Emma + Chris’ Whimsical Music-Themed Wedding at House of Blues San Diego, 06*02*2012 (Part 1)

I remember the way Chris’ face lit up when he said it.  “I’m picking up her ring tomorrow!”  We were at Denny’s, a group of probably eight of the two dozen members of a my friend Lyndon’s music group.  He was so incredibly happy.  So radiant.  And also kind of nervous.

He was going to propose that weekend.  He was going to Colorado to propose to his girlfriend at her family’s house.

“What if she says no?” he asked.  We all assured him that she wouldn’t, of course, but I think we all were holding our breath all weekend.  Until he posted on his Facebook wall: “SHE SAID YES!!!!”

Even though we all knew that it would happen, there was so much happiness in that simple statement.  I know there was some squealing in my household.  Chris came back from the trip and asked Lyndon to be his best man, and two other members of the group to be groomsmen.  Shortly thereafter, Chris asked if I’d be interested in planning their wedding day.  Of course I said yes too. 😉

What followed was one of the most challenging wedding planning experiences I’ve had to date (how do you create a beautiful wedding for 200 people, essentially at under $30 per person including food, cake, and florals?), and one of the most rewarding.  And at the end of it all, I got to celebrate a fantastic love story between two genuinely beautiful people (inside and out, as you’ll soon see!).

I hadn’t actually met Emma yet when I took on planning for this wedding (a rarity), but when I did, I immediately loved her – she’s got such a genuinely sweet spirit and a gorgeous smile!  I hope she had as much fun planning her wedding with me as I had with her! 🙂

We came up with a quirky, whimsical teal and lime color scheme full of fun touches and music details, since both Emma and Chris are musicians and since the wedding reception was at an amazing music venue.  Blue and green tend to be the hardest two colors to use in wedding design, since very few flowers are found in either color, but Emma also loves colorful touches (we flirted with the idea of doing a rainbow cake – it was ultimately nixed by Chris!), so she asked for a super colorful bouquet, and she got one that delivered on both color and texture!

The dynamic duo behind We Heart Photography captured some gorgeous photos (and had a slideshow available that night at the wedding reception!), so I’m going to let them mostly speak for themselves.  😉

Starting with the gorgeous details!

Emma bought the fabulous boutonnieres (featuring sheet music roses and scripture leaves) from Etsy seller HBixbyArtworks, but the gorgeous bouquets were made by Desiree at Penny Blooms Floral Design!  Love how they are full of different textures and colors – Emma told me that day that they were nothing like she’d ever dreamed; they were better!!! Love the little music note detail on each of them, too! 🙂

Emma also ordered the fabulous flower she wore in her hair from an Etsy seller, PetalBlushLove.

Gah…  Just LOOK at those two!!!

Anyway, using Emma’s favorite Pinterest invitation as an inspiration, she and I created a fun, quirky, and Typography 101 rule-breaking invitation that has gotten more compliments from people who just know that it shouldn’t work…  but does!  I love it to bits. 🙂

Can you count how many different fonts were used?  I’m seeing nine.

I made a coordinating program, too, and you’ll see other bits and pieces I designed (I did all the printed materials for the day, from the Save the Date on).

I created a small display in the entrance to the ceremony, using the programs and some fun items Emma had given me.  It set the tone for the whole day!

The reception details were just as whimsical and modern (although they didn’t get as much photo love – I’ll explain why later, and I promise it’s a good reason!).  Because we were on a strict budget, I had to get seriously creative when it came to centerpieces.  They had to coordinate with our mix-and-match whimsical style and while not clashing terribly with the colorful, quirky decor at the House of Blues San Diego.  In the end, I painted the inside of forty eight glass vases of various sizes collected from WalMart and Dollar Tree and my assistant Rachael and I carefully placed a mixture of different textures of white flowers and succulents (the latter came from Chris’ mom’s garden and my front yard!) into each vase.  I loved that no two were the same – in my mind, it mirrored the stationery.  I’m no florist, but I AM pretty happy with how these turned out.  Especially with the addition of the fun sheet music- and kraft- paper mache shapes that I got from Michaels!

Emma hand crafted a special card box just for the occasion, featuring sheet music!

