Identifying and Working Through Your Wedding Values: Part 1

Hi Love Birds,

Photo Credit: Salt and Sky Studios

One of the first things we do with our clients is have them identify where their wedding values and priorities lie before we get started with the heavy duty planning. We know that there are some things you have dreamed about since you were young. Or maybe there are certain components of the wedding that you want to include because they are specific to your family traditions… but how exactly do you weed out the needs and the wants? That’s what we are here for! In part one of this blog series, we’re going to walk you through how we suggest you can figure out your wedding values. In part one we start with the five topics below that should be addressed first, and in part two (coming next week) we will continue with the 5 last topics. Talk through each section with your partner, deciding which items are needs, wants or “really-don’t-cares”. We suggest doing this in a low-stress manner, possibly over a bottle of wine, to help you both stay on the same page.

Photo Credit: Chloe Moore Photography


Start by conceptualizing your ideal budget. This is ideal, but depending on what you want to include and what items you do or do not consider “part of the budget”, this overall number may move up or down. If someone is helping you out financially with the costs of the wedding, be sure to get an idea of how much they are going to contribute. We know that money is a hard thing to talk about and this can be an awkward conversation, but it is better to get everyone on the same page regarding funds at the very beginning of the wedding planning process.

Photo Credit: Nick Radford


Venue is the biggest decision you’ll make in the whole wedding planning process. Be sure to discuss if you want a local celebration or a destination wedding. Go through what wedding venue elements and venue style you both want and how necessary they are.

Photo Credit: Kim Fox Photography

Guests List and Overall Experience

You both definitely want to create a general idea for the number of guests at your wedding and how important this is to you. The easiest way to cut down a wedding budget is to cut down your guest list. Do you want kids to come or do you need it to be adult only? Following this topic is what kind of experience you want your guests to have. We know you want everyone to have a good time, but how important is it to you that your guests feel like royalty throughout the weekend? Some couples are set on doing a wedding weekend full of activities. Some of our clients want to keep their flow super traditional while others want to go unconventional. Do you want to provide accommodations for the guests if they are all coming from out of town? Will there be transportation provided for everyone? How important is it that your guests receive have wedding favors or welcome bags? The list goes on and on, but we think you get the idea!

Photo Credit: Next Exit Photography


Now we can focus on what reception details you both prioritize. This is a great time to decide what kind of entertainment you want to have throughout the various sections of your wedding. Is it important for you to have live musicians or performers sprinkled throughout your wedding? Or maybe you are happy to go the DJ route and maybe bring in a live musician or performer for cocktail hour or the ceremony if the budget will allow.

Photo Credit: Birds of a Feather

Overall Style and Design Direction

Additionally, you should go over the overall style of the wedding that you both want, and some design details. These could include decisions on; glassware, china, flatware, tables, chairs, and linens. Or is the reception lighting important to you? Do you absolutely need hanging lights or could you budge with a different alternative? You also should consider what furniture you want to include and whether it is lounge style or vintage rentals. Make sure you discuss what you value in the wedding style. Are there any visual motifs you want to include in your wedding? Or maybe there is a specific flower or floral direction you just love. Go through and remember to create a list of need, want, and “really-don’t-care” for each aspect.

Photo Credit: Next Exit Photography

These can definitely be difficult decisions as you and your partner might have different visions. Just remember what matters most at the end of the day – that you two get to be together forever.

The Lists and Timelines You Need To Keep Your Wedding Planning Organized

Happy Spring friends,

We know that each couple handles their wedding planning in their own way and that it requires commitment and organization. Whether you consider yourself a type-A who lives to check off your accomplishments, or a free spirit who becomes overwhelmed by the mention of excel – we have just what you need. Today we are talking lists and timelines for all of our couples to help keep them on track. Read along to get our insider scoop on wedding planning organization.

Photo Credit: Jillian Rose Photography

Tracking Lists

It is imperative to stay on top of who is working your wedding and who is coming to your wedding! The best way to do this is via our old friend excel. You’ll want to create a sheet for each of these that you can refer to throughout your planning process.

