Ranch Bernardo Inn Bliss!

Today is the day she has tried to picture so many times since she was little. No matter how much we dream and imagine what this day will feel like, we have never been quite able to compare this feeling to our past. It all comes at once. Flows through the room. We feel nervous yet excited. How can we feel so many emotions at once? Fran slips into her wedding dress. The day she has pictured hundreds of times is now here. Friends and family start to arrive. The room is filled with the laughter of two families colliding. Fran will begin to walk down the aisle towards her best friend, Carl.


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Writing your own vows – tips!

First and foremost, do not leave this until the last moment!   Grab a notebook or jot notes in your phone as things pop into your head.  Remember, this is a time to be vulnerable, which doesn’t come easily to many.  Fond memories or anecdotal reasons you are head over heels with your future spouse are always well received.

Craig, owner of Craig Does Weddings gives this advice:

1. Don’t memorize them. Just read them.  You don’t want your first memory of your wedding day to be, “Man, I was so nervous doing my vows from memory.”  I want the first memory to be, “We had a GREAT wedding!”

2. Remember they are vows, not a summation of your entire history as a couple.  You’re making a promise to your mate, so write things that you want to promise.  Now, it’s ok to have a few “history” events, or character traits you want to highlight.  It doesn’t have to be TOTALLY serious, but, the best vows I’ve heard are promises spoken from the heart. I advised this to one couple in advance of the wedding and during the ceremony, he pulled out three pages of notes for his vows, then she pulled out 2 pages.  In total, both vows took 30 minutes.  We were in the hot sun with no wind on Coronado.  Lot’s of “cutesy” stuff.  Lot’s of “inside” humor.  It didn’t go well.

3. Think “Big themes” rather than small promises.  It’s kind of funny (even cute) when couples promise not to “leave the toilet seat up,” or “take the remote away during NFL games,” but if you do that, keep it to a minimum.  This is “insider information” between the two of you.  You might think it’s cute/funny, but it sounds a little corny and besides, you can’t keep that promise anyway.  Big themes are things like: “loving you through trials and life’s hard knocks,” or “do my best to listen to your words and the feelings behind those words,” or “I will remember that you (and I) are ‘in process’ so I’ll do my best to be patient with you when we have conflict on things,” or “I will encourage you and support you in any new challenges that come your way.”

4. Use themes from “repeat after me” vows for your own vows.  I often direct couples to look over the vow options I give couples and suggest looking at the themes there.  They are a helpful guide.  And, I suggest picking and choosing phrases from those vows that they might want to insert in their own, or put into their own words. They don’t have to, but those vows have some great words to help guide.

5. Look on the internet.  There will be a lot of bad vow options, but there are some good ones out there that you can make your own as well.

Once you’ve honed in on the perfect words, write them on an index card and practice, practice, practice reciting your vows.  You’ll thank me for this tip on your special day when your nerves take hold!


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Bridal Party Gifts

Wedding gift ideas for the bridal party.

You’ve planned the wedding and are feeling a sense of relief.   Hold on.  You’re not done yet… Bridal party gifts are still on your list! Trying to come up with new, fresh ideas for bridal parties can be tough. Start by searching Pinterest and Etsy to get your creative vibes flowing.  Next, think unique, think about something that means something to you and your future husband or wife. Some brides choose to gift their ladies with accessories for the wedding day such as jewelry, purses or robes for the morning of the wedding! A bride that taught English in Japan gave her bridesmaids kimonos to wear while getting ready for the wedding.  A small wooden crate filled with some special soaps, alcohol, candy, can always make a great gift when thoughtfully presented.  A mini bar in a jar packed with your favorite mini alcohol bottles will always be everyone’s favorite.

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Although most would love Tiffanys jewelry, it’s not in the budget for many.  A nice alternative is a personalized necklace, bracelet, or ring from Etsy which coordinates to a spot you and each person loves (Think favorite restaurant, vacation spot, college dorm, sorority house, where you hang out with each person).  With a little thought, you can put together a gift all will adore no matter your budget.

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Photo credit: Photography by Anjuli

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Wedding Rings!

Every wonder why the wedding rings go on the left hand, fourth finger? Thousand of years ago, there was a Greek and Roman belief that a vein from the fourth finger on the left hand ran directly to the heart, which led to our fondly held tradition of placing wedding bands on this finger. When any other digit would do, we choose to place the ring on our ring finger, thereby connecting our wedding rings directly to our heart, and forever sealing our wedded bond.



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First Dance Song?!

Choosing the perfect first dance song.

What girl hasn’t dreamed of her first dance? It is important to choose a song that’s timeless yet also captures your relationship during this snapshot in time. Before the big day, start listening to genres outside your norm, listen to composers you haven’t listened to before. When something catches your ear, jot down the song name and keep a running list.  And it’s never a bad idea to grab your betrothed for a test-run once you’ve narrowed it down to one or two to make sure the song is dance-able. Another option is to choose a song familiar to you and your fiancé, one that brings back good memories.


