Wedding Day Must Haves to Keep You Looking and Feeling Your Best!

Wedding Day Must-Haves - Great tips to Keep You Looking and Feeling Your Best!

Any bride- or groom-to-be knows that planning a wedding isn’t easy, but can be a lot of fun and definitely pays off when the big day is finally here. A lot of decision-making and effort goes into the year or months before the wedding, but oftentimes, day-of tasks get forgotten in all of the excitement. One piece in particular that gets neglected is the getting ready process. Weddings often take place at a venue, leaving the bride to pack a bag (or two or three) with belongings that she might need to get ready to walk down the aisle. But what should be packed?

Hair, skin and nails

Every bride wants to look glowing in her wedding photos. A big, beautiful smile will do wonders, but if you’re looking to make sure your hair, skin and nails are perfect as well, make sure you prepare to keep them on-point the day of your wedding.

For your hair, you’re likely going to have practice appointments with your stylist in advance, so have conversations with him or her on any products that you might need. Sometimes they will supply items such as hairspray and bobby pins, and other times they’ll expect you to have them. It’s pertinent that you get on the same page. If you’re wearing special hair clips on your wedding, have some back up pins or clips handy (in your hair color, if possible), in case anything breaks or doesn’t work as it should. Also make sure you have extra-hold hairspray on hand, as well as a hair tie (these are great for maintaining crease-free hair!) for putting your hair up when you hit the dance floor with your new spouse.

If you’re getting married outside, protect your skin with sunscreen. Be sure to check out all of your options and find a product that won’t leave behind a greasy coat or make you smell like you just stepped off of the beach. Moisturizer is also a great idea for battling dry patches or simply for getting a little extra glow. With all skin products, make sure you try them out beforehand to check for any poor interactions. No bride wants an unexpected breakout!

Nails might not seem that important to every bride, but your hands will be in your photos as your photographer snaps pictures of your wedding ring, holding hands or any other photo opps that pop up. If you opt for a color or for fake nails, make sure you have a matching bottle of nail polish handy, or glue, to handle any digs, chips or broken pieces. If you’re not doing something fancy, a nail file and a clear coat will do the trick!

Find more beauty and pampering tips here!

Your wardrobe

For some brides, their dress is the most important piece of clothing that they will ever buy. Therefore, it needs to fit perfectly. Fittings will help get the sizing just right, but sometimes there are tiny fit issues that occur the day of your wedding. Stay prepared with a comfortable and supportive strapless bra, sewing materials and wardrobe tape. If you’re dress has any buttons, think about getting some extras in case one pops off. While you’ve already picked out the perfect pair of wedding shoes, bring along an extra option, such as flats or flip flops for something comfortable to slip into if your feet begin to get sore.

For fashion inspo, check out our Wedding Fashion & Attire section!

Stay healthy

Accidents happen, which is when a small first-aid kit will be super helpful. Even blisters from shoes can benefit from a quick dab of ointment and a bandage. Make sure you have some pain-relievers tucked in your kit as well in case a headache pops up, and don’t forget to pack a small snack and bottle of water to ease your stomach and stay hydrated.

Thoughtful side notes

There are going to be so many people that help make your wedding day a success. From parents to siblings, the wedding party, guests and vendors, wedding-day helpers are going to help out as much as possible. Show them that you appreciate what they’ve done by keeping some thank-you cards handy. You can even plan ahead with small gifts for your bridesmaids, parents, future in-laws and future spouse. Etsy is full of unique and thoughtful gifts that they won’t expect, but will definitely appreciate.

Ultimately every bride’s wedding-day bag is going to be different from the next. These are just some of the items worth considering, but there are surely others that will help make your day as stress-free as possible. Lean on those around you for suggestions, think through your big day from start to finish, and plan ahead so you’re prepared to focus on what’s most important - enjoying your special day.

Love, Marriage and Support. Being Brave Enough to Allow Your Mate to Support You

To all the strong ladies out there. Remember to lean on him once in a while. Really lean on him, let him hold you up. You are probably a very a strong and independent woman who may need reminding that leaning on someone is not failure. You are friends that love each other. And it takes courage to love someone so completely that you’d trust them to support you. So don't be afraid to let go of some of that super-woman strength and lean. Partnership is a constant dance between two people; sometimes one is up, sometimes the other, and sometimes you both are up or down. No one wants to be a dependent in a healthy relationship, but don't be afraid to be vulnerable when you need to be. Vulnerability is not weakness, it is where true intimacy is born and grows - when you're vulnerable you allow the other to show you how much they are truly there for you and allow them to hold you up and love you to your core. 

