Sunday, December 20, 2009

Season wrap-up...

We would like to extend a gracious thank you and heartfelt congratulations to all of our 2009 brides and grooms! You have made our year amazing in so many ways; filling our hearts with memories and moments we will never forget!

The year zipped by with a nimble quickness and before we knew it, another season has passed! As 2009 bows and bids us 'adeu', a new year is beginning... filled with hopes, dreams and of course... many excited couples anxiously waiting to exchange their vows! We can't wait for the new celebrations!

As we reflect on the year passed and prepare for the upcoming season, we would like to take a moment to thank our fabulous staff for everything they do to help facilitate each event as smoothly and flawless as possible! Thank you!

Now onto the new season... Our staff is in preparation mode for the upcoming Bridal Showcase in Sacramento. It is on January 10 at Cal Expo, with show hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is California's largest bridal show, so don't miss it! Stop by and visit with us, we'd love to share some information with you about our gracious and elegant private estate.

Stayed tuned to our blog, we will be posting some fantastic images and keeping you up-to-date as the season heats up!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Persian Inspired

This Persian inspired wedding was a delight to plan. Scarlet being from a multicultural family, tried to keep some elements from each culture. In keeping with the Persian tradition she Incorporated the Persian wedding display spread which was set up on a table. On the table these items were displayed and the meaning of the items:
  • Mirror and two candle holders (representing the bride and groom and brightness in their future)
  • A tray of seven multi-colored herbs and spices to guard the couple; poppy seeds, wild rice, angelica, salt, nigella seeds, black tea, Frankincense
  • A specially baked and decorated flatbread with blessing written on it.
  • A basket of decorated eggs and a basket of decorated almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts in the shell to symbolize fertility.
  • A basket of pomegranates and/or apples for a joyous future.
  • A cup of rose water extracted from special Persian roses to perfume the air.
  • A bowl made out of crystallized sugar to sweeten life for the newly wed.
  • Wild rue incense (to keep the evil eye away and bring on plenty of health).
  • A bowl of gold coins representing wealth and prosperity.
  • A scarf or shawl made out of silk or any other fine fabric.
  • A cup of honey to sweeten life
  • Immediately after the couple is married they each should dip one pinky finger in the cup of honey and feed it to the other one.
  • A needle and seven strands of colored thread to figuratively sew up the mother-in-law's lips from speaking unpleasant words to the bride!
  • A copy of the couple's Holy Book and prayer kit
  • An assortment of specialty Persian store bought sweets

Jessica from Stout Photography sent us over these incredible photos that show off Scarlet's beautiful wedding. I made a square stacked cake with gumpaste orange mini-cala lilies that tied here orange table cloths together.

The brides brought in her own vases & candles and we did the rest. Our floral designer created a simple but elegant arrangement with mini white calas, bear grass and small natural rocks.

Jessica captured some incredible vineyard shots. The vineyard has grown so tremendously, it was like the couple was in Napa. If you would like to see more photos of this wedding, you can visit Jessica's blog spot at

Thanks so much and Happy Planning!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Love Birds!

We had the pleasure on June 14th of hosting an amazing wedding. Kathy Dusart from Colfax (530) 637-4141 was hired to release 20 beautiful white doves from the garden area when the couple recessed after ceremony. The experience was simply amazing! The doves were released from a basket and flocked behind the couple. The flock then flowed into the air and circled twice then disappeared.
According to Kathy's website:
White Dove Releases are an ancient tradition symbolizing Love & Devotion, Peace & Unity. These Birds mate for life and when released Divine their way homeward and to their nest. These birds are specially bred for their pure white color and natural homing instinct. They are carefully conditioned for your special day to return home safely.
I also wanted to share some favorite photos of the day provided by: Rebecca from Ford Family Photography

Happy Planning!


Tuesday, June 2, 2009


What an exciting wedding on Saturday May 30th. This Monte Verde Inn Bride really showed off her style, Anthropology. The Bride’s choices of colors & styles truly shined in the garden on Saturday. The details of this event were well thought out down to the 1940’s style wedding cake topper. The bridesmaids dresses were even purchaced from a girl's favorite store, Anthropology. Tralee’s inspiration and love for the antique look came together for her wedding.

Her table settings were accented by Victorian Lilac Organza table cloths and Lilac Lamour napkins. The cute “birds in nest” favor was a unique touch that showed off the flowers and the rented table cloths. Attached to the Monte Verde Inn designed centerpiece was a small branch widdled to hold a table number. The centerpiece was a garden design in our “pottery urn”. It was so unique; the bride gave us the numbers and branches to use in other events!

