Author: Christina Sorensen

Laguna Beach & OC In December

We have always loved Laguna in the wintertime. The lights the ambiance, the fire red and pink sunsets, it gives us all the feels. 

Taken last night December 10th 2018

We feel like no matter how many times we see a sunset in Laguna it’s prettier every time. Each time it is different, and the true beauty of it is how it changes its colors with every season.  

We love shopping at Fashion Island, seeing Santa and visiting the Christmas Tree at South Coast Plaza. 

Taken from Bluebird Beach Ca 

We busted out the Family Cookbook this week and started to make some Christmas cookies. Let’s be honest the smell of cookies is C H R I S T M A S ! 

Tis the Season 

Butter Ball Cookies 

We love all the Santa’s in OC and how real they look! This year we went to see Santa at Fashion Island. It was our daughters very first time and this being her 1st Christmas we totally thought she was going to cry. But she didn’t. Check out the photos below to see. My husband and I were reminiscing and sharing our seeing “Santa Stories” as we waited in line. 


How cute is Santa’s House ! 

Arabella Laguna

Arabella Laguna

Planning a Birthday Party, Family Reunion or even a Wedding, look no further, Arabella Laguna, in beautiful Laguna Beach, offers a destination venue where you can host your event and also accommodate up to 24 guests overnight.

The manicured English style garden area is a lovely backdrop for all events and in the evening transforms into a magical wonderland as all the twinkling lights in the surrounding trees illuminate the courtyard, which accommodates 75-100 guests, comfortably.

The Verandah area, the lower part of the main cottage, features a very large great room with fireplace, oversized dining table, a large sun porch, a bathroom, and a chef’s kitchen complete with a Viking Range, Traulsen Refrigerator, two oversized sinks and two dishwashers.

Whether you are looking for an intimate location to host a family reunion, a quaint, romantic location to host your wedding or the perfect set up for a big celebration, be it a birthday, anniversary, graduation, etc., Arabella Laguna offers all the amenities to make your event a success. Please contact us for rates and further information.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Vintage Garden Guest Cottages Wedding Package Accommodations
2018
Congratulations!
If you are looking for a unique, romantic location for your wedding, look no further, Arabella Laguna
is perfect.
Because of the intimate setting, we are a destination wedding venue and require that you rent the
entire property for your wedding. We can accommodate up to 100 people. The Verandah has a
professional kitchen for your caterer, bathroom for your guests, gift room and living room/sunroom
for your buffet and cake table. Arabella has a total of seven studios, suites and cottages, each with its
own kitchen. Combined, they will accommodate between 16-24 people, utilizing all bed space.
The Weekend Getaway Package which is available from September (after Labor Day) through May
(before Memorial Day), includes all studios, suites and cottages for two nights (this does not include
the North Laguna Summer Home), Friday and Saturday. The cost for the Weekend Getaway
Package is $10,000.00.
Additional nights may be reserved if desired. Check in is at 4:00 P.M. on Friday and check out is
before 12:00 P.M. on Sunday.
There is a $1,000.00 security deposit that is refundable if the property is returned as received. A 50%
deposit is required to hold your reservation, with the balance due 6 months before the event date.
If you would like to schedule an appointment to see the property you may call us at 949-376-5744 or
toll free at 866-376-5744.
Best Regards,
Heather Hatzis and Connie Maxsenti

About Arabella
We were established in the year 2002 after a complete renovation of the historic cottages and accompanying studios and suites.

The four buildings that comprise Arabella Laguna surround a lush English style garden and courtyard; surrounded by blossoming white roses, hydrangeas, and trumpet vines and sheltered by towering elms, you may relax in one of the many sitting areas and enjoy the serene ambiance Arabella Laguna cultivates.

Each cottage, suite or studio is equipped with its own full kitchen, stocked with all the necessities to make you feel at home, and with free wireless internet and on site laundry facilities you may further enjoy your time away. In addition, we are located at the North end of Gallery Row providing you with easy access to the beach, shopping, parks and all the seasonal festivals.

All these unique qualities provide you with a more intimate one of a kind experiences you discover the many charms of Laguna Beach.

We look forward to your visit with us!!

