Sandra and Jacob at Hidden Villa

Sandra and Jacob had very clear ideas of how their long-anticipated wedding should look and feel – rustic, relaxed, a celebration of the Fall in California, the Great Outdoors. Nothing too formal, a collaboration of their friends and families, just easy. They would do the planning all by themselves! The only help they were going to accept was a wedding coordinator for their Great Day so they could be sure everything would run smoothly. And to that end, they enlisted my company, A Day Like No Other, well ahead of time.

They chose their venue, Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills, right in Silicon Valley, and yet – it feels like a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the hi-tech capital of the world. choco-studio-001

choco-studio-196It doesn’t even have cell phone reception! So far, so good. And then life got busy. And suddenly there was a maze of venue rules and regulations to navigate. Nothing was easy. Catering the way Sandra and Jacob had hoped for wasn’t permitted. And so on and so forth. The proverbial devil was in every single detail. At one point, Sandra was totally desperate. So we all decided that a little extra help from their wedding planner would lift the burden – and allow the two to actually enjoy the time leading up to their Great Day!

Look how beautiful it all turned out to be:

While our Senior Coordinator Kelsey was the first one onsite to work her magic behind the scenes, Sandra’s day began with hair and makeup by Nancy Eklund of Miabel Artistry.

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Florist Lanette Anderson of Hidden Villa had created a beautiful bridal bouquet of fresh-plucked garden flowers, all natural-looking and exactly what Sandra had hoped for.choco-studio-012

Meanwhile Jacob was also getting ready.

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Dress, shoes and jewelry were waiting…

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… and now Sandra is ready to meet her groom.

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First Look!

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And after that, it was time for photos with Mike and Nat of Choco Studio.

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The bridesmaids wore nostalgic floral dresses, the groomsmen had grey suits, and everything was “artfully mismatched,” befitting the relaxed and fun vibe of the event.

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The ceremony took place outdoors …

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… under a rustic chuppah …

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… and “Here Comes the Bride!”

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The ceremony concluded with the traditional “breaking of the glass.”

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choco-studio-293 And with that, they are husband and wife – Mazel Tov!

Off to more photos in the beautiful gardens surrounding the ceremony site …

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… while guests were invited to cocktails. The bar was decorated (a labor of love from family members!) with bunting and pennants fluttering in the light autumnal breeze, and lawn games were awaiting the grown-ups (and all sorts of toys for the little guests!).

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Dinner took also place outdoors, and with dusk falling, the scenery under the string lights (by AM Party Rentals) turned magical.

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Guests found their seats following a seating chart crafted by the couple…

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… and simple garden flower arrangements adorned the tables.

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Catering duties were shared by Continental Caterers and the couple’s all-time favorite food trucks: the Waffle Roost and Hiyaaa!

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choco-studio-527Everyone had a really great time!

143 Photo Booth was a hit with the guests, and DJ Turner Hayes of Elite Entertainment rounded out the fun during the later part of the evening with a traditional Hora Dance, followed by a wild dance party for everyone!

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choco-studio-612But that was by far not all!

Jacob’s Dad had brought his band for a very special performance – he’d never been more proud to play music than on this day!

choco-studio-530There were delicious desserts (lots of them!) …

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choco-studio-586… and once that beautiful party came to an end, guests received very practical wedding favors – flashlights for the way back to their cars!

choco-studio-624True to its name, Hidden Villa became engulfed and hidden in darkness, and the sounds of nature took over again… exactly the way that Sandra and Jacob wanted it to be.

A wonderful beginning to a hopefully long and happy journey together – our best wishes on your way!

 

Jean, Mike & Pepper at Sylvan Lake Estate

Jean, Mike and their dog Pepper are inseparable. So when Jean and Mike were planning to get married, OF COURSE they chose a dog-friendly venue, the beautiful Sylvan Lake Estate in the Wine Country, close to St. Helena. jmwedding-155

jmwedding-340 What’s next? A dog-friendly wedding planner! Enter my company, A Day Like No Other, the only wedding planning company specializing in dog-friendly weddings in Northern California. With that in place, we were ready to jump right into planning, design development and decor sourcing, vendor booking and all the myriad details that go into a big wedding.

