More than a one-night affair…

Planning & Resources

Herb Infused Wedding Inspiration Board

Although my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, has looked over its shoulder and said “I’ll see ya next year,” the images and smells of my sage butter roasted turkey, thyme andouille sausage stuffing, rosemary red potatoes, and lavender pound cake are still lingering in my mind…and definitely on my waist. When you’re a foodie, like me, there was no denying what I’ll be sharing on our  Inspire Me Monday blog post: An herb-infused wedding!

There’s so many fun, creative ways to put together a herb themed wedding! The scent of rosemary, sage, basil, mint, thyme, and lavender can invigorate the senses visually and aromatically. As the board suggests, bundles of herbs can serve as a name or place card holder. For favors, the options are limitless! You can concoct a salt and herb rub or seasoning. If you’d like a sweeter approach, get a little gourmet by marinating herbs such as rosemary or thyme in honey and include a food or drink recipe that incorporates your personalized gift. Herbs are a beautiful and surprising addition to floral arrangements as well; centerpieces, boutonnieres, bouquets, and even ceremony decor.

During my wedding planning, at the consultation with the florist, we discussed how I LOVE herbs and wanted a natural look to the arrangements and bouquets. I shared with her how I envisioned the dinner napkins to have fresh sprigs of rosemary tied-on with colorful plaid ribbon….the ribbon complimented the flannel shirts worn by the  groomsmen. Our venue was surrounded by pine trees that hovered over a beautifully manicured garden area. I wanted  my flowers to embrace the allure of our natural setting; therefore,  elaborate floral decor was unnecessary. The florist did an amazing job with my requests! There were sprigs of sage, mint,  thyme, and lavender accenting the gorgeous bouquets, and at the ceremony, bundles of herbs wrapped in twine designated family seating.

Foodie or not, flirt with all sorts of herb inspired ideas for your wedding…it can make for a tantalizing experience for your guests!

Happy Wedding Planning and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!



P.S. – Remember that these ideas are not only inspiration for your wedding but for your everyday occasions too. At my 30th birthday luncheon, I baked a bag of lavender shortbread cookies for all of the guests to enjoy. They were yum yum!


Mint Bout | Herb Centerpiece | Peach & Rosemary Sprtizer, Herb Infused Honey, Herb Place Card, Rosemary Sea Salt Favor


Inspire Me Monday: A Trip Back Home

Last week, I was fortunately able to take a trip back to my amazing hometown… San Francisco! My family lives in the Mission District, just walking distance from awesome vintage stores and to-die-for restaurants. One of my favorite things about home? The food!  San Francisco is so culturally diverse… unlike anything I have ever experienced anywhere… aaaand all available at your beck and call too! Mexican, Japanese, Cuban, French, Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese, American and the list goes on…

(Picture of Oakland Bay Bridge below)

First thing on my agenda was food of course! I found a very small & unassuming restaurant where I ordered fresh ice tea and a goat cheese, roasted-veggie sandwich, with seasoned crispy potatoes and caramelized onions. It was delectably delicious! We all know a meal isn’t complete without dessert, so I headed off to my favorite ice cream shop that specializes in unique flavors where I ordered my favorite flavor…salted caramel! Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm!

After my tummy was full with yumminess, I went to the most amazing antique store I’ve been to yet, called “Big Daddy Antiques”. Set in an old warehouse this store was filled with old barn tables, rustic birdcages, large pots filled with succulents, farmhouse candles, and knickknacks galore. There was even a cool vintage bicycle hung high up with succulents adorning it. A stunning high beamed ceiling housed these array of engaging visual displays.  It was high style Ralph Lauren meets shabby chic barn. It truly took my breath away and reminded me of what I love…Weddings of course!

Because weddings are always on the brain around these parts, I began to think; “How would I incorporate these organic, one-of-a-kind pieces into a wedding?” I began to envision a lush field turned into an altar, a bride struttin’ her stuff down the aisle in a short dress while carrying a bouquet of succulents, a beautiful old barn transformed into a reception hall glowing with sunlight and a fresh iced-tea welcome for the guests.  During our Swann Squad meetings, we often discuss the importance of encouraging all of our clients to seek inspiration for their wedding in the things they enjoy everyday.  A wedding is a day not only to rejoice the love they both share for one another, but also allow guests to experience the celebration more intimately by having guests enjoy what the couple loves to do, see, and eat.

