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 The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel

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Chatting with another expert!  Michele Knutzson, Director of Weddings at The Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel, is a true pro. The the first thing that I notice about you every time I come to your property is that you truly love what you do.  You love weddings!     Thanks for sharing that you recently won an incredible award Chairman’s Circle for 2013 from The Ritz-Carlton.

Would you mind answering a few questions about your expertise in the industry?

What would be some of your personal tips for a newly engaged couple?

Keep an open mind and do your research and determine the top priorities for your wedding day.   I wish I would have had the internet when I planned my own wedding. Hiring professionals in the industry will make your wedding planning process more enjoyable.   Being flexible to have a wedding on a Friday or Sunday, Mid-Week or Short Term, especially for Destination Weddings, makes sense!

How did you start the business?

After I graduated I took a year off before continuing with my Masters’ Degree to plan my own wedding in 1995, and then decided that I wanted to continue in the Wedding World rather than pursuing a career in Marriage and Family Counseling! After all, it is somewhat related. I have been in the wedding industry for almost 18 years. I was able to land a Wedding Event Manager Position at Newport Beach Marriott and then moved to Wedding Sales in 1999 and have many fond memories within my 14 years there. I transitioned over to my dream venue The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in October 2010.

What inspires you? You are truly considered an expert, and clients and industry professionals turn to you for event advice.

I love Weddings, they are the ultimate expression of one’s life, and the personal stories that my clients share with me make each and every day unique.    When we receive the honor of being their location for their wedding ceremony and reception, it is a wonderful feeling.  I love working with wedding couples and their families.  I love the dynamics of this position there is a great balance of site visits and meeting with couples and vendors, computer and emails, phone calls and conversations and creative projects that make my days go faster than light!

Tell me more about your resort.  What do you love about The Ritz- Carlton, Laguna Niguel?

I love coming to work every day.  I am very proud to be a part of this wonderful company. We were the first luxury resort in Orange County and are celebrating our 30 year Pearl Anniversary.  The setting and incredible views still take my breath away.   The creativity in the Food and Beverage experience we provide is amazing.  Our ladies and gentlemen are like family and extremely dedicated and share the same goal and culture of The Ritz-Carlton. We have many team members who have been here since the opening of the resort in 1984.

 

What would be your advice to someone new in the wedding industry?

If you’re a new Wedding Coordinator, for example, try to coordinate as many weddings as possible and creating a partnership with a resort and vendors is important.  Networking at Wedding Industry events would be beneficial as well. Professionalism and being as efficient as possible, and being a great team player is essential.  Having the ultimate goal in mind of creating a dream wedding for the couple should be your main priority rather than just your personal contribution and will be beneficial in the long term.

You have an incredible preferred vendor list at your resort.  Could you please give me a couple of anecdotes of what it's like to work with experienced professionals?

The experience of having someone who has worked at our resort makes it a more seamless experience for our couples.    New vendor partners can also offer fresh and new perspectives, and we’re always open to meet new vendors who can bring fresh eyes to our weddings celebrations at our resort.

What do you like to do for fun?

I really enjoy coming to work as I feel like I am on vacation when I am here!  In my free time, I like dedicate every minute to spending time with my family and three kids, whether it’s volunteering at their schools and doing school projects, going to an amusement park, skiing,  going to the beach, soccer and softball games, traveling and enjoying a great meal and dessert, shopping and gardening.

If you could do any job in the wedding industry, what would it be?

I am very fortunate, I am doing my dream job at my dream venue. I couldn’t be happier.

 

A big thank you to Michael & Anna Costa for their photography, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel for the venue, Square Root Designs for the floral arrangements, and Nisie's Enchanted Florist for their floral arrangements.

The Swellegant Seven: Real Advice From Mike Steffans, Essence Entertainment Event Expert

Whenever Swellegant has a need for expert entertainment, one of the first people we turn to is Mike Steffans from Essence Entertainment.  He has been in the industry long enough to understand everything.  At the same time he stays fresh and on top of trends.  I always love learning from the best. Why is Essence Entertainment is so well respected in the industry?

"Essence Entertainment is a Talent Agency.  Some of the respect comes from the fact that we have been around since 1983.  We are on every major hotel vendor list.    I take personal pride in the performers and the service that we provide.  I let the talent know, that even though our client is important, our venues are also important.  One of the things that differentiates us from other companies is that our talent are all true professionals.  We do 60 events per month.  I represent Owner/ Operators who are very talented."

What would be your best piece of advice for someone new in the industry?

"Develop one on one relationships with people at venues who refer you.  You must develop a referral base."

What is the best piece of advice for a newly engaged couple when finding talent?

"Ask their Wedding Planner for their Preferred Vendor List.  Referrals matter."

What is the best piece of advice for a hotel when referring you?

"I love to deal directly with the client, and they all know that I will take care of them."

What keeps it fresh and inspirational?

"I love what I do.  I truly do enjoy finding entertainment for people’s events."

How do you keep a balance in the business?

"I constantly remind myself that, even though this may be my '1,000th'wedding, it is my clients’ first and only wedding!"

Why are you on the preferred vendor list?

"My clients and venues know that when they call me, they will be well taken care of."

What do you do for fun?

"I spend time with my daughter and wife."

 

Thank you so much to Mike Steffans at Essence Entertainment!

The Swellegant Seven: Real Advice From Event Expert, Frank Salas

I had the pleasure... and, it is always a pleasure... to spend some time with the one and only Frank Salas, Master of Photography.  He's a true gentleman in every sense of the word. Here's the Swellegant Seven, from Frank's perspective:

The best piece of advice to give to newly engaged couples:

"Do your research.  Not just online, but take the time the time to visit vendors face to face.  Building relationships is super important.  Nothing replaces face to face meetings.  I prefer to call someone vs. email, and get to know you."

How we first met:

Frank: "No I really don’t remember, sadly.  I’m sure it was at a wedding… maybe at The Nixon Library? (Laugh) "

Me: "Thanks, Frank.  (Laugh)  I remember when we met, and it was because you, at the time, were wearing a really cool tie."

Some of Frank's strengths:

"I believe that I really build a relationship with my clients, and that is important.  We already know that we’ll get great photos… create a beautiful album.  It’s beyond photography.  I do multiple sessions… new baby sessions, family sessions, and continued follow up with couples long after their wedding."

What it looks like to work with a really great planner:

"Comfort and confidence.    Less stress, not only for the couples, but for all of the vendors as well.  Sometimes, couples will think that a planner is “for the rich and famous”, but in fact, it isn’t.  A planner instantly puts a couple of ease."

The best piece of advice to someone new in the industry:

"Continue your education.  I always suggest that you continually put efforts into your own business.  Don’t copy everyone else.  If your work doesn’t shine, you’ll continue to be limited."

How do you keep things fresh and inspirational:

"Inspiration can go a couple of ways for me.  My photography is inspired by trends and art forms.  I’m also inspired daily by my couples and their excitement.  That takes me to a whole new level.  As we all say, 'We love our clients, don’t we?'"

 

Thank you so much to Frank Salas at Master of Photography!

Ten Trendsetting Ideas for 2014 Weddings

Art begets art and I have recently been inspired by the Oscars,  museums, fashion, and my latest clients.    Events tend to follow the latest trends in fashion and this is what I am seeing in 2014.  Be inspired! 1. The pantone color of the year is Radiant Orchid and I am seeing it everywhere.

2. Big BOLD prints are in.

3. The Oscars highlighted video mapping and we are seeing it at all types of events now.

4. When you create a beautiful environment, your guests will love, "what we call bringing your living room into your event space". Comfortable and chic furniture IS being used in place of typical round tables. Your guests won't want to leave.

5. Bringing food into your decor is happening everywhere. 

6. Floral design this year is bigger and better then ever. Peonies, Patience Roses from France, and of course, Radiant orchids are huge this year.

7. Bold hair embellishments are the hot new commodity for brides and your bridal party.

8. Bringing a cool and intriguing restaurant experience to your wedding dinner is what the best caterers are creating in 2014.

9. Interactive Bars: think tequila and bourbon tasting, make your own margaritas, bloody marys, or espresso bars.

10. Sweet Endings: The ideas truly Are endless. Farewell stations(instead of favors at every place setting), bride and groom send offs and everything from a helicopter to fireworks.

Photography and blog content credits: The Youngrens, Joy Marie Photography , Wildflower linen, Latavola Linen , LUVROX Photography,  Rowell Photography, Jim Kennedy Photographers , Room Forty Catering, Sweets Indeed, One and Only Paris Photography, Robin Lin Photography , Candice Cornelius Photography, Conscious Bean, Christopher Todd Photography

The Swellegant Seven: Real Advice From Event Expert, Larrissa Rehder, of Inviting Occasion

I am always honored to work with the very best partners in the Event Industry.     This spring, I'll be highlighting some of my favorite event people!  I had a cup of tea with the incredible Larrissa and Johnny from Inviting Occasion, and talked about what it looks like behind the scenes... The Drive to Be Successful with a Business:

Larrissa: "I am a people pleaser and I love making my clients happy.  Seeing the entire project come through to fruition is amazing."

