Venue Love: 828 Events

Photo Credit: 8twenty8 Studios One of my new favorite venues in San Diego is 828 Events. If you haven’t heard of it, you are missing out! Located in a historic area of Point Loma, it exudes uniqueness and originality with … Continue reading

Wedding Favors

One of the most common questions I get from my brides is “what are some affordable and unique favor ideas?” I have come to the realization that wedding favors are one of the last things added to a wedding and there is often an extremely small budget for them. In my opinion, if done incorrectly they can also be one of the biggest wastes of money in your wedding. You are already treating your guests to a night of eating, drinking and celebration. If you are going to hand out an additional “thank you” it should be worth while; you shouldn’t be buying favors just for the sake of buying them.

In order to make a favor memorable and worth the money you are putting into it, it needs to accomplish two things:

  1. Your guests will appreciate it
  2. Your guests will learn something about you

There are many ways to accomplish this without spending a fortune, and I encourage you and your fiancé to sit down and brainstorm things that make you a unique couple and things that many of your guests may not know about you. Below is a list of some great ideas to get you started!

1. Brew your own beer!  Then design a cute “I Do” label and share it with all their friends and family! Your guests will learn about your beer brewing talents and will be sure to appreciate taking home their own brew.

custombeer 1024x901 Wedding Favors...What to Do When Chocolate Just Won’t Do

2. Did a loved one pass away before he/she could make it to your wedding?  Try honoring his/her memory with a favor! For example, in lieu of a deceased Grandmother who loved to cook, print out her old fashioned apple pie recipe, write her story on the back, and attach it to an apple. Your guests will appreciate the semimetal value, and will have a new recipe to test out!


3. Are you and your fiancé always traveling? Or are you having a destination wedding? Why not provide luggage tags for all of their guests!

Luggage Tags (for a Destination Wedding)


4. If you and your fiancé spend a lot of time volunteering or there is an organization that means a lot to the two of you, why not make a donation to charity as your favor? You can present it creatively, and I promise, your guests will appreciate the gesture!

5. Incorporate your roots into your wedding! You would be amazed how many of your guests would learn something new about you! For example, did you grow up picking strawberries every summer? Provide individual containers of strawberry jam!


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Wedding Photo Shoot: Champagne in Paris

We had such a great time designing this very elegant “Champagne in Paris” themed wedding photo shoot! Everything from the light pastel color pallet, to the amazing floral arrangements, to the Parisian Macaroon wedding favors make us feel like we should be at an upscale event in the middle of fashionable Paris!

Wedding Planner / Designer: Always Flawless Productions
Florist: Sylvia Jaimes Floral Design
Photographer: Pages Photographer


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Top Wedding Stories of 2013

Hello All!

I just ran across this article, written by Stefania Sainato for Bridal Guide, and HAD to share it! I remember hearing about all of these stories this year and completely agree with Stefania that they are the top stories of the year. Every one of these stories has a way of touching your heart and every one of these people has a way of inspiring you. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!

This past year, we profiled extraordinary couples who triumphed and overcame all odds to get married, as well as those who opened their hearts and helped those in need. Their kindness, resilience and unwavering courage serves as a reminder of what’s truly important on the wedding day.

10. Sailor marries high school sweetheart in Reno Airport

After being stationed overseas in Syria, Navy sailor Dylan Ruffer couldn’t stand to waste another moment being apart from Madison Meinhardt — they wanted to get married right away. When he landed at Reno-Tahoe International Airport on Nov. 19th, he was shocked to realize that his wish had been granted.

His fiancée planned a surprise wedding with the help of airport employees, who were so touched by the couple’s story that they even decorated the reception area for them (which was held at the baggage claim), complete with catering, a cake and a DJ.

9. Marine’s sky-high wedding “toast”

Matthew Krivohlavy, currently deployed overseas, couldn’t attend his brother’s wedding in Austin, Texas, so the Marine pilot did the next best thing — he taped a video “toast” from the cockpit of his Harrier jet.

Like any fabulous wedding toast, he mentioned how special both the groom and bride (Mandy Takacs) are to him, and he offered memorable wedding advice. At the end of the video, he does a 360-degree roll in the sky!

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8. Paralyzed bride walks down the aisle

When Stevie Beale was just 17 years old, a car accident paralyzed her from the waist down. “[After the accident] I thought I was doomed to my parents’ house, to never have a boyfriend or never get married,” Beale told

Seven years later, she fulfilled a promise that she made to herself after she was injured and she walked down the aisle towards her groom, Jared VanAusdale. He “cried like a baby in front of 300 people” when his wife achieved her goal after months of grueling physical therapy sessions.

