Kung Hee Fat Choy!  Welcome to the Chinese Year of the Monkey!  Whether you believe in astrology and horoscopes or not I think it’s always fun to see what the future may hold.  If you aren’t familiar with Chinese astrology, there are 12 signs named after 12 different animals (Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig).  It is believed that each year those born in that year (Chinese use the lunar calendar) would inherit some of the personality of that animal year.  For example, those born in the year of the Ox would be hardworking and stubborn, those born in the year of the Dog will be loyal and faithful.  In addition to the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac, there are 5 elements (Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth) which have a strengthening or moderating influence on the signs.


(Photo credit: Life Vow)

Now while I can’t give each of you, your personal horoscopes, I can give you a little idea of what is predicted for this Year of the Monkey (taken from Your Chinese Horoscope 2016 by Neil Somerville).

“Monkey years can be regarded as times of great possibility.  They favour enterprise and progress.  They also contain the seeds of personal growth and making more of the potential that lies within.  Each of us has the ability to put our talents to greater use.  In the Monkey year, aim to make this year special – whether by nurturing your talents, working on an idea or contributing more in some way.  Monkey years have energy and opportunity for us all.”

I’m excited!  Are you excited as well?  These are times of great possibility!  This is your chance to show your stuff and utilize your potential.  Maybe it’s nurturing the talents you already have or nurturing hidden talents, but this is the year for personal growth.  Whether you believe in this stuff or not, who doesn’t want personal growth?!  Everyone has special talents and maybe they aren’t glamorous like being a fabulous singer or an amazing basketball player, but everyone has got talent.  Put your talents to greater use and make this year a special one to remember.

Good luck and good fortune to you all!

Feb 08, 2016 by Jamie Chang

It’s the Super Bowl this weekend and funnily enough I’m not in the Bay Area to take part in the local San Francisco area festivities, but in Hawaii instead for a destination wedding.  How ironic is that?  But, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the big game!  Now, I will fully admit that I’m not a huge football fan, but the Super Bowl is kind of like Thanksgiving to me.  It’s a lovely way to get together and spend time with friends and family and of course, eat!  The eating part is very important and this party should be all about fun potlock picks.  So, to get you pumped for the game and the festivities, here are two winning Super Bowl recipes we think are super fun and sound deliciously yummy.

Queso Dip

You can’t have a Super Bowl and not have chips and dip.  It’s a must have and this queso looks oh so tasty.


(Photo and recipe credit: My Domaine)


1 pound white American cheese
4 oz. asadero cheese shredded
1 jalapeño, chopped (remove seeds and membrane for non-Texans)
1 large ripe tomato
1/4 white onion chopped
1 small bunch cilantro roughly chopped
1 tsp. cumin or better yet, toast cumin seeds and blend in a spice grinder for a fresher taste
1/4 cup whole milk


1. Sauté onion and pepper in a sauce pan with a teaspoon of oil until soft.

2. Place a saucepan inside of larger saucepan filled with water to create a double-boiler. This is important to keep the cheese from burning.

3. Add shredded cheese, milk, tomato, cumin, and cilantro to double-boiler with jalapeño and onions stirring frequently till cheese is completely melted and all ingredients are combined.

4. Serve in a warm bowl or out of a slow-cooker set to low.
If you want to spice it up you can add spicy ground beef, guacamole, crema Mexicana, or all three!

Tater Tot Nachos

Nachos?  yes!  Tater tots?  Double yes!  This looks like a winner.


(Photo and recipe credit: Pure Wow)


1 bag Tater Tots
2 teaspoons oil
½ red onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
½ pound fresh chorizo sausage
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1½ cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
4 green onions, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Sour cream
Salsa verde


1. Preheat the oven to 425°.

2. Spread the Tater Tots on a baking sheet in an even layer. Bake until they begin to turn golden, 10 to 12 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the red onion and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.

4. Crumble the sausage into the pan and sauté until cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes.

5. Remove the Tater Tots from the oven and pour the sausage mixture evenly on top. Cover with the cheddar and Monterey Jack and return to the oven to bake until the cheese is melted, 7 to 9 minutes.

6. Remove the nachos from the oven and top with green onion, cilantro, sour cream and salsa. Serve immediately.

Now that you’ve got some snacks, it’s time to party!  Have a good time this Sunday!

Feb 05, 2016 by Jamie Chang

Q: I just recently got engaged and I’m starting the process of finding a venue.  It seems like there are many types of wedding venues out there and it’s starting to get a bit confusing.  How do I know which type of venue is the right one for us?

First off, congrats on your engagement!  Now that you’re on the road towards your wedding, choosing your venue will be one of your first stops along the way.  By the way, if you haven’t yet started planning or aren’t sure where to start, read this blog post first and get your free wedding planning guide.  But, let’s get back to the venue.  So, you are right, there are many options to choose from that it can be overwhelming.  Depending on where you are having your destination wedding, you may be more limited and might need to get creative or you may have so many options your head is spinning.  To help you figure out which type of venue is the right fit for you and your destination wedding, check out the below list of different types of wedding venues to start thinking about your options.  This list does not include every possible option, but the most common ones you will come across in your venue search.

Hotels/resorts – The hotel option is perfect for the couple who doesn’t want to move from where they are staying.  This is almost always the easiest option as many hotels will have packages that you can choose from.  If you are concerned about guests travelling or being able to find your venue or things like ADA compliance, this will be your safest bet.  There are also smaller boutique hotels or B&Bs which can be good options if you want the ease of a hotel, but a smaller property.  And depending on the type of hotel and location, you may have many different spaces (both indoor and outdoor) you can choose from or you may just have a ballroom.