Johnny: "When I see what we've created together, and always doing something new is what drives me."

A Little Bit About the First Time Larrissa and I Met:

"We met at The Dock in Newport Beach several years ago, at an event, when you said, 'Wow. What you did here is so cool.  How much would something like this cost?' " (Laugh.)

How is it Working with Real Professionals:

“It makes our job so much easier, and the client gains a more cohesive experience.  There is a mutual understanding.    For Johnny, behind the scenes, 'Experience shows your knowledge and there are far fewer mistakes.   There are no loose ends.  When I work with you and your Swellegant Team, I know we're going to take great care of our clients."

A Few Pieces of Advice For Someone New in the Industry:

Johnny: "New planners want to micromanage.  You, as an experienced planner, let's us, as professionals, shine in what we do best."

Larrissa: "Persevere."

A Few Pieces of Advice for Newly Engaged Couples:

"Enjoy the process.  Keep it simple.  Stay in the moment.  Be realistic about what you can spend, and understand a 'Pinterest' photo may cost 10 times over your budget."

The Most Important Thing that a Planner/ Producer can do for you:

"'Let us work as a team."

When are you guys getting married?

"OK. Enough already, Natalie.  Stop asking us.  You'll be the first to know."

 

Thank you to Inviting Occasion for making sure everything is perfect with fine detail.  Can't wait until our next event together!

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A Swellegant Secret: Conscious Bean is the Perfect Finishing Detail for your Event

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A Swellegant Secret:  Conscious Bean.  I love when someone is incredibly passionate about their business, and this experience is just SO over the top fabulous, that I have to take the time to share!  As I write this at 5:48 AM, with no coffee in hand, I'm dreaming of Matthew and his crew showing up on my doorstep. If you're considering adding a memorable detail to your event, look no further.  Here's what Matthew says about Conscious Bean.  His description may be a bit long, but that's what happens when you're truly passionate about your business!

"Its the details that make an event truly special. The attention to the little things that really make you say wow. Recently I had the pleasure of working with a vendor who made me say wow. Simply the coolest, most amazing coffee service ever... Conscious Bean (but the owner refers to it as an organic pop up boutique cafe.) The attention to detail made Conscious Bean truly special. First off, the chrome equipment gleamed against the reclaimed dark hardwood bar. While the fresh ingredients floating in glass bottles brought life and warmth to the rich surface. The barista seemed very at home behind the iron framed bar. Like a craftsman behind his workbench he individually tailoring drinks to each guests desire. Every ingredient chosen with care and intention. The entire 53 drink menu had something for coffee and tea lovers, sweet tooths, those who don’t like coffee and even as a dairy bar for kids! The drinks were not only organic, but all the flavorings were homemade from true, genuine ingredients, free of chemicals and additives. The products were all biodegradable, reusable or renewable and if that wasn’t enough, the entire thing condenses down into a shiny black Toyota Prius! Yes, a Prius. The barista explained to me the special attention they pay to the water they use, but I was slightly mesmerized by his dashing smile, I digress.

 One way or another, I was genuinely impressed by definitively the coolest...coffee station, espresso stand, cappuccino cart, brew bar…whatever it is, whatever you choose to call Conscious Bean, it is truly fabulous. A shining testament to what is possible from honestly caring about the details. Their slogan is “The finest the earth has to offer.” the owner, Matthew Evilsizor said "We bring the best to your lips, so those lips will offer the same love to the world.” I found that very fitting. The mocha I had, literally warmed my soul. It was made with an organic whole milk in a glass bottle (how cool is that!) from Straus Creamery (they also offer and organic almond or hemp milk but the Straus milk made maybe the smoothest creamiest froth I’ve ever had), a rich but smooth espresso roasted like it was created specifically to be paired with the organic fair-trade dutched baking chocolate and raw cane sugar. Heaven in a cup, no whip cream need. The drink was well balanced. I could taste each delicious element of my glorious libation. I had to go back for another. Studying the menu I came across a Hug. Lets just say, I thought nothing could be better than the mocha, and I was wrong. If you haven’t yet been privy to Conscious Bean, you better get on it. Worth every penny and good to the last drop. Conscious Bean will make you say wow."

Gorgeous Couple + Gorgeous Day at The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel = Perfection

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Once Rachel saw the gorgeous view for her wedding at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel, she knew it would be perfect for Oren and her!  Aaaahhhh... that view truly is one of a kind. They were so much in love, and had such a fun Bridal party, that we wanted to share a few photos to highlight their special day.

