|Posted on January 5, 2016 at 12:05 AM||comments (0)|
I initially met Tylene when she accompanied her friend (and maid of honor), Alyssa, on our Wedding Planning on Wheels Tour several years ago. At the time, she was preparing to be Alyssa's Maid of Honor. So it was a lovely surprise when she contacted me to book us for Wedding Planning Services for her own special day.
She and Brad are gamers, and share a love of fun and games... any kind of games... so we were especially excited about their vision to incorporate games into their Big Day. They wanted their guests to enjoy a relaxing, picnic-style wedding, where everyone could pass the time enjoying one another's company, laughter, fun, and of course... games. And so we set the stage...
We especially loved the dice boutonnieres that adorned the guys!
But our favorite part of the wedding was when Brad and Tylene shared their "First Game"... a life-sized Jenga match!
The day was beautiful, and we were so honored to be a part of it! Congratulations Brad and Tylene! We wish you a lifetime of Love and Happiness together!
|Posted on December 23, 2015 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
Photos by https://www.facebook.com/therasers/?fref=ts" target="_blank">The Rasers Photography
Angela and Kelvin were eager to have their ceremony under a towering cathedral of redwoods... and that is exactly what we did. They had visited Humboldt County multiple times over the years and were in love with the magic of the area. It was exactly where they wanted to bring their closest family and friends to witness their vows for a small ceremony.
Angela and Kelvin got ready at their vacation rental with family. Kelvin arrived solo at the ceremony site, with Angela not far behind by shuttle.
The ceremony was simple, short, and sweet with a Love Letter ritual to commemorate the occasion.
Once the, "I do's," were complete, vendors, family, and friends met at Sunset Restaurant while Angela and Kelvin took some time with one another in Trinidad before joining us for dinner.
The day ended with a perfect sunset, just as Angela and Kelvin cut the cake.
Thank you Angela and Kelvin for the opportunity to be a part of your wedding day. We wish you a lifetime of Love and Happiness together.
|Posted on August 27, 2015 at 12:40 AM||comments (0)|
Written by Allegra Harvey
All the way from Sussex, England, Tora, Phillip, and their son Woody were drawn to the majesty of the Redwoods for their elopement. Accompanied only by their dearest friends, Laura, Neil, and their son Arthur, a family living nearby in California, this ceremony was the epitome of simple and sweet.
After a breath-taking walk through the grove, some marveling for the first time at the enormity and beauty of our surroundings, Tora and Phillip found the perfect spot.
I loved hearing Alegria officiate their love story; Tora and Phillip were long lost loves who found each other again through a sweet and humorous story that made me honored to attend their ceremony, even as just a background observer and photographer. After a short, touching ceremony, the two families walked off into the majestic grove full of love and excitement for the next chapter in their lives.
|Posted on June 24, 2015 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
Moonstone Beach is one of Humboldt's most popular wedding locations, and yet, every wedding brings its own unique flavor and style to the celebration. Kandis and Robert's wedding was no exception! I had the honor of writing and Officiating their ceremony with the Pacific ocean as our backdrop. The day was perfect! No wind, perfectly sunny, and just the right temperature... which was a huge relief after a wind-freezing rehearsal the day before.
I absolutely love my role as Officiant! When Kandis, Robert and I first sat down together, they had no idea how they wanted their ceremony to unfold. This is common for many couples that I work with. And so we began discussing what they've enjoyed and disliked about ceremonies they've attended in the past. I went down a list of options to consider for their ceremony, and as our conversation continued we uncovered some really special touches to weave into their wedding, personalizing a ceremony to match their personalities.
The reception at Merryman's Beach House was lovely. Varying shades of blue accented the vibrant sunflowers! I loved all the "beachy" touches in signage, flip-flops for guests, starfish and shells.
Congratulations Kandis and Robert! Thank you for allowing me to Officiate your ceremony. Wishing you a lifetime of Love and Happiness together!
Gala Events & Weddings
|Posted on June 20, 2015 at 1:00 AM||comments (0)|
Living behind the Redwood Curtain, I infrequently have the opportunity to connect with my large, extended family all at once. I love weddings, because they are one of those special occasions that bring family and friends from near and far together all in one place to celebrate. My cousin's wedding was no exception!
