“At Last….” – Nana and Raymond are Getting Married!

Nana’s and Raymond’s courtship had been long and anything but straightforward… Fate definitely played tricks on those two! Having known each other for more than a decade, having lived and studied on the same university campus for several years without even being aware of one another, striking up a friendship – then ending up on different sides of the continent, until finally, at long last, they did find one another. As Nana said in her vows – she suddenly realized during their long-distance relationship that she wanted nothing more than being with Raymond, even if it meant moving from Boston to San Francisco. From then on, nothing held the two back any more. Fast-forward to wedding planning: Here is where my company, A Day Like No Other, came in. After all that wait time, Nana and Raymond jumped into preparations in high gear!

After eight months of high-intensity planning and more than 600 emails back and forth, all our hard work came to fruition last Saturday on a perfect Bay Area September day – sunny, warm, blue skies, a slight breeze. A dream!

For Nana and her bridesmaids, the day started with hair and makeup services by Wowpretty Salon – owner Jira personally took care of the bride who otherwise never, ever wears makeup… and transformed her into a classic beauty with an embellished updo and a very natural-looking makeup.

This style fit perfectly with the gorgeous wedding dress Nana had chosen at Novella Bridal Salon: heavy ivory silk duchesse in a ballgown style, its only embellishment (in addition to its perfect proportions) a long row of tiny buttons running the whole length down the back of the dress and unto its impressive train.

With that, Nana became a modern-day Grace Kelly!

Her bouquet, as well as the bridesmaids’ bouquets, boutonnieres, ceremony decor and centerpieces, had been created by Marie Krick of San Francisco Bay Blooms, in a summery palette of ivory, peach and orange, with David Austin roses the stars of the flower lineup …

… and with her updo, dress and flowers Nana resembled a fragile porcelain doll!

For their ceremony and reception venue, Nana and Raymond had chosen the Peacock Gap Clubhouse (on the Peacock Gap golf course with endless views of green rolling hills) in San Rafael. Fittingly, the bride traveled to her First Look location in an embellished golf cart!

While the couple was out for photos with their photographer Frank J. Lee and video team of Love Unique Studios, the Peacock Gap venue crew under leadership of events director Moira Gubbins, DJ Ron Israel of Spotlight Occasions, and my assistant Trisha and myself were busy putting the finishing touches on the setup. The ceremony area needed to be prepared, and florist Marie and her team adorned the wooden arbor with gorgeous summer flowers.

Soon enough, the first guests were arriving.

Ceremony time! Here comes the bride on her father’s arm…

… and here is the moment for her Dad to “let go” and “give her away” to Raymond.

Officiant “Minister Maggie” (Maggie Beretz) had prepared a very personal ceremony text for the couple and conducted the ceremony in her typical warmhearted, charming way with a dose of good humor.

Nana and Raymond had both prepared their own vows in the format of a personal letter which they read to each other – for the very first time! – during the ceremony.

Just married – and giddy with happiness!

Time for a group photo with all their more than 100 guests who had come from as far as Taiwan, the East Coast and elsewhere all over the country.

After conclusion of Cocktail Hour, guests were invited into the dining room. Even the escort card table had received a little sprinkle of rose petals in the couple’s wedding colors.

Tables were resplendent in ivory and peach…

… with extra special treatment for the couple’s Sweetheart Table, of course!

The rest of the evening went by way too fast… with a surprise slideshow that the couple’s friends and families had put together for them, table visits and a lot of fun for everyone with the infamous “Shoe Game!”

What else? Cake cutting, of course! Krumbs Cakes had created a mouthwatering confection topped with fresh berries…

… and Nana and Raymond performed their official first task as husband and wife – cutting that cake – with bravura.

The cake was a huge hit – at the end of the evening not a crumb was left!

Once  Cake Cutting was done, Nana and Raymond enjoyed their First Dance as a married couple, and they actually performed a complicated routine. At the last moment, it turned out that this dance routine was hard to execute in Nana’s “big” wedding dress – so she quickly slipped into a simple short dress. It looked a bit plain without embellishment… but: we were surrounded by the most beautiful flowers! A ribbon and an exquisite orange rose were our friends, and voila: here they are!

The couple’s First Dance opened the dance floor for everyone, and the ensuing dance party to the tunes of DJ Ron Israel completed the evening. Guests agreed: it was beautiful. Everyone left with a big smile on their faces.

Nana and Raymond: may you forever be as happy together as on your wedding day, and keep dancing!

 

 

 

Lovefest under Majestic Redwoods: Julianne and Grayson

Bride Julianne contacted my company, A Day Like No Other, ten months ahead of time for help with coordinating her wedding – and even then she already knew exactly what she wanted. She and her fiance had just chosen their venue – Deer Park Villa in Marin County, a secret garden, hidden behind a long driveway, and shaded by tall Redwood trees:… and they had also decided on the overall style of their celebration: rustic-elegant, with an outdoor ceremony and reception and a dance party inside the “villa” (mostly because of the local noise ordinance), relaxed and fun, but with some formal elements: metallic rose gold accents to complement their wedding colors of grey, blush pink and dark red.

