Thursday, December 13, 2007

Catherine Cowen to Jon "Put" Putnam

Pretty pretty pretty gorgeous pretty awesome fun cool pretty sweet amazing! Why yes, you guessed it: It's another Red Letter Days wedding! It's featured in San Diego Style Weddings Magazine 2007-2008, pages 472-73. You can view it online here.

The theme for Catherine Cowen and Jon "Put" Putnam's wedding was "Life Is Sweet," and it shines through in every image.

For starters, check out these rehearsal dinner favors (yum!) . . .

. . . and Catherine's great shoes and bouquet (by Olga Brouwer at Rituals Floral Designs).

The bride (and bridesmaids!) were just beautiful. She's as radiant as her flowers.

I love the details at the ceremony site, Calumet Park.

It's so considerate to have water readily available for an outdoor ceremony, and the labels are a great way to keep color present and personalize things.

Look at this! I would love to come up to such lovely chairs and find a flower waiting for me. Wedding flowers are almost always gorgeous, but they're pretty hands-off for guests. I love this touch -- and again, what a great way to bring color to an outdoor space.

The reception was just as beautiful -- warm, gracious, and fun. Doesn't it look inviting?

The tablecloths are a great color. They fit so well with the overall scheme and ground the lighter pinks, like the roses in this pretty centerpiece.


And in farewell, guests got to leave with these favor boxes -- sweet reminders of a lovely, lovely day.
But no one was happier than these two.

Life is sweet indeed.

Ceremony Venue: Calumet Park
Reception Venue: The Grande Colonial La Jolla
Photographer: Lori Krause
Videographer: Katherine Greene / Tangerine Video Productions
Florist: Olga Brouwer / Rituals Floral Designs
Officiant: Tim Cowen (Father of the Bride)
Caterer: Nine-Ten Restaurant at The Grande Colonial La Jolla
Dessert packaging: ABC Giftbox
Rentals/linens: Classic Party Rentals
Entertainment: Dale Gottschalk / San Diego DJ & Video
Guest transportation: Cloud 9 Shuttle
Additional guest accommodations: The Empress Hotel
Bride's dress: Richard Glasgow
Bridesmaids' dresses: J. Crew
Men's wear: Banana Republic
Hair/makeup: Patricia Garcia-Norvell / Cara Mia
Rehearsal dinner venue: Sante Ristorante
Rehearsal dinner guest favor: Cookies by Design

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Staff Soiree: Hotel Catering

What a treat! Thursday night, Bek and Mia hosted all the Red Letter Days staff, plus a couple of special guests, at one of their social and educational soirees. One of the cool things about the company is that on a regular basis, they invite everyone over for an evening of delicious snacks, catching up, and learning more about wedding and event coordination.

This week, working with a hotel catering staff was on the agenda. Julie from the Omni, Amber from the Grande Colonial, and Chrissy, drawing on her extensive experience at the Grande Colonial (see Chrissy's bio), generously donated their evenings and shared their best tips for ensuring a great flow and smooth event. As with so many things in life, it turns out that by being respectful and organized, we're already on the right track -- and that makes Chrissy and Bek very happy!

Okay, to be honest, there's a lot more than that to coordinating a successful hotel event. Mia and Bek had excellent questions and possible scenarios, and Julie, Chrissy, and Amber gave great advice and background on how things work at the venue. There is so much more going on than the guests (or the hosts) ever realize, and a strong relationship between the coordinating staff and the hotel personnel is essential. Thanks to this get-together, the staff is all set to make that happen -- every time!

I love all the information at these soirees, and it was flying fast on Thursday. Having the expertise of professionals from two different types of hotels -- a lovely historic property and a grand modern space -- was awesome. Julie, Chrissy, and Amber covered all the bases, and happily, everyone still had time to enjoy the snacks! Mia's baked brie with homemade pesto is a crowd favorite. I can't wait to stuff more information into my brain (and munch a bunch more brie) at the next staff event.

It wasn't all work, though, and we have the pictures to prove it! Taylor, Scarlett, Julie, and Jen spent some time in the kitchen exchanging tips and having fun.

As we chatted and learned, we caught Taylor during a quick break in the kitchen . . .

. . . and Jen and Scarlett hanging out on the couch.

Bek and Mia gave an update on the company and what's coming up, and I can reveal that there are so many great things in store at Red Letter Days. The coming year is already booked with a ton of fantastic events, and things are just getting brighter and brighter. I'm so excited!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you. I hope that at this moment you've sent your last email before the holiday, or completed your shopping for tomorrow's meal, or just landed back in your home town, or...