It all began January 2014 when I received an inquiry on my website from a Justin in Sacramento. It was suspicious from the beginning, even though the inquiry had absolutely no specific indication that it was my cousin... I just had a hunch; however I treated the inquiry as any other, and responded with a request to schedule a phone consultation. Justin obliged, and we set a date for our meeting. I was not at all surprised to hear my cousin's voice on the call when we initiated the phone call. Such a trickster! I was completely honored that he wanted me to officiate his wedding ceremony, and advise their wedding-planning process!
The date was set, and on they went on the search for the perfect wedding venue. They settled on a lovely bed and breakfast just outside of downtown Sac... Vizcaya. The inn is a stunning Queen Anne period style mansion, and designated State of California historical site. Lush gardens surround the pavillion-style reception hall, and make for the perfect backdrop for a wedding.
Over the course of the next year and a half, Justin, his fiancée Bree and I worked on details for their April wedding. I primarily focused on their ceremony, as the venue was fairly all-inclusive, including a wedding coordinator. Occasionally, Justin and Bree would ask for advice on this or that... it was just an honor to walk them through the big, wide, world of weddings.
Bree was a stunning bride!... And yes, that is her real hair (below)!
Justin and Bree have somewhat of a Brady Bunch family, with Justin having twins, and Bree having two daughters of her own. All were flower girls in the ceremony. Now, I have the privilege of four lovely nieces!
The ceremony was somewhat traditional, with lots of comedy infused throughout. Justin and Bree wanted to weave in an element of our Portuguese cultural heritage into the ceremony, but didn't want it to be at all religious. After searching for Portuguese wedding customs, we came up empty, save for Catholic traditions. Since that was out of the question for Justin and Bree, I pondered family traditions that we could include in their ceremony. I came up with the idea to include an old family tradition of the game, "Last Tap," into the ceremony. Last Tap is a tag game that our family plays upon departing any family gathering (holidays, reunions, Birthdays, etc.). We agreed to introduce the family tradition in the ceremony in a calm, tactful way (which is the opposite of what the game traditionally becomes), planting a seed for an all-out crazy game of Last Tap that would inevitably ensue near the end of the celebration. And that is exactly what happened!
Justin also informed me that he had a special "surpise" that he wanted to perform following the ceremony. He would not share what his plan was... but the audience died in laughter once he and Bree were presented as Husband and Wife, they both turned around, slipped on sunglasses, the dj kicked on Aloe Blacc's "I'm the Man," and Justin lip synced the entire song! (See photo at the top of the page).
The reception was lovely, and Vizcaya catered the dinner. I especially loved Justin and Bree's wedding cake... a nod to their engagement story which took place on the 4th of July 2013, at Disneyland... the Happiest Place on Earth. You can watch Justin's proposal here.
The wedding was a fantastic time, with lots of laughter, good family, and good friends! Congratulations Justin & Bree!!! Thank you for the honor of officiating your ceremony. I wish you both a lifetime of love and happiness together!
I thought I'd include some of our family portraits from the day... because it was just so much fun!
Me and my momma
Me and my nieces
Me, Cousin Jeff, Aunt Lynn, Cousin Justin (groom), Mom
|Posted on June 4, 2015 at 9:45 PM||comments (0)|
Cindy and Derek live in Texas, but wanted a destination wedding in the redwoods around a fire on the Day of Pi (3.14.15)... and that is exactly what we created for them! For these two, each of these elements held special meaning on their wedding day... and this is why...
For Cindy and Derek, who initially met at an outdoor Meet Up group, the great outdoors are their place of sanctuary. The redwoods, for these two, symbolize longevity.... a quality which they value in thier commitment to one another. Cindy is a scientist, and works in a lab. The mathematical equation of Pi (3.1415......) is a mathematical constant, whose computation to this day continues to grow in complexity... much like the love between Cindy and Derek! And the fire... well, gathered around a fire is where these two shared many a late-night talks and stories with friends who share their love of the great outdoors. And so... for their wedding, we gathered around the Four Fireplaces, each lit with a blazing fire to instigate the cozy, intimate conversations that brought these two together.
