Things have changed a little…

We hear it all the time, and it's usually a well-meaning parent or relative eager to share advice and life experience with happily engaged couple. "When we got married…" or "It used to be that you would…" are two of the best-intended phrases that will undoubtedly elicit a bemused eye-roll from any modern bride. 26th anniversary

Inspired by a few recent advice-interventions and my own parent's 26th wedding anniversary (Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!), I thought I would take a look back at the recent history of weddings and how things have changed a over the last 30 years.


While the 60's was marked with a strong desire for diversity and uniqueness, the wedding industry didn't see as much of that change until about a decade later. In the 1970's, American brides were hell-bent on marking their marriages without any of the hold over traditions and formal expectations from the 1950's. Gowns in the '70s ranged from hippie frocks to fairytale princess gowns, pantsuits to punk-influenced dresses, and a revival of '30s and '40s silhouettes. For the first time, weddings were not being held in churches and the idea of a "destination wedding" was born from these wild rebels :-)


Maria-and-Vincent-Sainato-1985 ken-audrey-ogorman-may-22-1982-6The trend of unique weddings pretty much faded into the background when Princess Diana of Wales married Prince Charles in 1981. The beauty and glamour of the royal wedding immediately brought traditional, ceremonial weddings back into style. Every bride dreamed of replicating Princess Di on her wedding day, and no expense would be spared for the big moment. Cathedral trains, lace-edged frills, full-length veils, and oversized bouquets all made a comeback during the 80s. Four tiered cakes which were the standard during the the 1950 and 60's, now soured to up to 8 tiers (!) and couples continued to build on the idea of the perfect, dreamlike wedding day, and average costs for weddings began to soar. For the first time, couples were able to capture their weddings on film and the wedding videography business was born.


Weddings were extremely an extremely big part of pop culture in the 1990s with movies like Father of the Bride, Four Weddings and a Funeral, My Best Friend's Wedding, and Runaway Bride, and bridal styles became much more simple (think Carolyn Bessette's bias-cut shift dress for her 1996 marriage to John F. Kennedy Jr.). While wedding budgets continued to go up, so did the popularity of elopements and intimate destination weddings.


This is when personality rather than tradition prevailed. The idea of making your wedding day your own has became more acceptable and creativity was praised. Whether your invasion of the perfect wedding day is with all of the glitz and glamour or a casual picnic in the park, make it your own! The economic recession, as well as the rise of social media gave brides more reason to search for inspiration and budget friendly alternatives to traditional wedding options. We saw an resurgence of the homespun ceremonies of the early 1900's and the birth of the (term) "DIY Bride."



natalie_dylan_sneak_peek-015Who knows how our modern brides will be categorized in 40 years?! The only limitations to couples are their imaginations. No matter the wedding style they choose, couples have unlimited access to creative inspiration and professionals to execute their vision. Many are choosing to incorporate some of the trends that became popular when they offered budget-saving alternatives (i.e., mason jars, burlap details, chalkboard signs which all replaced traditional wedding details) but now offer unlimited personalization. Technology is more incorporated into weddings than it has ever been before (both in the planning process and as a way to engage and connect guests) and the next new trend is just a few Pins away :-)

So the next time a family member offers anecdotes and ideas from their own wedding, just remember, anything goes now and you have the freedom to incorporate any tradition, throwback or forward-thinking idea you want into your celebration! Just try to keep the eye rolls to a minimum ;-)

Happy Planning! Xx Danielle

Real Wedding: Emily and Jon

Earlier this spring KSE had the opportunity to work with Emily & Jon and their lovely families on this Bolinas, CA wedding. Emily and Jon are two travelers and adventurers who came down from the lodge that they manage in Alaska to tie the knot in front of their dearest friends and family in a picturesque location and a celebration full of personal and heartfelt details. From the homemade Alaskan red currant jam favors, the wildflowers picked straight from their family friend's garden, and the antique typewriter guest book, their wedding was incredibly personal and special to those who traveled so far to celebrate with them.