I'm giddy with the excitement of celebrating Thanksgiving with dear friends who really are like family to me. I'm also very much looking forward to mashed potatoes with butter and gravy.

I'll admit; I've been reflective today. There's an infinite number of things to be grateful for daily, but the day before Thanksgiving gets me every year. Quite obviously that which is top of the list for both Mia and me is Red Letter Days, an entity that continues to bestow endless possibilities and dreams fulfilled. It is our brain child, but thriving because of the amazing people who have breathed life in to it: Christina, Jennifer, Taylor, Scarlett, and Jessica. Mia and I are so darn fortunate to have them as colleagues, but much more so as friends.

So in conversation with each of them today, I asked "What are YOU thankful for?"

Christina is thankful for her friends and family. In her speaking you could hear her giddiness over the anticipation of her mom arriving this evening for the holiday weekend. It was a joy to witness and a true testament to Chrissy's generous, kind spirit.

Jennifer's response was deeply heartfelt -- "I'm thankful for so many things, especially the bright, intelligent, gifted, genuine people I have surrounded myself with." All I have to say is "Backacha, Jen" -- what Jen sees in others is absolutely what we all see in her.

Taylor's retort was immediate -- "I'm definitely thankful for my family." The emotion behind her words was very powerful, and exemplified Tay's perpetual sweetness. Her vibrancy is something we all appreciate and receive so much joy from.

Scarlett's response brought a tear to my eye, and was a fine showing of her care and consideration for others. She said she is most thankful for her mom. To quote Scarlett: "She is near and dear to my heart, and I'm just so grateful that she's my mom."

Jessica was quick to respond with thoughtfulness and gracious ease. She is thankful for her house, family, job, and well-being. What we love about Jess is that she appreciates everything that makes her life full and gives each entity her fullest consideration.

I was able to corner Mia for an answer (hard to do when she's wearing her chef's hat and ordering speciality cheeses for tomorrow's feast). In her easy, southern California drawl: "Other than our Thanksgiving turkey being defrosted on time? I'm most thankful for the love and support I've received from my family and friends through my many journeys in life."

Guess that leaves me. And having to answer the big question myself, I realize why Chrissy, Jen, Tay, Scarlett, Jess, and Mia put forth such genuine feeling. It's hard not to.

I'm thankful for my mother and father's love, my grandfather's example, my friends who just get it, music that stirs my soul, and my cat, Lucy.

And I'm grateful for mashed potatoes with butter and gravy.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Christina Franklin

Photography: Cary Pennington ~ Cary Pennington Photography
Makeup styling: Sarah Price ~ Couture Makeup Artistry

I was so lucky the other day to get to meet Red Letter Days general manager Christina Franklin for coffee. She is awesome! Christina is one of the sweetest and nicest people you can imagine, and she is a complete pro at her work.

She got started in this industry more than nine years ago. New to San Diego, she got lost in La Jolla and parked in front of the Grande Colonial hotel to ask for directions. It turns out they were hiring, and the rest is history!

Christina worked in many different departments over the years, including the front desk, reservations, catering, sales, and events -- her true love. In fact, she often went above and beyond her regular duties for brides and other clients who needed a bit of help, stepping in to offer the kind of assistance an outside event planner usually provides. She loves people and always wants to lend a hand.

In addition to countless weddings, Christina also has a strong background in corporate events. She helped lots and lots of companies throw celebratory receptions when they hit business goals, as well as holiday events and other parties. She said, "I love learning about different companies and meeting different people. I always ask a million questions when I'm doing events." That's the best way to make sure every element is just right.

In her position at the hotel, Christina worked with Red Letter Days right from the beginning -- and was impressed right off the bat, too. She always noticed how passionate everyone was and how they put themselves out there doing things that were different. She said, "We just clicked. They are genuine and good and have so much creativity."

She knew that she wanted to be involved. "I've been on the venue side for so long. I'm excited to be on the other side. At the hotel, I always jumped in to help and plan." No matter what work Christina has done, she's always come back to events.

She laughed when she told me that she sometimes thinks her job should feel harder -- but it doesn't. "It's just natural for me. I'm always thinking about how happy [the clients] are going to be." She explained that she loves being there for people and seeing them happy. She confessed, "I become friends with almost all of my brides."

And it might sound silly to some, but Christina thinks that the work that she and the rest of Red Letter Days are doing can even be a small step toward saving the world. "It's so important to society for people to come together and have celebrations. I love being involved in seeing people get together, because that doesn't happen all the time. Weddings turn into family reunions." And with all that joy going around, you know the world is just a bit happier!

