Tales of a Wedding Planner

Tales of a Wedding Planner

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Based in the heart of Wine Country, Ybarra Events is an Event Planning Company that will not only ensure your event runs smoothly, but also make sure your personality shines through in the details. Whether you're looking for something elegant and sophisticated, or quirky and cute, when they are done, your event will emerge representing Uniquely You!

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Guestbooks: A thing of the past

Uniquely YouPosted by Tara Ybarra Thu, August 03, 2017 12:01AM
Sometimes I hate watching traditions die out, but in some cases I will shoo it happily out the door. I don't know about you, but I am really loving all the alternatives for the traditional guestbook that have been rapidly gaining popularity. In comparison, the traditional guestbook has become almost obsolete. Not in the sense that it no longer has a use, but there are now so many different options that are more useful/desirable. Almost no one ever looks twice at their guestbook. It ends up in a box (like mine) or on a shelf collecting dust. In addition to you enjoying your guestbook and getting more use out of it in the future, your guests will enjoy signing it more.

The guestbook alternatives also give yet another opportunity to add some personality and creativity to your wedding. I am definitely a fan of making it your own! Listed here are some of my favorites from weddings I have worked.

The Wishing Tree Guestbook

This guestbook alternative has so many different style options. Real tree, fake tree, wall art. Sometimes the signatures/wishes are on tags, sometimes on wooden hearts or leaves, sometimes they're a thumbprint. I like that this can be displayed, or (if a live tree) planted in your yard.

Signed Matte Guestbook

Sometimes the Matte is surrounding the couple's wedding date, sometimes it's surrounding their engagement photo... either way it's nice to have something to hang on your wall to make you smile every time you look at it.

State/Map Guestbook

I think this option is so cute. It's perfect for destination weddings or you can even order the entire USA and connect locations with hearts or dotted lines.

Signed Corks Guestbook
This guestbook is particularly adorable for Vineyard weddings. If you ask in advance, most wineries will save corks for you and then you can have a collection of corks from the venue where you got married! Add signatures of your loved ones, put them in a glass vase, and you have a perfect contribution to your mantel.

Globe Guestbook
I am a huge fan of globes. If I had space for them I would probably own 20+. If I had thought of it at the time, I probably would have done this for my wedding with a little sign that read, "Please share some worldly advice". The I would have an excuse to own a globe! Apart from my own happiness.

Games and Puzzles Guestbook

This Guestbook alternative is truly genius! You can choose whatever game you like and have the guests sign pieces or parts of the game board. You can even get a custom puzzle made and have the guests sign the pieces. Displayed with a little sign reading "Our puzzle is not complete without you", it would be perfect!

Sign a Heart Guestbook
There are a ton of different shadow boxes custom made with little slits to fit the wooden hearts in the top. Some of the shadow boxes can be ordered with your initials and date, or your monogram, or some are even a frame for a photo!

Polaroid Guestbook

Yes! So happy Polaroid Cameras are back! This guestbook alternative is perfect! It allows guests to add such a personal touch, and get a bit goofy! A variation to the Polaroid option is to have a Photo Booth that prints doubles. One for the guestbook and one for the guests!

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Too Silent, Too Loud

Uniquely YouPosted by Tara Ybarra Sat, July 22, 2017 01:37PM
I love when couples are completely made for each other. Usually the phrase "made for each other" is reserved for describing the couple mentally. All their experiences and personality traits have made them grow into the perfect person to support and love the other. This is what I run into most often, but recently, I had a bride and groom with unique circumstances. This made planning their wedding a truly unique experience for me. The Bride had a condition that caused her to not be able to speak above a whisper, and the Groom had an inner ear injury that caused loud noises to unbearably hurt his ears. I still can't even believe that they found each other! What are the odds of that! Their situations perfectly fit like a puzzle!

They came to me in search of a solution. The Problem: They couldn't have a traditional Wedding Reception with music and dancing; the Groom wouldn't be able to sustain the noise. They had a lot of family coming into town from out of state, and wanted to give them a wonderful wedding experience, but they were at a loss of what to do for entertainment. So we brainstormed our options.

I started the planning process with all the typical questions, and the result was so beautiful. We talked about their likes and dislikes, any interests they have. As we were talking, they each expressed their love for the Bo-ho style and wanted to incorporate it into the day.

The vows: The couple was frustrated because the bride could not speak loud enough for her vows to be audible to their wedding guests, and they could not use microphones because the amplification would hurt the groom's ears. One solution we tossed around was having their vows projected on a screen, but ultimately we decided to order programs with the vows included. The property had such a beautiful backdrop and it was an outdoor ceremony, so we didn't want to obscure the view with a giant screen.

The clapping: The groom was nervous about clapping and cheers from the wedding guests. There are a lot of moments throughout a wedding when family and friends support the couple through enthusiastic cheering. The solution we came up with were Ribbon wands! Traditionally there would be bells attached to the end of the wands as well. The bells stem from an Irish tradition and the noise was rumored to ward off spirits. But to reduce noise, we opted to make them without the bells. Guests were instructed to wave the wands in lieu of clapping or cheering. In order to make sure guests did not forget, the Officiant made an announcement, and we encouraged the closest family members and friends that were familiar with the grooms condition, to wave their wands early and quickly, so others would see them and remember to wave theirs as well.

