VENUE SPOTLIGHT: {NEW} Shadetree Gardens

SG - Grove Terrace

SNEAK PEAK…. be #thefirsttoknow about the newest outdoor rustic event venue in San Diego:Ā Shadetree Gardens, located in the majestic hills of Northern San Diego County, opening in the fall of 2020!

My husband is a Navy veteran, and I strive to support #VeteranOwnedBusinesses as much as possible. The brilliant and business-savvy owner, Josh Geherty,Ā is a former Marine (though, once a marine, alwaysĀ a Marine!) which immediately put Shadetree Gardens on the map for my couples. Everything Shadetree Gardens has to offer will be carefully thought through, planned for, and presented with precision — exactly what #BestDayEveršŸ„‚ couples expect (and deserve) for their special event!

Reasons why I love this BRAND NEW venue?? Let me break it down for ya!

This view:

SG - avocado amphitheater
View from Avocado Amphitheater

Wide Open Spaces:

SG - Veranda.Lawn
Veranda + Lawn – Ceremony / Cocktail Hour Space

A space to stay:

SG - estate
Estate – accommodates up to 12 overnight guests 12
SG - casita
Casita – accommodates up to 4 overnight guests


OMG, I L.O.V.E #weddingdoggos!!

A Blank Canvas:

Square tables? Farm tables? Benches instead of chairs? Sure!Ā  Rustic/woodsy? Bohemian? Modern? Vibrant and Loud? Lush and green? You got it!

And the best part? I got you!! =)Ā 

While we’re still in stay-at-home orders, site tours are temporarily paused, but once we can venture out into the real world again, #HitMeUp to schedule a tour for you OR, feel free to reach out to them directly:Ā Shadetree Gardens Events Team.

VENDOR HIGHLIGHT: Dina Nast (SoCal Hair & Makeup)

In honor of her #birthday, I wanted to launch my #VendorLoveSeries with my dear friend – the very talented hair/makeup artist & #bossbabe – Dina Nast, owner of Socal Hair & Makeup)!!

dinaThings I love about this incredible woman?

  • Airbrush. I wish I knew her when I got married – her airbrush skills are amazing. It’s light, it’s airy, it lasts ALL day — even in the summer heat or dreamy snowfall!
  • Always on time. She’s there when she says she’s going to be, and is ALWAYS done when she estimates — a wedding planner’s dream. I constantly hear that the timeline is derailed because hair/makeup went long… but not with this #dreamteam.
  • Asians. Okay, that sounds weird. But if you’re an Asian woman (like I am), getting your makeup done is a super scary concept. Either you end up looking like a geisha, OR … um… (guys, #superhonestmoment, trying to find the most PC word here)… like I’m in a theatre performance or dance show. Neither are good looks on my WEDDING DAY! Dina and her team NAIL #naturalasianmakeup so well, she’s my go-to gal.
  • Super mom. In addition to running a successful business, she has beautiful babies at home! I was SO EXCITED when she told me about her newest addition (of course, WHILE she’s applying false lashes to one of our many, many brides together) — she’s a rockstar, ya’ll!

I know you’ll love her as much as I do. Here’s a quick glimpse of all our past brides (and a groom that snuck in there!)

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Happy birthday my dear friend!! Love you Dina!! XOXO

Postponing Your Wedding due to COVID-19


SIDEBAR: What’s the difference between aĀ “pandemic”Ā and an “epidemic?”Ā … go internet go! …

  • AN EPIDEMIC is a disease that affects a large number of people within a community, population, or region.
  • A PANDEMIC is an epidemic thatā€™s spread over multiple countries or continents.
  • ENDEMIC is something that belongs to a particular people or country.
  • AN OUTBREAK is a greater-than-anticipated increase in the number of endemic cases. It can also be a single case in a new area. If itā€™s not quickly controlled, an outbreak can become an epidemic.

Why thank you:!

If you’re like me, this whole coronavirus pandemic hit you like a wrecking ball. Suddenly, questions went from “do you think we should postpone our wedding?” to “howĀ do we postpone our wedding?” So first, a few postponement tips:

  1. Decide on some future dates.Ā I’m big on communicating with your soon-to-be-spouse. While surprises are awesome, secrets are not. This is a joint venture and collaboration is key. #TeamWorkMakesTheDreamWork.
  2. Check with your vendor team. If you have a planner (which, obvs IĀ  recommend…), this is your first call. Your planner can help you navigate the uncharted territory of postponing due to a global pandemic, amongst other things.
      • Venue: take a look at your contract, does it say anything about rescheduling or cancellations? Then, take a DEEEEEEP breath, and have a heart to heart with your Catering Manager. Likely, they have been fielding frantic calls and emails all day. Future dates for the remainder of the year may have already been booked for other events, so you are likely looking at next year. The key here is to try to be flexible, and don’t panic – there is a solution! Also, weddings CAN happen on a weekday — time to think outside the box and see if this makes sense for you.
      • Vendors (photographer, florist, videographer, DJ, caterer, photobooth, hair/makeup, transportation, acrobats, fire eaters… you get the idea): again, I encourage you to take another deep breath and communicate with the team. Ask for their available dates in the time frame you’re considering. Many of my colleagues are willing to waive “rescheduling fees” and will happily shift dates as long as they’re available. If not, explore options together. Remember, many of them are super small businesses and your retainer fee/initial deposit isn’t just money — it’s groceries, it’s rent, it’s a car payment.
      • A helpful email template — feel free to steal!

