Category Archives: Destination Wedding

Destination Weddings | Paris

By | Destination Wedding, Paris, Paris Destination Weddings, Paris Wedding Photography, Paris Wedding Planner, Wedding Design, Wedding MBA, Wedding Planner, Yann Audic | No Comments

I’m heading to the Wedding MBA again this year (4th year in a row!) and hosting a Q&A on destination weddings. My preparation got me to taking a stroll down memory lane, looking at old documents and photos of the weddings, and I just had to share some of my favorites here; this post showcases stunning florals and venues from past Paris weddings.

Oh-so French Florals

Peonies featured big time in many of our weddings, particularly in the spring, when Paris is literally full of them! Florals by Estelle Preston – you cannot do better than hire her for your big day in Paris!

Photo by Yann Audic /

Photo by Yann Audic /


Perfect Paris Settings

You don’t have to have your wedding at the Versailles to have a truly stunning backdrop. Many cafes inhabit beautiful ornate buildings; very little decor is needed.

Top Two photos by Yann Audic;bottom photo by Olivier Lalin.

Wedding MBA 2017 Recap

By | Business Builders, Business Consulting, Business Development, Destination Wedding, Wedding Coordinator, Wedding MBA, Wedding MBA 2017, Wedding Planner | No Comments

For the third year in a row, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Wedding MBA conference, this time for two sessions – in addition to discussing destination weddings, I also spoke about appearing on television and managing on-camera opportunities.  The best benefit about attending the conference is seeing my colleagues, meeting new ones, and enjoying the city of Las Vegas.

When I woke up that morning, I had an iPhone news alert about the tragic shooting in Las Vegas the day prior – a stunning development that shocked us all.  The conference was still going to move forward – as it should – and my friend Summer Newman of Summer Newman Events, who traveled with me, wanted to help as best we could.  When we tried to donate blood, the drive that was taking place across the street from our hotel had already closed down because so many people showed up. By a day or two after the event, the local blood supply was sufficient for at least a few days. However, it reminded me how important it is to give blood and I’m now going to donate once a year.  Meantime, I donated to the Go Fund Me page to help support the victims and their families.

Wedding Display Wedding MBA Wedding Balloon Vendors

This balloon display as soon as attendees entered the conference space was a hit.

With the Wedding MBA well underway upon our arrival, I carefully chose the sessions I wanted to attend.  I had a massive head cold by the time we arrived, so I couldn’t hit as many as I wanted, so I specifically chose sessions that relate to my newer role as a freelance marketing and event consultant.  It’s so important to understand how the Internet, Google, Facebook, and SEO and SEM in general can enhance a business’ marketing.  I carefully chose two sessions about these topics, and they were extremely helpful.  The speakers were very generous with their knowledge and one even sent slides to us, Mark Chapman of Everett Andrew Marketing.

I also met some vendors on the convention floor, exploring new ideas in lighting, stationary, photo booths, and others.  Overall, it was a productive trip and it was fantastic to see the conference get bigger every year – it’s a fantastic opportunity for wedding vendors to help each other grow stronger, together.  Hope to see you there next year!


Real Wedding: Yosemite Getaway

By | Destination Wedding, Rustic Wedding, Yosemite Wedding | No Comments

We were lucky to work with a fun, adventurous, clever, super stylish (and hysterically funny) couple earlier this year. They booked a venue called Paradise Springs,a campsite and retreat on the outskirts of Yosemite in Oakhurst, CA. The venue was spectacular with almost all the necessities of civilization (except for phone service or land lines).  Their friends all came together to assist with various elements, including music, setup, MC’g,and technical production.

Melinda J Sanders took some amazing photos, in particular, check out the cake – made by the bride! She did some of the work ahead of time and recruited family to assist with assembly (the right way to DIY). It was a Guinness cake and absolutely delicious!

