Nicole’s and Rob’s Sweet Spring Wedding

Nicole and Rob are two highly trained, super-organized, super busy young professionals, Nicole a scientist completing her PhD, and Rob an engineer. Getting married was something they approached with their usual efficiency. Venue? A community center at walking distance from home. Priorities? Friends, family, fun. Deprioritized: fuss and frills!

Nicole approached my company, A Day Like No Other, mainly to pull all her ideas and planning details together and to oversee the wedding day itself – which we did. As is common with weddings, we found quite a few more things to work on in preparation for the Great Day.

Nicole’s and Rob’s wedding would become so very special through the many personal touches – friends and family contributing and planning surprises, for example – and that started way ahead of time: for her wedding dress, Nicole chose her mother’s – both of them are tall and slender, and with some modernizing and streamlining (the bottom ruffles had to go…) this storied dress turned out perfect for a modern young bride:

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Short and sweet – no veil; just a pretty, sparkly headpiece tucked into the bride’s simple updo – no make-up… well, she doesn’t even need any, as pretty as she is!

Getting ready at home…

Dressing up

… with her bridesmaids helping – they all deserve a toast! (As does our tireless photographer, Megan Reeves, who captured every precious moment…)

Bride and bridesmaids

Bridesmaids toast

Beautiful bouquets of Calla lilies in vibrant orange from Nature’s Alley (who delivered all floral decor for the wedding) complemented the beauty and upbeat spirit of these young ladies:

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Bridesmaids bouquet

The groom and his groomsmen were also getting ready …

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… donning matching neckties…

Groom buttoning up

… and now everyone is ready for the First Look at their wedding venue, the Lucie Stern Community Center – a beautiful Spanish-Mediterranean complex set amid a lush park:

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Groom First Look

Waiting for his bride – and here she approaches:

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As was to be expected, Rob was completely blown away by Nicole’s youthful beauty:

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First Look

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Time for photos! Bridesmaids, groomsmen, family…

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… and the groom with his Best Man – who would share many a funny story of their long friendship later that day.

Groom and Best Man

Guests were already gathering,

bicycle… welcomed with the homemade Meyer lemonade provided by a friend (and insiders got the hint…)

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… in the courtyard where the ceremony was going to take place –

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Preceded by a very excited flower girl – Here Comes the Bride, accompanied by music from DJ Jeremy Productions (who provided music and entertainment throughout)…

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The ceremony was officiated by a longtime friend of the couple, an ordained minister. It doesn’t get more personal and more meaningful than that!

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Just married!

Just married

… and definitely time to party and share cocktails with their many guests, provided by Mills Wine Group and expertly poured by Pour Girl Bartenders. And of course everyone had a blast with the photo booth by Photomatica! One very important guest, however, had been missing so far: the couple’s beloved Viszla puppy “Pepper.”

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To the big surprise of the newlyweds, a neighbor brought her for a cameo appearance (a carefully orchestrated “grand conspiracy” in which we, the planners, also had a hand…)

Cuddling Pepper

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So… is THIS the official wedding photo? Or the next one?

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Soon enough, dinner was ready in the ballroom decked out with string lights:

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Bouquets

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From centerpieces of floating flowerheads and candles to coffee mugs: everything played along the couple’s wedding colors of blue and orange.

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Dinner was a rustic taco bar buffet from Prochaine Oaxacan Kitchen,

Taco barand everyone was digging in, barely leaving a little space for dessert – THE CAKE (from The Prolific Oven)! In this case, a yummy carrot cake with a personalized topper:

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Honoring tradition, the newlyweds cut the cake together – officially their first collaboration as a married couple:

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With more cakes in various flavors to choose from – everybody’s “sweet tooth” got satisfied, that’s for sure. And then, after the newlyweds’  First Dance and the traditional Father-Daughter Dance, nothing held the crowd back from dancing:

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Dance Party

It was such a fun party for everyone! Guests took home unforgettable memories AND stemless wine glasses engraved with the couple’s names.

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Many happy years together, Nicole and Rob, and keep walking hand in hand!

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Elopement of a Glamour Heiress – A Stylized Photoshoot

A few weeks backs, my company, A Day Like No Other, created exactly that – if only for a stylized photo shoot! Once in a while, I let my fantasies run wild and make these daydreams a short-lived reality, just for long enough to take photos and preserve these flights of fancy.

