A French Princess at the Julia Morgan Ballroom

All the brides for whom my company, A Day Like No Other, is planning a wedding, are a princess for the day. But none of my brides had so far taken this idea so verbatim – until Tanya requested a “French Princess” theme for her wedding! So together we set out to find the perfect “castle” for her and her Prince Charming (aka Dan) to celebrate with their 200 or more guests.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tanya and Dan

We found our castle in the storied Merchants’ Exchange Building in San Francisco’s Financial District: the elegant Julia Morgan Ballroom. The bride chose coral and lavender for her wedding colors, plus a lot of sparkle and candlelight. So we began designing to make this vision come true. A full 15 months later, the Great Day had finally come.

Tanya got ready in the nearby Omni Hotel under the expert hands of hair and makeup artist Sunshine from Wowpretty Salon.

HMU

The princess wore a gorgeous wedding dress with a shirred bodice, crystal-encrusted belt and full skirt with layers and layers of tulle and a train:

Bride thoughtful

… and she carried a romantic bouquet in ivory, coral and lavender tones by  Deidre Rastelli of Tutti Fiori

bouquet

The First Look took place on the dramatic sweeping staircase in the lobby of the Omni Hotel…

First Look

…. followed by more photos:

couple balustrade 2

And then it was time for Church! The couple had their ceremony at Old St. Mary’s Church just a block up from the hotel…

church

Altar

… and here comes the bride!

here comes the bride

Meanwhile, the Day Like No Other team (my assistants Angeliki and Quan and myself) spread out – Church, photo session, reception venue – to get all the family photos done and everything ready in time for the arrival of the guests at the Julia Morgan Ballroom.

First off: photo galleries of the couple…

photo gallery

and then – escort cards, custom-designed, custom-made and hand-calligraphed on silver and lavender card stock, outfitted with an organza bow, and each of them sitting atop a wedding favor box (bottle stoppers with a heart motif) – one of my bigger projects, but certainly very princess-like!

escort cards and vase

escort cards

For the dining room design, we chose lavender uplighting and lavender napkin bands with crystal-encrusted buckles (my second-biggest production here…), and together with the centerpieces from Tutti Fiori and lots of mirrors and candle light,  it all came together to one unified design scheme:

tabletop

centerpiece

bubble vase

napkin

“Prince” and “Princess” had their own sweetheart table…

couple swtht tbl

altar arrDuring dinner (and throughout the evening), guests were entertained by Woody Miraglia and Andrew Tran from Big Fun DJs, and as dusk fell, Monique Albert’s beautiful lavender uplights (from Just De’Lights) imparted a beautiful ambiance on the grand ballroom.

dining room 2

dining room

Throughout the evening, guests were also having fun with a DIY photo booth and – the great hit of the day – with having their portraits done by caricature artist Michael Rosenthal of Caricatures 4 Every Event …

caric artist

… while the little guests had fun in the game room with babysitter Claire Schimaneck.

What else? Cake cutting, of course! And with Dan being a physician and Tanya a nurse, they cut the cake with scalpels, to the amusement of all their guests… it actually works! Underneath the beautiful modern cake design by Jasmine Rae Cakes a rich chocolate-and-raspberry cake as well as a creamy vanilla cake were waiting…

cakeThen came the bouquet toss and the garter toss – oops, no! No garter… a stethoscope toss! (More merriment from the guests!)

Following the cake dessert, the couple enjoyed their First Dance to the tune of “Lucky:”

first dance

first dance 2

And then bride, groom and their attendants treated their guests to a special performance “Gangnam style:”

couple gangnam

group dance 2

group dance

That set off a truly wild dance party for everyone…

couple dancing

… and last but not least, at the end of the night the guests sent Tanya and Dan off  to their married bliss with a sparkler farewell; a glorious fireworks worthy of any princely couple!

Every single moment was captured by photographer Lisha Wang (just wait until you see HER photos!) and videographer Gusto Lopez of The Life In Digital – for lasting memories of a truly unforgettable day.

Many happy years together, Tanya and Dan!

 

 

 

A Snapshot of the Fanfare Summer Show

“Plan Your Dream Wedding In One Elegant Evening!” – the motto of the Fanfare Weddings summer show 2015 – is that possible?

Well… in fact, it is! Fanfare Weddings is a group of SF Bay Area luxury wedding vendors, one of each category (my business, A Day Like No Other, being the wedding planner), who put on a super-elegant wedding fair twice a year – at an equally elegant wedding venue, historic Kohl Mansion in Burlingame.

Fazzino_Yeh_Feldman1

So… what do we need for a spectacular wedding, in addition to a stunning venue?

Let’s start with the planner, from Day 1! (Okay, I admit it – I’m somewhat biased…)

BoothAnd then: Great food …. check! Guests were treated to a delicious sampling from La Bocca Fina Fine Catering,

La Boca Fina

Boca Fina 2

accompanied by wines from Mills Wine Group …Mills… and followed by super-fresh cake bites by Have Your Cake …

cake… with fantastic coffee choices from Travelin’Joe Espresso Bar.

All that to be enjoyed at a gorgeous table set by Classic Party Rentals in silver and eggplant colors,

Classic tbl

… and topped by elegant floral arrangements from Plan Decor (who supplied all floral decor throughout).

entrance bouquet

Plan Decor tbl

… and beautiful lighting and draperies were provided by Enhanced Lighting and Sound for the perfect, festive ambiance.

What else do we need?

An officiant, of course – that’s why we have Minister Maggie Beretz in our group who specializes in highly personalized ceremonies. And of course the bride needs THE DRESS!

She’ll find an Haute Couture collection of wedding dresses at Nouvelle Vogue…

Nouv Vogue

and she and her bridesmaids need hair and makeup services, expertly provided by Miabel.

