Posts tagged ‘monarch beach ‘

Hotel Del Coronado & St Regis

This blog will be about two weddings that are very different, and a good way to end the seasons blogging with.  Even though I have other weddings I ddi this year and still come coming up I could blog about, I really am excited about using this forum as a way to help future bride’s on their path to a great celebration, so this will be the end of the wedding pics for this year (well so I say!!)..

First up, Ursula & Norman – Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego

Ursula is a bride who grew up on the east coast, contacted me while living in Switzerland where she had become engaged to a wonderful Swiss man, and wanted a S.CA wedding.

Ursula knew she wanted a beach ceremony, in  August, and on a Saturday night. Hmmm, well in LA and OC during the summer months you can’t do a ceremony on a public beach, unless it is small and no chairs/decor will be done, so I had to find her options where she could stand with her toes between her feet. I came up with a few options, but there was always something that had to be given up, and Ursula really wasn’t ready to give anything up. Thank goodness they were planning on moving back to S.Ca and probably San Diego, which of course then make our choice so easy and natural……..
The Hotel Del Coronado

Around this same time in our research for the perfect location, I was invited as part of a small group of planners from S.CA and surrounding areas to come and see the hotel as they had great new things to show us, their spa, new accommodations, food & beverage, etc, and their timing could not have been more perfect.  It gave me a great chance to see first hand if this really was the perfect location for Ursula and Norman.  I also reconnected with Farrah, one of the catering managers, that I had known from her days as a banquet captain at the St Regis, so it was starting to seem like fate.
This is one of the few beaches in CA I believe, that is privately owned. So here we could do the chairs and decor on a Sat afternoon/early evening in the summer for her on the beach, have cocktails on the sand, and then move into a ballroom where we could have the dinner/dancing/traditional event and service you expect from a famous resort. Fabulous.  A great time was had by everyone, some European traditions played a part in the ballroom celebration, which at first may have seemed a bit strange to the American guests, but by the end everyone was involved.  Ursula and her sister’s have Irish blood in them, and this became very evident during Irish jigs that my good pal Peter of Viv Entertainment dug up for them.  The photos below are courtesy of  You may notice that I worked with Frank a lot this year, we have always had a few weddings a year together, but this year was our year,  a lot of my couples this year really liked his style and him.  Over the years Frank has always gone over and above and jumped in and done things that I am not sure everyone would.  An example of this is; A few years ago I had a client who had booked a photographer his family knew and it was a somewhat cultural connection, but as the days got closer, the groom started to have concerns that he was not going to get the shots or style he was really looking for, so he asked me to get him  a second photographer to be more background but hopefully fill in any gaps his #1 photographer may miss.  Frank was only supposed to meet us at the hotel and cover the reception.  I arrived at the church after leaving the bride’s home where getting ready shots were done and was waiting outside when I saw Frank, I asked him why he was there, thinking he had misunderstood and not realised he was only to be at the hotel.  He said he read the church location on the timeline and decided to come by and just be sure all was aok.  Thank goodness he did.  The groom  arrived, and the family surrounded him and took over the street, singing and dancing him all the way to the church.  Frank got those shots, the #1 photographer had not arrived yet after shooting at the bride’s home.  For this wedding at Hotel Del, Frank shone again;   Frank had left to drive back to the OC and a friend was driving the couple’s baby back to their home in Oceanside but got to the house and realised the house key was not in the baby bag.  Panic and blame took over the event  for the next 10 mins as the couple and well meaning friends tried to work out what to do, it was decided that the only option was for the sitter to come back to the hotel and get the key.  Hold on I thought, I called Frank,’ where are you?’,’ on the freeway on the way home’,’ can you come back we have a situation?’  He did, he got the key, I had him meet the sitter at a gas station at the off ramp close to the house, and off went the baby to her bed, and Frank continued on his way home.   Just love him.  Never a challenge, or a no!! He is a true teamplayer and you get great memories in print of your day, what a great combination and decision to hire Frank.

Pacific Lawn/Ballroom, St Regis

Ah my lovely Stephanie.  A beautiful lady with so much enthusiasm for her special day, and together with her mother in law, kept me laughing throughout our planning time together.

Below you will see photos from their day taken by my new friend John Russo.  He is one of the reasons why I love my job.  Along the way I will have bride’s that find their own vendors and sometimes it is good, sometimes it is not.  Stephanie had booked John, who I did not know, and boy what a fantastic find.  He was a pleasure to work with, as well as fun, and has a great team working with him, and we both look forward to working with each other many times in the future.  He is based in Beverly Hills, only does a few weddings a year, with the bulk of his business being Vogue covers and collatoral pictures for major high end hotels around the world.

