It’s kinda the same for both of us, one day it just kinda clicked, we have known each other since high school, and have always been friends. One day (Ninas birthday) we decided to give it a chance, and have been together ever since. I would say though, when we realized that being together felt like home, that no matter what we thought we could always rely on each other, and that no one really understood us the way we understand each other.
Who Proposed To Whom?
We kinda proposed to each other, I asked first and then Nina asked me a week later.
How / Where Did You Get Engaged?
I came home from work one night with a gift bag, inside was her ring along with a picture of the two of us, with “Willst du mich heiraten?”, which is german for will you marry me. Ninas grandmother (Omi) was german, and she always like embrace her german heritage. Nina came into my work with my best friend, put out her hand and said “Do you like my ring?” LOL
Nina was done by Lexus Bombard and mine was done by Julia Williams (my best friend)
Any advice for couples planning weddings today?
Take your time with planning and picking out everything you want, it’s your day you deserve to have it the way you want and have always envisioned. Enjoy it! the day goes by so quickly! also, make sure to bustle your dress (we forgot, and were tripping on it during our first dance LOL)
Be you! Every single one of your wedding guests are there to support you and love you and your partner.
Get to know Heather, Central Coast Wedding Photographer.
I first met Heather of Heather Nguyen Photography at a local wedding professionals gathering in northern San Luis Obispo county. Taylor Street Favors was supplying some wedding favors for the event and Heather was shooting the event. Meet and greets are not my thing, but I am so glad I went that night! Not only do I love Heather’s wedding photography and her warm, easy going vibe, but she continues to be a big supporter of everything Taylor Street. Here is our interview with Heather.
TSF: What is your favorite part of a wedding to shoot?
Wedding Photography is so much fun! If I had to choose one part it would be when I am photographing the couple alone. To me, that is the most exciting part. Some see each other before with a first look and others have waited until their “I DOs”. That is the chance to really see how in love they are. That is the first chance they get to have a candid conversation and complement each other’s outfits.
TSF: Most important question you rarely get asked by couples considering you for wedding photography?
The most important part of the day, photography wise is sunset time. I have a long list of questions to ask but for couples that is usually the last thing they are thinking about. When you think of your wedding, the most important part would be the couple photos when the light is soft and flattering. I usually suggest sunset photos depending on their schedule.
TSF: Tell us about yourself
I have been a photographer for 9 years now. I am a wife of 9 years and a mother to a 6 year old and a 3 year old. They keep me busy during the week, which is why I love my job as a photographer. I am able to enjoy time with them during the week and work on the weekends.
TSF: What is one favorite part of your photography business?
Delivering the images to clients. I always send out the email and wait for their response. Hearing how much they love their images and how well their day was captured is such a pleasure to hear as their photographer.
TSF: Best piece of advice you could give couples planning their wedding
To take moments for themselves and keep dating. When I work with couples, sometimes stress gets the best of them and they forget the wedding is all about their love. After their big day, they will be left with the memories of the guests, their ceremony, and how much fun they had.
TSF: What is your photography specialty?
My specialty is wedding photography. Though I also photograph families, newborns, kids & couples, I spend most of my year on weddings. I love having clients stay with me from their engagement to their family photos years down the road. I really do have an amazing job!
TSF: What inspires you professionally?
I was inspired after my own wedding. I had such a amazing time planning our wedding. So when I meet a couple, I love discussing all of the fun plans they have started and the vision they have.
TSF: 3 questions every couple should ask their wedding photographer
Do you shoot in RAW? RAW images hold more information than JPEGS which help with post editing. All professionals shoot in RAW.
How many weddings have you photographed? I shoot about 15-20 weddings a year on average, so 8 years and 15 weddings a year I would say I am around 120 weddings. It’s very important for your photographer to have lots of wedding experience.
Do you edit the images? As for editing, I edit the lighting, bring up colors(especially your wedding colors), edit out anything that takes away from the image. Every image a client receives from me has been touched. I never send unedited images.
TSF: Biggest pet peeve with modern technology in weddings today
Cell phone and tablets. I have been a wedding guest many times and I personally have no problem with people taking photos during the day. When it comes to the ceremony, it makes my job very hard to have to ask guests to move (when they should be seated) or change my position because someone is holding their phone out in the isle. When a couple spends so much on their wedding photography, they don’t want cell phones in the way of their vows or first kiss.
