The McAwesome Wedding Featured in The New York Times and on Good Morning America!

Last week The New York Times ran a story about a fun new trend in weddings – ROBOTS! – and I am thrilled to say that the McAwesome Wedding was featured!!

If you remember my original blog post from a couple of years ago, Neva is one of my best friends, and I was a bridesmaid in her unconventional but oh-so-fun wedding in July 2011.  I also got to work with her to design a wedding look that was truly THEM.  From my original post:

Their wedding day was one year to the day after their first date.  Their wedding decor was inspired by the 1960s Peter Sellers classic The Party.  Their colors were “the colors of the sunset.”  The groom wore orange pajamas, a Chinese-patterned smoking jacket, and a fez.  Their wedding feast was cooked entirely by their family and friends.

Oh yes, and they got married by a robot.

Father Emiglio, the Robot Officiant!

Friends, meet Father Emiglio, robot officiant extraordinaire.  He started life as an Italian child’s toy.  Neva found him in a thrift store and brought him home.  Rob made him…

Well, McAwesome of course.

With a fresh coat of paint and an incredibly complex and hilariously funny program, Father Emilgio moved, spoke, lit up, and played “The Final Countdown.”  He interacted with the bride and groom.  There were incredible extras like R2D2′s beeps.  This robot was amazing.

Of course it’s not legal in California to get married by a robot, so he had a little help from a minister friend of the couple’s, minister Eric Sherman.  But really?  They were married by a robot.

And of course, that is what got the attention of The New York Times.  There is footage of Father Emiglio in the video segments for both The Times and Good Morning America, and an interview with the McAwesomes in the written article too.  Hmmm…  I wonder whose traditional wedding Neva could be talking about being “turned off” by? 😉  Probably someone who makes a cameo – cracking up in an orange dress – in the video.  😉

I am just SO thrilled for these two crazy kids.  They run The Octocorn Network (on Facebook and YouTube – named after a mythical unicorn-octopus hybrid – and if you like Father Emiglio you probably will love their other work!) and really ARE this awesome.

I mean, McAwesome. 😉

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Modern Rustic Snow White Inspiration Shoot

This post is long overdue.  Like, more than a year.

Yeah, sorry…  That happened last year. :/

Anyway, I’m trying to get back on the blogging bandwagon.  Starting here.  With one of my favorite photo shoots I’ve done to date.  My Modern Rustic Snow White Inspiration Shoot from June 2012!

This shoot grew out of the Inspired Bridal Bowl table that Desiree of Penny Blooms Floral Design and I did together.  We played with moss and wood, added in some pops of white and red, and created a fun and whimsical look.  Of course, we had to step it up once we made it a “proper” photo shoot.  So we called on a little help from our friends. 🙂

We had no less than ten wedding vendors, a fantastic venue, and a couple of amazing boutiques involved in this shoot, plus a couple of seriously gorgeous models.  Throw in perfect San Diego weather, and  I guess it’s no wonder that this shoot has been featured on Lover.ly, Every Last Detail, and San Diego Style Weddings!

Melissa Biador snapped these exquisite photographs, and Porcelain Rose Productions filmed the day (linked at the end)…  And what a day it was…

Nic.Roc.Designs created some AMAZING stationery (including this fabulous wooden invitation!).

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And of course we had a sweets buffet replete with goodies, from the INSANELY beautiful cake (OMG mini frames!) by Hey There, Cupcake!

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To the apple cake pops and cake ball gems by Calculated Whisk

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To the marbled macarons by La Reine des Macarons

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To the delectable (and beautiful!) apple pie pops and mini mason jar pies from Wicked Spoon!

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Of course, putting it all together was fun…

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Then of course there were Desiree’s florals.  Seriously, Penny Blooms Floral Design is one of my favorite vendors for a variety of reasons…  But one of the biggest is because she isn’t afraid to play around with different ideas, try different things, go out on a limb, and be downright creative.  We always talk about creativity and innovation in our business, but Desiree consistently does it.  And pushes me to, as well. 🙂

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Then we have the flawless makeup and hair by Blush Makeup Artistry and Beth Whitfield:

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And the ombre dress – absolute perfection – from Bliss Bride:

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And our handsome groom’s suit, from A Better Deal Designer Tuxedo and Suit Rentals:

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Of course, our models – Taylor and Ben – aren’t too shabby either.