As it happens, life and the couple’s demanding jobs interfered – planning got delayed – and things got pretty hectic toward the “home stretch!” But the effort was totally worth it. Look here how beautiful it all turned out!

Jean’s and Mike’s “home base” was Silverado Resort in Napa where the two were getting ready…

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… and dressing up for the Great Day…

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… with Pepper literally “underfoot!”

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Soon enough, it was time for the much-anticipated “First Look”…

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… and then for lots and lots of photos by The Shalom Imaginative and video coverage by Usman Baporia.

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The pretty bouquets (and later on, ceremony and reception flowers) were a labor of love by family friends.

Meanwhile, preparations for the festivities to come were underway at Sylvan Lake Estate. An arch was decorated for the wedding ceremony…

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… signage and guestbook were installed…

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jmwedding-194… Bekah Juencke and her team of Smokin’ Yankee’s BBQ Catering was cooking up a storm, Bartenders Unlimited set up the bars, and DJ Qzr installed the sound equipment while my assistant Kelsey, Pepper’s “Doggie Mom for the Day,” took Pepper on extended walks around the property.

jmwedding-183These two bonded immediately – we made sure that this was a fun day for Pepper as well! All the while, I had my hands full with arranging all the decor, coordinating vendor arrivals and deliveries, kitchen and table setup and and and… to get it all done before the guests were arriving.

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Time for the ceremony!

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Here comes the flower girl…

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… followed by the bride.

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Just married! An antique bronze bell was rung to announce the happy news, its sound carrying across the valley – it was truly a memorable moment!

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More photos – call this here the “official wedding portrait…”

While the couple was busy with photos and video, and their guests were enjoying Cocktail Hour, more preparations were underway for yet another ceremony: a traditional Korean Pae Baek (bowing ceremony) arranged by KPOP Party.

jmwedding-442Bride and groom changed into colorful traditional Korean garments.

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… and at the conclusion Mike, following tradition, had to carry Jean away “piggyback” – to the enjoyment of all their guests!

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After that, everyone sat down to dinner at long rows of tables, and the newlyweds and their bridal party were presiding from their Head Table.

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The mouthwatering menu was displayed on pretty signage:

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… and following these yummy choices, the couple’s favorite mochi were served AND there was still a whole cake and dessert bar by Sweetie Pies to “dig into!”

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In between, the photographers “stole away” the bride and groom for a few more romantic sunset photos…

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Following that, there was no holding back – the outdoor LED dance floor (by SF Dance Floors) was waiting, and the newlyweds opened it with their First Dance:

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… followed by an elaborate Father-Daughter dance performance.

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DJ Qzr got the crowd on the dance floor in no time – and what a party that was!

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Many happy years together, Jean and Mike, and our best wishes on your way!

And here is the “live” recap of this magical day, captured by videographer Usman Baporia:

 

 

 

Kerry, Howard and Lilly – Elegance and Fun at Cavallo Point Resort

I just returned from one of my all-time favorite weddings – my last one of this year – and I am still all excited about it! Where even to start? Great venues, a lovely couple, a super-cute doggie – and a wonderful surprise…

Bride Kerry approached my company, A Day Like No Other, in Spring for assistance with planning her wedding in November, and it seemed like a lot of time to go. Well – life happened, and planning got delayed – all of a sudden, things got quite hectic, and the last weeks of planning were quite a whirlwind, but in the end this one-of-a-kind celebration was so well worth all the effort. What was so exceptional? Kerry and Howard did not want a typical “wedding with all the bells and whistles and all the fanfare.” No bridesmaids or groomsmen, no bouquet toss, Grand Entrances or formal announcements, for starters.  They’d very much prefer an elegant dinner party vibe, unstuffy and fun for everyone. Did someone say “fun?” What I haven’t mentioned yet is that these two have a wonderful, slightly offbeat (the bride being British…) sense of humor, and so we had to throw in a super-fun surprise: a Tiki bar!

