December Holiday Gala & Trendsetter Awards: Rancho Las Lomas

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2012 Holiday Gala & Trendsetter Awards

“What a beautiful night it was at the ABC-OC Holiday Trendsetter Gala. Larrissa Rehder with Inviting Occasions and Jeni Maus with Found Vintage Rentals knocked it out of the ballpark with the cozy winter-lodge decor. Jeannie Lawrence and Kara Felton and Brett Lawrence with Rancho Las Lomas graciously hosted us while 24 Carrots Catering truly created a 5 star dining experience. Thanks to Gini Garner of Gini Garner Events for creating a beautiful gift tree and those that adorned the tree with gift cards for DJ Tasos who is battling cancer it was much appreciated!  A big thank you to all involved and who donated!  A shout out to  all our Trendsetter Award Winners and our Trendsetter of the year Jeni Maus with Found, our honored coordinator award to Sharon Gall, Once Upon a Time Weddings and Susan MacDonald our Joanie Scott recipient. Thank you to Lindsay Longacre, LVL Weddings & Events and Stacey Gitten, Hitching Post Public Relations, for making this a truly successful event!”

                        – Kevin Covey, ABC-OC Co-Chair, Kevin Covey Wedding & Event Coordination

Enjoy the glorious photography by Joseph Martinez Photography. Be sure to see the entire gallery at the bottom of the post…

Stacey Gitten of Hitching Post Public Relations said it best, “We have some of the best wedding talent in the country, right here in Orange County. Tonight was all about celebrating that talent.”

2012 ABC-OC Trendsetter Award Winners

Best New Idea or Concept
Plug Wedding Films – Dan Douglas & Matt Givot

Best New Food Concept, Presentation, or Display
24 Carrots Catering

Best New Memento
Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings

Best Captured Moment
Frank Salas Photography

Best Tablescape
Kelsey Events

Best Overall Theme / Thematic Follow Through
Intertwined Events

Best Design Transformation of Space
by Kerri Hatter Weddings & Events

Members’ Choice
Chic Productions

New Member of the Year
Tim Espinosa Entertainment

Joanie Scott Award:
Coordinator of the Year

Sharon Gall, Once Upon a Time Weddings

Elevation of Industry
Wendy Dahl, Chic Productions

Trendsetter of the Year
Jeni Maus, Found Vintage Rentals

Trendsetter Committee


Trendsetter Awards’ Judges


Event Sponsors
Our event could not be possible without our generous sponsors:

24 Carrots Catering and Events |
Allison Kate Invitations and Stationery |
Classic Party Rentals |
Elevated Pulse |
Found Vintage Rentals |
Godfather Films |
Inviting Occasion |
Joe Martinez Photography |
Mi Media AV |
Napa Valley Linens |
OneHope Weddings |
Pharmacie LA |
Venue and Lighting | Rancho Las Lomas |
Shane Jordan Entertainment |
Special Parking Services
The Ticket Kitchen |
Gift Card Tree for the Tsirtis Family Donated by Gini Garner

Swag Bag Donors
A sincere thank you to our generous donors who have made the award winners’ gift bags so fabulous (and envious):

Great Officiants, Alan Katz |
Bottega Louie |
Rock Me Up Makeup Studio & Spa, Britney Moya |
Commemory Fine Art by Bethany Thomas |
Copper Willow Paper Studio |
Design Visage |
Erika’s Elegance, Erika Bowers |
FlowerFusion |
Hilton Costa Mesa
Godfather Films, John Goolsby |
Mastro’s Steakhouse Costa Mesa
Recycled Moments, Holly Schoenke
Superfine Bakery |
Ticket Chocolate |
Two’s a Party |
WineStraws |
ZinGiBer Publishing / Barbara Wallace Weddings |

Blogger/Communications Chair | Bethany Thomas | Commemory Fine Art


Start the new year off on the right foot – register to attend the first ABC-OC event, with  world renown speaker, Cindy Novotny! Mark your calendar for January 8th. See you there!

Not a member yet? Join today and attend our events at our member rates.

