Stephanie and Josh: Family, Friends, Food and Fun

When Stephanie and Josh approached my company, A Day Like No Other, to help them with their wedding planning, they had set a date and booked their venue… and we had five months to go. They would have their ceremony at the spectacular Valley Presbyterian Church in Portola Valley, the bride’s home parish. And then they would celebrate at the nearby Portola Valley Town Center, a modern event hall with stunning architecture.

So far, so good! Bride and groom are both super busy – both are physicians – so the time they could realistically devote to planning was limited. And so… our planning and design work got quite intense! Luckily we were able to pull together a stellar team of vendors, and yesterday all that hard work paid off, big time! The weather gods were also smiling upon us with blue skies and sunshine. It was a glorious summer day.

For Stephanie and her five bridesmaids the day began with hair and makeup services by Nancy and Kathryn of Wowpretty Salon – and the six pretty ladies and two mothers emerged ready for the red carpet – just glamorous!

Stephanie complemented her classic white wedding dress …… with a summery, feminine bouquet in ivory, blush pink and peach …

… by Vicky of Queen Bridal – not only our florist for all floral decor throughout, but also our decorator who worked true magic on the reception spaces inside and out… more of that later.

Meanwhile we were joined by Dusty and Amy of Drozian Photoworks (cum assistant) and by the team of Pure Devotion video. They captured all the precious moments during the day – just wait until you see THEIR photos and video! (Until then – we only have my little iPhone snapshots…)

At the church, our hostess Becky Preimesberger was waiting for us, organizing the bride’s party, the groom’s party, parents, flower girl and ring bearer with poise and calm precision, while the church musicians played prelude music for the arriving guests. And here comes the Bride! A wonderful mother-daughter moment…

… shortly before Stephanie was walking down the aisle …

… toward the spectacular, all-glass altar space where her groom was waiting.

The service was officiated by Jeff Gaines, a Presbyterian pastor, and James Baraz, a Buddhist monk – and it was one of the most personal, heartfelt and joyful ceremonies I’ve ever seen. Just beautiful!

At the nearby Town Center, frantic preparations were meanwhile under way. Vicky’s team from Queen Bridal had installed dramatic draperies around the entrance (to hide several unsightly pillars)…

… and on the inside (to hide an equally unsightly extendable partition that marred the middle of the prominent wall in the reception hall). But Vicky didn’t stop at just hiding. She made everything look elegant and polished, including a lighted canopy over the couple’s Sweetheart Table:

Next: beautiful centerpieces…

… and “Save the Bees” favors made of seeded paper (the nature-loving couple had made a donation to this organization in honor of their guests).

Jessica, Savannah and the whole team from Elaine Bell Catering had set up a large buffet…

… of mouthwatering dinner options – followed by the absolute showstopper: a mini donut machine!

And – not to forget: a beautiful cake was awaiting the guests as well! The cute cake topper actually gave away one of the favorite hobbies bride and groom have been sharing for years: they both love to dance!

On the patio, decorated with string lights by Queen Bridal, a well-stocked bar was waiting  for guests to arrive for Cocktail Hour. DJ Sammy Lam provided music throughout, starting with Cocktail Hour on the patio. My assistants Jessica  and Lisa and myself were busy coordinating the setup and a lot of personal decor items, from guest book to family photos…

Hand-calligraphed table assignment boards by A Day Like No Other helped guests to find their seats, and fluffy pillows in the wedding colors – ivory, blush pink and sage green – made the built-in benches on the patio cozy and comfortable.

During the evening, Phil’s photo booth was open, and guests had a lot of fun with outrageous props and poses. Over dinner, the bride’s family entertained the guests with an Ukulele performance…

… and the groom’s mother and sister (both professional musicians) gave a rousing rendition of an Andrea Bocelli love song.

The last highlight of the evening: the couple’s First Dance, an elaborate dance routine that they had been practicing for months! (Forgive the blurry picture – they were twirling so fast!)

It was a true love fest for the newlyweds! And all guests had the time of their lives. It was an unforgettable celebration.

Stephanie and Josh: dance on – into a lifetime of happiness!

