My Recipe for a Unique, Stylish + Memorable Wedding
All photos from the grand opening of STONEHURST, planned + designed by us. PC Victoria Gold Photography.
When I first started Leilani Weddings, my mission was clear: Create a company, and eventually a brand, that plans + designs ‘uniquely designed + stylized weddings’ (our first tagline) that represents each of our couples. Rather than plan cookie-cutter carbon-copy dupes of something we’ve all seen on Pinterest, from the beginning, we strived to create unique, stylish, and one-of-a-kind events for our couples, complete with personalization details. Although our official tagline has evolved over the years - now it’s “for the stylish bride celebrating universal love” - our bottom line stays the same - when your guests arrive to your wedding, we want it to scream YOU. From selecting the perfect venue, to choosing your menu - music selections, design choices, and everything in between, we feel that each choice should be made together, carefully, and thoughtfully. Another tip I like to keep in mind - the 60/40 rule. Your wedding should be 60% of what YOU as a couple want - location, time of year, vendor selections, music choices, and 40% of what you feel your guests will enjoy. When you work with our Leilani squad, we really streamline the planning process, but I know that all of the options + tasks, to-do lists + meetings can become a bit overwhelming, so I’ve narrowed it down to a science, if you will. Below you will find my “recipe” for a unique stylish + memorable wedding that will have your guests talking for months (and hopefully years!) to come.
A KILLER VENUE THAT REPRESENTS YOU AS A COUPLE
You’re engaged! Now what? First off, take a deep breath. Secondly, grab a glass of champagne, stat - this is SUCH an exciting time in your life, and it’s time to celebrate, girl! Your mind is probably starting to race with thoughts + ideas, but first things first, let’s build a foundation. When selecting a venue, of course you have to keep the basics in mind: Will it fit my guest count? Is it in my budget? Are they flexible with the vendors I bring in? But I invite you to dive a little deeper and ask yourself questions like: Where did my fiancee + I meet? What do we like to do as a couple? Where is our favorite place to travel? Are we beach people? Mountain people? City people? Asking yourself these types of questions will lead you in the right direction, whether it be to the beach or to the mountains, to an industrial lofty space or a hotel ballroom, to Palm Springs, Wine Country or even Destination.
2. OUTSTANDING FOOD + ALCOHOL (READ: SAY GOODBYE TO DRY CHICKEN + HELLOOO TO OPEN BAR!)
I can promise you one thing: Your guests WILL remember the food that was served at your wedding. And an open bar? A must in my opinion. This is a time for celebration, and that means eat, drink + be merry! Whether you opt for a plated meal or family-style service, a buffet or a food truck, make sure it’s delicious. We work with some of the best caterers in the biz, and they are all fairly priced + innovative with their menu options. On the flip side, many of our couples recently are opting for more casual fare, like Maggiano’s or The Lime Truck, and we are all for it! Not only are these options less expensive but they allow for a more casual dining experience.
Other fun additions: A late-night snack (some of my faves include street tacos, the In-N-Out Truck, and LA dogs!) + signature cocktails, a fun opportunity to bring in a focal point (a cute bar menu) + another way to personalize (say your dog is named “Lucky” - you can name your signature “Lucky in Love” - too cute, right?!) Desserts are another super fun way to get creative, the options are seriously endless nowadays! Keep in mind that catering will be one of your higher ticketed items, so what you spend here all depends on your overall budget + preferences.
Once your Leilani planner has your budget in mind, he/she can help allocate funds in each area + guide you in the right direction.
3. DESIGN: FOCAL POINTS, FOCAL POINTS, FOCAL POINTS!
When you hire Leilani Weddings for design, you know your wedding will be stylish + unique, but something that we also strive for is focus on focal points.
We like to give you the biggest bang for your buck, and oftentimes, that means strategizing on ways to bring in cool focal points without breaking the break.
We LOVE doing this, and consider it to be one of our specialties. When we design, we’ll have a ballpark figure in mind, extracted from your overall targeted budget, and will select options based on that figure. For example, if you’re getting married in a lofty warehouse space with high ceilings, a floral installation hanging from the ceiling might be something we want to spend some money on, so maybe we go simpler on the centerpieces. If we decide to bring in a white seamless gloss dancefloor with a customized vinyl on top (one of our favorite focal points!) we may decide to rent the specialty linens but opt for the chairs that the venue already provides, saving you some money there. All in all, we strive for 2-3 main “focal points” in terms of your overall design aesthetic - we strive to create a vibe, an experience, and stay away from being too rigid in terms of how we get there.
4. MUSIC IS LIFE
More and more of our couples are embracing their own musical tastes for their weddings, and we are loving it! Your wedding guests will be comprised of both family + friends, younger + older, and you want to keep that in mind when putting together your wedding playlist, however, we do encourage you to embrace the music that you love - what moves you, what sets your soul on fire, and incorporate those artists + genres into the wedding. Nowadays, you can find an instrumental version of almost any song, so even if your fiancee’s favorite band is Metallica, you can probably incorporate his music tastes into the wedding, even into the wedding ceremony itself! A string trio cover of “Enter Sandman”!? Sign me up.
5. THE “A LIST”: A GUEST LIST COMPRISED OF YOUR FAVORITE HUMANS
When it comes to your guest list, remember - you want good vibes, celebration + love on your wedding day, not drama, fights breaking out + tears. Trust me, I’ve seen it all.
At the end of the day, you only want the people closest to you at your wedding - you are most likely paying for their meal, 3-4 drinks, a chair, a place setting - when it’s all said + done, each guest can cost you upwards of $300!
This can become a tricky subject when it comes to family, but keep in mind that the goal is to walk away with only fond memories of your wedding day, so avoiding unnecessary drama is key. Sometimes that means having some hard talks with family + cutting some people from the list. Plus ones are another thing to consider. You should not feel obligated to give every guest a plus one to your wedding. Consider only offering a plus one if that person has been dating their significant other for a year or more. Kids are another touchy subject. It is your (and your fiancee’s) decision + your decision only on whether or not you want to allow kids at your wedding. There are options here: Consider hiring a babysitting service so the kids can eat their own meal, play + hang out separately from the adults, without putting what can sometimes be a burden of childcare on their parents’ shoulders. If you’re very family-oriented, and don’t mind the kiddos in the same room as the adults, let them run free. There can be a comfort + familiarity to having the kids of the family play freely, just as they would any other family gathering. On the other hand, it is 100% your prerogative to opt for an adult-only wedding, and simply state that on your invitation. Date night for the parents? Win win.