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The Sound of Music with The FlashDance

The reception is the perfect place for guests to let loose, but curating the ultimate dance party (with seamless transitions)? Well, it’s no east feat. Which is why we turn our tables to the professionals dance party starters. Cue The FlashDance, who has given us an inside scoop on what it takes to create a memorable musical fete below!


Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t walk down the aisle to whatever suits your fancy! You will never regret the parts of the wedding that you, as a couple, incorporate from your actual life (not someone else’s). You most certainly will regret walking down the aisle to some stuffy chamber music because a relative insisted, or trying to be extra hip and doing something trendy. Be authentic and true to yourself with every song you choose. Try not to choose too many songs, less is more. Make your recessional (after you kiss) song upbeat and fun! Sevie Wonder or Michael Jackson are good, but maybe Johnny Cash or The Smiths is more your style.

First Dance

Limit to one song that’s less than 3 minutes (if possible). Have the father & daughter start the dance, mother & son join halfway through. I like to ask guests to join as well for the last portion. Immediately following the first slow dance, everyone of your friends (bridal party if you have one) should look like track runners on their starting blocks waiting for the gun to fire. The “gun” should be a seriously amazing song, a surefire party starter! All of your ‘go to’ dancers should know that as soon as the father daughter song is over it’s time to rush the dance floor and nothing gets a party hype like all your guests dancing like lunatics to a super fun song! Why do our first dance before dinner you ask? Good question!

ONE | You know when everyone hugs the wall nervously waiting for the first person to shake it? Yeah, it’s not a good look. If you have your first dance before dinner you will clear the awkward energy on the dance floor and get everyone really excited for the dance party that will follow after entrees

TWO | If you get nervous about slow dancing in front of everyone, it’s nice to get this out of the way and enjoy your dinner, rather than let it weigh heavy on you while you pound martinis and push your food around on your plate!

THREE | Everyone is still looking cute, hair is in place, outfits are not a sweaty disheveled mess, and as a result you will actually get some great photos of your first dance!

Cut the cake

Please do it before the dancing starts (pretty please)? If you absolutely can’t do that, please DO NOT stop the music for an audience. Instead, grab your sweetheart, your photographer, and maybe your folks and go do it in a corner! Nobody else really cares and announcing it and/or changing music will put a halt to all dancing which will take even the most experienced maestro 20 – 30 minutes to recover from.


Get all speeches out of the way before dinner is over! Nobody wants to be waiting around to party while Uncle Jim talks about the time you crashed your dad’s car when you were 16… Another quick note, it’s way more natural to have the guests who are speaking just come up and announce themselves (if necessary) no need to have your DJ stumble over people’s names that everyone already knows.

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Timeless Elegant Indoor Los Angeles Wedding

What are some special details you’re incorporating on your Big Day? Take this pair, who honored the Bride’s late mother with a bouquet of her favorite Enchanted Garden flowers placed on her empty chair. It’s thoughtful details like these Michael and Anna Costa captured, and there are more meaningful moments a la Orange Blossom Special Events, here!

Rustic Venue

From Orange Blossom Special EventsVanessa and Eric were married at Carondelet House on October 19th of last year. The vendor list alone made this wedding incredible…everyone’s hard work DEFINITELY paid off and the Bride couldn’t thank everyone enough for the special touches that made her and her new Husband’s day so amazing. After the first look but before the ceremony, Vanessa took a few moments to have alone time with her father before walking down the aisle and Eric did the same with his sons. It was a very special time for them while their friends and family mingled downstairs, waiting for the couple to tie the knot!

From the Bride… When we set out to plan our wedding, we gave ourselves the following parameters: intimate, timeless, stress-free and a reflection of us. These parameters influenced our choice of wedding venue, which had been a private residence built in the 1920’s and reminiscent of an old villa. Along with our floral design, our wedding achieved a timeless look and feel.

Our parameters narrowed our vendor selection to those who could execute well with little direction. With both of us working full-time and the demands of running my own business, we didn’t have much time for details. Plus planning a wedding in 9 months was added pressure. We ultimately built an experienced team of vendors who had not only worked together in the past, but loved working with one another. This proved to be a wise decision evidenced by how smoothly our wedding day went. No detail was overlooked; everything went perfectly, beautifully, and without a hitch.

It was important for the day to be stress-free, which led us to our excellent wedding planner. We also made non-traditional choices such as to forgoing the traditional bridal party of bridesmaids and groomsmen, and skipping the rehearsal dinner and day-after brunch. I can honestly say, as a result of our decisions, the planning process was not terribly stressful and the day-of was most definitely stress-free!

It was also important for us to honor what makes our union unique. We wanted to acknowledge our newly blended family by giving Eric’s children a special role in the ceremony. We honored my late mother with a bouquet of her favorite flowers placed on her empty chair. And my father’s dog stole the show when he was pulled down the aisle in a Radio Flyer red wagon. We paid homage to my Chinese heritage with a mid-reception dress change to a bespoke Chinese dress or “qipao,” modernized with an intricate pattern of gold-colored thread.

