Timeless Elegance in San Francisco – Liz’ and Tom’s Dream Wedding

After a full eight years of courtship, Liz and Tom were ready to tie the knot – together with their extended families and many, many friends from all over the country. That made for a big wedding celebration – a guest list of 180, no less… and both Bride and Groom felt strongly that this celebration should mark the occasion in high style. Timeless elegance, no frills – those were my “marching orders” when the couple, together with the Mother of the Bride, enlisted my company, “A Day Like No Other” to help plan and design their wedding.

A few elements were already in place: the ceremony would be held at historic St. Patrick’s Church in downtown San Francisco – one of the oldest churches in town, and a very beautiful one at that. A reception would follow at the equally storied City Club of San Francisco, housed in a former Stock Exchange building, with an Art Deco interior, gold-leaf ceilings and murals by none less than Diego Rivera. It doesn’t get much more elegant than that!

The bride and her bridesmaids would get ready at the Bridal Suite in the nearby Marriott Marquis Hotel, actually next door to the church, with absolutely stunning views of the City and the San Francisco Bay:

view2

view

Make-up artist Jessica Morton of Miabel Artistry and her assistant took care of the Bride:

makeup

while gowns were steamed and finishing touches applied…

dressesFor the bridesmaids’ dresses, we had come up with midnight blue as the color of choice (the lighter blue dress is the stylish dress of the Mother of the Bride) as an attractive backdrop to bouquets in ivory and blush pink by Melissa Comito-Aakre of A Simple Ceremony:

bridesmaids' bouquetThe Bride would be all ivory, from her stunning lace dress by designer Trish Lee …

dress

bride and city2to her princess heels …

shoes… and lavish ivory bouquet of peonies and roses.

bridal bouquetAnd here she is, with the City at her feet! (And with photographer Elisabeth Millay capturing all those precious moments throughout the day… wait until you see HER photos!)

bride and cityFinally, the great moment had come to walk over to Church with her bridesmaids – unseen by the Groom whom my trusted Senior Assistant Angeliki Menig had already whisked away together with his groomsmen.

The service at St. Patrick’s was truly moving and very personal, with readings by relatives – and even the cantor was a dear friend of the couple, soprano Liz Goedecke, whose beautiful voice soared and filled the nave.

church

Just married!

Just MarriedTime for the “Day Like No Other” team (enforced by trainee Quan Wu) to rush to the City Club to get everything prepared for the reception, together with the incredible City Club crew.

Tables were set with ivory linens from Napa Valley Linens, centerpieces by A Simple Ceremony and favors (quintessential San Francisco chocolates – Ghirardelli! – in embellished organza bags) handmade by the couple. Napkins were midnight blue like the bridesmaids’ dresses and favor bags and embellished with a profusion of (faux…) pearls.

napkin

tabletop cpl

Tables were not only numbered, but also named for the many places meaningful to the couple, from Denver to Dubrovnik… so many personal touches!bride groom chairsBride and Groom presided over an enormous Head Table but barely took the time to grab a bite themselves – so many friends and relatives to greet!

head tble And there were gorgeous flowers and candlelight everywhere:

flowers and candles

peony

 

escort cardsWhat else? Fabulous food and drink (of course!) and music – a lot of it! Tom, the Groom, had booked the KJ Allstars, a 7-piece band who kept the party going…

Cocktails

… and who accompanied the newlyweds’ First Dance.

first danceAnd with that the dance floor was officially opened. Guests barely took a little break to watch the cutting of the gorgeous signature Wedding Cake (from Chef Bala of The Cakemaker), clad in ivory folds of the same pattern as the linens (!)

wedding cake and of the Groom’s Cake (from SusieCakes) showing the logo of Northwestern University where the couple first met eight years ago.

grooms cakeAnd yes, of course, for watching the bouquet toss! The Night Owl Photo Booth was a huge hit – as was the stylish Cigar Lounge. And even more dancing to follow – until it was time to say goodbye and send the radiant couple on their way. Guests lined up by the front door and waved hundreds of sparklers, as Liz and Tom boarded a breathtaking silver 1947 Rolls Royce limousine by a private collector.

