New Venue

Good day everyone.  I wanted to update you on the development of our venue, Blackberry Creek Ranch,  in MurphysCa.  Unfortunately other committments have taken precedence and we are not prepared to hold weddings on our property.  We will update you all when we are able to get back to work on it.  Thank you so much!

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The Age of the DIY/Pinterest Bride

Are we there?  Have we as professionals been replaced by everything “DIY”?  Is Pinterest the new competition that we both loathe and admire at the same time?  Ladies and gentlemen, it might be time to face the music……or is it?

I have been a part of the wedding business for the better part of 20 years now.  I have watched trends come and go. Martha Stewart in, Martha Stewart out, and now, somewhere in between.  She was the first you know….the first to tell brides that they really didn’t need to hire a professional.  She was the first that for a time, openly ragged on us hardworking florists….yeah…..she may not own up to that one…but it happened.  So now we find ourselves battling if you will, against a more insidious, faceless, ambiguous foe……….yes that’s right……social media.

Social media.  We all subscribe to it whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google groups, etc.  They have become that family member that you would really rather not see, but you know you have to.  In business, we have come to rely on social networking.  Facebook has for many, replaced costly websites as the lure of FREE and PUBLIC is just too hard to resist.  We know we can reach so many more people in an instant, than we can by any other form of advertising.  Along with our desire to advertise, comes our willingness to show off our work in pictures……………to share with the world what we do……..oh and did I mention that sharing is now potentially shared by millions on a little site called Pinterest?  Oh yeah baby……just login…you’ll see!

Pinterest….oh how I both love and hate you.  The ideas zipping around in cyber space is mind boggling.  Everything from the latest trends in design, food, music, books, decor, vacations, you name it…there is a BOARD for that!  Really, if you haven’t seen it, you might just want to take a look.  Pinterest….what in the world do we do with you?  If nothing else, you have spawned a new and bigger generation of DIY brides.  The down economy is your partner.  Where do all the professionals fit in?  How do we survive? What are the questions we need to ask?  Well…I’ve got one.

You are a new bride, and you have decided that the incredible outdoor Pinterest cliched’ wedding is what you want.  You happily scan the web for all the items that you feel will copy; or at least give you the feel, of that irresistible Pinterest photo.  Your house now resembles a makeshift warehouse…oh and you haven’t told your family members and friends, that they are about to give you that, oh so incredible photo wedding…Yeah…here it comes.

Backing up a bit, I can tell you what often happens at the last minute with DIY brides and their families…………PANIC.  I have been there…done that.  I have had bride’s families at my shop’s door at 5 am panicked because that simple little container didn’t look like it could hold so many flowers!!!!!  More times than not…the UNDER ORDER happens.  That little container can actually hold 2 dozen stems of flowers!  Yikes!  Oh and did I tell you that Aunt Sally is about to pull her hair out if she had to glue one more thing…to one other thing…and well, you get the picture…..patience really does become a virtue for many in this case.

What I’m trying to say that wedding professionals are hired because THEY KNOW what to order and when.  Floral designers, like myself, have years of experience in ordering and designing.  We know proportions, scale, COST, and most of all, we know how long it takes to create those wonderful Pinterest weddings.  And trust me, DIY’s absolutely do not and that added stress can absolutely turn your fantasy wedding into a living nightmare.

So have I convinced you yet?  No? Ok…then consider this.  What is it worth to you to have a professional guide you through the process?  I do not mean physically create the look…I mean advise you?  Would you pay a professional like myself for my expertise on the front end, so the back end result is what you envision? Think about that.  If you found a look that you absolutely fell in love with, would you know where to begin?  Do you know where to find all of those fabulous items, and do you know how many flowers you really need to order, and when? Do you know how to save money on all those fresh blooms?  Do you?  So here is what I want YOU to do……

I want to hear from brides all over the country that are planning to DIY.  I want to know what you are doing, how you are going to do it, and where you think you’ll gather your materials. I would like to know what you think flowers cost…etc.  I also want to know how you feel about hiring a professional adviser.  Would that be helpful to you?  Let me know!  I am dying to hear from you and please, be honest and open with your answers. And oh most of all, I want you to tell me why you feel doing it yourself is far more economic than hiring a professional.  Thanks everyone!! 🙂 Feel free to include pictures!

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Murphys: You’ll Really Want to Get Married Here!



Below is an article recently published in SFGATE.  Just one more reason why Murphys needs to be on your list for your wedding ceremony!  Contact me for more information about our beautiful town, and the Forest Meadows Golf Course!  A beautiful golf course venue!!



The lone bartender slid the wine glass across the stone-topped bar toward me, saloon-style. I was the only person in the grotto-like tasting room, and received full attention from the black Lab at my feet, as well as the woman behind the counter.

“Want to start from the beginning?” she said.

The beginning of an eight-wine tasting list is certainly a good place to start. Justin, the Lab, stretched out on the floor as I took my first sip of a Calaveras County Fair Gold Medal-winning 2008 Pinot Grigio.

