Ten Top Reasons Why I love being Your Wedding Planner: 

A Note to Past, Present, and Future Clients


1.        Each and every wedding renews my faith that L O V E is the greatest power of all.

2.       I  help people on some of the most important days of their lives.

3.       I get to laugh behind the scenes with dedicated professionals and cool cats who understand the difficulties and stressors of the job.

4.       I receive free self-analysis on why lawyers hire my team on a regular basis.

5.       I have the best backdrops for any job anywhere in the world.

6.       I get to use my Steve Harvey's  "Think like A Man.  Act like a Woman" skills.  

7.       I understand that moments turn into memories, and some of the best memories of a lifetime are events!

8.       I don't do my job for the money, and yet, I know the value of Wedding Planners.

9.       I get to eat wedding cake.  

10.   I believe in commitment and marriage for the long term, and, long after your wedding, we'll be toasting together at your other happy moments.

Do you offer "Day of Wedding Coordination?" The real truth behind the phrase "day of wedding coordinator" →

What you, my beautiful couples, will  learn in your wedding planning process is that there is no such thing as a "Day of Wedding Planner".   Let's just take that out of our vocabulary, and "truth it up".  

This morning, after two calls about " Do you do Day of Wedding Coordination?", I wanted to share a couple of thoughts:

 It's your only wedding, and you will hear advice from everyone in your planning process.  RIGHT?  

So...You need someone to show up on your wedding day and magically take care of everything, and that is easy when you understand what you'll need.   

  What you'll need, at any venue, anywhere worldwide, is this:

  • An Awesome Wedding Planner that works with various levels of service.  Wedding planners are hired as your consultant, and you decide what level of service you would like.
  • The essential level of service should have a minimum of two-three meetings with your wedding planner.  Most likely, we'll  be at your venue walk through and tasting, a detailed timeline planning meeting, and a final detailing meeting.
  • Full service planning is like having a wedding "Best Friend".  
  • You should hire someone who is experienced.  Every wedding planner starts somewhere... and it shouldn't be at your wedding.    There are two Associations for Wedding planners that educate professionals.  http://www.wipausa.org/ and http://bridalassn.com/  and I love learning from both associations.
  • Every one of your vendors should have a minimum of Two Million bucks of Liability Insurance.  Most venues require it.
  • It really is all about F U N  and stress relief for you.  When you hire true professionals that work together, it will be an awesome experience for you, all the way around.


The Swellegant Seven: Real Wedding Advice from Studio EMP

Cool to sit with Joel, my trusted partner,  from www.studioemp.com for a visit.   He reminded me why our business and  | He | is so great.  

Why do you love what you do?

I love what I do because I am allowed to be a part of human emotion and am able to document these feelings for my clients, and I also challenge myself to get the perfect natural moment with the right light and the beautiful emotion all happening in one instant- timing is everything.

What do you believe sets you apart from other photographers?

Anyone can make a pretty picture.  A pretty picture with emotion and feeling is of the greatest value to my clients and with that being my goal for the last 15 years I have gotten pretty dang good at it.

What would be your advice to a newly engaged couple?

“What?  About Photography?”  “Marriage?”  “Weddings?”    |Laugh|

Further, Joel, what advice do you have for newly engaged couples about the process of planning a wedding?

Use your heart to choose vendors.  Be honest about who you connect with.  You really have to connect with the person and the product.   I don’t sell something that is not “Me.”  Don’t choose vendors to “Impress people”.  This will all lead to the most enjoyable night of your life rather than the most stressed night- we don't like stress:)

When are you most inspired?

At dusk in nature.  Nature is my happy place and the light at dusk is soft, creamy, milky, relaxing and calm and fits best with my style of shooting- relaxed and comfortable.

What does it look like for a couple to have true professionals working on their wedding day?

They are able to enjoy every moment.  This goes back to choosing vendors from your heart… it’s like when we do weddings together, there is no stress and it is all fun and wonderful.  Pros take challenges in stride and fix problems so that our couples don’t have to worry about a thing and may never even know about bumps in the day. 

