Posts filed under: ‘Uncategorized‘

Oh no!!!!


As always, once the season gets well underway my blogging seems to go to the bottom of the pile!!  Just realized I am way behind from last year, working to have 2017 all caught up by end of April and some of 2018s already too, so keep watching.

But in the meantime, if you want to see my weddings in real time and what I am up to in my wedding world on a nearly daily basis, go to my instagram lisasimpsonweddings







Add a comment March 11, 2018

Move inside, it’s rainy/cold, oh no!!

This is just a wee blog to say, if you are worried about rain and sometimes it should just be about it may be really cold/uncomfortable for your guests, then plan on an indoor wedding where you can control the environment and then you won’t be stressed if on the day you have to move in and the look is not what you had envisioned.  If you start to feel a few days ahead its not going to be as planned then you can get a tent ordered to keep the same spot/view but of course that may be cost that you were not prepared or willing to pay for.   But if you are planning on an outdoor ceremony and mother nature is not co-operating then be okay with the fact that there will be a location to move inside to at your venue, and things happen for a reason (sometimes it takes a long time to work out what, lol).

The picture above, this was an intimate wedding for 25, they had come from Russia and all over the USA, the pacific ocean and the venue was the reason they came.  We moved the arch inside, we circled the chairs around, through the windows you could see the sky and we dimmed the chandelier which gave a lovely romantic feel.  My crappy pic doesn’t do it justice but the guests were comfortable, the bride was not wet or shivering through her ceremony, and then got to go and have pics around the property.

I have moved weddings to overhangs with courtyards as backdrops, rooms with ocean views and we opened the doors as the backdrop, and four walled rooms that weren’t great but by bringing the lights down/adding candles were able to give a more romantic feel ceremony than would have happened outside.  For a couple where we knew they were longer ceremonies and we were going to be outside for long length of time which even if it was not going to be raining would be very uncomfortable for the guests and they would probably get up and move inside anyway, we made the decision a few days ahead to move ceremony inside and paid to have draping done in the ballroom section we were able to use, the florist tweaked the vision to match being inside now/adjusted things, and they have turned out beautiful and not a whole lot of extra cost.

Till next time


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Add a comment May 28, 2017

Ritz-Carlton Laguna intimate celebration

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So I get a lot of calls saying, we are just doing a small wedding!. Not sure if they think that means the same decisions are not needed to be made or thought put into it, as larger weddings.  WRONG. The same decisions are needed and from a planner standpoint its the same work, just ‘moving’ less people around.

We do intimate weddings all the time and its becoming more the norm that couples wanting a Pacific ocean backdrop here in beautiful sunny S CA are cutting their guest lists down to be able to do their celebration at one of the top 4 hotels we have here in the OC, they may spend the same as a wedding elsewhere for 100 people, but for those lucky guests that are invited to one of these weddings, they get a more foodie or special celebration they are attending, plus with the smaller guest list you tend to invite guests that are coming no matter what day of the week you are getting married, they make a family vacation out of it, and that means for you with that flexibility great things, it could be a lower food/beverage minimum that you could now work with, it could be a bigger room that you would not have been able to get/use/afford for a Fri/Sat/Sun night event.

This wedding started with Angela’s mom calling and chatting with me because Angela was busy (as is also the norm, busy brides with work/life/families) and off we went, and bonus (because it was close to xmas and a weeknight the vendors that could, were more flexible with rates/offerings), it was a Thursday wedding.

I am seeing couples wanting to do unique seating with the smaller weddings, one row of chairs with a gap, one row no gap, spiral around the couple, circle around the couple, above you see another version.  And to make this even more intimate, our bride’s dad was the officiant, and he did a great job.

You also see that when its intimate  you can spend money on items you may not have had the budget for with a larger group, and you can get creative with the table setup in the dining/dancing room also.

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After we did the budget and I understood priorities and vision/style, I was able to guide them to a great group of vendors to consider/select from, and these were the ones I was lucky enough to work with that night: Frank Salas/photo (thanks for the pics above), CA Bride for the over the top round florals, huge I mean huge!! Peter/Vive Ent my dj for many many years, Design Visage for always making the ladies look fabulous, TMMPRO for our seamless glossy dancefloor with decal/lighting and chivaris, and to our friends at the Ritz-Carlton who we have had the pleasure of working with for the past 15 years and really consider the banquet/setup team our family we are lucky enough to see often!! xoxoxox

till next time


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Add a comment February 22, 2017

Ritz-Carlton Laguna Wedding

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From the day the bride and her parents came to meet with me I knew we were going to have a fun time pulling this wedding together and then seeing it all evolve on the day.

