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Ummm, wow, guys! This may be theee best giveaway yet!

Atrero Photography. Need I say more? They’re incredible. They’re amazing. They’ve been one of my solid favorites for years now, producing power-pop images in any circumstance. Editing photos to gorgeousness with the flick of a finger. Being killer at what they do, and knowing how to do it with style and grace. This contest is no surprise, but it’s definitely something I’m excited about!

Shall I scream it from the rooftops??

Atrero Photography is having a contest and they’re giving away a free engagement session that even includes an album!!!. There. I did it.

I kinda can’t believe it, because it’s just too darn good to be true. In case you live underground [okay, that may be harsh because there are a ton of exceptional photographers especially in southern California]… in case you aren’t yet aware of the amount of awesomeness currently rocking the San Diego area [much better!], Atrero is the team responsible for the award-winning image on my Contact Page [from Catherine and Mike’s August 2007 wedding]! They are take-your-breath-away incredible at their art. No doubt. Hands down. True story.

Pictures ARE in fact worth 1,000 words so here’s a few from said wedding to whet your appetite for me [and come on guys I reeeeeeeally want one of my couples to win this contest!!]:

Chinese Tea Ceremony Wedding Planning

Funky Wedding Portraits

Intricate Detailed Bird Wedding Cake

Pink White Orchid Rose Wedding Bouquet

Stylish Groomsmen

And, THEE shot seen ’round the world…

Stylish Short Red Bridesmaid Dresses Pink Parasols

[Can you see what all the fuss is about???]

So go ahead and click here to learn more about the awesome giveaway going on! Seriously. It’s FREE. Like, totally 100%. So worth the ten minutes of your time to make up a randomly ridiculously radical excuse as to WHY you deserve to be shot like a superstar!

Happy winning!

xoxo,

A.

Recently I asked all of my Twitter friends what the HECK I should blog about. One response I got, I’ve been sitting on for quite a while now- and I know she’s anxiously awaiting what I’ve got to say. So, Allison, this is finally for you!

I was asked about my studio space. About WHY I chose the area that I did, and what prompted me to get it. So, here’s my story that will unfold the awesomeness within. When I began looking for a space, I knew I wanted it to be a few things:

1. Centrally located, as my team and I specialize in wedding planning for Los Angeles and Orange County. In fact, we’re practically 50/50 between working LA and OC. So, although I personally live in South Orange County, the place to be- for me- was northern OC.

2. Space enough for a private area for my team. News flash: I’m messy. And it’s not that I’m unorganized, it’s that I need SPACE to spread out for my craft projects. Program assembly, escort card printing, storage of vases and other items for weddings… it was taking over my home. I knew that I needed a place where my consultation area could be separate from my office. Where my “messy” area could be tucked away for just me and the team.

3. Something cool, modern, and ME in style. Originally I had found this awesome warehouse/industrial space with a small consultation area, a large storage area and a loft office upstairs. By an act of God, that door closed and I was without an office at the last minute. By an even bigger act of God, I found THIS one- retail cuteness in the heart of the Santa Ana arts district. Um, SO much better. I love it!

When I decided to start looking into Santa Ana was the week after I’d had my hopes and dreams dashed by losing the space I’d mentally prepped for [which was in Costa Mesa]. I knew of an art gallery in this area, off the 5 Freeway just north of the 55 Freeway, that I’d taken a client to one time for an intimate reception idea. She didn’t book the space, but the area stuck with me. So, I loaded Brittany [my fabu-sisstant] into the car with me, with a pen and paper, and we drove around writing down phone numbers. Lots of illegal turns and parking jobs later, I’d written down 5 phone numbers and a few addresses. But more than that, I’d fallen in LOVE with the area. Here’s what I ended up with, that sold me hook/line/sinker:

1. Retail Location on a quiet street. I’m probably in the quietest area of the quaintest street here in downtown SA. I LOVE it. It’s entirely intimate. And at night- the cafe next door gives off an enchanting sort of vibe due to the strung cafe lights on their patio [just outside my storefront window].

2. PARKING. Parking was a big deal and although not entirely ideal for ME [working here during the day], it’s wonderful for all of my clients. I’m located just steps from a huge parking structure that costs about $1/hour. However, any day after 6pm and on weekends, the structure is free! So many options, so near by!