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photo by Justin Hulse, hair by Lia of Kuthaus Glendora, makeup by Alta DeKoven, her fashion by Justine Alexander, his fashion by Gentlemen's tux Club, location Tower 23, styled by Love your Show, inc.

Proposal Tips and Trends by Prime Style Jewelry or Getting Him to Propose!

In case you are not where you want to be yet with your honey, the jewelry experts at Prime Style have some great advice: Five Ways to Get Him to Propose!

Sometimes, getting a man to propose is one of the most challenging feats ever. It’s not that he doesn’t love you, but that he may just be clueless about what it is that you want.

Men are wired differently than women are, so he may be contented with your relationship as it is while you’re daydreaming about a forever family. Here are five tips for getting him to propose to you. Try them, and see if they take him closer to popping the question.

Meet His Family

Something about meeting your mate’s family will bring you closer together. Suggest having dinner at his parents’ house if you’ve never met them before. A “meet the parents” meal is sort of a gateway to a proposal because it’s as intimate as you can get with him. If his parents like you, he will be more likely to propose.

Get your family involved, as well. Talk about your beau, and let them know that you’re interested in having them meet him. Take the opportunity to get deeper with him, and let him into your childhood. Your relationship will reach a whole new level at that time.

Probe Him during a Movie

Probing him doesn’t mean jabbing him with an alien analytic device. It just means that you should pick his brain a bit and bring up marriage during something relevant, like a romantic movie.

Interject during the most romantic part of the movie, and say something to drop a hint. You can be blatant if you want as well. “I wish that were us” may work for you if you say it at just the right time.

Take Him Window-Shopping

Nothing says “I’m ready for you to propose to me” like some glistening, affordable wedding ring sets. You’ll have to take him window-shopping for this trick to work. Take him out to your favorite mall, and then stop by the jeweler so he can get a good, close look at what you want. Try a ring on if you want to be a bit bolder, and drop a “How do I look in this?” line.

Another trick you can use is asking for a specific piece. If you see something you like, look at him with puppy-dog eyes and say, “Can I have that one . . . now?”

Discuss It Over a Home-Cooked Meal

You already know that a way to man’s heart is through the meal that you prepare. Therefore, you will have to create a masterpiece of a meal for him. Wait until he’s full and content, and say something like “How would you like to have meals like that for the rest of your life?”

Sure, it may sound like you’re proposing to him, but you're not. You're just helping to increase his awareness of your desire to wed. You’re just giving him a little hint as to what to do next. He can still give you an amazing experience when he asks for your lovely hand.

Just Be Honest

Finally, if all else fails, just tell him outright that you’re thinking about marriage. The most important thing in a relationship, whether or not it’s a marriage, is honesty. When you’re expressing your most candid thoughts on the subject, you may discover if you’re envisioning the same thing for your future.

Sometimes, the conversation may reveal some differences in your outlook and personalities, but knowing those early on will help you decide if you can strike a compromise at all and how you can settle these differences. A serious conversation about marriage may be unpleasant, heavy, and intense at times, but knowing your partner’s real thoughts is worth the discomfort, as you don’t want your marriage to be written off as a regrettable decision later on.

Those are just a few good ways that you can introduce the idea of a possible marriage to your man. Try all those on the list. If they don’t work, you’ll be able to think of some additional creative ones. 

Photo URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/Goa8mFLZHQ8

Handling Nerves on Your Wedding Day a Word to Meghan and to You!

So how nervous do you think Meghan Markle is right about now? Every bride deals with nervousness on the day of her wedding - whether your wedding is 4 friends at the beach or the millions watching an American girl wed a Prince at tonight's Royal Wedding. We at SanDiegoWedding.com #lovetotallyplanlocally have been a part of over 500 wedding ceremonies and helped many couples through lots of nerves, so here's a few tips for Meghan and for you! 