The barn at Mann Family Farm is a gem and quite a hidden treasure in this part of West Marin where the locals actually take down directional signs that might point tourists to their idyllic town. To say they keep it local is an understatement and Jon and Emily paid homage to the town by featuring locally grown and raised food and wine selections and supporting local vendors and shops throughout the wedding weekend.

From the moment guests were sung up the hill (no really! Family friends sang a beautiful song as they lead guests to the hilltop ceremony site) to the amazing multi-generational dance party, this wedding was everything we could have hoped for this amazing couple!

Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your love story, Emily and Jon!

Xx Danielle and the KSE team

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Venue: Mann Family Farm in Bolinas, CA

Catering: Preferred Sonoma Caterers

Photography: Anne-Claire Brun Photography

Event Rentals: JRB Event Services

Partial Planning & Coordination: Kai Squared Events

Real Wedding: Carolyn & Michael

Carolyn & Michael were married on an early spring day at Olympia's Valley Estate. From the day I first met with C & M, they described a celebration that was full of beautiful, natural touches, lots of authentic vintage touches and a little bit of glamour. Well, the team that they selected did just that on this beautiful day! They literally partied until the cows came home at this organic dairy farm. [gallery type="rectangular" ids="2178,2173,2211,2212,2213,2174,2179,2170,2192,2193,2195,2196,2201,2202,2203,2204,2208,2189,2214,2223,2224,2225,2216,2217,2218,2219,2220,2221,2222"]

Venue: Olympia's Valley Estate

Caterer: Cordoza's Catering

Photography: Gretchen Gause Photography

Floral Design: M. Design

Rentals: Encore Events Rentals

Band: Hot Buttered Rum

Cake: Forget-Me-Not Cakes

Full Service Planning and Coordination: Kai Squared Events 

Real Wedding: Natalie & Dylan

[gallery type="rectangular" ids="2138,2139,2140,2141,2142,2143,2144,2145,2146,2147,2148,2149,2150,2151,2152"] Photography: Carmen Holt Photography

Venue: Olympia's Valley Estate, Petaluma

Flowers: Blissfulness Florals

Catering: Cordoza's Catering

DJ: Alexander from AMS Wine Country

Partial Planning & Coordination: Kai Squared Events

We LOVE Sneak Peeks!

Some of the photographers that we work with do a little thing called a sneak peek. This is one of our most favorite things because what they do is "leak" a couple of the amazing photos that they've captured of a wedding or event just hours after they leave the site. This means that by the time us wedding planners wrap everything up for the night, peel off our (sensible, yet trendy) ballet flats and crawl into bed with our iPhones for a quick dose of Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest, these amazing photographers have already posted some of the most fantastic images you've ever seen. Well, Gina Petersen knocked it out of the park this weekend when I caught a glimpse of these amazing shots on my Facebook feed on Saturday night.




These images alone were enough to send me into a inspired slumber but then this one popped up as I was liking and sharing away.



I mean really?!? Nothing tells me that the day was as beautiful and magical as we hoped it would be like pictures like these!! Thank you Gina (and all photographers who grace us with these early images!)

To see Gina's full Sneak Peek blog posting, head on over to [embed][/embed]. If the last picture on there doesn't make your heart flutter, we don't know why you're even reading this blog ;-)

xx Danielle

Giveaway Alert!!

Attention Northern California couples!!AFlyingCamer My awesome friends at A Flying Camera are giving away a free 4 hour Photo Booth session to couples that enter before the end of the month. They are so much fun to work with and I would love someone in the Kai Squared Family to win, so enter! Here's how:

  1. Like their Facebook Page
  2. Share the contest on your Facebook Page (feel free to share our post too!)
  3. Complete the entry form on

They'll be drawing a winner on March 31st and word has it that the odds are still really good

Good luck!