3. Central to everything. My space is about 7 minutes- maximum- from the freeway. This is indescribably important to me because when I was younger my family lived far from the freeway and in my 16-year-old-dramatic-world that felt like death. It’s easy for me, easy for my clients, and totally convenient for anyone who may want to just pop by!

Now that I’ve told you a bit about WHY I’m here, I’ll follow it up with a video of my space! Thanks to Isabel Gonzalez for being entirely too awesome and taping at our opening party to give me memories to last a lifetime! So, without further adieu and hot off the press [err, reel??]…. the coolest Southern California Event Design Studio ever!

IN THE NOW Studio Opening from Isabel Gonzalez on Vimeo.

Remember to visit our website to see more of what we do, and don’t hestitate to just contact us directly for a FREE consultation, cup of coffee… all around swell time!

What’s guiding your heart today? Mine is lit on fire by the love that I’ve got for my husband. Even in times of want, he seems to be everything I never knew I needed.

xoxo!

A.

This has got to be the best idea EVER! I can’t encourage you all enough to head over to the blog of The Broke Ass Bride and put your chance in to win! She details everything over there, but basically TWICE a day for a week, she’s giving away tons of stuff that will make up a wedding- there’s even a wedding dress giveaway!

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Run, don’t walk guys! This could be the chance of a lifetime!

xoxo,

A.

I wanted to scream out loud when I saw this first photo. But I didn’t. I live in a condo, people, that’s just plain rude! But, I wanted to. Ever so badly. I absolutely adore unique couples. Couples who want to have a stylish wedding full of personal details. Couples that don’t fit the status quo. Couples that say “this is the way WE do, and this is our wedding!”. Those are the ones that get me- that really make my wheels crank inside my mind and make me want to work that much harder to find the PERFECT elements to incorporate into their dream wedding day. This “lovely” is positively no exception. I mean, my goodness- I knew right off the bat that those bridesmaids were sporting Betsey Johnson [hellooo, step #1 in the fabulousness of your wedding handbook]! So when I found this post with images from Christine Chang and ridiculously delicious florals from the bride herself. Swooooning!! Enough words, time for pictures!!

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The image above is what started my fawning over this wedding. Are you KIDDING me. The babies breath bouquets [say THAT ten times fast- yeesh!] are literally perfect little round yummykins!! A few more to quench your undying thirst for style:

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And how much are you LOVING that this girl can rip her dress into a whole new look for the dancing portion of the event!!

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I am a HUGE fan of it. Of all of it! From the images, she embodies everything that I love about weddings and my clients. Personalized weddings with a unique and modern twist. That’s it, right there. Are you looking for someone to help you stylize your wedding? Someone to help make your wedding entirely you? Well, you’ve come to the right place! In The Now Weddings and Events specializes in this. I specialize in this. Don’t miss the opportunity to make your event oooze style and creativity! Contact us now for a complimentary consultation and to see how infectious my whole team is in person. We’re committed to you!

Have such a wonderful Friday, dear readers. Even though this weekend is a BIT warmer than we’d hoped it’d be… it’s going to be amazing! Do you have plans for greatness this weekend? If not, MAKE some! Greatness comes from inside, not from outside. So, with that being said, what are your plans for greatness this weekend?? I have faith in you- find faith in yourself and make something amazing happen!

xoxo,

A.

A Little Planner Humor

POSTED BY Amanda

This is all in good fun, but I literally laughed right out loud at this post by Saundra Hadley of Planning…Forever Events. She’s got such a good spirit about her, and this open letter to church coordinators is no different! Saundra is a guru in the industry and SUCH an inspiration! Take it with a grain of salt ladies, but this is definitely something that runs through my mind each and EVERY single time I work a religious ceremony!

Dear Wedding Church Coordinators,

I’d like to introduce myself, I’m a professional event/wedding planner. Professional in the fact that this is my full-time job, assisting clients with their weddings. It feeds my family and keeps my lights on. This isn’t a whimsical hobby, so I take my responsibilities and the happiness of my clients very seriously. I have a dedicated office space, published telephone number, business website, business license and file business taxes. Just wanted to clarify the “professional” part of my statement before I carry on.

