Like everyone else, I am sheltering at home – and like many colleagues in the wedding industry, all my projects are on hold. Never one to sit still and twiddle my thumbs, I had to come up with something to do: something constructive. Stranded without my regular work and without any crafts supplies, I found my creative outlet in my kitchen!
One of my motivations – the shortage of our fresh grocery supply, something we used to take for granted… Now suddenly it’s NOT a given to get everything I want in the one grocery trip I’m doing every two weeks. Yoghurt, for example. Here’s our favorite:
Comes in pretty little glass jars, too – and I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away anyways, darn cute as they are. So I now have a whole collection of them… why not refill them with my own concoction?!
So, bear with me. Half a gallon milk and two tablespoons of probiotic yoghurt as a starter, and six hours (of Instantpot incubation) later…
… my milk had thickened – but not enough yet. Still too runny. Next step: drain through a cheesecloth for a good 2 hours!
That worked! The result was very much like creamy yoghurt – which I enriched with a little heavy cream. However… the yield was only about half my original volume. The rest was just liquid.
Time to fill my little glass pots. Bottom layer: two heaping teaspoons of our favorite jams (Bonne Maman Black Cherry and Smucker’s Sweet Orange), topped with my precious yoghurt.
That’s all I got from half a gallon of milk to start with – so that better be good… off to the fridge, and after chilling overnight, we’ll have the “moment of truth” tomorrow morning. (This is my third time – it IS good!!)
Oh, BTW: if you try it yourself, don’t discard the yoghurt liquid. It’s perfect for my Irish Soda Bread recipe which I’ll share in a day or two. Put your whey liquid in the fridge until then!
Here’s to International Relations! Bride and groom actually met while studying – you guessed it! – International Relations (plus an MBA on top of that…), and what they entered into was, in fact, a very international (and for the longest time, long-distance) relationship: Marcelo is originally from Argentina, studied in Philadelphia, where he met Katie, originally from the SF Bay Area – but she had lived in West Africa for four years for her work… in no time, the two bridged any international issues and became inseparable, albeit in separate locations; only a few months before their wedding, they actually, finally, were able to move into their first shared home.
Given that they both were living and working far apart and far away, Katie’s parents and family friend Alice stepped in to take the lead for a truly memorable, truly big (280 guests) and extremely elegant wedding celebration for their only daughter, and they brought my company, A Day Like No Other, on board to come up with ideas and make them a reality for that one glorious day in October when all our yearlong hard work came to fruition.
Katie and her bridesmaids got ready at the house of Katie’s parents.
Fiona Tsang of Urban Beauty Loft and her assistants worked their magic on the bride, bridesmaids and mothers, and photographer Taralynn Lawton (all photos in this feature are by her!) and videographer Jesse Eckel of Owl & Tree Films captured it all, including Katie’s diaphanous wedding dress…
… and all the pretty details.
And here is a timeless mother-and-daughter moment…
Florist Janelle Jacky-Litt of Green Petal Designs delivered Katie’s bridal bouquet and all other personal flowers (and then started floral installation for the festivities)…
Marcelo and his groomsmen were also dressing up…
With that, bride and groom were ready for their First Look at the Municipal Rose Garden in San Jose…
Isn’t it romantic?!
While bride and groom were busy taking many, many pre-ceremony photos, my team, multiple vendor crews and family friend Alice were hard at work (actually, everyone had started work in the early morning hours…) to transform the chosen venue – the Palo Alto Hills Golf & Country Club – for Katie’s and Marcelo’s ceremony and reception. Annette Boyd Kevranian of Method42 Productions and her crew were rigging suspended floral decor and string lights and installing draping; the venue team led by onsite manager Brittany Rieland set up tables, chairs and lounge furniture and set the dining tables; my assistants and I were setting up signage and completing table settings; and…
florist Janelle brought the beautiful parklike surroundings inside by adorning every easel, railing and surface with trailing vines, visually connecting the outdoor ceremony setting with the indoor spaces for the reception.
