Happy McAwesome First Anniversary Neva + Rob!!!!

These two get around, at least on my blog.  The photos aren’t always the highest quality (since I took them and I’m decidedly not a photographer)  but it hasn’t stopped me.  I love them and always will.

Elephants!

Actually I love this whole wedding.  I’m SO glad I got to be a part of it.

Elephant-topped cupcakes by Courtesan Cupcakes!If there were ever a wedding that was a testament to the statement that you can have a wedding on any budget, this was it.  Spending under $4000 for a fabulous day full of love and personality and celebrating with your 60 closest friends?  Yes please.

Welcome to the McAwesome Wedding hand drawn sign by Events by Elisa

Of course it helps when you have a couple that is completely laid-back with no real expectations aside from having a good time.  And that particular couple happens to have a lot of talents.  And talented friends.

Cupcake Table by Events by Elisa and Courtesan Cupcakes!Also?  A fun theme rocks it every time.  This is the first time I’ve ever seen a wedding inspired by the movie The Party, but that didn’t stop them.  In fact, they took the basic inspiration and ran with it.  So this is also a great example of not letting the inspiration for a wedding or party limit you.

Yes, an elephant in a birdcage!It’s also a great reminder to let your personalities shine.  After all, not many people would get married by a robot.  But these two?  This was the perfect officiant for them.

Father Emiglio, the Robot Officiant!Of course if Father Emiglio is the perfect officiant for you, don’t hesitate to contact the couple.  They’d love to program him to marry you too.  No, really.  They made a video about it.

Married by a Robot. Oh yes.

It’s hard to believe that this wedding took place on the couple’s one year anniversary of knowing each other – and only three months after they got engaged.  Neva + Rob, you two truly are McAwesome and I love you both to bits.

The McAwesomes, shot by Erin of Paw Prints Portraiture

I am so proud to have been a part of your wedding and I’m wishing you the happiest of first anniversaries, with many, many more to come!!!

The bridal party!

Neva + Rob’s McAwesome Backyard Wedding has been featured on RogueBride!  To read Neva’s fabulous review and see more photos of the day, check out my website!

Neva+Rob’s McAwesome Backyard Wedding Inspired by The Party 07*24*2011 Wedding Details:

Neva + Rob “The McAwesome Wedding” 07*24*2011

It’s not every day that one of your best friends gets married.

And it’s not every day that you get to be in the wedding.

But when one of your best friends gets married, asks you to be in the wedding, and asks for your help designing and coordinating it?  Epic.

McAwesome.

As Neva says, “McAwesome isn’t a last name, it’s an unconventional conventional way of living.”  And Neva and Rob are anything but conventional!

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.

Married by a Robot.  Oh yes.

If YOU want to get married by a robot (or emceed, or bar-mizvahed), or just to get better acquainted with Father Emiglio, check out this video made by the bride and groom!

That’s not the only thing I loved about this incredibly personal wedding, by any means.  For one thing every single vendor was a friend of the bride and groom, except for the girls at Classy Covers (who are friends with me!).  That meant cupcakes, decor, officiating, and photography by friends.  Who all happen to be professionals.  Love it!

Erin of Paw Prints Portraiture hard at work on the couple's formal portaits!

Now, I have one special request.  Please look at the content of these photos, and not the fact that most of them were taken in Auto mode by myself or my husband (and de facto assistant for the day).  I will eventually learn how to properly use my camera – but in the mean time, unless there’s a professional photographer capturing every moment (and our professional was IN the wedding party!), you might have to make do.  But this wedding was so unique, so fun, and so pretty…  I think it’s totally worth showing off my poor photography skills in this incredibly photo-heavy post!

I adored the string of yellow and blue elephant Chinese lanterns, and the matching damask patterned ones we hung in the trees.

Chinese Lanterns!

Chinese lanterns!

I loved all the fun ceramic, ivory, and wooden elephants that Neva and I found at thrift stores, swap meets, and discount stores!

Elephants!

Elephants!

I think the elephant in a birdcage (a special request by the bride) was my favorite, though.

Yes, an elephant in a birdcage!

I drooled over the delectable vegan cupcakes by Courtesan Cupcakes.  No really, vegan cupcakes can be AMAZING.  At least, these were.  YUM.

Vegan Cupcakes by Courtesan Cupcakes!

Vegan Cupcakes by Courtesan Cupcakes!

And the cupcake table looked so pretty with my vintage serving pieces!

Cupcake Table by Events by Elisa and Courtesan Cupcakes!

I was so proud of the florals, primarily white mums and daisies with green billy balls and peacock feathers, wrapped in leather cords, that Neva and I created, seen here in a photo by Erin of Paw Prints Pet Portraiture (also one of the bridesmaids!).  Erin usually specializes in pet portraits, but was happy to photograph the “wild things” at this wedding!

Florals with Peacock Feathers by Events by Elisa, Photo by Paw Prints Portraiture

I thought that my vintage suitcases and books, and my Moroccan lamps, helped make the buffet table beautiful!

A buffet can be beautiful, no matter what is being served!

