Sheida and Homer – a Fairytale right out of 1001 Nights

A whirlwind wedding planning project for a superbusy couple and a fairytale wedding – that was my first task in 2024! Sheida had contracted my wedding planning and design company, A Day Like No Other, after I had planned her older sister’s wedding a few years back – and her first surprise for me was that we only had 7 weeks until the Big Day. The venue (Boulder Ridge Golf Club in San Jose) had been booked… but that was it so far. So we went to work! And time literally flew by…

On the morning of Wedding Day, Sheida and Homer woke up to a gloomy sky and light rain – it was such a disappointment… but they kept their high spirits and got ready for the festivities.

Sheida’s day started with hair and makeup services by Adelina Eidelman, and bridesmaids and mothers simultaneously enjoyed services by Faces by Emily.

Danny Dong Photography

Sheida had chosen a romantic Savin of London wedding dress with lavender rose applique… a real dream! (One that we were lucky enough to secure at such short notice, thanks to our friends at Nouvelle Vogue Bridal Salon).

Danny Dong Photography

Isn’t it fabulous? All her other accessories played into this theme of romance, elegance and soft lavender hues.

Danny Dong Photography

Photographers Danny and Julia Dong and Frame Story videographers were there from the get-go to capture every beautiful detail throughout the day.

Danny Dong Photography

With help from her bridesmaids, Sheida got all dressed up …

Danny Dong Photography
Danny Dong Photography

… and groom Homer got into his elegant dinner jacket – ready for their First Look!

Danny Dong Photography

That happened at their getting-ready location, the historic Dolce-Hayes Mansion in San Jose.

Danny Dong Photography
Danny Dong Photography

Then a little meteorological miracle happened, and the skies literally smiled on our couple: the sun came out, and the rain stopped! Just in the nick of time to prepare for their elaborate ceremony outdoors, as originally planned.

And here is their stunning sofreh-aghd (by Aroosi by Lili), honoring the bride’s Persian heriage, with every single element full of symbolism:

Danny Dong Photography
Danny Dong Photography
Danny Dong Photography

Here comes the bride, on her proud Dad’s arm, serenaded by violinist Pourya Khademi.

Danny Dong Photography

During the ceremony, female family members rub sugar over the couple’s heads – symbolizing the sweetness of marriage (over a thin cloth, actually – to prevent everything getting too sticky…)

Danny Dong Photography

It was a beautiful scene – with the sun coming out behind the clouds… drama!

Danny Dong Photography

After the ceremony, guests were treated to unforgettable entertainment – starting with an authentic Lion Dance, a nod to the groom’s Chinese heritage.

Danny Dong Photography

Meanwhile, a number of vendor teams had been working their magic behind the scenes to transform the dining room at the Club into a gorgeous scene – with draping all around, ceiling swags and twinkle lights, and suspended greenery and chandeliers over the dancefloor (all by Fine Linen Creation)…

Danny Dong Photography
Danny Dong Photography

… and stunning tall centerpieces from Blackistone Florist (all personal flowers and all floral decor). The couple’s Sweetheart Table received special treatment, of course!

Danny Dong Photography

DJ AMP had the music going, and the kitchen at Boulder Ridge Golf Club was ready to serve dinner.

Danny Dong Photography

On their place settings, guests found a traditional Persian bowl as their keepsake, and there were elegant chocolates as well…

Danny Dong Photography

… in addition to all the delicious Persian sweets from the sofreh.

True to form, the couple’s Grand Entrance to dinner was anything but standard: Niosha Dance Academy, a Persian dance troupe, performed to the delight of all their guests.

Danny Dong Photography

After dinner, guests were treated to an elegant wedding cake

Danny Dong Photography

… which the bride and groom cut expertly, as their first official task as a married couple.

Danny Dong Photography

Finally, what everyone had been waiting for: dancing started! The newlyweds opened the dance floor with a choreographed routine…

Danny Dong Photography
Danny Dong Photography

… and that was the start of a wild dance party for everyone – including a Bouquet Toss! To keep everyone energized, Bun Me Up served bao buns as late-night snacks.

Danny Dong Photography

Sheida and Homer snuck out for a few moments with photographers and videographers for some more nighttime photos…

Danny Dong Photography
Danny Dong Photography

Wishing you a lifetime of happiness together, Sheida and Homer – and keep celebrating!

