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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hard Hat Tour

I have a new neighbor! Rosewood Sand Hill is preparing to open their doors in April of this year in Menlo Park, within walking (well, hiking) distance of my home in Palo Alto! On Tuesday, Todd Outhouse, Catering Manager for Rosewood Sand Hill escorted my friend Jubilee Lau and I on a "hard hat tour" of the property, enjoying a preview of what will be completed in just a few weeks. I love having a before and after perspective, so I want to share photos from our tour with you, to whet your appetite for the unveiling of the finished hotel/resort/event space later in the Spring.

This will be the Madera Restaurant, with its state of the art open kitchen, huge welcoming fireplace, and hip, upscale bar area; floor to ceiling windows provide incredible views of the Santa Cruz Mountains and the nearby rolling hills, which I have loved and explored for the 20+ years I have lived in this beautiful area.

Slate floors, massive wood paneled walls, and intriguing light fixtures will accentuate the bar area...Todd has promised that I can post another photo of this very room, later this Spring, with me sipping a glass of wine and watching the sunset behind the Santa Cruz Mountains!

Of course, no tour of a new venue would be complete without a wedding coordinator seeing the areas where a wedding could be celebrated! Rosewood Sand Hill has thought of every amenity and convenience for brides and grooms and their guests to have an elegant, relaxed and seamless wedding day.
The Vista Lawn (still in process!), which will be ideal for wedding ceremonies, is adjacent to the Rosewood Terrace, which opens directly into the Rosewood Foyer, and the Rosewood Ballroom, pictured below.

I love the color palette in this room, because it offers a warm, welcoming tone, but does not dictate which colors a bride could incorporate into her wedding design. It seems that I am not the only one to appreciate the wedding possibilities here, as Todd and his staff have already booked seven weddings for this year, and the doors have not officially opened!

This is the entrance which guests will use as they first arrive at Rosewood Sand Hill; they could not imagine what awaits them just beyond the front door!

The infinity pool, with private cabanas, and hot tub, adjoins the 17,000 square foot Spa, offering massage, saunas, hair and makeup design, manicure/pedicure salon, fitness center, and a broad range of other personalized services...what an oasis of relaxation for the Rosewood Sand Hill visitor!

Jubilee and Todd paused in the tour, to enjoy the view, fresh air, and quiet of what will soon become very popular destination for visitors from all over the world. I am so glad I can just drive a few short miles to enjoy all that Rosewood Sand Hill has to offer, not to mention that promised glass of wine with my friend Todd Outhouse!

Old San Francisco Charm

I was one of the first to arrive at the BAWN (Bay Area Wedding Network) event at the Marine' Memorial Club and Hotel in San Francisco this week, so I was able to see the Crystal Lounge and Crystal Ballroom as they were set for the arrival of guests.

Annie Siu designed the decor for the Crystal Lounge, using her floral designs, and Classic Party Rental's table top items, chiviari chairs, and lighting, including the butterfly gobo over the ceremony set up. I like the way Annie made a chair decor holder from a napkin which match the pattern on the Chiviari chair cushion.

I enjoyed visiting with friends in the Crystal Ballroom, which was my favorite venue of the 3 different event spaces available at the Marines' Memorial Club.

Beverly Yip, Especially Yours Chair Covers, Annie Siu, and I enjoyed staying close to the dessert bar, where Coco Delice and Krumbs Cakes offered lots of samples!

What I love about BAWN events is getting to see old friends, and to make new ones; these photos are perfect examples. Above are Liz Guthrie, San Jose Wedding Consultants, and Frank Goldstein, Joel Nelson Productions; I had been chatting with Frank , whom I have known for at least 6 years, and then Liz Guthrie introduced herself to me, with the reminder that her blog had featured the Wedding University, as part of our promotion to raise awareness prior to the event, held February 8th...we had never met, but I was so happy to get to thank her personally for her support, and to establish a new friendship!

In this grouping of friends, old and new, I was just getting to know Amy Tam, Amy's Weddings and Special Events, standing beside me, as we chatted with old and new friends, Julie Kiendra, of the Four Seasons, Silicon Valley, Adrienne Keats, Calligrapher, and Annie Siu, my new florist friend.

The Crystal Ballroom was the location for our final meeting as a group, after we had toured 4 floors of elegant, vintage and "new to me" event spaces; as you can see, the original chandeliers and shape of the room, accentuated by the lighting and warm-toned linens, created a warm, relaxed environment for the 150+ wedding professionals to encourage brainstorm, and encourage one another, as we head into a year of UEC (Unique Economic Challenges)!

