Viewing posts categorised under: Blog

“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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Our Commitment to Professional Conduct & Its Relation of Core Value to Our Services

Event Planning Advice / 05.29.20160 comments

Photo: MiBelle Photography

Photo Credit: MiBelle Photography

When one interviews potential wedding and event supply partners, checks out their credentials, referrals and work and finally “clicks” with them and is ready to hire them, there is one final gauntlet I suggest the interviewee complete.  I suggest that you have a conversation about the event supplier’s  belief structure in professional conduct the day of the wedding or event.  This includes the individual you are hiring as well as their volunteers and staff.  These particular items are rarely  – if ever – included in service contracts and yet, they are paramount to being at the core center of the caliber of service you are contracting and should expect.   Here are some items for discussion, followed by our own Code of Conduct to all Santa Barbara Wine Country Weddings & Events clientele:

  1.   What will you and your staff be wearing the day of my event?
  2.   How many breaks do you take and when?
  3.   Where do you take your breaks and meals?
  4.   What is your philosophy on vendors taking their meals – should they go before guests or after?
  5.   Where do you or your staff smoke?
  6.    What do you do if you see another event service provider dining or smoking in front of guests?
  7.    How do you handle conflict with guests , should drama arise?
  8.    Do you or your staff feel it is alright to partake in the bar or alcohol while working – or on breaks during your contracted time?
  9.   How do you communicate with your fellow staff members during an event?  (example:  do you use two way radios, text, ear piece two way radios, etc.)
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The Reality of “Day-of” Coordination | Why I Won’t Be Your “Day-of” Coordinator

Event Planning Advice / 05.26.20160 comments

ART Caitlin 1With Santa Barbara going from about 5 or 6 leading professional wedding planners a few years ago to about 52 now (last count), couples getting married in this area who are either required by their venue to have a professional event coordinator or simply those knowing the invaluable investment a professional provides,  find themselves in a quandary with the overwhelming amount of choices listed for them now in our area.

The individual wedding coordinators who make up that (approximate) 52 count range from long-time, well-established professionals who are educated, experienced, work continually and are referred by venues and event partners alike, to those who moonlight on the side as a hobby to those who are simply in love with the idea of being a wedding planner (perhaps they planned their own wedding or a friend’s) and think it’s either about pointing people around day-of and/or just hiring vendors who do “pretty” things and services. 

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Elegant Montecito Country Club Celebration for Jennie and Kris

Real Weddings / 05.22.20160 comments

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One of my favorite images: Mother of the Bride Hannah-Beth glowing as her daughter makes her approach to the altar with her father.

When Jennie approached me about being her Wedding Coordinator and I discovered that she considered herself like the character Charlotte from the popular series “Sex and The City” and that she was every bit a charming as the lovely Charlotte and had smarts to go with it,  I knew this would be a wonderful working relationship.  I later found out that the Father of the Bride is a beloved Judge in our community and that the Mother of the Bride, Hannah Beth Jackson (now a California State Senator) has been a respected prosecutor and actively involved in our local and state-wide community for years.  This was a very loving, involved and connected family and it was an honor to have been chosen as their Wedding Coordinator.

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Country Ranch Wedding At The Historic Old Adobe at Alisal Guest Ranch

Real Weddings / 04.30.20160 comments

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Photo Credit: Lover of Weddings

Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort boasts some incredible backdrops for weddings and receptions.  From the popular Alisal River Terrace (no overnight accommodations are needed to book this beautiful space) to the main ranch property Creekside, Oval Lawn, Sycamore Room, lakeside, or the incredible Historic Adobe.

The Historic Adobe is another 20 minute ride via hay truck from the main ranch and the scenery on the drive is spectacular.  While there are many more complications involved with events at the Historic Old Adobe, it can be one of the most distinct wedding experiences ever, in a truly unique setting.

While many of my couples choose to have their wedding ceremonies

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