A Grand Affair at the Grand Del Mar!

Katherine & William’s wedding was gorgeous! For starters, it was at the Grand Del Mar.  Beautiful location, check. Add gorgeous couple with fabulous taste, check. Add fun family, great food, and an  incredible band, check. Perfection. And to make it fabulous, Katie and I worked with Alex of Blush Botanicals on all elements of the decor.

katherine-willCheck out the bridal bouquet created by Blush Botanicals!  It is made entirely of white peonies!  And I adore these gold sequin bridesmaids’ dresses that Katie picked!  And also look at these handsome men below!  Breaking from tradition, they decided against boutonnieres.  But they still look fabulous!


For the ceremony, we decided to be penny-wise and actually used centerpieces from the ballroom to highlight the front of the ceremony and to flank the aisle.  The only décor cost for the ceremony was the stands and a nominal labor charge to move the pieces.  And it was also a great environmentally conscious decision since we were able to use all these flowers twice! Especially since each centerpiece contained over 200 roses!


For the ballroom, we chose a palette of gold, ivory, and soft pink.  We used a number of mirrored tables throughout the room (including the head table above)and tons of candles so that he room truly glowed!  Everything seemed to reflect!  And notice the head table centerpieces above, that were transferred from the ceremony!


Katie’s family is good friends with Susan Foster, the owner of Encore Entertainment, so of course, there would be dancing! Encore has incredible musicians and singers but what always impresses me about them is their sound quality-it’s always perfect!  And when you want everyone to both hear the speeches but also not be overwhelmed during the performance time, that’ truly a hard feat to master.

And to capture all of these amazing details and this gorgeous couple, True Photography was up to the task!  These photos, like every event of mine they shoot, were perfect!


Steal this idea:

There is nothing wrong with being penny wise and environmentally conscious so use your ceremony florals in your dinner when you can.  As long as the cocktail hour is in a separate location from the dinner, this works flawlessly.  After the ceremony, we invited guests onto a beautiful patio in a different location for appetizers and beverages.  During that hour, the floral team is able to move pieces from the ceremony to the ballroom.   Then when guests come in for dinner, everything is set perfectly!  I personally don’t like it when guests can see this kind of movement and resetting…but if they can’t see it, then go for it!

Amy & Mina

I met Amy and Mina after they were referred to me by my previous fantastic clients, Tad and Tammy (big thanks to Tammy and Tad)! Amy and Mina wanted to throw an outdoor wedding in a venue with a vintage vibe somewhere in San Diego and preferably in La Jolla.  I immediately thought of the Darlington House.  It’s definitely vintage California in style and a true gem.

Amy wanted to create a garden style wedding with vibrant colors, mixing turquoise and pink and yellow.  We started working with florists Chris and Kim of Indulge Weddings and quickly decided that all of the turquoise should be in our glassware and accents and that our flowers should be a mixture of yellows and pinks.  We also chose a fuchsia pink for the bridesmaids dresses and accented with a turquoise hutch.  The hutch first held our luggage tag escort cards (created by the ever fabulous Nic Roc Designs, mixing yellow, pink, and turquoise font on the white tags) and later held our Middle Eastern dessert display (a nod to Mina’s heritage). 

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Above and below: we mixed fuchsia and turquoise into the attire and the flowers and everyone looked so beautiful!

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Below, the ceremony at the Darlington House.  We draped the gate and adorned it with flowers to make it a focal point for the ceremony.

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Below, some of our vintage travel details.  The wedding was considered a destination wedding as only the groom and some of his friends live in San Diego.  Both of their families and the bride and the majority of their friends all descended on La Jolla for the wedding week.  The bride and groom have also done a significant amount of traveling together and we felt a few vintage travel details were a great accent!

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Since we were going “garden” in our motif, I thought we should bring in vibrant patterned linens and of course went to La Tavola to make that happen.  We used a striped linen on the head table and a floral linen,  in similar colors,  on the guest tables.  It’s rare to be able to use a linen that is this “busy” but it was perfect for outdoors. Notice below how the two different linens compliment each other perfectly.  Then we added a yellow napkins and turquoise glassware and it was perfect.  We also mixed the fuchsia and turquoise throughout our paper products in the menus, table numbers, and escort cards.