Once the ceremony setup was in place, DJ Henry Kim of BIG FUN Disc Jockeys installed a sound system, and the Synchronicity String Quartet arrived to serenade the bridal party and the guests at the ceremony.
Hand fans doubled as ceremony programs…
… and soon enough guests were arriving (shuttled in style by Le Grande Affaire), and the ceremony began. Officiated by a longtime friend of the bride’s family, it was heartfelt and authentic – it does not get more personal than that!
The newlyweds had more photos to take…
… while their guests were treated to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres on the elegantly appointed patio.
Cozy lounge furniture and color-coordinated blankets beckoned; living green trees were literally bringing the gardens to the patio… and built-in heaters provided warmth against the late Fall evening chill. To keep guests well entertained, a photo booth by The Laugh Box provided unlimited fun!
Indoors, a guest book table was used to display a personal photo gallery…
… whose backdrop, a natural stone wall, was filled with flowers in every niche and “overgrown” by gracefully trailing vines – all the masterpiece of florist Janelle.
Then it was time for dinner! The dining room had been transformed into an indoor garden scenery with string lights, living trees, a giant floral arrangement suspended above the Head Table, stunning tall floral centerpieces, white-washed Chiavari chairs and elegant place settings.
Once all guests were seated, the new Mr. & Mrs. opened the lavish dinner buffet with their Grand Entrance.
Over dinner, Katie’s Dad surprised everyone with an outrageous performance:
He expertly “decapitated” a bottle of Champagne with a saber!
The two clearly enjoyed the evening! What else was there to do? Cutting the wedding cake (from Studio Cake)…
… and opening the dessert buffet of Argentinian cake specialties…
… and dancing, of course! DJ Henry Kim – who also served as our bilingual MC – kept the crowd going with the perfect mix of Argentinian tunes and international favorites.
That opened the dance floor to all guests.
It truly was an “International Summit” and an epic party! Keep celebrating life and love on your shared journey, Katie and Marcelo!
So you got engaged, and you’ve jumped headfirst into planning your Great Day. You were full of joy and anticipation, and maybe you were overwhelmed at first by the sheer amount of “moving parts” that go into the probably biggest party you’ve ever planned in your life. Your Spring 2020 wedding date is drawing close – and suddenly EVERYTHING comes crashing down. COVID-19 has hit many, many couples. Hard. As a wedding planner, I am in the middle of all this heartbreak, disappointment and frustration, trying to help my couples as much as I can.
And now I’m trying to help everyone else out there as well by sharing my professional expertise and advice. I can’t make the situation go away – but maybe I can ease it a little bit for you…
Let me start by saying that I’ve had a couple of wedding re-schedulings over the years, mostly due to illnesses in the family. These situations did not leave my couples any choice, either, so they had to cope as best they could. I would like to share the story of Kate … with its double complication. Her wedding date had been set and her venue booked, in Carmel Valley. Everything seemed to be “on track.” Then, at her Bachelorette Party (!), Kate had a near-fatal accident. Her doctors prepared her parents for the worst. A miracle happened: not only did Kate survive, contrary to all expectations she made a nearly full recovery. Of course, nothing else counted at that time! When Kate was well enough to think of her wedding again – wildfires were engulfing Carmel Valley. Following through with her original wedding plans or even with her original venue was out of the question. At that point, her mother booked my company, A Day Like No Other, to help with rescheduling and actually, starting over again. A few months later than planned, Kate had a dream wedding at a dream venue (the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Half Moon Bay), and she was able to be on the dance floor with her new husband and join back into “normal life” which had become – the most unexpected and most precious gift of all to her.
The downside? One deposit of several thousand dollars was lost. That, in the end, was the only real damage. Needless to say, Kate, her husband and her parents are simply thankful.
Let’s take our cue from that. Please, let’s simply be thankful to be safe and healthy. We can make everything else work!
Here are a few ideas, developed in discussions with those of my couples who had to reschedule… maybe one of them might be a good idea for you as well?
If you have a valid marriage license (chances are: you do!), then you can get married at your home or a friend’s home in a small, intimate ceremony; something like an elopement – you two, your officiant plus parents and siblings only. The “big party” could then be rescheduled to a later date when everything’s back to normal.
