Special Edition Wedding Planning Fair Celebrates Weddings for All Couples by Re-Inventing the Wedding Fair with Love, Respect & Style 41st Wedding Party Expo on Sunday, February 19, 2017 at US GRANT HOTEL

(San Diego) – Style is important to every bride and groom. At the 41st Wedding Party Expo, engaged couples, brides, grooms and their bridal party will get in-tune with the latest wedding styles and ideas by mingling with wedding experts, stylists, caterers, venues, planners, florists, top photographers, DJ’s, catered food and wedding cake tastings and more on Sunday, February 19, 2017 at the newly restyled THE US GRANT, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Diego spanning 3 floors and 35,000 square feet in the Historic Lower Level, the glamorous lobby and Palm Court and the dramatic Presidential Ballroom and Foyer from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

This Show will be featured in four beautiful areas that will include:
• A multi designer, couture bridal fashion show on the Presidential stage by local favorite salon M Bride of La Jolla featuring the world’s top designer fashions by Ines di Santo, Reem Acra, Monique Lhuillier, Elli Saab and more, takes place at 3:00 pm
• Taste cakes and vote for your favorite in the Ultimate Cake Taste Test Challenge contest
• Bloomingdale Registry Spot with the latest in registry and gift ideas.
• Exclusive tea style fashion show by Designer Michelle Hebert in the lobby at 1:30 pm with special treatment for show VIP’s.
• Enjoy delicious tastings of appetizers, entrées and desserts at the various vendor booths.
• Bella Beverage Catering will sponsor a cocktail lounge area with delicious drinks to taste and demonstrations on “Signature Cocktails to Match your Event”.
• A Wedding Gown ‘Designer Row’ with special Designer appearances by Michelle Hebert, Jana Ann and Adolfo Sanchez in the Presidential Foyer offers brides an assortment of wedding gown styles to inspire any fashionista bride while you meet the Designers face to face!
• Gentlemen’s Lounge with men’s fashions, grooming and craft beer and mead tasting.
• Enjoy a delicious grand tasting by the US GRANT HOTEL in the exclusive Chairman’s Court.
• Get your beauty on in the Beauty Lounge with hair, makeup and healthcare pros taking good care of you right at the show.
• Meet over 100 local wedding experts from planners to photographers and DJ’s and videographers and florists and stylists and rental companies and photo booths and more!
• VIP options for couples who want the royal treatment with champagne greeting, front row seating on the fashion show runway and a swag bag of VIP goodies.

A dynamic and fashionable event, The Wedding Party EXPO brings engaged couples, coordinators, and professionals together to one beautiful location for an amazing EXPO experience totally unlike large, impersonal bridal expos. Creative, stylish and fun, each show is held at one of San Diego’s most beautiful wedding locations. This show really allows engaged couples and event planners to enjoy wine tasting, tasty hors d’ouevres, pies and cakes, couture fashion shows, mini-make overs by top beauty salons, wedding design tips by local experts and resources like M Bride Bridal Boutique, Bloomingdales, Exquisite Weddings Magazine, Bella Beverage, Tim Otto Photography, Avant Garde Travel, Spitfire Catering & Events, Eccentric International Chefs, Elite British DJ, RSVP Weddings, Designer Kendra Scott, San Diego Style Weddings Magazine, Flour Power Cakery and many more.

This Show will also feature an amazing hand-picked selection of the area’s finest wedding services and products including: top designer gowns, tuxedos, gift registry, fashion accessories, photographers, videographers, honeymoon destinations, musicians, florists, officiants, caterers, coordinators, jewelers, makeup and hair stylists, the absolute finest local ceremony and reception venues and more.