Square Root did the decor/floral design and as always a quality event that all the guests could feel.

Thanks as always to the team at St Regis, the lovely Tiffany, supported by David the banquet captain, and the banquet team who handles all the food & beverage needs of the guest’s on the floor.  As always Mr Johnny So, the GM, came by to ensure everything was going well and if I had any needs.   He is the only GM that I know of that does this.  I see him at every wedding I do at the St Regis, and he comes by most of the tastings also.  I have known him for around 12 years, and it is his personal interest and caring that has placed him at some of the top resorts in the world where his ‘being’ shows and flows down to the staff who work under him.

Wow, got wordy again today.  Till next time.


Add a comment December 1, 2009

In the swing of blogging!

Well I could just keep filling up my space with pictures and stories of weddings and I will talk about a few more that I think could be of interest, but will probably take my blogging more in the direction of information to help bride’s who may be contemplating whether to hire a co-ordinator, or which vendors to choose, so be looking for blogs in the future that I hope will really help in your planning and thought process.


Hadn’t been in Cancun for around 21 years and ended up going back two times this year.  I have talked already about a trip I did where I was checking out the NH Hotels for destination weddings and honeymoons,  today’s blog is from our family trip down there in July.  We stayed for 12 nights and at three hotels during that time.  The best was the Casa Magna/JW Marriott combo where you can stay at either and use the amenities of either.  They are right next door to each other so perfect.  Both have great restaurants and pool areas.  The Spa at the JW is excellent, imagine showering from the 8th floor or whatever I was on with a 1/2 length window looking out to the Caribbean and about 10 shower heads/jets working away, fab u lous.  While we were there an Indian wedding had pretty much taken over the JW.  They had the pre wedding day festivities outside the night prior, and on the wedding day we watched the groom come along the beach on a horse surrounded by the cheering family/music etc, it really created a lot of interest from the hotel guests who had never seen anything like that before.  Unfortunately before he got to the area where he would go to the cere site it absolutely poured down.  So they all got drenched and as the ceremony was going to be outside on a Gazebo Lawn with ocean backdrop at the Casa Magna, they delayed until the rain was gone (doesn’t take long) and gave everyone time to go and change and refresh hair and makeup (the bride was nice and dry this whole time inside as was her family).  They did get married outside about an hour later and then did their dinner reception outside on a large lawn at the Casa Magna with great lighting and colorful linens.  A great celebration for those to remember who were lucky enough to be invited and attend.  The other great point to note with these locations, is that they have ballrooms and banquet space including one unique covered outdoor/indoor area where I could see a large ceremony being done if you had to move in and not feel too sad.  During our days there we  saw quite a few ceremonies being set up on the beach at different locations/resorts for intimate groups for sunset ceremonies.  Very fun, and obviously an alternative desination that a lot of couples are choosing.

Ritz-Carlton, Laguna

Moneli and Tommy had a great celebration at the Ritz tearlier this year.  Why I wanted to share this one was even though it was not my first Persian wedding at the Ritz, it was the first time we had done the sofreh outside on the Gazebo Lawn.  That area can be really windy and for the amount of work that goes into a sofreh it could have been a challenge if the weather did not co-operate.  The great news is it did.  So here you will see the ceremony set up and then the ballroom with all the decor elements that Moneli wanted to have to create her perfect celebration.  Very pretty.  Thanks to for the great shots.

Speaking of the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna, this is a shot of a cake that really caught my eye this year.  I hope the beauty of it comes out in this shot, in person it really made you stand there and just admire it.  The wonderful news is, not only do the Ritz’s cakes look fabulous (and they can create anything) they taste great too.  None of that what I call ‘fairy’ cake that disappears in your mouth or tiny slices, your guests get nice large, thick slices of great tasting cake.  No-one leaves a wedding there hungry!!

Hyatt Huntington Beach Resort & Spa

Here is a lovely intimate wedding also done earlier in the season, using two locations at the Hyatt that aren’t used as much as they should be.  The ceremony was done in the Spa Courtyard, and the beauty of this site is not only the surroundings/very nature like, but that the sun is behind everyone, so no one is complaining about sun in their eyes.  Then the Fountain Ballroom which is a lovely smaller ballroom, no windows, but the guests have cocktails outside in the courtyard and can see over to the beach area, then they come into this enclosed room that by using great linens/chairs and some uplighting can become the celebration to remember.  No-one wanted to leave this event as the room just felt so warm and cosy, they sat there chatting at the tables for quite a while after the music was off and done.  That says a lot for  the atmosphere created, yay. Thanks to Alison of Bleu Cotton Photography for the two shots below.  Always fun to work with.