TSF: Weddings are stressful. How do you keep yourself relaxed and energized?
I spend time with my kids during the week and usually get massages after a long wedding. I carry a backpack with all my lenses and gear so once the wedding is over, my back is usually sore.
TSF: What one superpower would you want for your wedding photography work?
That my legs would never get tired. After being on my feet for 12+ hours, I am usually exhausted. Legs that would keep going even into the late night hours would be marvelous!
If you have a question to ask Heather about her wedding photography business, or her opinion on anything wedding photography related, please ask on our Facebook page or send us an email.
Finding that first dance song is never easy. Some songs may fit one personality, but you want something that represents you both. Maybe you have a song that you fell in love to, when you first met or had your first kiss. From classic to contemporary, romantic to sappy, rock and roll to country to rap – it’s your day, it’s your song. Below are our top 29 picks for a first dance – not 30, just 29. Our first dance song was Love Me Crazy by Moonshine Collective and we were lucky enough to have them at our wedding. What song did you chose for your first dance?
Love Never Felt So Good – Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake
“At Last,” Etta James – sung by Beyonce
You & I – John Legend
All of Me – John Legend
Perfect – Ed Sheeran
Simply the best – Noah Reid
Stand By Me – Tracey Chapman
Somewhere over the Rainbow – Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole
New York – Alicia Keys
Love me crazy – Moonshine Collective
Meant to Be – Bebe Rexha (feat. Florida Georgia Line)
A Thousand Years – Christina Perri –
Amazed – Lonestar
One More Try – George Michael
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face – George Michael
You’re My Best Friend – Queen
Better Together – Jack Johnson
Yours – Ella Henderson
You Are The Best Thing – James TW
Marry Me – Train
How Long Will I Love You – Ellie Goulding
You Are The Reason – Calum Scott
Home – Michael Bublé
The Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra
The Rest of Our Life – Tim McGraw, Faith Hill
Can’t Help Falling in Love – Haley Reinhart
Someone Like You – Van Morrison
No one – Alicia Keys
“Marry Me” – Jason Derulo
Let us know in the comments below what song you chose for your first dance.
Hi! I’m Sara, from Long Beach, CA. I’ve been teaching ceramics for the last eight years in Southern California and have been selling pottery through my business Sara Pilchman Ceramics since 2016.
TSF: How did you get started in the creation of pottery? Are you self-taught?
I’ve been working in clay most of my life! I started at a summer camp called Idyllwild Arts Academy as a kid and my passion for clay was mostly fueled by my competitive nature, a love of getting messy, and the fact I was allowed to play with fire. About ten years later I returned to Idyllwild to finish my high school education at a boarding art school, ironically going to study French horn and creative writing but instead rediscovering pottery. In 2008 I moved to central Pennsylvania to study ceramics and museum work at a little liberal arts school called Juniata College.
TSF: I watched your videos on instagram. That wheel is mesmerizing. Do you find yourself lost in time while you are creating?
Thank you! A lot of people call working on the wheel meditative. For me as an angsty kid (like many young potters!) it was more about getting out frustrations and anger. Throwing pottery is incredibly physical work, so using your muscles to create can be an amazing stress reliever once you build a relationship with the clay. There’s an integral step to throwing once you start called centering; you almost rock the clay as its spinning into the center of the wheel. To make a too-cheesy pun, you find yourself centered as well while you work and can leave the rest of the world behind. Its only been in the last year or two that I’ve been able to recognize throwing on the wheel as a meditative practice.
TSF: What or who inspires you?
I’m a big museum nerd and love modern and contemporary art. I get frustrated by the performative aspects of visiting museums at this point (the next time I go to the Broad and watch someone taking a selfie covering a piece of art I’m going to scream) but absolutely love the idea of museums and art spaces as a whole as a source of equitable art education. Art saves lives and must be accessible to absolutely everyone. Off of that hill and in an attempt not to ramble further, my inspirations: international travel, greenhouses, abandoned and overgrown human monuments, Rene Magritte, Scott Musgrove, good scary movies, Roberto Lugo, the Huntington Library, and the Rudolfinum.
TSF: Let’s talk about Ring dishes. Personalization is everything right now. Can Brides (and/or Grooms) customize something that is just for them?
