Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 10.39.39 AM


It’s a new year, which means a fresh start to your wedding planning and in that same vein, we’ve got something new to share, the Wedding Planning Challenge.  Intrigued?  You should be.  This is a time of change, of improvement and of trying new things. Our goal is always to inspire you and make your wedding planning easier, more fun and of course, joyful.  While there are so many tips, ideas and information we can share with you on how to plan your wedding joyfully, we want you to take action and to see results in your wedding planning and in your life.  When wedding planning is happy, your life will be too.  And who doesn’t want a happy life?

So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to the Wedding Planning Challenge!  We understand the many issues you struggle with when it comes to wedding planning and the range of emotions you feel because of it.  We want you to be happy planning your wedding at every step of the way and this wedding planning challenge is a chance for us to focus on one of those issues every month and solve it.  We’ll discuss the problem you are facing and the steps to find your way out of it.  Then we’ll pass the challenge on to you to work on and put your solution into action.  While the challenge is only for the month, the solution you learn will help you as you continue to plan your wedding.  Every time you find yourself in a similar situation, you’ll know how to get out of it and how to potentially even prevent it in the future which will not only make wedding planning happier but your life as well.  So, let’s jump right into January’s Wedding Planning Challenge.

January Wedding Planning ChallengeDestination Wedding Planner_Mango Muse Events_January Wedding Planning Challenge

Hands down, the problem I hear the most from couples who are planning their wedding is that they feel overwhelmed.  It’s not surprising when you think about jumping head first into a world that until before you were engaged, you were never really a part of.  You knew it existed and maybe even danced along the edges of it when you were a member of a friend or family’s wedding party, but you were never immersed in this world of weddings.  There is a lot out there and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

So, let’s talk about overwhelm.  What is overwhelm?  Essentially, it is too much.  It’s an excessive amount that creates an overpowering feeling.  It’s too much of anything or of everything.  You feel weighed down, crushed even by the sheer quantity of stuff (whatever that stuff may be).  What is considered overwhelming can be different for different people and can come at different times in the planning process.  It can take the form of ideas on wedding blogs and Pinterest or it can take the form of vendors or take the form of planning advice.

Here is our solution to overwhelm: Narrow the field.  Stop looking everywhere at everything and instead, focus.  Reduce the mass quantities of stuff.  Be selective and make it manageable.

Step 1:  First think about what overwhelms you.  What about wedding planning right now overwhelms you?  Be specific and honest.  Is it your mother?  Is it your budget?  Is it not knowing who to hire?  Is it not knowing how to come up with ideas?  Is it not knowing how to cut your guest list?  Is it not knowing where to buy your shoes?  Is it not having enough time?  Write down each item that is making you feel overwhelmed.

Step 2:  Now look at the first item on your list and write down why that item makes you feel overwhelmed.  Then ask yourself again, why?  Do this a few times to each answer you write down.  For example, if it’s your mother, maybe you feel overwhelmed because she’s constantly emailing you with ideas she has.  And the reason this makes you feel overwhelmed is because she sends you all different kinds of stuff all the time.  And the reason this makes you feel overwhelmed is because it reminds you of all the things you need to do.

Step 3:  Now that you know why you are overwhelmed, think about what would make that feeling go away.  What would lift that heavy feeling off your shoulders?  The goal here is to brainstorm a few solutions that could eliminate the problem completely or, at least, reduce it to something that is more manageable.  If we take the mother example again, a solution could be to have all your mother’s emails filter to a folder for you to look at when you are ready.  Or a solution is to talk to her about the emails and set up a system where you prompt her when you need help on an item.

Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3 with each item on your list.

Step 5: Now pick a solution for each item from your brainstorm by picking the one that feels the best.  Pick the one that feels good to you, the one that gives you a sense of relief and then put it into action.  The best way to get out from under the weight of overwhelm is to do something about it.  You’ll feel better just by working towards a solution.  And if your first solution doesn’t quite work, try your second or your third until the overwhelm from that item is gone.  If none of your solutions are working, revisit your why and dig a little bit deeper.  Your why needs to align with your solution, so if your why is off, then your solution won’t solve it.

