January: Getting to Know You On a Personal Level. Speed Networking at Mesa Verde Country Club

The New Year got off to a great start with our first meeting at Mesa Verde Country Club. The newly renovated ball room at Mesa Verde Country Club made a perfect palette for this year’s pantone color – Marsala. The warm hue made an inviting evening to sit and enjoy new and old friends. We can not wait to see the future improvements in the works at Mesa Verde.

Speed networking was updated this year, as we focused on our personal relationships and developing friendships instead of solely knowing one another on a business level. We are looking forward to a fantastic and successful 2015!

Thank you to all the vendors that sponsored this meeting, we can’t do it without you!

Venue – Mesa Verde Country Club – www.mesaverdecc.com

Coordination – Table7 Events – www.table-seven.com

Photography – Kimberly April Photography – www.kimberlyapril.com

Linens – Luxe Linen – www.luxelinen.org

Flowers – Flower Fusion – www.flowerfusion.net

Stationary – AmpersandInk Designs – www.ampersandinkdesigns.com

Video – Perryfield Films – www.perryfieldfilms.com

Entertainment – Andy Nation Productions – www.andynation.com


February Coordinator’s Luncheon on Stress Management

February 11, 2013 – ABC-OC Luncheon at Center Club in Costa Mesa

by ABC-OC Communications Chair, Bethany Thomas of Commemory Fine Art

With wedding season right around the corner, Kerri and Holly were so excited to have Jill Baker from CrossFit Fly speak to everyone at the beautiful and Trendsetter award winning Center Club in Costa Mesa about stress management, nutrition and fitness!

A little bit about our speaker, Jill Baker – Jill began her journey into health and fitness over 20 years ago as a marathon runner and coach.  In this time, she became well versed in performance and nutrician.  In addition to exercise and fitness, Jill coaches clients through the intricicies of proper recovery, stress management and supplements as they pertain to overall health. She owns the only all womens Crossfit – Crossfit Fly.

As we head into the busy season, we thought it would be helpful for Jill to talk about Stress Management but we learned so much more!  She explained that the 3 biggest factors in stress management are Sleep, Nutrition and Exercise. She also gave us some tips on how to manage all of those things in order to live healthier, less stressful lives. As we go into the season, we must try really hard not to deprive ourselves of sleep.  The less sleep we get, the higher our blood sugar rises and makes everything out of balance in our bodies.  This is when we start losing energy, have bad cravings and maybe even insomnia. She obviously told us to stay away from processed foods, alcohol and bad fats, but she did give us permission to cheat once in a while to enjoy a great lunch with good wine! She even gave us some advice and things to do when we are sleepy in the afternoons – you know that time of the day when you just want to take a nap!? Lastly, she told us that we have to be moving regularly (that shouldn’t be too hard for coordinators in the summer months). But if you can’t find the time to work out, default to the Tabata method – you can apply everything to this method and accomplish a lot in a short amount of time.

She answered so many questions from the coordinators and was so helpful in realizing everyone is different and so are their lifestyles. She also encouraged everyone to make small changes and we will feel better.  Everyone felt encouraged to go to bed earlier, eat right and exercise!

“I really enjoyed listening to Jill and was lucky enough to sit next to her at lunch so I could ask many more questions!  One of my favorite pieces of advice from her was when she said, “When in doubt about what you should be eating, just shop on the outside aisles of the grocery store.”  I never
even thought of that – they’re the healthiest!” – Kerri Hatter, LVL Events

“The Center Club was delightful and their hospitality and graciousness were exceptional.  The food was very good and particularly creative – especially the hors d’oeuvres.  The sponsors did a great job.  Overall the experience was very good.” – Paula Laskelle, Champagne Taste

“I really enjoyed listening to Jill speak about health and fitness!  Nutrition is something I have become very passionate about and it was really nice to hear an expert give tips that just further affirm the things that I already do…it made me even more confident that I’m heading down the right path.  It was also fun to learn some new things I hadn’t heard about either!” – Holly Schoenke-Stein, Simply Sweet Weddings & Events

