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Love, Philly Style

As a wedding planner, I quite often get called for interviews for wedding magazines and news articles. Last month I was contacted by Celebrations out of Philly for an article about color coordination and trends. Click here to read the article below.


Happy Memorial Day!

Wishing you a happy and safe weekend.



Thank you MY FOX LA for nominating Cheers To You Events
for the Best of the OC HOTLIST 2008 in the Wedding Planner category


Cheers To You, Amber and Thomas

I instantly fell in love with Amber and her mom, Holly. They were two of the nicest and hippest (is that a word? it should be) people I've met in awhile. It wasn't until after our meeting that I realized my sweet clients were non other than Holly Sharp, famous designer from Corona del Mar, and her daughter, one of the designers of Lucy Love, which just happens to be my daughter's favorite designer. I couldn't be more thrilled to be coordinating this wedding and working with the wonderful mother daughter team of Lucy Love.

The wedding was at St. Catherine's of Sienna in Laguna Beach and the reception was held at the Hotel Laguna. Here are a couple photos from the day:

Amber and her dad, just about to walk down the aisle at St. Catherine's

I've planned and coordinated weddings for over a decade now (!!!) and this was my first time at Hotel Laguna. Amber and Holly and I completely redesigned the room. We brought in a white dance floor, lounge furniture for two different decks, chivari chairs, specialty linens, as well as custom lighting, and fabric to drape the walls with. Her colors were a pallet of corals and reds, each bridesmaid had a custom bridesmaid dress in a different color. Each bouquet had a room that matched the bridesmaid's dress:

Amber and Holly added so many personal touches to the room, including family portraits, Chinese lanterns, and a guest 'blanket' to sign, but my favorite personal touch was that Holly and Amber designed Amber's wedding dress. Take a look at how gorgeous the bride is:

The groom looked great too, and was just as nice as his beautiful bride.

The flowers were amazing, full of color and life, just like the bride!

A Hawaiian blessing before dinner:

Redoing the Catalina Room:

My favorite, Red Velvet Cake. I knew I liked this couple!

The staff at Hotel Laguna was wonderful. The catering directors and banquet captains were on hand and incredibly helpful from start to finish. This hotel really is a hidden gem, check out the view:

Check my website soon for pictures (the professional ones) to come from Tyler Boye.

Cocktail hour musicians:
Hotel Laguna:
Lounge Furniture:
More lounge furniture, white dance floor:
Chairs, Linens:
Room Lighting
Disc Jockey:
Hawaiian blessing:


Happy Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo from my house to yours !



WOW! One word, three letters, that sums up this wedding. You know it's an incredible wedding when not only the guests, but the vendors are in awe over the events that are taking place throughout the day. The venue was St. Regis, in Monarch Point. Everyones jaws started dropping when Amanda put down this aisle runner at the Grand Lawn:

and these flowers in the Monarch ballroom:
and then there was the cake, created by none other than Linda Goldsheft from The Cake Studio:
the beautiful ceremony (Grand Lawn at St. Regis Hotel, Monarch Beach)

was followed by the reception in the Monarch Ballroom where we created a special seating area created just for Kevin and Suzy.
Guests enjoyed a five course meal, enhanced with custom monogrammed sorbet dishes made out of ice:
we brought in beautiful platinum linens & chairs, a custom gazebo, a white dance floor,
had custom gobo created and enhanced the reception with Invisible Touch's over the top lighting.
It was so much fun having TWO DJs! but I think that the best part was the zefa:
or maybe it was the belly dancers:

From start to finish, what a beautiful day at the St. Regis Resort and Spa!
Kevin, Suzy, and I planned this wedding for 13 months . We had a lot of laughs and quite a few phone calls and emails, and a lot of decisions to make. At rehearsal, Kevin turned over control (and his watch) to me and let my assistants and I make sure that everything was PERFECT. They thoroughly enjoyed their day, their guests, and their wedding.
Typically my brides and grooms thank me at the end of their wedding, this time, I thanked them for allowing me to be their wedding planner and for giving me and our wonderful vendors this amazing opportunity.
Once again, Wow!

Congratulations Kevin and Suzy!
Venue St. Regis Resort and Spa
Photographer Tony Flores (check our website for the professional photos, coming soon)
Cake Linda Goldsheft
Lighting Robert Arthur
Videographer Dan Douglas
Florist Amanda Heer
American DJ Peter Papadopolous
Arabic DJ/Band Mohommad DJ Dandana
Belly Dancers/Zefa Tony Shanti
Linens/Chiviaris Angel Monaco
Dance Floor Kathy Taylor
Custom Sorbet Ice Dishes Michaelyn Padilla
Gazebo Rental
Hair & Make Up
Dress Designer St Pucci


Destination Cancun

YAY! It's wedding season once again. I was fortunate to kick off the year with a wedding in Cancun.

