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When A Wedding Planner Weds | The Reception Soirée Story: A “Mobile Dinner Feast”

Blog, Event Industry Businesses & Professionals, Real Weddings, Special Events / 05.05.20170 comments

When we announced to some of our closest friends that we just got married in a secret destination elopement to Santa Fe, New Mexico, one text came back immediately from a long-time friend:  “We want to host a reception for you when you return to celebrate.”  Seeing as this text was from one of the area’s leading event partners and her daughter, a professional wedding and event planner who had been my Associate for so many years, we knew we were in for something special.  But just how special, we did not know until we arrived at the private home of our hosts Heidi and Mike Whitcomb, owners of Ventura Rental Party Center for a grand celebration in style.  Event planners extraordinaire Heidi and Ashley  of Events by Ashley W. produced a night we – and our family and friends- will never forget.  My husband and I did not do one bit of the planning nor were we involved at all.  We provided them with a guest list and literally just showed up and stepped into our reception.  In fact, being on the other side of planning a wedding was almost overwhelming. I remember staring at our wedding cake for cake-cutting not quite sure how to tackle it, despite the fact I’ve counseled hundreds of couples for over 15 years on this exact act.

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Wine Country Experiences | Vineyard Yoga: A Meditation of Movement

Blog, Event Planning Advice / 04.23.20172 comments

As a third generation Santa Barbaran and one whose business has largely been centered in wine country, I am always trying to stay aware of unique experiences for my clients and their guests when they visit my hometown.  Vineyard Yoga SYV (Santa Ynez Valley) is an experience that you simply won’t get at any yoga studio and if you come to Santa Barbara and /or its wine country (The Santa Ynez Valley), this is a must.

Founded by Certified Yoga Instructor Cori Crawford Lassahn, Vineyard Yoga SYV offers guests a relaxing setting at some of Santa Barbara wine country’s most beautiful wineries surrounded by vineyards and panoramic views. Instructor Cori graciously welcomes guests of all abilities and her presence as she guides students through all the moves and the experiences is one of the main differentials between this and other yoga classes.  She continually rotates her teaching position so that students on all sides of the class have equal opportunity to hear her and see her examples;  her music playlist songs are carefully chosen to relax, inspire (and even, in a few cases, boogie – as I found myself bopping slightly to the beat during warrior pose, which was fun).  Every movement had a purpose as a “meditation”, as we were all invited to be present with the feeling of

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Mark & Cristina Enjoy Mobile Wedding Planning Tour for 2 and Find Their Dream Wedding Location

Blog, Event Planning Advice, Industry Shenanigans, Innovations / 04.11.20170 comments

Photo by Jose Villa

The Mobile Wedding Planning Tour for Two is perfect for couples just like Mark and Cristina who knew without a doubt they wanted to get married in Santa Barbara, but a) did not know where to start and b) were not sure they wanted to invest in a full-service wedding planner  and c) had a limited spending plan  (aka “budget”).

One of the biggest mistakes I see newly-engaged couples make is to spend weeks or months researching venues in an area on their own, and then when they find their dream venue, often fall so in love with it that they do whatever it takes to book it and sometimes a site fee alone can eat up almost half  (or a good portion) of their spending plan, if they aren’t careful.  They then find themselves over-committed financially and sacrificing on the other absolutely-crucial elements necessary for a lovely, memorable event for themselves and their guests.  All of this could be avoided with coming into the whole planning experience with an overall spending plan and a professional to guide them up front.

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Our Live Broadcast Day of Mobile Wedding Planning Tour for Mark & Cristina

Blog, Event Planning Advice, Innovations / 04.09.20170 comments

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“Jump Start Your Wedding Planning” Mobile Wedding Tour For Two

Blog, Industry Shenanigans, Innovations / 03.27.20170 comments

Before “My Big Fat Fake Wedding”, before the “Faux Wedding” there was The Mobile Wedding Planning Experience (also known as The Mobile Bridal Faire), developed and copyrighted by Santa Barbara Wine Country Weddings & Events CEO/Founder Kerry Lee (Dickey) Doehr in 2004.  This event provided a luxury motorcoach tour to 5 leading Santa Barbara venues, which were all decorated as “real” weddings and receptions (some with model bride & groom as well).  This allowed guests to interact with event partners in their element, as well as provided event partners the opportunity to showcase themselves in front of pre-qualified leads (every attendee had to be looking to plan some aspect of their wedding).

Ms. (Dickey) Doehr’s ground-breaking industry concept earned her the attention of upscale luxury national wedding resource Grace Ormonde Wedding Style Magazine, where they created an exclusive category for her as well as The Texas Board of Tourism who contacted her for consultation on how this was done to further their destination wedding revenue stream.  There was no doubt that this was a win for event partners and wedding clientele alike and created a whole new business model and concept.

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Certified Wedding Professional and 3rd generation Santa Barbaran Kerry Lee (Dickey) Doehr has continued this concept through the years but customized it on a more intimate level for couples until the next big mass mobile bridal faire is produced (TBA). 

