“At Last….” – Nana and Raymond are Getting Married!

Nana’s and Raymond’s courtship had been long and anything but straightforward… Fate definitely played tricks on those two! Having known each other for more than a decade, having lived and studied on the same university campus for several years without even being aware of one another, striking up a friendship – then ending up on different sides of the continent, until finally, at long last, they did find one another. As Nana said in her vows – she suddenly realized during their long-distance relationship that she wanted nothing more than being with Raymond, even if it meant moving from Boston to San Francisco. From then on, nothing held the two back any more. Fast-forward to wedding planning: Here is where my company, A Day Like No Other, came in. After all that wait time, Nana and Raymond jumped into preparations in high gear!

After eight months of high-intensity planning and more than 600 emails back and forth, all our hard work came to fruition last Saturday on a perfect Bay Area September day – sunny, warm, blue skies, a slight breeze. A dream!

For Nana and her bridesmaids, the day started with hair and makeup services by Wowpretty Salon – owner Jira personally took care of the bride who otherwise never, ever wears makeup… and transformed her into a classic beauty with an embellished updo and a very natural-looking makeup.

This style fit perfectly with the gorgeous wedding dress Nana had chosen at Novella Bridal Salon: heavy ivory silk duchesse in a ballgown style, its only embellishment (in addition to its perfect proportions) a long row of tiny buttons running the whole length down the back of the dress and unto its impressive train.

With that, Nana became a modern-day Grace Kelly!

Her bouquet, as well as the bridesmaids’ bouquets, boutonnieres, ceremony decor and centerpieces, had been created by Marie Krick of San Francisco Bay Blooms, in a summery palette of ivory, peach and orange, with David Austin roses the stars of the flower lineup …

… and with her updo, dress and flowers Nana resembled a fragile porcelain doll!

For their ceremony and reception venue, Nana and Raymond had chosen the Peacock Gap Clubhouse (on the Peacock Gap golf course with endless views of green rolling hills) in San Rafael. Fittingly, the bride traveled to her First Look location in an embellished golf cart!

While the couple was out for photos with their photographer Frank J. Lee and video team of Love Unique Studios, the Peacock Gap venue crew under leadership of events director Moira Gubbins, DJ Ron Israel of Spotlight Occasions, and my assistant Trisha and myself were busy putting the finishing touches on the setup. The ceremony area needed to be prepared, and florist Marie and her team adorned the wooden arbor with gorgeous summer flowers.

Soon enough, the first guests were arriving.

Ceremony time! Here comes the bride on her father’s arm…

… and here is the moment for her Dad to “let go” and “give her away” to Raymond.

Officiant “Minister Maggie” (Maggie Beretz) had prepared a very personal ceremony text for the couple and conducted the ceremony in her typical warmhearted, charming way with a dose of good humor.

Nana and Raymond had both prepared their own vows in the format of a personal letter which they read to each other – for the very first time! – during the ceremony.

Just married – and giddy with happiness!

Time for a group photo with all their more than 100 guests who had come from as far as Taiwan, the East Coast and elsewhere all over the country.

After conclusion of Cocktail Hour, guests were invited into the dining room. Even the escort card table had received a little sprinkle of rose petals in the couple’s wedding colors.

Tables were resplendent in ivory and peach…

… with extra special treatment for the couple’s Sweetheart Table, of course!

The rest of the evening went by way too fast… with a surprise slideshow that the couple’s friends and families had put together for them, table visits and a lot of fun for everyone with the infamous “Shoe Game!”

What else? Cake cutting, of course! Krumbs Cakes had created a mouthwatering confection topped with fresh berries…

… and Nana and Raymond performed their official first task as husband and wife – cutting that cake – with bravura.

The cake was a huge hit – at the end of the evening not a crumb was left!

Once  Cake Cutting was done, Nana and Raymond enjoyed their First Dance as a married couple, and they actually performed a complicated routine. At the last moment, it turned out that this dance routine was hard to execute in Nana’s “big” wedding dress – so she quickly slipped into a simple short dress. It looked a bit plain without embellishment… but: we were surrounded by the most beautiful flowers! A ribbon and an exquisite orange rose were our friends, and voila: here they are!

