Vendor Spotlight | Back Patio Event Design

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Vendor Spotlight | Back Patio Event Design

So it's happened! The love of your life, your boo and better half has popped the question. Huzzah! So now you're newly engaged and are faced with the daunting task of planning a wedding. It's A LOT. It really is. You have to pick a date, find a venue, create a guest list, and basically plan the biggest party of your life. It should be fun right?? I can't tell you how often I hear couples on their wedding day say, "I'm so glad it's over." It doesn't have to be that way. It SHOULDN'T be that way! 

As a wedding photographer, I know how stressful these decisions can be. Many couples can be overwhelmed by just the sheer volume of options especially in a destination city like San Diego. This is the first in a series of "vendor spotlight" posts where I introduce various vendors that I have worked with in the past. 

Say "hello" to the fabulous, type-A, dynamic duo that is Back Patio Event Design. Together they bring your vision to life, and create personal designs for timeless gatherings by seamlessly blending their East Coast and Southern roots with classic, laid back West Coast style.

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Meet Laura

My mind works like a math problem. When it comes to operations and logistics, I'm confident in saying that 'I get it.' The concept of managing an event from start to finish is fun for me. Making sure guests are accommodated, operations are running smoothly, and any chance of a hiccup, I'm ready with 'back ups for the back ups' to keep the event rolling. Experiencing my own wedding, the joy that can go into the planning with guidance by my side made it fun from start to finish. No joke. There isn't one part of my wedding that I would re-do, and I hope to bring that to other couples as much as I possibly can.

My favorite part of wedding planning is the decor! I love bringing together segments of the event with signage, furniture, accent pieces and florals. Leaving my type A behind, my creative comes out in full force, blending different styles, genres and adding my own personal touch. My dream eventually will be offering florals into our event packages, because that's one place I can find complete calm. Throwing on some tunes and diving into floral arranging for hours!

Favorite Color?  Pink. Always pink. Thank you Lilly Pulitzer. 'Anything is possible with sunshine and a little pink.' -Lilly P

Favorite Food?  Growing up on the east coast I will never deny a Wawa hoagie or a slice of pizza.

Favorite Music?  Phish. Jam music. Classic rock - preferably on vinyl. Live shows are my guilty pleasure. Nothing exists around me when I am checking out a live show. 

Favorite Things to Do?   SEEING LIVE MUSIC, shopping and playing vinyl with my hubby and father, playing with florals, grabbing a coffee and cruising Paper Source (I do this once a week for inspiration...at least thats what I tell my husband!) and staying active with a few workouts or a hike during the week

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Meet Kayla

I grew up working with my mother's small catering business, and absolutely loved anytime we worked weddings, because I got to see events from the production side. I loved what a 'to do' it always was :)  I honestly enjoy every single aspect of planning and executing weddings, probably because I am very goal oriented and logistically minded. Where most people view wedding planning as overwhelming, I see it as goal after goal that I get to accomplish and check off my list. Making sure things run smoothly at the event is then as simple as putting into practice everything you've already set up!

To be quite honest, my favorite part of any event is making things happen. I am definitely a 'do'er more than anything and love taking control of events in order to get things done for people without them even thinking about it. While I love all of the prettiness of a wedding, I most enjoy simply serving people on the happiest day of their life.

Favorite Color?  I think I would have to say navy blue.

Favorite Food?  All of the carbs and dairy. Big fan of yogurt. And cheese - all the dairy.

Favorite Music?  Love classic rock, anything from the Rat Pack era, and country music.

Favorite Things to Do?  Baking is something that I have always loved, and really come back into within the last couple years; beach bike rides with my husband, and camping - which I could definitely use more of in my life.

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Don't let the stress of wedding planning get you down! Do yourself a favor and hire a professional. Seriously. Do it. All the things that make you want to pull your hair out or run and hide are the things that wedding planners and coordinators LIVE for! Literally. It's their job to make your life easier. And they enjoy it! Like a lot! 

The number one thing I hear couples say on their wedding day is, "I'm so glad it's over!" It's normal to feel some relief, but to be more excited that it's over than to be enjoying it right then and there? A wedding planner can make sure that the entire process is nothing but enjoyable for you, so you can truly enjoy what is most important - your marriage!! 

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Saving the Date and SoCal Wedding Venues

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Saving the Date and SoCal Wedding Venues

We are in the midst of, what us in the wedding industry lovingly refer to as, engagement season! You are probably noticing the influx of engagement announcements flooding your newsfeed, or getting snaps of your friend's new bling, or perhaps are now newly engaged and doing the announcing yourself.  After all the excitement of being newly engaged settles, you are now faced with the gauntlet of decisions that come with planning a wedding.  

Fret not! As most people who have "been there and done that" with wedding planning can tell you, the hardest part is picking the date and venue.  You may decide that the date doesn't matter so much as finding the perfect venue and snag the first availability if they book out far in advance. The more popular venues book out (at least) a year in advance. On the other hand, you might have your heart set on a specific date that holds special meaning to you and your partner, thus you may need to search a bit more for a venue that is available.  Either way you go about venue hunting, you will heave a huge sigh of relief once you set the date!

Planning a wedding will be the biggest party you will ever throw in your life, so relax and rest assured there IS something out there for every couple, style, and budget.Being a wedding photographer myself, I have the skinny on a plethora of venues in and around the San Diego area. For the sake of keeping things short and sweet, I've only included a handful of my favorites for today.  

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In no particular order...

I'll start with a new favorite of mine, Green Acre Campus Pointe. I just can't say enough wonderful things about this venue! It's endlessly eclectic style makes for a truly unique space needing little decor for couples in search of something more simple. The patio and nearby garden offer beautiful photo opportunities in addition to the more modern spaces inside. 