Bruce from Battleson Entertainment says, “Choosing your first dance is a big deal.  This is forever!  A lot of couples go too trendy on their first dance song and your choice is embarrassing by your 5th Anniversary.  For example, love songs by Boy Bands or girl power divas like Celine and Whitney that get overplayed and everyone gets burned out on.  By the way, no man wants a song by a girl power diva for their first dance. Rappers singing a love song will be a big regret in 20 years. You need a classic song or a classic sounding song that will sound good and be relevant on your 50th Anniversary. Country artists such as George Strait, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Kip Moore, Brad Paisley, Dan + Shay, have some fantastic love songs that will stand the test of time.  Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Etta James, Norah Jones and Ed Sheeren are all classic voices that will sound great forever.  Another good direction to go in is remade, rearranged, songs such as “Can’t help falling in love with you” by Ingrid Michaelson. What song would I have at MY wedding?  My girl and I are in love with Ed Sheeren’s “Tenerife Sea’” Continue reading

Lovely La Jolla Womans Club Wedding

Jodi and Laura’s wedding day was a truly remarkable one. Many memorable moments were combined to create a day that will be remembered for a lifetime. We were referred to Jodi by her loving daughter, Syvan.


Syvan use to be part of our team as an intern with At Your Side Planning in 2014. We love getting to see former members of the At Your Side family, and were honored to be part of such a special day! The charming venue, La Jolla Women’s Club was the perfect fit for this Sunday afternoon wedding Continue reading

Tango love birds wedding with a vintage twist!

It was a delight to put together the wedding for a couple as fabulous as John and Katie. The two began their love story with a shared passion for tango dancing. Their wedding perfectly embodied their similar interests, with a beautiful vintage twist.


The couple’s flair for style was evident from the very beginning of the night, when the bride stepped out of a 1930s Packard by Hire Old Cars. The venue transformed with the work of Robbie Allen. The bartender provided chair covers and runners while Classic Party Rentals provided all linens for the tables. To make it uniquely theirs, Katie added her special touch by creating her own centerpieces using mercury containers with an assortment of candles. Continue reading

Celebrating ten years!

Sometimes love arrives when you’re not looking for it. Such is the case of Sam and Jacque’s love story. The pair had both tried dating sites, but their online dating experiences were plagued with disappointment (and a touch of lunacy). It seemed hopeless, and they were close to giving up. Little did they know, a cunning mutual friend had a plan to set them up. Janice, a coworker of Jacque’s whose boyfriend worked with Sam, invited both to watch her in a pool tournament, and what they thought would be a casual get together turned out to be the first day of the rest of their lives. Sam and Jacque met, and were instantly intrigued. Within weeks, they were in love! Their friend should be a professional matchmaker, because this year Sam and Jacque celebrated ten years of marriage. In honor of such a milestone, the couple renewed their vows. The vow renewal took place at Rock Church East County and was officiated by their pastor, Ricky Paige. The scene was breathtaking. Elizabeth from Barliz Flowers dressed the room with floral throughout the room and a gorgeous bamboo arch.


The personalized signage that the bride collected was perfect! They included adorable sayings such as: “Loved You Once, Love You Still; Always Have, Always Will” and “It’s Never Too Late To Live Happily Ever After.” Continue reading

Unique Favor Ideas

Can’t decide what your perfect fit wedding party favor is for your special day? Look no further and get off of Pinterest, because we made you a list of the most loved wedding favors of 2016  guests can’t stop talking about. Leaving your guest with an unforgettable special gift  to take home at the end of the night will make your guests  feel like they are an important part of your most memorable day. We love photobooth photos as a great way to say thank you for celebrating with us. Photobooths are always fun for everyone!

160123_Mortazavi_603Photo by: Chaz Cruz

Don’t let them leave the fun. Make them take it home by creating personalized engraved bottle openers. Every time they use their unique bottle opener they will remember your special day and fun times they had with you. Continue reading

Vietnamese and Persian Flare


Stunning. Remarkable. Breathtaking. These are some words we would use to describe the unfolding of Jasmin and Rod’s wedding celebration. Jasmin and Rod were having a destination wedding in San Diego. They came from San Francisco and were referred to us by a good friend of owner, Diana Romero. The couple reached out to us last year and we immediately became excited about their wedding vision. They already had the perfect venue – Seaside Scripps Forum in La Jolla with an amazing view of the Pacific ocean. A gorgeous wedding transpired through the blending of the Persian and Vietnamese cultures. We worked together with the perfect vendor team to design their spectacular day.



Jasmin and her ladies began the day with Blush and Adore who provided beauty services for the ladies who looked gorgeous! The ladies, gents and guests stayed at the boutique Hotel La Jolla near the venue which was just a few minutes away from the wedding venue. Continue reading