The Wedding Party EXPO is proud to be an every couple friendly show’ welcoming LGBTQ engaged couples since its inception. The show’s behind-the-scenes show production continues its tradition of going green with an online show program, emailing event tickets, offering brides reusable bags and encouraging attendees to carpool or Uber to the show with Uber offers. To register for discounted advance tickets, visit www.SanDiegoWeddingParty.com. Tickets are $20 each at the door but advance tickets are for sale for half price on the website.
All tickets include hors d’oeuvres, wine tasting, fashion shows, design contests and more. Children under 5 are free, 5-12 are half price day-of only.
Upgraded VIP tickets are available for $50 and include reserved VIP front row fashion show seating, fabric swag bag with lots of goodies and gifts value $200 [one swag bag per VIP package for bride only].

Finally, a Practical, Easy-to-read Book on Achieving Happiness. It Cuts to the Chase.

Book Cover front (1)A GUIDE TO HAPPINESS aims to reverse America’s 33% happiness index

SAN DIEGO, May 18, 2016 — According to a Harris Poll, only 33% of Americans say they’re very happy. San Diego life coach Alan Shein says that’s not hard to believe. His clients often report that they are stressed and unable to enjoy life to its fullest. “It doesn’t have to be this way,” says Shein. “I have studied the anatomy of happiness and practiced many effective techniques that can increase an individual’s happiness.”

Shein says he has read many good books about happiness, but none that offer an easy-to-use, practical guide to increasing it. “Many of my clients told me they needed a book that cuts to the chase and offers tools and techniques that address their specific issues, instead of theory about problems they may not be currently facing,” he says.

The newly published A GUIDE TO HAPPINESS deals with 58 issues in all. The list includes stress, anxieties, better sleep, mindfulness, conquering overwhelm, confidence and a host of other issues. Each issue is addressed in its own self-contained chapter. Each chapter has tested tips, tools and techniques which have been refined over many years in practice. “I’ve formatted the book in a unique way so readers can access the information quickly without having to wade through text that is not relevant to them at that moment,” he explains. “It is also one of the only self-help books that uses illustrations; this helps to communicate weighty concepts in a light-hearted way.”

Associate Professor of Medicine at University of California at San Diego, David Bortz, M.D., F.A.C.P says A GUIDE TO HAPPINESS is “a sensible, effective, and efficient approach to dealing with life’s stressors,” Dr.Bortz notes, “I have to believe that this book will also contribute to decreasing stress in the workplace, leading to higher productivity and calmer spaces.”

“This is more than a book, it’s a mission,” says Shein. “I have seen so many clients transform their lives using these techniques that it is incumbent upon me to share this approach with a broad audience.” Of our country’s 33% happiness index, Shein says, “When people are happy, they are more collaborative, peaceful, and productive. Happiness isn’t a luxury; it is a necessity for the well-being of society.”

For a good look inside-the-book go to AGuideToHappiness.com.

Available at: Amazon– http://amzn.to/1OysJ6c

ingramcontent.com; baker-taylor.com; bookmasters.com/atlasbooks/;

ISBN: 978-0-9980017-0-8
Price: $15.95
About Alan Shein:

Alan Shein has always had an interest in people and their well-being. In his life coaching practice, he works with a broad spectrum of clients, some of whom are referred by medical doctors. He helps his clients with a variety of issues including anxieties, stress, phobias, and sleeping difficulties. He assists clients with their limiting thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and in doing so helps them go from stuck to unstuck.

A key feature of Alan’s practice is providing his clients with simple yet effective tools to take away with them. He has experience in and teaches people how to use the power of their minds.

In addition to helping and motivating business professionals, athletes, artists, and students to increase their performance levels, Alan also helps people with their current relationship issues and those whose relationships have ended.

Alan customizes the sessions for each client according to the client’s needs and personality, this results in the sessions being extremely solution focused and positive outcome directed.

Alan resides in San Diego, California.

Pay it Forward’s “Every Swipe Benefits Charity” Gives $100,000+ To Carefully Vetted Charities

(SAN DIEGO) (MAY 3, 2016) – Since the “Every Swipe Benefits Charity” (ESBC) give-back program’s inception two years ago, it has generated more than $100,000 in donations to a carefully vetted group of more than 25 local and national charities.