San Diego Desserts created a massive three-tiered chocolate cake frosted in white buttercream, which I decorated with a topper that Emma hand made for the occasion.  It tasted just as good as it looked!

 

And while I was at the offsite ceremony, my amazing assistant Rachael styled their entire sweets buffet (featuring pastel candy purchased by Chris’ mom) herself!  I am so proud of her for knocking this one out of the park:

Come back next week to see more from their ceremony, portraits, and fabulous party!!!!

Emma + Chris’ Whimsical Music-Themed Wedding at House of Blues San Diego Wedding Details:

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Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel, 03*24*2012 (Part 5 – The VIDEO!)

I can’t even say how excited I am to share this video with you!

If you follow me on Facebook you might have seen it already; it was posted way back in April by Liz at Porcelain Rose Productions.  But now that you’ve gotten the chance to see Michelle and Dave’s Ceremony, Details, Stationery, and Reception, it’s only fitting to see the hilight reel!

Liz from Porcelain Rose actually approached me for a one-on-one vendor meeting back in late February.  She’s a friend of my sister-turned-model and saw the photos of our Boho Glam shoot.  She previously worked for another videographer, and asked me if I had any clients who were in need of a killer deal on videography.  Did I?

I’ve now worked with her four times, for weddings and shoots, and I can definitely attest to the fact that she’s not only incredibly talented, but also incredibly sweet.  Seriously!

And just look at this hilight film!  Anyone who is a fan of Bryan’s shots of the groom tearing up when he sees his bride will love this!

She did such a great job with Michelle + Dave’s hilight reel, and then surprised me with a special treat of my own; a video of my team and I (including former bride Marisa, who was my Wedding Day Setup Assistant!) setting up for and working at the wedding!  Now, I’d imagine I’m not the only one who hates seeing the faces she makes while concentrating, or of the self-conscious cheesy smile I flashed Liz (and I swear I wasn’t telling off DJ Dave – I was checking in with him!!).  And considering that this provides a rare look into the chaos that is backstage several hours before a wedding (the shot – you’ll know it when you see it – was taken not long after we all arrived), I’m a little nervous to show you.  But I also think that it demonstrates a lot of what we do on a wedding day, taking chaos and making order and beauty.  And it’s rare to get a chance to show that to anyone.

Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel Wedding Details:

Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel, 03*24*2012 (Part 4 – The Reception)

I’ve already shared with you photos of Michelle and Dave’s Ceremony, Details, and Stationery.  Now it’s time for the Reception!

After Michelle and Dave’s toes-in-the-sand beach ceremony, their guests were treated to a San Diego sunset on the patio of The Shores Hotel, under big Chinese lanterns!

It was windy during setup, so we used shells at each place setting to hold down the menus and napkins!

Once it got dark, the lanterns truly looked magical!

Michelle and Dave felt very strongly about wanting to dance.  And dance!

And just before sunset, Bryan whisked them away for some truly gorgeous photographs.  Seriously, they look so happy, so in love, and so beautiful in these!

Seriously.

Of course I asked Bryan to take a photo of myself and Rachael with the happy couple…  And a few of their photo bombing friends!

Thank you, Michelle and Dave, for putting your faith in me to plan your big day!  It was so much fun and so beautiful!!!

Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel Wedding Details:

Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel, 03*24*2012 (Part 3 – The Stationery)

I’ve already shared with you the Ceremony and Details of Michelle and Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding; today I’m sharing their stationery!

I designed every page of the printed materials for this wedding, from the invitations to the programs to the menus, vows, table numbers, guestbook tree cards, candy buffet signs, and even escort cards!

I’m a sucker for matching paper goods.  I love so much to see beautiful coordinating stationery, so it was a ton of fun to be able to provide this design service for Michelle and Dave!

It all started with the invitation.  Michelle and Dave wanted something classic and a little bit beachy, in colors that roughly translated to a light lavender and turquoise.  Working from an inspiration board Michelle and I created on Pinterest, we came up with a simple custom design featuring “California” palm trees (per Dave’s request, the tall ones!).

They liked a pocketfold design, and wanted additional pieces too.  Like this custom map:

I think the whole thing came together well.

