Real Inspiration: Wedding Planning Tips

When planning your wedding, there are many things to consider that include everything from shopping for the dream dress to executing the wedding shenanigans. That and so much more can begin to overwhelm many couples and even cloud the importance of the big day. To help eliminate those worries, we have complied some ideas that will help you and your partner hold that same dreamy day you both envisioned while saving money and staying in the moment! 

Photo by Whimsie Photographie

Wedding Planning Tips:

1. Opt for heavy tray-passed appetizers instead of a full seated dinner for a meet-and-mingle, cocktail party-style reception.
2. Find a venue/space that is so naturally beautiful or already has a lot of character to cut down on the amount of flowers and decor you may need.
3. Double the photo booth photos as the party favors for guests.
4. Opt for a beer and wine-only bar instead of a full premium bar.
5. Find a used wedding dress online (it's probably only been worn once!).
6. Have a friend or family member get ordained online and be your officiant (and hope they don't charge you a fee for performing your ceremony!). 
7. Use Uber/Lyft for day-of transportation.
8. Get a small one or two-tier cake for the cake cutting ceremony, and have the rest of the cake in sheets in the kitchen ready to be cut and served. Or opt for mini desserts instead of cake.
9. Use an email invitation service like Paperless Post for your save-the-dates.
10. Stay at an Air BnB instead of a hotel the night of the wedding.
11. Hire a wedding planner to guide you through the process, help you make good decisions with your money, and get you discounts with vendors! ;)

Real Wedding Shenanigans: Meagan & Adam

White flower petals lined the aisle way for Meagan and Adam's special day. The two shared their moment at the Mountain Gate Country Club, located in Los Angeles, California. Flowers decorating the canopy and delicate pink accents, enhanced the ceremony and reception's natural beauty. The day was a magical wedding setting that brought forth the love between Meagan and Adam. 

Photos by Lin and Jirsa

Coordinator: So Smitten Events
Venue: Mountain Gate Country Club
Ice Cream Sandwiches: Diddy Riese
Florist: The Bloemist
Photographer: Lin and Jirsa
Videographer: Theatre 10 Films
Band: Downbeat LA-Gold Standard
Hair: Drybar
Makeup: Glam Squad
Rentals: OC Events
Transportation: First Student Charter Bus Rental

Real Wedding Shenanigans: Jessica & Michael

The wedding of Jessica and Michael held a both woodsy and elegant look to it. With gold accents throughout, the couple had guests mesmerized by each detail. The enchanted inspired wedding was complete with a rustic wedding arch. From the four tiered cake to the laid back roasting of s'mores, this wedding was magical all over. 

Video by Michael Farmer Photographer

Photos by So Smitten Special Events

Coordinator: So Smitten Special Events
Venue: Pine Rose Creekside Weddings
Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Saddleback Grill
Videographer/Photo Booth: Michael Farmer Photography
Photographer: Whimsie Photographie
Cake: Niki's Custom Cakes
Florist: The Bloemist
DJ: Arrowhead DJ & Events

Real Wedding Shenanigans: Katie & Ian

Located in the beautiful natural setting of The Ranch at Bandy Canyon, this was a whimsical wedding! These long dining tables were  laden with white flowers, purple accents and greenery, creating a rustic yet elegant look. As votives and tea lights lit the night, Katie and Ian had their first dance together. Under the lights, they tossed the bouquet, ate cake and kept on dancing! It was the perfect setting for Katie and Ian's big day.

Photos by So Smitten Special Events

Photos by Half Full Photography

Coordinator: So Smitten Special Events
Venue/Caterer: The Ranch at Bandy Canyon
Cake: Cute Cakes Escondido
Florist: Kevin Reeder Florist
Band: Lucky Devils Band
Photographer: Half Full Photography
Transportation Shuttles: Highline Charter
Makeup: Blush by M Marie
Hair: Studio O

Real Wedding Shenanigans: Sarah & Alex

From the groom's survival kit to the reception games, Sarah and Alex checked off all the to do's. Continuing to keep the guest on their toes, Jason Sulkin Music had the guests dancing all night. Anyone could tell just how much thought was put into every detail. From the outdoor ceremony that started off with vows, to Sarah and Alex ending up in the pool with a big splash! It was truly a fun-filled day that they shared with their family and friends.

