Anna and Etan – a Fantasy in Blue and Silver

Anna and Etan had chosen Thomas Fogarty Winery for their wedding – a spectacular venue with endless views over all of Silicon Valley right to the San Francisco skyline – and brought my company, A Day Like No Other, on board to plan everything else – from vendor sourcing to design, ceremony planning to wedding day schedule. Our many months of planning time literally flew by, and on the first weekend of September, Wedding Day was upon us.

Anna and her bridesmaids got ready at the Garden Court Hotel in Palo Alto where Felicia Chang of Bun Bun Bridal Lab had set up a veritable beauty lounge.

The girls REALLY had fun together… see here!

Then it was time for the bride to transfer to her wedding venue in style – we had reserved a stretch limousine from Le Grande Affaire – and to get into her dress…

… a delicate, diaphanous, lace-encrusted stunner!

Matching the blue-and-silver color scheme, Anna had chosen shimmering silver wedding shoes. Here are the rings….

… and the beautiful bouquets for bride and bridesmaids (by Marie Krick of Laurel & Vine)..

And here is the happy bride…

Groom Etan was also getting ready…

… and he and his groomsmen were outfitted with boutonnieres matching the bridal flowers.

Time was flying by, and guests began arriving (via shuttle by Destination Systems). Harpist Erica Messer began to play traditional wedding ceremony music.

Officiant Chris Thielen (of Personal Weddings by Chris) and groom Etan were awaiting bride Anna as she was escorted in by her proud Dad.

The arch was decorated with ivory roses and baby-blue hydrangeas, and the aisle was covered with ivory rose petals (all floral decor by Marie Krick of Laurel & Vine).

After the ceremony, it was time for many, many photos of the couple and their friends and family members …

… photographer extraordinaire Danny Dong and videographer Martin Meyer (of martinFILMS) captured it all …

… while guests were enjoying cocktails and my team and the team of Toast Catering put finishing touches on the dinner setup (with chairs, linens and elegant tabletop items by Hensley Event Resources, design by A Day Like No Other).

It all turned out exactly as bride Anna had envisioned it – until the weather threw us a curveball: a freak storm forced us to move dinner inside, and the catering team, onsite coordinator Kaitlin Brinton, my assistants Chrissy Wolfman and Stephanie Hui and myself, and even our DJ scrambled to carry everything inside. Incredible but true: it was all done in a mere twenty minutes, and guests could sit down in warmth and comfort to a delicious meal by Toast Catering. The rest of the evening progressed smoothly, including cutting the breathtakingly elegant (and super delicious!) wedding cake (by Cake Coquette).

The remainder of the festivities was dedicated to dancing to the rousing tunes of DJ Woody Miraglia of BIG FUN Disc Jockeys

… and the newlyweds just snuck out for a moment to take photos with sparklers, despite the howling storm…

A stunning vintage limousine (from Elegant Journey Limousine Service, chauffeured by owner George Rose himself) whisked the newlyweds away for their First Night.

What a celebration!

See it on film: https://www.martinfilms.com/etan-anna

Macy and Josh’s Great Day: Family & Friends at Fogarty Winery

When Macy and Josh contacted my company, A Day Like No Other, for help with their wedding planning, one thing was clear from the get-go: with their 70-hour work weeks, they would need help. A lot of help! So I had my work cut out for me. They had chosen a spectacular venue for their nuptials, Thomas Fogarty Winery in Woodside – an elegant setting surrounded by vineyards, high up on a mountain ridge, with endless views of Silicon Valley and on to the San Francisco skyline.

Their top priority for their wedding day was to spend quality time with their families and friends – the one most precious thing in their lives! Their celebration would be simple and elegant, and, above all, relaxed and comfortable for all their guests. No glitz, no frills. The many months we had for planning simply flew by, and Labor Day weekend – wedding weekend! – was suddenly upon us. On a beautiful, warm, sunny Saturday, under blue skies and a slight breeze, all our planning work finally came to fruition; have a look!

