Tag Archives: los angeles wedding planner


iPhone sneak peek from a shoot I did this fall - a Ralph Lauren inspired tablescape

Happy 2011, all! So, I’ve been a very bad blogger for the past few months but I promise it’s with good reason. I’ve been insanely busy with some fabulous weddings, events, styled shoots, a big move, buying our first home AND renovating it – phew! The past few months have been an amazing journey, and I’m excited to announce that we are now officially settled in the Northern California Bay Area.

This move has been a long time coming; the hubby is from SF originally and we longed to move from the entertainment-industry centric city of Los Angeles to San Francisco for a few years now. To prepare, I started taking San Francisco and Napa wedding bookings two years ago and spent 30% of my time in NorCal and 70% in SoCal. Now that The Stylish Soiree is officially a San Francisco-based event planning and wedding design firm, I spend 70% of my time up here and 30% of my time catering to my fabulous Los Angeles and San Diego clientele. It’s been a whirlwind of a year and quite the transition, but I can honestly say I have never been happier. 🙂

With that said, I am still on the hunt for a perfect office space in Los Angeles, and in the meantime am meeting with clients wherever is most convenient for them. I do not charge travel fees for Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco or Napa events, and love planning long distance or destination weddings for clients. Plus, since I’m down in Southern California each and every month I still see my SoCal clients just as often as my NorCal clients – it’s a really great situation and I’m feeling super excited and blessed about how everything turned out.

Now that the holidays are over and we’re settling into our home, I promise to catch up on all the beautiful wedding design eye candy I haven’t posted on yet, as well as little glimpses into our own journey to home design and renovation. Thank you for all the readers who have stuck out the long dry spell – there are lots of pretty things in store coming your way for 2012.

Warm Wishes,

Yelena Johnson | Creative Director | The Stylish Soiree

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The Stylish Soiree Featured in Glamour!

We’ve been getting some really exciting press lately, including a recent feature in Glamour magazine. The lovely Rosemary Brennan, writer for Glamour, interviewed me about ways that couples are taking the nontraditional route on their wedding day.  The tip that appeared in the article was about couples opting to forgo the traditional champagne toast during dinner. Instead of spending extra money by purchasing enough champagne for a quick toast (which many guests take one sip of before returning to their original cocktail or glass of wine), more and more couples are simply letting guests toast with whatever is already at their table. Here is the blurb that appeared in Glamour:

I know the text is tiny, so I’ve copied and pasted the content below. Or, you can go to Glamour’s website and read the full article.

Champagne isn’t essential.

When it’s time to make toasts, the champagne doesn’t need to flow freely—or at all. “A champagne toast is a long-standing tradition that budget-conscious couples sometimes skip on their wedding day,” says Yelena Johnson, wedding planner and creative director of the Stylish Soiree in Beverly Hills. “Guests tend to stick to their drink of preference, so much of the champagne purchased for the toast is wasted after only one sip. For couples paying an additional fee for the toasting champagne, it often makes sense for guests to raise a glass of whatever they are already drinking.”

A huge thank you to Rosemary for featuring our advice and for being such a great interviewer… and best wishes to her on her own upcoming wedding in May!

XO, Yelena Johnson | Creative Director & Principal Wedding Planner | The Stylish Soiree | @StylishSoireeYJ

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Filed under Party and Wedding Etiquette, Press

The Stylish Soiree Featured in the San Diego Union Tribune

The Stylish Soiree has been out and about in the press lately, including this little feature on guest etiquette from the San Diego Union Tribune. I grew up in San Diego my entire life, so even though we’ve already been featured on bigger news outlets like AOL Living and Extra, seeing my name in print in the Lifestyle section was still pretty darn exciting.  🙂

The article was about proper hosting and guest etiquette for guests who have overstayed their welcome at a party, and how to kindly encourage them to go home. Here is the blurb with my advice:

” Yelena Johnson, creative director and principal planner for The Stylish Soiree, an event-planning company, says it’s acceptable to put a start and end time on your party’s invitation.

Another option that Johnson recommends is to plan an after-party at a nearby restaurant or bar. As she puts it: “If they know that the party is moving on, party animals will follow suit.”