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Continental Catering provided the amazing food and beverages, Classic Party Rentals the chairs, tables, and market lights, and the always impressive True Photography captured the day.  As the day faded to night, the market lights added a perfect twinkle. And of course, then there was dancing!

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Steal this idea:

If you are throwing an outdoor wedding, don’t be afraid to use lots of color–especially in a vibrant garden atmosphere.  Also, not every color has to be used in the florals. Maybe it works to use one color in your glassware and another in your flowers.  and maybe your linens mix all the colors or just pick up the tones from the flowers.  And don’t be afraid to mix your patterns and textures, as long as they are all the same color scheme.  We used different linens for the cocktail hour, for the guest tables, for the head table, and for the cake table in just variations of the same colors and it looked amazing!  Happy planning!


Lindsay and Steven: An Immaculada and Prado Wedding

Being USD grads, gave Lindsay and Steven one of the coveted opportunities to be married in the Immaculada Church–something only available to graduates and faculty.  Check out the pictures below and you’ll see why it’s so coveted!  Lindsay and Steven started the day getting ready at the US Grant Hotel which was a perfect place for photos to begin.  The hotel even upgraded Lindsay to a 2-story Presidential Suite!

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The Ceremony was a full Catholic Mass.  Since the drama of the church is magnificent in itself, we kept the floral decor simple, with beautiful florals tied to the pews going down the aisle and 2 large pieces on columns in the front.  We actually repurposed those focal point pieces in the reception and used them for centerpieces on two of the guest tables.  Steal this idea for sure!  The amazing Alex of Blush Botanicals did all of the decor.

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Following the ceremony, Lindsay and Steven did a round of photos with bridesmaids and groomsmen at the Immaculada and then bordered their super fun party bus for transport to the Prado.

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Lindsay’s vision for her wedding was a mixture of teal, ivory, and gold with a romantic and somewhat garden-like feel. At the cocktail hour in the Prado courtyard, we created an escort card display with vintage shutters in a teal tone and cards slid into the shutters themselves.  We also added pots of flowers at the base to add to the garden decor.  With a nod to the Mexican heritage in Lindsay’s family tree, guests were serenaded by mariachis during the cocktail hour.  We lined them along the upper balcony, in the archways, to keep the music at a lower decibel level and create a beautiful visual overhead.

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The bridesmaid’s dresses were teal and we had teal elements in the cocktail hour area but the ballroom was all gold!  We used an amazing snake-skin gold linen, gold napkins, glass chargers with a gold rim, and a mixture of gold and glass bases for the floral centerpieces.  Blush created 3 different floral centerpieces that we dispersed among the tables.  We brought the teal into the decor only in our paper products, with the table numbers and menus being a combination of gold text and teal foil lettering (created by the always creative Nic Roc Designs)  And to bring in Lindsay’s philanthropic spirit, the family offered “Truffles for a Cause” favors with a chocolate at each place setting and a donation offered on behalf of each.

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The evening rounded out with dancing to a full band and cutting a beautiful gold and ivory cake!  Funny story: when the cake showed up, the ribbon on it was actually light blue.  The pastry chef had mistakenly made the cake exactly according to the picture Lindsay had sent, which had a light blue ribbon on it, forgetting that the cake was supposed to be the exactly like the picture EXCEPT that the ribbon was supposed to be gold.  After we discovered the mistake, the pastry chef sent 2 worker bees over to paint the ribbon gold on site.  Since guests were supposed to be entering the ballroom shortly, an assistant and I jumped in to help so that there were now FOUR of us painting the cake.  We let guests in 5 minutes late and I didn’t tell the mother of the bride until the Tuesday AFTER the wedding!  But by the time guests came in, the cake was gold.  I was thinking I would just tell guests it was our “something blue” for the wedding, but an actual gold ribbon looked much better!!!

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Thank you to Cole Joseph Photography for the amazing pictures!

Noelle and David-A Park Hyatt Aviara Wedding

Noelle and David, together with Noelle’s family, planned an amazing affair of a wedding at the Park Hyatt Aviara, just north of San Diego.  Noelle and David opted not to see each other before the ceremony and spent the day at the Park Hyatt with their friends and family getting ready and anticipating!