For Macy and her bridesmaids, the day began with hair and makeup services by Jira Couture, and then both the ladies and groom Josh and his groomsmen convened at Fogarty Winery. With a little help from her bridesmaids…

… Macy got into her showstopper backless lace dress…

… picked up her summery, feminine bridal bouquet in all purple hues (by Green Petal Designs who provided floral decor throughout)…

… and Josh also dressed up to the nines …

for the bride’s and groom’s First Look and many, many photos by Frank J. Lee.

They are such an attractive couple!

Soon enough, their guests began arriving (by shuttle from Destination Systems), and it was time for the ceremony.

Befitting the location, big wine barrels topped by lush flower arrangements marked the spot where the two were about to say their vows …

… accompanied by the sound of an acoustic guitar version of wedding classics, courtesy of Spanish guitarist Jay Alvarez.

The ceremony was officiated by a family member who had already married a good number of her relatives in years past – a natural choice for Macy and Josh!

Just married – a quiet moment …

After the ceremony, the couple had many more photos to take solo, with their families, and with their bridesmaids and groomsmen…

while their guests enjoyed Cocktail Hour on the open patio ….

Specialty tea containers did double duty as escort “cards” and as wedding favors

… and my team – assistants Stephanie and Melinda and myself – the Toast Catering team and florist Janelle all put the finishing touches on the dining setup in the Winery Pavilion.

For centerpieces, Macy and Josh had opted for elegant potted orchids which guests would take home and enjoy for a long time to come.

After dinner, another surprise was waiting for the guests: Tucker’s Ice Cream was serving delicious flavors from their nostalgic cart, emblazoned with the motto, “Life is Uncertain/Eat Dessert First!” (We couldn’t agree more…)

After that, there was no holding back – from dancing! DJ Woody Miraglia of BIG FUN Disc Jockeys got everyone on the dance floor in no time.

Photographer Frank snuck the newlyweds out for just one spectacular sunset shot – isn’t that a sight to behold?

Photo credit: Frank J. Lee Photography

It certainly was a great party for everyone.

Wishing you a lifetime of happiness, Macy and Josh!

The Ultimate Summer Wedding: L & J at Thomas Fogarty Winery

First of all, this couple and their families are VERY private – so all we are allowed is a little peek at all the beautiful details of this incredible wedding celebration. My company, A Day Like No Other, had the honor of supporting the Mother of the Bride in creating an epic summer wedding for the couple, and we literally planned and designed over the course of nearly a year. It all paid off on a warm and sunny Sunday in mid-August at Thomas Fogarty Winery in Woodside … have a look!

Photo: Danny Dong Photography
Photo: Danny Dong Photography

The bride and her bridesmaids started the day with hair and makeup services by Sarah Hyde, and the bride’s lush bouquet in vibrant summer colors (by Nancy Liu Chin Designs who created floral decor throughout) …

… and her Cinderella slippers…

Photo: Danny Dong Photography

… complemented her elegant lace wedding dress perfectly.

Photographer extraordinaire Danny Dong captured it all…

After the ceremony, guests were treated to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres by Global Gourmet Catering (who also provided dinner and desserts)

– and to dinner in an eye-catching set-up of bare wooden tables, crossback chairs, mixed in with round tables with linens – an evocation of the rustic elegance of Tuscany.

Photo: Danny Dong Photography
Photo: Danny Dong Photography
Photo: Danny Dong Photography

Of course, the Sweetheart Table received extra-special treatment!

… and we also had a cozy, quiet corner to take a little break from the festivities!

After dinner, everyone congregated on the dance floor – DJ Woody Miraglia of BIG FUN Disc Jockeys made sure that entertainment was a great success. In addition to that, bride, groom and all their guests had a blast taking silly pictures at Night Owl Photo Booth. Even such a memorable party has to come to an end… and guests were chauffeured home in comfort by Corinthian Ground Transportation. Everyone agreed – this was the ultimate summer wedding!

