Posts in the 'los angeles' Category

Dana’s got a brand new blog!

It’s true! After running this blog for the past 4 years since my first wedding, it’s high time I had a place to share my story in real-time, and reflect on life outside of the wedding world.

So, I started LaRue. A new blog dedicated to my journey, my projects, my likes and dislikes, recipes, crafts, habits, and health. Things that inspire me. Things that motivate me. You’ll get to peek into the little pockets of my life as a writer, homemaker, foodie, entrepreneur, and all around bad-ass.

Basically, it’s Dana’s life, 2.0.

Of course, I’ll still be sharing my wedding wisdom here! And since I’m getting married again in about 7 months, I’ll have lots of new stories to share. And soon.

But everything else about me can be found at my new blog, LaRue. Come check it out!


Win This: Score Killer Photography From LA Budget Wedding Photographer!

Wedding photography is so important; it’s one of the few things you’ll be able to keep after the big day is over. But fitting a quality photographer into your broke-ass budget can be a challenge, especially in a major metro area. Luckily, LA Budget Wedding Photographer has your back!

LA Budget Wedding Photographer operates under the principle that being on a budget is no excuse for bad wedding photos, so they offer great flat-rate packages and ala carte add-ons to fit your needs, from two hours of photography to an entire day. With all packages, you’ll receive printing rights to print your photos at the photo lab of your choice, and with most, you’ll receive a USB stick of unedited images the day of your wedding, so there’s no agonizing wait until you can post the entire shebang to the social media sites of your choice! With these rates, you must be getting amateur photographers, right? Not so! The group of photographers that comprises LA Budget Wedding Photographer are internationally published professionals who use quality equipment, have plenty of wedding experience under their belts, and carry backup equipment. You may have a number of worries on your mind on your wedding day, but when you use LA Budget Wedding Photographer, your photography needn’t be one of them!

This week, one lucky BAB will win a six hour wedding photography package (travel costs included) from LA Budget Wedding Photographer (Greater L.A. area only, package must be used by December 31st, 2014)! Want it bad? Get a free easy entry by subscribing to our bi-weekly newsletter! It’s packed full of deals and steals and we’ll never ever sell your email address or spam ya!

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Real Wedding: Etan & Megan’s Modern, “Bookish”, Table-Dancing Los Angeles Wedding

Bringing personality to a wedding while still keeping costs low  is a challenge all couples face. Etan and Megan added a great amount of character to their celebration with lots of DIY décor, and a group of people willing to dig in their heels and help this self described “bookish” couple. This Los Angeles duo focused on celebrating what they absolutely loved without going overboard. Good food, cold brews, laughter, good books, and twinkly lights are the key ingredients to this extremely charming L.A. wedding. 

Names: Etan & Megan Rosenbloom

Occupations: Etan works in marketing in the music industry and is a heavy metal music journalist. Megan is a medical librarian who works with rare books.

Wedding location: Lehrer Architects, Silver Lake, Los Angeles, Calif.

Wedding date: Oct. 13, 2012

Approximate guest count: 80

How would you describe your wedding? Everything about our wedding was very personal, from the elements of the ceremony to the DIY décor to the barn raising feeling of putting the whole thing together with friends and family. Also, all the things we didn’t do ourselves we sourced super locally, whether it was the clothes, the food, the beer, so it was a very eastside of LA wedding. We had a lot of bookish decor, which makes sense as we’re both pretty bookish people.

What was your favorite part of your wedding?
Megan: After all of our hard work, taking a moment to breathe and watch our friends and family all together getting hyped on the dance floor and being humbled by the fact that they were all here for us.
Etan: The heightened sense of intimacy with Megan under the chuppah.

What did you splurge on? We didn’t really “splurge” on anything, but as might be expected our biggest expense was the food. But Whoa Nelly Catering worked with us to keep costs low and delivered absolutely amazing food. Our foodie and vegan friends were especially delighted with their offerings, which were all sourced from our local farmers’ markets. Many people said it was the best food they’ve ever had at a wedding.