You can read the rest of the article at Sign On San Diego. If you’ve ever wondered how to get your lingering guests to move on, here is more etiquette advice from yours truly:

Gracious Guest Tip 1: Guests should first and foremost remember to be considerate of their hosts, whether the event is a grand wedding or a low-key family birthday party. One of the best ways to be a gracious guest is to be respectful of the host and hostess’ time. Never arrive more than ten minutes early to a party (since that’s when the host will be running around wrapping up last minute details) and try to never arrive more than fifteen minutes late.  If the event is a wedding, be sure to arrive early – there is nothing worse than a late comer interrupting the ceremony with their shuffling footsteps in the back of a church or synagogue.

Gracious Guest Tip 2: Always read and adhere to the timing of the event, which should be printed on the invitation. With the growing prevalence of online party invitations it’s easy to take a lax attitude towards the start and end time, but the host or hostess picked out that particular timing for a reason – ensure that you’ll be invited back by respecting the timing they chose.

Gracious Guest Tip 3: When the crowd at a wedding or party begins thinning out, the only people who should stick around until the very end are those closest to the host and hostess (or bride and groom). Overstaying your welcome not only displays poor etiquette, it can also become awkward when the hosts are ready to call it a night and you’re lingering around.

Etiquette Tips for Hosts:

Party animal who just won’t leave? Consider using the following tricks to ensure guests don’t take advantage of your hospitality:

Hosting Tip 1: Always, always, always include both a start time and an end time for your party.  The vast majority of guests will take heed and you will dramatically reduce the chance of perpetual partyers sticking around.

Hosting Tip 2:
Sometimes well-intentioned guests just won’t leave. For a daytime event, a tactful way to encourage their departure is to wrap up the conversation by saying something to the extent of, “Well, I’ve had so much fun seeing you today! I wish we could chat longer but I have to get ready for {insert other appointment/meeting/excuse here}. Thank you so much for coming, let’s grab lunch soon so we can finish catching up.”

Hosting Tip 3: For evening wedding stragglers who want to keep the party going, create an ‘after party’ plan at a popular local bar or lounge. Add the plan to your wedding’s website or let guests know by word of mouth that they can continue the festivities elsewhere. Then, print out nice cards with the name of the after party location and directions so guests can pick them up on their way out of your reception venue, along with the phone number of a local cab company. If they know that the party is moving on, party animals will follow suit.  This way the bride and groom are spared having to kick them out of the reception, and they can head to bed if they are too tired to continue the party without feeling like bad hosts.

Have you ever had guests who just wouldn’t leave the party? What are your favorite tips for getting stragglers to hit the road?

XO, Yelena

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Wedding Engagement Photo Shoot – Meg & Tim

I think I may have already gushed about how excited I am to be planning Meg & Tim’s November wedding. But just in case I haven’t, let me say that I am beyond ecstatic that Meg and Tim decided to hire me as their wedding planner. Not only are they amazing people and a wonderful couple, but they have such a fun, stylish vibe and are getting married in an awesome historical venue just outside San Francisco. In short, they are dream clients and I couldn’t be more blessed.

Miss Meg is a ridiculously talented wedding photographer herself, so of course she picked one of the best photographers to trust with her own wedding photos – the one and only Jasmine Star. Jasmine posted a few gorgeous shots from Meg & Tim’s engagement shoot on her own blog last week and I had to ask if she’d allow me to repost a few here. I mean, I just couldn’t resist sharing their beauty with you all. And when you see them, you’ll know exactly why: a fabulous faux party scene, great clothing and beautiful photographs of a couple in love… it just doesn’t get much better than that. If you loved this sneak peek, be sure to head over to Jasmine’s blog for more pretty, pretty pictures of Meg & Tim.