1.  Nerves are Natural and They're a Good Sign

Your wedding day is a turning point of leaving one life for another - even if you've been living together for years there is something magical and deep and invisible that happens at a wedding. You are psychologically and physically transitioning from a single person, or an "I", to half of a partnership, or a "We".  You are also joining a whole second family [or third] and will be woven into their past and future forever. If you are not feeling at all nervous as you shift this deep understanding of who you are as a person, something is actually missing. So embrace your nerves and step into your new life and new self! 

2. Nervousness Means the Power is Building

Nerves signal a large amount of energy is building and a personal power shift is happening. Think of big wave surfing. That is a lot of power building but what a ride it will be! If you were to get up and speak in front of 2 people you would feel different than if you were going onto Oprah or Ellen in front of millions. So really more nerves you are feeling, the more power you are building so instead of being afraid of nerves ride the wave! 

3. Get Grounded by Those Who Love You

If you are really getting into anxiety attack level of nerves pre wedding find a rock. Sadly, sometimes this may not be your immediate family. If other people are causing a little more stress than centeredness [remember your family is nervous and full or emotions too!], then seek out someone who really grounds you and loves you the way you are. This may be your bestie or even the very person you are about to marry! We know you're not supposed to see each other before the ceremony but seeing your true love in a sweet moment may just make all the fears disappear as you remember why you are getting married and what it's all about. 

4. Eat Some Comfort Food

You would be amazed at how many brides go down the aisle on an empty tummy! And your chance to eat anything [or go tot he bathroom!] diminishes as the day goes along as you never get a second to your self! Eating some comfort food - even a little - will really help ground you - there's no sense in having whacked out blood sugar from not eating distorting your mood on top of every thing else so pass the mashed potatoes! 

So stay cool - okay maybe have that pre ceremony mimosa - but seriously not too much alcohol though- the power of being the recipient of a ceremony of marriage is, in a word, intoxicating, and you want to feel and remember every minute of this amazing, powerful, big wave ride of when you transformed into someone new! Congratulations!! 

Welcome Bright Event Rentals to San Diego!

We can finally let the cat out of the bag! Bright Event Rentals has acquired Classic Party Rentals and is now in San Diego! You still have all the same totally awesome people from Classic; like Cris and Kelly and Justine...but now with even more inventory and choices and exciting ideas to 'Brighten' up your wedding or special event! Say hello to Bright!

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Visit their amazing showroom of rentals, decor, event specialists and planners of great ideas in Miramar at 7069 Consolidated Way San Diego, CA 92121 [see map] to see all kinds of exciting options for your big day! 

 

Family Style Wedding Reception Dining & Why You Want It!

So what is 'Family Style Dining' you say? It's when everyone sits at one [or a few if you have a lot of guests] long table and dines together like a family. Sure, large weddings still use the old wedding classic set up of multiple round tables with head table - but these great big tables offer a closeness and an intimacy [and an Old World familiarity] that will have all your guests feeling like family! This is a big plus for solo guests, wallflowers or shy relatives, and those who know few other guests. And the extra bonus? No one feels as though they're stuck at the 'boring table'! Boun appetito! Gorgeous Family Style Table setting styled by I Do Weddings & Events, photo by Fawn Christiansen taken at the totally fabulous San Diego wedding venue Luce Loft

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5 tips for a better (more danceable!) wedding reception by Elite British DJ

Ever wonder about the tricks of the trade to picking wedding songs? Well Mick Scrivener of Elite British DJ [a hugely popular San Diego wedding DJ] has some expert tips for you that come straight from decades of successful wedding receptions where people got up and danced the night away! His first bit of advice? NO GOOGLING!! Mick says "There is no such thing as a Cake Cutting song, it does not have to say sugar, sweet or honey in the title - just pick a song you love! In fact, I love it when my clients pick all their favorite songs for the cocktail and dinner hours. And I suggest the cocktail music be more upbeat than the dinner music, but never too mellow, and not all the same type of music as it becomes just background after a while if it all sounds the same. As for getting everyone up and dancing; I do recommend that you limit the dance 'must play' song list to about 5 songs as every crowd is so different. If you want everyone to have a good time, you need to take their tastes into account, that is why you have a DJ, to read the crowd. Make sure you provide your wedding DJ with a list of songs you like as 'Plan A', but allow the DJ to react to the crowd. Your 'Do Not Play' list is the most important list you have and can be as long as you want it to be !!! Remember your guests are going to base their experience more on the entertainment than anything so think about all of your guests when it comes to music choices (remember to think 'what would I like if I was a guest?') If you like Motown and you went to a wedding where they told the DJ 'No Motown' because the Bride and Groom didn't like it, would you be happy?"