For this light, fancy-free, afternoon affair, I’d serve what I had for lunch earlier in the day, that yummilicious goat cheese, roasted veggie sandwich accompanied by roasted potatoes, and of course… salted caramel ice cream for dessert! What better way to personalize your wedding than to use your daily life as inspiration!

Oh how I love visiting home…


Intern Jess

Blue & Taupe: Surf meets Sand | Del Mar, California Real Wedding

Upon first meeting, Shaina described herself to me as the anti-bride. I tried not to giggle, but I failed… for in her voice I heard an all too familiar quiver from many other brides I’ve met before. “It’s ok, let’s hear why you think that…”- Believe it or not, I’d say there is a 50/50 ratio to brides who have never thought about what their wedding would be like to the ones that have been dreaming about it since they were five. There is nothing wrong with either one {or anything in-between}. Dreams, like ocean waves, are all different.

Like many newly engaged women, she didn’t know where to start (and was being given all kinds of ideas & opinions by everyone around her). She hadn’t been dreaming of this day her whole life and was certainly overwhelmed by all the choices, decisions, and how quickly costs added up. She did however know that it had to be a reflection of her & her fiancé; both could be described as enthusiast of wine, the outdoors, and all things simple… so the planning began.

Shaina & Eric selected Seagrove Park in Del Mar as their backdrop for the interfaith ceremony. Neither of them minded being in a busy area frequented by tourists year-round, not to mention all the locals that can constantly be found strolling through the beautiful setting, AND the coaster that rides past at least once an hour. Many people stopped to watch her walk down the park to the beautiful chuppa where Eric & congregation of about 70 guests awaited, some even took pictures, but you didn’t see the slightest of concern or peeve in Shaina’s face, she was ready for it all to happen!

The Bridal Party was small, three to be exact:

Those cliffs at Seagrove Park make for some stunning pictures!

The theme (“I have to have a theme?!?” Shaina asked), colors, & flowers: Organic and complimentary of our surroundings. Christine of Fancy That! Flowers used familiar blooms in white, ivory, shades of blue, fun monkey tails, along with blue & brown ribbons to represent the sand & skies which surrounded us. Easy, simple, clean. Eric really liked his boutonniere!

It was a lovely ceremony. Sunny skies kissed the faces of all the guests (many who traveled here from Chicago), and it was probably a lot nicer than our summer turned out to be this year!

The reception was held at Pacifica Del Mar restaurant, in their outdoor patio where guests could enjoy the beautiful scenery we are so spoiled with here in San Diego. The food was delicious, staff incredible, and costs…reasonable. I highly recommend considering a restaurant as an alternative to your “typical” wedding reception venue, especially when you have a small guest list. Many restaurant venues will allow you to have the “standard” wedding elements such as a DJ, outside baker, florist, favors, etc.

There was little that had to be added to the restaurant inclusions. For centerpieces, Shaina inherited sea-glass vases from a previous bride of mine who had used them at her wedding… I just love being able to recycle items among my brides! The same vases are being used by one of my September brides too! Her paperie was all designed by her sister, a design replicated perfectly on the cake. The tables were named after favorite wines & were adorned by photos of the many adventures her & Eric have shared. Favors: Costa Rican Coffee (where Eric & Shaina would Honeymoon).

It was a lovely wedding… one that perfectly celebrated who Eric & Shaina are as a couple. I am so grateful to have been part of it! My words of advice to future “anti-brides” – plan to celebrate this next milestone in your life the way that makes YOU BOTH happy. There are no rules or guidelines to what you can or should do for a wedding.



~Encouraging & Inspiring Ideas that will fashion your celebration!~

Shout-Out to the Wedd Pro Team by my side:

  • Ceremony & Cocktail Music: Miles Moynier
  • DJ: Joe, JMC Events
  • Cake: Sumi’s Oven
  • Flowers: Fancy That!
  • Photography: Pasion Photography
  • Videography: Cloudbreak Films
  • Ceremony Rentals (including Chuppa): Platinum Party Rentals
  • Getting Ready Room: L’Auberge

Swann Soirées’ debut at the San Diego Bridal Bazaar

This past Sunday, August 8th, we made our debut at the Bridal Bazaar which took place at the San Diego Convention Center downtown. Having never had a show booth before, the pressure was on to make sure that this investment was both sound and inspiring to future couples. Needless to say, I am very pleased with how everything turned out (after changing my mind several times and getting advice from nearly every show vet).

