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Hello my Santa Barbara bride-to-be’s!! How tired are you of googling a million places in this vast state to find the picture perfect wedding venue? Probs real tired. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the best, coolest, prettiest, cutest, dreamiest Santa Barbara wedding venues that I recommend you visit first! These are fool-proof and gorgeous – sign on their dotted line and call a sista up, because I’m SO there. 🙂

If you haven’t seen my LA Wedding Venue List, Bay Area Wedding Venue List, Orange County Venue List or Palm Springs Wedding Venue List, be sure to check those out if you’re thinking about other parts of California!

Dos Pueblos Orchid Farm

I am obsessed with this perfect greenhouse venue! It’s also right near the ocean!

Dos Pueblos Orchid Farm / Best Wedding Venues in Santa Barbara

Firestone Vineyard

Everything you could want – vines, a perfect oak tree, historic home to get ready in & a barn-style ballroom.

Firestone Vineyards Wedding / Best Santa Barbara Wedding Venues by Cheers Babe Photo

The Goodland Hotel

Quirky & fun hotel with unique decor details that will definitely spark joy!

Goodland Hotel / Best Santa Barbara Wedding Venues

Villa & Vine

Gorgeous Spanish architecture with a modern interior – the courtyard is amazing at night!

Villa & Vine / Best Santa Barbara Wedding Venues

Old Mission Santa Barbara

The columns are pink!! Need I say more?

Old Mission Santa Barbara / Best Santa Barbara Wedding Venues

San Ysidro Ranch

The gardens are stunning! My favorite is their field of lavender!

San Ysidro Ranch / Best Santa Barbara Wedding Venues

Dos Pueblos Ranch

Ocean-view ceremony & a barn reception

Dos Pueblos Ranch / Best Santa Barbara Wedding Venues

Blue Sky Center

The ultimate glamping wedding spot!

blue sky center / best santa barbara wedding venues

The Ritz-Carlton Bacara

There’s a view of the ocean, gorgeous Spanish tile steps and some of the most amazing light I’ve ever seen.

Ritz Carlton Bacara / Best Santa Barbara Wedding Venues

Belmond El Encanto

I seriously don’t know what to say other than this place is perfection!

Belmond El Encanto / best santa barbara wedding venues

Santa Barbara Zoo

Think classy jurassic park vibes haha!

Santa Barbara Zoo / best santa barbara wedding venues

Four Seasons Biltmore

This place is so luxurious!

four seasons biltmore / best santa barbara wedding venues

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

Get a massage the day of your wedding while your boo plays a round of golf with his boys!

ojai valley inn & spa / best santa barbara wedding venues

Sunstone Winery

Wanna feel like you’re having a wedding in Tuscany without the jet lag? This is where you go!

sunstone winery / best santa barbara wedding venues

Photo Credit in order from top to bottom:

Jodee Debes Photography, Cheers Babe Photo, Erin J Saldana Photography, Gaby J Photography, James & Jess, The Great Romance Photo, Jana Williams, Lisse Lundin, Jenny Quicksall, Belmond El Encanto, Wild Whim Design & Photography, Cheers Babe Photo for The Day.Collective, Michelle Beller and Jen Huang

Read more >

Best Santa Barbara Wedding Venues

Inspo, Wedding

You’ve been asked to be a groomsman in your good friend’s wedding — you’re thrilled for your dude, but if you’re honest with yourself, you’re already feeling stressed about your role! How much is this gonna cost? Do I have to make a toast? Will I look good in the photos?

You’ve come to the right place! This post is packed with my very best groomsman tips that will not only make you a best groomsman, but they’ll keep you sane & having fun in the process!

Treat yo self

how to be a good groomsman, groomsman tips, groomsman, how to be a good best man, cheers babe photo, groomsman getting his hair cut

this photo is by Walker Studios, the remainder are by Cheers Babe Photo

Get a fresh haircut, gentlemen! Trust me, you wanna look your best for these photos!

Remember your why

how to be a good groomsman, groomsman tips, groomsman, how to be a good best man, cheers babe photo, groomsman kissing groom on the cheek

I know that being a groomsman can begin to feel time-consuming and really tighten your budget and that can feel frustrating. Whenever you begin to have negative feelings about the wedding or resenting the groom, speak this affirmation (I’m serious – it might feel cheesy, but it’ll help): “My dude needs me & this will show him how much I care about him”.

Keep the Room Clean

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Often times I have to take time away from photographing the groom to move water bottles, tissues, luggage, and things of that nature out of the photo’s frame during getting ready photos. Designate a side room for everyone’s personal belongings and keep food and beverages off of tables in the main space.