Our best wishes on your way, and many happy years together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

City Lights at the Four Seasons San Francisco – a Styled Shoot

Where to start? When my longtime collaborator and friend, photographer Shhivika Chauhan, called and suggested to do a super-elegant styled shoot together, I was immediately on board – City Lights in San Francisco, at dusk! The Four Seasons Hotel in the heart of downtown SF invited us and offered us the Presidential Suite for our shoot – and we were overjoyed. It doesn’t get any more elegant and urbane than that!

We jumped into planning mode. We’d present a gay couple. We’d present the Pantone Color of the Year – “Marsala” – as an accent in an otherwise cool and masculine design scheme. Shhivika found the couple, I found the rentals (from Classic Party Rentals and Stuart Rentals) and decor items. Janelle Jacky, one of our favorite florists, promised the flowers, sculptural, geometric and un-frilly as dreamt up by us. Kathleen DeManti of Spoonful of Sugar provided the very unusual wedding cake that we envisioned. Bella Figura created the invitations, Selix provided the attire, Nicole Perez was our make-up artist extraordinaire. David Robinson, Meg Paynor and their Four Seasons team made sure we had absolutely everything we needed, and more. And here we go!

Brad

Getting ready

Tom

The rings, custom-made for this occasion by Vittoria d’Aste-Surcouf of VAS Bijoux:

rings

…and the boutonieres:

boutonnieres

… and shoes – with the City as backdrop:

shoes in windowDone!

couple at window

The two have definitely earned a glass of champagne now…

champagne

Cheers!

champagne2

Time to sit down at their “cool” sweetheart table –

table

Structured platinum grey linens provided an elegant and understated backdrop for sculptural dark red Amaryllis blooms in a geometric arrangement, red cut-crystal goblets, red candles in silver candelabras…

place setting

… and sleek white-and-platinum place settings.

flowers

glassesThe two liked it!

holding hands

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After dinner, they tackled the cake table:

cake table 2…with City lights coming on as night was falling.

City LightsThey took a stroll to explore their beautiful venue:

yellow painting

… and found the Grand Piano, one of their many shared passions…

piano

Then they ventured outside…

highrise lights

night walk

… for an intimate nighttime walk …

Grand Exit… and back home.

Thank you so much to our couple – you were fantastic models!

Hotel – Presidential Suite at Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco / Model Couple – Brad And Tom / Hair And Make-Up – Nicole Perez / Wedding Props – Everything But The Wedding Dress / Calligraphy – Sarah Hanna / Custom Diamond Wedding Rings – VAS BIJOUX / Dessert – A Spoonful Of Sugar / Event Design Rentals – Classic Party Rentals / Grooms’ Attire – Selix Formalwear / Invitations – Bella Figura / Floral Designer – Janelle Jacky / Event Planning & Design – Jutta Lammerts at Day Like No Other / Photographer – SHHIVIKA CHAUHAN PHOTOGRAPHY

 

 

 

Urban Chic and Elegance at the Four Seasons, SF

The shoot focuses on two grooms, Brad and Tom (also a couple in real life!), and takes place in the Presidential Suite of the Four Seasons overlooking the twinkling city lights of San Francisco. We hope you like the cool, chic city style and  the sweet intimacy of the celebration. Truly the perfect combination!

red wedding inspiration


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Hotel – Presidential Suite at Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco / Model Couple – Brad And Tom / Hair And Make-Up – Nicole Perez / Wedding Props – Everything But The Wedding Dress / Calligraphy – Sarah Hanna / Custom Diamond Wedding Rings – VAS BIJOUX / Dessert – A Spoonful Of Sugar / Event Design Rentals – Classic Party Rentals / Grooms’ Attire – Selix Formalwear / Invitations – Bella Figura / Floral Designer – Janelle Jacky / Event Planning & Design – Jutta Lammerts at Day Like No Other / Photographer – SHHIVIKA CHAUHAN PHOTOGRAPHY

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“How I Do it All” – by Alison Howard

Alison Howard is a fellow wedding planner (and a wildly successful one!), speaker, coach and mentor and fills a lot of other roles on top of that – among other things, she’s a wife and mother, too. I admire her to no end! How on Earth can she do it all? She lifted her secret on her blog, the Alison Howard Blog, on May 13 of this year. And she was generous enough to let me re-print it.