Amina’s and Kevin’s glamorous wedding party

Amina and Kevin had already gotten (legally) married a while ago, in a very small ceremony…

Toanven photography
Toanven Photography

… but they were still dreaming of a “real” wedding celebration. This plan got postponed… and postponed… but finally they decided on a date (mid-December) and a venue, the elegant Silver Creek Valley Country Club in San Jose. I was honored that they chose my company, A Day Like No Other, to help them put it all together and orchestrating the day.

Toanven Photography

Having waited so long, Amina pulled all the stops! Have a look… starting with her preparations early in the morning at Dolce-Hayes Mansion in San Jose where Martha Tafoya of Beauty Innovations and her team applied makeup and styled hair for the bride and her entourage, making sure each of them was looking their best ever – really, becoming Red Carpet-worthy beauties.

Toanven photography

Amina had chosen glamorous “glass slippers” (or rather: stilettos!) fit for a princess…

Toanven photography

… and a truly dramatic, sparkly dress with an enormous train…

Toanven photography
Toanven photography

… and her proud Mom helped her to get into it. Such a quintessential Mother-Daughter moment!

Toanven photography

And here she is – bride Amina in allher finery!

Toanven photography

Meanwhile, groom Kevin had also dressed up “to the nines” in an elegant tux and bow tie…

Toanven Photography
Toanven Photography

Isn’t he looking stunning?! Now, off to their First Look, all captured by Toanven photographers.

Toanven Photography
Toanven Photography

Oh… did I forget to mention her royal-length veil?! (That’s even longer than a cathedral veil – as the name says, meant for royalty!) Amina’s was, hands-down, the most dramatic wedding dress/veil of the year!

Toanven Photography

Amina’s classic-white bridal bouquet and Kevin’s matching boutonniere (as well as the elaborate floral decor for dinner) came from the Flower Divas.

Toanven Photography

Soon enough, guests began arriving to Cocktail Hour and to the lavishly decorated ballroom where the formal dinner was held.

Toanven Photography
Toanven Photography
Toanven Photography

The two rental companies (Pleasanton Rentals (linens) and Hamid Decor) and the Flower Divas had definitely outdone themselves!

Toanven Photography

The couple’s Sweetheart Table got, of course, extra-special treatment.

Toanven Photography

Amina and Kevin clearly enjoyed their big moment with their Grand Entrance to the ballroom.

Toanven Photography

A huge dessert buffet by MadinaBakes was waiting for the guests after dinner.

Toanven Photography
Toanven Photography
Toanven Photography

And then, there also was THE CAKE!! An enormous towering confection from Cake Expressions, in a buttercream lace pattern matching Amina’s dress, and decorated with a profusion of white roses by the Flower Divas.

Toanven Photography
Toanven Photography

More photos at the Club! The stunning spiral staircase in the Clubhouse is a MUST for all wedding photos.

Toanven Photography
Toanven Photography

Meanwhile, guests were entertained first by pianist Tin Yi and then with a photo booth by ReadySteadyPose. But – what would a party be without dancing?! THIS party definitely had the crowd on the dance floor with DJ Anthony Karabetyan by DNA Entertainment.

Toanven Photography

When finally – VERY late! – this unforgettable party came to an end, it did so with another flourish.

Toanven Photography

Here are the newlyweds, headed out with, of course, a luxury getaway car.

Toanven Photography

What a day!! Wishing you a lifetime of happiness on your shared journey, Amina and Kevin!

Elizabeth’s and George’s Joyful Fall Wedding at Nestldown

Elizabeth and George met as undergraduate students in Kansas – they were actually set up by a mutual friend and despite long geographical separation after graduation, have been inseparable ever since. Having settled in Sacramento where George is a neurology resident while Elizabeth is a traveling executive, they were finally able to plan the next, decisive step in their relationship: getting married! As dedicated outdoorspeople, they fell in love with Nestldown, an elegant venue nestled in the Redwoods of Los Gatos, California, and in order to pull it all off long-distance (from Sacramento, where THEY live, and from Kansas, where both their families live), they enlisted the help of my company, A Day Like No Other.

Finally, the Great Day had arrived. Here is Elizabeth getting ready, with our photography crew of JJ Chen Photography capturing all these precious moments throughout the day. Her Mom helped her with her preparations – such a quintessential mother-daughter experience…

Elizabeth had chosen an ultrafeminine, flowing dress …

… and with her hair and makeup (by Nicole’s Vanity) done, she was all smiles!