The couple’s First Dance opened the dance floor for everyone, and the ensuing dance party to the tunes of DJ Ron Israel completed the evening. Guests agreed: it was beautiful. Everyone left with a big smile on their faces.

Nana and Raymond: may you forever be as happy together as on your wedding day, and keep dancing!

 

 

 

Lovefest under Majestic Redwoods: Julianne and Grayson

Bride Julianne contacted my company, A Day Like No Other, ten months ahead of time for help with coordinating her wedding – and even then she already knew exactly what she wanted. She and her fiance had just chosen their venue – Deer Park Villa in Marin County, a secret garden, hidden behind a long driveway, and shaded by tall Redwood trees:… and they had also decided on the overall style of their celebration: rustic-elegant, with an outdoor ceremony and reception and a dance party inside the “villa” (mostly because of the local noise ordinance), relaxed and fun, but with some formal elements: metallic rose gold accents to complement their wedding colors of grey, blush pink and dark red.

Aside from that, guest experience was very important for them, and they added a lot of fun elements into the mix.

Last Friday, it all came together on a balmy summer evening.

Julianne and her bridesmaids began the day with hair and makeup services (by Girl with a Curling Iron), while Grayson and his groomsmen had free time. When their black SUVs arrived to take them to Deer Park Villa, they were in high spirits and, inspired by those “presidential” looking vehicles, mimicked a bunch of Secret Service agents!

Meanwhile, the Deer Park Villa team, my assistant Myrtle and I and most of our vendors were already busy getting all the elaborate decor set up that bride Julianne had pulled together throughout her planning time – from various signs..

to a Polaroid guestbook station…

Then there was the ceremony setup to be completed, with seat assignments for guests and with a chuppah that got draping and gorgeous flower decor from Angella Floral Arts.

The bride had requested to reserve a special seat for her mother whom she had lost way too early… such a sweet touch, and so moving…

The team of Ray’s Catering was busy preparing food and pre-setting the dining tables, the venue team readied the bars, our DJ (Runaway DJs) set up sound for all ceremony areas. Our photographer (Alexander Richardson of Love Tribe Weddings) and videographer (Ron Tse of FilmorePro) were capturing every moment, from First Look on throughout the evening. (Just wait until you see THEIR photos and video – until then, all we have are snapshots by me and my assistant).

Here is the impressive lineup of bridesmaids and groomsmen…

… with the bridal bouquet, bridesmaids’ bouquets and groomsmen’s boutonnieres likewise created by Angella.

Here is one beautiful snapshot of the couple:

Then guests began arriving, and the great moment had come, the ceremony was about to begin. DJ Amin of Runaway DJs played all the wedding music the couple had personally chosen. Julianne was escorted in by her father.

Quite a dramatic dress, I’d say!

Here comes the bride:

The ceremony was officiated by a personal friend of the couple, under the beautifully decorated chuppah.

Following tradition, the ceremony was concluded by breaking a glass – and contrary to tradition, that was done by bride and groom together!

“You may now kiss the bride!”

Just married!

What followed was a long and joyful party – starting with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a delicious sit-down dinner under twinkling string lights …

… and with elegant place settings of rose-gold plates and cutlery on soft-grey linens…

Photo credit: Myrtle Ventura

…. and then: THE CAKE (by Kara’s Cupcakes).

Guests were then treated to ice cream sandwiches with fresh-baked cookies prepared onsite by The Pink Turtle Shoppe. Then it was time for dancing, and DJ Amir kept the crowd in high spirits! For additional guest entertainment, the couple had booked a Say Ya! photo booth which proved to be a real hit. And for those who needed a break, a S’mores station was set up outside around the fire pits…

… while in the now-deserted dining area a “special guest” made his appearance to pick up any dinner leftovers!

The party went on into the wee hours of the morning, and all guests agreed – that was unforgettable! For bride and groom, the festivities were not over yet – they were off to their Honeymoon on the Maldive Islands and to Thailand. Call that a “once-in-a-lifetime” occasion!

Wishing you a lifetime of happiness and many more celebrations together, Julianne and Grayson!

