Miss Maya’s Dia de Los Muertos Birthday Fiesta!

Last October, I got a phone call from my friend Jacquelyn, asking for help planning her daughter Maya’s first birthday party.  She wanted something really special and unique – a Dia de Los Muertos celebration!

Maya came into this world six weeks early.  It’s my theory that she was just way too excited to finally meet her parents and couldn’t stand waiting any longer to do so.  I mean, with incredibly awesome parents like these, I don’t know if I’d have waited around either!

It was, understandably, scary for Maya’s family and everyone who loved them, back in November of 2010.  But now, it was time for a fiesta – a celebration of life honoring this beautiful big-eyed rosy-cheeked smarty pants!

She looks a little worried here, but I think she just wanted to get back to the party!

Jacquelyn sent me artwork she liked (purchased off Veer) and I laid out an invitation fit for a fiesta, along with food tags for the dinner and cupcakes!

Invitation lay out by Events by Elisa, featuring artwork from Veer.com

 

I created these gorgeous giant tissue paper marigolds with the help of my incredible assistant Rachael, and Maya’s mom loved them so much that she kept them to hang from Maya’s bedroom ceiling!  Of course I couldn’t have hung them without the help of my “other” assistant, my amazing husband Ryan!  If you like them, you can buy a custom set in my Etsy shop, here!

Tissue flowers by Events by Elisa, available in Elisa's Etsy Shop

Tissue flowers by Events by Elisa, available in Elisa's Etsy Shop

Tissue flowers by Events by Elisa, available in Elisa's Etsy Shop

Something I try to do whenever I’m shopping for a social event is to look everywhere, all the time.  Whenever I’m out and about, shopping for groceries or office supplies or the like, I have a constant list of things I’d like to find in the back of my mind.  I usually find the best – and best value – decorations for social events and inspiration shoots this way!  This party was no exception – I found the lollipops on clearance at Target and the fabulous fabric used for the table runners on sale at Joann’s fabric.  Actually, I should say that my assistant Rachael and my sister Jessica (who were shopping with me) found the fabric.  I just decided we had to have it, and I was right!

It pays to have social event decor on the brain!  I looooove this table runner!

Of course this amazing cupcake display would not nearly have been as beautiful without the artistry of Stevi from Hey There, Cupcake!, who created all the cupcakes you see, as well as the sugar skull smash cake in the center (yes, that’s a cake!!!!).

Cupcakes by Hey There, Cupcake, with custom tags created by Events by Elisa from artwork purchased at Veer.com

Yes, this is a cake, by Hey There, Cupcake!

Maya had never eaten sugar before, so she wasn’t quite sure what to do with her cake, but everyone else enjoyed these gorgeous treats!  She also loved opening her presents –  so she could play with the tissue paper and bags! 🙂

Her mommy thought of every detail – down to the bib she wore for her cake smash.  🙂  This family photo makes me so happy too – aren’t they beautiful?

Maya's adorable Dia De Los Muertos bib, and her family!

Thank you Jacquelyn, Dave, and Maya for letting me be a part of your fiesta!!!  I loved helping to make your day memorable and beautiful!!!!

Maya’s Dia de Los Muertos First Birthday Fiesta 11*13*2012 Details:

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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: