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!

Gianna’s and Kyle’s “heavenly” nuptials at Nestldown

Gianna and Kyle had something like a whirlwind romance – Kyle proposed just a year and a half into their relationship, and a month later, the two had brought my company, A Day Like No Other, on board for their wedding planning. Their dream venue – Nestldown Estate in Los Gatos – was booked, and off we went on a yearlong endeavor to make their wedding celebration truly special, memorable, and above all, uniquely theirs.

Last October, the big day had finally come. Bride and groom were getting ready at Hotel Valencia in San Jose …

…. and the bride and her bridesmaids enjoyed hair and makeup services by stylists from Wowpretty Salon.

Gianna had chosen a very feminine, romantic wedding dress.

Photographer Melissa Floriano and videographer Sean Kurtela joined the bridal party to capture all the precious moments – AND the gorgeous details!

As avid “stargazers,” bride and groom chose a celestial motif for their invitations – a glittery starry sky, actually, and the bride’s earrings reflect the same “heavenly” taste!

Bride Gianna got into her dress with the assistance of her bridesmaids …

… while in a suite at the other end of the hotel, groom Kyle and his groomsmen were likewise dressing up.

Time to transfer to the venue (via Corinthian Ground Transportation) for the couple’s First Look and many photos and video footage! As their First Look location, Gianna and Kyle had chosen the charming Fairytale Cottage onsite.

Next up: couple’s portraits and bridal party photos.

Gianna wore a star-studded hairpiece to complement her earrings, and for her bridal bouquet, she had chosen ivory and dark red blooms in an effortlessly feminine style (all florals by Lotus & Lily Floral Design). Dark red was also the color of choice for the bridesmaids’ dresses…

… while the gentlemen wore classic charcoal grey (with honey-colored dress shoes!).

And here is the whole impressive lineup of 8 bridesmaids and 8 groomsmen plus officiant!

Bridal party having fun!

In the meantime, the ceremony area in the “Chapel,” a dramatic redwood grove, had been set up and decorated with a circular arch, embellished with gorgeous flowers.

At the entrance to the aisle, little containers with bubbles waited for the guests, to blow bubbles on the newlyweds after the ceremony.

And here is the “aisle” – a dramatic stairway descending down a wooded hill into the Redwood clearing.

Soon enough, guests began arriving, greeted by a customized Welcome sign.

The ceremony, officiated by a close friend of the couple, began on time, with the processional of the groom…

… and HERE COMES THE BRIDE!

Los Gatos DJs provided beautiful wedding music (and for the groom’s entrance, a march out of “Star Wars!”)

“You may now kiss the bride!”

Just married! The parents of the groom walked out with the “guest of honor” of the day – the couple’s puppy dog “Muffin.”

While the newlyweds had many more photos and videos to take…

… their guests were treated to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres (by Eisenhauer’s Catering) and to musical entertainment and photo booth fun (both by Los Gatos DJs). When it was time for dinner, guests found their seating assignments on a pretty seating chart…

… on the way to the Great Lawn where dinner tables had been set up. There were also baskets with cozy blankets to keep everyone warm.

Dark blue and maroon, accented by metallic gold, set an elegant tone. The newlyweds presided over the whole “congregation” from their special Sweetheart Table, adorned (like all guest tables) with lavish floral centerpieces by Lotus & Lily.

As dusk was falling, the lights in the surrounding trees came on, and the atmosphere turned magical.

After dinner, guests were invited to dancing in the Barn, the central building at Nestldown. A “barn” only by architectural style, it is a truly unique and elegant event space…

… crowned by an enormous crystal chandelier. This is where Gianna and Kyle enjoyed their First Dance as a married couple…

… and where they cut their “heavenly” cake (by Cake Expressions).

A photo gallery on the antique hutch displayed family photos from several generations back…

… and an open-air bar under twinkling lights and the photo booth provided entertainment in addition to dancing.

The evening came to its conclusion on another high point: an (LED-) sparkler send-off to the “Nestldown Trademark” vintage London Taxi to whisk the newlyweds away into their married bliss!