HOW I DO IT ALL…

First of all, I don’t.

Maybe it’s because you see that I’m a wife, a mom of three, a wedding planner and a business coach, I make videos here and there, I speak at conferences, I cook, I clean my own house, I work out fairly regularly and I occasionally do my hair and make-up that leads you to wonder “How does she do it all?” (Which just so happens to be one of the questions I am asked the most.) But the truth that I hope most of you know deep down in your gut is that no one does it all.

I do all those things listed above, but not all at once and not all the time or nothing would be done well. For example, as I write this, I am in sweats, unshowered, and a general mess.  No amount of money would draw me out into public in my current state.  But that’s because I chose to spend an hour cleaning my kitchen this morning (which I didn’t have time to clean on Monday – seeeeee…..!!!) instead of getting ready.  Also, writing this post doesn’t require that I get ready, so I didn’t.  And that’s pretty much what it boils down to.  Priorities and choices.  Cleaning my kitchen and writing to you trumped vanity today. Tomorrow I am coaching two new wedding planners, so vanity will trump and I will choose to get ready and be presentable for those meetings (you’re welcome Amber and Diana!).

I’ve gotten used to this balancing act in my own life but for those who are new to juggling so much responsibility, here are a few tips that I discovered and clung to when I realized that I had two choices: sink or swim.  I hope they help you to keep your head above water as you wear more hats than you thought possible, with a measure of elegance and grace.

Get Up Before The Sun

I absolutely know how difficult this is and how not fun it is to wake up early, but this is a total game changer if you can will yourself to do it – I promise!  Most mornings I get up early, around 5am, while everyone else is asleep (except my husband, he gets up early too).  Depending on my schedule that day I workout for 30 minutes then read my Bible and pray (and have coffee!) for 30 minutes – my hour of power is what I call that!  This helps me get into the right mindset as I prepare for the day.  Working out early in the day leaves me with so much energy and just makes me feel positive as I go through the morning routine with the kids.  Do I do this every day or perfectly?  No.  Some mornings it is more beneficial for me to get an extra hour of sleep.  On the weekends I don’t get out of bed before 7am unless I have to.  But most mornings the early bird thing is my jam and my productivity is so much higher those days.

Ask For Help

I ask for help when I need it.  I started my business when my daughter was two years old and I have had two more children in the past 8 years.  I juggled and did my best on my own, which is what I think most of us do because when you start a business you’re usually broke as a joke from investing into said business.  At least this was the case for me, but I made it work.  Emails were answered during naptimes; meetings happened in the evenings when hubby was home, weddings on weekends.  For vendor meetings or speaking engagements I’d get a sitter, but I just made it all work because I had to.  I was in hustle mode.  Honestly, it’s really kind of a blur.  ; )  Once things got so busy I didn’t think I could do it on my own I hired a nanny for a period of time because I desperately needed the help.  There is zero shame in asking for help.  Zero.  Whether it’s hiring a nanny for a season, a cleaning lady a few times a month or bartering something you do well (like cooking) with something someone else can do (like carpool). Get creative and make it happen.

Know Your Limits & Just Say NO

My personal rule: no emails or calls after 5pm.  This is my family time and that time is so precious to my soul.  I need it.  It trumps any email or phone call.  However, life happens and there have been times when I’d have a big project that required extra time and so, yes, I would work after 8pm when the kids were in bed, but it be wouldn’t answering emails.  If you send emails at 10pm that sends the message that you are available for your clients during that time and that is a boundary that I just had to have in place. I never booked more weddings than I thought I could handle (which was 15, 20 max, but my sweetest spot was 10 weddings).  I never overcommitted or felt that I had to attend every networking meeting or luncheon that I was invited to.  I have said ‘no’ to several opportunities because they didn’t fit in with my life even though they seemed cool.  Embrace the fear of missing out professionally so you don’t miss out on your life personally.