Step 6: Share your successes in a comment below or on social media using #weddingplanningchallenge!  We want to hear what you’ve done to get rid of your overwhelm and what you gained out of kicking overwhelm to the curb.  And if you are still struggling, let us know what problem you are facing and we’ll do all we can to help.

I know, overwhelm is no joke.  I didn’t go easy on you with our first challenge, but that’s because I know things can change for the better and your wedding planning can be happier.  Feeling overwhelmed is a big problem, but when you solve it you’ll get a big smile on your face.  So, I challenge you to make your wedding planning more joyful and apply this solution every time you feel overwhelmed.  Work at it and it will make a difference.  And don’t forget to share your success story, I can’t wait to hear all about your wins (because you will)!




[Vero Suh]

Maybe you’ve already had some wedding dress shopping experience as a bridesmaid, or maybe you’ve only seen the horror stories on TLC. So, let’s clear some things up. We want to provide you with realistic tips and expectations so your wedding dress shopping goes beautifully – and only happy tears show up to the party.

1. Know what you’re looking for before you start (as much as possible). You don’t have to know all the fancy names of the different fits, but have an idea of how you want to feel on your big day. Do you want to feel like a princess? Ballgown. Aiming for more ethereal and romantic? Look for A-line or lots of chiffon and flow material. Want to feel sexy? Show off your curves with a mermaid, trumpet style or low back.

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 6.12.48 PM

[Vero Suh]


[Vivian Sachs]

2. While it’s important to know how you want to feel, it’s also important to remember that you need to feel comfortable in your dress. You want to be able to enjoy your big day and have fun, rather than worrying about how tight your dress is, what’s showing and what’s not or fidgeting with uncomfortable fabric. No matter how fabulous the dress is… it’s not worth being the focus of your night. We promise.

3. Bring supportive people with you. This is HUGE. Everyone is going to want to come with you – friends, sisters, mothers, mother-in-laws, grandmothers etc. One of the best methods is to schedule a couple of dress appointments and bring 2 or 3 at a time with you. That way, you can group together people who get along, keep the group small and let everyone have a chance to come along. But if any of them show signs of being controlling or unsupportive – just say no! You don’t deserve to feel pressured or put down when you’re envisioning yourself on your big day, so just leave the nay-sayers at home.


[Gavin Farrington Photography]

Happy shopping!


Wedding Cake








Grapevine inspired wedding cake made by Pretty Please Bakeshop.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 11.51.42 AM


Join us as we feature the gorgeous Fall 2015 & Spring 2016 Collections from Rivini at Kinsley James! The gowns will be 10% off throughout the weekend.

To secure an appointment please call 925-330-9228 or email info@kinsleyjames.com

Rivini TS Flyer.jpg



Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 1.12.17 PM

[Vero Suh Photography]

You’re engaged!!! Now it’s time for alllll those wedding events. The engagement party, the bridal shower, the bachelorette party, the rehearsal dinner…. As daunting as the next couple of months/year can seem with everything that needs to get done, shopping for some fabulous white outfits (if you’re going the traditional route) can add a little fun to the planning.
Online boutiques are great for finding unique pieces AND they let you shop per color, which is a huge time saver!

White summer dresses are perfect for warm weather engagement parties or sweet bridal showers:


lulus summer[Lulu’s]


Two-piece outfits add a little pizzazz and subtle sexiness to your bachelorette party or shower:

lulus two piece2[Lulu’s]

two piece lulus[Lulu’s]


And something super feminine and flowy can give that perfect bridal feel for your rehearsal:

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 6.58.20 PM[ModCloth]




Redefining neutrals with pinks and blues. Shop a sneak peek of our fav Fall trends on sweetandspark.com 

Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 2.19.41 PM


Jonathan reached out to me about photographing his proposal to Maggie in San Francisco, and he already knew the perfect spot.  The park surrounding the pond at the Letterman Digital Arts Center near the Palace of Fine Arts had been a significant location for them both throughout their relationship.  Plus Maggie loves ducks, so it made the perfect spot even better.