Photos by Michael Segal Photography

Coordinator: So Smitten Special Events
Ceremony/Reception/Venue/Caterer/Bar: Serves You Right
Florist: Sweet Pea's Custom Floral
Musicians: Jason Sulkin Music
Hair: Kristen Thomas
Makeup: Meg O'Hare Beauty
Photographer: Michael Segal Photography
Toliets: Luxury Flush LLC
Parking: Chuck's Parking Services
Security: Close Range International, Inc.
Rentals: Town & Country

Real Wedding Shenanigans: Sarah & Adam

In an asymmetrical design, fabric and flowers hung from the wood structure, where Sarah and Adam were married. As the two left the alter, guests showered them with rose petals, that dangled from the aisle way seats. With ambient music playing, guests wandered through the two-story outdoor space where corn hole and meat and cheese horderves were held. Of these unique touches, the couple used Jenga as a way for their guests to write down pieces of advice and memories to share for their future together. Sarah and Adam had so many creative ideas, including a Mr. and Mrs. mirror placed above their sweetheart table. From the horderves to the 4-tier vanilla lemon berry and red velvet cake, this wedding was sweet and special all over!

Photos by So Smitten 

Coordinator: So Smitten Special Events
Venue/Caterer: Calamigos Ranch
Officiant: Dream Day Weddings
Cake: Vanilla Bake Shop
Florist: Belle of the Ball Designs
Photographer: True Photography
DJ/Photo Booth/Lighting: Vox DJs
Musicians: Devvlov
Hair/Makeup: Cheek to Cheek Artistry
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals
Transportation: Riz Transportation

Real Wedding Shenanigans: Linh & Michi

Following their vows, Linh and Michi were radiant as they reached their reception. Arriving in Downtown Los Angeles at the Ocean Seafood Restaurant, the wedding party as they enjoyed their delectable cuisine. With the first reception a success, the bride, groom, and guests departed to Nature Friends Sierra Madre Lodge. Arriving at the rustic lodge, the newlyweds were beaming with happiness. This reception was intimate and private, exquisite from both the inside and outside. Soon after the cake cutting, guests said goodbye to the couple with a sparkler send off. The day was a heartwarming celebration of love for Linh and Michi. 

Photos by So Smitten Special Events

 Coordinator: So Smitten Special Events
Rehearsal Venue: Our Lady of Peace
Tea Ceremony: Gardena Tenrikyo Church
Reception Venue 1: Ocean Seafood Restaurant
Reception Venue 2: Nature Friends Sierra Madre Lodge
Rentals: LA Party Rentals

Real Wedding Shenanigans: Taylor & Mark

The historic Redondo Beach Library served as the perfect location for Taylor and Mark to exchange their vows. Under a flowered arch, and alongside friends and family, the couple said "I do"! With a "Bubbly Bar" lined up and ready to go, guests were able to meander amongst the gorgeous landscape. The vintage decor theme continued throughout the ceremony and reception. The day was jubilant for Taylor and Mark as they began their life as a newlywed couple! 

Photos by So Smitten Special Events

Coordinator: So Smitten Special Events
Venue/Caterer: Redondo Beach Library
Cake: King's Hawaiian
Flortist: FlorUnique
Band: Lucky Devils Band
Photographer: Joey Ikemoto Photography
Transportation Shuttles: Riz Transportation
Photo Booth: Capture POD
Videographer: All Because He Asked
Rentals: Quality Equipment Rentals
Makeup & Hair: The Heart of Makeup
Car Service: Classic Limos
 

real wedding shenanigans: sarah & tony

An intimate ceremony space, nestled in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, Oviatt Penthouse was a must have for Sarah and Tony. A couple so in love, these two radiated joy and happiness all over. Accentuating the penthouse beauty, peach color tones lightened the staples of the reception. A breathtaking wedding for all to see!

