Aug 30, 2009

  • Last updated on September 17, 2008 at 4:56 am
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Cocktail Hour

I wanted to keep the costs of cocktail hour decor down so I went for something simple and unique.  I'm not sure that my Mom was a huge fan of the fruit in a centerpiece but I loved the pyramids of oranges and stephanotis.  Again, my inspiration was from R. Jack Balthazar

Cocktail Flowers photo 1
Although I didn't choose these, I loved the simple and modern look of orchids peeking out of bamboo. 

Cocktail Flowers photo 2
And here is what our cocktail centerpieces turned out like.  Not quite what I wanted but what can you do. 

  • Last updated on September 17, 2008 at 4:55 am
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Here is where my love for manzanitas enters.  When I first started wedding planning, I saw an episode of Platinum Weddings and saw this couple's florals with huge copper tree centerpieces.  They copper tree was dripping with flowers - heavier at the base and then hanging off the branches.  They also had these hanging candles coming off the branches.  Instead of copper (which would cost like $2K a centerpiece) we used manzanita trees.  I love their modern yet romantic feel.  


Copper Tree by Square Root Design 

Reception flowers photo 1

Another Tree by Square Root Design 

Reception flowers photo 2Long

We are going to have some long rectangular tables as well and I am in love with this sort of creeping tree and flower look from R. Jack Balthazar ( I know, I'm obsessed).

Reception flowers photo 3

Reception flowers photo 4


Flowers by Fiore Designs
Reception flowers photo 5

Love this lush piece also from R. Jack Balthazar

Reception flowers photo 6Isn't this piece gorgeous? I can't remember where I found it, but I love it! (I think its Daniel Ost)

Reception flowers photo 7



My lovely florist Jill from M's Flowers created these beauties for us.  The florals are roses, hydrangeas, succint, coxcomb, dahlias, succulents and lotus pods. These are just pictures from friends, but my photographer got some gorgeous pictures that I can't wait to put up.

Closeup of the tree centerpieces:

Manzanita Tree High


Manzanita Tree High

Closeup of Long Tables


Long Tables


Overview of all tables


Overview of all tables again


  • Last updated on September 17, 2008 at 4:41 am
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I wanted to keep our ceremony mandap/poruwa mostly white/ivory but I wanted the aisle to have a burst of orange in it.  I wanted to save the rich plum color for the reception.  

After looking at tons of pictures, I found R. Jack Balthazar.  They make some truly breathtaking and unique florals and they served as the bulk of my inspiration for the wedding.  

I found these pictures of copper/dark wood bowls filled with rocks and orange spider dahlias in them and fell in love.  I thought they would look great lining the aisle.

From dreamy R. Jack Balthazar

Ceremony Flowers photo 1



For the mandap/poruwa, I knew I wanted to have lots of hanging garlands of jasmine or orchids.  I was not a fan of the traditional mandaps with large thick pillars and super intricate/colorful work.  I was having such a hard time finding inspiration photos for the structure until I stumbled across Michelle Rago's website. The pictures below are of a chuppah she helped create at the Breakers hotel. I love the beautiful hand carved structure with its Moroccan vibe.  It was too intricate and expensive for us to replicate but it spoke volumes for what I wanted for our vibe.   I recommend South Asian brides to look at chuppahs for inspiration - they are usually more modern and streamlined that the mandaps that are available.  

Ceremony Flowers photo 2
Ceremony Flowers photo 3I LOVE these orchid trees.  We wanted to do some type of archway leading into the aisle but I had to cut the ceremony flower budget down so these beauties didn't make it.  Ceremony Flowers photo 4

Here is how our mandap/poruwa turned out.  Again, these aren't pro pics but these should give you a good idea for now.  We rented a simple dark wood canopy and a basic platform that we covered in ivory carpet.  I love the florals dripping from the structure.  I wish there were more garlands but it still looked very beautiful.  

Ceremony Flowers photo 5

Ceremony Flowers photo 6

Ceremony Flowers photo 7

All the manzanita trees and decor surrounding the structure were later moved to serve as a background for our sweetheart table.  

Ceremony Flowers photo 8

  • Last updated on September 17, 2008 at 3:55 am
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My hunt for a venue was long and full of struggles. A lot of options were crossed off my list right away because we had certain restrictions:
1.) Had to hold at least 350 people
2.) Allowed outside catering 

I stumbled upon Saddlerock's website when I was looking up winery venues in Southern California. I wasn't totally sold from the pictures so after a slew of emails, the site coordinator wrote me and said "You really do need to see the location in person! Its breathtaking!" She couldn't have been more right. My best friend from high school, my Mom and I drove the hour from my house in Orange County to Malibu and were floored. Well actually, at first we were a little weirded out. The gates to the property opened and the first thing we saw was a small pack of bison roaming around. Seriously, bison. We kept driving, passed some horses and then got to some zebra. Horses are sort of normal but zebra? Then we finally got to the garden setting we were considering for our wedding location. Once I saw the huge willow trees, the sprawling lawn, the pool and the wooden bench swing I was sold. It was so beautiful and unique. Even though I always thought I wanted to be married near the beach, I couldn't walk away from Saddlerock.

The Semler family owns the entire 1000-acre ranch and have lived on the property for over 27 years. The ranch has 65-acres of vineyards and is home to dozens of horses and many exotic animals (zebras, peacocks, etc). I can't really explain the exotic animals but it fit in with my groom riding in on an elephant so I went with it.

One of the Zebras courtesy of Elizabeth Messina
Our Venue photo 1


A wedding couple with one of the horses courtesy of Elizabeth MessinaOur Venue photo 2
The tree we got married under :)
Our Venue photo 3
Our Venue photo 4
Saddlerock was an ideal location for me because it gave me the freedom to pretty much do anything I wanted. Our blank canvas was definitely a lot more work than a hotel because we literally had to bring everything in from napkins to a kitchen.  It was all worth it in the end though

  • Last updated on September 17, 2008 at 3:55 am
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I am Sri Lankan and my husband is Indian so we had a wedding filled with lots of culture and tradition but with a modern and unique vibe.  We got married in Malibu, California at Saddlerock Ranch on August 30th, 2008.  We had both a Buddhist Sri Lankan ceremony and a Hindu Indian ceremony back to back.  We then celebrated under the gorgeous trees at Saddlerock until 2 in the morning!