Gala Events & Weddings

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A Family Affair: Bree & Justin's Sacramento Wedding

Posted on June 20, 2015 at 1:00 AM Comments 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

For the Love of Pi(e): Cindy and Derek's 3.14.15 Wedding

Posted on June 4, 2015 at 9:45 PM Comments 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!

Service Learning and FUNdraising: The Elegant French Dinner and Dance:

Posted on May 7, 2015 at 12:00 AM Comments 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

  1. Raise funds for scholarships for student travel. Goal: $15,000
  2. 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.)
  3. 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
  4. 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!

January Wedding: Curtis and Lindsay's Big Day

Posted on May 1, 2015 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)" target="_blank">

Photo by" target="_blank">Ari Christine Photography

Have you heard the" 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!

Globe lights from Land of Lovely, natural wood chairs from North Coast Events and Rentals.

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....

Accurate Productions Inc., and Humboldt Event Services brought the partay!

A delicious spread was prepared and served by Uniquely Yours Catering." 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!" target="_blank">Josh Nelson Videography did a stellar job telling the story of the day through video. Click" 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!

Rewoods, Rain, and a Waterfall: Fred & Laura's Romantic Elopement

Posted on April 18, 2015 at 12:00 AM Comments 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!

DIY Decadence on the Waterfront: Hope & Logan's Wedding!

Posted on April 8, 2015 at 2:00 PM Comments 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!

Gala Girl Goes Hum Love: Amy Machado and the Eel River Clean-Up Project

Posted on March 31, 2015 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Gala Events & Weddings has had the privilege of having Amy Machado on our Gala team for about a year. In that time, she has demonstrated exemplary leadership skills, a genuine intent to be in service to our clients, and an overachiever attitude on our events... always going above and beyond to get the job done. In the last couple months, Amy has inspired a movement amongst the Humboldt Community to take action in cleaning up our local rivers. Specifically, she has applied her motivated, action-oriented, leadership skills to spearhead the newly-formed Facebook movement of the" target="_blank">Eel River Clean-Up Project (ERCP). In just a couple short months with Amy's enthusiasm, inspiration, and activism, the ERCP has gained momentum, grown from a few independent individuals committed to cleaning up our rivers to nearly 1000 active members that meet regularly to clean up our watersheds. In this time, over 25 tons of garbage have been removed by the clean-up parties hosted by the ERCP, and no new trash has been dumped in the areas that have been cleaned up.

Here is an example of a clean-up site from Redway:

This last Saturday, the ERCP held its first annual fundraiser at the Mateel Community Center in Redway. Gala Events & Weddings was honored to support the event with stage coordination. We worked with all of the amazing artists that agreed to play in support of the cause! Performers included: Mystic Lion, JuDrum, Asha Nan, Humboldt Rockers, Silver Hammer, Sambamore, Eyes Anonymous, Cold Blue Water, NPK, Berel Alexander, Little Kid Lost, DJ Just One, Juce, The Funnicators, DJ Marley, DJ GBob The Overstimulators, Deep Groove Society's J-Sun and Loren, Ishi Dube, and Stevie Culture! Here are a few snapshots from the stages:

Businesses in support of the event included: Pacific Outfitters PacOut Green Team, Mo’s BBQ, Tulip Perfumes, Forget-me-not Photobooth, Fatbol, Big Johns and Reannas Art, Bijou Media, Mae Fashion and Design,Talia Rose Photography, SHC Industries, Roman Villigrana, Carmel Reyes, Bree Smith, Econews, Royal Gold, Erin Keller's Creme Brulee, Vixen Kitchen, Siren Song, Humboldt Beekeepers Association.

Together, with the community supporters, we raised a whoppin $16,791.00 not including the percentage of the beer sales that the Mateel is donating to the ERCP!!

We had a blast, and cannot congratulate and thank the Hum Love community enough for stepping up to the plate, taking action, and cleaning up our watersheds! We extend a heart-felt THANK YOU to our homegirl Amy Machado, for being a ring-leader inspiring so many peeps to come together and support such a worthy cause!


