also unfortunately I think also based on his inexperience and the couple not thinking it through, he was a horrible mcee, screwed up announcements, was not confident on the mic and at times mumbled.

Now again, I don’t believe the B&G have a clue that from my observation standpoint any of these things happened, could have been done better/prevented, and I think a lot of the guests saw/noticed some of the things but not all but probably said, oh well there is what went wrong at that wedding. But at my weddings nothing goes wrong, vendors I refer are at 110% of their game, and you don’t have to spend a lot to get a good vendor team on board. They had spent good money on their dj, rental items for atmosphere, and the event itself, unfortunately from my vantage they did not get the best experience for the money they spent. I do believe that that is due to not having someone on their side looking at/thinking big picture and knowing what was important to them and giving guidance as to when/what to do during the event, especially for those special momentsand the overall flow. An on-site is going to give direction for the easiest route, what most people do/which is probably because that is what someone way back when at the venue had done and things just never changed when it came to setup of an area or order of events, you are not going to get all the options and thoughts behind alternatives/big picture perspective that you will from someone you are paying to ensure things go smoothly and the vendor team is working as a team through the event.

Till next time
instagram lisasimpsonwdgs
714 305 7112

Add a comment December 1, 2013






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