“Center Club hosted a wonderful luncheon with delicious fare and innovative food design.  Their shrimp tacos served atop mini margaritas were a big hit!  Their generosity was shown through their top-class service, Busy Box gifts, and even the thank you note and mints waiting in each guest’s car upon departure. Designer Specialty Linens showcased their beautiful new line of linens, Baker Party Rentals donated some beautiful china, and Jan Wilder from Flower Fusion once again wowed with her creative floral design that even included a gold ostrich! The speaker shared some great insight on how nutrition and sleep affect our health, with some recommendations on food, diet, and lifestyle. As ABC wedding planners we felt welcomed and pampered with the wonderful cuisine, gifts, and great advice!” – Katherine Hoggard, Events by Katherine

Enjoy the fun and fabulous photos by Ashley of A Picture Life Photography and here’s the highlight video from Steve at Vantage Point Productions!

Thank you to our incredible sponsors! Please be sure to like/follow them –

Venue | Center Club, Costa Mesa
Speaker | Jill Baker, CrossFit Fly
Photography | A Picture Life Photography
Flowers | Flower Fusion
Stationery | East Six
Linens | Designer Specialty Linens
Rentals | Baker Party Rentals and Fusion Decor
Entertainment | Diana Chu
Favors | Busy Box Company
Videography | Vantage Point Productions

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 | www.24carrots.com
Allison Kate Invitations and Stationery | www.allison-kate.com
Classic Party Rentals | www.classicpartyrentals.com
Elevated Pulse | www.elevatedpulsepro.com
Found Vintage Rentals | www.vintage-rentals.com
Godfather Films | www.godfatherfilms.com
Inviting Occasion | http://www.invitingoccasion.com/
Joe Martinez Photography | http://www.joseph-martinez.com/
Mi Media AV | www.mimediaproductions.com
Napa Valley Linens | www.nvlinens.com
OneHope Weddings | www.onehopeweddings.com
Pharmacie LA | www.pharmaciela.com
Venue and Lighting | Rancho Las Lomas | www.rancholaslomas.com
Shane Jordan Entertainment | http://jme.la
Special Parking Services
The Ticket Kitchen | www.theticketkitchen.com
Gift Card Tree for the Tsirtis Family Donated by Gini Garner www.ginigarnerevents.com

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 | www.greatofficiants.com
Bottega Louie | www.bottegalouie.com
Rock Me Up Makeup Studio & Spa, Britney Moya | www.rockmeup.com
Commemory Fine Art by Bethany Thomas | www.bethany-thomas.com
Copper Willow Paper Studio | www.copperwillow.com
Design Visage | www.designvisage.com
Erika’s Elegance, Erika Bowers | www.erikaselegance.com
FlowerFusion | www.flowerfusion.net
Hilton Costa Mesa
Godfather Films, John Goolsby | www.godfatherfilms.com
Mastro’s Steakhouse Costa Mesa
ONEHOPE Wine | www.onehopewine.com
Recycled Moments, Holly Schoenke
Superfine Bakery | www.superfinebakery.com
Ticket Chocolate | www.theticketkitchen.com
Two’s a Party | www.twosaparty.com
WineStraws | www.winestraws.com
ZinGiBer Publishing / Barbara Wallace Weddings | www.bwallaceweddings.com

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 | www.brewhaha.com

Entertainment | DJ Tasos | www.lsmentertainment.com

Florist | Pixies Petals | www.pixiespetals.com

Rentals | Signature Party Rentals | www.signatureparty.com   

Photography | Kate Noelle | www.katenoelle.com

Printing& Design | Kamka Designs | www.kamkadesigns.com

Sweets | Donna B’s Gourmet Cookies & Cakes | www.donnab.com

Venue | Aliso Viejo Conference Center | www.alisoviejoconferencecenter.com

2011 Annual Trendsetter Awards & Holiday Gala

by Bethany Thomas, Commemory Fine Art

In a word, the 2011 Third Annual ABC-OC Trendsetter Awards Gala on December 13th, 2011 at Disney’s Californian Hotel was sensational and spectacular. Okay, that’s two words but not nearly enough to describe the talent and fun had in one place celebrating literally the ‘trend setters’ in the wedding industry in Orange County.

Greeted by Jan Wilder of Flower Fusion on the step and repeat photographed by Studio EMP set the scene for the spectacular evening that was ahead for members and guests.

