We are so happy to tell you about our featured central coast wedding venue Avila Lighthouse Suites! We’ve had the pleasure of working with Krysta, Avila Lighthouse Suite’s event coordinator, several times now and we are ALWAYS impressed with their facilities, organization and beauty of the hotel and surroundings. We’ve decided to ask her a few questions about choosing Avila Lighthouse Suites as a wedding venue. Here’s what she had to say!
KE: Can a couple hold their ceremony on the beach in front of the hotel?
ALS: Yes, we offer ceremonies directly on the sands of Avila Beach or on our ocean view sun deck for up to 120 guests.
Where can a reception be held?
Receptions for up to 120 guests are held in our lovely Point San Luis Banquet room equipped with an outside patio area that is perfect for a cocktail hour. Cocktail hours can also be held on our ocean view sun deck if the ceremony is taking place on the beach.What months are best for a beach wedding in Avila Beach?I think that the fall is the best time of year here! It is typically warm with no fog and not as crowded. Avila is a pretty quaint, quiet town in general but it does get very busy here come July and August. Rates for our suites drop after August so that is another plus! We are blessed with nice weather year round though and Avila is located in a protected inlet so we do not get as much wind as other beach areas. I consider Avila the hidden gem of the central coast!
What amenities does your wedding ceremony/reception package include?
For the ceremony we offer your option of having it either directly on the beach or our glass sheltered sun deck. We do the complete set up and take down of our new padded white resin chairs, white arch and any other tables needed at the site. We also have an on site coordinator to help with the coordination of the rehearsal and ceremony. Our reception package includes again, the complete set up and take down of the tables and chairs, white linens that drape to the floor, and an ocean front honeymoon suite!
Are there time restrictions on the banquet room?
We have a noise curfew of 10pm. So, the weddings do have to conclude by then. However, for the ones who would like to continue the party, Mr. Ricks Beach Bar is within a three minute walking distance!
Do also provide catering options?
We do not have a restaurant on property so weddings are able to bring in any licensed caterer of their choice. This is nice, because it offers the couple flexibility, they are able to shop around and compare prices/options. I have a list of local caterers that I send to every couple.
What range are the prices for the suites?
Prices for the suites vary depending on the time of year. They range anywhere from $169-$499 on average. I am able to hold a block of suites here for the out of town wedding guests and depending on the month I am typically able to do so at a discounted rate. I think that it is so convenient for guests when they can enjoy the wedding and then when it’s over, just walk right up to their suite.
Any advice you can give to a couple looking to get married out on the sandy shore?
For brides wearing high heels, be prepared to kick them off before you walk down the aisle, or wear flip flops. Walking in the sand is not easy in stilettos!
Thanks for all the info Krysta! We look forward to working with you and your fantastic team. For more photos of the Port San Luis room, please check out our previous blog posting here. You can also read a little more about Krysta and the Avila Lighthouse Suites from one of our favorite wedding photographers, Jonathan at Bluephoto. Check out his blog posing here.
String Lights, sometimes called garden lights, are a tried and true addition to any wedding decor. They can be used during a ceremony, reception or both. If planned correctly, a lighting designer can focus the energy to the most important areas. They can separate and create boundaries around an area accentuating the areas of interest, whether it be the dance floor, head table or a complete “net” of light to catch all the fun. They emit a soft warm glow mimicking a star filled sky or for a more full look, can be enclosed in varying sizes of translucent paper Chinese lanterns.Get creative! The stars are the limit 😉
Wow. A BIG thanks to Amy Wellenkamp Photography for her insight on decor lighting. We feel the same way! Get the most out of your venue, flowers, cake and everything else you spend time, money and energy on. Here it is in her words:…Melissa from Kramer Entertainment was mixen it up for the dancers on the dance floor. Check out this extravagant lighting setup by Kramer Entertainment. Robert Hall Winery is so amazing, but at night it would be such a waste if it wasn’t lit like this. So spectacular. Wherever your event may be I highly recommend adding lighting design to it. It will make the atmosphere so much more inviting and exciting, plus the photos are so rich…Read the rest of her post here: http://tiny.cc/zp40g
Kelly, Nick and their awesome friends and family filled all 3000 square feet of the Cliffs Resort Ballroom with smiles and celebration. What better way to send this gorgeous couple off in style than to hold a beautiful party with such a breathtaking venue? After the beautiful ceremony on the well manicured oceans edge, the loving gang headed down to the ballroom where food, fun, and celebration waited.