With that said, I would like to personally apologize for the dozens of ignorant girls that came before me that said they were “wedding coordinators”. Many of them just finished their own wedding (which was really, really awesome by the way) and they are now helping their BFF/MOH get married by coordinating her wedding. They’re frame of reference has been to make themselves happy and being catered to by other vendors at their own wedding. For the many times these “coordinators” stepped on your pews, moved furniture around on the altar and dug in your closets, I will apologize for them. The next time one of these little darlings skip into your church, please feel free to give us a call; we’ll hold her down and you can dunk her head in the baptismal pool repeatedly.

You see these precious angels ruin it for professional planners. When we walk in the door, you are already rolling your eyes and exhaling loudly. I understand your frustration. But I’d like to have you stop for a moment and take a closer look. Does the wedding planner have a professional business card (not an ink-jet card with perforated edges)? Does the planner ask questions that make it painfully obvious she has done this before? Is the planner respectful to you and your place of worship? Does she inquire about setup times and when the wedding party must leave the church so mass or other ceremonial programs can start? These are telling signs that this person knows what she/he is doing.

Please remember we are not there to usurp your authority. This is your church, your sanctuary and place of Worship of God. Professional wedding planners know this and treat it accordingly. We know that most likely you met the bride, once at the time of her visiting the church and giving you a signed contract/retainer. And the second time again at her Rehearsal. However, we have been with her throughout the whole planning process. We have fielded the teary phone calls, countless emails and numerous meetings. It only makes sense that since we know her this well, that we should be the ones to line up the wedding party and take care of their needs. Also, it is our job — we are paid to do this.

I submit a crazy idea for your consideration. We’ll take care of the duties of lining up the wedding party, sewing last minute buttons, making sure food is there for them and you will coordinate your church. Meaning, you know where the lights are, keys to doors, reserved signs for pews, etc. We could work together in harmony and unity. So the end result is that our mutual client has a terrific, stress free wedding day.

Thank you for your time, and we’ll see you on Saturday.

In Christian Love,

saundra

Are any of you dying yet?? I’ll be quite honest with you and say right off the bat- I’m not one to stir the pot with the old church coordinator! Despite how familiar they are with the venue and how unfamiliar they may be with the bride, groom, and wedding party- I always bend to them because keeping the peace for you on your rehearsal/wedding is SO MUCH MORE important than who the “power player” is. Definitely. 100%. The last thing I want is for my pride to run the show being the thing that stresses you out- but it for sure stresses ME out, being that much more of a bi-stander. As long as we can all work together, be kind, be humble and work for the good of EACH wedding, we should be just fine! Are you getting married at a church? How is your church coordinator? Have you met with them?

Happy Thursday y’all! I’m off to a lovely rehearsal tonight and then it’s my boo’s birthday tomorrow [Josh is 28! Holla!]. Oh my how the time flies.

xoxo,

A.

So, this post is fun. Like, super fun. Like I’m kinda smiling as I type it right now because I’m just SOEXCITEDTOSHOWYOUALL fun. Not only do I get the honor and privelege of working with the FAB duo @ Palos Studio for R+J’s wedding this weekend, but it’s got a cherry on top because Rachel, as I mentioned previously is a current team member here at In The Now. She applied to be an intern and although she was already a client and planning her own wedding, I knew the moment I read her application that she was meant for the job. How do you say no to that? Seriously!

Rachie and Josh got their engagement pics taken a while back. At Disneyland. At 7am. What troopers!! Onto the goodies:

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Kissing. On a bridge. With hearts. How can I not just adore that?? This one might be my fave:

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Rachel has coined their wedding the “germexican wedding”, as Rach has family flying from Germany and Josh’s family is Mexican to the core. It should be a GREAT mix of heritage and traditions paired with lovelies to looksies for all of us detail-fiends!

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PERFECT example of Rachel’s personality. Rachel worked at Disneyland for a few years actually, which is no surprise to those who know her. And although she may be “drama, drama, drama”- she’s really not DRAMA. Does that make any sense? For that, I’m thankful!!

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This is the way love should make you feel. Like you’re the only two people in the world, in a sea-full of others. Sigh…

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Onto outfit number 2 [aka, bigger and better things]:

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This is just how this couple is. Kicked back. They have fun together. They laugh. Josh makes lame boy jokes and Rachel rolls her eyes. It’s been so fun spending time with them, becoming friends, knowing them on a personal level. I’m so glad that Josh is Rachel’s perfect compliment. When it works, it just WORKS!