Off to a lifetime of shared happiness – that’s what we wish for you, Gianna and Kyle!

Masculine Urban Chic for Jonathan and James

When Jonathan (JC) and James (JJ) approached my company, A Day Like No Other, for help with planning their upcoming wedding for 250 guests, they had chosen their venue – Hangar One, a vodka distillery, in Alameda with views of the SF Bay – but were at a loss what to do next. The sheer amount of vendor decisions and details suddenly felt overwhelming. Plus, their wedding date was a mere five months away.

So we jumped right in! We were planning for a tent for dinner and dancing – a necessity, given the open site and the October date of the event. Since the two wished for a masculine design esthetic in line with the gritty-industrial character of their venue, we chose metal dining chairs and chargers that looked like weathered concrete, accompanied by matte-black cutlery. Then there was catering, ceremony decor, flowers, music, photo and video… and a thousand more details! Our five months of planning time went by in a rush – and then the big day had suddenly come.

The two were getting ready together at a nearby hotel…

No “First Look” necessary – just fun photos together! Photographer Anna Wu and videographer Allen Myers captured every precious moment.

Time to transfer to the venue!

The bridal party in the barrel room – that’s a really impressive space…

… and it’s pretty clear why JC and JJ were so taken by this venue!

Cheers!

Then there was a little quiet time to spend with their groomsmen.

Guests began arriving for the ceremony, and each of them received a favor tote bag (filled with sunglasses, a fan and more useful little items for the evening) emblazoned with the motto “Love is Love.”

The ceremony site had meanwhile been set up by the venue staff, the catering staff and the florist crew (Green Petal Designs) – with chic translucent “Ghost” chairs, an angular arch with asymmetric floral accents and with floral arrangements on all chairs bordering the aisle. A live hedge formed a beautiful backdrop above which the San Francisco skyline rose in the distance. What a sight!

Sound in Motion DJs provided sound for the ceremony (and for the whole evening)…

And there, it’s happening – with over 250 guests in attendance.

Signing the marriage license…

… and: it’s official!

Guests were meanwhile treated to elaborate cocktails by Runway Spirits (including the vodka that is distilled onsite!), to hors d’oeuvres by Carrie Dove Catering, and to entertainment: The Booth Bus photo booth had set up and was open for (fun) business!

As the fog was rolling in as the sun was setting, Cocktail Hour concluded, and guests were invited to dinner. They found their seat assignments via custom-designed escort cards…

… arranged on a spectacular linen shot with metallic silver threads.

Then dinner was ready in the spectacular clear-walled tent (by Stuart Event Rentals – all rental items), with unobstructed views across the San Francisco Bay.

The decor (by A Day Like No Other) struck just the right balance between masculine chic, modernity and elegance, and the effortlessly overspilling floral arrangements (by Green Petal Designs) added a touch of playfulness, color and texture to the mix.

Dinner under twinkling string lights was not only delicious, but a decidedly fun occasion.

Cheers!

The next order of the day for the newlyweds: cutting the cake (by Sugar Butter Flour Bakery).

Not to forget: the official First Dance!

At the conclusion of the evening, guests got treated to whimsical favors – very special dice handpicked by the now-newlywed gaming enthusiasts…

… here serving as a very unique display for their wedding bands!

What a party… and when it concluded at Hangar One, an afterparty went on offsite. These two know how to celebrate! Keep partying, JC and JJ!

J & S – a Glorious Summer Wedding at Nestldown

“J” and “S” are both very private people – so all we are allowed to share about the glorious summer wedding we at A Day Like No Other planned and designed for them are detail shots. Given how beautiful and unique their chosen venue – Nestldown – is, and given the exquisite decor and details of their nuptials, it’s well worth the effort! Photographer Stephane Leon and videographer Tony Castaneda captured every precious moment.

The bride spent the night before the wedding at the onsite guesthouse at Nestldown – an experience all its own! First order of the day: hair and makeup services by Wowpretty Salon.

