Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ear on Careers Podcast

My most recent podcast was released last week and I've been so eager to share it with you! It’s the latest episode of a series of podcasts called “Ear on Careers." Top-Tier Tutoring produces the free series which is designed to introduce listeners to what it’s like to have different careers in various fields. It's so great for anyone contemplating career paths or considering a career switch. I always say that everyone deserves to have a career that they love! Anyways, Rhonda Rivera kindly asked me if she could interview me for the wedding planner episode and I was so flattered. In the interview, I speak about my background, what a typical day for me is like, and I also give advice to those considering a career as a wedding planner. I feel so lucky to have a career I enjoy. Be sure to tune in here and tell your friends about it. Hope you like it!!

Much Gratitude,

Mary Dann-McNamee

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Beach, Boardwalk, and Building Your Bridal Business 2010

I am so excited to be the guest speaker at The Association of Bridal Consultants 2010 New Jersey State Conference! The conference will be held from August 25th to August 27th at the fabulous Caesars Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, NJ. It’s definitely a trip you don’t want to miss!! It costs $200 for ABC Members and $250 for Non-ABC Members if you buy tickets before June 26! After the 26th, the prices go up $25, so act now! The itinerary looks amazing!!! There are going to be other incredible speakers and various seminars, networking events, and panels with professionals in the wedding industry! It’s going to be a lovely event and I can’t wait to see you all there!!!

To RSVP and find out more information, click here!!

Much Gratitude,

Mary Dann-McNamee

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ceremony Wands by Mary Dann Now Sold on Stylecology

I am super excited about The Bride and Bloom Magazine’s cool new web shop called Stylecology! At http://www.stylecology.com/, you can purchase various wedding products including my handmade ceremony wands!! The wands are a perfect, fun way for guests to congratulate the bride and groom at the end of their ceremony, and they look great on the site and in photos! I am so appreciative that The Bride and Bloom reached out to me with this idea. To find the wands, you can either: click here, go to the Stylecology home page and click on Wedding Style, Ceremony, and Ceremony Wands, or search Mary Dann. Be sure to tell all of your friends and bride-to-be’s to check it out!

Much Gratitude,

Mary Dann-McNamee

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Favorite Handmade Organic Ice Cream

If you’re like me and you love ice cream, you have to try Sweet Lucie’s Organic Ice Cream! Yesterday, Geri Czako, the creator and owner, was sooo nice and brought us 5 pints of her hand-made ice cream and sorbet for us to try at the office!!! What a treat! Ice cream is my absolute favorite, and this was some of the best I’ve ever had!

Check out the website or follow Sweet Lucie’s on twitter to hear more about their story and find out who Lucie is. They don’t have a shop yet, but they have the cutest little vintage cart that they use for parties and weddings! It’d be the PERFECT prop for unique, vintage engagement photos. The flavors, which include Pistachio, Oatmeal Raisin, and my personal favorite Cookies N Cream, were all to-die-for. I just love how everything is organic and natural. Reserve Sweet Lucie’s for your wedding or next party!

Enjoy the pictures below!

Ice Cream Cart

Their truck, coming soon!

Geri with me and my two interns, Sarah and Rachel

Much Gratitude,

Mary Dann-McNamee

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Grace's Graduation Captured By Mimi Teller

This past Saturday, my oldest daughter, Grace, graduated from American Martyrs Catholic Preschool. It was a very special day for our family and I wanted to put icing on the cake by getting new photos of my girls. I asked a few photographers, and Mimi Teller stepped in and without a doubt surpassed my expectations. She got my youngest to smile and made the experience fun for everyone. She has a great personality and made my girls feel comfortable (which made the photos even better for me!)

Mimi primarily does weddings and even though I haven’t had the opportunity to work with her personally on a wedding, her photos speak for themselves. Take a look at her website! I am very excited and thankful for my photos. I am already in the process of getting cards made to use for stationery. I am thrilled she captured their angelic essence! Now I have photos that captured this special day to look back to as my girls continue to grow too fast in front of my eyes…

Grace(left) & Sophia (right)

Grace, 4

Sophia, 2

Much Gratitude!
Mary Dann-McNamee

Monday, June 14, 2010

Glen Ellen's Beltane Ranch

If you're looking for a breathtaking getaway location or wedding destination, check out the lovely Beltane Ranch in Sonoma Valley! They have a super cute Bed and Breakfast overlooking green vineyards, beautiful gardens, and vast fields. It's only 8 miles from downtown Sonoma and Napa Valley, and they do beautiful weddings, events, and retreats. I'm hoping to take a trip up there as soon as possible! It looks absolutely gorgeous (see pictures below). It is my step-brother's girlfriend's family winery! And if you can't make a visit there just yet, you can always try their wine...I'm having a few bottles shipped to me soon! Their 2009 Sauvignon Blanc scored an 89 in Wine Spectator--high for a Sauvignon Blanc and higher than Cakebread and Kunde (which both got an 86)! Read this article for more background on the Ranch and take a peek at their website to purchase a case or make reservations!

A Gorgeous View of the B & B

A Lovely Ceremony

Much Gratitude,
Mary Dann-McNamee

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Luxury Hotels/Resorts that Require Wedding Planners in L.A. and O.C.