Absolutely! That’s the fun thing about TinyPots – every single piece is one of a kind so your piece will be just for you. I make each piece start to finish so if there’s something my wedding [client] wants or needs we can have a consultation to make that happen. Pottery takes a good amount of time to process though, so the more personalization/specificity you need from your potter the longer the lead time you should give them. Think six weeks to make is pretty normal, but more time would allow for any misfires, breakage, etc that’s especially common in the making process. Keep in mind if you’re using a ceramicist like me you’re asking for handmade, not factory made, work. It will look it, and that’s the fun!
TSF: I saw on your instagram page beautiful pots and bowls for centerpieces and candles. My favorite were the tiny Pots in wine, green and ivory colors. Do you develop your own color palette and how does it change with time?
The great and sometimes frustrating thing about the type of firing I do (high temp reduction gas firing) is that the final result is always a little bit of a surprise–less like working with paint and more melting a mixture of glasses. I use about 7 core glazes and clays that I mix and match and I have a basic idea of which combinations looks best, but even the same glaze/clay combo can still surprise me! It’s a good thing too–everyone’s tastes are different so luckily I don’t have to pick just one palette.
TSF: Do you guide couples on creation of a palate that would work with their wedding?
Now this is the fun part! With my couples and customers I will show them combos they might like in planning and I’ll share with them the range that glaze has. For example, my white glaze will always be absolutely white, but my green has a range of almost metallic brown all the way to a near teal depending on the clay and shifting oxygen levels in my kiln. I always make at least twice the pieces you’ll need in order for you to pick the out the pots you absolutely love! The part that makes my business fun is the conversations I get to have with my customers. I love to help make the day just what my couples imagine!
TSF: I love the idea of tiny succulents as wedding favors. And your tiny pots seem perfect for that. Do You offer large bulk orders?
I offer bulk orders at wholesale prices! I like to keep them affordable because honestly I love weddings and people LOVE these favors. TinyPots are absolutely food safe and multifunctional, so you’ve got your air-plant pot to set as a place marker that doubles as your shot glass in the after party, or a bud vase that also works as a match striker in your home. How many weddings have a favor everyone can keep and use that’s handmade and absolutely one of a kind?
TSF: Are there any recent projects you would like to tell us about?
Right now I’m just keeping up with these! I initially began SPC as a dinnerware company and made entirely dishes, mugs, and planters. One day I may return but for now I’m working to take over the country with TinyPots! You can find them in many major cities around the US and can always reach out for info on your nearest retailer.
TSF: What attribute do you feel best characterizes an excellent piece of pottery?
Wow! That’s a tough question. I would say intentionality….if that’s a word. However simple or complex a piece is there is a sense of aesthetic balance in it. Usually that comes through knowing the material after decades of work and having it be such second nature the balance comes intuitively. Its hard to describe but its like sincerity-you know it when you see it. On a much more basic level, the walls of the pot are even, its not too heavy, the base isn’t too thick, the rim doesn’t chip easily!
TSF: What’s the most unusual pottery request?
In high school I made a drinking fountain for my teacher’s retired celebrity cat! Since then people have requested nesting bowls, knitting bowls, basic dish-ware, but I rarely take on odd commissions anymore.
TSF: What projects have you most enjoyed making?
TinyPots are thankfully really fun to make! I’m looking forward to being able to get back to making some extra large planters, bowls, fountains again though. Sometimes you have to balance it out!
Thank you Sara!
Derek and I look forward to seeing what you create next. I already have ideas for tiny pots and gift boxes floating around in my head. Check out Sara’s pages below.
Geometric Wedding Inspiration creates Geometric madness and I don’t think it’s going to leave us anytime soon. Geometric Wedding design can be a wonderful, modern and playful look that blends elegantly with many different table-scapes. And you don’t need to go overboard … even adding just some gold geometric candle holders to your centerpieces creates an air of contemporary simplicity. Below are some of the geometric decor items we offer in this chic trend. You can see all of our Geometric offerings by going here »
Shapes are cool and influences so much Geometric Wedding Inspiration. Hexagons can be used in formal, minimalist, and bohemian weddings alike. Geo graphics bring a modern edge to wedding design. From table centerpieces to glassware to back drops each element can stand on its’ own.
While it all comes down to personal taste, we think our current geometric wedding reception decor items give you the tools you need to create a look that is sophisticated, full of energy, and uniquely your own.
Take a look at our selection of gifts and wedding decor. Let us know what you think and also, what you’d like to see. Derek and I love new ideas and we’d be happy to see what we can find that would help make your day a time to celebrate.