Cindy and Derek's family and friends came from all over the nation to celebrate with them under a cathedral of trees. The ceremony was simple, with gorgeous arrangments from Flora Organica Designs, benches from Land of Lovely.... and clear umbrellas, just in case!
We provided an on-site dressing room for Cindy to get ready for the ceremony...
Don't you just love Cindy's yellow dress?!
We staged a "First Look" for Cindy and Derek before guests were shuttled in for the ceremony.
Ceremony music was provided by Kira Weiss and friend... a beautiful medly of cello and acoustic guitar.
Following a short, sweet, and simple ceremony performed by yours truly, everyone gathered around the Four Fireplaces for warmth, sandwiches from Brio Bakery, and delicious apple, key lime, and pecan mini pies from Slice of Humboldt Pie!
After a lovely ceremony and cocktail hour at the Four Fireplaces, guests piled back into the shuttle for a beautiful dinner at the Benbow Inn.
We absolutely loved Cindy and Derek's cake topper atop a lovely 3-tier creation by Verbena Cakes!
Cindy and Derek, thank you for planning your destination redwood wedding with us. We truly wish you a lifetime of love and happiness together!
|Posted on May 7, 2015 at 12:00 AM||comments (2)|
On February 21, 2015, Gala Events and Weddings had the privilege of working with the parent council and students of Arcata's Northcoast Preparatory and Performing Arts Academy (NPA), an acclaimed public charter high school recognized as one of the top high schools in the nation. NPA is the only school in the area to consistently see over 90 percent of the senior class graduate with an International Baccalaureate Diploma and go on to some of the world's most prestigious Universities around the world.
Parents of NPA students are encouraged to play an active part in both the social and academic aspects of the education of their children. In addition to participating in monthly all-school meetings, parents and students host a number of events throughout the year which highlight student talent, academic achievements, civic engagment and global awareness. One of the most popular events of the year is the Elegant French Dinner and Dance, a benefit for the student international travel scholarship fund which offers financial assistance for students to travel abroad as part of their academic enrichment. This year's 13th Annual dinner and dance was a huge success, and we were honored to be a part of the production!
Poster designed by Annette Makino
I worked alongside parent council members, offering ongoing consulting throughout the duration of the event-planning. We set clear goals to guide our decision making throughout the planning process, and to help us assess our success with the event. The following were our outlined goals for the French Dinner
- Raise funds for scholarships for student travel. Goal: $15,000
- Promote awareness of NPA within the Humboldt community, via clear branding incorporating the school logo and image throughout the details of the event (including social media, signage, guest favors, décor and ambiance, etc.)
- Extend beyond the immediate school community to invite new attendees to the dinner, specifically prominent members of our community with a vested interest in education and student travel abroad
- Maintain an ambiance of elegance throughout the event (student attire, décor, entertainment, food presentation, etc.)
The students played a myriad of roles throught the evening including: greeters/hosts/hostesses, sous chefs, servers, bussers, performers (music and dance) and speakers. One of the details we focused on for this year's dinner was building a Service Learning component into the event. In an effort to instill confidence in the students with their various roles throughout the event, we hosted a two-hour food service skill building training to prepare students in providing a fine dining experience for the guests.
I called upon my friend, colleague, and local, professional server, Samuel Santangelo to collaborate in building and teaching a comprehensive curriculum in fine dining food service. Samuel has lifelong experience in restaurant service and guest hospitality (dating back to 1987 when he began working in his family's Italian restaurant, Santangelo's, in Syracruse, NY). You may recognize him from some of our very own local establishments including, Five Eleven, Oberon Grill, Abruzzi, and Avalon. Most recently, you can find him at Restaurant 301 at Hotel Carter.
The two of us set to work building a 2-hour experiential workshop to teach the students fine dining skills including: table settings, appearance, hosting and greeting, verbage, menu presentation, taking orders and table mapping, food safety and handling, customer service, and bussing. Our goal was not just to prepare the students for their roles in the Elegant French Dinner, but we hoped to also provide a crash course that would serve them in entering the workforce, should they choose to take serving positions in the future. The students were incredibly engaged throughout the training, asking relevant questions, participating in demos, and practicing their menu presentation scripts. By the end of the workshop, everyone felt French Dinner ready!