The Gala Team Gets Down During the Holidays!!!

Posted on January 21, 2015 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Happy 2015! I hope you had a fantastic Holiday Season moving into this New Year! I had a lovely holiday season, and got some much needed R&R, after an incredibly busy Event Season in 2014! It was another year of tripling our business, and 2015 is looking just as promising!

Throughout November and December, I had a bit of a much-needed break from event coordination, and at long last had the opportunity to enjoy a couple parties as guests. I wanted to share some of the highlights with you. I hope you enjoy... and I'm looking forward to working with you on your upcoming events in 2015! Cheers!

Winter Wonderland, Blue Lake Casino Sapphire Palace

The Gala Team did an exceptional job bringing together many weddings and events throughout 2014... so it was especially important to me to honor the team with gratitude and celebration. I decided to buy a table at the Blue Lake Casino's Winter Wonderland Celebration in the Sapphire Palace. Dinner, dessert, dancing... how could we go wrong?! This was the perfect opportunity for us to attend a celebration and enjoy the party as guests, without having to lift a finger. Throughout the dinner, we laughed, as all of us looked around for the next fire to put out, or to attend to some unattended detail. We simply couldn't believe all we had to do was sit back, relax, and enjoy! Thank you to Heidi Ferris, and the team at Blue Lake Casino for such a fun evening!

We oooo-ed and ahhhhh-ed as we enter the Palace. It truly felt like a winter wonderland with decorated trees, lighted reindeer, and decorative vignettes around the room... all of which we visited for various photo shoots.

Accurate Productions brought the party with great music... and kept us on the dance floor throughout the evening!

We had so much fun celebrating with a few of our colleagues in the biz, like Jill Foster of the Party Place, and Lisa Corral from Red Lion in Eureka!

I'd like to take a moment to personally thank each of our team members that assisted Gala Events & Weddings with our events this year:  Amy Machado, Talvi Fried, Jessica Lantz, Teresa Graber, Sam Sampson, Kacy Curtis, Sean Knife, Shelley Wells, Brittany Bradley, Alli McCarthy, and ZeNae Lawrence! We could not have done it without you!!!

Winter Wonderland was truly a blast of an evening!

Promises Bridal & Formal Wear Company Dinner

I had the luxury of attending the Promises Bridal & Formal Wear Company Dinner. Definitely a crew that requires dressing to the nines! We all rocked the latest in the formal fashion, and enjoyed a lovely meal at Abruzzi. I was honored to have a place at the table amongst all of the lovely ladies (and their dapper dates) to celebrate another successful year in formal wear!

Shop Owner, Linda Jo, knows how to embarass the heck out of her team.. and I was no exception. For each of us, she put together an especially hilarious gift. I especially loved the gift she presented to me! LJ celebrated the success of Gala Events & Weddings.. but indicated I may need to re-brand the company so that it has my very own signature stamp... She put together a new brochure for Gala, renaming the company "Sealed With a Kiss Events" (a nod to my habit of rockin red lipstick). The new acronym for the company... S.W.A.K.! The brouchure featured a logo of a big pair of sexy red lips instead of our filigree heart logo. Tears of laughter ensued.... I'm touched to be an honorary member of the Promises Bridal & Formal Wear Team! Thank you ladies and Linda Jo for all of your love and support in 2014!

New Years!

Well, I don't have too many photos of New Years because I was mostly on the dance floor... but I had a lovely time with my girl, Kacy Curtis, or Forget-Me-Not Photo Booth at the Blue Lake Casino's New Year's Party with Pressure Anya! Again, the casino went all out... and I had a lovely time dancing with good friends... some of whom I've not seen in years! Dancing is definitely one of my biggest passions right now... so it was fitting to bring the New Year in on the dance floor.