(Calistoga Ranch Resort)

Private estates – Private homes or estates are great if you want your wedding to feel intimate and private.  These are usually tucked away in residential areas and provide you and your guests with the entire property to yourselves.  These types of venues will usually have larger outdoor spaces for the wedding, but some have indoor spaces as well.  You will have to bring everything in for your wedding, so this type of venue does require more planning and coordination, but usually ends up also being more personalized.


(Black Swan Lake, photo credit: Jose Villa)

Museums and historical locations – Museums and historical buildings are great options if you are passionate about a certain subject like art or aerospace.  These are also wonderful options for the history buffs and those who appreciate a venue with some character.  These locations will usually have some specific rules with regards to events being held in their spaces in order to protect the venue, so you’ll have to abide by those.  These venues will almost always be indoor venues and you usually will have to bring everything in for your wedding, so that has to gel with what you want.


(Legion of Honor, photo credit: Vivian Chen)

Wineries/vineyards – The winery wedding venues are a good option particularly if you love wine or are in wine country or a wine region.  These venues usually have both indoor and outdoor spaces which many couples like.  The style of these venues are typically more on the more rustic elegant side, but if you have a great designer, they can create something special for you.


(Campovida, photo from Campovida)

Barns and Ranches and Farms- Typically found in country areas, these venues can be attached to a larger property or be a space all on its own.  Going even farther on the rustic style side, barns, ranches and farms usually have nice open spaces both indoor and out.  They tend to work well for couples who want a venue that is a bit more peaceful and remote.  These venues are also great for horse lovers or those who just want lots of space.


(Holman Ranch, photo credit: Sally Pinera)

Gardens – Gardens can either be public or private spaces, but are usually very beautiful and lush.  If you are an outdoor nature loving kind of couple, this is a nice option.  A nice perk to garden weddings is that you won’t have to decorate much because the beauty of the natural environment will do a lot for your wedding.  These venues are usually on the smaller side, so they tend to fit best for smaller and more intimate weddings.


(Gamble Garden, photo from Gamble Garden)

Event facilities/Banquet halls – Event facilities or banquet halls are essentially spaces created specifically for events.  These venues don’t have any other function for existing beyond holding events.  What this means is that they are pros at running events because it is all that they do.   These venues are less unique than other venues since so many couples come through their doors, but they are pretty efficient in order to churn out event after event.  These work great for larger sized weddings.


(Casa Real, photo credit: Jennifer Skog Photography)

Golf course/Golf Clubhouse – Golf venues consist of country clubs and clubhouses which cater well to couples who want an outdoor and indoor space.  Couples who like golf venues tend to be a little more on the preppy and/or conservative side and usually aren’t planning on doing anything wild or super out of the ordinary at their wedding.  Similar to a hotel type of venue, these venues are also pretty easy since many of the things you’ll need are already in house.


(Quail Lodge, photo credit: Sabine Scherer Photography)

Restaurant – Restaurants are great options for foodies because you know exactly what the food will be like and if you love the food you are golden.  You can hold your wedding in a private room or buy out a restaurant which are both good options depending on your budget and guest count size.  Restaurants also come with everything in house as well, so it’s pretty easy.  There are usually only indoor options when it comes to a restaurant and the style of the restaurant is set, so you have to like the style or design around it.


(Foreign Cinema, photo credit: Jerry Yoon Photographers)

Nightclub/Music Venues – In a similar vein to restaurants, nightclubs and music venues are great for a dancing oriented wedding.  They are already set up for DJs or bands (good acoustics) and dancing, so you don’t need to do anything on that front.  While being indoor only venues and having a set style, these all have a fun party vibe to them which will rub off on all your guests.


(Great American Music Hall, photo from Great American Music Hall)

There are lots of great options out there, you just have to narrow what you want and find the right type of venue for you.  Good luck with your venue search!

If you are struggling to find that perfect venue, we can help! Contact us today.

Feb 03, 2016 by Jamie Chang

So long January and hello February!  It’s the first of the month which means it’s time for our February wedding planning challenge!  If you are new to our challenges, our goal with these monthly wedding planning challenges is to get you take action.  We understand the many issues you struggle with when it comes to wedding planning and the range of emotions you feel because of it.  We want you to be happy planning your wedding at every step of the way and this wedding planning challenge is a chance for us to focus on one of those problems every month and solve it.  We’ll discuss the problem you are facing and the steps to find your way out of it.  Then we’ll pass the challenge on to you to work on and put your solution into action!

While the challenge is only for the month, the solution you learn will help you as you continue to plan your wedding.  And as an added perk, if you find yourself in a similar situation again, you’ll know how to get out of it and how to potentially even prevent it in the future which will not only make wedding planning happier but your life as well.

In January’s wedding planning challenge, we tackled a biggie, probably the biggest challenge you face, feeling overwhelmed.  It plagues us all not only when it comes to your wedding planning, but your life as well.  Through the MME Method, we took you step by step through how to take action and kick your overwhelm to the curb.  If you missed January’s challenge, don’t worry, you can always catch up here.  But, today we’re going to talk about February’s wedding planning challenge.

February Wedding Planning Challenge


A problem many couples struggle with is how to stay organized.  There is so much information, things to think about and things to do for your wedding that it’s hard to keep track of it all.  You can very easily start planning your wedding and then suddenly feel very lost and confused on what you need to do.  It’s like you’re stuck in the middle of a maze and you can’t get out.

