Category Archives: Dessert Table

Real Wedding: Lush and Vibrant at the Mountain Mermaid

By | Candy Table, Dessert Table, Event Planner, Mountain Mermaid, Sheila Mae, Wedding Planner | No Comments

The Mountain Mermaid is a revitalized mansion off Topanga Canyon that is the defintion of “hidden gem.”  For this wedding, the charming and fun bride and groom wanted a festive vibe that didn’t take itself too seriously, but had a sense of sophistication when it came to style.  As their wedding consultant, I helped them bring the elements together, including their sweet idea for using the year stamped on pennies for table numbers, and providing custom made wood table numbers based on their inspiration photos.  After collaborating on their design board, it made sense to introduce them to Susan Tom-Nellis of Peony and Plum – she excels at an organic, flowing, vibrant aesthetic that tied right into the magical feeling of the Mermaid.

Top notch photography by White Haute Photography tells the story best.

Photography:  White Haute Photography

DJ: Bride’s friend, Mike Tinio

Ice Luge:  Crystal Creations

Florals:  Peony and Plum

Officiant: Rabbi Heather Miller

Caterer:  Savour this Moment

Cake, Dessert, and Candy Table: Danielle Keene, Sheila Mae


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The Mountain Mermaid has a wonderful fountain statue, the perfect spot for these custom florals from Peony and Plum.

The Mountain Mermaid has a wonderful fountain statue, the perfect spot for these custom florals from Peony and Plum.

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Cake, sweets, and candy by Danielle Keene of Sheila Mae

Cake, sweets, and candy by Danielle Keene of Sheila Mae

The bride is the co-author of a savvy, funny book about dating - How to Get Out of The Friend Zone.

The bride is the co-author of a savvy, funny book about dating – How to Get Out of The Friend Zone.

A table featuring burlap runner, a collection of florals by Peony and Plum, and custom wood table number.

A table featuring burlap runner, a collection of florals by Peony and Plum, and custom wood table number.

Wilcoxen Mermaid shot

Sweets for the Sweet

By | Dessert Table, Immaculate Confections, King Pretzel, Sticky Fingers Baking Company, Superfine Bakery | No Comments

Amy Atlas popularized the dessert table, and since then, they have become an event staple.  The trend – which appears to be here to stay, thankfully – has inspired many pastry chefs and bakers to create edible works of art.

Cake pops have become very popular as table favors, and they can also be perched in a short vase or bowl.  Recently King Pretzel provided not only cake pops, but delicious caramel turtles made with pretzels.  I literally had to walk away to keep from stuffing my face with them!  (Of course I discreetly tried one or two before, with permission, before the event began!)

An adorable Tux cake pop by King Pretzel.

Scones are fantastic for tea-themed bridal shower, or for a brunch wedding – we had the pastry talents of Sticky Fingers Baking Co., based in Ventura, at a recent shower.  The scones were both sweet and savory, and they specialize in gluten free sweets as well.

Beautiful salad in the foreground, luscious scones in the back...great spread for a brunch celebration. Cuisine by Sticky Fingers.

From my past post on a Sauvignon Blanc Pound Cake, you know I love it when alcohol and pastries mix, and sure enough, Immaculate Confections’ rum cake is to die for.  It’s sopping with Rum, but you can taste the rich vanilla bean behind the liquor. I’d have showed you a picture of the rum mini-bundt, but…I ate it!

And speaking of liquor, dessert liqueurs are a whole other category in and of themselves.  They’re a fabulous accompaniment to cake, and lovely passed during the final toast of the night (say, the bride and groom raises a glass to their guests after cake).  My favorites:

  • Tawny Port.  Rich, with a taste of figs.  Great with a vanilla or yellow cake.
  • Cream Sherry. Yeah, could I sound like more of an old lady? But I looove the taste of cream sherry. Beware – it goes down easy – just a couple sips’ll do ya.  Try Dry Sack – great with a dark chocolate cake.

And don’t forget about cake tables too – 4 – 5 cakes can be gorgeous all on their own!

A beautiful spread of cakes by Superfine Bakery at one of this spring's Castle Green events.

Oh dear…I’m starving now.  I just made some whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, so to the kitchen I go.  Because they’re whole wheat, they’re not BAD for me, right??

By | Agency DJs, Cake Monkey, Cakes, Dessert Table, Heirloom LA, Vendors, Venues | No Comments

There’s a  dirty little secret that events pros are well aware of:  Not all venues are ‘easy.’  I will never divulge the names of such venues, because we can pretty much put up with anything, and enjoy our pleasant relationship with all places we’ve worked.  But.  Maybe the site manager is not cooperative, or there have not been many technical upgrades; perhaps parts of it are rundown (like the piece of wood floor that came undone in the reception hall, that we – yes, we – had to tape down, because the venue manager we notified. Did. Nothing.  TRUE STORY.)

