What I Learned about Love, I Learned from my Dog

It’s about time to honor the “woof” in “Wedding Woof” again! One of my recent couples provided a gentle reminder… Krista and Ben, at home in Australia, could not bring their beloved dog Sophie to their destination wedding in Big Sur – but they knew to honor Sophie with a ceremony reading dedicated just to her. And that was so beautiful and true that I want to share it with you, my readers.

I will dedicate my version to our beloved Buzz who has shared our lives for 13 and a half years and is still making us smile every single day.

with Buzz in Snow

Here it goes:

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride together. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

When you want treats, practice obedience.

Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.

IMG_1506 copy

Take naps together and stretch before rising.

Run, romp and play daily.

Be loyal.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.


Avoid biting, when a simple growl will do.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout – run right back and make friends.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk together.

Love each other unconditionally.

portrait in meadow copy


Nataly and Derek’s Joyful Wedding Celebration at Nella Terra Cellars

A schoolteacher from Bolivia. A product manager (with a bioengineering background) from China. These two couldn’t have come from any more different backgrounds. And yet – they are so much more similar than different, and that is what ties them together. They met five years ago, both foreigners to this country, but with so many shared values and interests… they both care deeply about others. They are immensely curious and love to travel and experience new cultures, adopting the best of everything. They are happy with simple things, love to discover “hole-in-the-wall” restaurants and to walk with ice cream. They both love dogs and have just adopted “Peanut,” a tiny furry bundle of joy.


The two took their time of courtship until it was clear to absolutely everyone that they should stay together forever, and on Valentine’s Day this year, Derek proposed in Puerto Vallarta. Yes, he is a romantic at heart!

Having been a friend of Derek’s for years – and an immediate fan of Nataly’s as well, as soon as we were introduced to one another! – I was so happy that the two entrusted their wedding planning to my company, A Day Like No Other. Hands-on people that they are, they had already found their venue: Nella Terra Cellars in Sunol, a hamlet in the SF East Bay. “Nella Terra,” meaning “into the Earth,” is exactly what Nataly and Derek were looking for. An oasis in the middle of vineyards and rolling hills –

MGA_2615… a curvy white tent to host a big celebration and an adjacent ceremony arbor overlooking a pond and well-trimmed greenery and pathways, and a beautiful patio for cocktails; just the right thing for extended families and friends gathering from as far as China, Canada and Bolivia – two hundred of them!


True to her Latin American heritage, Nataly wanted vibrant color for her wedding: warm yellow, orange and a little red, and turquoise a a counterpoint. From ceremony decor to favor boxes, from bouquets (from The Flower House) to lanterns – everything displayed her favorite colors for a very cohesive, joyful and upbeat look. Nataly’s Dad had added his own personal contributions –

MGA_1116… a handmade wagon to hold much-needed parasols for ceremony guests, and a whimsical seating chart of antique picture frames. Videographer Martin Meyer of martinFILMS and Photographer Professor Matthias Geiger worked their magic with the camera:





Reverend Dr. Lili Goodman Freitas of Weddings of Heart officiated the ceremony, made intensely personal through readings of poems both in Spanish and in Mandarin, and accompanied by guitarist Bruce Brill.MRG_2396And here they are: Just married!!


While the couple had many, many more pictures taken all over the property …




my assistant Kelsey and the venue coordinators were busy getting everything ready for dinner in the tent:



… where guests were treated, among other things, to a traditional Chinese roast pig (a contribution from Derek’s Dad) and to live Bolivian traditional songs by the authentic Bolivian band Kumara – again a nod to the bride’s heritage (plus, her cousin Gonzalo plays the charango and guitar in the band!) It was fascinating to see how these two diverse cultural backgrounds seamlessly merged into one warm and joyful celebration! Including the cake from Margaret’s French Bakery, of course, dressed up for the occasion –

MGA_1365– which was accompanied by the couple’s other favorite dessert: Smitten’s ice cream! (Tcho chocolate was my all-time favorite flavor…). Everyone was having a great time –

MRG_2493… among other things, with Night Owl Photo Booth. The evening continued with dancing to the music of DJ Steve McDowell of Fantasy Sound, and as darkness fell, myriad string lights and chandeliers in the tent turned the scene downright magical…


MGA_3412And my favorite photo? Here it is:

MGA_2408“Love does not mean looking into each other’s eyes all the time, but looking in the same direction.”

