Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Bride's Perspective: Erin & Shawn's Hawaii wedding

Erin, my recent Hawaii Bride, took some time to answer the following questions for my blog readers. I love it when my clients take the time to do this! I've said it once, I'll say it a thousand times: I love my clients!
Kona Hawaii Wedding

Q. What was the best part of your wedding day?

A. Everything!! Especially our planner! Amber you did an amazing job!!! (editor's note: although I'm big on bribery, I did not bribe the lovely Erin to say this!)

Q. What do you feel was totally unnecessary?
A. Nothing

Q. What would you change, if anything?
A. I wish we took more pictures with the wedding parties together. I think the picture part was rushed because it was hot!

Q. What was unexpected that you loved?
A. The guy that performed the wedding. He was amazing!

Q. What are your fondest memories of your wedding day?
A. All our family and friends that made it all the way to Hawaii for us. Shawn said it was seeing me in my dress...that's nice =)

Q. Is there anything you wish you had spent more time or money on?
A. More time on pictures. More money to get a videographer.

Q. Is there anything you wish you had spent less time or money on?
A. Nope

Q. Were there any unexpected surprises or issues?
A. Flowers in our room. So nice! The reception tables looked amazing with all the flowers. Actually the rain ended up to be really cool!

Q. What's your number #1 tip for future engaged couples?
A. Have a destination wedding! They are so fun!

Q. How did you feel after the wedding?
A. Happy but sad it was over so fast.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Very Vintage Halloween

If you read last week's blog about "Yet Another Box of Sparkles" you have and idea of how much I love to dress up, so it's kind of a given that I love me some Halloween.

Tuesday of this week I had a blast attending an industry networking event "A Very Vintage Halloween" that enabled me to revel in my vintage Mad Men style dress. I could barely breathe in it, but such is the price we pay for beauty, eh ladies?

I bought the dress for like $10 years ago at a garage sale that the show "American Dreams" had after it was canceled. Sometimes I really love Hollywood. Sometimes.

The party was a spooky success, albeit a bit lacking in the lighting department, but a blast overall. I got to meet some great new people and hang with my current buddies.

Photo of me taken on my iPhone by the fabulous Suthi Picotte. Eye Candy below by the wonderful Meg Perotti



Vintage Halloween


The hosts and sponsors of the evening are the following movers and shaker's in the SoCal events industry:

Yelena Johnson of The Stylish Soiree, Meg Perotti of Meg Perotti Photography, Carissa Jones of JL Designs and Events, Nethanial Neubauer of Contemporary Catering, Melody Brandon of Sweet and Saucy Shop, Shay Scott at IS Vodka, Katrina of Calligraphy Katrina and Maison du Papier, Shae of the fabulous Mint Photo Lounge, Desiree at Wildflower Linen, and DJ Crash of Crash Entertainment

A Very Vintage Halloween from Isabel Gonzalez on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Erin & Shawn's Hawaiian Wedding

Erin and Shawn’s Hawaii wedding was such a wonderful experience for everyone: for Erin and Shawn and their 2 year old daughter Ireland, for their family and guests who were able to take a vacation to the islands, and for myself.

Erin and I met in person just once, and planned for a few months via phone and email. Erin was a true destination bride: she put me in the driver’s seat and just kicked back to enjoy the ride. She gave directions every now and then, but pretty much let me do my thing. She was so wonderful to work with and a sweeter person I have never met.

After narrowing down the Hawaiian Islands to the Big Island, we narrowed the venues down to the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa for the gorgeous grounds and the views. In my opinion, the big plus in booking the Sheraton Keauhou was Natalie Houston, the on-site coordinator there. She was so fantastic, professional, and kind to work with and her suggestions about the venue were always SPOT ON.

Erin conveyed when we first started working together that her favorite color is black and she wanted to incorporate that into the wedding somehow. We decided to use a sunset as our inspiration and have the colors of sunset on black linens. Erin loves the tropical Hawaiian flowers so the talented Annie Sundseth of Bliss In Bloom
used the Birds of Paradise, Orchids, Lilies, Bamboo, and Rocks. Erin's invitations were custome made by one of her bridesmaids Jamiel Hand, who is about to launch her own company creating custom invitations and stationary.