Jen from photojenic took the photos, check them out. Elaine was her second shooter, and the three us had so much fun (were we supposed to be working?) that I wound up skipping my flight home and staying an extra couple days just to enjoy Cancun and Playa del Carmen with them. Someday we may share how we did Cancun on.65 cents a day, but that's another story ...

Here is just a sample of this incredible wedding and what incredible shots from Jen!

Cheers To You, Amy and Dawson!Congratulations!
Just a couple non-wedding pics ... the 3 of us at Carlos & Charlies:
and here is how our downtime was spent (I took this from our balcony) :


Educational Summit

Talk about lagging ... I haven't posted in so long that I almost forgot how. It's Winter, so a lot of wedding planner go into hibernation while we wait for Spring to arrive along with our weddings.
Well, spring has sprung, and it's wedding season once again.
Moving slightly backwards, here are some photos from the February seminar that was Susan MacDonald's brainchild. Susan created it, she lived, breathed, ate, and slept with it on her mind, and along with our ABC-OC board, the Educational Summitat the Irvine Hyatt was an incredible success. Way to go Susan!
From the flowers to the linens, to the lighting, it was the best seminar (not saying that because I worked on it) I've ever attended. Everyone who attended the Hyatt seminar, left there giving rave reviews.
Five amazing speakers, 3 outstanding meals, beautiful decor, and one happy Susan! She even booked a magician to end the night with some laughs. Yes, I was selected to be his assistant. I did okay, but the bird was much funnier.
Thank you vendors!
Planner: Susan MacDonald
Venue: Hyatt Irvine
Florist: Marcia Johnson
Cocktail Linens: Wildflower Linens
Dinner Linens: Fusion Linens
Lighting/DJ: Invisible Touch


Happy Valentines Day!

H A P P Y * V A L E N T I N E ' S * D A Y !

Valentines Day Martini
  • 1 1/2 ounces (good!) vodka
  • 1/2 ounce cinnamon schnapps
  • 1/4 ounce goldschlager
  • 1 oz sparkling water
  • Dip rim of chilled martini glass in cinnamon and sugar.
  • Combine the vodka, cinnamon schnapps, & goldschlager in a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes.
  • Shake well, strain into chilled Martini glass, and pour a little sparkling water on top
  • Garnish with a cinnamon stick and red hots
cheers to You !


A Hyatt Wedding

Not only was this another great wedding at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, but the bride's last name was Hyatt.
That made for interesting conversations. :-)We got lucky with the weather, the fog was super thick in the morning but by 11:30, ceremony time, it had burned off and the rest of the afternoon was picture perfect. The ceremony was at the Lighthouse Lawn, and the reception was on the fountain courtyard at the Hyatt Regency, Huntington Beach.
The bride was gorgeous, as was her sister, Jayme. They were two of the nicest people I have met, just like their parents. Love the Hyatts!Scott, the groom with the best sense of humor ever, has a son, John who's toast brought everyone to tears. He also has a daughter, Emma, who was the cutest flower girl I've seen in a looong time.
Emma loved the camera and she loved the cake from TomGirl Baking Company.
She had permission before the cake cutting to be the first one to try cake.
The flowers were beautiful and Karla from Elegant by Design did a beautiful job. She was, as always, on time and incredibly sweet to work with.Lauren Hillary and I started 'doing' weddings together back in 1997. She was then, and still is, one of my favorite photographers to work with. Her work and her personality are top notch!Fusion Linens supplied the runners and napkins, and Ashley from the Hyatt (Hyatt hotel, not family) did a great job putting together this wedding in just a few short weeks.We had a small band, Jumpin' Joz, and they were kind enough to let Emma sit in and jam with them. (she was actually really good!)

Congratulations everyone, I can't wait to plan Jayme's wedding, and Emma's too!click here to see Lauren Hillary's photos


Happy New Year!

Cheers to 2008!
I started the year off like many of you, sick and in bed for two weeks. I'm on the mend and can finally post about the incredible New Years Eve wedding I had the privilege to plan and coordinate at(my favorite hotel)the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach.

