March 21, 2016

WEDDING AT CORNERSTONE SONOMA

Lucy and Ben's Wedding at the Cornerstone Sonoma was beautiful and special in so many ways. From their garden ceremony to their tented reception to their dragon and phoenix wedding cake, every detail was planned to reflect their personalities and style. Here is the touching video highlight from their cinematographer Kevin Chin!



Cornerstone Wedding, Napa, Lucy + Ben from Kevin Chin Photography + Cinema on Vimeo.

Cheers,
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January 8, 2016

DESTINATION WEDDING IN SAN FRANCISCO

I would say that more than half of our weddings are destination weddings, many of which are in San Francisco. Between our beautiful city and nearby gems like Napa Valley and Carmel Valley, the Bay Area attracts couples from all over the world as a popular destination for weddings.

Our lovely couple from Texas, Mary-Alex and Thomas, visited San Francisco a few years ago and fell head over heels in love with the city. They knew then, that if they were to get married one day, it could only be in San Francisco.

Fast forward to 2015 and their dream came true. With all 120 friends and families from different parts of the country, they united in this magical city by the bay to celebrate their union.

The wedding day began at the historical Mark Hopkins, perched atop picturesque Nob Hill. With 12 bridesmaids and 2 moms to keep her company, Mary-Alex's bridal prep in the morning was filled with laughter and champagne--a great combination! Thomas' suite was bustling with people as well, and a million dollar view of the city!








Their first look took place right outside the hotel, and to add to the sentiment, they decided to exchange gifts to one another as well. 





While their bridal party of 24 hung out in their hotel suite, their photographer took them around the city in a cable car trolley for some iconic shots. They then reunited with everyone and headed to the De Young Museum for more photos before the ceremony began in the late afternoon.







The ceremony took place in the Sculpture Garden, and despite the chilly weather that day, everyone was in good spirits as they witnessed Mary-Alex and Thomas being joined together as one. 


Cocktail hour was held in the Hamon Tower, with a 360 degree view of San Francisco. As you can imagine, guests were incredibly fulfilled up there, between admiring the view and indulging in delicacies by Componere Fine Catering! 




During the planning, both Mary-Alex and Thomas expressed that they weren't very fond of the traditional seated dinner, despite its formality for a wedding. They much preferred having guests eat, mingle, and dance simultaneously throughout the evening so that it felt like one great party. We worked closely with Componere Fine Catering to develop food stations that would be interesting, filling, and easy to move around with. We also provided a mix of tables/chairs, furniture vignettes, and cocktail tables for those who did desire a "home base" while they ate. It all worked out beautifully. The elderlies appreciated the seating available, and the younger crowd loved not being confined to a seat for 2 hours. Just as our couple envisioned, people ate, chatted, danced, and ate some more. It was truly one awesome party! 





Thank you, Mary-Alex and Thomas, for entrusting us with your wedding from the start, and thank you to our all star team for working so hard to make it spectacular! 

Event Design, Planning + Production: Jubilee Lau Events
Venue: De Young Museum
Caterer: Componere Fine Catering
Photographer: Augie Chang Photography
Floral Designer: Cherries
Custom Linens: Wildflower Linens
Furniture: Pleasanton Furniture
Wedding Cake + Groom's Cake: Jasmine Rae Cakes
Cable Car Trolley: Classic Cable Car
Vintage Rolls Royce: Nationwide Limousine Service
Makeup + Hair: JBeautique
Lighting + Draping: Enhanced Lighting
String Ensemble: Starlite Strings via Bay Music Entertainment
Live Band: Lucky Devils
Officiant: Reverend Charlies Regal






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January 6, 2016

HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR WEDDING VENDORS

After you've set a date and secured a venue, the next big task on the wedding planning to-do list would be to pull together the best possible team of vendors.

As a side note, I usually don't like to use the term "vendor" because it misrepresents the amazing artists and talented professionals that these people are. Vendors make it sound like they are commodities and they truly are anything but. The event professionals that we recommend and work with are passionate and creative artists that are devoted to producing the best possible work for their clients. There is heart behind their work, whether it's creating a bridal bouquet, designing menu cards, or photographing an engagement session.  They care about your wedding and feel honored to be a part of it.

That said, there are certainly some black sheep that have caused a bad rep for everyone. We've all heard the horror stories of photographers closing shop before albums were produced, of Officiants who pronounced the couple with wrong names at the ceremony, or cakes that didn't hold up in perfectly fine temperature. The truth is, as with any industry, there are unethical, unreliable, and untrustworthy people in the wedding world as well. What I'm hoping to do in this blog post, is to provide you some tips to avoid hiring such vendors as part of your wedding team.

If you have a Wedding Planner, you should most definitely trust him/her to recommend the right event professionals for you. They would know the ones to be the best fit for your budget, your personalities, and the overall context of your wedding. If you are not working with a Wedding Planner, here are our top tips for you to vet your own event professionals:

1. When asking them to provide references, do not ask for the names/contacts of former clients. It goes without saying that businesses will only provide names of highly satisfied, happy clients who will give raving reviews of their work. Instead, ask for a list of venues they work at most often, and then reach out to the events department at those venues to ask about their experiences with these event professionals. 

2. When reading online reviews, pay close attention to any negative ones. You can often tell if the reviewer is a high maintenance, overly demanding client or if the event professional truly failed in certain areas. If possible, see how the issues raised were resolved. Did the event professional respond to the review in a defensive manner? Or did he/she show sincere regrets and tried to make things right for the client? The truth is, we all make mistakes no matter how great we are at our jobs. The important thing to note is how we handle mistakes that come up, which can be telling of our integrity and business/personal values.

