Wendy and Jason: an Elegant Summer Wedding at Kohl Mansion

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

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

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

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Here is Wendy’s elegant ivory lace wedding dress…

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worn with a dramatic cathedral-length veil…

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… and veritable “princess slippers!:

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

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Groom Jason was likewise dressing up together with his groomsmen:

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

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

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

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

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

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and guest book table …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Nancy and James’ Epic Fall Wedding – Luxury, Elegance and FUN!

When Nancy and James – partners in life and in profession – were ready to tie the knot, they were, as usual, in agreement about pretty much everything.

Engagement 1

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

They would get married in Church. They would have a very elegant reception. They would have lots of guests. It would be in Fall, with early dusk and lots of candlelight. They would be dancing the night away. And so it was – but so much more!

The two engaged my company, A Day Like No Other, early in 2015, giving us a good nine months until Wedding Day in November. And as it turned out, we needed that time – because Nancy’s imagination took flight in the most beautiful way… Starting from “Old San Francisco glamour” at the famous Intercontinental Mark Hopkins hotel (a historic landmark originating from the opulent private residence of one of the infamous railroad barons), we kept adding more and more personal touches, and come Wedding Day, Nancy’s and James’ celebration had become unique, quirky and unmistakably “them.”

Elegant invitations from Hyegraph set the tone for what was to come:

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

The day began with an extensive “beauty session” (by Wowpretty Salon) for Nancy, her bridesmaids and the mothers, all at a suite high up in the Mark Hopkins tower.

view with shoes

Invitationimage by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

Here Nancy’s wedding shoes take center stage…

shoes

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

… and here is her elegant bridal bouquet, handmade by her Aunt… a long-standing family tradition.

bridal bouquet

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

Bridesmaids were treated to some bubbly that morning, and that got everyone in a festive mood right away!

bridesmaids champagne

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

And here is our radiant bride in all her finery (dress by Novella Bridal), ready to meet her groom:

bride portrait

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

Following another time-honored tradition, bride and groom decided NOT to see one another before the Church ceremony; and so they both traveled the couple of blocks from the Mark Hopkins to Old St. Mary’s Church (one of the oldest ones in San Francisco) separately via Cable Car trolley.

cable car

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

The Church itself is very impressive…

Church nave

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

… and it had been adorned with large altar arrangements and ivory bouquets along the aisle.

Church Aisle

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

And here they are: just married!

Just married

Time for photos… a lot of them! JC Page was tireless… and look what beautiful photos we got here! Cecil Bonifacio served as our videographer, and we can’t wait to see what he’ll create for us.

Couple colonnade

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

flyaway veil

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

bridal party

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

Once back, the couple joined their many guests for an elegant reception in the Peacock Ballroom with gorgeous florals by Green Petal Designs and Lighting by Just DeLights..

Dining room

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

centerpiece

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

Cake table

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

In lieu of a traditional guest book, the couple went for Hollywood glamour and had their guests sign magnum bottles of their favorite Pinot Noir instead:

Guest book bottle

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

The first dance of the newlyweds…

First Dance bw

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

… kicked off a wild dance party with Mariachi

Mariachis

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

… a twirling flower girl…

Flower girl dancing

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

… glowsticks, purple lighting – and lots of fun for everyone…

Groomsmen dancing

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

… with the bride serving as the DJ (at least for a little while – a longtime secret wish of hers came true on her wedding day!)

More personal details? Popcorn snacks and cotton candy in “grown-up” flavors from Sweet Puff Candy!

bride dancing

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

True to the bride’s Mexican heritage, each guest received a very personal favor: a package of coffee handpicked by the new “Mrs.”

Favors

image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

It was, just simply – unforgettable! Many happy years together, Nancy and James!

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image by www.jcpagephotography.com, @jackieplusjay

 

 

Nicole’s and Rob’s Sweet Spring Wedding

Nicole and Rob are two highly trained, super-organized, super busy young professionals, Nicole a scientist completing her PhD, and Rob an engineer. Getting married was something they approached with their usual efficiency. Venue? A community center at walking distance from home. Priorities? Friends, family, fun. Deprioritized: fuss and frills!

