June Coordinator Luncheon: Five Crowns

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

Five Crowns, the host of the June ABC-OC coordinator luncheon, is a charming replica of one of England’s oldest country inns and a Corona del Mar landmark. The venue offers warm hospitality and cozy fireplaces set among authentic antiques and period paintings. We all enjoyed the sunlit Greenhouse and colorful English garden where the event took place. We experienced the award-winning food and wine, exceptional service and distinctive style that have made Five Crowns by Lawry’s a dining destination since 1965.

The theme of the event coordinated by Kerri Hatter Weddings & Events was inspired by the ferns in the greenhouse and the new herb garden where ceremonies take place. It was a gorgeous feast for the eyes where each element was hand-picked to complement each other. “Everything matches perfectly,” said Barbi Walters of Bluebirds PCH. From the blue and tan burlap linens by Designer Specialty Linens, to the florals by French Buckets – it all coordinated beautifully.

An unexpected detail were the thoughtful and creative gifts provided by Tasha with AmpersandInk Designs, the paper goods sponsor. Tasha packaged up a delightfully printed recipe/thank you card on seed paper with the avocado mash recipe that was served at Five Crowns. Behind the card was a wooden spreader with a perfectly ripe avocado in a crisp white bag!

There was so much helpful information provided at the event by the speakers. Here are just a few highlights –

John Goolsby | Godfather Films | ABC State Coordinator – The Association of Bridal Consultants ‘Business of Brides” national conference Nov. 11-13 in Denver, Colorado

Kevin Covey | Kevin’s Parties– Highlights from Engage!12 Summit like how to speak to ‘Millenials’ – “necessity vs. luxury.” Everything is necessary!

Laurel Mungo | Mon Amie Bridal Salon – How to be prepared for brides when emergencies happen. Like how to fix a torn gown in a pinch to getting lipstick and wine stains out of the dress. Laurel encourages all planners to get a tour of their 20,000 square foot salon to see all the designers available at the salon and to meet their expert team of consultants.

Friar Tux – Bowties are coming back! 10 years ago they were worn 2% of the time. Now they are at 30% and rising! Plus, Friar Tux has a referral program just for planners.


Couples, their families and friends can enjoy a full-service experience at Five Crowns with the entire space giving everyone the feel that they are in a private English home. In the same space is SideDoor, an English style, neighborhood gastropub. And upstairs has private rooms where the bride and groom can get ready with their bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Thank you sponsors for your amazing services!

Venue | Five Crowns and Side Door | www.lawrysonline.com/five-crowns
Speaker & Bridal Gowns | Mon Amie Bridal Salon & Amy Michelson | www.monamie.com
Speaker | Friar Tux | www.friartux.com
Photography | Diandra Ann Photography | www.diandraann.com
Florist |  French Buckets | www.frenchbuckets.com
Linens | Designer Specialty Linens | www.designerspecialtylinens.com
Musicians | Del Lago Trio | www.dellagotrio.com
Paper Goods |  AmpersandInk Designs | www.ampersandinkdesigns.com

Don’t miss the July ABC-OC all member meeting on July 10th at Mastros Steakhouse South Coast Plaza. Register today.

April Social Meeting: St. Regis Monarch Beach

by Bethany Thomas, Commemory Fine Art

Raise your hand if you attended last week’s ABC-OC social event at the St. Regis Monarch Beach. Now keep your hand up if you expected a beautiful event based on the venue. Because your hand is still up – keep it up if your expectations were exceeded. We are willing to bet your hand is still in the air like these members –

  • “I had a fabulous time at the ABC event tonight!! This was my favorite flower and decor display!!! I loved it!! Thanks ABC for putting together the best event I have gone to in 6 years!!!”
  • “It was great to see all of the familiar faces and to meet all of the new ones at the St. Regis tonight!”
  • “As usual …first class all the way…great night.”

We were beyond thrilled with record-breaking attendance that had an exceptional experience thanks to the St. Regis staff and the ABC-OC board who brought in a variety of first-class companies to sponsor the event. From work-of-art floral and decor displays in the four corners of the ballrroom by, Enchanted Florist, tic-tock Couture Florals, White Lilac Inc., and Bloom Box to the deliciously prepared and stunning presentation of the food by St. Regis Monarch BeachItty Bitty Sweets,  Jay’s Catering, Hollywood Candy Girls, Simply Sweet Apples  and A Wish and a Whisk were delightful. Plus, the fashion show of bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses and mother-of-the-bride gowns by Carolina Herrera, The White Dress and Andrea’s Couture.

Did you win one of the fabulous prizes? A parting gift are these gorgeous photos by Lauren Hillary of Jim Kennedy Photographers. And don’t miss connecting with the fabulous sponsors listed below – enjoy!

Want to be in the know about upcoming meetings? Be sure to add yourself to the email list. Click here and enter your email address in the “Join Our Mailing List” box.

