Taryn and Jason – an Enchanted Wedding at the Outdoor Art Club

I just came home from helping one of my couples celebrate their wedding – and I am still in awe of that extraordinary experience I was privileged to be a part of.

First things first… Taryn, the bride, and I had been planning for a whole year. She had approached my company, A Day Like No Other, soon after getting engaged – suddenly feeling overwhelmed with the task of planning her Big Day with all its details and all the moving parts that go into such a celebration.

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She and her fiance Jason were planning to invite about 120 guests, all of them close friends and family, to a venue showcasing the beauty of Nature. As is evident in their beautiful engagement pictures (by Wilson Lee who also photographed the wedding – stay tuned for his professional photos that will eventually replace my “sneak preview” snapshots!), these two really love the forest – the more enchanted, the better! We thought of Redwoods, vistas, gardens… and finally, Taryn and Jason settled for the historic Outdoor Art and Garden Club in Mill Valley, a historic venue surrounded by a mature garden. Founded as a Nature Conservancy, the OAC boasts a beautiful (and newly renovated) Arts-and-Crafts building designed by none less than Bernard Maybeck. It’s a peaceful, blooming oasis in the heart of a quaint little city. Perfect!

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With Taryn’s love of all things Bohemian, slightly offbeat to downright mystical, in mind, we settled on a color scheme of muted warm gray and sage green, accented with sparkling mirrors (after all – mirrors are said to be the portal to other worlds…) calligraphed by Mariko Giverink of BeeCurious Designs

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img_3450The dining tables were adorned with floral centerpieces evoking little enchanted forests, complete with wood slices, mushrooms, crystals, geodes and ferns, artfully created by Katie Chirgotis of Eothen Floral.

For her Great Day, the bride chose a very unusual wedding dress from LoHo Bride

taryns-wedding-dress… and a soft, very feminine hairstyle with a “messy side braid,” perfectly imperfect – by Angela of Edward’s Salon. Taryn’s makeup – natural, dewy fresh, and literally glowing – was applied by her sister Tracy, a  professional makeup artist.

When the Great Day had final arrived, it turned out to be a warm and sunny Golden Autumn afternoon with  blue skies and just a slight breeze – a dream! Taryn’s and Jason’s ceremony was officiated by Reverend Don Mulford in the shaded backyard of the Outdoor Art Club, under towering mature trees.

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Guests then enjoyed Cocktail Hour in the open courtyard, serenaded by Synchronicity Strings

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… while Delicious! Catering took care of yummy food and an open bar.

Inside, string lights on the eaves (by Big4Rentals) set a festive tone, and dining tables beckoned with more sparkle from beaded glass chargers and mirrored table numbers…

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The centerpieces boasted a profusion of ferns, grasses, wildflowers and other delicate blooms …

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and of course the Sweetheart Table got a little extra treatment:

After dinner, there was dancing with music by DJ Woody Miraglia of Big Fun Disk Jockeys, with the couple opening the dance floor with their romantic First Dance to the tune of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.”

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Night Owl Photo Booth provided a lot of fun entertainment, and of course there was one more highlight of the evening: cake cutting! Following time-honored tradition, the new husband and wife team performed their official first task together – cutting their wedding cake (a luscious confection by Krista Juracek of Sainte G. – way too beautiful to eat!) and feeding one another.

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Even the cake played along the mystic “Enchanted Forest” theme with ferns and mushrooms. Guests took home handmade little bundles of sage and matches – to be burned to ward off evil spirits!

If you ask me – evil spirits never stood a chance at this enchanted wedding, filled with warmth, love, and gratitude, with friendship, joy and exuberance. Many happy enchanted years together, Taryn and Jason, and be your journey always as happy as on your wedding day!

 

Wendy and Jason: an Elegant Summer Wedding at Kohl Mansion

Wendy and Jason are two super-busy young physicians – with absolutely no time to spare. Planning their wedding was something they were so much looking forward to, but that was definitely posing a challenge. So much to do – and where to start? I am so happy they chose my company, A Day Like No Other, to help them plan their Great Day. We had a little over six months, and we had a lot of work to do in that time – and finally today the Great Day had come, and everything was coming together beautifully.

For Wendy and her bridesmaids, the day began with a beauty session at Wowpretty Salon – and they all emerged looking like Hollywood royalty!

wendy-and-jason-024City Express Limousine service took them directly to their venue, historic Kohl Mansion in Burlingame, stately amidst its own mature park – and under blue skies, a summery-hot sun and slight breeze. In short, simply perfect!

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Here is Wendy’s elegant ivory lace wedding dress…

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worn with a dramatic cathedral-length veil…

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… and veritable “princess slippers!:

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Not to forget, of course, her dreamy all-white bouquet by Green Petal Designs:

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Groom Jason was likewise dressing up together with his groomsmen:

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… while photographer Mae Stier was snapping away and videographer Kien Nguyen joined her in recording every precious moment.

Meanwhile, the venue staff had set up the ceremony chairs out on the lawn under towering ancient trees, Toast Catering was busy in the kitchen and setting up bars and dining tables …

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… in elegant hunter green, ivory and gold and a matching sweetheart table presiding over the double-height dining room…

… florist Janelle Jacky-Litt of Green Petal Designs set out centerpieces (potted Phalaenopsis orchids which one guest at each table would win as a special favor), ceremony decor and many more beautiful arrangements…

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and my two fabulous assistants Angeliki Menig and Haneen Saideh were arranging escort cards (hand-calligraphed by A Day Like No Other) …

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and guest book table …

IMG_3131… and so much more. DJ Nick Conforti of Sound in Motion installed all we needed for ceremony, cocktail hour and dining, and Satura Cakes and Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous contributed wedding cake and ice cream bar, respectively.

