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!

 

“Winter is Coming” in July – Whose Idea Was That?? Blueprint Studios!

Blueprint Studios, famous for their creativity in event design, put their own skills to the test today – they invited the wedding professionals community to their warehouse to present their new collections with a typically creative event: “Winter is Coming!” (in July…)

What that is? Leave it to the Blueprint creatives… serenaded from the mezzanine,

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guests were treated to a “cabinet of curiosities” – whimsical wintery tablescapes..

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dining set-ups…

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and lounge vignettes..

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were competing for attention with more “July” (Hawaii??) themed groupings…

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… and any creative “fusion” in between! What about a white Christmas tree adorned with fresh orchids…

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or a tabletop variety composed entirely of cocktail paper parasols?!

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Nothing is impossible at Blueprint! And their new collection is so fresh and different! I couldn’t get enough of even their chair collection…

IMG_3211Strategic partner Hensley presented beautiful new china patterns…

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and a lot more, as listed on this menu card:

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plus chargers in any color and style you can think of, to round out their tabletop offerings… and if you are still not convinced…

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This incredible rainbow of colors – that’s their drapes!! I think that’s pretty unbeatable. Draperies in salmon, copper or lilac. I found my “Aladdin’s Cave!”

The “eye candy” was complemented by “culinary candy” provided by Componere..

Chef Ethan Mantle of Componere

Chef Ethan Mantle of Componere

… a company that spearheads culinary creativity even in its very name – “componere” is Latin for “to compose, to create.” Which they did – fresh mini tortillas filled with squash blossoms, accompanied by Patron cocktails in mini bottles…

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and, my favorite, dark chocolate shells with a liquid blackberry filling. Divine!!

As of today, I am an official fan of “Christmas in July.” And of Blueprint, of course!

Fete en Blanc at the Palace Hotel: the Ultimate in Chic

All who know Cristine Thomas, Editor-in-Chief of Today’s Bride Magazine (and who wouldn’t know HER?) also knows that her parties are out of this world. Truly beyond anything you’ve seen before! And she manages every single time to exceed even her own records… And now imagine she’s joined forces with Nick Eric of Luxe Bridal Shows and Cindy Danbom of Bella Notte Events! Well, the result was breathtaking: the party of parties at the venerable Palace Hotel SF…

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… where the Grand Ballroom and adjacent rooms were decorated in all-white (of course) – and where right at the entrance an ice sculpture by Chisel-It

IMG_3180set the tone of elegance and glamour for what was awaiting the guests who flocked to the Palace Hotel in droves! I met so many dear friends and industry colleagues – florists Janelle Jacky-Litt of Green Petal Designs, Mandy Scott, Edgar Martinez of Flowers by Edgar, and Nancy Liu Chin; photographers Kevin Chin, Michelle Walker and Misti Layne; fellow wedding planners Deborah Moody of ACPWC (my teacher and mentor!) and Chanda Eddens of A Monique Affair; Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound, Diana Cardenas of Napa Valley Linens and Sue Leggett of Classic Party Rentals… Everyone was wearing all white in accordance with the party theme, even the Champagne Skirt ladies from Circosphere

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Circosphere

… and the stilt walkers…

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Earth Circus Productions

… and the contortionists…

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Earth Circus Productions

… from Earth Circus Productions whose performances were accompanied by the Dick Bright Orchestra.

The lavish floral decor was created by Edgar Martinez of Flowers by Edgar …

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… and guests were treated to Wine, Champagne, a multitude of tasty bites (Michi’s, my favorite sushi specialist, was also there!) and an incredible dessert bar (among others – Pretty Please):

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You know what? My diet resumes tomorrow. Today was totally worth the splurge!

Thanks so much, Cristine and Nick, for having me – it was fabulous!

A Wedding on Top of the World: Megan and Casey at Thomas Fogarty Winery

Here comes a little preview on one of the most beautiful and most quintessential Californian summer weddings of the season: Megan’s and Casey’s celebration last weekend at Thomas Fogarty Winery in Woodside.

The setting is simply spectacular – high up on the crest of the mountain ridge running along the SF Peninsula, overlooking endless vineyards down to the San Francisco Bay with unobstructed views… it’s literally on top of the world! Megan and Casey could not have chosen better for their nuptials – this was sure to wow their more than 150 guests from far and near.

