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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Villa Montalvo, Vanessa & Matt

Both being very busy attorneys in Chicago, Matt and Vanessa needed help planning their wedding at Villa Montalvo; I was thrilled to be chosen as their "destination" planner, and thoroughly enjoyed the process which spanned over a year, and incorporated many of the visions Vanessa had been putting together from Chicago. Now I have photos from our photographer, John Kaemmerling, which show what a fantastic venue Villa Montalvo can provide for an elegant celebration by a beautiful couple! The romance of the villa and grounds seem to bring out the romance between the couple!

Pre-ceremony shots were relaxing and perfectly framed, thanks to the work of John and his photography team.

Dinner for 175 was set on the veranda of the villa; here I am checking from the balcony above to get a real "overview" of the set up!

As all was in readiness, I turned my attention to the ceremony; once I had the bride and bridesmaids, whose striking bouquets are the focus below,

..groom and groomsmen, parents and grandparents in place, we began the processional. As usual, before I knew it the ceremony was over, guests were applauding, and Vanessa and Matt were being cheered back down the aisle to begin the celebration of their wedding! I love the custom-designed chuppah, created by Amy Burke Designs.

After a few post ceremony photos, the bride and groom joined their guests for cocktails, were introduced to the veranda for an elegant dinner prepared by Componere Fine Catering, followed by a delicious chocolate/raspberry wedding cake by Butterfly Cakes.

By now the guests and especially Vanessa and Matt, were ready to DANCE, Chicago style! I loved the upbeat First Dance, which set the tone for hours of dancing into the night, with Keith Johnson's AM Radio Party Band.

In Vanessa's vision from the beginning of our planning, candles, and lots of them, were one of the most important parts of the decor for her wedding dinner at Villa Montalvo; it took more than 400 candles, of various sizes, placed on each step, and in groups of 3 along the balustrade of the veranda, on each table, and along the mantles and window ledges, to create the magical atmosphere we were looking for. My team of 3 assistants were lighting candles for quite a while before dinner, but the overall effect was just what Vanessa and Matt had been envisioning. The balmy warm evening, after a very rainy, and unpredictable Spring, provided the most perfect gift Vanessa and Matt could have hoped for to give their guests.

As Vanessa and Matt's limo from Lone Star Transportation pulled away at the end of the evening, guests lined the stairs to send them off to their honeymoon trip, and then went back to savor another moment on the veranda, before boarding shuttles to return to their hotels. Villa Montalvo made the perfect backdrop for Vanessa and Matt's wedding celebration; I am so grateful to have helped them create this memorable day!

Christmas in June

How many times are you invited to a Christmas in June party? When Linda Hylen, venue manager for the Julia Morgan Ballroom invited me to her cocktail party last week, showcasing Christmas decor for 2010 Holiday Parties, I was more than willing to fast forward 6 months for eggnog, warm cider, and festive fun with good friends in the industry!

Elisheva Basseri, Shannon Leahy, Catherine Hall and I had a wonderful time connecting and enjoying the beauty of what had been put together by Hartmann Studios, Napa Valley Linens, Spiral Hand Florals, Kent Strand, and the talented chef from Credo and the Merchants Exchange. Please enjoy the amazing preview of what can be done to enhance the already spectacular Julia Morgan Ballroom!

Cool whites and warm off whites, pearl, crystal, and silver were the color palette for this elegant table setting.

Huge silver branches representing trees, with sparkly crystal decor, and spectacular blue and white lighting, reminded everyone of the magic of Christmas, even in June!

Here, the enhancement of gold, copper and a touch of red provided the understated festive tone of a Christmas or New Year's party.

After being in the cozy atmosphere of Christmas and the excitement the holidays bring, it was a surprise to walk outside to the sunshine and warmth of a San Francisco evening...but we took with us the warmth of what is ahead, in just 6 months!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Redwoods, Rosewood, Romance

Megan and Will have known each other for little more than a year, but once they found each other, it was just a matter of time until the wedding planning was in motion! This modern day fairy tale couple, met on-line, so believing strongly in the power of on-line connections, they also chose the venues for their Ceremony and Reception on line!

