There’s always a first.

*All photos by Carsten Tice Photography

I’ve officiated lots of weddings since I officiated the wedding of a dear law school friend back  in 2010, and I’ve coordinated lots of weddings with Events by Katherine since I met her while officiating a wedding back in 2012.  But I’ve never done both, and on my own.

There’s always a first.

I’m happy to say it all went well, and I loved every minute.  It was, as most wedding days are, a long and tiring day.  But all day as I was running around constantly, all I could think was “I love this.”  At one point in the night, at the height of the madness, one of the chefs asked me how I was doing.  Out of who-knows-where, I answered “I’m great, I live for these moments!”  I realized as soon as I said it that it sounded super cheesy, , but it was a genuine statement, and I meant every word.  I was in my element, and I loved every moment of it.

But enough about me…

This wedding was so special in so many way.  Patricia and David reached out to me from New York, to officiate their wedding.  After our initial consultation they decided they also needed a day-of-coordinator, and they entrusted me to do both.  I can never thank them enough for taking that leap of faith.

The wedding took place in Patricia’s parents spacious backyard–Patricia’s grandmother is unable to travel, so they brought the wedding to her.  It was such a beautiful touch of the whole night: that this wedding was taking place here because of the love and importance of one human being.

The whole wedding was a true group effort: the groomsmen were in charge of making the bouquets and decorating the ceremony arch (I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous about this one, but they did a fantastic job!  And much better than I would have been able to do–florals are my weakness!).  Patricia’s cousin, Tina, was a stellar, all-around helper on wedding day, and she potted each of the succulents that were given to guests as gifts.  Family on both sides were tremendous help in getting the house ready, or shipping leis from Hawaii for the bridal party and family members. And the bride and groom spent countless hours making and canning homemade chili as another gift for guests.

There is no doubt that the main attraction for this wedding, aside from Patricia and David, obviously, was the food.  Justin and Dave are both chefs from New York City, and they flew in just to cook up a storm for Patrica and David’s wedding.  They had been prepping all week, scouring the markets of LA for ingredients, and even smoking the brisket in their hotel room!   They did not disappoint.  I did not hear a single guest complain about the 3-hour dinner.  Course after course was plated by the talented chefs, brought out by my wonderful helpers, and platter after platter was brought back to the kitchen completely empty.

I can’t thank all the vendors enough for a beautiful and seamless evening.

 

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Reception: Bells & Whistles!

So most receptions have the standard “must-haves”: music, food, CAKE!  Lately I’v noticed that photo booths have moved into the “standard” category for most weddings.  Some wedding receptions like to add something extra special, and although it increases the budget a bit, they DO make the guests quite happy!  A couple “extras” that I have LOVED from weddings I coordinated last year:

Chunk n Chip: what’s better than cake?  Or ice cream?  Or cookies?  COOKIE ICE CREAM SANDWICHES.  They have your favorite fresh baked cookies, with unique and delicious ice cream flavors (horchata or french toast with candied spiced bacon anyone?), in any possible combination that you want.  They also have an adorable set up for private events and weddings.

Churro Borough: same concept as Chunk n Chip, but with CHURROS.  I mean..C’MON!  Flavors like vanilla custard, horchata sherbet, and black forest cheesecake sherbet.  YUM.  They also offer paletas, churro fries, milkshakes, and pastries.

Dessert Lab OC : I think you can see a pattern on what my weaknesses are.  But seriously: 30 different flavors of cheesecake ( including french toast cheesecake with bacon!)?!  This was used for a dessert table rather than something in addition to it, but the desserts were so unique that I just loved the idea.  The couple ordered an assortment of cheesecakes and different desserts, and they went SO QUICK.

Do you have a favorite vendor that you used or will be using for your event that helped put your event over the top?  Share in the comments!

Planning a Friendsgiving Dinner

This is a little untimely, but it’s been on my to-write list for over a year and I’m finally finding the inspiration to get it done…and hey, who says you have to wait until November to throw a Friendsgiving dinner?! 🙂

For all non-wedding events that I plan, I’ve developed this template to keep track of things.  It helps me make sure I’ve covered all bases (food, activities/entertainment, decor, etc.) and I can keep a list of things I need to do/make/buy/bring.

We didn’t have too much space to work with in our little home, so the tables were a bit crowded but I was pretty happy with my decor/set up.  Some of my inspiration:

Things to think about: centerpieces, decor for food/dessert tables and drink station, accents for each table setting (leaves, or in my case, individual labels that each said “Friendsgiving 2015,” “Be Thankful,” “Gratitude,” or something similar).  I also placed ice water carafes at each table (with lemon and cucumber) which worked out great so people didn’t have to get up during dinner for a refill (which means you need a glass at each table setting).

This was the sixth or seventh year that we’d had a Friendsgiving, so part of my decor was framed pictures of past Friendsgivings: it was amazing to see how our group has grown with husbands/wives, children, and more friends!

Note to self: make sure your photo background is large enough for group photos…

For entertainment, we borrowed a friend’s giant Jenga and had that in the backyard, along with a fire pit surrounded by chairs and blankets.  Corn hole would be a good addition.

But I guess most important of all at a Friendsgiving dinner is….THE FOOD.  We do a potluck style dinner every year, but it does require some organization.  Enter: google docs.  I love google docs.  I have this template on a google sheet and add a new tab every year (or you could clear it out every year, or make a new one every year-although with a new doc you have worry about re-sharing it with everyone) and share it with everyone, and people can sign up for whatever they want to bring.  This helps to ensure you don’t end up with 20 desserts but zero side dishes, and that everything is covered before the big day.

If you’re a traditionalist, your menu has to include: turkey and gravy (!), green bean casserole, sweet potatoes of some kind, mac n cheese, stuffing, cranberry sauce, bread rolls, and some pumpkin pies!

Here are some other appetizers and sides that have been huge hits in the past:

  • ham sliders
  • cheesy spinach rollups
  • cheese tray
  • chips & dips
  • mashed potatoes
  • salad
  • roasted veggies
  • brussel sprouts
  • creamed corn
  • German potato salad

Obviously, anything edible is fair game!

My favorite part of Friendsgiving, aside from the food (I could eat Thanksgiving dinners all year), is that after everyone has served themselves, we go around the tables and everyone shares what they’re thankful for.  It’s a great time to reflect on the year and what’s happened in our lives since the last Friendsgiving, and find the things that made that year great.

Do you celebrate a Friendsgiving?  What are your favorite traditions or ideas?

 

Bouquet Toss Alternative

On Saturday I saw a bouquet toss alternative that was so cute and different that I had to share!

Instead of tossing the bouquet, the bouquet was placed inside a bird cage which was locked.  There was a display of vintage keys on an easel, that was moved to the dance floor along with the bird cage, and all the single ladies lined up to pick a key and see if it unlocked the bird cage.  There were enough keys for almost two rounds, and it seemed like the ladies enjoyed this much more than standing and trying to catch the bouquet–and subsequently there was no injury to the bouquet!

bouquet-key-picking

This and That…

I started this on The Merry Ministers website, but now I think it’s more appropriate on this website, since I include random wedding stuff (not just ceremony specific), so from now on I’ll try to share my favorite wedding bits from the internet world a little more frequently 😉

I’m loving this new trend of having a frame or something to post instant pictures onto (a recent wedding I worked had bicycle frames to put pictures on because the bride and groom were avid cyclers!).

lasting memories

 

Same idea for seating cards is also great!

seating chart

I’ve seen plenty of small vases for center pieces (usually mason jars), but I really like this idea of using votive candle jars with wild flowers:

center pieces

What are your favorite ideas and trends?