I designed the booth with the intention of depicting to couples (and their accompanying family or bridal party), what the heck a Wedding Planner & Coordinator is…In 60 seconds-which is the average amount of time a person will look into a booth at a show like this, talk about pressure! Sure, to many of in the industry or those who have already been married, it’s pretty clear cut what “I do”, but some people still think that a Planner & a Coordinator are two separate people- one is like J-Lo in the movie The Wedding Planner, who costs a lot of money, and makes your wedding everything he or she wants, wears a fancy head-set, and actually runs around in heels on the wedding day! The other, is someone who costs less money, perhaps a hobbyist or newly married person who did everything themselves for their wedding so they know all the “little stuff” that needs to be taken care of on the day of your wedding. Not many people realize that “JLo” and the “Coordinator” are one in the same, for you can’t Coordinate a wedding without planning… and one can’t plan a wedding without coordinating all the elements. What is often forgotten as well is that most of us take our profession just as seriously as the rocket scientist couple who might hire us…. We constantly self-educate, train, and reach out to others in our industry to remain on top of our game.

So… how to put all that in a 10×8 booth?? Please see below:


There was four sections to our booth; The “entrance,” which was a bookshelf that depicted how our services are an All-Encompassing resource from beginning to end. The table that followed I called the “Details” table which had DIY place cards Sherry hand crafted and photos of the many wedding details we’ve helped put together. That display was followed by our sweetheart table (made deliciously stunning by the Wing Chairs we rented from Concepts Event Design). The tablescape was pulled together by Sherry’s ability to take my random ideas & make them a reality… finally, closing up the booth was a belly bar I called “Picture Perfect”- which depicted how our pre-planning & behind the scenes involvement makes all the great moments at weddings, Picture Perfect.

Here’s some more picture of the absolutely gorge-ous sweetheart table: I am a huge fan of everything contradictory yet complimentary.. what the what?? Yea, I like clean, simple, elegant styles… no shabby fluff, swirls, or overly complicated patterns, yet I loooove textures! The linens (also from Concepts Event Design) as well as the pillows from Z Gallerie, along with the placemats provided me that fix… the place settings, glassware, and silverware were understated and calm. Perfect Balance.

Now the flowers… let me tell you about the flowers… O M G… UUHHH-mazing!!

I was thrilled with the florals, which were the magnificent work of Nancy Stevens. I was floored with what she came up with for me after only talking to me about the booth for an hour & getting such vague, indecisive, and complicated instructions. I feared that my inability to name anything other than a white cynbidium orchid for my hanging vases on the backdrop, I had given Nancy what I thought was zero to go on… I recall telling her “I would like two arrangements and a bouquet… I want them to be sassy, organic, lots of texture, all white…a splash of deep purple and sage are okay but NOT much… I would like them to be funky but not weird… you know, classy but not boring…oh and I would like something to wear, preferably in my hair, but not feathery or a flower…” I can only imagine what Nancy was thinking when she heard me say that last part! Hello!? The woman is a florist, not a hair accessory maker… Ok well she nailed it anyway. She’s just THAT awesomesauce. The gorgeous pieces are currently adorning my office, and they were a hit at the show! Can’t tell you how many people picked up the bouquet, took pictures and asked about them. Good stuff!

Please don’t allow my lack of photography skills to tell you differently about Nancy’s talents… These were perfect. I wish I had been getting married and that these were my decor (p.s. the only good pic I got of the sweetheart table arrangement is above- oops!)…


Close-up of top of bouquet:

“Organic” or “Live” headband which consisted of orchid petals (purple) succulents, and the monkey tail. I am in the process of preserving this one with some stuff I bought at Michael’s, I’ll let you know how it goes. This is by far waaaay more unique than anything currently adorning wedding manes in my humble opinion.

Lastly, the arrangement she made for the “entrance” to my booth:

So that’s it folks! Sherry and I had an absolutely busy day from start to finish, it was non stop! I call the show a success. We met many brides, booked quite a few, and plan on doing it again.