The Rehearsal at Portola Valley Presbyterian Church; Megan's father, a Presbyterian minister serving in Tennessee, was the officiant for Will and Megan's wedding

Closer view of the rehearsal, with Will's mom recording the action, and Megan's dad helping practice the vows...a family oriented rehearsal, for sure!

The beauty of the redwoods, creating an awe inspiring backdrop for ceremonies at Portola Valley Presbyterian Church, won Will and Megan over immediately, just from the photos on the website; and after perusing the
Rosewood Sand Hill website, and closely examining the menu of Madera, the in-house restaurant for Rosewood Sand Hill, they were ready to book both venues!
Another romantic aspect of these inspired decisions, is that they were made from their laptops, within 48 hours of when Will proposed, on a tiny island in the Caribbean, where they were vacationing with their families.

The real thing! Will's face lights up with happiness as he sees his beautiful Megan coming down the aisle on her father's arm!

After the ceremony, there was plenty of time for some photos in the redwoods behind the church.

Rosewood Sand Hill became the location for all of the formal family and wedding party photos, which were done before the ceremony, after Will and Megan had their "first look", and private portraits. Many couples choose to see each other before the ceremony, so that formal family photos do not take them away from their guests after the ceremony. I can recommend this option completely, and so will Megan and Will!

Will, Megan, Megan's identical twin sister, Katie the matron of honor, and her adorable children, Finn and Siri, the Ringbearer and Flower girl.

Big brother Finn was always ready for a Siri hug; I love having children in weddings, because they help us all "lighten up" and realize what a wonderful celebration we are sharing!

The lounge of the Rosewood Sand Hill proved to be a lovely backdrop for the formal and casual photos arranged by Lara White, of Geoff White Photography. The neutral colors and relaxed elegance of the Rosewood Sand Hill went perfectly with the colors chosen by Megan and Will for their wedding celebration.

Lara capturing a shot of Megan and her father, the officiant!

Jean, pinning a boutonneire on one of the groomsmen for the wedding party photos.

J Floral Art designed the beautiful flowers for Megan and Will's wedding; this combination of apricot/peach tones, soft yellows, and pale green is absolutely my favorite combination of colors! Plus sweet peas, tulips, and garden roses are three of my favorite flowers! Yummmmm!

Now, we are at the church, and ready to begin that all important walk down the aisle with Father and Bride...always my favorite moment of the day!

As a tribute to the Scottish heritage in Megan's family, a bagpiper played for the entrance of the bride, and the exit of the bride and groom. "Ode to Joy", the same music played at my wedding recessional many years ago, announced the newly married couple to the world. A few tears from the coordinator weren't noticed in all the excitement of that moment!

After photos in the redwoods, it is time for Megan and Will to head for the limo, and the short ride to Rosewood Sand Hill. Justin Ferar, of Weddings on Film, captured every moment of the day, including this very private one after all the guests and family have left for the reception.

Megan and Will watching their He Said/She Said surprise film

During the reception in the elegant Ballroom at Rosewood Sand Hill, Will and Megan surprised their guests with a video, filmed and edited by Justin and Georgina of Weddings on Film, several weeks prior to the wedding. In about 15 minutes, Megan and Will shared how they met, who they are, and how their love developed in such a short time, as well as introducing their beloved cat, and wishing Will's father a surprise Happy 80th Birthday!
Since the families and guests at the wedding really did not know each other before Megan and Will met, this was an opportunity for Will and Megan to introduce themselves to a cross section of new friends, and family members, in a very personal and entertaining way.

Georgina Szabo and Justin Ferrar, the husband and wife team who make up Weddings on Film, were at the back of the room, to enjoy seeing their work on the big screen, and watching the guests, as well as the bride and groom, delight in the unfolding of a true love story, told by the ones who fell in love.

So when you bring together Redwoods, Rosewood, and Romance, it really is like a fairy tale, and I was there to be a part of the magic, by keeping the magic on time and in place! Megan and Will report that they really lost track of time, even though we had many important transitions throughout the day, both in location and activity. Maybe I am a bit of a Fairy Godmother, in the background on a wedding day, and that role makes me smile! Congratulations to the Prince and Princess, Will and Megan!