Hawaii wedding ceremony

Kona Sheraton Wedding

The 40 guests were moved by the touching ceremony officiated by Dean Kauka. Dean incorporated Hawaiian blessings and a lei exchange. One of the things he said during the ceremony is something that I’ve always believed: he said the love is a choice that we make every day and we should always remember that even on the days that we are not feeling “in love”. As a person who has been married for over 7 years, I can attest to the truth in that statement. Once they were pronounced husband and wife, our musician Jessica Salerno, switched from the violion to the steel drums to escort guests to cocktail hour.
Kona Wedding
The sky was a bit gloomy during the ceremony, and earlier in the day Erin had already (under advisory from Natalie) made the weather call to implement “Plan B” and switch the reception to a covered area in case of rain. It’s so tough making that decision because you can make it and it doesn’t end up raining, or you may not end up making it and it rains on you. I was a bit disappointed, to tell the truth, but I knew it was the right and safe choice. Wouldn’t you know it, the sky opened up at 7:00 PM during dinner and POURED for an hour! Had we been out in the garden the guests would have just sat down for dinner and it would have taken over an hour to get re-set in a covered area. I have never been so happy to see rain in my life! All in all, the day was spectacular and everyone was thrilled with the outcome.
Hawaii wedding reception

Photography by the wonderful Brooke Fitts of Brookelyn Photography. What a pleasure to work with!

A special thanks to Erin, Shawn, their family and friends for allowing me to be a part of such a special day. Mahalo!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Behind the scenes

It's been a year since David & Michelle's wedding at Vibiana (and they're expecting their first baby!) and I thought I'd re-post this video of what it takes to make the magic happen. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Timeline Busters: Post-Ceremony

A few weeks ago I blogged about Pre-Ceremony Timeline busters and today's blog is going to cover the areas of the evening that get snagged once the ceremony is over.

Transitioning to the Reception from Cocktail Hour
Getting the guests seated after cocktail hour is pretty tricky, and for a guest count of 150 guests, I estimate that it takes a full 10 minutes to get everyone in the ballroom and seated once the doors are opened. If the bride and groom are joining cocktail hour, the first thing that has to be done is to remove the couple from the guest's line of sight or the guests won't leave the cocktail area. Guests won't go anywhere if there is booze or a bride in the vicinity, so I close the bar and hide the couple to get the traffic moving. If the couple did not join cocktail hour, it is a bit easier to get the guests seated as they really are ready to start the rest of the evening.

As long as all escort cards are correct and guests know where to find their table the MC just has to make a few announcements for guests to take their seats before the doors swing open to announce "FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER MAY I PRESENT TO YOU THE NEW MR. AND MRS. JOHN AND JANE DOE!!!!!!!" Once the Grand Entrance has happened, the evening starts to flow.

I've devoted an entire blog to wedding toasts. I always recommend keeping the number of people speaking to a minimum as guests have the attention spans of 3 year olds and will start talking amongst themselves if the speeches get too long winded. It's embarrassing for everyone. If you are going to have your Dad give a welcome speech at the beginning of the evening, really spell it out that this should be UNDER three minutes. Long speeches should be reserved for the rehearsal dinner. Same instructions should be given to the Best Man and Maid of Honor: under three minutes.

If the timing starts to get off before dinner service begins because of a late Grand Entrance or the welcome speech running long, the food starts to suffer as the kitchen has timed the food to the Timeline that was given to them. You're spending so much money on this wedding that the food should taste good, right? In order for that to happen, you have to stay on time.

Dancing between courses
There are definite pros and cons to dancing between courses. The biggest pros being it keeps the energy level up the entire evening, the biggest con being it is hell for the serving staff as the food gets cold on the table while the guests are getting their Thriller on. If you are having a buffet, there is no need to dance during dinner as things move fairly quickly. If your reception is at a high end venue known for restaurant style service, you'll want to dance between courses so that the 1.5 hour dinner doesn't kill the energy in the room.

Once dinner is over the evening can finally start to unfold organically as most of the big formalities are out of the way and it's not a big deal if the cake is cut at 10:00 PM or 10:30 PM.

In my opinion, this is the best Timeline for a reception with the invitation time of 5:00 PM. Guest have a hard time lasting more than 6 hours at an event, so I had this wedding end at 11:00 PM:

6:00-6:50 PM Cocktail hour
6:50-7:00 PM Transition into Reception
7:00 PM Grand Entrance into First Dance
7:10- 7:30 PM High Energy dance set
7:40 PM Welcome by Father of Bride or both sets of parents
7:45-8:45 PM Dinner service (if dancing between courses, dinner would take 1.5 hrs)
8:45 PM Best Man & Maid of Honor Toasts (I also like these toasts to be done after Salad)
9:00 PM Father/Daughter & Mother/Son Dance
9:10-10:00PM Dance Set
10:00ish Cake Cutting/Garter & Bouquet Toss
10:15-11:00PM Dance Set with last song called at 10:55 PM

Monday, October 26, 2009

Make sure you get your "Mom Shots"

Like every other person in the world, I too looooove me some artsy-fartsy wedding pictures. You know: gritty urban alley, dramatic lighting, Bride in the foreground looking away Groom blurry in the background looking at her....