Check out Rachel's gorgeous dress!  Amazing.

Congratulations, once again, Rachel and Oren!  A lifetime of happiness to you.

Special thanks to :The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel and Michael and Anna Costa and all of the other incredible partners who made Rachel and Oren's wedding so special.

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Swellegant Love Reunion 2013

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June is the month of weddings, but Natalie and her team at  Swellegant took a break last weekend  to celebrate clients (and their kids) from past weddings.

Why?  Just to have a little fun.  The Love Reunion had  everything from a Milk Bar (for the kids) to a  Bloody Mary and Mimosa Bar (for the adults).  Music, games, photography, gorgeous décor, fabulous food, and love notes were part of the brunch.   There were a lot of little guys running around  and a couple of little gals.    The ratio of kids: 5 guys to 1 gal!  Matchmaking in the works in the future.  So super fun!

The best part of the Love Reunion was connecting clients with one another, and sharing the love of the couples’ wedding days.    The other best part?  The hugs and thank-yous from past clients.

Natalie and her team are  humbled to say that we have the very best clients in the world.  When clients become friends, they're part of the Swellegant family.

A special thank you to:  (This feels like an Oscar Speech with no time limit)

Lovey (Natalie's husband) Max, Joey, and Hanna,   for everything, every day, behind the scenes.

Jason's Catered Events  for the fabulous appetizers.

Jo Distaso for the fantastic photos.

Atmosphere DJ for the groovy music.

Dolce Gelato for the yummy dessert.

Ion Vodka for the delicious drinks.

Sweet Roli for the tasty treats.

Bloom Box Designs for the beautiful flowers and decor.

Girl Friday Designs for the adorable invitations.

Signature Party Rentals for the beautiful linens, tables and chairs.

BTB Events for the carnival games.

Brandi's Irvine Il Fornaio Baby Shower

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Welcome to the world,  baby Addison. We had so much fun organizing this baby shower for Brandi McNaughton of Girl Friday Designs.  She has been the #1 Graphic Designer for us for years.

Sometimes, a simple, beautiful party, welcoming a beautiful baby girl, is just perfection!

Special thanks to:

Bloompia for Design

Il Fornaio for the incredible food

Mayra Fiori https://www.facebook.com/MayraE.Fiori

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Take a Peek at our Flavors of San Juan Capistrano Tour

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Looking for an awesome location for a rehearsal dinner or wedding or a really cool event for your family visiting for your wedding? SJC rocks it and The Flavors of San Juan Capistrano Tour is the way to go.  I have the inside scoop...  I hopped on the Amtrak on a Wednesday morning, paid the $10 first class fare (13 minute ride from Irvine) and hugged it out with  a group of totally cool Event Professionals, and explored the hidden (and not so hidden) sites in  San Juan Capistrano.   I loved organizing this trip and would love to share my secrets with you. 

Special thanks to :

 Our Incredible Tour Guide:  Laura Castel De Oro  www.flavorsofsanjuancapistrano.com

Our Wonderful Photographer and Friend:  Joel Maus  www.studioemp.com

Coffee and Insane Cupcakes:  www.hiddenhousecoffee.com

Great Ambiance, Food, Wine, and Ghost:  www.thevintagesteakhouse.com

Rick’s Café where everyone must eat and see a movie:  www.regencymovies.com

A Familiar Face, Great wine, Tasting, and Shopping:  www.fivevineswinebar.com

Franciscan Gardens 24 Carrots Catering and Venue  Awesome Food and Martinis:  www.franciscangardens.com

Guest Blogger Michael McCaleb from Mission Visual on Why Wedding Videography Matters

Once in a while, I'll hear  from my clients:  "I"m not sure I'll want or need wedding  videography.  Why do you think I need it?"
 Instead of giving them my schpeel, I went right to one of my favorite videographers, to get his opinions.
Thanks, Mike, from Mission Visual for your expertise!  Check out this awesome video from Mike...  http://www.missionvisual.com/archives/seven-degrees-wedding-videographer-ashleigh-metin
and listen to his expert advice:
Why Your Wedding Film Will Be Your Favorite in Ten Years (Or One)
Memory Fades

The first one is obvious to anyone who has ever been married.  You forget.  Oftentimes, the next day.  With so much going on during preparations, the ceremony, and your reception, you just won't physically or mentally be able to take it all in.
At the time I got married, I had been making wedding films for seven years.  I felt that my passion for making films was high, and I understood everything about what I did.  The day after my wedding was an eye opener.  I realized that even though it was an eight hour day, and we only had about 90 guests, I didn't remember conversations.  I couldn't remember the order things happened.  I didn't realize that someone

hadn't been at the reception.  When I edited my own film, I saw things that I NEVER EVEN KNEW ABOUT.  Film has the ability to record things from a permanent, different perspective.

