Jean, Mike & Pepper at Sylvan Lake Estate

Jean, Mike and their dog Pepper are inseparable. So when Jean and Mike were planning to get married, OF COURSE they chose a dog-friendly venue, the beautiful Sylvan Lake Estate in the Wine Country, close to St. Helena. jmwedding-155

jmwedding-340 What’s next? A dog-friendly wedding planner! Enter my company, A Day Like No Other, the only wedding planning company specializing in dog-friendly weddings in Northern California. With that in place, we were ready to jump right into planning, design development and decor sourcing, vendor booking and all the myriad details that go into a big wedding.

As it happens, life and the couple’s demanding jobs interfered – planning got delayed – and things got pretty hectic toward the “home stretch!” But the effort was totally worth it. Look here how beautiful it all turned out!

Jean’s and Mike’s “home base” was Silverado Resort in Napa where the two were getting ready…

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… and dressing up for the Great Day…

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… with Pepper literally “underfoot!”

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Soon enough, it was time for the much-anticipated “First Look”…

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… and then for lots and lots of photos by The Shalom Imaginative and video coverage by Usman Baporia.

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The pretty bouquets (and later on, ceremony and reception flowers) were a labor of love by family friends.

Meanwhile, preparations for the festivities to come were underway at Sylvan Lake Estate. An arch was decorated for the wedding ceremony…

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… signage and guestbook were installed…

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jmwedding-194… Bekah Juencke and her team of Smokin’ Yankee’s BBQ Catering was cooking up a storm, Bartenders Unlimited set up the bars, and DJ Qzr installed the sound equipment while my assistant Kelsey, Pepper’s “Doggie Mom for the Day,” took Pepper on extended walks around the property.

jmwedding-183These two bonded immediately – we made sure that this was a fun day for Pepper as well! All the while, I had my hands full with arranging all the decor, coordinating vendor arrivals and deliveries, kitchen and table setup and and and… to get it all done before the guests were arriving.

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Time for the ceremony!

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Here comes the flower girl…

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… followed by the bride.

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Just married! An antique bronze bell was rung to announce the happy news, its sound carrying across the valley – it was truly a memorable moment!

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More photos – call this here the “official wedding portrait…”

While the couple was busy with photos and video, and their guests were enjoying Cocktail Hour, more preparations were underway for yet another ceremony: a traditional Korean Pae Baek (bowing ceremony) arranged by KPOP Party.

jmwedding-442Bride and groom changed into colorful traditional Korean garments.

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… and at the conclusion Mike, following tradition, had to carry Jean away “piggyback” – to the enjoyment of all their guests!

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After that, everyone sat down to dinner at long rows of tables, and the newlyweds and their bridal party were presiding from their Head Table.

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The mouthwatering menu was displayed on pretty signage:

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… and following these yummy choices, the couple’s favorite mochi were served AND there was still a whole cake and dessert bar by Sweetie Pies to “dig into!”

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In between, the photographers “stole away” the bride and groom for a few more romantic sunset photos…

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Following that, there was no holding back – the outdoor LED dance floor (by SF Dance Floors) was waiting, and the newlyweds opened it with their First Dance:

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… followed by an elaborate Father-Daughter dance performance.

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DJ Qzr got the crowd on the dance floor in no time – and what a party that was!

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Many happy years together, Jean and Mike, and our best wishes on your way!

And here is the “live” recap of this magical day, captured by videographer Usman Baporia:

 

 

 

Kerry, Howard and Lilly – Elegance and Fun at Cavallo Point Resort

I just returned from one of my all-time favorite weddings – my last one of this year – and I am still all excited about it! Where even to start? Great venues, a lovely couple, a super-cute doggie – and a wonderful surprise…

Bride Kerry approached my company, A Day Like No Other, in Spring for assistance with planning her wedding in November, and it seemed like a lot of time to go. Well – life happened, and planning got delayed – all of a sudden, things got quite hectic, and the last weeks of planning were quite a whirlwind, but in the end this one-of-a-kind celebration was so well worth all the effort. What was so exceptional? Kerry and Howard did not want a typical “wedding with all the bells and whistles and all the fanfare.” No bridesmaids or groomsmen, no bouquet toss, Grand Entrances or formal announcements, for starters.  They’d very much prefer an elegant dinner party vibe, unstuffy and fun for everyone. Did someone say “fun?” What I haven’t mentioned yet is that these two have a wonderful, slightly offbeat (the bride being British…) sense of humor, and so we had to throw in a super-fun surprise: a Tiki bar!