Photography by Shelly Anderson

Wedding Planner: So Smitten Special Events
Ceremony/Reception Venue: Oviatt Penthouse
Hotel Accommodations: Los Angeles Athletic Club
Rehearsal Dinner Venue: LA Historic Park/Hop Li Seafood Restaurant
Caterer: Truly Yours Catering
Bar/Drinks/Bartenders: Truly Yours Catering
Cake/Dessert: Lark Cake Shop
Florist/Decor: The Flower Lab
Photographer: Shelly Anderson Photography
Videographer: Randy Witt Productions
DJ: Vox DJ's Inc.
Hair: Melissa Firestone
Makeup: Meg O'Hare Beauty
Lighting: Revagio Productions

Real Wedding Shenanigans: Audris & Michael

Audris & Michael celebrated their love together on a joyous afternoon. The couple recited their vows under the canopy of majestic trees, surrounded by the love of family and friends. With music playing, guests dined on the delicious cuisine. Lighting the path as the evening came to an end, sparklers were held by guests, creating an arched send off for the bride and groom to walk through.

Photos by Kevin Lee Studio

Coordinator: So Smitten Events
Ceremony/Reception Venue/Caterer/Bar: Happy Trails Catering
Cake: Lark Cake Shop
Band: Lucky Devils Band
Photographer/Videographer: Kevin Lee Studio
Florist: Beauty and Bloom
Hair/Makeup: Echoumakeup

real wedding shenanigans: safura & bradley

Safura and Brad met at a BBQ in 2014, and on March 19, 2017, they were joined together in marriage. Family and friends flew from all over the country to celebrate the union of this beautiful couple at the Ebell in Long Beach, CA.
The festivities began with an Iranian Sofreh ceremony. Family and friends covered the bride and groom with a canopy, sprinkled them with sugar, to symbolize sweetness in their lives, while they said their vows sitting in front of a sofreh table full of items symbolizing many blessings for the couple. A traditional ceremony followed, with a scripture reading from one of the best men. 
The Ebell is a venue with great character and many, many places for great photos; including the women's restroom. Guests enjoyed old-fashioned cocktails and appetizers while the bride and groom made the most of the natural light in the building to get some great photos. One of the best parts about the Ebell, is that you can have the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception all in one classic, intimate space. The day combined, old & new, multiple cultural traditions, young & slightly less young, and the lives of two great people. 

photos by Marni and Shaunté for So Smitten
 

photos by Duane Peck Photography

 

Day-of Coordinator: So Smitten Special Events
Ceremony/Reception Venue: The Ebell Club of Long Beach
Caterer/Bar: Tres LA
Florist: Magnolia's
Cake: Cake Monkey
Photographer: Duane Peck Photography
DJ: DJ Mike Damn!
Rentals: OC Events
Hair/Makeup: Meg Ohare beauty
Officiant: Mayra Gamez, Hamid Jafarian, & Susan Kavoosi
Pianist: Weinglass Music

real wedding shenanigans: sol & gabriel

Yes, you can have an elegant wedding AND include cultural elements. The beautiful Jonathan Club in Los Angeles, CA was the elegant reception location Sol and Gabriel were dreaming about. The vintage design paired beautifully with the bride's decor. However, guests partied the night away to a live, Latin band featuring Yari More. Who said that you can't pair a gourmet meal with Latin music at a country club? Not this couple! It was a beautiful night, and everyone celebrated their love. 

photos by Marni for So Smitten
 

photos by Karen Cohen Photography


Day-of Coordinator: So Smitten Special Events
Ceremony Venue: Holy Angels Catholic Church
Reception Venue/Hotel Accommodations:  Jonathan Club
Caterer/Bar: Tres LA
Florist: Flowers by Sharen
Photographer: Karen Cohen Photography
Band: Yari More Latin Band
Rentals: OC Events
Hair/Makeup: Susy
Officiant: Father Stephen Washko
Pianist: Joe Soto
Harpist: Ernesto
Cantor: Bradley Franklin
 

real wedding shenanigans: julian & viviana

The day began as Julian and Viviana tied the knot at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Hawthorne, Ca. After the vows and exchange of bands, the couple proceeded to start their adventure together at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Culver City, Ca. The room was filled with laughter and dancing when the two entered the reception. The dreamy, coastal-inspired venue, was accentuated with beachy vibes, neutral pinks and navy blues. From the bouquet toss, to the cutting of the cake, each moment was breathtaking and special to be a part of.