…and remember these mathematical words of wisdom – Life without geometry is pointless !
A few years ago Derek and I were attending a WeddingWire conference in Los Angeles. During the lunch break between sessions we were fortunate to sit at the same table with wedding planner Rachael and her husband Tim. Over the last couple of years we’ve been seeing them at conferences, communicating with and social following Rachael Custom Events. I thought they would be an awesome addition to our Wedding Pro’s Interviews.
TSF: Tell us about yourself.
My husband and I have been married for almost 36 years and we love weddings. I previously worked in the corporate world and my husband, Tim, has been a professional musician and audio technician. From the time I was a teenager, my dream was to plan weddings. Our children are grown, so now after setting them off on their life journeys, I get to live my dream as a wedding planner.
TSF: Tell us about Rachael’s Custom Events.
Rachael’s Custom Events provides full-service wedding and event planning. We are a family business.
TSF: What’s your artistic approach to weddings?
We get our inspiration from our clients. Whether they want “shabby -chic” or “traditional” or whatever, we help them create their look. Our job is keep it clean, crisp, and smart, (we love Gordon Ramsay) – highly efficient and professional. Our motto is “Your Day, Your Way, Our Talent”
TSF: What’s been your favorite part of being a wedding planner?
The best part of our job has been making a difference in someone’s life by being a part of their day and helping create lasting memories.
TSF: What best piece of advice would you give couples planning their wedding?
Hire a wedding planner FIRST. If that is not possible, hire a wedding planner ASAP. Our specialty is “calm under fire”. Most crises can be handled easily when your wedding planner is a calming influence.
TSF: What is the most unique destination wedding you’ve planned?
We had a wedding on a mountaintop (8500 ft.) in Utah that included 7 events over four days.
TSF: What inspires you professionally?
I am inspired by open-minded, cooperative clients. It is so much easier to do a great job for people who want to enjoy the journey, not control it.
TSF: Give us 3 questions all couples should ask before hiring.
“How many meetings can we have?” (correct answer is unlimited)
“Do you mark up services from your preferred vendors?” (correct answer is no)
“Do you stay for my entire event?” (correct answer isyes)
TSF: How about 3 questions every couple should ask their wedding planner after hiring.
“What do you think?”
“Is this possible within our budget?”
“What is plan B?”
TSF: What is your biggest pet peeve as a wedding planner with modern technology?
Pinterest. Couples should understand that Pinterest is great for inspiration but not for duplication. Second biggest pet peeve – bad sound.
TSF: Weddings can be stressful. As a busy wedding planner how do you keep yourself relaxed and energized?
To stay relaxed and energized – Jack Daniels – no, seriously – The most important thing is being rested and nourished and HYDRATED in front of an event. The relaxed part is easy – it is a part of who we are and how we operate.
TSF: What one wedding planner superpower would you want?
Our most wanted superpower would be CLONING. If we could clone ourselves, we wouldn’t have to say no if we are already contracted.
TSF: Tell us about your core values.
i. Be Inclusive
ii. Over Deliver
iii. Always Be Courteous
iv. Think Out Of The Box
v. No Cookie-Cutter Anything
We will travel for events. Many of our weddings are outside Nevada (CA, CO, UT, AZ)
We have a lot of decor items available – some we provide at no cost, some we will rent for a reasonable fee – which is another aspect of how we work to save money for our couples.
Rachael and Tim work hard and are committed to excellence. Derek and I believe in showcasing talent, not just for talent sake, but also for the quality of service, professionalism and kindness. If you want to know more about Rachael’s Custom Events we’ve included links to their website, WeddingWire and Knot reviews below. Take a moment to Like and Share them as well.
We always love hearing from you so let us know what you think in the comments below. Thank you Rachael and Tim.
It’s finally here – that time in the wedding planning process when you decide on your wedding cake topper.
Do wedding cakes need a topper? How tall should a wedding cake topper be? What do wedding cake toppers cost?
Short answer, It depends…
Just how do you decide on your perfect wedding cake topper when there are a ba-zillion wedding cake toppers to look through on Pinterest, dozens of ETSY wedding cake topper shops to ‘favorite’, and too many other wedding decisions competing for your attention. And you can’t leave this decision to the last minute. Your wedding cake baker most definitely needs to know so she/he can make sure your cake can support your cake topper.
So what do you do?