Our Lighting Design Team had really painted the whole room in a variety of gorgeous light. A soft aqua blue and royal blue blend welcomed the guests as they entered and a soft amber met them for dinner.After dinner, Kelly and Nick were ready for their first dance. We lighted their way in a deep blue, and gave the dance floor an H2O effect.
Here’s a short but sweet video of the lighting elements we used for Dan and Marcy’s beautiful wedding reception in Robert Hall Winery‘s barrel room. No house lights were used this entire evening. We wanted to keep the ambient lighting low so the gorgeous amber, purple and pink uplighting would really accent the barrels, but guests wouldn’t be in the dark. We gave the ceiling a textured pattern wash and let the soft light reflect on the tables. The Starry Night effect projected thousands and thousands of tiny laser “stars” over a deep, nebulous, blue background. Our H20 effect was focused on the dance floor in front of DJ Perry and a leaf pattern floor wash filled in the empty space and matched Dan and Marcy’s theme.Thanks to Jack at Jack Hutchinson Videography for the awesome HD video.
Thanks to all the volunteers, local fashionistas and the fabulous event staff at Robert Hall Winery, the public got to enjoy a glamourous night of runway action all for a good cause. Nearly 200 people came out to see the local trends, indulge in CateringUnlimited.com‘s tasty concoctions, drink fantastic Robert Hall wines and raised $1400 for dear Cheyenne Willis and her fight with dystonia. Our own Melissa was there to DJ the event along with KSBY‘s Carina Corral serving as emcee. We couldn’t be more proud of our lighting designer Zach’s work for the brilliant lighting layout. The brick walls were glowing and the spectators could enjoy every models ensemble thanks to the bath of white light lining the entire runway. Sophie from Mike Larson Photography provided the flash bulbs and captured the local talent. Local news coverage can be found here.
Dan and Marcy really know how make their friends and family feel loved. This groups affection for each other really warmed the cavernous layout in the gorgeous barrel room at Robert Hall Winery. With a mix of 80’s pop throwbacks, a lot of latin flavor and some all-time wedding favorites, The Kramer Team kept the dance floor packed and made sure Dan and Marcy’s awesome requests were played at all the right times.
With an intent to give this couple a party atmosphere to match the guests personality, yet still maintain elegance, we lit the room with some of our newest décor lighting features. We decided on a ceiling pattern wash (to give a soft, warm light overhead), a dance floor wash with a leaf pattern to accent the floral textures, an H2O light to designate the dance floor and a fantastic illumination of all the surrounding barrels that really make Robert Hall an amazing place to have your special day.
It was awesome working with Brenda at A Heart to Heart Wedding Consultants. They kept everything running smoothly and on time so we could focus on music and the lightingAmong the other decor was panacea event floral design‘s fabulous additions by way of perfectly chosen flowers. You should check out their posting about the event here for the juicy details.
We’re lucky to say that we’ve had the immense pleasure to work with central coast wedding coordinator, Mark Padgett Event Design a few times now. Mark is one of the most accomplished wedding professionals on the Central Coast. He has a spectacular amount of artistic genius that really brings new meaning to the often mis-used term “fabulous event”. His experience in the arts really shows in his work and his attention to detail leaves no stone unturned and keeps the event flowing perfectly.We’ve decided to interview him to learn a little about how he works his magic and really learned a lot of valuable info. We’re happy to share with you!
What is Event Design?
An event designer, essentially starts working with the bride, groom and their families from the beginning and creates the entire experience for the brideand groom and their guests, all the elements: the site, the cuisine, linens and fabrics, the flowers, lighting, entertainment, photographers and the atmosphere or feel for the wedding day. It’s similar to an interior designer that you hire for your home. Somebody who, based upon your desires, taste and budget, creates a design for you then finds the vendors that can bring the design to life.
Are you a coordinator as well?
Yes, I’m both. I think the combination is the best way to go. That way all the elements are brought together with the total vision in mind.
Are you a one-man show or do you have a team?
It depends on the service but I do have a team. It can vary greatly from event to event, but I always have an assistant with me, helping me be in 20 places at the same time. If the event has many elements like props, furniture, chandeliers then I have a larger crew. Aside from my crew I really do consider all of the vendors as the team. A designer or coordinator is only as good as the people he/she works with. Certainly the caterer is HUGE, they not only supply awesome food and drink but all the labor to set up, serve and clean up. They are a very crucial aspect. Of course every vendor is important to the overall success of the event, but if you don’t have good food, drink and service, you are in trouble!
