Investing in love & memories

When you think of planning and making decisions for your wedding there’s plenty to think about, and so many of those decisions depend on one thing: your budget. This can be overwhelming , but it’s important to know the things that you should save or splurge on without regret.

A recent survey showed that 22% of newlyweds wish they’d spent more on a photographer on their wedding day. It can seem tempting to cut corners on certain things to make everything fit into the budget that you and your love have set, but photography isn’t one of those things and I’ll tell you why.


You only get one chance

That’s it. Just one. That’s why splurging on a photographer for your big day is one of the best decisions you’ll make, besides saying “I do!” of course. A good photographer will capture your personality, emotions and share your vision in the tender moments on the big day. And that is what makes spending my days behind the lense so special. I love that every event is different because each couple is so individual in their own way.

These last forever

Time flies when you’re having fun, right? I love being able to share the stories of newlyweds because while you’ll be telling stories of your wedding day forever, you’ll truly be able to relive the moments with photographs. The cake gets eaten, the music will stop playing, but you can relive the day vicariously through photos displayed around your home.

You get what you pay for

This might be the most important for why you should splurge. This is our job, not just a hobby. We want to deliver you truly the most amazing work that we can. The shots you didn’t know we got, the frames that were set up perfectly, the smiles, the happy tears, and the sneaky kisses. Online wedding registry sites like Zola even let you put a cash fund for a photography on your registry! That’s a great way to help it fit in your budget.

So when you’re planning your wedding and get to the point of booking a photographer, I hope you see the value in splurging! We get to do what we love through our cameras and in turn get to narrate your wedding day through photos.

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Creativity Tell All // Chelsea White of Maderas Golf Club

Chelsea is such a beautiful soul. I met her years ago at a wedding she was coordinating. She is grace under pressure. One of the coolest experiences we've had together is when Alex hired me to photograph their proposal at the Marine Room in La Jolla. I fell in love with both of them in that moment. I know she will bring that joy as a wedding specialist at Maderas Golf Club

How do you continually stay inspired and creative?

You would think that planning weddings and events every day would mean that I would avoid doing it in my free time, but the complete opposite is true. I love planning dinner parties and summer BBQs at my house. The satisfaction I feel when I see all my friends and family enjoying the food and details that my husband and I put together for one of our get-togethers is all it takes to remind me why I love what I do. That’s why I strive to make sure all my clients get to see that reaction from their guests on their special day.

Is there anything special or unique about your morning routine?

I am absolutely a creature of habit. My alarm goes off at 6:30 every morning. My mastiff Oden comes over for his morning snuggles, i.e. slobber kisses, and then I roll out of bed to have my morning java with my husband (this part is key; no matter what the agenda for the day, I always crave a warm cup of coffee to start it off).

If someone wanted to break into your industry, what advice would you give them?

Do it! It’s so rewarding and beautiful! The details are crucial. I think after awhile some people in this industry find that weddings can be a little repetitive. When you’ve seen one blush themed colored ballroom, you’ve seen them all. But here’s the thing - it’s our jobs to be detectives and find out the little details that make each of our couples unique. It’s those details that are going to cut through the chaos of the day and make it unforgettable.

Did you always know this career path was ‘the one’?

I went to college to learn the art of advertising. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. It wasn’t until after moving back home and waitressing to support myself that I was forced to really evaluate what would make me happy in a career. One day I was at home thinking about the things in life that I really enjoy; entertaining friends and family, making and enjoying great food, meeting new people and pretty things like flowers, art, love, etc. Then I had this epiphany; like a full blown, stop you in your tracks moment. I wanted to be a wedding planner.

What season inspires you most?

My knee jerk reaction is to say Spring, but if I really think about it, Autumn is my favorite. I spent the majority of childhood in Wisconsin where the change in season from summer to fall was truly magical. There is something so refreshing about crisp air, leaves crunching under your boots and a hot cup of coffee (all the greatest things involve coffee.)