Nicole approached my company, A Day Like No Other, mainly to pull all her ideas and planning details together and to oversee the wedding day itself – which we did. As is common with weddings, we found quite a few more things to work on in preparation for the Great Day.

Nicole’s and Rob’s wedding would become so very special through the many personal touches – friends and family contributing and planning surprises, for example – and that started way ahead of time: for her wedding dress, Nicole chose her mother’s – both of them are tall and slender, and with some modernizing and streamlining (the bottom ruffles had to go…) this storied dress turned out perfect for a modern young bride:

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Short and sweet – no veil; just a pretty, sparkly headpiece tucked into the bride’s simple updo – no make-up… well, she doesn’t even need any, as pretty as she is!

Getting ready at home…

Dressing up

… with her bridesmaids helping – they all deserve a toast! (As does our tireless photographer, Megan Reeves, who captured every precious moment…)

Bride and bridesmaids

Bridesmaids toast

Beautiful bouquets of Calla lilies in vibrant orange from Nature’s Alley (who delivered all floral decor for the wedding) complemented the beauty and upbeat spirit of these young ladies:

Bridal bouquet

Bridesmaids bouquet

The groom and his groomsmen were also getting ready …

Neckties

… donning matching neckties…

Groom buttoning up

… and now everyone is ready for the First Look at their wedding venue, the Lucie Stern Community Center – a beautiful Spanish-Mediterranean complex set amid a lush park:

Venue sign

Groom First Look

Waiting for his bride – and here she approaches:

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As was to be expected, Rob was completely blown away by Nicole’s youthful beauty:

Couple First Look

First Look

Kiss

Time for photos! Bridesmaids, groomsmen, family…

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Groom and groomsmen 2

… and the groom with his Best Man – who would share many a funny story of their long friendship later that day.

Groom and Best Man

Guests were already gathering,

bicycle… welcomed with the homemade Meyer lemonade provided by a friend (and insiders got the hint…)

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… in the courtyard where the ceremony was going to take place –

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Preceded by a very excited flower girl – Here Comes the Bride, accompanied by music from DJ Jeremy Productions (who provided music and entertainment throughout)…

Here comes the bride

The ceremony was officiated by a longtime friend of the couple, an ordained minister. It doesn’t get more personal and more meaningful than that!

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Rings

Bridesmaids bouquets

Just married!

Just married

… and definitely time to party and share cocktails with their many guests, provided by Mills Wine Group and expertly poured by Pour Girl Bartenders. And of course everyone had a blast with the photo booth by Photomatica! One very important guest, however, had been missing so far: the couple’s beloved Viszla puppy “Pepper.”

Pepper

To the big surprise of the newlyweds, a neighbor brought her for a cameo appearance (a carefully orchestrated “grand conspiracy” in which we, the planners, also had a hand…)

Cuddling Pepper

Couple and dog

So… is THIS the official wedding photo? Or the next one?

Official photo 2

Soon enough, dinner was ready in the ballroom decked out with string lights:

Dining setup

Bouquets

Centerpiece

From centerpieces of floating flowerheads and candles to coffee mugs: everything played along the couple’s wedding colors of blue and orange.

Coffee mugs

Dinner was a rustic taco bar buffet from Prochaine Oaxacan Kitchen,

Taco barand everyone was digging in, barely leaving a little space for dessert – THE CAKE (from The Prolific Oven)! In this case, a yummy carrot cake with a personalized topper:

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Honoring tradition, the newlyweds cut the cake together – officially their first collaboration as a married couple:

Cake cutting

With more cakes in various flavors to choose from – everybody’s “sweet tooth” got satisfied, that’s for sure. And then, after the newlyweds’  First Dance and the traditional Father-Daughter Dance, nothing held the crowd back from dancing:

First Dance

Father Daughter Dance

Dance Party 2

Dance Party

It was such a fun party for everyone! Guests took home unforgettable memories AND stemless wine glasses engraved with the couple’s names.

