Lesley & Doug-A Heritage Park Wedding

When Lesley and Doug first met with me, they told me they wanted to plan a super fun, casual, outdoor wedding that would be filled with lawn games and local beer and amazing food and oh yay, they didn’t want to spend any money on flowers but they wanted it to be super bright and full of color and their ideal location would be a big field.  I felt like I was in a “wedding planner challenge” game and it was awesome.  We decided on using Heritage Park, a huge grassy area just south of Old Town that is both private and has historic homes and a temple right on site.  Perfect for this Jewish couple.  Lesley and Doug signed their Ketubah in a private ceremony in the temple and Lesley used that as her place of waiting before the ceremony began.


As guests arrived (above), they were directed by hearts made out of baking flour up the cobblestone pathway to the location of the ceremony and reception.  For the ceremony, Lesley and her friends and family made fabric flowers that we hung from the gazebo (with a prayer shawl so that it would be an official Chuppah) and paper pin-wheels to flank the aisle.  Because she wanted it colorful, Lesley decided on 5 colors that we would layer throughout the event: purple, lavender, bright yellow, fuchsia pink, and apple green.  I instructed Lesley that whatever she purchased, should be in those colors.  Even if it were hula hoops and bubbles, make sure everything was only in those colors and the whole event would be brought together through it’s color scheme.


After the ceremony, guests were directed to the “cocktail area” that was filled with bacci ball courts, bag toss lanes, hula hoops, and other games for big and little kids.  Signature beer was displayed at the bar, made by friends of theirs, and seed packed escort cards were displayed to direct guests to their tables.  The “guest book” was a bingo style turner where guests were instructed to place the customized “mad libs” Lesley created and we set at each place setting.  Check out Lesley’s DIY sign below, as well, that she made from paint cards–in her 5 colors!


For the guest tables, we set long banquet style tables and mixed our 5 colors among them as well.  Each table had a white base linen, a layer of 30″ paper (the exact width of the tables) taped down to it so guests could color throughout the lunch, a bright napkin and a bright runner (we mixed the 5 colors throughout the tables so each had a different combination of runner and napkin), and baskets of candy and games that Lesley and her friends put together.


Concepts Event Design built a dance floor right on the grass and strung paper lanterns in a canopy above it.  Authentic Flavors Custom Catering created a comfort food lunch with sliders, mac’n’cheese, risotto, fries, and salads.


To cap off the afternoon, the bride and groom swung at a pinata and threw candy throughout the crowd, we set up cake pops and a mini cake for the bride and groom to cut, and then finished it all off with an ice cream truck that gave out treats right from its open window.  I told friends of mine that it was pretty much one of the most FUN days ever for everyone who attended.  I would say that Lesley and Doug absolutely created their vision and it was super fun to be part of their special day! Thanks to Jenny Mann Photography for the great photos.


Anna & Marc: La Jolla Country Club Wedding

I met Anna and Marc through Skype as they both currently live in Europe.  Marc grew up in La Jolla and always envisioned a home town wedding.  He and Anna only flew out once together for a full week of wedding planning activities.  Marc flew out one other time for business and worked in some final wedding details but the next time I saw the bride, was at the rehearsal!  I feel like about half my clients are planning somewhat of a destination style wedding here in San Diego.  Everyone loves to come to San Diego for a wedding and I, of course, particularly love La Jolla!  Marc, Anna, and I worked with Alex of Blush Botanicals to plan a stunning decor.  The inspiration was all Anna’s–all white romantic flowers, a beautiful mint-sage green linen I found for her from La Tavola for the guest tables, and purple-grey dresses for the bridesmaids–each custom-made to be similar but have different neck lines.  The overall look, set against the greens and blues of the La Jolla Country Club golf course with the Pacific Ocean in the distance behind and lots of blue sky was amazing!  And the ever incredible Sara of Sara France Photography captured the day!

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Marc rented a beautiful ocean-front house for Anna, her bridesmaids, and her mother.  The staged the getting ready photos there and it was exquisite!  Below, Marc and his groomsmen await the ceremony!

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The ceremony took place on the first green at the La Jolla Country Club golf course.  Anna’s vision of white pedestals with falling white flowers in tall glassware was gorgeous!  Following the ceremony, Sara was prepared with a ladder for a super fun group photo.  Love it!