Groom George was likewise getting ready…

Done!

Time to proceed to Nestldown for their First Look!

Always such a special moment… After that – it was pre-ceremony photo time…

… for the couple solo as well as together with their impressive lineup of bridesmaids and groomsmen! Soon enough guests began arriving (via shuttles by Corinthian Ground Transportation), and the Nestldown crew, the florist team (from Ida Blooms), the A Day Like No Other team, The Moment Studio videography and our DJ Henry Kim (of Big Fun Disc Jockeys) got everything prepared for the wedding ceremony in the “Chapel,” a breathtaking natural Redwood grove. And here comes the bride, escorted by both her parents.

The ceremony, officiated by the uncle of the bride, was heartfelt, lighthearted and filled with joy and laughter.

Just married! And while their guests were treated to delicious drinks and hors d’oeuvres (by Poetry in Motion Catering), the newlyweds had to take some more photos, of course.

Finally the couple got to join their guests and take a bite and a sip, too!

After Cocktail Hour, the whole party relocated to a nearby restaurant – Teleferic Barcelona – for dinner and dancing. The newlyweds made a big entrance!

Everything was ready for them – the tables were glowing …

… with candlelight, with specialty linens (by NVL) in the bride’s favorite vibrant orange and with elegant floral garlands (by Ida Blooms).

Music was provided by DJ Woody Miraglia (by Big Fun Disc Jockeys), and after dinner, there was no holding back from dancing! The only exception was Cake Cutting – Elizabeth and George did not have just ONE cake; they had three – all equally delicious and artistic! (by Fleur de Cocoa).

The rest of the evening was spent dancing, dancing, dancing…

… and after that, the die-hard party girls and boys accompanied the newlyweds to an afterparty nearby. If that was not enough – the parents of the bride invited a whole local crowd to yet another wedding reception at their home back in Kansas, two days later. That’s how much Elizabeth and George are loved!! Wishing them a lifetime of happiness on their shared journey!

And here is a video of the couple’s ceremony at Nestldown:

If you are hoping for an equally beautiful wedding yourself – contact me at [email protected]!

A true “Insider Wedding” – Deanna and Brandon

Deanna is one of my assistants at my wedding planning company, A Day Like No Other. Having diligently worked her way up from shadowing to assisting to ultimately leading the production of weddings (while still working her 9-5 job), she finally took the plunge – and a full-time wedding planner position at Wedgwood Events in Sacramento. This was intense training on the job for a full year, and with all this experience “under her belt,” she was ready to tackle her biggest project yet: her own wedding!

This is Deanna “on the job” and how our brides and grooms have seen her…

Deanna and her fiance Brendan met in an Intro to Acting class at UC Davis when she was a freshman and he was a junior. They dated throughout college and, after graduation, Brendan moved to LA to live with Deanna and her family for 5 years. In 2021, they moved to Sacramento for Brendan’s job as an environmental scientist for the California Water Quality Control Board; he is now working on a Master’s degree in Natural Resources online at Oregon State University. Deanna has moved on to become a catering event specialist at UC Davis and is still working as a wedding coordinator for A Day Like No Other; long-term, she is hoping to establish herself as a wedding planner and coordinator in Sacramento and the Central Valley.

And this is Deanna on her own wedding day – radiant!

In November 2023, a month after celebrating 11 happy years together, Brendan and Deanna got married at Antiquité Maison Privée, a former antiques shop – which added its own touch to the bride’s wedding aesthetic. She was inspired by her memories growing up in Southern California, her love of Spanish architecture and Mexican folk art. Her color scheme was based on sunsets and Talavera tiles. The backdrop of the former antiques shop led her to add more vintage-y elements like velvet and lace table linens and etched water goblets. The weather on November 4th, the day of the wedding, was PERFECT – Deanna and Brendan were really lucky in that respect! Everything fell into place really beautifully (Wedding Day coordination: Taylor Kelley Events).

The day began with hair and makeup services by Christy Reynolds Beauty at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento, and the bride and her bridesmaids had a lot of fun together, as documented in photo and video by Lily and Lime.

The bride was helped into her wedding dress (from Sparkle Bridal Couture) by her Mom – such a wonderful mother-daughter moment!

What’s missing? Princess slippers ….