Tralee also brought with her escort cards that were displayed attractively on top of flats of landscape cover that brought the whole garden theme together.

Thanks to Tralee & Mike! I hope you are having fun in Hawaii on your honeymoon

Happy Planning


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

May 16 - Wedding

As promised I will feature weddings throughout the season highlighting the event. On Saturday May 16, we had a spectacular couple and a fun wedding. There was about 100 people for a delicious buffet dinner. The guests enjoyed the broiled PEI muscles with garlic, breadcrumbs and Italian parsley as one of their appetizers. Guests raved about the slow roasted & smoked prime rib that was carved by the chef along with other various terrific buffet items.

The couple's colors was centered on their flower choices, pink aqua roses along with green spider mums. These colors were certainly showed off as the topper of their mocha fondant wedding cake as well as their favors.

The guests were impressed by the couple's choice of hiring the "Special Event" nannies to play games with the children. This allowed the adults to have a good time while their children were looked after.

The guests had fun playing in the "photobooth" provided by SJDJ's services. The guests were able to put on fun hats and wigs and took photos in the booth. The photobooth created a four picture favor for them to take home, and a duplicate to put in the guestbook.

What a wonderful day! Thanks so much to Mike & Vicki!
Happy Planning

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Picture Perfect

Here at the Monte Verde Inn, the places for pictures are endless. Our beautiful grounds, structural textures and filtered light, are all a photographer’s dream. After your wedding is over, your wedding photos will still be there reminding you of your beautiful day. That said it is imperative that you and your photographer go over details before the event.

Being Ready:
It is imperative that you be ready for your photographer. It will cost you money and reception time if you are not ready. Putting the photographer behind schedule will not allow for all the photo opportunities you wanted. More importantly, you will be stressed and hurried, which will make for poor photographs. You should make an itinerary for people that need to be here for pictures before the ceremony. You should let them know what time they need to be here and when they need to be ready. You can give these people their times during the rehearsal lunch/dinner. Also do your best to remind the wedding party of their duties; work with your photographer by listening, being ready and doing their best to be happy.


Ahead of time you really need to sit down with your photographer and make a “laundry” list of all the pictures you want of individual and family groups before ceremony and after. Be sure to write down the names of the picture participants because looking for the “bride’s family” usually doesn’t work. Often times I’ll have an announcement made for “bride’s family” and all the second and third cousins come out of the woodwork. We usually find that taking the bride & groom, wedding party and family out front of the Inn coordinates best. It allows you not to get sidetrack by the other guests, and can get the formal photographs behind you so you can move on to your party. Not to worry, we do assign a staff member to get you and your family something to drink and some of the appetizers. In addition, go over with your photographer the top 3 places on the grounds that you really want pictures of.

Coordinating with your photographer:
As with all your vendors, I do coordinate with them regarding the timeline of the event. Remember that we give about 45 minutes to an hour after ceremony for most of the formal photographs. It is a great opportunity for the majority of photographs to be taken. I’ve noticed things flow more smoothly when family pictures first, then wedding party, and last romantics (just bride & groom). During your photography session I check in with your photographer to see if you are on schedule or need help finding people for pictures. When it is time for dinner, try to enjoy your wonderful wedding dinner. It is tempting to go off for more pictures, but if we plan and are ready for photo sessions, getting up from dinner won’t be necessary.

Last but not least, it is important to build a rapport with your photographer. You should be comfortable and at ease with them. Your photos will be fabulous if you do. In addition, it is important to drink lots of water and remember that you have professionals working for you. Let go and have fun with your photographer it will certainly show in your photos!

Happy Planning!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Music To My Ears

Music is an important part of any wedding. As a wedding coordinator, it is also important to help facilitate and coordinate with your music provider. Regardless of the type of music provider i.e., DJ or band, coordinating with your vendors is an important part of the success of your wedding.

After working hundreds of weddings with the professional services of SJ's, I have found that they come prepared knowing the details of each event. These details include:
  • Start times of the event (they should arrive and are set up with music playing before your guests arrive)
  • Wedding Ceremony Music i.e., song for honored women, song for bridesmaids, song for bride and the recessional song
  • Ceremony Instructions of readers, vocalists and/or any unique traditions
  • Wedding Party & Newlywed Introductions
  • Type of dinner service (making the appropriate announcements of offer your guest dinner instructions
  • Champagne Toast (who will speak and is there an open mic)
  • Cake Cutting/Bouquet/Garter Tosses Songs
  • Spotlight Dances (1st dance, father & daughter, mother & son, honeymoon dance)
  • Special Announcements
  • Open Dancing (songs to play and songs NOT to play)
  • Make sure to go over all these aspects with your music provider