Here is a ceremony site where the couple also used the Fountain Ballroom but the groom wanted a coastal facing site, so very different to the Spa Courtyard above.  The guests were in the shade though which was nice.

St Regis, Monarch Beach

I really love it when I have the more intimate affairs and we can create a fabulous table.  Tara was great to work with and together with her vision, fabulous Amanda of Fantasy Florals, and a great groom Jim who agreed with every decision Tara and I made (way to go Jim), another great celebration was created and enjoyed by the lucky guests, and not wanting the night to end, they closed the hotel bar down I believe much later!!!  Thanks to Jeff of Moondance Dj services who did a great job handling both the ceremony music through cocktails, and then dinner and the party!!  Photos courtesy of my lovely, as always the best to work with .

Tara looked gorgeous courtesy of her parent’s gene’s and the ladies of on the wedding day!!  LOL

Well, that went on a bit longer than I intended.  Until my next one.  Happy Thanksgiving to all.


Add a comment November 26, 2009

Club 19, St Regis, Monarch Beach

This blog is going to be about another great location for a couple looking for a room with a view that gives their guest’s a range of experiences from beginning to end.

Club 19 is located down at the golf club area at the St Regis Resort in Monarch Beach.  So what you get here is an opportunity for your guests to stay at a fabulous resort and get spoiled with top notch service and amenities, but enjoy a wedding celebration that has the views and feel of a golf club resort, which normally do not have the hotel rooms near or associated with it.

Ceremonies are held at the Botanical Garden which is a realy wonderful Italian style/feel ceremony site that has golf course views that seem to flow into the ocean as the backdrop.  A wonderful gazebo with a beautiful wrought iron top and Italian statues and planters complete the feel of this site.  This ceremony site can do up to 120 but 80-100 is perfect, and for any groups that are smaller it is amazing how the site seems to wrap itself around them and it never seems too big.

Your guest’s are escorted after the ceremony to the lower patio of the Club 19 building or to the Courtyard that is at the Club’s entrance, for cocktails.  Then they go to the dining area which is outdoors, so wonderful.  I have had bride’s leave this area as it is and just use linens and florals to create the feel/mood, I have had others swag the open air ceiling and add chandeliers, and this year I had three different brides hang from 60-100 candles from the rafters, and the neat thing was, three different florists/designers were used and we had three different looks.  The perfect number in my opinion for this dining area is 80-90 which would be tables of  up to 12 and includes the sweetheart table.  With this size we can center the sweetheart table  amongst the guest tables and also have tthe cake table in the dining area/centered.  I leave the aisle way clear so everyone has a clear view down to the outdoor fireplace and it seems really spacious yet intimate.  When you get to 100 we need to add two more tables which unbalances things but totally works and if you are not able to maximise all tables to 12, then we have to put two tables on the lower level, or do one big royal dining style table.  So it separates the group but as long as you put the right people down there and make the tables gorgeous, those guest’s do not seem to mind.

After dinner we invite everyone to follow the couple into the Club and now the party begins.  You can totally change the feel from what was outside to a nightclub feel inside with lighting, furniture, candles, colored dancefloors, all with the inside fireplace adding to the look.  When the guests were walking through during dinner when it was lighter they didn’t think much about the area, but after dinner when they come in and it is dark and what we have created inside now shows, they can be blown away.  You can create any kind of vibe you want.

The great part of this open air/feeling location is, if some guests want to stay at their dining tables during the dancing time, they can see into the dancing area and not feel out of it or miss anything that may be going on.  I see people sitting infront of the outside fireplace chatting, at their tables, in the courtyard or just lounging in the dancing area on cool furniture or sitting at the bar.  This venue really can be all things to all people.

Enjoy the different atmospheres that we created below, thanks for the photos to: Larry Crandall, William Innes, Karen French, Frank Salas, Lauren Hillary.

Well until next time.  I am signing off while sitting here in Cabo San Lucas.  Am checking out a few resorts with destinations weddings in mind.  Some fabulous options for sure.


Add a comment November 19, 2009






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