Mazel Tov to our wonderful, happy couple!

A Stylish Stanford Wedding – Shanna and James

Shanna and James are true Stanford fans – that’s where they spent their undergraduate studies, that’s where they met, and that’s where they got married, with Stanford colors, of course!

My company, A Day Like No Other, had the honor and the pleasure to organize the festivities.

For bride Shanna, the day started with hair and makeup services by team Skyla Arts

… and then it was time to get into her big white wedding dress (dress no. 1, that is!)…

… with the help of bridesmaid Yoo-Yoo…

and to pick up her stunning bouquet in the Stanford “Cardinal” colors, courtesy of Floral Designs by Marnie

… who provided the bridesmaids bouquets and boutonnieres (AND the centerpieces) as well.

One quiet moment before heading over to Stanford Memorial Church… for the wedding ceremony.

Just married!

Photographer Teresa Halton captured every precious moment – just wait until you see HER photos! (For the time being, all we have to offer are our wedding planner snapshots…)

Time to party – on the Stanford Campus, of course! Guests were heading over to Cocktail Hour at the Stanford Faculty Club

… followed by a delicious buffet dinner inside the completely draped, festively transformed main dining room (draping and lighting by Impact Lighting).

Tables were set in all ivory with – you guessed it! – centerpieces in the couple’s trademark “Stanford Cardinal” red.

After dinner, there was a cake (by Susie’s Cakes) to cut (and an additional one by Satura Cakes to eat).

Both the newlyweds and their guests also lined up at Night Owl Photo Booth for lots of funny snapshots…

… and the real highlight of the evening was the couple’s astounding First Dance – an elaborate dance routine right out of “Dancing with the Stars!” Everyone agreed: these two CAN dance – like professionals!

The bride had changed into dress no. 2 – a lot easier for dancing – and that’s what the remainder of the evening was all about: dance, dance, dance! DJ Stefano of Big Fun Discjockeys got the crowd on the dance floor and kept the momentum going. What a party…

Dance on, Shanna and James… and our best wishes on your way!

Suyao and Rui – a Glamorous Winter Wedding at Villa Montalvo

Who says a winter wedding needs snow?! We are here to disprove this myth! Suyao and Rui …

The bride…
… the groom…

… and both of hem together!

… gave my company, A Day Like No Other, a mere three months of planning time – intense and exhilarating! – and that took us to December 15. Right in the middle of winter in California. Since they had chosen Villa Montalvo, a spectacular mansion and park on the SF Peninsula, there was no snow to be expected – possibly rain, though. BUT we made it through a glorious wedding day without rain, with sun and with lots and lots of great atmosphere. Have a look!

Villa Montalvo, surrounded by a huge manicured park

Busy as these two are (they met at a job interview – with Rui interviewing candidate Suyao – and now they are both working long, long hours at the same company!), we pulled everything together in a whirlwind, and in no time, Wedding Day was upon us.

Suyao and her bridesmaids had their hair and makeup expertly done by Tiffany of Design Her Image

A beautiful bride is getting even more beautiful!

… and then the bride got into her dress …

… with the help of her bridesmaids.

All that she still needed were her bridal bouquet (from Green Petal Designs, like all floral decor throughout) and the rings…

Groom Rui and his groomsmen had been getting ready next door…

Looking good!!

… and so both bride and groom were ready for their “First Look” in the beautiful Italianate Garden of Villa Montalvo. Their photographers (Toanven Group) and videographers (Dreambook Productions) captured every precious moment.

And now… off to their wedding ceremony in the Oval Garden behind the mansion!

Everything was ready for them, with a beautiful swirl pattern of rose petals on the aisle.

Guests began arriving, greeted by a custom Welcome sign. The ceremony musicians (Amethyst Trio) began to play…

…the bridal party took their positions, the groom was waiting…

Here comes the bride, escorted by her Dad…

The ceremony was officiated by a longtime friend of the couple.

Just married!

Off to more photos!

