Kathryn and Jeff’s wedding: simplicity and joie de vivre!

Kathryn and Jeff are young Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, partners in business and partners in life. They love extreme sports (and are darn good at them), they are doggie parents, and the Great Outdoors is literally their second home. When they decided to get married, one thing was clear from the get-go: this would NOT be any conventional, slightly stuffy affair. It would be all relaxed, and all fun. My company, A Day Like No Other, helped Kathryn to bring that vision to life and to make it a reality.

For their venue, the couple had chosen Walden West Nature Preserve – gorgeous forests, meadows and a pond, no surprise here! From there, things became even more unconventional, with friends and family chipping in and making this celebration as personal as it could possibly be. On wedding day, our coordinators  – Senior Coordinators Kelsey Holtzinger and Haneen Saideh assisted by Jessica Buse – were super busy behind the scenes, setting up decor and flowers and juggling the myriad details that go into a celebration as unconventional as this one.

For the bride and her nine bridesmaids, the day began with hair by Angela Cattaneo of Beyond the Ponytail and makeup services by Michele Orozco of Brush by Michele:

Kathryn complemented her classic ivory wedding dress with pearl jewelry and – unconventional, simple and comfortable wedges!

Bridal bouquet (and all other bouquets and floral decor)? A crafty friend made everything onsite from bulk-bought summer flowers in a riot of happy, bright colors, totally unpretentious and totally fun!

And here is the bride, ready to meet her “Prince Charming:”

Lots of photos from First Look on, but this is hands-down one of my favorites:

Shortly before the ceremony – officiated by a friend of the couple, of course! – the bridal party was complete and photo-ready:

Then finally the great moment had come…

And here they are – just married!

While more family photos by Daniel Neal ensued for the couple, guests were treated to cocktails and lawn games, followed by a rustic dinner by Caterman (under the expert leadership of Kayla Grizzle) complete with yummy desserts:

and a candy bar courtesy of yet another friend of the couple.

 

Photographer Daniel Neal and videographer Amy Heater of Sweet Tea Films stole the newlyweds away for spectacular sunset photos…

before everyone hit the dance floor, to the tunes of DJ Frank Loera of Sound in Motion and illuminated by lots and lots of string lights (by A Party Place).

 

Everyone agreed – it was a fabulous party, and Kathryn and Jeff were simply overwhelmed and happy. Off to this new adventure for many, many happy years together!

Julia and Charlie’s enchanted summer wedding at Hakone Gardens

Julia is an organizer. She does it for a living, and she has a hard time giving up the reins on anything. But for her own wedding day, she was willing to entrust these reins to my company, A Day Like No Other. By that time, she and her fiance had already chosen their venue: Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, the oldest Japanese park in the Western hemisphere. It is glorious, especially in late Spring/early Summer. You’ll see!

Julia’s (and her bridesmaids’) day began early with hair and makeup services by Chau from AListMakeup and a church service for closest family members only. After a photo session with 102Studios, the couple arrived at Hakone Gardens, and for Julia that meant: first dress change! She exchanged her traditional Vietnamese outfit for a voluminous Western wedding dress, all lace, sequins and tulle; and got her makeup changed accordingly. In the meantime, everyone was busy with preparations. Onsite manager Tony Barbatti and his team set up the ceremony chairs (with a giant ruler, no joke!! At right angles and to the millimeter)

and helped us in a thousand ways. Ming and his team from Flourishing Gardens catering got ready for a full Chinese banquet. Crafty set up a full bar. Vicky from Queen Bridals installed incredible floral decor – all in golden yellow and rich, dark blues, a tribute to early summer! –

and hung dozens from lanterns from the tree under whose branches the couple’s Sweetheart Table was to be installed. And she transformed the front of that table into a veritable waterfall of flowers, complete with wisteria blooms. It was epic! I was meanwhile busy with the tabletops and the cute “bride” and “groom” favor boxes the bride had chosen, with setting up the dessert bar

and with coordinating all the vendors. Her bridesmaids assembled a table assignment board

at the last minute. DJ Hugh of XGenereration Entertainment and his crew set up the sound equipment and hung string lights. We were all on an adrenaline rush!

And Julia was just beaming!

Finally – time for the ceremony, officiated by a family friend…

with the most beautiful natural backdrop imaginable.

Just married!

Let the festivities begin…

AND let the guests have cake! This piece of art was made by Sharon Bui:

and at the end of the evening not a single crumb was left. As night fell, the scenery turned magical… what a day, and what a night!

 

The newlyweds are already off for their “mini moon” (to Maui) followed by their real Honeymoon later this year, to – you guessed it! – Japan.

Our best wishes on your lifelong journey together!

Glorious Persian-American Fusion at the Fairmont SF: Bita and Walter

When Bita and Walter met – not so long ago – it was instantaneous attraction: they have so much in common! They are both engineers, they both love baseball, food, and above all, traveling. Not much later, Walter proposed – on a Christmas trip to Cuba! Immediately after their return home, Bita jumped into action. She wanted to get married in April. Yes, April. In a little over three months from that day on. When she approached my company, A Day Like No Other, for help with that whirlwind project, all she knew was that it should be an elegant wedding with good food, and that it should incorporate elements of her Persian cultural traditions.