Being organized is a good skill to have in life, but it’s very important when it comes to planning your wedding.  Imagine taking on a big project at work.  If you aren’t organized things get lost in the cracks and there can be consequences.  Weddings are very similar. Staying organized will not only help you stay sane but is also a key to reducing overwhelm and stress.  When it doesn’t feel like a gigantic pile, but instead a manageable list, that is much easier to approach and tackle.

Here is our solution to staying organized: Develop a system of writing things down.  This sounds like a no-brainer, but there really is a process to staying organized and it all comes down to writing it down.  Trust me, I’m a pro at staying organized because I have to be.  We have to be organized within the company, but also organized for our clients. Part of our job is making sure they don’t have to think about or remember everything because that is what we are here for.  So, staying organized is vital for my business.  And in my experience, you need to create a system of writing things down for yourself so don’t forget things and can free up brain space.  The way I write things down isn’t necessarily going to work for you and vice versa, but if you create a system your way, it will stick.

Step 1: Figure out what device/method you currently use the most.  Start by taking a look at your tools.  Are you a phone person?  Is everything on your phone?  Are you a desktop or laptop person?  Are you a tablet person?  Are you an old school pen and paper person?

Then start looking at what you do and how you do it.  What method of writing things down do you use the most?  What is the most natural and the easiest for you?  When you have a project to do (work or personal), how do you make sure you don’t forget anything?  You can also think of this in terms of everyday actions like grocery shopping or taking notes in a meeting.  Do you just grab the nearest piece of paper to write something down?  Do you use a notebook?  Do you have a digital document you add to?  Do you use a calendar?

Step 2:  Now that you’ve figured out the tool you use the most and how you usually use it, it’s time to come up with your system.  What you want is for this system to work for you when it’s a spur of the moment note, but also for when you need to plan ahead.   You should be able to write things down and add it to your system so it’s all in one place.  This makes it easy to reference and easy to actually use.  So, let’s discuss an example to help you visualize this.

Let’s say you are an iphone person and you tend to use the notes function on your phone.  You use it to remember random things like a restaurant recommendation or you use it when you need to create a list.  So, you’ll create a new folder just for your wedding and going forward, you’ll only use this folder for any of your wedding related notes.  You’ll create new notes when you need them or add to existing notes when you remember something.  You’ll start a to-do list in notes or use the corresponding reminders app.  If you start to get overwhelmed with the number of notes, you’ll create a new wedding folder just for your vendors or just for your wedding party to separate it out and keep it organized.

That is just one example, now you need to come up with your system and how you’ll use it.

Step 3:  Start actually using your system and make sure it works.  Create a to-do list.  Plan out the things you know you need to do or ask people about or research.  Your system might work great, but some of you may find your system doesn’t work.  Maybe the notes function is too clunky or since you’re using your email a lot you find yourself using google docs instead.

If your system isn’t working, adjust it, but, you want to figure this out early and make sure you pick a system that is all in one place.  What you don’t want is some of it written down on paper, some of it in a folder on your computer and some of it on your phone.  You want everything together in the same place that you can easily access as this keeps you organized and on top of things so nothing gets lost (including you).  One thing to note with this is that you’ll naturally have to communicate through email no matter what (that will be another tool you use), but you can still keep your notes in the one place that makes the most sense for you.

Step 4:  Share your successes in a comment below or on social media using #weddingplanningchallenge!  We want to hear what you’ve done to get organized and what you gained out of the MME Method.  And if you are still struggling with staying organized, let us know what problem you are facing and we’ll do all we can to help.

Staying organized can be hard, but if you figure out the system that works for you, it will get easier for you to keep at it until it will become like second nature.  So this month I challenge you to make your wedding planning more joyful and find your system to staying organized.  Figure out what works for you and it will make wedding planning so much easier.

If you want even more personal help with your wedding planning and keeping organized, contact us today.


Feb 01, 2016 by Jamie Chang

I know we don’t usually post on Sundays, but we have some exciting news we really couldn’t wait to share.  This February we’re celebrating the month of love with love!  We’re partnering with the amazing Christie Pham Photography to give one lucky same-sex couple a free styled engagement shoot in Hawaii!

2015 was a huge year for love (#lovewins!) and since this is the month of love, we wanted to get together and show our support (and love) for the LGBT community.  So, we thought, what better way than to put together a fun engagement shoot for a gay couple?  We’re in the business of celebrating all love, it’s why we do what we do, so the #CelebratingAllLove giveaway was born.  We want to celebrate your love and all the beauty and joy that encompasses.


(Photo credit: Christie Pham Photography)

Are you excited?  We certainly are.  So, here are the details on the contest:

The styled engagement shoot will take place on Sunday, February 21st on Oahu, Hawaii and will be shot by Christie and designed by yours truly!  You don’t have to live in Hawaii to enter, but you do need to be in Oahu on 2/21 in order to enter.  By the way, if you don’t live in Hawaii, tickets to Hawaii are quite cheap right now, so if you need a little romantic getaway, this can be your perfect excuse!

Since we’re celebrating all love, this contest is all about love. So to enter, we want to see a photo (or video) of you and how you celebrate love.  It can be anything from a kiss on the cheek to making dinner to your favorite activity together to the weird language you use together.  Please keep it PG (no nudity), but otherwise, you can share anything that shows us how you celebrate love.  The most inspiring entry will win!