The secluded patio at the guesthouse was the perfect location to capture her exquisite wedding dress.

True princess slippers – beaded and embellished – complemented this one-of-a kind dress.

Delicate mother-of-pearl jewelry, a hint of fragrance… and the bride was ready to get dressed, with the help of her mother and bridesmaids.

And here she is – ready for the ceremony! (The bride was adamant: no First Look! The first moment for her groom to see her would be at the ceremony).

A dramatic cathedral-length veil accompanied the dress – quite audacious, given the terrain at Nestldown!

Groom “S” was getting ready as well…

… wearing true classics, including monogrammed shirt cuffs – however, HIS way (no socks!).

The ceremony area had been set up in the “chapel,” a stunning natural grove of towering, centuries-old Redwood trees.

Lush arrangements of summer flowers (all floral decor by Green Petal Designs) lined the aisle which was covered with ivory rose petals. It was a gorgeous sight to behold.

This is the aisle at Nestldown for brides and grooms to enter the ceremony area – talk about drama!

While we are not at liberty to share any photos of the ceremony, we may show the beautiful dinner setup on the main lawn, with crossback chairs and classically-elegant place settings, summery centerpieces by Green Petal Designs, and the permanently installed twinkle lights in the surrounding trees which turned the scene magical as dusk was falling.

On their way to dinner, guests signed magnum bottles of the couple’s favorite wine, to be opened on milestone anniversaries to come.

Blue Heron Catering served a delicious meal as the sun was setting beyond the treetops. Next highlight of the evening: a showstopper of a wedding cake by The Buttery, as delicious as it was pretty to look at.

Dancing (including a choreographed First Dance routine!) happened in the Barn, the central building of the Nestldown event space, under an enormous crystal chandelier, and to the tunes of Big Fun Disc Jockeys.

At the conclusion of the evening, the couple departed in true Nestldown style: in an original historic London taxi!

Off to a lifetime of happiness together!

At Last: Roxanna and Clay are Getting Married!

A wedding a full three years in the making – hard to believe! But like so many other couples, Roxanna’s and Clay’s planning got derailed first by the COVID pandemic, and then by an accident and surgeries… and all that added up to three years of planning and replanning. I was so honored that my company, A Day Like No Other, was chosen for this task, with Clay’s mother deeply involved in all design decisions – and she did a FABULOUS job! Finally, the Great Day had arrived, and Heavens literally smiled on Roxanna and Clay, with a glorious summer day at Nestldown Estate in the Redwoods of Los Gatos.

Roxanna and her bridesmaids had spent the night before together at the luxurious onsite guesthouse, so the morning of Wedding Day went off to a leisurely start with hair and makeup services by Fiona and team of Urban Beauty Loft.

Photo credit: Bre Thurston
Photo credit: Bre Thurston

While the ladies were being transformed into the most beautiful versions of themselves…

Photo credit: Bre Thurston

… all vendor teams were hard at work behind the scenes to make the couple’s vision a reality.

The Nestldown venue team was preparing the ceremony site and all the whimsical features that the venue offers – from the life-size train to the authentic London taxis – while orchestrating a multitude of vendor deliveries.

Florist Natasha from Golden Fields Floristry decorated the hexagonal arch the couple had chosen with a profusion of gorgeous summer flowers in their favorite shades of pink, mauve and ivory.

Photo credit: ADLNO
Photo credit: ADLNO

The Betty Zlatchin Catering team under the leadership of Norema Salinas supervised the setup of the rustic bare wooden dining tables and chairs (from Bright Event Rentals) …

Photo credit: ADLNO

… which florist Natasha then decorated with lush green garlands, pink and ivory blooms and candles. Elegant place settings in gold and pink and laser-cut name “cards” completed the rustic-elegant look.

Photo credit: ADLNO

Then, of course, the catering team had to prepare food and set up the bars and and and…

All the while, our photographers (Bre Thurston and team) and videographer (Will Cook of Kindlewood Films) captured the preparations and then took the couple out into the Redwoods for their First Look.

