Myles and John’s Vintage Estate Wedding Featured in Today’s Bride SF

We’re thrilled to announce that Myles and John’s wonderful Vintage Estate wedding was featured in the Winter 2014 edition of Today’s Bride SF! This elegant event used an eclectic mix of round and banquet tables in the dinner area with low and lush centerpieces to highlight the understated natural elegance while vibrant pops of orange pumped up the ambiance throughout the day. A lounge was set up in the Historic Barrel Room where the night ended with dancing to create a relaxed and fun atmosphere.  Check out the pictures in Today’s Bride SF feature below.

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Thanks to all our wonderful vendors for making the day so amazing! – Rhee Bevere Photography, Sweetness & Light Floral Design, Sweetie Pies, DJ Carl Mindling, Harpist Krista Strader, Napa Valley Linens, and Hartmann Studios.

Our fabulous baby book shower!

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It seems fitting that my last blog here on the Caitlin Arnold Events site for a while should be just before I go on maternity leave and be about my baby shower, there’s something nicely poetic about it! I am so lucky to have such a wonderful team to work with who threw me and my husband an amazing baby shower using some of the tips we shared on our Planning the Perfect Baby Shower blog back in January.

Thanks to an amazing team effort on the part of Caitlin and Wendi Goad (our florist extraordinaire over at Sweetness & Light Floral Design) the shower was a huge success. I knew going in that I wanted a casual, co-ed baby shower as I’m not huge on being the center of attention and wanted my husband to get some of it as well – after all it’s his baby too!

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My mom and dad graciously offered their house to host the party and we gathered about 40 friends and family to enjoy some delicious food, amazing desserts, and just have a good time!

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As I said in the earlier blog, ours was a “baby book shower” – meaning we asked all of our guests to bring a children’s book with a note written inside to create our baby’s library. Wendi provided a vintage bookshelf in the entryway for people to drop their books off.

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Even though I couldn’t partake, I didn’t think everyone should go dry just for me so Caitlin created a delicious pineapple, ginger and orange punch that could be spiked for some added fun, along with some adorable custom cups with “This book belongs to” name plates.

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Wendi used our blue, orange and aqua color palette to amazing effect with her flowers, which we enhanced with some custom block letters that I made and will later use in the baby’s room.

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Our food was courtesy of Weir & Associates Catering, who provided some delicious – and pregnancy-safe! – foods for everyone.

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And the amazing dessert spread was from Honeycomb Events who really outdid themselves with a custom background made up of old library check out cards. I couldn’t resist having one of each dessert and they were delicious!

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As for games/events we kept it low-key with just a custom word search that I created for the day, providing a Starbucks card to the winner.

Overall, I couldn’t imagine a more perfect baby shower for our growing family – a chance to gather family and friends, eat some delicious treats, and open some presents! My huge thanks go out to Caitlin and Wendi for planning such a great day and special thanks to Shannon Joesting for the amazing photos! Check out our gallery for even more photos.

The final week of our 4 weeks of great date nights!

We’re capping off our 4 weeks of great date nights to celebrate February with Caitlin herself sharing her favorite dates and tips. We hope you’ve enjoyed this series and that it’s given you tons of inspiration for your own great date nights!

As I was thinking about this post, I had the benefit of more time to think being the last one of the series and the month of February, but also the downside of having some great ideas stolen by the other ladies of the Caitlin Arnold Events team! Regardless, I think I’ve landed on what I’ve really loved about every amazing date I can think of – and it was that they weren’t really “dates” by the traditional sense of the word, but “experiences.” Maybe it’s a whole day exploring Monterey, or being tourists for a day in San Francisco, but whether or not it was 1 hour or 12, included a meal or not, I just love spending time doing a fun activity with the man I love and my best friend. And my husband and I have decided we prefer saving and spending our money that way, as opposed to gifts or smaller dates more often. So here are some of my favorite “experience” dates!

Behind the Scenes Tour at the Monterey Bay Aquarium 

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This one was a surprise for me (actually as an anniversary gift). We got up way too early (I’m not a morning person), and headed to Monterey to tour the aquarium before it opened. I have always said that in a second life I’d like to be a marine biologist, so this was not only thoughtful and personal, but fun to do together! We got to see behind the “employees only” doors where they nurse sick or young animals, do some of the feedings and have the entire aquarium to ourselves for a couple of hours. If you’re a member of the aquarium, you can also attend one of their member nights, which significantly reduces the crowd and involves some fun activities for aquarium members.

Playing Hooky at Great America on a Weekday 

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Nothing like a good ol’ fashioned spontaneous skipped work day to go to an amusement park! Don’t worry, this was before owning my own company where I can’t get away anymore! I’m a firm believer that to do this date right, you have to go all the way – cotton candy, henna tattoos and every ride till you’re just sick. Just you and the one you love – maybe end with some In N’Out and a movie night – the AMC Theaters and In N’ Out are just down the street!

Going all out at La Fondue

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For the opposite of the Great America suggestion, go a little more high brow and splurge on a fabulous dinner. Now while going to La Fondue is a perfectly legitimate date on its own, to be in tune with my “experience” theme, you’ll have to do the full shebang – Le Freak C’est Chic. Literally every single meat that La Fondue has to offer – 25 oz of 19 different meats on the regular menu, plus their special me ants. Before you look that up and think we’re way more baller than we are, Travelzoo occasionally offers this amazing deal for LFCC for two and a bottle of champagne for less than half the price that would’ve added up to. So set up those email alerts now and have the date of your life!

Being the “Best Significant Other” for a day

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This one my husband asked me to add to the list when I asked him what his favorite dates of all time were. As a surprise for him ( a flip side to the first on listed above) I decided to be the best significant other for a day. I learned how to play one of his favorite video games on expert level and make it without failing for 5 straight minutes (talk about practice!), i had awesome Giants tickets and even decked myself out in all Giants gear (this is back when I was a Cubs fan, so even more of a gift than it would be today), and had nothing but red meat for dinner. Show your real sacrificial side for your loved one and make a date out of being “perfect” for them for a day.

I hope some of these were inspiring to you to cap out our “month of love,” or at least entertaining to read! What are some of your favorite date nights? We’d love to hear!

Week 3 of our great date nights to celebrate February!

In honor of the “month of love” we decided a great way to celebrate would be to each share our favorite date nights with you readers. This week, Chelsea will be sharing her ideal date night ideas.

When the ladies of Caitlin Arnold Weddings and Events decided to write about our ideal date nights, my mind kind of went blank. I’m not very romantic when it comes to Valentine’s Day—I’m not a fan of chocolate, I dislike roses, and going out to dinner on February 14th to me screams marked up pre fixe menus and crowded restaurants. I’d simply rather take the money my husband and I would have spent and save it to go to a Niner’s game. When this thought came to my mind, I realized that my husband and I had recently just had my fantasy date night.

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December 23, 2013. The day my beloved 49ers would play their last game at Candlestick Park. Going to the ‘Stick isn’t incredibly romantic or five-star, but I could think of nothing else I’d rather do than grab some hot dogs and beers and celebrate a Niner’s victory with my husband and 69,731 other screaming fans. An additional plus: we saw NaVorro Bowman’s Pick at the ‘Stick, one of the best pick 6 of all time, and you better believe that we recorded the game on our DVR and re-watched that play over and over again! Someone, somewhere has a video of me being that crazy 49ers fan crying my eyes out with joy as we celebrated clinching the playoff berth. To top the night off, fireworks lit up the stadium to send all us happy fans out with a bang.

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I recommend that every couple see one of their favorite teams live and scream and cheer together, it’s a great way to let loose and have some fun. You may not be fans of the same team, but making time for each other’s team is a wonderful gesture to show your love. Better yet, go when they play against each other for some friendly competition!

However, since the football season is over and I understand that not every couple is sports fan, I’ll share with you another date night idea my husband and I enjoy, which costs a lot less than most tickets to sporting events. Recently moving to San Jose from Los Angeles, the one thing my husband and I miss most about LA is the abundance of food trucks. We would track down our favorite ones, hop on our beach cruisers, and grab an inexpensive and amazing meal. I’m sure you can imagine how excited I was when I discovered Moveable Feast—a fleet of food trucks that set up in various locations throughout the Peninsula. If it’s cold, they set up heat lamps, if it’s hot they have tents for shade, and they have stacks of big red buckets that when turned upside down make a great place to take a seat and enjoy your meal. They even have live music and entertainment every so often.

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One of the cool things about food trucks is that they typically have amazing chefs working out of them as a way to make and save money before going on to bigger ventures like opening restaurants. So you get great food that is super creative for less than $10 a meal.