But! A word (or three) of advice when you are meeting with photographers: be wary of the less seasoned ones (read: new wedding photographers) who go on and on and on about how they are "solely photojournalistic photographers who take none of those boring traditional posed pictures blah blah blah". I know you probably hate those pictures too because you're so non-traditional and edgy, but unless both you and your fiance are orphans: YOU HAVE TO GET THE MOM SHOTS. (sidenote: I think I just made up that term, because I've never heard it before)

The "Mom Shots" are the family portraits. And if you don't get family portraits at your wedding you will never, eeeever, hear the end of it from your mothers, grandmothers, aunts, et cetera. And, unfortunately, to get the Mom Shots, people have to be rounded up and put in a formation that will allow the photographer to capture everyone in one picture. So they all have to be squeezed together facing the camera....and that makes it a posed traditional picture. Boring, I know, but when it's over you and your new spouse can go back to all those awesome pictures of you running through downtown LA. But guess which picture your Mom is going to have framed and hanging in her livingroom? Yup, the Mom Shot.

Friday, October 23, 2009

More Pretty Things for your Friday: Jessica Claire's Wedding

I love Krista's Pretty Things today. JFK and Jackie are so elegant and beautiful. I have to share more eye candy and introduce to you: my favorite wedding.

I can't post pictures here because the photographers have asked that they not be taken from their websites without written permission, so I'll just link you to them.

Some background:

There is in every industry, a hierarchy, or a list of "Rock Star _______" . In the wedding photography world, there is a photographer named Jessica Claire who is one of those Rock Star Wedding Photographers. She's incredible. Well, she up and got married in Napa Valley last week (on a Tuesday, y'all, how wedding industry is that?!) and hired a Mega Rock Star Photographer Jose Villa to shoot the wedding. Oh yeah, and about 10 other Rock Star Wedding Photographers were in attendance: Jasmine Star, Amelia Lyon, Victor Sizemore, Becker, Michael Norwood, Laura Novak, Chenin Boutwell, and so on. Basically, if you've ever picked up a wedding magazine you've seen the work of these people.

Anyway, back to Jessica's wedding: on Wednesday of this week Jessica's wedding was featured on uber-blog
Style Me Pretty, and the bloggosphere and Twitter world erupted in a frenzy. I think Jose's blog even crashed temporarily. Once Style Me Pretty was able to break this story, the vendors that created this work of art were able to show it on their blogs. The details are insane. Seriously, Jessica's invitations alone make me want to cry they're so perfect.

And now that I've properly built you up, I'm sending you on to these blogs. Get a cup of tea or pour a glass of wine and prepare to sit for a while:

Jessica Claire, The Bride
Jose Villa, The Photographer
Angel Swanson, The Wedding Planner & Designer (I'm a wee bit jealous of Angel. It's a good thing she's sweet or I'd hate her. Yes, I'm kidding.)
Becker, Photographer friend and guest who brought his camera

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Yet Another Box of Sparkles

Ok. This is too, too good to be true--I'm officially in heaven. So today I'm driving down at the Redondo Beach Historic Library for a tasting with some of my clients and my husband calls to tell that I just got a box in from my Mom. She frequently sends me boxes with fun sparkly things or interesting Mom things such as newspaper articles of people we know. So of course I ask the husband to open the box to tell me what's in it. He does and he says to me: "It's full.....of a bunch..... of sparkly stuff. AGAIN." And I start to laugh as he describes each and every item in today's box of sparkles: "fuzzy-purple-robe-type-thingy-with-sparkles-on-it" was a cape that my mom made for some costume a while ago. My mom decided to clean out HER costume closet and send it to MY costume closet. Just in time for Halloween! She sent me a bunch of fabulous stuff that she'd collected over the years. I even got an gorgeous outfit that my grandmother wore in her teens.