Set a Vibe

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You know the groom better than I do, so bring along a speaker & play the jams you think will get him into the best mood. Some grooms want a chill vibe while getting ready – maybe sports on the TV even & others want all Chance the Rapper and tequila shots, but there’s nothing worse than being photographed in an awkwardly quiet room!

Support our Dude

how to be a good groomsman, groomsman tips, groomsman, how to be a good best man, cheers babe photo, groomsmen sneaking tequila

Advocate for the groom and his feelings on the wedding day, especially if a family member is stressing him out over an unimportant detail. If he’s feeling nervous, be a calming presence and remind him how special his bride is!

Help a Brotha Out

how to be a good groomsman, groomsman tips, groomsman, how to be a good best man, cheers babe photo, groomsman helping groom

Throughout the day, keep an eye on the groom’s jacket & boutonniere, making sure there’s no dust spots and that the flowers haven’t flipped upside down.

Be Confident

how to be a good groomsman, groomsman tips, groomsman, how to be a good best man, cheers babe photo, groomsmen walking photo

You may be camera shy, but know that the more you relax in front of the camera, the better your photos will turn out. Carry yourself like you’re at your 5th GQ photo shoot & don’t forget to roll those shoulders back to have good posture. Make sure the top button on your jacket is buttoned for photos unless you’re sitting or have your arms around someone. When in doubt, hands in your pockets looks better than criss-crossing your hands in front of you. Also be sure to smile as you walk into the ceremony! Let yourself feel the emotions of the day too – ugly cry, belly laugh, whatever you need to do – don’t hold back!

Toast Tips

how to be a good groomsman, groomsman tips, groomsman, how to be a good best man, cheers babe photo, groomsman best man giving toast speech

Aim for a three-minute speech—that sounds short until you’re standing in front of 100 people. First, establish how you know the groom. Then add something funny (but not embarrassing) and something sentimental.

Dude, you’re ready! Have fun!

Read more >

How to be a Good Groomsman

Inspo, Wedding

You’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid in your good girlfriend’s wedding — you’re thrilled for your gal, but if you’re honest with yourself, you’re already feeling stressed about your role! How much is this gonna cost? What if I don’t like my dress? Will I look good in the photos?

You’ve come to the right place! This post is packed with my very best bridesmaid tips that will not only make you a perfect bridesmaid, but they’ll keep you sane & happy in the process!

Treat yo self

How to be a great bridesmaid, bridesmaid tips, best bridesmaid, photo by Cheers Babe Photo, bridesmaid getting her makeup done

If you haven’t already done it as a group, go get a mani-pedi before wedding day, babe! Consider asking the bride who she’s hiring for her hair & makeup and ask how much it will cost for you to have them do your hair & makeup that morning. Trust me, having professional hair & makeup will make you feel as confident as Beyoncé in front of the camera!

Remember your why

How to be a great bridesmaid, bridesmaid tips, best bridesmaid, photo by Cheers Babe Photo, happy bridesmaid photo

I know that being a bridesmaid can begin to feel time-consuming and really tighten your budget and that can feel frustrating. Whenever you begin to have negative feelings about the wedding or resenting the bride, speak this affirmation: “My girl needs me & this will show her how much I love her”.

Keep the Room Clean

How to be a great bridesmaid, bridesmaid tips, best bridesmaid, photo by Cheers Babe Photo, bridesmaids laughing

Often times I have to take time away from photographing the bride & her details to move water bottles, tissues, bridesmaids luggage (you. girls. have. so. much. stuff.), and things of that nature out of the photo’s frame during getting ready photos. Designate a side room for everyone’s personal belongings and keep food and beverages off of tables in the main space.

Set a Vibe

How to be a great bridesmaid, bridesmaid tips, best bridesmaid, photo by Cheers Babe Photo, bridesmaids in robes spraying champagne

You know your girl better than I do, so bring along a speaker & play the jams you think will get her into the best mood. Some brides want a chill vibe while getting ready & others want all Ariana Grande, but there’s nothing worse than being photographed in an awkwardly quiet room!

Support our Girl

bridesmaids praying together

Advocate for the bride and her feelings on the wedding day, especially if a family member is stressing her out over an unimportant detail. If she’s feeling nervous, be a calming presence and remind her how special her groom is! Also please make sure she eats something before photos!