Calendar EVERYTHING

Your blog schedule, video schedule, deadlines, kids appointments, date nights, your own appointments (personal and professional), workouts, errands, and even time for rest…get it all on the calendar.  I always schedule a few hours a week just to read, get a massage, grab lunch with a friend, paint (painting with watercolors is a fun new thing I’m learning); this gives you some margin to exhale and enjoy something that isn’t work-related.  I have two separate calendars; one for work and one for family.  They both hang on my wall in my office so that I can glance over and see everything that is going on.  It’s also all on my calendar on my phone, but I like being able to see it without opening my phone because we all know how easily we can get sucked down the rabbit hole that is the phone.  If it’s not on my calendar, it doesn’t exist for me.  Once upon a time I could get away with not being a slave to my calendar but that is not the season I’m in anymore and even though I don’t particularly like it, I know I’m lost without it.

Domesticated Duties Day

Monday’s are my day “off” to get my house in order for the week.  I am the person in our family who does all of the cooking and most of the cleaning.  Let me be really honest and express that this part of ‘doing it all’ was the hardest for me to embrace mostly because of my ego. That’s right, I said it. I used to struggle with thinking that I was too good to be cleaning the house…I mean, I could be spending my time doing more important things.  Other times I’d think that it was unfair that my husband gets to work 8 hours uninterrupted while I cart the kids around, work, cook, clean, AND have to be pretty while I do it all!  This is where I had to check myself and adjust my perspective.  I am so dang BLESSED to be able to work from home and do all the things I do.  And as you already know, I don’t even get ready most days, so there goes the whole pretty thing. : )

Let’s talk cooking first: If cooking for your family is something you do (or want to do), meal planning is essential.  I meal plan for the week every Sunday evening and grocery shop every Monday morning.  I cook a lot in the beginning of the week so I don’t have to cook Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.  As for cleaning: I don’t like cleaning house any more than you do BUT I do love a clean home.  Few things feel better than everything being clean, in its place, smelling all good…it’s like jumping into a Pottery Barn mag and it just makes me feel happy. Monday’s I deep clean the bathrooms and kitchen after I grocery shop.  Laundry is done daily and the kids have been taught to do their own (praise the Lord). Vacuuming, dusting, mopping, changing bed linens is done Saturday mornings.  The kids have been taught to clean their own rooms (yes, we do have to help occasionally and re-teach this as they are just so dang forgetful ; ).  We pick up things left out daily so that clutter doesn’t consume us.  I really stress teamwork in our home and the kids are (mostly) on-board.  I have this part down to a system that works really well for us.  Again, if you are not domesticated or don’t have time to be, outsource!  There is zero shame in this.  Because I work from home and make my own schedule I am able to do it with a (mostly) joyful heart.  If you want to know more about meal planning or keeping house just ask in the comments and I’ll share in another blog post.

Be Kind To Yourself

You have to have grace for yourself.  I’m sure you have all heard the popular adage “progress, not perfection”, but it’s totally true.  Some weeks I’m insanely motivated and do all this really well.  Other weeks I’m just off and half of this doesn’t get done.  That’s life.  Balancing marriage, parenthood, and being an entrepreneur is hard and no one expects you to move mountains.  So deep breath and do your best and when you can’t, give yourself permission to stop, recharge, and ask for help.  Ultimately, know that you aren’t in those beautiful trenches alone (and that this season won’t last forever). : )

 

Shine on,

Alison

 

 

 

 

Timeless Elegance and Luxury: A Stylized Wedding Shoot at the Westin St. Francis

Both my friend, photographer Shhivika Chauhan, and myself cannot sit still. Ever. We both always have ideas… so during the short “lull” in wedding season – between December and January – Shhivika suggested we do a Styled Shoot together – A Day Like No Otherand Shhivika Chauhan. Theme: timeless high elegance and City lights at dusk. Great! I love high elegance. I love the City. And I love the Westin St. Francis. We were so lucky that Catering Director Lauren Schardt invited us to the gorgeous Alexandra’s Ballroom on the Imperial (32nd) Floor high above the lights of the City. So I set out planning and designing… And here is the result  (published today on The Black Tie Bride blog). Hope you love it!