… and the bridal bouquet (by Flowers by Jordan)!

Groom and groomsmen were meanwhile also getting ready and having equal fun!

One quick pre-ceremony bridal party photo…

Soon enough, their guests began to arrive for their joyful wedding ceremony under a profusion of lavish flowers in sunset colors…

And now: “You may kiss the bride!”

Just married! Mazel tov!

While the newlyweds had many, many photos to take…

… their guests were already enjoying drinks and hors d’oeuvres (Jackson Catering & Events) while being entertained with live music by the Midtown Jazz Trio.

Time for dinner! Here Deanna’s artistic talents came to shine – starting with her creative escort card display:

… and “guest book” poster.

From dinner tables…

…and the couple’s antique Sweetheart Table (rentals: Blossom Farm Rentals and Barnswallow Rentals; linens: MG Linen Rentals)…

to elegant placesettings…

… with Talavera tile table numbers – everything bore the stamp of the bride’s aesthetic. Well – did I forget to mention the wedding cake (Freeport Bakery) …

… which perfectly played along with the Talavera tile theme?

The newlyweds performed their traditional first task as a wedded couple – cake cutting – with bravura, and then there was no holding back the whole crowd from dancing! DJ Buzzardball played up a storm, Deanna and Brendan performed their choreographed First Dance…

… and all guests joined them in the exuberant traditional Hora Dance, hoisting bride and groom up in the air!

What an unforgettable party! Wishing you love and happiness on your way, Deanna and Brendan!

Lauren and Darren: An Elegant Affair at Villa Montalvo

When these two decided to tie the knot, they were looking for a venue with character, something special and unique, and they turned to my company, A Day Like No Other, for help. I had an idea, and they loved it: Villa Montalvo in Saratoga, a grand historic mansion surrounded by a manicured park – a really unforgettable setting. And so we begun to put together the myriad details over nearly a year of planning time. Finally, the Great Day had come – the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.

After her hair and makeup session (by Nicole’s Vanity), the bride got into her diaphanous, lace-and-tulle dress, and the groom dressed up as well…

… with photographer Julia of Danny Dong Photography capturing all these precious moments.

The wedding flowers in the bride’s favorite muted Fall colors (by Laurel & Vine) had arrived…

… and it was time for the couple’s First Look.

The Italianate Garden at Villa Montalvo with its “Love Temple” was the perfect backdrop for many beautiful portraits…

… as well as the site for Lauren’s and Darren’s wedding ceremony under an elaborately decorated chuppah.

Soon, guests were arriving (via shuttles from Corinthian Ground Transportation)…

… and musicians from the Lucky Devils Band began playing as guests were being seated. Rabbi Dana Magat conducted a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony.

Just married! Mazel Tov!

And off to more photos…

… in the beautiful park surrounding the Villa. Guests were invited to cocktails in the Spanish Courtyard.with a full bar (by Best Beverage Catering).

Meanwhile, the teams of A Day Like No Other, of La Bocca Fina Catering and Laurel & Vine florists were busy putting the finishing touches on the dinner setup on the front verandah…

… under string lights installed by Brilliant Event Lighting.

Guests were treated to delicious dishes…

… and everyone had a good time – especially the newlyweds!

After dinner, guests were invited to a mouthwatering dessert buffet and ice cream from Scoop Microcreamery.

Following dessert, there was no holding back on dancing. Beginning with Lauren and Darren’s First Dance as a married couple…

… to music by the Lucky Devils Band

… followed by the traditional, exuberant Hora Dance, with the couple being hoisted up in the air…

… and culminating in an epic dance party for everyone. When it was finally time to say good-bye, the newlyweds’ send-off was equally grand: with guests cheering on them with bubbles and glowsticks as they were leaving…

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DannyDong_20230903_L_90-copy.jpg

… in a gorgeous vintage limousine (by Elegant Journey) into their married bliss.

Again, congratulations and Mazel Tov to you, Lauren and Darren!

Mariko and Phillip: Glamour and Urban Chic

We all know how much San Francisco has to offer – Golden Gate Bridge, historic mansions, the SF Bay, gritty-industrial buildings, the most beautiful Beaux-Arts style city hall in the nation… What if you are getting married, and you can’t decide where in San Francisco? Then you do what Mariko and Phillip did: all of the above! A ceremony in City Hall,

Photo credit: SF City Hall image gallery

….followed by a reception at Gallery 308, an industrial space overlooking the SF Bay. Their guests even got treated to a little sightseeing tour to historic Ghirardelli Square, on the way from ceremony to reception. That all made for complex logistics – that was what they had my wedding planning company, A Day Like No Other, for – but it was all well worth it.