Here’s how to enter the Celebrating All Love giveaway:

1) Like @mangomuseevents and @christiephamphotography on Facebook.

2) Post an image (or a short 15 sec video) on our Celebrating All Love contest event page showing how you celebrate love.

3) In the comments of your post, please also share a few words on how you like to celebrate love.  And use the following hashtags: #loveislove, #celebratingalllove

And that’s it!  The contest will be running from February 8th through February 12th and the lucky winner will be announced on February 14th, Valentine’s Day!  Can you think of a more romantic gift than that?

You have only 5 days to post your photos starting next week, so make sure you enter!  We can’t wait to be inspired and see how all you lovely couples celebrate love.


For all the super fun legal stuff on our contest, please see below.



SPONSOR: The “Celebrating All Love” Contest (“Contest”) is sponsored by Mango Muse Events and Christie Pham Photography (“Sponsor”). This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook.

ENTRY PERIOD: Entries will be accepted beginning Monday, February 8, 2016 at 12:01 a.m. HST until Friday, February 12, 2016 at 11:59 pm HST (“Entry Period”). Entries must be submitted and received within the Entry Period to be valid and eligible for the Contest.

ELIGIBILITY: Entry in the Contest is open to persons 18 or older as of the beginning of the Entry Period who are (or become) Facebook members.  Employees of Sponsor, their immediate family members, and persons living in the same household as employees or their immediate family members are not eligible. The term “immediate family member” includes spouses, parents, grandparents, siblings, children, and grandchildren. All federal, state and local laws apply.

HOW TO ENTER: You may enter the Contest during the Entry Period as follows: Enter via Facebook by visiting the Celebrating All Love Engagement Shoot Giveaway event page and following the links and instructions to submit an Entry.

Limit one (1) entry per couple. If an entrant submits multiple entries, all subsequent entries (other than the initial entry) will be automatically disqualified. All entries are subject to verification by the Sponsor. Entries must be uploaded in compliance with the Contest requirements. Entries that do not meet the specifications or otherwise do not comply with the Official Rules herein may be automatically disqualified. Incomplete, illegible or mutilated entries will be automatically disqualified. No responsibility is assumed for lost, late, misdirected, damaged, altered or illegible entries. Any attempted form of entry other than as described herein is void. Sponsor will determine in its sole discretion what constitutes a valid entry. All materials submitted become the property of the Sponsor and will not be returned or acknowledged.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Your Entry must meet the following requirements:
Contest requirements:

1) You must like the Mango Muse Events Facebook page and the Christie Pham Photography Facebook page.

2) You must post an image (or a short 15 sec video) on the Celebrating All Love contest event page showing how you celebrate love.

3) In the comments of your post you must also share a few words on how you like to celebrate love. And include the hashtags: #loveislove, #celebratingalllove

4) You must be available and on Oahu for the styled engagement shoot on February 21, 2016.

5) Your entry cannot contain, as determined by Sponsor, content that is sexually explicit, violent, derogatory of any ethnic, racial, gender, religious, professional or age group, which violates any law, or which communicates a messages inconsistent with the positive good will to which we wish to associate.

Submissions must not: (a) violate any third party rights, including, but not limited to, copyrights, trademark rights, or rights of privacy and publicity; (b) contain defamatory statements; (c) include threats to any person, place, business, or group; or (d) be obscene or indecent. Any elements that appear in the submission, including, without limitation, images, text, or other materials used must be entirely original and created by the entrant, or be in the public domain. Use of any elements that are not original or in the public domain will result in disqualification of an entry, in the Sponsor’s sole discretion. By submitting an entry, you represent that (a) you are the creator of the submission, (b) you own all rights to the submission, (c) the submission does not infringe upon or violate the intellectual property, privacy, or other rights of any third party. If the content of your entry is claimed to constitute infringement of any proprietary or intellectual proprietary rights of any third party, You shall, at your sole expense, defend or settle against such claims. You shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless Sponsor from and against any suit, proceeding, claims, liability, loss, damage, costs or expense, which Sponsor may incur, suffer, or be required to pay arising out of such infringement or suspected infringement of any third party’s right.

PRIZE:  The Winner(s) of the Contest (“Winner”) will receive a styled engagement shoot on Oahu, Hawaii on February 21, 2016.  A panel of judges selected by the Sponsor will select the winning entry that is the most inspiring.  This will be based on originality and creativity (50%), and completeness and theme consistency (50%).   Decisions of the judges are final.

The specifics of the prize shall be solely determined by Sponsor. Sponsor reserves the right to substitute prizes of equal or greater value. All taxes and other expenses related to any prize are the sole responsibility of the Winner. No cash or other prize substitution shall be permitted except at Sponsor’s discretion. The prize is nontransferable. No substitution of prize or transfer/assignment of prize to others or request for the cash equivalent by Winner is permitted. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission for Sponsor to use Winner’s name, likeness, and entry for purposes of advertising and trade without further compensation, unless prohibited by law.

WINNERS: Sponsor will contact the Winner as determined by the judges, on February 14th, 2016. The Prize must be claimed within two days of notification. If the notification is returned as undeliverable, or if no response is received within the specified prize claim deadline, we may award the prize to the next highest winner. If there is a dispute as to who is the potential winner, we will consider the potential winner to be the authorized account holder of the Facebook account used to enter the Contest. The odds of winning will depend on the number of entrants.

