The US Grant Wedding Show – Part 1: VIP Reception with Ines Di Santo

14 Apr

The US Grant Luxury Wedding Show took place last month and I was invited to participate as one of the designers for their fabulous luncheon. This is without any doubt the best wedding show in San Diego, and this year it was – once again – a very successful event with more than 300 brides and grooms attending.




The weekend started with a lovely VIP Cocktail Reception in the hotel’s Presidential Suite, a two-story opulent space with luxury amenities, stylish decor and breathtaking views of downtown San Diego. There, the one and only Ines Di Santo and her daughter Veronica welcomed a select group of wedding professionals for drinks and hors d’oeuvres. The suite was elegantly adorned with beautiful floral arrangements, and Ines’ wedding gowns were displayed in every room.


With Victoria, Victoria Weddings & Events


With Ed Kutch, Director of Catering at the US Grant

Born in Italy and educated all over Europe and South America, Ines is a celebrated designer of bridal and evening couture, and each couture gown is the perfect combination of chic, glamorous, feminine and sexy. She is amazingly down to earth, sweet and with great sense of humor. Ines and I also chatted in Italian and she still speaks it very well!




At the end of the evening, Ines autographed her sketches and took pictures with each of us.


A huge thank you to Ed Kutch from the US Grant for including me in this event, and to Michele Martin of M Bride Salon who brought fabulous Ines to San Diego!


All the images you see in this post are by the über-talented Paul Barnett (pictured here with Ines). Thank you for sharing them with us!



In Part 2 I will post pictures of my tables designed with Ana Aftahi of Anahita Events. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek of the fashion show with Ines’ gowns that were presented on Day 2. Stay tuned for lots of inspiration!

Happy Easter and Passover

5 Apr


Wishing you a wonderful Easter and Passover!

Photo by Heidi-O-Photo

Meet Nicolette and Trevor

2 Apr


Nicolette and Trevor will get married on October 10 and I couldn’t be happier for them! Their love for life and for each other is evident in everything they say, do and plan together for their special day. They were referred to me by a dear past couple, Tara and Ian (see their wedding HERE), and Ian might be officiating Nicolette and Trevor’s ceremony. That would be so awesome!



I love their engagement pictures: besides being very photogenic they chose fabulous settings to celebrate their love in downtown Brea and surrounding areas.



Thanks to Brianna Caster Photography for the images, and stay tuned for Nicolette and Trevor’s wedding pictures! I can’t wait to be part of their celebration!

The Sweet Table Boutique – Wooden Vintage Candy Wall

24 Mar


When my dear client Jessica asked me to design a vintage style candy station for her upcoming birthday I couldn’t be more excited.


The location she chose for her party was OB Warehouse, a 6,000 square-foot open space from the Cohn Restaurants group with exciting industrial design by Philippe Beltran and eclectic vintage decor. I used one of their wooden bookcases in the main area to display the colorful candy selections.




I added more vintage touches such as cotton doilies and descriptive tags (created with love by Dolldine Designs) made with distressed wood and embellished with keys tied with twine.


Cute vanilla cupcakes were decorated with edible keys to replicate the design of my descriptive tags – They matched perfectly!



The candy wall looked magical with candle light and it was a huge hit at Jessica’s party!

Happy First Day of Spring!

20 Mar


(Stacy and Greg’s wedding – March 20, 2010)


The top catering trends for 2015

4 Mar

Special Events Magazine recently asked the top caterers in the United States what their clients are asking for at special events this year. I really like the ideas and I’m sharing some inspiration for your wedding reception.



1. Shots and bites Combining micro cocktails with matching mini appetizers is a top trend at cocktail hours. Jerry Edwards, CPCE, president of Chef’s Expressions of Timonium, MD., offers an Asian-inspired rice paper-wrapped poached salmon with a peach sake shooter, and a Mexican-themed avocado mousse and chicken torchon with a mini Patron margarita. Kelly Early, owner of Indianapolis-based Thomas Caterers of Distinction, does mini short rib tacos with margarita shots.

