Elopement a la Cote d’Azur – a Styled Photoshoot

For my last styled photoshoot for my company, A Day Like No Other (commissioned by Ceremony Magazine) with photographer extraordinaire Vicens Forns, I let my imagination run wild… I had always admired the effortless elegance and jet-setter lifestyle of the likes of Catherine Deneuve and Alain Delon, as depicted in magazines like Vogue – especially the luxury and leisure of the Cote d’Azur. Why not bring some of this joie de vivre and sophistication to present-day weddings? An idea was born – and everything else developed from there.

Based on the San Francisco Bay, we are blessed with vistas very much reminiscent of the Cote d’Azur – especially on a sunny September day as the one we had chosen for our shoot. What else did we need? A story! What about this: a jet-setting couple elopes to a wedding ceremony on the water – performed by the captain of a historic schooner, under billowing sails. They are getting ready in a luxurious hotel suite overlooking the water – where they also retire after the ceremony for an intimate dinner and some quiet time together.

Look where this story took us…

Our “couple” (our gorgeous models, Whitney Heleker from HMM Model Agency and Maxwell Ross Manesh) has chosen the Alexandrite Suite (recently named one of the Top 101 Suites in the World by Elite Traveler) at the Casa Madrona Hotel in Sausalito as their “home base” for their wedding weekend. Overlooking the yacht harbor and San Francisco Bay, this ultra-modern suite has the elegance befitting a jet-setting couple…

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

… and their wedding announcements, created in the blue hues of the wedding decor as a reflection of the nearby San Francisco Bay, hand-calligraphed and cut by Sally Laporta of Monks of Age, are a reflection of who they are: chic, young, bold, unconventional!

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

The bride’s day begins with hair and makeup by celebrity stylist Nicole Perez, with the “bride” putting on finishing touches herself…

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

She had a succession of three equally breathtaking wedding dresses (all from Nouvelle Vogue Bridal Salon) to wear on that day:

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

… and Bhuvan Sahney of Gleim Jewelers provided exquisite pieces of fine jewelry, both vintage and modern.

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

One of these breathtaking pieces was used as an extraordinary hair pin on the bride’s classic French updo:

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

What else does a bride need? Flowers, of course! For this extravagant and modern bride, Edgar Martinez of Flowers by Edgar had created something never seen before: a sculptural bouquet of white Calla lilies, their petals highlighted with the accent color of this wedding:

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Isn’t this an absolutely stunning dress?

Meanwhile, our “groom” was also getting ready – in a slim-cut grey suit (from Tuxedo Wearhouse) with a boutonniere matching the bridal bouquet:

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

While waiting for the bride to get ready, he took advantage of the incredible patio of the Alexandrite Suite – who can tell this is NOT the Cote d’Azur?!

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

And here they are, together – ready for their Great Day to begin:

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Cheers!

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

For their wedding ceremony, our couple had chosen a historic schooner, the “Freda B.,” (operated by SF Bay Adventures) moored at walking distance from the Casa Madrona in the Sausalito yacht harbor. The bride changed into dress no. 2 for this adventure – simpler but on the boat it would be accompanied by a dramatic veil catching the breeze …

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

The captain would serve as their officiant, out on the Bay…

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

… and he soon set sail, assisted by the couple.

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

While photographer Vicens captured every precious moment on the Freda B., second shooter Victoria followed on a chase boat to give us her perspective of things from the water.

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

… Like this!

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Then it was time for the two to say their vows “on the captain’s bible!”

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

“Just Married!!”

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

You have to admit – it doesn’t get much better than this for an elopement!

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

With the sun slowly setting, the Freda B. returned to the yacht harbor in the golden evening glow…

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

… and the newlyweds retired to their suite where dinner, a wedding cake and more was waiting for them.

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Dining tables were kept in a cool blue color scheme reflecting the colors of the Bay beyond, with ultramodern floral arrangements by Edgar Martinez of Flowers by Edgar, square white china, modern glassware and glamorous flatware (rose gold for the couple, black for everyone else) from Hensley Event Resources.

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

The linens came from Napa Valley Linens, and the architectural wrought-iron chargers and napkin rings from Classic Party Rentals.

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

The couple’s Sweetheart Table got the extra special treatment with an all-white sequined linen (from Napa Valley Linens) and with rose gold-colored “his and hers” chairs from Blueprint Studios.

The bold, modern menu cards were created by Monks of Age, complementing the wedding announcements …

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

The “newlyweds” seem to be very happy!

