The Balboa Park Spark: William’s and Richard’s Love Story

The Balboa Park Spark: William’s and Richard’s Love Story

The Balboa Park Spark: William’s and Richard’s Love Story

-On top of being a historical icon of San Diego, Balboa Park means something different to so many people. For William and Richard, Balboa Park means a beautiful future with each other. In honor of pride month, a sweet love story and for everything love stands for, this post is dedicated to finding the right person and never letting go. This is for William and Richard.

-What began as a harmless, albeit boozy brunch in Uptown, Texas, transformed into spark-filled and spontaneous courting for over a year. Thanks to many more brunches and friends urging the two to get together, Richard and William became an official couple in late 2013.

 The two moved to the sparkling, sunny town of San Diego with their eyes set on the beaches everyone seemed to rave about. Yet it was Balboa Park that really caught their attention. It became one of their most cherished spots to spend time together. On an unsuspecting Saturday, Richard and William climbed the Park’s California tower to catch the breathtaking views of the shimmering sea and San Diego’s skyline. William felt something important was coming…and he was right. Richard took a knee and popped the question, in the most perfect setting possible.

The rest is history–their 1916 World’s Fair-themed wedding brought their friends and family together for a day of love and togetherness. And of course the wedding took place at the most memorable spot in their lives, Balboa Park.

On a personal note, working with these two was a blast! They are a great couple that I was lucky enough to work with, and watching them together is a perfect example of what being in love looks like. And a especial thanks to Courtney from Breezy Day Weddings, who ensured Richard and William’s wedding ran smoothly! All the best to Richard and William, and here’s to many more happy years to come!



Honeymoons 101: all you need to know to start planning yours

Honeymoons 101: all you need to know to start planning yours

After a packed wedding planning season this past winter, it’s refreshing to finally take time for focusing on other thrilling life events. One life event that’s extremely fun to dream big with? Honeymoons, and it happens to be one of my favorite topics to talk about with my clients.

It’s always delightful to hear my wedding clients’ love stories, especially when it comes to their honeymoon ideas. Watching couples’ eyes light up as they tell me their plans to visit exotic and exciting honeymoon destinations brings me closer to my clients…and also gives me one-of-a-kind travel ideas as an added bonus! Professional photography and caring for my clients go hand in hand, so I put together some statistics and considerations that will help shape your ideal honeymoon.

Where should you go?

It takes two to tango. A great honeymoon involves you and your bride/groom, so narrow down a setting that both of you can enjoy equally. Generally speaking, the tropics seem to be a win-win. According to U.S. News, top honeymoon destinations included St. Lucia, Hawaii’s Big Island, Bora Bora, Maldives, Bora Bora, and other waterfront locations where relaxation and scenery were key factors. Newlyweds spend, on average, about eight days enjoying their honeymoons, and invest approximately $4,500, or 15% of their wedding budget, towards their dream vacation. Couples also generally book four months before their wedding date.

What should you do?

That depends on where you go, and what brings you and your new husband or wife together! I’d recommend looking up activities in your desired honeymoon location, and decide what stands out to you both as memories you’d love to make during your stay. Keep in mind a lot of honeymoon hotels have all-inclusive honeymoon packages, where your entire trip is pre-planned and structured to be a carefree, luxurious, and thrilling adventure. If you like the planning to be done for you, a honeymoon package may be exactly what you are looking for.

Wrapping up, your honeymoon is all about what brings you two closer. If you both are world explorers with adventure in your veins, find out prices and hotels for siteseeing historical locations that speak to the both of you. Do you love your toes in the sand with the beat of steel drums rippling your tropical drink? Look at all-inclusive resort packages for coastal oases on your bucket list. Whatever destination you choose, make sure it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you and your S/O. And by the time you two return from your vacation, I’ll be almost done with your wedding album!

Engagement sessions are worth it. Here’s why.

Engagement sessions are worth it. Here’s why.

It’s an announcement and a memory rolled into one.

Ask any of my engagement photo shoot clients, and they will all tell you the same thing: engagement photo shoots are worth it. Getting engaged is, no doubt, a huge moment for you and your partner. It is a milestone in your relationship as well as a first step towards a new chapter together. But how do you best announce your engagement? Some couples just take a selfie or two and run with it. Some grab a dated picture of them when they weren’t so far in their relationship, or have a friend snap a semi-decent picture on a phone. If it works for you, then great. But some couples want their engagement announcement to truly reflect their happiness together, with professional photos that capture the excitement, warmth, and unbreakable connection between them. 