The ESBC is an innovative give-back program that allows business owners an opportunity to benefit their business, customers and community. Through Pay it Forward Processing (PFProcessing), a national credit card processing company, a portion of every swipe from each business account is donated to a carefully vetted charitable organization, at no cost to the business.

“We are so excited to have raised so much money for our very worthy charities in such a short period of time,” said Renee VanHeel, founder and president of PFProcessing.

PFProcessing offers businesses a dedicated account manager with no contracts; they match and in most cases, save a company money on its fees. Funding and deposits are made within 24 hours, including American Express. PFProcessing sends each business a comprehensive monthly report that includes a breakdown of fees and costs for services.

“With all of the demands of life, running your business, taking care of your families, there isn’t a lot of time to give back,” explains VanHeel. “That is where we come in.”

When a business starts to use PFProcessing for their everyday credit card processing needs, a portion of every swipe that is processed is donated to ESBCharity. It doesn’t impact the business owner in any way. Once it has been donated, ESBCharity then donates it to any number of the charities that have been through their vetting process.

If the business owner wants their portion to impact a specific cause, they can nominate that charity to be vetted with the possibility to become a direct benefactor. If a non-profit is looking for sustainable income, PFProcessing has a fundraising business plan in place that can help raise some much needed funds through business referrals. This unique giveback program allows merchants and customers to feel good about every swipe, every day.

Auto repair, hotel/motel, retail, veterinary, on-line stores and banking are just some of the business entities PFProcessing works with. PFProcessing provides merchant services, e-commerce and equipment for businesses across the United States. The “Every Swipe Benefits Charity” program supports more than 25 local, regional and national non-profit organizations including Boys and Girls Clubs, American Institute for Cancer Research, Shelter to Solider, and the Arthritis Foundation.

ESBC came to be from the ashes of Witch Creek Fires in San Diego in 2007 during which VanHeel’s home was destroyed. Renee formed Fired Up Sisters, along with a number of other fire survivors, raised $5 million in goods, services and money to help fellow fire survivors. “We raised so much money in the face of tragedy, I thought we could do much more in good times and we have,” said VanHeel. “We believe there is no better definition of success than truly loving what you do, serving a purpose and filling a need in the world. If this resonates with a business owner, we invite them to join the PFProcessing family.”

PFProcessing also helps each of its business partners stay connected to their customers by using their own social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to promote their business. For more information on PFProcessing visit www.pfprocessing.com or call 858-771-0076 x0. For more information on ESBC visit www.esbcharity.org.

About Pay it Forward Processing
Headquartered in San Diego, Pay it Forward Processing (PFProcessing) is a nationwide merchant service provider that supplies state-of-the-art payment solutions to businesses by providing a full line of products that are Class A certified on their processing platform. PFProcessing custom tailors its services for each business and offers 24/7 live technical and customer service support. For more information on PFProcessing visit www.pfprocessing.com or call 858-771-0076.###

4 Big Ways Small Businesses can Make a Difference

“Corporate Philanthropy” generally conjures images of large, multinationals making very large donations and starting foundations. But, according to the most recent US census, 99.7% of US employer firms are considered Small Businesses. Small businesses actually play quite a large role in their local communities and many are involved in a variety of social initiative s and charitable giving.

Still , many small businesses feel hesitant to participate because they feel they lack the resources of larger companies. But, besides the obvious “feel good” benefits of giving, recent data shows that giving and community involvement is actually “good for business” A recent survey by The Alternative Board (TAB) showed 26% of socially-driven business owners expected their revenue to sharply increase, while only 14% of entrepreneurs who are strictly profit-driven said the same.

It’s important for Small Business Owners to recognize that philanthropy need not be limited to large corporations, since “giving” isn’t limited to just writing big checks. Here are 4 unique ways that even small business can give back in a very big way.