Liz and Nicco – Sheer Elegance at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins

When Liz and Nicco asked my company, A Day Like No Other, for assistance with planning their wedding celebration – a Black Tie event for 150 guests, all in ivory, gold and navy blue, at the IC Mark Hopkins in San Francisco – I was immediately on board. This was exactly what I love: a historic landmark and high elegance!

Last weekend it all came together beautifully, and the Weather Gods were also all in favor: we had a glorious, warm and sunny summer day (a rare exception in San Francisco!) with a slight breeze and endless views. It was simply perfect.

For Liz and her bridesmaids, the day began with hair and makeup services by.Kathryn Horen of Bay Area Beautiful and her team in a penthouse suite at the Mark Hopkins – with million-dollar views across downtown San Francisco and the SF Bay.

Jinger Leonard of The Flower House had created gorgeous bouquets for the bride and her bridesmaids (and equally stunning arrangements for ceremony and reception as well).

Liz had chosen a breathtaking Sottero Midgley dress …… with lace appliqué and crystal embroidery, a gorgeous veil edged with crystals …

… and matching strappy sandals. Ready to meet her groom!

The elegant Room of the Don’s was outfitted for the ceremony and adorned with lavish flower arrangements.

Following time-honored tradition, Liz was escorted in by her father, … with Nicco waiting in front with their officiant, Father Charles Regal of the White Robed Monks. His very personal ceremony was warm, lighthearted and full of joy – truly contagious to everyone present! And for a special “polished” touch, the Mersonacta string quartet played all ceremony music, accompanying the bride’s processional with a string version of Pachelbel’s famous Canon in D.

Afterwards, Liz and her Dad shared a “Proud Dad and happy daughter” moment… Then it was off to many photos with Jackson Tyler Eddy and Amy Stemper of A Frame Forward for the couple, their bridesmaids and groomsmen. (Just wait until you see these photos… for the time being all we have are our snapshots!) Dakota Baylacq of Thomas Hughes Films was meanwhile capturing every precious moment on video.

Meanwhile, Chrissy Wolfman, Mario Montenero and the whole Mark Hopkins team had completed the setup of the Peacock Court for cocktails and of the Peacock Ballroom for dinner, Jason Nall and team leader Martin of Impact Lighting had installed uplights that bathed the ballroom in a soft golden glow, the Flowerhouse crew had installed centerpieces, and our own Day Like No Other team with myself, Kelsey Holtzinger, Mary-Kate Greenberg and Lisa Siyuan had taken care of all the details, from escort and menu cards …  … to the golden favor boxes (filled with 0h-so-yummy See’s chocolates).

Steve Bloom and his band HipService had set up on the stage of the Peacock Ballroom – in short, we were ready for Liz’ and Nicco’s guests!

After dinner, it was time for Cake cutting – traditionally the newlyweds’ first task together, which these two executed with bravura.

What else? Their First Dance, of course! Such an emotional moment…

… followed by a wild dance party – for which the couple had wisely provided comfortable footwear (of course in their signature colors of blue and gold!)…

What a party!

And as we speak, Liz and Nicco are honeymooning in Italy. Buon viaggio e molta felicita!

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Ann and Ed’s Wedding – their Once-in-a-Lifetime Event!

Ann and Ed approached my company, A Day Like No Other, more than a year ago for help with planning their wedding. Their BIG wedding, actually. They both have large, extended families, and with their wonderful cultural tradition (both are of Filipino heritage) of relatives sponsoring weddings – acting as primary sponsors, secondary sponsors, veil and cord sponsors… – and many children participating – as ring bearers, coin bearers, sign and bible bearers, flower girls – the guest list quickly went way beyond 200!

The two had chosen their home parish, St. Elizabeth’s Church in Milpitas, for their wedding ceremony, and the elegant San Jose Downtown Marriott hotel for their reception. With that as a starting point, we began pulling things together. Fast-forward to July 8: finally the Great Day had arrived, and everything was coming together beautifully.

For Ann and her bridesmaids, the day began with hair and makeup services by Fiona Tsang of Imagi and assistants.

Ann had chosen an elegant lace dress with illusion back and complemented that with bridal shoes fit for a queen:

Her breathtaking cascading bouquet (by Janelle Jacky-Litt of Green Petal Designs, who created the floral decor throughout) featured white and blush garden roses, peonies, dahlias, orchids and wisps of climbing jasmine, trailing and fluttering in the breeze.