But I am getting way ahead of myself. Let’s start with the wedding day: an unusually warm, sunny November day that felt more like late Summer – simply perfect, with San Francisco showing itself from its most beautiful side. Kerry started the day with getting her hair done by Ernest Stout of Patrick Richards Salon – an elegant, but not extravagant updo in perfect proportion with her delicate features. Makeup artist Chris McDonald gave Kerry a natural look and accentuated her beautiful eyes with – yes! – faux lashes, and Kerry, although in general not a fan of makeup, could not believe how gorgeous she looked!

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Add to that an elegant, understated lace dress and hot-pink, drop-dead nubuck high heels…

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… AND an elegant bridal bouquet by Janelle Jacky-Litt of Green Petal Designs … in the bride’s favorite colors of soft dusty rose and mauve…

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… and we’re ready to go! Bill Snyder of Bauer’s IT Transportation drove her to the historic Swedenborgian Church in San Francisco’s Presidio Heights District, all decked out with candles,

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and Church hostess Holly Gottschalk snuck her in unseen through the back door, while both groom Howard and many wedding guests were already enjoying an alfresco reception in the Church courtyard with wine, beer and champagne served by Carlos Kronen’s  Bartender Company. Music by members of the Lucky Devils Band – solo guitar for the reception, a string trio for the ceremony – rounded out the happy gathering.

When the time came for the ceremony, the true star of the day – was not the bride (sorry, Kerry!) and not the groom either… but the couple’s dog Lilly, freshly groomed and adorned with a flower collar, who fulfilled her duties as a “flower pup” (dropping silk petals from a tiny basket hanging from her collar) with poise and irresistible charm.

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My assistant Quan, her “doggie Mom for the day,” made sure that Lilly enjoyed the day as much as her parents…

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My other two assistants, Annie and Christine, were meanwhile busy “behind the scenes,” helping me with everything from bar setup and breakdown to putting the finishing touches on our surprise Tiki bar. We were all quite busy!

After their ceremony, the newlyweds mingled with their guests in the Church courtyard for more cocktails, before being driven to their reception venue, the Cavallo Point Resort (the best SF Bay Area hotel by Travel & Leisure – and they do know!), where Catering Manager Lorraine Salceda and her team had prepared the Callippe Ballroom for dining…

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… with shimmering chocolate brown crinkle linens that the bride had purchased specifically for this event, and florist Janelle had adorned the long rows of tables with a profusion of candles and low arrangements mirroring the bride’s bouquet.

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Monique Albert of Just De’Lights had installed uplights that bathed the room in a dark amber glow, and the Lucky Devils were out in full force onstage to keep the whole party entertained, beginning with Cocktail Hour on the patio. Guests were treated to the famously delicious Cavallo Point cuisine, immediately followed by a slice of wedding cake…

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… from the venue’s in-house patissier (of French Laundry fame…). Once that was done, the couple had just a few more things to do: thank their guests…

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…  open the dance floor with their First Dance…

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… and unveil the big fun surprise of the evening: the Tiki bar in the adjacent Silverspot room:

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… complete with thatched umbrellas, a carved Tiki bench, real palm trees (all meticulously planned with Kenzi Blalock of Blueprint Studios) and a real Shuffleboard table (from Video Amusement)!

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Guests donned flower leis and sipped Mai Tais and Pineapple Margaritas from Tiki mugs and Pineapple Coconut martinis from hollowed-out coconuts, all served by bartender Steven clad in a Hawaiian shirt. That’s what I call a party!

Those who needed a break from dancing or a bit of fresh air were lounging around the fire pit on the patio under Monique’s string lights, feasting on a late-night snack of truffle fries, pulled-pork sliders and mini pizza.
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Not to forget, our photographers – Oscar Urizar from Red Eye Collection and his assistant- were tirelessly shooting all day – and night – to record those precious moments. Just wait until you see THEIR photos!

The only fault with this party – it had to come to an end at some point; way too early! One thing’s for sure: everyone had a great time, and this was, hands down, the most “fun” wedding of the year!

Melanie and Sherif at San Francisco City Hall

Melanie and Sherif are very independent thinkers – so it didn’t come as a surprise that their wedding celebration was a bit unusual, too! Not a hotel, not a mansion… but I am getting ahead of myself. Melanie approached my company, A Day Like No Other, months ahead of time for help with her wedding coordination. As a professional event planner herself, she knew how demanding it is to make an event run smoothly and seemingly “all by itself.” And – she wanted to take her Great Day off of her professional duties – which she handed over to me.