RELEASE: By participating in this Contest, entrants hereby release and hold Sponsor harmless from any and all losses, damages, rights, claims and actions of any kind in connection with or resulting from participation in the Contest and/or acceptance, possession, or use of any prizes including, without limitation, personal injuries, death, property damages and any claims by third parties or otherwise based on intellectual property rights, publicity rights, defamation, or invasion of privacy. Entrants acknowledge that Sponsor is not responsible or liable for any warranty, representation, or guarantee, express or implied, in fact or in law, relative to the Prizes, except as set forth in these Rules. Winning is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements of these Rules and Sponsor’s decisions as to the administration of the Contest and prize awards are final.

LIMITATION OF LIABILITY: Sponsor assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of, entries. Sponsor is not responsible for problems or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers, or providers computer equipment, software, failure of any email to be received by the Sponsor on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to participant’s or any other person’s computer related to or resulting from participation or downloading any materials in this Contest. Under no circumstances will Sponsor award more prizes than the prizes set forth above. In the event that any erroneous duplicative awarding of prizes occurs, the error shall be corrected and the prize awarded to the proper winner based on the criteria set forth above. If for any reason the Contest is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, legal challenges, or any other causes which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of the Contest, the Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the Contest, and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Contest.

USE OF DATA: Sponsors will not be collecting personal data about participants except when asking for personal contact information to award Prize. By participating in the Contest, Entrants hereby agree to provide Sponsors with their personal contact information if they are chosen as the winner and understand that usage of their personal contact information will be solely for the purposes of this Contest.

USE OF PHOTOS AND ENTRY INFORMATION:  By entering this content (e.g., photo, video, text, etc.), You understand and agree that the Sponsor, anyone acting on behalf of the Sponsor and Sponsor’s licensees, successors, and assigns, shall have the right, where permitted by law, to print, publish, broadcast, distribute, and use in any media now known or hereafter developed, in perpetuity and throughout the World, without limitation, your entry, name, portrait, picture, voice, likeness, image, statements about the Contest, and biographical information for news, publicity, information, trade, advertising, public relations, and promotional purposes without any further compensation, notice, review, or consent.

DISPUTES: As a condition of participating in this Contest, participant agrees that any and all disputes that cannot be resolved between the parties, and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Contest, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, exclusively before a court located in Santa Clara, California having jurisdiction. Further, in any such dispute, under no circumstances shall participant be permitted to obtain awards for, and hereby waives all rights to, punitive, incidental, or consequential damages, including reasonable attorney’s fees, other than participant’s actual out-of-pocket expenses (i.e. costs associated with entering this Contest). Participant further waives all rights to have damages multiplied or increased.

AGREEMENT TO RULES: By participating, you agree to be fully unconditionally bound by these Rules, and represent and warrant that you meet the eligibility requirements. In addition, you agree to accept the decisions of the Sponsor as final and binding as it relates to the content of this Contest.

Jan 31, 2016 by Jamie Chang

Q: My fiancé and I are planning on having a destination wedding and we’re trying to figure out if we need a wedding planner.  After doing a little bit of research, it sounds like a destination wedding planner is a good idea since we don’t know what we’re doing.  But it also looks like some hotels and venues have a wedding coordinator already, so we’re just not sure.  Do I need a destination wedding planner?

This is such a great question, so thank you for asking it!  I’ve recently spoken to a few different engaged couples all in different situations.  After listening to them talk about their destination wedding and what they want, each of their wedding planning needs were very different and thus I recommended different solutions.  The short answer to your question is that whether you need a destination wedding planner or not really depends on your situation.  Every situation is a bit different, but I’m going to lay out the most common situations to help you figure out if you need a destination wedding planner.

You want wedding planning to be easy, economical and with little to no thinking involved.

The couples who fall into this situation are usually looking for the easiest option where they just show up and relax.  Typically, the couple is looking for an all inclusive resort or a hotel/resort that can take care of everything.  They don’t want to spend a lot on their wedding and they don’t care about what it looks it like.  These also tend to be couples who are either eloping or doing a very small wedding.  The main goal for these couples is to take a relaxing vacation and have a nice little wedding while there.

If this sounds like you, what I usually recommend is that you don’t hire a destination wedding planner.  It won’t make sense for you because you won’t be doing much planning.  Instead, contact a travel agent who can recommend hotels and resorts in the areas you are considering and within your price range.  Once you pick a hotel/resort, they will have a wedding coordinator onsite who can help you pick your wedding package which will be all you’ll need for your wedding.  There is no thinking involved at all which is just what you want.  You just show up and get married.


(Photo credit: Del Sol Photography)

You want a wedding that is unique, but you don’t have a huge budget.

The couples who fall into this situation want to make their wedding their own and are looking for creative solutions to get the wedding they want with the budget they have.  They do care to some degree what the wedding looks like and want to customize some items, but they care more about having a good time with their family and friends.  They want to make sure accommodations are easy, not super expensive and gives people the opportunity to stay together.  Many of these couples are either looking for a private estate or home to both hold the wedding and stay at or a small boutique hotel they can have the run of.

If this sounds like you, you can go either way.  A destination wedding planner will definitely be helpful for you because we have the contacts and creative ideas to help you create your unique wedding.  However with a smaller budget, a destination wedding planner doesn’t always make sense.  You shouldn’t be spending half your budget on your wedding planner.  So, hiring a destination wedding planner depends on how much time you have, how much planning you want to do, how much you can afford and whether having a planner is worth it to you.  Another option you can consider is to hire a destination wedding planner for a portion of your wedding planning like venue and vendor recommendations or for their design assistance.  This utilizes their expertise but doesn’t come with their full-time services and investment.


