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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turtle cake on Martha Stewart Show!

Many of you remember the turtle cake I featured on a blog post on August 31st, after Abby and Joe's wedding at Fogarty Winery. Well, the turtle, and its creator, BethAnn Goldberg of Studio Cakes, are now famous!

Justin Fone was the videographer for Abby and Joe's wedding, so he was invited to New York put together a video clip of the footage from Abby and Joe's wedding, highlighting BethAnn's turtle cake; please enjoy excerpts of the Martha Stewart Show, aired November 11th, which includes an interview with BethAnn, and of course, shots of Abby and Joe, with their amazing turtle cake!

The Martha Stewart Show from Justin Fone on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Timeline, in pictures!

One of the most time consuming and critical jobs for a wedding planner is to develop a finely tuned timeline for the Wedding Day, as well as for any activities surrounding the wedding itself, such as the Wedding Rehearsal, Rehearsal Dinner, Post Wedding Brunch, etc.

I develop the first draft of the timeline with the involvement of the bride and groom, then send it to the venue, and all of the vendors, for their input and suggestions. The final version, including all the needed changes, is sent to the bride, groom, key wedding party members, venues and vendors about 2 weeks before the wedding day; on the Tuesday or Wednesday before the wedding I phone each vendor and the venue, to be sure we are all "on the same page" for the celebration plans coming up.

This weekend, as I moved through the days and hours of the "wedding timeline", I decided to take photos, (whenever I had a free hand!) to share what goes on, from my perspective, to make a wedding weekend flow!

In developing and managing a timeline, my goal is to see that each of the my couples' plans and dreams for their wedding day becomes reality, but in a relaxed way; the timeline should not be "master" of the day, but rather a tool to enhance a seamless unfolding of a long anticipated and joyous wedding celebration.

One of my clients lovingly described me as a calming influence and a driving force, depending on the need at the time...in managing the timeline, which reflects the working out of any couple's dream wedding, I have the opportunity for both, if it serves their ultimate joy and satisfaction at the end of the day.

I have heard that wedding days can be extremely chaotic, without a timeline for vendors, venues, wedding party and family members to work from; but I can't say for sure, because I am only at weddings where there IS a coordinator with a timeline, and that is ME!!

So here is my view, from behind the timeline!

Friday, 3pm--Rehearsal at Stanford Memorial Church

Rhett and Pritha, with their 16 attendants, practice how they will be arranged for the "Circle of Love", a beautiful tradition for weddings performed at the Stanford Memorial Church.

After the rehearsal, I met with Pritha and her Maid of Honor to go over details for the next day, and to give Paula a copy of the timeline, with my cell phone number for the next day; I am the point of contact throughout the day for the family and wedding party...my goal is that the bride and groom can totally relax, and do not have to answer any logistical questions about the details or flow of the day.

I love this awesome cathedral, a place of worship, and a work of art, located in the very heart of the Stanford University Campus.

5:30pm----Rehearsal Dinner for 68 guests, in the Miramontes Room, at the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay

Rhett's family wanted to incorporate the Ritz Carlton's Royal Blue and Silver trademark colors into the decor for the Rehearsal Dinner; they and their guests were extremely pleased with the results.

7:30am--Hair and makeup begins for the bridesmaids and family members, in a room on the 3rd floor, set aside just for the bridal party.

11am--Pritha gets dressed for the wedding in her suite at the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay.

We were all delighted that the weather was so perfect for Pritha and Rhett's wedding day; the view from her suite, as she was getting ready for her wedding, was amazing!

Four of Pritha's bridesmaids helped her get dressed for her wedding portraits with Rhett, at the beginning of the day. Obviously, I was not needed in this task, but I was able to help get the gown steamed earlier in the day....and that was not even in my timeline!

Armando, of Get Your Do Up, is lost in his work, as he adjusts and secures Pirtha's veil, before she sees Rhett.

12:15pm--Pre ceremony photos with the Bride and Groom, who will see each other in a private location, for the first time, and then go with Geoff and Lara White for some ocean-side portraits before the wedding.

Geoff and Lara White begin some portrait work with Pritha, before she meets Rhett.