If you want to go that route – contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org); I am happy to help you organize that, together with my extensive network of trusted vendors in the SF Bay Area. Here is how: I’ll find you an officiant; many of the top-notch catering companies that you might have booked for your wedding now deliver their delicious food to private homes. There’s your wedding menu! I can get you a photographer to capture the moment (wearing a face mask, if you wish!), a florist who makes you a beautiful bouquet from whatever is available right now, and leaves it on your doorstep – no direct contact necessary, and we can even get you a small wedding cake. Have a glass of champagne and savor the moment… Whether this has ever been done, you want to know? Oh yes, by choice, actually… look at this couple, and how beautiful their wedding day was. The smallest wedding I’ve ever done!
Rescheduling the big party – maybe to the Fall of this year – might even have its advantages. One of my couples had originally planned for an outdoor wedding in early April at a beautiful venue – with notoriously fickle weather due to its exposed location. We were already discussing tenting (a costly proposition), heat lamps, bad weather plans… when the couple was forced to postpone their wedding date due to the shelter-at-home ordinance, the venue offered them a Saturday in early September at no extra cost – with the most glorious, stable weather conditions imaginable. Guess what? My couple is actually happy, relieved and full of new anticipation!
So far, all the venues and vendor in my network have been extremely flexible and accommodating, so do not hesitate to ask YOUR venue and vendors! Most couples will want to keep their venue, so that’s where you ask first. Then you try to line up your vendors and find solutions with those who are unavailable on your new date. Even if your contract stipulates non-refundability of your deposit, your vendor might make an exception or agree to “share the damage” with you. Again, we are happy to help with all of that – contact us at email@example.com. Your initial consultation is actually free!
Hard as it may be at this point – let’s try to see the proverbial silver lining and make your wedding unique, personal and unforgettable, no matter what!
Here is my last wedding of the 2019 season, and a beautiful one at that! Hannah and Matt decided to tie the knot pretty much on the day of their two-year anniversary. Matt had nearly sworn off relationships completely, and Hannah had simply taken her time – but when the two met, the attraction was instantaneous. Very soon, the two became loving parents to rescue dog Kiki, a 10-lb furry white ball of love. One thing led to another – and ultimately everything led them to getting married!
Many months of planning with my company, A Day Like No Other, did pay off last Saturday at Mavericks House in Half Moon Bay, beautiful, nautical-inspired event space right on the water.
Hannah got ready next door, at the Inn at Mavericks, with gorgeous views over the Half Moon Bay harbor. Hair and makeup stylist Hanh Cao worked her magic on a bride who otherwise rarely wears makeup – and the results were downright stunning!
Hannah admitted that every time throughout the day when she looked at herself in the mirror – she smiled. That says it all!
Her bridesmaids dressed in beautifully coordinated seaglass colors…
… then they all, including the bride’s sister/Maid of Honor, helped Hannah into her wedding dress…
… elegant, timeless and unfrilly as Hannah prefers it, with a lace top and a soft and feminine tulle skirt – so pretty!
A true “sister-to-sister” moment!
Then there were Hannah’s princess slippers with a LOT of “bling…”
… and her stunning bridal bouquet (from Green Petal Designs – who created floral decor throughout) in Fall colors.
Hannah had requested a loose, effortless, feminine style, and florist Janelle Jacky-Litt “delivered” with an unexpected combination of rust-colored orchids and roses, astilbe, grasses and even air plant in the bouquet, all finished with a teal wrap around the stems as a little peek preview to the couple’s favorite color as the star of their decor.
The groom and groomsmen got matching boutonnieres – just as pretty (only a lot smaller…).
Ready for their “First Look” – always a very emotional moment…
The wooden ceremony arch (with its spectacular backdrop of endless views over the Pacific) was decorated in similar style with large sprays of Fall flowers.
The ceremony was officiated by a family member who found the most personal words – half fun, half gravitas – for Hannah and Matt, while their favorite music was played by DJ Ron Israel of Spotlight Occasions.