But I am getting way ahead of myself. Let’s start with the wedding day: an unusually warm, sunny November day that felt more like late Summer – simply perfect, with San Francisco showing itself from its most beautiful side. Kerry started the day with getting her hair done by Ernest Stout of Patrick Richards Salon – an elegant, but not extravagant updo in perfect proportion with her delicate features. Makeup artist Chris McDonald gave Kerry a natural look and accentuated her beautiful eyes with – yes! – faux lashes, and Kerry, although in general not a fan of makeup, could not believe how gorgeous she looked!

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Add to that an elegant, understated lace dress and hot-pink, drop-dead nubuck high heels…

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… AND an elegant bridal bouquet by Janelle Jacky-Litt of Green Petal Designs … in the bride’s favorite colors of soft dusty rose and mauve…

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… and we’re ready to go! Bill Snyder of Bauer’s IT Transportation drove her to the historic Swedenborgian Church in San Francisco’s Presidio Heights District, all decked out with candles,

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and Church hostess Holly Gottschalk snuck her in unseen through the back door, while both groom Howard and many wedding guests were already enjoying an alfresco reception in the Church courtyard with wine, beer and champagne served by Carlos Kronen’s  Bartender Company. Music by members of the Lucky Devils Band – solo guitar for the reception, a string trio for the ceremony – rounded out the happy gathering.

When the time came for the ceremony, the true star of the day – was not the bride (sorry, Kerry!) and not the groom either… but the couple’s dog Lilly, freshly groomed and adorned with a flower collar, who fulfilled her duties as a “flower pup” (dropping silk petals from a tiny basket hanging from her collar) with poise and irresistible charm.

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My assistant Quan, her “doggie Mom for the day,” made sure that Lilly enjoyed the day as much as her parents…

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My other two assistants, Annie and Christine, were meanwhile busy “behind the scenes,” helping me with everything from bar setup and breakdown to putting the finishing touches on our surprise Tiki bar. We were all quite busy!

After their ceremony, the newlyweds mingled with their guests in the Church courtyard for more cocktails, before being driven to their reception venue, the Cavallo Point Resort (the best SF Bay Area hotel by Travel & Leisure – and they do know!), where Catering Manager Lorraine Salceda and her team had prepared the Callippe Ballroom for dining…

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… with shimmering chocolate brown crinkle linens that the bride had purchased specifically for this event, and florist Janelle had adorned the long rows of tables with a profusion of candles and low arrangements mirroring the bride’s bouquet.

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Monique Albert of Just De’Lights had installed uplights that bathed the room in a dark amber glow, and the Lucky Devils were out in full force onstage to keep the whole party entertained, beginning with Cocktail Hour on the patio. Guests were treated to the famously delicious Cavallo Point cuisine, immediately followed by a slice of wedding cake…

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… from the venue’s in-house patissier (of French Laundry fame…). Once that was done, the couple had just a few more things to do: thank their guests…

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…  open the dance floor with their First Dance…

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… and unveil the big fun surprise of the evening: the Tiki bar in the adjacent Silverspot room:

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… complete with thatched umbrellas, a carved Tiki bench, real palm trees (all meticulously planned with Kenzi Blalock of Blueprint Studios) and a real Shuffleboard table (from Video Amusement)!

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Guests donned flower leis and sipped Mai Tais and Pineapple Margaritas from Tiki mugs and Pineapple Coconut martinis from hollowed-out coconuts, all served by bartender Steven clad in a Hawaiian shirt. That’s what I call a party!

Those who needed a break from dancing or a bit of fresh air were lounging around the fire pit on the patio under Monique’s string lights, feasting on a late-night snack of truffle fries, pulled-pork sliders and mini pizza.
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Not to forget, our photographers – Oscar Urizar from Red Eye Collection and his assistant- were tirelessly shooting all day – and night – to record those precious moments. Just wait until you see THEIR photos!

