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Sunday, May 25, 2008

From Vision to Reality, in HMB!

During the last 5 months, working with my clients, Monique and Brian, I have had the privilege of seeing a vision (for a new ocean-view wedding venue in Half Moon Bay) move from the dirt and bulldozer stage to the reality of a well groomed ceremony site! Monique and Brian will always have the distinction of "launching" Liquid Sky Vineyard, a new property off of Highway One, south of Half Moon Bay, with a panoramic view of the northern coast.


When we visited the property in March, I took this photo of Brian and Monique standing where their ceremony would take place in just 2 months...there was obviously much work to be done, but the owners of the property assured us that all would be completed for their wedding day....and as you can see below, they kept their word!

Tanja Fischer (www.blumengarten.com) provided floral design for the wedding and reception.

The proprietors of Cetrella Restaurant in Half Moon Bay are opening their private estate, Liquid Sky Vineyard, to serve as a venue for small wedding ceremonies, with receptions to be held at Cetrella. Since Brian works as a designer for Cetrella, and was recently engaged to Monique, they were a natural choice for David and Jennifer's first Liquid Sky Wedding Couple! Soon after the date was established, Brian and Monique hired me to help them with their wedding planning.

After much collaboration with David and Jennifer, visits to the property, and creative brainstorming, both the physical and logistical framework were established, and we were ready to see the vision for Monique and Brian's wedding beside the sea become reality!

Providing leadership for the rehearsal was a bit of a challenge for me, as none of us knew exactly what would be the best way to utilize the space, how close to stand to the edge, where exactly to enter and exit, etc. But again, working as a team with Jennifer, David, Monique, Brian, and their wedding party we were successful in orchestrating a beautiful and relaxing ceremony for Brian and Monique, their family and guests.

After the ceremony, shuttle buses were waiting to transport the guests to Cetrella for a lively cocktail hour, a 4 course dinner, followed by lots of dancing, cake cutting, bouquet toss, and finally shuttle rides back to the hotels in Half Moon Bay.

Brian and Monique's guest book, with photos of themselves on each page

The setting sun cast an interesting light on the platters of cracked crab, oysters, and other fresh seafood waiting for Brian Monique and their wedding party...it reminded me of a picnic on the beach!

Susan Morgan (www.elegantcheesecakes.com) provided an amazing wedding cake for Brian and Monique, and even included a personalized "mini wedding cake", which I sent with them in their "fond farewell" basket!

It was a gift to be a part of Brian and Monique's "ground-breaking" wedding day, as we launched both a brand new marriage, and a brand new wedding venue!

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!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Disco theme at the Drive Thru Tree!

When an event planner and a night club owner/tech guru plan their wedding, you can be sure it will be memorable! This month I had the privilege of coordinating Molly and Brian's disco themed wedding, at one of their favorite places to visit, the Drive Thru Tree Park (www.drivethrutree.com) near Leggett, in Northern California.

As you can see below, not a car was in sight during the ceremony, but as soon as the ceremony was over, I gave the OK to John Stevenson, the owner, and in came the cars!

After completing family photos beside the nearby pond, Molly and Brian made their entrance to the cocktail reception in their friend's disco limo, which he drove all the way from San Francisco for the event!

The weather was perfect; not too hot, or windy...ideal for a relaxing dinner in the tent, followed by Molly and Brian's first dance, a surprise disco number which included 8 of their friends, all in disco outfits....the guests quickly joined in the energy of the dancing, with disco balls spinning from the top of the tent; as the evening grew darker, the huge disco ball outside, as well as the lanterns in the apple trees, provided by McCall Lighting (www.danmccall.com) created the disco party ambiance outside, matching all that was going on inside the tent!

Did I mention the School Buses? Two Humboldt County School Buses, and their amazingly patient and friendly drivers, provided the transportation from 4 different hotel/resort locations, including Benbow Inn, to the Park; after I took this photo, about 10pm, I radioed to the drivers of the school buses, who wheeled up just in front of the tent, as the disco music stopped. With high energy, the guests loaded onto the buses, and led by Molly and Brian in the disco limo, headed for what I heard was a very late after party!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Wedding Design Day: Tea, trains, dogs!

Today was "Design Research Day" for my clients Marce and Alfi's September wedding at Nestldown, and what a fun day we had!

Tea time with "my bride", Marce, at Lisa's Tea Treasures

Our tea table setting, with Marce's flowers from my garden, as the centerpiece.

Marce meeting Nestldown's resident dogs, Bandit and his son, with the idyllic beauty of Nestldown behind her; she is holding a bouquet of flowers from my garden...as you know, I love to share my flowers!

In front of the Nestldown train; from the left, Marce's mom, Gloria Tritasavit,
Catherine Conlin, of Wiggy's flowers, and Marce.

Imagining lighting in the Nestldown barn, are Brooke Green, property coordinator for Nestldown, Tristan Flores, lighting consultant for Elle Music and Events, Gloria Tritasavit, designer for Sash and Sugar, Marce's mother, and Marce.

Early this morning, Marce and her mother (who is visiting this week from her home in New Guinea!), Gloria Tritasavit, and I met with a lighting consultant, Marce's florist, and Brooke Green the Nestldown coordinator; our goal was to collaborate on design, decor and logistics for Marce and Alfi's wedding day. Their theme will be tea, books, and all things related to enjoying both....I can't think of any combination I could resonate with more, especially when you add flowers!!

I am so grateful to be teaming with Gloria, owner of Sash and Sugar (www.sashandsugar.com) to offer Marce and Alfi the design expertise and the logistical coordination needed to plan and carry out a flawless wedding day.

Supporting Gloria's unique and creative ideas, by thinking through the logistical questions of how to see them become reality, while supporting Marce in her over-arching wedding planning needs, is a perfect fit for me. My experience coordinating many weddings at Nestldown has already been helpful as we get started. Marce and Alfi's wedding is the first chance for Gloria and I to collaborate in this way; I thank Marce and Alfi for hiring the two of us to be partners in this creative process!

After a full morning of discussing Marci and Alfi's tea theme, we continued our "research" by having afternoon tea at Lisa's Tea Treasures, in the Pruneyard in Campbell (www.lisastea.com). I had suggested that we visit Lisa's Tea Treasures some time, to see how the shop projects a warm and welcoming tea theme; when Marce's mom was to be in town, she encouraged Marce to invite us all for a complete afternoon tea! Gloria and I were of course delighted to accept...all in the line of professional research, you understand!

In that spirit, we slowly savored the lemon curd on Lisa's special cookies, the scones with clotted cream, the 6 different kinds of tea sandwiches, the yummy quiche and our own individual pots of tea, with milk!

As we ate, and sipped our tea, we came to know each other in new ways through discussions of travel, families, career goals, growing up in different parts of the world, and of course weddings; the fine art of tea time has firmly bonded this intimate group of wedding participants and planners. It is with even more enthusiasm that I look forward to helping plan and carry out Marce and Alfi's wedding day!

More to come in late September!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May Day Bouquet for you!

Happy May Day! I had a great time making this bouquet for you, my blog friends; in fact I made 4 bouquets, because I had cut so many flowers! My home is brimming with flowers, and the aroma of roses!

For this bouquet, I used my grandmother's antique pitcher as the container for ten different kinds of roses, with touches of cat mint, love-in-a-mist, and honeysuckle.

I am so grateful for the beauty I can enjoy in my garden, and for the joy of sharing that beauty with others, like you!