Members enjoyed cocktails and a wonderful selection of tray-passed hors d’oeuvres and live music as they greeted their friends and colleagues for the first time that evening at the welcome reception. And Mickey and Minnie were dressed in their holiday best to take photos with guests, taken by White Rabbit Photo Boutique!


Following the welcome reception, members were then invited into the ballroom where they were welcomed by a room filled with white twinkle lights, greens and golds with a splash of deep pink and red. The flowers were stunning yet creatively whimsical by Flowers by Cina. Beautifully rustic square tables by Classic Party Rentals provided intimate seating for guests.  Li’K Designs provided creative menus and programs for guests to follow the events of the evening.  Barker Décor Service provided a beckoning dance floor while the team at Our Wedding Dance showed everyone how they can look like Fred and Ginger with their graceful talent.

The premium accommodations, rich dining experience and service provided by Disney’s Californian Hotel provided was simply wonderful. Highlights included three cheese ravioli hearts, slow braised prime beef short rib and a romantic salad.

Lisa Moon, the association’s Co-Director of Administration recognized the ABC-OC 2011 Steering Committee for all of their hard work:

Stacey Gitten (Ambassador Chair), Kathy Jo Peterson (Trendsetter Chair), John Goolsby (Communications Chair), Michelle Tortuya (Co-Director Programs) and Kelly Feeney (Co-Director Communication) – many of whom’s faces were flawless thanks to make-up by Flawless Faces!

Following Lisa’s acknowledgements, Kathy Jo Peterson presented the 2011 Trendsetter Awards! Congratulations winners on your achievement –

Best New Food Concept, Presentation or Display | Catherine Joanne Cakes | www.catherinejoannecakes.com


Best New Concept | SoCal Officiant | www.socalofficiant.com


Best New Memento | Godfather Films | www.godfatherfilms.com


Best Introduction or Final | Once Upon a Time Weddings | www.onceuponatimeweddings.com

Best New Decor Under $50,000 | High Society Wedding & Event Planning | www.highsocietyeventplanning.com

Best New Decor Over $50,000 | LVL Weddings & Events | www.lvlevents.com


Best Captured Moment | Jim Kennedy Photography | www.jimkennedyphotographers.com


Members Choice | Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort/Waterfront Weddings | www.waterfrontresort.com


Trendsetter of the Year Honors Award | Barbara Wallace | www.bwallaceweddings.com




The celebration continued with decadent desserts featured at the creme brulee station and crepe station.  Brew Haha‘s coffee cart was on-demand with custom made cappucino and lattes to fire up guests energy level for Undercover Live Entertainment who provided a 7-person band offering guests hip, fresh, professional and exclusive live entertainment to dance the night away.





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

Beverage | Adult Chocolate Milk | www.adultchocolatemilk.com

Coffee Service | Brew HaHa | www.brewhaha.com

Dance Floor | Barker Decor Service | www.barkerdecorservice.com

Entertainment | Undercover Live Entertainment | www.undercoverlive.com

DJ/Lighting | Invisible Touch | www.invisibletouchdj.com

Florals | Flowers by Cina | www.flowersbycina.com

Furniture | Classic Party Rentals | www.classicpartyrentals.com

Make-up | Flawless Faces | www.flawlessfacesinc.com

Programs | Li’K Designs | www.li-kcustominvitations.com

Photography | Studio EMP | www.studioemp.com

Photo Booth | White Rabbit Photo Boutique | www.whiterabbitphotoboutique.com

Venue | Disney’s Californian Hotel | www.disneyland.disney.go.com/grand-californian-hotel 


Trendsetter Award Swag Bag Sponsors:

Adult Chocolate Milk | www.adultchocolatemilk.com

Candee by Sandee | www.candeebysandee.com

Classic Party Rentals | www.classicpartyrentals.com

Commemory Fine Art | www.bethany-thomas.com

Disney Fairy Tale Weddings | www.disneyweddings.disney.go.com

El Adobe Capistrano | www.eladobedecapistrano.com

El Canito Cigar | www.thecigarrollers.net

Flower Fusion | www.flowerfusion.net

Itty Bitty Sweets | www.ittybittysweets.com

Kathy Joe Peterson Weddings & Events | www.weddingsbykathy.com

Mary Dann Weddings and Events | www.marydann.com

Our Wedding Dance | www.ourweddingdance.com

S&A Jewelry | www.safashions.com

Signature Events by Tania | www.signatureeventsbytania.com 

Trader Joes | www.traderjoes.com

ABC-OC March Educational Meeting: The Chic Geek

By Michelle Tortuya, Co-Director

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A big response was expected for our March 8th, 2011, educational meeting featuring Kelly Aguilar, The Chic Geek, and we received that and more. Over 90 guests came to hear Kelly speak about Facebook and all of its updates and changes. We could have sat with Kelly for another two hours, with all of the useful information she shared.

