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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wedding 360 in SF and Sonoma

The last few weeks have been filled with planning sessions for the upcoming Wedding 360 events, Wedding University, in January, and The Academy for Planners and Designers, in March. (See the Wedding 360 website for details of my partnership with Jubilee Lau to produce educational events for Engaged Couples and Wedding Professionals)

Part of our planning included a trip to the Kunde Winery in the Sonoma/Napa area, to have a tour, and discuss a proposed stop at Kunde during our Wine Tasting Tour, which will follow our Academy in March. Gloria Wong Tritasavit, who is our design lead for the event, Jubilee and I spent a day enjoying the crisp Fall weather and the beauty of a vineyard, filled with the bright colors of changing leaves and fully ripe grapes.

The Dunfillan Winery, built in the late 1800's on the Kunde Winery property, produced the first labeled Cabernet Sauvignon wine.

What was once a thriving winery, these ruins now provide a romantic backdrop for weddings; just before our visit, one of the staff members had been married there...the bright orange and yellow lanterns were part of the decor which remained.

When we visited, the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were ready for harvesting and the "crush" which is the busiest time for any winery, was underway....throughout our tour, we saw wagons full of grapes, some green, some red, some deep purple like these...being taken to the wine presses where the fabulous Cabernet Sauvignon wine you will enjoy with with a delicious meal in a few years, begins its journey from the vine to the glass.

Jubilee helps with the harvest...Gloria can take care of the grapes closer to the ground!

One of our professors for the Academy will be Ethan Mantle, head chef and owner of Componere Fine Catering; this Spring he partnered with Kunde Family Estate to create a beautiful organic vegetable garden on the Kunde property. Every week Ethan and his staff drive up from the Bay Area to harvest fresh produce and herbs to use in the preparation of the gourmet meals served at the weddings catered by Componere.
Ethan will teach a class on "Cutting Edge Catering" and how presentation and taste go together to create a design element guests will never forget. Part of the tour in the wine country will be an opportunity for Ethan to show us his garden, and discuss how using natural, organic "home grown" foods is a central part of his vision for a complete catering experience.

Jubilee, Gloria and I had to sample some of the cherry tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, and fresh herbs, just so we could let Ethan know everything was growing well! My favorite moment was biting into a sweet, ripe yellow pear tomato, which was still warm from the sunshine..yummmm!...that took me back to my gardening days in Georgia, where I had a huge vegetable garden, as well as goats, chickens, and rabbits...but that is another story :).

Jubilee and Gloria join our tour guide and hostess, Naomi, for one more stolen tomato, before we moved on with our tour of the 800 acre Kunde estate.

Jubilee and Gloria pose at another wedding venue on the property, called Boot Hill, where wedding guests enjoy 360 degree views of the vineyards and rolling hills which make up the Kunde Estate.

We look forward to introducing visitors to California for our March Academy for Planners and Designers, to the beauty and relaxed pace of the stunning Napa/Sonoma Wine Country.

In the same week, Jubilee and I had a "staff meeting" in San Francisco, with the group of talented professionals who have aligned themselves with us to plan and carry out the 2010 events being produced by our business, Wedding 360.
Jeanette Elliott, Janece Shellooe and Amanda Chan, discuss schedule and logistics for the Wedding University.

Janece Shellooe, who handled registration, gift bags, and student binders last year, this year leads the entire Wedding University team; on Sunday, January 31st, at The Four Seasons, in Palo Alto, we will offer our 2nd "Afternoon of Elegance and Education", from 11am to 5pm, with classes taught by highly acclaimed wedding professionals, an amazing design showcase, and unending food offerings for the students, provided by the Four Seasons chef. The 2009 event was a huge success, so with Janece in leadership, we are taking what we learned at the first TWU and adding even more opportunities for learning and fun. Registration for the 150 person event, will begin on November 16th.

Elisheva Basseri, Gloria Wong Tritasavit, Karen Miyanaga, and Gail Lee, to the left in this photo, discuss design and layout for the social events which will be a part of the Academy, as well as the Boutique Trade Show, and the Design Showcase.

Also being discussed at this meeting in other small groups, was the Inaugural Academy for Planners and Designers, to be held March 14-16th, at the St. Regis San Francisco. After our Wedding University this year, many wedding professionals requested that we plan an event particularly to educate and inspire those who work with engaged couples, both in planning and designing their wedding day. In response to that request, Jubilee and I worked the last 6 months to lay the groundwork for the Academy. We have been encouraged by many colleagues and friends in the industry, to move forward with our plan; we pulled 12 of them together at the Julia Morgan Ballroom to brainstorm and delegate the work that lies ahead!

Jubilee, Catherine Hall (Catherine will teach a class with Gene Higa at the Academy on Concierge Client Relationships), and Melissa Miller.

We all look forward to seeing you at either the Wedding University in January, or the Academy for Planners and Designers, in March. Please take a look at our blog, wedding360llc.blogspot.com, for ongoing details about our events.

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