Mariko’s day began super early – at 6 am! – so she would be ready for her First Look at 9 and her ceremony at 10. Her photographer Kristen Murakoshi of Studio Ma was already waiting for her and for groom Phillip at City Hall. Mariko brought her elegant bridal bouquet in muted summer colors and cascading tiny orchids (all floral decor by Green Petal Designs).

Photo credit: Studio Ma

Then it was time for many, many photos – SF City Hall is just gorgeous! And so was our couple…

Photo credit: Studio Ma
Photo credit: Studio Ma
Photo credit: Studio Ma

Soon enough, the first wedding guests were arriving (in shuttles by Corinthian Ground Transportation), officiant Maggie Beretz prepared for the ceremony, and pianist Lara Garner began playing prelude music as guests found their seats. The ceremony took place on the Grand Staircase under the soaring rotunda of City Hall.

Photo credit: Studio Ma

It doesn’t get much more grandiose than that… And here they are, “just married!”

Photo credit: Studio Ma

Time for a kiss – one of many…

Photo credit: Studio Ma

While the wedding guests were taken by shuttle on a mini sightseeing tour to historic Ghirardelli Square, the newlyweds had time for many more photos in and around City Hall.

Photo credit: Studio Ma
Photo credit: Studio Ma
Photo credit: Studio Ma

From there – off to Fort Mason, to their lunch reception for 200 guests at Gallery 308, an industrial space overlooking the SF Bay.

Photo credit: Studio Ma
Photo credit: Studio Ma
Photo credit: Studio Ma
Photo credit: Studio Ma

Exactly Mariko’s and Phillip’s colors! And their style – they had asked me for a design in ’70s style and colors and had chosen their invitations accordingly:

Photo credit: Studio Ma

… and for their table flowers, they wanted Ikebana style in exactly these colors. You think that these design ideas are too disparate to be integrated into one cohesive style? Think again! We made it happen. Here are the beautiful centerpieces by Green Petal Designs.

Photo credit: Studio Ma

When the newlyweds arrived at their reception venue, the venue staff had set up their tables and chairs, the catering staff of Smokin’ Yankees BBQ under the leadership of Bekah Juencke had laid the tables with linens, napkins, and elegant china, flatware and glassware from Hensley Event Resources; with paper cranes folded by the couple themselves for good luck;

Photo credit: Studio Ma
Photo credit: Studio Ma
Photo credit: Studio Ma

the centerpieces were in place,

Photo credit: Studio Ma

delicious BBQ food was being served, bartender Will Mar and team had the bar in full swing, and Travelin’ Joe’s coffee and waffle bar was open, too.

Photo credit: Studio Ma

DJ Ron Israel of Spotlight Occasions had the music going, and a delicious dessert bar was waiting for the guests as well.

Photo credit: Studio Ma

The whole reception was quietly and efficiently orchestrated “behind the scenes” by the two experienced production managers from A Day Like No Other, Nimy and Myrtle.

Photo credit: Studio Ma

Bride and groom were happy!

Photo credit: Studio Ma

After the festive luncheon, Mariko and Phillip shared their First Dance as a married couple…

Photo credit: Studio Ma

…. and that brought their guests to the dance floor, too.

When the festivities concluded in the late afternoon, everyone agreed: this was one unforgettable party!

Keep dancing and celebrating on your shared journey, Mariko and Phillip – with our best wishes on your way!

Taylor and Sheldon’s Joyful Summer Wedding

Taylor and Sheldon are a busy professional couple, living out of state – and for planning and designing their wedding, they enlisted the help of my company, A Day Like No Other. They had chosen a venue close to where the bride grew up and where her parents are still living: Thomas Fogarty Winery in Woodside. Simply perfect for the garden-themed summer wedding the couple was envisioning, elegant and romantic in ivory and lilac hues, with a few metallic gold accents.

Their invitations set the tone:

The bride and her bridesmaids were getting ready at the house of the bride’s parents, with hair and makeup services by Aqua Beauty Lounge.