Help a Sista Out

How to be a great bridesmaid, bridesmaid tips, best bridesmaid, photo by Cheers Babe Photo, bride with maid of honor

Throughout the day, keep an eye on the bride’s dress, making sure it’s not dragging through a dirty spot on the floor and helping bustle when it’s time for the reception. Bonus points for carrying the bride’s lipstick & giving her a touch up when she needs it.

Be Confident

How to be a great bridesmaid, bridesmaid tips, best bridesmaid, photo by Cheers Babe Photo, maid of honor dress

You may be camera shy, but know that the more you relax in front of the camera, the better your photos will turn out. Carry yourself like the queen that you are & don’t forget to roll those shoulders back to have good posture. During the processional, make sure to hold your bouquet with your hands right at your belly button. Most importantly, smile as you walk down the aisle! Let yourself feel the emotions of the day too – ugly cry, belly laugh, whatever you need to do – don’t hold back!

Toast Tips

How to be a great bridesmaid, bridesmaid tips, best bridesmaid, photo by Cheers Babe Photo, bride laughing during bridesmaid maid of honor toast

Aim for a three-minute speech—that sounds short until you’re standing in front of 100 people. First, establish how you know the bride. Then add something funny (but not embarrassing) and something sentimental.

Girl, you ready now! Have fun!

Read more >

How to be a Great Bridesmaid

Inspo, Wedding

Hello my Orange County and San Diego bride-to-be’s!! How tired are you of googling a million places in this vast state to find the picture perfect wedding venue? Probs real tired. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the best, coolest, prettiest, cutest, dopest Orange County and San Diego wedding venues that I recommend you visit first! These are fool-proof and gorgeous – sign on their dotted line and call a sista up, because I’m SO there. 🙂

If you haven’t seen my LA Wedding Venue List and the Bay Area Wedding Venue List or Palm Springs Wedding Venue List, be sure to check those out if you’re thinking about other parts of California!

Hangar 21 // Fullerton, CA

This place is a super cool white airplane hangar. You can do a helicopter grand entrance!!

Best Orange County Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Franciscan Gardens // San Juan Capistrano, CA

This little venue is like a French garden smack in the middle of South Orange County.

Best Orange County Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Rancho Las Lomas // Silverado, CA

Gorgeous Spanish mansion in the foothills of Orange County

Best Orange County Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Lido House // Newport Beach, CA

Just blocks from the beach & full of modern, nautical vibes.

Best Orange County Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

The Harper // Costa Mesa, CA

I love this all white, natural-light space – so dreamy.

Best Orange County Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Mission San Juan Capistrano // San Juan Capistrano, CA

There is just so much history here! Such a stunning place to tie the knot.

Best Orange County Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Huntington Bay Club // Huntington Beach, CA

Beach? Check. Marina? Check. Palm Trees? Check. Need anything else?

Best Orange County Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

The 1912 // Santa Ana, CA

This spot is so cool! There’s amazing natural light & a super cool feature wall.

Best Orange County Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Studio de la Flor // Carlsbad, CA

This little studio is the perfect spot for an intimate, laidback wedding or elopement dinner party.

Best San Diego Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Building 177 // San Diego, CA

This place is all the loft vibes and natural light for days!

Best San Diego Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Puesto at The Headquarters // San Diego, CA

Let’s be real, who doesn’t wanna eat Mexican food at your wedding?

Best San Diego Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Photo Credit in order from top to bottom:

Hangar 21, Franciscan Gardens, Studio EMP, Lido House, Braedon Flynn, Mission San Juan Capistrano, McCune Photography, Mink Photography, Jessica Rice Co., Gantes Co. and Puesto.

COMING SOON

Best Wedding Venues in Santa Barbara

Read more >

Best Orange County & San Diego Wedding Venues

Inspo, Wedding

Hello my Palm Springs bride-to-be’s!! How tired are you of googling a million places in this perfect desert town to find the picture perfect wedding venue? Probs real tired. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the best, coolest, prettiest, cutest, dopest Palm Springs wedding venues that I recommend you visit first! These are fool-proof and gorgeous – sign on their dotted line and call a sista up, because I’m SO there. 🙂

If you haven’t seen my LA Wedding Venue List and the Bay Area Wedding Venue List, be sure to check those out if you’re thinking about other parts of California!

The Pond Estate

Pink Paradise in the desert … need I say more?

Best Palm Springs Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Korakia

Want to make all of your Marrakesh daydreams come true? This is your chance!

Best Palm Springs Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Colony 29

Yep, this is where Whitney Port got married! SUCH a gorgeous place with alllllll the plants!

Best Palm Springs Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Avalon Hotel

Classic Mid-Century Modern design at this perfect hotel – love the black & white of this place.