Guests were meanwhile enjoying cocktails, and the teams of A Day Like No Other, of our caterer (Le Papillon) and our florist (Green Petal Designs) were hard at work to get everything lined up for dinner. Venue manager Caitlin Dieni supported us all throughout the day and evening.

Suyao and Rui presided from their extra-special Sweetheart Table:

Guests were dining from “Limoges” china and gilded flatware from Hensley Event Resources, and after dinner, they were treated to an extraordinary wedding cake (by Satura Cakes).

For this occasion, the bride had changed into a stunning short red dress that allowed for free movement – for their highly choreographed, perfect First Dance to music provided by Henry Kim of Big Fun Disc Jockeys.

With this, the dance floor was officially open for everyone, and the concluding part of the evening consisted of dancing, dancing and more dancing! The newlyweds stole away for a few nighttime photos…

There was, however, one more highlight to come: a festive Grand Send-Off to a stunning vintage limousine (by Elegant Journey).

A fitting start to their lifelong journey together, don’t you think? Our best wishes on your way, Suyao and Rui!

And HERE you can see it all live:

Singin’ and Dancin’ in the Rain: Christina and Cuyler

Christina and Cuyler met at work – a full eleven years ago – as colleagues. Over the years, they became friends… and started dating… and then they realized that they wanted nothing more than to marry their best friend! For their wedding, they envisioned a Spring day at Thomas Fogarty Winery, perched high above Silicon Valley, with endless views… and so they started planning with me and my company, A Day Like No Other.

As we were getting closer to Wedding Day, the weather forecast turned gloomy, and unfortunately, this time the meteorologists were right. We were taking precautions: two dozen huge umbrellas for the couple, the bridal party and their guests were in place, and Christina and Cuyler took it all in stride!

For Christina and her bridesmaids, as well as for the Moms, the day began with hair and make-up services by Sarah Hyde of sHe artists – and all those pretty ladies emerged as stunning Hollywood-worthy beauties! Everyone looked their very best, carried herself with confidence and was just simply happy.

With that, Christina was ready to put on her gorgeous Hailey Paige wedding dress – a modern take on lace with a geometric pattern, a chic little shrug and a feminine tulle bow at the waist:

Florist Indelisa Montoro of Royal Bloom Boutique had delivered a vibrant bridal bouquet …

and matching bridesmaids’ bouquets, boutonnieres, ceremony decor and centerpieces – you’ll see! The winery was transformed into a summer garden…

Meanwhile, Cuyler had dressed up as well, and bride and groom were ready for their official “First Look:”

Photographer Janae Shields and her assistant took the couple around for photos (just wait until you see their professional images! For the time being, all we have are snapshots by my assistant and me). Meanwhile, a small army was hard at work to get everything ready in time for the celebration. Kaitlin Brinton, one of the venue managers at Fogarty, was our guardian angel throughout the day and the evening and supported us diligently behind the scenes. The Toast Catering team under leadership of My-Dung and Gio set up all tables and chairs, put on the table settings and got the kitchen and the bar going. Florist Indelisa installed an incredible arch seemingly overgrown by summer flowers. Ivy Hill Entertainment set up sound systems and provided a duo for ceremony music. Guests arrived via shuttle buses from Corinthian Ground Transportation. We were ready for the ceremony!

The ceremony was officiated by a longtime friend of the couple’s, and it could not have been more personal!

Here comes the bride…

The ceremony was short and sweet – and here they are, JUST MARRIED!

For Cocktail Hour, guests were treated to hors d’oeuvres paired with special wine selections – a really unique idea!

Meanwhile, my assistant Alexandra put the finishing touches on the elaborate setup of place cards and favors on the dining room tables …

Wine corks served as table card holders, and the color of a little flower on top of each cork was the indicator for each guest’s entree choice. So elegant!

Together with the subtly structured linens, silver-rimmed china and Indelisa’s gorgeous centerpieces, this setup was simply perfect.

