It was quite an honor for Matt and I to be invited to photograph the Wedding Industry Professionals Association October meeting at the Huntington Beach Hilton Waterfront this week. After an engaging glimpse into catering and menu design trends from award-winning chef Andrew Spurgin from Waters Catering, members were seated in the beautifully bedecked Cielo Maro room for dinner. Sponsors and designers for the event included furniture by AFR Rentals, floral design by FlowerFusion, desserts by A Wish and a Whisk, linens by BBJ Linens, wine by ONEHOPE Wine, printing from The Card Lady, music by Del Lago Trio, and chairs with coverings from Classic Party Rentals.
Tuesday with the Pros is an ongoing blog series featuring experts in the wedding and event industry. Today's authority is Karla Campos, director of special events at Gourmet Celebrations.LI: What do you do here with Gourmet Celebrations?Karla: My job is essentially to do whatever it takes internally to produce events externally, including support for our vice president and event salesperson (who act as coordinators) as well as coordinating my own clients' events.LI: What exactly is Gourmet Celebrations?Karla: We are a full-service catering and event planning company with complete customization service, which allows us to work with each of our clients one-on-one to develop a completely unique menu for their event. We also work with our sister company, Air Gourmet, so the phone is staffed 24/7, and we utilize in-house designers for florals, linens, etc.LI: What makes your menus and foods unique compared to other catering companies?Karla: In addition to standard menus to give our clientele ideas or starting points, we work with them to develop individualized menus. Whatever they want, we try to make it happen---I try and draw as much inspiration from every client's personality as possible, to really make each dish their own! We have extensive interviews with our clientele to understand what they're going for with the design of their party, like whether there's a theme, or if they prefer modern dishes, or specialized cuisines.LI: What is your favorite dish that Gourmet Celebrations has produced so far?Karla: I'm an hors d'oeuvres girl, and my favorite so far is our Parmesan Crisps. It's very light, and I think it's the perfect "sunny California" sort of appetizer. To create them, we'll bake parmesan cheese into a cracker, and add lemon aioli and asparagus tips.LI: What are some of your favorite things about being director of special events for a catering company?Karla: I like the pressure. I know it sounds funny, but I enjoy a challenge...and I like that with events you only have one chance to make it perfect. I also really like trying to make each event different, ensuring that nothing's ever the same.LI: What kind of profile do most of your clientele fall under?Karla: Well, Gourmet Celebrations was born from the private airline catering company Air Gourmet, when Air Gourmet's clientele began to demand the same quality of food at their events that they are served in-flight! So we have a large corporate and private party clientele base, and have designed quite a few corporate events, picnics, and office party menus. We have just recently begun to service wedding events, as well.LI: What would be your dream event to design, or cater?Karla: Weddings, and anything intimate with say, fifty people or fewer. I particularly enjoy small garden weddings or elegant affairs at estates or private residences. While Gourmet Celebrations is capable of any size or scope of party, I just think the smaller ones are more romantic and more fun to be thoroughly involved with for design.LI: Do you have any tips for clientele looking to save some money on their event?Karla: I would say, break it down and tell us what you want and we can go over all of it bit by bit and work together to make it happen.LI: Anything exciting on the horizon for Gourmet Celebrations?Karla: Yes, but it's confidential so I can't really talk much about it. I will say that there is a celebrity VIP party that we are putting together for one of our big corporate clients. I'm excited because we're bringing in a lot of different elements for it, such as lounge furniture and some floral pieces, etc.LI: As an event professional who deals with catering as well as design, what kind of advice do you have for someone planning a wedding or corporate event?Karla: Use your own personality as an inspiration point for the food. Don't be afraid to serve an uncommon or innovative dish just because it's not your standard chicken or salad. We're here to help you explore your options and make your menu reflect you as a person and support the overall theme or design of your event!For more on Gourmet Celebrations: Visit their website.
When I ran into Doyle Borden last night at an industry event I was so flattered to see that he'd utilized the image I'd taken of him for his Tuesday with the Pros interview on his new business card! I may be biased, but it is an awesome photograph of a pretty cute design stylist! I would put him on my business card too, but I think it might confuse people (LOL)!