P.S. The promo pricing we were running during the show has been extended! Please call or email us so we can talk wedding!




My friend & colleague, Sherry Tarrant

Wing Chairs, Linens, Sweetheart table rentals: Concepts Event Design

Florals: Nancy Stevens Flowers

Logo revamp, banner & Flyer design: Bamboo Star Studios

Logo dress: Fiveloaves Twofish Clothing

Drive & Motivation: My mom & husband

Inspiration: My current & future clients ❤

Black & Ivory: Timeless Beach Elegance | San Diego Real Wedding

Every single time I look at this wedding it makes me go back to the day it happened. It was such a beautiful day all the way around from planning to execution and everything in-between.  Given I am behind on blogging, why not go back to my favorite month last year, October, specifically to when Maribel & Uriah tied the knot at the St. Francis Chapel in Balboa Park then partied the night away at La Valencia in la Jolla. This wedding meant a LOT to me, for I met Mari & Uri through one of the nurses at the San Diego Hospice where I drop off donations on the weekend. Needless to say, Mari’s left over flowers went to the Hospice after the celebration too. Yay! You can see the “Live” shots from the day on the SS Facebook Fan Page, but since Michelle was awesome & sent me more of her amazing shots it would be horrible not to share!

The theme was a Classy Beach Elegance, there are sooo many ways to depict that, but Mari & Uri went the vintage & formal route. All the little details, from the sterling silver bouquet holder to the ornate champagne flutes really helped bring to life a romantic and timeless event.

Enjoy the beautiful shots & be inspired!



~Encouraging & Inspiring ideas that will fashion your celebration!~



The Details were my favorite part! Beautifully adorned champagne flutes with matching cake cutters. The tables were named after their favorite beaches, thick, clear acrylic frames held photos of the corresponding beach, each frame nestled among arrangements of roses and beautiful greenery of varying height. The ring pillow was a DIY project, the lace came from Mari’s mom’s dress from her wedding…Love! The favors were wine stoppers with crystal clam shells on top, oh and perhaps my favorite detail? The silver bouquet holder with a little tag that had their names on it… it looked beautiful and kept the bridal bouquet in-tact all day & night. Photos of family weddings were set on the piano of the lounge at The Valencia and really added that romantic touch to the lovely and personal event.

The place cards were held inside a cork-lined tray which was made by one of Mari’s friends, the starfish were a perfect accent!

Cake & topper made by Mari’s sister! It was deeelish!

Wedd Pro Team:

Crimson, Moss & Slate: Twilight Inspiration Board

It’s not easy being a hopeless romantic. The last time I got sucked into a movie to the point where daily viewings were a normal part of my day, was an ancient ten plus years ago, when I was hooked on Pretty Woman and Dirty Dancing. I figured I might have grown out of that stage…apparently not!

I am, one hundred and ten percent, team Twilight Sagas!! Talk about beating to the tune of my hopeless romantic heart! Thank goodness for this new found obsession because it became my muse for this month’s inspiration board.

In the movies, there’s an “Edward and Bella” spot in the woods. For those who have never watched the movie {Brenda} Edward is the vampire and Bella is the human who are destined, by the hands of Fate herself, to be together. Their love story is passionate, mysterious, sexy, and most of all… timelessly romantic.

My interpretation of their spot came to fruition through my DIY contribution which is the dinner table centerpiece pictured above: Set in the woods, luscious green grass is a beautiful backdrop to the blooming flowers in hues of blues and purples. I absolutely loved the colors in the first movie, Twilight; Seattle’s gray with muted tones of blues and deep purples, vibrant green landscaping thriving from the little bit of sun that shines through, which also allows for the milky-white pale skins of our lovers to glow. My favorite color in the movie is the crimson-red hue on both Edward and Bella’s lips *insert me blushing*.

I purchased everything but one item of my DIY centerpiece at a local floral warehouse: Vase, river rocks, florist block (which is under the moss), tiny crystals, berry branches, red Sweet William dianthus, thistle (purple), and light Bella delphinium (blue)…go figure I subconsciously pick flowers with the name “Bella” in it? I also bought these toothpick-like things that had floral wire attached to it. I used them to keep the Bellas in place. The only other thing purchased for this project was the tiny, tiny crystals I glued onto the branches, which represents Edward’s glistening diamond complexion.