Long story short – on  April 29th, all of Bita’s (and Walter’s!) dreams came true at the Fairmont Hotel SF. For Bita, the day began with hair styling (by Tony Nash) and make-up application (by Pretty Girl Makeup) with a glorious view of The City…

Then it was time to get into her breathtaking dress that the talented ladies at Nouvelle Vogue Salon had helped her find at the last minute…

accompanied by true Cinderella slippers!

Nicole Reyes of SF Florist supplied the bridal bouquet (and all other flowers for the event), a dream in Spring pastels:

And with that, Bita was ready for Walter’s First Look at her! Simply saying he was overwhelmed would be a gross understatement…

Just seeing these two so deeply in love and devoted to one another was such an honor and a privilege!

After their first photos (by Myrtle Photography), their celebration began in the majestic Crown Room with an authentic Persian sofreh-aghd (designed by Aroosi by Lili),

officiated by Nilou Nouri, and with music by Persian master violinist Pourya Khademi. For the Persian side of the family, this was a real taste of home – and for the American guests, it was a wonderful introduction into the rich cultural heritage of the bride. Pourya stayed on through Cocktail hour in the Pavilion Room while we finished preparations for dinner in the Gold Room. Escort cards for Bita’s and Walter’s 170 guests, adorned with the same Golden Gate bridge motif as the invitations, were displayed on a bed of rose petals…

tables were decorated with beautiful centerpieces and votives from SF Florist,

and on their place settings guests found favor bags filled with typical SF chocolates  lovingly assembled by the bride herself.

Dinner was, you guessed it, a Persian buffet (by Orchid Catering) and well worth the wait…

and after that, there still was the delicious cake courtesy of the Fairmont’s own pastry chef.

After the couple’s First Dance,

DJ Aykut got the crowd going with the perfect mix of Persian and Western favorites.  Bita and Walter were simply happy, happy, happy… and now, as we speak, they are off to their Honeymoon on the Maldive Islands. What a celebration!

Wishing you a lifetime of happiness on your journey together and many more exciting trips!

Jessica and Chris – a Huge Celebration with Friends and Families

Jessica and Chris have known each other for a long time – twelve years, to be exact. When they decided to tie the knot, it was clear that all their friends and extended families would be a part of it – a good 250 people! They felt a little overwhelmed at the task of planning the biggest party of their lives themselves, with the added complication that they are living out of state AND have demanding jobs – Jessica is a physician and Chris a dentist. Long story short – they hired my company, A Day Like No Other, to assist with the planning, and yesterday all our combined hard work paid off: their Great Day unfolded beautifully, and even the weather played along – after weeks of rain the two enjoyed the first weekend of Spring sunshine for their nuptials.

The couple had chosen First United Methodist Church in Palo Alto for their wedding ceremony and the adjacent Fellowship Hall for their reception, and onsite managers Ann Reddick and Angela Mosqueda diligently organized all the venue preparations.  “Home Base” for the preparations (and for their First Night) was the beautiful Garden Court Hotel, in walking distance from the Church. For Jessica and her bridesmaids, the day began with hairstyling (by the bride’s cousin Lena Garcia) and make-up application by Nikki Ngo:

Next up: a gorgeous bridal bouquet by family friend Betsy Doss (who created floral decor throughout) and a crystal-encrusted wedding dress of stunning elegance:

Nearly ready for her First Look:

The couple had chosen my longtime friend and colleague Vicens Forns for their photographer – and we all can’t wait to see his photos! Vicens is a master of light and of the dramatic moment; he made Jessica twirl her voluminous dress skirt in the hotel’s garden court, with the sun illuminating the layers of tulle and reflecting off the sparkling crystals – you should have seen that bridal smile!

Meanwhile, guests were arriving at the Church – a soaring modernist space, illuminated by stained-glass windows in ethereal shades of blue and green. And here comes the bride, to the sounds of Wagner’s Wedding March played on one of the largest organs in the Bay Area:

It was a really breathtaking experience.

Meanwhile, my two assistants Jessica and Myrtle and myself were working hard on preparations for the reception, alongside the team of Mina Park of Green Fish Catering.

The dining hall had been transformed by hanging draperies and string lights installed by Aaron Feldman and his team from Stuart Event Rentals. Guests were seated at long rows of tables adorned with green garlands accented with fresh garden roses.

For seat assignments, we used hand-calligraphed escort cards (designed and produced by A Day Like No Other), each stuck into a little potted succulent plant for guests to take home and “let love grow.”

Guests found the program for the festivities and the menu choices on handmade chalkboards (all signage designed and produced by A Day Like No Other).

And here is the yummy buffet – as advertised!

