Lauren + Chris Vow Renewal 08*20*2011

Today is the first of many blogs I’ve been behind with writing!  I have so many great events and ideas to share with you from the last six months!

Lauren and Chris celebrated their 18th wedding anniversary with a vow renewal and a giant party!

The number 18 is a lucky one in Jewish tradition, as it’s associated with the Hebrew word for life (chai), and Lauren had just completed work on her art gallery in Liberty Station, so this was the perfect time for celebration!

Like E+D, Lauren + Chris asked that we please not feature their faces online, so this post will be mostly detail shots, but you like pretty things…  Right? 😉

Lauren and Chris contacted me in mid-July with an idea and a date.  In one month, we did the rest!

Being an artist, Lauren had a definite vision for the day.  She wanted a travel-inspired theme, with nods to her exhibition in the form of sparkly gold candles, silk flowers, and snow.  She chose all the rentals herself and created a world all her own!

For the ceremony itself, Anar Party Rentals provided the chuppah, which was placed on the lawn outside Lauren’s gallery.  Raphael’s Party Rentals provided the chairs, and we purchased luminaries to help create a festive feel.  The luminaries were also used to illuminate the path between the ceremony and reception!  We also lined the aisle to the chuppah with votive candles, which sparkled as the sun set!

Chuppah by Anar Party Rentals

The ceremony!

Lauren + Chris used the most beautiful carafe, a gift from friends, for their wine ceremony!

Wine ceremony carafe

Raphael’s Party Rentals built a gauzy etherial tent inside of an empty shell of a building nearby the art gallery.  Within the next year, this space will be transformed into more studios, galleries, and retail spaces.  But back in August, thanks to a generator and a team of event professionals, this was an otherworldly celebration space filled with twinkling lights!  Lauren created all of the centerpieces herself, using enormous, heavy brass candlesticks rented from Raphael’s.

Reception Space

Reception with Twinkle Lights by Raphael's Party Rentals!

And since we had a professional pianist as the night’s emcee, we had to have a piano.  A grand piano to be exact, provided by Greene Music.

The beautiful piano provided by Greene Music

My incredible team of assistants (thank you SO much Ryan, Rachael, Desiree, Daniel, and Paul!) had SO much to do, between putting together tables, distributing favors and place cards, setting up 120 luminaries, and scattering snow on the ground!

Scattered Snow on the floor of the reception!

Extraordinary Desserts did a gorgeous job with the rustic chocolate cake (flanked by my lanterns in the background and the cake serving set from my own wedding in the foreground!).

Cake by Extraordinary Desserts

And of course Iliana Morton captured all the details of the day!  Isn’t she amazing?

Ceremony Song

Favors by Chi Chocolat

I love this shot; rings on a piano!

Thank you to all the amazing vendors and again to my awesome team (I love you guys!!!!!).  And to Lauren + Chris, whose love for each other was resonant throughout our planning and their day, I raise my glass to 18 more amazing years!  Mazel tov and l’chaim!

Lauren + Chris 08*20*2011 Vow Renewal Details:

Happy Anniversary Liz + Juan!

photo by Stephina Photography

One year ago this week, the day after Thanksgiving 2010, I was blessed to be able to coordinate the wedding of friends.  This is the wedding that changed my whole trajectory in life.  This is how it often happens – you’re trucking along, minding your own business, and then something happens out of the blue to make your life new.  Changed.  Better.

I’m about to confess something and I’m a little scared to.  I don’t want you to think any less of me for my unwillingness to see what I should have started doing years ago.

You see, I didn’t always want to be a wedding planner.  In fact, I was patently against it for many, many years.  I’d joke in the quiet moments of my gala planning job that I should just start doing weddings (I’d been planning events of all shapes and sizes, on a professional basis and as a volunteer, since 1998), but would always follow it up with, “But I don’t think I could deal with brides” or “I just don’t think I could go without having my weekends to relax.”  Also, I could never come up with a good name.  Seriously, that was one of my biggest excuses.

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll remember that I coordinated Lynn + David’s wedding last April.  It was something I wasn’t really expecting to do, but I knew I could step in and help out because I knew how to run an event.  I loved it, but I still had a mental block against planning weddings on a professional basis.

But Liz saw the photos I’d posted on my personal Facebook of Lynn’s wedding, and asked if I’d help with her wedding planning.  I’d known Liz since high school, and had me Juan at our 10th high school reunion.  They had been engaged for a few years, but couldn’t ever quite make a wedding actually happen for one reason or another.  I agreed, and we started planning.  We planned the whole day in three months, and did all the decor and florals together (Liz is AMAZING with a bouquet!).

At the end of the day, Juan gave me a huge hug and told me that I needed to do this.  This wedding planning stuff.  And that they’d support me 100%.