Aside from that, guest experience was very important for them, and they added a lot of fun elements into the mix.

Last Friday, it all came together on a balmy summer evening.

Julianne and her bridesmaids began the day with hair and makeup services (by Girl with a Curling Iron), while Grayson and his groomsmen had free time. When their black SUVs arrived to take them to Deer Park Villa, they were in high spirits and, inspired by those “presidential” looking vehicles, mimicked a bunch of Secret Service agents!

Meanwhile, the Deer Park Villa team, my assistant Myrtle and I and most of our vendors were already busy getting all the elaborate decor set up that bride Julianne had pulled together throughout her planning time – from various signs..

to a Polaroid guestbook station…

Then there was the ceremony setup to be completed, with seat assignments for guests and with a chuppah that got draping and gorgeous flower decor from Angella Floral Arts.

The bride had requested to reserve a special seat for her mother whom she had lost way too early… such a sweet touch, and so moving…

The team of Ray’s Catering was busy preparing food and pre-setting the dining tables, the venue team readied the bars, our DJ (Runaway DJs) set up sound for all ceremony areas. Our photographer (Alexander Richardson of Love Tribe Weddings) and videographer (Ron Tse of FilmorePro) were capturing every moment, from First Look on throughout the evening. (Just wait until you see THEIR photos and video – until then, all we have are snapshots by me and my assistant).

Here is the impressive lineup of bridesmaids and groomsmen…

… with the bridal bouquet, bridesmaids’ bouquets and groomsmen’s boutonnieres likewise created by Angella.

Here is one beautiful snapshot of the couple:

Then guests began arriving, and the great moment had come, the ceremony was about to begin. DJ Amin of Runaway DJs played all the wedding music the couple had personally chosen. Julianne was escorted in by her father.

Quite a dramatic dress, I’d say!

Here comes the bride:

The ceremony was officiated by a personal friend of the couple, under the beautifully decorated chuppah.

Following tradition, the ceremony was concluded by breaking a glass – and contrary to tradition, that was done by bride and groom together!

“You may now kiss the bride!”

Just married!

What followed was a long and joyful party – starting with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a delicious sit-down dinner under twinkling string lights …

… and with elegant place settings of rose-gold plates and cutlery on soft-grey linens…

Photo credit: Myrtle Ventura

…. and then: THE CAKE (by Kara’s Cupcakes).

Guests were then treated to ice cream sandwiches with fresh-baked cookies prepared onsite by The Pink Turtle Shoppe. Then it was time for dancing, and DJ Amir kept the crowd in high spirits! For additional guest entertainment, the couple had booked a Say Ya! photo booth which proved to be a real hit. And for those who needed a break, a S’mores station was set up outside around the fire pits…

… while in the now-deserted dining area a “special guest” made his appearance to pick up any dinner leftovers!

The party went on into the wee hours of the morning, and all guests agreed – that was unforgettable! For bride and groom, the festivities were not over yet – they were off to their Honeymoon on the Maldive Islands and to Thailand. Call that a “once-in-a-lifetime” occasion!

Wishing you a lifetime of happiness and many more celebrations together, Julianne and Grayson!

Wuhong and Yingjian: Sweet Southern China Memories at Thomas Fogarty Winery

When Wuhong and Yingjian booked my company, A Day Like No Other, to help with planning their wedding, I found out very soon that they are a very special couple to plan a wedding for. For both bride and groom it was important to honor their Chinese heritage, but in a modern way. They both are very discerning when it comes to food and wine. AND we just had a scant three months for our planning!

Needless to say, it was quite intense! From securing a beautiful venue to brainstorming colors and design elements, we were quite busy day after day. And yesterday it all came together beautifully at Thomas Fogarty Winery, high above Silicon Valley, with endless views under a clear blue sky and a warming sun.

For Wuhong and Shelly, her Maid of Honor, the day began with hair and makeup services by “Princess Sarah.” Once done, bride, groom, their mothers and their children all boarded a white stretch limousine (from Charmed Limousine Service) to take them up a winding mountain road to their wedding venue.

There, my assistants Quan and Stephanie and myself were already busy preparing everything for the great celebration. The Melons Catering team was setting up tables and chairs and preparing food in the kitchen. Florist Katharina Stuart delivered gorgeous flowers and began decorating the ceremony area.

We set up our personalized signage – we had incorporated  Wuhong’s and Yingjian’s custom wedding logo…

into a design featuring Southern Chinese motifs and also created matching table numbers (all designed by A Day Like No Other.)The gift/and guest book table also got a little nod to Chinese traditions with an authentic vintage birdcage.