Okay, now that I’ve tortured you with my obviously-taken-at-home photographs (sorry; I really do need to make sure to always bring a copy of my couple’s custom invitations for their wedding photographers to take!), here are the “real” ones from the day of the wedding, courtesy of Bryan N. Miller!

 

I feel so strongly that printed goods help to bring together the entire look of the wedding day, so I was so happy to be able to provide all of these!!! 🙂

Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel Wedding Details:

Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel, 03*24*2012 (Part 2 – The Details)

Last time I blogged, I shared Part 1 of Michelle and Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel!  Today I’ve got more photos to share with you… This time of the gorgeous details!  (Yes, even if I do say so myself!)

My favorite ceremony detail was this fun sign that I handcrafted for the event:

On one side it said “Here Comes the Bride,” and on the other, “Happily Ever After.”

Of course Michelle and Dave wanted a candy buffet – so I created this purple and aqua beauty.  The backdrop might be hard to see in this photo (it was on a window, so it was a bit backlit during the day) but I had so much fun creating this multicolored streamer-filled wall, and I think it made the whole thing come together.  It was a total surprise to the bride and groom, who just told me to “run with” the buffet design.

Michelle got Dave an extra-special Groom’s cake with the logo of his favorite baseball team – the St. Louis Cardinals!  San Diego Desserts did an excellent job with the design!

Speaking of the design – Calculated Whisk came through as always with whimsical, beautifully-decorated cake pops!

San Diego Desserts also made a lovely three-tiered wedding cake, decorated by Diane’s Flowers Please.

And since it was a destination wedding, I thought it a totally appropriate use for my vintage aqua suitcase!

Of course…  Let’s not forget a shot of those beautiful rings!

Still more gorgeousness to come!

Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel Wedding Details:

Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel, 03*24*2012 (Part 1 – The Ceremony)

Michelle and Dave were my first clients to hire me sight-unseen.

Usually I meet with potential clients, talk with them in person.

But occasionally, a client lives out of town and isn’t planning to visit any time soon.  So we schedule a phone call or use Skype.

It’s a scary thing, having an initial consultation over the phone.  You can’t see each other.  I mean, it seems obvious.  But as humans we’re so used to paying attention to each other in person that talking on the phone, for something like a “getting to know you” meeting, is just…  Strange.  There’s no way to gauge how you’re doing, no body language to go off of, and no way to recognize that you’re talking too much!

Plus…  Sometimes potential clients ask scary questions.  It happens.

Still, I really felt like we had a great connection, so I was thrilled when Michelle e-mailed me a few hours after our phone call:

“I had a feeling that you were going to be our coordinator, for some reason I can’t explain, but that feeling was right.  We are very ready to move forward if you will have us!”

Well, you can guess my reaction.  I think my return e-mail had lots of exclamation points in it.  (For anyone who wonders, yes, I talk like I write.  Tons of exclamation points!)

Because Michelle and Dave were planning their wedding long distance, they wanted full wedding planning, and they needed to work with someone they could trust to make everything come together.  I was honored to be chosen for the task!

Michelle and Dave had already chosen their location – the gorgeous La Jolla Shores Hotel – but we were able to work together to put together a vendor “dream team” for their wedding.  For each vendor choice, I gave Michelle and Dave the options I felt were best for their style and preferences, and they made the ultimate choice.  I can honestly say that I have never had a wedding where I worried less about how the vendors would do on the day of the event – because I’d done the “matchmaking” myself I could say for certain that each vendor would work well both for the couple and with me.  And I trusted each vendor implicitly.  They did not disappoint!

In fact, the incredible Bryan N. Miller is now the standard to whom my assistant Rachael holds all photographers, for both his talent and charm!  I think his gorgeous images of the day speak for themselves, and it didn’t hurt that he lived in Illinois while growing up (as did I; the couple lives South of Chicago, so it was kismet!).

As full planner, I also helped the couple manage their budget, designed the details for the day, created the Out-of-Town bags (which included San Diego treats like Chuao Chocolates and Stone Beer!), and attended tastings with the couple when they came out to San Diego for a visit in January (oh yes, it’s a hard life!!). By the time that the wedding day rolled around, I felt as much love, responsibility, and care for their wedding as I did for my own.  And seeing the photos of the day that I had intimately planned was as fulfilling as seeing the photos of my own!