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Anna’s dress, from M Bride in La Jolla, was amazing!  A tulle train was attached to the dress the wafted in the breeze behind her–it was exquisite!  And I LOVED the bridesmaid’s dresses–a perfect washed out tone to compliment the airy outdoor colors!  The varying necklines made them all unique and made each of the girls look amazing!  Below, the chandelier ceiling at the Club, the simple but stunning escort card display, and the Ukrainian wedding bread, brought on the plane by Anna’s mother.

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Below: the simple and gorgeous cake created by Michele Coulon, the place settings with hand-made chocolate favors brought from Europe, and the head table with the Sunset Room in the background.  For entertainment, we combined a DJ (Andy Hagenah of Disc Go Round) and a band consisting of Marc’s friends.  The band members played when they wanted to and Andy filled the rest of the space.  It was a great way to include musical friends but still have an overarching sound and MC to create a perfect flow for the evening.

It really was a perfect evening!  Anna created a simple and stunning look that was both modern and romantic.  The food was, as always, amazing at the La Jolla Country Club, and the setting was perfect. It was such a pleasure to work with these two amazing people and see their vision, and perfect wedding day, come to life!

View More: http://sarafrance.pass.us/marcandanna

Kelly and Strider-Hilton Torrey Pines Wedding

Kelly and Strider were so much fun!  They had their wedding ceremony at La Jolla Presbyterian Church, where their family attended, and their reception at the Hilton Torrey Pines–just a short jaunt away in the Hills of La Jolla.  To get the bride and groom and wedding party to and from the church (with separate trips on the way over of course!), we rented the white Old Town Trolley.  It was so cute!  And it serenaded the group with classic wedding songs like Going to the Chapel en route.  Look at this darling picture below (and the great ocean shot also!)–I think ALL of my clients are going to want the trolley from now on!

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Kelly chose a gorgeous white gown with rose florets throughout the skirt.  Her bouquet consisted of peonies–her favorite flower–which mirrored the look of her gown.  And since her colors were blush pink, ivory, and grey, she close beautiful blush pink shoes to complete her look!

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I LOVE the contrast of the white peonies against the grey bridesmaid dresses. And for the gentlemen, we chose grey suits and succulents for boutonnieres–the succulents were the perfect washed out tone against the grey suits.  When Kelly came to me, 18 months before her wedding, I remember her telling me “I don’t want an obvious color scheme.”  She wanted washed out tones in blushes and ivories with some green and gold accents.  I thought her comment was a perfect observation of the direction wedding decor has been going for the last 2 years.  We have gone away from the obvious 2-3 color selections and gone more towards a variety of colors in washed out tones.  I love this direction.

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For our reception, we needed a large ballroom that could accommodate 200 guests, with green space outside (because we just HAD to have lawn games for the cocktail hour–an absolute must!!!), and an upscale feel.  The only place that really fit that bill was the Hilton Torrey Pines.  It’s Pavilion ballroom, adjacent to the Torrey Pines Golf Course, and with distant ocean views, was the perfect location for Kelly and Strider’s wedding.  Cocktails started in the garden and then we moved inside the ballroom for dinner.  Kelly wanted to include a bit of a beach motif, since many guests were from out-of-state, so we added starfish escort cards and a huge clam shell as a gift card holder!

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Kelly and Stider used Kelly’s grandfather’s military sword for their cake cutter for a fun effect.  Notice the tones of blush, ivory, and gold in the decor and the beautiful centerpieces created by Chris of Indulge Flowers.  The linens came from my favorite company, La Tavola, with gold chivari chairs and hammered gold-edged glass chargers from Concepts Event Design.  The cake was created by the in-house pastry chef at the Hilton (notice how it mirrors the look of Kelly’s dress!) and the candy display–in pinks and golds of course–was designed by the mother of the bride, with floral lollipops created by Indulge (and set up by CZ Events of course)!

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We wanted all of our paper products to reflect the ivory, gold, grey, and blush pink motif so we had them created custom by Nic Roc Designs.  Nicole, of Nic Roc, did a gold leaf print accent on the invitation, programs, menus, and table numbers  with place cards in the same font but a grey tone.  Everything was gorgeous and brought the look together beautifully.  Notice the programs below–and the bell wands for our grand exit from the church.  We ended the night with an amazing sparkler send off!  Love the photo below!  Working with Kelly and Strider was pure fun!  I loved their combination of class, romance, and fun and was so pleased how it all turned out.  I even got teary-eyed at the father-daughter dance!  I guess that’s what happens when you fall in love with your clients!  Oh, and special thanks to True Photography for the amazing photos!