Meanwhile, Wuhong was getting dressed, including high heels fit for royalty:

… and with that, she was ready to present herself to her groom for their First Look.

Photographer Gavin Farrington and his assistant captured every precious moment – just wait until you see THEIR photos! For the moment, you have to make do with our snapshots…

Then the great moment had come – time for the wedding ceremony. Serenaded by guitarist Chris Adgar-Beal, Wuhong walked down the aisle, toward her expectant groom.

The ceremony was officiated by Rev. John Sullivan who included a Chinese Tea Ceremony and his blessings and congratulations spoken in Mandarin (!) into the very personal  ceremony.

 

Following the ceremony: Off to many more family photos – while guests were enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres on the open deck. When it was time for dinner, guests found their table assignments in a sea of escort cards…

and then the newlyweds made their Grand Entrance:

Everyone then sat down to a veritable culinary feast, and the newlyweds of course presided over the congregation from their elevated Sweetheart Table.

More deliciousness was awaiting guests after dinner with a gorgeous dessert buffet and wedding cake by La Vie Douce Design.

But the party was by far not over yet! The couple performed their (well-rehearsed) First Dance to “La Vie en Rose,” sung live by the groom’s daughter, to the music provided by DJ Henry Kim of BIG FUN Disc Jockeys.

A dance performance by the “bridal team” (of junior bridesmaids and groomsmen) followed to entertain the guests…

… then funny games and, to conclude the evening, a festive sparkler send-off for the newlyweds.

It was a spectacular celebration! Congratulations and our very best wishes to Wuhong and Yingjian!

 

 

 

Delia and Chris – High Elegance at Thomas Fogarty Winery

Delia’s and Chris’ union is a match – well, made in Heaven. Delia has two beautiful grown daughters from her first marriage and had not expected to get married again in her lifetime. And for Chris it would be the first time EVER.

When Delia called my company, A Day Like No Other, for help with planning her dream wedding at Thomas Fogarty Winery in Woodside, California, I jumped at the opportunity.

I LOVE this venue! And I loved Delia’s “vision” for the design and decor as well. After many months of planning, vendor sourcing, designing and curating, developing floor plans and timelines, all our “labor of love” came together last Saturday on a perfect California summer day under blue skies, a warm sun and a light breeze, on top of the mountain ridge where this beautiful venue is located, overlooking all of Silicon Valley with views up to the San Francisco city skyline.

Delia arrived at Fogarty Winery together with her Maid of Honor, her “flower girl” and her two daughters Alivia and Madeline, in full hair and makeup done by her personal friends Connie Cook and Sofia Collazo. Photographer Megan Reeves and Videographer Justin Ferrar of Weddings on Film captured that precious moment of the bride getting dressed for her great moment… (and everything beyond that, too!)

… and here is a detail of her extraordinary veil, embellished with stunning embroidery and beading…

… plus “Cinderella slippers!”

 

Florist Jeffrey Adair of J Floral Art delivered an elegant, feminine bridal bouquet in shades of ice blue, ivory and silver…… with bridesmaids’ bouquets and boutonnieres to match. Next, he went on to install an incredible wrought-iron arch and to decorate it with matching floral arrangements for the ceremony, complement this with large arrangements flanking the aisle, and finally covering the aisle with a thick carpet of fresh ivory rose petals.

Harpist Erica Messer played prelude music (she brought her newest harp out for us for the first time!)

… as guests were arriving via shuttle bus (by Destination Systems) and welcomed…

… to an incredible setup with endless views.

Fans to combat the summer heat did double duty as ceremony programs.

Groom Chris was also preparing with the help of his brother and Best Man …

 

 

At 4:30 in the afternoon, the great moment had finally come! Delia had been adamant: following strictest tradition, she did not want Chris to see her before the ceremony. 

And here comes the bride, accompanied down the aisle by her daughters.


The ceremony was officiated by a close friend of the couple who found the most personal, moving words for them.

Just married – and so happy! While guests were enjoying Fogarty wines at Cocktail Hour on the deck…

… accompanied by delicious hors d’oeuvres courtesy of Toast Catering,

Chris and Delia had many more photos taken – among them, of course, their official wedding photo!

Soon enough it was time for dinner (by Toast Catering) in the open-air Pavilion, at dining tables beautifully set with silver Chiavari chairs, elegant ivory-moiré linens and stunning china, glassware and silverware from Hensley Event Resources, and with centerpieces from J Floral Art.

 

See’s chocolate candy favor boxes, menu cards and little herb bundles of rosemary and lavender, hand-tied with color-coordinated light-blue ribbon by the bride’s sister, completed the look.

Of course, the newlyweds’ Sweetheart Table, from which they were presiding over the congregation, received special treatment!