Megan, who had been away for study abroad and humanitarian work, only returned to the Bay Area three weeks before the Great Day. By then, her Mom had done most of the preparations together with my company, A Day Like No Other. But Megan jumped right in and put her own spin and her own finishing touches on everything in that short time! Our Senior Coordinator Kelsey Holtzinger guided the planning process on the “last stretch” and coordinated the festivities expertly from start to finish.

Come wedding day, Heaven was literally smiling on us – Megan and Casey had the perfect day with blue skies, summery warm sunshine and a slight breeze… Fogarty Winery showed itself at its best:

megan-and-casey-108-copyEndless views and extensive vineyards…

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… and vintage trucks just for the sheer beauty of it!

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The bride got ready in the cottage onsite:

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megan-and-casey-170-copy… and here she is, radiant and ready to meet her husband-to-be!

Casey meanwhile got his boutonniere:

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… and off to the much-anticipated First Look!

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A few more photos…megan-and-casey-192-copy… and it was already time for the ceremony.

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megan-and-casey-417-copy“You may now kiss your bride!”

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Official wedding photo of the new “Mr. and Mrs.”:

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Meanwhile, the venue staff, catering staff of La Bocca Fina catering and my tireless Senior Coordinator Kelsey had beautifully set up everything for cocktails and dinner. In accordance with the winery setting, wine corks did duty as escort card holders:

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and the dining tables in the open-air pavilion were set with gorgeous centerpieces by Bloomsters.

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Dinner was presided over by the newlyweds at their Sweetheart Table:

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… while guests feasted on a fresh farm-to-table dinner from gold-accented plates, flatware and glassware.

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Photographer Nathan Worden snuck the couple away for Sunset photos:

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Entertainment was provided by Big Fun Diskjockeys and Night Owl Photo Booth.

Here, Megan and Casey share their First Dance as a married couple:

megan-and-casey-663-copy… followed by a wild dance party:

megan-and-casey-825-copyPhotographer Nathan Worden and Owl and Tree Videography captured all those precious moments.

When dusk fell, the scenery turned downright magical…

… and the newlyweds were sent off to their married bliss with a sparkler parade!

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To Megan and Casey – our very best wishes for a long and happy marriage!

 

How to Make Sure Your Wedding is Fun for Everyone!

For pretty much all our couples, their wedding day celebration is by far the biggest party they’ve ever thrown, and the most intricate project they’ve ever tackled. Aside from the planning and logistics themselves, what is necessary to make the wedding celebration fun for everyone? What is it that sets an average party apart from an unforgettable one which everyone keeps raving about? I’m not talking about over-the-top-glamour, Hollywood-worthy entertainment or other perks only big money can buy. I am talking about the little things, the personal touches that make everyone feel good and special and well taken care of. To me, that’s an integral part of the overall wedding experience, just as much as good food and music.

1. You, the couple – totally worry-free

1.) Couple worry-free

Let’s begin with the stars of the day: you, the Bride and Groom! Here at A Day Like No Other, our mantra is: Our couples have only ONE job on their wedding day, and that is – to celebrate! All our couples tell me afterwards that their wedding day flew by and that they can hardly remember all of it. We strive to maximize what our brides and grooms remember. We want you to be in the moment and to focus on what this day is about: committing your lives to one another. And that’s why we make sure that everything you might need and want on your wedding day has been meticulously planned ahead of time. Plus during Cocktail Hour, when most couples are busy taking photos, we make sure a platter of appetizers is set aside for them in a quiet side room with a chilled bottle of Champagne, and once photo session is over, we whisk them away for a few minutes of well-deserved break before presenting them to their guests.

2. The couple is “off-limits” for anything but celebrating!

What else? We, the planners, make sure that nobody will bother our couples with anything during their wedding day. Another mantra – or rather our promise to our couples: “If there is a glitch, you will not know!” It’s true: we do what is humanly possible to keep our couples out of it. And if you don’t have a wedding coordinator, you should absolutely designate one point person for all logistical issues and whatever else might come up. We at A Day Like No Other are even wearing funny buttons identifying us as the wedding planners… and invariably, that does not only “crack up” everyone – they will also find us and ask us for assistance. No one interrupts the couples’ partying!

3. Your parents

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3.) Ancestor table 2

For most parents, their children’s wedding day is at least as important as for the bride and groom themselves. It’s an occasion they have been looking forward to since bride and groom were children, hoping for them to find a soul mate and lifelong companion who will take care of them once the parents are gone. Giving a child away in marriage is a milestone in parenting. It’s also a day to look back on all the sweet memories of that now grown-up man or woman when they were little, when they had just entered the world, and also to think back to one’s own wedding day, one’s own parents. It’s definitely a day of memories. And that’s why we encourage all our couples to include such memories in their celebration, e.g. , as a gallery of family photos.

