On Nov, 5, 2016, I had the honor of coordinating a wedding that was an absolute joy. Vintage, rustic, in an area I was unfamiliar with but right in my own backyard.
This was to be a ‘Day of’ wedding planner client – where the couple had planned everything, they just needed someone to execute the plans while they were getting married – which was to be held at the Heritage Square Museum in Los Angeles. I have lived in Los Angeles county since 1989 and I have NEVER come across this wonderful venue. A little background: Los Angeles in the 1890s was speckled with Victorian homes. As the years passed, most of the Victorian homes were demolished to make way for progress, however several of these homes – owned by rich families that hadn’t cared to maintain them – were decaying. Philanthropy at its finest, the homes were donated and the museum was established. Visually, it’s located on a road that slinks though a residential area – I passed it several times before finding my destination, and that was with my GPS! Just pulling up to the venue was breath-taking.
The property itself starts with a vintage train station and boxcar. There are several Victorian homes that line the road and also a carriage house, a church, and a general store.
For this wedding, the center home (affectionately called, “The Green One” – its real name being the Hale House) was to be the site of the ceremony and the reception to be held in the boxcar courtyard.
The wedding was small, approximately 100 guests, so accommodating the witnesses in front of the Hale House was easier than anticipated.
Other than a table for the preacher, there was little that needed to be done to decorate for the ceremony. A couple things that needed to be taken into consideration:
There is a cobblestone walkway that goes up to the house – the chances of the bride tripping was a concern of mine. We did decide to have the wedding party emerge from behind the house and the spectators responded delightfully to the unconventional arrival.
Fire department mandate dictated there had to be hoses posed every few yards – Heaven forbid there’s a fire – to protect this cultural treasure. But they were such ugly hoses! There was an alternative water spout for the hose to attach to that was way less conspicuous, so the hose was taken out of view.
There was a sloping yard that the chairs were angled on. With proper spacing, no one got hurt!
The DJ and Videographer needed to share space. Then, the DJ needed to move his equipment quickly and set up for the reception across the courtyard. Minor adjustments made, got both vendors happy, in their spot, and without conflict.
The day was bright, the sky was clear, and the ceremony was completed in perfect timing. Up next: The reception.
We transitioned the Couple to the reception area and then broke them and the wedding party off to complete time with the photographer. There was a live mariachi band came in to entertain guests during the cocktail hour while the DJ moved his equipment and prepared for the party after dinner.
The reception tables were dressed in Ivory satin with vintage-inspired lace coverings in the same color. There were two small floral arrangements on either side of a larger arrangement on each table. The round tables had a large arrangement of flowers alone. The head table was decorated with the bouquets of the wedding party in lieu of a specific floral arrangement. The cocktail hour was complete with homemade lemonade, cucumber mix, and beer.
The food was a Mexican food truck that offered its full menu from tacos and flautas, to a fried dish I wasn’t congicent of, and quesadillas. Cook time and servicing time notwithstanding, the food was delicious. The truck itself was a subtle all black vehicle as so not to take away from the fabulous setting.
The cake was a little tricky. It was a 3-tiered buttercream cake that was almost bare. What made it tricky was the heat. It was fricken HOT that day! I wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to melt. The baker got it to the venue as late as she could. We stored it in a cooled room until 20 minutes before the ceremony – to make sure it wouldn’t melt before it’s needed! It was wonderful. Its subtlety was perfect; conveyed sophistication with a vintage-air, and was a point of interest for everyone with a camera. The intention was to have the flower centerpiece be accented with flowers on the cake itself and with petals thrown about the table top. With the centerpiece very predominant, and the cake sitting on a red glass pedestal, the additional petals and flowers didn’t add anything but distraction to the space. So, we kept it simple. With a backdrop of donuts and a vintage boxcar, it was a brilliant addition as opposed to a gaudy distraction.
With the ceremony completed about an hour before sunset, and the reception starting in daylight, the transition to evening light was amazing. Simple strings of glass bulbs were strung over the courtyard and lit the area in such a soft light.
If you can ignore the very bad photography from my phone, I hope you can feel the ambiance of vintage glow that was pouring out of the courtyard that night. Once the sun set, the true glory of the venue came to life.
It was wonderful. I am so happy for the couple and honored that they chose me to help bring their special day to life.
I wanted to also give a special Thank You to the wonderful vendors who helped to make this event so brilliant – a complete list of vendors is available upon request – but I wanted to especially thank Arvic of the Heritage Square Museum for all the help and guidance you gave; without you, my job would’ve been MUCH harder. Thank you for being wonderful.
*This post was originally published 11/15/16*