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

They still have things to do: cutting their cake – a piece of art from Patissière Morgane Ric of Joli Cakes

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

… reminiscent of the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright (speaking of  “modern” here!) and of the Art Deco silhouettes of the grand Ocean Liners of the early 20th century – effortlessly merging the blues of the Bay and the rose gold accents of the dining table and furniture.

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

And it’s yummy, too!

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Time for yet another dress change into a diaphanous ball gown for the exchange of gifts (again from Gleim Jewelers):

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

An intimate First Dance…

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

After that, it was definitely time for some romantic one-on-one out on the patio, by the Fire Table…

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Photo credit: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

So romantic, and so beautiful… maybe even better than real life!

Thanks to all our wonderful collaborators who made it happen, and who captured these moments of stunning visual drama. Be inspired for your own wedding!

Let us create YOUR unique wedding celebration, too!

Visit A Day Like No Other and enjoy our brochure! 

 

 

Urban Glamour at the Westin St. Francis: Abigail and Mike’s Elegant Year-End Wedding

When Abigail and Mike approached my company, A Day Like No Other, for help with their wedding coordination, I was immediately on board: an elegant year-end evening affair at one of San Francisco’s storied landmarks, the Westin St. Francis. They had already booked the two ballrooms – Victor’s Palace and Alexandra’s – on the famous “Imperial Floor” with gorgeous views of the City and the Bay. And they had decided that their wedding would be both elegant and a fun party, but without the usual “frills.” No bridesmaids or groomsmen, for starters – all their siblings would simply walk down the aisle before them. The groom’s stepdad would play for the processional. And the couple’s beloved canine, Hutch, would be carried down the aisle (he is a senior…) as the ringbearer. And yesterday was THE DAY!

As we all know, the invitation sets the tone for the whole event – and this elegant card showed guests that this would be an homage to the City by the Bay which Abigail and Mike call home and love.

For Abigail, the day began with hair and makeup services (by Carla Malia and Jenna Fontanilla)…

Photo credit: Marc Blondin

…and Arlene Boyle from Violetta Flowers delivered a gorgeous bridal bouquet (as well as altar arrangements and centerpieces).

Photo credit: Marc Blondin

Photo credit: Marc Blondin

What’s missing? Shoes, jewelry…

Photo credit: Marc Blondin

Photo credit: Marc Blondin

Ready for  “First Look!”

Photo credit: Marc Blondin

While Abigail and Mike were taking many, many photos with photographer Marc Blondin…

Photo credit: Marc Blondin

Photo credit: Marc Blondin

Photo credit: Marc Blondin

Photo credit: Marc Blondin

… frantic preparations were underway to get ceremony setup and cocktail area in “Victor’s Palace” ballroom and dinner/dancing in “Alexandra’s” guest-ready. Catering manager Selma Santoyo and her team and Angeliki Menig and Mary-Kate Greenberg (who took all our snapshots here for a peek preview) from A Day Like No Other were busy putting the finishing touches on everything.

The ceremony setup was completed…

Photo credit: Marc Blondin

… with the elegant altar arrangements from Violetta Flowers

A “photo gallery” was set up to greet arriving guests…

… and a table assignment board was installed to guide guests to their assigned seats – a true love letter to San Francisco!

And here are the corresponding table numbers:

In lieu of a standard “run-of-the-mill” guestbook, a Polaroid and scrapbook station was waiting for the guests’ creativity:

Verducci Event Productions set up the sound for the ceremony and for dancing, DJ and MC were prepared, and with that we were ready when guests arrived…

Photo credit: Marc Blondin

… for the 5 pm ceremony – with darkness falling and the city lights sparkling in the background.

Everything went according to plan, and after ceremony and cocktails, guests proceeded to Alexandra’s ballroom for a lavish dinner and an epic dance party. The newlyweds presided over the elegant room from their Head Table…

Photo credit: Marc Blondin

Photo credit: Marc Blondin

Photo credit: Marc Blondin

What else? The cake, of course! Susan Morgan of Elegant Cheese Cakes had outdone herself and delivered another “Homage to San Francisco” masterpiece, decorated with the City skyline and with a very personal cake topper…

Photo credit: Marc Blondin

… and the last highlight of the celebration: the couple’s First Dance.

Photo credit: Marc Blondin

Photo credit: Marc Blondin

Everyone agreed: it was a great, great party! Keep celebrating, Abigail and Mike, and our best wishes for many happy years on your way!

Let us create YOUR unique wedding celebration, too!

Visit A Day Like No Other and enjoy our brochure! 