What is it like having Jeni, your wife, work in the same industry?

It’s been a gradual shift from when she first started until now, and it continues to evolve and change as our businesses do and as the industry does.  It’s generally a good thing as we can relate better to each others obstacles and achievements as compared to couples in different fields. 

What do you think about testimonials and online reviews?

All our reviews are real.  We started getting a lot of great reviews as the web has grown as a planning tool and have since started gently asking clients to rate us online. We get many inquiries from review sites and these people already have a pretty good feeling as to how we act and interact and they already have a bit of trust in us. 

Do you remember when we first met?

Sorry, I don’t.  You’ve always been around!  What I do remember is that from very early in our relationship I have held you up on a pedestal as a true professional and as a leader of ethical vendors in this industry. 

What do you do to keep balance?

Ride my bike and spend time with my family. 

What is your favorite wedding moment ever?

My favorite moment?  OK.  Fall, right before the ceremony, the Bride and Mom had a moment where they were talking about the Dad who passed away just a few months earlier and the bride was sad he wasn't there.  I was the only other person in the room and I was using a silent camera to not interrupt. I was crying and my heart was pounding knowing how much they would love the images I was making. THIS is why I document weddings. 

Pantone Color of the Year: Radiant-Orchid

Pantone Color of the Year
Pantone Color of the Year

For over a decade the Pantone Color Institute has been announcing a color of the year to inspire trends in fashion, homes, and of course weddings. Say hello to the 2014 Pantone color of the year...Radiant-Orchid! With undertones of purple, pink, and fuchsia; Radiant-Orchid  exhibits warmth and royalty all while remaining modern and fresh. According to Pantone, this color "inspires confidence, great joy, love, and health." We can expect to see this color used in many trend setting and innovative ways in the wedding industry this year, as well as subtle splashes used to brighten up any ones ceremony or reception. This elegant and warm color is already hitting the market fast and we don't want your wedding to be left out. So, we have gathered up some ideas of various ways to use the Pantone color of the year in your wedding!

Special thanks for images: Pantone Color of the YearThe YoungrensStephanie Yonce PhotographyAllure Atlantic klk photographyAaron DelesieBelle The MagazineAt Home in Love


Endless Wedding Possibilities at the Island Hotel Newport Beach

3-4-13island hotel-94

At this breathtaking white gala shoot at the Island Hotel, we all had fun arranging the perfect decor, the most wonderful food, and creating the perfect photo shoot.   It takes inredible work to put together all of the best partners in Orange County, and we're happy to work with the best! The Island Hotel Newport Beach for their beautiful venue

Bloombox Designs and www.invitingoccasion.com  for their creativity and partnership

Wildflower Linens for the beautiful chair covers

La Tavola Linens

Signature Party Rentals for the perfect linens

The Event Company Orange County for their incredible attention to detail with lighting

Girl Friday Designs for the invitation suite

Marshall Williams Photography for the stunning photographs

Christopher Todd Studios for photography

Stay tuned for more incredible work from the best in Orange County!

A Romantic Temecula Engagement Shoot to A Beautiful Newport Beach Wedding


Engagement session in Temecula and Wedding in Newport Beach?  Yes, please! We loved planning with Lisa and Bill.  Their wedding ceremony took place  at the gorgeous  Our Lady Queen of Angels and their incredible one of a kind  transformation reception took place at  the Legion Hall in Newport Beach. WHO KNEW that this space had such a gorgeous water view?   Special thanks to DPS for making Lisa and Bill's vision into a reality.

Lisa and Bill... they're wonderful, wise, and have a great future ahead.

Special thanks to the wonderful Jo Distaso for these images.

Gorgeous Oceanfront San Clemente Wedding

Hidden spots in San Clemente create some of the most perfect beach front locations along the coast, and  Adri and Chase found a great hidden location known to so few.     We LOVED creating a one of a kind wedding for our friend and  industry colleague, Adri, and her uber cool husband, Chase.   The dream team was in full force on their wedding day. Special thanks to: Jason's Catering, Visions Entertainment, A Motion Video Production, Studio EMP, Signature Party Rentals, Now Flip This, Tustin Florist, and Sweet and Saucy Shoppe for everything!