Photo credit: Bre Thurston
Photo credit: Bre Thurston

For the time being, we only have a few preview photos from Bre in addition to our iPhone snapshots, but wait until you see ALL their photos and video!

Soon enough, guests began arriving, and our ceremony musicians – the Mersonacta string quartet under the leadership of Laura Jeannin – serenaded the guests as they were being seated in the “chapel” – an impressive natural Redwood grove.

Photo credit: Bre Thurston
Photo credit: Bre Thurston

Here comes the bride, on her father’s arm, to the sounds of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.” The ceremony was officiated by a close friend of the couple, with just the right mix of lightheartedness and gravitas.

Photo credit: Bre Thurston
Photo credit: ADLNO

And here they are – JUST MARRIED!!!

Photo credit: Bre Thurston

Off to many more photos, while guests were treated to drinks and delicious hors d’oeuvres.

Photo credit: Bre Thurston
Photo credit: Bre Thurston

For extra entertainment, the couple had booked The Booth Bus, an authentic vintage VW bus outfitted with a state-of-the-art photo booth.

Photo credit: Bre Thurston

Next up – dinner on the Main Lawn! Guests found their table assignments on the escort card table.

Photo credit: ADLNO
Photo credit: ADLNO

The newlyweds had a beautifully decorated Sweetheart Table all to themselves, overlooking the romantic Koi Pond and presiding over the long rows of guest tables.

Photo credit: ADLNO
Photo credit: Bre Thurston

DJ and MC “King” Raffi of Sound in Motion invited guests to dinner and took over musical entertainment from then on. BZC Catering served a delicious farm-to-table menu, toasts were proposed …

Photo credit: Bre Thurston

… and as dusk fell and the string lights in the trees surrounding the Main Lawn were coming on twinkling, the scene turned truly magical.

Photo credit: Bre Thurston

After dinner, guests were invited to the Barn – the big indoor event space at Nestldown – which had been set up with elegant lounge furniture (from Blueprint Studios) for dancing and desserts…

Photo credit: ADLNO

and, of course, for the cutting of THE CAKE…

Photo credit: ADLNO

… a true showstopper by BethAnn Goldberg of Studio Cake. What followed was the couple’s First Dance…

Photo credit: Bre Thurston
Photo credit: Bre Thurston

… a wild dance party to the sounds of DJ Raffi’s music …

Photo credit: Bre Thurston

… and a Grand Send-off to the London Taxi getaway car with guests waving LED sparklers.

Photo credit: Bre Thurston

What a party!! Wishing Roxanna and Clay a lifetime of happiness – keep celebrating!

Nghi and Jim opening the 2022 wedding season at Gamble Garden

The first wedding of my 2022 wedding season was already a very special one – and I am so honored that my company, A Day Like No Other, was chosen to plan this truly life changing event. For both bride and groom, this was their second marriage – they have children, and they both had taken their time to overcome the heartbreak of their first attempt. Neither was interested in yet another “big affair” – they were both “over that.” Instead, they were hoping for an intimate, deeply meaningful celebration with just their children, their closest friends and family members present – Nghi’s parents and her son, Jim’s sons. They had chosen a venue that embodies exactly this spirit; nothing flashy or glamorous. The venue of their choice was Elizabeth Gamble Garden, a small gem of a public park in the heart of Palo Alto, just large enough to accommodate their 50 guests, and already in bloom in early May with an abundance of rose varietals.

Nghi and her bridesmaids got ready onsite, in the historic Carriage House on the property.

Under the experienced hands of makeup artist Nguyen Ha, the pretty bride was transformed into a drop-dead gorgeous beauty.

Nghi’s two bridesmaids helped her to get into her form-fitting elegant dress …

… with a dramatic train …

… and many tiny buttons – and the bride adjusted her jewelry.

Florist extraordinaire Janelle Jacky-Litt of Green Petal Designs delivered an ethereal bridal bouquet in ivory, blush pink and light blue hues, with bridesmaids’ bouquets, boutonnieres and table decor to match.