ABC-OC’s First Open Meeting 1.10.12

by Bethany Thomas, Commemory Fine Art

If someone was doing a keyword search on Google for the first ABC-OC open meeting of the year, the words they would enter are: welcoming, friendly, re-newed and rejuvenating. These words were repeated in many conversations I had personally or that I overheard. One in particular was a direct quote from Monique Matlock of The Knot, “I loved the event. It was one of the most rewarding ABC meetings I have EVER attended. And believe me I have been to MANY!”

Coordinated by ABC board member, Cori Sponagle and hosted by the Aliso Viejo Conference Center, the night began with the ‘old’ and new board members anxiously awaiting guests to arrive as this was the first impression for attendees to experience ABC-OC this year. Welcoming scents of candles burning was in the air as guests found their adorably designed name tags.

Guests were directed to walk around to back terrace to the sounds of Mister Piano Man, Hector Jimenez and the sights of beautiful round paper lanterns. So many new faces!

Following cocktails on the terrace, guests were invited into the ballroom.

Lisa Moon, the association’s outgoing Co-Director of Administration welcomed everyone and had each of the sponsors talk a little bit about themselves and what they donated that evening.

Lisa then passed the torch to her successor, Kevin Covey who gave a very important message about improvements to this year’s meetings and how important it is to join and attend.

The association is all about networking and learning from fellow wedding professionals. But it is also about setting standards and ethics for our industry. Guests may attend two meetings. At which point they must join ABC-OC if they would like to continue to participate. He then introduced the new Board/Steering Committee:


Ambassador Chair | Kelly Feeney of Disney Fairy Tale Weddings

Ambassador Subcommittee | Monique Matlock of The Knot, Jan Wilder of FlowerFusion and Heather Morgan of The Hotel Hanford


Trendsetter Awards Chair | Stacey Gitten of Hitching Post PR

Trendsetter Awards Subcommittee | Shashona Reynolds of Mastro’s Steakhouse and Alan Katz of SoCal Officiant


Co-Director of Programs | Lindsay Longacre of LVL Events

Programs Chair | Holly Schoenke of Simply Sweet Weddings

Programs Subcommittee | Gini Garner of Gini Garner Events, Cori Sponagle of Events by Cori, Courney Urquiza of InStyle Events Company, Kerri Hatter by Kerri Hatter Wedings & Events and Carolyn Leal of Ceremonies by Carolyn


Co-Director of Finance | John Goolsby of Godfather Films

Membership/Database | Erika Bowers of Erika’s Elegance

Communications Chair | Bethany Thomas of Commemory Fine Art


Dinner was delightful! The conference center made a pistachio crusted French chicken breast with herb beurre blanc, sauteed arugula and whipped potatoes. My neighbor to my right mentioned it was the best chicken he ever had at an event!

An unexpected highlight of the dinner was a video produced by Steve Moses and his team at Vantage Point Productions called ‘The Arrival’ based on how “The party starts when you arrive” at ABC-OC meetings. A fun and fresh look at the great time our meetings are with a great group of friends and colleagues. Watch it! You’ll be sure to see yourself or your friends if you attended last year’s event at Casa Romantica.

After dinner, the room next door awaited guests with the heart of night’s activities with ‘speed networking.’ It was invigorating to have the opportunity to meet every person and give each other a peek at what service we give to our clients and each other. Artists, DJ’s, florists, photographers, planners, sweets, venues, videographers and more – many of which met for the very first time. Monique with The Knot agrees, “The speed networking really forces you to spread out and talk with people you never chatted with before. I have to say at prior events, I am guilty of sitting with people I know and am most comfortable with and not always mingling like I should. I hope we do more of these types of events in the future…..I still feel there are some I didn’t connect with!”

It was exhilaratingly exhausting by the time it ended. Now when the next open meeting comes around on April 10th (joint with the San Diego chapter) we’ll all know each other!

