Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Crystal + Chris, Private Residence and the Villa at Lifetime Weddings & Events

Crystal and Chris' wedding was a union of two strong cultures- Vietnamese and Greek. This made for an unforgettable day filled with new family, old traditions, and even a little 'opah' here and there! We started off the day at Crystal's parents house for a traditional Vietnamese tea ceremony. I still get goosebumps thinking about it; usually the Bride's side has more family members in attendance. But this time, many of Chris' close relatives came to be a part of a tradition that they had never witnessed before. Such a strong show of support was very moving! When Crystal first walked in wearing her Ao Dai, everyone gasped- she was so beautiful, and it was amazing to hear both fathers pass along heartfelt blessings to the couple.

The day only got better from there, as we headed out (despite the heat) to Crystal's co-MOH's house for an intimate and personal ceremony. Crystal did an amazing job planning out the many details that go into having a private residence ceremony; everything looked beautiful! Then finally we were off to the Villa at Lifetime Weddings and Events for an 8-course Vietnamese lunch reception (and a little A/C). The day wouldn't have been complete without some spontaneous Greek dancing which started out with just a few men. Soon enough, even Crystal's dad was on the dance floor joining in the merriment.

Here are my favorite images from the lovely couple's special day, courtesy of Sarah K. Chen's blog:

A special thanks to the following fabulous team:

Sarah K. Chen, Photographer
Zack with Frequent Flyer Productions
DJ's Mike Tang and Steve Mendoza
Kim Chi Flowers
Lily's Bakery
Natalie Buketov who beautified all the girls
Nikki at The Villa at Lifetime Weddings and Events

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sara + Shane, to-be-wed

When Sara and I first sat down to talk about her and Shane's wedding coming up in July at Rancho Las Lomas, it didn't take us long to realize that we went to college together. In fact, we were in the greek system around the same time; which explained why she looked so familiar to me. Sara is the type of girl that is easy to become instant friends with, and I am super excited to be a part of their Big Day. The couple headed out with Jim Kennedy recently to take their engagement pictures and it looks as if they had a total blast while they were at it. Here are some of my favorites from the JKP Blog:

I love this one of Sara- she has such a killer smile

Hot, hot hot!

They are such troopers- I definitely would not be brave enough to plunge into the ocean this time of year!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Platinum Weddings by Kerrie- 'Featured Expert' on the Adorn Brides blog!

I recently had the pleasure of serving as a guest blogger/'featured expert' on the fabulous Adorn Brides "Diamonds and Dish" blog. Definitely head over there to check it out for yourself- and peruse their fantastic array of bridal bling, perfect to make you feel like a Princess on your Big Day!

Website down temporarily

I was just made aware that my server at the company that hosts the PWBK website is down. My apologies for any inconvenience. It should be back up by the end of the day, so please check back then. Thanks!

**7:05 PM UPDATE: Hooray- the site is back up! BUT my e-mail apparently was down as well from around 11 am until 3 pm today. If you sent an e-mail between that timeframe and I do not respond by tomorrow morning, I would resend it just to be safe. Thank you!**

Katy + Ty at All Saints Church and the Westin Pasadena

From the first moment that Katy's mom Sue contacted me, I knew I was going to be a part of a fun day filled with lots of love and family. With both Ty and Katy super busy with all of life's demands (he is stationed in Texas serving in the military and she is finishing up her schooling to become a pastry chef), Sue was my 'wedding liason' and it warmed my heart how much she wanted nothing but the best for her daughter and future son in law. When I did finally get to meet Katy, it was apparent that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree- she is not only gorgeous, but so genuine and sweet. And Ty, who I didn't get to meet until the wedding day due to his military commitments, is quite the gentleman. When Katy's feet were starting to ache from her beautiful new shoes, Ty came to the recue and gallantly swept her off her up and literally carried her off into the sunset- so romantic!

For your viewing pleasure, here are a few images from the love-filled day; but be sure and head over to Sarah's blog for many more fabulous pictures.

Sue made all of the bridesmaid's bouquets- aren't they gorgeous?!

Katy=stunning (and she hadn't even gotten into her gown yet!)

All Saints has the most magical feel to it- I just love it

The newlyweds exited to an army of party poppers. There was confetti everywhere- such a perfect ending to their Big Day

A special thanks to the following fabulous team:
Sarah K. Chen, Photographer
Val with VIP DJ
Liz with Spectacular Florist
Melissa at All Saints
Tricia at the Westin Pasadena

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A green wedding in the making

One of my wonderful couples (Michelle and Derek) that I am having a blast with planning their August wedding in Santa Barbara, has decided to go green with as many elements of the wedding as possible. This was a very exciting challenge for me as I had yet to plan a green wedding. They have done a wonderul job of teaching me tons of unique ways to make a wedding more environmentally friendly. I wanted to pass some of their fabulous ideas along (with their approval, of course) in the hopes that other couples will be inspired to incorporate something green into their Big Day as well. Here are just a few of their many ideas:
  • Using less paper or green paper for invites and offering an online RSVP

The paper details can add a lot to a wedding but there are ways to make just as big of an impact without them. Instead of placecards, have one seating chart. Use natural elements for table numbers; for example, find gorgeous stones and paint the table numbers on them. Michelle and Derek had Joceybella design a gorgeous map for guests, but instead of printing one out to include in the invites, they are directing guests to their wedding website to print off only if necessary.