Guests were guided to their assigned tables by a whimsical, charming escort card board custom-made and hand-painted by A Day Like No Other.

Next up: the Grand Entrance of the bridal party and of the newlyweds!

After feasting on delicious salad and entrees, guests were treated to a mouthwatering selection of pastries and chocolates by Toast Catering.

 

The last highlight of the evening was Delia’s and Chris’ First Dance to the rousing tunes of DJ Stefano Bortolin of Big Fun Discjockeys.

Outside, as darkness fell, the scene turned downright magical…

 

Fogarty Winery is a very special place for very special moments – like this unforgettable wedding. Wishing you a lifetime of happiness, Delia and Chris!

French Country Charm at Thomas Fogarty Winery: Cristina’s and Dmytro’s Dream Wedding

Please meet one of my favorite clients EVER: Cristina and Dmytro – or Dima, as he is called by his friends. After more than a year of wedding planning with the two of them, they are now Cristina and Dima to me, too!

Cristina and Dima hired my company, A Day Like No Other, last year – to put together a really memorable celebration for them, including decor in a vintage French Country theme. I jumped at the opportunity to do that project! Taking my cues from Cristina’s favorite color – a soft French Blue – and a few Pinterest inspirations, I let my imagination take off, and the most wonderful thing happened: Cristina and Dima were thinking in the same direction, approved my ideas and let me “run with them.” It was a wonderful, shared creative process, bringing together many of my favorite vendors, and culminating yesterday in one of the most memorable weddings I’ve ever done.

I had the opportunity to design their invitations – which set the tone for their decor theme…

For their venue, the two had chosen Thomas Fogarty Winery – a spectacular location with endless views all over Silicon Valley.

Their “home base” for their wedding day was the Garden Court Hotel in Palo Alto, where both bride and groom and their attendants were getting ready. The ladies started early with hair and makeup styling by Miabel Artistry – and emerged as drop-dead gorgeous, red-carpet-worthy beauties.

And just look at her “princess slippers:” sparkly golden Jimmy Choo heels.

Stretch limousines from Le Grande Affaire – a white one for the ladies and a black one for the gents – pulled up, rolled out that proverbial red carpet (literally) and took everyone up that long, winding country road to the winery.

There, both Dmytro and Cristina put the finishing touches on their attire…

… with Cristina’s bridesmaids and mother very much involved!

Florist Natasha Kolenko had prepared the most beautiful bouquets for bride …

… bridesmaids…

… and boutonnieres for the gentlemen, too …

… evoking a summer day in the French countryside.

Ready for “First Look!”

Outside, not only the onsite events team, but many other vendors were already busy to get everything set up for the great moment – working hard at temperatures over 90 degrees! A glorious, sunny day, with blue skies, but really, really hot…

The catering team of La Bocca Fina set up all the tables and chairs. Linens and napkins – custom-made from blue-and-white Toile de Jouy fabric just for this event – from Wildflower Linens set the light blue French country theme …

… and china, flatware and glassware from Hensley Event Resources completed the look, down to the tiniest details.

Florist/stylist Natasha Kolenko provided centerpieces reminiscent of French country gardens – light blue, in loose, effortless arrangements, incorporating wildflowers and greenery for an overall charmingly nostalgic, feminine and soft effect. She even had a structure of untreated slender tree trunks custom-made to surround and frame the couple’s Sweetheart Table, with more summer flowers seemingly growing up and around this frame in the most natural fashion.

The arch for the ceremony mirrored this style perfectly; vintage-inspired vignettes of wine barrels and French wrought-iron garden chairs completed the “look.”

Guests were greeted by a custom-designed “Welcome” sign which I calligraphed myself – along with all the other signage for this wedding.

To add a little whimsy to their guestbook, I found a vintage typewriter for Cristina and Dmytro – with a time-worn sheet of typing paper asking guests to leave the couple a note…

Time for the ceremony! The Mersonacta String Quartet provided beautiful music for prelude and ceremony… and here comes the bride, in an elegant lace wedding dress from Nouvelle Vogue Bridal Salon, accompanied by both her parents.

The setting for the ceremony was nothing short of spectacular.

Our photographer Maria Hedengren, who had flown in from Finland just for this wedding, captured every precious moment.

“Minister Maggie” Beretz found the most personal and heartfelt words to unite these two in marriage.

“You may now kiss your bride!”

And here they are: JUST MARRIED!

Off to many more photos with Maria,

… while guests were directed to Cocktail Hour via custom signage mounted on an authentic vintage French bicycle (from Found Vintage Rentals) with a matching, flower-filled antique basket…

On the open deck, a well-stocked bar and a variety of hors d’oeuvres was waiting for the guests who enjoyed the sunshine and the views from vintage lounge furniture (from One True Love Vintage Rentals).