Wedding Cake Topper Types: Traditional vs Modern vs Hobbyist
What fits you as a couple? You could be a traditional couple who loves to play golf (hobby) or a modern couple that loves vintage materials (traditional) or a mountain climbing couple that loves urban design (modern). It’s all in how you mix the match or match the mix. We are all a little bit of all three. Which one works for you? After that we’ll browse materials, colors and price ranges.
Traditional Cake Toppers
Traditional wedding cake toppers usually involve hand-painted porcelain – posed, dressed up and perfect for highly decorated white wedding cakes. These often are or can become family heirlooms and reused from one generation to the next. For same sex couples this may be an impossible find because it’s hard to find figurines that work without going whimsical, stereotypic, or cliche.
Slightly less traditional, yet classic, are figurine pets and children to add to the top of the cake or on the tiers. Porcelain figurines also come in a variety of custom hair colors, skin colors, attire, and poses. If you see mostly toppers that are white and blond, don’t get discouraged. When you don’t see yourself represented – ASK – or let the owner know you are taking your business elsewhere. It’s a great opportunity to push and ask for more inclusivity and cultural diversity in the wedding industry.
Modern Cake Toppers
Acrylic or wood Laser-cut words and phrases are cake toppers that can be used to display a quote, your names, or just your initials. These toppers take an updated approach to a traditional décor piece. There are some beautiful choices out there with acrylic colors in solids, glitter or with metallic finishes. There’s the option of stained wood cut calligraphy which adds an elegant and whimsical feel to any cake design. These are a great way to personalize your wedding day.
Laser cut toppers are easily customizable to commemorate your special day with names, initials, or the date of your wedding. Wood toppers and acrylic blocks can be heavy and require advance planning with the baker. Acrylic cake toppers are often thin (1/8”), somewhat fragile, and will include cake stakes to hold them up. Stakes can be designed to break off easily so that you can store or display your topper after.
A little less modern in the traditional sense – see what I did there – are Silhouette Cake Toppers. They are the ‘vintage’ modern and can be whimsical by adding silhouettes of balloons, words, pets or special items that relate to the two of you. Silhouette Cake Toppers are usually acrylic, but can also be found in wood.
Wire Wedding Cake Toppers are also popular, particularly for brides and grooms wanting a casual, modern vibe. These are not ‘hangers on’ from days-gone-by. These are modern toppers with-a-twist to spell out a variety of different words, monograms or just spell out your name(s) in a fun twisted script. If you are having a dessert table full of trendy Bundt Cakes, a few of these trendy toppers certainly are a nice finishing touch your guests will notice
Hobbyist Cake Toppers
If you have a passion, or love doing a particular thing together, you can show that off on your cake top. There are custom and ready made topper designs for golfers, motorcyclists, dog lovers, beach lovers, and everyone in between! The more meaningful and personalized to your relationship, the better. Hobbyist cake toppers come in a variety of materials – porcelain, wood, acrylic and plastic.
Creative Wedding Cake Toppers and Unique Cake Topper Ideas
Having a Beach wedding? A pair of Adirondack chairs embraces that sun-kissed vibe and romance. A woodland wedding? How about some antlers laser cut out of wood. A garden wedding? What about a topiary initial cake topper. Maybe it’s just simply the BEST DAY EVER! in a custom acrylic color or a beautiful laser cut wreath cake topper for a rustic wedding. If you have a particular theme, there is a cake topper for it.
When Derek and I were looking for a wedding cake topper we did not have as many choices when it comes to materials and expression. Same sex wedding cake toppers can be as simple as an acrylic Mr. & Mr. to a Bride and Bride Same Sex Wedding Cake Topper Set in Hand Painted Porcelain. Custom acrylic cake toppers with names and dates because they are easy to customize and also in a variety of colors, materials and designs.
Themed Cake Toppers
Cake toppers can also come in a wide range of themes. Disney, Game of Thrones, Vampires, Star Wars, Sports, Harry Potter, super heros, and on and on. Themed weddings with a wedding cake topper to match will take your event from cool to AMAZING. It’s your wedding – go for it.
Funny Cake Toppers
Who doesn’t love a good laugh. Fun and funny cake toppers can range from Batman Legos, funny figurine wedding cake toppers, cake toppers that look like you with bobble heads, and some over-the-top expressive cake toppers.