What did you save on? We managed to save a lot on booze. We are really into craft beer (even my bouquet had fresh hops in it!) so we wanted that to be the star of the show. A friend of ours runs a great beer bar and was able to source three California craft beer kegs for a great price, and then, sweetheart that she is, ended up gifting us one of them. So we had world class beer for our guests for a song. We got our wine from BevMo on their 5 cent sale, so a lot of our bottles were only a nickel! We didn’t want to have a full liquor bar, so next to our agua frescas we had a “spike station” with a bottle each of vodka, whiskey, gin and tequila for people to spike their drinks if they wished. We also borrowed PA equipment from music friends and Etan created some great Spotify playlists for dinner and for dancing.

Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? We probably should have hired a videographer. We had a lot of family & friends who couldn’t make the trip. Our friend who shot the video on my personal camera did a great job stepping up to help, but my gear just wasn’t up to snuff. We also should have reminded people to do certain things like use the photo booth or thumbprint the guestbook to get more participants in those activities.

What was your biggest challenge in planning? Mostly just trying to stay sane while working full-time and doing all of these DIY projects at night, and knowing when to let a certain project go if it just wasn’t working out.


What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? From planning the wedding, I learned a lot about time management and balancing all the things I wanted to create and what I could feasibly achieve. At one point, I was thinking that I was working really hard to make certain things that no one was going to notice. I was pleasantly surprised that our guests really did notice all the hard work and love that my friends and I put into all the details of the wedding. Having people come up and mention certain small elements that they enjoyed really made me proud as a crafter and made all the work worth it. I also learned not to be afraid to ask friends for help, and our friends gave us a lot of help in too many ways to list here. At the wedding itself, having everyone there for us, taking part in this very intimate moment, really hammered home just how much we are loved and supported as we forge our new family together.

What were your top five favorite things about your wedding?

It’s hard to pick just five!

  1. Our groomsman/ brosmaid Alexis was a giant help with a lot of the crafting and lighting design, and he designed one area that he could decorate however he wanted. He made us this beautiful lamp where he cut pages out of our two favorite books (Ulysses & Finnegans Wake, both by James Joyce) into leaf shapes, laminated them, and attached them to the lamp so the light glows through the words. He also made us a clever table out of dictionary where the ashtray rested on the page for “smoke” words and the cup holder rested on the page for “drink” words. He made this lovely little oasis for us where we relaxed and took a few photos immediately after the ceremony. Now both of these items adorn our home and we love them to death, and every time we look at them we think of him and all he did for us. Alexis was rewarded in a surprising way for all of his hard work…he fell in love with our bridesmaid Maryanne at the wedding and is now moving across the country to be with her!
  2. We were lucky enough to have Etan’s mom’s best friend, Cantor Perryne Anker, as our officiant & pre-marital counselor. She’s been present at the ceremonies for many of Etan’s major life events, and was a great calming guide for both of us through this whole process. She made the ceremony personal, moving, and funny…everything we could have asked for.
  3. Instead of the traditional parent-child dance, Etan and his mother Aviva did a choreographed Israeli folk dance to the song “Erev Ba” and everyone was very impressed by how light on their feet they were! It was a beautiful, touching moment. Aviva was glowing with motherly pride.
  4. Watching our two very different families from separate coasts get to know each other and enjoy each other’s company was a real treat. We might not ever get everyone together in the same spot again, so that was really special for us.
  5. Watching all of our friends and family go absolutely apeshit on the dance floor was a huge highlight. I took a moment to just enjoy the scene and be glad we could bring all of these wonderful people together, if just for an evening. The first song was Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” and when Prince starts in with his little sermon, everyone just went wild. Our friends Josh, Grant and Agatha ran over to me during the song, looked at the table near the dance floor and said, “Wanna Breakfast Club this shit?” OF COURSE. So we all got up and danced on the table, and at the end of the song Etan came over and I jumped into his arms from the table and he spun me around and kissed me as the song ended. It was a total movie moment…even better than The Breakfast Club. I’ll never forget it.