Tricia and Armando were a blast to work with this past year. I have over 900 emails from Tricia this year... yep, 900. She was so detailed, and in such a fun way. Who else has a custom gobo that reads T & A ? or a limo bus with a stripper pole?It was hard to give up spending New Years Eve with my husband & our friends, but I was with the next best group, my wedding family. I had the company of the wonderful Marc from Ashley Video, and my good friend Jen from photoJENic. Robert and Dan from Invisible Touch did the lighting and gobos throughout the Monarch ballroom and Amanda from Fantasy Floral provided the over the top bling and floral fantasy, complete with a manzanita tree for the placecards. Angel from Fusion Linens provided all the linens, including the faux fur that I had him specially make and Gretel from Classic Party Rental took care of all my rentals including a light up bar & tables and the rest of the Designer 8 lounge furniture. The always cheerful and energetic Peter from Vive, Inc. was the dj & emcee, and true to form, he kept the dance floor packed until the wee hours of the morning. Great Dane provided the wedding cake, topped with the Bride & Groom lladro. Yay, it didn't fall! The wonderful Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach team of Neda and Sarah along with their catering staff provided top notch service, and always with a smile. The Hyatt staff is always a pleasure to work with. Neda and Sarah surprised me and upgraded my room to an ocean view suite. We worked so late into the night that a bunch of us stayed at the hotel and went to brunch the next morning (ok, afternoon). Did I mention I love the Hyatt? :-)
Did I mention there was a photo booth? Did I mention there was a candy station? How about the confetti drop?(Thanks John & Jack from ConfettiFX)

These pics aren't the professional ones, those will come later, but I wanted to show you a sample of the wedding.

Enjoy, and Happy New Year!


Holiday Cheers To You!

~ Holiday Cheers from my family to yours ~


Cheers To You, Jeanne & Miguel

There is a reason we live in Southern California, if nothing else, the weather! Saturdays wedding weather was nothing less than stellar. Jeanne and Miguel were so much fun to work with and their wedding resembled them in every way~ romantic, sweet, and full of love.
They were married at an incredibly charming church in Laguna Beach that seemed like it was built just for them. St Francis By-The-Sea was built in 1933 with rubble salvaged from the Long Beach earthquake. It is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the smallest Catholic church in the world, and only seats 42.

The reception was at the Surf & Sand Resort. Planning weddings with Shannon, the catering manager at Surf and Sand is always a pleasure. What a great person she is, she made sure that everything was perfect for the wedding even though it was HER birthday and she could have been out celebrating.
Jen K did the flowers and everyone talked about them all night. They were over the top beautiful, and Jen K is absolutely wonderful to work with.
Yes, It's All About the Cake! Can you say German chocolate with coconut, vanilla with bavarian cream, fresh rasperries, and slices of white chocolate cake? Every piece had all of those, YUM!
Invisible Touch DJs provided the lighting and music, and as always, they were on time, prepared, and full of contagious energy. I've been working with them for over 10 years, and they are consistently on top of their game.
Fusion Linens once again outdid themselves by delivering and setting up the chiviari chairs and linens before even I stepped foot onto the Surf and Sand property, which was 4 hours prior to guest arrival. Talk about service!
I was lucky enough to spend the afternoon with my dream team ~ the amazing Marc & Mike from Ashley Video, and Jen from photojenic who is not only my friend and personal family photographer, but one of the most sincere and dedicated photographers I know.
Check out these photos, just a sample of her talent.

Working with this dream team truly make my job not really seem like work at all.
Enjoy a few more pics...


Update on my assistant Val

Lots of you have been asking how my assistant and good friend Val is doing. I am happy to report that she is on her way to Las Vegas as I type this. She sent this email this morning:

I am finally checking in to say “hello” and to let you know I have not checked out! Since my last email I am now officially bald! It is very quick to get ready now, and I have a new appreciation for men with little or no hair. It’s cold! My wish for Christmas is that I would have a nice tan on my head, however, that may not happen until spring……..oh well. I’m jealous of Howie Mandell.

I have completed 2 chemo sessions, next week I will be on #3 of the 4 “every three week” sessions. After the fourth session, I will get 1 month off and no chemo. Then I will go into the “once a week” sessions for a total of 12 weeks with a different concoction. It has gone by pretty fast. I now know what days I will be feeling sort of tired and “hung over” and that has helped to prepare me for the days ahead.

I have some wonderful girlfriends who have been so sweet to bring my family dinner on my yucky days. This has been a blessing and the kids have had much fun anticipating the “mystery dinner” arrival on those nights. It has been great to see my dear friends as well.

Last month, we had a great Thanksgiving Day at my sister’s house. The following day I shaved my head, Brittany style. I used Cams razor, and had time to only do half, and then I put a hat on, ran the kids somewhere and finished at night. It was a family event, pretty funny. The kids thought I looked the same with no hair, compared to my short “Lindsey buzz.” I was glad to hear that as the shock of baldness did not really affect them, or me! It wasn’t that bad. Just WHITE! Good news, my head is round and I’m not a cone head. I am sending a picture as proof.

I went and bought a wig about a month ago and just had it trimmed up this Monday. My sister Diney and I went to the mall to do some things. I decided to wear the wig instead of the hat I wore in. A, It must look real though, because some vendor in the mall wanted to try his curling iron on it. Diney and I laughed as he would have burned a big chunk out of my synthetic hair.