Next destination for the two: Italy! Have a fabulous Honeymoon, and Arrivederci!

Krista and Ben: a Glamorous “Aussie” Wedding in Big Sur

Big Sur, that stretch of California coastline between the Monterey Peninsula to the North and the Central Coast to the South, is definitely one of the most spectacular landscapes on Earth. It’s famous as a retreat for spiritual seekers, for alternative lifestyle, artists – and celebrities! Model Karlie Kloss comes hiking here to decompress, and actress Natalie Portman got married here at a private estate.

Photo: Sandra Fazzino

Photo: Sandra Fazzino

Photo: Sandra Fazzino

Photo: Sandra Fazzino

As did my beautiful couple, Krista and Benjamin! When they first set foot on Wind and Sea Estate in Big Sur, perched high on a cliff above the sea,  it was a done deal for them… this is where they would get married.

gate copyAnd I am so happy they brought me in right away to organize it all for them through my company A Day Like No Other.

First visit to Wind and Sea Estate

First visit to Wind and Sea Estate

It would be a “long-distance planning” process, that was clear – because these two are living in Australia! Krista had been working in the SF Bay Area and fallen in love with the beauty of California, when she met Benjamin, an attractive young businessman from Australia, at a conference in San Francisco – and fell in love again, right away… with Ben! It didn’t take her long to follow him to Sydney. For their wedding, they chose this spectacular spot to show Krista’s family from Ohio and Ben’s family from Australia the breathtaking beauty of California. We started planning early in 2015 – Thank God for email, Skype and Pinterest! – and couldn’t even imagine that date of September 26. But suddenly, we were there… and it was a glorious day.

Krista had requested a “rustic glam” style for her wedding. We translated that in:  Wooden harvest tables with gold Chiavari chairs (by CHIC Event Rentals), sequined runners in blush and gold (from Napa Valley Linens), cream and blush mixed floral arrangements with a lot of texture and lots and lots of mercury gold votives and vases (by Green Petal Designs). And the “icing” on it? Gilded Australian animal figurines from kangaroos to wombats, doing duty as place card holders!

dining table setting

Photo: Sandra Fazzino

Photo: Sandra Fazzino

Photo: Sandra Fazzino

Photo: Sandra Fazzino

The forty “nearest and dearest” guests who had come from all over the world to be with the couple on their wedding day,  were brought in from Monterey by shuttle bus (from Discovery Charters) and welcomed in style:

welcome sign

For Krista, the day began with a hair and makeup session with Jessica Morton of Miabel Artistry who transformed a pretty young woman into a glamorous beauty. Krista had chosen a sequined, diaphanous Jenny Packham dress from Nouvelle Vogue, and with that, her crystal-encrusted headpiece and her romantic bouquet (also from Green Petal Designs), she literally moved Benjamin to tears…

Photo: Sandra Fazzino

Photo: Sandra Fazzino

Photo: Sandra Fazzino

Photo: Sandra Fazzino

Photo: Sandra Fazzino

Photo: Sandra Fazzino

And here come the true stars of the day: the couple’s children Macy…

Photo: Sandra Fazzino

Photo: Sandra Fazzino

… and Toby:

Photo: Sandra Fazzino

Photo: Sandra Fazzino

Finally, the great moment had come, and Krista was escorted to the ceremony by her Dad…

Photo: Sandra Fazzino

Photo: Sandra Fazzino

The ceremony was held at a natural amphitheater in the expansive garden of the property, overlooking the endless Pacific, and officiated by a longtime friend of the couple. It could not have been more beautiful and more intimate.

And then it was definitely time to party – on the wraparound patio that follows the house from North to South end with unobstructed views of the Ocean and of the sunset:

dining table and sea

… and with a farm-to-table dinner by Amy Padilla of Feel Good Foods Catering. Together with the oyster bar, it was, hands down, the ultimate dining experience! The cake was “imported” from Layers Sensational


Cutting the cake and having fun with it!

Cutting the cake and having fun with it!