Embrace

Many happy years together, Nicole and Rob, and keep walking hand in hand!

Walking together

Kiss bw

Elopement of a Glamour Heiress – A Stylized Photoshoot

A few weeks backs, my company, A Day Like No Other, created exactly that – if only for a stylized photo shoot! Once in a while, I let my fantasies run wild and make these daydreams a short-lived reality, just for long enough to take photos and preserve these flights of fancy.

So here is the daydream that we set to scenes and pictures AND to music (and all published in Ceremony Magazine of Spring 2016!).

A glamorous young heiress, super-wealthy, beautiful and spoiled (yes! She can have anything she wants, and she’s used to that!), elopes to San Francisco with her fiancé (who is just as beautiful and not poor, either…) to get married at one of the City’s most iconic venues: the Imperial Floor of the Westin St. Francis Hotel in the heart of the City. Said young heiress is all into 1920s silver screen goddess glamour – that’s her style; nothing less.

Photo shoot Ceremony Westin-131

Photo shoot Ceremony Westin-28

To bring this vision of elegance, style and beauty to life, I rounded up more than a dozen collaborators, and all of them did a fabulous job in what they do best – so the results are, I believe, spectacular. But have a look yourselves!

Our couple is traveling to San Francisco in style – in a vintage silver Rolls-Royce, chauffeured by a driver in uniform (who in real life happens to be a private collector and owner of three more of these beauties, and who just loves to put on a great show with me!). Bride and groom ask for a road stop on the Presidio, in front of a historic chapel and amidst the typical San Francisco fog.

Photo shoot Ceremony Westin-156

Photo shoot Ceremony Westin-151Their chauffeur sets out an elegant picnic for them, with tea, pastries and champagne, and their violinist (!!) who is traveling with them, serenades them from the background.

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The bride is wearing an Italian silk travel wedding dress and a vintage mink shrug, and the groom is dapper in his classic tuxedo.

After their picnic, they proceed to the Westin St. Francis hotel…

Photo shoot Ceremony Westin-146

Photo shoot Ceremony Westin-141…to get ready on the Imperial Floor (the ballroom floor that is only accessible by private elevator key…) where everything is being prepared for their ceremony in Alexandra’s Ballroom. The bride needs to change, of course, have hair and makeup done according to her ceremony look, and to don some exquisite vintage jewelry – Art Deco pieces set in platinum.

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For their ceremony, floral arrangements and classic wedding tunes played by their traveling violinist form a fitting backdrop, and once married, the two are showered with rose petals.

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Time for portraits – and of course, our bride has brought her cute little dog; the two are inseparable!

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Once all the photos are done, the couple can finally sit down at their sweetheart table,

Photo shoot Ceremony Westin-104… which is lavishly decorated with elegant linens, stunning floral arrangements, an antique menorah candelabra, and exquisite china, glassware and flatware befitting the occasion. Their table offers a spectacular view, overlooking the heart of San Francisco from 34 stories up…

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Photo shoot Ceremony Westin-23And, yes, of course there are custom-designed, calligraphed menu cards as an extra touch of excellence!

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The best is still to come: a dessert table with not one, but two wedding cakes in true Art Deco style, but with a delicate surprise: elegant ladies’ shoes (all edible, including the label on the insole!!) as toppers.

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After so much enjoyment, the couple tops it off with their First Dance – which is, of course, just as spectacular as everything that came before. A Dream Day Like No Other in pictures…

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We would like to thank all our contributors who made this folly possible:

Ceremony Magazine

Our photographer: Vicens Forns for Ceremony Magazine

Our models, Lindsay Knox, and her manager, Mom Casandra Knox, Gavin Farrington and Sherlock the dog

Our venue: The Westin St. Francis Hotel

Hair and Makeup: Miabel Artistry

Wedding dresses and accessories: Nouvelle Vogue

Vintage jewelry: Gleim the Jeweler

Rentals: Classic Party Rentals

Linen rentals: Napa Valley Linens

Calligraphy: Monks of Age

Wedding cake and pastries: Morgane Ric, 510-776-1643. info.jolicake@gmail.com

Floral décor: A Loves in Bloom

Violinist: Joyce Lee

Antique candelabra and candlesticks: Poetica Art and Antiques

 

