member spotlight :: san diego events lighting

The owners of San Diego Events Lighting are passionate about event lighting, and it is this passion that has turned this young business into one of San Diego’s leading wedding and event lighting companies!  Co-owners, Maria Harman (the technical genius), and Sharon Cole (a former wedding planner), partnered together and fused their technical and creative energies to create a company that is truly unlike other lighting companies in the San Diego area!

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> How did San Diego Events Lighting get its start?

Sharon: We started in 2010.  Maria was a CNC Machinist, (working with computers and robotic machines) manufacturing parts for the aerospace industry.

Due to cut backs and a very poor economy, the company she worked for had to downsize.  So, Maria decided to go in a new direction and create a company of her own.  Both her and I knew that lighting was up-and-coming as a major focus for brides and grooms, so we decided that this was a perfect fit for both Maria’s talents and my experience as a former wedding planner!


> What events/areas do you specialize in?

We can do lighting for any and all events and/or parties; we are open to any type of event that needs quality lighting.  Wedding lighting is so special to us, because one’s wedding day is usually one of the most important days in his/her life, so we want to make sure that the lighting is beautiful.  We want the lighting to have a lasting effect on the couple as well as their guests.


> Talk about wedding lighting…how do you work with a couple?

We meet with couples typically twice, once in our office and once at the venue.

In the office meeting, we go over the client’s colors and lighting designs.  Some clients do their homework online, so they come into the first meeting knowing what they’re looking for.  When they show us something they like, we educate them about how to achieve that look and also educate them technically about different lighting elements that will affect the mood, style and overall ambiance of their ceremony or reception space.

If a couple is not sure of what they need or want, we have a photo-book of past events, held at their venue, that can help guide them.  By using this inspiration book, we can help them create a lighting design that will work for them.

Our second meeting is very important, so if it is possible, we want to meet the client at the venue.   There, we walk the space with the client and take note of any architectural elements, which may add to the beauty of the space, so we know how we can illuminate them and maximize their beauty.   We also want make sure that we know how many fixtures will be used to light up the space perfectly.  This way we can plan accordingly.

If a couple is inquiring about outdoor lighting, we use our meeting at the venue to also walk the outdoor space.  If they’re interested in string lighting, for example, we take measurements to make that happen.  If there is natural foliage, we determine how to make it beautiful illuminated.

Our meeting at the venue also gives us the chance to meet with the onsite coordinator and make sure there will be enough power to run our lights without disrupting the power for other vendors, such as the DJ and/or Band.  We go over logistics such as power outlets, time of day, and time of year to make sure that the lighting requested will work for them.

In the end and based on our walkthrough, we create a ”wish list” for the couple.  We present them with a quote that lists everything that we discussed at the venue.  Then, based on their needs, desires, and budget, the couple can then tailor their lighting package.


> What sets your company apart from your competitors?

We are dedicated 100% to lighting only.  We do not offer any other services because we believe it is important to stay true to our passion: lighting.   We want to advance not just our business, but the industry as well, so we actively seek out opportunities to become lighting dealers.  Currently, we sell for two amazing lighting manufacturers, Blizzard Lighting and Rosco Gobo.  As dealers in San Diego, we can offer other industry professionals excellent products and services.

In fact, we’re excited to announce that we recently partnered with Blizzard to create a prototype light!  Staying current with trends is important to us. The idea of creating new designs and setting new trends is so interesting.   It is amazing to have the newest and best lighting fixtures available to us!  No cutting corners or sacrificing quality for quantity. We truly believe in nothing but the best, and that means both quality lighting and superior customer service.   It is very important to us that we deliver quality to our clients because in the end, we want them happy with not only their wedding or event, but with us!


> What is your business philosophy or “mantra?”

“Bringing your lighting vision to life…” Clients have their lighting vision for their wedding, so we help bring their ideas/vision to life.   We want our passion and creativity for event lighting to get our clients excited about what we can do for them.

We also believe in showing our clients we appreciate them!  They are the key to our success, so we have ways to show we care.  For example, if a client happens to come up with a brand new color for their LED up-lights, and it is one that we haven’t used before, we’ll name that color after the client!


> What does being a member of Weddings of Distinction mean to you?

The group is quality-driven, and we are so impressed with that.  WOD members share the same philosophies we do, and that is important to us.  WOD is made up of other family-owned businesses that are like-minded in their business approach.  We’re all passionate about what we do and focused on quality, quality, quality.