Sound
One of the things I couldn't remember was my Dad's speech.  No, I had not taken more than my share of the champagne.  I just couldn't remember.  I had my two best friends there, and they each said something.  What was it?
Film has a trump card that photography can NEVER beat.  We record sound.  Ever watched a movie without sound?  Sometimes you can figure out what is happening, but the dialog sure helps to discover the plot.  Years ago, when videography was not affordable, parents of the bride would say "We never had a video. You don't NEED one."  Isn't that like saying that they didn't have nerve blockers for pregnancies, so why should we use them now?
Cheese
Wedding films CAN be cheesy.  No, I'm not talking about bad wedding films.  The kind with animated hearts and bibles, and star filters.  I'm talking about the candid moments that can't be caught by photography alone.  A photographer can take a picture of someone dancing like a fool, but isn't a film clip WAY better?
Film has the ability to be funny.  I just had a client where we put together a five minute reel of outtakes.  It was their favorite part of the video.  (Mine too.)  Sometimes, the funny things that your family and friends say get lost in the shuffle of a busy day, and it's really fun to go back and remember those things.
History
Probably the one thing that gets overlooked by brides is the historical quality of film.  A wedding is a time when the bride and groom each have their family together, and it's a special time.  It is the perfect opportunity to get candid footage of the family members enjoying such an exuberant celebration.
As a company, we take the time to ask for comments from the family members.  We aren't pushy about it.  (If you have to beg, the comment probably won't be very good, anyways.)  We take each member to the lobby or a quiet area, and just ask them to talk to the bride and groom.  Maybe not everyone will do it, but if we can get the parents and other family members, it becomes a historical document.  Ten or twenty years down the line, when the grandkids and great grandkids watch it, it becomes so much more important.  And because the professional filmmaker is not a member of the family, they are unbiased, and can focus equally on everyone.
This became so much more apparent to me at my own wedding.  We had aunts and uncles, cousins, and long lost friends.  One of them was my aunt from Arizona.  The filmmaker that we used was able to get a comment from her and my uncle.  That comment became immensely important, three years later, when she died of Lou Gehrig's disease.  We realized it was the only video that we had of her speaking.  Now, when my son watches the film, he knows who she was.
It Wasn't In Our Budget
As a professional, one of the most common things that I hear when talking to prospective clients for the first time is that they weren't planning on having a video.  There are always many reasons, but the usual one is that it's an added expense that they hadn't considered.  That always makes me sad, especially if they are working with a wedding planner.  Photography and film are the only two things about a wedding that can be considered AN INVESTMENT.  They will be around a lot longer than the flowers, cake, food, or party favors.  A good planner understands this, and discusses them both very early in the planning process.
Make the investment for your future family, and hire a professional wedding filmmaker!
Check out some of Mission Visual's fantastic videography here!

We're Honored to have Ashley and Anthony's Nixon Library Wedding Featured on The Knot

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We are so honored to be featured on The Knot this week! Ashley and Anthony were a joy to work with, and I had so much fun planning their event with them--talk about a genuine and sweet couple with wonderful families.

Here's a sneak peak of their beautiful purple inspired wedding at the

Richard Nixon Library.   Enjoy!

Special thanks to Studio EMP Jason's Catered Events, The Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace, Simply Sweet Cakery, Renowned Events, and Designs by Tricia.

Our Photo Shoot At The Island Hotel

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WOW--What an experience!   Working with the  talents

and the experts at The Island Hotel  in Newport Beach, California, to stage three distinct events was an exciting project. It was a great way for all of us to show our creative abilities and to be able to produce three glorious events, where WE got to make all of the aesthetic decisions!

On the first day of shooting, we decided to produce a wedding with a very romantic feel. Everything was white and taupe, and there were flowers and greens everywhere. The tables were stacked high with candles and flowers, and even the dessert favors had sprigs of lavender on them. We wanted this event to be very natural and elegant. For the ceremony, we had beautiful wooden chairs and vintage benches, adorned with greens and draped with fabric. The bride and groom were framed with pale pink cherry blossoms, and each bridesmaid held bouquets with pale pink and white blooms.

