Sunday, March 17, 2013

Wedding Welcome Bags - Do This Not That

Welcome bags are a great gift for your out-of-town guests. Imagine how appreciated your friends and family will feel when they arrive at their hotel, weary from travel to find a thoughtful gift. Fill it with snacks, refreshments, local area guides, and a personalized note of thanks. Here is a something to think about before you order personalized bags with you monogram and your wedding date.



It's very easy to get wrapped up in Personalization on everything related to your wedding. Of course you want your guests to walk away with something to remember you by. Save it for the wedding day itself. You can personalize your monogram and date on your dance floor in lights, with tags on your favors, or on napkins for the cocktail hour.

In the case of your welcome bags, keep them neutral. A bright roomy bag will be re-used every time the recipient goes to the beach, on a picnic, camping, or maybe to the farmer's market. The memory of your wedding will make them smile every time they see it. Bags with a personal monogram and a wedding date, tend to stay in the closet.

Have fun creating your welcome bags, but remember this is a gift for them. Make it easy to re-use it proudly.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

An Irish Wedding

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, it's natural that I'm thinking about the wedding of Sara and Ryan. To honor Ryan's Irish heritage, the groomsmen wore kilts, and the bridesmaids wore rich green gowns, reminiscent of the lush Irish Countryside. I adored that Sara wanted Ryan to be happy, and embraced his. It was all done with taste and respect. For a dramatic conclusion to the ceremony, guests were serenaded by a brilliant bagpiper. Clauddagh symbols were prevalent in the decor, which included Bells of Ireland in the floral centerpieces. Traditional Irish Dancers performed during the ceremony, to the delight of the guests who rose to their feet and clapped along. I must admit it, I did too. Every St. Patrick's day I think of this very special couple, and how they were true to their traditions. To them I raise a pint of Guinness and say schlange. May the luck of the Irish be with you today and always.

Photography courtesy:  Krista Mason Photography  

Planning Your Destination California Wedding

Southern California is a premier destination for a wedding. The area boasts the Pacific Ocean, nearby mountains, picturesque wineries, and a modern dessert oasis. When choosing your perfect destination, the sky is the limit. Planning your wedding in another state is exciting and frightening all at the same time. With the expertise of an experienced planner, who acts as your agent ensures that the experience is fun and stress-free.

I've planned Southern California weddings for couples residing in Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Colorado, Portland, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Washington DC, and even London, England. Why do couples need the help of a planner you ask? With all the online resources you're thinking you can do it all yourself. This thinking couldn't be further than the truth.

Online planning sites only give you a short glimpse into their advertiser profiles. A profile won't tell you if the vendor is reputable, if they fit in your price budget, fit your wedding style, or if you will mesh with them. You can spend countless hours online and on the phone nailing down all of aforementioned details.

This is where your DESTINATION WEDDING PLANNER is the best investment you can make towards your wedding. Your planner gets to know YOU as a couple. She will have a consultation with you via phone or Skype. During that meeting, she'll find out what style of venue you desire, what design style you are aiming for, your guest count, and your budget. She'll also pinpoint your priorities. Maybe your priorities are food, flowers, lighting, entertainment....and the list goes on and on. The planner will take all of this information and put together a list of venues and vendors that work in your budget and style. The biggest value a planner brings to the table is her vendor list. By hiring us you can expect PRE-QUALIFIED vendors. I've worked with thousands of vendors over the last 12 years and I can pair you with your perfect team immediately after hearing your story.

Here is what you can expect Wedding Jeannie to do for you while you are far away:
  • Create a detailed budget for you. This budget will become the road map for selection of venues and vendors in your budget range.
  • Planning Trip: You can expect to make three to four visits to your chosen destination. We'll take you to visit 3 to 5 venues that meet your style and budget. We take the guess work out of choosing a venue. You could spend hours online researching venues that sound fabulous, only to find out when you arrive that the venues you fell in love with on the computer screen don't meet any of your needs. Wasted time = wasted money. Wedding Jeannie carefully assesses all of your needs, and recommends only those that are just right for you. We prepare the venue managers for your visit, by giving them all of your information and specifications.
  • Vendor Introductions: In addition to visiting venues, we arrange meetings with florists, photographers, DJs/Musicians, etc. We make the most of your visit by bringing you to reputable and qualified vendors. By knowing your budget and priorities, you only meet with the professionals that can deliver what you need. You time is valuable...we make the most of it. Wear comfortable shoes because we'll be doing walk throughs. We may even have the opportunity to sample the cuisine.
  • Skype Meetings: Just because you're not in town doesn't mean you don't enjoy the same service. We conduct progress meetings with you via Skype. Stay up to date, and feel comfortable knowing that all the details are handled.
  • Accommodations & Transportation: It's our experience that DESTINATION WEDDINGS mean out-of- town guests. We set up room blocks for your guests at nearby hotels. Because of our relationships with local hotels and resorts, we can secure special pricing for you. Need transportation for your guests from hotel to venue? We've got you covered. Our shuttle and limo companies are ready to take care of you.
  • Activities: Southern California has entertaining opportunities for your guests. This is where we live, and we have our finger on the pulse of the region. If your guests want to make a vacation out of their visit, we can assist in planning nearby activities for them. From amusement parks, to award winning restaurants, wine tastings, to beaches...we'll plan a great itinerary for you.
  • Welcome Bags: When your guests arrive have a gift back for them filled with destination related items. Fill them with water bottles, sunscreen, a local sweet treat, entertainment and city guides, all along with a printed note from you. We offer an a la carte option for filling your bags and delivering them to the hotel.
  • Rehearsal Dinner: We'll arrange for you to have the perfect rehearsal dinner at the best restaurants in town. We arrange a private room and a pre-fixed menu. All you need to do is show up.
  • Project Management: We manage your vendors, floor plans, timeline and all the activities that a destination wedding includes.
I hope that you are excited about planning your DESTINATION SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WEDDING. Your choices here are limitless. I'm excited to assist you with the myriad of details required to make it memorable and stress-free. Let's SKYPE and learn more about each other. Our first consultation is free. You have nothing to lose. Still unsure if you need a planner? Read what a few of our out of state clients have to say...