Custom Signage by A Day Like No Other

As we all know, planning a wedding involves myriad details – one of them being signage. While having nice signage is certainly not as essential as, say, feeding one’s guests (I freely admit that!!), I still feel that custom signage can add that special touch to any celebration that makes it stand out, makes it personal and memorable.

Whenever I am designing an event, I am trying to tie the whole decor scheme together, and that sometimes involves the creation of custom signage – which is huge fun for me!

Here are some examples…

Table assignment board for a dog-loving couple

This couple is proud parents to a cute Shiba Inu whom they could not bring to their destination wedding. To include him in the festivities, I designed an escort “card” board from a family photo of bride, groom and their fur baby on the steps of the Capitol. The photo was enlarged to poster size and printed on a foamboard; cut into the appropriate number of name cards and reassembled on a stable backing. The individual pieces were inscribed with the names and table assignments of the guests and affixed to the backing with removable stickers. That way, every guest was taking a little piece of the happy family to their seat!

Welcome sign and table numbers with sweet memories of home

For a couple born and raised in the southern part of China, I incorporated artistic motifs of their hometowns into my design for their Welcome sign and for their table numbers – all twelve showing a different motif.

 

Whimsy, charm and elegance in ice blue and silver

This recent couple had chosen a venue with a gorgeous setting in the Great Outdoors for their summer nuptials, and an elegant design scheme of ice blue and silver for their celebration. How to bring it all together? I created an escort card board (to secure the escort cards the bride had chosen and handwritten from flying away in the breeze) with a silver frame and charming bird and flower motifs in shades of pale blue.

Hand-painted cutouts of birds and flowers adorned the complete board, and as guests were taking away their individual escort cards, a backdrop of more vintage birds and flowers on light blue was revealed.

Chalkboards – from simple to elaborate

For rustic and rustic/elegant outdoor weddings, chalkboard signs are still en vogue.

Chalkboards can also be quite elaborate – I created the next ones for a summer wedding with a “Vintage French Country” theme in light French Blue, complete with distressed white wooden frames.

Looking closely, you’ll notice that the tables in the table assignment board above have strange names – these are actually the names of famous algorithms. This bride and groom were not only francophiles, but also math nerds with a great sense of humor!

And here are the table numbers to go with the board:

I hope you are now inspired and ready for your own, unique custom signs! Let me know… can’t wait for the next challenge!

Whirlwind Wedding Planning – Where to Start?

So you just got engaged – congratulations! And you want to get married right away – great! Only problem if you are living in a metropolitan area like me: most wedding vendors are booked a year in advance. How then to pull it off in, say, three months? Or even less?

It is possible! I have done it in my own wedding planning and design business, A Day Like No Other. The process is intense, and it follows its own rules.

Photo Credit: A Frame Forward

  • Be crystal-clear on what you want.

You need to make a decision right away on the approximate date, the geographic area, the style and size of your wedding celebration, and your budget. For your date, you may have to compromise depending on what is still available in the venues you like. The geographic area will be largely determined by your willingness to travel and/or have a “destination wedding.” Your favorite style will also determine in which geographic areas and for which types of venue you are looking – if you are a fan of beach weddings with your “feet in the sand,” then you will be looking in different areas than if you prefer rolling hills and a Redwood Grove for your ceremony. Maybe you are dreaming of an elaborately decorated hotel ballroom –  that allows for more venues to choose from. Lastly, assess your budget realistically. Will you be paying for all of your wedding yourself, or will your families contribute? Will the cost for big-ticket items like wedding dress, rings and honeymoon be included in your whole budget?

Credit Cooper Carras Photography

 

  • Enlist professional help.

With little time to get it all organized, you should turn to an experienced wedding planner for help. Planning a wedding – even under the best of circumstances and with a lot of lead time – involves myriad details, moving parts and time-consuming research. A good wedding planner will structure the process for you, guide you step by step, make sure that decisions are made in the correct order, and save you endless hours of online research and vendor interviews. First off: your venue and your caterer – the backbone of your event! Your wedding planner will find venues for you that fit your tastes and budget and still have availability in the time frame you are considering. He or she will then assist in finding a caterer unless the venue offers in-house catering; and then all the other vendors you will need to round out your celebration.

Credit Cooper Carras photography

 

  • Be flexible.