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7. 92-year-old fulfills lifelong dream

Ruth Sullivan married her husband Norman in 1946, and she never had the chance to wear a grand wedding dress, like she had hoped. Sadly, he passed away in 2004, but throughout their 58-year marriage, Ruth always wondered “What If?”

Thanks to the help of Second Wind Dreams — a foundation whose goal is to change the perception of aging — and David’s Bridal, she enjoyed a fun-filled day trying on beautiful wedding gowns with her loved ones in attendance.

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6. Canceled wedding turns into triumph for the homeless

When Tamara Fowler’s wedding was canceled just 40 days before it was supposed to take place, she and her family didn’t want the 200-guest reception they had already paid for go to waste, so they hosted an event for a homeless charity. The event was named the First Annual Fowler Family Celebration of Love, and the family hopes to host an even larger event next year.

“She [Tamara] was very delighted to see and know that others had an opportunity to enjoy something rather than just allow it to go to waste,” says Tamara’s mother.

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5. Triple wedding held in honor of dying mom

Cancer patient Becky Swales always hoped that all three of her daughters would get married. On Oct. 13th, her dream came true when she watched her girls — Sarah, Kaylee, and Jodie — say “I do” in unison. The sisters were already engaged before their mom’s health deteriorated and they decided to wed all at once so that she would be able to experience this life-changing moment with them.

Just 12 hours later, she lost her four-year battle with the disease. Prior to her passing, Dad Otis told FOX5 that she was “the love of my life, so it’s hard, but I’m proud of my daughters.”

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4. A heartwarming father/daughter dance

Rachel Wolf’s father/daughter dance on July 20th was everything she hoped it would be — the only thing missing was a groom to watch on. Her dad, Dr. John Wolf, suffers from terminal pancreatic cancer.

Regretting that he would never get to take part in her big day — yet not wanting to pressure her current boyfriend to propose — she came up with the idea to host a special dance now that she can record and play at her future nuptials someday.

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3. Bride with cancer receives fantasy wedding

After being diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, Jen Bulik decided to marry her boyfriend, Jeff Lang, as soon as possible in a low-key ceremony. Pro wedding planner Erica Ota was so moved by their story that she decided to give them a wedding they could only dream about.

With only two weeks to plan, she secured more than $50,000 worth of donations from 65 vendors and the couple got married on July 27th surrounded by family members and friends. Sadly, Bulik lost her battle with cancer in October.

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2. Dad recreates wedding photos with his daughter

Ben Nunery wanted to find a way to remember the happy times that he had shared with his late wife, Ali, who passed away in 2011 from a rare form of lung cancer. So he asked his sister-in-law, Melanie Pace, a professional photographer, to take some photos of him and his three-year-old daughter, Olivia.

Pace shot the couple’s original wedding photos back in 2009 and she was able to recreate some of their favorite snapshots, substituting the bride for Olivia. “I hope that people can see it as evidence of a love that Ali and I shared that is still very deep, [and] that love carries on, and it doesn’t die,” Ben told

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1. Boston Marathon bombing victim finds love where he least expects it

James Costello, a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing who suffered burns to his arms and legs, could have never anticipated that the worst day of his life would lead to him discovering his soulmate. During his recovery, he fell in love with one of his nurses, Krista D’Agostino, and he proposed to her earlier this month during a European vacation held in honor of the survivors.

“I now realized why I was involved in the tragedy. It was to meet my best friend, and the love of my life,” Costello wrote in a Facebook post.

photo 1 bridal guide

Tell us which story inspired you the most this past year!


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6 Adorable Ring Bearer Ideas

We often here that the “little ones” in a wedding party tend to steal the show, and after compiling a list of our favorite ring bearers, we have to agree! Take a look at this adorable list of ring bearer ideas, and tell us we are wrong!

CARRYING A SIGN / FLAG – This works especially well if you are planning on having more than one ring bearer.

RING SECURITY – This is such a cute idea, and we fell in love with this pair of ring sercurity officers!

PERSONABLE ATTIRE – The perfect idea for the child who is too young to carry the rings!

“DRIVE DOWN THE AISLE” – We love this idea for a vintage or rustic wedding!