Let’s start with a dress fit for a princess…

dress in window

bride back train

… and a bouquet to match…

bride and bouquet

… as well as an Art Deco diamond and platinum bracelet and a South Sea pearl necklace.

pearls in glass

ring on plate

Custom-made wedding bands…

rings

… and timelessly elegant, luxurious invitations.

invitation

A stunning altar piece with matching aisle decor …

altar piece

aisle decor

.. and a gilded harp to serenade the couple.

harp

harpist

China, flatware, glassware and linens were chosen to complement the blues and golds in the ballroom decor…

place setting and carpet

… and a glorious, towering centerpiece of orchids, roses and hydrangeas anchored the look of the sweetheart table.

swtht tble

centerpiece

ctrpc detail

Elegant bride and dapper groom:

bride portrait

groom portrait

And here – comes the bride!

here comes the bride

here comes the bride 2

first kiss

Just married!!

petal shower

After that, it was time for THE CAKE! For that, the bride changed into a more modern, yet equally stunning dress, complemented by an antique brooch worn as a hairpiece:

haute couture

WestinStFrancis_StyledShoot_SHHIVIKACHAUHANPHOTOGRAPHY95For me,  the dessert table was sheer designer bliss and fun…

dessert tbl

cake

crystals

cake pops

tete a tete

Thanks to all who collaborated with us and made it happen!

Model Couple: HM Model Agency  | Hair And Make-UpNicole Perez | Wedding Props: Everything But The Wedding Dress |  Calligraphy: Sarah Hanna | Custom Diamond Wedding Rings: VAS BIJOUX | Fine Estate Jewelry: Gleim Jewelers | Dessert: A Spoonful Of Sugar | Cake Pops: Sweet Lauren Cakes | Event Design Rentals: Stuart Rental | Bridal Gown: Novella Bridal SF | Groom’s Attire: Selix Formalwear | Invitations: Bella Figura | Floral Designer: Janelle Jacky | Live Harp Music: Anna Maria Mendieta | Venue: Alexandra Ballroom, Westin St. Francis, San Francisco | Event Planning & Design: A Day Like No Other – Jutta Lammerts |  Videographer: Ewa Samples | Photographer: Shhivika Chauhan

 

 

 

The Art of Lighting – WIPA at the Omni SF

In my capacity as the Regional Director of Events for Wedding Industry Professionals Association (WIPA), it is my honor and my pleasure to create four festive events per year. After all, my business, A Day Like No Other, is all about wedding and event planning and design! Our meetings are always elegant luncheons with a speaker presentation, beautiful decor and a “WOW!” factor for our members and not-yet-members alike. And this time, we had more than just one WOW factor!

But I am definitely getting ahead of myself. This time, on May 12, it was the venerable Omni Hotel in San Francisco’s Financial District, that played host to our meeting. Our videographer, Spencer Sarson Visuals, prepared a little preview for you to enjoy:

Originally built as a bank, it exudes the grandeur of a bygone era…

Omni Hotel small size… with a grand lobby, rich textiles, gilded crystal chandeliers… and a newly renovated ballroom. This ballroom actually became the “playground” for our speaker, Kim Martin of Impact Lighting – a live lab of lighting options.

The festivities began with registration…

17650162352_589372c749_k… and Cocktail Hour …

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… and that’s where the “WOW!” surprises for our guests started. Our photographer, Loic Nicolas of Loic Nicolas Photography (who also provided the whole photo coverage, thanks to the help of Colson Griffith Photography) had brought a demonstration of his new 3D wedding photography technology…

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… and obviously, guests are STUNNED by the possibilities!

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As you see – WIPA events are always a lot of fun!

But, as promised, that was just the beginning. In accordance with the elegant new “Great Gatsby” style decor of the Omni’s function rooms, Magnolia Jazz provided music fitting to Great Gatsby times:

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And if that hadn’t already been enough to transport guests into celebration mode, the strolling “Champagne Skirt” by CatalystArts definitely did exactly that:

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Mimosas, anyone?!

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Then it was time to sit down for lunch…

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… at tables decked out in elegant blue-and-gold linens by Classic Party Rentals and centerpieces by Ha Rue Designs (who provided all other floral decor as well) …

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… and the speaker presentation. Lighting designer Kim Martin…

17652656895_7dbc4ed875_k… relied on the power of “Show, not tell” and transformed the Omni ballroom by ever-changing lighting combinations:

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That does deserve the title “WOW!”, right?! And Spencer Sarson Visuals videotaped it all so all WIPA members can watch this fabulous presentation again.

