lauren & chris at lake casitas

Lauren and Chris are getting married in two days, and I recently realized I hadn’t blogged their engagement session photos on the new website!  So here they are in their pre-nuptial glory!  They are saying “I do” this weekend at Hartley Botanica, and I’m so excited to be there with Stella Bloom Designs and MJB Cakes (Melissa is the bride’s stepsister!).

Here are Chris and Lauren at Lake Casitas in Ojai.  Wedding photos coming soon!

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why hire a wedding planner?

Why hire a wedding planner? Today I’ve invited Vanessa Noel Events to share some insights with y’all about why hiring a wedding planner is one of the best things you can do to help ensure a successful, joy-filled, beautiful wedding day experience. I truly couldn’t agree more — a wedding planner is worth every penny and is something most clients tend to describe, in hindsight, as priceless in taking stress away from the bride and groom. So don’t wait to “buy insurance” (i.e. hire a planner) until something goes wrong, when it’s too late to do anything about it.

Without further ado, here’s Vanessa!

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This may come as a shock, but hiring a wedding planner or even a coordinator is often thought to be a luxury item. Many couples budget for the venue, catering, specialty rentals, stationary items, desserts, etc., but only allot a little chunk of “the leftovers” to hiring a planner or coordinator. After all, the guests won’t know the difference — they eat the food and drink the cocktails; they sit on your perfectly curated lounge furniture and notice your hemstitch linen napkins; they’ll dance to your DJ or band’s music and they’ll admire your beautiful centerpieces.

So why spend money on a vendor who really doesn’t offer a service that enhances your guests’ experience?

santa ynez wedding photographer

Let me ask you this: would you build your dream home and forego homeowner’s insurance? After all, why spend money that could otherwise be put towards marble countertops or hardwood flooring? Because without an insurance policy, all your money, time, energy, hard work, and efforts could all be ruined in the face of a disaster.

Your wedding is the same way. I recently heard someone say “people only think about wedding planners when something goes wrong at a wedding.” It is such a sad truth, but it’s that moment when you realize there’s been a miscommunication or something was forgotten, or the person you put in charge (ahem… your cousin’s girlfriend or sister’s bff) doesn’t know what they’re doing — that is the moment you’ll wish you had a professional to manage the situation. Just like with any insurance policy, you don’t really think about it until you have a mishap, accident, or natural disaster and you really need it. And, unfortunately, by then, it’s too late.

Some of you might be thinking, “yeah, but I purchased actual wedding insurance!”

In my book, it’s a super smart move (read: non-negotiable) to buy wedding insurance, especially if you’re at an offset venue (like a backyard, park, or private ranch). However, that insurance is to cover the monetary value of your wedding. For example, if your florist doesn’t show up, you’ll recoup that investment, or if your cousin’s date trips and tries to sue you, those things are covered. But what if your florist doesn’t show? Sure, your wedding insurance policy will cover the cost of that in a couple weeks after claims have been filed, yada yada yada. But your reception is in an hour! Now what? Or maybe your flowers show, but you hate your bouquet? Your wedding insurance doesn’t cover that, but a planner can swoop in and improve the situation (this is actually a real example from a recent client’s wedding).

santa ynez wedding photographer

Something will go wrong on your wedding day. I promise you. It might not be huge like a florist no-show, and it might even be something that you, your mom, or a friend can manage. But what if it’s not? Or what if fixing the issue pulls you away from your experience of being a bride? And no, I don’t mean donning a pretty dress. I mean focusing on the experience of your love with this sweet person with whom you’re promising to share your life. Even if the money you’ve spent or the hours of DIYing aren’t worth the insurance policy of a planner, your experience of truly being a bride should be.

When you’re dividing up your budget between all the various categories and as you map out your DIY project list for the next 14 months, stop and think about how much it’s all worth to you. Is it worth 5-10% of your overall budget to ensure that your time was well spent on all those handmade favors and that your researching, pinning, and planning were all worth it? Think about how you want to feel on your wedding day and how focused you want to be on that sexy partner of yours. Worth the extra insurance of hiring a wedding planner? I think so.

Thank you for the insight, Vanessa! If you need a planner, she’s your girl. You can get more info and connect with her on her website, Facebook, or Instagram!

Vendors whose beautiful work is featured in this post //

planning + coordination // vanessa noel events
floral design // stella bloom designs
wedding dress // kelly faetanini via love and lace bridal
tabletop // borrowed blu
stationery // alissa bell press
rentals // pretty vintage rentals
jewelry // 31 bits

coconut smoothie recipe

It’s recipe time, friends!  This is a refreshing breakfast or post-workout treat and oh my goodness, it is delicious.  Thanks for sharing, Marlene!

coconut smoothie recipe


  • 1 young coconut flesh
  • 1/2 cup of coconut water from young coconut
  • 1 whole orange, minus the peel
  • 1/4 cup of raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp of Gypsy Spice Blend
  • 1 cup of ice

Directions //

  • Crack open head of young coconut.
  • Strain coconut water into a bowl.
  • Remove coconut flesh using a spoon.
  • Measure out ingredients for your shake and mix in blender until smooth.
  • Adjust sugar to desired sweetness. Enjoy!

coconut smoothie recipe

Serves 2