BUT we have not yet introduced the unspoken star of this wedding: doggie Gigi! She lives with the bride’s sister but is truly the darling of the whole family – and became the darling of the whole wedding as she made her appearance, dressed up with a flower collar, and accompanied by her “Doggie Mom for the Day,” my assistant Melinda.

She is simply too cute for words! (And she has more Instagram followers than most people. Small wonder…)

After a delicious meal…

… the couple cut their cake, a classic white wedding cake by Studio Cake, adorned with flowers exactly matching the bridal bouquet.

After that, there was no holding back from dancing! Christina (a former competitive ballroom dancer) and Cuyler had practiced their elaborate, highly choreographed First Dance to a true classic, Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” sung live by Erin Honeywell, bandleader of “Family Funktion” (through Ivy Hill Entertainment).

Then there were the parent dances and just simple fun on the dance floor! These two were literally “singing and dancing in the rain.” Nothing could dampen their spirits! What a party that was…

Wishing you a lifetime of happiness together, rain or shine!

Iris and Roger – the Ultimate Party in Ultraviolet

Iris and Roger’s wedding celebration was as funky and as elegant as their wedding color of choice – ultraviolet, Pantone’s color of the year. Given that they had taken care of the “legalities” beforehand, these two were free to focus on sheer fun and party on their Wedding Day! They took full advantage of it. Iris wore a succession of no less than THREE dresses. For her nails, she chose an ice-blue polish, and in lieu of the standard (highly uncomfortable) wedding high heels, she wore plateau sneakers! The ceremony was sheer fun and laughter, and a good part of the reception was reserved for wild dancing.

They had chosen a spectacular venue – Thomas Fogarty Winery in the hills high above Silicon Valley – for an indoor/outdoor celebration. Given that their date was in early October, we were hoping for great warm and sunny weather, but there were no guarantees. We got lucky! It was a glorious Fall day, as beautiful as they come!

Iris arrived for photos fully made up (by Urban Beauty Loft) and dressed in a traditional Chinese dress, picked up her elegant purple bouquet by Green Petal Designs

… and had her bridesmaids put a few finishing touches on her (after all, that’s what you have bridesmaids for!)

Here she is posing with her chic entourage, wearing dress no.1.

… all of them in fashionable shades of purple, of course, and Groom Roger and his groomsmen were likewise getting ready…

… sporting matching purple neckties and boutonnieres.

While Bride and Groom were taking many, many photos with photographer Duy Ho  and video, too, with Martin Meyer of MartinFilms  (see Martin’s teaser below!)…

… the teams of Fogarty Winery, Le Papillon Catering, Green Petal Designs and A Day Like No Other were hard at work to get everything ready in time for the guests.

Ceremony chairs were set up and bunches of flowers tied to them,  a glorious arch was set up and lavishly decorated…

… a pretty Welcome sign set up to greet the guests who were arriving via shuttle (by Destination Systems) …

… and the Bride quickly changed into her Western wedding dress and veil for the ceremony.

Ready for the ceremony! The Espiritu Ensemble was playing wedding classics, giving this ceremony a decidedly elegant touch.

Officiated by a longtime friend of the couple, this ceremony could not have been more upbeat and more personal!

Just married! And off to more photos in the golden light of the early sunset…

… while guests were enjoying cocktails on the open deck

– AND picking up their escort “cards”: cleverly affixed to favor bags (light purple, of course!) containing personalized drinking bottles.

Soon enough it was time for dinner with a dramatic view all over Silicon Valley …

… with beautiful centerpieces in purple hues and tree-shaped table number holders with candy-filled globes (additional wedding favors) adorning the tables.

Le Papillon was cooking up a storm…

After dinner, Iris slipped into dress no. 3, and guests were treated to dessert: a delicious (and just as gorgeous-looking) purple wedding cake from Patisserie Gerhard Michler.

For that occasion, the Bride had changed her dress yet another time (part of the fun on this super-fun wedding day!) to a lucky-red party dress!

Nearly too pretty to cut into!