Thank you to all the sponsors who made this exciting night possible by donating their products and services. Please visit their websites and ‘like’ their pages for more information and ongoing updates about their services:

Coffee Service | Brew HaHa |

Entertainment | DJ Tasos |

Florist | Pixies Petals |

Rentals | Signature Party Rentals |   

Photography | Kate Noelle |

Printing& Design | Kamka Designs |

Sweets | Donna B’s Gourmet Cookies & Cakes |

Venue | Aliso Viejo Conference Center |

December Holiday Gala and 2010 Trendsetter Awards

by  Lisa Moon

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December 14, 2010 turned out to be a night to remember as members joined us at the prestigious Richard Nixon Library to honor fellow members for the 2010 Second Annual Trendsetter Awards Gala!

As members arrived they were greeted by Lauren Hillary who snapped photos of them dressed in their best attire.  Members then were able to enjoy specialty drinks and an impressive hors d’oeuvre display prepared by Jason’s Catered Events.  Members also enjoyed sipping on sparkling wine displayed in Custom Champagne Bottles provided by Moreno BHLV Sparkling Wine. To enhance the festivities of the welcome reception…Now Flip This provided a new twist to a photo booth…flip books!

Following the welcome reception, members were then invited into the Ballroom where they were welcomed by warm colors of champagne, gold and pink.  White Wedding Day Events linen was wonderfully accented with Art With Nature and The Blooming Branch’s beautiful floral designs along with Found Vintage Furniture and Invitation Design Studio’s creative menus and programs!  And to finish off the well dressed ballroom, Barker Décor Service provided a unique colored dance floor, Ice Bulb provided a fun ice sculpture and The Event Company provided an elegant backdrop for the stage, and enhanced lighting for the room.

To start the evening off DJ Tasos invited the ABC-OC Co-Directors

Lisa Moon, Michelle Tortuya and Kelly Feeney to the stage where they welcomed the members to this wonderful and exciting evening!  At this time the ABC-OC 2010 Steering Committee was appreciated and thanked for all of their hard work for the 2010 year:

Linda Ly (Communications Chair), George Taverna (Communications Subcommittee), Marianne Besseling (Ambassador Chair), Samuel Gonzalez (Ambassador Subcommittee) Stacey Gitten (Programs Chair), Lindsay Longacre (Programs Subcommittee), Natalie Vishney (Programs Subcommittee), Sandy Shirgaokar (Programs Subcommittee), Cori Sponagle (programs Subcommittee) and Tania Aguayo (Membership/ Database Chair).

To follow the welcome of the evening, Kathy Jo Peterson was then introduced to present the 2010 Trendsetter Awards!  At this time, Kathy Jo also recognized the judges who conducted blind judging to honor these trendsetter members.  Much thanks to our judges…Barbra Wallace, Jean Picard, Thea Lignos-Hargrove and Summer Watkins.  And the winners are…drum roll please…

Best New Concept, iDoCam

Best Overall Decor, Sharon Gall with Once Upon a Time Weddings

Best Tablescape, Larrissa Rehder with Inviting Occasion

Best New Momento, Lisa Moon with Lisa Moon Events

Best Captured Moment, Joel Maus with Studio EMP

Best Introduction, Nellie Mun, Pleasant Surprise Events

Best New Food Presentation, Michelle Tortuya with The Charming Little Event Company

Congratulations Trendsetters!!!

Following the Awards Ceremony, members enjoyed roasted corn chowder soup and a turkey entree served and prepared by Jason’s Catered Events.  What always follows dinner…dessert!!!

Members were introduced to new dessert concepts provided by Sensational Treats (nitrogen ice cream), Cake Walk Dessert ((Pie Pops and Cookies) and Dough A Deer Donuts (Mimi Donuts)…yummy!!

For the remainder of the evening…members enjoyed each others company dancing the evening away to Jordan Music Entertainment’s Band and Smoking Hand Rolled Cigars by El Canito Cigar Events! What a great way to end another fantastic ABC-OC year!

Special Thanks to Our Participating Vendors:

The Richard Nixon Library

Lauren Hillary Photography

Art With Nature

The Blooming Branch

Barker Décor Service

Found Vintage Rentals

Signature Party Rentals

White Wedding Day Events

The Event Company

DJ Tasos

Jordan Music Entertainment

Jason’s Catered Events

Cake Walk Desserts

Dough A Deer

Sensational Treats

Ice Bulb

El Canito Cigar Events

Now Flip This