And here is Ann, being helped into her dress by her bridesmaids (many, many tiny buttons…)

With that, Ann was ready for church, where Ed and his groomsmen were already waiting.

The two had a full Catholic wedding mass, with an impressive defilee of sponsors, attendants, coin bearer, ring bearer, sign bearer and flower girls. And when they exited the church as newlyweds, their two doggies Koni and Bear were waiting for them with their “Doggie Mom for the Day” Liz Murray in tow! The videographers from Collideskope captured it all throughout the day and evening.

From there, it was off to photos in a nearby park with their photographer extraordinaire Duy Ho (he already shared a few of his artistic photos with us for this feature – see his signature on the bottom – and the rest are just snapshots from me… just wait until you see Duy’s whole collection!).

Meanwhile, frantic preparations were under way at their reception venue, the San Jose Marriott, with Emily Heiler and her team setting up the ballroom and foyer for cocktails and dinner, Terry of Fine Linen Creation draping the entire walls of the ballroom, all three entrances and the Sweetheart Table, and setting up lighting…

… and florist Janelle Jacky-Litt of Green Petal Designs installing her gorgeous centerpieces on the dining tables.

The Day Like No Other team was busy putting the finishing touches on, from distributing the pink, navy and gold-colored macaroon favors…to setting up signage (all by Ryanne Steele of Steele My Heart)

Oran Cohen of Night Owl Photo Booth and DJ Eugene Macala of Macala Entertainment were ready as guests were arriving for Cocktail Hour, and the fun started right there!

Next up: dinner! And what a dinner that was… in between, the newlyweds stole away for sunset photos…

… then joined their guests again for this joyful celebration…

What else? A cake from Cake Expressions. And ice cream! Ann and Ed are huge ice cream fans, and so they invited Tucker’s Ice Cream, their all-time favorite vendor, to serve their best flavors:

And, of course, dancing, dancing, dancing! Including the traditional Money Dance where guests “pay” for dancing with the bride and the groom, by pinning bank notes on them. But the best of all was Ann’s and Ed’s First Dance. So romantic… 

It truly was a “once-in-a-lifetime” celebration. And from there, our newlyweds went on to their “once-in-a-lifetime” Honeymoon: to the St.Regis in Bora Bora!

Wishing you a lifetime of happiness, Ann and Ed!

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Cristina and Jason – Glamour and Caribbean Spice at Cavallo Point Resort

Cristina is a powerhouse, a force of nature, a whirlwind. She has a stellar career. And she had finally found her soulmate and was ready to commit herself to that relationship, heart and soul. What I didn’t know when she first approached my company, A Day Like No Other, for help with planning her wedding: once Cristina has set her mind to something, she’s unstoppable. She wanted to get married within three months. We started planning. A family emergency forced her to put all her plans on hold and postpone to June 24th. When she was finally able to get back into planning mode, months later, we had about four weeks left to pull everything together.

Almost every bride I’ve been working with so far would have given up. Not Cristina. She was undeterred and more determined than ever! So was I. And we pulled it off – beautifully!

Cristina and her fiance Jason had chosen a spectacular venue for their celebration: Cavallo Point Resort in Sausalito, with unobstructed views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline. That’s what Cristina saw when her wedding day began…

… with hair and makeup by her longtime stylist Terrell Mullin. In accordance with her glamorous champagne-colored, jeweled wedding dress from Nouvelle Vogue Salon, Cristina opted for finger-waves and a classic “Hollywood style” makeup…

Spectacular, isn’t it? A true “silver screen goddess!” And the cathedral-length veil made Cristina look like a real princess.

Then there were the accessories: her bridal shoes! With a color palette of ivory, blush pink and merlot, Cristina went all out with her merlot suede stilettos:

… and, not to forget, her garters!Florist Janelle Jacky-Litt of Green Petal Designs created Cristina’s dream bouquet of blush and ivory roses and peonies, merlot dahlias and a few wisps of greenery …

… and her church and reception decor as well. The ceremony was held in the onsite chapel – Cavallo Point Resort is housed on the site and in the buildings of a historic military outpost, complete with a beautiful chapel.