Top five least favorite?

  1. The ceremony music false-started so our bridesmaid Lavinia had to swoop in and save the day by restarting it.
  2. We found out a few days before that there were some plumbing issues so we had to scramble and get a port-a-potty for the guests. I kinda had a meltdown about it at first, but they turned out to be really nice as far as port-a-potties go, and no one cared.
  3. The whole shebang ran late so we didn’t get enough dancing time, we should have allotted more wiggle room…I think our friends could have danced for hours more!
  4. We were so busy and things went so fast that I only got one of those delicious beers and we didn’t get any pie until the next day.
  5. The next day it was super hot, we were all exhausted, but we had to go back to the venue to take down all the decorations and clean up. That and returning all of the borrowed stuff and trying to sell the things we don’t need was kind of onerous but wasn’t too awful.

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? People told Etan to let me do everything and make all the decisions, that it was my day. That’s not true, it was OUR day, and we learned quickly that making these decisions together was crucial. The last thing Etan wanted was to show up to our wedding and not even recognize what was going on, so he was involved in the whole decision-making process even if he was less involved in the actual crafting parts.

The best? Try to take time to be in the moment…it is so true. When you plan a whole year for one day, it’s insane how fast it’ll go by. Also whether you’re a DIY bride or not, whatever you do, hire a professional event coordinator for the day of the wedding. You will not be able to manage the logistics on your own, and it’s not fair to push it off on a bridesmaid or family member…they want to enjoy your wedding too, not work at it!

Any other bits of wisdom? Have the wedding that speaks to who you are. It wasn’t the fact that we did a lot of things ourselves that made it personal, it was that I’m a DIY person and that reflects who I am. If you’re not a crafty person, don’t try to craft a bunch of stuff for the wedding because you feel like that’s what you’re supposed to do. We carefully picked all of our own music not only to save money on a DJ, but because we’re music people and we had to have every song count. If you don’t like cake, don’t have one! We had pie. We’ve been to a lot of weddings as guests and I would say the only ones that we ever found a bit disappointing were ones where it felt like the couple was making choices because they felt pressure to from some source outside of themselves — whether it be a family member, friends, or the general wedding industrial complex. Your friends and family love you, and they want to celebrate who you are as a couple, so show them who you are in the way you do your wedding, even if that means eloping.

Caterers: Whoa Nelly Catering
Flowers, Crowns & Boutonnieres: The Paper Arum
Photography: Lindsay Giles McWilliams (Denver, Colorado) & Sarah Law Photography: (Southern California, soon to be based in Portland, Oregon)
Musical Performance: Homesick Elephant featuring Kelly Sulick
Valet: Hollywood Hills Valet
Bride’s Dress: Shareen Vintage
Bride’s Hair: Megan Klammer at Heretic Salon
Bride’s Makeup: Heather Cvar at Le Pink & Co. Apothecary
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Matrushka Construction
Flower Girl Dress: Made by friend
Groom’s Suit: Al Weiss
Groomsmen’s Blazers: ASOS
Groomsmen’s Ties: Zara
Engagement Ring: Single Stone
Wedding Bands: Claude Morady
Save the Dates: Photo by Sarah Law Photography; Design by And She Designs
Invitations, seating cards and programs: Designed and handmade by the bride
Ketubah: Gallery Judaica
Ketubah Art: Peter Wonsowski
Thumbprint Guest Book & table numbers: Bear Witness Studio

DIY projects
Decor primarily by the bride Megan Rosenbloom & groomsman Alexis Bourbeau
Custom Lighting by groomsman Alexis Bourbeau (
Mothers’ shawls, groom’s kippah, and bride’s capelet knit by the bride
Challah cover embroidery by the groom’s aunt Alma Schneider, sewn by the bride

If there is one lesson to take from Etan and Megan’s big day it’s to be realistic about your time. Most ladies become DIY divas in an effort to add personal touches to their wedding days. Luckily, friends and family are often eager to help. Be sure to let them. Be honest about your own limitations and allow others to step in and help. A wedding is your day, but those who love you truly want to offer a supporting hand in the festivities. There’s nothing wrong with accepting that – in fact, it will probably help things go more smoothly.