My husband and I live in Colorado and decided to get married in beautiful sunny Southern California near the beach! Jeannie Ward helped us make our dream wedding come true, it was more beautiful than we ever imagined it could be.We were a bit worried about organizing a destination wedding but Jeannie's correspondence made the entire process much easier. She was very good about emailing and calling us and our vendors. The vendors that Jeannie recommended were a hit and made our special day a success!

Hiring Jeannie was the best decision that we made throughout the wedding planning process. She was more than a wedding coordinator/planner, she was the glue that held everything (including me!) together. From meeting with me every time I was in town (even when it wasn't necessary to meet, because she said she could tell it made me feel better), to communicating with and managing all our vendors, being our fiercest advocate when it came to negotiating contracts with other vendors, having an incredible team around her that was always on top of it, responding to all my emails (sometimes 5-10 per day) within a few hours at the latest, and creating a gorgeous vision for my dream wedding and then executing it beyond anything I imagined - Jeannie does it all with a smile on her face. Her depth of knowledge, integrity and loving attitude were invaluable and allowed me to just be the bride.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Destination Wedding - Santa Barbara

Photo Courtesy:

Santa Barbara has become the ideal location for a Destination California wedding. Known as the American Riviera this city is cosmopolitan, historic, charming and absolutely breathtaking. This paradise is a picturesque two hour drive from Los Angeles. Don't want to drive? Take the Amtrak instead. It drops you off steps from the beach. Santa Barbara has everything you need to realize a real destination wedding. From beautiful resorts,boutique hotels, to historic, as well as beach front venues...there is a perfect location for you.

Santa Barbara is such a popular destination spot for weddings, that we've planned weddings there for clients from Los Angeles, Orange County, and even England. Your guests will love the myriad of activities available to them in the days before or after your wedding. World class resorts such as Bacara Resort & Spa, The Four Seasons Biltmore, Fess Parker's Doubletree Resort, offer luxurious accommodations, five star restaurants, and spa services.

Sam and Heather who hail from Los Angeles chose to marry at the intimate Canary Hotel, located in the heart of Downtown Santa Barbara. Their ceremony was held on the Canary's Rooftop Perch, overlooking the Santa Barbara Mountains over the clay tile roofs that city is know for. I have a serious crush on this place.

Santa Barbara's most beautiful feature is the ocean. Why not feature her as the backdrop for your ceremony? One picturesque Ocean Front Property is The Fess Parker Doubletree Resort. Last June, our couple from England chose this venue for it's breathtaking Rotunda. It's an open air space with stunning arches that allow guests to get a full view of the beach no matter where they're sitting.

If you're looking for an historic resort with a Waterfront view, consider The Four Season's Biltmore. Features include Spanish Colonial Style Architecture, colorful gardens, a sought after Montecito location, access to Butterfly Beach, and Santa Barbara History. Built in 1927, it was a favorite secret hideaway of the rich and famous, especially Hollywood Royalty. There are several ceremony locations in lush gardens, or Beach Front lawns. Your reception with be warm and luxurious in any of their well appointed ballrooms. My favorite feature of the ballrooms are the Spanish tiles, roaring fireplaces, iron chandeliers and sconces.

Photo Courtesy

Would you prefer to marry in a rustic and historic venue? Consider the Presidio Chapel in the heart of Downtown.. The Chapel is part of the Santa Barbara State Parks. Built in 1763, you will feel the history all around you. It's the perfect location for a charming and intimate feeling. Don't worry about being in the middle of the bustling Downtown area. This venue is completely private.