Do you have any funny short stories or embarrassing moments from when you first got started?

I can’t think of any one particular moment off the top of my head, though I do recall that when I first started out, I thought it was always better to have an answer to everything, even if it wasn’t 100% true. I’m pretty sure a few mothers of the bride and grooms had their corsages on the wrong wrist for quite a while.

I’ve learned that there is no shame in saying, “You know what, I’m not sure the correct answer for that, but let me find out for you.”

What is the best advice you have been given?

Be yourself and don’t be afraid to say no.

What is your dream project?

I’d love to create a successful blog that people actually want to read, or write a novel. I’ve always loved to write. If I’m honest with myself, it’s probably the way I communicate best. The tricky part is figuring out what to write about that you think people would be interested in. Or maybe the hard part is just deciding not to care if anyone isn’t. I’m working on it.

If there was a song that played every time you worked on your craft, what would it be?

I have the most spastic collection of Pandora stations ever! My mood and energy always reflect in my music choices, so it’s not unusual to hear Norah Jones if you walk by my office in the morning, “Country Love Songs” if you walk by in the afternoon and “Today’s Top Hits” if I’m about to head out for a wedding. You know it’s a really good day, though, when I’m blasting the Justin Timberlake Radio.

Is there anything in particular you are obsessed with these days?

Gardening and finishing the puzzle that I started last weekend. Life can be hectic, so I relish the moments where I can zone out, but still get something accomplished.

What would you do if you had $40,900 for a vacation?

I’d take off a year and plan an around-the-world excursion with my husband! I have this sometimes overwhelming urge to travel and I’d love to have the opportunity to let go of adult responsibilities for a bit and just get a taste of what the world has to offer.

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Creativity Tell All // Luna Wild Design

Aly with Luna Wild Design fills me with wanderlust and a laid back vibe that inspires me to be more creative and design my life with greater possibilities. You can often find Aly on some exotic beach in Mexico making couple's dreams that much cooler. I once asked her a dream related question and she said she'd like to spend a couple months of the year working remotely practicing yoga in a jungle in Central America dreaming up designs for cool people. Yes to that!

How do you continually stay inspired and creative?

Traveling and making sure I'm always exploring is one way to always stay inspired.  It's hard not to feel inspired when you're visiting new places; a city, restaurant, coffee shop or the outdoors. I also learned early on that overbooking myself and being too busy is the fastest way to kill creativity for me.  I need time to breath, think and process my ideas rather than rushing through them. I find that my best designs come in my 'slow' seasons because I have more time to truly dedicate towards each idea and the client, instead of treating creativity and design as a check list.

Is there anything special or unique about your morning routine?

My husband and I always get up and make coffee and breakfast together. Especially Monday through Friday. I need an hour of slow time just sitting next to him on the couch with coffee before I get started with anything. Sometimes we'll go on runs, and sometimes we'll just sit in silence, but I love starting off my day with quality time with him.

If someone wanted to break into your industry, what advice would you give them?

That's a good one. Start connecting with your fellow industry-mates. This industry is so personal and for the most part very supportive and helpful. Truly get to know those around you and treat them with mutual respect. Naturally, if there's a connection, people will want to work with you because they like you. I would suggest working your butt off and start helping people and learning from them. Connections and opportunities will naturally happen when they're supposed to.

Did you always know this career path was ‘the one’?

I knew from pretty early on (when I was about 20 years old) that I loved this career.  I still haven't gotten sick of it and I don't plan on doing so. The best part about the design and wedding industry is that it's so big and there are so many different areas and types of things you can do that it never gets boring.  I love that I get to start fresh every year with new clients and new challenges.

What season inspires you most?

I'm a summer girl through and through, but I would say my soul is drawn to spring. Fresh life and the muted tones. I guess I'm a spring/summer mix. :)

Do you have any funny short stories or embarrassing moments from when you first got started?