LOVESIES:

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And of course, you can’t have an engagement session at Disneyland without it…

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The teacup shot! Totally. I dig it. I’m into it. I’m feeling it. I’m down for the cause.

The reason R+J worked this shoot so much is because it meant something to them. Are you still seeking the perfect place for your engagement pics? Try finding something personal to you two. The restaurant where you had your first date. The pier where you first kissed. The place where you had your biggest fight [even if it’s at home!]. No matter the memory, make it you. Remember that a truly great photographer can work anywhere and make it truly WORK. So, just be you, where you’re “you” the best- where your memories have been made. After all, these pictures will last a lifetime, and there’s nothing more romantic and special than the story you get to tell of the wheres and whys regarding your engagement pictures.

And as always- if you’re looking for someone to help you along in your process of designing a killer wedding, don’t hesitate to contact us directly or stop by the website of Southern California’s Most Stylish Event Designers. We’d love to hear from you!

Find meaning in today!

xoxo,

A.

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Remember how I stated during their engagement blog how Ali and Jason were “love birds”…..literally?  We’ll the reason was their entire wedding theme was based off love and birds.  Ali choose the bright colors of blue and yellow accented by birds; all kinds of birds, which is why she was such a FUN bride to work with!

My assistant, Sharon and I traveled to Escondido to the Rancho Bernardo Winery in San Diego county.  The winery had such an old rustic feeling with nooks and crannies everywhere.  The perfect spot for A&J to be hitched!!!  The oh so talented and laid back Ohana Photo captured some gorgeous, fun, and memorable shots from this August night.

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Isn’t Ali just stunning in this photo?  No wonder Jason was little nervous before hand, I would be too!

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Couldn’t help but use this rustic photo filled with a pop of yellow.  Her bouquet makes me smile thanks to Joyce at J and L Pots and Poises.   Ugh, I just can’t get enough!

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Ashley from AC Make-Up did a wonderful job enhancing Ali’s natural beauty.

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Haha!  Ok so like I said, Ali bases her life around fun and need I say more?  This picture with her Maid Of Honor/ sister says it all.

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Details Details Details!

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The man of the hour Mr. Jason, looking fabulously handsome, if I do say so myself.

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Ceremony time!!!

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Yay for toss petals! Ali and her mother conjured up the idea to place toss petals in paper cones that were given out to each guest.   Ohana captured an amazing action shot, don’t ya think?

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Rancho Bernadro Winery had their own barrel room where the B&G got to sneak a few pics.

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See what I mean about the “bird” theme?   My assistant Sharon and I couldn’t help but laugh like kids when we pulled these birds out of their boxes.  They are SO cute and fun to play with….not like we did or anything….ok ok, but just for a second. Her cake toppers were two birds that her mother order from Canada.  The cake was decadent and full of spunk, which came from Bon Bon Bakery & Chocolate.  And d-lish too!

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From here on out, every bride should use this as their color scheme.  It’s so fresh and lively;  you can’t help but smile when you see it.

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Ending the night with a seductive yet classy group shot.  The wagon totally sets the vibe!

I had a great time with Mrs. Ali!  She was so incredibly organized from head to toe and made everything on my part that much easier.  Not to mention she IS a WeddingBee, which might have something to do with it.  Regardless, it was a great night with amazing vendors and clients.

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So, because we’re Southern California Wedding and Event Designers, you can imagine that we get to work a LOT near the beach. Never a complaint here, but when we work, we do get to see a good amount of beach-themed weddings. Here’s a perfect example of what I’m like to call Beach Chic: simply beautiful design work focusing on the event being a casual affair [often paired with a beach theme] yet bringing the class that every California wedding is known for!

Wedding Cake Beach Theme Shells Sand

This image comes from Jamie and Jeff’s September 2008 wedding and is compliments of Tony Florez. I love it. I LOVE this cake. I’ve actually sent it out to many a client planning their seaside affair.

Even if you aren’t having a beach-themed or California-style wedding, your cake is a GREAT way to bring out the theme and play with design into your own wedding. Have you found a cake that makes you gaga? This definitely ties into my recent post regarding cakes, cake stands, and wedding themes.

Hope you’re enjoying this lovely fall weather! What a prelude for the months to come! I cannot wait for the lovely fall holidays to sweep me off my feet in romance! Allow yourself to be swept today…

xoxo,

A.

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