  • Incorporating sustainable and organic food and drink

One catering company that is fabulous about ensuring their food is sustainable and working to include as many green items as possible is Good Gracious. They worked with Michelle and Derek to put together a custom menu including vegan and vegetarian options with an emphasis on fun family style food. Guests will also be able to enjoy the organic wines the couple select.

  • Limiting utensils used for food

This one is pretty self-explanatory; have fun with the cocktail hour food by choosing bite sized morsels that don't require utensils or serving vessels.

  • Providing green favors for guests

Some ideas include potted plants or seeds to be replanted. This is a gift that will keep on giving, and not just something that may or may not be used ever again.

  • Having green options on the registry

Michelle and Derek are encouraging guests to donate to charity as a part of their registry. For those guests that wish to buy them a gift, they made sure to select registries that allowed a portion of the gift price to go to various charities. They even found a store that has a line of eco-friendly furniture (check out Crate & Barrel for more info).

  • Using less flowers or veriflora certified flowers

Instead of providing bouquets for each of the bridesmaids, Michelle selected a variety of brightly colored shoes for each of the girls to choose from. This will be their fun accessory and help the girls to stand out as the bouquets would have done. The guys will be skipping the boutonnieres and instead will be wearing fun and hip attire that will add the extra pizzazz needed. For reception flowers, actual flowers will be minimal and the color will come from bright linens, fresh fruit in glass vases, and lighting.

Planning a wedding with as many green elements a possible is no easy task, but it can be done. All it takes is a little creativity and a lot of inspiration. I am proud to say that working with Michelle and Derek has even encouraged me to be more environmentally aware in my daily life. Thanks, you two:)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Boudoir or not to boudoir?

You may have caught wind of the steadily growing trend for bridal boudoir sessions as a gift to the groom. What guy wouldn't be thrilled to see pictures of his lovely wife looking hot to trot, right? But running around practically naked in front of a photographer often seems daunting and nerve-wracking to many girls. This feeling is completely legitimate, but I would like to offer some food for thought in the hopes of encouraging any girls out there *thinking* about doing b-pics to just go for it!
  • You don't necessarily need to be 'half naked'.

There are many attire options that can be great for boudoir, without being to risque (if risque isn't your thing). Is your honey a sports fanatic? Throw on his favorite team's jersey and some cute booty shorts. Voila- instant sexy! Or do you love the look of bridal white lingerie, just not the whole garter get up? You can find some gorgeous satin slips that are elegant and still scream hot mama. Whatever you choose to wear, be sure you are comfortable because you will ultimately look more relaxed if you are confident in what you have on.

  • Consider this- the shoot can be just as much for you as it will be for him.

How much fun would it be to get glammed up and have a talented photographer capture the beauty that is you from all the right angles? Super fun- and totally liberating! Most boudoir photographers love what they do because you leave the shoot feeling like a gorgeous woman, which is exactly how you should feel every day.

  • Boudoir doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg.

Be smart about your outfits, and limit yourself to a few awesome choices instead of going for a zillion costume changes. (Trust me- your hubs won't be counting outfits when he sees the pictures). And get creative if you want to avoid paying a bunch for your shoot location. Consider doing the shoot on a week day, if possible- many hotels have discounted weekday rates. Or even find a friend who is looking to do b-pics as well, and offer for her to use the room for one portion of the day while you use it for the other half. Just be sure you consider your surroundings so that your photographer has plenty of unique and picturesque options to work with.

Two of my recent brides inspired this post after I spotted their killer boudoir pictures on Sarah K. Chen's blog. My two favorites that Sarah posted are below; simply gorgeous, if I do say so myself!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Venue spotlight: Villa del Sol d'Oro, Sierra Madre

I love venues that take you to a different place and time; places where you really have no idea that you are even in California and you are able to let yourself get swept up in the overwhelming grandeur and romance that surrounds you. The Villa del Sol d'Oro in Sierra Madre (just outside Pasadena) is this type of magical place. The Santa Anita Gardens Catering (the venue's caterer) website explains why this magic comes so easy: "The Alverno Villa is a duplicate of the Villa Collazzi located on the outskirts of Florence Italy... legend has it that the Villa is the only one ever designed by the immortal Michelangelo. The Villa del Sol d’Oro is one―quarter scale to the original. Nestled at the foot of the beautiful San Gabriel Mountains in the picturesque City of Sierra Madre, the Villa was built in the “pure” Italian Renaissance Style in 1922 by the famous Pasadena architect Wallace Neff and was completed by 1928. The estate was built by Dr. Jarvis Barlow for his wife, who had visited the Villa Collazzi and wanted a house just like it." The pictures most definitely speak for themsleves: