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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pinkberry in San Diego

Today during a break from the Special Event Conference, Jubilee and I discovered the presence of Pinkberry in San Diego. She and Gloria had raved about Pinkberry yogurt, so we were really excited to see a brand new Pinkberry shop across from the Convention Center.

The shop is hip, friendly, and very simple...2 flavors of yogurt with toppings of all sorts and 2 flavors of smoothies. Believe me that is all you need! I have never had better yogurt or smoothies, and I am a yogurt hound...the flavor was rich, not too sweet or sour, and just plain satisfying.

Jubilee chose the original plain yogurt with mocci on top, and I tried the berry smoothie....by the first bite and sip we were hooked...already planning our trip back the next day!

The shop carries Italian-made toys and yogurt accessories, such as neon bowls with tall stems. I surprised Jubilee with a birthday gift from their selection, as a reminder of our good times in San Diego.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Special Event Conference

Greetings from Sunny San Diego!
Several of my friends in the wedding industry invited me to join them for The Special Event...a national convention of event professionals, which is held each year in a different city across the country. Since San Diego is the location for The Special Event, 2009, it was the perfect opportunity for me to attend for the first time!
A view from the back of the San Diego Convention Center

Jubilee Lau. Gloria Tritasavit, and I made plans in the Fall to attend the Conference, thinking January would be a very quiet time for us; we had not realized how much work would be coming our way as a result of preparing for the Wedding University. In fact, last week we questioned our sanity for planning to be away for a whole week; but now that we are here, we see how many great ideas we are bringing back to implement in the final stages of producing the Wedding University. This was actually the best time to come, and...... it is a lot of fun!
Jubilee and I outside the Convention Center, with the Marina behind us; the weather could not be better!
Nancy Liu Chin was one of the "Presenters" here today, and so we all had breakfast early and joined her for her 9am class on Marketing for Wedding Professionals...it was awesome!
Gloria Tritasavit, Nancy Liu Chin, Kevin's crutches, Kevin Chin, and Jubilee Lau at the Hotel Sofia Hotel, in San Diego. (Kevin broke a bone in his foot playing tennis, but is almost done with his crutches...Yea!!)
The Convention Center is located on the Marina in beautiful San Diego, so whenever there was a break, we were out walking, enjoying the beautiful weather, and the ice cream shop located conveniently just down promenade from us!

Jubilee chose Chocolate Fudge Brownie, and I chose Coffee Chip Buzz; we both were quite energized by all the sugar and caffeine as we walked back to the next session!

Jubilee and Gloria after our session with Sasha Souza, who shared with over 150 of us her passion, and trend setting theories for the use of color, and the "in" color/shade combinations she predicts for 2009.
After a full day of taking in the classes, becoming even more excited about our chosen profession, and the Wedding University, we accepted a ride back to our hotel in one of San Diego's well known Bicycle Rickshaws....we were really tired of being on our feet, so this was a great way to travel!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Four Seasons, San Francisco

On Sunday Jubilee and I visited the Four Seasons in San Francisco, to enjoy the Five Star Wedding Faire held there every January. Many of the same professionals who were a part of the Five Star Event, will be "professors" in our Wedding University at the Four Seasons, Silicon Valley. We wanted to visit their booths, mingle with other friends in the industry, and get ideas for the Wedding University...not to mention sampling the great food!

Jubilee and I loved NOT being in charge of anything at this wedding event; on February 8th, when we are managing The Wedding University, there will be no time to act like "mystery shoppers"!

John Woods, of Enhanced Lighting, and Jonathan, of Asiel design, shared a booth at the Four Seasons; the ornate table top, draping and lighting design was a combination of their skill, creativity, and over the top imaginations! John, who will be participating with the design team at the Wedding University, will be bringing this same energy and enthusiasm to what is displayed there...and he can answer questions about how he does it!

Kevin Chin, of Kevin Chin Photography, who will be a "professor" at the Wedding University, takes a short break at this booth.

Lara welcomes Jubilee and me into the cozy "parlor" she and Geoff created as a part of their booth at the Four Seasons Five Star Event. Both Lara and Geoff will serve as "professors" at the Wedding University.

