Questions to Ask Party Venues in Santa Cruz, CA, When Planning an Event

Posted on June 21, 2017

Ask questions on the way to your perfect party venue in Santa Cruz, CA.

My uncle is in charge of planning his 40-year high school reunion. It has crept in as his full-time job during recent weeks, and he has become very attached to how the party will turn out and what a good time all of this old friends will have together. He did a lot of planning before he even found an event venue, so I told him to put on the breaks and redirect. After all, his outdoor Hawaiian luau barbecue idea might not fly at certain venues with only indoor space or with catering or other restrictions. Then again, the right venue could help his party theme instantly come to life, especially in Santa Cruz, in spaces that make the most of the sun and fresh air and relaxed vibes.

I urged Uncle Cass to start contacting some venues with a list of questions, so he can compare what the different places have to offer and narrow in on the right one. Here are some of the questions I came up with that are versatile for different types of parties and other special events, and which take into account the quirks and qualities of the Santa Cruz area. Feel free to adapt these questions to suit your event’s particular needs.

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How to Plan a Real-Life Fairytale Wedding

Posted on June 19, 2017

You can plan your very own real-life fairytale wedding, and here's how.

Disney flipped our perspective of the future upside down back in 1937. Snow White kicked off a long line of softer-than-life love stories that convinced our childhood hearts that “the dream that you wish will come true.” For many of us, letting go of the real-life fairytale is an integral part of growing up. But, we could say that “fairytale” love and marriage are relative because that ideal looks different for everyone. A “fairytale” doesn’t have to be limited to a traditional Disney-like vision to be really genuine.

Here, we encourage couples not to give up on the idea of a fairytale wedding because the amazing potential to make weddings unique and personal is incredible. Some of the latest wedding trends will leave you jaw-dropped and with a newfound belief in real childhood wonders. Let’s go ahead and flip the traditional fairytale on its head—the one in which the dream happens to you. Let’s call the modern fairytale the one that you create for yourself.

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Planning Your Daughter’s Enchanted Garden Quinceañera Reception in the Bay Area

Posted on June 8, 2017

Planning your daughter’s quinceañera reception can be one of your greatest pleasures as a parent. From finding the perfect dress to booking a beautiful venue, there is no better way to bond with your sweet little girl as she prepares to transition into a beautiful young woman.

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3 Family Reunion Theme Ideas for Bay Area Fun

Posted on June 6, 2017

At our last family reunion, there were 37 of us. My little 9-year-old niece was the emcee for our talent show, and we saw everything from Grandpa juggling fruit to one of the other kids reading her favorite class paper on Anne of Green Gables. We get together every year, and every year seems to be more memorable than the last. It helps that we choose a theme for each gathering because, that way, everyone gets excited about it way ahead of time and brings their own special spark to add to our enduring family flame.

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Choosing the Perfect Bay Area Venue for Your Daughter’s Sweet 16 Birthday Party

Posted on June 1, 2017

When I went to my niece’s recent sweet 16 party, there was a part of the celebration that brought tears to my eyes—a candle ceremony. This is a beautiful ritual where the birthday girl calls upon all of the most important people in her life to help her light seventeen candles. With each candle, she extends gratitude to the people who have shaped her and shares personal stories illustrating their significance to her. It’s a heartwarming custom that really demonstrates the beauty and deep significance of this precious coming of age celebration.

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How to Embrace a Unique and Non-Traditional Wedding Ceremony Script

Posted on May 30, 2017

Non-traditional wedding ceremony scripts are becoming more popular as couples make their weddings perfectly unique.

There are enough movies that capture the traditional wedding ceremony and solidify its iconic language, it’s not uncommon to begin thinking they must be the standard. For all of our diversity, it’s pretty amazing that we do have an ingrained idea of the traditional wedding ceremony script. It might even be hard to imagine your wedding taking a different course, but don’t let that challenge hold you back if your vision includes a unique and personal wedding ceremony.

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Planning Your Teen’s Coming-of-Age Celebration at an Distinctive Bay Area Venue

Posted on May 28, 2017

Those toddler days were a cake-walk compared to parenting a teenager. Your adolescent is so busy now with school work, friends, and extracurriculars, that sometimes you feel like you hardly see them. When you do connect, it’s only to manage the logistics of how to get from here to there. Then, something happens in her life, perhaps an unexpected challenge or even a defeat, and she draws close to you again. You want to squeal with delight and tear up at the same time. It’s hard to believe, but your once wide-eyed baby is nearing adulthood.

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Unique Ideas for Hanging Wedding Decorations: Lights, Flowers, and Frames

Posted on May 25, 2017

Hanging lights and decorations can bring your wedding setting to a new dimension.

When I think of some of the most romantic weddings that I’ve attended, the two images that immediately come to mind are watching the couple wed under ethereal hanging flowers and then dancing the night away beneath a sky of twinkle lights. When I think about what makes these two images particularly special, I realize that it is the hanging decorations. When it comes to wedding decor ideas, hanging features are not only a good use of space, they are also visually appealing. Things like twinkle lights, flowers and plants of all varieties, and picture frames strung near the guest tables or dessert tables all conjure a sense of whimsy and enchantment.

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Achieve Company Goals by Planning an Off-Site Project Team Meeting at a California Nature-Inspired Retreat

Posted on May 21, 2017

An off-site company meeting in nature can wake up your team and their project goals.

The clock tick-tick-tocks from the far wall. Someone shifts uncomfortably in their conference table chair. A sniffle, a throat clears, and I glance down at my phone. Again. We’re all gathered here for another “Project Status Update” meeting. But we all know what will actually happen: We’ll fixate on details, wade through more reports, and offer some disinterested insight. It’s a demoralizing endurance test, repeated weekly, that never really feels like it moves the ball forward. At least, not in any way that’s truly meaningful to those in the room.

I start daydreaming about what I really want to contribute to the C-suite’s perspective; I want to say: “There’s another way to do this! We could re-energize our team and increase trust and respect if we could just get out of this stuffy conference room—if we could have some fun and feel more like ourselves. I know that would galvanize results!”

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Creative Ideas for 2017 Father’s Day Events in the Bay Area and Beyond

Posted on May 19, 2017

The Bay Area is full of creative ideas for Father's Day in 2017.

When I was growing up, Father’s Day often meant making my dad one of his favorite meals — like Mom’s insanely good cheesy tuna casserole she learned from summers spent in Texas and coconut ice cream covered in Corn Flakes as dessert. Music would play in the background and we’d sit around a bonfire outside and share stories.

My dad’s a simple guy and as my siblings and I got older, roles shifted a bit and all he wanted was to spend Father’s Day with all us kids in one place, barbecuing burgers, going for an afternoon dip in the ocean, or venturing on a walk through the grove to see his new banana plants.

Just as mothers are honored on their special day in May, fathers deserve an equally thoughtful time spent enjoying what they love with the people they love. Whether it’s some sort of outdoor activity, something to do with barbecue or ice cream, gardening, or cooking, the most important thing is that it’s a memorable day of appreciation and time together. Here are just a few ideas to help you plan a way to honor your father that he will enjoy and be grateful for.

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