And then there was, of course, Night Owl Photo Booth for added entertainment!

Soon enough, guests were asked to find their dinner table assignments  on yet another custom sign by A Day Like No Other…… as dinner was ready – courtesy of Teri Menchini and her crew at La Bocca Fina, who had incorporated the couple’s favorite childhood foods from their home countries (Romania and Ukraine) into the menu.

Guest tables were not numbered, but named after famous algorithms; after all, Cristina and Dmytro are software engineers!

 

The newlyweds presided over the congregation of their 80+ guests from their elaborately decorated Sweetheart Table…

Photographer Maria whisked the newlyweds away for sunset photos – after all, we had a spectacular sunset on Wedding Day!

After dinner, guests were invited to the Hill House where Cristina and Dmytro performed their official first task as a married couple: cutting their cake. And that cake was a piece of art as none of the guests (or us vendors, for that matter) had ever seen before! Playing on the couple’s love for traveling and for math, patissier Gabrielle Feuersinger of Cake Coquette had made them a cake in the shape of a vintage suitcase, complete with travel stickers of their favorite destinations, topped with a stack of their favorite math books – and all of that so realistic-looking that more than one guest tried to pick up the books and leaf through them!! Needless to say that the cake underneath was super delicious, too…

Next stop: dancing!

Cristina and Dmytro presented their guests with an elaborate dance routine in the tradition of Russian ballet, dancing their First Dance to Shostakovich’s Valse no. 2 (remember the famous movie Doctor Zhivago? That’s when you swooned over that dance for the first time…) – in an expertly abridged version that DJ Woody Miraglia of Big Fun Dic Jockeys had created especially for them.

 

With that, the dance floor was officially opened for everyone, and DJ Woody kept the crowd going – and what a wild dance party that was!

But eventually even the best party has to come to a close… and guests took home little succulents as favors…

… to see love grow.

Jay of City Express Limousine service chauffeured guests back down the winding mountain road back to their hotels, and George Rose of Elegant Journey Limousines brought his “flagship” – a stunning 1927 Stutz limousine – as Cristina’s and Dmytro’s getaway car. We sent them off to their married bliss with a sparkler parade – that’s what I call an exit in high style!

Keep dancing, traveling and calculating math problems together, Cristina and Dmytro, and stay as crazy happy as you were on your Wedding Day!

 

Joan and Jim: They Did It Their Way

When Joan and Jim approached my company, A Day Like No Other, for help with planning their wedding, one thing was immediately clear: this would be a very unusual wedding planning project, indeed! For starters – only 8 weeks to go. Then: wedding day would not be a weekend day, but a Monday. The bride would not be wearing white. There would be only 3 guests – the couple’s adult children. No DJ, no dancing, but an extended photo tour through San Francisco. And so it went…

I was immediately on board, and, given the short time frame, jumped  into planning right away. What had initially looked like an easy, super-small project soon turned out to be trickier than expected. A dinner reservation in a San Francisco restaurant with a view? Not on a Monday – all leading restaurants are closed! The solution? An intimate dinner in the couple’s 21st floor suite at the Fairmont, with, hands down, the best views in the City. Wedding flowers – a gift from the couple’s rose-growing friends in Kenya – were supposed to arrive in time for the wedding, but the logistical challenges proved insurmountable. In the nick of time, we had to switch to “Plan B”, and florist Janelle Jacky-Litt of Green Petal Designs worked her magic on beautiful “replacement” roses very similar to those that didn’t make it to San Francisco. In short – the proverbial devil was in the details, and I had my hands full every single day of our 8-week planning phase!

Time flew by, and yesterday was Joan’s and Jim’s Great Day – expected to be an overcast, cold “SF summer” day, but turning out to be glorious and sunny.

As their “home base,” the couple had chosen a suite in the tower of the San Francisco Fairmont Hotel, with 270 degree views of the City, the Bay and three bridges…

For Joan and her daughter-in-law Jordan, the day began with makeup application by Adelina Eidlman of Glam by Adelina who had an opportunity to show off the whole spectrum of her abilities with a bride who is rarely wearing makeup and asked for a natural look – and her daughter-in-law who was going a little more glamorous. The result? Fabulous in both cases! Have a look…

The bride then slipped into her wedding dress – a soft lilac formal dress by St.John accompanied by sparkly Jimmy Choo heels – picked up her spectacular rose bouquet (by Janelle Jacky-Litt of Green Petal Designs -more of that later), and with that, she was ready for the day!

First off: an extended tour around San Francisco in a stretch limousine by City Express Limousine Service, chauffeured by Jay, the owner, himself, who took the bridal party to Union Square, the Palace of Fine Arts and even up a winding country road on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge for the most spectacular views of the Bridge, the Bay and the City. Photographer Gavin Farrington was riding along with them and recorded every precious moment (just wait until you see HIS photos – until then, all we have are my iphone snapshots…)

3 o’clock sharp – we all had to be at City Hall for Joan’s and Jim’s 3:30 ceremony.