So here is the daydream that we set to scenes and pictures AND to music (and all published in Ceremony Magazine of Spring 2016!).

A glamorous young heiress, super-wealthy, beautiful and spoiled (yes! She can have anything she wants, and she’s used to that!), elopes to San Francisco with her fiancé (who is just as beautiful and not poor, either…) to get married at one of the City’s most iconic venues: the Imperial Floor of the Westin St. Francis Hotel in the heart of the City. Said young heiress is all into 1920s silver screen goddess glamour – that’s her style; nothing less.

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To bring this vision of elegance, style and beauty to life, I rounded up more than a dozen collaborators, and all of them did a fabulous job in what they do best – so the results are, I believe, spectacular. But have a look yourselves!

Our couple is traveling to San Francisco in style – in a vintage silver Rolls-Royce, chauffeured by a driver in uniform (who in real life happens to be a private collector and owner of three more of these beauties, and who just loves to put on a great show with me!). Bride and groom ask for a road stop on the Presidio, in front of a historic chapel and amidst the typical San Francisco fog.

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Photo shoot Ceremony Westin-151Their chauffeur sets out an elegant picnic for them, with tea, pastries and champagne, and their violinist (!!) who is traveling with them, serenades them from the background.

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The bride is wearing an Italian silk travel wedding dress and a vintage mink shrug, and the groom is dapper in his classic tuxedo.

After their picnic, they proceed to the Westin St. Francis hotel…

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Photo shoot Ceremony Westin-141…to get ready on the Imperial Floor (the ballroom floor that is only accessible by private elevator key…) where everything is being prepared for their ceremony in Alexandra’s Ballroom. The bride needs to change, of course, have hair and makeup done according to her ceremony look, and to don some exquisite vintage jewelry – Art Deco pieces set in platinum.

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For their ceremony, floral arrangements and classic wedding tunes played by their traveling violinist form a fitting backdrop, and once married, the two are showered with rose petals.

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Time for portraits – and of course, our bride has brought her cute little dog; the two are inseparable!

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Once all the photos are done, the couple can finally sit down at their sweetheart table,

Photo shoot Ceremony Westin-104… which is lavishly decorated with elegant linens, stunning floral arrangements, an antique menorah candelabra, and exquisite china, glassware and flatware befitting the occasion. Their table offers a spectacular view, overlooking the heart of San Francisco from 34 stories up…

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Photo shoot Ceremony Westin-23And, yes, of course there are custom-designed, calligraphed menu cards as an extra touch of excellence!

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The best is still to come: a dessert table with not one, but two wedding cakes in true Art Deco style, but with a delicate surprise: elegant ladies’ shoes (all edible, including the label on the insole!!) as toppers.

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After so much enjoyment, the couple tops it off with their First Dance – which is, of course, just as spectacular as everything that came before. A Dream Day Like No Other in pictures…

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We would like to thank all our contributors who made this folly possible:

Ceremony Magazine

Our photographer: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Our models, Lindsay Knox, and her manager, Mom Casandra Knox, Gavin Farrington and Sherlock the dog

Our venue: The Westin St. Francis Hotel

Hair and Makeup: Miabel Artistry

Wedding dresses and accessories: Nouvelle Vogue

Vintage jewelry: Gleim the Jeweler

Rentals: Classic Party Rentals

Linen rentals: Napa Valley Linens

Calligraphy: Monks of Age

Wedding cake and pastries: Morgane Ric, 510-776-1643. info.jolicake@gmail.com

Floral décor: A Loves in Bloom

Violinist: Joyce Lee

Antique candelabra and candlesticks: Poetica Art and Antiques

 

 

 

Shirley and Kevin’s Wedding at the Palace of Fine Arts

Shirley’s and Kevin’s wedding celebration was one of the most unusual ones my company, A Day Like No Other, has ever planned. First, we had a full nine DAYS to pull together what was already in place and fill in what was missing. So that was quite a challenge in itself. Then, Shirley and Kevin are totally unconventional, non-conformist personalities. They do things their way! Let me share with you just how unique their wedding vision was.