It was a joy working with the team who helped put on this photo shoot.   A special thanks to Hope Stanley of Marry Me Bridal for the styling of the bridal parties, Diego Ortega and Tricia Kim from Joshua Christopher Salon for hair styling, Lauren Breedon for makeup, Christopher Griffiths of Christopher TODD Studios for photography, Orange Clementine for the delicious desserts, The Event Company OC for  their wonderful set designs, Found Vintage Rentals for their furniture, and Larissa from Inviting Occasions   for floral design.

Curbing Your Control Complex- 10 Insider Secrets To Help You Relax and Enjoy Your Wedding Day

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A wedding requires meticulous planning, and you want to leave as little to chance as possible.  For years, I have been hearing from my Brides that their friends were SURPRISED that they were so relaxed on their wedding day.   Here are some of my insider secrets for YOU if you are a Bride who has trouble giving up control.

  •  Hire Experienced Professionals and make sure to have a Great Wedding Planner. This will
  • comprare viagra be your one and only wedding, but for professionals in the industry, we’ve had experience in dealing with many difficult situations.  We can help you greatly calm your nerves.
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  • Delegate.  When one of your friends asks you, “What can I do?” give them a small task and check it off your list!
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    wedding-planning-tools
  • Hire Experienced Professionals and make sure to have a Great Wedding Planner. This will be your one and only wedding, but for professionals in the industry, we’ve had experience in dealing with many difficult situations.  We can help you greatly calm your nerves.
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    images-12
  • Turn off your cell phone.   Anyone calling you on your wedding day really should be speaking to someone else other than YOU.  Hand your cell phone over to one of your trusted attendants.
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    187241fde868559354b8edca7bdc7956
  • Surround yourself with positive people.
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  • Have your favorite quote, scripture, or photo framed and on display where you are getting ready.  It will help keep you centered and calm.
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  • Do not plan on doing anything other than being a Bride.  If you’re a DIY gal, DIY every other day than your wedding day.  Today, you deserve to enjoy every moment.
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  • Plan relaxing events in your wedding day timeline.  A Chair Massage before hair and make-up?  Absolutely.  Your favorite foods for lunch.  Yes, please.
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  • Make sure you have a copy of all Vendor’s Cell Phone Numbers tucked away in case of emergency.
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  •  Focus on looking and feeling great!  Your photos and video will stay with you long after your wedding day.
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  • Remember the most important thing about your Wedding day.    You’re beginning your life with the person that you love, and there will be many other days that you’ll have the ability to orchestrate every detail.  For today, just take the time to LOVE.
  • Top 5 Wedding Foods That I’ll Never Forget!

    Banquet food is sometimes.  Boring.  It’s necessary, but not always memorable.   Forget Chipper Chicken, Mediocre Filet, and bland mashed potatoes.  As an Event Planner for 10 years, and a “foodie” (how do we ever get away from that word?) I love creating incredible  customized menus for my clients.  I got inspired to share some of my favorites when reading  the recent Huffington Post article.

    Here are five wedding food items that my clients still talk about, and why they call me to give them my “foodie finds” when they’re planning their next event.  Think FUN and INTERACTION.  That’s what your guests will remember.

    Start with Dragon’s Breath Popcorn from www.24carrots.com    This popcorn is frozen using liquid nitrogen, and when popped into the mouth, it releases a cloud of vapor that exits the diner’s nose and mouth, giving the effect of a dragon blowing smoke. So fun!

    dragon's breath popcorn-1
    dragon's breath popcorn-1

    Add in the Caribbean Rumaki from www.jasonscatering.com  Bacon wrapped plantains in a secret rum brown sugar glaze.  Beyond delicious.   This is one of the very best tray- passed appetizers known to wedding couples across Southern California.

    Caribbean-Rumaki-Appetizer
    Caribbean-Rumaki-Appetizer

    Give your guests the Fromager Service from www.roomforty.com when they are seated, and they’ll feel immediately like family.  Steve’s assorted Spanish and French Cheeses, Farm to table veggies, poached fruit, and local honeycomb are all so simple (You’d think) but so refined.  Add in the candied nuts and the artisan breads and you’re in heaven.

    Basque Board
    Basque Board

    So, you’re thinking… this is too complicated.  I don’t want any of this stuff.  Simplify things with BBQue.  Yes.  BBQue.  If smoke is your flavor (and I’ve been told it is the flavor of 2013… there’s even a smoked water company to make smoky cocktails!)  Two of my favorite clients from last year had a BBQue dinner with bibs and all.  So fun and so delicious.    The best BBQue in So Cal is  www.richardjonespitbbq.com .  The man is a genius.  If you’re in KC or Texas, you’ll have your favorites, too, of course.

