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On The “Unplugged” Wedding: The Gracious Art of Combining Your Wishes with Happy Guest Experience

Blog, Event Planning Advice, Rants / 03.06.20160 comments

Example of a popular "unplugged wedding" sign from OffBeat Bride

Example of a popular “unplugged wedding” sign from OffBeat Bride

With cell phone camera and selfie stick use at an all time high, often taking away from life’s moments, it is no wonder there is such a huge trend for “unplugged” weddings.  If you are new to this term, “unplugged wedding” refers to those weddings where guests are asked to refrain from any cell phone use – including taking photos of any kind during the ceremony.  Before I express my thoughts on this entire topic, let me say first and foremost: I am completely in favor of any bride and groom who wants an unplugged wedding.  But recently,  I have seen a new trend going to an extreme:  where wedding couples are asking their guests to give up their cell phones entirely when they arrive and they are not “allowed” to have them back until they leave the wedding reception that night.  I was also recently asked to go up and “grab” the cell phone from any guest who started to use it during the ceremony.  And no, I will not do that.  For many, many reasons.  No matter how much you pay me (please read on).

First of all, let’s look at all the great reasons to have an unplugged wedding ceremony:

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Wine With a Wedding Planner’s Seasonal Grand Finale in the Funk Zone: Jump On the Wedding Planning Bus

Blog, Event Industry Businesses & Professionals, Industry Shenanigans / 02.24.20160 comments

unnamed-61“Wine With a Wedding Planner” offers an innovative, community-based, complimentary  approach to wedding planning in complete relaxation (and some unconventional fun).  On Saturday, March 5th, for our last one of the season, we are offering a “Grand Finale” of sorts:  Jump on the Wedding Planning Bus with our partners from Jump on the School Bus in Santa Barbara’s famous FunkZone!  There is no charge for the complimentary wedding consultation

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Jennifer and Remington’s Winery Wedding Glow at Firestone

Blog, Real Weddings / 02.13.20160 comments

imageIf you believe in “signs”, then you you will believe that this couple was meant to be when you read the “signs” that came out on their wedding day.  Jennifer and Remington met at age 7 and went separate ways for awhile and then became re-acquainted and the rest, as they say, is history (that is the simplified version).  The day of their wedding, Mother Nature put on a spectacular show:  from a rainbow right over them after their ceremony, to a sunset that was on fire, it appeared that forces beyond Earth were in tune with celebrating their nuptials.

After the ceremony on the Mesa (where the bride arrived in a vintage/classic car to make her entrance down the aisle), guests adjourned to the patio in front of the Firestone Tasting Room, where they mixed and mingled , signed “wishes for the Mr. and Mrs.”, made “Bucket List Recommendations” for the newlyweds, and Jennifer’s father sang a song that he had written just for the two of them.  To say this wedding was filled with joy and tears from the soul and love expressed by everyone is an understatement.

Dinners in the Barrel Room at Firestone Winery are epic, to say the least.  When it was time for the Grand Reveal (a little something I like to do when presenting the Barrel Room to guests for the first time as they are welcomed to dinner), guests moved into the long, amber-glowing up-lit Barrel Room to find their seat and enjoy a sumptuous feast.  The Courtyard outside provided after-dinner dancing under the stars to one of Southern California’s hottest bands, and special decorative touches like the lit-up “LOVE” sign oversaw the dessert buffet, while hundreds of lanterns provided glow everywhere.

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Catering Connection Showers Event Profs with Love- and A Guest-Interactive Experience

Blog, Event Industry Businesses & Professionals, Industry Shenanigans / 02.11.20162 comments

unnamed-33I love my job, especially because of events like last night that combine my favorite ingredients of life:  amazing food and beverage, great company …and the pièce de résistance: great humor and fun between everyone.  As a mom who juggles two event businesses and all that life slings at her, you could literally hear the wheels of my car peeling out when the babysitter showed up and I high-tailed it to Catering Connection’s culinary studios last night.  In an industry where our entire focus is taking care of others, it is especially meaningful when someone takes care of us.  And Catering Connection, one of Santa Barbara’s leading full-service caterers who just celebrated their 20th Business Anniversary last year offered to do just that.  As a thank you to those with whom they work, they decided to do more than just drop off a plate of cookies (not that there’s anything wrong with that- I will never turn down a cookie).  They decided to give their event supply partners an evening out- an experience – if you will. 

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When Britain Joins Miss USA in Santa Barbara’s Wine Country: A Lincourt Winery Wedding Story

Blog, Real Weddings / 02.07.20160 comments

imageWhen British gentleman Ben met his bride-to-be former Miss USA and Dancing With the Stars contestant Shandi F., it was a match made in heaven.  This power couple is just as kind as they are beautiful.  Of all the places they could have chosen to get married, they chose Santa Barbara’s wine country and one of the most rustically-charming wineries in our valley:  Lincourt.  A former dairy farm, the little yellow house (now tasting room) was at one time a Sears Craftsman house and overlooks the gorgeous vines and has views of the Santa Ynez mountain range. It is also located in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley and has convenient access to nearby bed and breakfasts, inns and more.