1:00pm--limo leaves the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay for Stanford Memorial Church, to begin pre ceremony photos with the full wedding party, and family members

It was a beautiful Fall day at Stanford; as I walked across campus to meet the wedding party and family at the Stanford Memorial Church, I was thankful once again for getting to work in such amazing locations!

I couldn't resist one shot of the fabulous Fall colors beside the Church!

Geoff and Lara were busy getting everyone arranged for the "formal" pre-wedding shots, so I took a casual shot of 2 of my favorite members of the wedding party..the flower girl/junior bridesmaid, and her cousin, a handsome usher.

It takes professionalism and experience to organize such a large wedding party for well composed portraits; Lara and Geoff were competent, quick and relaxed throughout the process...I will share the results. from behind their lenses, in a later blog post.

2:30pm--bride and bridesmaids move to the Bride's room, as guests begin to arrive; ushers go the the front of the church to greet guests, and offer programs; groom, priest and groomsmen move to the round room to await cue for wedding to begin.

I went inside the hushed sanctuary, just before the huge doors were opened for the guests; all was in readiness, so I joined the bride and bridesmaids to be sure they had water, and a chance to touch up their hair and makeup.

3:00 pm--Ceremony in the Stanford Memorial Church (no photos available until Geoff and Lara have some to share!)

by 5:15pm--Bride, Groom, family members, and guests arrive at the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay for the Cocktail reception, followed by 4 course dinner and dancing.

I had been in in touch by cell phone, throughout the afternoon, with my assistant Elisheva, who was helping oversee setup at the RCHMB. As soon as I returned from the ceremony we met to review my timeline, which had included between 2pm and 5 pm: delivery of cake, set up of band, placement of florals, installation of draping and lighting, arrangement of escort cards and placement of the guest book, readiness of the cocktail area and servers for the arrival of guests.

All of the vendors had arrived exactly on time, and each step of the well discussed plans for set up had been carried out perfectly!

I was especially pleased with the elegance and romantic feel of the Ballroom, when I first stepped into it after returning from the wedding; but for me, the best gift of the evening was seeing the wonder and delight on Pritha's face when she saw the room for the first time. She told Elisheva, Tony White and me that it was exactly what she had been envisioning for the last 8 months, all the way from New York City! (Tony and I had been working with Rhett and Pritha via email and phone calls, with only 2 quick visits out here to meet with vendors.)

Pritha's colors were chocolate brown, gold, and Fall shades of red, orange, yellow and green. We used alternating high and low arrangements to add drama to the room, and LOTS of candles, at different heights to add romance and softness.

With Pritha, we chose clear chargers, a gold striped satin napkin, and menus printed to match Pritha's invitations and programs, to welcome each guest to their place setting.

The wedding cake was designed by Susan Morgan, of Elegant Cheesecakes; this one had 3 different flavors: coffee mousse, mango cheesecake, and raspberry lemon shortcake. To provide even more options for sweet flavors, Rhett and Pritha asked the Ritz Carlton to provide an elaborate dessert buffet, including petite key lime pies (my personal favorite!), mini creme brullee and trams, coconut cupcakes, fresh fruit...need I go on??? This must have given everyone plenty of energy for dancing, as you will see below!)

I could not do my job well with out the wonderful help I have from competent, caring assistants like Elisheva, who partnered with me this weekend, to follow through on the details of my Wedding Day Timeline; and without the excellent teamwork from my wonderful vendors, who each followed through professionally and responsibly in every detail, a timeline would just be a piece of paper with lots of words, numbers, and wishful thinking!

A hug for Elisheva, my teammate, before the guests are invited in to dinner.

6:30pm--Guests invited into the dining room, and seated; the bride and groom are introduced into dinner and go immediately to the dance floor for their first dance.

The lights were low, but you get the idea!

7:00pm-8:45pm--Dinner is served in 4 courses, with toasts by the Bride's father, the Best Man and Maid of Honor, after the first course.

8:45pm--Cake Cutting, toast by the Bride and Groom.

After Rhett and Pritha cut the first slice of cake, and very gently fed each other a bite, the Ritz Carlton staff removed the cake, cut and served the various flavors to the guests at their tables, with coffee..meanwhile the band and singers got everyone out on the dance floor!