For their ceremony, they chose one of the most famous San Francisco landmarks, a staple in every tourist guidebook (I’ll show you which one in just a moment!) – but for their reception, it was a rustic microbrewery in a gritty part of town. Lots of flowers? Nope. Only a bridal bouquet – and that was anything but standard: teal and turquoise-colored orchids with peacock feathers! A traditional wedding cake? Nah…the two were cutting a pie, yummy and messy! A dignified sit-down dinner for their reception? Forget it! Beer and a taco bar, and lots of fun with all their friends!

So here we go. For their 11 am ceremony, the bride (and Katye, her hair and makeup artist) had to get up literally before sunrise.

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At least the view from their room at the St. Regis Hotel SF was absolutely spectacular!

viewOnce hair and makeup were in place, Shirley got in her gorgeous dress: a champagne-colored, pearl and crystal-encrusted gown with quite a train…

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…isn’t it spectacular? And her wedding shoes were a perfect match: golden strappy sandals fit for a princess!

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It took the assistance of all  her seven bridesmaids, all in color-coordinated purple dresses, to get the bride dressed:

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Here she is in all her finery! What’s missing? That glamorous cascading bouquet by Bella Fiora:

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… and now Shirley is ready to go meet her groom Kevin for their First Look at the famous Palace of Fine Arts,

The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, California at sunrise. The Palace of Fine Arts was built in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific Exposition, today we know it as the Worlds Fair. The domed structure was named the Tower of Jewels. The PoFA is currrently undergoing renovation so the onlt access is from the pond. Not sure how long the renovation will take as we left before the Exploratorium open.

– a Roman-ruin-style edifice that was built by none less than Bernard Maybeck for the Panama-Pacific World Exposition in 1915 as a monument to the survival and vibrancy of the City of San Francisco that had been devastated by a horrible earthquake and raging fires in 1906. The setup for the couple’s great moment had been provided by YPR – and so everything was ready and in place for them.

The ceremony took place under the Rotunda:

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Palace of Fine Arts Wedding, Shirley Chan and Kevin Balkoski Wedding, Triple Voodoo Brewery Wedding, San Francisco Wedding Photographers, Huy Pham Photography, Jutta Lammerts,

… with only parents and siblings as guests, and with the couple’s closest friends as their attendants. Again, Shirley and Kevin defied convention: they had a total of fourteen attendants but only five guests, all seated around the Bride and Groom in a circle of love and closeness. A longtime friend of the couple officiated a ceremony that could not have been more personal, in a setting that could not have been more spectacular. Harpist Erica Messer accompanied the ceremony on her instrument and sang for them, and everyone was moved to tears.

257 harpJust married!

just married!

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Then, of course, it was photo time with Huy Pham and his team – first at the Palace of Fine Arts,

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Palace of Fine Arts Wedding, Shirley Chan and Kevin Balkoski Wedding, Triple Voodoo Brewery Wedding, San Francisco Wedding Photographers, Huy Pham Photography, Jutta Lammerts,

then on nearby Crissy Field close to the Golden Gate Bridge, with an executive bus by Sonoma Sterling Limousine taking everyone around town:

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… to the Sutro Bath ruins…

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… and to the Northern Waterfront:

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Meanwhile, reception preparations were under way at Triple Voodoo Brewery:

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… where wine and champagne had been added to the regular offerings of a multitude of specialty beers, in recognition of this very special occasion.

A welcome table – in the couple’s bold wedding colors of teal and purple – displayed their vows for all the reception guests who hadn’t been at the ceremony, and a dessert buffet…

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… with pies and cupcakes stood in for the standard wedding cake. Wedding favors – playing along the teal-and-purple color scheme – were set out for the guests:

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Here are the newlyweds, happily toasting –

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They are truly a fun couple! Everyone had a blast at their relaxed beer-and-taco dinner (OF COURSE without seating assignments!) followed by a wild dance party to the tunes of DJ Kevin Combs of Elite Entertainment – with the DJ enthusiastically singing along! The energy was really contagious, and guests only took a break for the bouquet toss (yes, the bride did toss that huge bouquet!), garter toss, and cake cutting (or rather: finger-licking pie-cutting!)

And for those who preferred cupcakes over pie, there were dozens and dozens of cute mini cupcakes from Kara’s!