The Ulitmate Guide to Wedding Do’s & Dont’s

Hello there gorgeous girls

We have some very informative insight and we are so very excited to share this with you guys! We are able to offer our brides advice we never could before. For years of planning we thought we were pros but yet, did we didn’t have any idea the insight at that time, that we’re about to share with you today.

After countless Weddings and years of planning, we thought we were experts, pros, yet we never knew how it was to be a real Bride …ourselves, until we up and got married, of course !

Now, let’s sit back and rewind time. If we knew half, of the things we knew today, after walking down that aisle, we would’ve been able to offer our Brides some wonderful in-tell !

This being said we are so pleased to announce some very helpful for Ciao Bella Tips and Tricks for you, our New and upcoming Brides.

Ciao Bella Tips & Tricks take Note:

1. A huge tip you want to avoid is don’t overdo the DIY items, ask for help.
2. Find a bakery near your venue so you don’t have to worry about it being in the vehicle for too long, traffic, car accidents etc. The Wedding Cake needs to be set up 3-prior to reception.
3. Buy two sets of wedding shoes, one beautiful pair and one more comfortable pair- for dinner,dancing and after hours.
4. Don’t drink too much the morning of, I know I know we are about to sound like your parents right now but just trust us when we say, you’re not going to be able to last all day.
5. Make sure you eat a hearty breakfast! I know, now we still like your mother but this is very important! We know how nerve-racking it is to eat early in the morning, on your wedding day nonetheless, but it’s a must.
6. Make sure all of your girls / bridesmaids are well rested.
7. Take a second to breathe and enjoyed each and every moment. This is the day…. you’ve waited your whole life for…..take every second of it in.
8. The day goes by so quickly, be make sure to at least say hi to all the guests who may have traveled far, to be there for you on your Wedding day-. If you can’t get around to saying hi, to everyone —that is.
9. We learned it’s best to do a Thank you to the guests, with our Bride and Groom, with a song after the of the toast speeches.( To accomplished this ) Play a song like “ that’s a more ‘ – “ and have the bride and groom, go around to each table and cheers all the Guests, at each of the tables. It really makes it easy, and it gets the crowd going too! Be sure to make eye contact, or say hi to each of your guests as your doing it. ( Plus it’s FUN ) And your guests will love the interaction, trust us !
10. After that’s done to wrap up the Toasts and Speeches, be sure to thank your guests for coming. ( Once you are back at your headtable or sweetheart table, over the microphone. ) We always like to end, our Ciao Bella Weddings with a thank you speech, from our Bride and Groom. It’s super sweet thoughtful and respectful to your guests for coming to share your love on this very special day of yours.

Ok my pretties, we hope you guys enjoyed our talk — for the latest and greatest, Ciao Bella Tips and Tricks on the blog today! Happy Planning! And happy holidays Ciao for now!

Thanksgiving DIY Designs

Ciao Bella’s Thanksgiving DIY Designs

The holidays bring out the best in us, in all of us we hope! We enjoy giving thanks, not only on Thanksgiving, but throughout the year!

As we sit back, and think about, all the amazing weddings and events we have accomplished thus far, we are left with the utmost gratitude. A smile from ear to ear.

Creating magical moments for our Brides and seeing the excitement in their eyes, when they walk into their venue for the first time, is such an incredible feeling. The confidence and reassurance they get when they see us is so fulfilling.

Designing spectacular events for clients is something we have always dreamed of doing. We cherish the memories we make with our peers, our professional team, and the friends that have turned into family, over the years of being in this industry.

To us, this is what life is truly about. Loving what you do and feeling passionate and proud of your work, is the best feeling, and the greatest gift you can give yourself.

This Thanksgiving we want you to reflect on your accomplishments and give thanks to all that you do for yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back as the year closes and comes to and end. Be thankful for your surroundings and enjoy your life.

There are so many things to be thankful for. Make a list and read it off to yourself. Appreciate the little things and celebrate all wins.

Stay strong always and hold your head up high! We love you, you are amazing and you are killing it -at this thing we call life.

Now, onto our Thanksgiving Tablescape Designs.

This year we couldn’t decide so we did two looks. We would love to hear your feedback.

First look:

We went for a a simplistic chic natural feel.

We used Crystal glasses, Crystal candle stick holders, a beautiful Bohemian chic linen napkin with fringe detail, and the same charger plates for both looks. We loved adding black candles sticks for flare. Paper straws which we do not like to use personally but love to stage and design with ! Crystal Accent Votive candles and white spray painted pine cones.