Neftali & Hector-A Serra Plaza Wedding

Hector & Neftali were one of those couples that when they told me their story, I couldn’t help but want to coordinate their wedding.  Hector was injured in an unfortunate incident in his mid 20’s and is currently in a wheel chair.  He and Neftali met after his injury at the church the two of them were going to.  They fell in love and decided to get married!  With their families ranging in location from LA to San Diego, they chose Serra Plaza in San Juan Capistrano for their wedding location.  The loved the California mission architecture, the option for an indoor ceremony, and the outdoor setting for the reception.

A lot of my brides want an outdoor ceremony and an indoor reception but Neftali was the opposite.  She envisioned a warm, chapel like setting for the ceremony and an outdoor tented reception.  For decor, she wanted lots of candles and soft white draping, with mixtures of white, pink, and ivory flowers.  The ceremony we created was so beautiful!  And a great little bonus about Serra Plaza is that they have movable pews available to be used for ceremony seating.  It was exactly what Neftali had envisioned!


To help with the budget, the two floral arrangements flanking the altar area in the ceremony were transferred to the reception as centerpieces.  I tend to prefer not to transfer items from the ceremony to the cocktail hour because guests usually proceed straight to cocktails and would notice a couple of worker bees moving items there.  But it’s generally easy to move items from the ceremony to the seated dinner portion of a wedding since, if guests are in a separate cocktail hour area, it can usually be done inconspicuously.  I have had aisle and alter decor act as centerpieces on guest tables, decorate a sweetheart or cake table, or be a large arrangement in a foyer or on an escort card table.

Below, the groom and his posse of groomsmen pose for photos as well as some beautiful pictures of the bride and groom!


I loved the reception!  We created a draped tent-style wedding without an actual tent.  This is a great way to enclose a space but still keep it airy, well-lit, and outdoors in feel.  This style can also be used to create shade or just to soften a look.  We hung chandeliers down the center of the tent which added a romantic and girly feel!  We chose fruitwood chivari chairs because we felt they went well with the California mission architecture and balanced the muted palate.  Hector and Neftali wanted to create a special area for the two of them during the reception that would be easily accessible with Hector’s wheelchair.  See the throne-like set-up below!  Very cool!


When the sun set, the lights at Serra Plaza transformed the area magically!  Such beautiful location and such an amazing couple!


The Little Wedding Party

Move over Bride, it’s the Flower Girl’s time to shine! The sweetest little accessories you can have on your wedding day are the flower girls. In the Victorian Era, a flower girl was a given role to a young woman, where she had to entertain the guests before the arrival of the bride. As centuries have passed, this important role has been placed upon little girls (either family related or close friends). And since they always seem to steal the show, what an important role it is! 

They say that good things come in a pack of three! Two of my former clients got lucky and had the groom’s triplet nieces participate in their wedding. Having each little girl in a different color from the wedding palette was a great idea!

These two sisters (above) were beautiful and look at their creative baskets!  Their more formal attire was perfect for the La Jolla Country Club.  Their sashes also matched the bridesmaid dresses perfectly which was a great way to bring in one of the wedding’s colors.  Below, the coral dresses with gold strappy sandals on the three little flower girls were perfect for a  beach wedding at Paradise Point.  The girls were gorgeous!

 Little men can definitely be fashion forward as well!  Below left, two little boys in suits with fantastic stripped ties await the beginning of a ceremony at La Jolla Presbyterian Church.  Their attire is well suited for a formal church occasion.  Below right, look at the tiny seersucker suits and Perry Ellis shoes on the little boys (who ran down the aisle–luckily the rings were in the pocket of the best man!)!  They were perfectly adorned for a beach wedding at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club.  So handsome!

And these two little men below are my favorite! The red and black striped suspenders, not only look adorable but they also brought in the vintage motif of the wedding at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. And instead of ring pillows, they carried a wooden “Here Comes The Bride” sign. I loved it!

I love children in a wedding no matter (almost) how they behave!  I love it if they run down the aisle, decide to collect all the rose petals they have tossed, or need the encouragement of the entire crowd to get to the front (all have happened at my weddings)!  I think they bring a sweetness and lightness that only add to the warmth and love of a wedding day!