My most embarrassing moment was setting a center piece on fire. The centerpiece had pampass grass wildly growing to one side of it and right after I lit a candle, the wind guided the pampass grass to the flame. I'm terrified of fire, so I just stood there paralyzed and I couldn't move or speak.  One of the guests saw what happened and ran over and dumped his drink on the fire in front of me. It was so embarrassing because everyone saw it and all night I was that girl who lit the table on fire.

What is the best advice you have been given?

I would say to know that you're worth it. I struggled a lot first getting started about discounting myself and overworking myself, but a few people told me to stick to my prices and know my worth.  Telling myself that my time is valuable and that I deserve to get paid my set rates allows me to be more selective, work less and truly enjoy my clients and my life more. I'm more focused, more inspired and I feel respected and appreciated.

What is your dream project?

My dream projects are design projects where I get to travel, and use local sourcing and vendors to create experiences. I love the pressure and excitement of sourcing things locally and creating something that's truly unique. And, of course, traveling is always an added bonus of fresh inspiration and materials to play with.

If there was a song that played every time you worked on your craft, what would it be?

I love listening to Buena Vista Social Club when I'm working or cooking. It's soothing yet playful and always puts me in the best mood.

Is there anything in particular you are obsessed with these days? 

Definitely Frosé, but what girl isn't!? I'm also obsessed with cold brew + lemonade - I love the bitter mixture and have been drinking it nonstop to get me through busy days.

What would you do if you had $40,900 for a vacation?

So much! I would spend one month traveling in Central America, two months in South America and one month in Australia, Indonesia, Thailand and some other places around there. I would spend my time exploring, finding local spots and getting to know the culture. I'd probably sign up for some cooking classes, run, do yoga a lot, walk all day and eat and drink a lot too.

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Creativity Tell All // Amanda Thorne

Amanda Thorne owns the amazing Thorne Artistry, a mobile, creative styling company based here in San Diego. I love Amanda. She's kind and such a boss. I share office space with her in Mission Hills and it's always inspiring to see her work. 

How do you continually stay inspired and creative?
It sounds hokey, but I find inspiration every day. Just taking a walk or driving home from work, I'll notice a cool tree or how the rain has made everything in San Diego look like Ireland. I'll think to myself, "Wow! I really need to find a bright yellow dress to shoot on that hillside. Some berry tones would be cool to tie in, maybe by doing a bold lip or some fun flowers!" That's how my mind usually works; a mile a minute with ideas that I'd like to explore and visions that I want to create. It can be overwhelming sometimes. I get anxious if I can't get them all out!

Is there anything special or unique about your morning routine?
I romanticize everything including my coffee in the morning. It's definitely a ritual in a sense that I use the same mug and have everything set up the night before so it's ready for me in the morning. It's a must that I wake up to make my coffee before I get to my emails. I honestly can't work and feel complete without having some good music and really strong coffee from my favorite mug that I bought (for someone else - whoops!) in Sayulita, Mexico.

If someone wanted to break into your industry, what advice would you give them?
Prepare to do a lot of grunt work in the beginning and some thankless jobs to gain the experience that is so crucial. I'm a believer that whatever you want to do in life you do by jumping in head-first and learning on the job and gaining as much knowledge as you can. Shadow someone that you respect, ask a ton of questions, do a lot of research, think about what makes you stand out, and network as much as possible! Show up everywhere and meet as many people as you can. This one can be daunting, but it is so valuable. I always gain some insight or make an important connection by showing up and just saying hello. I let people know that I'm here and interested in not only what I'm working on, but what they're working on!

Did you always know this career path was ‘the one’?
Subconsciously, yes, but practically no. I've been doing styling since I was five years old; making clothes for my dolls, doing my friends hair and makeup at ballet, and even cutting hair in college when my friends had no money. While I was in college, I even tapped into styling work to pay for school, but I was pretty focused on my degree (radio, tv and film). I ended up becoming a radio DJ for over 10 years before the light bulb went off that I needed to go back to my true passion that was there from the start! Sometimes I'm so laser-focused that I miss the obvious signs that are there all along. I'm so thankful that my husband finally pointed out the obvious and pushed me to start my business.