P.S. How fabulous are Meg’s shoes? She is a girl after my own heart! 🙂

That’s all for the lovely photos… hope you’re all enjoying a wonderful weekend! The weather is divine in Los Angeles, so I’m heading out to take the doggies for a nice, long walk…

XO, Yelena Johnson – Creative Director – The Stylish Soiree


Filed under Engagement Photo Shoots, The Style Files

More Details from our Chanel-inspired wedding shoot…

Some of my very favorite details from our Chanel wedding inspiration shoot included the bridal and bridesmaid accessories. The white enamel and gold bangles, the Kenneth Jay Lane oversize flower ring, gloves, lace tights and the big floral headpieces injected the ‘wow factor’ into the bridal and bridesmaid looks. That is precisely why I love styling brides – it truly is an art, and you have to have a well honed sense of balance, taste, color and proportion to get it just right. Every new outfit I set out to create for this shoot felt like an exhilarating new challenge… especially since the store that originally promised us pieces for the bridesmaids fell through a day before and I picked out all new the pieces seen in the shoot in an hour.

Doing a wedding shoot like this once again reminded me that beauty really is all around, and I am so grateful to have a career that I am deeply passionate about. Hope you have enjoyed all the eye candy. Until next time…


Yelena Johnson

Creative Director & Principal Consultant, The Stylish Soiree

Vendor Credits: Styling, planning & design development: Yelena Johnson, The Stylish Soiree / Photography: Allison & Kyle Richter of Studio 28 Photo / Floral Design: Carissa Jones, JL Designs & Events / Paper Goods: Calligraphy Katrina and Maison du Papier / Hair & Makeup: Dedra Whitt / Venue: Brookside Equestrian Center, Walnut, CA; Contact Lisa Walton-Cortes / Wedding Dresses: L’ezu Atelier in Beverly Hills, CA; Contact Patricia Nevil / Dresses Used in Shoot (from L’ezu): Acqua di Rosa (blush silk gown with chiffon detail at neck), Acqua di Giglio (silk with chiffon overlay, one shoulder and black pearl/floral details), Alonso (short dress) / Rentals: Party Rental King; white ladderback chairs, mirror and black French glass chargers / Linens: Wildflower Linens

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Filed under The Style Files, Wedding Fashion, Wedding Planner Thoughts & Musings

Chanel Inspired Wedding Featured on Style Me Pretty

I’m so excited to announce that the Chanel-inspired wedding I styled & designed with Studio 28 Photo and JL Designs has been featured on my absolute favorite wedding blog, Style Me Pretty. The shoot was inspired by the Chanel Spring 2010 RTW runway collection and was such a dream to style and design.

What I loved most about styling for this photo shoot was that we incorporated both high end and low end fashion into each look yet it all looks incredibly luxe and chic – you can’t tell which pieces are from Forever21 versus Marc Jacobs, which jewelry is real and which is costume. I wanted to pull together this wedding photo shoot to help illustrate the value of good styling and hiring a wedding planner with an eye for fashion. My ideal clients are women drawn to beauty, taste and stylish design, and I hope that that this Chanel-inspired shoot speaks to their sense of aesthetics. Enjoy!

Vendor Credits: Styling, planning & design development: Yelena Johnson, The Stylish Soiree / Photography: Allison & Kyle Richter of Studio 28 Photo / Floral Design: Carissa Jones, JL Designs & Events / Paper Goods: Calligraphy Katrina and Maison du Papier / Hair & Makeup: Dedra Whitt / Venue: Brookside Equestrian Center, Walnut, CA; Contact Lisa Walton-Cortes / Wedding Dresses: L’ezu Atelier in Beverly Hills, CA; Contact Patricia Nevil / Dresses Used in Shoot (from L’ezu): Acqua di Rosa (blush silk gown with chiffon detail at neck), Acqua di Giglio (silk with chiffon overlay, one shoulder and black pearl/floral details), Alonso (short dress) / Rentals: Party Rental King; white ladderback chairs, mirror and black French glass chargers / Linens: Wildflower Linens

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Filed under Inspiration Boards, The Style Files, Wedding Fashion

Los Angeles Wedding Planner via… Florida?