For their ceremony, the couple had chosen the probably most iconic San Francisco landmark: City Hall! Rebuilt after the catastrophic earthquake of 1906, completed in 1915, this breathtaking Beaux Arts edifice was meant to be a symbol of the City’s irrepressible spirit. Its gilded cupola soars higher (by a full 42 feet!) than the US Capitol. And it’s just as monumental from the inside as it is commanding from the outside. Melanie’s and Sherif’s ceremony took place in the 4th floor North gallery …

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… with the couple’s closest friends and family members in attendance. Many had come from across the nation to share this moment with them.

Programs and personalized cake pops were waiting for the guests as well as Champagne for toasting –

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… and escort cards on antique skeleton keys.

keysJay of City Express Limousine Service got Bride and Groom to City Hall relaxed, comfortable and on time. The very personal ceremony was officiated by Shyamala Littlefield and accompanied by Synchronicity Strings.

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The bride wore an ivory silk backless Pronovias dress from Novella Bridal, a sleek updo and naturally-elegant makeup by Triple Twist, and carried a bouquet from San Francisco Florist (as did her bridesmaids).

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For her bridesmaids, Melanie had chosen coordinating but not identical floor length allover-sequined gowns in harmonious shades of rose gold and champagne – in short, the ladies looked absolutely gorgeous!

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And the groom and his groomsmen stepped up to the fashionable occasion in tux, bowties and classic suits befitting the festive occasion and the impressive architecture.

After the ceremony, there was plenty of opportunity for the couple and photographer Sasha (of Sasha Wedding Photography) to take photos within City Hall (and just wait until you see HIS photos – so far all we have are my snapshots of the day…)

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Leaving City Hall as “Mr. and Mrs.!”

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Everyone then took Cable Car trolleys (another San Francisco icon, of course) to Isa Restaurant in the Marina District for cocktails and dinner. Heaven smiled on the wedding party – after heavy rain the previous days, and despite a gloomy weather forecast, the sun came out, and nobody got wet!

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The private dining room at Isa’s was all aglow with string lights and luminarias…

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… and the newlyweds presided over the party from their Sweetheart Table.

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Guests were treated to a delicious four-course French-Mediterranean dinner, and everyone declared that it was well worth the dietary sin! Melanie had changed into a more comfortable but no less dramatic all-sequined dress:

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After dinner, the whole party walked over to Nectar Wine Lounge next door – the festivities were by no means over yet! The couple had prepared a quirky Polaroid guest book..

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… bridesmaid Bianca had baked “naked” wedding cakes herself for the couple…

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… and one more big surprise was waiting for the guests: bellydancer Heaven Mousalem!

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What a party… And now you know why I love my job so much!

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Melanie and Sherif are off to their Honeymoon already – enjoy that and our heartfelt wishes for many happy years to come!

 

 

 

Lauren and Matt – full sail ahead at the Corinthian Yacht Club!

Lauren and Matt are a high-powered young professional couple,

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and when they decided to tie the proverbial knot, they had very clear ideas of what their celebration should look and feel like.

Fresh, modern, no frills. BUT classy and elegant. A church ceremony. Lots of friends and family members around. Glorious views. Fun and lots of dancing! When Lauren approached my company, A Day Like No Other, for help with her wedding preparations, I was immediately on board.

With these ideas in mind, the couple chose St.Hilary’s Church in Tiburon for their ceremony and the Corinthian Yacht Club in Tiburon for their reception. As a nod to the maritime setting (after all, Tiburon used to be a fishing village, in the “olden times”), the only color accents in addition to bridal white were a tiny bit of metallic gold and then, of course, classic navy. That’s what the seven bridesmaids wore (the groomsmen were all in tuxes – as I said, an elegant affair!), that was the color of the sash the bride wore with her dramatic Hailey Paige dress, and navy and blue stripes turned up again as accents on the handle of the bridal bouquet, the napkin rings, and on the wedding cake.

Come Wedding Day, the weather was just perfect – a crisp but sunny day, blue skies, a slight breeze… it couldn’t have been better. For bride and bridesmaids, the day began with hair and makeup by Lindsay Davis at the Water’s Edge Hotel in Tiburon, while the groom and groomsmen were getting ready at The Lodge at Tiburon very close by. And since this occasion was not only festive – everyone also wanted to have a little fun: the gentlemen wore fire-engine red suspenders under their tuxes, believe it or not!

While the bridal party rode to Church in a Cable Car Trolley, guests were shuttled by Chariot Charters, and everyone arrived on time and totally relaxed.