Second look:

We went for more of the traditional feel.

This was super easy to accomplish. We spray painted some leaves, rose gold metallic, added a few succulents, and some branches of leaves we clipped from the front yard, added a few fresh and trendy elements some Moscow Mule cups and tadaaaa. We had a super cute gingham black and white print runner, that we used to add pattern. Let us know what you think? And which you like best! Leave a comment below!

The Ultimate Guide to The Perfect Proposal

Ciao Bella’s Ulitmate Guide To The Perfect Proposal

1. Hire a professional !
2. They will help you find the perfect spot and location. They will help you design, decorate, stage and set up the proposal accordingly, with the right vendors. They will listen to your specific wants and needs and create a once in a lifetime moment.
3. They will make sure it’s magical !
4. They will hire a photographer and videographer duo for you.
5. Make sure you pick or choose a sentimental location or your personal planner can help assist you in doing so if you haven’t decided already !
6. Speak from the heart when you propose ! This is huge, and very important ! Don’t try to use big words to impress her you got this far right, just be you!
7. Don’t take too long- make it short simple and sweet!
8. Stay in the moment, it’s totally ok to be funny, silly or even laugh, it makes due for even better shots and footage for the photographer and videographer !
9. Look into their eyes when you are speaking, I know you might be nervous, and you will want to shy away from their eyes but steady contact is key ! Just try your best to focus, for that special second, on the way they look at that very moment in time and memorize it.
10. Then your coordinator and Personal planner, will plan for you and your fiancé { yes I said it fiancé !!! } to enjoy a limo ride to a candlelit dinner for the two of you , at your favorite resturant, where a table filled with rose petals, and bottle of your favorite bubbly will be waiting for you. { with your choice of any color rose petals – of course }

Call to get Rates or to Book The Ciao Bella Proposal Package today !

Xo – The Ciao Bella Babes

Wedding Estate Venues

This Hidden Gem is nestled away in the hills of Laguna Beach.

Enchanting and majestic this Historical Landmark, is the perfect place to say “I do!”

Host your next Celebration, Holiday Party, Event or Family Reunion here! This secret garden, is situated in the heart of Laguna Beach.

High Season: Prices may vary please call for rates and availability.

Low Season: Prices may vary please call for rates and availability.

Overnight Accommodations:
Up to 24 guests

The Low Down: Venue + Rehearsal & Overnight Accommodations available at this property ‘
Ceremony: 70 guests seated + Bridal Party
Reception: 80 guests

Venue Style: Tuscany / Garden Party / Spanish  /  mediterranean / Coastal / Suitable to accommodate all sorts of themes.

Venue Type: Estate / Villa / Private Mansion

Views: Ocean / Garden / Hills

Types of Occasions: This Venue is the perfect location for a romantic and intimate Wedding, Event, Party, Celebration, Corporate Party, Holiday or Company Gathering, Cocktail or Private Party, Family Reunion, Special Occasion, Bachlorette Party, Bridal Shower, Baby Shower, anything really, you name!

Our calendars are filling up quick and 2019 & 2020 is booking up fast, to reserve your dates, or to check availability, rates or to tour the Estate please email us.

This Secret Garden Estate is only 650 steps from Heisler Park and only 1000 steps to the pacific and sandy pristine beaches of sunny socal. This Hidden Gem offers fee WiFi and has been newly renovated.

Features 6 Villas and 7 total Exquisite Locations on this Hidden Gem :

Foxglove Studio 2 ppl
Heather Studio 2 ppl
Lavender Suite 3 ppl
Delphinium Suite 4 ppl
Violet Suite 4 ppl
Jacaranda Cottage 5 ppl

Historic Main Cottage : The Main Cottage or house is used for a Common area, the Kitchen Dinning Room, Living Space is for all the Villas.

Call : 949-514-1651

For more information, or to Schedule a meeting, to tour this Estate please email us.

By Appointment Only.

Budget Savvy Brides Listen Up

CAN WE GIVE YOU ONE MAJOR PIECE OF ADVICE

We promise, you will want… to thank us later!

Spend the money on a Wedding Planner, trust us when we say, it will end up costing you more money literally, if you don’t.

Any Wedding Planner knows how to save you money. But most of all they know where to spend it.