 

 

Forecasting Trends at Hamlin Mansion: WIPA kicks off 2016

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

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

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

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

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

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

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

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

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

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

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

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

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

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

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

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

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

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

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

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

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

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

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

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

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

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

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

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

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

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

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

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

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

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

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco


WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

… and fantastic cakes from Perfect Endings:

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

A lucky winner takes home one of the gorgeous centerpieces…

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

… and guests just didn’t want to leave!

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

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

WIPA meeting at Hamlin Mansion, San Francisco

Thanks again to all our generous sponsors!

 

 

Shirley and Kevin’s Wedding at the Palace of Fine Arts

Shirley’s and Kevin’s wedding celebration was one of the most unusual ones my company, A Day Like No Other, has ever planned. First, we had a full nine DAYS to pull together what was already in place and fill in what was missing. So that was quite a challenge in itself. Then, Shirley and Kevin are totally unconventional, non-conformist personalities. They do things their way! Let me share with you just how unique their wedding vision was.

For their ceremony, they chose one of the most famous San Francisco landmarks, a staple in every tourist guidebook (I’ll show you which one in just a moment!) – but for their reception, it was a rustic microbrewery in a gritty part of town. Lots of flowers? Nope. Only a bridal bouquet – and that was anything but standard: teal and turquoise-colored orchids with peacock feathers! A traditional wedding cake? Nah…the two were cutting a pie, yummy and messy! A dignified sit-down dinner for their reception? Forget it! Beer and a taco bar, and lots of fun with all their friends!

So here we go. For their 11 am ceremony, the bride (and Katye, her hair and makeup artist) had to get up literally before sunrise.

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

At least the view from their room at the St. Regis Hotel SF was absolutely spectacular!

viewOnce hair and makeup were in place, Shirley got in her gorgeous dress: a champagne-colored, pearl and crystal-encrusted gown with quite a train…

hanging dress

dress detail

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

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

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

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

bride in dress

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

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

… and now Shirley is ready to go meet her groom Kevin for their First Look at the famous Palace of Fine Arts,

The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, California at sunrise. The Palace of Fine Arts was built in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific Exposition, today we know it as the Worlds Fair. The domed structure was named the Tower of Jewels. The PoFA is currrently undergoing renovation so the onlt access is from the pond. Not sure how long the renovation will take as we left before the Exploratorium open.

– a Roman-ruin-style edifice that was built by none less than Bernard Maybeck for the Panama-Pacific World Exposition in 1915 as a monument to the survival and vibrancy of the City of San Francisco that had been devastated by a horrible earthquake and raging fires in 1906. The setup for the couple’s great moment had been provided by YPR – and so everything was ready and in place for them.

The ceremony took place under the Rotunda:

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

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

… with only parents and siblings as guests, and with the couple’s closest friends as their attendants. Again, Shirley and Kevin defied convention: they had a total of fourteen attendants but only five guests, all seated around the Bride and Groom in a circle of love and closeness. A longtime friend of the couple officiated a ceremony that could not have been more personal, in a setting that could not have been more spectacular. Harpist Erica Messer accompanied the ceremony on her instrument and sang for them, and everyone was moved to tears.

257 harpJust married!

just married!

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

Then, of course, it was photo time with Huy Pham and his team – first at the Palace of Fine Arts,

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

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

then on nearby Crissy Field close to the Golden Gate Bridge, with an executive bus by Sonoma Sterling Limousine taking everyone around town:

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

… to the Sutro Bath ruins…

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

… and to the Northern Waterfront:

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

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… where wine and champagne had been added to the regular offerings of a multitude of specialty beers, in recognition of this very special occasion.

