As I look back at some of the wonderful weddings we were honored to be a part of, I think of Ali and Luke Simon.  A stunning private home of a friend situated on a hilltop above Simi Valley, California was the location site for this beautiful wedding.  A close friend of the bride’s family, the host not only made this spectacular home available to them, she upgraded everything from landscaping to lighting every single tree to make our bride’s fairytale wedding come alive!

Ali and Luke were just destined to be.  Upon attending their first day at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the first people Ali and her Mom met at the school was Luke and his Mom.  Little did they know that that first acquaintance would end up in marriage 5 years later.  Later at the reception, Ali’s Dad recalled how that day they said how they would love Ali to meet someone like Luke and Luke’s Mom said they had the exact same feeling about Ali.  It was certainly fate that these two were meant to stay in contact and grow their relationship throughout the years to come.

Both Ali and Luke wanted to incorporate their faith in the wedding.  As guests walked through the arch down the aisle to theirs seats, they were greeted by handmade signs with scripture readings.  The rows of rose petals lead you up to the magnificent 7 foot cross that Ali’s Father Steve made for the occasion which was perched on the hill which provided a stunning view of the entire city. 

Ali caught everyone’s eye as she came down the aisle with her Father in her gorgeous lace dress.  Her natural looking makeup by Bliss Bridal Beauty and her long soft curls created by her friend Dana made her look just stunning.

Cocktails followed at the point, as they call it, which is a large area that was filled with seating where guests could enjoy the view while sipping sangria and listening to the easy going music or taking a moment to write their favorite scripture on a card for the Bride and Groom.  An additional lounge area was set up in what normally is a volleyball area.

As guests entered the reception area, a large fountain encircled with candles and florals greeted them.  Blush, ivory and gold accents highlighted various areas and the tablescape incorporated this palette with gold chargers and blush napkins and blush thank you cards with sprigs of olive atop.  The centerpieces by Elizabeth Papadopoulos were perched in gold containers and showed off a blush and ivory mix of florals.

Wanting something unique, they opted for LA Paella Catering.  Ben, the chef, prepared on site three different types of Paella.  Not only did the flavorful fumes waft throughout the air during preparation but the pans of Paella cooking in front of the guests were a colorful addition to the dinner.

From the coffee cart setup on a wagon to the cake set upon an antique dresser, no detail was spared in this wedding.  The three tier cake from Skiff’sof sumptuous buttercream with flowers perched on the top with the bride and groom’s names on the topper looked elegant. 

Away they went in the end with a sparkler send-off offering a perfect ending to what was a perfect wedding and a fairytale that any bride would have loved!  See their love story and all of the details of their wedding in our Galleria!

Event planning/coordination by Karen Marie Events; Photography by Jennifer Jasso Photography; Makeup by Bliss Bridal Beauty; Hair by The Redhead Dana; Catering by LA Paella Catering; Bartending by Gold Star Staffing; Florals by Elizabeth Papadopoulos; DJ by DJSota



Southern California is the perfect backdrop for a beautiful wedding venue and none more so than the city of Thousand Oaks.  A premiere community recognized as one of the most desirable and safest places in all of California, it is often referred to as the Conejo Valley.  Nestled between the Los Angeles and Ventura county lines, it is a just a short distance to Malibu’s scenic coastline and is surrounded by scenic mountains and rolling hills.  With a Mediterranean climate, it also offers a diversified selection of wedding venues featuring outside areas that you can comfortably enjoy on a year round basis.

Keeping the budget conscious happy, there are many community choices such as the Oak Park and North Ranch Community Centers as well as the historic Stagecoach Inn and the Chumash Indian Museum outdoor area. 

For the country club lover, golf courses abound, both public and private, offering indoor and outdoor venues such as The Gardens @ Los Robles, North Ranch Country Club, Wood Ranch Golf Club,  Sunset Hills Country Club, Lake Lindero Country Club and the elegant Sherwood Country Club, to name a few.

Outdoor venues are endless in the Thousand Oaks and the adjoining cities.  If you are looking for an exquisite 40 acre ranch vineyard estate setting, Epona Estates is the perfect setting.  Within a couple of miles from Thousand Oaks, ranch and barn weddings have multiplied in the Moorpark and Camarillo areas with Quail Ranch, McCormick Home Ranch, Camarillo Ranch, Walnut Grove, Eden Gardens, and Rancho de las Palmas to name a few.

Of course, the traditional hotel settings from the simple Palm Garden Hotel to the more luxurious Four Seasons and Westlake Village Inn also offer indoor and outdoor areas for wedding celebrations.

And if that’s not enough choices you will find many, many more which is why hiring a local wedding planner can help you not only with your venue choice but in assuring you are connected with the best local resources.  Of course, a local wedding planner also knows these venues well which is paramount to making sure your special day runs smoothly and goes off without a hitch!


Photo Credit: Lucas Rossi Photography


Many wedding venues with banquet facilities have an event manager on staff.  They will book the venue for you, assist you with menu planning and usually handle the setup of the tables and chairs as part of their responsibility. Today, many of the wedding venues, also have on staff a wedding coordinator that they include with your wedding package. 

The important thing to remember in both cases is that these venue coordinators are employed by the venue.  Their responsibilities are to the venue who employs them and is limited to taking care of the venue itself, their food service & staffing and in some cases, depending on the venue, tables and chair set up.  They have not worked with you closely over several months getting to know you on a more personal basis, helping you to create your vision and getting to know how you want your day presented.  Their services are also limited. 

An outside wedding planner is like your general contractor.  Beyond the basics, they manage all of the vendors confirming with them prior to the wedding, providing headcounts, coordinating arrival and set up times and to assure that everyone is on task during the event.  Your personal wedding planner is there not just to coordinate the day but to set up your décor to create your vision, make sure guests are greeted, assure that the cake cutting and other events of the day are done in a timely manner, music is getting your guests on the dance floor, etc.  They are also there to also take care of things that may not go so right – like the wrong flowers being delivered, the cake not delivered on time, getting an emergency keg of beer when you run out, etc.   Their services are over and above a venue coordinator’s normal responsibilities. 

Your own personal wedding planner also relies on your happiness as their business is built on referrals.  The venue coordinator is an employee and their goal is to facilitate the wedding for the venue.  Their desire to make your day as special as can be may not be at the same level as your wedding planner who hopes to have you as a lifetime client who will refer their friends and families.

Photo Credit:  Lucas Rossi Photography