Floral Cake Toppers
Boho Weddings are famous for amazing floral wedding cake toppers. Dahlias, Tropical leaves, Roses, Eucalyptus, Paper Flowers, Grapevine are all great features on your cake and make a beautiful ode to nature. Check with your baker about whether your live toppers are edible, or ask for sugar versions instead.
Materials and Size
Wire, stone, acrylic, porcelain, wood, plastic, flowers, and paper are all available materials. It comes down to personal preference, keepsake value, cost and vision. I actually think this is the least difficult part of the decision. Once you have your look and feel of your wedding down you’ll know what material would fit best.
Size is largely determined by the size of the cake. If your cake is tiered, it is the top tier size you will want to consider. Most stand alone cake toppers are about 6 inches tall. The more custom your wedding cake topper, the more control you will have over the size, but know that a topper can easily look top heavy. Weight also becomes an issue as size increases. Get your cake baker or wedding planner involved to help you with your decision.
And you don’t need a cake topper for your wedding cake. Some cake designs are best left alone.
Wedding Cake Topper Pricing
Wedding cake topper pricing varies widely. Ready made cake toppers are generally less expensive than custom designs, but still will vary based on materials and personalization. You’ll have to decide what makes sense to you on cost. At Taylor Street we have wedding cake toppers that start at under $30 and have custom wedding cake toppers that could cost you upwards of $100. We try to offer a variety of prices and materials.
Getting married is an incredibly magical and sometimes stressful experience. Wedding cakes are deeply rooted in tradition. Deciding on your cake topper is a little wedding decision with a surprising amount of pressure behind it. Whether you prefer a traditional, modern topper or something with a lot of glitter and flair, we’re sure that Derek and I can help you find that perfect fit here on Taylor Street.
Contact us if you need some help finding what you need. We can check our resources to see what is possible.
Wedding planners are amazing. They are on the front line and I love the absolute creativity and style that the best planners bring to each wedding. I’ve been following Maria at By Your Side Events on Instagram for a while. I love her work. I think you will too. Based in Napa, California, she also travels to wherever her couples are planning their destination weddings. Here’s our interview with Maria at By Your Side Events:
TSF: Tell us a little about you.
Hey everyone! So, this is my first blog post…EVER, I’m excited and a little nervous, but that’s usually the way all great adventures begin, right? I’m so excited that I get to share my thoughts and ideas with you and to hear what you think! I already have so much I want to talk to you about, but let’s start from the beginning.
I am so lucky that I started my journey with a feeling. I didn’t set out to be a wedding planner in the beginning, in fact I thought I wanted to be a teacher. In 2006 I moved from my hometown of Ann Arbor Michigan to Santa Rosa California, I needed a break from the snow, and I guess I was looking for a new adventure. That “break” turned into a permanent residency, and 13 years later, here we are! My passion for events came from a seemingly unlikely source…lesson planning. IT turns out that teaching really wasn’t my thing but planning for my lessons and activities and scheduling out the day made my heart race. I didn’t know what do to with that feeling but I wanted to feel it more, so I kept finding things to do that made my heart happy, (or did they find me?). Lesson planning turned into BEO’s for winery events, which turned into Day Of Timelines which is where we are now. That feeling that I got from planning has now taken on a life of its own, when I get to work with someone on their most special event, and to see their faces on that day it fuels me. It fills my tank and gets me excited to do more.
TSF: What’s Been Your Favorite part of being a Wedding Planner?
I have been asked a few times over the years what my favorite part of the job is, and I can’t say that I do have a favorite part exactly, in fact, I have two. There is something so magical about watching a bride float down the aisle. After I give her dress one last fluff and whisper, “go ahead” she is off; all of the months of planning, phone calls, emails, texts, facetimes, schematics, laughs, sometimes tears and hugs is all happening, it is so cool to see it all come to life!
Also, you know how they say to brides and grooms all the time that your wedding day will go by so quickly, don’t forget to enjoy it? I always tell them don’t forget to EAT and enjoy it, but it is true, and it’s also true for me and my team, just before the ceremony begins it is show time and it all fly’s by in a blink, thankfully we have photographers to help us remember how it all looked and the way we felt on that special day. When I get the pictures back from my couples’ events it’s almost like I get to experience the same feeling that I had with them on their wedding day all over again! I love being able to revisit everything – the getting ready shots, photos during cocktail hour, the first dance and all of the amazing faces that people make during toasts (those are some of my favorites 😊).
