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An Open Letter to “The Band”

Happy Monday!

We have had a couple of awesome weddings with bands as opposed to DJs recently, which is always so great for guests and couples to get the party really rockin’ but with great live music comes more things to consider. Please note, close to my entire family is some kind of musician (I am actually the only one that isn’t). I love live music, I had a band at my wedding, live music is THE BEST!!!! Please keep this in mind when you read the next paragraph.

Dear {insert name here} Band,

Please do not do the following at one of our events:

Bring more than your guaranteed amount of vendors/groupies/set up assistants

Eat all of the vendor food prior to going on, there are most likely other vendors who have been there all day that need to eat too

We are a team and vendors typically try to take care of each other.

Thank you!





Thank you.

Coastside Couture

Bathroom Baskets!


Hi Everyone! We are starting a new blog series around here where will talk about different ideas and special touches you can add to your wedding day.  Today’s bright idea is- Bathroom Baskets! Bathroom baskets are baskets (or any container you please) filled with toiletries and amenities to place in the restrooms located on your venue’s property. Things to include are: soap, lotion, hand sanitizer, mints, mouth wash, those awesome mini disposable tooth brushes, gum,toothpicks, hair spray, spray deodorant, body spray, bobby pins, hair ties, bandaids, Bandaid Friction Block ( I swear by this stuff),  chapstick, shout wipes or tide pens, eye drops,feminine products tums, Advil, etc…. basically buy one of everything from your local drug store travel aisle :) These items will allow your guests to freshen up with some great amenities, and keep them partying until the end of the night.  To store all these goodies, you can pick up a really cute basket at Ross, Marshal’s, Target, or even the the Dollar Store! Guests will love it, and they will really appreciate the extra step you took for their own comfort!

Kristen and Tyler, A Holman Ranch Pastel Palette

Happy Thursday!

I thought it would be a great #TBT to  show off this fantastic, romantic and sweet wedding we had the pleasure of working on in 2012 with our darling friend Meg Perotti at Holman Ranch

Kristen and Tyler are about as nice as you can get in a couple. Those  two are  funny, cute and thoughtful to boot!


Darling Flower girl with a Flower Crown at Holman Ranch

Meg Perotti captures the beautiful wedding gown

Meg Perotti captures the beautiful wedding gown

Darling Bridesmaids in robin blue dresses 


Beautiful Bouquet with local in season flowers

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Stunning Bridal party at Holman Ranch


The Bride and Groom handmade each bird house for the reception table numbers


Lush lemon garland hangs from the welcome beverage station


June Wedding Ceremony at Holman Ranch


Beautiful wedding ceremony site at Holman Ranch


Butterfly Ceremony at Holman Ranch

Butterfly Ceremony at Holman Ranch



Dining on the main plaza at Holman Ranch



Cocktail Lounges set up in Rose Patio


Lanterns hung in the tree at Holman Ranch by Chic Event Rentals


Romantic cake with fresh flowers



Sweet Kristen and Tyler



Reception lighting on carriage house lawn

S'mores at Holman Ranch

S’mores at Holman Ranch

 Excellent Vendor Team:

Venue- Holman Ranch

Floral-The late and great Linda Arietta of Country Essences

Planning- Coastside Couture

Lighting and Rentals- Chic Event Rentals

Cake- Not Just Cheesecakes

Catering- Paradise Catering

Ceremony Music-Fred McCarthy for Kelly Productions

Live Music-Notorious for Jay Siegan Events

Videography: Thomas Hughes Films

Hair and Make Up- Shawn Cavalan Beauty Co. 

Bridesmaid Dresses: by Carol Hannah

Bride’s Dress: Anne Barge

What is up with that signature? #beagoodhuman

Hello Happy Wednesday!

I’ve been getting a lot of awesome comments about my updated email signature lately:

*Please note, I do my best to return emails and calls as quickly as I can. Your time and event is important to me. In order to take the best care of you, the business and my family, I may not be on my phone or computer 24/7. Weekends I am typically at an event or spending time with my family. I will get back to you as soon as I am back in the office.Thank you for your patience and understanding.  I may be a super hero but I am also a mom, wife, friend, daughter, and human being.. …

So here it is. In our industry it’s been a standard that we work 24/7 all day everyday no matter what you drop everything. Well Heidi and I absolutely LOVE our business, Coastside Couture is our baby and it’s a huge priority in our lives, ask the countless friends and family we have.   We would like to start a new trend in the industry that is making time for our families too.

We spend so much time helping people create the day that begins their lives as a family together, we needed to step back and take a look at our own lives and nurture our wonderful families as well.

This certainly does not mean that our clients are not a priority, it just means that we are family people too and we could not be where we are today without those amazing people. It means, that we may take a weekend off if we don’t have a wedding or not answer our emails after 5pm at night so we can sit down with our husband and kids. It might mean we take an extra hour to work out or call our Moms who live far away from us, hey we might even try to take a nap every now and then. We are human and man it’s tough being a super human.  ;-)

So here’s to being  a good mom, wife, friend, daughter and human being!



