I recently coordinated a brilliant wedding of about 265 people, and I couldn’t have been more excited! Not only does the venue have historic significance, it also happens to be right in my backyard! I had no idea there is a beautiful venue with a great vintage vibe tucked away in my area… I was over- the- top excited.
The wedding theme was rustic garden, with the colors being champagne and navy. The flowers were hydrangeas and Gerber daisies – keeping the baby’s breath at a very bare minimum. There were quite a few vendors who were family helping out, which can become tricky.
From me to you: Even if they’re family, MAKE SURE to get everything that they are providing in writing. It will help you – and your wedding planner – to make things perfect.
The Venue: Hurst Ranch, West Covina, CA
The venue is called the Hurst Ranch located in West Covina, CA. The special events are managed by an events company called The Bashful Butler. They service several locations in the area and are a one-stop-shop when it comes to preparing for your event. They cater too, and that includes the wedding cake. The rep I had, Annie, was brilliant, and she worked actively to make sure everything was up to my very particular standards. I was impressed… and that’s not an easy thing to do.
It maybe a self-serving piece of advice but: HIRE A PLANNER. It will save you a lot of headaches down the road.
Dinner: In-N-Out Catering Truck
The groom was a manager for the In-N-Out. Anyone from or have been to Southern California knows, it’s ALL about the burger. They hired the In-N-Out catering truck for the dinner service. Garden theme or not, the last thing that was wanted was for the wedding to resemble more of a BBQ, than a wedding. Having food trucks for a wedding can be tricky. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to that type of food service, so be careful in your consideration. In this case, we had table service so people wouldn’t walk out to the truck. In-N-Out has a very specific policy regarding their food. I’m sure that’s one of the reasons their food is so good! However it does create issues. The policy is: Only an In-N-Out staffer can give the freshly cooked food to the person who is specifically going to eat it.
I didn’t know that.
Everyone (SoCal everyone) will tell you about the lines they have sat in for an In-N-Out burger. I think it’s totally worth it (My standing order is a Double Double with grilled onions, no tomato, animal-style fries, and a diet coke), but that line isn’t there just because everyone loves them (they do), it’s because they make the burgers right then and there. That ideal is carried out to their truck. It’s just something to consider when hiring In-N-Out for your wedding.
Here’s a tip: When having a food truck for your event, make sure to limit the options to the guest. Two entrees, two sides, fruit or salad. That’s it. Also, make sure they can only have one. Too many options – and people getting 4 & 5 plates of each – and you will slow down the food service no matter if it’s sit down or if people are waiting at the truck.
Flowers: Flowers, Balloons, and More – La Puente, CA
The flowers the bride decided on were Hydrangeas and Gerber Daisies, very little greenery or baby’s breath, and the arrangements were simple, from the bridal bouquet to the center pieces. This florist was a vendor found on FB and the bride was very impressed with their portfolio.
She gave me her timeline for creating the arrangements to ease my mind. What I did – since she is located very close to my house – I stopped by her shop very incognito (I looked in through the mail slot) to make sure she was doing what she was supposed to be doing. Call me a nut, but it’s my job to make sure everything is perfect. I will do what it takes to do that.
Imagine how I felt when I saw all the center pieces taking shape and that they were exactly what the bride was looking for!
Wedding day came and I went by the shop again – everything was coming along so well! I shot a couple pictures to the bride and went on my merry way. The flowers came out wonderful. The florist decorated the archway with drapery and flowers, she gave us a complimentary arrangement for the memorial of the bride’s mother, and made the boutonnieres with faux flowers (at no additional cost) to ensure they would last the heat and hours to the end of the wedding. It was absolutely beautiful – my poor iPhone photography withstanding.
FYI: When hiring your florist from Facebook, Etsy, or any other small business outlet, meet in person. Look at their work in person. Make sure you like what you’re seeing before making the agreement. Sometimes, flowers that we think would look great, can come out unexpectedly. If you’re using Etsy or another online-only outlet, make sure you get cell phone pictures of your product. This is how it’s going to look when your guests take pictures of your reception and ceremony.
Photography & Videography: Hope Boat Productions
Don’t use my ‘quality’ of pictures as a reason to hate photography. I’m terrible at it. Like I said before, take pictures with your phone: that’s how your guests are going to see your wedding. So, while I check for photograph-ability, I use my iPhone. During the set-up, during the event, and the clean up. I want to see everything from a guest’s point-of-view, not a point-of-view bias to what I want to see.
I had seen the portfolio of this photographer and I was happy with the pictures that were in there. The price was right, the picture quality in the portfolio was good, and the photographer was a nice guy.
I’m keeping this review short because the photos don’t come back for about 90 days, so I want to see how they turned out before I can say anything about the quality.
A real quick note: photographers and videographers are there to get the best shot. They can’t do that by going around people or objects. Make sure your set-up is photo-friendly (meaning not blocked by natural or human barriers). Also know, they will ask people to move to get the great shot you’re paying for. As long as they are polite but firm, don’t take it personal. They are just doing what you hired them to do.
Dessert: Sir Dippin’ Donuts
The bride isn’t really a cake person so when it came to choosing a cake, she opted for something a bit different: A doughnut bar. She did get a 3-tiered little cake from Sam’s Club for people who didn’t want doughnuts. The doughnut company they went with was Sir Dippin’ Donuts. They showed up with this most brilliant machine and they made fresh doughnuts until 1030 pm. You can choose what kind of toppings you want to add and you get like 6 at a time because they’re mini doughnuts.
If I had to describe paradise, it would include those doughnuts. OMG
Of course, I did my research on all the vendors I had information for, and the reviews were all favorable and lovely for Sir Dippin’ Donuts. But the reviews were just frosting on the doughnut… This is a small company. The owner, Melissa’s professionalism and dedication to her customer service was what won me over as a fan. She was efficient; she was professional; she was a true example of what a small business owner should aspire to be.
Not to mention I ate about 100 of those doughnuts and I’m not even sorry. Not. Even. Sorry.
There Were a Few Other Vendors too…
I highlighted here a few of the vendors that were used. There were more vendors who assisted but were more ‘Friends of the Family’ than actual vendors. For instance, the DJ was a friend of the groom. He worked with an MC and between the music and the MC, they were BRILLIANT! They kept the evening moving, had the right ratio of slow to fast music, and also kept the music diverse to make sure all the guests were enjoying the entertainment. His name was Colin and I have already requested his business information from him because all DJs should perform like this.
The chair rentals and the drapery were also friends of the family. The bride chose these beautiful gold, square-backed chairs, champagne colored drapery, and they even helped getting the archway back to the couple’s home after the reception.
There was up-lighting rented from Marvel Co, which made the whole room champagne colored. It was lovely. And the lighting was battery operated which is handy but then you risk the batteries dying before the end of the night. We had no issues.
The Bashful Butler provided not just the wait staff, but also the bartender and the security guards; all of which were professional and efficient. They were polite, personable, and just a joy to work with.
It was a Brilliantly Magical Evening.
It was a lovely wedding where everyone who was there had a great time. The tequila helped too, I’m sure. No wedding ever goes right to plan but that’s not what determines its success. In my opinion, the success is gauged by only a few things: 1. Did everyone have fun? 2. If there were problems, did anyone notice? 3. How many people left early? In this case, everyone had a brilliant time, I don’t think anyone but me and Annie knew about any issues, and not even the parents with little kids left early — everyone stayed to the end.
I am so grateful and thankful to have been a part of such a wonderful wedding. To the bride and groom, congratulations! You both were wonderful.
*This post was originally published 10/09/17*