The SmogShoppe is not that type of venue.  Everything is plug n’ play, perfectly appointed- coordinating a wedding there on the day-of is a breeze.

We worked our first Shoppe wedding a couple weeks ago, and it was a pleasure.  The weather was quite nice for March, and except for some chill on the patio, everyone was comfortable and cozy, and the dancing went on past midnight.  The clients had a wonderful time and the ease of working at the venue greatly allowed us to help them enjoy their wedding as much as possible.

It’s such a lovely place, even my amateurish non-SLR photos look halfway decent.  More photos to come – we’re back at the Shoppe again very soon for another beautiful wedding.

The loft is a perfect place for a bird's-eye view of ceremonies.

The ability to play movies adds extra ambience to the urban-chic interior.

Holly Flora's whimsical blooms, vintage jars, and oil-fueled candles set the mood.

Chris Carter from Agency DJs kept the crowd dancing till the very end.

Music: Chris Carter, Agency DJs. Food:  Heirloom LA. (“Our cupcakes are made of lasagna!” Best mission statement ever.)  Cake/Dessert table (and going-home DingDong favors!):  Cake Monkey.  Flowers (including the dramatic chuppah):  Holly Flora. (Their space next door also incorporates SmogShoppe’s new alternative ceremony area.)

Behind the Scenes: No Worries’ first wedding of the year

By | Dessert Table, Westin Pasadena | No Comments

Last night was a ton of fun. Perfect formula, really:  Wonderful clients, excellent team, top notch venue.

The bride and groom hired me several months ago and in between that time and the wedding, we chatted via email from time to time, making sure they were on track with their planning (they were super on top of things) and providing ideas and recommendations as requested.  But with her pursuit of an MBA (while working full time) and the groom working full time as well, we truly firmed things up 6 weeks prior to the event or so.  They were tremendously organized and we worked so well together as a team.

I was already poking around the Westin Pasadena on behalf of my April Castle Green clients, so I knew the space fairly well, but was extremely impressed by the flexibility and kind personalities of the entire banquet staff and management. They made our job so much easier.

The elegant Fountain Ballroom at the Westin

All the vendors, from Tom and Jo from California Sounds (excellent DJs) to Karen Leah Photography (second gig together…hopefully more soon in the future!) to Shirvan Designs beating the clock to get the bride’s bouquet to her extra early – what a dream team.  Oh! And I shall not forget:  The cake baker, Danielle Keene!

Danielle and I go way back – okay, 4 years – to my own wedding; I found her online, and her cake was amazing.  You may know her if you watch Top Chef Just Desserts – she made it to the top three! I am now totally in awe about her and brag that she did MY cake, fra fra fra!

I recommended her company Bittersweet Treats to Fran and Russ early last year, so I got to catch up with her yesterday.  She said the national exposure has been wonderful for her already blossoming business, and I praised her awesome gray cake that won a challenge on TC: JD.  It was so fab to get the inside deets from her.  But alas, I was pulled in too many directions to get a pic together – nerds!  Look for a pic of her delicious cake soon when Ms. Karen sends me her pro photos.

The cake was indeed delish, and prior to the event, the bride asked for a slice of each flavor (there were four) to be boxed up so she could enjoy every flavor, which the banquet manager, Uriel, made happen. When I was told a few days ago that the ringbearer loved banana cake, Uriel flew a slice to him before I could ask if he’d done it.  These are pros, people!

Gorgeous roses, hydrangeas, euc and orchids from Shirvan Design.

And the pros I need to trust the most are the ones who work with me. Dani Barkat (herself a client now – her big day is this October) and my cousin, Mary Phelan (even *more* organized than I am – it runs in our blood!) were pheneomenal.  For example:  Dani needed a sharpie.  Mary opens her little hip bag, and contained were (in this tiny little bag):

– three sharpies, of different colors

– hand sanitizer

– pocket mirror

– flashlight

– mini notebook

– toothpaste

– keys?

– wallet


We have two emergency kits – one in our stash, one cleverly disguised in a decorative box on the gift table – but Mary is a WALKING emergency kit!

Dani is an art professional in many ways – drawing, painting, a pro makeup artist as well – and kept the bride touched up all night.  She also did a fantastic job, with Mary, in setting up the bride and groom’s Candy Bar to their specifications.

A generous friend lent the B&G her stands and vessels from her own wedding's candy bar. It was definitely the hit of the night.

Yogurt-covered pretzels, taffy (MY FAVORITE), caramel creams – “Fran and Russ’ Candy Shoppe” was to to die for. It also ruined my diet – when I went to the doctor’s this morning (just a touch of a cold this morning), I stepped on the scale and it wasn’t pretty.

Oh, sweet candy, how I love you!

Doesn’t matter, though.  The evening was as sweet as the candy table.  Most importantly, our clients, family and friends were happy, and the sense of a job well done is the best way to end the night.