Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Love List: Culinary Institute of America St. Helena

Hey lovelies! Ready for another amazing venue?

Every once in a while you have the honor of being able to work with one of your dear friends for one of the most important days in their lives. September 14th was one of those days for me. My lovely friend Tiffany married her long-time love Mike in the beautifully quaint town of St. Helena. And when I say quaint I mean two lane, tree lined streets, mom & pop boutiques, vineyards everywhere you look and a general small town feel. It's one of my happy places. You can't get much more picturesque than this place.

Mike & Tiffany's venue was the Culinary Institute of America or otherwise known as the CIA. The moment I saw this place I fell in love. Imagine a castle-like building rising out of the hills of wine country, surrounded by views of vineyards and those famous California hills strewn with oak trees. And there you have the CIA. The original building was a co-op winery built in the 1880's and since has been transformed to provide culinary education, from dining to demonstrations, professional courses and of course, hosting events.

The experience with the venue was over-the-top from the beginning. Our catering manager, Samantha Chavez was knowledgeable, gracious and professional. Mike & Tiffany came in to their menu tasting session with some basic ideas (likes, dislikes, etc.) and with that their culinary team made one of the best and most personalized menus I've ever seen! Uh, hello Bloody Mary Shrimp Shooters!

I'm going to let the rest of it speak for itself...

Max Capacity Inside: 350
Max Capacity Outside: 200
Contact: Samantha Chavez; s_chavez@culinary.edu; 707-967-2349
Oh, and because we worked with such wonderful vendors for this wedding let me sing their praises, too!
Photographer: Ken Pfeifer & Meghan Roberts
Videographer: Mark Peters
 Hope you all enjoy this foodie heaven as much as I did! xoxo

Friday, November 15, 2013

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things...

Winter weddings are not something I am lucky enough to plan living in coastal California as I do. A  cold, wet beach isn't the ideal. This fact does not keep me from dreaming of a white wedding though! So here are a few of my favorite things about a winter wedding...

1. Sparkle seems to be that much sparklier (yes, sparklier is a word!)

2. Feathers & fur are totally appropriate.
3. Texture, texture, texture. Cable knit, wool, cashmere and houndstooth...to name a few.

4. Winter brings warm feelings. Cozy up next to a fire, sip hot chocolate and get close to those you love most. It just makes sense to throw a wedding in with all these good feelings, right?

5. Snow. It's magical, pure and simple.


The vision: Nearest & dearest gathered in a cozy cabin-esque venue complete with wood burning fireplace and a view of the snow falling outside. Candles everywhere. A menu with comfort foods and decadent desserts. Can't forget after dinner drinks of Hot Toddys and Irish Coffee. Kissing under mistletoe. Romance through and through.

And have I mentioned...I travel??? Coastal California can't hold me back! So let's get on this snow covered, romance- filled wedding, shall we? Dare to be different, lovelies. Summer weddings are to be expected. Throw a fete to get your friends and family through a long, dreary winter! 

Oh, and be sure to follow my Winter Weddings board on Pinterest for more inspiration!

Monday, November 4, 2013

You're On My List, "Love" List: Tehama

Wedding season had a hold on me! Whoa. But I'm back, sanity still in hand (always a daunting task for a spring/summer/fall filled with wedding after wedding!) and I'm ready to show a little love to my blog.

Goal for this year? To share with you some of my favorite venues. There are so many dazzling jewels in California and I'm taking it upon myself to share a few of my favorites with all of you.

For my first "love list" location we have...

Tehama Golf Club

Now, let me just tell ya'll that I am biased. Typically you give me a choice between golden hills laden with oak trees or an oceanside deck and I'll choose the hills. Just something about being around those vistas that make my country girl's heart very happy. Tehama is extra special in this sense. Not only do you have those gorgeous golden hills and oak trees dripping with moss but you also have a view of the entire Monterey Bay that is just to die for. To. Die. For!

I have so many brides that are against a hotel-feel or a golf-course-feel and guys, this location is perfect for those of you who fit in that description. Yes, it is a golf club. But no, it does not feel like one. Your drive on to the property is magical. Winding roads through old oak trees, deer romping through the forest...you might even see a wild turkey or... ten. You then make your way up to the clubhouse where you immediately are greeted by the quintessential Spanish revival style that is so well known in California. The space is warm and welcoming while also perfectly executing a feeling of sophistication and luxury.
What sets a property aside from others, to me, is their staff. Tehama has what can sometimes be hard to find...true professionals. Staff that go above and beyond to make your day perfect. That right there is what makes me give my stamp of approval. Add the stunning views and delicious food...I'm sold.
So here are some of their specifics...
Maximum Capacity: 200 Guests (180 With Dance Floor); Capacity would be increased if tent rented for outside patio.
Available Times: 5:30pm - 12:00am (With Entertainment Ending at 11:30pm)
Maximum Event Time: 6 Hours
Included: Tables, Chairs, China, Glassware, Silverware and Votive Candles
Also: Four (gorgeous!) suites on-site that are available for an additional fee.
Contact: Cheryl Fournier, 831-622-2223, cheryl@tgcmail.net, www.tehamagolfclub.com
Tehama is a very special venue that you have to see to truly appreciate!
Stay tuned for more of my "love list"! xoxo...