New Kai Squared Hours

Happy (almost) Spring! I'm so excited for these beautiful days and the fast approaching wedding season. Here in Sonoma, we are blessed to have an exceptionally long season of beautiful wedding weather which begins in March and goes until October. With that being said, once the season kicks off, my hours change slightly to accommodate more work off site, intense crafting and champagne toasts :-) Beginning in April, my regular work hours will be as follows:

Tuesday-Thursday: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and evenings by appointment

Friday- Monday: By Appointment Only

Office Address: 226 Petaluma Blvd. North, Petaluma, CA

I invite you to stop by my beautiful office for some wedding chat, a glass of bubbles and some inspiration, but I'd hate to miss you so please call Danielle at (415) 717-7277 to make an appointment.





Pretty, huh?! Xx Danielle

Wedding Wednesday: Floral Inspiration

Flowers are an amazing way to elevate a space and transform a location. They can improve your guests' experience, convey joy, whimsy, elegance and happiness and a well designed centerpiece or table grouping can make a world of difference. Whether you know floral design or couldn't tell a rose from a ranunculus, it's important that you know how to express what you like when it's time to start talking flowers.  Below are some awesome examples that can help you determine shape, floral style and size.

Pin a few or print them out along with our floral style guide and seasonal flower guide when you're ready to start meeting with your floral designer.

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Happy Planning!

Xx Danielle

Wedding Planning

“A wedding is a lot like an orchestra- many different elements come together to make one cohesive event. But just as a symphony might feature strings more than horns, not all aspects of the event are equal in importance… It’s important to set priorities in order to give you a filter through which to view your wedding planning.”-Jennifer Shawne, “Instant Weddings: From ‘Will You?’ to ‘I Do!’ In Four Months or Less”

FYI Friday: Stress-Free Bridesmaid Dresses

Little_Borrowed_Dress_Main2014 Okay ladies, let's get real. Being asked to be a bridesmaid in a friends wedding can be quite an intimidating honor. While you couldn't be happier to stand up with your sister/cousin/best friend while she exchanges vows with the love of their life, lots of things come to mind when she pops the question: "Will you be my bridesmaid?"

If you've recently been asked to be a bridesmaid you may soon be daunted with the task of coming to consensus about a bridesmaid dress. When you have a number of beautiful attendants who all favor a different style, color or cut, this can be a true labor of love.


Well, stress a little less, because the lovelies over at Little Borrowed Dress got smart and are offering bridesmaid dress rentals to fit any bridesmaids taste and budget.

How it works:


With 18 dress colors to choose from, there’s a perfect palette for your bridal party.

Need inspiration? Order free fabric swatches to see your colors in person and check out real weddings on the site to see how other brides outfitted their ladies.


Select from more than a dozen dresses that you can mix and match or go for one look. Rental costs start at only $50.


 Once a style has been picked, all you need to do is select a size and place your order.

Use their  size guide to compare your measurements. They send you a free backup size with every rental—just in case.


Place your order at least three months in advance, then sit back and relax. Your dress will be at your door and ready to wear, two weeks before the wedding date.


Returning your LBD is easy. All rentals come with a pre-paid envelope, so just drop it back in the mail two days after the wedding date, et voila! Piece of cake.


Article originally featured on Green Wedding Shoes- a constant source of inspiration for brides and planners alike!

2014 Is The Year of the Wedding Guest

I've had the privilege of working with many couples for nearly ten years. I've helped them create fairy-tale like celebrations, creative and visually stunning moments and out-of-the-box parties that have blown everyone away. I've seen a lot of fun, crafty and crazy trends come and go. Froelich_Faith_HeatherScharfPhotography_0437_0_low

When recently asked by a couple what the biggest wedding "trend" of 2014 I've seen is, I responded without hesitation: THE GUESTS!

But let me explain.

When I ask my couples in our consultations to rank their the ten most important priorities for their wedding day, the one thing that makes it in the top three for nearly ever couple is "Positive and Fun Guest Experience." More important to our couples than a towering custom wedding cake, over the top floral arrangements and an eight course plated meal is that their guests not only enjoy themselves, but leave feeling like VIP guests who were wined, dined and wowed by the details.

From thoughtful details like parasols placed on the seats on a sunny day, shawls for the ladies on a chilly night, thank you gifts for each guest and surprise entertainment during the reception, couples are thinking more and more about how to make their celebration unforgettable for every guest.