Behind the suit . . .

Christina moved around a lot growing up since her father was in the military, but spent the most time in Arizona and Washington. She met her husband after moving to San Diego and is familiar with the entire area, having lived in East County and the beach communities.

With her amazing smile and sweet, sweet heart, Christina is a wonderful person to have involved in your event. Red Letter Days is so lucky to have her!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Naomi Katagai to Geoffrey Gamble

Red Letter Days was privileged to plan and coordinate the wedding of Naomi Katagai to Geoffrey Gamble on August 25, 2007. This was a fantastic event from start to finish and is featured in Ceremony San Diego Weddings & Events 2008 Magazine on pages 272-274. You can view it online here! What a thrill to be involved with a couple with such exquisite, uncompromising taste!

As you can see from this wonderful photo of Naomi and her bridesmaids, the event was elegant and modern.

The ceremony was held by the pool, overlooking the ocean.

Beaming and ready to enjoy the rest of the evening, everyone was seated at these gorgeous tables to party and feast.

The beautiful image below of Naomi in her kimono illustrates one of her favorite elements of the day. She loved "the diversity of our guests. Having Swedish toasts, Japanese kimonos, American food, and guests from literally all over the world. I loved our first dance."

And Naomi isn't one of those brides whose wedding went by in a blur. She says, "I actually remember everything pretty well. It has been pretty much etched into my brain!"

With an event like this, it's easy to see why!

The photo below, taken while guests were enjoying their meals, shows more of the amazing setting. Geoff says his favorite moment was "the view/ambiance from the balcony before sunset while eating dinner."

It wasn't all serene elegance, however. There was plenty of fun, too! One moment in particular sticks out in Geoff's memory: "Mr. Katagai, hands in the air, jumping up and down on the dance floor in the center of a sea of younger folk dancing to 'Living on a Prayer.'"

Congratulations to Naomi and Geoff! Red Letter Days is so happy to have helped bring about your special day. Best wishes for years of happiness to come!

Venue: Private Bird Rock residence on Windansea Beach
Photographer: Tande Di Lanatta / Di-Lanatta's Photography
Videographer: Uncle of Groom
Florist: Sue Merrill / Suzan M. Florals
Caterer: Axel Dirolf / Chef Axel Fine Catering
Rentals/lighting/linens: Concepts Party Rentals

Officiant: Pastor Mike Mitschke
Entertainment: DJ miz sku, Mike Tagart

Gown designer: Pronovias, kimono from Japan
Bridesmaids' dresses: Bari Jay
Men's formal wear: A Better Deal Tuxedo
Hair/makeup: Claire Young / Clairestyle
Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas
Save the Dates: Dinky Designs

Childcare: Panda's Domestic Service Agency

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Assisting San Diego

Hello and thank you, Friends.

We are deeply touched by your outpouring of love and support during this challenging time for San Diego County (and southern California in general). Christina, Jennifer, Jessica, Scarlett, and Taylor are safe and sound, as are we.

Our courageous and compassionate community is moving forward with assisting those who have lost their homes and belongings. As this intensive rebuilding process begins, we would like to provide you with opportunities to lend your support:

The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is playing an integral role in providing food, care kits, cots/bedding, and additional services to San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles Counties. Please designate your monetary gift for California wildfire relief.

San Diego Blood Bank
The Blood Bank is taking donations at Qualcomm Stadium and the Del Mar Fairgrounds at this time.

Union-Tribune Help Blog
A valuable resource for San Diego locals.

We will continue to post helpful information as we discover it.

Bek and Mia

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Knot Party Photos

Wow! The Knot Party was so much fun. It was a pleasure to be around so many gorgeous people who were in such great moods. I've decided that's the secret of the entire wedding industry in San Diego, not just Red Letter Days: Beautiful, fun, happy people are naturally going to create beautiful, fun, happy events!

Click HERE to see all of Cary Pennington's lovely photos of the night. (The slideshow is accompanied by music, so turn down your speakers if you're at work. Shhh . . . we won't tell!)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Cash Casia to Raven Leo

Even as I type, Red Letter Days is putting the finishing touches on The Knot's San Diego party. I know you're as excited as I am -- it's going to be great! While you're waiting for the big do, head on over to the blog at The Image Is Found and see the wonderful images of Cash and Raven's wedding, photographed by The Image Is Found, planned and coordinated by Red Letter Days. Isn't it fantastic?!