For this special day, the chapel was transformed into a garden with blooming trees; the aisle lined with ivory and blush rose petals and lanterns. Guests found little paper cones filled with merlot rose petals on their chairs – you’ll see!

DJ Aykut and the bride’s son Brent – a DJ himself – played all the music that Cristina and Jason had enjoyed together during their courtship, and the ceremony was officiated by a longtime friend of the couple, Rev. Lynne Herod-DeVerges.

Here comes the bride on her brother’s arm…

And here she and her groom are saying their very personal vows to one another:

“You may kiss the bride!” (and he did… )

Just married and SOOO happy! The newlyweds are leaving the chapel, showered with handfuls of fragrant rose petals..

Meanwhile, the Cavallo Point Crew under the leadership of Cheryl Fleming, myself and my two tireless assistants Kelsey Holtzinger and Myrtle Ventura had our hands full with preparations for Cocktail Hour and reception in the Callippe ballroom and patio where the onsite crew of PSAV had installed extensive lighting…

… and tables were gleaming in a variety of shimmering and glittering linens (from Napa Valley Linens). Taking inspiration from the couple’s invitation cards of rose-gold print on pearlescent ivory card stock, we used rose gold as metallic accent throughout…

… with chargers, flatware and even dining chairs playing along (all from Hensley Event Resources). The gorgeous centerpieces and large and small flower arrangements…

 

… mirrored chargers and mercury-gold votives came all from Green Petal Designs.

Guests found their table assignment on a calligraphed mirror and on mirrored table numbers by Mariko Giverink of BeeCurious Designs,

and while all tables looked fabulous, the couple’s Sweetheart Table was, of course, the best!

Over dinner,  Cristina’s and Jason’s sons proposed the first toasts to their newlywed parents, expressing gratitude for making each other happier than they had ever seen them… listening to that, we all had to dab our eyes. It was very emotional, and very beautiful – and then many more impromptu toasts and speeches followed, a veritable love fest for Cristina and Jason! They were both beaming, visiting tables and way too excited to eat. But they did cut their cake (from the in-house patissier at Cavallo Point).

Their first official collaboration as a married couple: completed with bravura!

Guests had so much more to enjoy even after that: the photo booth (by Photo-Matica) was a huge hit, with everyone crowding around it; dancing to a mix of tunes – heavy on Reggae as a nod to both Cristina’s and Jason’s heritage – by DJ Aykut, and late-night snacks… and sitting around the fire pit on the patio under string lights and a huge moon light… Everyone loved this party!

Photographer Tuan Bui and Videographer Andrew Hsu of Studio MSV captured every precious moment – just wait until you see THEIR photos and the wedding video (stay tuned – I’ll update photos in a few weeks and add the video as well!).

While their guests were still lingering around the fire, Cristina and Jason snuck away, hand in hand… Wishing you a lifetime of happiness and priceless memories of this day filled with joy and laughter!

 

 

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!

Victoria’s and Ryan’s Magical Garden Wedding

When Victoria approached my company, A Day Like No Other, for planning help, her wedding was still nearly a year away – and then it had to be postponed by another six months. Plenty of time to get it all perfect! And yesterday, finally, it all came together in a truly magical celebration on a picture-perfect day in May.

For their venue, the couple had chosen a veritable hidden gem in the Wine Country: Sylvan Lake, a private estate tucked away in the mountains above St. Helena. From a narrow, winding mountain road completely encased in dense foliage, you enter through an unassuming gate, and only halfway down the driveway does this garden paradise reveal itself…

Passing through an impressive wrought-iron gate, a vista of manicured lawns and decades-old boxwood hedges opens up, accentuated with a profusion of multicolored roses. It is truly a breathtaking place.

The bride and her bridesmaids got made up and dressed in a cozy cottage on property, hidden from any spying glances – Victoria was adamant: no First Look for her! Ryan would see her at the ceremony for the first time on their wedding day, not a minute earlier!

Here she is getting into her gorgeous lace trumpet dress:

… a true mother-and-daughter moment!

