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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Destination: Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay

How do a couple living in Texas, one beginning Law School, and the other entering Medical School, plan their wedding across the country, in California? Often with the help and guidance of a wedding planner (such as me!), living in California, who is familiar with their chosen venue, and all that is needed to bring their dream of a destination wedding into reality.

Mary and Taylor, posing in the very spot where they will be married in July; Mary is holding the "mock up" wedding bouquet which the florist made for their visit last week.

Helping Mary and Taylor plan their destination wedding for July, at the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay has been a joy for me! I have met with this lovely couple only 3 times, during the 7 months we have been working together, but our friendship grows stronger with each visit!

Just this week Mary, Taylor, and Marsha, Mary's mother, were here to finalize all the decor and logistic decisions before they fly back out here in mid July, for the wedding weekend, with 60 family members and friends.

For their final trip before the wedding day, I had set up a whirlwind of meetings, which began as soon as their plane landed in San Francisco!
Tony White, Wedding Specialist at the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay, and I scheduled appointments at the Ritz Carlton with the Paige Benjamin of Passiflora Designs, the lighting designer, Russ Holt owner of Got Light?, and Tony, to go over all the decor and timing details for the ceremony, cocktails, dinner and dancing reception.

Paige created samples, or "mock ups", of both Mary's bouquet and wedding reception centerpiece for Mary and Taylor to evaluate; this was their first chance to meet Paige and to see how Mary's vision for her florals would look...she was delighted to be able to see and hold what she has been describing to us during the last 7 months!

We also needed to select linens for the guest tables at dinner, so another fun project was looking through hundreds of fabric samples, to find the perfect texture and shade match for Mary's chosen color scheme of cream, lilac, fresh green, and periwinkle blue. We all agreed that her selection will be stunning!

On another day I scheduled a meeting for Mary and Taylor with their DJ, Russ Catanach, whom they had only spoken with on the phone, their cake designer, Sonya Hong, of Butterfly Cakes, for a tasting and cake selection, as well as with Melanie Moore, of Shanel's Flowers, who will freeze dry, frame and ship Mary's bouquet to Texas. (I will be the one taking the bouquet to Melanie in Campbell after the wedding; as a flower lover, it is my privilege to keep Mary's bouquet moist, and safe, until it is in Melanie's competent hands!)

I am also planning the Rehearsal Dinner for Taylor's family, who will host all 60 of their Texas guests for an elegant sunset meal at Fogarty Winery the night before the wedding. Mary, Taylor, Marsha and I spent a full day at Fogarty, where we met with Susan Groves, the florist for that event, who brought a sample centerpiece to help in the choice of linens, as well as to consult about design concepts for the guest tables. We went over the arrangements for cocktails and dinner, including where to position the 3 piece jazz group, the dessert buffet, and the wine tasting bar.

Taylor and Mary with the amazing view from Fogarty Winery below them!
While we were at Fogarty Winery, we began designing the welcome baskets which each guest will receive upon checking into their room the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay; what could be better than including a personally selected bottle of Fogarty wine, each in it's own custom bag!

After leaving Fogarty Winery, Mary, Taylor and Marsha had the pleasure of a tasting with Ethan Mantle, owner of Componere Fine Catering, who will be catering the rehearsal dinner. The meal was so amazing that Mary and Taylor took lots of photos of Ethan's culinary creations, to show their family and friends the beauty of his food presentation; they won't be able to share the incomparable flavors until July, but now there is even more excitement in Texas about this celebration weekend in California!

Included in the 4 day schedule I arranged for Mary and Taylor, was a trip to the Santa Clara County Courthouse to get their California Marriage License, and a visit to Eli Thomas for Men, where Taylor, and his 7 groomsmen will be renting their tuxedos.

Whew! As you can see, planning a destination wedding is quite complicated, but my goal as the wedding planner, living in the "destination", is to make the adventure as efficient and fun as possible.

In July, I will be sharing with you the results of all this planning...I am sure it will be well worth the trip!

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