What season inspires you most?
Summer, always. I'm happier when the sun is out and that generates my creative juices.

Do you have any funny short stories or embarrassing moments from when you first got started?
Everything about when I was starting out was embarrassing. No one knew that I had this other life and styling background so I was basically starting with nothing and had to prove myself on every level imaginable. People that knew me from radio thought I was crazy for getting out of the business, and creatives in my new industry wondered how in the world I ended up in their world, and if I had any right to be there. There were a lot of doubters and even some haters. Luckily, those people actually drove me to be better and gave me the motivation to step up my game. I'm always pushing myself and trying to improve and that's a big bonus when you're jumping into the unknown. There are sharks in any profession. It's how you handle them that matters. Don't get me wrong, I definitely had my share of days that I curled up into a ball crying and thought I made a huge mistake. Thank God, the important people who do love and support me always talked me off the ledge and got my head straight again. 

What is the best advice you have been given?
Turn others negatives into your positive. I might have made that up just now, but I like it and I think it resonates.

What is your dream project?
Working on a photo shoot in another country - Paris or Africa pop into my head. I'm already dreaming up the crazy dress that I would create and the avant-garde hair and makeup that I would do. Oh man, how fun would that be!?

If there was a song that played every time you worked on your craft, what would it be?
I love New Politics 'Harlem' and anything from Grouplove and Vampire Weekend. For my mellow days, anything from Royksopp, Sigur Ros and Bon Iver.

Is there anything in particular you are obsessed with these days?
I'm always obsessed with vintage shopping, road trips, and bad late night TV.

What would you do if you had $40,900 for a vacation?
I would go back to Europe and take my entire family to visit all of the friends that I met when I lived in Australia. I'd retrace some of the adventures that I've already had and add as many new ones as possible. I'd also plan on seeing a lot of live music in the nordic countries (I love electronica!) and taking part in the Summer Solstice in Sweden.

Lots of love,
Suzanne, Mike and the Wanderers

Creativity Tell All // Pow Wow Design Studio

The women behind Pow Wow Design Studio always light a creative fire in our hearts. We feel lucky to have a glimpse into their beautiful world. Enjoy!

How do you continually stay inspired and creative?

Honestly, I feel that inspiration comes from the most unexpected places, people, and things. It could be anything, such as an out-of-date piece of clothing at a thrift store that has a really unique color combination. Also, always keeping an open mind.

Is there anything special or unique about your morning routine?

I meditate every morning.

If someone wanted to break into your industry, what advice would you give them?

As with any profession, make sure it's your passion. If you don't go to bed excited for another day of work, then you need to find what that is, and do it.

Did you always know this career path was ‘the one’?

I never really thought about a career in the traditional sense.  I've been an artist my whole life; it's just how I came out of the oven. I'm super grateful that I found a way to pay the bills while doing what I love. 

What season inspires you most?

All seasons are inspiring, but I love it when you can feel the change of seasons in the air. The shadows get longer, the hues of the sky change, and the type of birds you see out the window change. It's all a reminder that nothing ever stays the same and that we are in a continuous, evolving state.

Do you have any funny short stories or embarrassing moments from when you first got started?

Funny and embarrassing things happen on a regular basis. It's impossible to name just one. Seriously.

What is the best advice you have been given?

You can't hold on to anything; not feelings, not things, not people, and not even your own breath. You must allow everything to flow through you, and in turn, flow with everything.

What is your dream project?

My dream project happens when we meet an open minded, creative client who allows us to do our thing, and wants us to create an event that transports their guests. We get dream projects often these days and I'm super grateful.

If there was a song that played every time you worked on your craft, what would it be?

I love working to "Ceremony" by New Order.

Is there anything in particular you are obsessed with these days?

I've always been obsessed with the set design of old James Bond movies and Fantasy Island.