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Rain or Shine, Alisal Ranch Provided Glow for Newlyweds Megan & Joe

Blog, Real Weddings / 12.29.20160 comments

img_7664Bride Megan’s family have been long time guests of the legendary and historic Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort, like so many of the couples who choose to exchange vows at the ranch.  Alisal holds a deeply meaningful place in the family traditions of so many.  Megan and Joe hosted their wedding ceremony in one of the ranch’s main pastures, with cocktails in the Sycamore Room, a gorgeous dinner at Creekside under the canopying Sycamore trees, ending with dancing and more fun back in the Sycamore Room for the rest of the evening.  We decided to put the majority of focus of design where guests would be spending most of their time:  cocktails, dinner and dancing.

Sometimes the best plans are unexpectedly enhanced when a change occurs.  With specialty lighting planned to

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Heart-Centered Destination Elopement Featuring a Santa Barbara Photo Safari Experience

Blog, Real Weddings / 12.20.20160 comments

img_7466Lauren and Boyd’s wedding was not about the fluffy, over-the-top decor that is the stuff national wedding magazines and blogs are made of.  Nor was it anything traditional.  But what it was was the quintessential essence of what love, marriage and family is about, something that no magazine or advertorial could possibly convey with photos alone.  From the two tragic losses this couple endured just weeks prior to the wedding to the style in which they chose to celebrate their vows, this wedding was exceptional and perhaps one of my favorites of all time.

Lauren and Boyd loved all of Santa Barbara’s picture -perfect wedding locations.  They also knew they could only choose one location to say their vows.  So what does one do when you want the best of all Santa Barbara has to offer?  Enjoy it all!  They wanted a personal wedding experience and wanted to focus on the number one most important thing to them:  family, friends and…good food and wine.  When one has their priorities straight, it is easy on the planning, especially for their destination wedding elopement, which included just them and about 35 of their closest family and friends.   They decided on a simple ceremony at

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When A Wedding Planner Weds: Part II | Our Secret Destination Elopement Story: A “RoadMoon”

Blog, Real Weddings / 11.13.20162 comments

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Downtown Santa Fe Historic Plaza by Palace of Governors and Indian Market. Photo by Melanie West.

Part Two of Two of “When a Wedding Planner Weds” (see Part One ) : I got married and changed my last name to “Doehr” in a destination, secret elopement to Santa Fe, New Mexico with 5 family members present.  Why?  The focus for us was on the sacred intimacy of our vows, each other … and wanting to leave room for serendipity and magic.  We did not want just one day of back-to-back neck-breaking schedules and many years of paying back the funds it took for one day’s event to take place. Honestly, we also wanted to stretch it out. To enjoy some travel and then come home and celebrate with family and friends- perhaps even multiple celebrations.

You see, there is this myth that if you don’t do a wedding a certain way, or include all the “required” traditions, that you will regret it or that somehow psychologically, it does not count.  I’m here to say that even if you believe that, with an elopement, you can still do your wedding “traditions” and “non-negotiables” later – any way you want – and as many times as you want when you get home or over the years.  Knowing you have the luxury of time is a gift I cannot describe, and makes looking forward to the future even more fun.

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Rustic Ranch Romance at the Historic Old Adobe at Alisal Ranch | Cassity & Matt

Blog, Real Weddings / 11.08.20160 comments

img_6513There are plenty of private ranches on which to celebrate nuptials on the Central Coast.  But when one requires elite privacy as well as an extraordinary experience for all their guests in a historical setting with world-class service from a seasoned hospitality venue, there is no other choice than Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort.

Nestled in the heart of Santa Barbara’s wine country, the Santa Ynez Valley, Alisal Ranch has been excelling in hospitality and making memories for guests since the 1940s, when the first generations of today’s loyal clientele first started arriving.  Most likely many did not know at that time that their descendants would continue to make Alisal a family tradition for many generations to come. 

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When A Wedding Planner Weds | Part I : The Single Most Important Event Partner For Our Wedding

Blog, Event Planning Advice, Real Weddings / 09.04.20162 comments

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Kiss in front of St. Francis Cathedral | Photo: Melanie West

I recently got married.  Everything that my wedding planning clients go through, I got to experience first-hand myself.

After producing over 600 weddings in my career, I decided I wanted to do something different for my own wedding. I’m a bit of a rebel at heart and knew that I wanted to make everything fresh, different, perhaps a bit unorthodox, and above all – it had to represent an aspect of my soul, and that of my husband-to-be, Darrel.  I’m a vintage girl at heart and I’ve always been fascinated by the courthouse-style weddings that took place in the 1940’s and 1950’s and think they are incredibly romantic.  This is Part One of two blogs I have coming up under When A Wedding Planner Weds on planning my own secret destination wedding elopement.

We planned a secret destination wedding to one of my favorite locations on earth: Santa Fe, New Mexico. I will share more about the decision behind this in Part Two of this series. But for now, I want to share the single most important event partner for our wedding and how I went about choosing her.

Since our wedding was a top secret and in an incredibly beautiful destination, I knew I wanted memories to look back on that would last a lifetime. I also knew that we would want to share these images with those back home when we returned.

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