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Scratch that.  They are gorgeous!!!!!!

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We hung frames and mirrors from the trees…

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And cut slits into apples to use as place card holders…

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Didn’t skimp out on details…

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And even had a little play acting at the end…IMG-1

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Ooh, you can see the edge of her phenomenal dress in this shot! 😉

At the end of the day, we were just seriously blessed by all the stunning pieces to this photo shoot.  This is still one of my very favorite projects I’ve gotten to work on.  Ever.

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We’ve been trying to get the same team back together for another round…  But due to unfortunate timing it hasn’t worked out.  Cross your fingers for a second fairy tale fabulous photo shoot!

Oh yes…  And don’t forget to check out the film!!!!

Snow White: Rustic Styled Shoot from Porcelain Rose Productions on Vimeo.

Modern Rustic Snow White Inspiration Shoot Vendor Credits:

Updated Services and Pretty Pictures!

HOORAY!  It’s February first!!!  I’ve been anticipating this day for a while – I decided that the Holidays were far too busy for me to make website updates, so my 2012 services and pricing would stand until February 1st… But today is here and I get to share with you some exciting new service options!

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First of all, you might notice that Coordination no longer is listed on its own page.  In fact, if you have a keen eye you’ll see that Coordination is no longer listed as part of my logo.  While I will continue to do Coordination of weddings, and while I adore my Coordination clients, I have known for a while that my heart is truly most happy when I get to work with clients on their wedding design as well.  If you have ever e-mailed me or taken my business card, you’ll see that I list myself as “Event Designer” (and have from the moment I started Events by Elisa), because I really adore design.

What does this mean for Coordination clients?

I will still be taking Coordination clients, so please don’t stress!  I have put some new notes on my website about when to contact me for Coordination.  At this time I will not be taking on clients for Coordination any farther than 6 months before the wedding date.  This will be a transition for me; I’m not sure how I’ll like it, but as my emphasis will be on Design and Planning services, which are typically booked much farther in advance, I am doing a trial run.

You’ll also see a few brand new services: Concierge, Elopement, and Consulting are the main ones.  I think they’re relatively self-explanatory, but just in case:

  • Concierge is the ultimate in services for couples who want to feel like a guest on their wedding day – I’ll do it all for you!
  • Elopement is meant for weddings with 10 guests or less, including the couple.
  • Consulting does not involve wedding day services, but is a six-hour package of one-on-one time with me, personalized for your needs, including some great planning documents.

In addition, I’ll be offering Bridal Attendants as an add-on to any package (except Concierge, where two are included); a Steward is offered for grooms, and a Lady-in-Waiting for brides (please note: they are priced separately and it’s absolutely possible to have two Stewards or two Ladies-in-Waiting!!!).  The purpose of these additional wedding day assistants is to be with the couple throughout the getting-ready process, photos before and after the ceremony, and the beginning of the reception; they’ll be your right-hand (wo)man throughout the beginning of your day.

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Lastly, you’ll see some beautiful photos from my Unicorn birthday party, Stacy+Tyler’s wedding, and Richelle + Matthew’s wedding…  There are more photos coming from last year’s events, but they’re taking a little longer than expected…  Still, more eye candy is never a bad thing! 😉

I hope to start blogging again on a more regular basis now that this update is complete, so I can bring you up to speed with last year’s events and some of my other tips and observations (being a bridesmaid in a wedding last month really made me think about weddings in a different way!).  In the mean time, I hope you like my updated site! 🙂

Images by flutter glass Photography and Sunday Romance Photography

My Enchanted Unicorn and Rainbow Birthday Party (Featured on Hostess With the Mostess!)

First of all, let me say how much of a thrill it is to be featured on Hostess With the Mostess…  And to see the great responses!  There are certain blogs I’ve been reading since I started my business…  Style Me Pretty, Every Last Detail, Hostess With the Mostess, Kara’s Party Ideas…  And I’ve been featured in them all over the last year.  Oh my, yes, do I feel blessed!  In this new year I look at what I accomplished over the last year and think, “I can hardly believe I did all that!”

This party is very near and dear to my heart.  It’s because it’s mine.  I decided last year that I hadn’t had a proper birthday party in a long time (although I had invited friends over when I first started my business to sort of play at setting up a party) and that it might be my last birthday before having a little one (and I found out a week later that I was, in fact, pregnant with the little one who has been repeatedly kicking my bladder this morning!).  So why not celebrate it with pretty things? 🙂

I also decided that I wanted to celebrate with rainbows and unicorns party because of this post.  An inspiration board I created way back when I officially started Events by Elisa (almost two years ago now!) that, for whatever reason, has been bringing people to my blog consistently every month.  It’s been one of my most popular posts and one of the most pinned photos from my blog on Pinterest (along with some pictures from Natalie’s Under the Sea Baby Shower…  By the way, Natalie is getting married today and I’m a bridesmaid!!!)!  I decided I had to do something with it.  My inner eight-year-old demanded it.

I gathered together a bunch of my favorite people and rolled up my sleeves and went to work.  Like anything else I do, I trusted my vendor friends to come up with the most amazing interpretations of what I wanted – and boy did they!!!  Desiree of Penny Blooms Floral Design went especially above and beyond, crafting the huge paper flowers, putting together those phenomenal rainbow arrangements, and painting the Pin the Horn on the Unicorn (by hand, in front of me!).  Mark of San Diego Desserts couldn’t possibly give me a plain white frosted cake (especially after I gave him such trouble to tint each layer separately!), so he airbrushed away…  Jenny of JennyWennyCakes did such a beautiful job of making the colors on those macarons pop (even though I know that they spread more than she wanted because of all the color!), and the cake pops by Nicole of Calculated Whisk were gorgeous!!!  Alyssa of Hybrid Photography captured all the elements beautifully!!!  But I think you really just need to see them to get the full effect! 🙂

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A HUGE thank you to everyone who was involved with helping me to make this a fantastic birthday party!!!  I know this is going to be another extraordinary year!!! 🙂

My Enchanted Unicorn and Rainbow Birthday Party Vendor Credits:

Happy Anniversary Emily + Jeremy!

I can hardly believe it’s time for another anniversary post (one day late)…  It seems like such a short time ago that we were hanging the lanterns in the pool house at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe!  Emily + Jeremy’s day was chic, whimsical, and romantic, and the photos are to die for!  You might recognize these two as being all over my website, blog, and Facebook page…  I can’t help it – they’re just so gorgeous!

Wishing you two the sweetest of anniversaries and another year of happy marriage! 🙂

See the full gallery of photos from Emily + Jeremy’s wedding on my website!  And read the blogs about their ceremony and reception!

Emily + Jeremy’s Modern Handcrafted Inn at Rancho Santa Fe Wedding Details:

Can You Send Me a Price List? Why I don’t like standard pricing

As you probably know, I completely redid my website in early April.  I had been meaning to do so for a very long time.  I realized that so much of it was out of date, and so much had changed within my business, that it really needed a facelift.  One of the many, many changes I made was to move to simpler packaging for weddings.

Just design, planning, or coordination.  Well, and Design with Coordination, or Design+.  I decided that having Day-of and Month-of services was just too confusing.  That, and I kept finding that my Day-of Coordination package was actually equivalent to most other Month-of Packages.

For the last few months before the big change, I had been explaining this change in e-mails to prospective clients.  I wished so badly that I could snap my fingers and make it all happen on my website too, but these things take time to get right, and this change actually took longer than I had originally intended because my first design simply wasn’t very functional.  So I had to keep explaining that what I do hasn’t changed – just how I talk about it.