Photos by Michael Farmer

Full-Service Coordinator: So Smitten Events
Ceremony Venue: Saint Joseph Catholic Church
Reception Venue/Caterer: DoubleTree by Hilton
Hotel Accommodations: DoubleTree by Hilton
Cake/Dessert: Torrance Bakery
Photographer: Michael Farmer Photography
Videographer: Michael Farmer Photography
DJ/Lighting/FOG: DJ Tempoe
Mariachi: Mexico En America
Limo/Car: Hertz Rental

real wedding shenanigans: sarah & mina

It was a grand, gold evening at the Long Beach Hyatt Regency celebrating the nuptials of Sarah and Mina. Hundreds fought through the storms to party the night away. The elegance of the Regency ballroom was accentuated by the gold and ivory adornments throughout the room. The bride and groom were assured to get lots of photos on social media because they gave guests selfie sticks; and they made good use of them. There was even a surprise flash mob honoring Sarah and Mina. In his toast, the brother of the bride said, "It must be a special day, because on the day Sarah and Mina got married, the drought in Southern California ended." It was indeed, a special day.

Photos by Jill Herrera for So Smitten

Day-of Coordinator: So Smitten Special Events
Ceremony Venue: Archangel Michael
Reception Venue/Caterer/Hotel Accommodations: Long Beach Hyatt 
Florist: Flower Allie
Photographer/Videographer: Purdy Studios
DJ/Lighting/Chair Rentals: DJ Hetal
Hair/Makeup: Dolledupbylulu
Invitations: Out of the Box Creation
Limo/Car: SoCal Limo and Buses
Cake: Jeseca Creation
 

real wedding shenanigans: eliza & d'artagan

It was a night under the lights as Eliza and D'Artagan were married. Friends and family of the couple came together for the ceremony at Our Lady of the Bright Mount Polish Parish followed by the reception at the Bel Air Bay Club. As the day wore down and the sun was setting, the couple celebrated their journey together!

Photos by Jill Herrera for So Smitten

Wedding Planner: So Smitten Events 
Ceremony Venue: Our Lady of the Bright Mount Polish Parish 
Reception Venue: Bel Air Bay Club
Wedding Night Accommodations: Huntley
Hotel Accommodations: Huntley, Double Tree Hilton Santa Monica, Best Western Santa Monica
Caterer/Bar/Drinks/Bartenders: Bel Air Bay Club
Cake/Dessert: Bel Air Bay Club
Florist: Wisteria Lane
Photographer: Tommy Lu

 

real weddings shenanigans: genevieve & christian

It was a beautiful day at the Redondo Beach Public Library; a day perfect for a wedding. The bride was escorted down the aisle by her father and her adorable baby boy. The ceremony and reception were held at this historic location. The decor was designed to give guests the feeling of being by the ocean at sunset. Guests loved the super cute escort frames to replace cards with their photo booth pics.  The bride and groom dined at at sweetheart table with a lovely floral arrangement before partying the night away with guests on multiple levels. It was a happenin' evening for all!

Photos by Michael Farmer Photography

Photos by Jill Herrera for So Smitten

Full Service Wedding Planner: So Smitten Special Events
Ceremony/Reception Venue/Caterer: Redondo Beach Historic Library
Officiant: Jennifer Scarborough
Officiant: Jennifer Scarborough
Cake: King's Hawaiian
Florist: Flower Couture by Stephanie
DJ/MC: Lance Bork
Photographer: Michael Farmer Photography
Glassware Rentals: Cherished Rentals
Balloon Artists: Mind Blowing Balloons
Babysitters: Friends of B&G
Photo Booth: DJ Tempoe
Mariachi (3 Piece): Mariachi Romanza
Ceremony Musicians (3 Piece): Seaside Strings
Makeup & Hair: Meg O'Hare Beauty