Best Palm Springs Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Ace Hotel & Swim Club

This place brings the party – also has probably the most fun pool scene in the desert.

Best Palm Springs Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

The Saguaro Palm Springs

Um, hello COLOR!!! I’m convinced this is what the inside of my brain looks like.

Colorful Anniversary Photos at Saguaro Palm Springs by Cheers Babe Photo

Sands Hotel & Spa

PINK + PATTERNS = HAPPY ME

Best Palm Springs Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

O’Donnell House

I love this spot because you get a view from above, which is really unique in a totally flat desertscape! Also, when the bougainvillea is blooming, the ceremony spot is insanely pretty!

Palm Springs Wedding at the O'Donnell House by Cheers Babe Photo

Parker Palm Springs

Truly an iconic entrance! MCM for daysssssss.

Best Palm Springs Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

The Living Desert

You can get married at the zoo! Giraffes, zebras, basically all the fun & cute animals as your wedding backdrop – cute!!

Best Palm Springs Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Frederick Loewe Estate

Again, super authentic Mid-Century Modern design & one of the coolest homes ever.

Best Palm Springs Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

La Chureya

This place is a hidden gem – I didn’t even know about it until recently and I’m like a desert stalker. It’s like a backyard vibe in the desert, super chill.

Best Palm Springs Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Twin Palms Frank Sinatra Estate

Once again, super authentic Mid-Century Modern design coolness! Yes, this was actually Sinatra’s house!

Best Palm Springs Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Photo Credit in order from top to bottom:

Pura Soul Photography, Cheers Babe Photo, Hannah Costello Photography, Lauren Scotti, California Weekend Magazine, Cheers Babe Photo, Sands Hotel & Spa, Cheers Babe Photo, Jessica Kettle, Summer Shea Photography, Sarah Falugo, Studio Castillero, and Frank Sinatra Estate.

COMING SOON

Best Wedding Venues in Orange County, San Diego & Santa Barbara

Read more >

Best Palm Springs Wedding Venues

Inspo, Wedding

Hello my Bay Area bride-to-be’s!! How tired are you of googling a million places in this vast state to find the picture perfect wedding venue? Probs real tired. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the best, coolest, prettiest, cutest, dopest San Francisco Bay Area wedding venues that I recommend you visit first! These are fool-proof and gorgeous – sign on their dotted line and call a sista up, because I’m SO there. 🙂

If you haven’t seen my LA Wedding Venue List, be sure to check those out if you’re thinking about SoCal!

 

SF Proper

The Conservatory of Flowers

Any crazy plant ladies out there? Not only is the outside of the greenhouse structure the perfect white ceremony backdrop, the interior is full of tropical plants! Check out a recent engagement session I photographed there!

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

The Pearl

A thing of Rooftop Dreams! The indoor reception area is just as cool.

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Hotel Vitale

Rooftop views of the Ferry Building and Bay Bridge and walking distance to the piers. Need I say more?

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

San Francisco Ferry Building

This place is so iconic to SF and right by the water! You can easily see the Bay Bridge from outside and hear the romantic ticking of the train departure sign.

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Asian Art Museum

This place has class for daysssss. Gives you that New York Public Library vibe here on the West Coast!

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

SF Proper Hotel

The best rooftop bar in SF! This boutique hotel was designed by genius, Kelly Wearstler, so obviously it’s freaking amazing! One of my favorite spots to grab a drink at sunset!

San Francisco Proper Hotel Wedding by Cheers Babe Photo

Terra Gallery

The perfect white loft & blank canvas – you could seriously pull anything off here!

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Wine Country

Kunde Family Winery

Wait, am I in the South of France? Sure feels like it. Also … three words: Wine Cave Reception! I’m photographing a wedding here in July and I cannot wait to share it with you!

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Solage Calistoga

Luxe Calistoga spot by the Auberge Hotel group, who always slay. I had the privilege of photographing a wedding here last year (peek it here) and I get to go back for another this Fall! Keep it coming, brides!

Style Me Pretty wedding in Napa by Cheers Babe Photo

Olympia’s Valley Estate

The perfect Petaluma estate complete with barn-style reception space. Yes, that’s lavender lining the walkway to the front door!

Trentadue Winery

Vines, grassy lawn, rose-covered walls, what more could you ask for?

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Macarthur Place

The lightness of this place makes me feel like they took the best of Malibu and combined it with the best of Sonoma.

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Chateau St. Jean

Literal perfection – everything you’d expect to find in Sonoma (or the south of France for that matter).