I appreciate how the movie incorporates old traditions in a present-day world. You’ll see how I’ve tried to achieve that well-balanced mixture throughout the board:

Beginning with the invitation at the top right corner. The monogram is regal and the perfect hue of red while the font and text placement is simple and clean. Continuing clockwise, I envision the table to be draped with a navy blue canvas over a white French brocade linen. The brocade linen is a classic and elegant, softening the look of the masculine, hatch-pattern textured  canvas.

On the table top, the gorgeous mosaic patterned dinnerware is in hues of greens and blues with a light trimming of antiqued gold, it’s classy and charming, perfectly accompanied by the absolutely sexy crystal champagne flutes. The bodice of the flute is wrapped in a Waterford Alana pattern which gives it a crisscross hatching pattern—when I saw the price of these bling-bling flutes it confirmed what I already knew, ”Girl’s got expensive taste”.

Continuing with the table, lighting is a key element to creating the right ambiance at any celebration. I found these enchanting mercury glass votive holders, with a pebble-like texture that repeats the shape of the small round crystals hanging sparsely on branches of the centerpiece. The mercury glass will cast a warm, antique glow on its surroundings.  The more of these on the table, the more dramatic effect will be achieved between the candles and the flickering of the crystals on the centerpiece.

Moving on with antique but including romantic, we have the Jenny Yoo bridesmaid dress in pomegranate. Its red hue draws me in like the passion between Edward and Bella. It will most definitely drape your bridesmaids softly and romantically.

Thanks to one of our favorite, talented baker Sumi, with Sumi’s Oven, I found my ideal cake in her portfolio! I was considering suggesting using different red flowers on the cake but these red roses perfectly match my bridesmaid’s dress. I love how soft and romantic the roses look. It’s elegantly simple with its monochrome filigree icing work. For the cake flavor?  I suggest Blood Orange cake with either light cheesecake filling or guava mousse filling…I’m torn between the two {Brenda will watch the Twilight Saga’s in exchange for a piece of this cake!}

Next are my two Etsy finds; First it’s a handsome bo\boutonniere made with an antiqued brass Rococo broche, natural moss, twigs and white baby’s breath…I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect boutonniere for this special board. It has all the old-world charm Edward encompasses. Lastly, I never knew Etsy carried such sweet, angelic flower girl dresses until I attended a very close friend’s, one-of-a kind wedding, where her flowergirl was donning one of the Etsy finds. What little girl wouldn’t want this dress added to her wardrobe? The silk and organza design is innocent and pure.  My only suggestion would be to replace the sash and flower color to the purple of the thistle or blue of the canvas table linen.

With that, we’ve come full circle on my Romantic Twilight Wedding inspiration board. I hope to have teased your creative appetite with your wedding planning through my obsession with the Twilight Saga movies. You never know when or how your next creative spark is discovered, but when you do, you just gotta run with it!!! Happy Wedding Planning and I’ll see you next month…

SOURCES (starting with invitation and going clockwise):

INVITATIONS – Designer: Wiley Valentine, Callaway Collection in his Luxe Album; LINEN – Wildflower Linen; DINNERWARE – Mosaico D’Italia Mattonella by Lenox; GLASSWARE – Alana Prestige Lime Toasting Flutes by Waterford Crystal; VOTIVE HOLDERS – Mercury Glass Pebble Texture Votive Holders; BRIDESMAID DRESS – Designer: Jenny Yoo, Ainsley in pomegranate; WEDDING CAKE – Bakery: Sumi’s Oven, San Diego Baker; BOUTONNIERE – Etsy Shop: Pomp and Plumage, Chevalier; FLOWER GIRL DRESS – Etsy Shop: Beane & Company, Silver, White and Yellow Satin Organza Flower Girl Dress.

Purple, Orange, & Yellow | Eclectic Inspiration Board

Welcome to my first blog EVER!!! I am excited to announce that I, Sherry Tarrant, am the newest member of the fantabulous Swann Soirées team. Being deemed the resident Designer/in-house Foodie, I created this department for the sole purpose of making it sound more posh than it really is – Director of Creative Design for our Wedding Inspiration Department…that was a mouthful huh? So whenever I find myself inspired, find or eat something absolutely amazing, I will create these inspiration boards and share them with y’all in hopes to excite your imagination and help you create a Swanntastic Event! <–Brenda made me say that! LOL.