A timeless mother-daughter moment…

Not to forget the jewelry…

And here she is… dramatic!

Lastly – the bridal bouquet (all florals by Laurel & Vine):

And with that, Taylor was ready to present herself to her husband-to-be.

Sheldon had meanwhile also dressed up…

…. and was ready for the “First Look.”

Always such a touching moment…

Time for many, many photos with photographer Kevin Chin and for video with videographer Martin Meyer!

Official wedding photo, right?

Meanwhile, the ceremony area had been set up, officiant Chris Thielen had arrived, and DJ Paul Burchfield of Big Fun Disc Jockeys had the music going as guests began to arrive (via shuttles from Corinthian Ground Transportation). It was the perfect summer day, warm and sunny under a cloudless blue sky, and with a slight breeze.

The ceremony lawn offers endless views, from the San Francisco skyline all the way to Silicon Valley.

And here comes the bride, on her father’s arm.

After her father formally “gave her away” to Sheldon, Taylor joined him and officiant Chris Thielen for the ceremony.

Ring exchange…

… and “You may now kiss your bride!”

Just married!! And off to many more photos and video …

… while guests enjoyed Fogarty wines and hors d’oeuvres (all food and bar services by Melons Catering) on the open Deck at Fogarty Winery.

The Melons Catering team had meanwhile set up dinner in the open Pavilion…

… with elegant china, placemats, glassware and cutlery from Hensley Event Resources, on beautiful linens by Napa Valley Linens.

Impressive centerpieces (by Laurel & Vine) were the stunning focal point of each table.

All elements had been carefully chosen to complement the overall look of summery elegance and luxury – including the seating chart for guests…

… and beautifully packaged favors in the wedding colors.

The Head Table, of course, got extra-special treatment!

After a delicious dinner (by Melons Catering)…

and many toasts and speeches…

… AND a group photo with all their guests…

… it was definitely time for dancing and for cutting the cake (by Susie Cakes)!

The newlyweds completed this time-honored first task in their marriage with bravura.

For her choreographed First Dance, the bride had changed into an “easier” (but no less stunning!) dress…

Applause!! Next up – Bouquet Toss…

… and Garter Toss!

And what followed then, was a truly EPIC dance party!

What a celebration! Our best wishes on your way, Taylor and Sheldon!

E & D – a very private wedding celebration at Thomas Fogarty Winery

Disclaimer up front: we are only allowed to show you the beautiful details of this wedding celebration – not the couple, not their bridal party, family or guests. The couple are very private people, and we have to respect that, so all names on signage and stationery are redacted, and we cannot share photos showing recognizable faces. BUT there is still a lot to see!

While planning her wedding with the support of my company, A Day Like No Other, the bride gave me clear directives for my design process: the color scheme – the whole spectrum from periwinkle, light and dark blue to purple hues, accented with a small dose of metallic silver – and the overall style of the event – everything classic and feminine. What a brief to work with! Have a look how all this turned out:

The bride had her invitation suite and most of her wedding day stationery custom-designed (by Momental Designs), based on watercolor artwork showing the beautiful venue and its surroundings and accented in her chosen colorway. It was the perfect way to set the stage for what was to come!

For her bridal bouquet, the bride had specified a “hand-tied, symmetrical, contained” design – and here it is in all its beauty (all florals by PlanDecor):

The altar arrangements were a reflection of both the natural beauty of the venue and of the bride’s preference for classic wedding flowers in her favorite hues.

Cocktail arrangements and centerpieces played up the same theme – it was all one perfect harmony of design and colors across all decorative elements.

The dinner setup in the open Pavilion came together beautifully, and heat lamps ensured the comfort of the guests.

Linen and napkin colors as well as the silver chargers were the “supporting actors” in our design scheme…

… and even the table numbers were following along!

Guests found their seating assignments on a board that OF COURSE kept to the blue and lilac hues and floral motifs we already know…

The couple was busy taking post-ceremony photos with their photographer extraordinaire, Megan Reeves...

… while guests were indulging in hors d’oeuvres (all catering and bar by Continental Catering) and Fogarty wines.

Finally, the newlyweds rejoined their guests at dinner, presiding from their Sweetheart Table. After that came dancing, dancing, dancing!!!

So – have I promised too much? The design and decor of this wedding celebration were so cohesive and beautiful… I hope you’ll all get inspired!