With that move toward simplification, I also decided to publish my adjusted pricing for the first time.  I talked about this briefly in my announcement of the new site, but I wanted to get into it a little more here.  There are several schools of thought for wedding professionals as to whether prices should be published online, and originally (before my first site went live to the world, when I was asking for feedback from friends and mentors) I’d published mine.  I wanted transparency.  I remembered planning my own wedding, and how helpful it was to have prices published.  I was counseled to have them by request only, at first, and I’m glad I was, because the more weddings and events I did, the more I learned about how long each process takes and what is involved.

But now I am pretty confident in my pricing structure.  And I still think it’s important (in fact I heard feedback once from a friend who had referred someone to me; that someone had taken one look at my services page and said “She doesn’t publish her prices, so she has to be too expensive for me!”).  So I’m feeling pretty good about service structure and price publishing.  But it also is tough.

I often get e-mails that say simply, “My fiancé and I are getting married [on a certain date, in a certain month, or sometimes even in a certain year].  Can you send me your pricing sheet?”  It’s hard, really.  Because I don’t like standard pricing, and I have never had a pricing sheet.  Even now, my website reads “starting at…” for a reason.  Because each wedding is different.

Wedding Design, Planning, and Coordination are all best when they’re personal to you.  Just like your house, your phone, your wardrobe…  You are an individual.  Your wedding is not the same as anyone else’s.  In fact, I relish weddings that are personalized, handmade, and quirky.  It’s my favorite thing to do, planning a wedding with a couple who wants their personalities to shine.

Married by a Robot. Oh yes.

Standard pricing assumes that you have a “standard” wedding.  And what does that mean?  That you’re just the same as the next couple?  That you have the same needs? That your planner or coordinator just charges everyone the same price without putting any thought into it?  That you’re getting charged for services you might not need, or maybe that you’re not getting enough service for your wedding because it’s not in the package?

For a while I was actually putting together a full quote for every couple who contacted me, adding up all my costs each time (which is why I was glad that I was counseled to not post standard pricing, because it did fluctuate).  As I said before, I have decided to streamline my packages, based on what normally happens at a wedding and what I’ve learned is necessary (all my weddings now happen with at least one assistant, for example).  This will help give my potential clients a ballpark figure for the service they want before they ever contact me, and I think that’s important.

But I’m leery of standard pricing.  It’s like going to buy your first house without any inkling of the market around you.  You know you want three bedrooms and two baths, but you’ve never bought a house before and have no clue if you’ll need to plan on $20,000 or $200,000 or $2,000,000 to purchase it (and have apparently been living under a rock, but bear with me on the analogy).  You contact a real estate agent who says to you that all of their three-bedroom, two-bath homes cost $400,000, regardless of neighborhood, lot size, or condition of the home.

It doesn’t make a lot of sense in real estate, and I don’t think it makes a lot of sense in wedding planning either.

Every wedding has it’s own personality – the unique number of guests and attendants, location, and setup details.  An outdoor wedding under the stars will require far more complicated a setup (tables, chairs, dance floor, lighting, heaters, restrooms, cooking equipment, etc.) than a ballroom wedding.  Especially an outdoor wedding with tons of DIY details (or one without professional vendors for things like floral design and music).  Hanging hundreds of ribbons in a tree for your ceremony or a backdrop to your sweets table looks amazing (and I love, love, love doing it – I’m so looking forward to sharing my next post with you where I can show you what it looks like!), but it can take hours.  Hours of painstaking detail work.   On a ladder.  So can arranging the perfect combination of wildflowers in jars.  Or creating that tower of favors, or that escort card puzzle.  The Chinese lantern sculpture I created last year for Emily + Jeremy  was insanely gorgeous and a breathtaking piece to decorate the entry to their wedding reception.  But it took three people four hours to complete.  No joke.