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John Reidy Photography captured these beautiful moments and Blush Botanicals arranged all the flowers.  Look at the girl’s adorable animal print shoes they wore under their formal navy dresses!

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Because Noelle and David are Orthodox Christian, they were married off site at Saints Constantine and Helen Orthodox Church.  I had never been in the church and it was stunning.  We had four ring bearers, that each held elements of the Orthodox ceremony, and one perfect little 18-month old flower girl who flew down the aisle with her flower wand.  Notice the beautiful floral and greenery swag down the aisle and the large floral pieces that were then transferred to the reception as centerpieces on some of the tables (a great little trick for multi-use flowers)!


Because David is an avid surfer, we created an escort card display around a surfing theme.  Behind the display, we exhibited a surf map that shows surfing destinations around the world.  Then each escort card was attached to a miniature real wood surf board by it’s “leash” and displayed in a box of sand.  It was a fun, whimsical touch, to our otherwise very formal affair.  Below, see the display (for 300 guests!) and the vintage car that carried Noelle and David from the church to the Park Hyatt.

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Inside the ballroom, it was pure magic!  The look was a mixture of gold and ivory/white with layers of texture and tone.  Our linens were a textured gold and ivory shimmer and a gold snake-skin, our napkins were a 3rd color of gold, the menus were customized gold and ivory, and the centerpieces were layers of ivory.  Crystals strung together the centerpieces on the long head table.  We employed the Park Hyatt to focus a pin spot light from the ceiling on each centerpiece so that they glowed, as guests entered the room.  We also rented a white dance floor and gold Chivari chairs from Classic Party Rentals and white lounge furniture, gold bride and groom chairs, and a custom white bar from Hire Elegance.  Add the abundance of candles and it was pure “wow.”

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And for the party: amazing!  Noelle’s family is Palestinian, so after heartfelt toasts and first dances to That Vibe, a great variety band, we set the stage for a little cultural fun.  As soon as Noelle and David cut their cake and kissed, a thunderous boom began from behind them and in paraded a Middle Eastern live drummer with accompanying music.  David was carried on the shoulders of friends to the dance floor and everyone joined in the fun.  We also set up a beautiful display of Middle Eastern pastries in the foyer to add another personal family touch.

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The band was hired until 10:30pm and then we had another fun transition.  I had one of my favorite DJ’s, J Soul, set up and waiting in the wings.  As soon as the band finished their last song and waved goodbye, we dropped the lights, and J turned on his electric display of dance floor lighting.  He kept the dance floor full for two more hours in a great “after party” type atmosphere.  We of course then had to add mini fish tacos and pizzas for a late night munchie display.

This wedding, with its authentic religious ceremony, gorgeous decor, and crazy fun crowd, was truly a momentous affair and I was honored and thrilled to be its coordinator and to get to know two amazing and lovely people in Noelle and David.

Sara & Brian: A Nautical Wedding at the Catamaran Resort, San Diego

Sara and Brian planned a beautiful nautical-themed wedding at the Catamaran Resort and Spa in San Diego, CA. I actually knew the bride, Sara, when we were in grade school (La Jolla Bobby Socks!) so it was super fun to reconnect with her and make her wedding day amazing! The Catamaran Resort is situated on the San Diego Bay and therefore provided a perfect backdrop for their upscale beachy motif.  Navy and white stripes, accented by bright pink tones, wove throughout the decor–from the invitations, to the linens, to the stripes on the men’s ties (and awesome argyle socks!).  Sara’s attire of lace and pearls added a touch of formality to the affair.  I think decorating in nautical is a great way to go “beachy” while still adding class.  And this wedding was definitely all class!

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Above: Sara’s “something blue” in her shoes and earings, the cute and creative garter she wore, and the gentlemen getting ready for the big moment!

Below: I adore the gentlemen’s attire!  The tan linen suits are perfectly complimented by the bright navy and pink ties (and of course, the socks)!

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Below: the beautiful couple and the ceremony, facing the bay.  Sara’s mom came up with the idea of the baskets to decorate the aisle.  I LOVED it!  My team then transferred them to the railing that framed the outdoor balcony adjacent to the ballroom.