Thank you to all the sponsors who made this social meeting an exceptional experience. Please visit their websites and ‘like’ their pages for more information and ongoing updates about their services:

Florals | Enchanted Florist | www.nisiesenchanted.com
Florals | tic-tock Couture Florals | www.ticktock.com
Florals | White Lilac Inc. | www.whitelilacinc.com
Florals | Bloom Box | www.bloomboxdesigns.com
Bridal Gowns | Carolina Herrera | www.carolinaherrera.com
Bridesmaid Dresses | The White Dress | www.thewhitedress.com
Mother of the Bride Gowns | Andrea’s Couture | www.andreascouture.com
Photography | Jim Kennedy Photography | www.jimkennedyphotographers.com
Videography | Plug Video | www.plugvideo.com
Linens | Fusion Linens | www.fusionlinens.com
Hire Elegance| www.hire-elegance.com
Hair & Make-up | Design Visage | www.designvisage.com
Hair & Make-up | St. Regis Monarch Beach | www.stregismb.com
Media | Ceremony Magazine | www.ceremonymagazine.com
Treats | Itty Bitty Sweets | www.ittybittysweets.com
Treats | Jay’s Catering | www.jayscatering.com
Venue & Food | St. Regis Monarch Beach | www.stregismb.com
Candy Buffet | Hollywood Candy Girls | www.hollywoodcandygirls.com
Candy Apples | Simply Sweet Apples | www.sinnfullysweetgourmettreats.com
Desserts | A Wish and a Whisk | www.awishandawhisk.com
Photo Booth  | The Photo Booth Specialists | www.thephotoboothspecialists.com
Furniture Rental | Signature Party Rental | www.signatureparty.com
Giveaway | Shinodas Design Center | www.shinodadesigncenter.net
Entertainment | Tim Espinoza | www.theelectricviolinist.com
DJ | Invisible Touch Music | www.invisibletouchevents.com
Love Note Pad | InStyle Event Company | www.instyeleventco.com

February Coordinator Meeting: “The Bright Way to I Do”

by Bethany Thomas, Commemory Fine Art

The first ABC-OC coordinator luncheon of the year called “The Bright Way to I Do” illuminated many things that day. The first was a glowing hidden treasure in Laguna Beach called Hotel Seven4One on PCH just south of Forest Avenue. The Hotel Seven4One, a 12 room private address that guests can call their very own beach house while they host their guests and event in contemporary and thoughtfully designed spaces: the Euro-chic lobby lounge, urban courtyard, breathtaking sun deck, and relaxed yet totally wired guest rooms and suites. There was a real buzz about the one-way mirror in the master suite’s shower overlooking the ocean. You can see the manatees but they can’t see you!

Video Created by The Emotion Picture Studio: http://www.theemotionpicturestudio.com/

The brightness in spirit and mood were apparent as the coordinators were greeted by ABC-OC Co-Directors, Lindsay Longacre and Kevin Covey with lovely flutes of champagne and the light, mellow and hopeful sounds of singer, songwriter and acoustic guitar player Kevin Miso.

Calli Traub with The Event Company shed light on the importance of lighting to set the mood and give photographers a smile from ear to ear with a gorgeous landscape for their clients.  Yes, these shots are from Hotel Seven4One. An unbelievable transformation of the space with light and color. Photographer Kristina Lee agrees, “It’s so important to have great lighting like The Event Company provides. It makes my job much easier.”

The food was sensational and the desserts from A Wish and a Whisk melted in our mouths. The creativity of each delicious morsel was stunning to look at and a delight to the senses. It was hard to tell where the flowers from Empora Flora began and the desserts ended because they were so perfectly designed together. I heard many say things like, “what ooey goodness stuffed in that strawberry!?”

As you can tell from the beautiful detail shots from Kristina Lee Photography that it was Valentine’s Day. From the whimsical touches of the decor, florals, desserts, paper goods by Jessica Lam, music plus the reds and pinks everyone was wearing, love was in the air. The love of weddings, the friendship between members and comradery of creating beautiful memories for people’s union of love.



Thank you to all the sponsors who made this beautiful event, beautiful! Please visit their websites and ‘like’ their pages for more information and ongoing updates about their services:

Venue | Hotel Seven4One | www.hotelseven4one.com

Speaker | The Event Co. | www.eventcompanyoc.com

Video | The Emotion Picture Studio | http://www.theemotionpicturestudio.com/

Photography | Kristina Lee Photography | www.kristinaleephotography.com

Rentals | Signature Party Rentals | http://signatureparty.com/

Florist | Empora Flora | www.emporaflora.com

Papergoods | Jessica Lam | www.jesslam.com

Lighting | The Event Co. | www.eventcompanyoc.com

Music | Kevin Miso | www.kevinmiso.com

Dessert/Sweets | A Wish and a Whisk | www.awishandawhisk.com

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

Bridal Processional Twist

From Reverend Clint Hufft • Photo Courtesy of Natalie Moser Photography
Most brides will be escorted by their father or parents to the altar. (Altar being wherever the ceremony takes place). Over the last fifteen years I have seen a number of wonderful, innovative variations on the bridal processional.