More Wedding Reception Music Tips from Mick:

  • The introductions are very important, it's the only time you have everyone's attention. I recommend doing first names only, for 2 reasons, firstly it is easier for people to to remember names if you do not include last names (try it with your own bridal party !!) and secondly it is less formal.
  • Choose something fun and upbeat for introductions, one song for the bridal party and a different one for yourselves. It doesn't matter if the songs have lyrics as a good DJ can work around that and make sure they do not compete with the names being introduced. I would not recommend a song for each couple as they enter, it gets very choppy and confusing.
  • Your First dance should be after the introductions and before dinner. The main reason I recommend this is that introductions do not take long, once you come in, you are all psyched and then I announce "it's time for dinner" it seems very anticlimactic.
  • For your first dance, don't worry about how long the song is, have a "signature move" such as a dip and a kiss. I am watching for this and when I see it I will end the song. You are now free to dance for as long or as short a time as you want !! Remember that dancing in your wedding dress is different to dancing in jeans and a shirt.

Mick Scrivener, is the owner and DJ for Elite British DJ. His wife Julie is a wedding coordinator, and together they are privileged to offer a DJ/Coordination service that goes above and beyond. For more information, please check http://www.elitebritishdj.com or Julie’s site http://www.thebestweddingforyou.com .

How to stay healthy during your honeymoon

How to stay healthy during your honeymoon - a tip for traveling couples! With travel inspiration from Avant-Garde Travel honeymoon experts.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
― Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It

To whoever lives for the experience, riches of the soul and understanding of something bigger than they themselves are, traveling comes as a solution and a logical choice. Letting yourself dive into something so powerful, diverse and different from all the things you had the opportunity to experience so far is the best way to broaden your understanding of life, love, potential and all other wonderful things life has to offer. And when you are going with the love of your life and your forever-partner, the whole experience is better, extra fulfilling and even more rewarding than when you travel on your own. 

Utilize a Pro Travel Agent & Honeymoon Expert 

Avant-Garde Travel designs once in a lifetime experiences for their clients. They have the tools, industry pricing, expertise, knowledge, opportunities, resources and connections to elevate your travel to the next level. There is literally no reason to go it alone when an agency, like Avant Garde, can plan and book your tip and save you money! Avant-Garde Travel is a boutique travel company located in San Diego that specializes in group travel, custom vacation planning, escorted tours, river and ocean cruising and luxury hotels. Avant-Garde Travel creates once in a lifetime experiences for our clients based on their individual needs and interests.

Naturally, to have the best experience possible on your travel-tours, you need to make sure you stay safe and healthy, especially if you are traveling to destinations that are far from your home. With that in mind, here are a few smart tips to help you and your better half enjoy your time and stay vigorous during the trip.

Make sure you feel good traveling!

No matter how wonderful your go-to destination is, unless you feel comfy while traveling (and while actually being there), it’s all a waste. To feel great, you need to make sure both your body and your mind feel rested and relaxed. The mind? Well, that’s the part you have to take care of yourself – get in the mood for traveling, free yourself of any potential traveling anxieties and be ready for all the possible cultural shocks you might experience. Talk to your partner about their potential anxieties and face them head-on. Be each other’s support system both while you travel and when you reach your destination. The body?  Well, when you’ve got an awesome company like Go Travel,  you can easily solve the “problem” of a comfy trip. Take precautionary measures to avoid any potential mishaps‒like having your batteries leak, getting wet with no raincoat at hand, having a neck spasm because you don’t have a travel-pillow, etc.‒ by buying all the travel items you think you’ll need in advance. See? It’s pretty simple when you have proper guidance.


Don’t get too excited (if you know what we mean)

Yes, we totally understand the thrill of being THOSE newlyweds that are absolutely mad about each other and would rather do nothing else but love it up all day long and then spice things up at the beach late at night. While this sounds super romantic, please take into consideration that you are in a foreign land/strange city. Heaven forbid something happens, like your beach chair gives you back spasms, you get a UTI, because you won’t have your regular doctor there and things may get a bit odd, uncomfortable and embarrassing, especially if you cannot speak the local language!  Now, we’re not saying you should sleep in separate beds, we’re just saying... be careful.