Of course Michelle and Dave were not only totally in love, they didn’t only place a ton of faith in someone they’d met only for a few hours on a weekend in person before their wedding week, and they weren’t only totally adorable in their wedding photos.  They were also incredibly sweet and generous (seriously, the entire vendor team was treated like family!) and ridiculously fun.  I have to admit – I’m sad I don’t get to talk to Michelle nearly enough now that the wedding itself is over!

I not only had the chance to do all the planning for their wedding, I also did all the design – including stationery.  From the wedding and even bridal shower invitations to the menus and programs to the place cards and table numbers to the vows and readings, I was able to make sure that every part of their wedding day reflected their style.  I am so proud of the results.

So without further ado…  Part 1 of Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel!

I’m trying not to narrate these fabulous photos too much…  But of course this is the first look.  I love how happy they are!!!

Of course, no First Look in the world can replace the sight of your bride walking down the aisle.  These next two photos blew me away when I saw them.  I was in the back, where I always am, cueing the bride, so I didn’t see this moment in person.  But it makes my heart full to see this love.

Michelle and Dave had a beautiful ceremony by Rev. Christopher Tuttle.  His advice was straightforward and from the heart: Love each other.  A lot.

This was a real treat – toes-in-the-sand beach wedding.  Just what you’d hope for in a Destination affair.

And of course, they shared a tender kiss at the end!

I’ll be sharing more of this beautiful wedding with you soon! 🙂

Michelle + Dave’s Classic Beach Wedding at La Jolla Shores Hotel Wedding Details:

Desmond’s Circus-Themed 1st Birthday Party featured on Kara’s Party Ideas!

I just happened to look at my blog’s stats yesterday…  And noticed a new referrer.  And clicked through.  And realized that Kara’s Party Ideas – one of my favorite party planning blogs – featured Desmond’s Circus-Themed 1st Birthday Party!!!  I just submitted it earlier this month and thought, “Well, it’s worth a shot!”  And they obviously liked it!!!  I.am.so.excited!!!!  Go check it out and leave us some love in the comments!!! 😉

"Come One, Come All, for One Night Only, the Amazing Desmond Will Astound and Mystify You!"

Thank you so much, Kara, for the awesome feature!!!

Photos AND Video of Marisa + James’ Wedding Day Featured on Sutography’s Website!

I just found out that Marisa + James’ wedding photos and video were blogged this week by Holly and Matt Sutor of Sutography, so I had to post a link!  There are so many joyful images in their blog!

My favorite is this one, a shot from right before Holly and Matt left for the evening, when we slipped the happy couple out the back door for some private photos with the San Diego skyline as a backdrop.  Aren’t they beautiful?

And check out their adorable hilight video for some more smiles from these two (seriously they have the BEST smiles ever  – I can’t help but grin when I see them!):

Excited I get to work with Holly and Matt again this fall!!!

Emma + Chris’ Wedding Teasers Featured on We Heart Photography’s Blog!

This weekend was a complete whirlwind – a 200-person two-venue wedding for a friend and his beautiful bride (who is now someone I am happy to call a friend as well!)…  I’ll take the time to blog it fully when I get more photos to share with you…  But in the mean time, take a look at these gorgeous teasers, posted on We Heart Photography’s Blog.

we heart emma + chris | teaser

This wedding was a huge one for me, as I served not only as planner/keeper of the budget, but graphic designer (I love, love, LOVE the whimsical multi-font invites we came up with and I can’t WAIT to show them to you!) and even florist for the reception (as our budget allowed us to work with Desiree of Penny Blooms for the fantastic bouquets but didn’t give us enough wiggle room for reception centerpieces for 200 guests!).  Plus, I’ve known the Best Man for 13 (gasp) years and the groom and two groomsmen since 2010.  So the pressure was ON! 😉

The couple behind We Heart Photography, Jacob and Christen Willis, were absolute joys to work with.  Seriously – they were totally responsive, made sure to communicate throughout the day with me, stayed throughout the entire day (from getting ready all the way through the big exit!), and were all about getting the best shots.  And they provided a mini-slideshow on an iPad during the reception of some of their favorite photos of the day!  I loved working with them so much and can’t wait to see more of their amazing images!