4. Your older guests

4.) Older guests

Most of our couples invite quite a few older guests – grandparents and other relatives of that generation. Oftentimes, these feel a little lost in a crowd of young people. We make it a point to include them and make them feel an integral part of the couple’s family history. One unobtrusive way of making older guests feel good is to include music choices they are comfortable and familiar with – be it a few Frank Sinatra or Elvis songs or 80s top hits. Yes! It is possible to mix those in, and you should see those smiles on their faces! And in lieu of a bouquet toss, we often do a “generation dance” with the bride presenting her bouquet to the guest couple with the longest-lasting marriage.

5. All guests: look after them!

For many guests, attending a wedding means taking days off work, planning and paying for travel… despite the joy of seeing a friend or family member getting married, it’s also a lot of effort. Guests appreciate being well taken care of – they tend to remember that experience even more than the food! So, let’s make them feel special and well-taken care of. Here is what we recommend: Keep guests well informed, and the easiest way is a detailed wedding website. We recommend our couples to offer logistical help to their guests whenever possible, be it for accommodations, local climate and choice of attire. Plus, this is also a good spot to drop a hint regarding dress code… politely. Nobody wants to be seriously under- or overdressed for the occasion! The more the guests know beforehand, the easier it is for them to plan accordingly.

6. Help your guests with the logistics

The same holds true for the schedule of the wedding day itself. We recommend to include on the wedding website one page devoted to nothing but the logistics: Directions, parking restrictions, shuttle bus service, specifics about the property (e.g. walks over uneven terrain), cell phone reception, and when guests are expected to be where.

7. Make your guests feel welcome

7.) Welcome-bags

Nothing makes guests feel welcome more than – Welcome Bags! Yes, we know, it’s a lot of work to assemble them (we do that for our clients…) Include personalized bottled water), snacks, local specialties like small bottles of wine or olive oil, local chocolates; a walking map and/or brochures for local sightseeing trips. And then, of course, a personal letter from the couple expressing their joy to have all these guests from faraway locations together for their wedding day.

8. Keep your guests comfy

8.) Comfy guests

And that’s why the pampering of guests doesn’t stop just there! For the wedding day, we  recommend a welcome bar with chilled (nonalcoholic!) beverages; for outdoor weddings a sunscreen/bug repellant station; market umbrellas shading the ceremony area, fans (maybe imprinted with the ceremony program), personalized paper parasols doubling as a wedding keepsake; amenities baskets in the bathrooms, simple “pashmina” shawls or blankets for outdoors celebrations and a basket of flip-flops for beach weddings and long dance parties.

9. Your youngest guests

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Let’s admit it: weddings are not for kids. Take that from a mother! The excitement about the decorations and the big white dress is wearing off after a maximum of ten minutes, and then kids want to do what kids always want to do: explore, play, do their own thing. Make sure that they get to do exactly that and have just as much fun during that wedding as their parents – just a different type of fun: their own area, their own babysitter(s) and their own activities. Activity bags, maybe even a kids’ entertainment company or a “sleepover party” with cartoon movies and pizza. Everybody’s happy!

10. Your Doggie

 

10.) Bride and dog

Well, same thing with dogs. Weddings are just not the thing for them. Just imagine: they are brought to a new, exciting, and maybe upsetting environment full of strangers, their “parents” don’t have time for them, they are expected to be quiet instead of inspecting and, yes, marking the new territory; regular walk/nap/meal times are all out the window AND they are even not supposed to bark! That doesn’t sound right to me. And yes, you guessed it, I am a dedicated doggie Mom. At A Day Like No Other, we offer a “VIC” (Very Important Canine) package – a dedicated dog handler on wedding day whose main task is keeping doggie happy, walking and feeding her, playing with her and chauffeuring her home as needed. But even if none of that is in the cards – you should plan for your dog’s well-being on their Great Day as you would for any other family member or guest. At the very least, designate a person not directly involved in the wedding for doggie care (the Maid of Honor is not a good choice, as she will be busy during the ceremony and during photo time…). It should not be a young child or a person unaccustomed to dogs. It should be someone who is willing to sacrifice part of the celebration time for this purpose, and gladly so. Provide an area where your darling can safely stay, protected, in the shade, and maybe in her familiar crate. Do bring her familiar food, treats, and toys. And should your fur baby get upset, your doggie babysitter can drive her home for a short while until her newlywed parents arrive – and the canine world order is happily restored!