Monday, March 4, 2013

What Is This? Barnum & Bailey's?

Let's have some real talk, shall we? This whole wedding thing can feel a bit like a circus, right? You meet the guy, fall in love, feel those butterflies and before you know it there is a beautiful ring on your finger and the promise of a wonderful life together. Bring on the wedding planning!

Enter the reality. Who knew your parents would invite so many people! And what's your future-mother-in-law's deal about insisting that you have a cake? You and your honey would rather do a tasty dessert bar! Where were all of these opinions when you were just dating?

I have a theory. Once that ring goes on your finger people go a little...crazy. Emotion does funny things and unfortunately, you and your fiance are the ones feeling the brunt of the crazy train. Add in the cost of a wedding and it's enough to make you want to throw in the towel.

Don't fret. Take a few deep breaths and read on...

A few golden rules for planning your perfect day:
1. It's Okay To Say "No". You don't want cake? Say no to the cake. You don't like the color bridesmaid dress your maid of honor picked? Say no to the dress. You don't know a majority of the guests your parents have added to the invite list? Say no. Now, I'm not endorsing bridezilla mode. I grew up in Mississippi and learned the fine art of southern hospitality. This means declining offers with grace. "No" and "Thank You" should always be paired together and topped off with a sweet smile. Take charge of your own wedding...with graciousness, of course.

2. Feeling Like A Three-Ring Circus? Take a step back. Prioritize. What is really important? Hopefully #1 on your list is making a very serious and life-long commitment to the one you love. After that I'm sure you want your family and friends to have the time of their lives. What about eloping? Get a gorgeous vacation rental and bring only the closest of your circle. Spend a week connecting and making memories. Circus feeling? Extinguished.

3. Shameless Plug...Hire Professionals! I read a horrible article recently that urged brides to use silk flowers and to lie to their vendors about what the event really was (don't say "wedding", say "party"). The real trick is to hire professionals who take pride in what they do! Who are pillars of integrity. Whose passion in life is to create a dream day for you. Yes, it's going to cost a little more. I say "a little" because really, DIY can cost just as much once all is said and done...not to mention the stress you put yourself through. "You get what you pay for" is, unfortunately, too true. And hiring someone to watch out for you, which is my job, is worth its weight in gold. We become your champion...which can be missing sometimes in this process.

Basically? Keep your eye on the prize, don't get trampled on by friends, family or vendors and hire professionals. Simple right? No? Well, that's what I'm here for.

Happy Monday, beauties!

Collage Creds: Carmel Valley Ranch guest room, Bouquet & Floral Crown by Connie Moore, Fondly Forever Photography, Carmel State Beach, Cypress Inn, Mike Steelman Photographers

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cupid Got Me!

Valentine's Day. I've got a serious love-hate relationship with the day. On one side you've got love, romance, red, pink, glitter, gold, champagne and chocolate. On the other side you have prepackaged, Hallmark style love, pressure, cheesiness and a feeling of "not quite sincere". But, for the sake of pretty style boards, let's be glass-half-full people today, shall we?
A Valentine's Day wedding would be a little tricky. You don't want to go too literal with it and beat your guests over the head with hearts and arrows but on the same token you've got to give a few nods to that little cupid dude.
Today's board is working off the inspiration of those beautiful vintage Valentine's. Think muted reds and pinks with cream and burnished gold. Walk down the aisle in a dress reminiscent of the early 20th century (check out this gorgeous little pretty at BHLDN) to keep with the vintage feel. Top that pretty little head of yours with a sparkly headband (also BHLDN) to finish the look.
Catch Phrases To Plan By: Airy, Romantic (Duh, right?), Muted Reds and Pinks, Cream, Burnished Gold, Hearts, Feathers, Touches of Glitter, Bohemia, 1910-1920 inspired (which we can probably blame on my current obsession with Downton Abbey. Anyone with me?).
General idea...take what we all think of as the generic, over-produced Valentine's Day and tone it down. Hint at Valentine's Day. Don't exclaim it.
Now where's my chocolate?

Friday, January 11, 2013

St. Germain Goodness

If you haven't tried St. Germain yet I highly suggest you finding a bar and ordering a delicious cocktail with this liquor post-haste!

The liquor itself is made from Elderflowers and, as aptly described by St. Germain themselves, is neither passion fruit nor pear, neither grapefruit nor lemon but hints at each of them and yet none of them exactly. I describe it as being sweet but not sweet. Floral but not. It's the most wonderful oxymoron that one could drink. And that's really the only way I know how to put it.

Plus side? It's the perfect base for any signature cocktail. The color is similar to a very light sauvignon blanc so you could go any direction with the color. Add fresh fruit, rose petals, pansies, lemon twists, mint sprigs...the list goes on. Check out the official website for more recipes & ideas: St. Germain