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Thursday, July 30, 2009

July wedding at Villa Montalvo

What wonderful moments were captured by Sherman Chu last Saturday when we worked together on Rosemary and Patrick's Villa Montalvo wedding! Please enjoy them with me!

Rosemary and Patrick (Villa Montalvo-Saratoga) from Sherman Chu on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer wedding at the Villa!

Yellow is my favorite color, so I really enjoyed all the yellows in Rosemary and Patrick's wedding at Villa Montalvo this weekend. Here I am, just beside the ceremony area , waiting to cue the bridesmaids, the flower girls, and then.....

......Rosemary and her proud father!

The wedding party looked beautiful on a warm summer day at Villa Montalvo.....the yellow really added a fresh feel to everything.

After the ceremony, the guests were invited to cocktails in the Courtyard, followed by dinner on the Terrace, dancing in the Ballroom, cupcakes in the Solarium, and a candy buffet in the Formal Dining room....what a nice way to use an entire villa for an elegant and carefree wedding celebration!

Rosemary and Patrick fully enjoyed every moment of their wedding day; I loved watching them relax and enjoy cupcakes in the Solarium with their friends.
As a "p.s.", here is an example of how the flower girl occupied herself, in the earlier part of the day, managing the stairway to where the bride was getting ready...this may be one of my favorite photos of the year!

Thanks to Kathleen Kirkpatrick, venue manager at Villa Montalvo, for sharing these photos with me!

And thank you to the wonderful team who worked so well together at this very happy and beautiful (yellow)wedding:
Kathleen Kirkpatrick, www.montalvoarts.org
Le Papillon, www.lepapillon.com
Raffi Nalvarian, www.simdjs.com
Mike Pulano, www.simdjs.com
Ingela's Floral Design, www.ingelasdesign.com
Ed Holt, Officiant www.revholt.com
Hello Lucky, www.hellolucky.com
Kara's Cupcakes, www.karascupcakes.com
Sherman Chu, Photographer, www.shermanchu.com

I also worked with 3 wonderful assistants, who make my job so much more fun, as well as helping me provide the excellent, personalized service I promise to each of my clients.
A big thank you to:
Elisheva Basseri, a talented wedding coordinator herself, as well as my two wonderful interns, Jeanette Elliott and Melissa Miller...what a great team!!!

At the end of the evening with Melissa, one of my great interns; photo taken by Jeanette Elliott, on her iPhone....we are still smiling after a 12 hour day!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Check out the Fairy Tale wedding!

Geoff and Lara White have posted photos of Dianna and Andy's wedding, so please take a look...they are amazing!

I like Lara White's description of Dianna and Andy's wedding at Casa Real as the wedding a young girl (or older girl!) would dream about...it was definitely a wedding that could come from a fairy tale...I love the image, taken from the head table, looking out on the dance floor, with images of the dancers, moving as if in a dream....

For details from the wedding planner perspective, take a look at

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wedding University = Wedding 360

Many of you will remember the successful Wedding University I helped launch in February, of this year. I am excited to announce that on January 31, 2010 we will be offering another elegant educational event at the Four Seasons, Silicon Valley, geared specifically to engaged couples. The new name for our event will be Wedding 360, and will be one of several educational events offered through the new company by the same name, which Jubilee Lau and I are launching this week!

Please take a look at the blog Jubilee has begun for pictures of the behind the scenes work going on now, in preparation for the Wedding 360, 2010!


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Well worth the wait!

Working with Dianna and Andy during the last 14 months has been such a treat, especially because I was able to partner with my wonderful designer friend, Gloria Wong, Gloria Wong Designs, to provide a complete planning service package for their wedding.

These photos, taken at the end of the evening, by Dianna's brother, remind me of how happy Dianna, Andy, Gloria and I were with the results of all our hard work...the smiles say it all!

This was my first opportunity to plan a wedding at Casa Real, in Pleasanton;, I was extremely impressed by the level of service and personal attention offered by each and every staff person we met. Plus, the venue itself is beautiful, nestled in the rolling hills and vineyards of the Livermore Valley.

The Sun Garden, at the back of Casa Real, is often use for outdoor ceremonies.

I have known the owner, Read Phillips, for years, through her excellent catering company, Beets; about 5 years ago, Read and her husband opened the Palm Event Center, in Livermore; just a little over a year ago, they launched their second property, Casa Real, a well-designed event space, built with wisdom and foresight, based on years of serving brides, grooms, their families and guests, yet always striving to do it better!