Being “late in the game” means that you may not get your first choice of venue and vendors. Your wedding planner will be able to help you prioritize and find a work-around. Did you know that even if all Saturdays are sold out at your favorite venues, you may still be able to book a Friday or a Sunday? (Saturdays always sell out first). On the other hand, if you are considering a weekday wedding, many of your guests may not be able to attend. Considering a dinner/reception at a restaurant? Remember that in many areas good restaurants are closed on Mondays. If your favorite dates fall outside the local “high wedding season,” you have a better chance to secure a date on short notice, and you may even save on your venue fee. In general, when choosing your venue, you may want to prefer one that offers complete wedding packages including food and bar, all rentals, and a venue coordinator onsite on your Great Day. You will in all likelihood not have the time to organize and coordinate an elaborate setup with rental items from various companies, a field kitchen and a tent in “the middle of nowhere.” While certainly unique, such a project calls for a long planning period. Believe me, I’ve done it!

Credit Vicens Forns Photography

 

  • Tackle decisions in the correct order and in a timely manner.

That sounds self-explanatory, doesn’t it? Surprisingly, some decisions need to be made right away – even if they do not feel that urgent to you. One decision that has to be made right away is finding a wedding dress! A dress often takes 6-8 months to make, plus alterations. If you have that much time, great, then choose and order it right away. If not, you need to find floor models off the rack that can be customized to your measurements. Do it right now! And send out your Save-the-Dates immediately to make sure your favorite guests reserve your Great Day for you. Needless to say that you also do not have the luxury of postponing all other decisions. Your vendor pool to choose from is limited, and so you want to lock in your favorites within this selection right away. Again, in order to avoid mistakes, go with your wedding planner’s or your venue’s recommendations. Well-established wedding planners, especially, have an extensive network of industry connections. They know who is reliable and will deliver good value for your money. Listen to their advice!

Credit Kevin Chin Photography

 

  • Enjoy your Great Day!

Your courtship including wedding planning will be a whirlwind, I guarantee it! Come Wedding Day, your wedding planner will make sure that your celebration unfolds around you “like magic,” keeping you out of all the logistics and addressing the inevitable little glitches without you even knowing it. In my practice at A Day Like No Other, I promise my couples that on their wedding day their only job is to celebrate, and to “float through their day on Cloud Nine!” And that’s what I hope will happen on your Great Day, too… enjoy!

Credit Nathan Worden Photography

 

 

Wuhong and Yingjian: Sweet Southern China Memories at Thomas Fogarty Winery

When Wuhong and Yingjian booked my company, A Day Like No Other, to help with planning their wedding, I found out very soon that they are a very special couple to plan a wedding for. For both bride and groom it was important to honor their Chinese heritage, but in a modern way. They both are very discerning when it comes to food and wine. AND we just had a scant three months for our planning!

Needless to say, it was quite intense! From securing a beautiful venue to brainstorming colors and design elements, we were quite busy day after day. And yesterday it all came together beautifully at Thomas Fogarty Winery, high above Silicon Valley, with endless views under a clear blue sky and a warming sun.

For Wuhong and Shelly, her Maid of Honor, the day began with hair and makeup services by “Princess Sarah.” Once done, bride, groom, their mothers and their children all boarded a white stretch limousine (from Charmed Limousine Service) to take them up a winding mountain road to their wedding venue.

There, my assistants Quan and Stephanie and myself were already busy preparing everything for the great celebration. The Melons Catering team was setting up tables and chairs and preparing food in the kitchen. Florist Katharina Stuart delivered gorgeous flowers and began decorating the ceremony area.

We set up our personalized signage – we had incorporated  Wuhong’s and Yingjian’s custom wedding logo…

into a design featuring Southern Chinese motifs and also created matching table numbers (all designed by A Day Like No Other.)The gift/and guest book table also got a little nod to Chinese traditions with an authentic vintage birdcage.

Meanwhile, Wuhong was getting dressed, including high heels fit for royalty:

… and with that, she was ready to present herself to her groom for their First Look.