After lunch, the party was far from over, because – given that we are here all “wedding people” – one highlight was still to come: THE CAKE! And here is that piece of edible art by Maralyn Tabatsky of Have Your Cake:

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Oh-so-beautiful outside, and oh-so-yummy inside:

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And did people have a good time? Have a look yourself:

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I’d say YES! Hoping to see you at our next event: September 1st, at the Argonaut Hotel San Francisco!

 

Work hard – Play hard at “Bespoke!”

The SF Bay Area and especially Silicon Valley are famous for their “Work hard/play hard” attitude – and we all got the perfect venue for that lifestyle delivered to our doorstep!

My friend Fernando Ciurlizza of La Bonne Cuisine got me one of the coveted invitations to opening night at Bespoke (Mille merci, Fernando!) and there I was, in the middle of ONE. IMPRESSIVE. SPACE. But I am definitely getting ahead of myself… a few more explanations!

Bespoke is an entirely new concept, bringing together cutting-edge, high-tech work space for 250 and (equally high-tech) party space for up to 1200 (!!) in a super-central, convenient location: the upscale Westfield Shopping Mall in the heart of San Francisco:

Mall entrance

Easy to reach, and – while unexpected as a location – just so convenient to shops…

cupola 2

Bespoke occupies a good part of the 4th floor, alongside a collection of restaurants, right under the impressive cupola.

entrance 2Work spaces at Bespoke offer each and every technical highlight one might require…

workspacefrom single work stations to small conference rooms – and the design is impeccable. To me, that makes working a lot more enjoyable!

Speaking of which – here’s the party space, tricked out with all the bells and whistles of A/V, lighting and data connectivity:

catwalk chairs

catwalkFashion show, anyone? Projection? Conference setup? Or rather dining?

dining table

tabletop

florals

And after dining – the party’s kicking loose for good! Look at these light effects…

blue tiles

green digitalIsn’t that fun? Throw in some music… and people will refuse to leave. I guarantee it!

While I assume that Bespoke will be the biggest hit with the “hi-tech crowd,” I can well imagine a “techie” couple throwing a wild dance party here for their nuptials… the design and entertainment possibilities are pretty endless at Bespoke!

Whirlwind Planning for a Beautiful Wedding: Catherine and Jithun

Last December, Catherine and Jithun enlisted my company, A Day Like No Other, to help them plan their wedding in August of this year, complete with traditional elements from Jithun’s native India – a Sangeet (dance party) a day before, for example… and of course a big Western style wedding. The even bigger Indian wedding would then follow shortly after, organized and hosted by the groom’s family in India. We were already right in the middle of all this planning … when the unexpected happened. A serious illness in the family forced Catherine and Jithun to move their wedding date up: to the following Sunday! Suddenly, we did not have another four months for planning, but a mere four DAYS.

Definitely a challenge! And definitely time to call in favors within my network of fantastic vendors – many of whom have become my friends over the years. I started making phone calls, and what happened was nothing short of a little miracle- everyone was immediately on board, and everyone agreed: we will make sure that these two wonderful young people will get more than an “emergency affair.” No, we would give them a joyful, memorable wedding celebration with all the bells and whistles we’d be able to muster!

First order of the day: find a new venue! On our first day of emergency planning, I received three offers, and Catherine chose the elegant Casa Madrona Hotel in Sausalito …

IMG_20150412_143440~2… just across the Golden Gate Bridge …

IMG_20150412_142412~2… and overlooking the San Francisco Bay and the Sausalito Yacht Harbor:

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Catering would be provided by Poggio Trattoria next door – they cater all of Casa Madrona’s special events, and their food is simply stellar.

Catherine’s childhood Rabbi made himself available for an evening wedding ceremony, and florist Deidre Rastelli of Tutti Fiori provided a beautiful antique chuppah which she decorated over and over with the flowers of the bride’s choice.

IMG_20150412_175013~2And of course she made a bridal bouquet exactly as Catherine had envisioned it, in a saturated maroon color (her second accent color, together with an aquamarine blue). And boutonnieres. And bridesmaids’ bouquets. And centerpieces. Everything!

Jira of Wowpretty Salon sent two senior stylists…

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and a wedding dress (the original one won’t get ready until May…) and pretty sandals were rush-ordered; the bride would wear her own stunning aquamarine jewelry…  here we go! Catherine, more beautiful and radiant than ever…

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And what a dapper groom she has!