Venue:  Paradise Springs

Photography:  Melinda J Sanders

Florals: Wild Rose Florals

Caterer: The Untamed Chef – Albert J. Hernandez

DJ:  Christine Varney

Rentals:  Best Party Rentals

Cake: The bride!


tree trunk kiss sarah dave peters paige


vanity fair photo peters paige bridesmaidsz

peters paige weide shot reception

sarah dave polaroid guest book

shot garland table peters paigez

peters paige table

peters paige round garland table

tall trees


Real Destination Wedding: La Quinta

By | Destination Wedding, Event Planner, Guest Books, Los Angeles Wedding Planner, Palm Springs Wedding Planner | No Comments

This destination wedding was just pure joy – our music-loving, awesome couple hired a killer band, Entourage by DeBois, had charming decor, and a fabulous backdrop in the Merv Griffin Estate.

When choosing a venue, the couple wanted an estate that could also serve as home base for their bridal party and family for the weekend. The Merv Griffin Estate has room for around 20 people total, and is absolutely huge – there is a lake on the property! Yet, despite the glamorous grandeur, it had an open, welcoming feel, as well, and is impeccably kept and managed.

We secured room blocks at hotels nearby and also provided transportation for many guests to ensure they could fully enjoy the evening’s events.  The couple’s passion for music was reflected in a vinyl guest book – guests signed records with silver pens as a momento to keep forever.

Catering was by Modern Art Catering, paper goods by Paper Source and Sloane Harmony Design, flowers by Desert Blooming Events, Cake by Dot’s Cakes, videography by KS Photo and Film, photography by Michael Segal, rentals by Signature Party Rentals, and planning by yours truly.

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 2.48.17 PM

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 2.48.36 PM

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 2.53.34 PM

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 2.48.50 PM

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 2.53.18 PM

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 2.53.49 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 8.00.15 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 8.00.39 PM

Program by Sloane Harmony Design

Program by Sloane Harmony Design


Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 2.54.44 PM

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 2.51.27 PM

Traveling 101: Tips on Jet Lag, Packing, and Safety

By | Destination Wedding, Los Angeles Wedding Planner, Paris, Paris Destination Weddings, Paris Wedding Planner, Travel, Uncategorized | No Comments

In honor of our “travel week” on the No Worries blog, we culled the best advice from fellow travelers about how to prevent sticky situations while heading near and far:


Every seasoned traveler has their own trick for jet lag, and you have to discover for yourself which one works.  The universal rule applies to EVERYONE, however: Do not go to sleep at your destination city until the evening!! No napping!  You need to reset your clock according to your new locale’s sunrises and sunsets, and if you take more than a cat nap upon arrival, you’ll be a mess.

For example, after I arrive at my destination, I stay up till about 10 or 11pm, my usual bedtime.  This may mean that I may be up for almost a day when I arrive, and THEN have to keep my eyelids open till 11pm that night.  It’s a doozy, but that’s what coffee’s for, people.  (And I cannot sleep in a plane…at all.)  And sure enough, I wake up the next day wide eyed and bushy tailed, and back in gear.

Other tricks from veteran travelers:

1. HYDRATE.  Like you’ll never drink water again. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!  Perhaps get an aisle seat, too, since you’ll need to go the bathroom pretty often…!

2.  SLEEP SELECTIVELY.  If, say, you are leaving the States in the afternoon and hitting Italy (dare to dream…!) at 9am local time, you may be able to sleep a few hours prior to landing and be refreshed.  Me, I can’t sleep on planes – but those who can, can give this a try.

3.  WATCH THE COFFEE AND ALCOHOL.  Don’t counteract tip #1 by drinking too much coffee and alcohol on the plane – you may want to avoid it altogether.  I usually take an overnight flight to Paris so that I arrive by 9am; they serve breakfast around 8am, and I definitely tank up on coffee at that time, but not before.

4.  GET SOME AIR.  As soon as you land and check in, go out for a walk, a fun activity, sightseeing – whatever.  The sunshine will signal your internal clock that it’s still daytime.

5.  TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR – about sleeping pills. I am not medically credentialed to say anything else but, some people find these helpful on the plane!

6.  PLAN THE FLIGHT ACCORDINGLY – go for an overnight flight, like my routine of hitting the destination at 9 or 10am local time.