1: Direct Participation

Team building exercises have long been a part of successful business practices, including small businesses. Whether it’s a high-ropes course, karaoke night or cake in the breakroom, we all know that regularly bringing a team together to connect outside of work is key to a small business’ success. Bringing your team together can help to increase motivation, productivity and personal development. What if your team building did double-duty? Small businesses may not have the funds to write those over-sized checks, but they often have teams of dedicated professionals who might be willing (and excited) to do a little more. Take your team building exercises to the next level by using the opportunity to serve your local community in some way, as a team. We spoke to Tori Loiacono at Jennifer Bett Communications , a small business based in New York.

Each month, as a team, her staff volunteers together at God’s Love We Deliver, an organization that works hard to deliver cooked meals to people who are too sick to shop or cook for themselves. Together, her team regularly cooks, packs, and delivers meals to those in need in their local community. Says Tori, “we wanted to give back to the city that has given us so much”. In exchange, the exercises have brought her staff closer together.

So if your team needs a moral boost or you want to increase team productivity, perhaps skip the paintball this year and instead consider scheduling a day of service at a worthy organization in your own local community. The benefits to your team and business are immeasurable, and you’ll have done a bit of service to your community as well. Everyone wins.

2: Pay it Forward

An increasing number of small businesses are making giving the rule, and not the exception. Many have even built their business model around giving. For some, the model is to give away items for every X number sold, or simply donating a portion of profit or sales to a charity.

Soul Amenities, a St. Petersberg, FL based company that has a similar pay-it-forward approach. The company takes a portion of all sales and uses the money to provide to those living in areas where communicable diseases are present. Recently, they donated products to Operation Christmas Child and an orphanage in Africa. Alia, the company founder, created a charity arm of their company called Soap with S.O.U.L. after several international trips and decided it was time their company helped others.

If you’re interested in charitable giving using the “Pay-It-Forward” approach, but don’t have the resources to build a lot of infrastructure around those efforts, there are some easier ways to get involved. For example, check out the ‘Every Swipe Benefits’ Charity. Run by Pay it Forward Processing, this is a program that allows businesses to give-back. Net proceeds can be donated from a business to a charitable organization at no cost to the business.

Remember: whether you donate profits or items, or both, charities are generally pleased to receive donations of every size, big or small, so don’t worry if you don’t have multi-national sized pockets- every bit helps.

Keep in mind, too, that the ‘Pay It Forward’ approach to giving doesn’t have to be limited to companies that sell goods, or even to monetary donations.

Many small business have found they can also donate their services. Joni , founder of Thrive!Resumes, a city-based company based in Myrtle Beach, SC offering professional resume writing services offers a resume scholarship program as part of her regular business model. For every 20 paid-for resumes , a free resume is offered to elevate the job search for victims of domestic violence, wounded warriors, hurricane survivors or others in need. Joni explains her approach is based on a desire to ” help someone who might be at a low point in their life and just needs someone to reach out and give them a helping hand. ”

John Paul Engel donates his time and expertise to the non-profit company Project Be The Change. Together, Jon has participated in projects ranging from building local soccer fields, to event sponsorships John has also experienced an unintended benefit. Namely, his company has employed volunteers fromPBJC after getting to know them through the project. For small businesses that don’t always have access to huge networks or large HR departments, community involvement can also provide some of this networking benefit. proving in yet another way that philanthropy can have surprising and wonderful benefits on all sides of the equation.

3: Keep others top of mind.

Space is a hot commodity for many small businesses. Maybe a vendor sent the wrong colors or size of an item. A few extra keystrokes and you have enough office supplies for several years. You’ve changed office space and have a glut of used furniture. Where to put it all? Many businesses try to re-sell these goods on wholesale or discount markets, at auctions or even Ebay. But, there is a lot of effort involved in those re-sales and it’s probably taking away from your time spent on your core business.

Next stop? For many companies, it’s the trash. Which is quite sad actually, because there are so many charitable and community organizations that could make use of those items, from local schools, to soup kitchens, to major players like the Goodwill or Salvation Army. If you keep the needs of others top of mind, that overwhelming pile of extras, suddenly begins to look like quite the pile of treasure.