Congrats to Megan and Etan, and special thanks to their wedding photographers, Lindsay and Sarah! 


Real Wedding: Natalie & Rich’s Sweet Seaside Elopement In Laguna Beach

These are the kind of pictures I think every bride should see before she starts planning a $25K wedding in earnest. Because you know, if this is all you need for your wedding — a beach, a dress, a beautiful bouquet, the person you love most in the world, your pooch and a few BFFs, well then, why not just elope? Natalie and Rich pulled together a gorgeous elopement in Laguna Beach for almost nothing. Natalie’s dress was $200. The flowers were $80.  The officiant was a dear friend, and performed the ceremony for free. The wedding party all went out for dinner afterwards, and of course, no one let the bride and groom pay for their own meal. We’re so pleased to share this celebration with our readers, because BABs, this is what it’s all about.

From the bride: “I’ve always dreamed of a small, intimate and meaningful wedding for as long as I can remember. One that is about the love of two people and where there is no distraction away from that. The stress of extra details and spending thousands didn’t make sense to us because it didn’t feel like us. We just wanted to make the most important day of our lives be about how much we love each other and not about if the napkins match the chair bows. I’m a Yogi and Rich is so laid back so it didn’t make sense to us to have the one day of our lives that is the day we make our love and commitment officially known to the world be a big, fussy event.”

When we talked about our wedding and what it would feel like, it was no discussion- an intimate, oceanside wedding was the right choice for us. With a couple dear friends and the focus on the most important thing; Our Love. A smaller wedding really suited us – I’ve always had a special connection to Laguna so it was the perfect place for our special day. I arranged my flowers myself and my best friend from Canada came down to get ready with me and be there for us.  My dear friend Gigi sang a beautiful song in Sanskrit which I hold dear to my heart. We all joined in as everyone stood in a circle around us. Then our friend Seth said a prayer for us. We wouldn’t change a thing.”

A gajillion thanks to Natalie and Rich for sharing their beautiful day with us! And special thanks to their photographer friend Seth Heringer for sharing these fabulous photos!

{Win This} Listen Up, L.A. Beer Lovers! Win A Ticket To ColLAboration’s “Winterfest” & FREE BEER

We have an extra helping of giveaway goodness this week, especially for BABs in the Los Angeles metro area! Some of our fave local breweries and bars regularly combine forces to hold a seasonal beer SMACK-DOWN, and this time it’s taking place at beautiful Belasco! ColLAboration Craft Beer Garden and Events is hosting a Winterfest celebration on Sunday, February 26th, from 12-5. ALL of L.A.’s craft beer bigwigs will be represented –  Golden Road Brewing, Tony’s Darts Away, Verdugo Bar, 38 Degrees, Surly Goat, Blue Palms…the list goes on!

ONE winner will get a free ticket to the event, a souvenir glass of their choosing, and 3 beer tokens. Win a ticket, and buy one for your BFF or fiance! Winterfest sounds like a pretty fabulous date night, no? To enter to win, just leave a comment on this blog post!

And while you’re there, keep an eye out for my ass. You KNOW I wouldn’t miss this shiz.

A Halloween Scene, Part 2: #AceHalloween In Palm Springs

Palm Springs is one of those magical places. A place that draws sun worshipers young and old to the middle of the desert. And this Halloween we couldn’t resist her siren song. Wait, was that a siren song, or just the booty-shaking beats of The Flash Dance bouncing through the desert plains? Yup. Our hugely talented friend Michael Antonia, aka The Human Jukebox threw a Halloween party with our other immensely talented friends, event planners Bash Please. The location was the cooler than cool Ace Hotel, and when we got a call from the ghost of Frank Sinatra saying that was where he was spending his Halloween, we knew we had to be there. As old blue eyes used to say, “ROOOOAD TRIP!” (I’m pretty sure he never said that.)