Schedule a trip to a local museum or site shortly after you land, to keep your mind busy and your body active. Musee D'Orsay, April 2014


Ah, the art of packing.  Having worked for both House Hunters US and International,  and traveled for weddings, I’ve gotten it down to a science.  Here’s some tips:

1.  PACK ESSENTIALS ON YOUR CARRYON.  Pack the following:  Medications, original prescriptions, extra glasses and/or contacts, toothbrushes, some cash/local currency, spray ointment (Neosporin makes a great one), antibacterial wipes and gel, over the counter pain killers, digestive meds, eye drops, bandages, and allergy medication, as well as ear plugs (never forget these – learned the hard way when I was on location for HH and the room’s unreachable smoke detector kept beeping due to low battery).  Also make sure you have two changes of underwear and extra clothing and socks.  If your checked luggage goes missing for a time, these things will get you through a night or two.

2.  HAVE A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING.  Antibacterial gel is this OCD girl’s best friend – and it has its own little compartment, a side pocket in my carry on after I go through security. My water bottle is in another portion of my carryon, and the Ipad and laptop are in another. My ID and boarding pass are in an easy-to-access, outside zippered pocket as well.  Pack in an organized fashion and it will save you quite a bit of time and stress.

3.  RENTING AN APARTMENT? PACK TOILET PAPER.  If you are renting an apartment instead of staying in a hotel (OR, staying in a hotel in Sochi…!), the owner may have forgotten to leave you with a few essentials. And the one you DON’T want to wait for is toilet paper, so throw a roll in to your luggage.  Seriously!

The view from a well-located apartment in the 1st...


For as hard as the TSA and Homeland Security work to keep us safe, our personal property is not always out of reach of theft.  As you send your items through the X-Ray scanner, bear in mind:

1.  PLACEMENT:  I like to put my laptop and ipad after my two bags, so I can buy some time to go through my personal scanner and hopefully beat their arrival at the end of the security check in.  Wear easy off-and-on shoes so you aren’t fiddling with shoe strings for twenty minutes.

2. SLOOOWWW DOWN: By that same token, when you have actually put back on your belt, shoes, and dignity (!) after the screening, take a moment and do an inventory: Got your ID? Boarding Pass? Laptop? Phone?  Do a mental checklist of all your valuables, and if any are missing, see an agent ASAP.  I once was in a hurry (for no good reason…ah, my crazy 20s!) and left my cell phone at security.  I called it and the agent picked up, thank goodness.  Now, I stop and take my time very carefully after each security check to properly restore every item.

3.  RFID and KEEPING MONEY SAFE.  The new issue travelers are dealing with are thieves who pick up your credit card information via scanning their RFID information.  (Clear as mud?  Read this article for a full explanation.)  There are RFID blocking purses and moneybelts that we encourage clients to use as they wander the streets of their destination. Also, do not be distracted by peddlers, pickpockets, con-men – in Paris, bands of peddlers will come up to ask you for money while stealing your phone or wallet.  (The issue was so bad last year, the staff of the Louvre staged a strike one day in protest!)  Keep these items in zippered compartments or pockets (or even better, in hidden money belts) at all times!

We hope this gives you a good kickoff to your travel planning.  Need more tips? Email us at or call Dee at 310-562-3306!

Travel Agents: Your Partners in Stress-Free Travel

By | Destination Wedding, L & R Travel, Los Angeles Wedding Planner, Paris, Paris Destination Weddings, Paris Wedding Planner, Travel Agent | No Comments

We have built a solid niche planning Paris, France destination weddings, and have come to rely on outstanding travel agents.  Why?  Because even in this day of online booking, agents have access to huge resources that enable upgrades, discounts, and buying power that is usually impossible for the layperson to access.

The famous IM Pei pyramid at the Louvre, Paris, France, April 2014

Also, if you have a complicated itinerary, having a travel agent hand-feed you options is crucial. For example, I have specific needs when I travel to Paris, such as arriving at 9am(ish) and leaving at a specific time, and transferring through Dallas.  [I try to avoid other airports with worse delay times, and Dallas is the main hub for my usual airline, American; so, if our airplane is out of commission, they can literally take another one out of the ‘garage’ and off we go – this has actually happened before at DFW.]  Svetlana from L&B Travel swiftly found me a perfect, specific, itinerary that I couldn’t find myself on or even on, and it was comparable in cost.

They can also help you redeem miles in the most cost effective way possible, secure last minute airfare deals you won’t see online, and manage group bookings more quickly and effectively.

There’s a great breakdown of the services agents provide at the L&B website, here.  Svetlana is our partner for all destination travel, and she’s always available to answer questions!