Preview_CatherineJithun_Sausalito Wedding_SHHIVIKACHAUHANPHOTOGRAPHY Page 5My assistant Kelsey jumped in at the last minute and accompanied bride and groom and their families and guests throughout the day, from setup and hair/makeup session to ceremony, dinner and dancing – and provided our first photos of the day, until we get all the “real” ones from our photographer, Shhivika Chauhan. (We got a few from her already as a little preview – you see how fantastic they are!). Shhivika was already booked by another couple until early afternoon of that same day, but for her there was no question whatsoever: she headed over directly from her morning job to shoot Catherine’s wedding!

The Casa Madrona staff under the guidance of catering manager Stacey Turner did a beautiful job setting up the ceremony with a view of the yacht harbor, with the chuppah outside and the guest seating sheltered, inside.

Preview_CatherineJithun_Sausalito Wedding_SHHIVIKACHAUHANPHOTOGRAPHY Page 4Cellist Suellen Primost gathered her Espiritu Ensemble for elegant ceremony music, and then the great moment had come…

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Thomas Hughes Films live-streamed the ceremony for all those who hadn’t been able to attend at such short notice (and of course, they covered the festivities following the ceremony as well…)

Just married!

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Aren’t they a handsome couple?!

Cocktails were served on the adjacent patio, with guests watching the golden light of the sunset.

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Meanwhile, my assistant Kelsey, catering manager Stacey and her team set up the dining room…

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complete with Catherine’s dream cake by Cake Coquette and favor boxes with French macarons from Chantal Guillon, all in her favorite wedding colors!

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DJ Paul Burchfield of BigFunDJs got his equipment ready first for soft background music during dinner and then exuberant dance music, ranging from Frank Sinatra to Bollywood hits (yes!) and, of course, the Hora Dance:

Preview_CatherineJithun_Sausalito Wedding_SHHIVIKACHAUHANPHOTOGRAPHY Page 10It was a magical night…

IMG_20150412_202352~2Thank you to all who made it possible, and congratulations and many happy years together to Catherine and Jithun!

 

A Midsummernight’s Dream for Katherine and David

When Katherine and David, then just engaged …

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… chose my company, A Day Like No Other, for their wedding coordination and design more than a year back, Katherine’s guideline was, “a Midsummernight’s Dream celebration.”

I loved that idea! Just a few stumbling blocks on the way… among others, that the wedding wouldn’t happen in summer, rather – in late spring. And that the venue needed to hold 200 guests, the original number envisioned by the couple. And that their first choice venue didn’t work out. So… I had a chance to jump into action right away! I happened to know a venue that was quite similar in ambiance, just a little further away, but in a geographic area with a very stable, warm climate, as our guarantee for the “midsummer” weather: Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley! This romantic, beautiful property amid rolling hills and vineyards was love at first sight for Katherine and David.

Entrance

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ceremony lawn

Once that was in place, the hard work started in earnest. First off: choose catering! The two wanted a relaxed dinner with food stations, “honest, yummy food” and free seating, and they found Paradise Catering, providing them with a BBQ station, salad station, and grilled cheese and tomato soup station (my total favorite!!), delicious hors d’oeuvres and a full bar, of course. The seating – wooden benches and coffee tables along with traditional dining tables – came from Chic Event Rentals (as did the professional lighting). diningWedding cakes and cookies on a beautifully decorated buffet were provided by Nga.Che (nga.n.che@gmail.com).

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Speaking of decor… here we tapped into the couple’s shared profession! They are both pharmacists, so table decor consisted of a variety of apothecary jars serving as terrariums as well as antique medicine bottles…

dining tbl… and for wedding favors, guests received miniature mortars and pestles, the tools of the pharmaceutical trade!

favorsKatherine chose stylist/florist Natasha Kolenko for her flowers to complement the lush greenery and blooming rose hedges on property and to evoke a feminine, romantic feel in muted colors of apricot, silvery green, and ivory.

Bridal bouquet

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And here is our bride, in full hair and make-up by Hanh Nguyen of Beauteme (beauteme@gmail.com)…

bride… and a dramatic dream wedding dress by Galia Lahav. Time to meet her groom: First Look!