As a kid, I used to wear tutus and tiaras to church and my mom just smiled and let me have my fun. I never got over my love of playing dress up--so I have an awesome collection as a result of that. My costume closet is full of wigs, ballgowns (the one in the picture I made when I was 18 or so for a costume ball I went to with my parents. Yes, I know I'm the biggest nerd in the world), Renaissance gowns, tiaras, corsets, jewelry, wings, hats, shoes, vintage dresses, feather boas, masks, and a cow. Yup, a cow.

As awesome as it was getting another box of fabulous sparkly stuff in the mail, it was even awesomer hearing my husband describe every item to me over the phone. I like this game. I've decided that for my birthday I'm going to ask my friends to send gifts to my husband so he can describe the contents to me over the phone in only the way that he can.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Box of Sparkles

So yesterday as I was out running errands my husband calls me to say "you got a huge box in the the mail today from someone named Sara F." I squealed with excitement because I was expecting a reference letter from Sara, a mother of one of my spring brides, but not a whole box of surprises! I was going to be out the whole afternoon so I asked the husband to open it up to tell me what was in it. He opened it up on the phone and sputtered "it's a.....bunch of.... sparkly stuff and candles and cards" so I asked him to explain what the box of sparkles contained. His description of every item he pulled out of this box of goodies was funnier than the one before.

"sparkly-post-it-note thingies-with-an-A-on-them" = cute note cards

Sara was/is an avid blog reader and knows my undying love of all things red and sparkly and so she put together a box of things she knew I'd love. When I got home I read her handwritten reference letter and got a bit misty-eyed that she'd not only put obviously so much thought and time into this box of goodies, but that she took the time to write out a heartfelt reference letter because she knows my business survives on testimonials. I love my clients. I love my job. And I love my hilarious husband who makes me laugh constantly.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Sneak Peak: Joanna & David's wedding

Joanna and David

The talented Raya Carlisle of Raya Photography sent me the slideshow of David and Joanna's wedding last weekend at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa and I'm in love with all of the pictures so I had to share this gorgeous photo for the time being.

I also wanted to give my condolences to Joanna's family on the loss of Norma Joseph, Joanna's grandmother who passed away the Monday after her wedding. Thankfully, Grandma Norma not only walked down the aisle in her granddaughter's wedding processional, she danced and celebrated the night away! It is such a blessing that she was able to be there and a reminder to us all that life is short and our loved ones are gifts to be cherished. It can also be a reminder that weddings are not only great parties celebrating the love that you have for each other, but also an important ceremony that honors your families and the generations that came before you.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

How To Become a Wedding Planner

I get asked weekly “how did you become a wedding planner?” and my usual answer is “a lot of hard work”, but today I’ll actually go into it and share some of the road that I have traveled. Unlike many careers where you get a degree, intern, then get a job in said career, there really is no regulated or set way to become a wedding coordinator/planner. Funnily enough, I did not go into this because I’m in love with weddings, I went into wedding planning because I’ve always wanted to own my own company and I believed (and still do) that I have the personality traits to be a good planner. Thankfully, I do like weddings!

So how does one become a wedding planner?

First off, you have to get access to the wedding community. Just calling or emailing a wedding planner saying, “Weddings are my passion!!!!! Can I have a job?” will get you nowhere 99.99% of the time. I recommend joining an association, taking their certification courses, and finding out how and where the wedding industry networks. Association of Bridal Consultants, June Weddings, and Weddings Beautiful are all recommended. Courses and seminars are fine and dandy, but until you spend some time in the trenches getting dirty, you don’t know squat about weddings. I don’t care if you planned your own wedding: attending a wedding as a guest or a bride is
nowhere near the reality of working as a planner. Trust me.

Once you find out where we planners network, you come network with us. Networking is crucial in this industry, so you better get used to and get good at it. Coming to network with us takes guts, and we recognize that, and so we’re open to talking with you just because of this. I don’t recommend coming in with a business card with your new company name on it though, because you need to be honest and tell us what experience you have. If you have zero to little experience, please please please don’t take on a bride and use her as your guinea pig. You could inadvertently ruin her wedding day and tarnish the respect that professional coordinators work so hard to obtain in this industry.

Once you have found a potential mentor, you intern until we trust you enough to start scheduling you as an assistant. Because our reputations are always on the line and our staff reflects us, we rarely give second chances. So if you show up dressed in a cocktail dress and heels when my intern agreement states to wear black pants and comfy shoes, you won’t be working with me again. All of this takes guts, time, and commitment, but when word starts to get around that you are smart AND hardworking you start to get paid to work weddings and you start to become seasoned.