The only fault with this party – it had to come to an end at some point; way too early! One thing’s for sure: everyone had a great time, and this was, hands down, the most “fun” wedding of the year!

Melanie and Sherif at San Francisco City Hall

Melanie and Sherif are very independent thinkers – so it didn’t come as a surprise that their wedding celebration was a bit unusual, too! Not a hotel, not a mansion… but I am getting ahead of myself. Melanie approached my company, A Day Like No Other, months ahead of time for help with her wedding coordination. As a professional event planner herself, she knew how demanding it is to make an event run smoothly and seemingly “all by itself.” And – she wanted to take her Great Day off of her professional duties – which she handed over to me.

For their ceremony, the couple had chosen the probably most iconic San Francisco landmark: City Hall! Rebuilt after the catastrophic earthquake of 1906, completed in 1915, this breathtaking Beaux Arts edifice was meant to be a symbol of the City’s irrepressible spirit. Its gilded cupola soars higher (by a full 42 feet!) than the US Capitol. And it’s just as monumental from the inside as it is commanding from the outside. Melanie’s and Sherif’s ceremony took place in the 4th floor North gallery …

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… with the couple’s closest friends and family members in attendance. Many had come from across the nation to share this moment with them.

Programs and personalized cake pops were waiting for the guests as well as Champagne for toasting –

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… and escort cards on antique skeleton keys.

keysJay of City Express Limousine Service got Bride and Groom to City Hall relaxed, comfortable and on time. The very personal ceremony was officiated by Shyamala Littlefield and accompanied by Synchronicity Strings.

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The bride wore an ivory silk backless Pronovias dress from Novella Bridal, a sleek updo and naturally-elegant makeup by Triple Twist, and carried a bouquet from San Francisco Florist (as did her bridesmaids).

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For her bridesmaids, Melanie had chosen coordinating but not identical floor length allover-sequined gowns in harmonious shades of rose gold and champagne – in short, the ladies looked absolutely gorgeous!

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And the groom and his groomsmen stepped up to the fashionable occasion in tux, bowties and classic suits befitting the festive occasion and the impressive architecture.

After the ceremony, there was plenty of opportunity for the couple and photographer Sasha (of Sasha Wedding Photography) to take photos within City Hall (and just wait until you see HIS photos – so far all we have are my snapshots of the day…)

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Leaving City Hall as “Mr. and Mrs.!”

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Everyone then took Cable Car trolleys (another San Francisco icon, of course) to Isa Restaurant in the Marina District for cocktails and dinner. Heaven smiled on the wedding party – after heavy rain the previous days, and despite a gloomy weather forecast, the sun came out, and nobody got wet!

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The private dining room at Isa’s was all aglow with string lights and luminarias…

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… and the newlyweds presided over the party from their Sweetheart Table.

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Guests were treated to a delicious four-course French-Mediterranean dinner, and everyone declared that it was well worth the dietary sin! Melanie had changed into a more comfortable but no less dramatic all-sequined dress:

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After dinner, the whole party walked over to Nectar Wine Lounge next door – the festivities were by no means over yet! The couple had prepared a quirky Polaroid guest book..

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… bridesmaid Bianca had baked “naked” wedding cakes herself for the couple…

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… and one more big surprise was waiting for the guests: bellydancer Heaven Mousalem!

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What a party… And now you know why I love my job so much!

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Melanie and Sherif are off to their Honeymoon already – enjoy that and our heartfelt wishes for many happy years to come!

 

 

 

Lauren and Matt – full sail ahead at the Corinthian Yacht Club!

Lauren and Matt are a high-powered young professional couple,

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and when they decided to tie the proverbial knot, they had very clear ideas of what their celebration should look and feel like.

Fresh, modern, no frills. BUT classy and elegant. A church ceremony. Lots of friends and family members around. Glorious views. Fun and lots of dancing! When Lauren approached my company, A Day Like No Other, for help with her wedding preparations, I was immediately on board.