Keep your hands clean and bacteria at bay

Now, this tip’s way more practical (sort of) and less weird to talk about, right? Right. Now no one is saying you should become a germaphobe, but....different locations have different bacteria that your system may not be used to. When you are traveling, keeping your hygiene on point is extremely important. Coming into contact with people, things, animals, handles in public transport and taxis, doors, etc. is the source of bacteria and the last thing you want is to subject yourself to some type of infection. When you are on the go, there’s often no soap and water available to wash your hands, so rely on hand sanitizer to save the day. Natural ‘wet wipes’ are awesome, too like EO® Lavender Hand Sanitizer Wipes. Also be sure you drink bottled water that has definitey been purified! 

Don't flash cash

You'd be surprised at some of the places you can get mugged pr pick pocketed even in cities that you wouldn't expect. Be smart, be safe...keep your valuables in hotel safes and don't show off your money. Even out of the way places take credit cards now that keeping track of [and being able to dispute charges] goes a lot better digitally - but do have some local money on hand for that one place with the best local food that doesn't do plastic.  

Check in with local government agencies if you're going off the beaten path

We're not trying to sounds extreme here or like Goldie Hawn in "Snatched" but if you are going to a less touristy destination be smart and let people - like the State Department and your family at home- know your itinerary and have check in times and dates so everyone knows you're having the time of your life! Find out everything, from which vaccinations you need to the local laws to any travel warnings (including crime and security warnings). While you're on the website, head over to the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) page, where you can register your travel plans. So heaven forbid, in the event of an emergency (whether it's a natural disaster, an emergency back home or whatever), they will be able to contact you.

Backup important documents

Also before you depart the USA, scan a copy of your passport, e-mail it to yourself and take a photo of it to save on your cell phone. That way, if you need your passport while out (but it's locked up in your hotel safe), you'll have access to all your details. And, if it's lost or stolen, getting a replacement will be that much faster....we know we've been there.

Wherever you go and whatever you do we hope you enjoy an amazing [positive] story-filled honeymoon! Just be smart and be safe in advance so then you get to focus just on having fun! 

All travel photos by Avant-Garde Travel.

Plan an Amazing Bachelorette Party for your Bride and Friends without Breaking the Bank

Bachelorette parties are a right of passage for you and your girls and it seems they're evolving all the time. Bridal parties can be found flying all over the world [Paris anyone?], celebrating in amazing hotels [what stays in Vegas...], heading down to Baja, or tucking into a quaint mountain cabin to play games and stay up all night chatting and just keeping it mellow, or, er....having a pillow fight. San Diego has probably the most options and directions to go since we are so close to it all! There are actually ways to have an amazing party without going crazy in the process. Plus, your bachelorette party should also be meaningful. Getting the bride out and little wild is fun, [spare her any social media posts of having too much fun please!] but letting her know how much you care about her and are happy she found the right person to marry is what it’s really all about. 

Here we bring you just a few ideas and tips for you to plan the ideal Bachelorette Party. 

Check in with the bride! First you should talk to the bride and find out what kind of party she wants. If she wants to go out of town, that’s great. But also find out what people can afford. Some might be more interested in the time spent together than spending a bucket full of dough [especially after wedding gifts, bridesmaids dresses and hotel rooms] so be sensitive to all! 

Consider going to a city that’s nearby, but still away from home. You might be able to find a place that has group wine tours or a regional casino like Viejas resort & Casino. Or head out to Palm Springs for a fabulous girls getaway that's just a few hours east! The Ace Hotel is a charming way to dive right into the PS spirit! Or how about Mammoth Mountain Inn for a winter wonderland getaway? Or the famous Rosarito Beach Hotel or Las Rocas Resort & Spa in Baja Mexico? A quick drive to Temecula gets you to the gorgeous South Coast Winery Resort & Spa or just go as far as San Marcos and live a lakeside dream Bachelorette weekend at Lake House Resort! Perhaps a rented cabin up at Big Bear would be a great place to hang out and a chance for the bridal party to get to know each other, while paying tribute to the bride-to-be. Go camping or “glamping,” take a cooking class, go skydiving, go to a dive bar and sing karaoke, visit museums, take a craft beer tour, visit a distillery or go to a spa (ask about a group rate on spa services!). You can even do volunteer work or Arts and Crafts at Charity Wings.