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

East Bay

Oakland Museum of California

This place is perfect for the artistic & creative couple – plus, there’s a great view of Oakland & Lake Merritt from the terrace – bonus!

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Wente Vineyards

The East Bay actually has a totally thriving wine country of it’s own! It’s called the Tri-Valley area & Wente is a gorgeous spot right in the heart of Livermore.

Wente Vineyards Wedding by Cheers Babe Photo

Ruth Bancroft Garden

Want a Palm Springs wedding vibe without having to leave the Bay? Here’s your answer!

Temescal Brewing

I’ll be honest – I don’t know if these guys allow weddings for just anyone, but I’ve seen them do at least one. This spot is one of our favorites in our town to grab a cold beer and chill – the interior is cute af and the patio is so relaxing and perfect for a laid-back reception!

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Palm Pavillion

Another East Bay wine country spot, but one with a city-loft vibe – best of both worlds!

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

NorCal Destination Spots

Tahoe Mountain Club

Lake Tahoe is an incredible destination spot! The view from this balcony is insane – plus, you can take a fun gondola ride and if you did a winter wedding, there’d be snow!!

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Bear Flag Farm

Iconic lavender fields with the whimsical ferris wheel in the back! It was voted the #1 wedding venue for great service in the American West by BRIDES Magazine and one of the most beautiful wedding venues in the U.S. by Conde Nast Traveller.

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

BLOC Venue

This place is all about TEXTURE! White brick, natural brick, garage doors, it’s just stinkin’ cool.

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Photo Credit in order from top to bottom:

Steve Cowell Photo, Anna Wu, This Love of Yours, Melanie Duerkopp, Jose Villa, Cheers Babe Photo, Rebecca Yale, OneLove Photography, Cheers Babe Photo, Duy Ho Photography, KT Merry, Macarthur Place, Koman Photography, OCMA, Cheers Babe Photo, Cheers Babe Photo, Lilouette, Alameda County Fairgrounds, Photography by Monique, Lisa Lefkowitz, and BLOC Venue.

Coming SOON

Best Wedding Venues in Palm Springs, Orange County, San Diego & Santa Barbara

Read more >

Best Bay Area Wedding Venues

Inspo, Wedding

Hello my LA bride-to-be’s!! How tired are you of googling a million places in this vast state to find the picture perfect wedding venue? Probs real tired. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the best, coolest, prettiest, cutest, dopest Los Angeles wedding venues that I recommend you visit first! These are fool-proof and gorgeous – sign on their dotted line and call a sista up, because I’m SO there. 🙂

Row DTLA

Right in LA’s thriving arts district (which has THE best views of the city skyline) is Row DTLA. They have multiple venue options from ground level to rooftop, but the B1 | 777 Rooftop pictured here is the ultimate dreamy wedding spot & can fit a ton of guests!

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Festoon LA

Between trendy Venice Beach and growing Culver City you’ll find Festoon LA, the perfect West LA wedding venue. The space is small, but gorgeous – the kitchen was designed by LA design maven, Sarah Sherman Samuel & the dining & lounge areas by 100 Layer Cake! You can fit 60 guests seated – an amazing option for a more intimate wedding or even your rehearsal dinner. It is so instagram-worthy it hurts!

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The Fig House

If color is your jam, then The Fig House was literally designed for you (and you are designed for me – ha!). This is another amazing venue with a super-star designer behind it! The owners hired HGTV’s Emily Henderson to design & curate the space. This literally perfect LA wedding venue is nestled in between downtown & Pasadena, right in Highland Park. Love me some East LA!!

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Grassroom

Okay, here we begin a series of amazing wedding venues owned by the Marvimon group! They take old buildings & bring them new life with super unique details! This is Grassroom in DTLA, where you’ll find a jungle-like courtyard for the coolest ceremony and insanely cool triangular door openings that lead you to the reception space!

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Valentine DTLA

Literally next door to Grassroom is Valentine DTLA! I am obsessed with this geometric door mural they have and the rest of the space is just as special and unique!

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Millwick

I feel like the coolest couples in LA get married at Millwick. I don’t know what it is, but this place just oozes cool-factor and has jungle vibes for days! It’s also in the arts district as well & there’s some super cool opportunities around the venue for outdoor portraits with a city view in the back.

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The Forge

Okay so The Forge is technically a photo studio (with an impressive installation wall of cow skulls). I know they’ve hosted weddings before & there is just a ton of room for creativity in this space if you or your event designer/stylist is ready to dream up something really cool! If you need help doing that, my wedding florist/event designer has designed a wedding in this space before!