With these ideas in mind, the couple chose St.Hilary’s Church in Tiburon for their ceremony and the Corinthian Yacht Club in Tiburon for their reception. As a nod to the maritime setting (after all, Tiburon used to be a fishing village, in the “olden times”), the only color accents in addition to bridal white were a tiny bit of metallic gold and then, of course, classic navy. That’s what the seven bridesmaids wore (the groomsmen were all in tuxes – as I said, an elegant affair!), that was the color of the sash the bride wore with her dramatic Hailey Paige dress, and navy and blue stripes turned up again as accents on the handle of the bridal bouquet, the napkin rings, and on the wedding cake.

Come Wedding Day, the weather was just perfect – a crisp but sunny day, blue skies, a slight breeze… it couldn’t have been better. For bride and bridesmaids, the day began with hair and makeup by Lindsay Davis at the Water’s Edge Hotel in Tiburon, while the groom and groomsmen were getting ready at The Lodge at Tiburon very close by. And since this occasion was not only festive – everyone also wanted to have a little fun: the gentlemen wore fire-engine red suspenders under their tuxes, believe it or not!

While the bridal party rode to Church in a Cable Car Trolley, guests were shuttled by Chariot Charters, and everyone arrived on time and totally relaxed.

The Church was beautifully decorated with altar pieces by Fantasy Florals …

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and cellist Charles Wang together with the Church Music Director filled the sanctuary with uplifting music. The bride walked down the aisle on her father’s arm to the tune of “Plaisir d’amour…” – it was a truly moving moment.

After the ceremony (officiated by Father Roger Gustafson and orchestrated by Church coordinator Diana Rittenhouse), it was photo time with Jihan Cerda (just wait until you see HER photos!). Between her and Peek Media videography, all those precious moments during the day were captured – and soon enough we’ll also have a beautiful wedding video!

Guests were meanwhile enjoying Cocktail Hour on the patio off the ballroom, again serenaded by Charles Wang, and were feasting on shrimp and oysters…

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… and enjoying priceless views of the San Francisco Bay and skyline.

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Time for dinner! The CYC team together with my team – assistants Amanda, Annie and myself – had meanwhile set the tables…

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… where blue-and-white striped napkin rings, handmade by the mother of the bride, and gold-toned Chiavari chairs established a very elegant maritime feel.

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Calligraphed place cards (blue on white, of course!) and high and low centerpieces by Fantasy Florals completed the polished look.

What else? The cake! It took its clues from the nautical theme as well:

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After the delicious dinner, it was time for dancing! Of course, the couple came first…

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… but then, band leader Marty Johnson and the AllStar Jukebox “let it rip!”band

Guests stormed the dance floor…
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The only regret? That the party had to end, ultimately… but I am told there was still an afterparty going on down the street!

Many happy years together on your voyage, Lauren and Matt – fair winds, and “full sail ahead!”

 

Rain on Wedding Day: Good Luck for Briana and Andy!

When Briana and Andy approached my company, A Day Like No Other, for their wedding planning, they had already settled on a venue and a date: Villa Montalvo in Saratoga in May. I was immediately on board – it doesn’t get any better than that!

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Villa Montalvo, built as a stately private residence and now converted to an arts center and event venue, is an architectural gem in the Italianate style, and it is surrounded by breathtaking formal gardens, the most impressive among them the “Italianate Garden.” And that is where our couple was envisioning their ceremony to take place: on the steps of the “Love Temple” that is the focal point of the garden.

So far – the plan. Well, to make a long story short, the weather gods planned otherwise. While May was a sunny and warm month overall and especially in the Saratoga area, Briana’s and Andy’s wedding day was rained out. The good news? Across many cultures, rain on Wedding Day is considered a positive omen, portending fertility, renewal, cleansing and unity. If so, the two got a lot of all these good things!

The day began with “getting ready” – both for the bride and her many bridesmaids…andy-and-briana-031

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with hair and makeup services by Teri Lacro of The Charismatic Bride

… and for the groom and his groomsmen – at the Tollhouse Hotel in Los Gatos.

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Everyone then transferred to Villa Montalvo where the ladies got dressed.