If there are step-fathers involved, a bride could be escorted by the fathers in the order of importance to her with the most important father figure presenting her to her groom. I believe the bride’s comfort and happiness holds top priority. Only she can decide who she is closer to, birth father or step father. Many times the step father is the one who spent the most time with her during her youth. Or she has been estranged from her natural father. Emotions naturally run high during a wedding. Best to find her comfort level.

If the choice of escort down the aisle is too complicated, the bride can choose to walk in with her groom. The symbolism is that they came to the decision to be married independent of outside influences and walking in together reflects that opinion. Or, the bride could enter by herself and begin the walk down the aisle while her groom walks towards her from the altar, meeting her half way, then escorting her the rest of the way.

If the father or father figure doesn’t feel right to the bride, she might choose the mother or another relative to represent her family’s approval of the wedding. Or, if the bride feels her close friends played an important role in the development of the relationship with her fiance, she could be escorted by her friends.

The Hindu tradition is for the groom to arrive on a horse or elephant. One groom had recently attended a wedding in India where that tradition was observed and wanted to do something unique. So he arrived to the outside wedding site on a “flying metal elephant”, a helicopter.

Some wedding sites will offer horse drawn carriages or vintage cars.

A wedding ceremony contains a built in sense of joy and celebration. The entrance of the bride can be a perfect beginning to an incredible collection of memories the couple will treasure for the rest of their lives.

Calligraphy Tip of the Week

From Ginny Moore of Calligraphy, Ink

Choosing a calligraphy style seems like an unimportant decision in the scheme of planning an entire wedding, but it really can set the tone for the day. If your envelopes are done by hand, they are really noticed and are literally the very first impression your clients’ guests will have of the big day. You can convey classiness or fun, formality or whimsy all with a simple choice of calligraphy style. Often brides want to match the font on the invitation. While this is nice for uniformity, it’s also fun to mix it up a bit and let the envelope become it’s own small piece of artwork foreshadowing the wedding. Calligraphers offer countless styles to choose from which can seem daunting, but in the end, your style should compliment the script in your invitations as well as reflect the bride’s personality and the feel of the event.

Linen Tip of the Week

From Angel Monico of Fusion Linens
When considering linens for tabletop décor, event designers benefit greatly from using colors that best complement florals or centerpieces. Avoid the use of linen colors that clash or “compete” with your centerpiece. The linens should enhance rather overwhelm your tabletop décor. Generally, darker florals or centerpieces are best enhanced with lighter colored fabrics, while lighter floral centerpieces are best enhanced with darker colored fabrics. The use of same-color tabletop décor (linens and centerpieces) should be considered sparingly – especially the brighter shades.

Late Summer Snapshots

This week we snatched a few images from our members’ blogs. Let us know what you think.

From Heavenly Portraits
The Disney Concert Hall

From Victor Sizemore Photography
Wedding Party in Dorset, England

From Boutwell Studio
The Shoes

From Natalie Moser Photography
Melanie + Kris

Be sure to check out more of what our members have been up to. Our blogroll is on the right.

Also, send your Snapshots to blog@abc-oc.net so we can feature your latest successes too.

Wedding Photography Trends

We asked some of our member photographers to share their insight about trends they see emerging in wedding photography this year.

Our forward-thinking photographers are shaking up their photo sessions. Fashion spread photo sessions with multiple locations, wardrobe changes, and styles are becoming more popular. According to Lauren Hillary, wedding photography is changing from a photojournalistic style to “a high fashion edgy look, [with] more dramatic images and dramatic lighting.”

Joel Eckman Maus also thinks that location is key in today’s hippest photos. “Everything in a portrait should say something about [the couple]– not just be a pretty place.” He’s shot nature lovers in a Redwood forest, architecture enthusiasts at Disney Concert Hall, and baseball fans at Angels stadium. He suggests that because of the influx of images online, brides and grooms are becoming more excited to express their own personalities through their wedding and engagement sessions. Displaying these photos at the reception is also a great way to personalize the event.

This edgy fashion-forward, location-savvy style can also be seen in bridal portraits (which are becoming more popular in southern California) and boudoir sessions. Jan Garcia has also seen “Trash the Dress” sessions gaining popularity this year. A post-wedding photo shoot is just another chance for the couple to express their personalities.

In addition to style and session changes, some new equipment has emerged. Off-camera flashes (now with wireless control) allow for quick set-up and are becoming more widely used. Also, new cameras from Nikon (D3) and Canon (1D Mark 3) are allowing photographers like Garcia & Maus to capture images in super low lighting conditions. Dim ceremonies and receptions can now be seen in high quality images. Maus says “Shooting by candlelight is now possible!”

Lauren Hillary also introduced a new photography fashion statement this year with GO|BEE bags. Her own line of photography gear can be used by photographers and wedding professionals alike.

Let us know what other trends you see in wedding photography. Comment below and send your pics to blog@abc-oc.net with “Snapshots” in the subject. We feature our members’ images every two weeks.