news + press :: july meeting at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel + Marina

Life is San Diego is pretty spectacular, and when you’re part of a group that takes you to one of the finest wedding venues in San Diego for lunch, life gets that much more spectacular.  For July’s meeting we traveled to the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, located bay front with amazing views of America’s Finest City.

We started the afternoon outdoors, on the Bay View Lawn, with a sunny and warm reception hour with small bites and custom lunchtime cocktails.  The view of the docked boats and the crystal-clear blue skies made everyone’s mood happy.  Then, we moved the luncheon indoors, into the Sheraton’s Harbor Island Ballroom, which still offered stunning views of the harbor with its tall windows throughout.

Our speakers this month: Maryanne McGuire, of McGuire Photography, and Andy Hangenah, of “The Groove,” formerly “Disc-Go-Round DJ.”  Maryanne shared with her start as a wedding photographer, from her beginnings in NY state, to her travels out west.  Andy explained the evolution of his wedding DJ business, and how the re-branding of his company and changing the name to “The Groove” actually came from a client of his!  It was great to gain insight into these two about their starts and to see how they’ve come to where they are today!

Our “Tips-from-the-Pros” series continued this month, and it was the florists in our group, Lois Mathews, Frankie Hartwell, and Dawn Stone, that shared insight into the extent of the work a wedding flower designer can do for a wedding.  Many may not realize that so much more goes into wedding flowers, not just designing bouquets and arrangements!

The meeting ended with a 50/50 raffle and a gracious giveaway from the Sheraton Hotel.  Next month: we travel to Paradise Point Hotel & Spa.  Stay tuned!!

Photos courtesy of E3 Photography

San Diego Wedding Vendors

steampunk wedding :: a WOD collaboration


When you combine steam-powered machinery, with the fashion of late 19th century Victorian era, the result is an edgy, fashionable look at history.  That style is known as ‘steampunk.’

Steampunk incorporates elements of fantasy, historical fiction, as well as elements of speculation.  It is dark, bold, and it happens to be trending lately.  Steampunk is a theme that many couples are incorporating into their weddings!

Studio Carre' Photography

So, recently, many San Diego wedding vendors came together to assemble their own scene(s) for an amazing photo shoot that captured the best elements of this fascinating genre.  What took a lot of planning and creativity, the shoot came together perfectly.  So perfectly, in fact, that Ceremony Magazine’s Blog featured the shoot in a recent post!

It started, though, like all good things, as an idea, an idea fabricated by Shannon Henry (Studio Carré), Ann Strobel (Ann’s Plans) and Dawn Stone (Embellishmint Floral + Event Design).  They were intrigued by the elements of Steampunk, and they were noticing the growing trend among couples to incorporate Steampunk elements into their weddings.  So, the seed was planted.  They talked; they coordinated; they collaborated and invited others to join.

The result: an amazingly creative collection of images.  Everyone worked together and each contributed his or her specific element of specialty; no detail was left unturned.

Set on location at the historic Mt. Woodson Castle, in Ramona, CA, the castle’s rustic design elements fit perfectly for the shoot that takes you back in time.  The models, thanks to hair and makeup artists, Beauti on the Go, had big, dramatic hair and were embellished with hats and headpieces by Sandra Nicole Designs.   The clothing and dresses from Provence Bride by Allyson Simone were vintage-style and had black accents.  From the antique furniture, to the blackboard design, to the detail of the glasses, florals and ceremony site, every design element coordinated perfectly.

Studio Carre' Photography

Vendors Involved:

Photography – Studio Carré

Design + Prop Accessory/Vignette Rentals – Ann’s Plans

Floral + Accessory Design – Embellishmint Floral + Event Design

Hair + Makeup – Beauti on the Go

Head Pieces and Accessories – Sandra Nicole Designs + Ann’s Plans

Bridal Gowns – Provence Bride by Allyson Simone

Furniture Rental – Rashae Taylor

Chalkboard Design – Lucky to be in Love

Cake – Sweet Cheeks Baking Co.