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The bride had chosen an elegant lace dress for her Big Day.

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The rings were waiting…

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… and the bride received her elegant bouquet from Karen Chang Burling of  Huckleberry Karen (who provided floral design throughout.)

The bride stole a quick father-daughter moment to adjust her Dad’s boutonniere:

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Meanwhile, the “guys” got ready as well:

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… and here is the bride:

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… with her entourage:

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Ready for “First Look!” By that time it had already started raining. Actually – pouring, by the bucketfuls! An outdoor ceremony in the Italianate Garden was now out of the question. But nothing could dampen the spirits of bride, groom and bridal party. They had their First Look and photo session indoors while “behind the scenes” my assistant Amanda and I, together with onsite managers Kathleen Kirkpatrick and Tiffany Ferrante, florist Karen and our DJ Turner Hayes of Elite Entertainment were scrambling to implement “Plan B.” What that meant? Rescue all the sound equipment and ceremony decor from the Italianate Garden and move the whole ceremony setup to the tented side verandah of Villa Montalvo, move the Cocktail Hour setup from the side verandah to the library, move the dining setup from the verandah to the Great Room, morning room and adjacent alcoves.

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andy-and-briana-679 Phew! It was a Herculean task, but against all odds we managed it all just in time before the ceremony was to begin. All guests were comfortably seated in the tent-protected side verandah, with the ceremony area looking out into the lush gardens. The elaborate altar decor for the Italianate Garden had been taken apart “on the fly” and reimagined to fit the new space. It was beautiful!

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When Briana and Andy said their vows, the rain abated, and the Sun began to come out.

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“You may now kiss your bride!”

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Just married! While their guests were enjoying Cocktail Hour and  The Laugh Box photo booth, the newlyweds were off to many, many photos with Brandon Wehman of wanderlust photo co.

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… and of course, one photo in the Italianate Garden – which was still dripping wet from the recent rainstorm!

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Dinnertime! Guests were treated to a delicious 3-course menu by Cafe Primavera, followed by…

andy-and-briana-787Wedding Cake, of course! The newlyweds’ traditional “first shared task” is cutting the cake, then…andy-and-briana-798feeding one another and sharing the rest with their guests. After that, there was nothing left to hold  them back from their First Dance:

andy-and-briana-810… opening the dance floor to a wild dance party for everyone! Guests were having a fabulous time.

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Way too soon the party had to come to an end – but with a huge flourish!

The newlyweds were sent off with a bubble parade, down the Grand Staircase:andy-and-briana-909

… where George Rose of Elegant Journey was waiting for them in their gorgeous getaway car, a 1933 Packard limousine:

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And off they go to their lifelong journey together! Best wishes, Briana and Andy!

 

 

 

 

WIPA at the Cuyana Showroom, SF

What do wedding industry professionals and a high-end leather-goods and clothing design company in common? They both create beauty – be it beautiful events to remember for a lifetime, or be it beautiful items that brighten every day! So it was a natural match when Cuyana San Francisco hosted our WIPA networking event last night.

Cuyana’s motto is, “fewer, better things,” and that shows in pretty much everything: from their simple, perfectly proportioned purses and garments (all done in natural materials – leather, silk, cotton, wool – and in impeccable workmanship) to the midcentury-modern style of their showroom overlooking Union Square in the heart of San Francisco.

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Store manager Caroline Madden and her team graciously invited us to a relaxed evening gathering for networking, catching up with long-time colleagues and meeting new ones.

Mr. Shin of Michi’s served his signature super-fresh sushi…

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… accompanied by an elegant Chardonnay, courtesy of Heather Jones of Wente Vineyards.

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Everyone just loved it! And if that hadn’t been enough, Amanda Fein of Handheld Catering brought out platters and platters of oh-so-yummy Panna Cotta shooters and lemon and chocolate tartlets…

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Of course nobody could resist! And in between we all found ourselves browsing the beautiful merchandise on the tables, racks and shelves.