A classy French Bistro was our inspiration for style and design. We played up the theme with black and white stripes, accents of the school color: cobalt blue, classic chalk board art and signage (designed by Buzz Parker), and of course, sprinklings of the Eiffel Tower throughout the event.
When guests arrived to the Bayside Grange, they walked up to a beautifully decorated porch of willow sculptures and greenery (designed by Wilathi Weaver).
Just through the door into the entryway sat a student busker playing guitar setting the stage of a romantic Perisian street scene outside of a cafe.
As guests made their way into the main dining room, they were greeted by our student host/hostesses and welcomed with a signature cocktail, The Blue Heron (also the school mascot) prepared by mixologist Greg King. The scene was bustling with student servers dressed professionnally in all black, topped with red barrets carrying passed hors d'oeuvres (prepared by Gwenn and Katie), and ready with white serviettes.
Other students busked with musical performances in tiny vignettes throughout the room as guests mingled and perused the elaborate silent auction (put together by Rabia O'Loren).
While guests arrived and mingled, the kitchen was bustling in overdrive! Chefs Victor Angular, Marceau Verdiere, student sous chefs, and parent volunteers were hurriedly, yet precisely putting beautiful dishes together.
Our student servers politely ushered guests to take their seats for dinner service, while additional student performances took the stage. Performances included the NPA Jazz Band, Chamber Orchestra, and individual student performances on guitar and piano.
The student servers put their training into action, gracefully delivering pre-ordered entrees out to their tables. On the menu were the following dishes:
- Plated Appetizer: Trio of Toppings with Beignets: Tapenade of Marinated Olives, Citrus Mouse, and Herbed Cheese
- Chicken Chasseur: Chicken braised in a rich tomato based sauce, with mushrooms, shallots, smoked herbs, grapes, wine and butter
- Mushroom Pievioli: A savory pastry filled with Mushrooms sautéed in Herbs and White wine, topped with walnut browned butter sauce and creamed mushroom fricassee
- Baked Seafoodie Salmon: Baked Salmon accented by an Aioli of Leeks, Carrots, Celery, and Lemon, topped with a toasted buttery seafood sauce
Needless to say, guests were delighted with dinner!
In an effort to encourage additional spending, we ended table service following dinner, so that guests would be inspired to continue to mingle and revisit the silent auction before it closed, and/or make a trip to our wine (generously donated by Cabot Vineyards), coffee, or dessert bars (deliciously prepared by Rabia O'Loren).
The general post-dinner flow gave us an opportunity to clear the tables nearest the stage in preparation for the Eureka Brass Band. Many students have studied swing dance, so a catillion of dancers opened up the dancefloor as Eureka Brass began to play. Soon, the dance floor was hoppin with students and guests!
Following the event, students stayed to assist with clean-up and take-down of the event. And, in true Samuel fashion after a busy shift of serving, it was time for a tall, cold glass of milk!
The entire evening was a huge success! Feedback from guests was incredibly complimentary. Though we did not reach our financial goal of $15,000, I'm aware that we came close to raising 2/3 of our goal (the exact figure was not available in time for this article to post). The school brand was definitely promoted throughout the event and it's promotion. The blue heron was a signature detail on all promotional items, décor throughout the event, and we even had heron-shaped cookies that were part of the "goodie bags," that guests received upon their exit. The event sold out and was well attended by prominent community members, parents, and friends of NPA students. We will definitely continue to reach out to the broader community in coming years. We also succeeded in mainintaining a ambiance of elegance. The overal décor really did take guests to a Perisian street scene outside of a classy bistro. The student uniforms complete with red barrets and the white serviettes definitely added to the overall feel of the experience. One guest called me specifically to highlight how spectacular their experience was, "such a magical time."
A few weeks following the event, Samuel, Cindy, Keta, and I hosted a reflection and appreciation luncheon for the student servers. We took a moment to reflect on the success of the event and what students learned from their experience as well as gave them an opportunity to offer their feedback (successes and challenges) of the event. Overall, the feedback was positive, and the students expressed that the experience provided them with valuable, usable skills for the future. One student even approached me for a job this summer, and others have since expressed interest as well!