Do you usually get to choose the vendors?
Almost always. It depends on when they come to me. The venue is often times chosen; often a photographer may already be on board as well. But, if you think it through, an event designer should be the first vendor on board. Starting from the top, a couple should convey their desires to me and let my design and experience manage all other aspects. Starting from the site, then to photographer, then caterer and so on. Most of my clients are with me for about a year.
When do you choose your DJs?
We usually start looking at DJs about half way through the process depending onthe date of the wedding. If it’s going to be a popular date you touch base with all the vendors as soon as possible.
If a bride has already chosen other vendors before you will you still work with them?
Yes, of course. It’s a bit more challenging as I really like to get to know the vendor as a person and as a company. Local vendors are always preferred for many reasons. I know how they work, I know their pricing structure and they know the area: They have most likely worked the site before, know the layout, where the sun sets and what flowers will hold up on a August day in Paso Robles! They also have a higher level of responsibility within the community and you cannot go “greener” than hiring someone local. I am only as good as my vendors, so I feel it’s imperative to work with them before the event as much as possible. At the end of the day, it’s all about your vendors.
What does your service include?
Well….. the skies the limit… really. Anything and everything needed to create a beautiful, fun and flowing celebration.
What sets you apart from your competition?
Well, I’ve been doing this for 14 years here on the Central Coast. I really know my job, the area. the vendors that are the best, how the weather patterns work, where to find anything and everything needed to create the perfect party. And I learn something every single event and I have done over 300. I also think my sense of humor helps keep the planning moving along without drama and stress.
What’s your favorite type of client?
Well, again, it’s a wide range. I’ve done events with budgets from $10,000 to $100,000 and I find that it’s really about finding the priorities within the client. It’s really about making sure their hearts are in the right place. If they are looking to provide a really awesome experience for their wedding day and for the people they love, that’s the perfect client.
What’s your favorite type of venue?
Well, I’ve done events anywhere and everywhere by now, and there’s certain things I look for now, but to be honest with you, a dirt field. A blank slate. Love it. I love taking nothing and turning it into something special. Wineries are very in right now and I love working there as well. They have a lot to offer, but there can be restrictions. Tasting rooms often don’t close ’til 5 or 6 so there may be people tasting wine when the guests arrive, you have to be done by 10pm and there’s no mixed alcohol.
What’s a good question to ask when choosing vendors?
Well, first; trust your gut. There should really be something inside that just clickswith that person. The rest will get done. You should be having a good time when you meet with them and feel like they value you. Make sure you enjoy their personality, the way they communicate with you and how they feel about their job. Always look for the passion. I guess a good question would be; “why are you in this business?”
How do you help manage a couples wedding budgets?
After I gain a decent amount of knowledge about who they are, what is and isn’t important to them on their wedding day and where they place their priorities, then I have an excel spreadsheet that we drop their goal budget amount into and it spreads it out to all the elements of the event. Then, let’s say for the Photographer, we talk about; “how important are these specific images to you?” “How about the album?” “What do what to do with the photos after the wedding?’ Then we take the percentages up or down, leaving more or less to go toward the other vendors. It’s imperative to understand your budget limitations before you start choosing vendors. If you spend too much for the site you may have to scrimp on something you really love.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
Dreaming up the design. Laying it out in PowerPoint. I love the first meeting with the bride and groom, their faces when they first see the reception room and the bride walking down the aisle and the fact that I get to throw parties for a living!
What size budget do you work with?
Well my average is probably around 35,000 to 45,000. Of course I have done both smaller and larger events and you would think that having a huge budget is more fun but not always. More money can mean more pressure to make it fabulous, more elements to control, a massive timeline and higher stress. Oh, who am I kidding, I love big budgets!!
Any advice you could give to a newly engaged couple?