After that – First Dance…

… and open dancing to the tunes of DJ Stefano Bortolin of Big Fun Disc Jockeys

What else? Bouquet Toss, of course!

But the best was yet to come! A sparkler exit of epic proportions… have a look:

Keep partying and having fun on your shared journey, and our best wishes on your way, Iris and Roger!

Here you can see it LIVE!! A teaser video by MartinFilms… enjoy!

Kristina and Kevin: a Romantic Fall Wedding at Villa Montalvo

Kristina has “Italian roots” and loves everything Tuscan and classical Italian, and Kevin couldn’t agree more (their love of Italy is just one of the many things they have in common!) – and so they found a kindred soul in me! They entrusted their wedding planning and design to my company, A Day Like No Other, about a year ago – and off we went in our shared quest for the perfect venue and the perfect decor to create exactly the elegant, unique celebration they were hoping for.

A full year later, with planning updates on every single Monday (!), it all came together exactly as perfectly as envisioned, on one of those enchanted, golden Fall days that the Bay Area has to offer.

For their wedding venue, I had recommended to Kristina and Kevin Villa Montalvo, a grand mansion in the Italianate style, surrounded by gorgeous formal gardens and a park, complete with love temples, marble fountains, cypress trees, putti – and, in short, anything Italian!

Photo: Auey Santos Photography

They fell for this place head over heels, and once that decision was made, everything else fell into place.

And here is how it all turned out!

After hair and makeup styling (by Nicole Tott-Berger and Catherine Clark) for Kristina and her bridesmaids…

 

… the bridal party transferred to Villa Montalvo, where the bride got into her classic white dress…

 

… and gilded bridal heels…

…. picked up her bouquet of white roses and peonies with green accents of rosemary, olive branches and eucalyptus (by Green Petal Designs)…

… and was ready to present herself to her groom for the first time!

Groom Kevin had likewise dressed up, of course…

… and was ready to meet his bride at the Villa’s formal “Italianate Garden,” a fantasy of a classical Italian park come alive.

 

Photographer Todd Rafalovich and videographer Kevin Chin captured every precious moment.

While the couple was taking many, many photos, also with their bridal party…

… my assistant Amanda and I, together with onsite manager Caitlin Dieni and the catering team of La Bocca Fina under expert leadership of Teri Menchini were busy to get the Villa ready for the arrival of our 150 guests (via shuttles by UCT).

Soon enough it was time for the ceremony in the “Oval Garden” behind the Villa, accompanied by beautiful music by the Garden Strings quartet.

And here comes the bride!

 

The ceremony was officiated by Father Charles Regal of The White-Robed Monks

… in his trademark combination of joy and gravitas in perfect balance. “You may now kiss the bride!”

Just married – and so happy!

Guests were invited to cocktails in the Spanish Courtyard which had been prepared for illumination later that evening with Italian string lights (by Just De’Lights)…

… and whose fountains were decorated with floating white flowers…

Photo: Jutta Lammerts

Photo: Jutta Lammerts

A photo booth (by SnapFiesta) provided extra guest entertainment throughout the evening and was in high demand from Cocktail Hour on!

Dinner tables had been set up on the front verandah…

… with pewter-colored Chiavari chairs, shimmering linens in shades of platinum and lilac, glamorous china, flatware and glassware (from Hensley Event Resources) and with floral centerpieces in weathered stone urns, again by Green Petal Designs.

The couple’s Sweetheart Table got, of course, the “royal treatment!”

 

While guests were dining, dusk fell, and the twinkling lights on tall potted trees (from Interior Plant Design) lining the perimeter created a festive, golden glow.

 

Photo: Jutta Lammerts

After dinner, it was time for dessert inside…

 

 

… followed by the couple’s First Dance to  tunes by DJ Henry Kim of Big Fun Disc Jockeys. As a surprise for Kevin’s parents who are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year, the couple had chosen the same song for their First Dance that Kevin’s Mom and Dad had danced to – then it had been “on the radio” for just six years; now it has become a timeless classic: Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.