The Church was beautifully decorated with altar pieces by Fantasy Florals …

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and cellist Charles Wang together with the Church Music Director filled the sanctuary with uplifting music. The bride walked down the aisle on her father’s arm to the tune of “Plaisir d’amour…” – it was a truly moving moment.

After the ceremony (officiated by Father Roger Gustafson and orchestrated by Church coordinator Diana Rittenhouse), it was photo time with Jihan Cerda (just wait until you see HER photos!). Between her and Peek Media videography, all those precious moments during the day were captured – and soon enough we’ll also have a beautiful wedding video!

Guests were meanwhile enjoying Cocktail Hour on the patio off the ballroom, again serenaded by Charles Wang, and were feasting on shrimp and oysters…

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… and enjoying priceless views of the San Francisco Bay and skyline.

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Time for dinner! The CYC team together with my team – assistants Amanda, Annie and myself – had meanwhile set the tables…

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… where blue-and-white striped napkin rings, handmade by the mother of the bride, and gold-toned Chiavari chairs established a very elegant maritime feel.

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Calligraphed place cards (blue on white, of course!) and high and low centerpieces by Fantasy Florals completed the polished look.

What else? The cake! It took its clues from the nautical theme as well:

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After the delicious dinner, it was time for dancing! Of course, the couple came first…

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… but then, band leader Marty Johnson and the AllStar Jukebox “let it rip!”band

Guests stormed the dance floor…
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The only regret? That the party had to end, ultimately… but I am told there was still an afterparty going on down the street!

Many happy years together on your voyage, Lauren and Matt – fair winds, and “full sail ahead!”

 

Rain on Wedding Day: Good Luck for Briana and Andy!

When Briana and Andy approached my company, A Day Like No Other, for their wedding planning, they had already settled on a venue and a date: Villa Montalvo in Saratoga in May. I was immediately on board – it doesn’t get any better than that!

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Villa Montalvo, built as a stately private residence and now converted to an arts center and event venue, is an architectural gem in the Italianate style, and it is surrounded by breathtaking formal gardens, the most impressive among them the “Italianate Garden.” And that is where our couple was envisioning their ceremony to take place: on the steps of the “Love Temple” that is the focal point of the garden.

So far – the plan. Well, to make a long story short, the weather gods planned otherwise. While May was a sunny and warm month overall and especially in the Saratoga area, Briana’s and Andy’s wedding day was rained out. The good news? Across many cultures, rain on Wedding Day is considered a positive omen, portending fertility, renewal, cleansing and unity. If so, the two got a lot of all these good things!

The day began with “getting ready” – both for the bride and her many bridesmaids…andy-and-briana-031

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with hair and makeup services by Teri Lacro of The Charismatic Bride

… and for the groom and his groomsmen – at the Tollhouse Hotel in Los Gatos.

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Everyone then transferred to Villa Montalvo where the ladies got dressed.

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The bride had chosen an elegant lace dress for her Big Day.

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The rings were waiting…

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… and the bride received her elegant bouquet from Karen Chang Burling of  Huckleberry Karen (who provided floral design throughout.)

The bride stole a quick father-daughter moment to adjust her Dad’s boutonniere:

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Meanwhile, the “guys” got ready as well:

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… and here is the bride:

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… with her entourage:

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Ready for “First Look!” By that time it had already started raining. Actually – pouring, by the bucketfuls! An outdoor ceremony in the Italianate Garden was now out of the question. But nothing could dampen the spirits of bride, groom and bridal party. They had their First Look and photo session indoors while “behind the scenes” my assistant Amanda and I, together with onsite managers Kathleen Kirkpatrick and Tiffany Ferrante, florist Karen and our DJ Turner Hayes of Elite Entertainment were scrambling to implement “Plan B.” What that meant? Rescue all the sound equipment and ceremony decor from the Italianate Garden and move the whole ceremony setup to the tented side verandah of Villa Montalvo, move the Cocktail Hour setup from the side verandah to the library, move the dining setup from the verandah to the Great Room, morning room and adjacent alcoves.

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andy-and-briana-679 Phew! It was a Herculean task, but against all odds we managed it all just in time before the ceremony was to begin. All guests were comfortably seated in the tent-protected side verandah, with the ceremony area looking out into the lush gardens. The elaborate altar decor for the Italianate Garden had been taken apart “on the fly” and reimagined to fit the new space. It was beautiful!

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When Briana and Andy said their vows, the rain abated, and the Sun began to come out.

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“You may now kiss your bride!”

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Just married! While their guests were enjoying Cocktail Hour and  The Laugh Box photo booth, the newlyweds were off to many, many photos with Brandon Wehman of wanderlust photo co.