I’d come to Murphys for Hatcher Winery’s semi-annual wine club event, a dinner and nearly unlimited tasting, however, I had time to scout out some more wineries before committing to the evening bacchanal.

Late fall and winter, when few leaves actually turn and drop in the Sierra foothills, are ideal times to wander through town without the summer heat and crowds, and to get a comfortable spot at the bar in one of the many tasting rooms.

The town of Murphys is known to Gold Rush historians as having been one of the state’s richest “diggins.” But this sweet, small town increasingly is becoming known as a wine destination, where boutique wineries are particularly welcoming of visitors seeking tasting and tours. With some 20 wineries in Calaveras County (and just three stoplights), oenophiles can spend a long weekend in the area and still not be able to make it to all the tasting rooms.

Established in 1848 by gold-mining brothers Daniel and John Murphy (which is why the name Murphys is plural, not possessive), the town boomed to 3,000 by 1852 – complete with with taverns, boarding houses, restaurants, blacksmith shops, sawmills and a bowling alley. It still has a Gold Rush vibe and a few boomtown-era buildings, including the Murphys Hotel (where John Muir once stayed), but the town’s modern gold is in the form of wine tourism.

Most of Murphys’ wine tasting rooms are conveniently located within walking distance of each other on elm-shaded Main Street. My plan was to start with the Hatcher Winery (where I’d eventually end the day), which is a short distance from downtown Murphys. Hatcher’s operation uses only native fermentation (no addition of yeast) and is completely solar-powered. Between the quality wine and the lack of natural light in the downstairs tasting room on Main Street, it’s easy to lose track of time. The 30-inch-thick walls in the 1859 building keep the tasting room cozy in the winter and cool in the summer.

A short staircase climb brought me to a beautiful golden-stone building, home to the tasting room for Lavender Ridge. Specializing in Rhone varietals, this winery produces hand-crafted, unfiltered wines in small quantities. The tasting room also features artisan cheeses, organic olive oil and lavender products – perfect nonalcoholic souvenirs from gold country.

To maintain enough energy for a few more hours of wine drinking, I needed to take a fuel break at one of Murphys’ nice restaurants. I didn’t have to walk far (just across the street) to find Grounds, a local favorite with an outdoor patio, where the grilled chicken sandwich includes spicy green chiles and homemade bread. Top it off with a side of sweet potato fries and it’s enough to support a few hours of wine sampling.

Next stop: the Newsome Harlow tasting room, just a few doors down and across the street. Like Lavender Ridge, the winery limits production, using premium grapes from carefully selected vineyards. This is the place for red wine – Zinfandels, Syrahs, Meritage and other red blends – so it’s easy to blaze through the tasting menu without even touching a white. Cuddle up around the wood stove, and it won’t matter what the weather’s like outside.

Read more:

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Have We Lost The “Individual” Wedding?

Have We Lost The “Individual” Wedding?

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Forest Meadows Golf Course, Murphys Ca

Forest Meadows Golf Course, Murphys Ca.

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Wedding Contest!

Just a short note today to get my readers ready for our wedding contest starting soon!  The lucky bride who wins our contest at the end of the year will receive complimentary bridal party bouquets from Silver Leaf Events, and a photo session from Patty Blakely, of Patty Blakely photography for a 2014, or 2015 wedding!  Restrictions apply.  Stay tuned to this blog for details to follow!  Get ready for something fun!  Contest is applicable for California weddings only!

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Forest Meadows Golf Course, Murphys Ca

Forest Meadows Golf Course, Murphys Ca

This is part of the reception area overlooking the 18th green at Forest Meadows Golf Course, Murphys, Ca. Silver Leaf Events of Murphys, Ca., has been asked to be the new event’s coordinator for the course. Forest Meadows is a beautiful, public pine and cedar lined course, set in a private and quiet gated community. No fear of big traffic noise here!

You will have your choice of ceremony sites here. The 18th Green pictured here, offers a serene and lush setting for the bride and groom. There is also a nearby large gazebo area that gets out toward the same beautiful green. If you are looking for a view unmatched by other local golf courses, check out the 15th green, over looking the majestic Stanislaus Canyon! You’re sure to fall in love with Forest Meadows Golf Course for your next event!

For more information on the golf course, please go to  Wedding and event photos will be added as we go along.  We are looking to soon book fall weddings 2013mand all of 2014 and beyond!  Stay tuned for our progress!

Forest Meadows 15th green

The views from the 15th green at the Forest Meadows Golf Course is unmatched by any other course in the Mother Lode. Have your ceremony here, overlooking the vast Stanislaus National Forest Canyon!

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Weddings 2013….. The Time to Plan is Now!

Weddings 2013….. The Time to Plan is Now!.

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Weddings 2013….. The Time to Plan is Now!

