This beautiful wedding took place on a warm Saturday in August in downtown Santa Barbara. The picturesque mountain and ocean views from the roof of the MOXI Museum was the perfect backdrop for this unforgettable day. An amazing time was had by all! Special thanks to everyone involved, see list of event pros at the end of this post. Enjoy these lovely photos from Ryanne Bee Photography who captured their day, and their love perfectly!
Thank you to the following event professionals who helped create this magical day for the Bride and Groom:
Planning & Coordination: Gatherings for Good
Venue: MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration & Innovation
Rentals: Discount Party Rental
Lighting: Islay Events
Catering & Event Staffing: California Tacos
Ceremony & Reception DJ: AMS Entertainment
Photography: Ryanne Bee Photography
Desserts: Solvang Bakery
Cheese Tower: C'est Cheese
Bride's Hair: April Snow, Los Olivos Studios
Bride's Makeup: Amanda Nicholson
From walking down the aisle to the first kiss, we are breaking down the various parts of a traditional wedding ceremony. If you are planning a ceremony on your own and want to learn the basics, this is a great place to begin. This example can be used as is or you can incorporate your own religious elements or add some personal touches to make it more personal to you.
Many couples are choosing to have a friend or family member act as the Officiant on the wedding day in lieu of hiring a professional. While this is a trend I fully appreciate and support, keep in mind that the person you chose to marry you may not have the knowledge or confidence to take on this role. However, by using the example below they will feel much more at ease once the wedding day arrives.
Ceremony Order of Events
The Processional. This is the start of the ceremony where immediate family and wedding party walk down the aisle and proceed to the altar. They will either stand next to the couple or take a seat in front depending on their role.
There are many variations of how to line up the wedding party for the Processional. Some couples are choosing to forgo a wedding party altogether or simply have a Best Man and Maid of Honor. This is a very personal choice and there is no right or wrong way to go about it. Often times the Officiant or Wedding Planner can help you determine the best scenario for you.
Welcome and Introduction. The Officiant takes a moment to welcome everyone to the venue, introduces him or herself, and thanks everyone for coming together to celebrate and witness your marriage. He or she may share thoughts about love and marriage, your relationship and some background information about the two of you.
Readings. If you choose to have a friend or family member read a passage from a Bible or a poem, this is the moment to do that. Generally readers are sitting near the front in the first or second row so they can easily walk up to the front when it comes time. The Officiant can introduce the readers or they can come up unannounced. Depending on the venue you may need a microphone and sound system to ensure that guests sitting in the back rows will be able to hear. I suggest you practice the readings at the ceremony rehearsal so the people who are participating understand what to do and when they will be called upon.
Vows. At this time the couple would exchange vows which can be something they personally wrote or something they found online that spoke to them. It can be short or long, funny, heartfelt, spiritual, or traditional. Again, this is a personal decision and there is no right or wrong way to do this. My advice: don't overthink it and speak from the heart.
Rings. After the vows while you are still facing each other, rings are exchanged. You can choose to hold on to the rings yourself, have the Officiant hold the rings and hand them to you, or have members of your wedding party hold them. Traditionally the Maid of Honor and Best Man would take on this role. The Officiant will then have you recite words to each other about what the ring represents and the union you are entering into.
Kiss. After the vows and rings are exchanged you can finally kiss to seal the deal!
Pronouncement of Marriage. The Officiant officially pronounces the couple and confirms their union into marriage. You can discuss with your Officiant how you would like to be introduced. At this time the couple faces the guests and everyone cheers.
The Recessional. After the announcement by the Officiant, the musician or music would start playing a song that the couple then exits to. Typically they would hold hands and walk back down the aisle followed by the Officiant, wedding party and then all the remaining guests exit row by row.
From there on, all the hard work is done, your nerves begin to calm down and you can go off and enjoy the party!
As a Wedding Planner I bring most of these items with me on the wedding day but if you are packing your own wedding emergency kit, here are some items you'll want to include!
What are some other items you would add to this list? Let us know!
Curtis and Jill's wedding gave us all the feels! From their pretty in pink bridesmaids dresses and floral arrangements to their adorable first look photos and heartfelt prayer circle surrounded by loved ones to the stunning decor and dessert display created by the bride's beautiful and talented mother. We couldn't have been happier for these two and to have been part of such a wonderful moment in their lives!
