Last month, I was amongst one of the 50 lucky ladies who received the evite from Linda Hylen, the Director of Events at the historic Julia Morgan Ballroom. The evite was quite mysterious, with hardly any information written out, but those who were invited knew Linda well enough that something awesome was cooking up her sleeve. Without hesitation, nearly all of us responded YES immediately.
Upon our arrival to the JMB that day, we quickly encountered the first 'surprise'--the extraordinary stylist Jim Avila himself courteously greeted us the moment we stepped off the elevators, and directed us to the coat check which was manned by Michael Daigen! Us girls giggled, curious to know what else was in store for us....
We were kept away from the ballroom for the first hour, as we sipped champagne and chatted with many friends whom we have not seen for a long time. We all expressed our good fortunes to be included in such a fun event planned by the BEST hostess in town, and eagerly awaited for the luncheon to come.
The drapes to the ballroom finally opened, revealing one long table across the room, filled with beautiful, organic looking arrangements by the talented Leighsa of Branch Out.
Who doesn't love being served good food on a table that is all decked out? Well, that wasn't the best part. Our biggest surprise of the day was the introduction of our servers--13 handsome gentlemen that we all know and love from the wedding industry--Kevin Chin of Kevin Chin Photography, John Woods of Enhanced Lighting, Ron Grandia of A Different Kind of DJ, Tom Henderson of Thomas John Events, and Philippe Lee of Jade Studio Productions, just to name a few. We girls cheered and whistled, and did not pass up the opportunity to order our good friends around. They were great sports!
As you can already tell, 'surprise' was the buzz word for this event. Towards the end of the luncheon, Linda got up to say a few words. It was touching to know that she organized this luncheon as a way to encourage all of us to continue doing our best, despite the bad economy. She wanted us to know that collectively, we are a powerful force, and can continue to make a positive influence on the industry as a whole, and for our wonderful brides and grooms out there!
After that, Linda said she had a few people to recognize. When she first called out my name to stand up, along with Jean Marks, we were both in utter disbelief. Linda went on to recognize both of us for our hard work and dedication in creating the inaugural Wedding University, for its success, and its core values. WOW! Thank you Linda!! She also recognized Joyce Scardina Becker for being one of the Founders of WIPA, a new association for wedding professionals that aims to set the bar high. Last, but not least, Johanna Kaestner of By Recommendation Only was recognized for her 20+ years of passion and dedication to this industry.
All of us left the luncheon inspired, happy, and with colorful boas!!
All photos above, with the exception of the boa photo, courtesy of Jade Studio Productions