Beth and Rob: a Celebration of Music, Art and Nature at Nestldown

Artistic talent runs in both Beth’s and Rob’s families. Beth is an accomplished vocalist and music teacher. Rob’s mother is an exceptional painter. But there is more: both Beth and Rob are nature lovers – small wonder then, that they chose Nestldown as their wedding venue. Hidden in the Redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains, this wedding venue on 36 acres has it all: a natural “chapel” in an ancient Redwood grove for romantic ceremonies, rustic-elegant event spaces (think gardens with pergolas and fire tables, a “barn” illuminated by an enormous crystal chandelier) and whimsical touches galore – from a life-size train, a fairytale cottage and a sand sculpture to transportation by authentic London taxis!

After more than a year of planning, the big day had finally arrived, and it was just perfect: warm, sunny, blue skies and a slight breeze. For Beth, the day began with hair and makeup by Carly Wise who brought out the bride’s delicate features with a feminine updo and artfully-near invisible makeup. Beth was positively glowing!

Next: flowers! Beth did not want “traditional” wedding flowers – she wanted wildflowers! Loose, organic blooms in a riot of colors. Only problem: wildflowers are notoriously fragile and would not stand up to the rigors of a wedding day; they would wilt in a matter of half an hour. What to do? Enter florist extraordinaire Janelle Jacky-Litt of Green Petal Designs: she created bouquets and arrangements that look exactly like wildflowers (Beth LOVED them!) but were actually based on hardier varietals. Here is one of the bridesmaids’ bouquets.

And here she is, carrying her bridal bouquet:

Isn’t she gorgeous?!

Groom Rob with likewise getting ready…

Beth and Rob had made it a point to have as many pre-ceremony photos taken as possible – to have more time with their guests after the ceremony – so that’s where they were headed. Photographer Megan Reeves and assistant captured every precious moment – for example, the couple’s First Look.

There were also many bridal party photos on the program…

Soon enough, guests began arriving via shuttles (from Corinthian Ground Transportation), and everyone was preparing for the ceremony.

DJ Woody Miraglia of Big Fun Disc Jockeys had the music going, and three friends of the couple, two violinists and a guitarist, were ready to play for the entrance of the bride.

And here she comes, accompanied by both her parents…

The ceremony was officiated by yet another friend of the couple and as such, was heartfelt and very personal.

It was such a joyful moment.

“I Do!” – and “You may now kiss the bride!”

And here are the newlyweds!

While Beth and Rob were taking just a few more “family formals” photos, guests were treated to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres (by Betty Zlatchin Catering),

…lawn games, train rides and photobooth fun (by Night Owl Photo Booth).

Photo credit: ADLNO

Eventually, the newlyweds arrived by train and joined the party.

Meanwhile, dinner on the Main Lawn had been set up…

… with a Koi Pond as its backdrop.

Photo credit: ADLNO

While all guest tables were splendid with elegant place settings…

… with hand-painted menu cards (like all other wedding stationery and signage, designed by the Mother of the Groom) and vibrant “wildflower” centerpieces…

… the Head Table, of course, received special treatment.

Tables had not been numbered, but named after bird species – the groom is an ornithologist, after all! For entree choice markers, the couple chose various wildflower species, true to style!

And so that guests would not get lost among all the birds, the Mother of the Groom had also created an artistic map showing the location of each table.

Photo credit: ADLNO

Needless to say – the name of each table was displayed as a beautiful painting of the bird it was named after.

Over dinner, dusk began to fall, and the myriad twinkle lights installed in the tall Redwood trees surrounding the main lawn began to sparkle – it was truly magical.

Once dinner and toasts and speeches were done, guests were invited into the Barn for desserts and dancing. Again – never ones to simply follow tradition, the couple had opted for their favorite fruit pies (a huge table full of them!) over a typical wedding cake, and their guests really “dug in.” Then it was time for Beth’s and Rob’s First Dance, accompanied by more of their musician friends. Watching these two gently twirl underneath the giant crystal chandelier was a truly unforgettable moment.

Then the bride danced with her Dad and the groom with his Mom…

and after that, the dance floor was opened to an epic dance party.

with all-time favorite tunes (yes, ABBA, for example!) and glow sticks for everyone… and in the end, nobody wanted to go home! The newlyweds were whisked away into their married bliss by London Taxi… keep dancing, singing and watching birds in perpetual happiness, Beth and Rob!