What would you do if you had $40,900 for a vacation?

I would take a road trip across a country with my husband and daughter. Not sure which country, but definitely a road trip. 

xoxo

Suzanne, Mike and the Wanderers

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Creativity Tell All : Samantha Saad

We have loved working with Samantha Saad, event manager at Destination Concepts, over the years and are so happy to share some unique sound bites about her career journey in the event coordination world. 

How do you continually stay inspired and creative?

This is a really fun question because from the outside, our industry is so 'fun' and 'easy'. In theory, my job enables me to be constantly creative. While in some respects it is, my creativity typically happens outside of the work flow. I love learning new skills. My friends are gold and I find myself staying motivated by learning through them. Everyone has different strengths and I not only thrive off the relationships built, but also the creative outlets they can teach me. I'm lately finding the passion to explore photography as my main hobby. Food, nature, and people, the three things I love (besides wine), also inspire me. 

Is there anything special or unique about your morning routine?

Does hitting the alarm until you're late count? If so, then that. :) 

If someone wanted to break into your industry, what advice would you give them?

Find your inner patience and empathy, they will be your best friends. Even the most well thought-out plans will have changes at the 20th hour. It's not about the best plans, it's about the best reactions to change. 

Did you always know this career path was ‘the one’?

Actually, yes. I started modeling in high school and hated it, so when I got the opportunity to work behind the scenes, I fell in love. I have always felt so grateful for "getting it" early on, but you'll never know until you take advantage of the opportunities presented. 

What season inspires you most?

Spring. Always. The energy is contagious and it's amazing to see how people react to spring. Also, spring has the best color palette and the first part of the year, you're generally able to play with color. 

Do you have any funny short stories or embarrassing moments from when you first got started?

I feel like that requires a separate interview! But really, there are so many. And I love that. It's important to understand that perfection does not exist, and failure isn't always something to condemn. My favorite events have always had embarrassing moments, but instead of shaming them, I celebrate learning from my faux pas.

What is the best advice you have been given?

What's the best way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time. I cannot tell you how often I say this to myself. You always have to start somewhere. 

What is your dream project?

Traveling the world connecting people to one another via events and productive programming. 

If there was a song that played every time you worked on your craft, what would it be?

90's hip hop is my favorite station for setup, but specific song would be "Record Year" by Eric church. It's so good and proves that when things get you down, you're still able to fly. 

Is there anything in particular you are obsessed with these days?

I love connecting people. It's heartbreaking because the biggest thing people want is to feel connected. I hope we don't lose that ability to interact. Most people are kind and genuinely good souls. It's disappointing to watch the media sensationalize the negative ones. 

What would you do if you had $40,900 for a vacation?

I would book a one-way ticket to Greece with my boyfriend and continue to travel outside of the country and around the world until I'm completely out of money. 

Hugs,

Suzanne, Mike and the Wanderers

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Creativity Tell All // Kico at BoxMade Goods

It was so great running into Kico and Jen at Station in South Park. I follow them on Facebook but it's always good to see old friends face-to-face. Their wedding was almost 10 years ago and it still felt like yesterday. We had so much fun. I knew Kico would be up to something exciting and I was stoked to hear about his new project. Here are some clips of inspiration from Kico of Boxmade Goods, a custom artwork and apparel imprinting company based in San Diego.

How do you continually stay inspired and creative?

Mostly from internet archaeology and curating. There's plenty of easily accessible inspiration out there, too much actually. It helps to be selective. I look at Dribbble, Behance and TheDieLine a lot.

Is there anything special or unique about your morning routine?

I wouldn't say it's unique, but my mornings are special because I get to spend time with my daughter; getting her ready for school and dropping her off. Between getting her ready and entertaining our dog, it's a long morning before I get to do anything for myself, but I'm fortunate to be able to have that time with both of them.

If someone wanted to break into your industry, what advice would you give them?