Wedding 78

So this has lead me to unofficially proclaim 2014 as the year of the wedding guest and I'm looking forward to sharing a series of tips and tricks to ensuring that you and your guests enjoy every moment of your big day. I'll also be sure to include some tips for wedding guests because when our couples go to great lengths to ensure that their VIPs, it's important that everyone be on their best behavior.

Happy Planning!

Backdrop Inspiration

Whether you're creating a photo backdrop for your next party, dreaming up the perfect place to exchange vows with the love of your life or just creating a fun focal point for a room or photoshoot, check out these inspiring backdrops from Huffington Post. For more inspiration, head over to our Pinterest Board: Arbors, Altars and Chuppahs. Oh my! [gallery type="square" link="file" ids="1762,1763,1764,1765,1766,1767,1768,1769,1770,1771"]

Wedding Wednesday: Invitation Inspiration

Wedding stationery plays a really important role in setting the tone and formality of your big day. Here is a collection some seriously beautiful customizable invitation suites from Paper Source (a must visit for DIY brides and crafters alike). [gallery type="square" columns="4" ids="1728,1727,1726,1729,1730,1731,1732,1733,1734,1735,1736,1737,1738,1742,1741,1740,1739,1743,1744,1745,1746,1750,1749,1748,1747"]

Happy planning!

Tip Tuesday: 5 Things to Know Before Looking For A Venue

Lindsay & Tyler | Photography by Arken Studios | Olympia's Valley Estate Finding a wedding venue is one of the first and most important steps of planning your wedding. And before you dive headfirst into the hunt, make sure that you can answer these questions about your vision for your wedding.

Where do we want to get married? While tradition dictates that a wedding should occur in the bride’s hometown, these days, anything goes. You can get married in your significant other’s hometown, the city where you currently reside, or some other far-off destination. Just be sure that you, your future spouse and both families are aware and comfortable with the general location of where the wedding will take place.

Budget How much money do you have to spend? Hopefully this is something you’ve already figured out, but be sure you have a clear budget in mind – both for your entire wedding and specifically for the venue costs – before you start looking.

Guest Count  While you don’t have to have the exact number of guests nailed down, you should have an estimate – it’s one of the first questions a venue will ask you when you call. This will also help you narrow down venues that are too small – or too big – for your guest count.


Willow Farm

Talk to your future spouse about the style of venue – and wedding – you’re hoping for. A rustic barn in the country or a grand ballroom in the city? A laid-back beach setting or a super-modern loft? You’ll want to make sure you’re on the same page before you tour venues.

Date Do you have a target wedding date – or even season – in mind? If you have an exact date when you’d like to wed, this may narrow down your options significantly – and that can actually be a good thing.

If you are still in search of your wedding venue, please contact Kai Squared Events! We would love to help you discover the place where your fairy tale beginning will take place.

This article originally appeared on WeddingWire. Visit Kai Squared Events page on WeddingWire for client reviews.

Pajama Breakfast Party

When I had my daughter 5 years ago, I knew that I would be planning a series of seriously fun birthday parties for my little girl. What I did not plan on was that at such a young age, she would have so much say in her celebrations. Last year, she helped design her Pink, PINK, P-I-N-K Ballerina Princess party and this year she jumped right into planning her Royal Pajama Breakfast Party. As a mom, I adored this idea! Her guests arrived at 8 am for a breakfast of pink pancakes and waffles, fruit and orange juice in the royal breakfast tent (a detail my little one insisted on), the girls played dress up and and put on a princess fashion show while the moms enjoyed breakfast, coffee and mimosas. By 10 am, all guests were on their way to enjoy the rest of their Saturday with family. I HIGHLY recommend trying out a breakfast party for the younger set.

Here are a few images from the little princess' birthday breakfast.