Tustin Ranch Golf Club was our hosting venue, featuring a classroom set-up, cocktail area and main dinner seating. Their staff was the ultimate in professionalism, hospitality and service. It’s no wonder Tustin Ranch Golf Club is booking its 2011 calendar fast!

After class with Kelly, guests were escorted to the cocktail and appetizer area to enjoy catching up with friends while enjoying delicious food and drinks. Troy and Aimee Grover were our featured Photographers and they did an amazing job of capturing the many details that our donating vendors provided to us.

Table linens by La Tavola were fresh, modern and really transformed the look of the ballroom. Jan, Flower Fusion created floral arrangements to compliment the beautiful, bird and branch printed linens, using mini birds, twig nests and more. Paperie & Planning also coordinated our paper goods – menu/venue cards and name tags to match. Such a dream team to work with….Fabulous!

Music and lighting provided by Rick Burgess, with Black Tie Events. A beautiful tower of cake pops and an innovative cake pop “bouquet” was provided by Mindy at Just a Bite Cake Pops. Thanks for the delicious treat!

Thanks so much to Mike at Chiavari Chairs 4 Rent for donating chairs for our March meeting.  And thanks to John, Godfather Films, for this fabulous video clip of meeting highlights.  We have such a great mix of Professionals, always ready to help make our meetings a success!


Special thanks to our Programs Committee for their continued work and dedicated efforts to creating fun monthly events for our members.


October 2010 Vendor Fair at the Promenade & Gardens

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It was all about the vendors on October 12th, 2010 at the Promenade & Gardens by Turnip Rose.  ABC-OC held its second Vendor Fair of the year, keeping it small and roomy for vendors and other members.  Guests were greeted to a specialty pomegranate martini upon arrival to the venue, and then received a quick self-tour of the interior.  Outside, we had entertainment provided by Celebrations Mobile DJ, Photobooth Pro, Epod, and Flip books Party Favors.  These were all a big hit.

An ice sculpture prominently displayed ABC’s logo with a hint of blue at the entrance to the gardens.  Vendors were ready to meet & greet our guests.

After some mingling and catching up, Turnip Rose staff announced a most delicious array of food stations, from pasta to Asian cuisine.  Delicious!

It was wonderful to see the support of the ABC-OC vendors, as well as members that came out to say hello.  Thank you to everyone who joined us for a night of mingling, networking and learning about the many talented members we have through ABC-OC.

Our donating vendors:

Venue: Promenade & Gardens

Favor: EPOD

Flowers: Flowers by Cina

Heaters: Signature Party Rentals

Ice Sculpture: Carving Ice

Linens: Fusion Linens

Music/DJ: Celebrations Mobile DJ

Paper goods: Sugar Press

Photography: Maria Longhi

Tables: Classic Party Rentals

Our participating vendors:


Barbara Wallace

Buca Di Beppo – Anaheim


Carcano DJ

Carving Ice

Celebrations Mobile DJ

Classic Party Rentals

Designer Specialty Linens

Dove Canyon


Fantasy Florals

Flipbook Party Favors

Flower Fusion

Frank Salas

Friar Tux

Fusion Linens

Godfather Films

Good Shepherd Church

Green Effect

Hyatt Huntington Beach

Itty Bitty Sweets

Just a Bite Cake Pops

Live Beautifully Balanced

Margaret’s Cleaners

Nature’s Beauty

Photobooth Pro

Promenade & Gardens

Rohmer Video

Signature Party Rentals

So Cal Officiant

Studio EMP

Sugar Press

The Event Consultants

Vantage Point Productions

White Flight Dove Release