Find a niche. There's a million screen printers and apparel decorators out there. Specialize in an industry you love and believe in.

Did you always know this career path was ‘the one’?

Nope. I knew I didn't want to be desk bound and I've always enjoyed making things and being creative in general. I also knew I wanted to run my own business someday. Screen printing happened sort of by accident, but was a great fit both on the business and creative fronts.

What season inspires you most?

Fall. I love the anticipation and build-up to the holidays. I also love fall clothing; jackets, blazers, scarves and boots.

What is the best advice you have been given?

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world." - Ghandi. I heard someone repeat this Ghandi quote in a great video podcast I watch regularly called Barbell Shrugged.  It's a simple inspirational quote, but really resonates with me. Be the change. It's become a bit of a mantra.

What is your dream project?

To design and print a logo that transcends it's initial purpose.

If there was a song that played every time you worked on your craft, what would it be?

So many come to mind! "I Ain't No Joke" or "Paid in Full" by Eric B. & Rakim. Also "Home" or "Route 66" by Depeche Mode if I had to narrow it down.

Is there anything in particular you are obsessed with these days? 

Mostly learning more about the art, business and craft of screen printing.  I'm also constantly reading stories about people who completely changed their lives after discovering CrossFit. So many of them not only lose weight and get more fit, but change careers or life paths. I also watch a lot of Barbell Shrugged videos and pretty much everything Aaron Draplin does.

What would you do if you had $40,900 for a vacation?

Take my wife and daughter to New York City and Paris. We would stay in nice hotels and spend the rest on phenomenal food in both cities.

xoxo

Suzanne, Mike and the Wanderers

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Creativity Tell All // Heather Balliet from Amorology

Heather Balliet, owner of Amorology, a luxury event coordination and styling company, is such a good story teller. She dreams up and creates events that are so specific to her couples. I always look forward to what she will dream up next. 

How do you continually stay inspired and creative?

Music greatly inspires me. Turning up the tunes and dancing in the kitchen or singing with my family always stirs something in me. Also, most of my ideas tend to come to me while I'm sleeping or dreaming so a good night's rest can make all the difference.

Is there anything special or unique about your morning routine?

Nothing unusual here! My hubby and I typically get up in the morning, get the older kids off to school, have breakfast together and then jump into a fun day of work. 

If someone wanted to break into your industry, what advice would you give them?

Start with an internship. It offers a valuable amount of experience and education that you are unable to get without the risk of trying to go at it alone.

Did you always know this career path was ‘the one’?

No, I often say that this career found me. It wasn't until after my own wedding that people began approaching me to ask for assistance with their weddings.  It quickly grew into something I knew I was supposed to be doing and a career that I was deeply passionate about.  

What season inspires you most?

I love spring when everything is fresh and new again, and the flowers tend to offer the most variety. It's peony season after all, which is always my favorite.

What is the best advice you have been given?  

Breathe and take a moment to slow down and step away. It helps to put everything into perspective.

What is your dream project?  

Our dream project is to eventually open our own wedding venue. One day!

If there was a song that played every time you worked on your craft, what would it be?

It's so hard to choose just one song. We have a wide love for music as we mentioned before, and are often inspired by all types of songs.

Is there anything in particular you are obsessed with these days?

I am currently reading The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton and loving it.  I'm in a book club which forces me to take the time to read each month and allow myself some down time which can often be hard to come by.  Also, I am currently obsessed with the TV show Happy Endings and always obsessed with ice cream.

What would you do if you had $40,900 for a vacation?  

I would love to go to Sweden and visit the home of my heritage.  I have always wanted to experience Sweden first-hand with my children. I would probably also travel all over Europe for a month experiencing the rich cultures with my family.

Thank you Heather!

xoxo

Suzanne, Mike and the Wanderers

Creativity Tell All // Karina Puente

Ever since her beautiful, hand-cut backdrop graced Ashley & Greg's wedding, we have had a total crush on Karina Puente. Her work is unique, delicate and stunning. We were so excited to get the inside scoop behind this artist. 