This arbor, built into one wall of the Sun Garden, provides the perfect backdrop for a wedding ceremony, when the weather permits. Because Dianna and Andy's wedding was in July, they chose to have the ceremony inside, where air conditioning created a controlled and comfortable climate!

The Amber Room, one of Casa Real's indoor ceremony venues, was designed to seat comfortably over 250 guests, and yet maintain a sense of intimacy.

With the addition of a patterned amber wash on the walls, lots of floating candles, elegant floral displays, and a custom-made silk aisle runner, the room took on the romantic, old world atmosphere, which Dianna and Andy had envisioned.

While the Amber Room was being readied for the 5pm ceremony, the Entrance Hall was being prepared for the guests' arrival at 4:30pm.

The first thing the guests saw as they arrived, was this lovely table, with an invitation to write a wish or offer some advice for the bride and groom, and drop it into the "wish bowl", for Dianna and Andy to enjoy reading after their honeymoon.

The ceremony went beautifully, and after cocktails, the guests were invited into the Grand Salon, for Andy and Dianna's first dance.

Andy and Dianna moved gracefully across the dance floor, as the guests waited their turn to join in!

As a surprise for Andy and Dianna, there were customized signs welcoming the new Husband and Wife to their places at the head table.

The chandeliers over the dance floor, and the patterned wash of light focused down onto the dancing area, as well as the soft up lighting around the room, provided the warmth and welcome Dianna and Andy desired for their dinner reception. John Woods, and his team from Enhanced Lighting, worked all day to create the lighting effects for the ceremony, cocktail area, and the dinner dancing reception.

The cake, created by Gabi Feuersinger, of Cake Coquette, was made exactly to Dianna and Gloria's specifications. The different designs, seen on each level of the cake, mirror the patterns chosen by Dianna and Andy for their save the dates, invitations, escort cards, programs, and menus. Everything was pulled together visually within in the decor of the wedding cake.

Gloria and I, just before cake cutting time, savoring the beauty all around us!

When we brought Andy and Dianna into the Grand Salon, to see it before the guests entered, it was heartwarming to hear them both exclaim that it was exactly as they had envisioned it!
That comment was all Gloria and I needed to hear; at that moment, every bit of detailed planning, long and involved meetings with vendors, working and reworking the timeline, was worth it!

As I have said before, I love working in partnership with other wonderful wedding professionals, to provide "above and beyond" service for my clients.
I can't thank my team enough for all they did to serve Dianna and Andy with the highest level of excellence!

The team:
Casa Real Staff, www.casarealevents.co.
Gloria Wong Tritasavit, www.gloriawongdesign.com
Dorothy of Mints Flowers, www.mintsdesign.com
Gabrielle Feuresinger, www.cakecoquette.com
Geoff and Lara White, www.geoffwhite.com
John Woods, www.enhancedlighting.com
DJ Jody Amos, www.amospro.com
Sherry Lewis, An Elegant Touch of Strings
Taylor Phan, www.thicosmetics.com
Pure Luxury Transportation, www.pureluxury.com

Friday, July 10, 2009

Haidee and Wilson

Please check out the photos on Geoff and Lara White's blog of Haidee and Wilson's vintage wedding at the Julia Morgan Ballroom!


What a fun wedding! Thanks for capturing it so well, Geoff and Lara!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Oceano... new Destination in HMB

I have always relished my get-aways to Half Moon Bay, just 40 minutes from my home in Palo Alto; now I have a new and wonderful destination for my own R and R, as well as to recommend as a wedding location to my brides and grooms! Oceano Hotel and Spa, Half Moon Bay Harbor!

I am starting with the spa, because I plan to be a "regular" there when it officially opens later in the summer!

Elisheva Basseri, A Bride's Best Friend,
Beverly Yip, Especially Yours Chair Covers, and I were treated to lunch with the catering staff at Oceano, followed by a guided tour with Nancy Nerhan, Special Event Manager at Oceano, of the entire property, including the chic shopping "street", seen below, which...

...is now being filled with unique shops such as Savvy Skirts, a boutique owned by women and filled with items all created by women..savvy business women, thus the name, Savvy Skirts!

Nancy, Elisheva, Bev and I all found something to ooh and ahh about at Savvy Skirts...El and I left carrying bags of items we knew we needed for our wedding coordination work...such as the elegant fabric covered clip board we used the next day at my Casa Real wedding..(see next blog entry!)