Hello Readers!  I apologize for being away for so long.  Needless to say, I have been a very busy wedding coordinator lately!  2012 is well underway, and as I write this, I am currently working on a wedding for this coming Saturday, May, 19th.  Pictures will be posted on my website soon!

Time certainly has a way of getting away from us.  Although we are finding ourselves in the latter spring months of May 2012, it is time to for those of us in the wedding business, to begin to look at Weddings 2013!  I have recently been contacted about weddings for the following year, and I say, YIPEEEEEE!  It is so good to see brides and grooms planning well in advance.  Stress be gone I say!  So what should you be doing right now to prepare for your wedding in 2013?

First and foremost, like I’ve stated in the past………..START WITH YOUR GUEST LIST!!  What? What about the venue you say?  Ok while it is true you need to book your favorite venue way, way, out, I still suggest that you begin with how many people you intend to invite to your big day, and how might your budget begin to accommodate all your friend and family?  Remember brides, although you and your fiance are understandingly excited to share your love with ALL of your friends and family, your budget might be slapping you in the face with a reality check!  So with that being said, review the numbers….how much to you REALLY have to spend on your wedding.  Let’s throw out a number………….say you have a budget $20,000.  Sounds like a lot right?  STOP.  Now think carefully.  Is the venue of your dreams going to take a good $6,000 or more just to rent the space?  In many areas that number and HIGHER is very realistic.  Then how are you going to feed everyone?  Are you going to spend at the very least upwards of $55.00/plate for every guest?  100 guest and that’s $5,500.  Honestly, many popular venues charge over $100/plate, so you can already be at around $16,000 and you haven’t included anything else………, pictures, your dress, bridesmaid’s dresses, tuxes… get the picture.  So…….how is that 500 guests at your wedding looking now?

The problem with falling in love with a venue first is, that your emotions are understandingly running very high.  You want the romance, you want opulence, and frankly you want to impress your guests!  But how many guests is your budget willing and able to impress?  All too often I have seen couples rent a venue that is way out of their budget and THEN agonize over the guest list because they cannot possibly feed and entertain everyone they know!  What a shame!  Why put yourself through such stress.  Start with the guest list.  If inviting 300 people is the most important thing to you…then figure out at the very minimum how much it’s going to cost you to invite so many of your friends and family.  Then look for a venue that is large enough to accommodate a large crowd, but doesn’t eat away at your overall budget!  If the venue is more important than inviting every living soul on the planet, then by all means… the Queen’s Palace if your budget allows.  But whatever you decide….DO NOT RENT SOMETHING THAT CANNOT COMFORTABLY ACCOMMODATE YOUR GUEST AND YOUR BUDGET!!!!.  Why rent a $6,000 venue to 50 people?  I guess if your budget can do it…then perfect…but if not be more realistic and work from the ground up!

So brides and grooms of 2013, and beyond.  Start with your guest list NOW.  Take the time to really think about  what is most important.  Do not OVER accommodate if your wallet won’t allow!  You will both be more relaxed, calm, and confident as you head down the path of planning your wedding.  As always, I congratulate all of you, and if you are planning a wedding in our lovely town of Murphys, Ca, then by all means, give me a call!  I’m here to help!

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Murphys California: Rustic Wedding Venue 2013

Good morning readers!  Instead of writing about my usual topics on all things wedding, I decided to take this opportunity to let you all in on a little secret.  Silver Leaf Events, here in beautiful Murphys, California, is in the process of developing an affordable, beautiful, natural, and rustic wedding venue!!!

If you are not familiar with the location of Murphys, Ca., we are located in what’s commonly known as the Gold Country of California, in Calaveras County.  Murphys, lovingly known as the Queen of the Sierra, is one of the many beautiful foothill towns found at the base of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains.  At an elevation of just over 2,100 ft, Murphys offers the best in grape growing, fishing, hiking, bike riding, shopping, wine tasting, cave exploration, lodging, fine restaurants, and a whole lot more!  We’ve even been called the Carmel of the Sierra’s!

Just 2 miles outside of Murphys, I own 82 beautiful pine and oak tree filled acres that offers something for everyone.  Blackberry Creek Ranch will appeal to couples looking to get married in a natural outdoor setting off a quiet country lane.  No worries about distracting and intrusive traffic noise here

I will keep you all informed on our progress and will post pictures this spring and summer. We hope to be up and running in time for the 2013 wedding season!  In the meantime, if you would like to check out why Murphys, in Calaveras County, Ca., ought to be your wedding destination, I invite you to visit:  

If you would like more information on the development of Blackberry Creek Ranch for your next event, you can either contact me here at or at and as always at 209 768-8485.


UPDATE:  As of January 2013 we are not ready to book weddings.  We continue to work on our beautiful property to make it a fabulous venue throughout this year.  We will keep you updated as to the progress.  In the meantime, please feel free to contact me about the progress, and how I can help you create the wedding of your  dreams!  I am currently booking appointments for all of your floral design needs!  Remember the initial consultation is always complimentary!


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