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Guests were meanwhile arriving at the ceremony lawn, welcomed by a refreshment station, guestbook and gift table.

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Finally the great moment had come: the bride was escorted to the ceremony by both her parents.

to the altarAfter their “I Do’s,” the couple went off for photos with acclaimed photographer Clane Gessel and videographer Doug Davis (DPWeddings) who captured the whole day from start to finish. Just wait until you see their photos and video!!

Guests  meanwhile enjoyed cocktails under a beautiful arbor and lawn games…

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… music by DJ Darion Bonnet and entertainment at the Photo Booth with Nick Napoli (both: DNA Entertainment). Meanwhile all the little ones (a lot of them!) had fun in the game room playing and doing craft projects with babysitter Rachelle Parrs (chellepea@gmail.com).

With dusk and then night falling, the atmosphere turned downright magical, and after dinner everyone was in the mood for dancing in the historic Carriage House! They were directed there by the signage I had designed in exactly the same style as the wedding invitations…

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First, of course, went our couple:

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… opening the dance floor to everyone. The rest of the evening went by way too fast with dancing, cake cutting…

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… bouquet and garter tosses, a Grand Exit with glow sticks and a decorated getaway car … “a true whirlwind,” as Katherine put it. Exactly the “Midsummernight’s Dream” she had wished for!

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Many happy years together, Katherine and David, and our best wishes on your way!

 

Spring Awakening at the Bently Reserve

One of the most prestigious San Francisco event venues, the venerable Bently Reserve, and the go-to event entertainment company in SF – Entire Productions –  had both something to celebrate (their new look!), and they joined forces and did it together… beautifully so, as was to be expected!

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Yesterday night, their “Spring Awakening” party drew a prestigious crowd, a true “Who’s Who” of the top Bay Area event professionals. (Wasn’t I lucky to be invited?!). Just in the first hour I met hostess Natasha Miller of Entire Productions, who had brought a whole army of her entertainers –

IMG_3331starting with a violinist on the mezzanine, looking down on the Great Room…

IMG_3330… where the “415s” kept the crowd going.

Who else was there? My friends and fellow wedding planners Duncan Reyes of Events by Design, Fred Sullivan and Jaime Botello of Sullivan & Botello Events; caterers John Silva of Culinary Eye and Fernando Ciurlizza of La Bonne Cuisine, while Ranjan Dey’s New Delhi Restaurant was busy serving delicious paneer bites, as were Janet Weisberg of  Ladies Who Lunch and 49Square:

IMG_3336To wash it all down, guests could help themselves to a glass of champagne from the strolling “Champagne Skirt”, again provided by Entire Productions:

IMG_3332Guests might go on watching the stunning contortionist performance courtesy of Entire Productions…

IMG_3338… from a comfortable lounge area provided by Blueprint Studios and decorated with floral arrangements from Michael Daigian Design and Amy Burke Designs:

IMG_3333Susan Sheinkopf’s Party Staff made sure all guests were perfectly taken care of, and I and all my other friends that I met – catering managers Mariell Rahmani of the Fairmont SF, Chrissy Wolfman of the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins, Helen Wu of the Presidio Trust; photographers Misti Layne and Clane Gessel, florist Pat Gibbons and videographer extraordinaire Thomas Hughes – we helped ourselves to all the delicacies including yummy mini cupcakes from The Whole Cake.

IMG_3337Photographer Colson Griffith and cameraman Patrick Sedillo captured it all, while wedding media queen Cristine Thomas of Today’s Bride certainly found a lot of news and eye candy to report on! And what’s so great about events like this – not only do they give us the pleasure of coming together with our longtime friends and colleagues outside of our work environment, not only are we being pampered to no end (as described!) – every time I  make new discoveries! There is always a business I haven’t worked with yet at my wedding events but that’s so fantastic it immediately lands on my “radar,” and, of course, new contacts and friends. Last night, for example, I was introduced to Bailey Nakano of the Regency Center, and we immediately hatched a plan to do an event there together. Such is the vibrancy of the SF Bay Area wedding pro’s community! I love it…. Thanks again, Natasha, for having us all, and for having me last night!

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