    Richard Jones-1
    Richard Jones-1

    Finally, if you’re looking to have the most spectacular experience, arrange a tasting menu for your guests.  Five to Eight Courses.  Small Bites.   Give you guests something to really remember.   Rick Bayless (Yep.  Top Chef Status) from www.fronteragrill.com and www.topolobampo.com created the best

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    tasting menu in cialis online pharmacy 2012 for my clients .  He’s based in Chicago, but spends much of his time in Mexico, learning his craft.  Favorite item on his menu?  Mochomos.  Crunchy  threads of beef bristled and cripy onion strings, guacamole, and spicy salsa roja.

    Bon Appetit.  Be swell.  I’m off on my next Foodie Find Wandering.

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    Jessie and Chris: A Wedding Sendoff Worth Remembering

    Jessie & Chris

    When I say that this was a wedding sendoff that was worth remembering, I mean it! Last summer we had the honor and pleasure of working with Jessie and Chris;  truly kind hearted, down to earth, wonderful couple.

    Their wedding sendoff was well planned, adorned with sparklers and a drive off into the moonlight on a motorcycle that Chris had crafted himself.

    Everything went according to plan until...well...just check out the awesome photos below courtesy of Ashley Bee Photography (who was

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    also a joy to work with).

    The bike started per usual, but then we heard the put, put, put, and it eventually stopped running. After time and time again of trying to restart the motorcycle...nothing...until about five minutes later. Of course, Jessie and Chris took it stride like they do everything else, and were so funny and gracious about the entire situation.

    The crowd went absolutely wild!



    A Chat With roomforty catering: What's Trending in the LA Catering Scene

    Room Forty

    I sat down with Steve Fortunato from roomforty catering  (Lucky me.) , and loved his  perspective on what's happening in the catering world in LA.  It helps me help YOU  create your perfect event.

    Steve says:   "L.A. has joined NYC , Chicago and San Fran as an innovator in dining, and so the top trends we're seeing are clients looking for innovation in their cuisine. This excites us as you can imagine, as this is what we're all about.

    When we started this business, there were ZERO catering companies making a critical impact in the hospitality business.....you would never read Food and Wine magazine, or the food section of the L.A. Times, and read about a caterer....only a restaurant.....historically, catering has been the necessary ugly step child of the hospitality biz that has let restaurants lead the way, and does it's best to copy restaurants while scratching it's head trying to figure out how to do for 400 people what the cool restaurant just did for four people.

    This is changing--we are excited to be part of that change, and humbly, in certain aspects, leading the charge.

    Molecular. As you

    know molecular gastronomy has taken off in the innovative dining scene...whether it's Alinea in Chicago, Eleven Madison

    Park in New York, Providence and Ink in L.A.....the intersection between food and science has diners excited about what is possible when you bring the scientific process into the kitchen.Few (I know none in L.A.) catering companies have yet to adopt molecular gastronomy into their cooking as it is a steep learning curve.

    All this to say, the trend we're seeing in L.A. from destination clients? A demand for the same innovation in a catered event that the L.A. restaurant scene has to offer.

    Our coolest idea? Embracing that....so...a couple of examples:

    Exhibit "A": Our version of "fish and chips." So we take the standard flavor profiles of fish and chips--potato, fish and malt vinegar....re-interpret it, and add molecular.....so as opposed to drizzling malt vinegar over the fish, through molecular gastronomy (m.g.), we make "malt vinegar caviar" (those are the little caviar looking balls on the fish) that adds the flavor component of malt vinegar, but adds the to drama and innovation of the dish by using m.g.

    Another form of Molecular Gastronomy is through the use of powders. We can add a flavor component without actually adding the food in it's whole form. "

    My response to Steve?  That's some really cool stuff that will knock the socks off of any discriminating catering client.   Thanks for the inspiration.

    This year, I'm saying in each and every way in  my Event Planning, "WHAT IF?  and WHY NOT?"    Our team is thinking not only  Outside the Box but we're using the Best in the Industry  to turn your event moments into lifelong memories.