That food, by the way?  Seriously delectable.  I have been the guest at other weddings, weddings where a caterer or venue was paid thousands of dollars, where the food did not taste this good.  Or look this pretty!

Mushroom appetizers!

The secret?  I think it’s lots of love for the couple on the part of the cooks (the groom’s dad and grandfather, both moms and grandmas, and several of the couple’s friends!).

And of course, I am thrilled that I could bring in the beautiful handmade elements that I did, including this pair of elephants.  I wish I’d been able to make these more perfect, but the idea came to me less than a week before the big day.  I still think that they’re super adorable and they were a fun surprise for the bride and groom!

Handmade Elephant cake toppers by Events by Elisa

And the hand-drawn welcome sign, on the cabinet door chalkboard I created for E+D’s wedding!

Welcome to the McAwesome Wedding hand drawn sign by Events by Elisa

And of course these two fifteen-foot paper table runners (one for each of two feasting tables), and the pieces we used on the two smaller tables.

Handcrafted rice paper circle "sculpture" table runners by Events by Elisa

Neva and Rob hand made all of their wedding invitations using a beautiful sunflower-patterned rice paper and the elephant motif that was carried on as cupcake toppers.

Elephant-topped cupcakes by Courtesan Cupcakes!

So when Neva and I went shopping together for elephants to decorate the tables, we brainstormed other ideas for the table decor, and I came up with the idea for these runners, using primarily the rice paper from their invitations, with pops of solid color.

Handcrafted rice paper centerpiece for the family's round table by Events by Elisa

Sweetheart Table Sign!

Handcrafted rice paper runner by Events by Elisa!

I know I made them, so I should probably be a little bit more humble.  But I can’t help it.  I think they’re amazing.  I wish I’d gotten more photos of them, since they really were sculptural hand-made works of art.  Every inch of the runner was different from every other inch, and together they included over 300 individually hand-cut rice paper circles in various sizes, from 1/2″ to 6″ in diameter.

Using white cloths from Classy Covers as a backdrop, we were able to decorate the tables with these…  McAwesome (heh!) runners, and pillar candles and flowers and elephants.  The runners brought it all together.  I love this photo by Erin of  Paw Prints Pet Portraiture (although I wish the wax wasn’t so drippy!).

Closeup of the family table by Erin of Paw Prints Portraiture

Back to the McAwesomes.  Don’t they look happy and in love?  This was their first look.

McAwesomes!

And their first kiss as husband and wife.

First kiss!

And a formal, shot by Erin of Paw Prints Pet Portraiture.

The McAwesomes, shot by Erin of Paw Prints Portraiture

SO. adorable!

And of course Neva looked STUNNING.

GORGEOUS bride!

That first photo is by me (so you can see her pretty dress too), but the ones Erin took are so much nicer!

Gorgeous! Mrs. McAwesome by Erin of Paw Prints Portraiture

Smiling Mrs. McAwesome by Erin of Paw Prints Portraiture

It was fun and creative and fit the couple perfectly.  Neva + Rob are anything but traditional.  And I was so happy to be a part of their McAwesome day.  This wedding is a great reminder that you can have a beautiful wedding with any budget – it’s all about making the right choices for the couple and the budget.  And these were the perfect choices for this couple.  Actually, for all of these people.  Aren’t we a colorful, fun bridal party?

The bridal party!

Neva+Rob 07*24*2011 Wedding 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%.

Hmm.

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:

Happy Anniversary Lynn + David!

One year ago tomorrow was the backyard wedding of Lynn and David!  I’ve known Lynn for a looooong time and was actually an invited guest.  But, when a series of unfortunate events happened that made the wedding preparations that much more difficult, I was honored to step in as her Day-of-Coordinator.  Lynn and David’s family and friends really came together to make this homegrown wedding a happy day.  It included homemade everything (wedding gazebo, ring pillow, bouquets, cake, oh – and wedding DRESS, not to mention a potluck dinner, a serve-yourself bar, and an iPod music selection).

Potlucks are the most difficult thing to pull off at a wedding, but these two and their friends had it perfectly orchestrated.  Backyard weddings, too, are so tough – because your venue isn’t actually a “venue” at all – and stepping in to Day-of-Coordination within a week of the wedding is something I prefer not to do under most circumstances.  But the awesome guests at this wedding really did make my job easy!

While I love weddings dripping with details, this simple, relaxed wedding was a real celebration of love.  This is still one of my favorite weddings ever, because you can just see the love between these two!!!

All of the photos below were taken by myself/my husband with my camera; you can see more of their photos, taken by their friend/photographer, David Bean, on my website!

Sammy, the Ring Puppy!

Sammy, the Ring Puppy!

Married!

Married!

Cutting the cake!

Cutting the cake!

No cake-smashing here!

No cake-smashing here!

The First Dance!

The First Dance!

Dancing with her daddy to "I Loved Her First"

Dancing with her daddy to "I Loved Her First"

The garter - and that million-watt smile!

The garter - and that million-watt smile!

Myself with the bride!

Myself with the bride!

Lynn and David, Happy Anniversary!!!  Here’s to many, many years of happiness in your marriage, and love!