Peter Rudolfi and I accidentally chose the same colors for the day, so Jubilee captured the moment of unplanned coordination! Peter will be a "professor" on February 8th, discussing the different types of live music appropriate for individual styles of weddings and receptions.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Colleagues/friends, at the SF City Club,

Kathleen Kirkpatrick and I drove up from Palo Alto together for Duncan Reyes showcase/party introducing his friend and colleague, Dennis Menendez, to the extensive network of wedding professionals who have known and loved Duncan for years.
I had not been to the SF City Club, but I had long wanted to see the amazing Art Deco design work I had heard about for years.
Stairs with red carpet lead to the 11th floor, where wedding reception dinners are usually held; our event was on the 10th floor. The details and decor of the City Club are rich with the look and feel of the 1920's and '30s. I love it!
Sonya Hong of Butterfly Cake provided a celebration cake for the party; the flavor was "Death by Chocolate"! What a way to go!
Dennis thanked Duncan and all the friends and colleagues who came together to create an amazing film of Dennis shooting an engagement portrait session in San Francisco; the party though organized by Duncan, was undertaken by a team of his friends who donated their time and products to help Dennis launch his career.
Duncan Reyes is the mentor/encourager who "discovered" Dennis, and worked diligently to be sure Dennis' photography talents were not overlooked by any of the cadre of wedding professionals in his large circle of friends.

Speaking of friends, the event was an opportunity for me to connect with many of my close friends, who are also colleagues...I have heard that in some areas of the country, wedding professionals do not socialize with their "competition", but in San Francisco, we all share the same passion to serve well the brides and grooms who find us, and for whom we are a good fit. If we can see we are not the best match for a couple, we refer them to another one of the creative and competent professionals who have become our friends...competition is replaced by comradery!
Tom Henderson, his fiance Michelle Moncada, and Kathleen Kirkpatrick, at the cake table, which was flanked by the floral designs of Amy Burke.
Stacie Tamaki was one of the team of professionals who supported Duncan and Dennis in the showcase/party.
Dennis thanked the amazing group of new friends in the wedding professions, who made his party possible.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cake tasting with Haidee and Wilson

Cake tasting is definitely one of the "treats" included in planning any wedding! Yesterday Haidee, Wilson, Haidee's sister Aimee, and their friend Lillian, met with BethAnn Goldberg, owner of Studio Cake in Menlo Park, to sample several of BethAnn's yummy cake flavors, and to discuss the design of their wedding cake.
I was fortunate to "discover" BethAnn just as her business was getting started, about 18 months ago; in that time her business has quickly attained local and national popularity! The amazing turtle cake, which she created for Abby and Joe's wedding in August, was featured when she was interviewed for the "Dreamers to Doers" contest, on the Martha Stewart Show this Fall. See my post: http://jeanmarksweddings.blogspot.com/2008/11/turtle-cake-on-martha-stewart-show.html

As Haidee and Wilson enjoyed the exotic and traditional flavors of BethAnn'a cake, she looked at examples of the Vintage Era/Art Deco theme which will be threading through each element of Haidee and Wilson's Merchants' Exchange wedding this June.

From the details around the ornate frames which will be used for the table names at the wedding reception, Beth Ann and Haidee came up with ideas for a cake design to repeat several of the same "bling-y" touches which were so prevalent in the 1920's and "30's. The focal point of the cake design will be the vintage looking cake topper, which Wilson's parents used at their wedding, almost 40 years ago

BethAnn sketched a quick drawing of how Haidee and Wilson's wedding cake might look, just to give them a visual of one possibility.

When I first met BethAnn, besides loving the flavor and texture of her cake, I was immediately impressed that she offers full color drawings of each couple's wedding cake, as it appears in its final stage, to the bride and groom, as a hand-done reminder of the fun they had designing their personalized wedding cake.
Here BethAnn shows a sample of the drawing she did for one of her clients, alongside the photo of the cake as it was displayed at their wedding.

BethAnn has just been selected to participate in a Food Network Challenge in February; Shreck, the Musical, is the theme for this challenge, and BethAnn will be one of 4 contestents across the country challenged with creating a cake based on one of the 4 main Shreck characters...BethAnn will be doing Princess Fiona, who was herself a bride!
If you are curious to see what BethAnn will come up with, she and her assistant are building a full sized "Practice Fiona", all day on February 14th, at her studio...the cake will be over 3 feet tall, which is a lot of cake, so she is inviting everyone to come by to watch her work, and help eat the "left overs"!
Haidee, Wilson, Aimee, Lilian and I are planning to be there!