Your Wedding Planner knows how to make it look more expensive than it really is, by adding special touches, and details where it matters most.

Wedding Planners are here to give you the best advice, save you the most time & money, and they will guide you in the direction, towards the Wedding YOU deserve!

Not a DIY nightmare, that will end up driving you crazy, and your relationship in a downward spiral. We are being honest here, and we want to help you avoid any kind of disaster.

We know how challenging, planning your own Wedding can be. ( We have done it before, and trust us when we say it is NOT easy ) and how many countless hours, and time it takes away from your new phase, of the “Fiancé Engagement relationship”, is just ridiculous. You should not do that to yourself.

We know when Brides, start to take short cuts, or take on too many DIY projects, and start to spend way too much time calling vendors and comparing prices… that it has only just begun.

( Yet do you have any clue what things costs, or should costs, or how much you need to budget for each Vendor, or how much to save for your Big DAY ??? )

Biting off more than you can chew it is not fun for anyone. Especially not your fiancé, or your family members, nor is it fair for you.

Being a budget savvy bride doesn’t mean you are cheap. It means you are conservative, and you don’t want to splurge on this one day, that is bound to drain everyones bank accounts.

It’s for the brides, who are mature enough to say to themselves, what do I need, want do I want, and what can I live without.

From the Day you get engaged, it’s like a ticking time bomb. I mean…… am I right ladies??????!! This is suppose to be an EXCITING experience, isn’t it. Not a stressful one.

Ever wonder, how you are ever, going to afford the WEDDING of your Dreams?? When even, just hiring a Wedding Planner can seem unaffordable to you right now ?

We are here to help YOU!!!

Our Ciao Bella Planners are Budget Savvy, and ohh soooooo very knowledgable. Our Wedding Packages come with a Complimentary Creative Designer, who can help you design your one of a kind wedding. Your Wedding Planner will also work as their counterpart, to plan and coordinate your every need.

Now, We are going to give you a list of locations in our Hometown, that are fun, feasible, affordable and right by the Beach!!!

I know, I know, you think we are kidding, but we are not !!! HERE IS THE LIST!!

Ciao Bella Budget Savvy Laguna Locations:
1. North of Main Beach ( allowed in Laguna all year- round )
2. Rockpile Beach ( allowed in Laguna all year- round )
3. Picnic Beach ( allowed in Laguna all year- round )
4. Heisler Park Gazebo / & Heisler Park Grassy Lawn
5. Crescent Bay Park Amphitheater
6. Laguna Beach Art Museum
7. Forest & Ocean Gallery
8. Pearl St Beach ( Laguna Beach allows Weddings anytime between Labor Day and Memorial Day )
9. Shaw’s Cove ( Laguna Beach allows Weddings anytime between Labor Day and Memorial Day )
10. Moss Point ( Laguna Beach allows Weddings anytime between Labor Day and Memorial Day )

ALL WEDDINGS REQUIRE A PERMIT FROM THE CITY OF LAGUNA BEACH

MORE OF CIAO BELLA’S FAVORITE SAVVY LOCATIONS IN THE OC:
1. Ole Hanson San Clemente
2. Doheny State Beach Dana Point
3. Califia Historic Cottage San Clemente
4. Lantern Bay Park Dana Point
5. Heritage Park Dana Point
6. Baby Beach / Ocean Institute
7. Cannons Dana Point

ALL WEDDINGS REQUIRE A PERMIT IF IT’S OWNED BY THE CITY OF THE VENUE LOCATION

Ciao Bella Summer Soirée

We are super excited for our upcoming Ciao Bella Summer Soirée in Laguna Beach on Aug 22nd 2018!

We have a fabulous line up of amazing vendors and local pros.

This year we will be featuring an awesome guest and TV Host. {Did you really think we were going to say ….Who? Lol … sorry… } You are just going to wait and see who it will be!

Also, along the side of our amazing, talented, likeminded, business owners, and entrepreneur individuals, we will be having our very own Ciao Bella Babes attending!

Yes, you got it…the actually girls you hear about in all our Yelp and The Knot Reviews! The ones who are behind the scenes, at every Private Estate Party, Celebration, Wedding or Special Event, making me look good!

I can’t give these girls enough credit, for always going above and beyond my expectations. Delivering only top notch service to each and everyone of our clients.