The two had fallen in love with the spectacular architecture and the vibrant atmosphere of City Hall, and while waiting …

…  they witnessed quite a few other weddings taking place. Then it was finally their turn… and here they are, JUST MARRIED!

Raising a glass with their nearest and dearest:

… and, of course, one Mother-and-Son photo:

After their ceremony, the limousine took the bridal party to Joan’s and Jim’s sailboat at the South Beach Yacht Club for more photos – a very special moment for them, given how much time they are spending on the water!

While the bridal party was on photo tour, enjoying this sunny and windy San Francisco day, preparations were underway at the Fairmont to get everything ready in time for their intimate dinner for five in their suite. A table was set by the picture windows, with incredible views of the City…

… and adorned with the most beautiful roses, all arranged by Janelle of Green Petal Designs. These roses were a wedding gift from Joan’s and Jim’s friends whose Tambuzi rose farm in Kenya provides spectacular rose varietals to the British royals for THEIR weddings –  it does not get any better than that! Getting the roses from Kenya to San Francisco, however, proved much more complicated than getting them to Westminster Abbey – little did we know about the obstacles and regulations of international flower trade… In the end, we had to resort to a little ruse – since the Kenyan originals couldn’t be delivered to us in time, Green Valley Florals (local friends and colleagues of the Kenyan rose growers) stood in with their, very similar product – and it was glorious!

David Austin rose varietals in all shades of peach and pink, with enticing fragrance, adorned the dinner table, presided over the bedroom, and, of course – were the stars of the bridal bouquet. Florist Janelle took all these twists and turns in stride and made the room “shine” with her arrangements.

Time for a toast!  Joan’s and Jim’s cut-crystal champagne flutes were another present from dear friends…

An impromptu “First Dance” right then and there…

… and then it was time for dinner, accompanied by wines… you guessed it! also gifted by friends (Vidovich Vineyards). Joan and Jim are so well-loved!

And after that, the last highlight of the day was THE CAKE:

The newlyweds accomplished their first official task as a married couple with bravura:

Joan said it was an amazing day, shared with their children in a relaxed atmosphere, exactly how she and Jim had hoped it would be. They did it their way… keep on dancing, smiling, and sailing together, Joan and Jim, with the same happiness as on your wedding day!

 

Erin and Gabriel – Rustic Elegance with South-of-the-Border Charm

Erin and Gabe are super-busy young professionals – both physicians, working long hours. When they embarked on their wedding planning, they realized immediately that they would need support for all the details, the logistics, the design; in short, pretty much everything. I was honored that they chose my company, A Day Like No Other, to organize their preparations every step of the way.

We started with their exceptional venue, Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, a historic Spanish-Mediterranean compound surrounded by a beautiful, park-like garden. On Wedding Day, all the lush plantings were in full bloom, and despite a serious threat of rain in the weather forecast, we got incredibly lucky with sunshine and blue skies and were able to hold ceremony, Cocktail Hour and dinner outside, as planned.

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Hard to believe that this hidden gem is nestled into a quiet residential neighborhood right in the heart of Silicon Valley!

Erin and Gabe and their bridesmaids and groomsmen all got ready at the nearby Garden Court Hotel

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

… with hair and makeup services for the ladies by Fiona and Joey of Urban Beauty Loft.

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

The bride had chosen a beautiful ivory wedding dress with a lace top and flowing skirt – so young and elegant in its simplicity…

… Helping the bride into her dress is always a true mother-daughter moment…

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Florist Janelle Jacky-Litt of Green Petal Designs brought the bridal and bridesmaids’ bouquets – and they looked exactly like Erin had envisioned them! Not an easy feat as Erin’s favorite flowers are red Bougainvilleas which are notoriously fragile and do not last in bouquets and centerpieces. Not one to ever give up easily, Janelle came up with a master plan to cut these prized blooms onsite from living plants she brought in, only hours before the ceremony… and Erin got her dream bouquet! Here it is…

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

… accompanied, of course, by matching bridesmaids’ bouquets…

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

… and boutonnieres for the gentlemen.

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Groom …

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

… and groomsmen were also dressing up…

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Ready for “First Look!” Photographer extraordinaire Vicens Forns and his second shooter Ana Silva captured every precious moment throughout the day and evening.

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Bride and groom exchanged gifts right then and there – a wristwatch for the groom and stunning pearl-and-diamond earrings for the bride.

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Time for many, many photos, with the bridal party….

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

… and without!

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

All the while, the Day Like No Other team – assistants Lisa, Alexandra, and myself – was working frantically to get everything set up in time for the big celebration!