A welcome table – in the couple’s bold wedding colors of teal and purple – displayed their vows for all the reception guests who hadn’t been at the ceremony, and a dessert buffet…

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… with pies and cupcakes stood in for the standard wedding cake. Wedding favors – playing along the teal-and-purple color scheme – were set out for the guests:

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Here are the newlyweds, happily toasting –

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They are truly a fun couple! Everyone had a blast at their relaxed beer-and-taco dinner (OF COURSE without seating assignments!) followed by a wild dance party to the tunes of DJ Kevin Combs of Elite Entertainment – with the DJ enthusiastically singing along! The energy was really contagious, and guests only took a break for the bouquet toss (yes, the bride did toss that huge bouquet!), garter toss, and cake cutting (or rather: finger-licking pie-cutting!)

And for those who preferred cupcakes over pie, there were dozens and dozens of cute mini cupcakes from Kara’s!

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

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

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

What an incredible night… and at the end, the two were whisked away to their official First Night at the St. Regis in a black Escalade from City Express Limousine Services.

Everyone had a great time – and the newlyweds were just tired and happy! Congratulation, Shirley and Kevin, and many happy (and fun!) years together!

Nataly and Derek’s Joyful Wedding Celebration at Nella Terra Cellars

A schoolteacher from Bolivia. A product manager (with a bioengineering background) from China. These two couldn’t have come from any more different backgrounds. And yet – they are so much more similar than different, and that is what ties them together. They met five years ago, both foreigners to this country, but with so many shared values and interests… they both care deeply about others. They are immensely curious and love to travel and experience new cultures, adopting the best of everything. They are happy with simple things, love to discover “hole-in-the-wall” restaurants and to walk with ice cream. They both love dogs and have just adopted “Peanut,” a tiny furry bundle of joy.

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The two took their time of courtship until it was clear to absolutely everyone that they should stay together forever, and on Valentine’s Day this year, Derek proposed in Puerto Vallarta. Yes, he is a romantic at heart!

Having been a friend of Derek’s for years – and an immediate fan of Nataly’s as well, as soon as we were introduced to one another! – I was so happy that the two entrusted their wedding planning to my company, A Day Like No Other. Hands-on people that they are, they had already found their venue: Nella Terra Cellars in Sunol, a hamlet in the SF East Bay. “Nella Terra,” meaning “into the Earth,” is exactly what Nataly and Derek were looking for. An oasis in the middle of vineyards and rolling hills –

MGA_2615… a curvy white tent to host a big celebration and an adjacent ceremony arbor overlooking a pond and well-trimmed greenery and pathways, and a beautiful patio for cocktails; just the right thing for extended families and friends gathering from as far as China, Canada and Bolivia – two hundred of them!

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True to her Latin American heritage, Nataly wanted vibrant color for her wedding: warm yellow, orange and a little red, and turquoise a a counterpoint. From ceremony decor to favor boxes, from bouquets (from The Flower House) to lanterns – everything displayed her favorite colors for a very cohesive, joyful and upbeat look. Nataly’s Dad had added his own personal contributions –

MGA_1116… a handmade wagon to hold much-needed parasols for ceremony guests, and a whimsical seating chart of antique picture frames. Videographer Martin Meyer of martinFILMS and Photographer Professor Matthias Geiger worked their magic with the camera:

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Reverend Dr. Lili Goodman Freitas of Weddings of Heart officiated the ceremony, made intensely personal through readings of poems both in Spanish and in Mandarin, and accompanied by guitarist Bruce Brill.MRG_2396And here they are: Just married!!

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While the couple had many, many more pictures taken all over the property …

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my assistant Kelsey and the venue coordinators were busy getting everything ready for dinner in the tent:

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… where guests were treated, among other things, to a traditional Chinese roast pig (a contribution from Derek’s Dad) and to live Bolivian traditional songs by the authentic Bolivian band Kumara – again a nod to the bride’s heritage (plus, her cousin Gonzalo plays the charango and guitar in the band!) It was fascinating to see how these two diverse cultural backgrounds seamlessly merged into one warm and joyful celebration! Including the cake from Margaret’s French Bakery, of course, dressed up for the occasion –

MGA_1365– which was accompanied by the couple’s other favorite dessert: Smitten’s ice cream! (Tcho chocolate was my all-time favorite flavor…). Everyone was having a great time –

MRG_2493… among other things, with Night Owl Photo Booth. The evening continued with dancing to the music of DJ Steve McDowell of Fantasy Sound, and as darkness fell, myriad string lights and chandeliers in the tent turned the scene downright magical…

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MGA_3412And my favorite photo? Here it is:

MGA_2408“Love does not mean looking into each other’s eyes all the time, but looking in the same direction.”