Photographer Gavin Farrington and his assistant captured every precious moment – just wait until you see THEIR photos! For the moment, you have to make do with our snapshots…

Then the great moment had come – time for the wedding ceremony. Serenaded by guitarist Chris Adgar-Beal, Wuhong walked down the aisle, toward her expectant groom.

The ceremony was officiated by Rev. John Sullivan who included a Chinese Tea Ceremony and his blessings and congratulations spoken in Mandarin (!) into the very personal  ceremony.

 

Following the ceremony: Off to many more family photos – while guests were enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres on the open deck. When it was time for dinner, guests found their table assignments in a sea of escort cards…

and then the newlyweds made their Grand Entrance:

Everyone then sat down to a veritable culinary feast, and the newlyweds of course presided over the congregation from their elevated Sweetheart Table.

More deliciousness was awaiting guests after dinner with a gorgeous dessert buffet and wedding cake by La Vie Douce Design.

But the party was by far not over yet! The couple performed their (well-rehearsed) First Dance to “La Vie en Rose,” sung live by the groom’s daughter, to the music provided by DJ Henry Kim of BIG FUN Disc Jockeys.

A dance performance by the “bridal team” (of junior bridesmaids and groomsmen) followed to entertain the guests…

… then funny games and, to conclude the evening, a festive sparkler send-off for the newlyweds.

It was a spectacular celebration! Congratulations and our very best wishes to Wuhong and Yingjian!

 

 

 

Delia and Chris – High Elegance at Thomas Fogarty Winery

Delia’s and Chris’ union is a match – well, made in Heaven. Delia has two beautiful grown daughters from her first marriage and had not expected to get married again in her lifetime. And for Chris it would be the first time EVER.

When Delia called my company, A Day Like No Other, for help with planning her dream wedding at Thomas Fogarty Winery in Woodside, California, I jumped at the opportunity.

I LOVE this venue! And I loved Delia’s “vision” for the design and decor as well. After many months of planning, vendor sourcing, designing and curating, developing floor plans and timelines, all our “labor of love” came together last Saturday on a perfect California summer day under blue skies, a warm sun and a light breeze, on top of the mountain ridge where this beautiful venue is located, overlooking all of Silicon Valley with views up to the San Francisco city skyline.

Delia arrived at Fogarty Winery together with her Maid of Honor, her “flower girl” and her two daughters Alivia and Madeline, in full hair and makeup done by her personal friends Connie Cook and Sofia Collazo. Photographer Megan Reeves and Videographer Justin Ferrar of Weddings on Film captured that precious moment of the bride getting dressed for her great moment… (and everything beyond that, too!)

… and here is a detail of her extraordinary veil, embellished with stunning embroidery and beading…

… plus “Cinderella slippers!”

 

Florist Jeffrey Adair of J Floral Art delivered an elegant, feminine bridal bouquet in shades of ice blue, ivory and silver…… with bridesmaids’ bouquets and boutonnieres to match. Next, he went on to install an incredible wrought-iron arch and to decorate it with matching floral arrangements for the ceremony, complement this with large arrangements flanking the aisle, and finally covering the aisle with a thick carpet of fresh ivory rose petals.

Harpist Erica Messer played prelude music (she brought her newest harp out for us for the first time!)

… as guests were arriving via shuttle bus (by Destination Systems) and welcomed…

… to an incredible setup with endless views.

Fans to combat the summer heat did double duty as ceremony programs.

Groom Chris was also preparing with the help of his brother and Best Man …

 

 

At 4:30 in the afternoon, the great moment had finally come! Delia had been adamant: following strictest tradition, she did not want Chris to see her before the ceremony. 

And here comes the bride, accompanied down the aisle by her daughters.


The ceremony was officiated by a close friend of the couple who found the most personal, moving words for them.

Just married – and so happy! While guests were enjoying Fogarty wines at Cocktail Hour on the deck…

… accompanied by delicious hors d’oeuvres courtesy of Toast Catering,

Chris and Delia had many more photos taken – among them, of course, their official wedding photo!

Soon enough it was time for dinner (by Toast Catering) in the open-air Pavilion, at dining tables beautifully set with silver Chiavari chairs, elegant ivory-moiré linens and stunning china, glassware and silverware from Hensley Event Resources, and with centerpieces from J Floral Art.