Thank you to the team of wedding professionals who worked together to make this day unforgettable for the Bride and Groom:
Planning & Coordination: Gatherings for Good
Ceremony Venue: Santa Barbara Courthouse
Reception Venue: The Narrative Loft
Ceremony Rentals: Just 4 Fun Party Rentals
Catering/Rentals/Bar/Event Staffing: Tamara's Catering
Ceremony & Reception DJ: AMS Entertainment
Flowers: Emma Rose Floral
Photography: Elise Nicole Photography
Cake: The Bride's Mother
Bride's Hair & Makeup: Carlyle Salon
The first dance....it's such a beautiful part of a wedding reception and a special moment for the newly married couple. It can also make many brides and grooms incredibly nervous! If you're not used to dancing in front of people it can be a little scary. It's important to have a great song to dance to that you and your spouse love and one that will put you at ease the minute you step on the dance floor.
Here (in no particular order) are 10 classic and romantic first dance songs that will make this part of your wedding planning as easy as 1,2, 3!
Image by www.pexels.com
The first step in booking our event planning, design and/or coordination services involves an initial consultation which can be done over the phone, in person or with the use of technology these days - Skype or FaceTime. All methods work well and we try to make it as easy as possible by being accessible in a variety of ways.
An initial consultation can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. The more questions you ask or the more details we cover the longer the consultation will be. Schedule a phone consultation when you know you have at least 30 minutes without any distractions so that we can make the most of our time without interruptions.
If you are not sure you need an Event Planner or just want to clarify what we offer and how we can help you, a consultation is a great way to get all your questions answered so you can make an informed decision.
To serve our clients the best we can, we need to get to know more about you, your event and how we can be the most beneficial to you. A consultation not only helps us understand what you need but it also allows us to get to know more about each other which will determine if we are good fit to partner together.
Here are some things you should do prior to our call or meeting.
Image by www.pexels.com
Here are some things we will go over together during our call or meeting.
Towards the end of the conversation we will summarize what we discussed to make sure we have all the details correct. If at that point you are interested in a proposal we'll take all the information you gave us and write a formal proposal to send you to review.
There is no obligation after our initial consultation to book our services (but we hope you do)! We are happy to talk with you and answer any questions you have!
Schedule your FREE initial consultation here and let's get started!
Image provided by www.pexels.com
Not a fan of baby shower games? Are you planning a baby shower for a friend or relative and need some fresh ideas? Here are 5 fun baby shower games that anyone can do (and enjoy), without having to leave their dessert!
1. Baby Books Emoji Pictionary - Guests try to figure out the title of children's books using only the emojis on the card. Get these cute Baby Books Emoji Pictionary cards from Zazzle.
2. Baby Word Scramble - Guests have 5 minutes to unscramble words. The person with the most correct words wins! Get this Sweet Blue & Gray Elephant Word Game Notepad from Zazzle.
3. Price is Right - Guests fill in the dollar amount for each item listed. The total of all items is then added up. The guest with the closest number to the actual cost wins! Get these adorable Woodland Fall/Winter Baby Shower Price Game Cards from Zazzle.
4. Baby Bingo - Guests fill in items they think mommy-to-be will receive. As gifts are opened items are checked off. The first guest who gets 5 in a row wins! Get these beautiful and elegant Cream White Rose Floral Baby Bingo Cards from Zazzle.
5. Name That Baby Food - Guests use sight, smell and taste to identify a variety of baby foods. The person with the most correct answers wins! Get these Little Man Baby Food Game Cards from Zazzle.
Did you know Gatherings for Good plans, designs and coordinates baby showers, bridal showers, engagement parties, birthdays and many other social events? Contact us today to get started planning your next event!
Going into a planning meeting with a wedding vendor can be a little overwhelming and confusing if you don't know some of the lingo! If you're pondering over the difference between an "Arch and an "Arbor or have no clue what a "First Look" is, don't worry! We're here to help you figure it all out! Here are a few terms you will most likely hear during the wedding planning process!
Aisle Marker - Decorations used to "mark" or define the aisle the wedding party walks down. Hanging floral baskets or herbs from each chair, floral chair ties, wood or iron lanterns, paper cones filled with confetti, beautiful greenery, soft fabric, mason jars and pedestal flower arrangements are all common types of aisle markers that add beauty and style to your ceremony space. They can be simple or elaborate depending on your taste and budget.
Arbor - A structure that serves as a shelter for the wedding couple to stand under during an outdoor ceremony. Arbors can come in different shapes and sizes. They are typically made up of a variety of materials such as twigs, branches, vines and/or flowers and is where the couple exchanges their wedding vows.