The brides parents got married here at the Ritz-Carlton Dana Point 30 years ago and one of the Uncles had also been married there, so a real family tradition/location they consider personal is what this beautiful hotel means to them all.  So very special

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Navy blue was a very popular accent or dominant color for weddings in 2016 and totally worked with the new carpet that appeared in the Terrace Room during the year, lol.

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As you can see, my brides style was more natural and she wanted all low centerpieces and was not a colored/seamless/glossy dancefloor kind of girl, so we used the one provided by the hotel.  As always the balcony of the Terrace Salon with the furniture and firepits was very popular once dinner was over, and when I left there was actually a small group of guests still sitting out there not ready to call it a night (the B&G, parents and other guests were in the hotel bar).


We pulled together the perfect team, everyone was so happy to be there working on this wedding because they were just lovely lovely people.  Thanks to Frank Salas for the photos and being fab as always, Karla/Elegant by Design for ‘getting’ the vision perfectly, Peter/Vive Ent for the dinner/dancing music, to Naples for the strings for the ceremony and being so great to always work with, to Luxe Linens for the napkins and linens that brought the key color to reality, to Design Visage for beautifying everyone and being on time and always working with my schedule and to Paul Uhlar for doing a really great ceremony as always/we have done around 2000 together over the years, and last but not least our team/friends/family at the Ritz-Carlton Dana Point, its been 15 years of a beautiful relationship, happy brides and grooms/happy guests/happy hotel/happy Lisa!!

Till next time


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Add a comment January 20, 2017

Monarch Beach Resort fab wedding

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Ahhhhhhh, from the moment dad and bride came to meet with me I knew this was going to be a wonderful experience, I was so right.  We had their ceremony at a church in Laguna and then cocktails at the Sunset Terrace followed by dinner/dancing in the Monarch Ballroom at the Monarch Beach Resort/formerly the St Regis Monarch Beach

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Whitney knew from moment one she wanted Nisie’s Enchanted Florist to be her gal, and of course everything was perfection.  Signature drink luge by Carving Ice, both their last names started with an M, so an M luge seemed perfect.

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Glossy/seamless dancefloor with custom decal and acrylic chiavaris by TMMPRO as always

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Seating chart display, and the beautiful/elegant candy table that had South African candies in honor of our groom and the contingent that came from South Africa.

Thanks to Larry Crandall for the beautiful photos above, Epod photobooth for always coming and doing your thing seamlessly, Dan/Plug Video, Design Visage for beautifying everyone as always-they all held up until the end of the event/so important, the band that keeps the dancefloor full and created some special moments by playing/singing some South African songs/Full Spectrum, love you guys!!! Luxe Linens for napkins/linens, and last but not least, my family/team at the Monarch Beach Resort, its been 15 years of pure joy working with you all   xoxoxoxo

Till next time


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Add a comment December 5, 2016

Intimate Ritz-Carlton Laguna wedding

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Such a lovely couple to help plan their wedding for very close family and a few friends.

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With that backdrop you don’t need to fill up the backdrop with anything but what mother nature provided, right??!!


Such a pretty sweetheart table piece, soft and calm, just like our bride.

Perfect team for these two, Frank Salas/photography, DJ Kreiger, Karens Flowers, Wendy our harpist for ceremony & cocktails, and Paul Uhlar officiating, and of course the awesome peeps at the RC for doing what they do so very very well.

Till next time


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Add a comment October 2, 2016

Monarch Beach Resort wedding

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Sam was just fabulous to work with, so enthusiastic on any ideas I could throw at her without going over budget.  They were a Thursday wedding which really meant everyone was in relaxed mode and the hotel did not seem as busy as it does on a weekend.

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Of course the hanging cake was devine, by Let them eat Cake, great job guys

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Oh and this was a very progressive/LA crowd, the favors were tattoos.  He did around 26, some got their first, some added to ones they had, some added new ones.  Awesome

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Her fur baby was present at all meetings, and I could not get enough of her during the actual ceremony, she kept looking back up at her mom/dad, sooooo precious

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Above are different areas at different stages/lighting as the evening progressed, yes we use lighting to create different environments/experiences as guests go through a wedding event.  BTW, the gown Sam changed into for the dinner portion, was lacy and see through from thighs down, gorgeous.