There are many great DJ's, however we have seen our share of bad ones.....these are just a few stories:

  • DJ not playing the correct songs for ceremony
  • DJ driving up at the ceremony start time with his equipment in the back of his truck. We had to wait 30 minutes for the wedding to start so he could set-up. When I asked him why he was late he said that the bride didn't pay for extra set-up time
  • Mispronouncing names of brides, grooms and parents
  • Equipment failure
  • Makes inappropriate comments
  • DJ decided to give his own toast to the bride (not cool)

Your music provider should go over all of the listed items above in order to be well prepared for your wedding. It is important to let them know you do have a wedding coordinator for the event and will be present to coordinate with them about the sequence of events. We do have a certain sequence of events that works really well for our facility and encourage the music provider to contact us to go over the plan. This should be noted when coordinating with your music professional.

If you haven't picked your music professional check out

Joe Kalamaras

Happy Planning


Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Just a small post to update everybody who has not had the opportunity to visit in the last month or two. Spring is here and mother nature has been working her magic on the trees and gardens.

The Plum trees that line the driveway are now full of leaves as are most of the fruit trees around the parking lot.

The gardens are getting full with Day Lillies, Roses and Jasmine.

The lawns are looking lush and green.

The vineyard is all prepped and ready for another growing season. With the vines waking up from their winter hibernation and showing their first green shoots this week.

In addition to Mother Nature we have been hard at work as well.

Constructing a new solid redwood arbor and fence to replace the old one in the bottom patio area.

And not as glamorous as the arbor but just as important we are just about done remodeling the three outdoor bathrooms.

Brand new plumbing fixtures, ceramic tile, lighting, paint and decor, have made a vast improvement to our outdoor facilities.

Happy Planning,


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Seating Arranging 101

Now that you have decided on assigned seating at your wedding, here is some helpful information to guide you through the process. Below are things to know about seating arrangements at the Monte Verde Inn:

  • Our round tables seat 8-10 people. If you want to use our silver chargers (a decor plate that goes at each place setting), you can only put 8-9 people per table. If your guest count is over 160, you will need to seat 10 per table due space restrictions in the garden.
  • Numbering tables is the easiest way to label your tables. The Monte Verde Inn already has pre-made framed table numbers for you to use (see picture of example above). If you do not like our framed numbers, you may provide your own. I have seen people name the tables in all different ways, places the couple has visited, wine varieties, classical composers, Disney characters, different trees…….If you do provide you own table identifiers, make sure that they don’t over power your centerpiece and the holder in which you use is wind proof. I have seen people use floral picks and have put the table names in the centerpiece……beware of flimsy paper and/or colors & styles that conflict with arrangement.
  • Guests will need to know which table they are seated at so they don’t have to walk around every table to find their place. This is usually achieved by displaying a seating chart or escort cards (Escort card show the name/number of the table a guest is seated at) prominently at the entrance to the garden.
  • Seating Charts can be anything like a typed sheet of paper in a frame listing tables with each person’s name below a table or you can have Kinko’s make your seating chart into a creative poster board where we can display it on an easel.
  • Escort cards can be cute and fun, but beware if you have more than 100 people as the cards become too many to display. In addition, escort cards can get lost by a guest, so if you also need this to be a meal identifier, think about having those place cards at each place setting. If you decide on escort cards, think about a way to display them to keep them in place. Often times if cards are not secured on a board or weighted down somehow, the wind can carry them all over the garden.

Buffet Dinner: SEATING CHART

  • When having a buffet dinner meal identifiers and place cards are not necessary. A seating chart nicely displayed at the guest book table is sufficient.


  • As your rsvp’s come rolling in keep track of them the old fashion way. You can easily keep track of people and what they’ve ordered to eat by simply using two different color post-it notes i.e., blue=beef & yellow=fish with one name on each post-it note. Then take a piece of paper for each table, and start moving your people (post-it’s) around. When you final count is due, you can easily count blue (beef) and yellow (fish) meals. When you are ready to create your chart, just type it out according to your pieces of paper. NO MORE EXEL SHEETS!
  • You will need a meal identifier for each guest. Once you’ve figured out who is coming and what they’re eating you need to have something in front of your guest letting our staff know which entrĂ©e they have chosen. You can simply do this by making place cards with a color ribbon, stamp, or different color ink, to indicate beef or fish. Remember that meal identifiers can do double duty with your favor. Example: a truffle box tied with different ribbon (stripes for beef & polka dots for fish) with your guest’s name attached.
  • When bringing your meal identifiers to us, please divide them by tables clearly labeled, along with a labeled garden map (in your planning packet).


Monday, March 2, 2009

Where Should I Sit?

