Dear Wedding Decorator: Where do you recommend I get married near San Gabriel?

DSC04747Q: Hope this finds you well. I had a great time reading your blogs and found some interesting ideas for my wedding in September this year. My fiancé and I are searching for a perfect venue for our tight budget. We are looking at about 50 to 60 people, and less than $5000 for ceremony and reception including catering and decorations. With your excellent past experience in the industry, I am wondering if you could kindly provide some recommendations? Preferred locations are anywhere near San Gabriel. Much appreciation for your attentions and I hope to hear from you soon.

A: If you are looking for a venue near San Gabriel, I would recommend Almansor Court in Alhambra. I can’t say for certain if they will fit the $5,000 budget for ceremony and reception, including catering and decorations, but they do have the details of their wedding packages available online — always a plus in my opinion.

Almansor Court gazebo in blueI know there are also a number of picturesque country clubs in the San Gabriel Valley, including San Gabriel, Altadena, La Cañada Flintridge and Azusa.

A spectacular home wedding

I haven’t had the pleasure of attending or decorating too many home weddings, but this wedding has basically ruined me for all future home weddings, I think.

I was thoroughly, thoroughly impressed. This was the wedding of Sid and Maureen, who met while working at Fox Sports, where my husband spent some time a few years ago. Before I get into the decorations and such, I first have to say this was one of the most enjoyable weddings I’ve ever attended. It’s truly a testament to the couple when it feels as if all their wedding guests are so incredibly nice.

There was probably one thing I would have changed — I would have added “garden wedding and reception” to the invitations. It would have signaled to all the women attending that they’d be walking in grass during the entire event. I happened to be nearly 8 months pregnant when attending, so there was no way I was planning to wear heels anyway — I wore a long dress and flat sandals and was apparently the only woman at the wedding who felt comfortable walking, heheh.

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2 Weddings, 1 ritzy wedding venue with an ocean view

A friend of mine often works weddings at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, and whenever she does, she snaps photos for me. It’s a nice peek into the world of very fancy weddings — I don’t think I ever got a chance to decorate a wedding at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel (although I have decorated weddings at other Ritz-Carlton locations).

The first was a Pakistani-Bulgarian wedding, but you would never know it from the decorations. These are just a few photos from what my friend sent.

An overview of the setup. I love the simplicity.

An overview of the setup. I love the simplicity.

The vases holding the flowers are no doubt glass, but I would bet that the stands are clear acrylic. I would also bet that the frosting effect was achieved with either baby powder that’s easy to wipe off, or possibly just a result of condensation from the grass they’re sitting on.

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Rustic wedding decorations at Rancho Las Lomas

After a few weeks of dealing with a move to a new place, a friend has sent me these pictures from a recent wedding at Rancho Las Lomas in Silverado Canyon. The venue is always beautiful, and I appreciate the wedding decorator’s decision to not try to overwhelm the ceremony with flowers — rather, there are a few rustic touches, like baskets and braided candle holders, along with succulents, ferns and flowers here and there. I thought the decor was thoughtful and purposeful. What do you think?

Also, I’m a fan of the Marine honor guard. They look very serious, and the ladies attending weddings always appreciate men in uniform, amirite?

50th Anniversary wedding decorations

Reaching 50 years of marriage is a huge achievement — the golden anniversary. So if you or your parents decide to celebrate this remarkable milestone, you might decide to do it up big, the way you may not have done it 50 years ago.

Golden anniversary altar arrangementThis wedding at St. Elizabeth Seton Church in Rowland Heights was, yes, a 50th anniversary wedding renewal, so naturally, there are a lot of gold-tone flowers — yellow roses, orange daisies — accented with areca palms spray painted gold. This is simply a closeup of the flowers.

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Wedding arch styles, from simple to sensational

Flickr photo by uproot311

The last time I did a post about arches for a wedding ceremony, I didn’t really focus on them, and it seems a lot of people are looking for them.

Its unfortunate but true that most of my pictures of weddings I’ve decorated have been of wedding receptions, and most arches are used for the ceremony and vows. And of the pictures I’ve taken of ceremony decorations, they’ve been of churches. So, that means most of the weddings I’ve decorated have not had arches. So of course I turned to Flickr, where I found a lovely variety of arches, including the one above. I really like this one. It’s a portable wood arch, with tulle entwined around its front legs and its top. In front of the ocean, you really don’t need more decoration than this.
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Draping a church with fabric

Whenever I see a wedding in the movies or on TV (I’m looking at you, Khloe and Kim Kardashian), they always look like such elaborate affairs. For us folks who live in reality, we know that walking down the aisle probably won’t include angels hanging from the ceiling (Madea’s Family Reunion) or fireworks going off as you say “I do” (Bridesmaids). But there’s gotta be a way to dress up a church to make it prettier for a wedding right? Well, one answer would be flowers, and another would be draping. I like to use a combination of both.

DSC00154Now, please let me be clear about this — most churches won’t let you do all this to their sanctuary. This happened to be the church I grew up in, so my mom had a lot of pull, plus we knew all the rules — no tape on the pews. The front of the church is easy to drape because there are a lot of points where I can hook the fabric, like microphones and corners. But, this does take time — whenever I had to drape this church, I always did it the night before and it almost always took at least two hours.

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