3. What kind of processes do they have in place when working with clients? Those who have been in the business long enough knows the importance of having some kind of process. There are so many details in a wedding, and by having a good process in place, you can rest assure that the event professional will be organized and on top of the details for all of their events.

4. Attitude matters. How excited are they about your wedding? Does it sound like your event is just one of many events for them? Hiring people that are passionate about what they do makes a big difference on the quality of work they produce. We all know that if we love what we do, it never feels like a "job" and we would put in our best efforts at all times.

5. What other event professionals are they associated with? For example, if the company you are vetting claims to do "high end weddings" and prices their services that way, check out their past work to see what venues, event planners, and other event professionals they have worked with. Are those all high end professionals as well? 

6. Be wary of prices that are too good to be true or that are not in line with the quality of event you're looking to host. Event professionals who are serious about their jobs know that they need to charge fairly for their time and expertise. Those that are quick to give discounts may either be weekend warriors (they have another full time job during the week) trying to gain more experience, or they have to make up for the loss somewhere else (such as cutting the time they have to spend preparing for your event, or taking on more volume even though they are not equipped to handle it). 


In this age of social media, it is often hard to tell if a company's online persona is truly reflective of their real personality and business values. Therefore, we encourage you to chat with them over the phone, Skype, or to meet in person. Getting to chat with them live will allow you to see if you can establish a good rapport with them. At the end of the day, you want to hire people you genuinely like and trust, because you will not have the capacity to micromanage them on your wedding day.

Lastly, I want to mention that the team dynamics on a wedding day can really impact how well the event is executed, so it would be to your benefit to hire a team that is already familiar with one another. Just like in an office setting, working amongst team members that you know and genuinely like can make a project so much more fun and productive. Everyone pitches in to help one another and works harder. It's the same for wedding professionals! Once you've hired a photographer, ask them who they enjoy working with for makeup/hair, cinematography, flowers, etc. Chances are, those references would be a great starting point for you to go off of!















Happy planning!

Cheers,

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January 4, 2016

LIBBIE + JESSE'S WEDDING AT BEAULIEU GARDEN

Beaulieu Garden is a dream wedding venue for so many couples. The minute the gates open and you make your way down their beautiful tree-lined driveway, you instantly know you're being swept away to a magical place.



Located in Rutherford, in the heart of Napa Valley, Beaulieu Garden is a private estate that hosts just a limited number of weddings a year. Our stylish couple from New York, Libbie and Jesse, were amongst those lucky enough to wed there. After seeing the estate in person, it was not hard to convince them to host their destination wedding there, even if it meant traveling across the country and asking their friends and families to do so as well.

We spent a year planning and designing this gorgeous wedding, ensuring that every detail of the guest experience reflected Libbie and Jesse's vision for their special day. We loved getting to know them through the process, including Libbie's fun-spirited parents Susan and Andy, who flew out with them for our planning meetings.

As with many destination weddings, the weekend festivities were kicked off by a fun welcome party that took place at the Villagio in Yountville the Thursday before the wedding. Welcome parties are a great way to get the energy going as guests get to see each other for the first time (or reunite) in a more casual and informal setting. This helps ease everyone's comfort, and builds the anticipation for the actual wedding day. On Friday, guests had the option to choose between various activities, such as yoga, golf, and wine tasting. The rehearsal dinner was kept on a more intimate level, with just the bridal party and immediate families, held at Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen in St. Helena. There are certainly no shortage of great restaurants to host pre and post wedding parties in Napa Valley!



The wedding day began at Bardessono Hotel, where Libbie and Jesse got ready with their bridal party in separate suites. We were blessed with a gorgeous day, and everyone was relaxed and in good spirits.







Arriving to Beaulieu Garden earlier, we arranged a private First Look for the couple in the Secret Garden, next to a lovely fountain.











Guests were shuttled into Beaulieu Garden late afternoon. After being greeted with Paula Le Duc Fine Catering's famous ice tea, they got to leisurely stroll through a rose garden before taking their seats for the ceremony in the fountain garden.













The families and bridal party were seated in these beautiful wooden pews by Archive Rentals, as they witnessed the heart warming ceremony officiated by Jesse's father underneath a blush chiffon canopy.











As soon as Libbie and Jesse were pronounced husband and wife, they kicked the energy up a few notches by leading everyone into the Secret Garden for cocktails and hors d'oeurves. The guests immediately let loose and the party officially began!









Outdoor weddings are difficult to do slideshows, so instead, we created this cool Wall of Fame that featured photos that Libbie and Jesse took with their families and friends through the years.







Dinner took place underneath the magical arbor, filled with twinkle lights and beautiful chandeliers. Pop Rocks got the party started with their 80s' tunes, and the photobooth had guests bringing out their silliest selves all night. Truly, nobody wanted to leave, but with a 10pm curfew at the venue, everyone gathered around the vintage RR to send the couple off with a bang!















Thank you to everyone who made this wedding a smashing success! 

Event Planning + Production: Jubilee Lau Events
Event Design + Styling: Gloria Wong Design
Venue: Beaulieu Garden
Caterer: Paula Le Duc Fine Catering
Photography: Gary Ashley from The Wedding Collective
Floral Design: Nancy Liu Chin Design
Lighting: Got Light
Band: Pop Rocks
String Quartet: Golden Gate Strings
Makeup + Hair: Erica Carr
Cake: Studio Cake
Stationery: Good on Paper
Canopy and custom furniture: Blueprint Studio
Wooden Pews: Archive Rentals
Linens and Napkins: La Tavola Fine Linen
Custom Napkin Ring: Wildflower Linen
Tabletop Rentals and Chiavari Chairs: Classic Party Rentals
Transportation: Pure Luxury Transportation

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