Next destination for the two: Italy! Have a fabulous Honeymoon, and Arrivederci!

Krista and Ben: a Glamorous “Aussie” Wedding in Big Sur

Big Sur, that stretch of California coastline between the Monterey Peninsula to the North and the Central Coast to the South, is definitely one of the most spectacular landscapes on Earth. It’s famous as a retreat for spiritual seekers, for alternative lifestyle, artists – and celebrities! Model Karlie Kloss comes hiking here to decompress, and actress Natalie Portman got married here at a private estate.

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As did my beautiful couple, Krista and Benjamin! When they first set foot on Wind and Sea Estate in Big Sur, perched high on a cliff above the sea,  it was a done deal for them… this is where they would get married.

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At Wind and Sea, a striking wrought-iron gate opens to reveal a stunning property…

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… even with its own beach access! (It’s a bit steep, admittedly…)

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I am so happy that Krista and Ben brought me in right away to organize it all for them through my company A Day Like No Other. It would be a “long-distance planning” process, that was clear – because these two are living in Australia! Krista had been working in the SF Bay Area and fallen in love with the beauty of California, when she met Benjamin, an attractive young businessman from Australia, at a conference in San Francisco – and fell in love again, right away… with Ben! It didn’t take her long to follow him to Sydney. For their wedding, they chose this spectacular spot to show Krista’s family from Ohio and Ben’s family from Australia the breathtaking beauty of California. We started planning early in 2015 – Thank God for email, Skype and Pinterest! – and couldn’t even imagine that date of September 26. But suddenly, we were there… and it was a glorious day.

Krista had requested a “rustic glam” style for her wedding. We translated that in:  Wooden harvest tables with gold Chiavari chairs (by CHIC Event Rentals), sequined runners in blush and gold (from Napa Valley Linens), cream and blush mixed floral arrangements with a lot of texture and lots and lots of mercury gold votives and vases (by Green Petal Designs). And the “icing” on it? Gilded Australian animal figurines from kangaroos to wombats, doing duty as place card holders and table decor!

The pretty invitations already set the tone for the celebration to come:

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… and finally, the Great Day had arrived. The forty “nearest and dearest” guests who had come from all over the world to be with the couple on their wedding day,  were brought in from Monterey by shuttle bus (from Discovery Charters) and welcomed in style:

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For Krista, the day began with a hair and makeup session with Jessica Morton of Miabel Artistry who transformed a pretty young woman into a glamorous beauty. Krista had chosen a sequined, diaphanous Jenny Packham dress from Nouvelle Vogue, and with that, her crystal-encrusted headpiece and her romantic bouquet (also from Green Petal Designs), she literally moved Benjamin to tears…

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And here come the real stars of the day: the couple’s children! Macy wore a romantic flower crown:

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… and her brother Toby dazzled in an all “grown-up” outfit matching his Dad’s:

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Here’s Krista’s dapper groom Ben getting ready, boutonniere and necktie and all …

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The ceremony was held at a natural amphitheater in the expansive garden of the property, overlooking the endless Pacific, and officiated by a longtime friend of the couple.

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Krista_Ben_September_26_2015__0452It turned out to be a glorious, sunny day with a light breeze – simply perfect!

Finally, it was time – Krista was escorted to the ceremony by her Dad…

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The moment could not have been more beautiful and more intimate.Krista_Ben_September_26_2015__0453

And then it was definitely time to party – on the wraparound patio that follows the house from North to South end with unobstructed views of the Ocean and of the sunset:

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The bride had requested an oyster bar to accompany cocktails on her special day:

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… and that was followed by a farm-to-table dinner by Amy Padilla of Feel Good Foods Catering.