(Photo credit: McAllister Photography)

You care about quality and you want a unique wedding and a joyful experience for you and your guests.

The couples who fall into this situation care about making their wedding special, memorable and unique.  They care about what it looks like, what it feels like and what happens at the wedding. They want to create an amazing experience for their guests and they want to be able to really spend time with everyone.  They want to be taken care of and they want their guests to be taken care of.  These couples are typically more Type A personalities with very busy professional lives who know what they like but don’t have the time to plan a wedding.

If this sounds like you, hiring a destination wedding planner is definitely the route you want to go.  We’ll take all the guesswork out of wedding planning and are able to plan and design a wedding just for you.  You’ll be involved throughout the entire process, but won’t have to do any of the legwork or time-consuming research, communication, logistics or design.  We make the process and wedding planning experience easy, fun and joyful.  And then once the wedding week approaches, we’ll be onsite to make sure everything is taken care of and goes smoothly.


(Photo credit: Emily Piraino Photography)

I hope this helps you to figure out if you need a destination wedding planner and if so, you know who to call!  We are more than happy to help you create your unique and joyful destination wedding experience.  Contact us today.

Jan 27, 2016 by Jamie Chang

Hello to our lovely readers!  It’s almost the end of January, can you believe it?!  Time is already flying right by.  But, before the month is up, I wanted to talk about the 2016 Pantone color of the year and what it has to do with your wedding colors.  As you may know, every year since 2000, Pantone has come out with a color of the year.  The idea behind the color of the year is meant to be symbolic, a color representation of what they (Pantone) see taking place in our culture.  It’s kind of like a word of the year or a trend prediction.  Many industries have taken this color of the year and applied it to what they are doing – think fashion, interior design, beauty, travel and of course, weddings.  There are always articles that come out in the beginning of the year that share wedding inspiration using the Pantone color of the year.  If you’ve been consuming a bunch of media, I’m sure you’ve seen at least one or two of these.

If you look through my archives you’ll see that I’ve never talked about the Pantone colors before.  It’s not usually something I do, so why am I talking about it now you ask?  Good question.  I’m here to help guide you so you can create your unique wedding and have a joyful wedding experience.  And since I’ve been seeing more and more articles surrounding the idea of using these colors in your wedding I felt it was time to address it.  Here is the thing you need to know, the Pantone color of the year has nothing to do with your wedding.  Yes, you heard me right, NOTHING.  Why you ask?  Let me explain myself with two reasons.

1. First off what you need to know is that the Pantone color of the year is a marketing strategy.  It’s actually a super smart marketing strategy aimed to get their name out associated with being a color expert and it totally works. But, what does this mean for your wedding?  Absolutely nothing!  Your wedding colors have nothing to do with Pantone, it’s marketing strategy or its color of the year.  Your wedding colors are a result of the colors that make you happy.  You’re not going to pick rose quartz and serenity just because it’s the colors of the year, are you?  No, you aren’t.  It’s like all of a sudden choosing to wear only black clothes because someone told you that was what you were supposed to wear this year.  You’re going to wear the clothes you like in whatever colors you like.  Similarly, you’re going to choose your wedding colors based on what pleases you.

2. My second reason is because it’s such a silly choice!  Pantone decided to choose two colors this year (which in and of itself defeats the purpose of a color of the year), and they are both a soft pastel color.  No designer is going to use these colors together unless they are planning a baby shower and even then maybe not.  They just aren’t colors you’d see together (it’s not a combo I’d ever recommend to a client), so making them the colors of the year, just doesn’t work for me.  So, even more so these Pantone colors of the year have nothing to do with your wedding.

So, the moral of the story here is to not worry about the articles you see about having your wedding include these colors.  Just ignore them completely.  Choose your wedding colors based on what brings you joy and you’ll be on your way to designing a wedding you love.


(Pantone’s colors of the year.  Photo credit: Pantone.com)

NOTE:  If you happen to have always loved one of these colors and were already planning on using it, then you should.  There is nothing wrong with these colors (besides using them together), but I don’t want you to feel swayed by a color company just because it’s their chosen color of the year.

Need some help with designing your wedding?  Contact us today and we’ll make sure your wedding is the perfect representation of who you are and your love story.

Jan 26, 2016 by Jamie Chang

Happy hump day!  We’re excited to bring you today’s Wedding Wednesdays Q&A because it’s a question I know many of you are facing right now, how to start planning a wedding:

Q:  I’m newly engaged and I’m sure you get this question a lot, but how do I start planning my wedding?  Where do I begin?  What is the first step?

Wonderful question and it’s so fitting since I’m sure we have a lot of newly engaged couples now.  Many people will tell you that the first thing you need to do is find a venue and get a date.  However, there is much more that needs to happen before you can even begin the planning part.  What comes first is the prep before the planning or what I like to call the foundation for your wedding planning.  Imagine that planning your wedding is like going on a trip.  Before you can actually go and start your journey there is a lot of research and prep that needs to happen first like figuring out where you are going, buying tickets and packing your bags. It’s also similar to buying a house.  You don’t just start looking at houses once you’ve decided you want to buy a house.  You need to assess what you want, look at your finances, talk to a realtor and get pre-approved.

The process for planning your wedding is just the same, you need to do some prep before you can actually start planning your wedding.  And the first step in that process is understanding what you want.  I bet you thought I was going to say that you need to figure out your guest list or the budget, but nope!  It’s about understanding what is important to you about the wedding and why.  Ask yourself, what do you want your wedding to be like?  What do you want to happen?  What is the most important thing to you about the wedding?

