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Sunday, May 29, 2011

There is no Rainbow without Rain!

Wedding wisdom, learned from experience....

You can't have a rainbow without.....

..the rain!

This saying became quite real to me at my most recent wedding; as I began the wedding processional from the patio at Rosewood Sand Hill to the Vista Lawn for the ceremony, what had been gathering clouds in the distance suddenly became a cloud burst...and I had 140 guests already seated on the lawn, with the ceremony music playing....yikes!

This is the exact situation wedding planners work very hard to avoid, but ultimately it is the experience gained over the years which allows us not to panic when change is needed, but to move quickly and confidently into Plan B...I have learned that a wedding planner must have a Plan A, Plan B and even a Plan C!

Early in the day, when there were only a few scattered clouds in the sky, the Banquet Manger and I came up with a Plan B; her staff gathered the entire stock of Hotel umbrellas to have near the Vista Lawn, "just in case". I breathed a huge sigh of relief when the Rosewood staff rushed out with umbrellas for the guests and the wedding party; as soon as the processional was finished, and the bride was walking down the aisle with her father, I joined in to help distribute umbrellas as needed.

As you can see by the photo above, the rain clouds passed over quickly, the umbrellas were folded and put aside, and the ceremony went on with smiles and a good sense of humor displayed by everyone, including Alice and Mike. The bonus of the cloud burst, and momentary discomfort, came as everyone stood up to transition to cocktails...they were stopped in their tracks by an amazing rainbow...a beautiful gift that was only possible because of the unexpected rain.

The flower girls and their father enjoyed the gift of a rainbow after a rather damp wedding ceremony. I know neither these young girls, or any of us, will ever forget this wedding day!

My wedding team for Alice and Mike's wedding day are as unforgettable as the weather at the wedding! I am so thankful for the cohesiveness of our vendors; as we changed plans several times between 1pm and 5pm, there was no evidence of stress or even surprise...this is just life as we wedding professionals know it, and we were a team of professionals!

Priska Jayme and Lisa Boone gluing orchid blossoms onto branches at the ceremony site.

This was my first opportunity to work with Lisa and Priska, the talented design/floral team making up Atelier Joya. Through increasing wind and changing plans, they were never daunted as they creatively set up for the ceremony, cocktail reception, ballroom dinner, and after-dinner lounge.

The lighting in the ballroom, cocktail area and after dinner lounge was all done by reFRACTion, a wonderful company I was introduced to by Lisa and Priska. I as well as Alice, Mike and all of their guests, was delighted with the warm ambiance created by Ben Davis and his team from reFRACTion.

Alternating low lush arrangements of peonies, with tall displays of the "hand-made" flowering branches created lovely textures and variety in the Rosewood Sand Hill ballroom, and served as an elegant backdrop for the decadent dessert bar set up in the lounge area after dinner.

Included in the dessert buffet were gourmet cupcakes, mini panna-cottas, carmel popcorn, and hand made chocolates, all created in-house by Rosewood Sand Hill's amazing pastry chefs.

Another wonderful team member for Alice and Mike's wedding was the photographer, Vero Suh. This was the first time I have worked alongside Vero, and it was a joy! Coming from a fashion back ground, Veronica has a studied eye for composition and style which leads her to see backgrounds and photo opportunities which might be missed by others. She is a warm and technically precise photographer, who supports her clients' vision and goals, as well as respecting the overall priorities for the flow of the wedding day. Vero, I look forward to working with you again and again!

Vero (short for Veronica) Suh in action taking family photos before the ceremony, on the stairs at Rosewood Sand Hill.

The results of Vero's family group shot; her personal touch with the wedding party during the day helped everyone to develop a a relaxed naturalness in front of the camera.

Vero's groomsmen and bridesmaid shots have a flair reminiscent of her background in the world of fashion.

After dinner, Alice changed into her stunning traditional Chinese dress to toast the guests at each table.

As Vero was taking a photo of Alice and Mike before they went back into the Ballroom, she snapped an image with my camera of Alice, Mike and me. Somehow I know the one taken on her camera will be of higher quality, but this one is a good reminder of how a day full of changes, from rain to rainbows, can end with smiles, warmth, and gratitude.

Thank you to the amazing members of Alice and Mike's wedding team:
Rosewood Sand Hill
Atelier Joya Boutique Designs
Vero Suh Photographer
Rich Amooi, Hey Mr. DJ
Mori Achen, Ceremony/Cocktail Musicians
Wow Pretty, Hair and Make up

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sharing my garden in May

I am always thankful for the beauty in my garden in May; after pruning, tying back and fertilizing my roses each winter, I am blessed by the abundance of blooms unfolding in May.
December and January are the quiet months for weddings, so that is when I have time to care for the 30+ roses in my small Palo Alto garden; by early Spring, when the buds are opening into a glorious display of color covering my workshop, picket fence and arbor, I am so busy with wedding planning I could never do all the work I was able to do in the winter. But this is when I most need the refreshment provided through the scents, colors and complexity found in my well nurtured, established rose plants.