It was an honor to have been accepted into the group, and we intend to never take it for granted.  It’s an amazing support network for those in the wedding industry.


> What advice would give those planning a wedding?

Lighting can add to the ambiance of a room, just like flowers add color and texture.  Lighting can also add dimension to a room/event.  Therefore, proper lighting is a design element that can affect mood and beauty, visually and emotionally.  It is very important for a couple to choose a color that ties into their wedding theme.  Proper colors will only add to the experience their guests have.

When it comes to timing, our services, unlike other wedding vendors, do not require months or weeks of planning, so we are able to cater to tight timelines, if need be.  Lighting colors can be chosen rather quickly, so we can cater to couples that are even days away from their wedding.  If the couple wanted a custom gobo (projection pattern with initials, etc.), that would take little longer, so they need to plan accordingly.

For pictures and more information, visit our blog or ‘Like” us on Facebook @sandiegoeventslighting!

Market Lights


Market Lights | Paper Lanterns

real weddings :: camille + adam

Camille + Adam are a stylish couple.  They love the summertime and the being outdoors, so the couple chose Paradise Point Resort as the setting for their special day.  With the help of wedding coordinator, Ann Strobel (of Ann’s Plans), the day reflected the couple’s fun and colorful personality.

Adam has a son, Ayden, and he played an important role in the wedding, from helping dad get ready beforehand, to being the ring-bearer in the ceremony!  The couple’s two dogs, Romeo and Harley, also played an integral part of the day!  They not only donned stylish ties for the special occasion, but they helped walk Ayden down the isle.  Reverend Don Toshach officiated the ceremony.

Instead of a formal reception, the couple elected to have more of a low-key luncheon, with the dogs hanging out and guests enjoying a beautiful southern California afternoon!  Camille + Adam are a unique couple, and thanks to Studio Carre’ Photographie, their laid-back style was represented perfectly in the photos.

Photos courtesy of Studio Carre’ Photographie

special event :: brides against breast cancer

The ‘Brides Against Breast Cancer Event’ is coming to San Diego next week: October 26th – 28th!

What is Brides Against Breast Cancer?

Brides Aainst Breast Cancer (BABC) is a non-profit organization that sells wedding gowns, which have been donated to them, to help provide free support services to those women impacted by breast cancer. BABC provides educations, outreach, and information to all event attendees, such as brides, community partners, and volunteers.  BABC tours the nation, visiting over 70 cities across the United States this year alone!  The events take place in premier wedding venues in the respective area, they feature the best, local bridal partners, and they sell 700+ designer and couture gowns!

For pictures and updates from recent shows, you can visit the BABC Facebook page:



San Diego’s BABC Event:  

October 26th – 28th @ Hotel Salomar

For details, visit:

Friday Night = VIP Reception/Costume Party, “Last Night Out”  —  Items will be available for raffle/auction at the party

Saturday + SundayDesigner Wedding Gown Sale — All proceeds go to the BABC charity; gowns are designer + couture, with 25% – 85% savings!


Want to get involved?

1) Exclusive Vendor Booth Opportunities  —  Two (2) Sponsorship levels: VIP + Champagne Toast (see Vendor Form for details)

     * BABC is looking for one (1) vendor for each category, at each sponsorship level.

     * Vendors get exclusivity.  The booth is good for the entire weekend!

2) Be a Volunteer — BABC is looking for 100+ volunteers to assist with all aspects of the show!  Men, women, young and old are welcome.

     * To volunteer, visit:  

3) Tell/email your family and friends! — The event is open to all and is for a good cause, so spread the word and share the message!


For more information, please contact: Paige @ Bliss Events (

real weddings :: dagna + kyle

Let’s start with a little background from Dagna, about how she and Kyle met:

“Kyle and I “met” when I was about 18.  I don’t recall who struck up the initial conversation, but we immediately clicked. We both belonged to a College Aged Republicans group on MySpace (go ahead and make your jokes, but without MySpace we wouldn’t have met!)  From the get go, I found him incredibly funny and intelligent. We shared the same views and passions, and let’s be honest the extremely handsome part didn’t hurt!  We would spend hours online and on the phone discussing politics and our lives. He always made me laugh! From the very beginning I knew I would be with him one day…”

Photos courtesy of Studio Carre’ Photographie

Dagna + Kyle are a great couple; they’re truly down to earth, easy going, and open to creativity.  As a couple, they love to think out of the box, and their wedding reflected their unique personality. The Prado at Balboa Park provided the perfect backdrop for this couple, and with the help of Ann (of Ann’s Plans), their special day was perfectly coordinated; Lois Mathews Designs created the beautiful floral designs and accents; Artistic Productions provided the musical/DJ entertainment, and Studio Carre’ Photographie captured the memories.

news + press :: september luncheon at AFR Furniture Rental

September has come and gone, and Weddings of Distinction members congregated at AFR Furniture Rental for the monthly meeting.  What is normally a drab warehouse was turned into a chic dining space, complete with decorative furnishings and chairs (special thanks to David Wright and Kristen Spooner for the hospitality)!  San Diego Paella cooked up some delicious lunch, and Joes on the Nose brewed some refreshing teas that held off the September heat.