Some of the trucks I’d recommend following? MoGo BBQ (@MoGoBBQ on Twitter)—Korean/Mexican fusion, with great Korean tacos and burritos with kimchi fried rice. If you’re looking for a healthier or vegetarian option, Eat on Monday‘s truck is a local organic truck. They have an organic veggie burger, and though their menu changes regularly they always use local, organic produce and grass fed beef. If you’re looking for something sweet, Treatbot (@Treatbot) has delicious homemade ice creams. Their signatures include The 408 (caramel ice cream, fudge swirl, and crushed Oreos) and Ube (purple yam and taro).

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These are just some of my suggestions but make it a date night and try some food trucks with your significant other. It’s a great reason to get out of the house and enjoy some great food—with none of the kitchen cleanup afterwards!

 

Week 2 of date nights to celebrate February!

In honor of the “month of love” we decided a great way to celebrate would be to each share our favorite date nights with you readers. This week, Cheryl will be sharing her favorite date night ideas. Don’t forget, Valentine’s Day is Friday!

Although I consider myself a hopeless romantic, I’ve never really been that into Valentine’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, I like flowers, fancy dinners and chocolate just as much as the next girl, but I like them every day of the year, not just on February 14. That being said, I can always appreciate a good old-fashioned date and Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse. This year, I suggest going a bit beyond the typical fancy dinner standard and trying something new that you and your date will never forget.

Since I represent the San Francisco contingent of our team, I thought I’d offer some fun date ideas that are unique to my favorite city by the Bay.

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1. Row Boats in the City – Looking for some classic romance? Then head to Golden Gate Park where you can rent row boats to float around Stowe Lake. Long considered to be one of the most romantic date ideas in the city, this little trip around the lake is sure to set the right mood, especially with a picnic basket filled with delicious food and wine!

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2. Adventure on High – San Francisco has helicopter tours! Soaring above the famous hills and distinctive landmarks like Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, you’ll see the striking cityscape from a whole new, and unforgettable, angle.

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3. Love on Main Street – For a more vintage-themed evening, the Disney Museum is hosting a turn-of-the-century after-hours party. Think old-time music, Prohibition-style cocktailes and a moonlit picnic on the porch.

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4. Food from the Heart – Calling all foodies! Take a stroll through the Ferry Building and sample the merchant’s delicious bites and sips. Taste your way through the wines and seasonal hors d’oeuvres with candlelight, live music and tango dancing.

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5. Pillow Fight! – Feeling a little feisty? Your inner kid does not want to miss San Francisco’s annual Valentine’s Day Pillow Fight. Grab your old synthetic pillows (feather are super messy) and head to Justin Herman Plaza. (This idea is not just for couples, it would be great for a double date or just a group of friends!)

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6. Breakfast date – Three words: Free Valentine’s Waffles! Head to the Financial District for some freshly baked, Belgian-style street waffles from b.street waffles. Including local chocolate and raspberry jam – that’s the sweetest way to start your Valentine’s Day, even without a date. Get there early so they don’t run out! All the details are on their Facebook page.

So, what are my plans for Valentine’s Day? Unfortunately my weekend plans with family do not involve my hubby (who is starting a tour with his band this week). Instead, we’ll celebrate on our own in a couple weeks when we head down to the San Jose Tech Museum for the Science of Star Wars exhibit. Because nothing says romance like storm troopers and Wookies! Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

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We’re Celebrating February with 4 Weeks of Great Date Nights!

In honor of the “month of love” we decided a great way to celebrate would be to each share our favorite date nights with you readers. This week, Lisa will be sharing some ideas, next week Cheryl will be sharing her ideas, followed by Chelsea, then Caitlin will bring us home!

As we were discussing this series of blogs, some of us shared that we aren’t huge celebrators of Valentine’s day, my husband and I included. When we do want to have a special evening together, our first idea is to make a reservation at a nice restaurant, however we rarely go out to dinner on V-day, usually it’s just too crowded and forced for our taste, so I try to make something nice at home.

The first year we were married, I went with elegant steakhouse fare and made filet mignon with a red wine reduction, broccoli, and mashed potatoes (no garlic of course!) – see the recipe below. I grabbed a bottle of nice red wine to pair, and set the mood at the house. You don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant to feel fancy, mainly just get out of those yoga pants or jeans and act like you’re going out – put on a nice dress, and some earrings and you’re set! Also, actually setting the table goes a long way if you’re like us and tend to eat in front of the tv. I pulled out the fancy table cloth we got for our wedding and rarely use, along with candlesticks and a nice flower arrangement, and our dining room looked like the nicest restaurant in town, minus the crowd!

If you don’t mind a busy restaurant, or love to be out in the thick of things on a holiday like Valentine’s, lots of local restaurants offer pre fixe menus for Valentine’s dinner. We live in San Mateo, so below is a list of some of our favorite places to have a romantic dinner:

  • Kincaid’s – we go here for my birthday almost every year, it’s a great restaurant with classic food, lots of options in the steak and seafood varieties, not to mention a spectacular view of the San Francisco Bay and SFO airport. They are offering a special Valentine’s Day Menu this year, which can be viewed here.  
  • Central Park Bistro – Another one of our favorites, with a wide range of delicious dishes. The intimate atmosphere and friendly wait staff make for a perfect evening. And if you like dessert, I can’t recommend their bread pudding highly enough, so tasty! Check out their menu here.
  • Three Restaurant – This is a new one on our favorites list after we went here a few weeks ago with some friends. It’s in downtown San Mateo at the base of the Benjamin Franklin Hotel (now Draper University), in what used to be Astaria Restaurant. The style has changed since its days as Astaria, but the quality has not. A little hipper, they feature a tapas-style menu that’s great for sharing with your loved one. They are doing a 4-course “aphrodisiac” menu for Valentine’s Day, which you can view here. 

Whether you decide to stay in or go out, it’s all about the ambience. Find a place where you and your special someone can enjoy each other’s company and remember why you’re together in the first place. Even if you aren’t a fan of Valentine’s Day itself, use it as an excuse to appreciate each other and take a break from your hectic lives to share some love!

Filet Mignon with Red Wine Reduction

Ingredients
2 (4 to 6-ounce) filet mignons
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 1/2 cups dry red wine
Directions
Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Generously season the steaks with salt and pepper and drizzle with the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Grill to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board. Tent with foil and let stand 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Add the garlic and oregano and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in the wine. Simmer until the sauce reduces by half, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Strain the sauce into a small bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids in the strainer and return the sauce to the saucepan and bring back to a slow simmer. Cut the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter into small 1/2-inch chunks and whisk in the sauce a little at a time. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Place filets on dinner plates. Drizzle the sauce over the filets and serve.

Erica & Grant’s gorgeous wedding featured in Ceremony Magazine

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We’re so excited to announce that Erica and Grant’s beautiful October nuptials were featured in the 2014 issue of Ceremony Magazine. This was such a special day to be a part of, and was an especially personal one for everyone involved. Erica and Grant met through mutual friends, along with the rest of their friend group, creating a daisy chain of friends and romances. We came on to design the event from the beginning and even did a bridal bootcamp with Erica to get her in tip top shape for her big day. The wedding was held October 5 at the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco, with a theme of “modern glamorous” – we worked with the couple to create a day full of traditional romance with touches of Great Gatsby-inspired glamour, and the result was incredible. Check out Ceremony’s feature below.

Thanks to all our wonderful vendors for making the day so beautiful – The Mark HopkinsRhee Bevere Photography, Soulflower Design Studio, Golden Gate Music Quartet, and Sound in Motion!

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Wedding Chicks Vendor Happy Hour

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We are so excited to be featured on the Wedding Chicks Vendor Happy Hour today!

Wedding chicks is a great resource for all things wedding-related – they’ve got everything from free wedding printables to customized goods and much, much more! We’ve been listed as a vendor on their site for a while now and feel very honored to be featured today.

Check out our vendor page for more information.

Planning the perfect baby shower

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We’re excited to announce that the Caitlin Arnold Events family is welcoming our first baby to the fold, as I (Lisa) will be having a baby boy at the end of March. Thankfully I have an all-star event-planning team on my side to do the baby shower thanks to the tag-team of Caitlin and Wendi Goad from Sweetness & Light Floral Design, so I thought we’d share some of our inspirations, ideas, and plans as we get ready for next month’s big event.

As with all event planning, a great place to start is the theme. I majored in literature in college, and have always been a reader, so the idea of a Baby Book Shower seemed perfect. Sticking with the literary theme, we’ve asked all our guests to bring a copy of their favorite children’s book to the shower to start our baby boy’s library.