Palace of Fine Arts Wedding, Shirley Chan and Kevin Balkoski Wedding, Triple Voodoo Brewery Wedding, San Francisco Wedding Photographers, Huy Pham Photography, Jutta Lammerts,

Palace of Fine Arts Wedding, Shirley Chan and Kevin Balkoski Wedding, Triple Voodoo Brewery Wedding, San Francisco Wedding Photographers, Huy Pham Photography, Jutta Lammerts,

Palace of Fine Arts Wedding, Shirley Chan and Kevin Balkoski Wedding, Triple Voodoo Brewery Wedding, San Francisco Wedding Photographers, Huy Pham Photography, Jutta Lammerts,

What an incredible night… and at the end, the two were whisked away to their official First Night at the St. Regis in a black Escalade from City Express Limousine Services.

Everyone had a great time – and the newlyweds were just tired and happy! Congratulation, Shirley and Kevin, and many happy (and fun!) years together!

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.

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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!

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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:

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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!!

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

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

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… 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…

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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.

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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.

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At Wind and Sea, a striking wrought-iron gate opens to reveal a stunning property…

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… even with its own beach access! (It’s a bit steep, admittedly…)

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I am so happy that Krista and Ben brought me in right away to organize it all for them through my company A Day Like No Other. 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 and table decor!

The pretty invitations already set the tone for the celebration to come:

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… and finally, the Great Day had arrived. 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:

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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…

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And here come the real stars of the day: the couple’s children! Macy wore a romantic flower crown:

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… and her brother Toby dazzled in an all “grown-up” outfit matching his Dad’s:

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Here’s Krista’s dapper groom Ben getting ready, boutonniere and necktie and all …

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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.

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Krista_Ben_September_26_2015__0452It turned out to be a glorious, sunny day with a light breeze – simply perfect!

Finally, it was time – Krista was escorted to the ceremony by her Dad…

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The moment could not have been more beautiful and more intimate.Krista_Ben_September_26_2015__0453

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:

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The bride had requested an oyster bar to accompany cocktails on her special day:

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… and that was followed by a farm-to-table dinner by Amy Padilla of Feel Good Foods Catering.

Krista_Ben_September_26_2015__0460Together with the oyster bar, it was, hands down, the ultimate dining experience! The cake was “imported” from Layers Sensational

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… and it was cut as the first official “joint venture” of the newlyweds!

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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…

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… and the garden, illuminated by myriad lanterns, turned downright magical.

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On their special day, the couple and their guests were even treated to a technicolor sunset:

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Photographer extraordinaire Sandra Fazzino captured it all for us … including the couple dancing the night away:

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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.

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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…

… in the bridal suite at Quail Lodge …

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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…

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

mother-daughter moment

… crystal-embellished bridal shoes…

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

rings bouquet

bouquet

 

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

bridesmaids

bridesmaid's bouquet

bridal party

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

Quail Meadows

altar

altar piece

chair bouquet

A 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:

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.

priests

first kiss

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 …

… 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:

Lili

sofreh

rings in rice 2

sweets

rings in rice

… 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.

For example, the mothers rub sugar above their children’s heads to shower their marriage with sweetness.

rubbing sugar The couple exchanged vows and rings once more…

It was very moving!

After that, everyone was ready for dinner…

…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…

centerpiece detail

The couple was presiding over it all from their 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…

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

cutting cake

feeding cake

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!

first dance cropped

dance party 2

couple dancing

Dance partyPersian 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!

 

A French Princess at the Julia Morgan Ballroom

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tanya and Dan

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

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

HMU

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

Bride thoughtful

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

bouquet

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

First Look

…. followed by more photos:

couple balustrade 2

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

church

Altar

… and here comes the bride!

here comes the bride

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

First off: photo galleries of the couple…

photo gallery

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

escort cards and vase

escort cards

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

tabletop

centerpiece

bubble vase

napkin

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

couple swtht tbl

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

dining room 2

dining room

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

caric artist

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

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

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

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

first dance

first dance 2

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

couple gangnam

group dance 2

group dance

That set off a truly wild dance party for everyone…

couple dancing

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

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

Many happy years together, Tanya and Dan!

 

 

 

A Snapshot of the Fanfare Summer Show

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

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

Fazzino_Yeh_Feldman1

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

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

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

La Boca Fina

Boca Fina 2

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

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

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

Classic tbl

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

entrance bouquet

Plan Decor tbl

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

What else do we need?