The meeting was pretty casual, but all relevant and important business was attended to and all new members were introduced to the group.  Friendly conversation ended the afternoon.  All in all, it was a great, yet hot, afternoon!

member spotlight :: sandra nicole

Sandra Nicole occupies a special niche in the wedding industry.  Not only do they offer styling services for brides and members of their wedding party, they craft and design one-of-a-kind wedding accessories.  Their products and services are truly unique.   Weddings of Distinction is honored to have Sandra Nicole part of our group.  Our next new-member interview shares their story.  I spoke with Sandra and learned how this mother (Sandra) | daughter (Nicole) duo found their place in the industry.

> Tell us about your business background?  How did Sandra Nicole come into existence?

I am a very creative person.  I have always painted, designed, and crafted.  Yet, it was actually my daughter’s idea to start Sandra Nicole.   Nicole is a graduate from UC Davis (Managerial + Economics degree), but when she graduated, she, like many, couldn’t find a career in her field.

What’s interesting, as a little girl Nicole had always said she wanted to be in the wedding industry, so when she left school, she got a job in a prestigious bridal boutique in Beverly Hills.  That job revived her childhood interest.  Also, around the same time, my sister, her aunt, got engaged, and Nicole began helping her plan.  When her aunt purchased a headpiece, Nicole got the idea that we, too, could make and design bridal headpieces.  Just like that; the seed was planted.

That was just about 2 years ago.  We started making bridal headpieces on my kitchen table.  We started small, and the rest is history.


> What services or products do you now offer?

Sandra Nicole satisfies a special niche in the wedding industry: accessories and styling.  Our focus is helping brides complete their look, as well as the look of those in the bridal party (if they so desire).   We want to make everyone (brides, bridesmaids, etc.) completely shine, and the accessories and styling we offer compliment, rather than detract from, the total look.

Many of our pieces are custom-made; we sew everything ourselves.  We also offer brides pieces from other vendors.  Whatever the bride chooses, we can then add and/or take away detail to turn the piece into their liking.  Whether it is a headpiece, a sash, or a veil, Sandra Nicole can help brides with any detail(s).  We ask for at least 30 days to make our custom pieces, but we can rush, if need be!


> What is your business “mantra” or philosophy?

Nicole and I realize that everybody’s budget is different, and for those brides whose budget is limited, we offer the same quality and service.  Our approach is to make all brides feel beautiful, regardless of budget.  Each bride deserves to have that exquisite look she wishes for; it’s her red-carpet day!

We believe that we have been given a gift when it comes to styling and accessorizing, so we operate our business by sharing our knowledge with our brides and their families.  If they’re willing, we encourage brides to try new and different looks.  We’re always sensitive to what they want, and no matter what, the focus is always the client and the look she’s trying to achieve.


> How do brides meet with you?

Depending on what is easiest for the bride, we can come to them, or they can come to us.  We do business all over southern California, so we are very flexible.  All of our materials and samples travel easily, so all we need is for the bride to have her dress handy.  No matter where the meetings take place, they’re like an accessories party where the bride gets to play “dress up!”

Brides can also meet us at various bridal fairs in Southern California.  This avenue may pose a problem.  Brides sometimes like to buy accessory items on the spot, but we always encourage them to wait, to let us meet with them, with their dress, and a mirror; this way we can put stuff on and sample all things together.


>Do you sell on-line?

We’re contemplating this option, but again, like the bridal fairs, we prefer that a bride see the material and piece in person.  You just never know how an item will look with a dress until you put them next to one another.


> What separates Sandra Nicole from competitors in the industry?

We are not just an accessories company; we’re stylists as well.  We love accessorizing; we love fashion and trends, and it is our belief that the accessories one chooses can make (or break) an outfit.  So, we work with our clients; we use our gift to help them.  Our pieces are not one-size-fits-all.  They’re unique, a reflection of the bride’s taste and personality.