The ceremony was held overlooking the lush vineyards at Sylvan Lake. Here comes the bride, true to tradition on her father’s arm:

The ceremony was officiated by a personal friend of the couple’s. The bridesmaids wore floor length dresses in shades of lilac and mauve, and the groomsmen wore elegant grey suits.

I do! The moment Victoria and Ryan were pronounced husband and wife, the historic bronze bell at Sylvan Lake was rung, its glorious sound carrying through all of Napa Valley – for all the world to know!

While the couple had their photos taken by photographer Megan Reeves, guests were enjoying Cocktail Hour with lawn games and open bar and appetizers by S’Wine Country BBQ – just a glimpse into the hearty dinner to come!

Tables stretched across the lawn in long rows, presided over by the couple’s Sweetheart Table under the low-hanging branches of a centuries-old olive tree.

Fittingly, wedding favors were little bottles of olive oil which adorned the dinner tables, adding extra color to the elegant green garlands, hurricanes, votives and casual arrangements of roses, lisianthus, eucalyptus and wheat stems in antique glass bottles (all by EV Florals, as were the bride’s bouquet and bridesmaids’ bouquets).

Guests were guided to their tables by a handwritten seating chart on an antique window pane:

propped up on an equally antique chair amidst the flourishing greenery.

After dinner, there was yet another surprise for Victoria’s and Ryan’s guests: a donut truck from Johnny Donuts, serving super-fresh pastries and piping-hot coffee. The line literally wound around the block!

Then it was time for dancing, and the Lucky Devils Band under bandleader Jefferson got the crowd going! The result? Nobody wanted to go home!

The bride was beaming and happy… and that is why I love my job so much:

The groom exclaimed, “I LOVE this party – I am staying!” – but everything has to come to an end, eventually… Happy, tired partygoers were safely  shuttled to their hotels by Beau Wine Tours. And everyone agreed with the groom: they all loved this party!

Many happy years together, Victoria and Ryan!

 

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!

 

 

 

A & D at Holman Ranch – a very secret affair…

Now that sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? My couple is very, very private, and so all I can do is call them “A” and “D” – by their initials. Don’t be disappointed – there will be no photos of a radiant bride to share (she WAS radiant on her wedding day!)… BUT she and her new husband did allow me to share a few detail shots and of course photos of their romantic venue, Holman Ranch, with you all! (Photographer Lyndsay Undseth elevated all these details to art status – you will see…)

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The couple had invited only closest family and friends – every single guest had played an important role in their lives. Even at a guest count of around 100, their celebration felt close and intimate. The bride had specified a romantic style with blush pink as the accent color in addition to ivory, and our florists, Briana and Krista of Gavita Flora, did a marvelous job!

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Beautifully calligraphed wood and chalkboard signs by HeartPaperSoul added an extra touch…

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Ready for the ceremony – here are the rings!

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… and the dress…

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… a boutonniere…

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… and the breathtaking bridal bouquet.

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Our couple said their vows on the Ceremony Lawn overlooking the valley, with a dramatic backdrop of billowing clouds from wildfires raging on the other side of the mountain range separating Carmel Valley from the Pacific Coast.

80716_0020-copyPaddle fans doubling as ceremony programs were welcomed by all guests – it was a really hot day!

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Guests showered the newlyweds with rose petals from cute little paper cones that they found on their chairs.

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After ceremony and Cocktail Hour, guests were invited to the Rose Patio for a delicious meal by Paradise Catering.

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Tables were set with linens and china from Chic Event Rentals and with gorgeous centerpieces in mercury glass containers by Gavita Flora:

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In lieu of table numbers, tables were named after the groom’s favorite animals –  on watercolor cards!

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Outside, we were treated to a beautiful sunset:

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Following dinner, guests walked over to the Carriage House Lawn…

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where a buffet of wedding cake and Greek desserts (especially Baklava – from Epsilon Restaurant, honoring the bride’s heritage) was waiting.

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… and then, of course, it was time for dancing! The Carriage House was illuminated by myriads of twinkling lights…

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… and the Wonderbread 5 band got the crowd going…

80716_0819-copyNobody wanted to leave! Bride and groom had seen that coming – and so the party continued through the night at a nearby bar. It was truly an epic celebration!