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Guests were greeted in the driveway by… bride and groom, dancing in the breeze! (Wendy and Jason do have a great sense of humor – you can tell!)

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But then things got serious – seriously elegant, that is…

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Outside on the ceremony lawn, refreshments were ready for the guests – a welcome treat at 81 degrees!

Ready for the long-anticipated moment: here comes the bride!

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Wendy was unstoppable on her walk down the aisle, even as her veil caught the breeze, got stuck briefly and tried to hold her back!

The ceremony was officiated by a longtime friend of the couple’s and was lighthearted, brief and very, very personal.

Just married! Time for more photos, cocktails – and the whole glorious party that’s going to ensue!

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Time for portraits – Kohl Mansion offers a lot of beautiful backdrops for that!

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After dinner – there was OF COURSE more to come… first off, cake cutting, but “ice-cream feeding!” Ice cream aficionados Wendy and Jason did feed one another, but with a tweak on tradition:

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And then: their Grand Entrance as “Mr. and Mrs.”…

wendy-and-jason-692-copy… followed by an epic dance party!

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And here is the day – in live action, courtesy of Kien Pictures…

Wendy & Jason Wedding – Highlight – Kohl Mansion from Kien Pictures on Vimeo.

 

Many happy years together, Wendy and Jason! Keep celebrating!

 

Nancy and James’ Epic Fall Wedding – Luxury, Elegance and FUN!

When Nancy and James – partners in life and in profession – were ready to tie the knot, they were, as usual, in agreement about pretty much everything.

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image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

They would get married in Church. They would have a very elegant reception. They would have lots of guests. It would be in Fall, with early dusk and lots of candlelight. They would be dancing the night away. And so it was – but so much more!

The two engaged my company, A Day Like No Other, early in 2015, giving us a good nine months until Wedding Day in November. And as it turned out, we needed that time – because Nancy’s imagination took flight in the most beautiful way… Starting from “Old San Francisco glamour” at the famous Intercontinental Mark Hopkins hotel (a historic landmark originating from the opulent private residence of one of the infamous railroad barons), we kept adding more and more personal touches, and come Wedding Day, Nancy’s and James’ celebration had become unique, quirky and unmistakably “them.”

Elegant invitations from Hyegraph set the tone for what was to come:

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

The day began with an extensive “beauty session” (by Wowpretty Salon) for Nancy, her bridesmaids and the mothers, all at a suite high up in the Mark Hopkins tower.

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Invitationimage by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

Here Nancy’s wedding shoes take center stage…

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image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

… and here is her elegant bridal bouquet, handmade by her Aunt… a long-standing family tradition.

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image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

Bridesmaids were treated to some bubbly that morning, and that got everyone in a festive mood right away!

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image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

And here is our radiant bride in all her finery (dress by Novella Bridal), ready to meet her groom:

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image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

Following another time-honored tradition, bride and groom decided NOT to see one another before the Church ceremony; and so they both traveled the couple of blocks from the Mark Hopkins to Old St. Mary’s Church (one of the oldest ones in San Francisco) separately via Cable Car trolley.

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image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

The Church itself is very impressive…

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image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

… and it had been adorned with large altar arrangements and ivory bouquets along the aisle.

Church Aisle

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

And here they are: just married!

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Time for photos… a lot of them! JC Page was tireless… and look what beautiful photos we got here! Cecil Bonifacio served as our videographer, and we can’t wait to see what he’ll create for us.

Couple colonnade

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

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image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

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image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

Once back, the couple joined their many guests for an elegant reception in the Peacock Ballroom with gorgeous florals by Green Petal Designs and Lighting by Just DeLights..

Dining room

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

centerpiece

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

Cake table

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

In lieu of a traditional guest book, the couple went for Hollywood glamour and had their guests sign magnum bottles of their favorite Pinot Noir instead:

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image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

The first dance of the newlyweds…

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image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

… kicked off a wild dance party with Mariachi

Mariachis

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

… a twirling flower girl…

Flower girl dancing

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

… glowsticks, purple lighting – and lots of fun for everyone…

Groomsmen dancing

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

… with the bride serving as the DJ (at least for a little while – a longtime secret wish of hers came true on her wedding day!)

More personal details? Popcorn snacks and cotton candy in “grown-up” flavors from Sweet Puff Candy!

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image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

True to the bride’s Mexican heritage, each guest received a very personal favor: a package of coffee handpicked by the new “Mrs.”

Favors

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

It was, just simply – unforgettable! Many happy years together, Nancy and James!

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image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

 

 

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…

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

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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…

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… 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:

Venue sign

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:

Couple First Look

First Look

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Time for photos! Bridesmaids, groomsmen, family…

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Groom and groomsmen 2

… 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)…

Here comes the bride

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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Rings

Bridesmaids bouquets

Just married!

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… 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:

Dining setup

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.

Coffee mugs

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:

Cake cutting

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:

First Dance

Father Daughter Dance

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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.

Embrace

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

Walking together

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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:

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,

… 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,

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,

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!

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.

Quail grounds

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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!

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… crystal-embellished bridal shoes…

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

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

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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

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

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

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… 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.

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

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… 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:

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… 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…

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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:

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

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

First Look

…. followed by more photos:

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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…

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… and here comes the bride!

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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…

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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!

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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:

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

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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.

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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 …

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… 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:”

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

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That set off a truly wild dance party for everyone…

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… 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.

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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

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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,

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

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… 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.

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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!

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airstream and fanfares

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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!