Lots of brides wonder if they should have a seating arrangement for their reception. My answer is defiantly yes! According to a survey taken by You Gov in February 2006, 84% of people preferred to be told where to sit. The pros are endless when there is a seating arrangement.
Unassigned seating sounds great in theory and it is certainly one less chore for the bride and groom. Unfortunately it never works out so well in practice.

I can guarantee that one or more of the circumstances below will happen:
1. There may be an unseemly rush for the ‘good’ seats.
2. It will take a lot longer to get guests seated. They may still be milling around while the food is being served.
3. Your beautiful decor will be spoilt by people leaving their coats on chairs to reserve them.
4. The last few guests end up walking around looking for seats, a bit like the unpopular kid at school lunch.
5. Couples can get split up.
6. Elderly relatives may end up seated where they can’t see or hear anything.
7. If people turn up uninvited (common in some cultures) they may take seats intended for your invited guests.
8. They will think you or the facility didn't plan well.

Guests can be assigned to a table (where they can choose any seat) or assigned to a specific seat. You might want to put people next to people they know, or you might want to split them up a bit so they meet new people. But try to put each person next to at least one person they already know. People are more likely to get on well if they are similar ages or have similar interests. It might not be a good idea to put some of your stranger friends next to your 80-year-old grandmother. A little common sense goes a long way.

Generally you should try to put families together and work colleagues together. But if you know people don't get on, try seating them separately. It is worth breaking with tradition to have a stress free event. Avoid mixing age groups too much. Young children should be seated with their parents. Older children can be seated with their parents, or on a table together.
Try to avoid putting guests on the same table as ex-partners, unless you are sure this is OK. Resist the temptation to have a ‘leftovers’ table of all the people who didn’t fit on other tables. It is probably better to distribute such guests evenly.


Happy Planning

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


To give favors or not that is the question? You are not required to give your guests gifts, however if done correctly they can be a special thank you. According to many articles I’ve researched it is possible that the little gifts have been given out for centuries. The French used to call the small and fancy boxes they handed out at weddings bonboniere. The bonboniere was made from gold, porcelain or crystal and for those wealthy enough; they were encrusted with precious gems and stones. Bonbonieres were made to hold bonbons or other sweet treats and were considered delicacies because of the high price of sugar. One of the things the gift of wedding favors do have in common with most cultures, is the tradition of giving five candies to represent the 5 wishes for all happy couples. These wishes are longevity, fertility, happiness wealth and health.

This does not mean you have to give sweets as the favor. Many brides and grooms are giving other gifts that reflect their personality or match the colors/theme of the wedding. I found that some donate to a cause and give out the donation cards instead. I have found really updated and unique favor ideas on / / .

What ever your choice is to give favors or not, be sure to keep in mind:
· Budget (items get costly). If giving something expensive try giving them out to each couple.
· When having an outdoor summer wedding chocolate is not a good idea.
· Package your favor so your guests can easily take it home.
· You can personalize little boxes with monogram stickers and wedding color ribbons.
· How will you display your favor, at each place setting? Separate table? What ever the case is make sure that your guest realize it is a favor that they can take.

A great place to get ribbon is &

This is the fun part. I’m asking to get dialogue from you. This will help others get some new fresh ideas. Please comment to this blog and let me know:

"Do you think favors are necessary? If so, what are you giving out?"


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Out-Of-Towners!

Believe it or not, Auburn can be a busy town especially during the summer months. That said it is important to make plans and reservations for your out of town guests, sooner rather than later. I’ve compiled information regarding two of the hotels that the Monte Verde Inn recommends. By reserving a block of rooms you will get a guaranteed price on the rooms and the hotel will try and keep your guests located in one area of the hotel. Both hotels will allow 25 rooms blocked at a time. Your guests will call them for a reservation and give your name for the discounted rate and a credit card number to hold the room. For rooms that don’t get booked 30 days prior to your event, the rooms are put back into general reservation, and are subject to a price increase.