This week I had some time to make bouquets for friends, neighbors, and clients, and to take a few photos to share with those of you who can't enjoy my garden bounty in person.

A close up of the Westerland Rose as it is opening; below is a bouquet made up of the same rose, when the bud has fully opened. This the rose I have incorporated into my logo and business card, as a reminder of the beauty and complexity of God's creation, and the joy of the work He has given me.

The Climbing Eden rose makes up the majority of the bouquet below; I love this rose because it is as full as a peony when it opens completely, yet is much easier to grow here in California than peonies, which seem to do best with extremely cold winters. I prefer California with mild winters, and peony-like roses!

The Pilgrim rose (below) is another English rose; each bloom is filled with hundreds of layers of petals similar to the way a peony unfolds in layer after layer of softness. The Pilgrim was the first rose I planted in my garden, and it has faithfully graced my workshop roof with creamy yellow beauty for over 18 years.

Reminiscent of wild roses, the delicate rose bush below provides small bouquets on each stem; it blooms prolifically all summer on the deck behind our small home. I often sit at the table there to work on client files, and/or to enjoy a cup of tea and gaze at the diverse beauty of my beloved garden.

The variegated red and white rose below is called Korikole; it occupies a prominent spot at the back of my garden, just under the Climbing Eden rose pictured above in a small bouquet.

As Spring moves quickly in to Summer, and my wedding season becomes even more busy, I have less time to work in my garden, but the roses and other perennial plants continue to provide the beauty I am thankful for whenever I have a chance to stop and smell my roses!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pebble Beach Welcome!

The rugged beauty of the Lone Cypress seen along Seventeen Mile Drive in Pebble beach has long been the logo for Pebble Beach Resorts.

Let it be known to all that Pebble Beach Resorts are one of the most beautiful, elegant, and welcoming resort/wedding venues I have ever experienced! Thanks to the generosity of the leadership team at Pebble Beach, I was fortunate to be one of the event planners invited recently to discover personally the luxury and fun of their multiple resort/event locations.

From fire pit cocktails at the Spanish Bay Inn before dinner at Peppoli, to...

.....the beach-like feel of lunch at the Beach Club near our villa rooms at Casa Palermo, to...

....an elegant, over the top dinner at the Pebble Beach Lodge, our 2 night stay at Pebble Beach was nothing short of mind blowing!

The first course of our welcome dinner was served atop the personalized charger/menu awarding Jean Marks the 3 course meal engraved on the charger; what a great reminder I have now of the extravagant welcome provided by our new Pebble Beach friends!

My great friends Morgan Doan, and Neil Adams were seated at another table for the welcome dinner; flowers and decor by Shannon Gurley were different at each table, and all were keyed into some unique feature of the Pebble Beach area.

Here we are beginning the awesome meal served on the first night;
Duncan Reyes, Kathy Goodman and I were part of the table set as a reminder of the many trophies awarded at Pebble Beach over the years.

Daryl Griffith, the Catering Director for Weddings, seen at the head of the table, was a part of each event of our visit. I was amazed that the executives of Pebble Beach made time in their busy schedules to welcome us personally by participating so fully during the 2 days we were there.

Our welcome into the dining room for our first dinner....the ambiance of warmth was almost palpable!

It was a special treat to spend time with friends from Blueprint Studios, Mircea Manea and Neil Adams, who as you can see, are very good friends with one of our hostesses, Shannon Gurley. Shannon is the Floral Event and Design Manager for all social and corporate events at Pebble Beach...she really pulled out all of the stops for our visit!

The Spa at Pebble Beach, which is one of the most extensive and relaxing spas I have ever visited, generously provided each of us with an 80 minute massage on the last afternoon of our Pebble Beach sojourn. To say I felt pampered is an understatement.
I couldn't help but imagine my wedding clients enjoying this same relaxation and special care should they be having their wedding at Pebble Beach Resorts. I will now confidently be recommending Pebble Beach as a perfect venue for a luxurious and relaxed destination wedding.

We were fortunate to have Scott Campbell, a photographer who often shoots events at Pebble Beach, accompany us on all of our adventures. Please take a look at his slideshow to get a full overview of the beauty and elegance of Pebble Beach Resorts and the amazing events they created for us.

I encourage each of you to make a trip to the Pebble Beach Resorts...if you have not visited, you will soon be finding reasons to travel there at any opportunity. Believe me, there is much more than golf at Pebble Beach, but for those who love that sport, the golf at Pebble Beach happens to be some of the best in the world!

Each evening at sunset, a bagpiper comes across the fairway at Pebble Beach Golf Links to serenade the guests of The Inn at Spanish Bay. This is truly a magical way to watch the sunset and enjoy the beauty of Pebble Beach.