Here at FORtheFIT, it’s not uncommon to find ourselves with a little excess inventory . We have certainly considered re-sale , but clothes are such a fundamental thing – a basic necessity that too many just don’t have enough of. Just recently, we donated 1400 pairs of our best-selling short and tall men’s fleece athletic pants to Goodwill Industries Internationals in the Northern Michigan area – the cold climate means the donation of warm fleece would have an immediate, positive impact on the local community (plus help Goodwill raise funds for their many important community initiatives) Again, infrastructure need not slow you down.

Airtex Design Group, a city-based company that designs and manufactures on trend textiles for retailers all over the world, use the National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources (NAEIR). To help them clear out any overstocks. NAEIR ‘connect companies looking to donate products with non-profits who can benefit from them’, explained Gary Smith, president and CEO. To find out more, visit the NAEIR website.

4: Provide opportunities for others to give back through Events / Fundraising

Be a leader in service of your local community. Consider using your leverage in your local community to encourage others to give back in a variety of ways. Organising fundraising, events is a great way to get lots of people involved.

There are lots of platforms out there to help you organize an event. fitRaise is a platform to enable companies, of all sizes, to host worldwide events to raise money to support important causes. Or if you’re looking for a more mobile fundraising platform, check out Accelevents. This platform focuses on providing online and text message enhanced silent auctions and raffles. The company itself organises fundraisers each year, donating the proceeds to charity – this year they donated over $100,000 to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Whether you look to organize events on a small or large-scale, there are plenty of platforms and helpful services out there. From sponsorship to donations, you can get everyone involved in giving-back! If you can’t organize an event, you can offer your expertise at an event.

Cookies for Cancer organises events throughout the year, encouraging businesses, and individuals, to get involved and fundraise. The founder of Eleni’s New York a company that raises money to fund child cancer research by holding a lot of bake sales (and other things) gets involved in this event as she sees a great connection between her business and the charity. So why not consider researching events near you which you can offer your own expertise?


As mentioned previously, whether you are able to give your time, your expertise, products, services, or monetary donations large or small, get creative and find ways that your small business can easily make a big impact in your surrounding community or to any number of great causes.

Plus, you might be surprised at the myriad benefits (and increased success) your small business will enjoy enjoy as a result. Small businesses make us such a major part of the American Economy, that their their combined efforts can really make the biggest impacts of all. We hope you’re inspired to find ways to give back to the community. Let us know in the comments how your business is getting involved!




Cooking Up Collaboration

By STORY BY DEBORAH SULLIVAN BRENNAN; PHOTO BY JOHN GASTALDO | midnight March 2, 2016 | Updated, 8:05 a.m.
While some companies rely on brainstorming sessions or retreats to encourage cooperation in the office, Jodi Abel invites them to bring their employees into her kitchen.

The La Jolla resident drew on her experience as a former teacher and self-described “certified foodie” to develop menus, recipes and lesson plans that use cooking as a means of corporate team-building. (More at lajollacooks4u.com)

Just as families gather in the kitchen to prepare and enjoy meals, the businesses she entertains build camaraderie and collaboration by cooking California cuisine under her supervision. The end result – a healthy gourmet meal – is the reward of their teamwork.

Abel, 58, hit upon the idea after participating in a similar class while traveling in Italy. Since then, she has added to her culinary repertoire by studying cooking in other places, including Spain, France and South Africa.

She blogs about her events as well, sharing recipes, kitchen tips and memories, and writes on her website: “Food has a magical way of bringing people together.”

Q: Please describe what you do.

A: I conduct unique and intimate team-building events; all participants play an active role in preparing their meal. We also host couples for special occasions and I offer private cooking classes. I write a monthly food blog and just published my first cookbook, titled “California Cuisine.”

Q: How did you become interested in teaching cooking?

A: I had an epiphany in Italy about nine years ago. My husband surprised me with my very first cooking class at a woman’s home in Umbria, Italy. I cooked with my host, Tia, for two days and was so inspired by what she did; welcoming people into her home and teaching them her family recipes. I thought to myself that I could do what Tia does in my Tuscan-inspired home in La Jolla. I spent five months researching everything I could on Californian cuisine and cooked up a storm. My husband helped design my website and I opened my doors in January of 2008.