Here is a pic of our host:

OK that’s not our host I just wanted to shamelessly put a picture of my dog in a batman costume on the site. SUE ME! (please don’t sue me)  OK lets get serious. Serious about partying that is…

Normally, the Ace is just hip sunbathers galore:

But this halloween some crazy characters came out to play… (and you may know some of them). Thanks Smilebooth for these fun pics:

Among others: Angela, Bri, Amanda, Michael, Hunter, Dana, Jaimi, Kelly, Tori & Paige.

Elizabeth, Michael, Bri, Crystal, Anne &

Happy Halloween to all and to all a good night!


A Halloween Scene, Part 1: What the Tarot Card Reader Said

We went to an utterly spooktastic halloween party at our friend Amber’s house last weekend…. he as zombie Bob Ross, and me as a Fall Fairy. We brought some friends, too.

Fairies and penguins, slackers and zombies…. oh my!

Amber and her friends did an amazing job setting up the party, themed after a haunted carnival. Everything from the mood to the food was eeeeerily awesome.

A carnival canopy of twinkling lights

The sideshow-style artwork and a bar modeled like the back of a gypsy wagon were some of my favorite decorations

Themey carnie grub like gummy worm-infested popcorn, peanuts and pretzels kept us close to the buffet all night.

They also had a tarot card reader there, as a treat. We signed up. Our host suggested we go in together, it sounded fun, so we did. Let me preface this by saying that I’d seen a tarot card reader exactly once in my life before then. At another party. And it was pretty dead on. Like, scarily on point. And, while I personally doubt that cards can predict one’s future, I do believe in the power of keen intuition… and that some people are more tuned in to their’s than others. And if not, well, its good for a laugh, right?

So, we walked into the Tarot room. The reader was there. A former actress that used to pretend to be a psychic…. until she “realized she really is one”.

She got all lit up and bubbly when we sat down. Said we had incredible energy as a couple. She gave us each a tarot deck to shuffle while each focusing on a question.

Hunter was up first, and asked about his career. The psychic saw lots of success in acting in his future. Character acting. Definitely many future return trips to New York for work. Broadway, maybe? She had visions of him performing monologues…. speeches. We watched as she stared intently at a blank spot across the room, intensely trying to decipher what her vision of the phantom-future Hunter was performing there. A Sitcom, perhaps? Or a one-man-show? “Definitely, stick to acting”, she told him. “There’s a future for you there.”

I looked over at him, happily. He looked happy too. That was exactly what he needed to hear.

My turn. I cut the deck. “Am I on the right path?” I wondered, feeling kind of silly saying it out loud.

I didn’t quite get the answer to that, but she was very excited. “I don’t even need the cards with you two. The energy is amazing. I can just see it!” She started bubbling.

Abruptly, she got serious. “You guys have got to stay together. You have to. I can just hear them…. all the kids out there….. lined up out there, hoping to be your children. I can hear them”.  I’m not sure what better compliment you can give to a couple, especially when the wife in question has a biological clock sounding its alarm every five minutes. All those babies out there… just wishing for us? I could cry just thinking about that.

She went on to tell me that I am a leader, and that people are drawn to want to work with me. More specifically, that “people want to sit below you, and listen to you.” She told me I had no ego (oh, how I wish that were true). She looked me dead in the eye. “You’re the boss,” she said “You’re in charge.”

She looked at Hunter. “She’s the boss.”

“Oh, I know” he said, laughing. I blushed. As a business owner, being the boss both comes naturally to me and yet owning it is a constant struggle. It was awkwardly comforting to hear her say that to me with such conviction, like it was undeniable fact, and I was the only one doubting it.