Arch - Typically arches are rounded structures used in outdoor wedding ceremonies that serve as a focal point. Most commonly arches are made of wood, plastic or wrought iron and are often decorated with fabric and/or flowers. The couple can choose to stand underneath or directly in front of an arch during their ceremony.
BEO - A BEO or Banquet Event Order, is a document created by the wedding caterer or venue outlining the details of your wedding including your menu, guest count, time of your event and room set up that staff members follow in order to execute all logistics correctly.
Corkage Fee - The amount charged by a restaurant or venue to open each bottle of wine or liquor brought in and bought elsewhere to serve at your event.
First Look - An intimate moment arranged by a photographer before a wedding ceremony for the two spouses to see each other. Typically a location is determined and agreed upon beforehand. The couple is brought to the location separately where their surprised and authentic reactions to seeing each other for the first time are captured in photos.
Passed - Referring to food or beverages that are tray "passed" during the cocktail hour portion of a wedding reception.
Pin Spot - Pertaining to lighting, it is a focused beam of light that shines directly onto an object such as a centerpiece or cake to draw attention.
Prelude - Referring to music that is played before the wedding ceremony by live musicians or a DJ as guests arrive and take their seats. Prelude music is the first thing they hear upon arriving at the venue and sets the tone for the wedding ceremony.
Processional - The music that is played to signal the start of the wedding ceremony to which the wedding party, family members and bride and/or groom walk to.
Recessional - The music that is played at the end of the wedding ceremony that the couple exits to after the pronouncement of marriage.
Room Flip - Changing the ceremony space into the reception space. This is often done at a venue where you are using one space for the entire day. The venue staff typically will re-set or "flip" the room once the ceremony is complete during the cocktail hour while guests are away. When they return, the space has been transformed for the reception to take place.
Seating Chart - A way to display to your guests which table they are assigned to. This is often used in lieu of escort cards. Seating charts are best placed in the front entrance of the reception venue for guests to view upon arriving and can be an additional part of your wedding decor.
Tablescape - The artistic style, design and arrangement of table top items and how they work together cohesively to enhance a space such as your dinner tables, cake or dessert tables, gift table, and head table for a wedding reception.
Venue Coordinator - An employee at a wedding venue that assists the couple with details pertaining to securing the venue for their wedding date, contract negotiations and all services provided by the venue. They are responsible for delivering their contracted services when it comes to the use of the venue and ensuring the couple follows the venue's rules and guidelines. In some cases food, beverages and rental items can be arranged through the Venue Coordinator depending on the venue and what they offer.
A Venue Coordinator is different from a Wedding Coordinator. A Venue Coordinator typically is not involved in any of the planning details other than what comes with the use of their facility. A Wedding Coordinator handles all of the couple's planning needs from the start which can include wedding design, layout creation coordinating rental needs, vendor procurement, wedding day timeline creation, rehearsal coordination as well as provide the couple with invaluable expertise, guidance and support throughout the planning process and on the wedding day.
No matter where you are in your wedding planning stages, Gatherings for Good can help! Visit our weddings page and email us today and see all the ways we can help you create the wedding you always dreamed of!
All photos provided by www.pexels.com
Spring is a time to celebrate! With warmer weather and flowers blooming it's a perfect time to move the party from the cold dark days of winter to the beautiful outdoors to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine! Spring is also a great time to host a brunch, celebrate birthdays, bridal and baby showers, Easter celebrations or just enjoy a relaxing get together with friends. Here are some ideas to ensure you have the best spring party on the block!
When it comes to decorations and flowers, choose fun, vibrant colors that really pop and brighten up any space!
Food is generally the main attraction at any gathering. Unless you are having a formal sit down meal I suggest focusing on small bites and food stations which will encourage movement and make for easy conversation to happen between your guests. Always add fresh fruit and seasonal ingredients to your menu and include both savory and sweet options!
Serve a signature beverage in a fun glass or mason jar. You'll need a cold refreshing drink to compliment all that yummy food. A mix of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will please any guest. A Mimosa Bar, Bloody Mary bar or Sangria are always popular! Don't forget to garnish! Cheers to Spring!
Decorate your space. From table decor to lighting to beautiful centerpieces.. spring decorations are a great way to get creative and set the tone for any celebration.
Serve dessert. A little bit of sugar makes everything a bit sweeter! Put effort into the presentation and add some pretty details!
Consider giving your guests a small thank you gift to show your appreciation. Send them home with some tasty leftovers, a bottle of wine or handwritten card. Everyone loves a parting gift!
However you decide to celebrate, here's to a Happy Spring!