Thank you to Gwen Helbush, Where to Start, and Marie Rios,
Creative Occasions, for the amazing gift you give to all of us by organizing and producing these networking events on a quarterly basis.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Friends and flowers!

Today I was able to drop by the Ralston Hall Wedding Fair to encourage several of my friends who were hosting booths there.

Diane Phillips, owner of DK Designs had her hand made clay flowers on display; her unique craft is becoming very popular...even Martha Stewart has brought Diane on her show to discuss the realistic floral designs she creates...designs that will not fade like live flowers, but remain colorful and fresh for years to come.

Shawn Cavlan, owner of Shawn Cavlan Beauty Company, was there, offering demonstrations of the fantastic hair and makeup sevices she and her staff provide for on site wedding preparations.
My dear friend, Susan Groves, owner of In Full Bloom Florals, who first brought me into the wedding industry as her floral assistant, had a table with samples of her unique designs and creativity.
Stacie Tamaki, owner of The Flirty Guide, was at Ralston Hall to help Diane with her booth, and to take in the Wedding Faire for a blog post, I am sure.
Having close friends who are also colleagues is one of the best parts of the wedding industry; we all want to support each other, and to see our businesses become the best they can be. Showing support today for friends involved in the Ralston Hall Wedding Faire, was a way for me to encourage them, and their businesses, as they seek to expand their contacts.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wedding University, Student Review!

It has been so exciting to read the evaluations from the students who attended our Wedding University on February 8th, at the Four Seasons, Silicon Valley! One of the brides has written about us on her personal wedding blog, which I will quote from here:

"i didn't know what to expect really when i decided last minute to attend the "wedding university" on sunday. i had never been to a wedding event .. so i didn't have it anything to compare it to, but i imagined it to be some huge commercial for local vendors, lots of walking around, and lots of pushing and shoving by a bunch of bridezilla's. i was so wrong.

the event was held at four season's hotel in palo alto california (about 45 min. south of san francisco). the hotel was magical...beautiful, serene, and comfortable. we were greeted with a glass of champagne on a silver platter and were welcomed to try a freshly sliced cut of prime rib with truffle au jus, roasted brussel sprouts, and potatoes. there was an array of fresh beverages that were available throughout the day, including pelagrino, fiji water, soda's, and tea with honey or coffee.

we each were given a folder with an agenda..each bride's agenda varied to the color of her name tag, so we were split most of the day, which made for a relaxed atmosphere, as the groups were made up of about 20 girls. the mini-classes were great! not only did we learn about the vendors giving the presentations, but they were very informative...like how to choose a photographer or dj...the right questions to ask, what to look out for, and normal pricing and what to expect for each price point. i learned so much and wished there was an event like this one earlier in my planning that i could have attended. i hope to go over some of these tips within the next few weeks, but for now, enjoy some eye candy from the day..."

I will be posting more reports from my perspective on the success of The Wedding University, but I think it is good to begin with the perspective of one of our participants. Thank you Amy for deciding to join us, and for your personal endorsement!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spring is beginning in my garden!

Today the rain stopped briefly, and I was able to explore my garden; I have to share what I found out there...Spring has begun!!!

My Tulip (Magnolia, actually) tree has begun to bloom; with the fresh rain drops still on each flower, it is a joy to see beside my front porch!
And in my pots of bulbs, the daffodils and narcissus are beginning to open....

I had to bring in a small bouquet to enjoy beside my desk as I work; I want to share it with you! The tiny blue flowers are forget-me-nots, which are thriving in these wet days!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Close-by Getaway

For Valentine's Day, 2009, Jeff and I had an amazingly interesting 24 hour getaway, and it was all within 5 miles of our home in Palo Alto! I had been saving a gift of one night's accommodation, from The Stanford Park Hotel a wonderful venue where I have coordinated several weddings; Christine Escobar offered this generous gift, just so I could experience-first hand the comfort and service my clients enjoy while staying there.... Saturday, February 14th, Valentine's Day, seemed the perfect timing for a Close by Getaway!

On the way to the Stanford Park Hotel, we stopped by my friend BethAnn Goldberg's shop, Studio Cake, just across the creek from us in Menlo Park. I knew she was spending the whole day designing the mock up of her Fiona cake for the Food Network Cake Challenge, so I had to go by and offer support!

The theme for this Food Network Challenge, is to design a 3 foot cake, to promote "Shreck, The Musical"; BethAnn was one of 4 Bakers chosen from across the country to compete, and her character assignment is Fiona...of course this will be Fiona as a bride, since BethAnn does so many wedding cakes! I will have more photos later of the finished Fiona, which my clients, Haidee and Wilson are sending me; they were there for the completion of the cake, and eating the product!