And here are bride and bridesmaids, with the biggest smiles of their lives!

With that, bride Nghi was ready to step out…

Isn’t she stunning?!

Here with her biggest admirer… her son.

Meanwhile, groom Jim had also gotten ready…

… and here he is with all the boys – Nghi’s and his own.

Time for the “First Look!”

That’s amore! Now the couple was off to many more photos and video footage with acclaimed photographer Kevin Chin and videographer William Cook of Kindlewood Films.

Guests began arriving for the ceremony in the Rose Garden, officiated by Dr. Konrad Hölé of Officially Yours, and serenaded by the Magnolia Jazz Trio led by Robbie Schlosser.

Here comes the bride, accompanied by her parents.

After exchanging rings…

… they were officially declared “husband and wife,” and Jim received permission to “kiss the bride.”

Just married!

And off to more photos and video among a profusion of blooms – including the official photo of the newly united blended family.

All the while their guests enjoyed cocktails and Jazz – and left their “well wishes for the new Mr. & Mrs!”

My production team – Deanna and Stephanie – and the team of Continental Caterers were busy working behind the scenes to get everything ready and set up for dinner.

Dinner tables were set up under a majestic tree…

… it doesn’t get more romantic than that! The table setting reflected the feminine pastel hues of the bridal bouquet…

… and floating candles turned the scene truly magical.

The entrance of the newlyweds officially opened dinner…

The feast that followed was truly memorable – Continental Catering pulled all stops!

The couple was clearly enjoying themselves.

Maybe even more memorable than dinner itself – were the desserts! Have a look:

Following these mouthwatering treats, the newlyweds had time to mingle with their guests. But the last highlight of the evening was still to come: a gorgeous wedding cake by Krumbs Cakes, OF COURSE adorned with the same blush pink and light blue flowers that accompanied the couple and the guests through the whole celebration.

With that, they had accomplished their official joint task as a married couple. The evening concluded with the newlyweds enjoying the company of their handpicked guests, and everyone had a great time.

Wishing you all the happiness in the world, Nghi and Jim!

Linnea & Curtis – a Party despite the Pandemic

Like so many couples who had planned to get married in 2020, Linnea’s and Curtis’ plans had to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They decided to get married as planned (in a small ceremony) and to postpone their party… and for that party, they enlisted the help of my company, A Day Like No Other.

For their venue, they had chosen Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, a historic Spanish-Mediterranean-style compound amidst lush gardens, housing boutiques, art galleries and studios.

The bride got ready onsite in the bridal suite… with photographer Trung Hoang capturing all the precious moments throughout the day.

… and here she is, ready with her bouquet from Orange Blossom’s Floral Design.

Groom Curtis had likewise dressed up and was ready for the First Look.

As they already WERE “Mr.” and “Mrs.”, Linnea and Curtis skipped a ceremony and jumped right into Cocktail Hour with their guests. Two caricature artists sketched guests’ portraits – a beautiful favor for everyone to take home.

Cozy lounge vignettes from Seventh Heaven Vintage furniture rental offered quiet retreats from the party.

The team of Cafe Wisteria, the inhouse catering operation at Allied Arts Guild, had set up dinner tables, clothed in vibrant colors.

Dessert came in the form of irresistible donuts by Johnny Doughnuts.

After dinner, it was time for Sunset photos for the couple, while guests were having a great time socializing as darkness fell.

After dinner, the couple’s First Dance to tunes by Elite Entertainment opened the dance floor. The new “Mr.” and “Mrs.” had finally had the party they deserved all along!

Courtney and Jesse: a Dream Wedding at Nestldown

These two were one of the many couples who had to reschedule their Great Day by a full year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And many things can happen in a year! For example, moving to the other side of the continent, buying a house, getting settled… and so, the Mother of the Bride shouldered many of the necessary planning tasks together with my company, A Day Like No Other, to ensure a seamless, perfect celebration.

The couple had chosen Nestldown Estate for their nuptials – a true dream location. Nestled deep in the Redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains and appointed with any luxury imaginable, it was the perfect venue for a truly memorable celebration.

The bride and her bridesmaids used the elegant onsite guesthouse for getting ready in the morning. Photography wife-and-husband “Team Bre Thurston” and videographer William Cook of Kindlewood Films captured every moment.

Hair and makeup stylist Violet Herod and her team “The Makeup Dolls” transformed these pretty ladies into drop-down gorgeous red-carpet beauties.

Next: the DRESS! An ethereal lace-encrusted confection that fit the bride like a glove.

Then – the shoes! Definitely the right dose of glamour to go with that dress…

… and, not to forget: the rings.

Once the bride had gotten into her regal outfit for the day, all that was still missing was her bouquet (like all florals by Emily of Flowergirl Em),

…and she was ready for official photos. After emotional Mother-Daughter…

… and Father-Daughter photos…

…the venue’s famous original London taxi took Courtney to the location of her First Look, a romantic spot under towering Redwood trees.

Groom Jesse had also gotten ready with the help of his groomsmen…

… and was waiting for permission to finally see his bride in all her finery!

Time for photos and then – time to proceed to the ceremony! This time, Courtney and Jesse rode the London taxi together.

The ceremony spot at Nestldown is the “Chapel” – a natural Redwood clearing of breathtaking beauty. Florist Emily had worked her magic to make it even more special…

… and music by the Amethyst Ensemble gave it an elegant touch.

Here comes the bride, on her father’s arm.

The ceremony was officiated by a close friend of the couple.

“You may now kiss the bride!”

Just married!!

For the newlyweds – time for many more photos…

For the guests – time for Cocktail Hour with entertainment! The Amethyst Ensemble was playing, the Nestldown gardens were to be explored, and the Booth Bus photo booth was waiting.

For the catering crew of La Bocca Fina it was “showtime” after many hours of preparation and setup. The results were spectacular: the glamorous “boho chic” dining tables as much as the delicious food.

Guests found their assigned table through a unique display of calligraphed vases (by Flowergirl Em).

Everyone was having a great time, and as darkness fell, the scene turned magical – illuminated by string lights in the trees and by candlelight on the tables.

After dinner, everyone moved to the Apple Knoll for the couple’s First Dance…

…cake cutting…

… and dancing. And what a dance party that was! Los Gatos DJs got everyone on the dance floor in no time.

And OF COURSE, the newlyweds got a spectacular Send-off to match.

Everyone agreed – that was an event to remember. A lifetime of happiness to Courtney and Jesse!

Lisa and Alex at Fogarty Winery – finally!

These two were among the many couples whose wedding got postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Undeterred, they tied the knot in an intimate ceremony close to their originally planned date (so meanwhile they have already been legally married for a good year!) and my company, A Day Like No Other, had the honor of planning afresh with them in 2021. The venue of their choice was still Thomas Fogarty Winery, perched high atop a mountain ridge with million-dollar views over all of Silicon Valley and up to the San Francisco skyline to the North.

Once the bride and the mothers had completed their hair and makeup styling (by Brides by Lydia), the bridal party and closest family was taken to the venue by shuttle (Destination Systems) for pre-ceremony photos (by Hazel Photo – all photos in this blog post except otherwise noted) and video (by Weddings on Film).

When they arrived, the teams of Fogarty Winery, Global Gourmet Catering and Green Petal Designs were already hard at work to prepare everything for the formal Chinese Tea Ceremony.

Bride and groom dressed up for this festive occasion in traditional Chinese gold-embroidered garments.

A friend of the bride explained the cultural meaning and history of the Tea Ceremony to non-Chinese guests and served as an expert Mistress of Ceremonies.

An oversized “Double Happiness” symbol formed the perfect backdrop for the ceremony.

Post-ceremony, the couple changed into lighter outfits for post-ceremony photos, and the predicted rain, thankfully, was late in coming.

Guests were meanwhile enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres on the open deck, and various crews put the finishing touches on the dinner setup inside the Hill House.

