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10th Annual Trendsetters Gala (and my last hurrah as Co-Director!)

As Co-Director of wedding professionals networking group ABC-Orange County for the past two years, I had the honor + exciting task of co-planning our Trendsetter Awards gala two years in a row.

Last year, we transformed a college gym into a “night at the met”-inspired wonderland, which was quite a feat + with over 30 creative partners, just a few short months to plan, and several moving parts, was also probably the biggest event of my career. I remember being on a such a high after that event, and honestly, that feeling carried on throughout this year.

Planning an event of that size + detail really makes you grow as an event planner, and makes you feel like you can take on any challenge, work with any client, and troubleshoot any issue.

Fast-forward to this year, and our hearts were set on hosting the 10th annual event at [AV} Irvine, which is operated by 24 Carrots, arguably the best in the biz. We approached them with the ask, and waited with bated breath for a. few weeks, before finally hearing back with a YES. We were stoked! The only catch? December (the month we typically hold the event) was out due to 24 Carrots being completely booked with holiday parties, but November 13th was on the table. That gave us just five short weeks to plan, but we were so ready to take on the challenge.

I am so proud to be a part of this organization, and especially proud of our Orange County chapter, which is the only chapter in the nation to host an awards ceremony like this to honor its members.

Historically, I felt the awards were a bit lacking, as some vendor categories, such as “Alternative Vendor”, say a balloon decor company or a large-scale backdrop company, for example, couldn't really submit their work for an award because none of the awards pertained to them. I also felt the award categories were a little confusing - for example, who submits for “Best Styled Shoot”? The planner? Florist? Photographer? Nobody really knew.

I took it upon myself to clean things up a bit, and decided to organize + add categories, so that virtually everyone who works in the wedding industry could submit for an award. I worked on the production, the script, the run of show, the submissions…all while planning + designing the event alongside Eric. It was a whirlwind, to say the least, but SUCH a high that is actually hard to describe in words.

I am so, so appreciative to the creative partners who made this happen for us - their generosity was literally though the roof, and I am just so honored to be a part of an industry with such talent, professionalism + passion.


VENUE | BAR | AUDIO VISUAL | BALLOON ROOM @av_irvine CATERING @24carrotscatering PLANNING + DESIGN @leilaniweddings @friartux HOSTS @voxdjs @joanfullerphotography PHOTOGRAPHY @villavisuals VIDEOGRAPHY + LIVE FEED @caliviewfinders ENTERTAINMENT @undercoverlive DJ | LIGHTING | PHOTOBOOTH @neffectpro FLORAL DESIGN @whitesakuras @losangelesfloralcouture PLANTS @green_effect1 RENTALS + EVENT DECOR @abovethetopevents TABLETOP RENTALS @brighteventrentals CHAIRS @chameleonchaircollection LOUNGE @collective_rentals LINENS + NAPKINS @linensbycelina GRAPHICS, CALLIGRAPHY, LETTERPRESS + FOIL @copperwillowps GRAPHICS, MIRROR CALLIGRAPHY, DANCE FLOOR + VINYL DESIGN @typejcreative DANCEFLOOR @hcd_portable_dancefloors BALLOONS @balloonzilla SILK FLOWER BACKDROP @xxlflowers VINYL @duggalnyc LED PERFORMERS @zaylaahoops COFFEE + DESSERT @moonwoodcoffee CUSTOM ICE CUBES @icebulb HOOKAH LOUNGE @socalhookahs VALET + SHUTTLE @americanlimoservices TROPHIES @hotshotindustriesllc DAY-OF COORDINATION TEAM @eventswithakick PRODUCTION MANAGER @ceigers STYLED SHOOT PARTNERS MODELS @jessicatickle @tonyjakstis DRESSES @monamiebridalsalon TUXES @friartux CAPE @katiepritchard GLAM @flawlessfacesbeautylounge

And without further ado, the night went a little something like this…

The icing on the cake? We took home a WIN! Our Annie won “Best Tablescape by a Planner” for her gorgeous styled shoot at Franciscan Gardens, also featured on Green Wedding Shoes blog!

And of course we couldn’t help but throw a lil’ styled shoot into the mix…

Seriously so grateful for the opportunity to have served my community + industry over these past two years. To have held this position as such a new business owner (less than five years!) is an honor + privilege that I do not take lightly + will cherish forever.

The close of this chapter is bittersweet, but I am excited for what’s next!

signing off,

Danielle Leilani Your 2018-2019 ABC-OC Co-Director


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