All images provided by pexels.com
Gatherings for Good provides planning, design and coordination for parties, weddings and a variety of special events. Let us help you plan your next event!
Today is our anniversary! I usually write blogs about other people's weddings and today I realized I never wrote a blog about my own wedding so here it is! My husband and I were married on October 10, 2015. As a bride, I can say that my wedding day was everything I wanted it to be. Beautiful, elegant, fun, romantic and memorable. It was all of those things from the location, the decor, the fashion, the food, the entertainment and of course the people who came to celebrate with us.
Our wedding was not without challenges. As the wedding day was getting closer, I remember being so frustrated and tired that at one point I threatened to cancel everything, It was so overwhelming at times that I didn't think I could it it anymore.
I was doing most of the planning and design on my own as my husband was away for work quite a bit during that time. Every day I spent hours online looking at photos on Pinterest, collecting ideas and buying decorations from Amazon and Etsy and making countless trips to the local Michael's store trying to piece everything together down to the very last detail. What started out being fun and exciting ended up feeling more like a heavy burden to carry and I just wanted it to be over already!
As a Wedding Planner, I know a lot of couples go through a stressful time during the planning stages and it is very common to feel overwhelmed with everything there is to do. It can be hard to wrap your head around all the little details that go into planning the "perfect" day. You want to make everyone happy but in doing that you can easily wear yourself out.
There are endless lists of tasks to complete from choosing a venue to the numerous phone calls and emails to vendors, selecting and designing invitations and programs, buying gifts for the wedding party, choosing and printing photos, creating signage, creating a wedding website and registry, putting together a play list for the DJ and a shot list for the photographer, assembling favors.... and on and on and on.
Not only do those things that wear you out, you also have to make sure out of town guests secure their travel arrangements, collect RSVPs, attend food tastings, design a seating chart, and deal with two separate families and groups of friends who always have an opinion about everything! It is exhausting!
I decided early on that I wasn't going to discuss any of the details about the wedding with family or friends for two reasons. 1. I didn't want to hear everyone's opinions and have to explain any of my decisions and 2. I wanted everyone who came to the wedding to be surprised when they walked in not knowing what to expect. I had an image in my mind of our guests walking into the room and saying "wow, this is amazing!" Or "wow, this is so beautiful!"
I think it's important for any bride or groom to be able to plan the wedding they want to have without worrying about what everyone else thinks. It is very hard to plan a the wedding of YOUR dreams when you are trying to make everyone else happy, Just remember it is your day and you are only going to do it once so do it right! Don't have regrets later on and think, "I should have or I wish I had..." If your family loves you and truly wants you to be happy (which I am sure they do) they will understand.
I am not saying to ignore your guests needs and only think about yourself. I am simply saying don't let other people's opinions get in the way of having the wedding you always wanted. I tried very hard to be accommodating to our guests and to make them feel welcome. I tried to make sure they were taken care of while still planning the wedding the way I wanted to from the design, the colors, the attire, the food choices, the hotel accommodations and their overall experience, especially those who came from out of town (or out of the country in our case).
I had a vision for how I wanted our wedding to look and I wasn't going to be deterred from that easily. It is important to have a vision and to imagine all the things you want to have on the wedding day - what does it look like when it's all said and done? What colors do you see? What is everyone doing? What music is playing? Are you outside or inside? What does your dress look like? What kind of flowers do you have? Who is in your wedding? Creating a vision board is a good way to start collecting all your ideas and help you make decisions about what you want and what you don't want.
Ok, back to our wedding! We chose the beautiful and historic Santa Barbara Club located in downtown Santa Barbara. My husband and I both knew this was the right venue for us after we went to see it. It had the look and feel we wanted, it was just the right size for our guest count which was around 100 people, it had both indoor and outdoor space, it was private and exclusive just to our wedding guests.
The Santa Barbara Club is also an inclusive space that provides tables, chairs, linens and all the basics we needed for our formal dinner service and they even have their own chef! This was something that was important to us. It meant we didn't need to worry about spending too much money or time on rentals or hire an outside caterer. Having so much available in one space just made things a bit easier for us. We also loved the central location to State Street close to many hotels, shops, restaurants and nightlife for guests to enjoy before and after the wedding.
We chose to have our wedding ceremony outside on the lawn with a reception inside the main dining room. We chose classic and timeless colors which included navy blue, white, gold, silver and a hint of blush pink. The bridesmaids wore a navy blue dresses with lace detail and the groomsmen wore light grey suits with matching bow ties. The same colors were represented throughout the wedding in our decor and wedding details from the color of our table linens, napkins, flowers, and even the smallest details of our wedding favors.
