Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Aye Do, Captain


What’s the most literal way to have a Pacific Ocean wedding? Aboard a boat, of course! And if you’re anything like me with my pasty skin, don’t forget to bring the sunblock. I’ve found a number of vessels in L.A. that cater to special events for today’s topic. These boats come complete with experienced staff, tables, dinnerware, linens and catering to minimize your work.

FantaSea Yachts (Marina del Rey, CA)
When I think of yachts, I think of a small and more personalized boat. FantaSea Yachts, however, can accommodate 350 guests at once. Now that’s a big boat! They provide catering, alcohol, a wedding coordinator and even floral arrangements, but they’re also flexible so services can be ordered a la carte. Saturday evening packages begin at $110 per person, plus a flat $350 docking fee. FantaSea Yachts has a minimum of $8250.

Spirit Marine (San Pedro and Long Beach, CA)
Spirit Marine has two docking locations and can accommodate up to 149 guests. Packages include a champagne toast, catering and an extra 30 minutes for decorating the ship. Packages start at $35 per person for 2 ½ hours, but a 3 ½ hour minimum rental is required for weddings in July, August and December.

The Dinner Detective (Long Beach, CA)
Although it’s not the most traditional wedding reception, why not celebrate your nuptials murder-mystery style with the Dinner Detective crew? You and your guests can cruise around the Long Beach harbor aboard a steamboat for 60-90 minutes, and solve a crime at the same time. Guests will be entertained and encouraged to participate as a group. The Dinner Detective can accommodate up to 95 guests, and an 85 guest minimum is required for Saturday evening private parties. A three-course meal and show ranges from $76.95-79.95 per person.

Hornblower Cruises and Events (Long Beach, CA)
Hornblower Cruises and Events has great all-inclusive packages. Aside from the basics of the 4 hour cruise, the packages also include an officiant, bridal suite with hors d’oeuvres, champagne toast, cake, DJ, a floral package and candle centerpieces. Evening packages start at $85 per person.

Queen Mary (Long Beach, CA)
If you’re going to go big in L.A., it will have to be on the gorgeous Queen Mary. This ocean liner is permanently docked in Long Beach, long retired from its trans-Atlantic voyages. Seventeen different salons are available for weddings. This also means your wedding most likely won’t be the only event occurring on that day, so if you wanted something more intimate, this route may not be the best way to go. The majestic ship can accommodate as many as 1,120 guests at once! Packages begin at $54 per person for the reception only.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Freeeeeeeeeeee!! (Otherwise Known as a Giveaway)

Last night, I listed the brand new Leila and Victoria pillows onto Etsy. To make this Monday even more awesome, check out the giveaway of the Victoria pillow going on THIS WEEK ONLY on the lovely Ruffles and Truffles blog.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Of Seashells and Pillow Mints

One of the most common and easiest ways to have an ocean side wedding is at a hotel near the water. The big reasons to do so are obvious – prime location (often times with private beach access), in-house service and catering staff, tables, chairs and lounge furniture are inclusive, accommodations for out-of-town guests and the fantastic architecture of the hotel as a backdrop. The convenience and amenities come at a price, and a pretty hefty one for many couple’s budgets. Naysayers will note that hotels are big box institutions with little personality. However, it is what happens behind-the-scenes that really makes a hotel wedding worth the extra cost. The price tag comes with experienced event coordinators and staff, something I learned at my gig at the Fairmont Miramar. While most couples have only the experience of planning and configuring one wedding, the hotel coordinator has gone through dozens. They’ve worked through near-flawless weddings, and disastrous ones as well. When you book a hotel wedding, you are paying for expertise, perspective and knowledge, in addition to use of the space and catering. And so, with this in mind, I’ve highlighted a few special beach side hotels for your information.

Casa Del Mar (Santa Monica, CA)

If you want classic glamour with a “wow” factor for your guests, Casa Del Mar delivers with its sweeping staircases and elegant brick façade. The hotel is located right where the sand begins. The Santa Monica Pier is blocks away, which is a great option for fun wedding portraits. A Saturday evening reception is $250 per person (including tax and service charge), and includes a wedding cake created by one of its preferred vendors such as the Vanilla Bake Shop.

Shutters (Santa Monica, CA)

Casa Del Mar’s next door neighbor is its sister hotel, Shutters. The event pricing and policies at Casa Del Mar also apply to Shutters. The difference between the two hotels is the mood you want to exude to your guests. Shutters is more casual, laidback and the décor is reminiscent of a cottage in Martha’s Vineyard.

Marina del Rey Marriot (Marina del Rey, CA)

The Bayview Room at the Marina del Rey Marriot is breathtaking. The ballroom is on the top floor and features a 270° view of the Santa Monica Pier to the north, downtown L.A. to the east and Playa del Rey to the south. I had the opportunity to work with the staff, and they were professional and efficient. That wasn’t surprising, as coordinators at the Marriot must be certified through the Marriot’s wedding planner program. Ceremonies at the Marriot start at $3,500 and receptions start at $86 per person (including tax and service charge).