2.) Coordinator or designated person

Published on Honeyfund Blog, 6/26/16

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…

Church nave

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

flyaway veil

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

bridal party

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:

Guest book bottle

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!

bride dancing

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

 

 

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…

Photo shoot Ceremony Westin-146

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

 

 

 

Forecasting Trends at Hamlin Mansion: WIPA kicks off 2016

Last week, months of planning came to fruition in a spectacular event: the WIPA 2016 kick-off meeting at historic Hamlin Mansion in San Francisco. To me, this was extra special because it marked the conclusion of nearly four years as Event Chair and the Regional Director of Programs for the WIPA SF Bay Area Chapter. I absolutely wanted to conclude my tenure on a high note – and that’s what happened.

Our speaker set the theme: Kate Patay of Creative Coverings, acclaimed wedding industry expert and frequent speaker around the nation, presented “Forecasting Trends” – based on a multitude of media channels and, of course, social media. AND in her capacity as Director of Sales and Marketing at one of the area’s pre-eminent linen rental companies, she also set the tone for the design by sponsoring exquisite linens which I used as the jumping-off point for the rest of the event design. True to her theme, she chose from the Pantone Colors of the Year, mainly a dusty rose with lots of sparkle, expanding both into lighter hues up to ivory and down to an elegant mocha and chocolate. It was perfect both for the rich wood paneling in the Mansion’s Great Room – where we enjoyed both Cocktail Hour and later on coffee and dessert – and for the light-filled dining room overlooking the San Francisco Bay.

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

Heavens were literally smiling on us with blue skies and a slight breeze, and the venerable mansion presented itself from its most beautiful side. Misti Layne of Images by Misti Layne (photography) and Kien Nguyen of Kien Pictures (videography) made sure not a single moment was lost!

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

A mock ceremony setup demonstrated what it could be like for a real wedding… with chairs from Stuart Event Rentals (who also sponsored lounge furniture and the dining setup). Living hedges from Interior Plant Design gave the scene extra polish and elegance.

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

Guests were serenaded by Matt Roads Trio from Ivy Hill Entertainment and could hang out in the elegant lounge…

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco
WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

The bar was stocked with world-class wines from  Wente Vineyards

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

Time Capsule Party provided a totally different photo booth experience: guests received their photos printed on vintagey- looking aluminum plaques – outfitted with magnets! I am sure, countless ones are now gracing fridges around the Bay Area!

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

Two of the most important attendees: caterer Elaine Bell and speaker Kate Patay

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

And here are some of the delicacies that Elaine treated our guests to at Cocktail Hour:

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

We had even more to offer to our guests – our own gold-metallic (temporary…) tattoos with the WIPA logo from AnnaBee! They are fully customizable and are such a pretty idea for weddings!

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

That’s me greeting guests at the door – with Mr. Shin from Michi’s.

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

Everything was prepared for the educational part of the day, with Fantasy Sound providing A/V services.

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

When Kate Patay began her presentation on “Forecasting Trends,” our guests were riveted. Kate is such an engaging speaker, lively and funny, that you don’t even notice how much you are learning while being entertained! Everybody took home a lot new insights and “food for thought.”

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

After the swearing-in ceremony of the incoming Board of Directors…

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

… a festive luncheon was awaiting our guests, with tables covered in sequined linens from Creative Coverings, glistening with china, glassware and flatware from Stuart Event Rentals, and gorgeous spring flowers from Green Petal Designs.

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

Every guest found a pretty favor box at their place setting, chock-full with samples from Kiehl’s.WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

Lunch presentation was so artful that one hardly dared to touch it – but on the other hand, the food was way too delicious NOT to dig in!

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Following lunch, we all returned to the Great Hall where dessert was waiting for us: delicious fresh meringues from Le Grand Meringue:

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco


WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

… and fantastic cakes from Perfect Endings:

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

A lucky winner takes home one of the gorgeous centerpieces…

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

… and guests just didn’t want to leave!

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

A shuttle bus from Destination Systems took guests back to their cars in comfort and ease, and everyone agreed: that was a great start into the WIPA year 2016!

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

Thanks again to all our generous sponsors!

 

 

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.

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

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…

hanging dress

dress detail

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

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

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

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

bride in dress

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

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

… 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!

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, 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:

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

… to the Sutro Bath ruins…

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

… and to the Northern Waterfront:

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

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

bar 2

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

… 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…

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 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:

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

Here are the newlyweds, happily toasting –

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

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!