Since my husband is from England I wanted to incorporate some British inspired details into the wedding without it feeling like a "British" theme wedding. We decided to have the groomsmen and father of the groom who are also from England wear British flag suspenders and socks which was a simple and fun detail that complemented the grey suits very well.
I also added a few other British details into the decor sprinkled throughout the venue which was just the right amount without going overboard! My husband and his English family and friends who attended the wedding appreciated the blending of both cultures and loved having their country represented in our day. My husband along with his groomsmen proudly posed with their home flag which is a white rose, the inspiration behind the white flowers we chose for our wedding.
A small red telephone booth and a few personal photos were placed on the bar to complement our ongoing British theme. I also found some really cute toothpicks with the British flag on them which we used for our assortment of mini desserts. The British flag custom cocktail napkins from Zazzle were perfect for the wait staff to pass out during cocktail hour and to display on the bar.
My husband and I both wanted to have a classic and timeless look at our wedding which we accomplished using mostly white flowers in small arrangements as to not overpower or crowd the reception space. We chose not to have matching centerpieces on every table and instead the tables were a mixture of flowers and candles in a variety of arrangements.
An elegant paper flower display over the sweetheart table was the perfect backdrop for the bride and groom and tied the look together, beautifully crafted by Fanciful Designs. The venue is so beautiful on its own that we didn't want to take away from the richness of the architecture and felt simple and clean was the way to go.
Aside from the decor and beautiful design of the wedding details, what people are still talking about years later is the food and how much fun the wedding was. That was something that was very important to both my husband and I. We really wanted our guests to have a great time and be well fed and we accomplished both! The chef did an amazing job from our appetizers to our entrees to the dessert station. It was beyond what we expected and surpassed our expectations by far!
These cute meal choice stickers from Etsy were placed on each guests's escort card and worked great. They let the wait staff know what entree to serve them as we had choices of beef, chicken or a vegetarian dish.
For entertainment, local DJ Danny Vasquez of Elite Disc Jockeys got everyone dancing and helped us keep everything on schedule as our Emcee. He did an amazing job playing music and kept the party going late into the night.
Our photo booth was a huge hit and was busy all night long. There was never a dull moment and always something fun to do! What I loved most about the wedding was all the people who came together to celebrate with us from places near and far.
The question many people have asked me is, "did you have a wedding Coordinator?" The answer: YES! Of course I did! There is no way I was going to do everything myself on my wedding day or have my friends or family do anything except come to the wedding and have fun. I hired Alegria By Design for Wedding Day Coordination only. Armando is amazing and I have known him for many years. I trusted him to take care of all the wedding day details and he did help me with questions during the planning stages along the way. It was great having his support and guidance throughout the process and to lean on when things started to get overwhelming.
Even someone like me who plans weddings for a living needed help and I wasn't afraid to ask for it. I knew it was going to be a lot for me to tackle on my own. I am lucky to have a great network of people in the industry here in Santa Barbara to utilize which I am very grateful for! All of the wedding vendors I hired did an outstanding job and I think that is one of the reasons everything went so well. Good, reliable, experienced wedding professionals are a must! I cannot tell you enough what a difference it makes.
Was our wedding perfect? No. But I wasn't planning for perfection. We set out to have a fun day full of love and laughter and we ended up having the time of our lives! Yes there are things I would change if I could do it again (a future blog post). But overall I couldn't have asked for a better wedding or a better group of people to share it with. We loved every moment!
Marriages are not perfect and you shouldn't expect your wedding to be either. Plan for the unexpected. Accept the challenges and face them head on. Enjoy every moment, even the hard ones. The wedding day goes by so fast and if you aren't careful, you will miss it.
THANK YOU to all the OUTSTANDING wedding professionals I had the pleasure of working with and who made our day absolutely beautiful!
Wedding Day Coordination: Alegria By Design
Wedding Venue: Santa Barbara Club
Rentals: Party Pleasers
Ceremony Music: Monica Cremona
DJ: Elite Disc Jockeys
Photo Booth: 805 Party Pix
Flowers: Ella and Louie
Photography: James & Jess
Cake: Your Cake Baker
Transportation: SB Trolley
Vintage Car: Santa Barbara Tours a la Carte
Bride's Hair: MiSalon
Bride's Makeup: Spa Escape
Men's Attire: Mission Tuxedos
Accommodations: Fess Parker Double Tree Hotel
Brenda Cali is a professionally trained Wedding Consultant and plans a variety of social and corporate events.