When planning, remember to be diplomatic: Ask the bride first what she wants to do, and then ask the other attendees for ideas to add.

Remind the other party-goers not to post on social media until you get back, or you can create a private Facebook group to post photos for only those you trust. You don’t want strangers to know your house is unattended.

What’s most important:

Take some time to shower the bride with love, too. Play games, create a scrapbook for her, do crafts together, talk about how each of you met her and why you are still close friends. Brides planning a wedding are usually stressed to their limit, so take some time to allow her to relax and have fun. Maybe give each other pedicures, or have a home spa night.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, delegate. Centralize the planning, but ask other friends or bridesmaids to help out. Have one person research venues, another decide on games, another get a cake and champers, and so on. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Doing all the work yourself almost guarantees you won’t have fun and maybe even end up feeling resentful.

The most important part of any bachelorette party is the memories you make. The bride will remember this party as the most important time of her life with her best friends. She’ll love you for it. 

Oh and please if you want to have a pillow fight Bachelorette Party like this adorable one shot by Chris Wojdak Photography.... you should do that part at home!:) 

Why we love family style wedding reception table set ups by Farm Tables & More

We know the traditional wedding reception set up of the last 30 or 40 years has been lots of round tables, where you place people based on common interests, relationships. and even history together. But to us there’s something really special about dining “family style” at long tables at a wedding reception!  Check out these gorgeous tables by Farm Tables & More,  a local, family run business and one of SanDiego‘s loveliest specialty rental companies - with a fabulous inventory of nice, long, family style tables for your wedding!

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 And outdoor wedding comes together so beautifully with one long table! 

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 We feel like longer tables are an extra perfect fit at a vineyard wedding! 

“Thank You” matters as much as “I Love You”!

We love this hand-lettered easel sign by Lavender and Sea, one of our favorite lettering artists, for many reasons. Of course it’s charming and beautifully done like everything they do, but the message it conveys is everything. Because in all the hustle and bustle of wedding planning and celebrating and getting down the aisle, today’s wedding couple needs to makes sure to make time to say thank you in old-fashioned ways to their guests....and that means saying it and showing it. 

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5 gorgeous photo booth backdrops that will make your images pop

Photo booths are the must-have addition to any wedding reception! They add a fun ice breaker for guests and get you tons of amazing [sometimes silly] photos of your guests at play. But a photo booth's backdrop can make or break the photos. The right backdrop not only matches your style of event, it elevates the photos from a bland 'mugshot' to a feast for the eyes that inspires your guests to new heights of play and fun! Here are a few of our favorite trending photo booth backdrops...

Gold Sequins- the classic photo booth backdrop for 2017! This rich sparkly backdrop by Shadowcatcher Photobooths adds glamour to any event! 

Colored Sequined Backdrops - adding an extra flair to the sequined back drop these fun color palettes of iridescent pink, blush, silver, red, and more, by Indybooth are the perfect on-trend way to frame your guests’ happy faces and antics!

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Black Rosette - this dark and rich backdrop makes any event more formal! Did you know that a textured backdrop like these beautiful black fabric rosettes by Shadowcatcher Photobooths, adds dimension to your photos and avoids that 'we just hung a bed sheet for a backdrop’ look! 

The Garden Hedge - 2017 has been the year of the garden hedge prop at weddings and event and for good reason! These versatile, bright green, outdoors comes inside hedges - like this one by Indybooth make the perfect complimentary photo backdrop. 

Giant White Roses - talk about dimension! These huge bold paper flowers will have your guests looking as amazing as flowers in a garden! Shadowcatcher Photobooths offers this incredible backdrop that will have your guests lining up to bloom!  

Black and White Damask - in case you hadn't noticed black and white [always a classic] is having a major renaissance in weddings! This classic damask pattern in contrasting black and white by Shadowcatcher Photobooths adds excitement to your photo booth photos! Their damask pattern is also available in purple and black and red and black - awesome for holiday parties!