Sam and I pulled a great vendor team together to reflect their style/personalities/vision

Karen French/photo, thanks for photos above, always great to work with. Paul Uhlar officiant. Naples strings for ceremony/cocktails. Dj Krieger for keeping the dancefloor full/not that it needed much encouragement.  Elegant by Design/Karla for floral-fabulous as always. TMMPRO for dancefloor/decal and chiavaris and lighting-love working with Jack and his team

Till next week


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Add a comment September 8, 2016

Rancho Las Lomas wedding


Well this was a wedding long awaited for and such a joy to be a part of, one of our industries own, dj Peter Papadopolous/Vive Ent got married.  Some of his vendor friends got to work/play at the celebration, Frank Salas/photog, me, Elysium Productions/video, Design Visage/hair and makeup, Karla/Elegant by Design, The Drs Trott/officiants, and we had vendors who wanted to come and do anything they could to help, Kim Shane/Shane Productions, Melody Walker/planner.  Elevated Pulse was the dj for this djs wedding, so that says something.  Plus we had vendors there we work with who were guests for a change, Jeff/Moondance Mobile Music and his lovely wife.  What a great time we all had!!


Peter’s groomsmen were his brothers and good friends that we have worked with over the years and even now at the 5 star hotels in the OC.  So good to see people you work with having a good time on the other side for a change!!

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From the beginning our lovely bride knew she wanted a black/red color scheme and it turned out beautifully wouldn’t you say??.

Till next time


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Add a comment April 11, 2016

Brides be very careful!!!

Social media has done great things for brides planning weddings.  It allows them to see/get inspiration from other people’s weddings and google anything you want to have it pop up and as well we have instagram and pinterest at our finger tips.

Over the past couple of weeks either someone has followed me or liked something on my instagram and as we do I have gone to look at their instagram where I may have stayed or depending on what pics I see I may end up on 1 or more other people’s instagram pages.  What I have come across in looking is really bothering me, so new brides look carefully…

If you are not seeing a lot of wedding pics, ie a bride or pics from a ceremony and reception being posted that are on the same day/event, just a picture of a brides shoes then maybe the look of the event is not that good.  You don’t have to have big budgets to have nice looking weddings, its all about the right vendors working with the budget to give a great look that makes people think you spent more, so not sure why someone starting out or having been in business for a while would not be posting more actual wedding ceremony/reception pics.  For a lot of these planners I had noticed this with, what I did see them posting was, stylized shoot pics, this has been kind of big for the past couple of years.  I have not done one because, I don’t have time and most of the time what is being produced is not reality for a normal bride/budget, yet these planners not showing many actual weddings have done quite a few shoots but they don’t say its a shoot and normally the shoots are done at a really nice hotel, which if you are an uneducated bride in what you are looking at, you could think this is the kind of wedding this person produces and that they work at that location, in most cases NOT!!!!  Also I noticed pics of brides at the really nice hotels in their room or out on the grounds (which they actually should not be doing, most 5 star hotels you/your photographer must check if its ok to take pics on the grounds and there is normally a fee) but no pics of the wedding ceremony or reception there, hmmm now why would that be, well its because the wedding was not there.  That is where the bride was staying and getting ready, but again to the uneducated bride flipping through an instagram you are seeing nice hotels mentioned and your mind starts to assume this person does weddings at this hotel some or a lot.  Again, probably NOT the case.

I actually came across something last night from a really established planner that shocked me, it was a setup/location I have seen many times and I know where it is, this planner posted the same pic I have seen and mentioned it as a Wednesday inspiration of a lovely CA wedding.  Now in looking at that and the caliber of that planner you would assume that was one of her weddings, she never said it, but you would.  When reposting other people’s pics/locations they should be referenced or wording such as, would love to do a wedding here, should be used so a bride is not getting the wrong idea, or is that what the person posting is hoping so by being allusive they hope to gain new business.  That location is not even in CA.  I just went in to get the actual wording they used, but the post is gone, so maybe the location contacted them!!!!!!!!!!!!  But how often or who really has that kind of time to monitor their own pics being reposted without credit on other peoples social media.