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    Autumn and Dan: A Vegan Wedding at The Richard Nixon Library Filled with Laughter and Love

    DSC_1605

    A Wedding at The Richard Nixon Library with all Vegan Food?  Absolutely!  I do LOVE  all of my clients, but I really loved planning Autumn and Dan's Wedding at The Richard Nixon Library.  They were so much fun... every meeting was like being part of a

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    Thanks to  Jason's Catered Events who put together an awesome vegan menu:

    What does a vegan wedding menu look like?  Here you go:  vegan kalbi beef skewers, vegan carribean rumaki, Daiya Cheese Quesadilla, Bruschetta, Compressed Arugula and Spinach Salad, Mediterranean Crepe with a Pesto Dollop, Basmati Rice Pilaf,, Jumbo Asparagus, Tomato with Cucumber tzatziki, Hummus, Caponata, and 7 Grain Pita.  The guests (even the biggest meat eaters around) loved what was served.    

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    The dancing and the fun that night?  Unstoppable.


    A special thanks to all of the vendors that made this day so special for Autumn and Dan! The Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace, Swellegant Events,  Jason's Catered Events, Joel Maus Photography, Atmosphere Entertainment, Flower Allie, and Luscious Organic Desserts

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    TOP 11 Questions You Should Ask your Wedding Caterer

    Top 11  Questions YOU should Ask a Caterer and Top 11 Pieces of Advice from ME

     featured in Style Unveiled

     An Experienced Wedding Planner with The Inside Scoop

    Congratulations and Best Wishes!  You’re engaged, and maybe a bit overwhelmed with the Wedding Planning Process.  You’re ready to find and book a caterer, and you need a few shortcuts to “get to the Bottom Line.”  I’ve been behind the scenes in the Catering business for over 10 years, and this list should help you be efficient and smart with your

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    questions.

    Rancho Las Lomas Gorgeous Wedding with Food as The Focus
    Rancho Las Lomas Gorgeous Wedding with Food as The Focus

      Question1: What do you do best and why do your clients love you?

    Advice:  Caterers LOVE to talk about what they do best!  Why not ask that question right out of the box?  You’ll most likely get a straightforward answer and get a great sense of the Catering Company Style.

    Question 2:  What is your RANGE of pricing for the type of party I am interested in having, and would you describe yourself

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    as a budget, mid-range, or high end caterer?

    Advice:  Many caterers have wonderful packages that they can send over right away, while others will send a customized proposal when you give them your specific desires.  MOST caterers won’t give you specifics on the first phone call, but should be back to you within 48 hours with some sort of pricing.

    Question 3:  Will you customize my menu?

    Advice:  Know what you want when you ask that question.  Here’s the rub on this one:  If you want three specialty drinks,  your Mom’s famous Chicken Piccata, or the latest trend from Top Chef, ask up front so that the caterer can put together a well-informed quote.

    Question 4:  Do you have a minimum for your

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    events and when is my guest count due?

    Advice:  Make sure that you understand the fine print when signing the contract.  Let’s say that you think you’re going to have 200 guests.  Are you guaranteeing all 200 guests when you sign your contract?  50%?  80%? Find our when your final guest count is due.

    Question 5:    How many times will we meet before our Wedding and will you meet me for a final venue walk-through?

    Advice:  The bottom line is that you want to be comfortable with your Catering Sales Specialist.  Your wedding planning process should be FUN, and so should the people that you work with.

    Question 6:  Will you create a floor plan, timeline, and oversee the entire event for us?

    Advice:  This is an important question, SO listen carefully to the answer.  A great Caterer usually creates a floor plan, and can assist with the flow of food, beverage and service, but they are NOT a Wedding Planner or an Emcee and don’t usually oversee the entire event and take care of all details for you.

    Question 7:  What are a couple of totally cool things that you’ve created that won’t break my bank?

    Advice:  Once again, even though it is “All about YOU and your wedding “ (and it should be!), you’re not the first wedding that has been catered.  Ask the professionals their best advice, and listen to it!

    Question 8:  Who do I (or my Wedding Planner) call if they need something?

    Advice:  Understand who you’ll be working with through the process, and know who will be present on your wedding day.

    Question 9:  Do you have any references online that I can read?

    Advice:  Because we live in times of full disclosure because of Wedding Wire, Yelp, The Knot, websites, and blogs, read up!  Know the answer to this question before you ask it.

    Question 10: Do you have a liquor license and liquor liability insurance?

    Advice:  Enough said.   Someone has to have both of those items in order to serve alcohol.

    Question 11: Are you a full service caterer and  are there any hidden costs that could come up along the way that we might not know about now?

    Advice:  Make sure that all food, beverage, rentals, service staff, and gratuities are covered up front.

    Once again, congratulations and good luck!  For continued advice on your wedding planning, keep following my blog at  www.swellegant.com for insider tips of the trade.

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