Need help planning your destination wedding?  Shoot us a note or call Dee at 310-562-3306!

Paris Destination Weddings: Update from the City of Light

By | Destination Wedding, Four Seasons Georges V, Hotel De Crillon, Paris, Paris Destination Weddings, Sugarplum Cake Shop, Travel, Wedding Planner | No Comments

So you’re all going to be really bummed. The Ritz in Paris is going to be closed for 2 years starting in the summer of 2012. Zut alors! There go next year’s Christmas plans….


I jest, but the truth is, luxury hotels in Paris are doable and great choices for destination weddings. Having a small guest count makes it possible. Our Hotel De Crillon wedding looked like a million bucks (make that about 1.3 million in Euros) and was warm, intimate, and memorable. With around 20 guests, it fit within my clients’ budget and was the ultimate in luxury.

While I was in town, I visited the Four Seasons Georges V as well, where, like the Crillon, having food and seating in-house helps control the budget. Décor can be kept to a minimum because these high-end establishments are the tip-top in opulence. When are you going to get married in Paris again? Exactly. So a careful investment can make for a lifetime of gorgeous memories.

Jeff Leatham, artistic director of the Georges V, is credited for starting the trend of angular floral arrangements. When I stopped by, purple was the color of the moment.

Photo by Olivier Lalin |

With detail like this, decor can remain minimal.

My clients saved money by renting an apartment nearby the festivities, which as you can imagine saves on food as well. They were right around the corner from the famed Rue Cler, which is lined with fruit stands, patissieries, fromageries – fresh food galore.

The view from my clients' apartment.

I was also speaking recently with expat Laurel, one of the dynamo owners of Sugarplum Cake Shop, and she told me about a gorgeous French blog. Whether or not you can read French, you’re going to fall in love with it. It’s one of the first of its kind – a hip, stylish blog for the French bride. While America has immersed itself in wedding obsession, Paris is not quite there yet – but the winds of change are a-blowin’, and Le Mariee aux Pieds Nus is at the forefront.

Toying with the idea of a Paris wedding? Dreaming of your I-do’s at a Chateau? Shoot us an email. I’ll treat to you a glass of wine and we’ll talk all about it! Happy planning, and au revoir for now.

Postcard from Paris: Sights, sounds, and – pee-ew! – smells of Paris

By | Destination Wedding, Paris, Paris Destination Weddings | No Comments

It’s been hotter than heck here in Paris, and prior to our trip it was quite mild.  As I write, it’s raining now, but I’m not panicking – the rain is supposed to stop by morning, and leave behind weather in the 70s and sunshine.  Perfect day for a wedding.

Oh, to take a dive in the Seine...anything to cool off!

With the heat comes, well, un odeur.  With a metro system so fantastic, it’s foolish to cab it much; but the other time I was in Paris, was during the winter.  Here, with everyone walking it everywhere and then packing into the subway – well, it’s not pretty.

That aside, there are so many other things about the French that are so – French.  A couple stopping suddenly in the sidewalk to kiss.  Two straight men pecking each other on the cheek to say goodbye.  A young guy wearing a Woody Allen shirt.  A teeny little dog sitting on a woman’s lap at a cafe.  Men with purses.  I saw all these things on my first day alone.

Yes, everything you’ve heard about the French is true – except that whole rudeness thing.  When you walk into a shop or cafe, without fail they will say “Bonjour.”  When you leave, “Au Revoir.”  You will never NOT be greeted.  In the States, it’s hit or miss, or the corporate owners of the store or restaurant will literally train their employees to give a cheerful hello.  If anything, the French are more polite than we are, with certain standards of gentility.  They just don’t wear their hearts on their sleeves like we do.

And of course, there are just the funny, weird and dramatic images you see every day on the Metro and elsewhere, that can only fly here in Paris. (I say this with the full knowledge that, say, “Jersey Shore” is equally ridiculous, and could only fly in the good ol’ USA.)  Here are some of my favorite images of the quirky francais from the past week:

Just in case you lost them.

MIKA. Very serious man. He must be wondering where his pants are.

Another sad pop star. Le sigh.

And...a Mime.