These are the girls who will make your day seamless! Who are on their toes at your beck and call, any point in time, to tackle any obstacle headed their way! They are The Ciao Bella Dream Team!

Check out some of our Boho Babe doing her thangggg from our last styled shoot below! These are photos Ciao Bella Michelle captured behind the scenes!

Xoxo, Ciao Bella !

Ciao Bella Photos ™️ Taken by Michelle Sorensen
Visual Designer : Ciao Bella Christina
Flower Crown: Ciao Bella
Flowers & Decor & Details : Ciao Bella
Photoshoot Model : Kristina Coelho
Photographer : Karina Preciado

Vendor Tipping Etiquette

Wedding Tipping 101

Ciao Bella Staff or your Wedding Planners staff:
Wedding Staff is Who you hire, they are the ones who will be at your beck and call. They will be the one juggling your day and paying attention to every last detail. They will be setting up, staging, decorating, breaking down, cleaning up, and will be the ones who will be there at your every need. Ciao Bella is known for delivering exceptional five star service and our staff greatly appreciate gratuities.
Protocol: Appreciated
The Standard: $50 -$100 each

Tipping Your Wedding Planner:
About 80 percent of couples do tip their planners, only if they feel like they went above and beyond for them. (Negotiations on your behalf, was hands on, from start to finish. Saved you time and money. Handled all meetings with vendors, coordination between you and your venue coordinator. Etc. )
Protocol: Appreciated
The Standard: 10–25 percent of your service charge

Tipping your Wedding Hairstylist and Makeup Artist:
This is one area where gratuity is definitely expected.
Tip between 15 to 25 percent just as you would in a hair salon, and consider giving a little extra if there’s a crisis, like one of your girl ( bridesmaids ) has a meltdown over her curls or make up blah blah blah… and it requires a redo at the last minute. // double tip that gal ‘
Protocol: Expected
The Standard: $25-50
depending upon the quality of service
When to Tip: Tip your beauty stylists at the end of your service.

Tipping your Cake Delivery Service: Protocol: Expected
The Standard: $10-20 per person
When to Tip: Drop off of cake
Envelopes given the morning of to your Wedding planner or Day or coordinator, unless money is give prior to our Wedding day. You must assign a trustworthy person so that they don’t forget to distribute tips accordingly.

Tipping your Wedding Ceremony Officiant:
If your officiant is affiliated with a church or synagogue, you’re often expected to make a donation to that institution. If you’re a member, you’ll probably want to give a larger amount than if you’re not. However, if you’re getting married there and they’re charging you to use the space, feel free to give a smaller amount. Tipping the officiant, both nondenominational and denominational, is also appreciated.
Protocol: Expected (depending on officiant)
The Standard: Donate $100–$500 to the church or synagogue, and for the officiant, an optional tip of $50-$100
When to Tip: Most ceremony fees are required prior to the wedding. Otherwise, have a responsible attendant pass the cash envelope at the rehearsal dinner if the officiant is in attendance.

Wedding Photographer and Videographer:
You’re not expected to give your shutterbugs any money beyond their normal fees. But if the wedding photographer or videographer doesn’t own the studio, consider tipping each person (or give a certain amount with a thank-you note to disperse to staff).
Protocol: Optional
The Standard: $50–$200 per photographer
When to Tip: Tip your photographer and videographer at the end of the reception.

Wedding Venue Staff:
This is usually always included check your contract with your Venues make sure you’re not double tipping these people who are staffed with the venue. Other staff you hire is different and outside of this. If there is no service charge or gratuities on these then yes it’s started to tip them.
Protocol: Expected
The Standard: 15–20 percent of the food and Catering fee or $50-100 per person

Wedding Valet Attendants:
When it comes to valet parking attendants check or ask your planner or the Venue Coordinatior if they are the ones hosting your parking through their location about the rules of tipping that are dictated by your contract.
If the service fee is included, consider doling out extra only if the service was exceptional. If it’s not included, ask ahead of time how many attendants will be working your wedding and calculate on a per person basis.
Protocol: Optional, based on contract
The Standard: $25-50 per Valet attendant
If more than 100 guests = around 50 cars / Under 100 guests $15-20 per parking attendant.