One of the biggest factors in my pricing is making sure that I have enough hands to complete heavy setup jobs like these.  But the number of guests is also a factor, since setting up place settings and favors for 300 guests is a far different story than setting up for 50 (to say nothing of guest management during the wedding or cleanup afterwards, or all the other things we do and decor we set up).  Based on the whole picture of the wedding day, I’ll hire either my regular assistant or a combination of full- and half-day assistants to help make it all happen.  And of course, I have to charge for travel outside of San Diego County, in order to make sure I don’t lose money on events in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, or Santa Barbara Counties.

The thing is, I suppose that if I charged an extreme amount for my services, I could absorb things like extra assistants and mileage into my bottom line.  But I don’t – I try to provide the best value cost possible for my services while still offering excellent service and quality.  And I hate charging people for things they don’t need.  So I always will need more specifics before confirming a price for a potential client.  Which is part of the reason I’m excited that I built my new website with an inquiry page that asks for more information than would be included in the e-mail I mentioned above.

And I’m happy about that.  I’d much rather review all the details of a wedding day before giving my potential couples a final price.  It takes a little longer, and is more work intensive.  And there’s the dreaded “starting at…” listed on my site.  But I’m truly happy.  Because I don’t want to do cookie cutter weddings, and I don’t want to overcharge any of my clients.  I’m proud to say that my weddings are anything but “standard,” and that’s just the way I want them to be!

Photo from the McAwesome Wedding, by Events by Elisa

Emily + Jeremy’s Modern Handcrafted Wedding at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, 11*05*2011 (Part 2)

When last I posted, I gave you the ceremony portion from Emily + Jeremy’s gorgeous wedding in Rancho Santa Fe last November.  Today I’m sharing the reception with you!

But first…  One more photo of the couple, in a quiet moment between the ceremony and the reception. I love the relaxed, ecstatic expressions on their faces!

For starters, here are some shots of the setup, featuring table runners by Classy Covers and florals by Suzan M Florals.

I’m a huge fan of rectangular tables at weddings.  I’m not really sure why.  I just like them.  Feasting tables too.  I also love mix-and-matching table shapes/sizes so that each one is a little different.  Emily did just that, mixing circles with rectangles and creating an extra-extra long head table!  Being flexible with table shapes and sizes helps accommodate guests with different sized groups.

Remember how I said this dessert table was one of my favorites?  Here’s a shot of the whole thing, including the “Sweet Love” banner Emily made!

And more pictures of my mini bunting.  🙂  Each piece was less than an inch high.

YUM.  My mouth is watering!

My assistant Rachael makes the most gorgeously perfect escort card setups.

We also added some fun touches from the Events by Elisa inventory, including this gorgeous card cage:

And our guestbook tree.  Complete with one of my favorite pieces, the little metal bird.

I love these photos of Emily and Jeremy’s first dance:

And their “cake cutting” (really clinking together cake pops):

And let’s not forget the garter!

Of course I said before that the Chinese lanterns were some of the biggest parts of the decor at this wedding.  I do love a good lanternfest.  Here’s the archway near the dance floor – this is where we used up the extra few that we had.  It just made the whole thing festive, and was a nice surprise for the bride!

And my Chinese lantern sculpture.  Seriously, this took three people FOUR hours working together (perched on ladders!) just to put it together.  But it turned out so amazingly.  I could have stared at it all night.

It looks relatively small in that big photo, but it really made a huge impact on the entrance to the reception.  And that GIANT lantern?  Fabulous.  Especially after dark.

The guests were such fun, too.  Not all weddings end up having a breakdancing party on the middle of the dance floor!  Of course YES Productions kept the tunes coming.  🙂

My assistant Rachael and I got a chance to have a quick photo with the bride and groom. 🙂

It was such a stunningly beautiful, fun wedding, with such an incredible team!!!  I just have to leave you with another of my favorite photos from the day.  🙂

Emily + Jeremy’s Modern Handcrafted Inn at Rancho Santa Fe Wedding Details:

Emily + Jeremy’s Modern Handcrafted Wedding at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, 11*05*2011 (Part 1)

Now that I’ve finished up my website (finally!) I can get back to blogging!  And I’ve got quite the backlog of gorgeousness to show you!