Photography: Michael And Anna Costa | Event Planning: Orange Blossom Special Events | Floral Design: Enchanted Garden | Cake: Dolce Bakery | Catering: Tres LA Catering | Hair & Makeup: Emily Dawn Artistry | DJ: Pacific Events | Officiant: LA Wedding Woman | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Carondelet House | Linen Rentals: A Packaged Parties

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Vintage + Whimsical Los Angeles Wedding

I honestly can’t decide what I like most about this glamorous wedding. From the sweet, white Papel Picado signs and whimsical moon photo backdrop to the Bride’s dreamy Karen Willis Holmes feather capelet and the wild, romantic flowers in vases sent over from India, this wedding, photographed by Gather West Photography, is what dreams are made of. Admire all the gorgeous details right this way!

From The Bride…We let the season dictate a lot of the colors we chose. We opted for deep wintery reds and shades of blue running the spectrum from icy blue to dark navy. Our beautiful reception venue was built in 1871 and we felt it really didn’t need much alteration. With most of the walls taken up by those gorgeous windows, and with the building itself located in the city’s oldest district, we wanted to have that feel coming in all around us. We opted for fairly minimal décor and what we did add in had a vintage feel running throughout. The copper and brass vases for our centerpieces were brought in by our florist, who had her aunt ship them over from India. We only provided her with a rough concept of what we wanted—wild, untamed, winter flowers. What she gave us exceeded our expectations! We also wanted to honor the strong tradition of long-lasting marriages in our families, particularly our parents and grandparents. The large picture frame over our gift table had photos of family weddings going back three generations.

Photography: Gather West Photography | Floral Design: Blue Box Flowers | Wedding Dress: Karen Willis Holmes | Cake: Alcove Cafe & Bakery | Ceremony Venue: Old Plaza Church | Reception Venue: El Pueblo De Los Angeles Historical Monument | Catering: Gaby's Mediterranean | Makeup: Zoa Lopez

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IQ Videography

I’ll admit it — I’ve been married almost four years, and I still watch my wedding film all the time. So you can imagine my excitement that I get to introduce you all to the incredibly talented and award winning IQ Videography.

Based in San Francisco, IQ Videography specializes in an artistic, modern style that beautifully captures all the details of your wedding day. Their unobtrusive approach allows for a more intimate filming of your big day and their top-notch HD technology and editing techniques create a finished product that is something you’ll watch on repeat for years to come. IQ Videography also uses combinations of 8mm film and video — swoon! The combination of nostalgic + crisp footage is so unique and seriously special.

Capturing all of the most special and emotional moments from your big day, from gift exchanges to hand-written emotional vows, IQ Videography crafts wedding films that are as visually stunning. For more information and to book them for your big day, head over here.

Ceremony Venue: Calistoga Ranch | Reception Venue: Annadel Estate Winery


Whimsical Picnic Engagement Party Inspiration

What better way to ask your favorite people to play a part in your upcoming Big Day than with a playful picnic, complete with snacks and sips, romantic wildflowers and gilded paper goods galore!? Laina Miller, co-founder of Happenings Co created this celebratory scene, shot by Betsi Ewing and all our future gatherings will need to step it up a bit to match this magic!


From Creative Director and Happenings Co co-founder Laina MillerA romantic and whimsical scene was set for this outdoor engagement shoot. Inspiration was drawn from vintage photos of couples lounging on layered blankets in the Springtime. The overall feel was soft and dreamy, with overflowing florals in pastels set against Elysian Park. The centerpiece of the shoot was the hillside picnic where our young couple greeted their best friends with gilded invitations to honor them as their Maid of Honor and Best Man. Every element was specifically designed to fit the playful picnic vibe from the announcement pieces and custom textiles, to the hand-painted vintage wagon and scrabble board.

HappeningsCo. is a styling and design studio focusing on weddings and pop-up shops. We have a soft spot for unique events and work closely with florists, caterers, photographers, producers and other creatives to throw charming affairs that are imaginative, and always memorable.

Photography: Betsi Ewing Photography | Event Styling: Happenings Co | Event Stylist: Anna Galle | Floral Design: Indigo & Plum | Catering: Deco Tartlette | Hair And Makeup: Elissa Ruminer | Venue: Elysian Park | Creative Direction: Laina Miller

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SMP Welcomes Our Advertisers + A Giveaway!

Summer weekends — is there anything better?! To start this one off right, we’re introducing you all to a fabulous new advertiser to join to SMP family: La Jolla Cove Suites. Named a Top 5 Wedding Venue in San Diego for three years in a row, this stunning hotel offers incredible ocean views that will have your guests swooning.

Overlooking famous La Jolla Cove, this beachfront hotel’s rooftop terrace is perfect for wedding ceremonies and receptions for up to 225 guests! Offering couples incredible catering by The Abbey Catering & Event Design Company, guest rooms, suites and vacation rentals for guests, top-notch customer service and breathtaking views, La Jolla Cove Suites is a must-see locale. For more information and tons of inspiration, check them out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


The Prize: One lucky couple will win a 1-night stay in a deluxe ocean view suite at the La Jolla Cove Suites featuring a private balcony with a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean and the southern California coastline. ($399 value!) Stay includes a complimentary continental breakfast, complimentary Wi-Fi and a one hour bike rental for two. Advance reservations required, based on availability only, black-out dates apply.

To Enter: Comment on this post with why you want to explore the La Jolla Cove Suites. One winner, selected completely at random, will be announced right here on SMP on June 26th!  For terms and conditions, click here. Good luck!

Photo Credit: Heidi-O-Photo


These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here