Love totally, plan your wedding locally and remember to shop locally for the holidays

We live to promote the local business person, the on the ground wedding artist and professional who cares so well for San Diego area couples celebrating with a wedding.  Many of our favorite event pros [like Simply Adina Florals and Gifts in Escondido - shown here] have local retail shops you can patronize.  So just a reminder to please shop locally during the holidays! 

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So if you're up Escondido way stop in and say hi to Adina and her family at their lovely shop at 401 West Grand Avenue, Escondido, CA. 92025  Did you know Grand Avenue is one of North County inlands coolest spots for shopping!? Happy Holidays! 

 

Entertaining in style with Williams Sonoma fabulous table settings, glassware, dishes and more!

Uber stylist Abby Larson, the visionary behind Style Me Pretty, plays house with lovely table ware from Williams Sonoma. "There are no rules when it comes to using china, Abby insists. “It really comes down to styling,” she explains. “Most of the tables that I create in my own home use fine china, then I add details to support the spirit of the event. If we’re doing family-style pasta and salad, I might lay the flatware directly on the plate and tie a grosgrain ribbon around it. Instead of a grand centerpiece, I’ll do bud vases filled with a single stem in each. There really are no rules!”

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“There are so many elements that play into the decision for a formal or casual place setting,” Abby says. “First: What is the overall vibe of your event? This is determined by the details that you’ve woven in, from the menu to the centerpieces, from the napkins you choose to the music that you play.”

Still can’t decide between formal and casual? Consider the way the meal is being served.

“Generally speaking, if I plan to serve more than two courses, I set the table using a formal place setting,” Abby tells us. “If our meal will be served family style or as a buffet, I set a slightly more casual table.” Read the complete article on table settings here. 

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We look the look of mixing these plates and greenery with lots of clear glass!

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3 Awesome Wedding Dessert Bar Must-Haves That Your Guests will Love!

Dessert bars! You and your guests love em and they are a great feature at any wedding reception allowing guests [who may not know each other] to mix and mingle as they taste decadent and beautiful desserts! Check out these dessert bar ideas by Sweet Cheeks Baking Co. San Diego dessert experts! 

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1. Wedding Cake on the Dessert Bar

naturally the well appointed dessert bar has at its center a beautiful wedding cake to honor the age old tradition of two families breaking bread to become one!

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2. Cookies on the wedding reception dessert bar bring all ages together

Whether they are classic chocolate chip,  French macarons, or sparkly sugar topped beauties like these, cookies bring all ages together! These perfect, square shortbread cookies with white crystal sugar, so delicious and simple, add glitter and sparkle in a natural way for the taste buds. 

3. The dessert trend of the decade: cupcakes add decadent deliciousness to your dessert bar!

Frosting and cake in a myriad of exciting flavor combos that can fit in your hand....is there a more perfect dessert? These rose petal butter cream cupcakes taste as good as they look and will definitely and keep guests coming back for more! ! 

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With a beautiful backdrop by Pow Wow Vintage Rentals and arrangement by Vanessa of Alchemy Fine Events, the Luce Lofts of downtown San Diego suddenly acted as the perfect setting for a dessert station by Sweet Cheeks Baking Co. Thanks to Paula Luna of Luna Photography for such stunning photos in this urban setting!!! 

Shooting Your Engagement Photos in a Park: Featuring Joshua Tree and Paul Douda

We just LOVE seeing engagement photos from fun and adventurous places! Only certain photographers will 'shoot outside the box' and go the extra mile [literally] to create something extra special for you  like these gorgeous photos from Joshua Tree National Park by expert San Diego area wedding photographer Paul Douda.  We asked Paul for his tips [and even his secret spots!] for shooting at Joshua Tree and then Scott Moey from Live Once Live Wild offers us some great visitors info on Joshua Tree National Park.  All images by Paul Douda.... Enjoy! 

Expert engagement, wedding and creative photographer Paul Douda shares his tips [secret spots!!] for getting everything you want out of a Joshua Tree engagement shoot:

Q: What things should one watch for to make this trek safe and fun?
A: Two things when it comes to Joshua Tree. First and foremost, the weather there should be planned for because certain times of year are extreme! (i.e. snow capped boulders are beautiful but the conditions can be cold and harsh. On the flip side it can be stunning when its warm but the sun can be blaring around 100+ degrees). However, planning for the right time of year can make for a much better experience. The best time of year, in my opinion, is late winter, mid-fall. Secondly, don't underestimate how much time could be spent to take advantage of the location. Its a long drive for most Southern Californians and the shifting light of the high desert can offers many different looks through the day. Get there early and take advantage of the time!  