Studio Cake, 104 Gilbert Avenue, Menlo Park, Ca. www.studiocake.com

Friday, January 16, 2009

A January work day, in SF

What a great day to have appointments in San Francisco! I had driven up from Palo Alto to meet with a couple from Los Angeles, who will be getting married in September at the University Club, on Powell Street...I was early, so I enjoyed a latte and bagel at the hip coffee shop across from the University Club.

After soaking up the sun, and the tourist ambiance of Nob Hill, I was ready to see the venerable beauty of the historic University Club, where I have never worked, and to officially meet Kelly and Mark, with whom I have been communicating via email and phone conversations, just during the last 2 weeks.
The University Club, San Francisco, was founded in 1890; it's members have included John Muir, Luther Burbank, James Phelan, and Herbert Hoover.

As I stepped into the circular lobby of the University Club, I felt like I was stepping back into another era, surrounded by memories and rich carved wood. And then when I met Kelly and Mark, just coming out of the elevator, I realized I had just made 2 new friends! Their love for each other, and their enthusiasm about planning their wedding here at the University Club, was infectious!

Mark, Kelly and Barbara Lewis (Catering Manager for the University Club) in the University Club lobby, after their wedding planning tour and meeting.

Barbara Lewis the Catering Manager, and Michael George, the General Manager were warm, welcoming, and very excited about all the upgrades and refurbishing going on at the University Club now. All of the improvements will be done to make the venue more "wedding friendly" , but without changing in anyway the old world charm of the University Club, San Francisco.

After meeting with Kelly and Mark, showing them portfolios of my work, explaining how I like to support couples in the planning and carrying out of their wedding day, I left them my contract, took their photo, gave them a farewell hug, and walked across the street to the parking lot to get my car for the drive to my next appointment. I didn't know if I would see them again, but I was certainly hopeful, because I could tell they would be a wonderful couple to get to know.
Yesterday I was very excited to receive the email from Kelly, confirming that they do want to hire me to help them with their wedding day plans! Now I can get to know a lovely couple, and a "new-to -me" venue, both of which promise to be delightful!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Design team at work, The WU

Viola Sutanto and Nancy Liu Chin have fun creating the combination of elements needed to complete the design they have in mind.

This week our design team, Gloria Wong Tritasavit, Nancy Liu Chin, and Viola Sutanto, met at Wildflower Linens showroom in San Francisco to "play" with fabrics, table settings, props and theme development for the Wedding Design Course they will be teaching on February 8th, at the Wedding University.

The design team have made it clear that I can't tell you much more about how these details are coming together; but if you enroll, and join us on February 8th, you will see the results of their collaboration, and be able to ask them questions about their design process, and how to personalize your own wedding decor.
Nancy Liu Chin and Gloria Wong Tritasavit discuss which dinnerware pattern to use for one of the table settings they will create and describe to the Wedding University attendees.

We are very excited about unveiling all the surprises in store for those who attend the Wedding University, 2009! Please encourage anyone you know, who is planning a wedding, to register right away; space is limited!

An Afternoon of Elegance and Education
Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009 11 AM - 5 PM
Four Seasons Hotel ,Silicon Valley
2050 University Avenue East Palo Alto, CA
$25 for 1 person | $40 for 2 people
Blog: theweddinguniversity.blogspot.com

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Rhett and Pritha, on Geoff White's blog

I am so pleased with the photos just posted on Geoff White's blog, from my November 22nd wedding; he and Lara were a blast to work with, and they captured the beauty of the wedding, and the love between Rhett and Pritha perfectly. Please take a look!


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wedding University, momentum builds!

Here is the planning team for the Wedding University, all lined up to welcome you on February 8th, to the beautiful Four Seasons, Silicon Valley!

This week Jubilee, Kelly Nelson, Julie Kiendra and I met to choose the gift bags, notebooks, and registrations materials participants will be receiving as a part of their day with us in The Wedding University. Momentum is building, as we mail out the promotional materials to venues, vendors, and to individual couples who are engaged, and planning their wedding.
There will be a feature article published in the Palo Alto Weekly soon about the Wedding University; Rachel Palmer, one of their photographers, came by during our meeting to get photos for the article, and shared these with us.

I encourage engaged couples to register soon for the Wedding University, as space is limited. Please take a look at our blog for more information:

We are looking forward to sharing our expertise and enjoying your company!