 

See’s chocolate candy favor boxes, menu cards and little herb bundles of rosemary and lavender, hand-tied with color-coordinated light-blue ribbon by the bride’s sister, completed the look.

Of course, the newlyweds’ Sweetheart Table, from which they were presiding over the congregation, received special treatment!

Guests were guided to their assigned tables by a whimsical, charming escort card board custom-made and hand-painted by A Day Like No Other.

Next up: the Grand Entrance of the bridal party and of the newlyweds!

After feasting on delicious salad and entrees, guests were treated to a mouthwatering selection of pastries and chocolates by Toast Catering.

 

The last highlight of the evening was Delia’s and Chris’ First Dance to the rousing tunes of DJ Stefano Bortolin of Big Fun Discjockeys.

Outside, as darkness fell, the scene turned downright magical…

 

Fogarty Winery is a very special place for very special moments – like this unforgettable wedding. Wishing you a lifetime of happiness, Delia and Chris!

The Perfect Bridesmaids’ Gift!

Here at A Day Like No Other, we are used to being asked all sorts of questions about any wedding detail imaginable. One regularly recurring question, however, is in regard to appropriate gifts for bridesmaids. Given that etiquette demands a lot from bridesmaids – from planning a bridal shower to paying for their travel to the wedding, accommodation and attire themselves – our brides feel that a special gift to these special ladies is in order. It should be beautiful, personal, meaningful; it should be worn for the wedding day, but also beyond. Some brides gift their bridesmaids the dress they are supposed to wear at the wedding ceremony, some gift a robe and hair/makeup services.

I personally have always been a fan of giving a piece of beautiful jewelry that can be worn way beyond wedding day. And now I’ve finally come across the perfect choice!

It is a personalized necklace from brevity with the name of the recipient rendered  in a variety of materials and at different price points – something for every taste and for every budget. Founder and lead designer Anna Corpron is most definitely up to something here! You can have individual signatures translated into necklaces – just email them a photo of the signature, and they’ll do it!

Or you can have the name of the intended wearer hand-calligraphed (they have a calligrapher on staff who is doing nothing else!) in a modern, flowy style.

You can even combine two names in one piece (I would say that’s the perfect bride-and-groom version!) for an impressive statement piece.

OR you can have four names, or a phrase, or or or…

All these pretty pieces come in steel, pure or gold-dipped (the most affordable versions) or in sterling silver or in solid gold… so, which one is your favorite? As I said – something for everyone! Actually, YES. Also for celebrities! Kylie Jenner, Francesca Eastman and Malin Akerman, to name just a few, have been spotted wearing their names or signatures as jewelry courtesy of brevity.

And the best thing is… our brides at A Day Like No Other even get a discount! So – what are you waiting for?

 

Kay’s Memorable Milestone Birthday Celebration

My company A Day Like No Other is known for creating one-of-a-kind wedding celebrations. But as the name announces: any celebration could become “a day like no other,”  a special birthday, for example. And when that opportunity did present itself, I did not hesitate to jump in right away!

“Birthday Girl” Kay had something big in mind for her celebration – she would treat her guests to a whole “day with Kay,” including everything she loves. A delicious brunch, to start with. A musical performance (of course – Kay is, among other things, a professional organist). A theater performance, too! Artist Kay is also a longtime benefactor of a small local theater troupe. A slide show, “down Memory Lane.” A birthday cake.

We started with an invitation that would set the tone for what was to come. Digital, custom and with music!

When Sunday, May 27, rolled in, everything was ready at the newly opened elegant Courthouse 2021 restaurant –

including welcome packages and name badges for the more than fifty guests, each and every one of them closely related to the many stations and phases of Kay’s life.

The party truly went off to a great start here!

After brunch, hostess and guests walked over to the Dragon Theatre…

… to enjoy a private performance of musical favorites by the Nebula string trio.

After that: time to share cherished memories via a very personal slide show… and then, finally, a private performance of the Dragon Theatre’s production of the award-winning play “Seven Days of Rain.”

The last highlight of the day was saved till intermission: THE CAKE!

Lovingly hand-delivered to the Birthday Girl and decorated with scenes from her life. It doesn’t get much better than this – a sentiment quite obviously shared by the star of the day. Happy Milestone Birthday, Kay, and many more happy milestones to come!