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

The ceremony was officiated by a close friend of the couple’s and accompanied by live music by the Hit Waves Unplugged duo – “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” for the processional.

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

It doesn’t get much more romantic than that! The bride was walked in by her Dad, as tradition prescribes…

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

During the very personal ceremony with several readings,

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

guests helped to fill a “time capsule” for the couple, to be opened on their fifth wedding anniversary.

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

And here they are, JUST MARRIED!

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Official wedding photo:

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Guests were treated to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres …

… on the adjacent patio – with a whole menu to choose from:

… with the pretty signage (including a program sign)…

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

… provided by the bride’s talented friend Jess. Of course, there was more fun waiting for the guests:

… and not only that: guests were also invited to watch dinner preparations: Two spectacular paellas (by Nora’s Spanish Catering) were cooking in the courtyard…

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

 

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

… and long rows of bare wooden tables (from Stuart Event Rentals) decked out with garlands and blooms in fiery reds and oranges (all by Green Petal Designs) were waiting for the guests.

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Place settings were adorned with olive branches …

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

… and – of course – the Sweetheart Table got “special treatment!”

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Whimsical “escort cards” showed guests their table assignments:

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Everyone was raving about the paella! With background music by DJ Sami Funk of Heart of Gold DJs, lively conversation and free-flowing Spanish wine, everyone was having a great time.

Next up: cake cutting! A pretty lemon-buttercream cake (from Cake Coquette) with more Bougainvilleas for decor was set up inside the “Sunset Room” on an antique table, alongside chocolates and cookies.

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

The back wall had been decorated with family heirlooms and photos …

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

… and surrounded by all these sweet memories and lots and lots of candlelight, the newlyweds performed their official first joint task as husband and wife – cutting the cake.

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

What now? First Dance, of course!

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Following that, there was no holding back – everyone hit the dance floor to the tunes of DJ Sami …

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

… under twinkling string lights from Stuart Event Rentals.

Guests took just one little break in between dancing, and that was when delicious fresh churros with chocolate sauce were served!

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

When this party did come to an end – it was on another high note: a sparkler exit to the most beautiful car imaginable, to take Erin and Gabe off to their married bliss:

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

A 1927 Stutz chauffeured by owner George Rose of Elegant Journey Limousines

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

Photo credit: Vicens Forns

With our best wishes on your lifelong journey together, Erin and Gabe, and may all your days be as happy as this one!

 

Kelly, Chris, Kay and Franklin: an Intimate Lovefest with Friends and Family

When Kelly and Chris decided to get married, it was clear from the get-go that they would need support for their planning: they both have high-powered jobs, they just moved to the Bay Area and are in the middle of a remodel, they have a young daughter, and they have a rambunctious puppy. In short, they have their hands full!

Enter A Day Like No Other to help organize and design… and everything came together beautifully yesterday. Even the Weather Gods took pity in us – despite all threats it did not rain, and it was not quite as unseasonably cold and windy as the days before; we even had some sunshine!

For Kelly, the day began with hair and makeup by Ming (Dreamcatcher Artistry) who transformed a pretty young woman into a stunning, red-carpet-worthy star. Kelly’s dramatic “backless” lace dress did the rest!

Photo credit: Juniper Spring

Crystal of Sweet Peas Floral Designs delivered a classic white bouquet …

… (and the floral décor throughout), and with that, Kelly was ready for First Look.

Photo credit: Juniper Spring

Photo credit: Juniper Spring

For their celebration, the couple had chosen the Portola Valley Community Hall, a strikingly modern architectural gem with soaring ceilings and lots of daylight…

Photo credit: Juniper Spring

…and with a small Redwood Grove just steps away that was perfect for their intimate ceremony, just large enough for their small congregation of only 40 guests.

A string trio of members of the SF Music Conservatory under the leadership of Cynthia Ryan provided a festive atmosphere.

Photo credit: Juniper Spring

The couple’s daughter Kay attended on the Matron of Honor’s arm, and their doggie Franklin, stylishly outfitted with a bow tie, had a front-row seat and was on his very best behavior!

The bride’s uncle officiated with personal words and a great sense of humor, and as a nod to the groom’s heritage, the couple exchanged jamalas (flower garlands) – a core element of weddings in the Hindu culture.

Photo credit: Juniper Spring

And here they are: JUST MARRIED!

Photo credit: Juniper Spring

Photo credit: Juniper Spring

Photo credit: Juniper Spring

 

Time for photos with Liza Head of Juniper Spring Photography (her photos have a “photo credit” line, my iPhone snapshots don’t…) while guests were treated to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres by Elaine Bell Catering (and sometimes huddling under the heatlamps provided by Stuart Event Rentals – responsible for all rentals and lighting throughout). The courtyard where the cocktail reception was held had been decorated with string lights and  living 8ft Ficus trees (from Interior Plant Design) – and more trees flanked the couple’s seats at their dinner table – to bring the gorgeous outdoors inside.

