Here Comes The Guide's Blog

A Happy Place in Mendocino

My sister Sandra is getting married in October 2008 and Tyler, her boyfriend (he hates the word fiancé) has family in Mendocino so they travel there frequently. When they started planning their wedding there wasn’t even a question about where it would take place: The Little River Inn in Mendocino.

articles_altBeing that Sandra’s wedding is now just a year out, we went for the weekend to meet with the wedding coordinator and test the place out. I have to say, The Little River Inn is such a great location for a wedding. They have 3 different ceremony sites that all overlook the Pacific Ocean. My sister and Tyler decided on the Mallory House because it’s right on the Headlands.

The reception room is cozy and intimate and opens up onto a deck that they tent for guests. There was a wedding taking place that Saturday so we got to see how it looked with all the décor.

Useful Location Tip: ask the site manager if you can view the space when it’s set up for an event. You’ll be able to get a feel for what you can do for your own wedding.

We had dinner that night at the Inn’s restaurant and stuffed ourselves trying eveything we could on the menu. We also tried a few wines for the wedding from local wineries. The staff at The Little River Inn were amazing and welcomed us like family. articles_alt

Mendocino is such a relaxing place and I think it will be such a treat for all of Sandra and Tyler’s guests to be able to share in the town that they call their “happy place.” Now as for my dad – I don’t know if he’ll call this his happy place once he gets the final bill but I think the huge smile on my sister’s face will make it all worth it. Let’s hope so.

Denise Posted by Denise on Nov 05, 2007.
Filed under CeremonyLocationsReal WeddingsReceptions

Dressed To Kill

It’s not every fashion designer whose collection, studio and name are featured in a successful TV show…but then, Hanna Hartnell has always been known for her star quality. This warm, creative style-maven spent years dressing Oscar nominees and fashion connoisseurs before the recent launch of her couture wedding collection. Now Hanna is experiencing fame of a different sort.


In the upcoming November 4th episode of the CBS crime drama, “Shark,” award-winning actor James Woods tracks the murderer of a successful fashion designer…named Hanna. The director/producer had been to her Santa Monica studio a couple of years back, and it obviously made an impression. When the current episode came across his desk, he asked her if he could film some scenes there. When the director and crew arrived to scout the location, everyone went wild over her glam gowns, and they decided to use them in the episode’s fashion show sequence. (Though Hanna has plenty of white wedding dresses, she’s also known for her lovely destination and formal wear—perfect for MOBs, bridesmaids…and TV supermodels strutting their stuff.)

“Then someone had the idea of using my name as the fashion designer who gets whacked,” reveals Hanna. “Of course I said yes!” (She’s a real good sport.)

Hanna is thrilled to have her collection paraded down a prime time runway, but there is one inauthentic detail that seems to annoy her just a tad. “The actress that plays me is 22 years old.” Welcome to Hollywood, old girl!

articles_altSee more of Hanna Hartnell’s to-die-for gowns in her “Ode to Adventurous Women” 2008 photo calendar. Not just a way to keep track of important dates, the calendar is a South-of-the-Border fashion adventure that showcases Hanna’s dramatic dresses, perfect for that honeymoon in Cancun or a spicy event closer to home. The vibrant, fluid motion of her collection will have you longing for a sun-kissed beach, a margarita and a romantic interlude. (Hmmmm, makes me want to cash in my Frequent Flyer miles for a week in Cabo…like, right now!)

Jolene Posted by Jolene on Nov 02, 2007.
Filed under FashionHoneymoons and TravelWedding Dresses

A Beautiful and “Centered” Wedding

With just 20 days to plan their wedding—from first phone call to the ceremony—my super-capable friend Debbie, along with her betrothed, Richard, pulled off their own wedding at their Alamo home last week. This was one of the most delightful and meaningful ceremonies I’ve ever attended (and I’ve been to many, many weddings). With two children and several years of living and loving together, the whole event took a familial, welcome tone that was anything but formal and stuffy. There simply wasn’t time to agonize over garters or table charts, so instead the couple could just ease into the sacred meaningfulness of the day. Debbie and Richard in the moment

Debbie especially loved that prior to the guests arriving, the rabbi held a private ‘mood setting’ ritual for the family to “center them” into the meaning of the day so they could relax and enjoy their own wedding (hey it’s a California wedding, we can get ‘centered’ here!). Yes, that’s right: the bride was relaxed. Debbie was so keenly aware of each moment that she remembers where each of her 58 friends were sitting during her ceremony. Now that’s ‘centered’!

Naturally they used some of our Certified By The Guide wedding professionals to help with the event. Many comments were made about the scrumptious food by Susan Foord Catering. The Lafayette-based catering firm, Debbie notes, is voted best caterer in the East Bay on a regular basis. Plus, Foord helped tremendously with the coordination of the details: providing tents, a dance floor, etc. But, most importantly: they were easy to work with! Katrina Rozelle Cakes provided their whimsical “Mad Hatter” cake, which kept the lighthearted and celebratory tone of the day going until the very end. Mad Hatter Cake by Katrina Rozelle

Allison Posted by Allison on Nov 01, 2007.
Filed under Real WeddingsReceptionsWedding Ideas