 

 

But that was, of course, only the beginning of a wild night of dancing!

When the party came to an end, the couple’s Grand Send-Off, was also done in high style: with a glowstick parade sending the newlyweds off to their breathtaking vintage Packard limousine (by Elegant Journey)…

 

 

… to take them to their afterparty. Keep celebrating “amore,” Kristina and Kevin, and our warmest wishes on your way!

 

Let us create YOUR unique wedding celebration, too!

Visit A Day Like No Other and enjoy our brochure! 

 

The Honor – and the Cost! – of Being a Bridesmaid

Your bestie just got engaged, and of course you’re over-the-moon happy! But maybe you’re also silently dreading the thought of being a bridesmaid. After all, it’s a big commitment that can potentially mean spending a good amount of money on a dress and on wedding-related festivities. While the bride and her family may be covering costs through savings  or a wedding loan, you should make sure you have the budget to cover your obligations as a bridesmaid.

Today we’re going to break down the cost of being a bridesmaid and share some tips for saving money along the way.

The Bridesmaid Dress – Average cost $150

You might think the bridesmaid dress is a “non-negotiable” in terms of spending money. After all, you have to buy whatever the bride picks out, right? While it is true that you shouldn’t go rogue and show up in a random dress, you can still save money while adhering to the bride’s wishes. You may get lucky!  You can find many popular bridesmaid brands like David’s Bridal, Vera Wang, BHLDN and more on secondhand clothing sites like Tradesy and Poshmark. Most people wear a bridesmaid dress only once, so you can rest assured that it will be in like-new condition. Just make sure you get a clear picture, the name and the exact color of the desired dress from the bride so you can verify that you’re purchasing the right one. If that approach doesn’t work, you can still re-sell or donate your “as-new” dress afterwards.

Bridesmaid Accessories – Average cost $120

Your bride might give you a bridesmaid gift of jewelry to wear on the big day, but you could still end up having to purchase special undergarments or shoes to go with your dress. Borrowing accessories is a good way to cut down costs in this area. Just poll your other friends who have been bridesmaids – one of them is sure to have something to help you out! Online retailers like zappos and discount stores like DSW are insider tips for finding gorgeous heels at an affordable price. And if you’re looking for an extra-special accessory, you can also rent designer pieces from Rent the Runway at a fraction of the cost.

Hair & Makeup – Average cost $125

If your bride is requiring that you get your hair and makeup professionally done, etiquette says that she should pay for it. If your bride isn’t requiring that you get your hair and makeup professionally done, consider skipping this expense altogether or only picking one service to save money. There is a large selection of makeup tutorials on YouTube, so do some experimenting and try to master one go-to makeup look that you can rely on for the big day. If you are planning on splurging for professional services, don’t forget to factor a tip into your budget.

The Bridal Shower – Average cost $50-$150+ per bridesmaid

This is one area where it’s great to get the bride’s family and future family involved to help cut costs. Does the bride’s mom have an immaculate garden and patio at her house? Ask if you can host the shower there. Join forces with your co-bridesmaids. Is one of them an amazing baker? Ask if she’d make the dessert for the shower. Most people will be thrilled to honor the bride by contributing their talents in a small way. Co-hosting the event with several bridesmaids or family members also means you can split the cost which allows you to splurge on a few special items.

The Bachelorette Party – Average cost $80-$300+

You can still throw an unforgettable party for your bride without breaking the bank. Picking a local spot for festivities will significantly cut down on the cost, but can be hard if bridesmaids are spread out. If travel is unavoidable, look into splitting an Airbnb with the group rather than booking a swanky hotel. It will be even more fun for the whole group to be sharing the same house and being in a cool place to have your first cocktails and cook your own “morning-after” mimosa brunch together – all the while saving big! Martha Stewart Weddings has even put together a list of some seriously awesome Airbnbs available in popular bachelorette destinations.