Best 2013 Event Moments from Swellegant


Time flies when you're having fun!   Beautiful Weddings.  Styled Shoots.   Mitzvahs.   Non-Profit,  Corporate Events,  Birthday Parties, and our first Annual LOVE reunion celebrating our past clients, we loved turning your  2013 moments into lifelong memories. Thanks to YOU, the best clients in the world.  It's tough to pick from all of the events of the year, so I'd like to share a few of my most meaningful and beautiful moments with you.

A very special thank you to all of my trusted partners in the industry, for making my job so easy.  Thanks to  Studio EMP, Jim Kennedy Photographers, Christopher Todd Studios, Jo Distaso, and Mayra Fiori Photography,  Christopher Scott Benoe,   and my IPHONE  for the beautiful photos.

Thank you to The Association of Bridal Consultants Orange County  for the honor of receiving the Joanie Scott Award for Drive, Dedication, and Passion to the Wedding Industry.

Cheers to 2014!  Looking forward to continuing turning your meaningful moments into lifelong memories.

Julia and Amit's Orange County Indian Fusion Wedding Featured in The Knot


One of the greatest pleasures in my career is to be able to plan and coordinate multiple weddings within a family. I am so lucky to have worked with the Guth family for years. Julia and Amit are the perfect high school sweethearts, and they are making a beautiful life for themselves, now in New York. Remembering their spring wedding with pleasure, and proud to be featured in The Knot -- both online and in print -- for this gorgeous outdoor wedding. Check it out here for details! As always, I could never do it without my incredible vendor partners:

Studio EMPBloombox DesignsColettes EventsLisa NickersonForty One TwentyLake Forest LimoCapital Photo BoothDolce GelatoNordstrom Personal Shopper, and My Team at Swellegant.

Location provided by Coconut Rose.

Island Hotel Bat Mitzvah for the One and Only Halie Rose

The One and Only Halie Rose =  A Teenager who has it all together! It was our honor to help with the creation of a perfect evening for Halie Rose.  The combination of a wonderful family, incredible venue, and the best partners in the industry  made everything so super swellegant.

Check out the photos below for a little glimpse into Halie Rose' evening.

A Swellegant Brunch at Form Decor with Trendsetting Rental Furniture


We were honored  to partner with  the uber cool Form Decor Warehouse to co- host a Swellegant Brunch to showcase potential vignettes for YOU, our favorite clients.  It was a great morning with the best in the industry, and, of course, there was a great photo bomb in the mix!  Special thanks to: Form DecorZov's Restaurants,  Christopher TODD Studios,  AVX Audio VisualCommemory Painted Textured MemoriesNight Owl ProductionsAs You Wish EventsThe Shop @ ShowReady for your partnership.

Sandra and Ilai~ A Gorgeous Summer Richard Nixon Library Wedding


Sometimes, ONE photo can take your breath away. Julio Cesar Photography caught that image for Sandra and Ilai at The Richard Nixon Library at their gorgeous summer  wedding.   The  photo only took a few seconds,  and we we so happy to make sure that Sandra and Ilai were able to slip away into the final sunset of their day.

We wish Sandra and Ilai a  lifetime of happiness, and we're thankful for having the opportunity to work with them at every stage of their wedding planning process.  They were a beautiful, gracious couple ( Think Jackie O and JFK) who honored their families and their friends

Special thanks to our trusted industry partners:

Richard Nixon Library and BirthplaceJason's Catered EventsA Wish and a Whisk BakeryTustin Florist,, Oscar Payan Band, Visions EntertainmentLake Forest Limousine, Inc. Girl Friday Designs ,Design Visage

Stay tuned for something quite " Outside the Wedding Box"  on TV from Sandra and Ilai.  It will make you giggle, for sure.