Caitlin immediately had great ideas for how to decorate – stacking vintage books to create different levels on the tablescapes, finding an antique bookshelf for the entryway for guests to place their books, and creating book-themed food and drinks.

I got to work on the stationary design, creating the invitation (pictured above) and a custom monogram for our napkins, as well as some yet-to-be designed signs for food, drinks, and station signs. We’re not doing a traditional baby blue color palette in the new nursery (in fact, we’ll be doing an outer space theme), so I wanted to use a more neutral palette of orange, navy, and aqua blue for the stationary.

I’ve noticed a trend in baby showers lately that has been opening up the traditionally ladies-only shower to a co-ed one and decided that was perfect for our style of shower. My husband has been very involved in the process from the beginning, and I didn’t want to leave him out of the shower festivities, so we opened up the guest list to our friends and family of both genders. I wanted a more casual event, just an afternoon of fun with friends we don’t get to see as often as we’d like – and will likely see a lot less once the baby arrives!

Of course, you can stick with the ladies-only event if that’s your preference, but it’s great to see how many options there are for a unique event that is perfectly suited to your style. After all, you’re the pregnant one, you should get the party you want!

We’ve got some great vendors on board for this event, Sweetness & Light Floral Design will be doing the flowers, Honeycomb Events will be providing a dessert bar, and Weir & Associates Catering will be doing small bites, and Napa Vally Linens will be decorating our tables. We are also excited to have Shannon Joesting on hand to photograph the event, which we can’t wait to share with you after!

Venues We Love – the Ritz-Carlton, Maui

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This month, I had the pleasure of spending six days at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua on Maui. It was a return trip, my husband and I having spent a second honeymoon there 5 years ago, and boy were we glad to be back!

Though to date, most of our weddings have been local to the Bay Area, we here at Caitlin Arnold Events are game to coordinate a wedding or event in whatever exotic locale you can imagine, which is why I wanted to share a bit about the Ritz.

Though the name implies something expensive, you can get surprisingly good deals at the Ritz – when I was researching this trip, we actually got a better deal there than we could have at the Marriott or Westin on Maui. Thanks to package rates and seasonal deals, and an amazing upgrade upon our arrival, we got a great deal. The hotel itself lives up to its ritzy name, a beautiful but understatedly elegant resort set in tiers down a gentle hillside. Its three-tiered pools, connected by waterfalls, and stunning views of the ocean make for a spectacular venue. Not to mention the amazing design of the resort, which even at its most crowded, makes you feel like you’re the only people there.

The Ritz is located in Kapalua, a former working plantation turned resort village with restaurants, a few shops, two championship golf courses, and much more, making it an ideal place to get away. The Ritz itself has six different dining locations, a spa, and the beautiful DT Fleming beach. There are five different wedding venues on the Ritz property:

  • The Lava Point for intimate sunset ceremonies
  • The Beach House Lawn with onsite ceremony and reception locations for up to 500 guests (pictured above)
  • The Napili Lawn offering panoramic ocean views for up to 200 guests
  • The Honolua Chapel, a lovely 60-seat plantation-style church that once served as the place of worship for the surrounding plantation community
  • The Gazebo, located just outside the Honolua chapel with dramatic ocean views for up to 100 guests

For your reception, there are two indoor ballrooms and the Beach House, all of which offer spectacular views of the ocean and West Maui mountains.

Having visited these venues during our stay and interacting with the wonderful staff at the Ritz had me planning ways to host an event there – I’m thinking a 10 year anniversary destination celebration!

The great thing about Hawaii as a destination for your wedding or event is that though it’s just a short plane ride from the Bay Area but feels like an entirely different world. Really, I’m amazed you don’t need a passport to go there! Great deals can usually be found for plane tickets – especially for the major islands like Maui and Oahu – making it easy to get a number of family and friends together for your big day.

A place like Maui has an unbelievable amount of things to do, leaving you to enjoy your special day (or week!) and not having to keep your guests entertained 24/7. With a wide range of activities for guests of all ages, you really can’t go wrong. Not to mention reliably good weather throughout the year – we were there December 2-7, during the Bay Area’s crazy cold snap, and enjoyed 78-80 degree, sunny weather all week.

And, really, who’s going to say no to an excuse to vacation in Hawaii with a wedding thrown in? I wouldn’t!