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img_3473Hadn’t we planned to replace this old weekender duffel for a long time already? Here was the perfect successor! And wouldn’t this elegant, streamlined leather purse elevate any wardrobe for Fall? Especially in conjunction with this incredible, reversible  double-face wool coat in grey and tan? Many internal battles about “want” and “need” were fought last night, and some were lost… but all of us left as dedicated Cuyana fans!

Enjoy this little peek preview – snapshots to be replaced by beautiful professional photos by Emily Jean of Clane Gessel Photography. Stay tuned!

Thanks again to all, and it was such a lovely evening!

 

Taryn and Jason – an Enchanted Wedding at the Outdoor Art Club

I just came home from helping one of my couples celebrate their wedding – and I am still in awe of that extraordinary experience I was privileged to be a part of.

First things first… Taryn, the bride, and I had been planning for a whole year. She had approached my company, A Day Like No Other, soon after getting engaged – suddenly feeling overwhelmed with the task of planning her Big Day with all its details and all the moving parts that go into such a celebration.

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She and her fiance Jason were planning to invite about 120 guests, all of them close friends and family, to a venue showcasing the beauty of Nature. As is evident in their beautiful engagement pictures (by Wilson Lee who also photographed the wedding – stay tuned for his professional photos that will eventually replace my “sneak preview” snapshots!), these two really love the forest – the more enchanted, the better! We thought of Redwoods, vistas, gardens… and finally, Taryn and Jason settled for the historic Outdoor Art and Garden Club in Mill Valley, a historic venue surrounded by a mature garden. Founded as a Nature Conservancy, the OAC boasts a beautiful (and newly renovated) Arts-and-Crafts building designed by none less than Bernard Maybeck. It’s a peaceful, blooming oasis in the heart of a quaint little city. Perfect!

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With Taryn’s love of all things Bohemian, slightly offbeat to downright mystical, in mind, we settled on a color scheme of muted warm gray and sage green, accented with sparkling mirrors (after all – mirrors are said to be the portal to other worlds…) calligraphed by Mariko Giverink of BeeCurious Designs

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img_3450The dining tables were adorned with floral centerpieces evoking little enchanted forests, complete with wood slices, mushrooms, crystals, geodes and ferns, artfully created by Katie Chirgotis of Eothen Floral.

For her Great Day, the bride chose a very unusual wedding dress from LoHo Bride

taryns-wedding-dress… and a soft, very feminine hairstyle with a “messy side braid,” perfectly imperfect – by Angela of Edward’s Salon. Taryn’s makeup – natural, dewy fresh, and literally glowing – was applied by her sister Tracy, a  professional makeup artist.

When the Great Day had final arrived, it turned out to be a warm and sunny Golden Autumn afternoon with  blue skies and just a slight breeze – a dream! Taryn’s and Jason’s ceremony was officiated by Reverend Don Mulford in the shaded backyard of the Outdoor Art Club, under towering mature trees.

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Guests then enjoyed Cocktail Hour in the open courtyard, serenaded by Synchronicity Strings

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… while Delicious! Catering took care of yummy food and an open bar.

Inside, string lights on the eaves (by Big4Rentals) set a festive tone, and dining tables beckoned with more sparkle from beaded glass chargers and mirrored table numbers…

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The centerpieces boasted a profusion of ferns, grasses, wildflowers and other delicate blooms …

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and of course the Sweetheart Table got a little extra treatment:

After dinner, there was dancing with music by DJ Woody Miraglia of Big Fun Disk Jockeys, with the couple opening the dance floor with their romantic First Dance to the tune of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.”

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Night Owl Photo Booth provided a lot of fun entertainment, and of course there was one more highlight of the evening: cake cutting! Following time-honored tradition, the new husband and wife team performed their official first task together – cutting their wedding cake (a luscious confection by Krista Juracek of Sainte G. – way too beautiful to eat!) and feeding one another.

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Even the cake played along the mystic “Enchanted Forest” theme with ferns and mushrooms. Guests took home handmade little bundles of sage and matches – to be burned to ward off evil spirits!