My most important piece of advice would be to keep your priorities in place; at the end of the day it’s really about getting married, the rest is just details. (Fabulous details, of course, but really just details). Then, always hire professionals. Don’t have your 17-year-old nephew DJ your event with his iPod, he invariably forgets the right cord and it’s not at all a good idea to have Aunt Kathryn make your wedding cake. It can lean like Pisa or melt in the sun or just plain look and taste dreadful. That’s certainly tough for you but even worse for your aunt! The poor girl will likely feel guilty for years to come. You want professionals that know their trade and how to execute it reliably. Of course the best advice I can give to a newly engaged couple is to call me!http://www.markpadgetteventdesign.com/
What follows will be the first post in a repeating series of educating articles pertaining to the wedding industry. These are articles that have been weeded out of a VAST expanse of wedding publications and choice excerpts from the blogosphere. Hopefully the give some value to you, our loyal reader.This weeks excerpt: Newbie “Wedding Planners” By Lisa Hurley
… Often armed with little experience—other than their own wedding—the newbies drive down fees and taint the value of experienced wedding pros, many in the business say.Newbies are not a recent phenomenon, explains Joyce Scardina Becker, president of San Francisco-based Events of Distinction and founding president of the Wedding Industry Professionals Association. “However, they do come in waves,” she says, “and right now it feels like a tidal wave!”The San Francisco Bay area sees “at least one newbie a week,” says Jenne Hohn, founder of Napa, Calif.-based Jenne Hohn Events. Although the recession has pushed the newly jobless to try to break into weddings (“I’ve heard of corporate planners who said they would never touch weddings now seeking advice on how to plan them,” Hohn says), she thinks the problem started while the economy was still healthy. Many planners and vendors “saw that the wedding planners were doing well and decided to add planning to their repertoire a way to get a piece of the pie.”DAY-OF DILEMMA
One of the most galling trends, Scardina Becker says, is the low-cost, “day of” wedding coordination service many newbies offer.
“I’m not sure how the term ‘day of’ coordination originated, but it is a term that needs to be eradicated from the vocabulary of the wedding industry,” she says. “No wedding planner of sound mind, experience and education would simply show up on the day of a wedding, wave their arms in the air like a symphony conductor and expect everything to flow flawlessly.” Instead, she says, a professional wedding planner would spend from 30 to 45 hours a month out from the wedding date, making sure all plans are in place. Note: Hohn shares her thoughts in “The Myth of ‘Day Of’ Wedding Planning”; click here to read more.REPUTATION AT RISK
Along with driving down fees, some newbies are compromising the reputation of wedding planning by their ignorance or—or disdain for—professionalism, some veteran planners say.
Colette Lopez, head of Santa Barbara, Calif.-based La Fête, said she was “floored” a few years ago when her client posted photos of the wedding Lopez created on the Web site of the new “planner,” claiming they were her work. “I see a lot of blogs that are showing just table designs and set-up shots instead of actual events,” Lopez adds.Tara Wilson, founder of Tara Wilson Events in Fort Worth, Texas, has been pestered in recent months by callers pretending to be prospective brides. She knows why they ask detailed questions about her pricing and services: “It’s very frustrating to have newbies calling and pretending to be brides to pick my brain,” she says. “I would much prefer a start-up planner ask to take me to lunch and discuss her questions rather than try to sneak answers past me. I would be happy to share my insights about this challenging and unique business with the right person, but honesty is the best way to go about it.”Besides knowing little about the wedding business, many newbies know little about business period. For a presentation at The Special Event 2008, Scardina Becker polled wedding planners and learned that 45 percent did not carry business insurance, and 13 percent had no license. “This was a motivating factor for me to help start the Wedding Industry Professionals Association,” she says; WIPA members are required to have a business license and insurance.WEDDING-DAY WOESYet the shortcomings of the newbie planner show up in time. “I hear all the time from my vendors all over,” Lopez says, “that the florist, photographer, band emcee or head captain ends up taking over the event to keep it on track with planners that are not experienced.”Janice P. Blackmon, with more than 25 years in wedding planning, was called on recently to bail out a newbie herself. The head of Janice Blackmon Events in Atlanta—a market “saturated” with wedding planners, she says—tells the story of a newbie planner so ill-equipped to handle a wedding “that on several occasions she even asked the client what they should be working on next,” Blackmon says. The worried bride checked with her venue for a recommendation on a planner, and Blackmon’s name came up. “I was able to come in with two weeks until the wedding, pull everything together, and create and produce the flawless wedding that the bride had been dreaming of,” she says.Blackmon hopes for the day to return when clients “understand that to have the event they desire, it takes quality vendors and professionals to work together to achieve that goal.” But with the bumper crop of inept newbies, “I fear we will continue down the road as we are today,” she says, “with having to spend extra time explaining why we charge what we charge for our services and why we can’t just give away our time and expertise.”Hohn, however, is more optimistic. “Ethical planners have held a constant fee structure as a way to maintain the integrity of the industry,” she says. “These planners have found ways to reword their assistance structure and more clearly define what it is that they do. Not only that, they are educating brides along the way. This type of education is what will save the industry from the ‘attack of the newbies.'”