Then she cautioned me “don’t let anyone sign your checks. You must always know where your money is going. I have to say this, so you can’t say I didn’t…. you have to sign your checks. You,” she said to Hunter, “can write them, but she has to know where the money is.” Eeek. That’s kind of ominous, no? Well, I guess it is or isn’t. Depending on how tight a handle I can manage to keep on our monies.

And then….. our time was up.

Truth or fiction aside, it was an entertaining experience that perked up my confidence and allayed some of my fears. My rational side is inclined to dismiss it all away as novelty, but my imagination, my ego (ah, that tricky ego) and my heart desperately want to believe her. There’s much to be said about the power of intuition, and I hope that, on most points, hers knows what its talking about. But one thing’s definitely in my future: the next time I have the chance to visit with a Tarot reader for free, I’ll take it. Cuz, hey, why not… right?

Thanks to Amber for such a fun Halloween eve!


The Wedding Pantry

Our friend Eva (one of the brilliantly talented ladies behind Utterly Engaged e-zine) just opened a fantastic new boutique called The Wedding Pantry, focused on serving the needs of brides and grooms prepping for their wedding and offering some wedding inspiration… and I had to share it with y’all because I’m so excited for her!

The boutique features unique merchandise such as bridal jewelry and handbags, featuring local vendors, and hosting fun events such as trunk shows and DIY classes in calligraphy, favors and more!  Its also a great place for brides to meet with prospective vendors, or browse through magazines and books for inspiration in the lounge.

I really admire Eva. She got this idea and turned around and made it happen with such ferocious ambition!  I’ve loved following along the process on The Wedding Pantry blogsite. Its truly a homegrown business with big hearts behind it.

Utterly Engaged calls the Wedding Pantry home, and will be holding launch parties for their new e-zine issue releases here, too. The next one is May 31st and has a s’mores theme, so The Fresh Hubby and I will definitely be there! (I mean, c’mon. Its s’mores!)  But they have a ton of fun events coming up, so check their calendar regularly. The DIY bouquet workshop on May 28th is perfection for you broke-asses, dontchaknow.

The Wedding Pantry is located at 138 Main Street in Tustin, CA. Give Eva a big hug for us when you go!

Photos courtesy of Connie M. Chung


Three Hundred Sixty Five Days Ago Today…

…I got to wear my favorite dress. And was surrounded by my favorite people.


I said “I do” and gave my heart, my soul, my most intimate and vulnerable self over to my most favoritest person in the whole world, joining our lives together forever.

I laughed and cried, toasted and danced, laughed and cried some more.

One year ago today, I went from bride to wife.

One year ago today, a family was born.

And together, we began a new life.

The Big Day from Digital Princess Productions on Vimeo

In the past year we’ve known joy and pain, struggle and success, more laughter and more tears. Our vows have been tested and reaffirmed. We have learned that marriage is an effort as much as it is a blessing…. an intention we renew each day when we say good morning and each evening when we kiss goodnight.

Today, at the same time we did one year ago, we will say our vows again…. to remind each other and ourselves of the promises we made and the gift we give each other every day.

And we will celebrate. For our past, and for our future. Because today, like this day last year, begins another new chapter in our lives, as it is also the first day of life working for ourselves, pursuing new dreams together as a team full-time. The beginning of freedom and fearlessness, of ambition and tenacity, of nurturing and growth, of baby steps and big leaps.

Thank you for being a such a big part of the past year and of our lives. Your support and friendship gives us more joy and satisfaction than you’ll ever know. We are so excited for the future with you, continuing to share our lives and giving you our best to you as we move forward into this new day. So that you all can have a day that is to you as personal and meaningful as ours was one year ago today…. and carry that moment over into a life equally as rich, no matter what your budget.

So here’s to my partner. My best friend. My love. My light. My husband. My Cazador.

Here’s to our family.

And here’s to marriage. To the end of our first year, the beginning of our second, and to countless more May 24ths.

And here’s to you. And to the future.


(photos by Chennergy, video by Digital Princess Productions)