A handwritten table assignment board by A Day Like No Other helped guests find their way…

Photo credit: Juniper Spring

When we opened the doors to the Great Room, guests sat down to a delicious family-style dinner by EBC, and they were entertained by DJ Cyrus (of DJ Jeremy Productions).

Photo credit: Juniper Spring

Photo credit: Juniper Spring

Photo credit: Juniper Spring

 

Photo credit: Juniper Spring

What else? Cake Cutting, of course! In accordance with their overall “green” and rustic theme, mirroring the surrounding woods and nature, the couple had chosen a “naked” cake (from Rachel’s Cakes), sitting on a tree slice…

… which was accompanied by delicious fresh ice cream by EBC.

After their First Dance…

Photo credit: Juniper Spring

Photo credit: Juniper Spring

… everyone gleefully joined them on the dance floor.

Photo credit: Juniper Spring

Every party eventually has to end – but this one, guests agreed, could easily have gone on forever!

Photo credit: Juniper Spring

May your life together, Kelly and Chris, go on as one joyful party – forever…

Amy and Nick – High Elegance at the Peninsula Golf & Country Club

When bride Amy approached my company, A Day Like No Other, more than a year ago for help with planning her wedding at the prestigious Peninsula Golf & Country Club

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

I was immediately on board – it would be an elegant affair in navy and gold for 120 guests, a ballroom wedding and sit-down dinner in the soaring space of the Club’s Great Room, with huge crystal chandeliers and lots and lots of candlelight – shimmering linens, flowers and greenery… and so it was!

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Guests already got a glimpse of what was to come through the elegant invitations (from Paper Caper) which literally set the tone for a memorable fete.

All our work came together beautifully on a perfect Spring day under blue skies and a slight breeze.

Onsite coordinator Susie Bertolozzi and her team had everything ready for us – even the dining tables were pre-set in an adjacent room so they could be carried into the Great Room immediately after the ceremony that would take place there as well. Incredible! It was a remarkable feat – the room was guest-ready in less than 45 minutes. Susie and team: you are great!

For bride Amy and her three bridesmaids and, of course, for the mothers, the day began early with hair and makeup services by Violet Prather of the  Makeup Dolls – and everyone was positively glowing! 

The bride complemented her stunning, cascading wedding dress…

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

… with shimmering “Jimmy Choo” heels fit for a princess:

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

… and her bridesmaids looked their best in navy floor-length lace dresses.

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Amy was close to tears of joy when she first saw her gorgeous cascading bouquet of ivory and blush roses (by Marisa Tsikounas of Revel Floral Design – who created the floral arrangements throughout).

And here is our radiant bride!

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Photographer David Kim and his assistant captured every precious moment –  – from getting ready to all the pretty details, from ceremony till the end of the evening.

Nick and his groomsmen were also ready and dressed “to the nines” ….

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

… even the littlest ones looked totally “cool!”

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Don’t forget the rings!!

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

… and we were ready for the guests!

The dramatic double-height ballroom with its enormous crystal chandeliers had been set up for the wedding ceremony…

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Photo credit: David Kim Photography… and here  are Amy and Nick, saying their vows.

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Just married!

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

The ceremony was officiated by Sanford Marshall aka The Wedding Coach – lighthearted and personal, with laughter and with warmth, and when Amy and Nick said their “I Do’s,” everyone was deeply moved. So happy!

The Garden Strings, a string trio led by Pauline Metzgar, played the couple’s favorites for processional (Canon in D) and recessional (Cold Play) and made everyone’s hearts sing!

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

After the ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktails – especially the “Harley,” named after the couple’s doggie, in the Oval Bar ….

… while the dining room was being prepared and the couple had many more photos taken – here is the ultimate, official wedding photo:

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

… followed by the most romantic, timeless sunset photo:

When the doors to the ballroom – now transformed into an elegant dining room – opened again, guests just stood speechless, admiring all those tables with flowers and candlelight, and the newlyweds literally danced in at their Grand Entrance.

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Following dinner, Amy and Nick shared their First Dance…

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

followed by Father-Daughter and Mother-Son Dance.

The newlyweds also honored another wedding tradition by cutting – a giant cupcake (from Sibby’s)!

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Guests were treated to delicious mini cupcakes from Sibby’s as a dessert, and everyone just “dug in.”

Then Wonderbread 5 opened the dance floor with their rousing live performance that brought everyone on the dance floor in no time.

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

Photo credit: David Kim Photography

What a party! When it concluded, the newlyweds were sent off into their “married bliss” in style: with a sparkler parade!

All the happiness in the world to Amy and Nick – and keep celebrating!

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   and published on Ceremony Blog) 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!