Now that we're into January, our event planning has begun, and we are in full swing, with our first 2015 event taking place next Saturday... my Birthday Party... followed by our first 2015 wedding on January 31st! I'm so excited that Gala Events & Weddings is busy year-round... and I'm thrilled with how many events we already have on our 2015 calendar! It's looking like we're poised to have yet another year of tripled business!!!! We love you Humboldt County! Thank you for trusting us with your events!!!

Classy in the Casino: Shelley & Erik's Wedding in the Sapphire Palace

Posted on December 10, 2014 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

October 18, 2014 was a long-time coming for Shelley and Erik. Their wedding was held at the Sapphire Palace at the Blue Lake Casino. We started our day paying a visit to our lovely bride, while she was getting ready with her girls in the Bridal Suite. This is always a special time for us, as we love to take a moment to make sure our bride has everything she needs.

Once we knew Shelley was taken care of, we headed down to the Palace to finalize signature details of the décor. Blue Lake Casino did a stunning job with the ceiling and lighting throughout the room. It was especially lovely working with the Casino, as they handle so many of the event details in-house.

We loved working with our partnering vendors: Doug Beck from Photographic Memories, Ryan Fabian of Tah-Dah Productions, and Mercedes and Tim Borges of Big Flash Foto!

As always, it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to be a part of such fun celebrations! Congratulations Shelley and Erik! We wish you a lifetime of Love and Happiness!


The Gala Team

Love & Law: Amanda & Patrick's Wedding, October 5th, 2014

Posted on November 12, 2014 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (1)

Patrick and Amanda's story tells us what happens when love and law meet. These two met at work at the Eureka Police Department; Sergeant O'Niell is an officer with EPD, while Amanda is a Dispatcher. They are both foodies, and wanted to have a casual garden party in the back yard of a private residence in Arcata, incorporating nods to their careers in law enforcement and their Irish heritage. They accomplished the celebration they were wanting in class and style!

Guests arrived to a very welcoming home in the redwoods with doors wide open. Shabby-Chic details, accented with deep cobalt blues, and bright, vibrant oranges set the tone for a lovely autumn outdoor garden party amidst the trees. A rustic dresser with a canvas and stamp pad serving as the Guest Book were among the first details to welcome guests. Kids immediately received gift bags with age-appropriate activities!

The ceremony site was nestled on the lawn nestled by the trees. Vibrant pops of oranges, yellows, and all colors late summer and early autumn decorated the altar. Flora Organica Designs beautifully adorned the altar for a stunning ceremony!

The ceremony was short and sweet. Amanda's brother served as the Officiant, adding very personal touches to the ceremony. We especially loved the Handfasting ritual, a sweet nod to their Irish Heritage.

Following the ceremony, the wedding party took their final portraits. I was lucky enough to catch a few of my own shots. (JJT Photography took all of the professional photos of the day, and did a stunning job!)

I even snagged some photos with the Bride, Groom and myself! Ha!

While we were snapping photos, the guests made their way to the reception behind the house. To get to the reception area, they meandered past the Marriage Mantle... a signature motif of a shabby-chic mantle holding framed photos of the married couples in the family. We loved this detail, along with the reception details. (Shabby-Chic furniture pieces and bar were provided by Land of Lovely).

As I mentioned earlier, food was a high priority for this wedding... and Sweet Basil Catering did a fantastic job of ensuring that food deliciously, and abundantly filled the tables throughout the evening. In fact, there was not a formal dinner... rather, appetizers and small plates continued from the moment the reception began until the late night snack of mini-grilled cheese sandwichettes and tomato soup shots came out!

And what celebration would be complete without cake?! We LOVED Patrick and Amanda's naked cake!

After cake... it's always time to party. Patrick and Kevin Hawkins (our twin dj and emcee) brought the party with their amazing set of modern and classic favorites.

And, of course, Forget Me Not Photo Booth brought good times, as our law enforcement guests of honor got silly with law enforcement mug shots! ;)

We loved working on this wedding, and bringing all of the Day-Of details together for such a lovely, fun-filled afternoon and evening party in the garden! Congratulations Patrick and Amanda! We wish you a lifetime of love and happiness! :)