Krista_Ben_September_26_2015__0460Together with the oyster bar, it was, hands down, the ultimate dining experience! The cake was “imported” from Layers Sensational

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… and it was cut as the first official “joint venture” of the newlyweds!

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Guitarist Richard DeVinck serenaded the wedding party from ceremony through Cocktail Hour and dinner and then transitioned seamlessly to DJ’ing for a joyful dance party inside, while dusk fell…

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… and the garden, illuminated by myriad lanterns, turned downright magical.

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On their special day, the couple and their guests were even treated to a technicolor sunset:

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Photographer extraordinaire Sandra Fazzino captured it all for us … including the couple dancing the night away:

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Congratulations on a truly memorable wedding, Krista and Ben – and enjoy your Honeymoon in Paris!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tobi and Yasser – Nature and Elegance at Quail Lodge

Tobi and Yasser were college sweethearts. They had met at UC Riverside early on – in their Freshman/Junior year, respectively – and became inseparable very soon. Despite their very different family backgrounds – Tobi is from a Korean-American family and Yasser from a Persian-American family – they found so much in common that there was never even a doubt that they would stay together. They were both family people, both love nature and animals. And wherever they were not already sharing the same interests and hobbies, chances were they would very soon! Yasser had always been big on playing sports, and soon enough Tobi picked up exercising as well – she would even begin her wedding day with a run! But more of that later…

One of the things they always shared was a love for the outdoors. Hiking, camping in Big Sur, and an engagement in the rain forest in Costa Rica – that way it was pretty clear that their wedding celebration would at least partly take place in beautiful nature. However, for that special day Tobi did not want “rustic” but “classy and elegant.” The solution? Quail Lodge in Carmel.

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Set in the softly rolling hills of Carmel Valley as far as you can see, Quail Lodge has it all: a gorgeous outdoor ceremony site, elegant event space at the Clubhouse, and cozy accommodations at the Lodge. I knew it well, and I was overjoyed when Tobi and Yasser chose my company, A Day Like No Other, to plan, design and coordinate their Great Day.

For Tobi, wedding day began (AFTER her morning run!) with a hair and makeup session…

… in the bridal suite at Quail Lodge …

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under the expert hands of Anna and Soyeoon from Wowpretty Salon. Next step (literally!) – get into her elaborate strapless Maggie Sottero wedding dress, with exquisite lace detailing and crystal embellishment…

Tobi’s bridesmaids, all in midnight blue crepe dresses, had quite some work to do lacing the bride up! Then: jewelry!

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… crystal-embellished bridal shoes…

… and her bridal bouquet (from Janelle Jacky of Green Petal Designs, who created all the gorgeous floral decor throughout)

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–  and ready for First Look on the picturesque bridge at Quail Lodge!

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While the couple had many, many photos and video footage taken (by Patrick Ang‘s photo and video crews), we were all busy getting the ceremony site at Quail Meadows set up for an outdoor Catholic Mass officiated by Tobi’s uncle.

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A radiant and expectant bride was waiting upstairs in the “barn” (a rustic-elegant building at Quail Meadows)…

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… until the great moment had come. The bride was preceded by her cute flower girl…

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… and then her proud Dad escorted her all the way to the ceremony:

Isn’t that romantic? Her processional song, played by DJ John Gregoria of DNA Entertainment (who provided music throughout), was the Jurassic Park theme melody, and throughout the wedding mass, friends and relatives provided live music as well.

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Cocktail Hour for the more than 170 guests was held on the patio of the Quail Clubhouse…

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… with baby photos of the couple and other family photos for the guests to reminisce about, and with a photo booth (also from DNA Entertainment) which was a huge hit.