>Have any of your pieces been featured anywhere?

Yes!  We have been so blessed with the growth we’ve experienced over the past couple of years.  We have taken part in several special events as well as many editorial/T.V. features (all over southern California)! A handful of stores also carry our pieces. Please visit our press page as well as our blog for detailed information on each event/showcase.


> What does being a member of Weddings of Distinction mean to you?

Nicole and I want to create the right reputation, and in being a member of this group, we’re doing just that.  We work very hard and take a lot of pride in our work, so it’s great to be a part of group of like-minded people.

Also, being a WOD member means that Sandra Nicole is validated.  All the members in the group have been in business for some time, and it was an honor to be asked to join.  It means, to us, that the group sees our potential, our value, and we’re so appreciative of that!  Sandra Nicole is a newer company, so it is a great feeling to be a part of the real thing, so to speak.  We’re very excited about the direction we’re heading.


> What advice would you give those planning a wedding?

Use vendors that are reliable and a pleasure to work with; that’s when the magic happens.  Do not be around people that are negative or not open to suggestions.  That will only make your process stressful and unmemorable.

Also, and most importantly, give yourself plenty of time. The process can seem stressful, but it really is so much fun and exciting.  Take the time to enjoy the entire process!


real weddings :: jenn + eddie

Photos courtesy of Studio Carre’

We’re so happy to blog about this couple…and their wedding!! They are great friends of many in the group, and it was such an honor to be a part of their day and capture all the lovely details.

Jen + Eddie are both outdoorsy people, with a love for the beach, so for their wedding, they chose L’Auberge Del Mar as their backdrop for their special day.   The couple and their guests were able to enjoy an awesome view of the ocean, while also relishing in the east-coast casual elegance that the property offers.   Rae Florae handled the floral designs for the wedding, and they did such a great job, mixing lovely colors and texture together. When it came to cake, this couple choose wisely when hiring Sweet Cheeks Baking Co.  Cupcakes are typically everyone’s favorite, and this “cake” did not disappoint.  After the ceremony and dinner, which were outside on the terrace, the night officially began in the ballroom, where friends and family hit the dance floor!  Amazing lighting was provided by San Diego Events Lighting.

WOD Vendors Involved: Studio Carre’, Rae Florae, Sweet Cheeks Baking Co., San Diego Events Lighting

news + press :: san diego style weddings magazine – fall 2012

UPDATE: The  San Diego Style Weddings magazine launch party was last night at La Costa Resort & Spa!  It was a lovely time!  We’re please to announce that our very own, Merrylin Brichmann, of Artistic Productions, spoke at the event, sharing stories of her relationship with SDSW over the years.  It truly was a great evening, and many Weddings of Distinction members celebrated the special event!


2012 is a big year for San Diego Style Weddings magazine; it is celebrating 25 years of helping brides plan their weddings!  In the latest magazine release, available to the public today, Weddings of Distinction is mentioned in a “Wedding Service Group” feature!

Get your copy today for helpful tips and tricks for planning a wedding in Southern California!

real weddings :: madeline + john

Wedding themes come in all forms, and for this real wedding, the couple got very creative.  Madeline + John wanted a travel-themed wedding celebration, and they knew that right from the start.  For their engagement photo shoot, for example,  the couple used props like vintage luggage and an awesome airstrip.  Their “Save the Date” cards, designed by WOD member, Pink Star Design, (pictured above) were cleverly designed like an airline ticket.  Then on their wedding day, they had maps and travel tickets designed.  This couple took their passion for travel to the next level!

Their ceremony took place at Mary, Star of the Sea, and the reception followed at the Rancho Bernardo Inn.  The reception location only added to the elements of vintage chic travel.  Concepts Event Design, another WOD member, did an amazing job detailing the space with decor to reflect the bride and groom’s unique taste.   Touches of eggplant and lime created a beautiful day for the bride and groom.

Special details:  Instead of traditional escort cards, Madeline + John used succulents in mini pots, with cards placed on a stick, to tell the guests where to sit.  At the table, guests were reminded of the travel theme with map design details on the menus as well as on the table numbers.

The bride searched websites like etsy and Pinterest for these small, yet significant details.  The idea for the “Mr.” and “Mrs.” signs, which hung from the couple’s chairs, came from one of these sites!  When all was said and done, the combination of the details, together with Madeline + John’s unique theme made this wedding a trip to remember!

Images courtesy of True Photography