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Below: our gorgeous cake, invitations, and nautical ballroom!  Sara chose a light wood chivari chair to complement the beachy driftwood look of the centerpieces.  My team hung candles and table numbers from the arms of the wood.  The delicate pattern of the cake with the pink and ivory flowers was perfect!  And the invitation wonderfully announced the theme well in advance.

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Below: Sara and Brian share their first dance.  A perfect moment for a perfect couple!  And special thanks to Shannon of Studio Carre for the amazing photos!

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San Diego Style Weddings Magazine Photo Shoot 2013

Each year San Diego Style Weddings Magazine asks a number of coordinators to put together a table display to showcase current wedding design trends that they then feature in their yearly magazine.  This is one of my favorite tasks because I get to create according to my own whimsy!  I love creating for my clients but the goal is to always bring their vision to fruition–with the magazine shoot, I get to bring my own!   We set the shoot on the lawn of the La Jolla Women’s Club in downtown La Jolla.  They have a fabulous tree that became our focal point–and is a great focal point for wedding ceremonies too!  I worked with Seven Stems floral design to create a rustic romantic look.


For colors, I wanted to combine cantaloupe with a meridian blue, accented with whites, ivories, greens, and natural wood tones.  I like mixing my elements–so we combined vintage key place cards and antique glassware with the strings of pearls and crystals and the gold chargers.  This sense of rustic with “bling” adds interest in their combination.


Nic Roc Designs created all of our paper products, using the cantaloupe and meridian blue and mixing fonts to create a look that was both modern and vintage all at the same time.  I use Nic Roc with a lot of my clients and always love her work!


La Tavola provided the blue and white pinstripe linen and Studio Carre the gorgeous photography!  It was super fun to create and I was thrilled with how it turned out!  Now for a client to replicate it…;)


Will and Laura

For Laura and Will, they had me at bagpipes!  Will’s family is Scottish and that meant full kilts and yes, a bagpipe.  Laura and Will had their ceremony at La Jolla Presbyterian Church, where Will’s grandparents have been long time attendees.  I will never forget the moment we sent the gentlemen down the aisle.  We swung open the doors and had our bagpiper positioned perfectly at the head of the aisle.  Then slowly he led Will, shoulder to shoulder with his father, the officiating pastor (in kilt), with his two brothers (in kilts) and the rest of the groomsmen following in single file behind.  One of my favorite wedding moments yet!  The sound of the bagpipe echoing off the walls of the sanctuary was amazing!


Laura looked gorgeous and her entrance, to a booming organ, was pretty grand itself! Laura’s bridesmaids wore navy dresses and we offset the navy with ivory and peach bouquets, created by Indulge Flowers.  They were all gorgeous!

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I LOVE the photo of Will and his groomsmen below!  And this one of Will and Laura in the street together!  Thank you to Maurice of Betwixt Photography!
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After the ceremony, guests headed up to the La Jolla Country Club for the reception, just minutes away.  The room was stunning and the atmosphere of the Country Club was, as always, wonderful. I always love being at the La Jolla County Club simply for the experience it provides.  It is what I call a “yes” venue.  For our decor, we used the Country Club’s own ivory linens and rented gold chivari chairs and gold chargers.  Indulge added gold lantern centerpieces to the guest tables and these large mirrored arrangements to the head table.

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Though the Scots won the ceremony, my favorite part of the reception, lay in the court of the bride’s family.  Of Scandinavian descent, they decided thy wouldn’t be outdone so for the father-of-the-bride’s welcome speech, Laura’s parents rushed into the ballroom in full Viking attire and the Club brought out sips of scotch for the toast.  The toast and attire were a surprise to all the guests–including the bride and groom!   We ended the night with a sparkler send-off (and fire alarm that brought the firemen!) and a getaway in a fabulous red convertible!  All in all, this wedding was a wonderful event!
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Ann & David-A MCASD La Jolla Wedding!