Once you feel like you have trained enough and can start taking on your own clients, you have to start building your business: branding, website, portfolio, marketing, etc. I recommend working with a business coach in order to start up correctly and get your policies and procedures in order. Then you have to start finding clients. And if you find the magic answer to that question, let me know, will you? In my case it is a mixture of networking, advertising, and optimism. Be prepared to get turned down a lot—it’s part of the gig.

Once you start booking clients, you have to learn how to be a chameleon but stay true to yourself. You have to juggle multiple clients who all have different personalities and ways that they need to be treated. You have work with the other vendors yet still make sure that your loyalties are with your client. You have to deal with family issues that pop up and know when to shut your mouth and when to give advice. You have to know your value and not accept less than you know you’re worth. You have to figure out a way to balance out your personal and family life in order to prevent burnout. You have to be ok with 14 hour days, intense manual labor, and the loss of weekends. You have to possess tact, speed, composure, grace, propriety, intelligence, a backbone, a sense of humor, and incredibly thick skin. You have to truly care about people and provide the type of support that they need. You have to know that nobody is going to build a business or a career for you. And you have to work very, very hard.

Good luck!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Rustic Eastern Inspired Wedding

Back in August I was excited to share that Mallika and Steve's Rustic Eastern Inspired wedding was featured on one of my favorite blogs Style Me Pretty and I'm playing around with the tool Mosiac Maker with these pictures and just had to post them on my blog again. All images taken by the fabulous Suthi Picotte of Picotte Photography. You can read all about Mallika & Steve's wedding day here.

Eastern Rustic Organic Wedding Ceremony
Eastern Rustic Organic Wedding piano
Eastern Rustic Organic Wedding
Eastern Rustic Organic Wedding Reception

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Videographer's Perspective: Isabel Gonzalez

I have to admit, I kind of heart Isabel Gonzalez of Isabel Gonzales Videotique just because she is a girl. Kind of like I love meeting a female mechanic or machinist cause I just adore women that break the stereotypes of what jobs we are expected to have. I hardly know any other women videographers other than Isabel. Oh, and I also heart her because she's awesome at what she does and she's an awesome person. Should I a say awesome one more time? Anyway, Isabel took some time from editing weddings (at least 2 of my client's weddings for sure) to answer my questions. Enjoy!

Q. Who Are You And What Makes You Fabulous?

A. Ah, a question that begs to be answered like a true Gen X’er: a brain, an athlete, a basket case, etc, etc. Unfortunately, I don’t cleanly fall into any of these categories so I shall create my own … my name is Isabel Gonzalez and I make chick flicks of the awesomest kind – I’m a wedding videographer … also known as wedding filmmaker, storyteller, etc. I try not to get too caught up in titles, after all, for me it’s not about the title but about the product.

I capture moving (in a motion as well as emotional way) images on a day like no other, where every single moment either leads up to or is a result of a masterful union. The creation: a love story unlike any other. Typically there are 30 frames per second of video. If a photo is worth a thousand words then what does that say about video or film? … it speaks volumes I tell you!

So what is it that makes me fabulous? I would say it’s not me as much as it is about the moments I have the opportunity to record – they are fabulous. Me? Fabulous? I’d rather say lucky … empathetic … a romantic … skilled. Fabulous? I wouldn’t say that but I won’t stop you if you did. ;)

Q. What Is It Like Working A Wedding WITHOUT A Wedding Coordinator?

A. Number one focus for the bride should be the groom. Number one focus for the groom, the bride – relishing every moment that happens between them, their friends and family and enjoying the festivities.

When a bride and groom take on the role of coordinator themselves, many of those special moments take a back seat to all the time-consuming details of the day. Although the details are important, it makes for unnecessary distraction.

Often I’ve seen coordinator-less weddings … what I also inevitably see: a bride that is being asked a plethora of questions on a day that is already emotion-filled. Why add stress to the equation? Fast-moving train … no conductor … get it?

Q. What Makes A Coordinator Good?

A. A sense of calm. Attention to detail. Empathy. Style. Plays well with others. Juggling abilities (red nose optional).

A talent that I respect each and every time is the ability to handle unexpected and unwelcome situations that arise and to take care of them without anyone, especially the happy couple, ever knowing it happened. Now that’s a pro!

Q. Do You Have Any Funny Wedding Stories?

A. Brides: imagine this. You’re walking down your rose-petalled aisle towards your betrothed. You see him catch his breath as he sees you for the first time. Is that the glimmer of a tear in his eye? But what if that special someone that’s walking down the aisle changes their mind at the last moment?