Inspire Smart Success Riviera Cancun!

Isse Riviera Cancun

Isse Riviera Cancun

It’s 100 days until ISSE Riviera Mexico and if you haven’t gotten your tickets, you need to! This year is going to be even more over the top than ever. With an amazing speaker line up (Hello Amy Atlas, Nikki Kahn, Youngson Martin and so many more!!!!!!!!!)

Go to the registration page to reserve your spot now. This is an incredible event and so inspiring! Go do it now!!!!!!!!!


A guide to working with and vetting a wedding Venues

Happy Friday!

While most of you are saying TGIF in our industry we are gearing up for a busy wedding weekend. We sure LOVE our Sundays (and if we are really lucky a Monday every now and then too)

Today’s post is really about Venues and how to navigate working with them. It seems that everyone these days that has a bit of property with big trees and nice views is getting into the “wedding business”.  Please don’t get me wrong here, we LOVE working private properties and the challenges that come with them but not everyone knows how to deal with a wedding as a wedding is a far different beast than a back yard BBQ for 50 people.

So a few questions to ask when looking to select a private property or Venue

1. Find out if the property is licensed within the county or city it’s located in.

2. Do you need any extra permits to have an event at the venue? Many counties want an alcohol and or music permit.

3. Does the property carry insurance and will they require you to carry insurance as well? We highly suggest getting event insurance for any wedding. You can look into event insurance through your homeowners or renters insurance or go directly through Wedsafe, a super easy and not too expensive way to insure your event

4. Can you bring in your own vendors or do you have to use the venues list of vendors?  If you have to use their list, ask if they are getting referral fees or kick backs from these vendors. This is a big red flag in our book. Make sure that the venue has worked with the vendors. Sometimes Vendors pay to be on the venues list, find out who has actually worked there and why the venue recommends them.  Heidi and I love to recommend our vendors because they are hardworking, awesome people who take care of the clients, they respect the properties we work at and work as a team. If vendors are being recommended because they are paying to be on the list, well you might want to consider why they have to pay for the referral.

5. If you have to use the catering the venue offers, can you do a tasting and how much do you have to pay for the tasting? If you can do the tasting prior to booking the venue. Sometimes venues will charge for the tasting but credit you that amount should you choose to book your event there, which is perfectly acceptable. You shouldn’t bring more than four people to a tasting and make sure the venue knows how many will be attending the tasting.  If you have already booked the venue and they want to charge you for a tasting for two people, that isn’t cool. We understand if they want to charge for four but two should absolutely be included with your fees.

6. Speaking of fees, you need to read the fine print, are there overtime fees associated with the venue? What about damage fees? Read everything!

7. What is included with the venue? Chairs, tables, heaters, the bridal suite, security? Get an entire inventory list of the package.

8. The “wedding coordinator” the venue offers is not a wedding planner.  I can say this because both Heidi and I were venue coordinators at many different venues. Many venues offer you a wedding coordinator, it’s just not the same as what we do. You can read a past blog post about this constant question Wedding Planner vs. Venue Coordinator.

9.  If your venue is outdoors will they help you with a rain plan? Do they move furniture if you want to re-purpose something from the ceremony to the reception?

10. How about parking? Are there close places for your guests to park? Is it easily accessible?  How will the venue help if there isn’t parking? Do you have to bring in transportation?

11.  How many times can you access the venue prior to your wedding? You may want to do a few trips to the property for planning purposes. Make sure the venue is willing to let you come back to get your plans into place.

12. Can you have live music? Amplified music? And until what time?

This is just a quick guideline of questions to ask yourself about venues when searching for your perfect place. Of course we always recommend you hire a local planner to help you find your venue as they will have knowledge on the venues in their areas. They typically have great relationships with the venues and want to always be asked back for the next wedding so securing a planner to help you is a great way to save money and time.


Private property wedding Carmel Valley

Private wedding in Carmel Village- Photo Credit Heidi Hughett via instragram

Happy Hunting!


Danielle and Rick, an Elegant Holman Ranch Wedding

We are so excited to share this gorgeous wedding, captured by the very talented Scott Campbell and his fantastic team. Hope you enjoy this elegant and romantic June Carmel Valley wedding at the stunning Holman Ranch.

 The Rehearsal and Dinner





Amazing spread by Paradise Catering. The Italian themed dinner under the pergola was the perfect pre wedding celebration. Linens from Napa Valley Linens, Floral by Fionna Floral.


The Wedding Day!



Swooning over this shoe shot!


Many of you know that Coastside Couture isn’t a fan of First looks for the Bride and Groom, but we are a huge fan of capturing the Bride and her Father’s first look!




Rick was such an awesome Groom, he even tied his Groomsmens bowties himself!






The couple’s Catholic ceremony was lead by Father Emil.




Chairs and plated china from Classic Party Rentals, linen from Napa Valley Linen, floral by Fionna Floral.


Delicious platted dinner by Paradise Catering, including a first course of salad and artichokes. The couples’ sweetheart table was my most favorite that I have ever designed!