Guests dug happily in…

… and enjoyed good company and the uplifting live music by vocalist Kendra McKinley and her band. One highlight of the celebration was yet to come: the dessert buffet and the wedding cake from La Baguette – sweet memories for bride Jessica who as a child always got her Birthday cakes from this local bakery. And at her wedding, we and all her guests learned why she loves their cakes and pastries so much – they are divine!

The newlyweds’ official first task together: cutting the cake!

They did it beautifully, and everyone enjoyed that cake – not a crumb was left over. What a fabulous celebration… wishing Jessica and Chris an eternity of happiness!

 

 

 

LaRay and Nathan – Couture and Elegance on a Spectacular Cliff

LaRay and Nathan first fell in love with one another – and then, when looking for the perfect place to make their deep commitment official, they fell in love with a place. A private estate, to be precise – perched high up on a cliff above the Pacific, just an hour south of San Francisco, yet looking and feeling as if it were lightyears away.

This unanimous decision was the starting point for all other planning steps – they were not interested in the usual “wedding frills.” They wanted the breathtaking setting of their venue to speak for itself. They wanted high elegance to match the drama of Nature. They wanted only their nearest and closest friends and family members around, everyone with a very special meaning to them (and that included their beloved dog Louis, here with his favorite dog walker Liz).

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And they wanted the evening to conclude with a memorable dinner and wine. How that turned out? Let me show you!

LaRay and Nathan had enlisted my company, A Day Like No Other, for their wedding planning needs, and we got it all lined up and organized – so when the day of their wedding approached, they were not stressed out but simply – excited.

Florist Janelle Jacky-Litt of Green Petal Designs had erected a tall chuppah-like structure on the bluff dramatically perched above the crashing surf of the Pacific.
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Since Nathan is so tall, Janelle had to build an extra-high structure with extra flowers – a profusion of white and green, mirroring the carpet of white petals on the aisle – and the bride’s Oscar de la Renta wedding dress.
first-look-12 “First Look:” Nathan is overwhelmed!

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Arriving guests were treated to a bar…

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… and then the time had come for the ceremony, officiated by a longtime friend and mentor of the bride.

The bride was preceded by Flower Dog “King” Louis:

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Rings? Yes! presented in style on “something blue:”

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During the ceremony, the couple released Monarch butterflies…

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… who felt right at home among all those flowers!

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Just married! And here is, for the record, the official wedding photo:

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Bride and groom then poured the champagne for their guests themselves – in a classic champagne fountain, overflowing from coupe to couple, until everyone’s glass was filled.

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Following this spectacular Cocktail Hour, the couple and their guests proceeded to Cetrella Restaurant …

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… in nearby Half Moon Bay for dinner – Cetrella has been nominated for a Michelin star several years in a row, and you can imagine what an extraordinary wedding dinner that must have been! The bride literally “let her hair down” again…

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… for the festivities which included (of course!) world-class wine; a photo booth, and…

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… a classic white wedding cake – a tradition that even these two elegant non-traditionalists observed.

Oh happy day…  we are wishing LaRay and Nathan a long happy life together! May you always be looking in the same direction, hand in hand, with a warm Sun shining down on you, just like you did on your wedding day…

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CREDITS:

Ceremony venue: private estate; Reception venue: Cetrella Restaurant; Couple’s accommodations: Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay; Rental items: Classic Party Rentals; Transportation: Skylark Limousine, Black Tie; Photographer: Iran Ramirez (ph: 650-888-7088); Videographer: Thomas Hughes Films; Photo booth: Photo-Matica; Dog walker: Elizabeth Murray; Butterflies: Cloverlawn Butterflies

 

 

Sandra and Jacob at Hidden Villa

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

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

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

Look how beautiful it all turned out to be:

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

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

Meanwhile Jacob was also getting ready.

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Dress, shoes and jewelry were waiting…

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… and now Sandra is ready to meet her groom.

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First Look!

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

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

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The ceremony took place outdoors …

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… under a rustic chuppah …

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… and “Here Comes the Bride!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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… and simple garden flower arrangements adorned the tables.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Jean, Mike & Pepper at Sylvan Lake Estate

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

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

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

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

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… and dressing up for the Great Day…

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… with Pepper literally “underfoot!”

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

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

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

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

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… signage and guestbook were installed…

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

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

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Time for the ceremony!

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Here comes the flower girl…

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… followed by the bride.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The mouthwatering menu was displayed on pretty signage:

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

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

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

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… followed by an elaborate Father-Daughter dance performance.

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

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

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

 

 

 

Melanie and Sherif at San Francisco City Hall

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

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

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

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

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… and escort cards on antique skeleton keys.

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

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

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

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

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

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Leaving City Hall as “Mr. and Mrs.!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guests stormed the dance floor…
dance-party… and everyone was having a great time.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The rings were waiting…

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

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

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Meanwhile, the “guys” got ready as well:

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… and here is the bride:

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… with her entourage:

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

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

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

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“You may now kiss your bride!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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