.....Rhett and Pritha dancing to Frank Goldstein's Manhattan Towers, a New York sound for my New York couple!!!
...and lots more dancing!

...and still dancing at 11pm...remember my flower girl/junior bridesmaid? She was one of the last ones to leave the dance floor!

11:30pm--guests depart; clean up begins.
(note to Jean: all wedding related items are boxed, and taken to Rhett's parents' suite, as Rhett and Pritha fly out early the next day for their honeymoon.)

12:30am---Wedding Coordinator departs tired but happy!

Thank you so much to my team for this wedding:
Tony White, Senior Events Manager, Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay (www.ritzcarlton.com)
Armando, Get Your Do Up, Hair and Makeup (www.getyourdoup.com)
Geoff and Lara White, Photography (www.geoffwhite.com)
Nasrin, La Lavande, Flowers (www.lalavande.com)
Susan Morgan, Elegant Cheesecakes, Wedding Cake (www.elegantcheesecakes.com)
Frank Goldstein, Manhattan Towers Band (www.joelnelson.com)
Linda Kaldani, Details by Linda, lighting and draping (www.detailsbylinda.com)
Susan Kelly, Stanford Memorial Church (www.stanford.edu)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Uncle Jimmy's 90th Birthday!!

This month I enjoyed a different kind of event planning; I was able to create a joyful celebration of my Uncle's 90th Birthday, incorporating friends and family I have known throughout my life, and some of the vendors I work with for weddings. My personal and professional lives came together, and it was a gift for me to see them overlap, enriching all who were involved.

Jimmy, my mother's brother, was born totally deaf, due to their mother contracting German Measles during her pregnancy with Jimmy; at the time Jimmy was born, particularly in the Boston area where his family lived, children with "handicaps" were not as included in the mainstream of life, as they are now. Jimmy had a tutor who came to the house to teach him how to read lips, and imitate speech, based on the vibrations he felt in his throat. Sign language was considered a stigma at that time...so much has changed in 90 years!

Jimmy in many ways grew up alone, but he always had a wonderful sense of humor, enjoyed the antics of the silent movie stars, and could make me laugh as a child like no one else could....I love my uncle, as does everyone who gets to know him! Fifty friends, and my family of 4, gathered last weekend at MacArthur Park in Palo Alto, to enjoy Jimmy's favorite meal, Barbecued Ribs with all the trimmings, and to show him how much we rejoice that at 90, he is still as full of warmth and humor as he ever was!

Jan Kearney, owner of Cast of Thousands, helped me find some performers to bring the silent film world of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin to Jimmy's party. I wanted to have entertainers whom Jimmy could relate with, and who would set a tone for a party based on humor, fun, and visual communication...Jimmy often feels left out at parties, because everyone is chatting and laughing together, but he can't hear any of it...deafness can be more of a social handicap than a physical one, and I have come to be very sensitive to the loneliness he can feel in a crowd. At this party, Jimmy was in his element!

Did you ever wonder what 90 candles would look like on a cake? Well, this is the answer, and it took 3 people to light the candles!

Jimmy was up to the challenge; it took him 3 tries to blow out all 90 candles, but he did it on his own! We were wondering if all the smoke would get the Fire Department involved...

I wish each of you could get to know my Uncle Jimmy! His life is a gift to many, and especially to me and my family.

I will have more photos to share soon, as my friends, Geoff and Lara White, brought their cameras, talent and enthusiasm to Jimmy's birthday party, to shoot portraits of Jimmy and my family, as well as a few candids of the beginning of the party.

I am blessed to have a loving family, and to be supported by dear friends in the wedding industry who added their special touch to this once in a lifetime celebration!

Thank you to Jan, at Cast of Thousands, for sending me such talented actors, and to Geoff and Lara White, of Geoff White Photography, for making the time to capture on film, this special moment in our family.

Fast breaking news: Here are a few photos Geoff and Lara just sent to me; it is clear from the quality of these images, that they were taken by professional photographers, and not by me........ but Uncle Jimmy is the Same, no matter who takes the photos!