TSF: Best piece of advice to give couples planning their wedding.
Ok, well this is going to sound a bit bias and I really don’t mean it to be but hire a planner! I don’t necessarily mean your best friend’s sister or your co-workers friend’s daughter (unless they really are planners) but an actual licensed, educated, professional planner. Here’s why: chances are you have never done this before; planning a wedding is different than planning a birthday party or dinner party. This is the biggest dinner party you are ever going to throw; all of your family and friends are going to be there to celebrate with you and the last thing that you need or want is for something unknowingly preventable to go wrong. We didn’t order enough glasses – your planner would have warned you that you will need extra glasses if your venue doesn’t provide them. Our guests were running to their cars for jackets they were so cold – your planner would have reminded you that your cocktail hour would be outside after the sun set in March and would have added heaters to your rental order for you (and probably saved you 10% – 25% with your rental company because they are a preferred vendor). Our DJ was horrible and just talked the whole time and didn’t play any of the songs on our “play” list – your planner would have made sure that you were matched with the right DJ for your style they would have made sure that your DJ was playing what you wanted to listen to, not what they want to play.
TSF: What is By Your Side Events specialty?
We specialize in planning, coordinating and executing successful, magical events, while having fun along the way! I mean it when I say we will be by your side, we are going to be your wedding planning bestie, not just for the brides but the grooms too.
TSF: Weddings can be stressful. How do you keep yourself relaxed & energized?
My calendar reminders are my lifeline in staying organized, the second I schedule an appointment with someone – boom – it goes on the calendar. If I need a reminder to reach out to someone at a specific time – boom – it goes on the calendar, and most importantly, when I book an event! Boom – It goes on the calendar. I am super blessed that I get to live in such a beautiful area of California and I realize that I take it for granted sometimes, but driving up and down the Silverado Trail or HWY 29 through the vineyards and the hot air balloon parade in the mornings is one of the most relaxing things I never knew I needed! Then when I’m really feeling adventurous, I get to see the Golden Gate Bridge or the cliffs on the 1 after an hour in the car, or even snow after a few hours. Also, wine and just some good old fashion wine and girl talk do the trick too.
TSF: What inspires you professionally?
My couples do, every one of them is different and I have a special bond and unique experience with all of them to where no two events are the same. That means that I get to create or discover something new all the time! Making new discoveries, creating and learning is so inspiring and motivating and fun! It’s really cool to be a part of my couple’s ideas, and it is super interesting to see what is important to people and what their interest are.
TSF: Biggest pet peeve with modern technology in wedding planning?
Just when I feel like I am getting the hang of something, a different something will come up that is the newest, latest and greatest and I have to start all over again. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for evolving, just give me a minute to catch up please!
TSF: What one superpower would you want for your work?
Cloning. I want to be everywhere all the time, there are never enough hours in the day right? On a personal note though, I’ve always been jealous of Snow White, I would love to have conversations with animals!
I do have some other favorite things that fill my tank. When I am not planning weddings or events you will find me in my other happy place, Disneyland (I’m a complete Disney Dork and I don’t care who knows it!) with my daughter, singing wherever I can, going on adventures or being crafty on the couch. Of course, living in Napa, I never pass up a chance to go wine tasting, R and D right?
I can’t wait to share more of my thoughts about all things weddings, events, parties, life, and more with you and to hear some of your adventures too! Talk soon,
There is no single route to finding the best planner for your wedding. Both WeddingWire and The Knot have great lists of suggested questions. If you have a question you’d like to ask Maria about her wedding planning business, or her opinion on anything wedding related, please ask it in the comments below or send us an email.
This month’s spotlight is shining brightly on the husband and wife team Cheetah & Cheetah. The Cheetah’s, Nadine and Brian, were introduced in spring of 2000 by a mutual friend who recognized their mutual love of Cheetahs.
Nadine, a fashion design graduate obsessed with all things cheetah print, and Brian, the loud and very friendly DJ Cheetah, discovered that besides Cheetah’s they also had a mutual love of music.
Nadine: “We bonded over our love of music. Going to Melrose in LA was one of our favorite spots. We could spend hours digging through records trying to find that record we just couldn’t live without. After finding records we would go shopping on Melrose looking for that unique outfit no one else has.”
After dating for two years Brian proposed on a hill called “the top of the world” in Laguna Beach and on September 8th, 2002 we got married at the Hotel Laguna.