Let’s navigate through this lovely board shall we?

Starting from the center then moving to the upper left corner going clockwise. While I was finding a fabric to re-upholster stools at home, I found this very cool P Kaufman fabric which became the centerpiece for this inspiration board; I envision this fabric as the exterior covering of a canopy tent with its wide strands streaming all the way down from the top center point. Any outdoor setting will welcome this colorful, organic, and  unique design.

I luckily came upon these awesome cane finial lanterns on a website called  I would have these clustered in the center of the canopy tent to give an illusion of a chandelier. Then, I’d add the origami butterflies (explained in further detail below) as if they are swarming all around the lanterns, sparsely spacing them outwards throughout the entire canopy ceiling. Imagine how the center would look at night once all of the pillar candles are lit??? STUNNING!!!

Invitations By Nature, crafted this whimsical, graceful butterfly wedding stationary.

One of our local San Diego faves, Paula from Rae Florae is the talented florist responsible for the wild, fun, yet elegant boutenniere & bride’s bouquet pictured, in tones that are a perfect compliment to the P Kaufman fabric. I definitely recommend arrangements with wild flower blooms too, just like in the pics!

There’s just something so delicate, sweet, yet elegant about the Saffron gown by, ex-contestant of Project Runway, Melissa Sweet. Its stunningly soft silk organza flows down elegantly, the Swarovski crystal embellishments add just enough glimmer for the glamour. GOOOOOORGEOUS!!!

I can always count on Etsy to add to the details. Timeless Paper is the seller of this delicate butterfly place card you see in the bottom right hand side.

I am proud to admit that I have recently joined the bandwagon on crafting. All thanks to my chiquita bonita Dana, who last year, during our annual New Year’s trip, brought a crafting project that got me hooked. So to celebrate my new found love for DIY projects, with each inspiration board I create, I will always include at least one DIY personal Sherry touch! My DIY project for this board is butterfly origamis. This idea came to me as I was brainstorming on this design concept for this board. After having my heart set on the Butterfly wedding stationary by Invitations by Nature, I knew I needed to repeat the butterflies somewhere… by repeating it, I wanted to make sure that the decorative butterflies exuded more of a masculine presence. After much research and realizing that I still needed to pick my DIY contribution to this board…butterfly origamis were the obvious choice! I made these in no time and found both written and video instructions easily on the web! I found the video instructions more helpful…Oh and my husband’s reading over my shoulder, asking why I didn’t give him credit for making one of the origami butterflies; therefore “WE made them in no time.” I bought oragami paper that are in the blue and purple tones of the fabric.

On to the beautiful plate from Anthropologie, who doens’t fall in-love with something in that store?! I thought to splash of color at the dinner table with their Sliced Persimmon Dinnerware collection was Deee-licious before you even get to the meal!

On the left of the dinnerware, another Melissa Sweet gown, specifically for your bridesmaids, in canary, identified as Vineyard style 1419. This chiffon, full length blouson dress perfectly adds to the soft flowy feel of the design concept. The canary yellow is a nice summer accent color inspired by the P Kaufman fabric.

I absolutely love the intricate detail of the pipework on this decadent cake by Cakes by Dee-sign, in Farmington, NM. The details repeat the delicate and organic concept that is part of the wedding theme while flirting with a hint of elegance…How about this for a cake flavor; Chocolate Ginger cake with a Frangelico pear filling???  Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

I am a true believer in a balanced design. I see design in many forms, one of them being masculine and feminine.  I find that the cane finials, origami butterflies, and wild flower blooms project add a bit of masculinity…BUT the over all feel is still flirty, feminine, fun, with a sheath of cultural grace. Thanks y’all so much for sharing in this creative journey with me. Til next time…



Bridal Nosh!

Together with Bridal Insider, I hosted the first Bridal Nosh this evening- and it was exactly what I hoped it would be!