“Hi there {vendor name}, as you know, our wedding is affected by COVID-19. {Fiance’s name} and I still very much want to have you be part of our wedding vendor team and want to know when you’re available for {enter your time frame here}. If you’re not available, what options do we have? We do understand your operating expenses, and want to support you, but we may have to re-allocate that money elsewhere. I know we can work something out that’s mutually beneficial. We look forward to hearing from you! #StaySafe”

3. Send out your new date. Many stationary companies (like my AWESOME partner, offers discounts on “event change cards” to send a hard copy to your guests. All my clients get a 20-30% discount on their wedding suite with my wedding planner code, FYI! Or, you can post the new date on your socials, on your wedding website, or send a group email to all your guests. My clients can easily mass email their guests through their project website — isn’t it EASY!?!?

4.Ā Continue planning. Life will go on. Events WILL return. Oh! And a quick note on cancellations vs. postponements:

Please consider POSTPONING before CANCELLING your event!Ā 

  1. 99% of all vendors/venues will gladly move everything (including your deposit/retainer) to a future date for FREE. Cancelling, however, you are 99% likely to lose the retainer completely.
  2. Ok, really, there was only the one answer. But please, even though it’s later than you wanted, celebrate your life events!! You still deserve your #BestDayEveršŸ„‚, it just may not be on the date you initially hoped.
  3. Oh wait! Another reason… you can use this time to continue to SAVE MONEY (as much as you can) to have anĀ even betterparty than initially planned!!

So, please… stay the course and remember:

keep calm

Corona-tine 2020

We will never forget March 2020, when the world as we knew it began to change dramatically. Sure, it’s not comparable to World Wars or The Great Depression, but daily life shifted radically. No longer were kids going to school. No longer were we commuting to work. Webinars, FaceTime meetings, and Zoom became part of the daily vernacular. We couldn’t even go to the grocery store without being 6ft away from each other, wearing a face mask, and waiting our turn in line to get in (so we didn’t overcrowd the store).

My inner introvert was overjoyed — I’ve been training for this moment my whole life!


And then, I started watching my beloved hospitality / food / event industry crumble. Friends were losing their jobs. Colleagues were losing their minds trying to navigate government financial aid and how their businesses were going to pivot to stay afloat. And worst of all, the California governor mandated that no gatherings could be held – at first it was 50. Then it was 10.

This meant no going to restaurants. No parks. No church. And you guessed it… no weddings. When the county clerk closed its doors indefinitely, it signalled the end of weddings as we know it.

Luckily, the wedding / hospitality / foodie industry is full of creatives.

*CreĀ·aĀ·tive /krēĖˆÄdiv/ |Ā nounĀ |1. a person who is creative, typically in a professional context.

Some of my favorite catering companies (Coast Catering and Continental Catering, most notably) began offering drive-up pick ups of their delicious foods — even offering a “date night!”

date night

Super awesome, right?

I’m sure every industry is wiping their whiteboards clean and going back to the drawing board. It’s like someone hit the RESET button on the world and this is our chance to get it “better.” I don’t think there’s ever a rightĀ or wrongĀ per say – only different ways to do business.

For me, this reset is an opportunity to write again, to re-evaluate my processes, and to find creative ways to make your event planning experience even more seamless. And just *HOW* can I do that? Well, stay tuned for the next blog!

Who is Steph? (in GIFs!!)

I donā€™t know about you, but with my closest friends and fam, we have entire text convos in GIFs. Theyā€™re just so perfect – little snippets of awesomeness that succinctly express EXACTLY what Iā€™m trying to say. Theyā€™re funny. Theyā€™re witty. Theyā€™re unique. Theyā€™re just perfect.


Ok, fine!

Growing up in LA (aka La-la-land or Holly-weird), I always thought I’d end up in the film business…


Being a 1st AD, the person responsible for pulling everything together for the cameras to roll, I felt myself starting to embody this bad-a$$. Plus, I’m Japanese and Chinese — she gets me!


And then off to college I went, trying to figure out how I can get a college degree while KNOWING I wanted to be in production. Once I learned that pyrotechnics was a career option, I thought…


But really, all I wanted was…

Suddenly, 4 years had gone by and like every college senior, I had the OMG I’m graduating moment.

So, I made the leap from working in the kitchen to being a concert roadie/stagehand with formal training in stage management and lighting design. … And quickly realized I needed a steady form of income. I found a career with corporate audio visuals for meetings and events, and fell in love with events — especially weddings. A wedding day is very much like a day of production…

… well, maybe more clothing and less swords. Actually, I have had a couple perform their cake cutting with a sword….

sword cake cutting

Anyhow… that’s just a smidgen of the person I am in GIFs. Now your turn! You can leave 3 GIFs in the comments below that speak to the couple you are, OR, send them in your inquiry through the contact page. Or even better, post ’em on your socials with #bestdayeveršŸ„‚ !!