Maggie & Jonathan, it was such a joy being a part of this moment. I hope you cherish these images for years to come.

Photograph of a marriage proposal at San Francisco's Letterman Digital Arts Center.Photograph of a marriage proposal at San Francisco's Letterman Digital Arts Center.Photograph of a marriage proposal at San Francisco's Letterman Digital Arts Center.San Francisco marriage proposal photography near the pond at the Letterman Digital Arts Center.San Francisco marriage proposal photography near the pond at the Letterman Digital Arts Center.San Francisco marriage proposal photography near the pond at the Letterman Digital Arts Center.San Francisco marriage proposal photography near the pond at the Letterman Digital Arts Center.San Francisco marriage proposal photographer in the park at the Letterman Digital Arts Center.San Francisco marriage proposal photographer in the park at the Letterman Digital Arts Center.Marriage proposal photography ideas near San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts.Marriage proposal photography ideas near San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts.Marriage proposal photography ideas near San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts.Ideas for marriage proposals in San Francisco.Ideas for marriage proposals in San Francisco.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out Sumesh and Supriya’s marriage proposal at the Palace of Fine Arts.  Or for a different idea, here’s how Michael proposed to Kristen at Golden Gate Park’s Stow Lake.



Nirav Photography // Planning by Kaella Lynn Events

The question of whether or not you should or NEED to hire a wedding planner or coordinator is one that gets asked a lot. Our simple answer? You absolutely will not regret it!!

If you’re type-A and totally on top of your organization game, then all you may need is a month-of coordinator. But planning your wedding can often be like a second job, so if you’re totally lost or just need someone to handle the logistics that you don’t have the time for, then a full-service planner will be your best friend and best investment. Either way, having a friendly face there on your wedding day to manage your timeline and coordinate all of your vendors is a MUST.

If you need even more convincing, we’ll break it down and show you just how much bang for your buck a planner will provide:

    1. Knowledge and management of vendors. Don’t know how to find a DJ or photographer that totally matches your vibe? Planners have major connections with vendors, so they can give recommendations AND sometimes even help you navigate all of those detailed contracts.
    2. Bringing your vision and personality to your big day. There are so many moving parts to a wedding! A planner can reign all of that in and help you pinpoint exactly what kind of vibe and experience you want – which means you and your fiance can focus on the fun stuff! Tip: Meeting with a planner or coordinator first is key! You want to make sure that your personalities align. If you’re type-A, find a planner who reallllly is. Or if you know you’ll be stressing out and need a gal pal to hear you out, go with a planner who exudes a calm and laid back personality.
    3. Helping the day-of go off without a hitch. Every wedding has tiny hiccups, but having a month-of coordinator means you don’t have to know or worry about any of those logistics. You want to look back on your day as fun, relaxing and memorable – so you shouldn’t be the one worrying about staying on schedule or calming down an over-emotional family member!
    4. Making your wedding details Pinterest-perfect. Many planners also offer design services, so that cigar bar or guest book table will actually end up looking like your Pinterest inspiration once it’s all been set up!

So go ahead and save yourself from a bridezilla moment and add that planner to your budget! You won’t regret it.


For your Thursday viewing pleasure, here is a small peek at Sheridan and Samuel’s joyous, puppy-filled engagement session! These two lovebirds met on Tinder and never had to swipe right (or left!) again.

We can’t wait to show you the rest of their lovely session; keep your eyes on the blog!


northern california engagement photography
beach engagement session

xoxo – Milou + Olin