Category Archives: venues

This romantic country chic wedding had some great details that included the use of burlap runners, chalkboard programs and menus, a pink candy buffet, kraft paper thank you notes and welcome bags. For those of you who are ‘eco-conscious’, using a chalkboard is a great way to avoid the expense and the waste of all the paper that’s usually thrown away at the end of the night.

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Military weddings rule! Sure, there’s the obvious fact that seeing our men dressed in uniform is awesome but there’s also a handful of other traditions like the sword arch that ends with the bride getting a tap with the sword on her backside, the cake cutting with the sword and in the case of US Naval Academy grads, ending the wedding by singing “Navy Blue & Gold”, their school song.

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D&R Wedding-99Bourre, their bulldog, participated in the wedding as the flower girl. Unfortunately, you can’t see the pretty corsage that was on the other side of her neck.

1. love your wedding coordinator – make sure he or she is on the same wavelength as you. if you’re laid back and casual, that’s great and you’re unlikely to have issues with whomever you choose. BUT if you’re someone who checks email 20x a day and need to be efficient, then you want to make sure your wedding coordinator is going to be the type that doesn’t wait a week to get back to your emails.

2. choose a destination that’s manageable to travel to – making your friends & family fly out to your wedding is difficult enough so try to be considerate about the destination you choose. if at all possible, limit the number of transfers that is necessary (direct flights are always appreciated).

3. buffer in extra timing into you wedding schedule – all my wedding guests showed up half an hour late to my wedding. why? because the shuttle bus driver got lost and couldn’t find the venue. luckily, i had enough time buffered into the schedule and things didn’t get pushed back. i think this is applicable to all weddings as i’ve seen so many couples having to cut their photography session short because something ran behind schedule. it’s almost inevitable with so much going on that day.

4. love your photographer. what’s the point of picking a picture beautiful destination without having great pictures to capture the moment? it’s really true what they say – the only thing you’ll be left with after it’s all said and done are the pictures. look thru as many photos as possible when choosing a photographer and don’t be afraid to ask for examples of a full wedding shot from beginning to end. if you’re not totally blown away by their work on the website, that’s a red flag. what they post up ought to be their best work.

5. accommodation options – make sure you have at least two, preferably three, hotel options for your guests. for the higher end accommodations, make arrangements for room blocks for your guests.


I have soooo many gorgeous pictures from my wedding weekend in Aruba courtesy of my awesome photographer Jerry Yoon and his wife, Ingrid.  Here are just a few to whet your appetite.

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I did a site visit to Aruba 7 month before the wedding and visited all the major resorts and met with a bunch of wedding coordinators.  If you’ve never been to Aruba, you’ll be surprised to learn that it’s a dessert island so the eastern part of the island is not beachy at all.  The main strip of resorts are along the northwestern side of the island and consist of Palm Beach to the north and Eagle Beach just south of it.  Palm Beach is where the major brand named resorts are located – Radisson, Marriott, Hyatt, Westin, Holiday Inn.  Eagle Beach is where a bunch of the smaller boutique hotels are located so tends to be quieter.  All the beaches in Aruba are public except for one that is on a separate island.

On our visit, we noticed that a lot of the beach front in Palm Beach had eroded away resulting in very shallow sections of sand.  The idea of beach chairs 10 feet away from our wedding ceremony bothered my husband a great deal so when we found Bucuti Resort and saw that the beach stretched on and on, we were elated.  In addition, there were fewer resorts on Eagle Beach which meant less foot traffic and random onlookers walking by in their beachwear. I don’t mean to be obnoxious…I know I’m getting married on the beach  but I still prefer to minimize the number of old dudes in speedos showing up in my wedding pictures.

Nashette was my coordinator from Bucuti and she was awesome! She was responsive on email (something that is crucial when planning a destination wedding cause you can’t always sit down to Skype).  She was with me the entire day and even though I switched venues for the reception and moved it to a restaurant called Screaming Eagle, she stuck with me to the end.  Without her prodding me to do my bouquet toss or cutting the cake, I would not have been able to enjoy my wedding day to the fullest.  To that end, I think a day-of-wedding coordinator  is crucial to alleviating the pressure and keeping things moving on schedule. I’ve known so many couples who didn’t coordinate their timing well and have had to skip the wedding photos or cut it short.  That’s such a shame when you’ve spent so much time and money on looking pretty and hiring a photographer for the day.

I’ll be posting much more on all the things that went into planning my Aruba beach wedding.  If you’re considering a destination wedding in Aruba, please feel free to drop a note. I would love to help answer any questions.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a well known attraction here. My husband & I got a membership when we first moved here and we’ve taken countless guests there since then. It’s a fun place for kids but does get crowded on weekends. I suggest going on a weekday if possible. Adult admission is nearly $35, quite pricy in my opinion but the aquarium does a lot of conservation work so I think it’s worthwhile if you have a soft spot for wildlife. Here is a great event that is coming up.

Cooking for Solutions
May 17-19, 2013 (Fri.-Sun.)
Celebrity chefs from around the country gather for a celebration of sustainable seafood. Events include the signature gala, food and wine adventures, cooking demonstrations and more. On Saturday and Sunday, all visitors enjoy the Sustainable Foods Celebration featuring a special food event, celebrity chefs and book signings.

As you can see, the aquarium holds events … yes, even events like weddings! Have you ever considered an aquarium wedding where you can incorporate pictures like these into your wedding album?





I visited Point Sur Lighthouse with my friend Julie when she visited in Nov 2011.  It’s located 19 miles south of Carmel.  The lighthouse is operated by a team of volunteers and has been on the show Ghost Hunters.  We went on a fairly windy day but I think that is typical since it juts out along the California coast.  The tour  was informative and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the history of the lighthouse.  The docents were volunteers. They were really friendly and you can tell they were passionate about what they did.  They even told us that they’ve had a few engagements there, pretty cool spot if you ask me.

Admission is $10 and you can only visit by going on a tour.  Tours are only offered on specific days & times.  Here’s some more information and my review on Tripadvisor.

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