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… and of course, one photo in the Italianate Garden – which was still dripping wet from the recent rainstorm!

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Dinnertime! Guests were treated to a delicious 3-course menu by Cafe Primavera, followed by…

andy-and-briana-787Wedding Cake, of course! The newlyweds’ traditional “first shared task” is cutting the cake, then…andy-and-briana-798feeding one another and sharing the rest with their guests. After that, there was nothing left to hold  them back from their First Dance:

andy-and-briana-810… opening the dance floor to a wild dance party for everyone! Guests were having a fabulous time.

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Way too soon the party had to come to an end – but with a huge flourish!

The newlyweds were sent off with a bubble parade, down the Grand Staircase:andy-and-briana-909

… where George Rose of Elegant Journey was waiting for them in their gorgeous getaway car, a 1933 Packard limousine:

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And off they go to their lifelong journey together! Best wishes, Briana and Andy!

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

How to Plan Your Financial Future as a Couple

imageHow to Plan Your New Financial Life as a Couple

Future newlyweds have so much on their plate when they first decide to tie the knot. They have to plan the wedding and take care of a thousand and one responsibilities so that everything goes off without a hitch.

Financial planning as a new couple is a conversation that’s often pushed way in the background. But should it be? What happens if you aren’t financially compatible? Where do you go from there as a couple?

Instead of ignoring your new financial life, do yourselves a favor and tackle it head-on. This is something that you need to do as a newly married couple. Since money problems are the main reason that couples argue, it makes sense to get on the same financial page in the marriage as early as you can.

Having the Dreaded (or Not so Dreaded) Money Talk

In a perfect world, you’ll realize that it’s important to have the money talk as soon as your relationship begins to get serious. Many couples find themselves financially connected before they actually get married. The sooner you have the money talk, the better it is for the relationship, and the better chance you’ll have at thriving as a couple.

Everyone has their own views about money. Some of us live like money grows on trees and that it is available in unlimited abundance. And depending on your financial situation – it might be. Others feel that money is a finite and limited resource. They work hard to scrimp and save so that they can get ahead and live comfortably in retirement.

Both members of the couple need to come together financially. Having the same money views is not necessarily required. But if you are too far apart on this topic, it could make it difficult – if not impossible – to live and grow together as a married couple.

Creating Common Financial Goals

If a couple seems too far apart on money issues, it may seem like all hope is lost for the relationship. But this doesn’t need to be true as long as you’re willing to compromise.

Instead of throwing in the towel, create common financial goals as a couple. When you begin working together to achieve common financial ground, not only will your relationship grow stronger; you’ll also begin t0 live happier lives and feel good about money and how it now has a positive impact on your relationship.

Have Regular Money Meetings as a Couple

Unfortunately, all of your money inconsistencies will not disappear after one conversation. This topic needs to be discussed regularly so that you consistently stay on the same page.

Money problems are going to arise. As a couple, you must commit to regular communication so that you can hash out money matters together. By holding regular money meetings, you can plan for your future together, set a budget/review your current budget, come up with ideas for a fun filled vacation, discover creative fundraising ideas, and so much more.

If you want to start off your married life as a happy couple, getting on the same page in your financial life is an absolute must. Heed the warnings shared with you today and use this information to guide your financial future.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The bride got ready in the cottage onsite:

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

Casey meanwhile got his boutonniere:

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… and off to the much-anticipated First Look!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photographer Nathan Worden snuck the couple away for Sunset photos:

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

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

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

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

When dusk fell, the scenery turned downright magical…

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

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

 

How to Make Sure Your Wedding is Fun for Everyone!

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

1. You, the couple – totally worry-free

1.) Couple worry-free

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

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

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

3. Your parents

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

4. Your older guests

4.) Older guests

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

5. All guests: look after them!

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

6. Help your guests with the logistics

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

7. Make your guests feel welcome

7.) Welcome-bags

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

8. Keep your guests comfy

8.) Comfy guests

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

9. Your youngest guests

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

10. Your Doggie

 

10.) Bride and dog

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

2.) Coordinator or designated person

Published on Honeyfund Blog, 6/26/16

Wendy and Jason: an Elegant Summer Wedding at Kohl Mansion

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

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

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

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Here is Wendy’s elegant ivory lace wedding dress…

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worn with a dramatic cathedral-length veil…

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… and veritable “princess slippers!:

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

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Groom Jason was likewise dressing up together with his groomsmen:

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

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

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

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

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

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and guest book table …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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