After leaving Studio Cake, Jeff and I drove the 1.5 miles to Stanford Park Hotel, and checked into the lovely suite Christine, and her staff at the Stanford Park Hotel had selected for us...what a treat to have a fireplace suite, overlooking the pool and hot tub. Now I can personally recommend these comfortable, well decorated rooms, with excellent service at all levels, to my wedding clients, for their guests from out of town.

Since there was a break in the storms rumbling through Palo Alto this weekend, we decided to take a walk around the neighborhood near the hotel. Jeff happened to notice the Tesla showroom, so we made that our first stop, since he has been eyeing these for months.

Jeff particularly liked the 0-60 mph, in 3.9 seconds...but the $109,000. sticker price was a bit daunting...thanks, we're just looking!
Crossing the street, and walking through the quiet neighborhood streets of Menlo Park, we made our way to Allied Arts Guild, one of my favorite spots to visit and photograph. I have coordinated a few weddings here, and would love to do more! The gardens, fountains, the Spanish arches and the quiet ambiance make you feel you have stepped back into time. Even though Jeff and I were supposed to be on vacation, I had to introduce myself to the event manager, Tiana Wong, in hopes that we can work together on some weddings in the year ahead.

Wedding Ceremonies can be held around the fountain, or on the bricked terrace, with dinner and dancing inside the central building where the restaurant is located.
I love all these amazing photo opportunities...arches, wrought iron detail, and long vistas, through rose bordered paths...I will return in Spring for more photos.
Following our walk, Jeff and I returned to our cozy hotel room, to rest and change for dinner; that was when I decided to put away my camera, and just enjoy, moment by moment, the rest our Valentine Getaway!

I just received these photos from Haidee and Wilson, who arrived at Studio Cake later in the day, to witness the completion of BethAnn's Fiona as a Bride. Studio Cake fans were still lined up in front, to support BethAnn, and enjoy a major cake cutting moment! I will let you know when the Food Network Food Challenge will be televised. BethAnn and her assistant fly out next week to recreate Fiona in 8 hours, timed and evaluated by very exacting judges. I vote for Fiona!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wedding University Slide Show!

Janae Shields, was our behind the scenes photographer for The Wedding University; I am excited to share her slide show, which gives you an overview of a wonderful day for Brides, Grooms, and Wedding Professionals to meet, mingle, eat yummy food, and learn together!


Monday, February 9, 2009

Behind the Scenes, TWU

Preparations for welcoming our students to The Wedding University on Sunday morning, began early in the afternoon, on Saturday, as several of us met to assemble the 20 page "syllabus" folders and extensive gift bags to be given out the next day.

We finished this job about 10pm, which is when
John Woods, of Enhanced Lighting, and his drape and lighting crew were leaving San Francisco to drive to the Four Seasons, Silicon Valley. As it turned out, the crew worked all night, installing lighting, hanging chandeliers, and creating backdrops for the elaborate displays created by our design team.
Here John is using the lift to go up and adjust the red lanterns, which were a vital element of this design; it was about 6am, and his crew still had so much to do!

The finished display, ready for our students to arrive at 11am.

Nancy Liu Chin, and Gloria Tritasavit, 2 other members of our design team, spent the night at the hotel so they could work late, and get up early; as it turned out, they really didn't get any sleep at all! Their assistants arrived at 6am to help finish the designs begun by Gloria and Nancy during the night. Below is the table setting as the students saw it.

Creating an arrangement with hundreds of roses, and hydrangea, at the top of a 3 foot tall vase, required Nancy's tallest assistant, and a chair!
...but the effort definitely paid off! What an elegant display!

The fourth table design incorporated 2 very heavy chandeliers, which John rigged over the rich black, magenta and purple table setting, full of arching orchids, painstakingly wired together.

Here is the finished display...lots of bling, and popping with color!

One last behind the scenes shots is of Geoff White's assistant photographer, Eric, shooting one of the model couples we had doing casual modeling all day at the Wedding University. This shot in the Four Seasons will be a classy reminder of how, for one day, the hotel became a Wedding University Campus.

Here one of the model couples pose with me, Gabrielle Medrano, of Gabrielle's Bridal Boutique, who provided all of the gowns for our models, and Armando, of Get Your Do Up, who handled all of the hair and make up styling for each of the models. It should be noted that the groom in this photo is Gabrielle's son; she kept a close eye on this couple!