Tony and Michelle - to be wed on May 17, 2008





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Vendor List:

ceremony and reception site: Hotel Laguna
photographer: Red Loft Studios (Katie)
videographer: Charles Lauren Films
dj: SoCal-Djs (Eric)
officiant: Bruce Danzara

Vendor Details:

Hotel Laguna: This was an easy choice for us after having stumbled across it.  I had headed out to visit several possible sites in one day, accompanied by my matron of honor (who happens to be Tony's sister). We visited this one on a whim...I thought it might be out of my price range, being in Laguna Beach and all. I was wrong. This hotel was simply wonderful. Since I didn't have an appointment with anyone, she and I were able to poke around as we pleased...they were setting up for a wedding so we were able to see what it would look like. After our perusal, the catering/event director approached us and asked if we had any questions. oops! we'd been caught. But it was a good thing, actually...he was not intrusive, but made it clear that he had been keeping an eye on his hotel. Even though his crew were still setting up, he took the time to get me a packet of information and even sat down with us for about 10 minutes, his attention fully on me. I have since visited the premises several more times, and each time he has been helpful and efficient. He has also answered emails and phone calles quickly, being very accomodating. His name is Damon, by the way, and I highly recommend this hotel, if nothing else, for the fact that he helps the process go so smoothly. 

The ceremony itself will be held in the "Rose Garden", which is an outdoor terrace area. There is an archway you walk beneath to enter the area, and a white gazebo which we will be married in front of. The cocktail "hour" will also take place in the rose garden.

 

 

 

Our reception will be held in the "Laguna Room," which is a separate area downstairs with its own landing and restroom facilities (nice to be separated from the hotel guests). The room is situated on the beach, overlooking the ocean!!!

 

 

 

 

Red Loft Studios: The photography for the day was the most important aspect for me. This is where I decided I would "splurge" a bit...though after finding this studio, I found I didn't end up spending nearly as much as I had feared that I might have to. I did a LOT of research for photographers...I wanted a nice photojournalistic, artistic eye...but one that would be able to make us look SPECTACULAR! I came across a lot of different photographers I liked...but none that honestly took my breath away until THIS place. Tony and I were first introduced to the ladies at Red Loft Studios at a bridal expo. We were immediately drawn to the photos they had hanging on display...each was like a work of art. And meeting the actual photographers put us at ease right away...we just "clicked" with their personalities and style. They are located in Long Beach (though they travel quite a bit). We set up an appointment soon thereafter, meeting with the head photographer Jenny and then setting up an appointment so we could meet the photographer we chose for the day, Katie. The studio is small and personal; very quaint. Felt like HOME. They have an amazing attention to detail, and wanted to hear ALL about our day and all about US...it was nice. Their prices are perfect, and you get a LOT for the price of each package. I have to say, I still check their blog on an almost daily basis to see the new works they put up for display; I simply cannot WAIT for it to be my turn in front of their cameras!!!



Charles Lauren Films: We decided that we definitely did want our day to be captured on film. Normally I would turn to my own brother for a project such as this, since filming and editing is something he does in his "spare time," but since he is in my wedding party I need him in front of the camera, not behind. So, thus began the frustrating quest to find someone who could capture the day in a beautiful way without the NEED to resort to fancy tricks of editing to make the film worthwhile to watch. Anyone can learn to add fancy special effects, but you need a good product to begin with. We were having trouble finding someone with an artistic eye...well, one that didn't want to charge a fortune, anyways. We hadn't planned on spending much for vidoegraphy; but after seeing what was out there, we decided to spend just a bit more in order to get a good product. Again, Tony and I both fell in love with this vendor! It is a team of Charles and his wife. Tony and I really liked their website demo AND their prices; and after meeting with the both of them and getting to see an actual finished product...wow! We were ready to sign about 5 minutes into the movie!!! Their films are absolutely GORGEOUS!!! Yes, they do have effects added in editing...but they aren't the "cheesy" fades of the past. THIS is some beautiful stuff! And, like I mentioned before, they do their filming in an artistic way, so the movie is just beautiful throughout. Yes, movie. This isn't just a video capture of the day...it feels like you are watching a feature film. We are excited to be working with them.



SoCal-Djs: Music is very important to us. Tony and I feel that life has a "soundtrack" of sorts, and wanted to make sure that our wedding day was represented accordingly. Anyone can push "play" on a machine, but it takes a true artist of sorts to be able to "work" a crowd, moving with the ebb and flow of the feeling of the day. This is what we were looking for in a dj, and we found it in Eric. We had been having difficulties in finding a dj we liked; so many seemed to follow a formula of sorts of what music to play and when. We wanted something different; all our own. Most djs we talked to were only able to promise us that they could play up to fifteen of our requested songs for the night. only fifteen??? in a six-hour timespan??? i don't THINK so. Eric said that we could give him actual cds of music that we wanted played for particular times...not just the important "moments" like the entrance, first dance, etc., but also for the overall "feel" of things...dinner music, dancing music, cocktail hour, etc. This was important to us, since many of the songs we want to be played are songs from Colombia that Tony grew up with; something that most djs don't have easy access to. So, we will be making cds for Eric to play. he also said that he would be listening to all the music we give him ahead of time, to familiarize himself with it. At the same time, however, he isn't going to just play the cd straight through. If, for some reason, the guests aren't responding well to the music, he will switch things up a bit, maybe come back to that particular song later, etc. He is going to "read" the crowd and respond accordingly.

Eric came highly recommended from SEVERAL local brides and brides-to-be on www.theknot.com. I frequent my local message board, and found his name repeated over and over when people were asking for dj recommendations. I posted a request like this myself; in 10 minutes I received four recommendations for HIM in particular. So, I set up a meeting ASAP. His price is amazing, especially considering the amazing attention to detail he displays. Needless to say, I booked him that very same day.  



Bruce Danzara: Interesting how most of the planning of the wedding day seems to center around the reception and not around the ceremony itself. Bruce has got that all under control... we have all heard horror stories of "bad" ceremonies...things go wrong, the officiant starts going off on some tangent, etc. Many times there is no guarantee of what will or won't be said; even though you try and tell them your preferences, some seem to get ignored. Bruce seems to work differently; even his website is different...on it, you find actual paragraphs to the actual ceremony which will be spoken. There are choices. You can pick and choose what you would like to be said, and he will piece the paragraphs together into one beautiful ceremony. There are sample readings and other pieces of the ceremony (sand ceremony, hand-blessing, etc.) to choose from, if you want to incorporate these things, as well. And he seems to be on top of things, should one of those unexpected moments occur...he told me of one ceremony where the groom's ring was accidentally dropped into the bushes behind where they stood. Rather than pause the ceremony while they searched through the greenery, Bruce slipped off his own band and handed it to the bride to use, unseen by most other people. No muss, no fuss, and everything appeared to go quite smoothly. He has a sparkling personality that put us at ease, also. I highly recommend this man as an officiant.









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