Ann and David created a wedding in La Jolla with a wonderful mixture of tradition and modernity.  They held their ceremony at the gorgeous La Jolla Presbyterian Church (think super long aisle, organ booming, stained glass windows) and held their reception at the beautiful Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla.  Cocktails began on the ocean view Terrace (like you’re practically IN the ocean-view-terrace!) and adjacent Garden and the reception was in the Axline Court–known for its high arched ceiling and modern art pieces on display.

To start the day off, Ann and her bridesmaids got read at the Grande Colonial’s Little Hotel by the Sea.  This is one of my absolute favorite hotels in all of San Diego–I am in love with it.  And the Little Hotel is such a gem.  It’s a stand alone building on the property of the Grande Colonial with 8 all suite rooms with kitchenettes.  If you rent out all 8 suites, you get two additional common spaces, including an ocean view terrace, and a rate that is an absolute steal.  Renting the Little Hotel for sleeping rooms is an absolute perfect accompaniment for a La Jolla wedding (and I’ll mention that they have great spaces for rehearsal dinners or Sunday brunches–all catered by the fabulous 910 Restaurant…ok, I’ll stop pitching it now)!

Okay, let’s start with Ann’s getting ready photos at the Grande Colonial-I LOVE the picture of her on the staircase!

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Time to get married!  La Jolla Pres provides such a gorgeous backdrop to a wedding.  Below, David and his guys get ready for the big moment.  And look at the children waiting in anticipation–that’s one of my favorite photos from the day!

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Whew, we’re married!  Ann and David decided not to see each other before the ceremony so they allowed a little bit of time between the ceremony and the cocktail hour so they would have some time to get some great photos together and of the wedding party.  I think it’s okay to leave a short break but I stress to clients they then need to put the actual time the reception begins on the reception card.  It can be a little awkward to turn away guests who have wandered over early–we don’t want them coming in until the bar is open and the setting is perfect!

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Above and below: beautiful pictures of Ann and David and their wedding party.  Below left is in front of the Museum. Below right is the sea wall just below the Museum.

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Party time!  Ann chose a palate of purple and white with silver accents.  She wanted a lot of glassware with floating candles and flowers suspended in high glass vases.  It was gorgeous.  She chose a silver floor-length linen, white chairs and napkins (I personally think your chairs and napkins need to be the same color-or variation of the same color-as that ties your look together), silver frames for table numbers, and then the mixture of high and low glassware with white candles and white and purple flowers.  Classic Party Rentals provided all the rentals and Ginny with Adelaide’s did the beautiful flowers.  CAKE provided the cake and the amazing Giuseppe the food and alcohol.  Ann and David actually chose an all-star vendor team. I really love working with all of these vendors because they are so professional, so enjoyable, and so good and what they do.  I had no worries about this event coming together perfectly–not when you have this team!  See below for a few of the details.

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And thank you to Erika Kyte Photography for the great photos!!!

Steal this idea:
Whether you live in the town where you are getting married or not, you can create a destination wedding feel by booking a hotel or house where everyone can stay together. With relatives often living all over the nation, and even the world now, weddings have become family reunions.  As much as they are a big party, and the biggest decision you will ever make(no pressure, really), they are also an opportunity to spend time with your family and friends. By all staying together, and possibly creating a fun itinerary of meals and activities (which you don’t necessarily HAVE to participate in yourself, you can create a wonderful gathering for your family and friends.

Adrienne & Ben: A Heritage Park Wedding, San Diego

Adrienne and Ben met with me about a year before their wedding and said they wanted to plan a fun, outdoor wedding with a tent and lawn games and a food truck for a caterer!  What fun!  I was immediately excited about their vision and thrilled to work with them.  The problem was they really wanted to get married at Balboa Park but couldn’t find the right venue there to fit their vision.  I adore Balboa Park but it does fit more of a ballroom or museum style event, rather than a tent and lawn games.  I suggested they consider Heritage Park, just south of Old Town on a hill, and still close to Balboa Park.  I suggested they go to Balboa Park for photos before the ceremony and they loved the idea.  Heritage Park has a huge green grassy field and they allow tents and alcohol on site.  The only constraint is that events have to end an hour after sunset, but in the heart of the summer, that’s 9pm!  Adrienne and Ben decided they would designate a friend’s restaurant as the after party venue and we began to plan!Adrienne wanted to a natural yet slightly nostalgic look for the wedding and chose to let her bridesmaids pick their own dress in a burlap hue.  The look adds texture and style and is a great idea!  For the gentlemen, Adrienne chose dark pants, suspenders, and ties in different bright colors.  The mixture of similar yet different adds interest to the look while still being pulled together.  Love it!  Also notice the bright bouquet Adrienne chose to further add some color.  For the ceremony, Adrienne and Ben used the standing gazebo as their chuppah and added a prayer shawl to the underneath side of it, to work with Jewish tradition.