Persian Glamour at the Fairmont: Shifteh’s and Hassan’s Elegant Nuptials

Shifteh and Hassan were truly meant for one another – their families have been best of friends for ages, and the only surprising thing is how long it took the two to progress from “just friends” to dating and engagement! Fast-forward four years, and the two were ready to tie the knot – elegant Persian style, of course! They had booked their venue – the storied Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco – when they realized that they’d need a lot more elements to make their celebration festive and unique, and that they did not have the time to do all the necessary research, come up with the design and so many more things. They approached my wedding planning company, A Day Like No Other, for help, and we jumped right in. Design decisions, color palette, inspiration photos, vendors, entertainment ideas… a true whirlwind in the scant five months we had!

Finally the Great Day had arrived – and the Weather Gods were looking upon us very favorably with one of those golden San Francisco October days with clear skies, a warming sun and a slight breeze.

Shifteh’s day began with hair and makeup by Adelina Eidelman

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

…who transformed a pretty young woman into a radiant, glamorous exotic beauty. Mr. Siasi of Rose Express Florist delivered a lush cascading bouquet of pink roses and white Phalaenopsis orchids …

… a real match for Shifteh’s luxurious Rosa Clara wedding dress …… with exquisite beading and a breathtaking illusion back:

Here is a detail of the incredible beadwork…

…  here is the veil…

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

and the princess heels to go with it!

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Not to forget: headpiece, earrings and of course – the rings…

 

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Hassan was meanwhile busy getting ready himself…

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

For their First Look, bride and groom were allowed into the famous Presidential Suite – the Fairmont Penthouse – where so far every president of the United States has stayed when visiting San Francisco.

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

This is the view a president would enjoy from the patio – and here is the library with the hidden escape route (accessible through a movable bookshelf in the upper story)…

… a route that was purportedly used by Marilyn Monroe for her secret rendezvous with J.F. Kennedy. Definitely a very, very special spot for a First Look!

From there, Shifteh and Hassan went onto an extended photo tour with their photographers Evonne and Darren  and videographers of Mario & Fran Productions.

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Meanwhile, frantic preparations by the Fairmont team led by Jenni Rowe, my assistant Lisa and myself were underway to get everything ready for the Persian wedding ceremony, Cocktail Hour and dinner reception.

The ceremony was held in the Pavilion Room, with a sofreh by Lili Ghazian of Aroosi by Lili, centered under an enormous Beaux-Arts chandelier.

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Here comes the bride on her father’s arm, preceded by Persian violinist extraordinaire Pourya Khademi:

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

The traditional ceremony was officiated – bilingually! – by Dr. Payman Amiri, with a very lighthearted touch that made everyone smile!

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Following tradition, the bride’s sisters and sisters-in-law showered the couple with “sweetness” by rubbing sugar over their heads.

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

 

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

After the ceremony, the couple was showered with precious gifts – mostly jewelry – another beloved Persian custom. Guests were meanwhile enjoying cocktails in the adjacent Rooftop Garden, a little urban oasis…… to the accompaniment of violinist Pourya – whose familiar Persian tunes literally touched the heartstrings of all guests with sweet memories.

Dinner was served in the Crown Room on the top, 24th floor of the Fairmont Tower, all decked out in champagne linens, gold toned draperies, and glorious tall centerpieces of roses, hydrangeas, chrysanthemums and orchids from Rose Express Florist

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

… and chargers and chairs from Hensley Event Resources. Everything came together just perfectly.

 

For favors, the Mother of the Groom had prepared glittery organza bags filled with white and gold Jordan almonds, tied with personalized ribbon…

… a true labor of love! A memorial table was also part of the arrangements.

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

A mini sofreh adorned the room…

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

 

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

… and another table was literally bending under trays and trays of delicious Persian sweets:

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Guests found their seats with elegant escort cards lined up in the foyer of the Crown Room:

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

… and with that, we were ready for the Grand Entrance of the newlyweds. These two gave a whole new meaning to the “grand” in “Grand Entrance!” Like royalty, they were accompanied by violinist Pourya…… and dancers from Niosha Dance Academy, one of them the bride’s younger sister, dancing in honor of the couple.

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

 

After that, it was time for a lavish four-course dinner, toasts and speeches, while darkness fell and the City below began to sparkle like a box of jewels:

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

The couple quickly stole away for a few dramatic photos with Pourya …

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

… on the Grand Staircase. When they returned, it was already time for their First Dance as a married couple:

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

With that, the dance floor was officially open! Guests had the choice between rousing music by DJ Alireza and fun at the SnapFiesta photo booth. Most of them did, of course, both!

Another highlight of the evening was cake cutting…

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

… which in the Persian tradition is by far not as easy as it sounds: the groom first has to obtain the cake knife from a succession of dancing ladies who are teasing him and expect to be paid off generously before surrendering the knife! Eventually, after an extended Knife Dance, they let Hassan have the knife…

… and the couple’s first official task of cutting the cake together proceeded without a hitch. What else? Bouquet Toss, of course!