Miabel

And music! And there was a lot to choose from…

Brassworks Music and Gabriel’s Trumpets for the royal announcement and entrance;

fanfaresAria Bella and Premiere Harp Songs as the ne-plus-ultra for the ceremony,

aria bellaand Big Fun DJs for the dancing part of the evening. All of these artists performed a selection of their repertoire – a whole show in by itself! Speaking of which… dance instruction for a choreographed First Dance? Check! “On the Dance Floor with Cynthia Glinka” was one of the performance highlights of the show.

dance instruction2

And then there are all the extras and the details. Hyegraph for invitations and calligraphy;

Hyegraph

Wedding bands from Padis Jewelers – a guest at the Faire –

jewelerand a custom perfume bar for the bachelorette party from Perfume Bar Soiree

Soiree Custom Perfume

stylish dresses for the mothers by Siri

Siri

and a wedding registry – courtesy of Bloomingdale’s.

bloomingdalesFor guest accommodations, there was the SF Airport Marriott Waterfront Hotel, and CatalystArts, another “Friend of Fanfare” provided guest entertainment: a whimsical photo booth in a vintage Airstream Trailer!

airstream

airstream and fanfares

airship interior

lady

Not to forget, of course, a great photographer (Teresa Halton) and videographer (Thomas Hughes Films) for lasting memories of an unforgettable day!

Now, do you believe me that it is, in fact, possible to book your whole wedding in one elegant evening?! Happy planning – with Fanfare!

 

 

 

 

Asian Elegance: Elaine and Danny at Hakone Gardens

Elaine and Danny met in College. And then they took their time… more than a decade, actually! When they finally took “the plunge,” they wanted to make it a very special celebration. And for that they found a gem of a wedding venue literally in their backyard. A mere twenty minutes away from their home, there is a magical century-old park – Hakone Gardens, one of the oldest Japanese Gardens in the Western Hemisphere, 18 acres of magnificent Japanese horticulture and historic architecture. I feel so honored that they chose my company, A Day Like No Other, to help them plan and design their beautiful celebration.

garden

koi pond

A heavy wooden gate opens to reveal all that beauty…

gate

which is open for private events like this elegant garden wedding.

After having her hair and makeup expertly done by Tiffany Chiang of Design Her Image, the bride got into her crystal-encrusted wedding dress…

bride… and for her own romantic bouquet as well as the braidesmaids’ bouquet, she had turned to Ingela Floral Design:

bouquets

At “First Look,” she moved her husband-to-be to tears! Here they are:

couple parasol

While Elaine and Danny were having their pre-ceremony photos taken by Ano and Hagop of Hagop’s Photography (wait until you see THEIR photos!!), guests were greeted at the traditional welcome table…

Welcome table… and then seated for the ceremony with classical guitarist Julio Reyes providing a beautiful musical background.
guitarist

ceremony1

Officiant Carolyn Selic of Mixed Blessings is awaiting the couple… and here comes the Bride!

here comes the bride 2

ceremony couple

ceremony 4

just married!Just married!

While guests were exploring the beautiful gardens, enjoying Champagne and nibbling delicious little bites from Eisenhauer Catering, and while the couple had even more photos taken…

couple garden

moon bridge

… my assistant Quan and I were super busy getting everything set up and ready for the reception on the “Madrone Mound,” surrounded by mature trees and bamboo hedges and by the authentic Japanese buildings on site (all exact replicas of historic architecture):

courtyard string lights

tables

centerpiece 2

Centerpieces in peach tones by A Day Like No Other and an escort card set-up…

escort cards

… and a cake by Euro Delights Bakery:

cake

The newlyweds got their own special table, of course:

swtht tble

In lieu of a dance floor, bride and groom had requested a children’s play area right in the middle of the dinner tables, and surprise performances by the bride’s sister and brother-in-law and a funny slide show made the celebration very personal.

As dusk fell, the overhead string lights by Bay Area Event Lights gave the scene a magical glow…

string lights

… and at the end of the evening, guests lined up with myriads of glow sticks to send the newlyweds off to their married bliss.

Many happy years together, Elaine and Danny, and our best wishes on your way!

 

 

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

 

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…

dresses

The bride wore a couture gown by designer Trish Lee, and for 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:

bouquet

Bridesmaids' bouquet

The Bride would be all ivory, from her stunning lace dress  …

jewelry

 

bride and city2to her princess heels …

shoes

And here she is, with the City at her feet! (And with photographer Elisabeth Millay capturing all those precious moments throughout the day).

stairs and view

Finally, the great moment had come to walk over to Church with her bridesmaids –

Bridesmaids

unseen by the Groom whom my trusted Senior Assistant Angeliki Menig had already whisked away together with his groomsmen.

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 Married!

Leaving Church

And here is our radiant, oh-so-happy, beautiful bride:

Bride

Aren’t they a stunning couple?

Couple close

Time for the “Day Like No Other” team (enforced by trainee Quan Wu) to rush to the City Club, while Liz and Tom were already there on the rooftop for more photos – the view is just incredible up there!

rooftop

We three hurried 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.

napkins

Dining Room

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 signs

Bride 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

 

Ancestor tbl

escort cards

What else? Fabulous food and drink (of course!)

Foodand music – a lot of it! Tom, the Groom, had booked the KJ Allstars, a 7-piece band who kept the party going…

Dancing

… and who accompanied the newlyweds’ First Dance.

First Dance

And 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 (!)

Cake

Cake cutting

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.

Rolls Royce

Grand Send-Off

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

whispering2

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!

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here comes the bride 2

first kiss

Just married!!

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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!