Q: What are the best times of year for your Joshua Tree engagement photo shoot?
A: Late winter or mid-fall. October was perfect and late February and March is good too - the days are perfect but the evenings can get very very cold!

Q: What should one bring along?
A: For the shoot pack anything that brings in your personality. Whether it is multiple wardrobe changes (that include multiple layers) or maybe even a telescope for star sightseeing!  Oh and enough gas and water, hey you should always be prepared. 

Q: Okay spill, where are your secret spots for shooting?  [you know someone loves what they do when they share their secret spots!!] 
A: You want to know our secret spots!? Just kidding! Keys View (highest point for the best panoramic view) - the road to Keys View has multiple turn offs that have very majestic views that you can pull over to the side of the road for equally spectacular views. Everyone tends to head to the Jumbo Rocks but there is a spot before you get there that is about a half mile east on Park Blvd from the intersection of Park Blvd and Joshua Tree National Park Blvd. There is an oval lot there to park and I love that spot.  [what a guy!!]

Q: Where is the best place to park? 
A: Depends on the spot you're heading to. There are many turnouts and lots to park in for some of the popular spots in the park. However, parking is generally not an issue and it's common and acceptable to pull over on the side of the road and get out of your car for your shots. 

Q: How should one work with the light  / is there a best time of day for shooting?
A: Each season has its own best time of day and consideration should be taken differently for sunsets. Despite the season, great light can really happy at the right time of day in any month. We all get there early and work with the light as we are shooting. An engagement session or shoot should be a big deal! We always plan to be together with our couples for an afternoon and evening so we tend to start around 1 or 2 and last into the evening. Time of day totally depends on the couple and the photographer because Joshua Tree is a little more elaborate than a typical park engagement session. We tell our couples to please let us know if they want deep, dark, rich, moody shots that we capture at nighttime, or if their personalities are better suited to the bright daylight of desert, sun, sand, and lots of natural light.....we are always open to whatever the couple is going for in their session. 

Joshua Tree National Park is one of the nation´s largest desert areas that is officially protected by the U.S. government. Spanning an area that is larger than the state of Rhode Island, this desert paradise offers a whole range of outdoors activities, from desert hiking to star gazing.

In his awesome [and very complete] guide to the Joshua Tree National Park, he shares all the information you need to plan a one of a kind trip to one of our nation´s most unique ecosystems. Scott's guide is really a good read before visiting this beautiful and protected area. 

Fun facts and tidbit's from Scott's comprehensive guide to Joshua Tree:

  • The park has over 790,000 acres, making it larger than the state of Rhode Island

  • Over half of the Joshua Tree National Park is a designated wilderness area waiting to be explored by desert lovers

  • The famous band “U2” has an album named after the national park´s namesake: The Joshua Tree

  • The name “Joshua Tree” was given by early Mormon settlers who thought that the tree looked like the biblical character of Joshua who raised his hands to the heavens

  • In Spanish, the tree is called “izote del desierto”, roughly translated as desert dagger

  • Joshua trees are an indicator species that designate an area as a desert

  • The Joshua Tree National Park is unique in that it encompasses two distinct desert ecosystems: the Colorado Desert which is a lowland desert and the higher Mojave Desert which is over 3,000 feet in elevation

  • Over 2.5 million people visited the park in 2016

  • Despite officially being a desert ecosystem, the Little Bernandino Mountains run through a part of the park and can occasionally receive snow fall during the winter months

  • Geologists estimate that the rock formations in the park are well over 100 million years old

  • There are also several oases located throughout the parks where lush green vegetation contrasts sharply with the dryness of the surrounding landscape

The Top 10 Wedding Photos You Just Can't Live Without!

Epic, must-have Wedding photos! Everyone wants and needs them, but sometimes certain wedding day photos stand out above and beyond all the others... here San Diego wedding photographer Greg Nelson offers us his 10 wedding photos you just cannot live without!

Thanks Greg for sharing your gift and these memorable essential photos from weddings with us! Check out our directory of amazing San Diego wedding photographers.