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Lombardi House

Over in Hollywood, Lombardi House will give you all the barn-vibes you’ve ever wanted, but in the most modern & cool way (thank you white walls)! Not only are both indoor spots super beautiful, their courtyard spaces are equally breathtaking!

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The Ruby Street

Previously a suffragette house, then a civil rights meeting place, and even a progressive church, The Ruby Street in Highland Park is such a unique spot to say your “I do”s and celebrate! I just adore their historic stained glass windows!

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Hudson Loft

Ohhhhhh my goodness – where do I even begin with Hudson Loft? Oh right! I GOT MARRIED HERE!! Obviously I am super biased, but this is one of my favorite venues – and it’s more than just sentimental for me. It’s the perfect industrial loft right in the heart of bustling downtown & has so many options. There’s incredible getting ready spaces, prep rooms, a stunning rooftop & view, and even a giant freight elevator that we actually drove our car into & used for our grand exit!

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HNYPT

Pronounced “honeypot”, this all white industrial space was actually the runner-up for our wedding. I love that you can open up the garage door at HNYPT and let the natural light in! Also the rafters give you tons of opportunity for some insanely cool hanging decor!

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Office Party

Office Party is literally the office of one of LA’s coolest entrepreneurs that you can rent out for your party! There’s this cool space and an outdoor courtyard for cocktail time!

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The Surfrider Malibu

Ok wow, gorgeous!! I honestly don’t even know if The Surfrider hotel allows events or not, but if they do, it’d be epic. Their rooms are like, perfect California chic – even if you’re getting married elsewhere in Malibu, this would be an incredible space to get ready in for the day!

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The Ebell of Long Beach

One of my dear friends got married here at The Ebell of Long Beach a couple years back. Not only is it like, house plant heaven, the Mediterranean style space (especially the amazing tile floor) is just super dreamy!

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The Line Hotel

If you’re looking for something poolside, then The Line Hotel in Koreatown (K-town) is your spot! They actually have like, 5 or 6 different venue spaces within this one hotel & they’re all really amazing! Not to mention, the concrete walls in the rooms makes for really cool getting ready photos (which is why I got ready here the day of my wedding!).

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Mr. C Beverly Hills

This place is ALL classic LA glam. There’s poolside space, city view balconies, literally everything you think of when you picture “Old Hollywood”. Mr. C is a hotel in Beverly Hills and it’s ready for your extra-ness, boo.

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Saddlerock Ranch

Dang, dude. Saddlerock is so bomb. They have 4 event spaces, 100 acres of wine vines AND zoo animals (zebra, camel, giraffe, llama, alpaca, yak, highland cow, etc.…)!

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Greenhouse at PLATFORM

If you’re hoping to get married somewhere near Culver City, Greenhouse at PLATFORM is an amazing option! Platform is basically a trendy boutique shopping center & the Greenhouse sits upstairs onsite. The name speaks for itself – gorgeous glass house! Bonus – one of my favorite murals in LA by Jen Stark is located on the parking structure here!

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Tallula’s

Tallulah’s is a super yum Mexican restaurant in Santa Monica – right near the beach! You can rent it out for an intimate wedding or rehearsal dinner & it is so colorful and gorgeous inside! Also, who doesn’t want to serve Mexican food at their wedding/rehearsal dinner?

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Beverly Hills Hotel

Pretty sure this icon of a hotel speaks for itself! The Beverly Hills Hotel has been LA’s go-to spot for movie-stars and celebs for over a century. The banana-leaf palm wallpaper in the halls is ridiculously memorable, the gardens are spectacular and their reception hall will make you lose your mind.

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Wilshire Loft

Last but not least, the Wilshire Loft is such a cool spot if you’re looking for a rooftop wedding venue that’s RIGHT in the the city – you’re actually surrounded by the downtown high rises, which feels so cool. It’s kind of a blank slate, so you could get really creative with your decor here!

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[All images are sourced from google, pinterest, the venue’s websites and the venue report. I reallllly tried to find image credits for each, but it just wasn’t happening!]