Postcard from Paris: The Sugarplum Fairies

By | Destination Wedding, Paris Destination Weddings, Sugarplum Cake Shop | No Comments

Serendipity is everywhere in life, and I believe it was what led me to the Sugarplums. I had a hard time getting a response from two Parisian cake bakers that came highly recommended – and thought perhaps an American cake baker would respond faster.  (No offense…it’s just a fact, mon petit chou!)  After a google search, I found the Sugarplum Cake Shop, and received a response within 48 hours.

Laurel, Krista, and Taylor, the three proprietors of the shop, are a perfect example of serendipity, too. They had found themselves all working together at a bakery in Paris, and realized they could do it better, themselves.  After their jobs came to a rather dramatic end (it’s a crazy story, and best told by the Sugarplums – they are planning on a book, and I predict it will indeed become a movie; their whole history is fascinating), they bought a cafe in the vibrant Mouffetard-Contrescarpe neighborhood east of St Germaine des Pres, and the rest is history.  A short history – just a year since they opened the shop, they are a rip-roarin’ success.

A view of the shop...

Laurel and I corresponded entirely via email leading up to my trip; just before I left, she requested wedding magazines – France has next to none!  Eager to meet, I stopped by during my very first day in town, ‘smuggled’ magazines in tow.  She invited me to sit in on a tasting, and it was so much fun – the couple were sweet and funny, and watching Laurel in action was fantastic. I also got to hear how the couple’s wedding planning was going, at a beautiful chateau outside of Paris – an insight into wedding planning, Paris-style.

A Sugarplum tasting plate: Heart-shaped cakes, to dip in homemade ganaches...

My share of the tasting...delicieuse!

The next night, Laurel took time out of her busy schedule (like me, she’s a mom too – but with an actual cafe to run and TWO kids – I don’t know how she does it!) to join me for a glass of wine and a plate of charcuterie, and told me her story.  We shared thoughts and ideas on weddings both American and Parisian, and what it’s like to be your own boss – exhilarating, exhausting, and everything in between.  She’s a good egg, that Laurel – a powerhouse.  She and her sisters in arms, Krista and Taylor, are going places, fast!  Next time you’re in Paris, head straight over to the Sugarplum.  It’s a haven for Americans and Parisians alike – warm, friendly, with good coffee and freakin’ amaaaazing cake!

Laurel and I after un pichet du vin...

Oui, Oui, Paree

By | Destination Wedding, Paris, Travel | No Comments
I leave in just a very few short days for a destination wedding in Paris, and naturally, I am very excited about this amazing opportunity.  We have all the details in place, and planning has been smooth and steady.  While there, I’m visiting venues and vendors alike to research resources that will come in handy for future clients – I envision Paris destination weddings as a small but consistent portion of our wedding business. Enough about me – where the heck are we celebrating?  Why, I’ll tell you:

Wedding: American Church in Paris

The American Church in Paris

The ACP is home to a vibrant expat community, and they are available for ceremonies to anyone and everyone.

Dinner Reception: Hotel De Crillon

The Crillon is smack dab on the corner of the Place de La Concorde.  Such an esteemed address is fitting for a building with historical significance – it’s said Marie Antoinette herself took her music lessons here!  The Salon Batailles will host the intimate dinner for 20.

Salon Bataille -

I’ll be staying in the Montorgueil district, central between where the bride, groom, and guests are staying, and the cake baker and florist.  I look forward to working with the gals at Sugarplum Cake Shop – per their request, I’m bringing these expats some American wedding magazines over from the States! – and the wonderful Noemi at A Fleurs et a Mesure, a highly recommended florist that have already wowed us with their mockups.

I’ll be busy not just prepping for the event and researching, but also keeping an eye on things at home thanks to wifi. I’ll be able to work every night and make sure all is well with my US clients, just doing it at a cafe with un espresse and a cigarette dangling from my lips (kidding about that last part!).  Thus, I won’t be doing a lot of sightseeing, but I did point my clients to the ravishing Musee D’Orsay and the Louvre (if the current strike is over with by the time we arrive – bless their hearts, the French are always striking!)  You never forget seeing the Mona Lisa for the first time in person.  On second thought, maybe I’ll swing by and say ‘hello’ to her…

A winter-dusk picture of the street where we stayed last time, in the Marais district.