This step is really crucial to the entire wedding planning process because it is the core of everything you’ll be doing going forward.  It’s the reason you are getting married.  It’s the meaning behind the wedding and all the time and effort you put into it.  If you don’t have a solid grasp of this, you’ll struggle with the other areas of your wedding and you’ll make it harder on yourself down the road.  Figure this part out first before you do anything else and you’ll have started on the right path (the path that is right for you).

Do you want even more step by step guidance on how to start planning a wedding?  Sign up for your free wedding planning guide here.  This guide makes wedding planning so much easier and understandable.  You’ll learn the steps to take to make your wedding planning journey a smooth and joyful one.  Get your free guide here today!


Jan 20, 2016 by Jamie Chang

Since it’s the start of a new year and with it a whole new year of weddings, it’s time to talk about 2016 wedding trends.  Now, if you’ve been following our blog for any amount of time you know we don’t love wedding trends mainly because we think wedding design is about creating a wedding reflective of you, not what is trendy at the time.  You are classic and will last forever, that wedding trend of the moment will not.  However, there are trends which can be used in different ways for different couples just depending on what makes sense for them.  These trends aren’t necessarily fads (like tie die and scrunchies), but a current swing of attention.  And today we’re going to talk about some of these trends by casting away the old and getting excited about the new!  Today we’re sharing 5 wedding trends we’ve seen enough of and are happily saying goodbye to and 6 wedding ideas to get excited about.

Bye bye bye – 5 wedding trends to say goodbye to (along with 2015)

1.  Chalkboard signs – while the chalkboard itself will always be a classroom classic, it’s life as a wedding sign is over.

2.  Naked cakes – When the naked cake came out, it was different and exciting.  It gave cakes a raw, natural look.  But, we’ve seen enough of you and it’s time to put your icing back on.

3.  Mint, blush and gold – This color palette has been around for a few years now and it’s tired.  While these colors aren’t going to go away, this combo needs a vacation.

4.  Ball jars – This is another trend that has lingered long after I thought it would.  Unless you love ball jars and they have special meaning to you, don’t do it.  Find another vessel instead.

5.  Vintage shabby chic – Part of the more rustic design vibe, this strategically aged and weathered look has seen its end.

Hello – 6 wedding ideas we want to see more of in 2016

1 .  Old world influence – We want to see more weddings using actual items and places with history.  We’re not talking things that just look vintage, but real things and locations that have a past and story.  It not only plays into your story, but gives everything new meaning.


(Photo credit: Rachel Robertson Photography)

2.  Alternative wedding registries – While nice housewares are always fun (because come on, designing a home is fun), if you have all the material items you need, why not do a more alternative wedding registry?  We’re excited about seeing more alternative wedding registries like a honeymoon registry, a house registry or a charity registry.


(Taken from: The Good Beginning)

3.  Themed photobooths – Photobooths will always be fun, but we’re loving the ones that have a theme especially when it comes to the props.  It’s way more fun to have a photobooth centered all around Starwars items vs. just the random set of mustaches and eyeglasses.


(Photo still by: Giggle and Riot Fun Booths)

4.  Video – While having video at a wedding is more common place, it isn’t yet treated the way photography is, as a must.  We love video, it moves us and we can’t wait to see more it for all of our clients.  And don’t forget video booths as well.

(Video by: Supreme Video Productions)

5.  Prints – Weddings as a whole tend to have lots of solids.  Every now and again we’ll see a print, but we’d love to see more.  You don’t have to go wild with prints (although that would be fun), but consider bringing a print in to accent your other colors, it will elevate the look and give it more depth.


(Photo credit: Bethany Carlson Photography)

6.  Bring your home into your wedding – Particularly for destination weddings, we love it when a couple brings a bit of their home into their design.  For example, if you’re from the south and getting married in the Caribbean add some of that southern charm, flavor and aesthetic into your wedding.  Merge your style and where you are from with the destination you are getting married in.


(Photo credit: McAllister Photography)

Need some help navigating the trends and creating your unique destination wedding? Contact us today and we’ll help you create a wedding to remember.

Jan 19, 2016 by Jamie Chang

We are missing Paris, so, we’re taking you back with us in our magical teleporter and continuing our tour of Paris wedding venues with Part 4 and the Bois de Boulogne.  Bois de what?  Yes, it’s not necessarily an area of Paris you’ve heard of, but after you hear all about it, you’ll want to add it to your list of Paris wedding venues.

Located on the edge of the 16th arrondissement, this large public park is not only a wonderful place to experience but is lovely for a destination wedding. The Bois de Boulogne is super lush and green and how many places in Paris can you say fit that description?  It reminds me a bit of Central Park in New York (although more than double the size) in that it makes you want to wander and explore.  There are lakes, gardens, greenhouses, a chateau, a zoo and amusement park and even the all new Louis Vuitton Foundation museum designed by Frank Gehry resides in the park.




What I like about the Bois de Boulogne is that it transports you to a different world within Paris.  While still easy to get to via metro or taxi, you feel like you are somewhere new and yet at the same time, somewhere old.  You can feel the history here in the trees and buildings, but it’s not noisy.  There is a peacefulness that surrounds you.  Perfect for a destination wedding, the Bois de Boulogne lets you have all the city aspects you love about Paris while also taking you away to a quieter private outdoor almost country-like space to celebrate your wedding.