Below, some of the fabulous photos at Balboa Park taken by True Photography.  Adrienne and Ben did what is called a “first look” prior to their ceremony–a special moment of seeking each other for the first time with only their photographer present–and then took photos with their wedding party.  As long as a couple is comfortable with it, I definitely recommend doing a first look and taking photos before the ceremony as once it begins, things move quickly and it’s hard to take the time to get photos like these.  And the below photos are clearly the ones the couple will frame and forever savor!For the reception, Adrienne wanted a very natural, outdoor look, with white linens, burlap table runners, dark wood chairs, and a bright mix of wildflowers for centerpieces.   Blush Botanicals provided the runners and all the decor.  They were the perfect company for this kind of look!  Since a food truck was going to cater the event (the fantastic Curiocity) and would provide biodegradable plates as they served from the truck, we set the tables with a very simple design: napkin, champagne glass, fork, knife, and cute retro lollipop for color.  The wedding party actually popped and poured the champagne as part of the grand entrance!  Curiocity set a cheese display for the cocktail hour and a simple bar of beer and wine the couple had purchased, and then my team switched the appetizer table to a dessert display with fantastic sweets provided by CAKE.Following dinner, J of J Soul Productions, one of my favorite DJ’s, invited Adrienne and Ben to do their first dance on a small dance floor outside the tent and then encouraged the entire crowd to join in the hora afterwards.  Adrienne and Ben purposely kept the dance floor small, in case the lawn games were more of a hit, but found that all their guests danced away to DJ J and took over all the grass adjacent!  Everyone danced until we had to end at 9pm.  It was a perfect event!  So fun and SO Adrienne and Ben!  My team loved being part of it!

Wedding at the Ritz Carlton in Dana Point, CA

As a California native, when I think of the classiest of the classy, here in Southern California, I think of the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Nigel.  That’s where Jessica and Andrew decided to hold their wedding and it was so fun to be part of their special day.  Jessica wanted to use a mixture of blush pinks and ivories with silver accents to create a very soft and romantic look.  She also wanted to mix in playful accents to lighten the mood–starting with these fantastic balloons!  Love these photos by the always amazing Sara France Photography!The ceremony was held outside on the Ritz’ grassy lawn that overlooks the beach and surf below.  It was a stunning day in May with not a hint of grey!  For the recessional, Jessica and Andrew had found these fantastic confetti wands and their guests showered them as they exited.  The bottom photo by Sara France is one of my new absolute favorites.  So gorgeous!After the ceremony, Jessica and Andrew headed to the beach with their wedding party for more photos.  Aren’t the colors amazing?  And Jessica and Andrew make a stunning couple.  Notice Jessica’s dress–it’s the first of three she’ll wear throughout the evening!Cocktails took place on a terrace overlooking the ocean and then dinner and dancing occurred in this beautiful ballroom.  The crystal chandeliers were a perfect backdrop to the crystal centerpieces.  As a nod to their Chinese heritage, silver fortune cookies with thank you notes were set at each place setting.  Also notice the custom menus and table numbers in Jessica’s color palette and how they so nicely bring all the details together.Not only was the decor gorgeous, but the party was a blast!  During dinner, Chinese Dragon Dancers entertained the guests (and created a stir in the entire hotel).  They were amazing!  Notice Jessica’s beautiful Chinese dress for dinner.  Following dinner, DJ Andy Hagenah kept the dance floor full and Jessica changed into her third beautiful ensemble–a simpler “after party” style dress.What an amazing affair!  It was such a thrill and an honor to coordinate such a beautiful wedding!  And working with such amazing clients was a total treat!