This blog post is simply scratching the surface of what properties are available in Santa Barbara. If you want learn more about your options, we'd love to help you. We have an extensive vendor list of service providers, local restaurants, hotels, activities and more. Let's plan a trip to the American Riviera. You'll fall in love with it, just as I have.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Winnie Couture - Pink For The Cure

Planning weddings allows me the pleasure of visiting beautiful bridal salons in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. One of those salons in particular holds a special place in my heart. It's Winnie Couture in Beverly Hills. For many years I've shared this treasure with my brides. When I look back on my portfolios, I love that so many of my clients have worn a Winnie. The most recent was just last month.

On January 31st, I attended their Flagship Store Cocktail Party, launching their 2013 line. Veronica and I were honored as VIP guests. The glittering salon was filled with beautiful brides hoping to find their dream gown. And oh how beautiful the gowns were. The event was titled "Pink For The Cause", with all proceeds benefiting Breast Cancer Charities. That's a cause that's very dear to my heart. While we had a great time, we also made a difference this night.

Enjoy what you missed in these drool worthy photos by our dear friends Jayanne and Perry Hampton of Witon Photography. If you're looking for talented and genuine wedding photographers, please visit their website. Not only have they done beautiful work for my couples, but I was their wedding planner only a few years ago. Networking with your can anyone call this work?

Celebrity Designer Winnie Chlomin Lee's gowns dazzled everyone in attendance. Her designs are feminine, glamorous, and inventive. Each gown has a life and personality of it's own. But what brings the gown to life, is the woman who wears it. I love how Winnie's gowns accentuate a woman's body. Each gown is made with the highest quality of fabrics and embellishments. What is most surprising about these gowns is they are priced for every budget.

The night was a big hit for Winnie and all of the vendors who participated including Witon Photography, DJ Nahchey, Velvet Cupcakes, Sweet Love Candy Buffet, Premiere Party Rents, and last but not least the always fun Sommer of So Cal Shutter Booth. Congratulations to Winnie and their entire staff at Beverly Hills, we're so thrilled to call you friends.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bridesmaids Gift - Vision Necklaces

I just learned about a new jewelry company called SACRED JEWELRY. Look at these gorgeous Vision Necklaces. They would be a perfect bridesmaids gift. Whatever you color scheme is, there are so shades to choose from. These necklaces were featured today on Good Morning America, with an amazing offer. They are normally $199, but using the GMA code, you can snag these for $48! This bargain is too good to pass up. Every one of your maids will love this signature piece that they can wear again and again.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ceremony Magazine - Maritime Wedding

Last summer we shared in the joy of Julie and Sean's wedding at The Balboa Yacht Club. Of course I love every one of my amazing clients, but Julie was even more special. We are "industry" friends. When Julie asked me to be her coordinator I was deeply humbled. She knows every planner in Orange County, and she chose me. Julie and Sean focused on a Maritime Theme because of Sean's love of boats. It was an homage to his father, and very meaningful. Ceremony Magazine acknowledged that this was a WEDDING OF DISTINCTION, and published it their new Orange County 2013 issue.

As if Julie and Sean aren't thrilled enough to have their wedding featured, one of the images of their day is also soon to be featured in Ceremony's OC April cover. We just happened to snag a sneek peek of it from the fabulous Joel Maus of Studio EMP. He is a master at capturing stunning images, and this one is no exception. Isn't it lovely? CONGRATULATIONS on this achievement Joel.
Drool over all the NAUTICAL details. The ceremony was so meaningful, and the reception was a great party. So many fun moments to remember. The dance floor was packed all night. The photo booth was a wild party itself. Julie and Sean treated their guests to a late night taco bar. To top off the night, their guests gathered in a tunnel that led to the couple's awaiting limo, and sent them off with sparklers.What a wedding indeed.

Of course all these elements don't happen on their own. It takes an army of creative professionals who come together and work as a team. And what a dream team this was. It was so fun to work with the best in the business, who happen to be my friends as well. How can you call this work? When looking for vendors, please consider these outstanding professionals:

Venue: Balboa Yacht Club
Coordinator: Wedding Jeannie
Floral Design: Sussanna Davidson of French Buckets Florist
Photography: Joel Maus of Studio EMP Photography
Videography: Mike McCaleb of Mission Visual
Specialty Chairs & Dance Floor: Fusion Linens
Specialty Linens: Designer Specialty Linens
Event Rentals: Signature Party Rentals
Bridal Fashion: Hope Stanley Bridal Stylist for Mary Me Bridal
Groom Fasion: Friar Tux
Wedding Cake: It's All About The Cake
Entertainment/DJ: Invisible Touch Entertainment
Photo Booth: What A Blast Photo Booth
Late Night Taco Bar: SoHo Taco
Beauty/Make-Up: Courtney Boyle
Beauty/Hair: Angie Pham