While the couple was taking many, many photos with photographer Frank J. Lee (wait until you see HIS photos! So far all we have are my cellphone snapshots…), guests flocked to the Cocktail patio and the fire tables and heat lamps as the sun began to disappear and it was getting quite chilly.
The Mavericks team under leadership of Lisa Graye, florist Kelly of Green Petal Designs, and my assistant Melinda and I were busy putting finishing touches on the dining room decor.
The couple had chosen their favorite color, teal, for table cloths, a perfect complement to the colors of the sea outside and the muted blues and greys of the venue; and Fall colors in hues of rust and orange with lots of candlelight for their table decor – a beautiful combination.
Seasonal pumpkins played table card holder…
… and gourds and mini pumpkins “rubbed shoulders” with exquisite roses and rustic leaves, grasses and thistles.
The couple’s delicious all-vegan wedding cake (by Christian Roeder of Krumbs Cakes) played along with textural details… and unexpected flowers!
The couple’s First Dance opened the dance floor…
… and DJ Ron kept the joyful, upbeat vibe going for the late-night revelers.
The newlyweds were headed to their “mini moon” (to be followed by their “real” honeymoon later), and guests were shuttled back to their hotels in style (by Le Grande Affaire Transportation).
What a party! Wishing Hannah and Matt a lifetime of happiness!
When Macy and Josh contacted my company, A Day Like No Other, for help with their wedding planning, one thing was clear from the get-go: with their 70-hour work weeks, they would need help. A lot of help! So I had my work cut out for me. They had chosen a spectacular venue for their nuptials, Thomas Fogarty Winery in Woodside – an elegant setting surrounded by vineyards, high up on a mountain ridge, with endless views of Silicon Valley and on to the San Francisco skyline.
Their top priority for their wedding day was to spend quality time with their families and friends – the one most precious thing in their lives! Their celebration would be simple and elegant, and, above all, relaxed and comfortable for all their guests. No glitz, no frills. The many months we had for planning simply flew by, and Labor Day weekend – wedding weekend! – was suddenly upon us. On a beautiful, warm, sunny Saturday, under blue skies and a slight breeze, all our planning work finally came to fruition; have a look!
For Macy and her bridesmaids, the day began with hair and makeup services by Jira Couture, and then both the ladies and groom Josh and his groomsmen convened at Fogarty Winery. With a little help from her bridesmaids…
… Macy got into her showstopper backless lace dress…
… picked up her summery, feminine bridal bouquet in all purple hues (by Green Petal Designs who provided floral decor throughout)…
… and Josh also dressed up to the nines …
for the bride’s and groom’s First Look and many, many photos by Frank J. Lee.
They are such an attractive couple!
Soon enough, their guests began arriving (by shuttle from Destination Systems), and it was time for the ceremony.
Befitting the location, big wine barrels topped by lush flower arrangements marked the spot where the two were about to say their vows …
… accompanied by the sound of an acoustic guitar version of wedding classics, courtesy of Spanish guitarist Jay Alvarez.
The ceremony was officiated by a family member who had already married a good number of her relatives in years past – a natural choice for Macy and Josh!
After the ceremony, the couple had many more photos to take solo, with their families, and with their bridesmaids and groomsmen…
while their guests enjoyed Cocktail Hour on the open patio ….
… and my team – assistants Stephanie and Melinda and myself – the Toast Catering team and florist Janelle all put the finishing touches on the dining setup in the Winery Pavilion.
For centerpieces, Macy and Josh had opted for elegant potted orchids which guests would take home and enjoy for a long time to come.
After dinner, another surprise was waiting for the guests: Tucker’s Ice Cream was serving delicious flavors from their nostalgic cart, emblazoned with the motto, “Life is Uncertain/Eat Dessert First!” (We couldn’t agree more…)
After that, there was no holding back – from dancing! DJ Woody Miraglia of BIG FUN Disc Jockeys got everyone on the dance floor in no time.
Photographer Frank snuck the newlyweds out for just one spectacular sunset shot – isn’t that a sight to behold?
It certainly was a great party for everyone.