 

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Best Los Angeles Wedding Venues

Inspo, Wedding

Welcome back to your course, Weddings 101: The Road to “I Do”! This monthly series will provide you with a whole lot of clarity, destroy myths about how you’re “supposed to” plan a wedding and all the things you should know before your wedding day. I’m so glad you’re back. If this is the first lesson of the course you’ve read, I’ve linked parts 1 through 3 below so you can access those & get caught up!

part i – all things coordination

part ii – what to expect pre-ceremony

part iii – the ceremony

Today, we’ll be talking about the Reception and what happens (or should happen) when your wedding is over. This post is so FULL of information, so grab a notebook and settle in because this info is RICH!

determining the best time for sunset photos

Guide to Wedding Reception Sunset Photos by Cheers Babe Photo

From my eyes, this is SO crucial! The best time for sunset photos can be determined based on the time of year you’re getting married as well as small considerations based on your venue and its placement. For example, if your wedding takes place in the Fall or Winter, your sunset session will take place much earlier than a wedding in the Summer months.

As a rule of thumb, I google the exact sunset time for the wedding date – let’s say it’s today (July 27th in San Francisco), so sunset isn’t until 8:22pm. Can I get a hallelujah for these long Summer days? California is such a dream! In this instance I’d try to schedule a 20-30 minute photo session with just my couple about 30-60 minutes before the sun sets to get that golden hour light. So for today I’d start sunset photos at about 7:45pm.

Another thing to consider is your particular venue. If you’re getting married at a venue that’s tucked behind a large mountain range or in a more wooded area, you should consider doing your “sunset” photos earlier just in case the sun dips behind that mountain range before the true sunset time.

reception lighting

Guide to Wedding Reception Lighting by Cheers Babe Photo

Lighting at your reception may be something you haven’t yet considered, but it can truly make a big difference in your images. If your reception is going to take place outdoors, a)You’re my favorite, because natural light will always win in my eyes (and the camera’s) and b)all you need to really consider is having minimal light when it gets dark such as candles on the tables and string lights on the dance floor.

If your reception is indoors, in my opinion, you can’t go wrong with candlelight! It’s one of my favorite lighting looks because it’s super warm and gives off a very romantic feeling. The more, the better, just make sure you know your venue’s rules in regards to fire regulations.

Other options to consider are uplights or fixtures. Uplighting adds a warm, subtle glow to the space, making sure there’s no bright spots. Read this article HERE for some great do’s and don’ts when it comes to uplighting. Your reception space may also already be equipped with lighting fixtures such as chandeliers and wall sconces that can usually be brightened or dimmed based on your preference.

Lastly, make sure there is at least SOME light on your dance floor! This is a common misconception because couples often like that dark, clubby feel on the dance floor, but it’s not ideal for photos. With no light in the room, our cameras have no spots to sample from and it makes focusing really difficult, resulting in terrible, blurry photos.

toasts & table visits

Guide to Wedding Receptions and Toasts by Cheers Babe Photo

We’ve all been to that wedding where the best man had one too many tequila shots before his toast and starts rambling on about the groom for 20 minutes. Inapprops! Try to prepare your toasters by asking them to stick to about 2-5 minutes so that the rest of your guests can enjoy the evening & get on the dance floor.

It’s always nice when the couple visits each table after finishing their meal (while everyone else is finishing) so you get to say Hi and welcome each guest personally. It’s great for hugs too. However, this is typically not an important time to have your photographer with you & it actually the best time during the reception for us to take a break and eat dinner ourselves!

to toss or not to toss (and other traditions)

Guide to Wedding Receptions by Cheers Babe Photo

The tradition of the bouquet toss and the garter toss goes way back. But ya know what? If you don’t wanna do it, just don’t! It’s your wedding and you don’t have to! In fact, I’d suggest only doing it if you have A LOT of single friends who will be totally down (and not shy) to come to the dance floor to compete. There’s nothing more awkward than 4 single and ashamed girls on the dance floor pretending to be interested in catching your flowers!

This goes for other traditions as well, like cake cutting or parent dances – I give you a no rules policy! Do what feels right 🙂

the grand exit

Guide to Wedding Reception Sparkler Exit by Cheers Babe Photo

If you plan on orchestrating a grand exit from your reception, there’s a few things to keep in mind. On camera, things like glow sticks don’t tend to read very well, but balloons, bubbles and sparklers are great! Sparklers definitely look stunning on camera, so here are a couple pointers. 1) Purchase the extra long ones so you get plenty of burn time. The short ones run out SO fast! 2) Make sure the venue has a WIDE passage for you to go through. Remember: you are literally handing fire to over 100 intoxicated people. You do not want that aisle to be super tight to cram through – might cause a fiery fiasco!

now, hear about the reception from a wedding planner!