 

 

 

 

Blueprint Studios Winter Showcase: WOW!!

Yesterday, Blueprint Studios invited again to their annual Winter Showcase, and I was among the lucky ones to receive an invitation. My only comment in one word: WOW! In the heat of summer, the Blueprint designers had pulled out all stops to create a whimsical homage to winter decor – be it glitzy and glamorous or more woodsy or modern… or a genius combination of all of the above!

There was natural birch with Freesias and golden candlelight, and …

… there were also sparkly green and turquoise Christmas ornaments nestled in white summer blooms.

My favorite? The dramatic suspended orchid arrangements!

The Blueprint team did again what they do best: come up with show-stopping setups! A modern white-chrome-and-glass lounge combination against the backdrop of a winter forest…

… and table decor to die for! First up: “Vintage Napa:”

… showcasing all those beautiful pieces from Hensley Event Resources; then…

… an homage to the late Kate Spade, in preppy red, ivory and gold, with giant dahlias, as well as a glamorous Moroccan-inspired fantasy.

Since Blueprint always throws not only an impressive showcase, but also a great party, guests were treated to drinks from a chic custom bar…

… accompanied by savory little bites and finally: dessert! That came in two varieties: edible…

… waffle pops with rich chocolate sauce and delicious toppings; and visual…

… with bright pink carnations imitating old-fashioned ice cream sundaes!

What totally sold me? Chandeliers. Believe it or not… with all the “eye candy,” it took me until the very last moment to look upward and notice an assortment of chandeliers in a hallway – one more glamorous than the next. Here are my special favorites…

I am still absorbing all those inspirations! All the new chairs I’d love to use, the linen and tabletop collections that just beg to be displayed in ever new combinations… I can’t wait to be back in the showroom with new clients and dreaming up another unique wedding decor! Thank you, thank you, Blueprint!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

French Country Charm at Thomas Fogarty Winery: Cristina’s and Dmytro’s Dream Wedding

Please meet one of my favorite clients EVER: Cristina and Dmytro – or Dima, as he is called by his friends. After more than a year of wedding planning with the two of them, they are now Cristina and Dima to me, too!

Cristina and Dima hired my company, A Day Like No Other, last year – to put together a really memorable celebration for them, including decor in a vintage French Country theme. I jumped at the opportunity to do that project! Taking my cues from Cristina’s favorite color – a soft French Blue – and a few Pinterest inspirations, I let my imagination take off, and the most wonderful thing happened: Cristina and Dima were thinking in the same direction, approved my ideas and let me “run with them.” It was a wonderful, shared creative process, bringing together many of my favorite vendors, and culminating yesterday in one of the most memorable weddings I’ve ever done.

I had the opportunity to design their invitations – which set the tone for their decor theme…

For their venue, the two had chosen Thomas Fogarty Winery – a spectacular location with endless views all over Silicon Valley.

Their “home base” for their wedding day was the Garden Court Hotel in Palo Alto, where both bride and groom and their attendants were getting ready. The ladies started early with hair and makeup styling by Miabel Artistry – and emerged as drop-dead gorgeous, red-carpet-worthy beauties.

And just look at her “princess slippers:” sparkly golden Jimmy Choo heels.

Stretch limousines from Le Grande Affaire – a white one for the ladies and a black one for the gents – pulled up, rolled out that proverbial red carpet (literally) and took everyone up that long, winding country road to the winery.

There, both Dmytro and Cristina put the finishing touches on their attire…

… with Cristina’s bridesmaids and mother very much involved!

Florist Natasha Kolenko had prepared the most beautiful bouquets for bride …

… bridesmaids…

… and boutonnieres for the gentlemen, too …

… evoking a summer day in the French countryside.

Ready for “First Look!”

Outside, not only the onsite events team, but many other vendors were already busy to get everything set up for the great moment – working hard at temperatures over 90 degrees! A glorious, sunny day, with blue skies, but really, really hot…

The catering team of La Bocca Fina set up all the tables and chairs. Linens and napkins – custom-made from blue-and-white Toile de Jouy fabric just for this event – from Wildflower Linens set the light blue French country theme …

… and china, flatware and glassware from Hensley Event Resources completed the look, down to the tiniest details.

