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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Networking is not work, it is FUN!

Tuesday I had the kind of work day many people would call play, because it was so much fun! As a wedding planner, part of my "job" is to visit some of the most beautiful spots in San Francisco, and to meet some of the most interesting and creative people in the industry. My day, shared with Bev Yip, Especially Yours Chair Covers, began at the historic Palace Hotel, in the heart of Downtown San Francisco.
Bev, who often works at the Palace Hotel providing chairs and chair covers, introduced me to Kate Taffel, who is Catering Sales Manager, specializing in weddings at the amazing Palace Hotel. I have worked at the Palace several times, but not in the last year and a half, since Kate took on her new role. I was excited to get to know Kate, and that came with another treat... lunch in the Garden Court; I can now personally recommend the Palace Hotel Signature Crab Salad! Thank you Kate!

Kate went over the wedding packet with me, so I can answer questions and share information with couples who contact me looking for an elegant, historic San Francisco venue for their wedding and/or reception.

Next, Bev and I walked over the the Four Seasons Hotel, to see the Wedding Specialists there, Emilie Rekart, Associate Director of Catering, and Serra Skadden, Catering Sales Manager. I had known Emilie in another hotel setting, but was looking forward to reconnecting with her now that she is at the Four Seasons; Serra was a new acquaintance for me, but she now is a new friend!

This is the modern, chic decor in the Four Seasons SF Restaurant; Bev and I were served tea in the cozy private lounge, just outside the Restaurant, which would be opening for dinner in a few hours. As I said, this is the kind of work you could easily mistake for an afternoon off in SF, relaxing with friends. But Bev and I were learning so much about the current wedding packages offered at the Four Seasons, which were described in the packet Emilie had prepared for us. Here again, I was learning how to provide helpful information for any couple looking for a modern, chic, upscale wedding venue in San Francisco; as I sipped my Earl Grey tea, with milk, I was working!

For our final visit of the day, Bev and I made a quick stop to see Solera Smith, Senior Catering Sales Manager at the brand new
Intercontinental, San Francisco. I had met Solera once when I attended an introductory tea/spa afternoon for wedding planners early in the Fall, but now Bev and I wanted to drop by to say Congratulations! Solera just announced her engagement, so Bev, who knows Solera very well, wanted to bring her a little gift to help celebrate the exciting occasion.

We spent some time visiting in the striking, ultra modern lobby, talking about weddings, both Solera's and the ones being scheduled for 2009at the hotel. Again, I learned tons about how this particular hotel venue might best serve couples coming to me for ideas on ultra modern, brand new downtown hotels. For this stop, we were offered lemonade and Italian sparkling water; what a hard job I have, right?!

After a full day with Bev, we parted company briefly, since I had left my car at her home in South San Francisco; we were both planning to attend the Open House/party being held at Classic Party Rental Company in Burlingame. This company is known by all SF/Bay Area/North Bay/Napa wedding vendors, so the turn out was huge! And what a party we had...again, more networking, seeing the amazingly creative table top/floral designs, meeting caterers and wine makers from all over California, and...can I say it again, Having Fun!!

I saw Bev soon after I arrived; no fair, she got to go home and change...oh well, my well-known bright apricot jacket was comfortable, and made me easy to find in the crowd!

The first part of the Open House featured table top/floral designs by dozens of talented Bay Area florists, incorporating rental items provided by Classic Party Rental.
Michael Daighan Designs worked with Royal Blue and Gold, with a touch of green...yummy and elegant.

Karen Baba, of PlanDecor, worked with a luxurious brocade and English China look; can you see the support for the circular centerpiece? It seemed to be floating, until you looked closely for the clear plexi glass support.

Neil of Hunt Littlefield, did his own magic with a bamboo and green lily frond ball, suspended atop an elegant dried Manzanita display; the greens and browns were carried out in the linens, bowls, plates and napkins...this would work well for an eco friendly wedding reception.

Now, once we moved through the showrooms full of amazing displays such as those above, the myriad of wine tasting stations, gourmet food presentations, we found our selves in the tent set up outside the warehouse...and this is where the Partee began! A DJ had music going, complete with a smoke machine (note the hazy look in the next group shots), a photo booth, a frozen brownie/ice cream bar, and an espresso cart. Once again, I found myself net-working with friends and colleagues, some of whom I have known for over 15 years, such as Susan Groves, In Full Bloom, who brought me into her business as a floral design assistant 15 years ago! Now that is something to toast, and toast we did!

Susan Groves and me, beside the bar!

Amy Burke, Amy Burke Design, Ellie Warner, Fogarty Winery, me, pointing out how much Mike, owner of Le Papillon reminds me of Indiana Jones, Mike Marakesh, and Jondel Goldsmith, owner of I Do Weddings.

my Burke, Tony White, Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay, Elisheva Basseri, Janece Shelloe, Every Elegant Detail, Tisa Mantle, Componere Fine Catering,
Ellie Warner, and moi, the hard working wedding planner!

It was a long day, and I was tired as I drove home about 10 pm; but what a wonderful way to be tired...a full day of net-working, spending time with colleagues and friends. I like my job!

1 comment:

Beverly Yip said...

cool!! I love your Blog! Thanks for hanging out w/ me! I can't wait until you take me around in the South Bay :) thanks Jean!1