An engagement photo shoot opens big opportunities for you and your fiance/fiancee. 

First and foremost, it allows you to invite everyone you know to be a part of your biggest life event yet, getting married, with a personal and accurate visual of you both. Show friends and family how much they mean to you with a stunning image that they can hang up on their fridges, remind themselves of when your big day is, and be proud to say they know you. 

It gives you the chance to celebrate in the picture-perfect way you dreamed about.

Remember when the love of your life got down on one knee and you started blubbering? Well now you can reenact that with a little more control of your emotions. In all seriousness, now you and your future bride/groom-to-be can take planned, heartfelt pictures that describe the love you two have for each other. You can capture the perfect photo that you want your future wedding guests to think of when they think of you two.

An engagement photo shoot lets you test out your photographer.

An engagement session is actually a great way to see if your engagement photographer would be a good fit as your wedding photographer. You can have a test run of sorts by feeling out the chemistry between you two and your photographer, as well as seeing if the way he/she takes pictures is what you’re looking for on your wedding day.

You can practice your picture-perfect smiles and poses.

Many people have never been in front of a professional camera before. Whether it’s a head-on smile or a candid laugh with your partner, taking professional photos can come very difficult to some. Practice how to “act natural” in front of the lens with an engagement photo shoot, so that you are 110% ready for your wedding photos.

You’re able to try out hair and makeup ideas.

Some of my clients use their engagement sessions as an opportunity to try out potential wedding makeup and hairstyles. You can see how long your hair/makeup will take to prepare and how your hair/makeup will appear with different light and from different angles. You can also test how it will hold up after an hour or two of picture taking. Play with any makeup ideas you are considering for your wedding day, and see how they turn out in your photos. You will either confirm how much you liked that style, or you’ll have plenty of time experimenting with different looks!

Highlights and Takeaways from the 2018 Wedding Report

Highlights and Takeaways from the 2018 Wedding Report

Weddingwire, and its infinite wisdom in all things wedding,

has collected and released its 2018 wedding statistics. The 2018 Wedding Report is a thorough compilation of couples’ every step taken towards their wedding, from finding a ring to popular wedding venue locations. While the report consists of over 150 statistics, I have gathered the highlights and takeaways for easier reader consumption. My goal in sharing these facts is that you and your S/O can make the best decisions towards an unforgettable, perfect wedding.

Engagement highlights:

Millennials are just now joining Gen X in considering marriage and settling down. While there are subtle differences in how the proposal is done (including how it’s announced and who witnesses it), 82% of people still get down on one knee, 72% still ask for their partner’s parents’ blessing, and 68% plan out their proposals. The average wedding ring cost? 5 G’s. The winter months (November through February) take the cake for most popular proposal dates, with an average of 13 months before the actual wedding.

Planning Takeaways:

Welcome to the technological era of wedding planning. More than half of couples make their own website as well as use a planning app and generate their own hashtag, with 83% of planning for the big day being done online. The highest amount of couples aim for their wedding in autumn (38%), while the lowest amount of couples shoot for a winter wedding (9%).

The average wedding employs 13 vendors. The top three vendors couples hire: 86% of couples hire a professional photographer, 80% pay for a suitable venue, and 75% hire professional hair and makeup, among other services. Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram are the leaders in looking for wedding day inspiration.

Age and Generation Highlights:

Most couples are getting married at 32 years of age. The average groom is 33 while the average bride is 31. Today, one in four couples meet online and are wed within two years of dating each other. Nine is the favorite quantity of wedding party members. Depending on generation, there are specific traditions that remain staples in the wedding process: 72% of Millennials are most likely to ask for parents’ blessings, while about half of Gen X couples spend the night apart from each other before the big day.

Budgeting Takeaways:

The 2018 wedding statistics reveal that getting hitched these days rakes up to $36,000! A whopping 42% of couples underestimate their costs. 45% of couples pay for their big day, 46% of parents pay up, and 9% of other sources fund the wedding. More than half of the time, parents use the money in their savings to pay for the wedding. The most expensive cities in the U.S.A. to marry list as follows: 1) New York, 2) Boston 3) San Francisco, 4) Washington D.C., and 5) Chicago.

And for those of you locals reading this, San Diego, California ranked 11th highest in wedding cost by location, at an average of $29,000. While I am the first to say experiencing beautiful San Diego is a priceless experience, I also advise all of you newly-engaged couples to pick a location that speaks to you and your budget. 

Five reasons why you should throw your daughter an off-the-hook Bat Mitzvah

Five reasons why you should throw your daughter an off-the-hook Bat Mitzvah

12 is a big deal.