There are two Paris wedding venues I’d like to share today in the Bois de Boulogne.  The first is the Bagatelle.  This restaurant was once the site of the stables for the castle grounds built for Marie Antoinette’s brother, Count of Artois.  Today it’s a lovely restaurant with a few private rooms, a veranda and a fun outdoor terrace.  Located right at the edge of the Bagatelle Park (a beautiful park located within the Bois de Boulogne), it’s brick walls and interesting detailing make it a not only a fun destination but a beautiful and warm setting.

To start our tour, I’d just like to show you the building with its brick and detailing.  The front is the main entrance, but it’s really the back side closest to the gardens that is my favorite.



On the back side of the restaurant is where the party is.  You have access to the private rooms from this side in addition to a few different outdoor terrace spaces including the glass-enclosed veranda.  The terraces can hold up to 500 people for dinner or can be transformed into anything you’d like it to be.  I can see some really cool lounge spaces set up out here.


The Pages lounge is a small room that can hold up to 60 people.  With multiple glass doors, it leads not only outside to the garden and terrace but to the veranda as well.  It’s private, but still very open.


The Ecuries lounge has some really interesting detailing and an iron chandelier which is fun.  This room holds up to 110 for dinner and also has a door which leads out to the terrace.


But, my favorite of the spaces is the glass veranda.  This room has so much possibility and could be used in conjunction with another space or on its own as a ceremony area, as a cocktail area, for dinner for a small wedding or even dancing.



What is great about Bagatelle are the many different spaces you can choose from (or you can rent the entire restaurant) to create the wedding you are looking for.  The pricing will vary by the time of the year as the warmer months are their peak season.  You can dance until 4 am (although dancing is only allowed indoors) and you can use their onsite chef or bring in your own caterer which is a rare option for a restaurant venue.  One of the best things about this particular venue is that it’s right next to the Les Jardins de Bagatelle or the Bagatelle gardens which are so nice to wander and explore.  This gives your guests the opportunity to enjoy the park as a part of your destination wedding experience.



The second Paris wedding venue in the Bois de Boulogne that I’d like to share with you is Les Pavillons des Etangs.  This area of the Bois de Boulogne has historically been a gathering space used for various sports like skating and pigeon shooting.  Much more recently the Les Pavillons des Etangs has been renovated and opened as an event venue.  What is great about this venue is that it has both a modern space and a more historical one to satisfy different needs and styles.  The venue is also positioned right next to a lake which adds to the wonderful scenery.  I’ll be sharing photos below, but if you also want to check out a Periscope I did there, you can watch the video here.


We’re going to start with the manor house which has been fully restored retaining it’s historic character, but with some modern upgrades.  It has a more rustic cottage feel to the outside and comes with some great indoor and outdoor spaces.


The outdoor spaces include the terrace right in front of the house and a connecting covered terrace as well.  Great for a ceremony and cocktail hour, you can look out over the lake and enjoy all the beauty.  There is lots of space for a ceremony, for lounge furniture, a bar, food stations and more.




After your ceremony and cocktail hour, you can head indoors for dinner in the Salon 1899.  Beautiful ceilings and neutral tones lend itself well to this lovely space.  It can hold up to 120 for dinner and dancing or 160 for dinner alone.  It’s all setup with kitchen access for your caterer, a built-in sound system and lighting.




A nice perk of this venue is the extra upstairs room, the Salon Boire.  Perfect for the bride to get ready in or for the couple and wedding party to sneak away to.  It’s also a great room for kids. Bigger than most extra rooms, it also has a great view.


Now you can just have your wedding in the manor house or you can use the modern Dovecote/Pigeonnier space in conjunction with it.  You can also use the Dovecote singularly as well, but I think for most weddings you’d want to use it in tandem with the manor house.  The Dovecote is more sleek and modern with glass doors and streamlined ceilings.  So, if you want something with a cleaner look, this space is a great option.  You can use it for all of your events (it can hold 280 for dinner and dancing), but I personally think this space is perfect for dancing.  There is lots of space for a lounge and bar setup and there is even a hidden upstairs DJ space that looks out over the floor.  Lighting and sound equipment are already built in which is a nice perk.



What is great about Les Pavillons des Etangs is the variety of spaces and it’s ability to cater to your style.  You can stick to just one space that you like better or use a combination of both. There is no time limit for your event and there is lots of flexibility when it comes to vendors.  They have vendors you can use but have no problem with you bringing in your own.  And I must say I really like the lake.  I think there are lots of opportunities to use it in photos, as a backdrop for your ceremony and even the ability to design it up.

The Bois de Boulogne has so much to offer for a Paris destination wedding – great private venues and green outdoor spaces all while still being close to the hub of the city.  You can have a Paris wedding, but with a country feeling to it.  It’s a great option for those who want a little bit of everything.

Aching to have your wedding in Paris?  Don’t forget to check out our other Paris wedding venues focusing on traditional venues, hotels and museums.  And if you want to create that special destination wedding experience, contact us today.

Jan 15, 2016 by Jamie Chang


Jamie Chang

Freshly picked is a blog of tasty morsels to inspire, amuse, encourage, excite and help make your life easier. We share wedding planning, travel and design tips and inspiration and anything else that tickles our fancy.

Jamie Chang is the owner and destination wedding planning guru at Mango Muse Events, a boutique destination wedding planning and design firm specializing in creating unforgettable experiences. Mango Muse Events is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and orchestrates events all over the world.

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