I’m starting off with a wedding that probably looks pretty familiar to you, if you’ve visited my Facebook page, or my new website, recently. It’s Emily and Jeremy!  Just a word of warning: this post is EXTREMELY picture-heavy.  I couldn’t pare it down to just a handful.  There is just so much to show you!  And because I didn’t want to explode your computer…  I decided I had to split it into two posts.  🙂

Their beautiful wedding took place on a perfect day in November; the sun was shining but it was just overcast enough not to create shadows in their photos!  And considering that the day before their wedding, it was pouring down buckets of rain, we were all pretty excited to see it looking so fantastic!  It was a bit cool, but that just encouraged everyone to get on the dance floor and boogie!!!

Emily approached me last June, wanting the service that I now call Design+.  She is a graphic designer herself, but wanted another eye to help keep her wedding vision on track.  I loved her ideas from the start, of course, and we had an excellent time shopping together for lanterns to decorate the entry way to the reception (I’ll get to that in a minute)!

It’s obvious when you see the two of them together how much love Emily and Jeremy have for each other.  There was so much joy in the air!  And SO many gorgeous photos.  Emily had assembled a fantastic team of vendors, from Chaz Cruz Photography to YES Productions and Suzan M Florals to Tailored Sweets…  Really every part of the day was more fabulous than the next.

The couple decided that they didn’t want a traditional wedding cake, and opted instead for a dessert display by Tailored Sweets.  Sarah and my assistant Rachael and I styled the table together, and I have to say it’s one of my favorites so far.

Of course, it might have something to do with the super sweet mini bunting I hand made for the occasion.

Or perhaps the tissue pouf/lantern display we created to hang above it (this photo was taken by Chaz as well; I just realized that his logo isn’t on it!).

Those weren’t the only lanterns we used either.  In fact, when Emily and I went shopping, we purchased 35 white lanterns in sizes from 6 inches to four feet wide.  Yes, four FEET.  Add that number to the lanterns I already owned…  And we had a party!

In fact, we used most of those 35 lanterns in the pool house, which served as the entry way into the reception.  Since it was a jarring orange red (not exactly within the color palate of purple and pink!), Emily wanted something beautiful to draw the eye.  My assistants and I worked for almost three hours to hang each lantern perfectly and I am SO pleased with the results.  Our 35 lanterns turned into a single lantern sculpture.  It looked truly stunning, especially as it got dark and the light (just above the largest lantern) lit the entire piece.

But I guess I’m getting ahead of myself again (I tend to do that with details I adore!).  So I should start over.  From the beginning this time.  First, the dress and shoes.

And our beautiful bride.

And her flowers by Suzan M Florals.  Wowza!

First looks are one of my favorite things about today’s weddings – I wish I’d thought of doing one when I got married in 2008, but they just weren’t as common!  This one is simply adorable.

Look at how happy they are!

Bridal Party photos.  Love them!

And then there’s the wedding ceremony.  LOOK at that backdrop (hanging orchids by Suzan M Florals!).  I officially am in love with ceremonies under trees.

It was officiated by a friend of the bride and groom.  One of my favorite parts of it was the wine box.  The bride and groom sealed three bottles of wine into the custom-made box, each one to be drunk on an upcoming anniversary (1 year, 5 years, and 10 years) along with love letters to be read on each of those years.  Feel free to “awwwww!”  I did.

I can’t handle this level of cuteness.

Because of where I stand during wedding ceremonies (I direct people to walk up the aisle and then am at the back), I don’t usually get to see expressions on either the bride’s face or the groom’s.  I love seeing photos like this!

Stunning!

Sealing up the box!

MARRIED!

And of course this next photo will be super recognizable, since I’m totally enamored of the moment.  The bubbles!  The expressions!  The framing!  Chaz, you did an amaaaaaazing job on this one.

With that expression of ultimate joy, I’ll leave you until next week, when I’ll post Part 2 of this beautiful wedding!!!

Emily + Jeremy’s Modern Handcrafted Inn at Rancho Santa Fe Wedding Details: