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!

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…

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

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

Let your next party take flight – in a historic airport terminal!

I know – you think that’s a totally crazy idea. I would have said the same, until today, actually. Despite having lived in San Francisco for twenty years, this part of the City’s history was completely unknown to me: an international airport terminal on Treasure Island, built in the late 1930s as a gateway for PanAm flights to the Far East. The terminal and two adjacent hangars is all that is left from these glory days… the days of the Golden Gate World expo!

So here is your history lesson:

Treasure Island is actually an artificial island in the SF Bay! In 1937, the then-revolutionary Bay Bridge was built, and in celebration of this engineering marvel, San Francisco hosted a World Exposition – on Treasure Island – and built an airport right there…

… complete with tower!

Everything is still original in its elegant Beaux Arts style…

… reminiscent of a bygone area when air travel was an exquisite luxury.

The interior features an enormous mural by artist Lowell Blair Nesbitt and authentic terrazzo flooring.

The space can easily accommodate up to 400 guests, and the heart of the party is a gorgeous period piece of a bar, with red velvet draperies and a grand piano…

… complete with a resident peacock!

I can literally see the space transformed into its previous glory – Great Gatsby would have loved it! So many possibilities… and – did I forget to mention? Parties can go on until 2 am!

At Golden Hour, guests are treated to spectacular sunsets over the City and the SF Bay – with a front row seat in the bar, looking out the back windows… the SF skyline is just on the other side of the Bay, and the ferry terminal is literally across the street. Just perfect.

Get ready to plan your next party there!

The Allure of Apricot: Pantone Color of the Year 2024

I can hardly think of any color that’s more uplifting, positive and summery – in short, any color that would make me smile and feel happy – as apricot. We all need this emotional boost right now, so: Thank you, Pantone! Spot on!

Drumroll…. here it is: “Apricot Crush!” It is SO chic…

… and it can be combined in so many ways – both within the color family, from pale peach through coral and terracotta…

… accented with complementary hues – greens, blues, purple – AND grounded with soft neutrals, especially a soft grey.

Henri Matisse: Mme Matisse

How I know that? Easy – at A Day Like No Other, we have worked with this beautiful color many times over the years (and every time in a different way). Want to see?

Photo credit: Sandra Fazzino

For a styled photoshoot, introducing the newly renovated ballrooms in the Westin St. Francis hotel in San Francisco, we offset the central new color of the ballrooms – silvery grey – with apricot, peach and coral. I think it’s a stunning combination!

Photo credit: Sandra Fazzino

Even the wedding cake played along!

Photo credit: Sandra Fazzino

Well – convinced? But this is only the beginning! For a recent late-summer wedding, we combined apricot with sage green for a fresh, summery look:

Photo credit: Studio Ma

For a fall wedding last year, we played up the vibrant side of apricot with orange, rust and fiery red hues in the towering centerpieces …

Photo credit: Frank J. Lee Photography

… and the softer, “peachy” side of the color with shimmery napkins, champagne tablecloths and metallic gold accents.

Photo credit: Frank J. Lee Photography

We also added a touch of pale blue (in the water goblets) – actually inspired by the color combination of the bride’s favorite flower, the Bird-of-Paradise, which was the star in all floral arrangements.

Then, there is, of course, apricot at the center of a palette of sunny, warm hues, like in this outdoor summer wedding a few years back:

… here combined with bare wooden harvest tables and ivory runners (= the neutral hues to ground the whole riot of colors), metallic gold and terracotta for the napkins. (Photo credit: Danny Dong Photography).

You’d rather go more subtle with apricot? No problem: here combined with ivory (flowers), silver (foliage) and a pale mint green (bridesmaids dresses). Pretty, yes?

Photo credit: Frank J. Lee Photography
Photo credit: Frank J. Lee Photography

Didn’t I promise more, bold combinations…. like violet and purple? Look here and be stunned:

Photo credit: Sandra Fazzino

As you can see, the combination with deep purple and pale violet makes the apricot “pop” even more! The “neutral” color in this wedding was the navy blue of the groom’s and groomsmen’s suits.

Photo credit: Sandra Fazzino

A few more inspirations, here with the light green of hydrangeas…

Photo credit: Prof. Matthias Geiger
Photo credit: Megan Reeves Photography

I hope you are now as happy about this new Color of the Year as I am! Off to a joyful, vibrant and uplifting wedding season 2024!

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!

The Wedding Invitation Dilemma…

As a wedding planner, I am asked for advice on a multitude of wedding-related decisions, but one recurring theme is: “what should we do for invitations?” Two decades ago, the answer would have been simple and straightforward: have them designed and printed in a stationery store. Period.

Obviously, that has changed – there is now so much more to choose from! In recent years, many of my clients have opted for online invitations (an unthinkable breach of etiquette still not too long ago…) which have become attractive and very convenient AND increasingly accepted. Be it Paperless Post or (my favorite) Greenvelope – the option of including all necessary information and even photos and music into a wedding invitation, and to integrate RSVPs and meal choices in that same process, is definitely attractive.

But even clients who choose printed invitations have a decision to make – and that is: custom or template?

Honestly, the foremost consideration here is price. Custom invitations are expensive – no wonder, considering how much talent, creativity and work go in there! Here are a few examples from previous weddings of mine and from styled photoshoots.

Custom invitation suite by Ruby the Fox, beautiful floral motif, tied with leather string
Custom invitation suite for nature lovers, getting married in the Redwoods – by the very talented mother of the groom

Custom invitations for a styled photoshoot by Monks of Age Calligraphy

Custom table numbers for clients from Southern China, showing classical painterly motifs from their native country, by A Day Like No Other

Custom invitation for styled photoshoot, by Hyegraph San Francisco

So, now you see the whole range of custom invitations – from traditional to modern, from romantic to whimsical… Is it possible to achieve a similar effect with online templates? You will be surprised – even I as a real “design purist” have to admit that YES, it is possible to achieve something quite unique and beautiful by using premade designs and customizing them. My all-time go-to website for this purpose is minted.com with its myriad options, some of which I will show you in the following – real ones that have been used for previous weddings that I designed. (And the best thing: you, the clients, can get discounts at minted.com as well!). Here we go:

Beautiful floral motif – one could use a folding style and a matching ribbon to achieve a similar look as in the first custom invitation I showed above
A rustic style for an outdoor wedding in Big Sur
An invitation suite that I designed from a minted template for a wedding in the style
of the South of France
A shuttle sign based on a minted design for a Chinese wedding
An alternative design by minted.com for the same photoshoot for that I used the Hyegraph custom design instead – also Letterpress and quite close

Well… impressed? I hope that’ll give everyone a lot to think about, AND a lot to choose from!

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!