Wishing you a lifetime of happiness, Macy and Josh!
First of all, this couple and their families are VERY private – so all we are allowed is a little peek at all the beautiful details of this incredible wedding celebration. My company, A Day Like No Other, had the honor of supporting the Mother of the Bride in creating an epic summer wedding for the couple, and we literally planned and designed over the course of nearly a year. It all paid off on a warm and sunny Sunday in mid-August at Thomas Fogarty Winery in Woodside … have a look!
The bride and her bridesmaids started the day with hair and makeup services by Sarah Hyde, and the bride’s lush bouquet in vibrant summer colors (by Nancy Liu Chin Designs who created floral decor throughout) …
… and her Cinderella slippers…
… complemented her elegant lace wedding dress perfectly.
Photographer extraordinaire Danny Dong captured it all…
After the ceremony, guests were treated to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres by Global Gourmet Catering (who also provided dinner and desserts)
– and to dinner in an eye-catching set-up of bare wooden tables, crossback chairs, mixed in with round tables with linens – an evocation of the rustic elegance of Tuscany.
Of course, the Sweetheart Table received extra-special treatment!
… and we also had a cozy, quiet corner to take a little break from the festivities!
After dinner, everyone congregated on the dance floor – DJ Woody Miraglia of BIG FUN Disc Jockeys made sure that entertainment was a great success. In addition to that, bride, groom and all their guests had a blast taking silly pictures at Night Owl Photo Booth. Even such a memorable party has to come to an end… and guests were chauffeured home in comfort by Corinthian Ground Transportation. Everyone agreed – this was the ultimate summer wedding!
After a more than seven-year courtship, Audrey and Niko decided to make their union official – and to do that in the presence of more than 300 guests. An epic party, in short! Their longtime friend, my assistant Quan at A Day Like No Other, had taken on the huge task of planning every detail of their Great Day.
The couple had chosen a venue with spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline: the Seminary at Strawberry in Mill Valley, just across the SF Bay, and last week it all came together on a beautiful sunny Spring day under blue skies and with a slight breeze. Absolutely perfect!
Bride Audrey and her bridesmaids started very early in the day with hair and makeup services by Maya of Dreamcatcher Artistry.
She and her bridesmaids definitely had a great time together!
Audrey received a gorgeous diamond necklace as a wedding gift from her groom…
… and it was the perfect complement to her low-cut, elegant lace wedding dress.
Next – high heels (gorgeous lacy ones) and the rings…
… and finally, her pretty bridal bouquet by Willow Floral Design (who also provided the ceremony florals). Photographer Kat Ma and videographer Jeremy Quans captured it all, all day long! (All photos by Kat Ma Photography, unless noted otherwise).
Niko and his groomsmen were also dressing up “to the nines…”
Ready for the traditional Tea Ceremony (for which Audrey wore a beautiful red lace dress)!
The bride traveled in style to her “First Look” location (her Dad chauffeured her in his fire-engine-red Corvette!)…
… and then it was time for many, many photos of the couple and the bridal party.
Very soon, the first ones of the couple’s 300 guests were arriving…
Now, how do 300 guests find their assigned tables? Here it was a whimsical display of pretty name lists on vintage shutters.
Time for the Great Entrance of the couple and their bridal party – BUT with a huge, unexpected twist: an authentic Lion Dance by Tenny Lee and his troupe!
The couple presided over it all from their Sweetheart Table.
The groom and his groomsmen had prepared a surprise performance for the bride:
More surprises were awaiting their guests: with reverence for the Star Wars movies (the couple’s all-time favorite), guests received “chop sabers” (light-up chopsticks) for their 10-course Chinese Banquet dinner!
Trulee Memorable provided their photo booth as additional guest entertainment – a HUGE hit!
In between, the newlyweds quietly “stole away” for Sunset photos…
And when they returned and had completed their traditional table visits, they went on to cut their cake (by Tony’s Cakes) …
… toss a bouquet…
… and a garter…
… and then the dance floor was opened to everyone. Oh – I nearly forgot – we had a traditional Money Dance as well…