This event could not have been possible without all of the tireless efforts from the NPA Parent and Student community! It was a pleasure to work with all of you! First and foremost, all of the student volunteers that served, prepped, hosted, clean-ed up, and performed!!! You truly made this event a delightful experience for all! And to all of the parents and volunteers. I would especially like to thank the following: Keta and Cindy for spearheading the event and bringing me aboard; Rabia for all of your efforts in soliciting donations for the silent auction, and putting together a beautiful spread and presentation of your delicious desserts; Chef Marceau and Chef Victor for your delicious dinner; Wilathi Weaver for building a beautiful, green entrance to the dinner; Sophia P for coordinating the rentals and wine pull; Buzz Parker for your amazing artistry and design; John and Kimberly Cabot for generously donating organic wine for the event and Kimberly for coordinating the wine bar; Gary and the Eureka Brass Band for incredible entertainment, Arny for your excellent service as Master of Ceremonies, Gwenn for coordinating the beautiful passed hors d'oeuvres, Marilyn for securing permits; Becca Hall for coordinating green waste management; Nicole Barchilon for coordinating all of the Thank-You's, Greg King for your mixology skills, and Heidi Kerr. Thank you to Christel Shaughnessy for your tireless efforts in soliciting donations for all culinary delights! Tammy, thank you for the referral that lead to this amazing opportunity. Thank you to Gala Events and Weddings team member, Karli Laier, for volunteering to assist with set-up... could not have done it without your help, and all of your ups and downs on the ladder! Thank you Samuel Santangelo for coming aboard to co-facilitate a service-learning opportunity for the students; a true highlight of the experience! Thank you also to all of the busineses and individuals that donated to the event!!!
If you were unable to attend this year's Elegant French Dinner and Dance, and would like to make a contribution to the international travel fund to assist students in traveling abroad with NPA, please contact Keta Paulson at: [email protected] She can assist you with making a donation via PayPal, or with your credit card via their square reader. If you attended this event, we would love to hear about your experience. Please leave a comment below. You may also leave us a review on our Facebook page, or if you'd like to see more of what we do, please like our page!
|Posted on May 1, 2015 at 8:00 PM||comments (0)|
Photo by https://www.facebook.com/arichristinephotography" target="_blank">Ari Christine Photography
Have you heard the https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8MH73xE41I" target="_blank">Avett Brother's song, "January Wedding"? Well this song became a sweet part of the day's soundtrack for Lindsay and Curtis on their winter wedding, our first of 2015! It was not your typical January day in Humboldt. It was a warm, sunny day overlooking the Eel River at the Riverlodge in Fortuna... perfect for the Big Day!
Lindsay had an incredible vision for her rustic, country-chic celebration, and every detail came together beautifully, from the signage, to the personalization of their love story!
Instead of a guest book, Lindsay and Curtis invited guests to sign a target from their hunter safety class where they originally met. We love this personalization of their story, and how they shared it with guests as they entered the venue!
Even the smallest guests had a guest sign-in table with crayons, coloring books, and glow sticks. Their table was an appropriate, child-sized height for easy access. It was so thoughtful to account for all 250 guests in attendance (big or little)!
While Flora Organica Designs brought the pretty....
A delicious spread was prepared and served by Uniquely Yours Catering.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/CC-Market-Deli/709243565781666?rf=147321275293028" target="_blank">C&C Market and Deli did a lovely job on the cake.
From ceremony, to reception, everyone had a wonderful time, and everything went off without a hitch.... well... save for Lindsay and Curtis "getting hitched." LOL!
Even the end of the evening went off with sparks. Guests were able to light sparklers and form a tunnel from the exit to Humboldt Limousine for Curtis and Lindsay's getaway!
https://www.facebook.com/producedbyjoshnelson?fref=nf" target="_blank">Josh Nelson Videography did a stellar job telling the story of the day through video. Clickhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ri-ZGMkTMnc" target="_blank"> watch to view.
The Gala Events and Weddings team had an incredible time putting details into place for Curtis and Lindsay's celebration! Congratulations Curtis and Lindsay! We wish you a lifetime of love and happiness!
|Posted on April 18, 2015 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
The connection was instant when I initially met Fred and Laura over the phone. They live in Indiana and it was their dream come true to plan an elopement on the redwood coast of California. Not having any previous connections in California, they were relieved to find an ally to assist them in planning their special day from so far away.