Eric's Monte Carlo Bar Mitzvah at The Westin South Coast Plaza

We had a fabulous time working with this incredible family to create a "one of a kind" unique Bar Mitzvah for the talented and brilliant Eric.  The  design allowed the adults to dine in elegance with beautiful draping and unique, elegant florals , while the young adults dined under a tented ceiling treatment.   When the dancing began, it didn't stop all night!  The cool seamless white dance floor with a customized logo wowed the guests. The colors of red, silver, and black were carried out in everything from the graphics to customized poker chip favors to the late night candy station.

Congratulations, Eric!  It was awesome being part of your weekend celebration

A special thanks to all of the wonderful vendors who made this event possible:

Congregation B'Nal IsraelGirl Friday DesignsGourmet CaterersNew Frontier CoffeeSignature Party RentalsYou Should Be DancingVisions entertainment,  Plug VideoWestin South Coast PlazaBloom Box DesignsRon Levy PhotographyCapital Photo BoothCandee by SandeeDesign Visage 

Catering Manager + Wedding Planner = Your Perfect Wedding Day

You’re engaged!  Congratulations!  First steps, of course, will be to spend time searching for the perfect venue and call a professional wedding planner.   Simple advice?  Call your wedding planner first, and then search for the perfect venue. When you find the perfect venue, your Catering Manager will be fabulous at providing the following:

  • A tour of the venue
  • A menu consultant and coordinator for everything related to food and beverage
  • Arranging and taking detailed notes at your menu tasting and giving you  great advice about menu selections
  • Detailing what’s called the BEO (Banquet Event Order) for everyone on staff at your venue
  • Creating room layouts and venue designs
  • Acting as the liason between venue, wedding planner, and you
  • Creating a cost breakdown for your financial commitments to venue
  • Providing a staff member to make sure that all venue details are carried out according to the Banquet Event Order

When you hire a Professional Wedding Planner, they will be fabulous at providing the following:

  • Assistance and advice with overall budget (venue is typically 50 -65% of total wedding budget
  • Tools to help move things along, including a personalized planning checklist for your wedding year and a list of preferred vendors.
  • The ability to relax and leave the vendor details to us- communication with your wedding vendors, review your vendor contracts, create a minute-to-minute wedding day timeline for them to follow, as well as specific load-in, load-out instructions.
  •  Complete orchestration of your wedding rehearsal and a final review with all wedding participants, including the officiant, bridal party and wedding couple.
  • A day-of-ceremony and reception packing list so that nothing gets missed
  • Reminders and instructions for Wedding Party so that they know exactly what is expected
  • Creation of Wedding Ceremony and Wedding Reception timeline
  • Providing a wide variety of Vendor Referrals, and many cases, discounts on many local vendors
  • Complete oversight of wedding ceremony and reception setup including personal items
  • Overall responsibility before, during, and after your wedding for all details

Catering Managers work hand in hand daily with Wedding Planners, and in doing so, we create a perfect environment for your perfect wedding.

A Sneak Preview of a Gorgeous Orange County Blended Indian and Western Wedding at the Santiago Canyon Mansion


Here's a fabulous sneak preview of the gorgeous Orange County blended Indian and Western wedding at the Santiago Canyon mansion.   Julia and Amit, brilliant, gorgeous, and true soul mates, created an incredible day that will be remembered for a lifetime. Thanks to Forty One Twenty for their highlight video. Stay tuned for more to come.   See the video here!

Thank you so much to:

Studio EMP  for your incredible photography and partnership.

Bloombox Designs  for your beautiful designs and creative collaboration.

Colettes Events for the catering and collaboration.

Lisa Nickerson for the beautiful makeup.

Forty One Twenty for the beautiful video.

Lake Forest Limo for the perfection in transportation.

Capital Photo Booth for the fun, warm and professional photo booth.

Dolce Gelato for the best gelato in the universe.

My inside connection with my favorite Nordstrom Personal Shopper for the emergency last minute clothing additions for the groom.

And of course, the full service  planning and coordination by My Team at Swellegant.

Location provided by Coconut Rose.