Custom Bar – Snake Oil Cocktail Company

Buffet Breakfast + Lunch – Personal Touch Dining

Venue – Mt. Woodson Castle

Studio Carre, Weddings of Distinction, Steampunksan diego weddingsweddings in san diego

member spotlight :: embellishmint floral + event design studio

Wedding Flowers San Diego

Embellishment, with an “e”, is exactly what Embellishmint Floral + Event Design Studio (with an”i”) does, with flowers, of course.

Our special wedding vendor being showcased this month is Embellishmint Floral + Event Design Studio.  This amazingly creative studio not only offers clients stunning floral arrangements, but even event design consultation!  So, let’s here about Dawn Stone’s company and how she came to be where she is today: an iconic figure in the San Diego wedding industry!


>Embellishmint is so successful in San Diego; how did you start this business?

I never intended to become a florist, per se.  I was actually going to school at the Design Institute for Interior Design.  But then a major life event happened (my son got into an accident) and I had to quit to take care of him.

While I was taking care of him, and also around that same time, I was working part-time with a wedding coordinator, helping her on the day of an event.

Then, around Christmas, a florist friend of mine needed help for a Christmas party she was doing, so I signed up.


>Did you know anything about flowers?

No, not really.  I had to learn all the flower rules.   I had no experience!  The internet is a magical thing, so in addition to my own research, I partnered up with florists I knew in the business, and I also took classes with a local, renown florist.


>So when did Embellishmint come into existence?

Well, I started Embellishmint when I was working with the coordinator.  I was still helping her out as I began this journey into floral design.  I figured that since I was helping embellish certain things for her brides, I could do the same with the floral and more.  The two just came together! I also had a good friend of mine, Julie, and she and I started the business together originally.  She, unfortunately, has since moved to Hawaii, but we still are very close.


>Where did you start?  Did you have a space?

We didn’t have a space set in stone, but rather we bounced around.  Currently, the business is in National City, and we’ve been here for the past two years, but before that we operated from a space in Coronado, which we were in for over three years.

With regard to the business itself, we built it through word-of-mouth.  We continued to work with the coordinator, and we just put ourselves out there. Many people gave us a chance, and it worked out!


>How long ago was that?

7 years.  We did it part-time that first year, but it has grown exponentially since!  Our space now in National City is great because we needed more space, so now our studio location is perfect and spacious.


>You now offer floral design for all types of events; did you start out that way?

Initially, we advertised our business for weddings.  It took a lot of networking and a few magazine ads.  That proved successful.  But, when the economy tanked a few years ago, we shifted our focus to corporate.  We adapted to the financial times.  Many of the venues we were working with for weddings were also hosting major corporate meetings and events, and we were fortunate to expand and move with the times.


>So, what sets Embellishmint apart from other floral designers/florists?

Well, we are not retail.  We really only focus on event floral, whether that is for a wedding or a meeting.  Embellishmint will only do one event/wedding day, because our #1 focus is the customer.  We have a slightly different focus than other floral experts and that is my design background.  I offer clients event styling services, and I can work hand-in-hand with a couple’s coordinator.

Any good planner is an architect, and a good florist is also a craftsman/designer.  The balance of the two is fine, and I am able to work with and appreciate others’ abilities.  That is what I think makes Embellishmint so unique.

Nowadays, budgets for weddings and events are constrained, and I think the defining feature of a good designer is working within the constraints of budget.  As a floral and event designer, I can make anything and any budget work; I can make it look like a million bucks without costing even close to that!

My focus: I don’t care about knowing the names of flowers and being an encyclopedia, I care, instead, about the beauty of things and different pieces together.  To me, that’s the most important.


>Does Embellishmint have a business tagline?

Nothing formal.  My work is unique, and my design background helps influence this uniqueness.  When I was in design school, we worked with textures and colors, and now I get to use this knowledge base and apply it in a different context.