 

As you can see, the cost of being a bridesmaid can really add up fast, but it’s one expense that will be more than worth it. The money spent on showers and parties will ultimately translate into quality time spent with your friend during one of the most exciting, most unique – but also most stressful times in her life. Standing next to her as she says her vows will be priceless and will make it all worth it!

 

 

Ali and Rick: Friends, Family, Food and Fun for a Fall Wedding

Ali and Rick are wonderfully unconventional. Their wedding would NOT follow the common scheme of “wedding venue, garter toss, bouquet toss…” and a lot of other “frills.” They had their own vision – but they needed help to pull it off. When they asked my company, A Day Like No Other, for support, I was immediately on board.

They would have their ceremony and reception at a private residence – a “backyard wedding.” Well – until I saw that “backyard!” Perched high on a hillside with endless views and breathtaking sunsets, the Tuscan-style residence is surrounded by a lush garden, sheltered patios and porches, and a large dining patio under dense, mature trees. A dream! And off we went with our preparations. Last Saturday, it all came together on a beautiful, sunny and warm September day under blue skies and with a slight breeze. The Weather Gods were clearly playing along!

So many personal touches went into this wedding that I don’t even know where to begin… Ali’s dress had been handsewn by her mother and grandmother, and hand-embroidered and beaded – a true labor of love!

Ali’s mother, an artist, had also created all floral arrangements, had built the arch from birch logs,

… and put endless personal touches on the decor – from handwritten signage …

…. to lanterns lining the walkways and twinkling hanging lights in the trees.

For Ali and her bridesmaids, the day began with hair and makeup by Lindsay and Sarah from Miabel Artistry,

Then, Ali slipped into her dress, assisted by her bridesmaids…

… and into her pretty sandals…

… picked up her summery bouquet of her favorite flowers – sunflowers – in her favorite colors of yellow and light blue…

… and was ready to meet her “Prince Charming,” Rick.

Time for many, many photos with photographer Sandra Fazzino – just wait until you see HER photos! (So far, all we have to offer are our snapshots…)

Meanwhile, my team (assistants Alexandra and Stephanie, and myself), the delivery crew from Stuart Event Rentals, the catering crew from Elaine Bell Catering, and our DJ Henry Kim from BIG FUN Disc Jockeys were all hard at work to get our preparations done before the first guests were arriving.

The motor court of the residence had been transformed into something resembling an Italian “piazza” with living trees to disguise the garage doors, market umbrellas for shade and string lights for the later part of the evening.

Soon enough, our first guest shuttle from El Paseo Limousine arrived. Guests were greeted by more handmade signage and much-needed hand fans!

Time for the ceremony! Again, a personal touch – the ceremony was officiated by the groom’s younger brother. It couldn’t have been more personal and more lighthearted.

Just married!

Party time, and time for dinner! While our guests were enjoying their cocktails, the decor,

the views…

… and the sunset,

the ceremony area was quietly transformed into an open-air nightclub. A professional dance floor was installed, the string lights overhead came on, and DJ Henry had his disco lights ready before our guests even sat down to dinner on the back patio.

Inspired by the Tuscan atmosphere of the residence, guests were dining at beautiful bare wooden tables…

During dinner, dusk fell, and the twinkling lights in the tree made the scene truly magical.

And the glorious food served by EBC made this dinner all the more memorable!

Next up – dessert! Mini cupcakes and fruit accompanied the couple’s presentation cake (again lovingly decorated by the mother of the bride).

 

After that, there was no holding back! Without further ado (like a First Dance, or Special Dances, or the like…) the dance floor was opened, the disco lights came on, and the party went into overdrive!

We even had wedding crashers!! A bunch of eleven-year olds had escaped from their slumber party next door (in their pajamas!!) and snuck right onto the dance floor… Of course they were welcomed and invited to stay on until 10 pm when the music had to conclude (per local noise ordinance…) – otherwise everyone would gladly have stayed on!

Congratulations, Ali and Rick, to a truly unforgettable wedding celebration! Party on… and stay as unconventional as you are!