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

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

Nouv Vogue

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

Miabel

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

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

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

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

dance instruction2

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

Hyegraph

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

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

Soiree Custom Perfume

stylish dresses for the mothers by Siri

Siri

and a wedding registry – courtesy of Bloomingdale’s.

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

airstream

airstream and fanfares

airship interior

lady

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

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

 

 

 

 

Asian Elegance: Elaine and Danny at Hakone Gardens

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

garden

koi pond

A heavy wooden gate opens to reveal all that beauty…

gate

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

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

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

bouquets

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

couple parasol

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

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

ceremony1

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

here comes the bride 2

ceremony couple

ceremony 4

just married!Just married!

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

couple garden

moon bridge

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

courtyard string lights

tables

centerpiece 2

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

escort cards

… and a cake by Euro Delights Bakery:

cake

The newlyweds got their own special table, of course:

swtht tble

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

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

string lights

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

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

 

 

Timeless Elegance in San Francisco – Liz’ and Tom’s Dream Wedding

After a full eight years of courtship, Liz and Tom were ready to tie the knot – together with their extended families and many, many friends from all over the country. That made for a big wedding celebration – a guest list of 180, no less… and both Bride and Groom felt strongly that this celebration should mark the occasion in high style. Timeless elegance, no frills – those were my “marching orders” when the couple, together with the Mother of the Bride, enlisted my company, “A Day Like No Other” to help plan and design their wedding.

A few elements were already in place: the ceremony would be held at historic St. Patrick’s Church in downtown San Francisco – one of the oldest churches in town, and a very beautiful one at that. A reception would follow at the equally storied City Club of San Francisco, housed in a former Stock Exchange building, with an Art Deco interior, gold-leaf ceilings and murals by none less than Diego Rivera. It doesn’t get much more elegant than that!

The bride and her bridesmaids would get ready at the Bridal Suite in the nearby Marriott Marquis Hotel, actually next door to the church, with absolutely stunning views of the City and the San Francisco Bay:

view2

 

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

makeup

while gowns were steamed and finishing touches applied…

dresses

The bride wore a couture gown by designer Trish Lee, and for the bridesmaids’ dresses, we had come up with midnight blue as the color of choice (the lighter blue dress is the stylish dress of the Mother of the Bride) as an attractive backdrop to bouquets in ivory and blush pink by Melissa Comito-Aakre of A Simple Ceremony:

bouquet

Bridesmaids' bouquet

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

jewelry

 

bride and city2to her princess heels …

shoes

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

stairs and view

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

Bridesmaids

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

Groomsmen

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

Church

Just married!

Just Married!

Leaving Church

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

Bride

Aren’t they a stunning couple?

Couple close

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

rooftop

We three hurried to get everything prepared for the reception, together with the incredible City Club crew. Tables were set with ivory linens from Napa Valley Linens, centerpieces by A Simple Ceremony and favors (quintessential San Francisco chocolates – Ghirardelli! – in embellished organza bags) handmade by the couple. Napkins were midnight blue like the bridesmaids’ dresses and favor bags and embellished with a profusion of (faux…) pearls.

napkins

Dining Room

Tables were not only numbered, but also named for the many places meaningful to the couple, from Denver to Dubrovnik… so many personal touches!

Bride Groom signs

Bride and Groom presided over an enormous Head Table but barely took the time to grab a bite themselves – so many friends and relatives to greet!

head tble And there were gorgeous flowers and candlelight everywhere:

flowers and candles

 

Ancestor tbl

escort cards

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

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

Dancing

… and who accompanied the newlyweds’ First Dance.

First Dance

And with that the dance floor was officially opened. Guests barely took a little break to watch the cutting of the gorgeous signature Wedding Cake (from Chef Bala of The Cakemaker), clad in ivory folds of the same pattern as the linens (!)

Cake

Cake cutting

and of the Groom’s Cake (from SusieCakes) showing the logo of Northwestern University where the couple first met eight years ago.

grooms cakeAnd yes, of course, for watching the bouquet toss! The Night Owl Photo Booth was a huge hit – as was the stylish Cigar Lounge. And even more dancing to follow – until it was time to say goodbye and send the radiant couple on their way. Guests lined up by the front door and waved hundreds of sparklers, as Liz and Tom boarded a breathtaking silver 1947 Rolls Royce limousine by a private collector.

Rolls Royce

Grand Send-Off

Our best wishes on your way, and many happy years together!