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Since the beginning of my career...

I've had the pleasure of shooting at Marina Village in Mission Bay for multiple weddings, and no two weddings have looked the same!  One perk of this venue is that they offer multiple ceremony and reception spaces that vary in size so you can choose the right one to fit your needs, complete with waterfront views. The beauty of this site is your ability to choose! 

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DIY brides rejoice!

For the true DIY bride this next venue is the perfect blank slate to bring your creative vision to life! BRICK in Liberty Station is a truly unique venue. What used to be a Navy barracks unit is now the perfect setting for your big day! Boasting enough room to seat 300 guests, you can create the perfect seating arrangement with plenty of room to dance the night away. Brick also offers the flexibility for you to bring all your favorite vendors. WHAT?!? 

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Woodlands and Wine

Next up, is a venue I hadn't heard of until recently, but instantly fell in love with.  Milagro Winery is a fantastic outdoor venue nestled in the Ramona Valley, with sweeping views of gorgeous vineyards and meadows.  Tie the knot surrounded by your family and friends beneath magnificent oaks trees. You will also have access to unique spaces such as the Granite Wine Cave, the Old Crush House, and a private stone patio. 

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The Old Crush House

The Old Crush House

Timeless Style

Twin Oaks Golf Course in San Marcos exceeds all expectations with all inclusive packages or mix and match to fit your needs. Offering a peaceful outdoor setting complete with lush rolling hills, tranquil ponds and fountains, and a wide open sky this venue has it all to celebrate your love in style! 

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Once you get the hardest part of deciding on your date and venue, the rest is cake! (Figuratively and literally, cause I love me some cake!)

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Community Over Competition: Building Your Own Creative Tribe

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Community Over Competition: Building Your Own Creative Tribe

Community over competition.

This is an idea that I keep as a core value in my business philosophy. Yes, you better believe I am in it to win it, but I don't see why I have to step on anyone else to get there. I am in the business of serving others. My clients lives are enriched by the products and services I offer.

I can't shoot every wedding that comes my way, nor would I want to. Gosh, how exhausting would that be? Just thinking about that makes me need a nap. When we support each other and build a creative tribe, we all succeed.

I am a wedding photographer. And I love photographing weddings! But, sadly, I can’t shoot two weddings at the same time, it’s physically impossible! That’s where my creative tribe comes in. In my tribe are a handful of other photographers that I have worked with that I TRUST to refer couples to. I know those photographers do excellent work, just like me. I also know that those photographers can’t shoot every wedding either. Do you see where I’m going with this? When we stop viewing everyone as “the competition” we can all succeed and grow.  

Is this a natural way to think? No! Especially not in good ol’ ‘Murica where capitalism reigns supreme. Competition is a part of life, and can even be fun at times, but life is not a competition. Life is about relationships. And that’s not to say that everyone will win or find their place to shine. Businesses will fail. Some won’t find their target market and others may manage their business poorly. And some will fail simply because their owners lack the confidence to believe in themselves. But there is a difference between a business failing because it didn’t find its niche and a business failing because other business owners were discouraging or deceptive.  

When I first began my business I viewed everyone as my competition because, well…they are! And I was terrified. I was completely intimidated by other photographers, constantly comparing myself and becoming more and more overwhelmed and discouraged by the second. It was honestly a nightmare and a completely unsustainable way to run my business.

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Start by identifying your creative field.

Do you provide a creative service? Do you make products that us creatives use? Are you a floral artist? Do you bake? Are you an organizer extraordinaire? A writer? Maybe it’s just a hobby, or maybe it’s your sole passion in life?

Great! Now find others in your area who do the same as you. Instagram and Facebook are wonderful tools to easily connect with like-minded creatives. I’m giving you permission to FB stalk the crap out of them! Also, think about joining more specialized groups. Rising Tide Society and Honeybook are an excellent resource for creatives of all kinds. Look for creatives whose work, vibes and message you really connect with. Heck, maybe even reach out and learn more about what they do and how they serve their clients.

Now think about it, is there anyone in your field that you admire? If so, you might be surprised to find that they may offer courses, guides or workshops in order to help and teach creatives just like you looking to learn more and up their game.

I’m not saying you need to make it your personal mission to be besties with every creative individual who crosses your path or give away your trade secrets to just anyone with a business license. I’m not saying we should prop up failing businesses that don’t serve their customers well. What I am saying is - lift others up! Enter into other’s joy! Be open to the fact that you can learn from someone else and maybe they can learn from you, too.

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Expand your horizons.

My tribe isn’t just a “photographers only” club. Don’t get me wrong, I love us, but have you ever seen a gaggle of photographers try to go anywhere? It’s like herding cats! “Do it for the gram,” is our mantra and we can’t walk more than 10 feet without having our insta-wives snap us laughing and looking away in some idyllic spot with delicious lighting. Within my tribe are copy editors, personal coaches, real estate agents, floral artists, production managers, wedding planners, branding gurus, venue owners, cupcake bakers, dress designers, and my list could go on…

When you’ve hit a roadblock sometimes you can be too close to the situation to see all the viable options, it can be incredibly refreshing to have a new viewpoint from someone else. Not only that, bouncing ideas off others can reignite your passions if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or burnt out.

Since I've stepped out of my comfort zone and applied the idea of community over competition into my daily life, not only has my business benefitted, but I'm growing into a person that finds joy in not only my success, but the success of my peers.  If you're looking for somewhere to start, I challenge you to write a note of thanks to 3 people who helped you get where you are today. You might be surprised how something so simple can open doors you didn't realize where there. 

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