The best thing for any business is for you (the owner) to stop and get a hobby, this way the mind doesn’t get stagnant.  My hobby is design, for lucky for me, my work and my hobby are intertwined.


>Talk more about your hobby…how are you combining that with Embellishmint’s work and your own growth as a person?

I am interested in going back to instructing.  I believe that education is first.  For example, when I first meet with a bride, couple, whoever, the first meeting is about teaching them the process.

I would like to start offering more classes, making them open to the public and to couples.  I want to look at trends and then teach about how to create looks based on that trend.  Maybe make it an evening event involving wine and food, in addition to the helpful information!  For example, fantasy, going green, and DIY are really hot now, and people are trying to expand on everyday life, so I want to make accessories and then teach people how to do it as well!  It would not be a DIY class for the crafty bride, per se, but an environment to teach them a few things so they then see the value in my business and me.

>What’s next for you and Embellishmint?

I want to work with others vendors, network, learn from them, and pick up on their talents.  I would like to add the LA area/corporate LA to my list of areas served, and I would like to restructure the business slightly, and actually do fewer events, but really optimizing the ones we do participate in.  It’s the work smarter, not harder mantra.  Through a lot of trial and error, I am involved in a constant evaluation of how my business can evolve/change the right way.  It’s about quality, not quantity.


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

There are so many associations out there today for wedding professionals, and often they can feel stale.  But, one say I was at the Prado for an open house and Weddings of Distinction was there and everyone in the group was smiling and proud.  I knew I wanted to be a part of it.  The referral system is great, and being a part of really quality professionals who are genuinely trying to help one another is so refreshing.

I find myself really excited about the meeting, and you can tell everyone wants to be there. No fake-ness.  We trust one another and help one another out.  With so much competition out there for wedding professionals, it is refreshing to be among like-minded experts. It is not a drudgery being present.  After I found WOD, I stopped going to other association meetings.  I really like the direction WOD is going.


>What is an interesting factoid about you that people may not know?

I have an extensive succulent garden, and I rent out these pieces, in various vessels, for an event!  I love succulents, so this is another way for me to combine a passion and business.


>Rent succulents?

Yea, a business or event may want certain pieces, so I rent them to them, deliver them, set them up, and then pick them up after the event is done.  The great thing about succulents is they last forever, and they’re gorgeous!  This is mostly for my corporate and business side of the business, not for a bride or wedding.  Its more of a wholesale business.


>Any advice you would give those planning a wedding?

Don’t do it!  Elope in Vegas.  No, just kidding, sort of.  Well, couples need to really think about what the day is about.  Get your priorities in order. Know your budget; be firm.  Don’t lose wight about what the day is actually about.

Also, and most important, be truthful to a good, quality professional.  A trusted vendor is one you can have faith in to get the day exactly right.  Hire good people and your eliminate one stress!

news + press :: april’s luau at the bali hai restaurant

Bali Hai Restaurant

Photos courtesy of Bryan N. Miller Photography

 We didn’t really have a luau, but it sure felt tropical at April’s meeting at the Bali Hai Restaurant.  Located on San Diego’s Shelter Island, the Bali Hai Restaurant boasts amazing views of San Diego Bay and the city skyline.  Special thanks to the restaurant’s staff, our Weddings of Distinction meeting was located in the Tiki Room, which has some of best views from the entire restaurant!  We were able to network and share leads in this intimate space while at the same time as taking in the spectacular views of the bay.

The meal was delicious, and unlike other meetings, we each had the choice of our main entrée!  Four, delectable choices were available to us, and one of which was the famous burger, which, in 2012, won top-5 honors as the best burger in San Diego!