Guest List

Create a comprehensive guest list to track all of your guest’s information from their address to their meal order, and to whether or not you sent them their thank you card yet.

Vendor List

Use this list to keep a record of your vendor options and who you decide to book. It will remind you of who you still need to lock down for your big day, and who you still need to pay.

Photo Credit: Anya Kernes

Planning Documents

Planning in advance is a MUST do! You need to plan out what your estimated budget will (and should) look like, along with a comprehensive style guide for your big day. And don’t forget an overall planning timeline to keep track of all the details!

Estimated Cost Break Down (Budget)

This list will help you keep track of your costs, what you plan to spend, and what you have already put down on specific vendors. For additional budgeting tips check out our Tips On Determining How To Appropriately Allot Your Funds.

Style Guide

Create this list called a style guide to help lay out the details of your vision. You can even include some images to provide visual examples! It helps to formalize your look and keep it all cohesive. Check out this previous post on STYLE GUIDE for more tips!

Planning Timeline

Begin the process of planning your wedding by creating an overall wedding timeline. Your planning timeline will help you stay on top of when to do what. Remember: work through the big stuff first and end with the little details. Starting with hiring big vendors, like your catering company, and then begin to focus on the details like makeup artists. For more timeline planning tips, check out our previous post on our Wedding Planning Cheat Sheet.

Photo Credit: Dennis Kwan Weddings

Functional Day Of Documents

Having a functional and flexible version of your lists is very helpful. You can continuously edit them to make sure they are up to date. We include a day-of flow list, packing list, function guest list, vendor list, and layout, but you can include more!

Day-Of Flow

This particular list is to map out the movement of the day. You will use it to plan out the timing for the day and include the details of who is doing what, where, and when.

Packing List

Create a list of the hard goods you are bringing to the wedding that your vendors are not. This could be anything from the bathroom amenities basket, the guest book, any DIY decor and more. Here’s our guide for a thorough packing list.

Functional Guest List

This list reflects your guests both alphabetically and by table with meal selections, if applicable. It also keeps track of how many people are at each table.

Lists Needed By Vendors

This meta-list includes details for your vendors. This may include your list of family photo combinations needed for your photographer as well as your list of musical selections for your band or DJ.


This one is pretty self-explanatory, it should spell out how your tables and chairs are laid out so that your rental company or vendor can use it to know how to set up. Don’t forget to use table numbers!

Photo Credit: Andrew Abajian Creative

Lists can be overwhelming, but think of it as something to look forward to! You will feel amazing when you cross off all of those little to-do items.

Happy planning!


Song Selections from Our DJ Besties

Hi Lovely People,

This week we wanted to share some ideas to help all the wonderful couples getting married this wedding season find the perfect songs for their special moments. We know that some of the music you choose to feature on your day will be extremely personal, such as the tune you choose to have to play when you walk down the aisle or for your first dance. But sometimes you just need a little extra help in brainstorming options for what melodies could work. In order to help you in this endeavor, we turned to the experts for a bit of advice. We reached out to three of our favorite DJ’s for their suggestions to pass along to you all!

Photo Credit: Ronca Productions

Meet The Experts

Let us introduce some of our fabulous DJ’s besties who know the best song choices around.  Here we have suggestions from Wyatt of Supermoon DJs, who has been the lead DJ for over 200 weddings, Robert from Vox DJs who is from England and loves DJing Weddings and events on the weekends, and Jesse from Dart Collective, who released his EP, “Content”, in 2017 and started the DJ and band collective in 2013 with Michael David. Let’s see what their suggestions are!