If you ask me – evil spirits never stood a chance at this enchanted wedding, filled with warmth, love, and gratitude, with friendship, joy and exuberance. Many happy enchanted years together, Taryn and Jason, and be your journey always as happy as on your wedding day!

 

“Winter is Coming” in July – Whose Idea Was That?? Blueprint Studios!

Blueprint Studios, famous for their creativity in event design, put their own skills to the test today – they invited the wedding professionals community to their warehouse to present their new collections with a typically creative event: “Winter is Coming!” (in July…)

What that is? Leave it to the Blueprint creatives… serenaded from the mezzanine,

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guests were treated to a “cabinet of curiosities” – whimsical wintery tablescapes..

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dining set-ups…

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and lounge vignettes..

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were competing for attention with more “July” (Hawaii??) themed groupings…

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… and any creative “fusion” in between! What about a white Christmas tree adorned with fresh orchids…

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or a tabletop variety composed entirely of cocktail paper parasols?!

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Nothing is impossible at Blueprint! And their new collection is so fresh and different! I couldn’t get enough of even their chair collection…

IMG_3211Strategic partner Hensley presented beautiful new china patterns…

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and a lot more, as listed on this menu card:

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plus chargers in any color and style you can think of, to round out their tabletop offerings… and if you are still not convinced…

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This incredible rainbow of colors – that’s their drapes!! I think that’s pretty unbeatable. Draperies in salmon, copper or lilac. I found my “Aladdin’s Cave!”

The “eye candy” was complemented by “culinary candy” provided by Componere..

Chef Ethan Mantle of Componere

Chef Ethan Mantle of Componere

… a company that spearheads culinary creativity even in its very name – “componere” is Latin for “to compose, to create.” Which they did – fresh mini tortillas filled with squash blossoms, accompanied by Patron cocktails in mini bottles…

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and, my favorite, dark chocolate shells with a liquid blackberry filling. Divine!!

As of today, I am an official fan of “Christmas in July.” And of Blueprint, of course!

Fete en Blanc at the Palace Hotel: the Ultimate in Chic

All who know Cristine Thomas, Editor-in-Chief of Today’s Bride Magazine (and who wouldn’t know HER?) also knows that her parties are out of this world. Truly beyond anything you’ve seen before! And she manages every single time to exceed even her own records… And now imagine she’s joined forces with Nick Eric of Luxe Bridal Shows and Cindy Danbom of Bella Notte Events! Well, the result was breathtaking: the party of parties at the venerable Palace Hotel SF…

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… where the Grand Ballroom and adjacent rooms were decorated in all-white (of course) – and where right at the entrance an ice sculpture by Chisel-It

IMG_3180set the tone of elegance and glamour for what was awaiting the guests who flocked to the Palace Hotel in droves! I met so many dear friends and industry colleagues – florists Janelle Jacky-Litt of Green Petal Designs, Mandy Scott, Edgar Martinez of Flowers by Edgar, and Nancy Liu Chin; photographers Kevin Chin, Michelle Walker and Misti Layne; fellow wedding planners Deborah Moody of ACPWC (my teacher and mentor!) and Chanda Eddens of A Monique Affair; Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound, Diana Cardenas of Napa Valley Linens and Sue Leggett of Classic Party Rentals… Everyone was wearing all white in accordance with the party theme, even the Champagne Skirt ladies from Circosphere

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Circosphere

… and the stilt walkers…

Earth Circus Productions

Earth Circus Productions

… and the contortionists…

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Earth Circus Productions

… from Earth Circus Productions whose performances were accompanied by the Dick Bright Orchestra.

The lavish floral decor was created by Edgar Martinez of Flowers by Edgar …

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… and guests were treated to Wine, Champagne, a multitude of tasty bites (Michi’s, my favorite sushi specialist, was also there!) and an incredible dessert bar (among others – Pretty Please):

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You know what? My diet resumes tomorrow. Today was totally worth the splurge!

Thanks so much, Cristine and Nick, for having me – it was fabulous!