After shopping the "main street", Nancy showed us the ceremony site outside the hotel... a beautiful spot protected from the wind in the quiet harbor, with a view of the water and the fishing boats moored in the peaceful village scene.

As a perfect ending to a wonderful tour, Nancy treated us to Gelato and Espresso in the Italian coffee shop, which is one of the charming treats awaiting guests at Oceano and the Harvest Harbor Shops.

Did I mention the yummy baked items which are available with the espresso and gelato????

Now I will give you an overview of our tour:

The hotel guest waiting room for spa treatments; Oceano's luxurious spa, is scheduled for a grand opening later in the summer.....we will all be there, as soon as the doors are officially open!

The relaxing lobby with its soaring ceiling and lots of natural light!

A "standard" guest room, decorated in sea foam green and beige...so welcoming and relaxing!

The entry area of the ballroom, where cocktail receptions can begin for wedding receptions; it can be used after dinner as a moonlit dancing floor!

The ballroom, where guests can be served an elegant wedding dinner.

Elisheva, Nancy, Jenn, me, and Beverly
We ended our tour in the lobby, promising to return soon to enjoy more time with new friends at Oceano, Half Moon Bay!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Rehearsal and the real thing!

Here I am, ready to begin the rehearsal for Renuka and Kyle's wedding at Nestldown. My assistant, Janece, took several photos during the rehearsal, so I thought it would be fun to give you an inside look at how I was able to provide direction and structure for 25-30 adults and children, many of whom have never met each other, but the next day would need to work together as a unit, to support the bride and groom by carrying out their individual parts in the ceremony...it can be a challenge, but it is one that I really enjoy!
I don't know how many of you remember the "Where's Waldo?" books, but the next photo reminds me of those picture books which I used to enjoy with my children; we would scan the colorful drawings of large groups of people, to find the distinctively dressed Waldo in the crowd...see if you can fine the Wedding Planner in the crowd...she has an orange shirt and brown pants, and probably a clip board!

Here I am showing the officiants, videographers and parents where they will be standing for the ceremony...

...discussing with Janece the arrangement of the wedding party in front of the arbor, how we will cue the 2 officiants, 8 groomsmen, 8 bridesmaids, 2 flower girls, 2 ring bearers, a Jr. Bridesmaid, plus family members for the processional, before bringing the bride and her dad down the 68 steps to the chapel...

...showing the parents where they will be entering to be seated for the ceremony...

...explaining to the bridesmaids how they will come down the steps before Renuka, enter singly at my cue, and take their places in front of the arbor.

Finally, I am out of the photo, because Renuka, Kyle and the wedding party are in place as they will be on the wedding day. Now it is the officiants' turn to run through the content of the ceremony itself....this is all preparation for the moment Renuka and Kyle have been looking forward to, during an 18 month planning process...the wedding ceremony itself! (see below, 28 hours later)

The guests have no idea of all the pre ceremony "choreography" that went before this relaxed, on-time wedding ceremony...every one of the 27 participants in the wedding ceremony confidently entered and took their place at the front, and waited excitedly to see the bride enter, as practiced the day before, on the arm of her father...it all seems so natural, but without an organized and thorough rehearsal, this photo could have been quite different!

I also want to share some of my wonderful memories of Renuka and Kyle's wedding day! Their photographer, Todd Rafalovich, will have some of his professional shots for met to share later on, but these area few which Janece and I took during the wedding day itself.

The rich shades of purple and green which Renuka chose look elegant and vibrant on the green lawn at Nestldown.

Escort card display by Niel Hunt, of Hunt Littlefield Designs...their flowers were perfect for the outdoor setting and Renuka's jewel tones.

Renuka's father shipped his favorite caviar by UPS to Tom Henderson, Thomas John Events, the caterer, so that Renuka's guests could enjoy a caviar buffet during cocktails.

The cocktail area was set up on the Bocce Ball meadow, so the guests could mingle among the redwoods, enjoy the "cooked to order" barbecue sliders (beef, chicken, pulled pork) and the music....

...a steel drum band from Trinidad, the country where Kyle's father was born.

During dinner, Renuka and Kyle enjoyed visiting with their guests on the lawn, and then at the end of the evening, thanked all the friends and family for joining them to celebrate their wedding.

And I want to thank my vendors and assistants for make this wonderful wedding, and the rehearsal, come together so perfectly!

Thomas John Events
Hunt Littlefield
Todd Rafalovich
Butterfly Cakes
Adam Lopez, DJ
Best Dam Steel Band
Janece Shelloe
Melissa Miller