As usual, I have my dear friend Kellyne of Hand & Heart Events here with me to help you babes understand every aspect from a planner’s point of view in addition to mine. She details everything that you probably haven’t even thought about yet!

flow of events

Guide to Wedding Receptions by Cheers Babe Photo

The flow of the events at your reception can make or break the guest experience. Your wedding coordinator will work with you and your vendors to create a detailed timeline that will be used as guide throughout the entire day. Specifically for my clients, I make sure there is time allotted to all those important reception events – wedding party entrance, toasts, first dance, cake cutting, and everything else in between.

The last thing you want is to burden your maid of honor or family friend to feel like they’re working the reception rather than enjoying it. For that reason, your planner is there on site to cue your DJ, communicate with photographers/videographers (so they don’t miss a shot!), make sure your dad has his dancing shoes on, and that you and your boo have a full glass of champagne for toasts!

I also keep an eye on all the little details as the night progresses. I make sure lights are dimmed, candles stay lit, and flowers are moved or repurposed to get the maximum enjoyment of those blooms. My team and I set up dessert, make sure the cake is set with utensils and plates for cake cutting, and replenish any sweet treats so the dessert table never looks bare. This whole time, you & all of your guests stay worry free (and likely on the dance floor)!

break down

Guide to Wedding Receptions by Cheers Babe Photo

Throughout the evening, a coordinator is responsible for packing up personal items, gifts/cards, guestbook, etc. to make sure they’re stored in a safe place for you to take home or pick up the next day. As the evening winds down, we make sure rentals and decor are broken down and packed up, final payments and tips are distributed to vendors, and we ensure that the venue is left it tip-top condition!

Although the wedding may be over, a coordinator’s job is still going! At Hand & Heart, we love to check in with couples after the wedding to make sure all loose ends are tied up and to touch base about any final details. I am always available to you after the wedding, should you need anything (that includes a post-wedding glass of wine, too)!!

 

You Made It!

Guide to Wedding Receptions by Cheers Babe Photo

Cheers Babes from Jess & Kellyne! You made it through Weddings 101! Tune in next month for a HUGE SURPRISE (coming Labor Day weekend)!!! Xx

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Weddings 101: The Road to “I Do” Part IV | The Reception + Beyond

Inspo, Wedding

Welcome back to your course, Weddings 101: The Road to “I Do”! This monthly series will provide you with a whole lot of clarity, destroy myths about how you’re “supposed to” plan a wedding and all the things you should know before your wedding day. I’m so glad you’re back. If this is the first lesson of the course you’ve read, I’ve linked parts 1 & 2 below so you can access those & get caught up!

part i: all things coordination

part ii: what to expect pre-ceremony

Today, we’ll be diving into the ceremony & talking about some wedding industry lingo that you may not know that can make or break the most important part of your wedding day – you know the part where you get married!!

Having an Unplugged Ceremony

Unplugged Ceremony by Cheers Babe Photo

You may or may not have heard of an unplugged ceremony. It’s a term coined by wedding planners, but has now been adopted by couples everywhere! Essentially what does it mean to have an unplugged ceremony? It’s a kind & gentle way to ask your guests to refrain from using their phones during there ceremony – for texts, calls, but especially for photos & videos.

As a wedding guest, it’s super tempting to think about how great a pretty wedding would look on your instagram story — however, in reality, you’re disrupting the clean look of your friend’s professional wedding photos. See — people taking phone pics & videos (and iPad ones – ugh, the worst!), even using their own digital cameras, aren’t paying any attention to anything besides what their eye sees on their screen. That means, they lean into the aisle, stand up in their seats and end up blocking the professional photographer’s beautiful image of whomever is walking down the aisle.

Another bummer about guests using their devices during the ceremony is that they are not fully participating as your witnesses of your marriage … which is kinda the point! Am I right? If you want your guests to be present and your professional photos to come out spectacular, I highly recommend opting for an unplugged ceremony & having your officiant announce it before it begins.

The First Kiss

La Playa Carmel Wedding by Cheers Babe Photo

Now, we all know what the first kiss is at a wedding ceremony. However, one little fact about this tradition is not widely known or practiced. It involves your officiant, the person marrying you – no, I promise this is not about to get weird! Bear with me.

When I have the time to, I speak with the officiant before the ceremony and direct them to take one step to the side during the first kiss (left or right, either works). Otherwise, the photo of the moment you’re about to kiss and even the moment your lips touch, can look pretty weird if there’s another person’s face right at the same height! By stepping to the side, this allows for a clean backdrop for the kiss shot!

Next Time at Weddings 101

Next month we’ll be chatting about what to expect and look out for at your reception and what happens when the big shebang is all over. Stay tuned!

Read more >

Weddings 101: The Road to “I Do” Part III | The Ceremony

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