Florist/stylist Natasha Kolenko provided centerpieces reminiscent of French country gardens – light blue, in loose, effortless arrangements, incorporating wildflowers and greenery for an overall charmingly nostalgic, feminine and soft effect. She even had a structure of untreated slender tree trunks custom-made to surround and frame the couple’s Sweetheart Table, with more summer flowers seemingly growing up and around this frame in the most natural fashion.

The arch for the ceremony mirrored this style perfectly; vintage-inspired vignettes of wine barrels and French wrought-iron garden chairs completed the “look.”

Guests were greeted by a custom-designed “Welcome” sign which I calligraphed myself – along with all the other signage for this wedding.

To add a little whimsy to their guestbook, I found a vintage typewriter for Cristina and Dmytro – with a time-worn sheet of typing paper asking guests to leave the couple a note…

Time for the ceremony! The Mersonacta String Quartet provided beautiful music for prelude and ceremony… and here comes the bride, in an elegant lace wedding dress from Nouvelle Vogue Bridal Salon, accompanied by both her parents.

The setting for the ceremony was nothing short of spectacular.

Our photographer Maria Hedengren, who had flown in from Finland just for this wedding, captured every precious moment.

“Minister Maggie” Beretz found the most personal and heartfelt words to unite these two in marriage.

“You may now kiss your bride!”

And here they are: JUST MARRIED!

Off to many more photos with Maria,

… while guests were directed to Cocktail Hour via custom signage mounted on an authentic vintage French bicycle (from Found Vintage Rentals) with a matching, flower-filled antique basket…

On the open deck, a well-stocked bar and a variety of hors d’oeuvres was waiting for the guests who enjoyed the sunshine and the views from vintage lounge furniture (from One True Love Vintage Rentals).

And then there was, of course, Night Owl Photo Booth for added entertainment!

Soon enough, guests were asked to find their dinner table assignments  on yet another custom sign by A Day Like No Other…… as dinner was ready – courtesy of Teri Menchini and her crew at La Bocca Fina, who had incorporated the couple’s favorite childhood foods from their home countries (Romania and Ukraine) into the menu.

Guest tables were not numbered, but named after famous algorithms; after all, Cristina and Dmytro are software engineers!

 

The newlyweds presided over the congregation of their 80+ guests from their elaborately decorated Sweetheart Table…

Photographer Maria whisked the newlyweds away for sunset photos – after all, we had a spectacular sunset on Wedding Day!

After dinner, guests were invited to the Hill House where Cristina and Dmytro performed their official first task as a married couple: cutting their cake. And that cake was a piece of art as none of the guests (or us vendors, for that matter) had ever seen before! Playing on the couple’s love for traveling and for math, patissier Gabrielle Feuersinger of Cake Coquette had made them a cake in the shape of a vintage suitcase, complete with travel stickers of their favorite destinations, topped with a stack of their favorite math books – and all of that so realistic-looking that more than one guest tried to pick up the books and leaf through them!! Needless to say that the cake underneath was super delicious, too…

Next stop: dancing!

Cristina and Dmytro presented their guests with an elaborate dance routine in the tradition of Russian ballet, dancing their First Dance to Shostakovich’s Valse no. 2 (remember the famous movie Doctor Zhivago? That’s when you swooned over that dance for the first time…) – in an expertly abridged version that DJ Woody Miraglia of Big Fun Dic Jockeys had created especially for them.

 

With that, the dance floor was officially opened for everyone, and DJ Woody kept the crowd going – and what a wild dance party that was!

But eventually even the best party has to come to a close… and guests took home little succulents as favors…

… to see love grow.

Jay of City Express Limousine service chauffeured guests back down the winding mountain road back to their hotels, and George Rose of Elegant Journey Limousines brought his “flagship” – a stunning 1927 Stutz limousine – as Cristina’s and Dmytro’s getaway car. We sent them off to their married bliss with a sparkler parade – that’s what I call an exit in high style!

Keep dancing, traveling and calculating math problems together, Cristina and Dmytro, and stay as crazy happy as you were on your Wedding Day!