UNIQUE BOXES OR BOX ALTERNATIVES – Let you ring bearer carry the rings down the aisle with something other than a typical box. We promise your guests will love it!

INCLUDE YOUR PUP – Don’t have a potential ring bearer, but LOVE your dog? Consider including him in your wedding. (Just be sure he is well trained first!)



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Creating The Guest List

One of the most difficult and daunting tasks of planning a wedding is creating the guest list. How do you decide who to invite and who to leave off the list without stepping on any toes? Below you will find step by step instructions on how to complete this overwhelming task.

1. Determine the Ideal Number Of Guests – First and foremost you need to determine how many guests you wish to invite. Are you planning on having a small intimate wedding of 50, or are you going all out and inviting your 300 closest friends? Also, keep in mind that on average about 20% of those you invite will not attend, slightly more if the majority are from out of town.

2. Split Up The Guest List – Once you have decided on this magic number, I recommend you split the guest list between you and your fiance (who should be responsible for 50%) and each of your parents (who should each be responsible for 25%). For example, if you decide on 100 guests, you and your fiance would choose 50 guests and each of your parents would choose 25 guests. I’ve learned that this helps prevent any arguments/issues regarding the number of people your family chooses to invite, and helps you better manage the guest list.

3. Brainstorm Your Part Of The Guest List – While you and your fiance are together responsible for half of the guest list, I recommend you create separate lists of EVERYBODY you would like to attend you wedding and then combine them. Yes, this is going to be a long list, but is a great way to ensure nobody is forgotten.

4. Create an “A”, “B” and “C” List – Now that you have created a list that most likely exceeding the number of allotted guests, start grouping people into 3 categories. First create a “A” list of people who will definitely be invited. This is typically immediate family and close friends. Next create a “B” list. This list will include all the people you would like to attend your wedding, and typically includes friends and co-workers. Finally, create a “C” list. This the group you don’t necessarily want to invite but feel like you should. It often includes distant relatives, co-workers, and those your worried about inviting.

From this list, you now know who to invite! Your “A” list will definitely be invited, and you can keep adding people from your “B” list and then “C” list until your guest count is complete.

5. Account For Plus One – While many people think it is a requirement to extend a plus one to all of their single friends and family, that is not necessarily the case. A plus one is only needed for those in a serious relationship of at least one year, or who are living together. Do your research ahead of time so you know this information!

Also, when sending out invitations, be sure to write everybody’s name who is invited on the invitation. On the RSVP card, instead of leaving a space for your guest to write his/her name (and whoever he/she wishes to invite), have a calligrapher write each guests name on the card. This will help eliminate the ambiguous plus one, and the uninvited guests.

6. Get Organized – Once your guest list is complete, I strongly recommend you create a spreadsheet with everyone’s name. This is a list you will use A LOT; think save the dates, invitations, place cards, seating charts, etc. It will also make tracking who is attended much easier!


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Selecting A Wedding Date

You are your fiancé just got engaged and while you are beaming with excitement , you now have that daunting task of picking a wedding date lingering in front of you. Don’t let this part stress you out; there are plenty of dates out there that would be perfect for tying the knot! Here are a few things to keep in mind while making your decision:

WEATHER / SEASON: Be sure to consider the type of weather required both for your ideal wedding and for your guest’s travels. For example, if you dream of getting married on the beach in San Diego, June is probably not ideal due to its’ infamous gloomy/rainy weather. While March may appear to be a better month for a beach wedding in San Diego, if the majority of your guests are traveling from Colorado, what are the chances of snowfall affecting their travel?

HOLIDAYS: While many couples are drawn toward getting married on holidays (they are more romantic, it’s easier to guests to travel, it’s an easy date to remember, etc), I recommend steering clear of them. First of all, people tend to make plans over holiday weekends, and you don’t want to run the risk of all your guests already having a vacation planned. Secondly, everything is more expensive. Prices for things such as airline tickets, hotels, and flowers drastically increase over holidays.

DAY OF THE WEEK: The most common day of the week for a wedding is Saturday afternoon/evening. If you are looking to save money, consider having your wedding on a weekday or a Sunday. Many vendors aren’t as busy over these days and offer great discounts!

YOUR SCHEDULE & YOUR FRIENDS/FAMILY’S SCHEDULE: First and foremost, pick a date that is convenient for you! Don’t pick a date when you are planning to switch jobs or are traveling a lot, for example. Secondly, make sure your family and close friends are available. Afterall, you don’t want you’re your best friends or close family to miss your big day!

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