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FYI Friday: Insurance

Many clients are confused about the type of insurance that they will need for their big day. There are a lot of products available to newlyweds and the most common are wedding insurance and special event liability insurance. Here's a little run down on both types: Insurance Wedding insurance protects against losses due to extreme weather, illness and/or either party experiencing a sudden change of heart. This can recoup monies paid to vendors if your wedding is postponed or cancelled  and should be considered by couples planning a destination wedding or a celebration in a non-traditional  location. This product costs about $500 and is available through Travelers Ins., Fireman's Fund and WedSafe.

Liability insurance protects you (and certain vendors like catering and venue) from claims arising from accidents taking place during the wedding, reception and rehearsal. Most venues require that you name them as an additional insured on a minimum $1,000,000 liability policy with a liquor liability policy. You can get this through your homeowners insurance or regular liability insurance provider as a single day increase in policy or you can go through a private companies like WedSafe. You'll want to provide proof liability insurance when you make final payments to the listed vendors.

The Married Name Game

Which married name is right for you?


Are you engaged or newlywed and curious what married name change option is right for you? Take the Married Name Quiz quiz to find out! Answer ten short questions, and they will use their proprietary name change algorithm to determine your ideal married name. Whether you take two last names, hyphenate, take your maiden name as a middle name or don’t change at all discover the option that is distinctly you!

Tip Tuesday: Five Things to Know Before Beginning Your Wedding Dress Search

Thank you Wedding Wire for the follow five things to keep in mind when selecting your wedding dress: 1. Your Date (Or At Least Your Season).wedding dress 2Season matters, ladies. Not as much as you think, but it does matter. You'll be sweating bullets in structured heavy silk for the summer, and floaty layers of thin chiffon might look silly if you're battling snow come winter. Brides in transitional months like March, April, May, September, and October can get away with a wider variety of styles, but if you're saying I Do during a more extreme weather month, adjust the gown you're looking for accordingly. As a general rule, more substiantial, multi-layered ball gowns and beaded sheaths work better for winter months, and lighter, ethereal styles make sense for summer. The ever-popular fit and flare and trumpet silhouettes works for the widest variety of seasons.

2. Your Venue Type. OCTOBER2013 NEW YORK BRIDAL FASHION WEEKHolding your reception in a cozy NYC restaurant? Might want to re-think the voluminous gown that's impossible to sit down in. Exchanging vows on the beach? Consider a short dress—that way it you won't be kicking sand off of it for years down the line. Practical predicaments like this should impact the kind of dress you look for, and you also want to kick off your search by ruling out things that will seem stylistically out of place at your venue. If your venue is a formal ballroom, for example, avoid rustic lace gowns that feel too casual.

3. Your Budget.This doesn't need to be set in concrete, but you should have an idea of how much is too much before you start pinning only Veras and Moniques. Our suggested approach: work out your overall wedding budget and set your priorities first. This way you'll be able to clearly visualize the things that you care more about spending money on, and the lower the gown falls on list, the smaller the percentage of your budget that should be dedicated to it. Most brides settle somewhere between the $700 and $1500 range, and you can use our wedding dress finder to search for gowns at that price point.

4. What Works for Your Body. wedding dress 3No matter how trendy you are in your everyday life, weddings are not the time for extreme fashion risks. Instead, this day is about knowing your best features and finding a gown that shows them off. This helpful article breaks down the best dresses for the most common body types and offers examples to kickstart your search.

5. To Not Worry (Too Much) About Sizing at the Salon. Ready to start trying things on? Whatever you do, don't get caught up in the numbers. Most wedding dresses still run off haute couture sizing specs instead of the ready-to-wear stuff we're used to seeing at the mall. Go into the process knowing you'll be a few sizes bigger than you're used to so you won't be caught off guard at the salon. Alterations are also an expected part of the process, so make sure you're away of a salons tailoring policy before you commit to purchasing.


Our New Year's Resolution: No Regrets Wedding Planning!

It's a new year and we wish you all the things that you can dream of: Health, Happiness, Joy, Love, Beauty, Success… and most importantly, no regrets! If you're planning a wedding in 2014, do us a favor and make sure that you do not look back on your big day with any regrets for what you should have or could have done differently. Contact Kai Squared Events to get your planning off on the right foot!

No Regrets Wedding Planning