Guitarist Richard DeVinck serenaded the wedding party from ceremony through Cocktail Hour and dinner and then transitioned seamlessly to DJ’ing for a joyful dance party inside, while dusk fell…

sunset dining

… followed by a technicolor sunset:

technicolor sunset

Photographer extraordinaire Sandra Fazzino captured it all for us (and I used some of her sneak preview photos to show you here just how beautiful it was!) – just wait when you see all HER photos here…

Congratulations on a truly memorable wedding, Krista and Ben – and enjoy your Honeymoon in Paris!










Tobi and Yasser – Nature and Elegance at Quail Lodge

Tobi and Yasser were college sweethearts. They had met at UC Riverside early on – in their Freshman/Junior year, respectively – and became inseparable very soon. Despite their very different family backgrounds – Tobi is from a Korean-American family and Yasser from a Persian-American family – they found so much in common that there was never even a doubt that they would stay together. They were both family people, both love nature and animals. And wherever they were not already sharing the same interests and hobbies, chances were they would very soon! Yasser had always been big on playing sports, and soon enough Tobi picked up exercising as well – she would even begin her wedding day with a run! But more of that later…

One of the things they always shared was a love for the outdoors. Hiking, camping in Big Sur, and an engagement in the rain forest in Costa Rica – that way it was pretty clear that their wedding celebration would at least partly take place in beautiful nature. However, for that special day Tobi did not want “rustic” but “classy and elegant.” The solution? Quail Lodge in Carmel.

Quail grounds

Pond 2

Set in the softly rolling hills of Carmel Valley as far as you can see, Quail Lodge has it all: a gorgeous outdoor ceremony site, elegant event space at the Clubhouse, and cozy accommodations at the Lodge. I knew it well, and I was overjoyed when Tobi and Yasser chose my company, A Day Like No Other, to plan, design and coordinate their Great Day.

For Tobi, wedding day began (AFTER her morning run!) with a hair and makeup session…

beauty session

makeup tools

… in the bridal suite at Quail Lodge …


under the expert hands of Anna and Soyeoon from Wowpretty Salon. Next step (literally!) – get into her elaborate strapless Maggie Sottero wedding dress, with exquisite lace detailing and crystal embellishment…


lacing up

Tobi’s bridesmaids, all in midnight blue crepe dresses, had quite some work to do lacing the bride up!

Then… jewelry …

jewelry… and her beautiful crystal-embellished wedges…


… and her bridal bouquet (from Janelle Jacky of Green Petal Designs, who created all the gorgeous floral decor throughout)

bride and bouquet

bouquets –  and ready for First Look on the picturesque bridge at Quail Lodge!

first look


While the couple had many, many photos and video footage taken (by Patrick Ang‘s photo and video crews – enjoy a sneak preview on his blog), we were all busy getting the ceremony site at Quail Meadows set up for an outdoor Catholic Mass officiated by Tobi’s uncle.


altar arrangementsA radiant and expectant bride was waiting upstairs in the “barn” (a rustic-elegant building at Quail Meadows)…

expectant bride

… until the great moment had come. The bride was preceded by her cute flower girl…

flower girl… and then her proud Dad escorted her all the way to the ceremony:

here comes the bride

Isn’t that romantic? Her processional song, played by DJ John Gregoria of DNA Entertainment (who provided music throughout), was the Jurassic Park theme melody, and throughout the wedding mass, friends and relatives provided live music as well.

Cocktail Hour for the more than 170 guests was held on the patio of the Quail Clubhouse…

baby photos

… with baby photos of the couple and other family photos for the guests to reminisce about, and with a photo booth (also from DNA Entertainment) which was a huge hit.

Guests looked up their seating assignment for dinner on an elaborate chalkboard chart by Ryanne Steele of Steele My Heart …table assignments

… and were then treated to a wonderful Persian wedding ceremony. Lili Ghazian of Aroosi had created an elegant sofreh-aghd (wedding spread) in the golden and blush pink colors of the wedding:

sofreh 2

… and officiant Niloufar Nouri brought it all to life, walking the couple and the audience through the time-honored traditional ceremony step by step, explaining the symbolic meaning of all elements.

sugar rubbing

Here the mothers are rubbing sugar above their children’s heads to shower their marriage with sweetness. The couple exchanged vows and rings once more…

ring exchangeIt was very moving!