I recently surveyed eleven luxury hotels and resorts in Los Angeles and Orange County to find what their policy is with requiring a professional wedding planner for their brides. I hope my research will inspire more partnering and collaboration with professional planners and asssist you in searching for your venue location. Please don’t hesitate to call or email. I am always happy to help any bride, at any stage, through the journey of wedding planning!

Luxury Hotels in LA and OC Hotels that require Professional Wedding Planners

Los Angeles Hotels

The Beverly Hills Hotel
9641 Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA‎ (310) 276-2251‎

Not required, but highly recommended. Hotel offers a list of recommended wedding coordinators.

Fairmont Miramar Hotel
101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA (310) 576-7777

Not required, but highly recommended. Hotel will give verbal referrals.

Langham Huntington Hotel
1401 South Oak Knoll Avenue Pasadena,, CA 91106 (626) 568-3900

Required to have minimum “day of” coordinator. They state in their contract one must hire a professional wedding coordinator for either “month of” coordination or full-service.

Montage Beverly Hills
225 North Canon Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90210 (310) 860-7800
Not required, but highly recommended. Hotel will give verbal referrals.

Ritz-Carlton-Marina Del Rey
4375 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA (310) 823-1700

Currently not required. Due to the increase, of weddings being booked may change to “required.”
Note: Most Ritz Carlton Hotels do.

Shutters on the Beach/Casa del Mar
1 Pico Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90401 (310) 458-0030

Required. They handout a list in their marketing packet.

Terranea Resort
6610 Palos Verdes Dr S, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA (310) 265-2800

Required to have a “day of” planner if ceremony is on property. They provide a list of professional planners and give a $1000 off site fee if a planner from the list is hired.

Orange County Hotels

Montage Laguna Beach
30801 Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA (949) 715-6000

Requires someone for at least two months of service to assist with wedding arrangements, ceremony, rehearsal and reception. Montage Laguna Beach must approve coordinator and will require proof of qualification.

Resort at Pelican Hill22701 Pelican Hill Road South Newport Coast, CA 92657 (949) 467-6800

Required and states perimeters in catering contract.

Ritz-Carlton-Laguna Niguel
1 Ritz Carlton Dr, Dana Point, CA (949) 240-2000

Required to have a “day of” planner if ceremony is on property. Hotel promotes the planners by giving research in all packets.

St. Regis-Monarch Beach
33000 Niguel Rd, Dana Point, CA (949) 234-3200

Required and states perimeters in catering contract.
Much Gratitude,

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Wedding at Disney's Grand Californian

I just finished a wedding celebration at The Disney Grand Californian Hotel (attached to Disneyland). The wedding was absolutely fabulous and the guests had a blast! The ceremony was at San Antonio Catholic Church (Anaheim) who had the NICEST church coordinator, Michelle Revas, I have ever worked with. Michelle was so lovely and helpful throughout the entire ceremony! After the ceremony, the 220 guests departed to the Sequoia Ballroom at The Disney Grand Californian Hotel. The ballroom space was over sized so we brought in lounge furniture to utilize the space and make it more intimate. We also partially draped the ballroom, floor to ceiling, 19ft high! A special thanks to Fabian and Level 4 International for handling those special elements. During the event the parents' welcome toast could not have been any nicer. They actually said they wanted to hire me on full time as their personal assistant to keep them organized on a day to day basis. They were too sweet!! I also had guests come up to me and say “this is by far the best wedding I have ever been to!” That’s always the biggest compliment for me. A special thanks to KC of VOX DJ who highly contributed to the energy of the guests during the wedding. He had everyone on the dance floor and was even passing around the microphone for guests to sing along. It was a huge hit. There are so many other vendors that contributed to this success. Special thanks to: Bleu Cotton Photography, Elegant Designs Specialty Linens, Nisie’s Enchanted Florist, Make-up By Berit, Tiffany Monday (hair). Below is a sneak peek!

The Happy Couple

The Lovely Place Cards

Room Shot

The Sweetheart Table

The Amazing Cake!

Ashley, Andrew, and I
Much Gratitude,
Mary Dann-McNamee

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wedding at Four Seasons Los Angeles

On May 15th, I had the pleasure of working at the lovely Four Seasons Hotel, Los Angeles. I was so thrilled with the staff (especially Pete Alles, Catering Manager) and the high standards of service! The ceremony was in the garden and the reception in the ballroom. Fabian with Level 4 International did an outstanding job with the décor, lighting and rentals. He brought in his new fur tall tables and custom tufted white lounge furniture. Huge thanks to Dan and Roland at Carving Ice who did a custom signature ice luge. The ballroom décor included two of my favorite vendors, champagne linens by Elegant Designs and merlot peonies/dahlia combo flowers by Hidden Garden. The flowers were out of this world. A ton of red roses for the ceremony and the reception tables. KC with VOX DJ, ROCKED the house and kept the party going past the scheduled end time! Hair and make-up was done by Cathryn and Trina at The Studio Agency and Melissa looked absolutely stunning!! Below is a sneak peek. All images provided by Asgeir Fotographica. (he actually shot my personal wedding!)

The Lovely Ceremony

Cocktail Hour
Beautiful Place Card Table

Ballroom Shot
Custom Cake
The Fathers Favorite Cigars
My Amazing Team!

Much Gratitude,
Mary Dann-McNamee