A Mary Poppins Birthday Tea Party

This was a special birthday party for Lauren, a four year old little girl. Generally, I don't plan children's parties, but when the mother contacted me via email from their home in London requesting assistance because she wanted to have a Mary Poppins theme party at their home here in OC - instantly I had creative visions and agreed to plan the event.

Since Mary Poppins was during the Edwardian era, that is the inspiration I took ideas from - so I hired a professional silhouette cutter, a Barber shop quartet, set-up a ice cream parlour to make it feel like a Farrell's. The "domesticates" (the ladies who served the tea and food) were dressed in ruffled aprons and mop hats, and the vendors were donned in striped vests, skim hats and sleeve garters.

There was a special appearance made by Bert and of course, Mary Poppins. As she arrived, the quartet was singing "It's a Jolly Holiday with Mary". After she was introduced to our little guest of honor, she presented her a sparkly tiara on a satin pink pillow and a birthday girl sash (items that I provided to give to Lauren).

In the front courtyard the guests enjoyed stuffing and dressing teddy bears (the original teddy bear was introduced in 1908 during this era), some decorated a kite craft, a balloon twister fashioned carousel horses that the children had tied around their waists, a face painter created little works of art on their faces and hands, and the silhouette cutter was lightning quick with his scissors.

Then the guests were invited to the back yard to lovely tables set and ready for tea! The two children's tables had centerpieces made of carousel horses that I had made from a nice lady who creates all sizes of stuffed carousel horses. They were made into the same colors of the horses in the movie. But I had them sitting on mirrored turntables, so they were all rotating 'round and 'round (the pictures of them don't do justice!). Hanging from the patio cover were lace parasols (like the one Mary had in the Jolly Holiday sequence) that I ordered, and they were so cute with the ribbons flowing in the wind.

After enjoying the tea menu, the guests were invited to return to the front courtyard and were greeted with a "sweet shoppe" full of candies. Bert & Mary assisted with a couple of games I thought up - one was a tea bag toss, and the other was a spoonful of sugar relay game where the children had to fill up large teacups with sugar.

For the event finale, the guest of honor was presented with a beautiful cake made as a merry-go-round accompanied with cupcakes made by Wonderland Bakery. The guests were given take home party bags filled with gifts consisting of Mary Poppins dolls, a Mary Poppins double-decker bus, a candy tin shaped like the bank where Mr. Banks worked, the Mary Poppins CD of music, and the Mary Poppins DVD movie.

Professional photos were taken by

Floral arrangements were provided by

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Holiday Party for Iteration2

It was a great start to the holiday season with coordinating the corporate holiday party for Iteration2.
The event was held at the beautiful Madison Restaurant in Long Beach. The guests were greeted with champagne, and the live music of Anthony Jasso and band.
After filling up on sushi and an elaborate buffet of holiday entree foods, they enjoyed a decadent chocolate and caramel fountain station for dessert.
The guests got to take home the beautiful gold & glittered stars that were at each setting.
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Sherry's Bridal Shower Tea Party

I was contacted by Amy, who wanted to plan an impromptu bridal shower tea party for her friend, but we didn't have much time. Sherry, the bride-to-be was getting married in three weeks!

The lucky couple had a whole six week engagement. They had met in a singles church group function, fell in love and knew that they both had found "the one".

This love story hits close to my heart, as the same thing happened to me and my husband. We met at church, and from our first date to our wedding date was nine months - we had a three month engagement. Twelve years later we still can't believe how fast our courtship was, but it's still stronger than ever!

So I felt very privileged to be a party of Sherry's shower, and you could feel the love amongst her friends and family during the special event. While Sherry finished opening the gifts, the groom-to-be arrived towards the end of the event and while waiting he hung out in the kitchen with me and the servers, and I enjoyed talking with him and hearing their love story.

I created the floral centerpieces for the guest tables and the buffet arrangement.

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Maggie's Baby Shower

This baby shower tea party was such an honor to design, plan and coordinate. I had coordinated the wedding of Katy & Justin, back in 2005 at the Surf and Sand and the mother of the bride - Kathy - fell in love with me. For this special occasion, Kathy contacted me to assist her with planning a baby shower for her other daughter, Maggie the mom-to-be, expecting a baby boy.

Kathy has a darling cottage in our quaint beach town of San Clemente. They wanted the event colors to be robin's egg blue, sage green and chocolate brown. I took inspiration from the client's home decor which was filled with antiques, tapestries and other shabby-chic items. So for the table overlays, I cut fabric off the bolt in patterns of tapestries and jacquards.
I created all the floral centerpieces for the guest tables and for the buffet.
It is just beyond special for me to be a part of my client's special events, to see families celebrate the joys of life. First with Katy's wedding then with Maggie's baby shower. That's what makes this profession so rewarding for me!
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St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation Luncheon

Event Description:

The St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation contacted me to cater a luncheon for their Cancer Research Center meeting. The attendees arrived at the host's home with a gorgeous backyard lawn with a breathtaking view of Laguna Beach, and played rounds of boce and croquet. Per the client's request, I did not take photos of the guests. I made all the centerpieces and buffet floral arrangements. And check out my new silver tea service set. It's gorgeous!