Ben and Shandi chose to keep things streamlined and not do any decor that would conflict with the already-gorgeous natural backdrop at Lincourt.  They put their priorities into what mattered most:

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Amy & Jeff Celebrate “I Do” at Alisal River Terrace

Blog, Real Weddings / 02.07.20160 comments

art-amy-and-jeff-at-alisal-main-entranceI instantly adored Amy and Jeff, who were fun-loving individuals and knew exactly what they wanted.  They were a wedding planner’s dream client, always in a great mood, gave timely responses that were indicative of a clear self-knowledge, which of course, makes my job easier.  Amy and Jeff chose to have their charming wine country wedding at Alisal River Terrace, a satellite location associated with the main legendary & historic Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort.

Jeff and Amy exchanged their vows in front of the intimate lake at Alisal River Terrace and afterwards guests adjourned up to the terrace for a delightful cocktail hour with sweeping views of the wine country hillside and as the sun set, and the stars came out, enjoyed the glow of fire bowls, italian fire heaters, dancing under the stars and making s’mores!  You can check out video highlights of their day here.

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Highlights of 2016 Wedding Trends

Event Planning Advice / 01.27.20160 comments

Example of Satellite Bar from Martha Stewart Weddings

Example of Satellite Bar from Martha Stewart Weddings

“Trends” are always an interesting phenomenon.  One has to ask the question if they are created strictly for marketing purposes with an agenda, or if there is a science of a pattern or if perhaps a hybrid of “all of the above”. Regardless, we find them fascinating, in most cases true and in all cases, entertaining and always, always creative!

Below are the top 2016 trends that are sweeping the wedding industry:

Colors:  

With Pantone’s Color of the year being Rose Quartz and Serenity, the palettes will be very soft.

Themes: 

Such as “woodland” and “rustic” are still in and are being blended with glam elements such as beads and some crystals and chandeliers, with the heavier focus being on the woodland and just a smidge of glam.

 

 

Bride’s and Bridesmaids Wear:

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What Your Wedding Planner’s Social Media Can Reveal About Them

Blog, Event Planning Advice, Rants / 01.17.20160 comments

Photo Credit: Michael Costa | Location: Bacara Resort & Spa

Photo Credit: Michael Costa | Location: Bacara Resort & Spa

I’m tired of click bait personally, so decided not to title this article “The One Thing Every Bride Should Check Out Before Hiring Their Wedding Planner“.  Although, if I could, this title would be more accurate.

Here’s the thing about social media professionally:  it is intended to share and convey a brand. To engage with current customers as well as potential customers.  And yes, it is supposed to get personal from time to time.  Again, the operative phrase being “from time to time” . All business social media gurus and international marketing leaders agree that allowing potential customers to catch a glimpse into your personal life – sparingly- fosters trust and can build common ground and this trust leads to sales/bookings.

But besides the personal element of social media in business, I wish to bring up another topic rarely addressed, but one that is equally -if not more- important. It is a thorough review of how your prospective professional event planner handles themselves on social media, as it will tell you more about their work style and personality and

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Debunking Popular Assumptions on Event Meal Service & Budget

Blog, Event Planning Advice / 01.12.20160 comments

"Expert in the Field" Guest Blogger Rachel Main of Main Course Ca Catering

“Expert in the Field” Guest Blogger Rachel Main of Main Course Ca Catering

As a wedding and event planner, one of the biggest discussions with our clients is their spending plan (budget).  And since the majority of any event’s budget is dedicated to food and beverage, the menu one chooses can either keep one within their spending plan or blow it out of the water.  There are many assumptions that certain meal style services cost more or less (our personal favorite is the myth that Family Style must be less expensive automatically- see why it’s often the most expensive choice and why below).  Professional, full-service caterer Main Course California’s Rachel Main recently addressed the top assumptions about meal style and price and we are delighted to feature her as an Expert in the Field Guest Blogger today on Santa Barbara Wine Country Weddings & Events.

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MYTHS AND REALITIES OF SAVING MONEY ON YOUR SPECIAL EVENT MENU

Debunking Popular Assumptions
By Rachel Main (Holst)

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Wine With a Wedding Planner Announces 2016 Winter Appearance Dates

Blog, Event Industry Businesses & Professionals, Event Planning Advice, Industry Shenanigans, Innovations / 01.09.20162 comments

#WineWithAWeddingPlanner

#WineWithAWeddingPlanner | Kerry Lee Dickey

Wine With a Wedding Planner” offers an innovative, community-based approach to wedding planning in complete relaxation.  It combines the expertise of Certified Wedding Professional and CEO/Founder of Santa Barbara Wine Country Weddings & Events Kerry Lee Dickey and the beautiful wedding locations Santa Barbara and its wine country have to offer with a fresh approach to a “meet and greet” complimentary communal consultation.

Similar to “Coffee with a Cop”, Ms. Dickey will be meeting with potential clients at various venues in the area during their business hours in a public area.  She invites anyone thinking of having a wedding in this area – or simply anyone planning a wedding  with need for planning, etiquette , or venue recommendations – to stop by, say hello and engage with her at no charge.  At all locations, Wine With a Wedding Planner visitors are

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