I arrived to their vacation rental in the early afternoon while Linden and Co. did Laura's hair and makeup. Fred was anxiously awaiting the moment to head up to the ceremony site in Redwood National Park. He would ride with Celebrant Dana Hope, while I awaited the finishing touches on Laura's hair and makeup to drive her up to the site separately, so the two could have their "first look" captured by the lovely Amy Kumler (Photographer).
The rain was beginning to fall as we arrived to the parking lot and stepped onto the trail, umbrellas in hand. There's something sp romantic about a redwood wedding in the rain with umbrellas! We approached the part of the trail where Fred awaited his bride, and Amy set the stage for a tear-filled, joyful "first look." The sky joined us in releasing tears of joy!
The five of us continued on our way to the waterfall... the perfect backdrop for a lovely ceremony.
Flora Organica Designs arranged the bouquet and boutonniere.
Immediately following the Ceremony, I made my way back to the rental to meet Sweet Basil Catering, Verbena Cakes, and to take a moment to style a romantic dinner for two overlooking the pacific ocean!
Before sitting down to the delicious spread, Fred and Laura danced their first dance as husband and wife under the soggy sky at sunset.
After dinner, they headed out on the town for some dancing! Congratulations Fred and Laura! So glad to have started a friendship via planning your elopement. Wishing you many years of happiness together!
|Posted on April 8, 2015 at 2:00 PM||comments (0)|
(Photo by Keri Messina Photography)
They had me with their theme! Black, purple, white and kitty print were the thematic color and print scheme for this off-beat, biker family wedding, and I absolutely loved it!!!! I originally met Hope and Logan at one of the workshops in the DIY Wedding Planning series I hosted last spring. The series was designed to offer helpful hints and tips to some of our local DIY couples, crafting their weddings with their own flare. We hit it off in the workshop, and not long after, Hope and Logan decided to bring Gala Events and Weddings aboard for Planning and Coordination assistance in putting their DIY details into place.
Hope is a Pinterest Pro! She takes DIY to the next level, and her wedding was the perfect palette for unleashing her wild and crafty skills. Her vision was clear, so she set to work months in advance, to ensure that she had ample time to complete all of her DIY projects for the wedding.
One of her many crafty details included the art of oragami as she set out to produce 1000 paper cranes for the back drop of her ceremony. An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane. Whomever contributes to the folding is also believed to put their well wishes, and luck into the cranes as well... so Hope, Logan and family members on both sides of the family spent hours upon hours folding square sheets of printed paper.
1000 paper cranes were not the end of Hope's paper projects. She also decided to design gigantic paper flowers for the entryway, and her own paper flower bouquet.
Logan and Hope's father were responsible for building the arch for the ceremony. They decided to collect sprockets from the shop, and weld them to the arch, bringing in some biker flare to the aesthectics of the day.
The centerpieces also brought bikes to the table with sprocket bases for their candles to sit atop. Hope hand glittered and kitty printed the wine glasses that held the floating candles in the center.
Instead of a guest book, Hope had her father design individual cut out letters of her new family name, and paint them black with professional car paint. Guests were able to sign the letters as they arrived. She's also a bit of a graphic artist, and designed all of the signage, save-the-dates, and invitations for the the wedding, maintaining the consistent theme of her wedding aesthetics with glowing lanterns, black, purple, white, and kitty-print designs!
She even designed the guest favors. Adults received printed pint glasses, while small humans received coloring books telling the story of Hope and Logan.
Hope and Logan provided their entire wedding party with matching converse shoes as their wedding party gifts.
Logan's sister Hannah made the incredible cake! I especially loved the cake topper!
I especially loved how most of the guests wore black, purple, or kitty print to the party. One guest (Logan's little brother) even went so far as to dye his hair purple for the occasion!
Hope and Logan, it was an honor to be a part of your special day! I loved all of your special details throughout the celebration. You had me at the Kitty Print! Thank you for choosing Gala Events & Weddings to help you along the way!