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My Best Friend's Wedding

Background first...

The Bride, Kelly, is one of my best friends.
She is also a fellow wedding planner (ExpandedEvents.com) and we've known each other for years. That's one of the weird/wonderful things about this unique business is that although another wedding planner may be "competition" we are also all good friends due to the bond we all share with this crazy industry. We help each other out when we are in a bind, if we need an assistant, when we need a sounding board, we commiserate when we need to vent when we have a Bridezilla client, or when we are just feeling burnt out. Kelly and I have been through a lot together...loss, business success, the joys (and challenges) of motherhood are just a few things.

Wedding Details:

"Today I marry my Love"
Signs made by the Groom that he tied to a tree the morning of their wedding day.

Morgan and Kelly decided to have an intimate backyard ceremony and reception. Quoted from their program that was tucked into the jacquard linen napkin "when we were putting together our guest list we decided that we would only invite those people who we intend to know us for the rest of our lives...that is a select, short list." The two long banquet-style tables were set with beautiful, grand centerpieces in black magic roses and cream roses, deep red spray roses, aged sage hydrangea, dark burgundy dahlias, bells of ireland, coffeeberries and dripping with amaranthas.

At each place setting, there was a rock with the guest's name carved on the top. Not only was it used as a name place marker, but also as a commemorative piece for the newlywed's fountain. During the ceremony, the couple revealed to the guests that on the back of each rock was also a carved word that was unique to that friend or family member. The couple requested that the word that was on their rock remain in their prayers for their marriage. This portion of the ceremony was named Rocks of the Foundation.

Kelly made tri-frames that showcased photos which represented their friends and family members who are with them in spirit. In the beginning of the honored seating, there was a lighting of the candles that were inside the tri-frames. As the evening grew darker, and the photos illuminated, it was a nice touch to see them glow and flicker. The casual and free-spirited evening was filled with delicious food, drinks, touching moments (not a dry eye during the preface of the father/daughter dance), lots of laughter and triple chocolate cupcakes (instead of traditional wedding cake). So yummy!

It was an honor to be a part of their wedding, and I feel blessed to be able to help out the little bit that I did, but to also be a guest from a "select, short list".

(love ya long time Kel)

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Sizzlin' Summer's Night Baby Shower

Event Description:
The vivid colors of the linens and flowers HOT!
The wasabi at the sushi bar HOT!
And the heat...it was 98° degrees! HOT!
Uncommon for southern California, it was also muggy-humid. We were waiting for the temp to go down after the sun went down, but it never happened - it was still sizzlin'. But it was a blast. I don't know which was better - the food or the live music.
But before I get into that, here are the details: The event was for my VIP client, Maribeth & Mike and they wanted to host a baby shower for one of their employees. The colors were inspired from the color of the ribbon Maribeth selected for the invitations - fuchsia, lime, orange & yellow. Each invitation also had a fuchsia wooden "M" tied to the front in honor of the forthcoming baby whose name will be Maysen.
The drinks offered when the guests arrived were frosty piña coladas, an orange creamsicle punch (my fave punch for summertime!), Maribeth's secret killer spirited lemonade, bottled beers and old fashioned bottled sodas. The amazing food was catered by 24 Carrots Catering. The menu included a station with a sushi chef, a chef exhibition risotto station, a display appetizer station and tray-passed appetizers. And for dessert, we had to have ice cream for a summer soiree! We scooped up three awesome gourmet flavors of freshly made mango sherbert, watermelon sherbert and chocolate macadamia nut ice cream! And on display was yummy sugar cookes with swirled frosting in our event colors, with a sweets tree made up of chocolate-dipped marshmallows and strawberries made by Wonderland Bakery. That was a popular station!
And the highlight of the evening was the live music I booked with Anthony Jasso. Wow, what talent - he was a hit with the hosts and guests. His musical range was everything from Marvin Gaye to the Gypsy Kings. To check out his music visit his website.
I created and made the floral arrangements and centerpieces, made the pillows and procured the other props and rentals. Maribeth is always great about letting me have full event design freedom! It was memorable and fun event. Towards the end, a huge gust of wind came through and knocked over the table behind the risotto station and the orange umbrella floral arrangement and martini glasses were knocked over and broken. Always get rental damage insurance! It was a good thing we got it!
The take home favors inclued a custom made fortune cookie, rice candy (one of my childhood favorites - you know, how cool when the wrapper melts in your mouth) and other goodies enclosed in chinese take-out boxes. Some guests had stayed and were hanging out in the inner courtyward smoking cigars and sipping cognac. The host’s have a beautiful view and with the funky weather, we were entertained with a gorgeous sunset. Then when it got dark there was lightning in the horizon (luckily no rain). Another successful event in honor of baby Maysen...
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Michelle & Michael's Wedding

It was a very special wedding filled with deep appreciation and love for family, friends, faith and their church family. Both the fathers of the Bride & Groom are ministers, and they both officiated the ceremony. The wedding turned out beautifully, even though we only had an hour and a half turn-around time for set-up! This is a very popular venue for weddings, in the summer they do a lot during the weekends. So the wedding prior to ours was to end at 3:30 and our ceremony began at 5:00, expecting 340 guests! That's a lot of tables to set up.