What’s a Bridal Nosh you ask? Well A nosh is a nibble, snack, or otherwise a light meal. A Bridal Nosh, is where a bride planning her wedding can join me, and other brides, to chit-chat about ALL things wedding, her wedding, my wedding, her friend’s wedding… weddings, weddings, weddings- oh and the life that happens in between our weddings! Because I suppose there is a life beyond weddings… or is there?? Kidding 🙂

There is no agenda or discussion topics, there are no bored friends tired of hearing about the planning, no judging about what you’re doing or what you’re spending on your wedding… Just good ol’ fashioned conversation, yummy snacks, and real brides  to compare notes, and develop relationships with. Good times I tell ya! I had such a blast today, hearing the engagement stories, about the plans, and reminiscing about my own wedding too. In the midst of all the chatter, we only took one picture at the end of the night, sorry for missing the others- next time I’ll definitely have the camera on-hand while we’re laughing away the evening (and watching people crash into their own cars!)

Thank you ladies for joining Lori & I, it was such a blast! We very much look forward to the next Bridal Nosh in March!


p.s. The Noshing will happen every third Wednesday of the month from 6-8pm in the Cerimone Studio in Point Loma. Open to Brides Only~ space is limited, please be sure to RSVP to reserve your spot.

With Kecia & Darah- Wedding Date Twins!

Elements of a Real Wedding


wed-ding  noun

1. the act or ceremony of marrying; marriage; nuptials.
2. the anniversary of a marriage, or its celebration: They invited guests to their silver wedding.
3. the act or an instance of blending or joining

I think I am going to petition for Mr. Webster to include a bullet-point or asterisk under the definition of wedding, which notifies engaged couples of what it takes to plan a Real Wedding.

For starters, it doesn’t identify who is paying for the shindig, nor does it allude to any kind of warning on the numerous fights you and your fiancée will get into over the next several months. Not serious fights, but you know, little stuff- like what song you want for the processional of the mothers, or what color cocktail napkins you have to order for the bar, and what do you want the DJ to wear, a suit or a tux? Wait a minute, why is that even relevant??

As you are left pondering the decisions above, you realize that Mr. Webster’s definition also doesn’t even slightly give you a projected cost.  So you are left to wander around the Internet, clicking on the endless possibilities that could be your wedding. Sometimes, you have a bit of an advantage in your wedding preparedness because you’ve been in a wedding, or you have a friend who’s gotten married, or the best resource yet… you’ve seen those Wedding shows on television.  You know the ones; the ones that define the word wedding much better than Mr. Webster himself, in fully edited, extremely vivid, almost as good as being there magnification. So now that you are engaged, you know exactly what to do, and what not to do (because nobody wants to be a Bridezilla), in order to have the best, possible wedding, a Real Wedding.

If you sense a bit of sarcasm in my tone, you are not misreading my friends. I am being sarcastic and antagonistic.  Why you ask? Because, last time I checked, in the State of California you only need a few things in order to be married (besides the $45 fee for the license):

  1. A Partner
  2. An Officiant
  3. Two Witnesses

You also need Love -although this one is optional depending on the couple, it is about the only recommendation I will endorse wholeheartedly.

Let me tell ya what you don’t need to get married:

Fighting: With your family over the guest list, with your childhood friend over her bridesmaids dress, or with your fiancé because he/she cannot give you a solid opinion on the color scheme & theme you are debating.

Stress: Over your co-worker who also just got engaged and is stealing your thunder, a groomsman who’s had to move to another state because their spouse’s job was relocated, or because you can’t seem to find a the perfect favors that both men & women will keep as an eternal momento from your celebration.

Enormous Debt: Spending far more than what you can afford because you simply must have that thing that was on that show, or because your best friend had it at her wedding & you have to outdo it, or because people expect you to.

A marriage is full of compromise, planning a wedding is practice for the many years of compromising you have ahead of you. No matter how independent, financially stable, smart, or other, you are- you will always have to find a middle ground with the person you will spend the rest of your life with, so why not find that middle ground with the myriad of decisions you are making during the planning too? Is there a decision that crucial to your eternal happiness? I’m not telling you to disregard the expectations of your social circle, not to spend money, or not to include a very special detail from your celebration- but think about how much something really means to you before putting so much weight on it that you only end up with puffy eyes, a headache, and potentially fiancee-less.

