Spring Fling! SF Bay Area Wedding Pros partying at the Forest Hill Clubhouse

Yesterday I threw a party for one of my professional organizations, and that was tons of fun! As most of my dear readers already know, I am a wedding coordinator and designer, and the founder of A Day Like No Other, and I am a member of the San Francisco Bay Area Wedding Pros. That’s a Facebook group – but what a group!

A year and a half ago, fellow event planner Jacin Fitzgerald of Lovely Little Details created a closed group on Facebook for all wedding professionals in the area as a forum where colleagues help colleagues, with advice, recommendations, and even standing in for one another in case of sudden emergencies. That was not only a good idea – it was an instantaneous, immense success: our group has gone from zero to 700 (!!) members, and counting. We meet in person a few times a year, and since I happen to be renting out a hidden gem of a SF wedding venue, the Forest Hill Clubhouse, I was in the lucky position to play hostess to yesterday’s meeting.

Since in our SFBAWPs group I am literally surrounded by everything and everyone needed for a party, and since everyone is so helpful, generous and enthusiastic, all it took me to throw our “Spring Fling”  were a few phone calls and emails. Jacin helped behind the scenes, and the Forest Hill Association, owner of the venue, graciously invited us all to party in that beautiful historic building!

As only a few of our guests were familiar with the Forest Hill Clubhouse as an event venue, my friend, graphic designer Rachel Lopez Metzger of The Desk Set, created elegant information cards with all there is to know for booking an event here:

Punctually as announced, doors opened at 5 pm yesterday, and revelers kept arriving – probably around 75 altogether – and wouldn’t leave at all… so our party went a good hour into overtime, and that’s probably the best proof that it was, indeed, fun for everyone! Since our theme was Spring, and as the venue has such a unique storybook charm,  I based my design on ivory, spring green and a few yellow accents, garden accessories and all natural materials.

Janelle Jacky of Green Petal Designs played up the mood with fresh and elegant floral arrangements in our signature colors:

Cake artist Gabrielle Feuersinger of Cake Coquette teamed up with florist Janelle to create the perfect decor on a luscious, delicious cake, recreating the natural flowers and the basketweave containers exactly in buttercream! Take a look – she definitely outdid herself just once more:

But – we didn’t “eat cake first!” We first attacked the buffet…

… where organic appetizers from Kristin Houk’s All Good Pizza entered into a healthy competition with fresh-from-the-oven gourmet Goat Hill Pizza, accompanied by a selection of red and white wine, courtesy of the Forest Hill Association:

Before we cut “The Cake,” guests were treated to the prettiest presentation of vitamins imaginable – a fruit display from Susan Leigh by Edible Arrangements:

“Too beautiful to eat!” was what everyone kept saying… and then they did it because it was so delicious!

Then finally, Birthday Bay Sam Soto-Suver of Bowerbird Photography cut the cake, revealing one layer of vanilla, strawberry and raspberry flavor alternating with another layer of sheer dark chocolate bliss spiked with espresso aroma, and guests enjoyed first-rate coffee to go with it – courtesy of Bill Choy of Travelin’Joe Coffee Bar (who had totally caught me by surprise – addressing me in fluent German!).

When darkness fell and a big fire in the oversize fireplace created a cozy atmosphere, guests were all in lively conversation with friends old and new, and certainly felt even more homey, surrounded by all the pretty rental items that made up the backbone of my party design: La Tavola had provided pretty white-and-tan checkered tablecloths, YPR Party Rentals generously sponsored all our china, stemware and flatware, and Hartmann Studios contributed pretty showpieces for our buffet.

 To round it out, jazz pianist Robert Kennedy of Robert Kennedy Trio (Robert Kennedy ([email protected])entertained guests throughout the evening, barely taking a break to join in the festivities himself!
One high point of the evening was, however, still to come: no guest left empty-handed, thanks to Maya and Alaa, the two fashionable ladies behind ChocoVogue – in keeping with our Spring theme, the two had created a showpiece of sorts out of their beautifully decorated chocolate favors, a veritable blooming garden:
Each guest received one of these cute favors to take home, and everyone left with a big smile! We are all looking forward to our next party!

News from the WIPA 2013 Kick-off Meeting at the Westin St. Francis, San Francisco

Today WIPA – Wedding Industry Professionals Association –  held their 2013 kickoff meeting at the iconic Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. As a member of the WIPA Events Committee, I had the pleasure and the honor to organize this event together with my co-chair Kimberly Roberts – a fantastic collaboration between A Day Like No Other and LVL Events. It was a great party!