There was so much love at this wedding. The way the couple looked at each other and their connection with their families. It was a joy to be part of.



The lighting at night was magical! Belmont Entertainment, who provided the cafe lights and uplights of the trees and Hacienda really knocked it out of the park!





The Amazing Vendor Team-

Venue- Holman Ranch,

Planner/Designer- Heidi of Coastside Couture,

Caterer- Paradise Catering,

Floral- Fionna Floral,

Rentals- Classic Party Rentals,

Linen- Napa Valley Linen,

Photography- Scott Campbell,

Videography- Stillwater Cinematography,

DJ and lighting- Belmont Entertainment,

Hair and Make-up- M.U.A.H.,




Happy Birthday America!

Happy Monday!

We hope you enjoyed a loooong lovely weekend with family and friends celebrating this beautiful country we live in.

Heidi and I got to have a much deserved weekend as well, enjoying our families.

Heidi and her mini her enjoying the 4th of July

Heidi and her mini her enjoying the 4th of July

Karissa and baby taking in Miles' first 4th of July Parade in Ashland OR

Karissa and baby taking in Miles’ first 4th of July Parade in Ashland OR

Are you here to eat or are you here to work?

Happy Monday!

After coming off of three weekends in a row of heavy duty wedding action, I wanted to share a few thoughts I had about vendors meals and a planner’s point of view.

Coastside Couture is very lucky in the fact that we typically get to work with a vendor team we help to create. We recommend local vendors who work with us a lot and know our high expectations of service.

The deal is, we recommend vendors that work hard, do excellent work and take your wedding day seriously. We (let me say this again) have high expectations of our vendors because we need to be able to rely on them to do their job well and responsibly. We also take much pride in taking care of our vendors, we educate our couples on gratuities for vendors, we contact each vendor prior to the wedding to make sure they have the information they need to do their job on the wedding day and we make sure they are fed and needs met.

Heidi and I have been in business for ourselves for 10 years now and prior to that we were doing events for venues, we know how it works and understand long wedding days. We get hungry too and can go hours without eating, dealing with tasks, crazy family members, putting out fires, checking in on vendors, etc etc. and all of the sudden it’s been 12 hours and we haven’t eaten.

Here is the deal, most people work right? Most people take a lunch or go to lunch mid-day through their work day.  Vendors need to eat, especially those vendors like photographers, DJ’s, videographers, planners. These vendors typically work a minimum of eight hours on a wedding day.  It’s just a basic human right to eat BUT as a planner, who is one of the first people to arrive and for sure (or at least should be) the last person to leave one of my BIGGEST turn off’s from a vendor is to hear “so when is the vendor meal going to be served?”

First off, it’s probably on the timeline we have so tediously been working on for weeks prior to the wedding, so start there.

Second, really? Are you here to eat or are you here to work?

Recently at a wedding, I had the pleasure of working with a photographer that I had never worked with before.  The photographer was lovely but the 2nd shooter, not so much and was constantly asking about food.  I mean constantly.  As a planner, I have soooooooooo many more things on my mind then when the vendors meals will be going out.  Believe me, I get hungry, as a breastfeeding mother, I need to eat. I bring a power bar, a bag of nuts, something to hold me over until I have a few minutes to scarf down something and get back up and go. It’s a wedding, not my wedding my client’s wedding.

As vendors, we are not there to interact with the guests (besides doing our jobs), we are there to work. We are there to make sure that our client’s special day goes off without a hitch, not to eat and especially NOT to drink. This particular 2nd shooter, complained so much about needing to eat that the Bride and Groom were even annoyed. This was not their problem and not what they wanted to deal with on their wedding day. Timelines sometimes get pushed back and vendors need to be prepared for that. Bring an energy bar with protein that you can keep in your pocket. If you need to eat, sneak a few bites of that until we can get you fed. Know that the kitchen is most likely not going to feed you until the guests eat. It’s just how it goes. This is a job.

Coastside Couture loves our vendors and we know we are successful planners because we have such excellent vendors that make us look good. We are huge proponents of making sure our vendors are well taken care of but, we have a few expectations of them (not in any particular order).

1. Don’t eat in front of guests (this isn’t your party)

2. Do not ever, I mean NEVER drink at an event.

3. Never take food off a tray that is being passed to guests

4. READ your timeline!

5. Be insured

6. Be professional, pleasant, dress well and be a team player




Kristin and Jason’s Carmel Valley Spring Wedding at Holman Ranch

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 I loved every minute working with this couple. True love + fun, happy people, who love food= a Wedding Planner’s dream clients. Kristen, Jason and I put together a total A team of vendors who created one of the most beautiful spring weddings ever!


Holman Ranch


Paradise Catering


Stacey Pentland


Fleurish Floral Design

Ceremony Musician:

Terrence Farrell


Belmont Entertainment


Belmont Entertainment


Unlimited Event Rentals


Napa Valley Linens



Main Event Transportation


Freedom Bakery

Hair and Makeup:

Katheryn Horen


Heidi of Coastside Couture