After that, everyone was ready for dinner…

table setting 3

…with tables set in midnight blue shimmering linens, ivory napkins and lots and lots of candle light in mercury glass and rose gold-colored votives…

table setting 2


The couple was presiding over it all from their sweetheart table…

sweetheart table

Following dinner, bride and groom were planning to cut their cake from Patisserie Parker-Lusseau, but that’s not that easy for a Persian groom! First he had to negotiate for the cake knife with a succession of dancing ladies who were teasing him with a traditional knife dance…

knife dance

during which he had to pay them off several times until he could finally snatch the knife from them!

cake cutting

Guests had the choice of dessert – wedding cake or mini red velvet Bundt cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes with ice cream. And then everyone couldn’t wait to get up and start dancing! Persian and American hits took turns and got the crowd going… and after a stop at the late-night snack bar, everyone was tired and happy, but nobody really wanted to go home. Everyone had such a good time!

And here is a little live preview of their wedding video:

tobi + yasser from Patrick Ang on Vimeo.

Many happy years together, Tobi and Yasser!


Creative Business at the Argonaut SF – WIPA Fall Meeting 2015

“Five Ways Your Business Tells a Story,” was the title of today’s WIPA Fall meeting at the iconic Argonaut hotel in San Francisco.


lobbySpeaker Sean Low, former president of Preston Bailey Designs and now president of  his own company, “The Business of Being Creative,” had quite some business wisdom to share with the nearly 100 attendees from the Greater SF Bay Area. We all took home a truckload of food for thought!

While WIPA meetings focus on education, they are of course also a lot of fun! We began the day with cocktails – Champagne by Le Grand Courtage, to be precise –


patio from above 2

… in the courtyard (a nice way to start the day, don’t you think?!)

checking in

guests outside

Jutta outside

A very happy event chair (me…)

guests outside 2
…-and serenaded by Brian Bergeron and Zen Zenith of Ivy Hill Entertainment.

ivy hill

ivy hill 3Our beautiful ivory, silver and gold linens came from Napa Valley Linens, with bold floral arrangements from Flowers by Edgar complementing the “cool elegance” design theme perfectly.

small arrEngaging all senses, Deborah Moody offered enticing fragrances at a perfume bar…

perfume bar

perfume bar 2

perfume bar 3

… by Pastiche Custom Perfume, the perfect bridal shower offering or bridesmaids’ gift.

After Cocktail Hour, guests got to listen to Sean Low’s intense, engaging, and truly “rapid-fire” speaker presentation in the ballroom…


… with rentals provided by SnB Party Rentals and Classic Party Rentals, and A/V services by PSAV.


centerpiece And then we had lunch, in unexpected “Bento Box” style with chicken, salmon and a variety of salads …

menu card

lunch plate… and  refreshing iced tea (AND cute tea favors!) from Taras Teas.

favor 2Chic program booklets custom-designed by Jillian Schiavi of JillyInk rounded out our design.

program title page

program openAnd of course we held our meanwhile traditional prize drawing over lunch with prizes ranging from wine and skincare products to a round of golf and an Italian leather purse!

The only ones who literally didn’t get to sit down were our indefatigable photographer Ryan Carville and our videographers from Studio Arcady. Just wait until you see THEIR work! Not to mention the behind-the-scenes support from our media sponsor, Today’s Bride Magazine.

sponsor tableAfter lunch, everyone enjoyed delicious cake by Kathleen DeManti from A Spoonful of Sugar


flowers and cake

… and everyone left with a big smile on their faces! And that’s the best reward for all that hard work!

Thanks again to our speaker and to all our fabulous sponsors – and we are already looking forward to our next WIPA event on November 3rd at The Bridges Golf Club in San Ramon. See you there!

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.


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.


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


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…



… 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:



bubble vase


“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.


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.


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;


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


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 and fanfares

airship interior


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.


koi pond

A heavy wooden gate opens to reveal all that beauty…


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:


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.


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


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:


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:



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


while gowns were steamed and finishing touches applied…


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:


Bridesmaids' bouquet

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



bride and city2to her princess heels …


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 –


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


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


Just married!

Just Married!

Leaving Church

And here is our radiant, oh-so-happy, beautiful 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!


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.


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…


… 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 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!


Getting ready


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


…and the boutonieres:


… and shoes – with the City as backdrop:

shoes in windowDone!

couple at window

The two have definitely earned a glass of champagne now…




Time to sit down at their “cool” sweetheart 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.


glassesThe two liked it!

holding hands


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…


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