2. Bacon and eggs Bacon is the king in Early’s bacon spoons, mini candied bacon BLTs, and bacon-wrapped chicken breast bites marinated in Korean sauce. (Photo above by Erin Hession.) Edwards offers quail eggs topped with American osetra caviar, toast points topped with house-made smoked salmon and sauce gribiche, and cherry tomatoes filled with egg soufflé among his egg-based bites.

3. Pickled and smoked At New York-based Great Performances, executive chef of catering Matthew Riznyk, has a lot of fish dishes, either marinated, cured, pickled or smoked. Also hot: Korean-style appetizers such as fermented kimchee, dumplings and octopus. Richard Mooney, owner of Los Angeles-based Kensington Caterers, combines his house-cured salmon gravlax with mirin and sesame in a wonton cone. Early offers sweet, savory and sour with watermelon cubes topped with goat cheese and pickled watermelon rind, served on a Himalayan salt block.



1. Light and healthy Edwards sees fish and vegetables as the main ingredient. Edwards combines braising vegetables with herb sauces made with fresh stocks and pureed vegetables.

2. Unparalleled proteins Mooney’s roasted branzino with preserved lemon jus is his fish dish of choice. Riznyk adds tilefish and cobia to the list, adding that nontraditional options such as rib-eye cap steak, bison, sweetbreads, goat and game birds will be more and more used. His popular dishes are grass-fed beef tenderloin with a five-herb green sauce as example, and bone-in organic chicken breast crusted with crushed fennel, mustard seeds and Parmesan-panko. Legumes are becoming very popular as well, and Edwards predicts a rise in beans (cranberry, runner, adzuki, black and garbanzo) as protein-packed, meatless main dish options.

3. Great garnishes Fried parsnip, carrot wisps, crispy matchstick potatoes, or superfine fried onion are clever ideas and they add a surprise element to the plate at little or no cost – This is a perfect solution for your wedding reception. Early would add a small skewer of beef, shrimp or scallops to a chicken entree. (Above, braised short ribs from Thomas Caterers of Distinction; photo by Erin Hession.)



1. Small and sweet Edwards provides small portions with big flavor such as chocolate truffles with sea salt, house-made caramels and shot glasses filled with trifle as standouts for 2015. He also predicts a rise in pies of all varieties and a decrease in cupcakes and cake pops. Early adds miniature versions of traditional desserts such as lemon bars topped with whipped cream and rose crystals, and brownies topped with chocolate mousse and mint crystals as favorites. Early also mentioned the very popular “nitro pops” made in a variety of flavor combinations (Frangelico-peanut butter and Chambord raspberry, caramel and apple, chocolate and strawberry), a specialty that San Diego-based Sensational Treats can provide. Riznyk sees miniature eclairs replacing macarons, and predicts a rise in heirloom baking ingredients such as heirloom root vegetables instead of the old carrot cake.

2. Put up pies Mini Mason jars are still ideal to serve deconstructed pies, cobblers and trifle with a rustic-chic theme, according to both Early and Mooney. (Photo above, deconstructed apple pie in a jar from Kensington Caterers; photo courtesy Kensington Caterers.)

{Article courtesy of Susan Cuadrado, Special Events Magazine}

How will you impress your guests at dinner or at lunch? Ask LA DOLCE IDEA for advice and ideas and your reception will be a memorable celebration! Contact me to schedule a complimentary consultation today

Join La Dolce Idea at the Lomas Santa Fe Wedding Show

27 Feb


The Lomas Santa Fe Country Club will host their Annual Wedding Show this Sunday, March 1. I will be exhibiting with a sweet table and I will introduce some other exciting updates.

Brides and grooms: stop by between 12-3pm to meet with me and other vendors participating in the show, I look forward to seeing you there!

This year you could also win a $10,000 Sweepstakes towards your wedding at Lomas Santa Fe Country Club and $10,000 in prizes during the event. Entering the Sweepstakes is simple: fill out your information on the Country Club Receptions website to enter.


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