Or, at least for your daughter, it is. Your daughter’s twelfth birthday is a momentous event, where she will start crossing the bridge between childhood and becoming a young woman. To add on, if your family is Jewish, this marks the year she takes her place in the Jewish community–an even bigger deal.

Establishing oneself in Jewish law is a milestone celebration. But how big does that celebration need to be? Is a Bat Mitzvah the new Super Sweet Sixteen? Throwing an over-extravagant party isn’t necessary, but creating a meaningful, memorable one is. Here are five reasons why your daughter’s Bat Mitzvah should be a big celebration:

One: Your goal as a parent is to give your child a better childhood than yours.

Loving parents work hard to ensure their children have a good, warm, and sentimental childhood. Whether or not you are fond of your own childhood memories, we can all agree that we want a better upbringing for our children. Give them the gift of a memorable experience. A Bat Mitzvah is one of the last chapters in a girl’s childhood. Make it a special and grand one.

Two: Turning 12 is a very important year for your baby girl.  

These are her middle school years. There’s a change in school and life dynamics, with new friendships, hardships, learning lessons, and environments. It is a time when she learns how to handle things on her own–how to handle good and bad exchanges with classmates, how to hold herself accountable for assignments and projects, how to manage stress, and how to overcome obstacles. It’s also a time for her to determine who she cares about, what kind of friends she has, and what kind of person she is. Throwing her a big Bat Mitzvah party gives her the chance to invite the people most important in her life right now, which is a huge support system during this metamorphic age.

Three: Teach her an important lesson in Judaism.

Your daughter will be turning an age that signifies the transition from depending on others for help to helping others. Putting together a big-time Bat Mitzvah means she now has a big-time responsibility to the Jewish community, other mitzvahs, and the world. She will choose her mitzvah project and separate the challah. She will start really considering those that she can help, how she can make this world better by her actions. And the bigger the party, the bigger the actions.

Four: Bring your family together in a happy celebration.

It’s funny how we really only see our entire extended family for weddings or funerals, two occasions with polar opposite emotions. It’s always important to bring family together, and outweigh the good with the bad occasions by inviting extended family to your daughter’s big Bat Mitzvah.

Five: It’s an excuse to party.

If there is any reason to party, your daughter’s Bat Mitzvah is a great one. This is a celebration of coming-of-age that can be celebrated by any age. Your daughter can take pride in an extraordinary party dedicated to her, and attendees can celebrate with her and for her. Partying isn’t just fun, it’s meaningful and unforgettable.

Your daughter will only turn twelve once, and if your family is Jewish, you have a huge opportunity for a huge Bat Mitzvah. Don’t let that opportunity slip away; give your daughter the gift of a happy, unforgettable memory.

If you’re daughter’s Bat Mitzvah is quickly approaching, or if you’re looking to hire a professional event planner in the San Diego area, Gisele Chalhoub’s work is seen in the gallery below. While she specializes in weddings, the other events she coordinates are unforgettable and unique experiences for her clients and her clients’ guests. Check out her website to learn more about the second-to-none services she offers.

What customers want to see on your website, with Chrome Dome

What customers want to see on your website, with Chrome Dome

Laurie Barron of and I are teaming up for the upcoming release of a revolutionary customer’s website. Chrome Dome, a small but top-quality company based in the San Diego area, is hitting the swim industry with a fresh idea: protecting your head while you swim. Their swim caps are made of flexible, breathable, and effective fabric that gives swimmers a reliable solution for the thing they love to do most. Now they want to expand their brand to the online marketplace, and are doing it the right way.

They are lifestyle oriented.

Chrome Dome’s website isn’t just showing their products. The website will be showing how their products fit into the various lifestyles of people that love the water. Whether you’re out for an icy swim near the pier, a refreshing dip on your way home from work, or training for that bucket list triathlon, your Chrome Dome is ready for action when you are. 

They are transparent.

There is no strings attached to Chrome Dome’s product. They sell the ultimate swim cap for whatever kind of swimmer you are, and that’s it. The idea of a simple, yet extremely useful, product that improves someone’s standard of life and happiness is what makes Chrome Dome a great example on creating a customer-oriented website.

They are customers.

The makers of Chrome Dome know their products inside and out, because they use Chrome Dome in their daily lives. Any online marketing is best done if the marketer lives, breathes, and uses the product.

Laurie has years of experience in developing effective, stunning websites from start to finish. Contact her on Simply Styled Sites to update your average website to a game-changing one.

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