Royal Purple and Gold Styled Shoot at the Island Hotel


Our team had an awesome time at  The Island Hotel in Newport Beach creating a vision that hopefully, will inspire you to create your fabulous event.  Purple and gold inspirations created a beautiful swellegant look.Thank you to our vendor partners.

Inviting Occasion for the beautiful design

The Island Hotel for your fabulous location

Girl Friday Designs for invitation suite

Christopher Todd Studios for the beautiful photographs

Marshall Williams Photography for the stunning photographs


Top 10 Moments YOU should have on your Wedding Day


As a seasoned wedding planner who has been honored to be part of weddings for more than 10 years, I’ve love to share my Top 10 Moments YOU should have on your Wedding Day.

1)       A great breakfast with your wedding party and family.  Whether you’re getting your make-up done, or out for a round of golf, don’t forget to eat.  It’s going to be a long day!

2)      An exchange of card and/or gifts with each other.  Nothing feels better when you have a few jitters than when you have the words from your fiancée before the ceremony.

3)      A private first look with one another.  That moment trumps all others, and will allow you to be completely calm when the ceremony begins.   I’ve seen the very best photos of the day coming from that moment.

4)      A pre-ceremony toast or prayer with your bridal party.  Take a deep breath, raise your glass or bow your head, and take a moment to thank those closest to you.

5)      A great LONG walk down the aisle.  Look around at your venue, and choose the longest walk possible.  You only get to do this once.  Why not make it count?

6)      THE Kiss.  Make it matter.  Take your time.  Lips are a great thing to be celebrated.

7)      Your first dance.  Whether you love to dance, or hate to dance, it really doesn’t matter in this moment.  Get some dance lessons prior to your wedding, choose a timeless or meaningful song, and relish the moment.

8)      Thank you speech to your guests.  Take a quick moment to thank your family and friends at your cake cutting.  It is a wonderful time to thank those who made your big day possible.

9)      Your LAST dance.  Breathe.   Look around, and take in the last moments of your day.

10)   Your send off.  Sparklers?  Fireworks?  Confetti Blast?  Motorcycle or Rolls Royce?  Honeymoon clothes?  Personalize it and make it your own.

Bethany Thomas, an Inspiration who Creates Beautiful Art for Wedding Days


Art begets Art, and I have recently been inspired by personalities, nature  and paintings.  (My husband likes when I am inspired by personalities, and nature rather than paintings, smile inserted here.)   When your wedding day has personalities, why not create something beautiful to turn your moments into memories?    Your wedding guests will LOVE looking at incredible art as part of your wedding day, and I have to give a huge Shout out to Bethany Thomas  who is an artist who knows how to personalize your wedding in a whole new way!    A trend-setting idea that can be a great element for any wedding, corporate, or non-profit event!  

It's the Start of Something New at a Wedding for Two! An Intimate Wedding in Laguna Beach

Congratulations to Rich and Michelle!  They're a match made in heaven. It is super special to plan an intimate ceremony and dinner for two, and this is the first time in my career that I have been asked to plan a wedding for two people with no other guests ( I signed as a witness for the ceremony).  Behind the scenes, it required  a lot of work!  (and happily so).

My friends have asked, "So, how to you plan a ceremony for two?"  What do two people really need to get married?  Here's my answer:  a lot!  Coordinating any event requires work and time, and that's why my team need to LOVE what they do.

Here's how it goes:  Hair and make up at 2,  photography at 3, first look at 4,  drive to the beach at 4:30,... etc, while all of the magic is happening behind the scenes....

Every wedding couple should have transportation,  flowers, a beautiful table, photography, an incredible place to stay, and,  of course, a beautiful sunset!  Great desserts should be, of course,  are the piece de resistance.

This is how we made the magic happen for Rich and Michelle:   We worked HARD and  have the best partners in the Orange County Wedding World,

including: Bloom Blox Designs

La Tavola Linens

The Island Hotel

Jo Distaso Photography

Ido Cam

Lake forest Limo

Congratulations and best wishes!