How do you continually stay inspired and creative?

My creativity and inspiration hinges on self-care. I am my best when I am rejuvenated and centered. I then ask myself questions such as: what epic artwork do I want to see in the world? What excites my inner child? I subscribe to the notion that the inner child is our highest creative power. I make my studio space colorful, fun and full of treats; pleasing and welcoming. 

Is there anything special or unique about your morning routine?

Gratitude and tea. For the month of May, I am a Women's International Study Center (WISC) Fellow-In-Residence. During this residency, I am sharing a Santa Fe historic home with the chief curator of the Tucson Museum of Art, Julie Sasse. We enjoy early morning walks, discuss contemporary Latinx artists, and explore. 

If someone wanted to break into your industry, what advice would you give them?

I am a visual artist working adjacent to the event and wedding world. My advice for artists looking to break into a new industry is to identify the needs or a space within the industry that can be improved. If an artist can make her work fit that need, photograph it and release it into the world, she will attract the right people. 

Did you always know this career path was ‘the one’?

I always knew that I wanted to help people and that I love making art. Over the past few years, I have fortified my art making practice into a business as a way to help others.  My commissioned artwork makes people feel confident in their brand or proud of their event. My personal artwork amplifies visibility for Latinx artists and people of color in the art world. Both art processes are equally satisfying. 

What season inspires you most?

An east coast winter.

Do you have any funny short stories or embarrassing moments from when you first got started?

Amber Moon Design and I often collaborate and are committed to helping our friends get the perfect photo. A few years back, we crawled hands and knees on the floor of a 400-year-old hacienda in Mexico,  fanning smoke, all so Jose Villa could nail his moody and atmospheric shot!

What is the best advice you have been given?

Do one income producing action daily. 

What is your dream project?

To gather mermaid stories from women around the world and paint a mermaid mural as a reminder that we are brave and magical. 

If there was a song that played every time you worked on your craft, what would it be?

"Caught a Light Sneeze" by Tori Amos. 

Is there anything in particular you are obsessed with these days?

Haute Couture and Netflix. I am currently watching "A Different World" for the first time even though it was popular in the early 90's. The storyline is set against a fictional, historic black college inspired by student life at Howard University.  I appreciate how the show addresses topics like race, gender, and equality. 

What would you do if you had $40,900 for a vacation?

I would tell my mom to take three months off of work and get ready to spend the summer in Maui with me!  

Short Biography

Karina Puente is a Mexican-American artist of fine art paintings, charcoal drawings, and modern

Papel Picado installations. Her internationally-recognized work is infused with luminosity and

cultural heritage. Her work has been exhibited in national galleries and institutions such as Miami

MoCA and the Corcoran National Gallery.

xoxo

Suzanne, Mike and the Wanderers 

Creativity Tell All // Ashley Noack, Coastyle Events

We love working with amazing vendors. So naturally, we love the ladies at Coastyle Events and their magical weddings. Ashley Noack, the self proclaimed Diva of Details, loves running weddings and also just running as part of her happy and balanced lifestyle.  

How do you continually stay inspired and creative?  

We get the majority of our inspiration from our clients and their style, personality and unique love stories.  We don't like to do the same design twice, so we try and get fresh ideas from places other than just Pinterest and wedding blogs.  Restaurants, stores, home design magazines and travel all inspire and spark creativity that we can translate into something beautiful and special for our couples.

Is there anything special or unique about your morning routine?

I go on a run every morning to clear my head.  It really is my meditative time and gets me centered for the day.

If someone wanted to break into your industry, what advice would you give them?

Find your own unique niche and don't try to do what others are doing.  If you stay true to yourself, you will attract like-minded couples.  When you work with people you truly love, it makes you better at your job and more successful.

Did you always know this career path was ‘the one’?

I always knew I was meant to be an event planner.  When you are doing what you really love and are naturally good at it, everything just feels right.  When I planned my first wedding I knew I had found my passion and calling. 