The colors were gold and "peony" with black as an accent (in the wrought iron accessories). Hardest shade of pink I have EVER tried to match in finding fabric, ribbon etc. The MOB and Bride gave me full creative freedom, which was fun and I enjoyed designing their elements.

I made the aisle demi-banner signs, directional banners, the cake plateau riser, the pillows for the lounge area, the cookie buffet, the "T" stands draped with fabric, and the centerpieces where I procured the wrought iron stands and fashioned the design, and the florist did the flowers for them.

In addition to some of their friends who helped out, I had an amazing crew (thank you Barbara, Jennifer, Kim, and Lloyd!), they worked tirelessly in the heat and never complained, I was so proud of all of them. After the venue staff changed the white linens, we put down gold organza overlays, set-up the wrought iron centerpiece stands (which I own), place votives, menu cards and matches for the wedding wish lighting. Then we set-up the sign in table, cake table with my "T" stands draped in fabric, lounge area and ceremony area.

The MOB also like my idea of having an Espresso/Coffee Cart with Smoothies idea. There was no alcoholic beverages offered, so this seemed like a fun way to have cooling smoothies on a hot day, then coffee drinks with the cookie buffet for dessert. It was a HUGE hit! There was a constant line of guests waiting to have a drink made. The two servers worked their tushies off!

"Blessed Are The Cookie Makers" The cookie buffet was a very personal way to include the friends and family of the bridal couple. They asked of them to make their favorite cookie recipe and provide for the wedding dessert. When they passed off all the many tupperware containers of cookies to me the day before the wedding, half of my van was packed with cookies! But you could just feel the love that those delegated bakers put into making them by the carefully packed layers of cookies. Right before the DJ announced that it was officially open, the Bride presented each of the bakers a wrapped pink spatula with a tag "Blessed are the cookie makers" (a term I came up with) ;).

Overall it was a great and successful event, even though there were some audio/DJ snafus, which I was not pleased with at all. I loved the client, the colors, the creative process and seeing everything come together. I just wished I would've had more time to "fluff" with the set-up but you do what you can with what you are given. We set-up the cookie buffet in less than 10 minutes in the dark!

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Flora's Bridal Shower

This bridal shower tea party in honor of Flora, the bride-to-be, and it was a really fun and colorful event. It was hosted by Dacy (her sister) in her backyard.

I provided all the catering, china & teacups, linens etc. I loved the colors of orange and raspberry for the decor. I was lucky enough to find orange roses for the buffet table! The bridesmaids made the centerpieces and put the paper lanterns inside the market umbrellas.

Scout -the host's Golden Retriever- looked very pretty in her ribbon necklace, and was very gracious in greeting each of the guests (I have a huge affinity for Goldens, we used to have two of them and I miss them!) So I fell in love with Scout! The guests were offered mimosas or champagne upon arrival in cute pink & orange glasses, and then invited to the back yard were the tea tables were set.

The buffet menu consisted of finger tea sandwiches of almond chicken salad, smoked salmon & cream cheese, sliced turkey & cranberry spread and cucumber, watercress & cream cheese. The scones were cream flavor and cranberry flavor accompanied with lemon curd, chantilly cream and fruit preserves. The decadent sweets were fruit tartlets, éclairs, brownie ganache bars and pecan bars. The tea flavors were Cream Earl Grey and decaf Springberry. The bridesmaids brought cute frosted cupcakes topped with pink sugar sprinkles.

After a couple of shower games and the bride-to-be opening gifts, the host handed out for take home favors. They were darling bath products tied in strips of calico fabric made into ribbon with a tag that read "From flora's shower to yours. Thank you for coming to our tea party!". I LOVE stuff like that! And she also gave out silk tea sachets that read on the cool pyramid shaped box FLORA - what a coincidence. Tea parties are the coolest type of party for bridal showers, but that's my opinion!

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Faye & Simon's Coed Baby Shower

I loved planning this baby shower for my VIP client, Maribeth. I loved the colors, the menu, the decor etc.

The guests were greeted with a lush display of fromage and fresh fruit. A fromage specialist was there to discuss the cheese varieties imported from all over the world. We had stations consisting of a salad station with three different salads, a station of mashed potatoes with a selection of toppings.

For beverages, we had a table with Italian sodas consisting of club soda and Torani flavored syrups. The caterer had and a cart of coffee drinks consisting of lattes, mochas and espressos. And of course, the host always has free-flowing champagne!

Desserts were decadent pastries and jars of cookies accompanied with ice cold shots of milk.

The guests signed fabric squares to be later made into a quilt. A harpist played beautifully in the background.

At the end of the event, the guys enjoyed cigar favors in the inner courtyard. The take-home favors were yummy handmade sea salt caramels made from The Little Flower Candy Co. They were the best caramels I have ever tasted!

I created all the floral centerpieces and the arrangements for the food stations.

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