My first recommendation is the Holiday Inn, located right off I80 at the 49/Grass Valley Hwy exit. This is hotel will offer the most amenities and is the nicest out all the Auburn hotels. The hotel just got a facelift with new beds, linens, curtains and plasma TVs. They offer room service, pool, gym, restaurant and a on-site lounge. May 15 – Oct 15 is their high season and block rates are from $129.00 to $133.00 per night for a King room/$133.00 to $138.00 per night for two double beds. During the other months, it’s about $10.00 less. This hotel has a honeymoon suite called the “Executive Suite” that has an executive king, separate sitting area, double walk-in shower and separate Jacuzzi tub. They tell me if you booked out all 25 rooms, the hotel will give the Bride & Groom a complimentary “honeymoon suite”! The hotel is walking distance to old & downtown Auburn. The hotel has a lounge that is open until 10:00 pm however; they will stay open longer if guests are there. For reservations you need to cal Karen with Group Sales and tell them you are getting married at the Monte Verde Inn.
530-887-8787 /

Another good option is the Best Western Golden Key, located off the same exit on your way to the Monte Verde Inn. It is towards the left of Raley’s on Lincoln Ave. This hotel is a bit less expensive, but has a pool, hot tub, picnic area and free continental breakfast. It is located next to a couple of restaurants and is all around clean and comfortable hotel. High season for Best Western is June – September and block rates are from $95.00 - $125.00 per night depending on the room type as well as the time of year. For all Brides & Grooms who stay with them, they offer a complimentary bottle of Sparkling Wine and Fruit Basket. For reservations call Cindy 530-885-8611

Lastly, I recommend dropping off a day before your guests check in a small greeting basket or bag. You could include things like bottled waters, fruit, energy bars, chocolate and/or wine. This little gift is a nice gesture and welcome. Be sure to include an itinerary for their stay especially if they have to be at a rehearsal, lunch or other pre-wedding events. Also, you may suggest things to do in the area your local hotel can help guide you with addresses of golf, wineries, shopping and restaurants in the area.

I hope this is helpful and please do not hesitate to ask questions right on this blog to start new topics that others may want to know about!

Happy Planning

Monday, February 9, 2009

10 Steps For A Successful Planning Session!

There has been a lot of questions about planning appointment when, what and how this happens. I’ve created a check off list for brides & grooms about their personal planning appointments. Remember that appointments can be scarce during high wedding season, but we can accommodate during weekdays & weekday evenings. Please call the Inn to schedule an appointment. If you can not attend a meeting in person, we can also plan over the phone.

Usually people are ready for an appointment 6-2 months prior to their wedding date. Read below our “Check-Off’ list to see if you’re ready to successfully plan!

1. Have your planning packet & questions.
2. Have vendor information ready: Names, phone numbers and email addresses, arrival times, etc. Make sure to give your vendors the appropriate vendor requirements information (see back of planning packet).
3. What time is your wedding going to start? We have provided a suggested start time calendar in your planning packet, however you can check out and put in our zip code or city (95631 or Foresthill) in the search bar.
4. Be able to give an estimated count of how many guests you think are going to attend the wedding
5. If you will be reserving the Inn overnight and if so how many guests?
6. Review all forms in the planning packet as we will be filling out and signing these forms: Food and Beverage (if thinking about a plated dinner, we will go over the appropriate starch and vegetable that may or may not be in the Menu), Cake Design, Flower Arrangements, Rehearsal/Ceremony Logistics and Set Up sheet
7. Bring any and all inspiration pictures of your wedding such as bridesmaid’s dresses, cake, flowers and colors ideas. You can find some great inspirational photos by linking to .
8. White linens are standard to our packages, however at the planning meeting we can order colored linens at an additional fee (wholesale + 21%), check out samples a head of time at .
9. Have an idea what times work for you and your rehearsal
10. I strongly suggest assigned seating at weddings and we can discuss seating arrangements and any questions you may have

See You Soon & Happy Planning!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Eat, Drink and Get Married!

We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day on Saturday. The warm weather brought all of our 2009 clients to the Inn for a day of fun and food. The annual Open House brought excited new brides and grooms as well as a few parents and friends to start the planning process of their upcoming weddings at the Monte Verde Inn. The day’s events began for our clients with a picture in SJDJ’s new Photo Booth. This new and upcoming trend was well received by all. After all of our guest found their way into the ballroom, “Joe” the DJ started us out with a hilarious game of the “Soon-To-Be” Newlywed game. The winner received a free Photo Booth for their wedding from SJDJ. The runners up received a Monte Verde gift basket with fun goodies for our soon to be wedded couples.

Soon after, the sun porch was filled with delicious samplings from both our Cinderella and Princess menus. The samplings included several appetizers, salads, entrees and accompaniments. The tasting would not be complete until the chocolate fountain flowed and cake was served. The platter of cake presented had 7 different flavors, filling and coverings. We also had a chance to present our wines, sparkling wines and signature drinks.

I just want to say to our 2009 clients’ thank you for a successful Open House and I look forward to planning and performing your special day. Moreover, thank you to our preferred vendors for attending and giving our client an opportunity to have a stress free “one-stop” shopping day.

Happy Planning!
Kelly & Douglas Dalisa

*Please post your comments about your experience i.e., food, cake, flowers and vendors.