Fairmont Miramar Bungalows and Hotel (Santa Monica, CA)

The Fairmont Miramar has over a hundred years of history in its structure, yet its design is still relevant and elegant. Weddings can be held in one of its bungalows, ballrooms and even under the grand fig tree in the entryway. The lush landscaping and prime location across from the beach on Ocean Avenue makes the Fairmont Miramar an impressive location for a seaside nuptial.

Malibu Beach Inn (Malibu, CA)

I love everything about Malibu, so I have a slight attachment to the Malibu Beach Inn. I remember walking along the beach when the hotel was still in construction, sneaking peaks into the ballroom. I was drooling, just a little bit. The Malibu Beach Inn has a clean and neutral palette that blends right into the sand. A 3000 square foot tent is also available if you want the reception held right on the beach.

Shade Hotel (Manhattan Beach, CA)

Shade is a boutique hotel just dripping with style – it’s modern, hip, contemporary and cool. Located two blocks from the beach, the hotel offers a large terrace, sky deck with a pool, a courtyard or the banquet room. A three-course dinner reception starts at $50 per person (before tax and service charge).

Terranea (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA)

Couples with a large guestlist do not have to sacrifice a beach front wedding thanks to the Terranea Resort. The luxurious grounds include lawns overlooking the waters and five ballrooms, the largest of which can seat 1,000 guests. The resort also boasts a golf course, spa and three pools; all the better to keep your guests occupied. Aside from the amazing views (seriously, check out their gallery), I’m smitten for the Spanish villa feel of the buildings.

Hotel Maya (Long Beach, CA)

Hotel Maya, which opened in 2009, is neighbor to the majestic Queen Mary. Although it resides next to the historic landmark, the Hotel Maya can still hold its own with its retro and chic vibe. My favorite part is the stained glass pink windows in the lobby. The hotel has 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space available for weddings, including a waterfront garden.

Now that I’ve taken you from the bare-boned structure of public beaches to the full packages of waterfront hotels, stay tuned for the middle ground coming next week.

Say I Do, and Have a S’more or Two

Warning: This beach wedding idea is not for the faint of heart, but it’ll knock the socks off your guests. I’m talking about throwing a camp wedding at Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu. If you and your fiancé love camping and connecting with nature, then this one’s for you!

I didn’t start camping until I was 25 years old, and my first time was at Leo Carrillo. I never understood the appeal of foregoing a comfortable bed and private bathroom, but Leo Carrillo turned this city girl onto camping. The campsite is well-kept, the restrooms have flushing toilets, there are clean showers, the beach is just across the highway and the stars up above are unlike any night sky in L.A. So if there’s ever a place for a beach wedding at camp, Leo Carrillo is it.

Camp weddings work best for a guestlist of 50 or fewer people. Otherwise, additional permits and fees may be required. If you’re planning a wedding for 50 or fewer guests, here are the best steps to take:

A. Reserve a group campsite via Reserve America for Leo Carrillo State Park.

For reservations in the next year, campsites cannot be reserved until November of the current year. But be sure to reserve that spot quickly, this site is a popular one for camping enthusiasts! A group camp site allows up to 50 guests overnight and parking for up to 16 cars. Check-in time is 2pm and check-out time is 12pm. Reservations go for $165 per night.

B. The ceremony can be held at the campsite among the trees or on the beach.

If you choose to hold the ceremony on the sand, it will be subject to the L.A. County Public Beach ordinances. A permit is not required for beach weddings with less than 50 people and if no set-up is required. Amplified music is prohibited. Instead, just imagine your guests decked out on beach towels and blankets for a true California casual look.

C. Hold the reception at the group campsite.

By having the reception at the group campsite, you can bring in your own caterer, cook your own food (group sites come with fire rings, BBQ grills and picnic tables) or hire a gourmet food truck like Kogi BBQ. Amplified music (before 10pm) and alcohol consumption are allowed if you apply for a permit. Permits can be requested beginning in January of the reservation year and cost $175 for 0-50 people.

D. Obtain liability insurance and comply with other CA State Park regulations.

For more information about camp weddings at Leo Carrillo State Park, contact the special events division at mzuhair@parks.ca.gov.

Camping and public beach nuptials don’t fit in with your style or wedding size? There’s more, but you’ll have to wait ‘til next week!

Image via Once Wed

Friday, August 6, 2010

BusyButtons Update

Hello, hello! I finally finished that class where I learn the most basic basics on computers and applications, because I'm sort of dumb in that area. I swear I'm smart in some other areas, but before this, I had no idea what RAM is for. Now I know! Sort of.
In the meantime, I present to you a few guys I've been working on. Yes, that's a new design down there! Still haven't come up with a name for her yet, but I just love how modern she looks.

hairpiece flower

ring pillow