Seems as if I’ve gotten off the original blog topic, but in actuality I have not. I wanted to talk about having a Real Wedding and all of the elements, which are so seemingly important to having one: Forgettable details, unnecessary stresses, regrettable fights, and debt. Mr. Webster didn’t talk about those now did he? Having have worked and planned a wedding or two, from the backyard bash to the over-the-top platinum celebration, and everything in between, I can tell you that none of those things that Mr. Webster didn’t address, even mattered on the day of the wedding. When I see my couples basking in each other’s sight, smiling, laughing, and being overjoyed with the moments, I know they aren’t thinking about trivial details. Their families and friends, they aren’t either… they are busy having fun, dancing, catching up with old friends, sharing a night’s breeze- whatever. Maybe that’s why Mr. Webster doesn’t define “Wedding” further, because he knows what’s important.

Maiden Name, Married Name…

There are many things that every single couple should talk about and have a clear understanding of before they get married…NO, I am not talking about the type of cable service you should have, or who will take out the trash, or even the never ending debate of whether or not ordering take-out counts as “prepping dinner.” Although all of the above are important, none is near as serious as a bride’s name change.

Yes, yes, this is quite the sensitive subject, yet the one at fault for many pre-wedding fights these days. Do note that when I say pre-wedding, I mean within the 30 days before an exchange of vows is to happen… In the midst of paying off vendors, finalizing menu items, and kindly attempting to let your bff know that she/he cannot bring their new fling to the wedding, couples will get in horrendous fights over the (seemingly) ever-so-antiquated tradition. I, unfortunately have bared witness to many of these fights… talk about awkward, escape is near impossible when caught in the middle, especially when the fight literally sparks out of nowhere. Ugh. Often things get so heated that all rationality is lost beyond even sonar detection… “I really think this is a private matter… I am going to let myself out or maybe we can re-schedule our final consultation…”  No pretty folks, not pretty.

Perhaps in our modern times, a bride changing her name to her husband’s after marriage has become unexpected to some, yet it is something that happens without question for others. Neither of you will ever know until you discuss it together. While I do not intend to provide any sort of historical evidence, interpretation or professional pre-marital advice, I will simply share my opinion: TALK IT OUT!

It is imperative that you & your spouse-to-be talk about this subject (and ideally agree) early in your engagement. Don’t just touch on the subject either. Share with each other what your feelings and expectations are, why it means so much to you to change/not change names. You have to find a balance between practicality & emotions, family history, perceptions of independent, etc, etc. Whatever importance you have placed on your name (as the person holding it or the person who is changing it)… talk about it. Agree to find resolution BEFORE the wedding, and the moment you get stubborn and irrational and you feel anger taking over the discussion quickly turning into an argument… take a break, agree to talk about it again when you’ve both cooled of. Additionally, try not to have this conversation with everyone else first– everyone has an opinion (right, like me…) but with a sensitive topic such as this one, one less co-worker’s or friend’s outlook, may actually help you discuss this with your fiancée in clarity, rather than built-up angst.

Personally, I could NOT WAIT to get rid of my maiden name; Dantes, which is now my middle name solely for the purpose of having a middle initial and preventing my initials from being “BS”-  ha ha, yes, go ahead and giggle.

Done laughing?

Ok good…

As I was saying… For the most part, I had grown quite tired of telling people that I didn’t know the origin of  “Dantes”, that I was not Italian, or that there was no apostrophe between the “e” and the “s” like Dante’s Inferno. I had also grown quite tired of correcting people who pronounced my name “Daintees” “Dohnte” “Danes” or any other ludicrous butchery of a simple name- not that Swann has fixed that actually… people still butcher my name unnecessarily; “Swain” “Sean” “Swanson” and “Shaw” are the top… and my personal favorite, the lady a Vons who said “Thank you Miss Sanchez”  as she handed me my receipt just the other day… I tell ya there is no winning. BUT THE POINT is that without second though, I planned on changing my name after getting married, for I had no desire to hyphenate it. I never talked to Dayton about it and it really was a non-issue. BUT At no point did I feel like I was losing my identity or any part of my independence as a woman. I also do not feel like “property” or that I have disrespected my family or heritage in any way.  I guess it just worked out for us, and I am glad it did, because, swans are a lot cuter than fiery pits of hell, and I would have been one of those people fighting with my fincée just a month before our wedding if things would have been different.