Tuesday with the Pros is an ongoing blog series featuring experts in the wedding and event industry. Today's authority is Youngsong, designer and owner of Wildflower Linen.LI: Describe the role Wildflower Linen plays in the event industry!Young: We are an innovative couture linen company, offering both rentals and sales. Wildflower is very trendy and designer-driven, so it's not your ordinary white table linens.LI: How did Wildflower Linen begin?Young: Well, I was a clothing designer and senior instructor at the Parson School of Design, but I got burned out on the fashion design business---I didn't want to deal with department stores anymore. So I retired! Shortly thereafter I got involved in a family wedding, and went looking for some inspiring linens for my niece, the bride. But what I was looking for simply was not there in the marketplace at the time, I kept finding old-fashioned satins instead of the high-quality silks I was used to. So I went out and made some chair covers for the wedding myself, out of dupioni silk. It wasn't long before people were talking about me and I found myself being approached by planners and brides to design covers and other linens for their events. There was a lot of doubt, a lot of questions at first; "How are brides going to justify spending all this money just for linens? How are you going to wash them? How are you going to earn money from this kind of venture?" There was simply nothing else like Wildflower on the market when we began. But I used to be a teacher, and I wanted to educate people. I wanted them to know that they didn't have to settle for horrible polyester fabrics for their grand event! After that there was no stopping me.LI: So Wildflower's couture fabric quality is what sets it apart from other linen brands?Young: Yes, and I think as a former fashion designer I have a strong sense for future trends that will eventually hit the market and impact our designs. So we like to think that we are trendsetters here at Wildflower Linen!LI: What is your favorite aspect of being a linen designer?Young: I like everything about designing fabrics. I also really love being part of something that is so special to my clients, like their wedding day. It's like when I furnish a client with a beautiful linen I'm helping them sculpt their event's atmosphere, and shape a highly valuable memory for them.LI: What goes into the process of designing a fabric for a client?Young: We look for complimentary color combinations, thread counts, and which fibers we can combine to produce the tones, textures, and the kind of sheen that the client is seeking. Right now we're working with some handpainted looks, samples of which you'll see in this year's spring issue of Your Wedding Day magazine, due out sometime in the next month.LI: Do you have a dream event that you'd love to design the linens for?Young: Oh, yes. The annual Metropolitan Costume Institute Gala in New York! I would like to collaborate with any of the designers involved to produce a truly amazing linen for that event. Someday!LI: Have you worked on any exciting projects so far this year?Young: Yes, we designed the linens for the Hurt Locker after-party following the Academy Awards this year...that was fun!LI: What would be your professional advice to help guide clients in selecting or envisioning their linens?Young: When people come to Wildflower, we listen to them. We want to know what their dream wedding is all about. It helps us understand what they mean when they describe what they're looking for...for example, if they were to say they just want "simple" look, I may not be sure what that means until I listen to them fully describe the event, and then I may come to realize that when the bride says "simple," she really means "no patterns." One-word descriptions can be very powerful, but also very inaccurate. So we encourage the client to tell us everything, and we encourage other vendors to really listen to them. That's the best way to truly produce the kind of event the client has in mind, and even go far beyond their expectations and imagination, as well!For more on Young and Wildflower Linen, visit:Wildflower Linen's websiteWildflower Linen's blogWildflower Linen on TwitterWildflower Linen on Facebook
On Thursday several of the event industry's up-and-comings threw an event designed to inspire today's bride and planners looking for unique creations and delightful concepts. It was held at Party Rental King and attracted over 200 visitors.
The tent setting. Tables and furniture courtesy of the fine folks at AFR Event Furnishings.
A pretty gnarly room designed and decorated by Patricia (right) of Charm Events
INSANE cakes by Cake Fusions!
The ever-cheerful Wenda from More Than Just Weddings
Delectable candy table by Charm Events
I may or may not have pilfered a lolly...
Joan, the visionary behind J'Adore Florist
A crystal detail from White Feathers Events
Magical butterflies from Flowers on Mars and J'Adore Florist, as well as scrumptious cupcakes by Miss Priss Cupcakes & Such
With Mars & Nancy from Flowers on Mars. Mars is a pro DJ and mixed up some serious tunes that night, too.
I seriously don't know how everyone else isn't squinting against the bright lights like I am. I also don't know how I managed to dress like Han Solo and not notice until after I took a picture of myself...but there you go. A little Star Wars for your evening with Sweetest Perfection.
Thanks for a great event, everyone!
Last night was the New Year's party + tabletop decoration contest hosted by online wedding 'zine Utterly Engaged. And what a party! There must have been a couple hundred of the industry's finest in attendance, easily. Thankfully it was at the very spacious and accommodating Astor Classics Event Center in Anaheim.
Ahoy! Point and shoot pics!
Utterly Engaged's super sweet wedding diva Eva, (wo)manning the registration table.
OMFG there was cotton candy, courtesy of Tasty Clouds. You'd be making this face if Piña Colada was filling your mouth, too.
Our saucy favorite florist Nancy from Flowers on Mars was there!
Other cool cats we met and ran into included tabletop co-designers Joan from J'Adore Florist, Nancy from Fancy Nancy Events, foodie Mary Lallande from Jay's Catering, fabulous florist Doyle Borden from My Flower Guy, movers and shakers James and Nadine from Firefly Group Events, delectable delight divas The Fry Girl(s) all the while DJ "The Human Jukebox" from FlashDance kept the party moving! Thanks for the good time, everybody!
Luminaire Images has been featured as a spotlighted (err...spotlit?) vendor on Interior Decorating blog Primed4Design.
Check out the P4D blog for interesting decorating tips, chic but affordable furnishing solutions, DIY projects, and photos of stylish pro and enthusiast-designed interiors!Thanks for the shout out, Chrys & Jen!