Well, that’s what happened when Felix decided he didn’t want to walk Sofia down the aisle towards James. Felix decided he was going to his sit his hairy butt right down on the aisle. Of course, Felix was Sofia’s cat and he had no intention of walking his dear owner down. It’s not like the bride didn’t try to convince him. She dragged Felix several feet but after a few gentle tugs on his collar, decided Felix wouldn’t be pawing Sofia over to James.

Felix obtusely sat the rest of the ceremony and reception out on his tall custom-made chair. As sad as it is to say, although rare, not all family members will applaud and approve of your joys.

Happy note: Felix has since grown to love James and they all now share a very happy home together.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Rules of Marriage as Seen by Kids

It's been a busy week catching up from Hawaii in Amber Land, so I'm posting something that makes me smile. It's one of those silly emails that your mom, your mother-in-law, your aunts, and your grandma ALL forward to you without taking the FW:FW:FW: FW: stuff off so you have to scroll down for 5 years, but this one was well worth the scroll down. Enjoy "The Rules of Marriage as Seen by Kids"

  • You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff... Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming. --Alan, age 10

  • No person really decides before they grow up who they're going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you're stuck with. --Kristen, age 10

  • Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then. --Camille, age 10

  • You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids. --Derrick, age 8

  • Both don't want any more kids. --Lori, age 8

  • Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough. --Lynnette, age 8
  • On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date. --Martin, age 10

  • When they're rich. --Pam, age 7

  • The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn't want to mess with that. --Curt, age 7

  • The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It's the right thing to do. --Howard, age 8

  • It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them. --Anita, age 9

  • There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn't there? --Kelvin, age 8

And the #1 Favorite is ..........


  • Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a dump truck . --Ricky , age 10

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Aaaaah, Hawaii. Where to begin? It seems kind of cliche to say I had an awesome trip because, hello! it's Hawaii and if you don't have an awesome time in Hawaii your heart is made of stone. Or you have the swine flu.

Erin and Shawn's wedding was fabulous. And I mean F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S! I can't wait to get the pictures from our wonderful photographer Brooke Fitts of Brookelyn Photography so I can properly blog about it, but for now I'm going to say that the entire experience of their wedding was great: their family & friends, the beautiful Sheraton Keouhou Bay Resort & Spa, the vendors, and even the rain that decided to grace us with an appearance for good luck (thankfully, we had a Plan B which we DID implement)

My adorable husband Eric came with me on this trip because, hello! it's Hawaii and after two days of work on the wedding, I was able to go play with him. Aside from the fact that we had a convertible that he insisted on (I hate convertibles, that's so un-American, isn't it?!) we had a great time AND I didn't get burned. Success! I spend most of my life trying to avoid my Kryptonite: The Sun. (this explains my unyeilding hatred of convertibles)

We rented a 2 bedroom condo right outside of Kailua-Kona run by the hospitable and helpful homeowner Bill Newcomb. If you're looking for a great priced place, I highly recommend checking out his listing at

My highlights of our trip (aside from the wedding, of course) was the morning that we spent kayaking and swimming with wild Spinner dolphins. Well, swim after is a more appropriate term. They tolerated us and let us get close to them, but not close enough to touch. They were gorgeous! Probably 50 or so swimming, playing, jumping, and talking all around us. It was so neat to be underwater and hear their conversations. One of them jumped so close to Eric that it landed from its flip a mere 4 feet from him! AWESOME.

We also spent an entire day hiking the Waipi'o Valley. And if you're familiar with this valley prepare to be impressed: we hiked down in AND back up. Yes, all 3/4 of a mile each way. 3/4 of a mile at a 25% + incline, to be exact. My calves are still screaming at me. It's so steep that at certain points I leaned over just a bit more and put my hands on the ground and walked on all fours. It was insane! The only way I made it out was to repeat my mantra of "dry clothes, dry shoes, pizza, beer!" over and over again. We attempted to hike to Hi'ilawe Falls, the 1,400 ft waterfall that dominates the valley, but we lost the trail and after 30 minutes of slogging up the river on moss covered rocks, I called it quits because I like my ankles un-broken thank you very much. A bit dissapointed that we didn't make it to the falls, but we did give it a solid try. The entire valley was spectacular. So was the pizza and beer that we had when we finally crawled out.

All in all, a great trip. I'm so blessed to have a career that I love that allows incredible experiences like this and a partner to share it with!