After the meal and dessert, we heard from Marc Lehman, of The Emotion Picture Studio, and he shared with the group the amazing wedding videography services his company offers.  Many in the group were not fully aware of the extent of Marc’s company/services, so we were pleasantly surprised to hear about his famous iDO Cam, which allows couples and their guests the option of recording their own footage of the special day!  It is such an amazing solution for wedding video because it allows couples to not miss out on video, but gives them the opportunity to save some money and  still have that video professionally edited!  Wow, right?  That’s what we all said!

It was a great afternoon.  The food was satisfying; the view was spectacular; and the weather, well its San Diego, and it was a perfect San Diego spring day.  Special thanks to Dawn Stone, of Embellishmint Floral & Event Design, for the gorgeous succulent centerpieces; to Bryan Miller, of Bryan N. Miller Photography, for the great images, and of course to the Bali Hai Restaurant for the hospitality.

real wedding :: beach wedding at the hotel del coronado

Sweet Cheeks Baking - Embellishmint Floral



Beach weddings are a popular wedding option nowadays, and San Diego is one of the most-perfect spots for an exquisite beach wedding.


So recently, two of our fine vendors, Embellishmint Floral & Event Design and Sweet Cheeks Baking Company worked together to make one special couple’s beach wedding in Coronado a success!


It happened to be one perfect Coronado Beach day, equipped with giant sand castle – a great photo opp.  The couple, Avery & Thomas, have such a darling sense of style and comfort together.  Their quite stunning bridal party added to the charismatic bride & groom with humor & beach-side antics.


For this couple, the colors were coral as well as other natural beach tones.  Dawn Stone, of Embellishmint, decorated the ceremony aisle with hanging glass bulbs on the aisle chairs.  They were the perfect little pots of cuteness.  At the same time, the floral arrangements at the ceremony altar blew the house down in grandeur!  Dawn’s incredible use of stock, ranunculus, roses, hydrangea, and other wild flowers made these flower arrangements, both on tables and within the cake tiers, pop with intense color while at the same time as being beautifully delicate.


When it came to the cake, Sweets Cheeks Baking Co. came up with a delicious combination of Vanilla Bean Sour Cream Cake with Luscious Cream Cheese Filling and Italian Butter Cream.  The couple selected not only select a stunning cake design, but then during the reception, they took it upon themselves to have some fun and play around with one another, in a fashion that involved a lot of cake in the face!


It was the perfect beach wedding in San Diego, and all the wedding vendors involved made this day lots of fun and extra special!

Venue: Hotel Del Coronado
Wedding Dress: Here Comes the Bride
Makeup: Lipstick & Luster
Coordinator: Mint Weddings
Officiant: Reverend Powers
Invitation: Seaside Papery

afr ‘passport to design’ event – san diego wedding vendors

Photos courtesy of Bob Hoffman Photography

Recently, one of Weddings of Distinction’s members, AFR Event Furnishings, hosted a spectacular event for those in the wedding industry.  As one of the premier San Diego wedding vendors, AFR offers stylish furniture rentals, and for this party, they showcased the extent of their design capabilities.  Taking place in the posh San Diego wine-bar, 57 degrees, the “Passport to Design” event was a great oppotunity for San Diego wedding vendors to meet, network, and have some fun!

Inside the expansive bar, attendees had four different styles of both wine and food to sample: France, Mexican, Californian, and South African.  To compliment the two wines that were offered at each station, cuisine (native to the region) was cooked up right in front of guests, offering them the freshest food, perfectly paired with wine.  The French Gourmet, another Weddings of Distinction member, provided food for two of the four stations!  In addition, many other WOD members helped make the event happen.  San Diego Events Lighting provided the gorgeous lighting, and Embellishmint Floral, Hartworks Floral, and Rae Florae provided the stunning tabletop centerprieces.

The night casual, yet lots of fun.  It was a great chance to enjoy some great eats and wine, to meet friends, and meet some new ones!


AFR Event Furnishings offers its clients high-end furnishing options.

Whether you’re planning a wedding, or any other social event, the right furnishings can definitely add to the ambiance!

Contact them for more information! >