Supermoon DJs

Photo Credit: Supermoon DJs

Vox DJs

Photo Credit: Vox DJ’s

Dart Collective

Photo Credit: Iris and Light

Ceremony Recessional Selections

Each of the DJ’s provided us with some song choices for different parts of the wedding that are commonly used and highly suggested! But keep in mind that these are just options, its ultimately your day and you can choose any song you want. But you heard it here first! Check out some of the options below from Wyatt, Robert, and Jesse:

Photo Credit: Birds of a Feather

Choices from Wyatt of Supermoon DJs

  • “Electric Love (Oliver Remix)” – Borns
  • “Firestone” (starting at 3:35) – Kygo
  • “We Belong (Odesza Remix)” – RAC

Choices from Robert of Vox DJs

  • “Higher and Higher” – Jackie Wilson
  • “Marry You” – Bruno Mars
  • “Love on Top” – Beyonce

Choices from Jesse from Dart Collective

  • “I’ve Never Found A Girl” – Al Green
  • “Just Like Heaven” – The Cure
  • “Age Of Consent” – New Order

Key Reception Moments (Grand Entrance and Cake Cutting)

These are some big parts of your night! You definitely want songs that are memorable for your grand entrance and cake cutting. Wyatt informs us that, “this sets the tone for the rest of the reception. I recommend picking a celebratory song that would go well with cheering’”. But for your cake cutting, choose “something sweet and upbeat”.

Photo Credit: Next Exit Photography

Choices from Jesse from Dart Collective

Grand entrance

  • “Rebel Rebel” – David Bowie
  • “Fell in Love With A Girl” – The White Stripes
  • “Dance Yrself Clean” – LCD Soundsystem

Cake Cutting

  • “This Must Be The Place” – Talking Heads
  • “Sugahdaddy” – D’angelo and The Vanguard
  • “Cissy Strut” – The Meters

Choices from Wyatt of Supermoon DJs

Grand entrance

  • “Indian Summer” – Jai Wolf
  • “Hearts on Fire” – Cut Copy
  • “1901” – Phoenix

Cake Cutting

  • “After The Moment” – Craft Spells
  • “Do You Believe” – Poolside
  • “The Sweetest Thing” – Camera Obscura

Choices from Robert of Vox DJs

Grand entrance

  • “Feel It Still” – Portugal the Man
  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling” – Justin Timberlake
  • “One Foot” – Walk the Moon

Cake Cutting

  • “Sugar” – Maroon 5
  • “Cake by the Ocean” – DNCE
  • “How Sweet It Is” – James Taylor

Photo Credit: Ronca Productions


Dance Selections (Parent Dances and Last Dance)

For your parent dances, we heart Wyatt saying to keep it “a classic that is both family-appropriate and meaningful”, while your last song should be a time to “play your party anthem”. There are very different options for both of these times and we know choosing just one song is tough, so check out our fav DJ’s options below:

Photo Credit: Jessica Hickerson

Choices from Robert of Vox DJs

Parent Dances

  • Mother/Son Dance: “Into the Mystic” – Van Morrison
  • Father/Daughter Dance: “I Loved Her First” – Heartland

Last Dance

  • “Don’t Stop Believing” – Journey
  • “One More Time” – Daft Punk
  • “All Night Long” – Lionel Richie

Choices from Jesse from Dart Collective

Parent Dances

  • Mother/Son Dance: “Mother/Child Reunion” – Paul Simon
  • Father/Daughter Dance: “Ooh La La” – The Faces

Last Dance

  • “Under Pressure (feat. David Bowie)” – Queen
  • “All My Friends” – LCD Soundsystem
  • “All Night Long” – Lionel Richie

Choices from Wyatt of Supermoon DJs

Parent Dances

  • Mother/Son Dance: “God Only Knows” – Beach Boys
  • Father/Daughter Dance: “Landslide” – Fleetwood Mac

Last Dance

  • “All My Friends” – LCD Soundsystem
  • “Midnight City” – M83
  • “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” – Jamie xx

Photo Credit: Kim Fox Photography

Thanks for joining us on this musical journey! We know that with suggestions from these all-stars you will definitely find the perfect tune for your moment.


Wedding Getaway: Tips for Hosting the Perfect Wedding Weekend!

Hello lovelies!