Last week I penned a blog post for Florida bridal blog La Belle Mariee {a Brides To Be Blog} all about bridal style and how to pick the right wedding dress. Wedding dress styling is very near and dear to me and The Stylish Soiree, and can make a huge difference in the aesthetic of your wedding. No matter how pretty the flowers are or how perfect the linens match your decor, an ill-fitting, unflattering or over-accessorized bridal look can kill it all in an instant. Here is an excerpt from my post to give you a taste for the advice I doled out… be sure to visit La Belle Mariee for the full article! And remember…. Life is beautiful, celebrate accordingly!        XO, Yelena

Bridal style is a topic that many engaged women struggle with. From finding the perfect style to choosing between bright white and soft white satin through swatches (hint: never, ever pick the bright white!), wedding dress shopping can feel spark powerful emotions – not all of them positive. To help future brides navigate the endless sea of white satin and chiffon, The Stylish Soiree lends our styling expertise to each dress shopping session, consulting our clients on what works best for their wedding, personality, style and body type. For brides who are struggling to find their ideal wedding dress without professional help, here are a three important tips on how to achieve a bridal style that is uniquely you, and innately stylish.
*Wedding dress featured is Priscilla of Boston Style 4509… gorgeous, right?!

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Filed under The Style Files, wedding dress tips, Wedding Fashion

Wedding Planning & More in 2010

So far 2010 has been so busy, exciting and full of life for  The Stylish Soiree that I’ve hardly had time to create new posts! Keep your eyes peeled for some top-secret but super stylish wedding photo shoots we’re working on that will be bursting with fashion & decor inspirations, as well as more tips on finding that dream dress while on a budget, and fabulous guest blog posts from wedding industry experts.

I honestly couldn’t be more excited for this year. If the past few weeks are any indication, 2010 is shaping up to be a year of intense momentum with lots of big, exciting projects & scintillating surprises in store. I’m so glad you are sticking with me, and I can’t wait to share the ride with all of you, my dear readers.  Stay tuned for stunning aesthetics!

Happy Planning & Warm Wishes,


*image by Rodney Smith

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Filed under Uncategorized, Wedding Planner Thoughts & Musings

Tips for Wedding Dress Shopping: Day 1

Christos Desiree gown, new for Spring 2010As promised, I’m going to cover some of my top tips for wedding dress shopping. Finding the perfect dress is a different experience for everyone, but I am a firm believer that every woman should fall in love with her wedding dress.  Even if you do not feel that your wedding day is “the most important day of your life,” the fact remains that the dress you choose to wear on your wedding will be forever commemorated in nearly 1,000 pictures from your photographer. In addition to it being the most photographed day of your life, all of your favorite people will be there (probably at least 100 of them) to see you, many of whom you do not see on a regular basis. The bottom line is that you want to look beautiful, feel comfortable, and really shine in the dress you choose for your wedding day.

Over the course of the next week or two, I’m going to cover my top tips for finding the right dress for your wedding. Today I will start with the first in the series. I hope you find this info useful and helpful – feel free to email me with any questions or comments, I’d be happy to give additional advice tailored to your situation.

Wedding Dress Shopping Tip #1: Know Thyself

The girl who knows her own personal style well will have a much smoother time finding her perfect wedding dress. It”s important to remember that you should look like you on your wedding day – only better.  If you have always loved frilly, girly clothing, start by looking for wedding gowns that match that style aesthetic. You might look great in a slinky, body-hugging silk dress fit for a Hollywood starlet, but when you look back on your photos a year from now are you going to wish you opted for something made of tulle and lace?

Your wedding day is the ultimate expression of you and your fiance – of who you are as a couple, and who you are as individuals.  When shopping for a dress, this means you should stick with what styles resonate with your personality and usual clothing taste. The other benefit of knowing thyself and your preferred style is that it helps narrow down the overwhelming sea of wedding dress options, which are easy to get lost in when you start looking at all the dress ads.  Of course the dresses all look great on models in the magazines (let’s be honest, the ads were specifically styled with a certain type of model that best fits the dresses aesthetic!), but by sticking to styles that align with your own innate style you will guarantee finding a dress that you love.

Stay tuned for more wedding dress shopping tips, including who to bring to the bridal appointment, how to set a dress budget, alteration advice, where to find the best wedding dress deals, and which silhouettes are ideal for certain body types. Let me know if you have any special requests too!

XO, Yelena

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A little inspiration

I have been out of town for the last two weekends and swamped during the week, so I apologize for the lack of posts.  Here is a gorgeous getting ready shot by LA photographer Josef Isayo to ogle until I have time to post more!

Blue room with bride - josef isayo photography

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Filed under Wedding Photography