In 2009 when their son was 4 years old and expecting their daughter, they decided to make the move to San Luis Obispo, the happiest city in America! SLO, to all the locals, really is the best place to raise a family.
Starting over in a new location was a challenge, but after years of hard work they were back on top and booking most of their weddings together as a husband and wife team.
Brian: “Watching our business grow each year is such a rewarding experience. Especially knowing that we did this all on our own.”
Working together is their preference, always looking for ways to help each other out. As an example Brian will get on the mic and make an announcement to help me get the perfect shot. And Nadine, being out among the guests, will help pass around the wireless mic during toasts. Being a team the collaboration makes things run smoothly. Brides and grooms can be at ease knowing …
Nadine’s love for photography started when she was a teenager.
“I had a pink film camera that I used to take photos of my friends and pets. I would drop off rolls of film to get developed. It was so exciting to get the photos back and see how good my shots were. I also loved to buy fashion magazines, tear out all the fashion photos that inspired me and put the images up all over my walls. The walls in my room were completely covered with beautiful Supermodels like Nadja Auermann, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Shalom Harlow, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista. In high school the book LaChapelle Land by David LaChapelle inspired me take photography classes. Which lead me to photographing the fashion section of my high school year book. Being a wedding photographer is the perfect fit for me. I get to photograph brides in beautiful dresses. Giving me that perfect mix of fashion and photography”.
Brian’s DJ career started by seeing a ‘DJ wanted’ flyer while in college.
“I answered the ad, got the job and immediately knew this was my passion. Bad Boy Bill and Richard Humpty Vision inspired me with the way they mix music. I love to feel the music and bring energy to the dance floor by beat mixing, scratching and adding sound effects. I enjoy weddings because every client has different music requests for me to mix. It’s fun to find new songs that work well together inspiring me to create new mixes.I have so much fun at every wedding I DJ. It is so rewarding to keep the dance floor packed and watch my clients having a good time.”
In 2017 The family, together, made the decision to legally change their last names to cheetah. It is because of their mutual love of cheetahs Brian and Nadine met, married, started a business and a family.
“We all feel very proud to have the last name cheetah.”
Jackie & Mireya were married on November 17th, 2018 at Allegretto Vineyard Resort in Paso Robles. The event was filled with gold, deep reds, and creams with a few skulls placed around the venue. A simple, but elegant November wedding. Photographed by Nadine Cheetah of Cheetah Photography.
When did you know you were meant to be together? I knew before we were anything serious that she was the one. My soul genuinely felt calm and at peace anytime I was around her.
Who Proposed To Whom? Mireya proposed to me. We had kind of tossed the idea back and forth for a while and almost eloped to Vegas (where else?!) the day she proposed.
How / Where Did You Get Engaged? It was spur of the moment.We were enjoying a cup of coffee at our favorite local bakery, talking about being married and just decided to go for it! We went and picked out a ring together. When her daughter got out of school that day we had a picnic in a cemetery. It sounds creepy, but the cemetery had always been a special place to us. However, about a year before we were engaged my mom had passed from breast cancer. Visiting the cemetery had allowed me to feel close to her. Mireya dropped on one knee while we were there. It was as if my mom was also able to share that moment with me.
Did you have a Coordinator / Planner? Not really. My friend was our day-of coordinator.
Did you have a Theme / Color Scheme in mind or did you wing it? I wouldn’t call it a theme. We had skulls around our venue and our colors were gold, deep reds, and creams. It was very simple, but elegant.
Catering? The Vineyard did the catering and cake and was phenomenal! One less thing to worry about! We did the tastings in their restaurant and that’s what won us over on the venue. We planned our wedding from out of town so it was really convenient.
Photographer? Nadine of Cheetah and Cheetah. Brian and Nadine were a sweet and groovy couple to work with.
Hair/Makeup? Jacob Hernandez did our hair and FacebyFabe – Fabian Alexander did our make-up
Any advice for couples planning weddings today? Find a quiet moment to have with your spouse right after the ceremony and before the party starts. That special moment, the “why” you decided to spend your life together, is what you will remember after the tequila and champagne hit!
What was your favorite part of your wedding day? Our quiet moments with just the photograph before the party got started. I look back on those pictures and remember exactly how happy I was to have my forever.
Anything Else You’d Like To Share? Enjoy the party and don’t sweat the small stuff!