I have to admit that the idea was intriguing to me, but that I didn’t actually make the decision to do it until the photos, taken by the amazing Tina of Stephina Photography, came back.  Then, as someone once said to me, “it hit me like a ton of bricks.”  I HAD to do this.

I HAD to be a part of the happiest day of peoples’ lives.  At the risk of sounding cheesy, it was my calling.

That very day I purchased my domain name.  I was over the idea of coming up with the most impressively creative business name.  I just wanted to plan weddings.

And now I do.

In this season of Thanksgiving, I’m so, so thankful for the ability to do what I love.  And for the couple who really kicked it off for me.  They’re still super supportive of my business, and we’re still friends.  In fact, I am so excited to visit with Liz – and her infant son Oliver, born this August – later today!  It was even through a connection with Liz that I met Desiree of Penny Blooms (who is now a good friend and design partner in addition to being a colleague).

And that whole thing about not being able to deal with brides?  Let me just say this: brides are amazing.  Brides are lovely.  So are grooms.  Couples are lovely.  I love every one of my couples like they’re my children.  I can’t believe that I was so wrong for so long about the way I’d feel planning weddings.  The only thing I don’t like is that after a couple’s wedding day I don’t get a chance to spend nearly as much time with them, or even talking to them, as I would like.  I get so close to a couple, get to experience the joy of their wedding day, and then have to let them go.  Which is incredibly hard and sad.  But incredibly amazing.  Oh, and totally worth giving up my weekends.

So I’ll conclude this extra-lengthy Thanksgiving post with a TON of beautiful photos of the gorgeous autumn-themed red, orange, purple, and yellow wedding of Liz + Juan, courtesy of Stephina Photography.  Some of these will probably look familiar if you’ve visited my website!

To begin, the dress and shoes!

photo by Stephina Photography

photo by Stephina Photography

And the gorgeous DIY bouquets, with flowers from Wholesale Flowers and Supplies San Diego!

photo by Stephina Photography

photo by Stephina Photography

photo by Stephina Photography

You know I’m a fan of adorable details.  Like the autumn fruit and vegetables and the multicolored leaves in and around the centerpieces:

photo by Stephina Photography

And these adorable miniature pumpkins I found to decorate the sweetheart table!

photo by Stephina Photography

And the adorable little touches everywhere, like photos of Liz + Juan and their “furbabies” on the escort cards.

photo by Stephina Photography

photo by Stephina Photography

Or the whimsical handmade chair decorations!

photo by Stephina Photography

Let’s not forget the pretty program I designed for them!

photo by Stephina Photography

Not to mention the delectable cake by Flour Power, decorated with autumn leaves and flowers left over from Liz’ bouquet!

photo by Stephina Photography

I have to tell you, though, that the highlight of this day was the bride and groom themselves.  They are so in love.  It’s obvious by the way they are looking at each other in this photo.

photo by Stephina Photography

They had a gorgeous bayfront ceremony.

photo by Stephina Photography

And then it was time to PARTY!

photo by Stephina Photography

I love how they got into the cake cutting!  And the cake got ONTO them!

photo by Stephina Photography

photo by Stephina Photography

SO much love.  Don’t these two just make you smile?  Their feelings for each other are impossible to mistake.

Congratulations on one amazing year of marriage, Liz + Juan!  Wishing you tons of love and happiness in the future!  Thank you SO much for everything you’ve done for me, and I’m so blessed to have worked with you! ❤

photo by Stephina Photography

P.S. Can you spot the coordinator in the picture above? 😉

Liz + Juan (11*27*2010) Wedding Details:

Logo Design: Calculated Whisk

I’m SO excited to share my newest logo design with you!  I met Nikki at Calculated Whisk when she provided the fabulous lion and popcorn cake pops for Desmond’s First Birthday Party back in August.  We actually worked together last weekend, and will be this weekend too!

In the midst of all of our e-mails back and forth to one another about our upcoming events, Nikki mentioned that she needed a new logo, and that she’d been admiring my work.  (!!!).  A super nice, talented, up-and-coming baker who wants me to design her logo?  Sure thing!!! 🙂

We got to work.  She wanted something modern and a little abstract.  I kept trying to complicate things! 🙂  In the end, her logo is modern, clean, and understated, with a touch of abstract art in the whisk shape.  I love it so much!!! 🙂

Calculated Whisk Logo by Events by Elisa

Check out her logo in action on her newly-designed website!

A Giveaway! One Ticket to the Inspired Bridal Bowl! :)

I’m so excited to be a featured vendor at this month’s Inspired Bridal Bowl, a new kind of bridal show.  The Inspired network only includes handpicked vendors, and the organizers of the Inspired events choose vendor teams to create inspiration tables at each of their events.  Additionally, instead of having and overwhelming amount (rows and rows!) of tables, the Inspired shows feature only a few vendors in each category, so each vendor can actually connect with brides.