Three day weddings are all the rage! We love a good destination wedding (Hawaii, Costa Rica, Amalfi Coast, oh my!), but many of our couples are reluctant to plan a wedding that isn’t accessible for all their nearest and dearest to attend. More and more couples are coming to us wanting the destination wedding experience, where all their guests spend the entire weekend together at multiple events, but here in SoCal. We love helping our couples host these events and today we’re sharing a few tips & best practices to help you plan a smooth, successful and super fun wedding weekend, start to finish!

Photo Credit: Iris & Light

Tip #1: Have everyone stay at the same place

This makes for simple coordination when traveling from event to event! If you don’t want your guests to splurge on just one single place, try looking for a city or neighborhood that has hotels within walking distance from each other at different price points. That way your guests can still feel included in the weekend but not have to break the bank!

Photo Credit: Lin & Jirsa

Photo Credit: Colby Elizabeth Photography

Tip #2: Choose your location (wisely!)

Especially for a Southern California wedding that might not seem like a destination to you, could be an extravagant trip for your guests near and far! Los Angeles and the surrounding cities (Palm Springs, Carlsbad, Santa Barbara, Temecula, Lake Arrowhead, and the list goes on and on…) are home to some of the most unique and beautiful venues and areas, which means your guests will still call it a destination wedding, even if you reside in the area!

Photo Credit: Iris & Light

Photo Credit: Tim Ronca

Tip #3: Offer activities & options in between scheduled events

These can vary depending on your guests, and even your personal interests! A few suggestions are yoga, shopping, golfing, spa treatments, or a hike! It’s a special way to let your guests explore the city you are hosting your weekend in, and gives you some fun free time with friends & family.

Photo Credit: Jillian Rose Photography

Photo Credit: K Stone Photography

Tip #4: Provide transportation to and from off-site events

You want to make sure your weekend weekend is accessible and safe! For guests who might not know the area well, or who have a drink or two, providing transportation is the way to go. If your guests are tech-savvy, you can coordinate Ubers to each destination, or explore some rental options like sprinter or school buses. Be sure to research the accommodation locations as some hotels or resorts offer transportation between certain destinations.

Photo Credit: Iris & Light

Photo Credit: Lukas VanDyke

Tip #5: Invite everyone to every event!

It is so important that your guests feel a part of every aspect of your wedding weekend, even if they can’t make it to every event. Be consistent with your invitations and communications with all of your wedding guests so they know where/when to be at each event during the weekend (feel free to add in optional events as well!)

Photo Credit: Matthew Bronner

Photo Credit: Amanda McKinnon

Tip #6: Make sure guests have easy access to food & beverages throughout the weekend

Nothing is worse than having a group of guests looking to you when they are hungry! If you’re staying at a hotel, make sure to give guests info on how to access the hotel bar, gift shop, or restaurant if they are looking for a bite or a drink. If you are leaning towards casitas or a mansion, figure out a way to hire a personal chef for a few hours a day to prep snacks that are always accessible.

Photo Credit: Lin & Jirsa

Photo Credit: Hello Studios Photos

Tip #7: Distribute a detailed packing list prior to the wedding weekend

It is super important and helpful that your guests are adequately prepared for the weekend. On your invitation, add in a brief schedule for the weekend and include everything they could possibly need! If you are going to have a pool party, people need to know to bring their bathing suits. If you are offering a golfing excursion, serious enthusiast will likely want to use their own clubs. The more thorough, the better (your guests will thank you later!)

Photo Credit: Iris & Light

Photo Credit: Prim & Pixie

Tip #8: Find new ways to surprise your guests at every event!

This could be as easy as using a different customized cocktail napkin, having different decór element for each event, or simply offering a variety of new cocktails or appetizers when munching throughout the weekend. It sounds very straightforward, but in the age of technology, when people are Snapchatting and Instagram story-ing non-stop, they’ll be so impressed and happy with new details (or even a small gift!)

Photo Credit: Erin J Saldana

Photo Credit: Lin & Jirsa

We hope you grabbed some ideas to use as you plan your fun, fab wedding weekend. We love seeing our tips & tricks coordinated into couple’s weddings. Be sure to shout us out if you add some of your personal flair to our advice, we love a client who knows how to personalize! Stay stylish, beauties!