real wedding shenanigans: Private Event

So Smitten had the pleasure of coordinating a private wedding for a lovely couple held at their stunning Brentwood home. The setting couldn’t have been more splendid. On a warm summer night guests entered a spectacular secret garden with several pathways leading to shady corners, waterfalls, ivy archways, and vintage furniture surrounded by various foliage textures and colors. A custom wood covering was designed to convert the pool and jacuzzi to an amazing open space for the ceremony to be held. Rows of iron ornate garden chairs and lanterns aligned the aisle for the bride to greet her groom while musicians sang the couples love song. Classical music performed by a string trio played for the guests as butterflies were released during their vows. Farmhouse, wood rounds, and garden iron tables were brought in and placed in various locations throughout this unique indoor and outdoor setting. Tables were dressed with fine china and silver, tinted glassware, embroidered white linen, gold mercury votive candles and bright gorgeous roses in mason jars. Floral archways and lush table garland adorned the beautifully set tablescapes. Dark custom wood signage including Mr. & Mrs., table numbers, reserved seating, Here Comes the Bride, and a suite of directional signs popped against the lush green background. Afterwards, friends and family enjoyed photos, conversation, cocktails, tray passed hors d’oeuvres and music. Guests were seated for dinner under strings of market lights and stars. Special dance and musical performances were featured by well known artists in honor of the bride and groom. Dancing ensued while specialty desserts were served along with a s'mores bar, a popular campfire treat. The evening was outstanding. The most exquisite venue can sometimes be in our own backyard. Thank you to our bride and groom for the incredible honor in allowing us to transform your magical garden into the ideal venue for your dream wedding. It was truly a vision of romance and charm. Congratulations to the lovely bride and groom!

Photos by Marni Farmer & Jill Herrera for So Smitten

Photos by Birds of a Feather

Day-of Coordinator: So Smitten Special Events
Ceremony Venue: Private Residence
Caterer: Market Provisions
Desserts: B Sweet
Smore Bar: S'MORE PLAY
Florist: The Bloemist
String Trio: Seaside Strings
DJ/MC: Lee Dyson
Photographer: Birds of a Feather
Videographer: Michael Farmer Photography
Rentals/Lighting: Town & Country
Hair: Sarah Osterberg
Makeup: Judy Haft
Valet: Chuck's Parking Service, Inc. 

real wedding shenanigans: larke & russell

Larke and Russell had a spectacularly spooky Halloween wedding on October 31 in Los Angeles. They brought on So Smitten Special Events for full service planning and coordination, design and decor, flowers, and a personalized website. The couple wanted something unique, cool, and fun -- just like them. The design was inspired by Wes Anderson-meets-(not cheesy)-Halloween. We incorporated many of our vintage vases and props, created custom signage, and brought in bright fall flowers. We love how it all turned out!

The ceremony was so unique. Guests were invited to dress up in costume, and many did, including the officiant, who dressed as the Pope, and the ring bearer who was dressed up as Santa Claus. Epic. The couple sang their vows to each other, and after their first kiss, walked back down the aisle wearing horse and unicorn masks. So Epic.

The reception featured fun food stations with street tacos, sliders, butternut squash ravioli, and more, and So Smitten set up a wide array of old fashioned candy. There was lots of laughter, dancing, great speeches, and a rockin' version of Hava Nigila. Such a fun wedding to be a part of!

Photos by Russell Gearhart Photography and Chelsey Coleman for So Smitten Special Events (@apertureantics)

Venue: Millwick, Los Angeles
Planners: So Smitten Special Events
Decor and Flowers: So Smitten Special Events
Caterer: Summit Event Catering
Bar: Sunseri's
Cake: Lark Cake Shop
Photographer: Russell Gearhart Photography
DJ: Karene Daniels
Hair: Ava Brown
Makeup: Stephanie Navarro
Rentals: Apex Tent & Party
Coat Check: Night & Day Productions
Vintage China Plates: Cherished Rentals
Valet: White Label Valet
Shuttle: GTS Charter
Hotel: Hilton Checkers Los Angeles
Rehearsal Dinner: DRAGO Centro