Of course they weren’t the only incredible vendor I worked with this weekend.  Desiree of Penny Blooms Floral Design and I had our first official wedding together (after doing several parties and shoots!), and I got to work once again with Mark of San Diego Desserts (on wedding 2 of 4 this year!).  The staff at House of Blues was totally professional and on point – and made working there easy, even with a tough parking situation downtown.  Veronica from the 32nd Street Naval Chapel was incredibly patient and sweet, and the staff from O’s American Kitchen (formerly Pat & Oscar’s) provided a ton of yummy food with a smile!  My extraordinary assistant Rachael took on extra duties at this reception, styling the entire sweets buffet single-handedly and helping me create my $6 (yes, $6) centerpieces.  And my husband – who was not supposed to be “on duty” at this wedding – jumped in at the last minute to help us set up, and was an excellent hauler, cleaner, and double-checker!!!!

I have lots more pretty photos coming your way in the next few weeks, including a ton from Michelle and Dave’s wedding back in March…  But I had to share the link to these fabulous shots today!!! 😉

Alex + Allen’s Modern Rustic Wedding at Olivenhain Meeting Hall, 11*19*2011

Alex was referred to me by my old coworker Tanya.  She had worked alongside me for over a year back in my former life as a gala planner, and she now works in the same office as Alex.  It turned out that over half of the vendors involved in her modern rustic wedding (held in a building over 100 years old!) are connected to my alma mater (which also happens to be where Alex and Allen both work)!  Go Tritons!

Alex is gentle and graceful.  She moves softly, like a cat, but has a sparkling smile.  And she brought all her vendor contracts, plus a layout of the venue, to our initial meeting!  Mind you, there was only a month to go before the wedding, but I was super impressed!

Jason Almazan took some great photos of the day (especially in the challenging lighting conditions of the century-old meeting hall), including one of my favorite photos of any of my clients (which we’ll get to in a bit).  Organic Elements created the most amazing sculptural pieces from driftwood and flowers, and Classic Party Rentals provided the backbone – tables, chairs, linens, and lighting (I *heart* festival lights!).

I think after last week’s especially long-winded post, I’d rather let the photos of this elegant, modern rustic wedding speak for themselves…  So without (much) further chatter…  The pretty photos!!!

OMG – look at that SMILE!  And Alex made that brooch bouquet herself! 🙂

Alex and Allen wanted to incorporate seven traditions for marriage (from different cultures) into their wedding, so they drank wine together and smashed a glass, among other things.

And the bridesmaids surprised Alex by coming to the venue early the morning of the wedding to decorate the ceremony space with chalk!

 

Can I just pause for a second and say how much I adore these two?  And how absolutely the two of them together radiate love?  They are so open, so giving, and so generous.  I didn’t even meet Allen until the day of the wedding (they chose to go rehearsal-less), and by the end of the night he gave me a huge bear hug.  Just seeing these photos makes me so happy.

And this next photo?  This is one of my favorites.  Ever.  Of any of my couples.  I just adore the expression.  The pure happiness.  The couple who is so at ease with each other.  Bliss.

The ceremony was over – and now it was time to party!  This reception was pretty relaxed, since the venue won’t allow dancing on its antique floors.  But we did set up a DIY photo booth using my props.  Everyone enjoyed it!

A beautiful reception it was, too.  It’s an incredibly small venue, but Alex and Allen made great use of the space available, including the benches along the walls, for seating.  Each table was decorated with flower-dotted driftwood and battery-operated candles (open flames aren’t permitted inside the old structure either).

What a great group of guests this was – they didn’t mind not dancing one bit…  Instead, it felt like a party at someone’s house, with everyone talking and laughing until long after the official party “ended.”

One of my favorite things that Jason did was take photos of the vendors.  So instead of my usual vendor roundup, I present you with photographs!

Alex + Allen’s Modern Rustic Wedding at Olivenhain Meeting Hall, 11*19*2011 Vendor Details:

(not pictured; they only dropped off!)