Guests looked up their seating assignment for dinner on an elaborate chalkboard chart by Ryanne Steele of Steele My Heart …

… and were then treated to a wonderful Persian wedding ceremony. Lili Ghazian of Aroosi had created an elegant sofreh-aghd (wedding spread) in the golden and blush pink colors of the wedding:

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… and officiant Niloufar Nouri brought it all to life, walking the couple and the audience through the time-honored traditional ceremony step by step, explaining the symbolic meaning of all elements.

For example, the mothers rub sugar above their children’s heads to shower their marriage with sweetness.

rubbing sugar The couple exchanged vows and rings once more…

It was very moving!

After that, everyone was ready for dinner…

…with tables set in midnight blue shimmering linens, ivory napkins and lots and lots of candle light in mercury glass and rose gold-colored votives…

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The couple was presiding over it all from their sweetheart table…

Following dinner, bride and groom were planning to cut their cake from Patisserie Parker-Lusseau, but that’s not that easy for a Persian groom! First he had to negotiate for the cake knife with a succession of dancing ladies who were teasing him with a traditional knife dance…

during which he had to pay them off several times until he could finally snatch the knife from them!

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Guests had the choice of dessert – wedding cake or mini red velvet Bundt cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes with ice cream. And then everyone couldn’t wait to get up and start dancing!

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Dance partyPersian and American hits took turns and got the crowd going… and after a stop at the late-night snack bar, everyone was tired and happy, but nobody really wanted to go home. Everyone had such a good time!

And here is a little live preview of their wedding video:

tobi + yasser from Patrick Ang on Vimeo.

Many happy years together, Tobi and Yasser!

 

Creative Business at the Argonaut SF – WIPA Fall Meeting 2015

“Five Ways Your Business Tells a Story,” was the title of today’s WIPA Fall meeting at the iconic Argonaut hotel in San Francisco.

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lobbySpeaker Sean Low, former president of Preston Bailey Designs and now president of  his own company, “The Business of Being Creative,” had quite some business wisdom to share with the nearly 100 attendees from the Greater SF Bay Area. We all took home a truckload of food for thought!

While WIPA meetings focus on education, they are of course also a lot of fun! We began the day with cocktails – Champagne by Le Grand Courtage, to be precise –

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… in the courtyard (a nice way to start the day, don’t you think?!)

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A very happy event chair (me…)

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…-and serenaded by Brian Bergeron and Zen Zenith of Ivy Hill Entertainment.

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ivy hill 3Our beautiful ivory, silver and gold linens came from Napa Valley Linens, with bold floral arrangements from Flowers by Edgar complementing the “cool elegance” design theme perfectly.

small arrEngaging all senses, Deborah Moody offered enticing fragrances at a perfume bar…

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… by Pastiche Custom Perfume, the perfect bridal shower offering or bridesmaids’ gift.

After Cocktail Hour, guests got to listen to Sean Low’s intense, engaging, and truly “rapid-fire” speaker presentation in the ballroom…

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… with rentals provided by SnB Party Rentals and Classic Party Rentals, and A/V services by PSAV.

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centerpiece And then we had lunch, in unexpected “Bento Box” style with chicken, salmon and a variety of salads …

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lunch plate… and  refreshing iced tea (AND cute tea favors!) from Taras Teas.

favor 2Chic program booklets custom-designed by Jillian Schiavi of JillyInk rounded out our design.

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program openAnd of course we held our meanwhile traditional prize drawing over lunch with prizes ranging from wine and skincare products to a round of golf and an Italian leather purse!

The only ones who literally didn’t get to sit down were our indefatigable photographer Ryan Carville and our videographers from Studio Arcady. Here is our highlight reel – so much fun! Not to mention the behind-the-scenes support from our media sponsor, Today’s Bride Magazine.

sponsor tableAfter lunch, everyone enjoyed delicious cake by Kathleen DeManti from A Spoonful of Sugar

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… and everyone left with a big smile on their faces! And that’s the best reward for all that hard work!

Thanks again to our speaker and to all our fabulous sponsors – and we are already looking forward to our next WIPA event on November 3rd at The Bridges Golf Club in San Ramon. See you there!