The Meal: Even the clinking of silverware on dinner plates was too painful for the Groom. Plastic dinnerware doesn't really say "wedding", also not environmentally friendly, so we needed a quiet and elegant alternative. After searching around a bit, we found wooden dinnerware. It was beautiful, and fit our theme and requirements perfectly. Glassware, we still went with glass and encouraged guests not to clink while cheering the couple. We spaced the tables out farther than we normally would as well, to minimize concentrated noises levels.

The Speeches: Without amplification, speeches were a challenge. How would we make them audible for all the guests? Luckily for us, the reception location was a bit windy. we used that to carry sound. We placed the bride and groom upwind from the rest of the wedding guests, and the guests formed a semi-circle around them. It worked out really well, and it was more intimate with everyone gathering together, rather than staying in their seats. (P.S. The wind helpful in this respect, but not so helpful when it came to the wooden plates. They were light, and kept blowing off the tables. We tilted water glasses to weigh them down. Problem solved!)

The Music: The couple still wanted to have a First Dance as husband and wife. I'm glad they still shared this moment, because it is one of my absolute favorite moments of a wedding. We rented a speaker and hooked an IPod to it, with the groom setting the sound to a comfortable level for him. This is what we used for the Ceremony and First Dance. After the First Dance, there was just one more official dance, so guests could join the couple out on the floor. I put on my DJ hat, starting and stopping the music when necessary.

The Alternative Entertainment: This was probably the most difficult part of their wedding to plan. We thought about the possibility of lawn games, but were worried about the noise level escalating if guests were enthusiastic about winning. (Especially after a few drinks). Going with the Bohemian theme, we wanted to create a relaxing environment. The most relaxing thing I can think of is massage. We hired a traveling masseuse to set up a chair massage for the wedding guest, and also hired a henna tattoo artist to tattoo guests. It was all set up under a lit canopy with a Bo-ho throw rug underneath. It set the perfect ambiance. Most of the guests were from New York, and coming to California, it was a fun experience for them to be submerged in our slower paced, relaxing way of life.

Other details were of the more classic wedding traditions. The ceremony was a fusion of Jewish, Hindu, and Celtic traditions. There was a coffee and tea bar to accompany the Bo-ho feel. A cake cutting, adorable wedding favors, a non-traditional guestbook... and it was all absolutely lovely.

This wedding day came together so charmingly. I cannot express the fondness with which I remember the day. I can only imagine how warmly the guests remember the day. It will forever be a favorite of mine.

Venue: Beltane Ranch, Kenwood, CA
Photography: Jade Turgel Photography
Catering: Park Avenue
Floral: EV Floral Design
Masseuse: Wine Country Mobile Spa
Henna Tattoo Artist: Hayet Amatullah
Hair and Makeup: Sculpt Hair

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Coffee Wedding

Uniquely YouPosted by Tara Ybarra Wed, July 05, 2017 04:10PM
Your Wedding Day is an opportunity to represent yourselves as an official couple for the very first time. What better way to do that, than to put a little bit of your love story into the decor? I like to sit down with my engaged couples and learn a bit about them.

I had a couple come to me upset because they didn't want their wedding to look like every other wedding. They wanted something off-trend. Rustic is gorgeous, and I personally love it, but the couple was worried that it would date their wedding just like the 80's weddings were dated by their Bows, Puffy sleeves, and Lace! Oh yes! Who doesn't love marveling at the 80's trends! Just be thankful Bridesmaids dresses have evolved!

We met at a coffee shop of their choice. I sat down with the couple and asked them to tell me a bit about their lives and relationship. They insisted they were an average couple (what is average anyway!), they didn't have anything to make them unique, and they were a bit stressed that they couldn't think of a theme or any decorations they liked. Now, you don't always need a theme, but if you want one, I am determined to find the perfect one!!! I assured them, of course they were unique. No one is the same.

The bride replied matter-of-factly, "The only things I like are my fiance, and my coffee." Huh, she likes coffee... I can work with that. They were both self-described coffee snobs. They had also met while working in rival coffee shops. This was a constant throughout their daily lives and a shared passion.


We had coffee beans everywhere. The Centerpieces were vanilla candles in hurricane vases with coffee beans at the base.
The bride and groom each chose their favorite coffee bean flavors and guests got to make their our roasts by scooping their beans of choice into their favor bags. There was a coffee bar with Baileys and Kahlua, as well as a coffee desserts bar. The opted to have a brunch wedding in order to stick to the theme, and had a waffle bar as well. When I say coffee was in every detail, I mean every detail! There were even coffee beans in the bouquet!

The couple was amazed with how much you can with just one spark of an idea. Together we had developed the beautiful and relaxed ambiance the couple had been searching for.

Over the years there have been many themes, but this one will always stick out in my mind as one of the best smelling weddings I have ever had the pleasure of planning.

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