Shifteh tossed, and a single young lady caught it – so she is next in line for a celebration as glorious as Shifteh’s and Hassan’s. The evening came to a close far too soon, and everyone went home tired and happy.

Many happy years together, Shifteh and Hassan, and dance on…

Shifteh and Hassan Wedding Day

 

Let us create YOUR unique wedding celebration, too!

♥ Visit A Day Like No Other and enjoy our brochure!  ♥

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then finally the great moment had come…

And here they are – just married!

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

Let us create YOUR unique wedding celebration, too!

♥ Visit A Day Like No Other and enjoy our brochure!  ♥

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

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

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

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

accompanied by true Cinderella slippers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After the couple’s First Dance,

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

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

Let us create YOUR unique wedding celebration, too!

♥ Visit A Day Like No Other and enjoy our brochure!  ♥

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

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

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

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

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Ready for the ceremony – here are the rings!

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… and the dress…

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… a boutonniere…

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… and the breathtaking bridal bouquet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Outside, we were treated to a beautiful sunset:

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

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

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

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… and the Wonderbread 5 band got the crowd going…

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

Is Blue The All-Purpose Bridesmaid Dress Color?

By guest author Wendy Dessler

bridesmaids-rainbow-dresses

Blue has been considered a primary color for weddings for centuries. Many of us assume it is because blue is so beautiful and easily accented, that it works well with any venue. This is all true. But to find why blue has held on in the rainbow of colors for so long, we have to look to history.

You have probably heard the rhyme associated with brides, “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” This was more than a rhyme during the Victorian era. This was a recipe for a happy marriage and one people strongly believed in. Something old represented something passed down in the bride’s family that signified her family always would be there for her. Something new was an item to represent a new hope and a new life as a wife. Something borrowed was an item loaned from a happily married woman, who passed her happiness and hopes on to the new bride. Something blue was a symbol of a true and faithful union. Blue represented purity and honor.

In ancient Rome, brides wore blue as a statement to their modesty and fidelity. Christian customs also use blue as a sign of purity. Many ancient pictures and statues of the Virgin Mary show her dressed in blue. As time evolved, brides moved toward the white gown for themselves, but in order to have the blessing of history, kept the color blue in their wedding in the form of blue bridesmaids dresses.

Modern blue

Today’s bride is looking for a more dramatic blue. She wants something more elegant than pastels and less harsh than navy. The ink blue bridesmaid dress is a perfect choice. A deep and rich blue that is tasteful and lovely, yet softer and more easily worn than the darker blues. A fantastic publication that will give you ideas on how to incorporate blue into your wedding is www.TheKnot.Com.

Accessories

Silver, sparkle, and crystals pop with ink blue. This is the color of refined class. However, ink blue is worn well with plum and purple. It pairs well with cream, wine, and gray. While ink blue bridesmaids dresses are elegant, by carefully choosing an accessory color, it can easily fit into any wedding location. Style Me Pretty is a good resource on how to tastefully add your bridal accessories.

Florals that work

The beautiful thing about ink blue is you can use a wide array of floral arrangements. Bouquets of simple peach roses are beautiful with blue. A floral arrangement of red and white roses is a classy and elegant addition. Take the flowers to the next level by adding in a few blue hydrangeas. There are few flowers that will not pair well with blue.

There is a final line of the “something old, something new” rhyme. The final line reads, “And a sixpence in her shoe.” A sixpence was a coin made in Britain for four centuries. It was worth about six cents. The tradition was for a bride to slip a sixpence in her shoe at her wedding and it was to bring her wealth throughout her married life. Whether you believe in folklore or not, add a pop of blue to your wedding and have a beautiful union!

 

About the author:

Wendy is a super-connector with OutreachMama and Youth Noise NJ who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition. You can contact her on Twitter.

 

 

 

LaRay and Nathan – Couture and Elegance on a Spectacular Cliff

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

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

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

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

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

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Arriving guests were treated to a bar…

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

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

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

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During the ceremony, the couple released Monarch butterflies…

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… who felt right at home among all those flowers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CREDITS:

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

 

 

Sandra and Jacob at Hidden Villa

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

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

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

Look how beautiful it all turned out to be:

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

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

Meanwhile Jacob was also getting ready.

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Dress, shoes and jewelry were waiting…

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… and now Sandra is ready to meet her groom.

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First Look!

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

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

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The ceremony took place outdoors …

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… under a rustic chuppah …

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… and “Here Comes the Bride!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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… and simple garden flower arrangements adorned the tables.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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