I’ll be creating an extra-special table with Desiree from Penny Blooms Floral Design (we were actually paired up by the organizers, which was a great surprise!) with support from Nikki at Calculated Whisk and Nicole at Paper, Scissors, Print!  I canNOT wait to share this with you…  But before that can happen, the event itself has to.  And before that?

I have a giveaway for you.

Each exhibitor was given exactly one free ticket to do with as he/she wished.  I decided it would be a fun giveaway.  And I decided that I’d make it super simple to win.

All you need to do to enter is e-mail me at by next Wednesday, November 17th.  Include your name, wedding date, and a short sentence about your favorite wedding theme or idea. I’ll be choosing at random and may be posting some of my favorites here!

Even if you don’t win, you really should come and check out the show.  It’s next Sunday, November 20th, at 5 pm at North County Tavern and Bowl.  Tickets are only $5 and include bowling shoes, lane rental, a drink, and some awfully yummy sweets!

It’s All the Same Anyway, Right?

This is going to be a super-quick post.  This month is my busiest yet, and I’m knee-deep in designing, planning, and coordinating for events through next summer!  Unfortunately blogging isn’t essential at the moment, so it’s fallen sort of by the wayside.  That said, I have so many exciting things to blog about that I’m going to have to catch up soon!

What drove me to post today, though, was this: No matter how good your photographer, or florist, or DJ, or church coordinator, or catering manager is, they are not a wedding planner or coordinator.  Many other vendors have extensive experience with weddings, and can give you advice.  But none will be able to help you with the planning process, or to run every aspect of your wedding day, like a planner/coordinator.

In just the same way, your planner or coordinator could potentially make announcements at your wedding, or put together a vase of flowers and make it look passable, or take a decent photograph of you and your husband.  But having a professional DJ, or florist, or photographer at your wedding will ensure that the quality of your wedding music and announcements, floral arrangements, and photographs is top-notch.  Your planner/coordinator doesn’t emcee or put together florals or take photographs for a living.  She  plans and coordinates weddings.

Your DJ should be focusing on the music, the dancing, the party.  Your florist should be focusing on the florals (and typically will not stay throughout the day, as a planner/coordinator will, although many florists do provide event design/setup services).  Your photographer should be focusing on taking all the right photographs.  Your catering manager should be focused on getting the food out to your guests.  Your planner/coordinator sees the big picture.  She will be making sure that all of these parts work in concert with one another.  Your DJ, or florist, or photographer, or catering manager, cannot possibly get done their job and stand in for a planner or coordinator.

On a typical wedding day, as a simple Day-of-Wedding Coordinator, I will be onsite three to four hours before a wedding begins, or more.  I’ll meet every vendor as they arrive, check in to make sure that they have everything they need, make sure that they have the timeline you and I have worked on and distributed, set up all the details you’ve worked so hard on putting together, and check in with the bride and groom to make sure that they’re ready for the ceremony.  I’ve usually walked several miles back and forth between ceremony and reception (even if they’re on the same property) before the ceremony even begins.  I’ve got the whole day in my head, all questions come to me, and I have to be available at a moment’s notice to fix any problems that come up.  I also have to make sure that everything happens when it’s supposed to.

Imagine this scenario: Your ceremony starts late because Grandma got stuck in traffic, so your reception doesn’t get started on time, your father’s speech goes on forever, and you’ve only paid for six hours of photography.  Your DJ is spinning.  Your catering manager is getting people fed.  Your photographer is taking photos.  Your florist isn’t around at all by this time.  I make sure that your wedding reception schedule gets rearranged – on the fly – in a way that makes sense and still allows your photographer to capture your important wedding moments.

A great many people in the wedding industry say that part of their package is coordinating and planning.  From venues to vendors, it shows up a lot.

No matter how experienced a vendor is, or how many weddings a venue hosts per year, every person involved in your wedding has a very specific job on your wedding day.  You can’t replace a planner/coordinator with another vendor without quality suffering.  This isn’t a post in favor of increasing my own paycheck or business – I know that not everyone can afford even Day-of Coordination, and I’m not trying to talk anyone into anything.

But please know that if you forego the services of a planner/coordinator in favor of the “event planning and coordination” service of another wedding professional (DJ, florist, photographer, catering manager, or any other vendor), you will not be getting the same level of service, expertise, and quality that you would with a planning and coordination professional.

That’s all – I’m stepping off my soapbox now so I can go back to getting done the work I need to do!  Hopefully I’ll be able to check in some time next week with some pretty photos!