I did consider pulling the wig off when the pushy vendor guy wanted me to try some lotion for my “dry hands and feet.” I was going to pull the wig off and ask him what he could do for my head……ha………

I am so thankful that I feel good; my blood cell counts were in the normal range today, and that I will be able to go on my trip to Vegas. I was not sure 3 months ago if I would be able to go. God is good. We return on Monday, and then on Wednesday I will have my 3rd chemo treatment.

Thanks to all of you who have been so supportive to me these past few months. You have helped me to make this experience not so bad! I hope that for anyone who may be diagnosed with breast cancer, you will know that the word seems worse than the condition. Chemo looks worse (no hair) than it really is. If your spirits stay up, and you go with the flow, it’s not so bad. God has blessed me with good health (other than the cancer), good friends, the best family, and lots of laughter.

Our blessings are sent to all of you and your sweet families.

With much love,


PS: Bald is beautiful!

Val, there will always be a position for you at Cheers To You. Bald or not, come back to us soon. We miss you!


So Long, Farewell, ....

Last night was the year end ABC-OC meeting. We had 235 attendees and what a night it was.
The food and service at the Hyatt Irvine were perfect, the ab-so-fab Bernie, from aptly named Ab So Fab did a top notch job of decorating, and Vanity Fair kept us dancing until the very end of the night.

I was in charge of the Spark of Love Toy Drive what a success that was! Thanks to our members, we collected a truck load of gifts, literally, a truck load. Cheers to the Santa Ana Fire Dept who came and loaded up their fire truck. They will take the gifts to the warehouse where the will be donated to under-served children throughout Orange County.
It was a bittersweet night for me as it was my final meeting as the Orange County Membership Director for ABC. It was time for me to say goodbye to the committee, and of course I will still see them, but it won't be the same. For me, last night wasn't just an end of the year party, it was the end of an era event.


Three Cheers for the Three Waiters

All I can say is WOW! If you haven't had a chance to see The Three Waiters, you are missing out!

Every year I plan a corporate party for the top managers of an aerospace company. The owner is so wonderful that he allows me complete creativity. He trusted me to put on this event without knowing anything about the entertainment, the venue, or what I had in mind for decor. How great is he?!

Thanks to the unbelievable, indescribable, out of this world talent of The Three Waiters, the incredible food and impeccable service at one of my favorite Culinary Adventures restaurants, the owner and his lovely wife were not disappointed. Here's a photo of (lucky) me with the performers:Beautiful holiday florals were designed by my dear friend Shawni, owner of Shawn Eden Designs and the linens were provided by another great friend and all around good guy Angel Monaco of Fusion Linens.
One of the comments I heard throughout the night was, "Marla, you've outdone yourself, there is no way you can top this next year!"
They may be right, but I do love a challenge...


Farewell Dinner

Being on the Steering Committee (SC) for the Association of Bridal Consultants for the past several years has been an honor and an experience. It was a great run, and I am fortunate to have worked side by side with the best of the best. In addition to maintaining the database, helping redesign the ABC-OC website, and assisting in planning our monthly ABC meetings, I increased membership from 100 members to over 250. After three years I felt it was time to pass the torch to another wedding planner. As of January 1st, she will take over my position as Membership Director for the ABC-Orange County.

Last night was our 2007 SC farewell dinner, we had a great evening, starting off with pomegranate champagne & appetizers, followed by an incredible dinner prepared by 24 Carrots Catering, lots of laughs, and an overall beautiful evening.

Special thanks to the darling Lauren Hillary for taking this photo of us.
Cheers to this incredible committee of wedding coordinators for their dedication, creativity, support, and their friendship.

Holiday Cheers To You!


I'm a big sister!

The call came today, it's official, I'm a big sister!

No, my wonderful 70 year old parents did not have a baby ... I just received the call from the Big Brother/Big Sister program that I am now a sister!

I am so excited I can hardly stand it! This is going to be so amazing, I can't wait to meet her. My daughter is thrilled too. We are so happy to be able to offer our time and to share our lives with her and hopefully add some joy and some new experiences to her life.

What a great way to start the 2008. New hopes, new dreams, and ... a new sister!


Did you say 24 Karats?

What a great afternoon! The lovely ladies at Gioventu Spa just treated me to an incredible facial. Being a wedding planner is wonderful, but I have to admit, it was fun to be pampered, it was like being a bride!
I am telling all my wonderful brides and grooms about my new favorite spa.
Check out their website, and go for the 24 Karat Gold Facial. *WOW*!


Back from San Francisco

What a fun trip I just went on! I went with another wedding planner and two of my assistant coordinators to San Francisco. We checked out a couple wedding reception venues, shopped a little (okay, a lot), and ate a little (okay, a lot) and no trip to SF is complete without having a Nutty Irishman... the coffee drink.