Photo by ADLNO
Photo by ADLNO

The Sweetheart Table, of course, received extra-special flower treatment!

After dinner, the couple enjoyed their official First Dance…

… opening the dance floor for everyone – to the tunes by DJ Stefano of Big Fun Disc Jockeys.

Everyone enjoyed a really great time…

… and in between, the newlyweds snuck out for a private moment outside.

It was a magical day – congratulations, Lisa and Alex, and our best wishes on your lifelong journey together!

And here you can see the day coming to life… courtesy of Weddings on Film!

Amanda & Noah: a Beautiful Wedding in the Times of COVID

What happened to Amanda and Noah is – unfortunately – very typical for many engaged couples looking forward to their once-in-a-lifetime wedding celebration. The two had booked an elegant hotel wedding in Hawaii and could absolutely not wait for their great day to arrive. And then came COVID-19. It ruined everything… so Hawaii had to be called off. That was already a major heartbreak. Amanda and Noah “re-grouped” and started all over. They would have their wedding at the beautiful Marin Art and Garden Center, not far from their new home, and they would invite more than a hundred guests to a charmed afternoon and night in this romantic park. But even this was not going to happen. The COVID-19 lockdown put an end to this plan, too. The couple was deeply disappointed and at a total loss what to do now. They did not want to postpone getting married even longer. So they turned to my company, A Day Like No Other, for help.

It was clear that the maximum number of guests they could have was thirty – so it would be a very intimate celebration. But I wanted this to be a unique, memorable and beautiful celebration for the two – so I recommended a little-known secret to them: the historic Casa Madrona Hotel in Sausalito. Charming, built into a steep hillside and overlooking the yacht harbor and SF Bay with spectacular sunsets, this was the perfect location for their small gathering.

Additional bonus: the teleconferencing capabilities that Casa Madrona is offering! That allowed Amanda and Noah to have all guests from their original list of invitees attend their ceremony, at least virtually. A small consolation, after all…

One other thing: while Marin Art and Garden Center, their previous choice for their wedding celebration, remained closed for social events, the two got permission to have wedding photos taken in this spectacular setting. Another consolation!

And so, the great day final arrived. The bride and her bridesmaids got ready at the couple’s home, with hair and makeup services by Maya Roget. Photographer Anne-Claire Brun captured every moment.

Once all the ladies had their hair and makeup done, it was time for the bride to get into her spectacular dress:

… elegant, feminine and modern at the same time, and it fit her like a glove! This was, of course, a classic mother-daughter moment…

And here is Bride Amanda!

Ready to pick up her romantic bridal bouquet by Fleur Real

… and off to her First Look at Marin Art and Garden Center.

A couple’s First Look is always one of my favorite moments – so special…

And now: many more photos!

One photo with the bridesmaids and groomsmen…

… and off they all go to Casa Madrona for the wedding ceremony and reception.

The teams of Jazmine Herrera at Casa Madrona, of Poggio Trattoria, the in-house caterer, the florist and myself had been busy getting the event space ready. The ceremony was to be held on a balcony overlooking the Sausalito yacht harbor, with guest seating spaced out following social distancing requirements. The Amethyst Duo played wedding classics out on the balcony.

The ceremony was officiated by the brother of the groom – it could not have been more personal and more heartfelt.

You may now kiss your bride!
Just married!

The video wall in the Junto Suite where the reception was held allowed remote guests to congratulate the newlyweds from afar.

While the onsite guests were enjoying cocktails with a view of the San Francisco Bay, the couple went off for more photos.

And then dinner was ready!

Because of the ongoing pandemic, we had little bottles of hand sanitizer on the dining tables… along with flowers and table numbers!

The couple and their guests were definitely enjoying themselves.

One more highlight of the day: Cake cutting! (The minimalist cake was by Butter&)

Amanda and Noah spent the rest of the evening just chatting with their guests, having fun and having quality time with their nearest and dearest. Although their wedding day unfolded so differently from what they had originally planned – it turned out beautiful, meaningful and very memorable. The newlyweds were simple – happy.