Friday, October 30, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Even if you are not planning a destination wedding, there are lots of travel aspects involved in planning a wedding. Booking accommodations for out of town guests and plotting the details of your honeymoon can leave you feeling like a travel agent instead of a bride. I've compiled a few tips and resources to help you through...
* I recently discovered Tablet Hotels - a great resource for booking boutique and luxury hotels. Tablet selects their favorite hotels worldwide (in every price range) and lets you book online at great prices. Become a Tablet Member for a small annual fee and enjoy perks like free upgrades, late check-out, spa certificates, and more. I like to think it's a much chicer version of Expedia and Orbtiz. If you are unfamiliar with your wedding destination and need to book accommodations for your guests, be sure to check out Tablet for great hotel ideas that are under the radar.
* I recommend reserving room blocks at a few hotels if you have a lot of guests who are flying in from out of town. Be sure to select a hotel for every price point (under $200, $200-400, $400+) so that guests will have an option to fit their budget. Look for hotels that will accommodate a "social room block" which lets you hold the rooms without a deposit or guarantee. Be sure to figure out how many guests will be looking for accommodations and block accordingly. If there was a 200 person wedding with 100 guests needing hotels, I would block 30-40 rooms. Many hotels will offer room rates lower than their published rates for room blocks. Be sure to mention that you have reserved rooms at these hotels on your save the date so your guests can book easily.
* I advise all of my clients to leave for their honeymoon a few days after the wedding instead of immediately after. Those few extra days give you time to breathe and relive the memories of the day instead of worrying about catching a flight and packing a suitcase.
* If you aren't able to jet off on your honeymoon right away, take a mini-moon after the wedding. You'll be able to savor the feeling of being a newlywed without taking lots of time off from work.
* If you want an amazing honeymoon without lifting a finger, I suggest you check out Jet Set Travel. They handle every aspect of your honeymoon - from booking the plane tickets and hotels to reservations at insider only restaurants. They'll even handle your spa treatments and tee times. Jet Set has the "in" on more exotic honeymoon destinations like Africa and India, so be sure to check them out if you are planning more than your standard resort trip to Hawaii.
* Resort honeymoon more your speed? Tahiti may be the place you've been looking for. If you go, check out True Tahiti Vacations and let Laurel handle the details. Laurel is a California native and knows the ins and outs of Tahiti better than most locals. Having an expert in Tahiti is a must since travel between islands is a little tricky.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Alison and Alex wanted a really intimate winter wedding in San Francisco. And it was. The evening began with a beautiful ceremony complete with the fireplace aglow at one of San Francisco's prettiest churches. The couple chose Spruce, one of their favorite restaurants (and mine!), as the setting for their reception with their closest friends and family. Event mastermind Stanlee Gatti incorporated deep red tones into the centerpieces and linens which worked perfectly with Spruce's decor. Gatti's genius was on full display with the lush garlands comprised of bay leaves and rosemary that he draped above the dinner tables. The garlands added so much dimension and drama to the space without compromising precious space on the narrow dinner tables.
Spruce created a tasting menu for the evening that guests are still raving about. The dinner began with a shaved fennel and tangerine salad, which was followed by pasta course of chickpea ravioli and a fish course of seared black bass with chanterelle mushrooms. The entree was a delicious Moroccan spiced lamb chop with bulgar and winter vegetables, followed by a cheese course and wedding cake from Perfect Endings. Doesn't that sound amazing? It was - trust me!
After dinner, a cigar roller worked his craft for the groom and his friends. We served Spruce Bakery's famous chocolate chip cookies and milk shots for who preferred sweets to cigars, while guests snapped photos of themselves in a self-portrait booth.
My Favorite Moment? I really loved the toasts at this wedding. From the father of the bride to the bride and groom's close friends. They were funny, sincere, beautifully spoken, heartfelt and made me want to laugh and cry at the same time.
Photography by Thayer Gowdy. Event Design and Flowers by Stanlee Gatti Designs. Ceremony at Swedenborgian Church. Reception at Spruce. Bride's hair and make-up by Jim Avila. Cake by Perfect Endings. Bride's gown from Joan Gilbert Bride.