The Westin St. Francis Hotel, the “Grande Dame on Union Square” in San Francisco, had graciously offered to host our luncheon – but not only that, they invited us to use their “Imperial Floor!” It’s so “VIP” that the elevator doesn’t stop there unless you are in possession of a special key!

The famous 32nd floor, high above the City and with killer views of the Bay and the Marin Headlands, holds two Ballrooms, the “Alexandria” (think cream and gold opulence) and “Victor’s Palace” (cream, powder pink and light blue accents) and a generous foyer. We were overjoyed! But the Westin’s generosity didn’t even stop there. General Manager Jon Kimball, Catering Director Bill Hedgepeth and Wedding Sales Specialist Lauren Schardt went on to provide a cocktail hour with free-flowing Champagne and hors d’oeuvres, a three-course lunch and a surprise after that; more of it later.

To announce our kickoff meeting, we turned to Gusto Lopez of Life in Digital Videography who created a special e-Save-the-Date for us – his own invention! That’s how tech-savvy couples can now let the world know they are getting married – Gusto will post a custom Save-the-Date videoclip on all the couple’s Social Media channels, and voila!

Our E-Save-the-Date obviously worked: we had a record attendance of 120 guests for our function. Guests walked right into an elegant cocktail reception where tea-smoked tuna edamame tartar, salt-roasted pears in prosciutto and lobster gougeres accompanied rose Champagne.

What a start to a great event! Classical guitarist Julio Reyes set the festive mood with his music, and when guests walked into the dining area, they were greeted by an elegant table décor inspired by Vintage Victorian Valentine’s cards.

Sharon Dexmier of Napa Valley Linens had provided exquisite linens: an ivory jacquard with antique gold napkins, topped by gold menu carsa and Victorian Valentine’s themed notepads from custom stationery boutique The Desk Set as favors.

Centerpieces were stunning arrangements of ivory hydrangeas, pale pink and mauve roses and dark berries by Ornamento – some in low urns, some crowning towering candelabras. It was definitely a setting fit for royalty.

The whole elegant affair was masterfully captured by photographer Kevin Chin of Kevin Chin Photography and Cinema – for our WIPA newsletter; I am positive, everyone will look their very best, viewed through Kevin’s lens!

WIPA luncheons always blend networking, sheer fun and education; and so we had two speakers today: Lara Burnap, editor of California Wedding Day magazine, and Summer Watkins, editor of  a circle of blogs – Grey Likes Weddings, Grey Likes Baby and Grey Likes Nesting.

Both presented Online and Off: Trends in Wedding Media. These two prominent members of the wedding media gave insider advice about trend forecasts, how to position wedding design for best editorial coverage, how to recruit ideal clients and vendors, and how to approach media in a way that will get noticed. The audience was riveted! So much hands-on, practical information from the real insiders is a rare treat, and over lunch everyone was in animated conversation on how best to make use of all this professional advice.

Lunch was an exquisite succession of a mixed lettuce with roasted grapes and pickled radish; mushroom-crusted Angus beef filet and a mignardise plate of a selection of pastry chef Jean-Francois’  confectioner’s delights.

Following lunch, our guests were treated to a raffle – one lucky winner took home one of Ornamento’s stunning centerpieces,

another one won a tray of luxurious European chocolate favors, lovingly decorated  to fit into our Vintage Valentine’s theme, by ChocoVogue;

and the main prize was a dinner and a night at the Westin St. Francis hotel. Speaker Lara Burnap played Lady Luck and announced the winners. You can imagine the excitement! And yet – one of the high points of our event was still to come: a presentation of four wedding cakes, prepared by the cake bakers affiliated with the Westin, and a tea-and-coffee bar, displayed in the adjacent “Victor’s Palace” ballroom – an extravaganza in cream, pink and baby blue with gilded accents, furnished with antiques from One True Love Vintage Rentals.


Guitarist Julio Reyes generously gave encores to serenade the revelers who were happily digging into their cake!

Chef Bala, the “Cakemaker,” presented melt-in-your-mouth chocolate and vanilla layer cakes

Chef Bala, the “Cakemaker,” presented melt-in-your-mouth chocolate and vanilla layer cakes;

“Pretty Please” beckoned with cupcakes in exotic flavors…

“Elegant Cheese Cakes” for guests to take home

I can say with confidence that everyone had a good time, and even those who did not win a raffle prize went home with personal cheesecakes and to-go boxes filled with cupcakes, classic chocolade layer cake and more. And each and every one went home wearing a big smile!