When it comes to bartenders, barbacks and bussers, the rules of tipping are dictated by your contract.
If the service fee is included, consider doling out extra only if the service was exceptional. If it’s not included, ask ahead of time how many people will be working your wedding and calculate on a per person basis.
Protocol: Optional, based on contract
The Standard: 10–20 percent of the liquor or food bill to be split among bartenders or waiters respectively, $1 per guest for coatroom attendees if the venue has any

Wedding Reception Band or DJ:
Whether you hire a 12-piece swing band or a single DJ, tipping musicians is completely optional, depending on the quality of the job and how willing they were to follow your ideal playlist. And don’t forget about any sound technicians they bring with them.
Protocol: Optional, yet preferred
The Standard: $25–$35 per musician;
$50–$150 for DJs
When to Tip: An attendant should tip the musicians or DJ at the end of the reception.

Wedding Transportation:
Again, check your contract, as gratuity is usually included. If it isn’t, plan to tip provided they show up on time, provide a smooth ride and don’t get lost.
Protocol: Expected
The Standard: 15–20 percent of the total bill
When to Tip: Tip transportation pros at the end of the night or after the last ride. If you used a separate company for the

**Rule of Thumb It’s best to give all envelopes sealed to your planner or Dream Day Designer / Day of Coordinator the morning of your Wedding day. When she arrives and greets you, hand her all the envelopes sealed in a bag, along with any Wedding items you will need to be taken over to the Venue. ( ie. Cake topper, champagne flutes, etc., if not the days prior leading up. If you would like to personally hand out the envelopes make sure you don’t loose them, ( this is not recommended only because we have dealt with instances in the past where the Bride or Groom misplaced it or handed it to their MOH or BM and they were day drinking and they don’t remember where they put it. ) Be very careful and only hand it to your Wedding Planner or Day of Coord.

When to Tip: Although tips are traditionally passed out at the end of the event, you could distribute them at the beginning of the evening to encourage all the workers to give you great service.

OC Fair Fun

Days grew shorter and nights grew longer for me and I just didn’t have the energy to make it last year, with my pregnancy. But this year we did!!! And I’m so happy we went!

It was Livy’s first time! There will be tons of first times, for her… from here on out! Her Dada and I love reliving our childhood through her. Seeing things through her eyes, for the first time is such an incredibly, emotional feeling… of pride.

Watching your very own baby respond or react to something he/she has never seen, is just ahhhmazing !!! I remember the days when I wished for moments like these,watching children and babies with their parents. And the joy and happiness babies bring !!! It’s so uplifting !! Zero bad days, over here!! We hit the lottery with this angel baby!

Everyday, I become more intrigued with her ability to retain information. She is so smart and very intelligent already.

Ok, ok so back to the Fair! Side note: Before I go any further… let me just tell you, I’ve been on a cleanse now for almost 3 months and eating Fair food was my cheat day!

So I started this cleanse called Trifectasystem. My husband is a huge MMA fan and all the fighters are on this Organic Food Cleanse. So of course what does he do… he ordered it for us to try!

I’m actually happy he did too! It has been a game changer for me! Especially loosing the rest of my postpartum Baby Weight ! For all you mommy’s looking to get fit it’s starts in the kitchen!

Ok so everytime I eat anything other then this food I get a really bad stomach ache. I literally can not eat out anymore. It’s gotten that bad now. I was super scared going to the Fair knowing how awful the food is for you, but hey I’m always up for a challenge! Hahah Me VS bad food // Bad Food -1 Me -O // let’s just say…that didn’t turn out to good!

And I didn’t even eat that horribly:

-We started with a Hot Dog on a stick! Of course we had to hit up first

-Then Funnel Cake easy on the strawberries ( I love strawberries but sometimes they are too mushy at the Fair ) and tons of whip cream just how I like it

-Lastly, we shared a Philly Cheesesteak sando that was soooooo soo good my mouth is watering just writing about it

See, that wasn’t too bad. Was it??? Hahah My stomach begged to differ, but oh well heyyy …the OC Fair only comes around, once a year!

Here are some of my favorite photos taken from our trip to the Fair!

Photos Taken: On my husbands IPhone

Enjoy!!!!!

We finally made it to the OC Fair this year. Last year, I wanted to go so badly… especially since I was pregnant with Liv, and those food cravings would have been fulfilled if we went.