Now when it comes to vendors, what they post also can be factual but not quite what you the bride are thinking.  I had a couple who in the past many months thought they had their music organized (someone they had known from the beginning and wanted, and there was a bit of celebrity in there, which never does much for me as all I care about is can they mcee and play good music to keep a dancefloor full and my experience is unfortunately no) , I kept asking about his insurance, as we got closer he was not responding to them and they were starting to worry, eventually he did, blamed some confusion on dates or something and was no longer available, they got their money back.  Were they disappointed, you betcha.  But weddings were not what this guy does so from my perspective I think he got a better gig/more what he was looking for, so off he goes.  People who focus on weddings would never do that, especially when a planner is going to be there they are hoping if they do a good job there is a chance the planner will start using them and they can relax on their working so hard to get gigs.  I do find the flakey vendor situation when my couples find or have a one off musician type off music websites, again much easier to give a deposit back when something better, including a vacation or fun night with friends, comes up.  My vendors that get used a lot by me would never do that, weddings is their business.  But I digress, so I gave this couple a really good band to consider, as things happen their budget was changing as pretty enhancements were becoming more important (hey I am all for the look) so they found a very inexpensive band and started chatting with the guy, well he immediately got in his car and drove from San Diego to the location to check it out, now to the inexperienced bride you may think that is service/fabulous wow he is really wanting to do our wedding, what do I the experienced planner feel, this vendor (and this has happened many times and I get this same feeling) is so excited to finally get a chance to play at a really nice hotel/elevate himself through their wedding by being able to list the location as a place they have played or post social media pics of them there, doesn’t mean they were good, but social media will show they were there so that’s going to help business (I see this with photographers a lot where brides are getting ready at nice hotels), so he seemed way to eager/excited to me.  He was not familiar with the space obviously, in trying to sound helpful to the couple he had a conversation with them about band placement which when it was relayed to me, was all wrong and ended up causing the bride all kinds of stress.  Bride and groom were ready to hire them, I emailed them to check on the insurance before they signed anything, I then got in my car to head to a meeting 15 minutes from my house.  Bride obviously emails him right away and within minutes I get a call while I am driving from the band guy, he is saying he does not get insurance until contract is signed as he gets day of insurance, blah blah blah, went on for 10 mins.  I got a really good feel of the type of band this was going to be and could feel this wedding going downhill.  He sent her an email after our phone call telling the bride the same thing.  Bride emails me, are we okay to book them, I said, if you really like their look/sound and we have it on email that he will get the insurance then go for it (if he didn’t then the email would work as reason to get deposit/monies back) but I added, he obviously does not play at 5 star hotels/high end locations as he would have yearly insurance not buy insurance per event, as seriously about 3 events would cover a years worth of liability insurance, my brides response was, yes he does he has all the locations they play at on their website.  Well, who knows how long ago some of those locations were played at.  Actually I had a call from a dj who I do not refer but he felt he could call me to get some advise regarding a location/in house planner who he felt had made him look like he didn’t know how they do things infront of the client who had hired him (based on him saying he definitely had worked there/works there), in asking him questions because I knew not to take anything I was hearing on face value (unlike an inexperienced bride) I find out he has not played there in 8-10 years, so as far as I am concerned it seemed like he was probably saying things to fit his agenda which was no longer how they do/allow things at THEIR location.  On this one the client was wanting to cancel his services and get their money back because they felt he had mis-represented himself, well guess what, he did, as have all my other examples above, from bands to planners.

So brides be very very careful!!!





Add a comment March 10, 2016

2016 wedding specials

Well sometimes brides are in the right place/right time or flexible, and when hotels have space sitting open they are looking to fill them.

Here are a couple of great offerings that I can help you with if you are willing to play:

Want to get married prior to the end of June and just haven’t done anything about it, well this may light the fire.  One of the top hotels/locations in the OC is offering their premium space at very reasonable F&B minimums if you are open to a Mon-Thursday wedding.  Now it may seem strange, but if most of the guests are travelling too and taking extra time, then doing it during the week is not going to be a bother for the guests, in fact air can be cheaper than flying on weekends and I know that a lot of vendors see a weekday wedding as a bonus and are quite flexible with their fees, with the exception of florists of course, they have product that still needs to be paid for.  So small or large, consider a weekday it is really a benefit to you. And if they have Fri-Sundays open yes sirree they are wanting to make it work.  Give me a call, lets chat and see what we can do.

If S CA is not really for you, or you are looking for June-October, then lets head to Mexico, so many great locations, ie Cabo, Cancun, and some of the resorts in the Playa del Carmen region are pretty fabulous, very spread out and you get the beach as well as vegetation to not feel like you are in a concrete jungle like Cancun (which is absolutely fabulous for those wanting action) and you are close to the really quaint restaurant row area of Playa which is what you kind of hope you are going to experience while in Mexico.  So let me know if any of this sounds like you and lets get it going:

If you are 30 people total or under, $15,500 gives you:

For the B&G, airport transfers, Comp room on the wedding night, room upgrade, late checkout, 1 50 minute massage each, access to the lounge, brides hair and makeup on wedding day/including a trial, bouquet and bout

Your ceremony is held at an oceanview gazebo decorated with fabric and flowers, petal aisle, and an officiant/English.

A violinist is included for cocktail time, as well as, 4 hour bar, and a dj

Hors D’oevures and dinner and wedding cake.  They do different levels of food/beverage offerings, so based on your personal preference you could end up at $18,300 for the same size group, and of course they would never turn anyone away, there is a per person rate you can add on if you are 31 or more total.

Your guests get 15% off spa services, 10% off breakfast the morning after the wedding, arse a special wedding rate for accommodations.

Till next time


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Add a comment March 2, 2016






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