What season inspires you most?

Fall. This is often when wedding season is coming to an end, and I get to spend more time with family and friends.  I often take a trip this time of year with my husband.

Do you have any funny short stories or embarrassing moments from when you first got started? We did a wedding at the Flower Fields in Carlsbad while it was still open to the public. Tourists began to gather on the hill right behind the bride and groom's ceremony arch so they were in all the pictures and distracting the guests.  I literally went way off to the side where I thought no guests would see me, hiked up the steep hill and hopped the picket fence in my dress and heels to tell the tourists to move out of the way.  Afterwards, the bride's parents came up to me and said they saw me and couldn't believe I did that but were so grateful that I had!

What is the best advice you have been given?

Come from a place of gratitude for everything in your life and it will bring you more blessings.

What is your dream project?

I would love to plan a destination wedding in another country.

If there was a song that played every time you worked on your craft, what would it be?

"I Choose You" by Sarah Bareilles makes our heart so happy.  Jill and I play this in the office all the time. We are obviously sappy romantics. ;)

Is there anything in particular you are obsessed with these days?

Game of Thrones and Mexican food.  I am also a huge movie buff and LOVE going to the movies, especially the luxury theatre!

What would you do if you had $40,900 for a vacation?

I would spend several months traveling throughout my favorite cities in Europe. 

Thank you, Ashley, for giving us a spoonful of insight into your bright world. 

xoxo

Suzanne, Mike and the Wanderers

Creativity Tell All // Courtney Cole-Arlidge // The White Flower

The White Flower is a gorgeous wedding gown shop in San Diego with the most amazing team of women that help brides find "the dress". We loved hearing from Courtney Cole-Arlidge, the boss lady, and her experience at The White Flower and in the wedding industry.

How did you get in to the wedding dress business?

By accident.  During my Sophomore year of college, I went for an internship interview at Ebay. After my interview, I went across the street for lunch and there was a bridal store called Trudy’s.  I had never seen a store like this before and I had been dating my boyfriend (my future husband) for a couple years so I thought I should go check it out.  So I did, and the lady at the front desk convinced me to work there.  That’s how I got my start.  

What makes The White Flower so wonderful?

I think it's the people who work here, and the love and friendship we have for each other.  We have so much fun working together and this shines through when we work with our clients. 

What is the most thrilling aspect of your job?

I love helping a bride find the perfect dress, especially one who believed that she would never have “that moment” when trying on gowns.  Brides are often nervous when they come to try on gowns, but when they work with us, we have so much fun.  It's even more exciting when we have the right dress, and everyone knows it as soon as the bride puts it on.  It's a magical moment.

If you had a different job, what would it be?

I would want to be a food critic.  I would travel around and eat at different places, telling people how to make things better.

What are three things you can't live without?

My fuzzy Ugg slippers, Yogurtland yogurt, and the ocean.  I have to live close enough to see or get to the ocean.

What is your piece of advice for brides-to-be?

Trust yourself.  Don’t let outside opinions convince you to wear something that isn't you.  Be yourself and you will choose the right dress. 

What do you love to do to unwind and recharge?

I like to curl up on the couch and watch movies.  I love my pajamas and my fuzzy slippers.  A big bowl of popcorn makes it all complete. 

What is something brides often don't think to ask about when picking out a wedding dress?

That someone in the bridal party or attending the wedding needs to learn how to do the bustle for the train.  It is a crucial part of the look and many times, no one is properly trained on how to do it. 

If you had $40,900 to spend on one trip, where would you go and what would you do?

I would want to backpack around the world and plan the entire trip around food.  I would travel near and far to eat everything and anything.  I don’t think I would use the full amount, but would save it for when I got back to get into shape after all that indulgence. If I did use the full amount, hopefully I walked a lot on the trip!

Thanks Courtney, we love you and your beautiful gowns. 

xoxo

Suzanne, Mike and the Wanderers