Q: What is your experience in the culinary arts?

A: I am a self-taught chef. I take cooking classes around the world when I travel in an effort to stay current with the global food scene.

Q: What gave you the idea to use cooking classes as a corporate team-building exercise?

A: After I secured my first company for team building, it made good business sense to pursue corporate team building. There is obviously strength in numbers in my business. Economically speaking, my time in the kitchen, including shopping for the necessary ingredients, plus prep work is the same for two people as it is for 15 to 25. I also have a unique and intimate venue for corporations. My home sits on top of Mount Soledad and offers beautiful ocean views. It’s refreshing to be out of the office doing an event such as this; we are not another hotel room or restaurant. The companies love it!

Q: How does cooking together foster teamwork and collaboration?

A: Cooking at its core is essentially a team-building exercise. As a chef you’re collaborating; you’re relying on others in your kitchen – each plays a critical role that determines the outcome. We see the same collaboration play out when we divide up a company’s participants into groups. Each group wants to succeed. Each group recognizes that success is dependent upon teamwork. However, it’s teamwork in a fun environment and the result is a wonderful meal and there’s always wine and dessert.

Q: Please tell us about your approach to California cuisine, and how you develop your recipes.

A: I have developed four key ingredients that are my foundation for cooking: extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, citrus juice and sea salt. You can create an entire meal from these four ingredients: Salad dressing, vegetable sauté and marinade for protein. Then you build from there by bringing in other flavors. I have developed over 400 recipes and have featured my favorites in my recently published cookbook, “California Cuisine: Fresh, Simple and Delicious.” I also feature vegan and paleo alternatives to most of the recipes in the cookbook. So there are recipes for everyone.

Q: What are your tips on how to plan a menu for a family or business event?

A: Be organized and plan your weekly meals in advance. Get the family engaged for a day of cooking together. Shop and prep for your meals in advance so when you get home from work all you have to do is cook. Make extra portions to freeze for another day.

Q: What are any fundraisers or benefits you contribute to?

A: We have hosted and done fundraising for Volunteers of America, Jewish National Fund and others. I am also a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier and part of its mission is to provide philanthropic support in the culinary arts.

Q: What is most rewarding about your work?

A: Meeting people from all over the world and sharing my passion for food and cooking. I love hearing their stories and learning from their cooking tips as well. Many of their stories are featured in my cookbook.

Q: What’s the best advice you ever received?

A: Plan ahead, be organized and always have plan A, B and C.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to find out about you?

A: I lived in Israel for two years between 1979 and 1981.

Q: Please describe your ideal San Diego weekend.

A: Doing yoga, going to the beach and eating with my family.

[email protected]

What I love about La Jolla…

I love the beauty of La Jolla. I literally pinch myself every day that I am so fortunate to live in such a beautiful place. I also love my neighbors; we have a fabulous chill and kind street where we all really look out for one another.



Every Swipe Benefits Charity Give-Back Program Featured in SD Business Journal

By Stephanie Glidden Originally published February 11, 2016 at 12:42 p.m., updated February 11, 2016 at 12:42 p.m.

At the recent Pay it Forward Processing Christmas party held at the Rancho Bernardo Winery, the Arthritis Foundation, San Diego office, was presented with a check for $3,226 from nonprofit Every Swipe Benefits Charity give-back program. The ESBC is a program that allows businesses to benefit their business, customers and the community. Through Pay it Forward, a national credit card processing company, net proceeds are donated from each business account to a charitable organization, at no cost to the business. Since ESBC’s inception two years ago, the program has generated more than $100,000 in donations to a carefully vetted group of more than 25 local and national charities.

The Every Swipe Benefits Charity arose from the ashes of Witch Creek Fires in San Diego in 2007. Renee VanHeel, founder and president of Pay it Forward Processing, lost her home during this disaster. As a result, she, along with a number of other fire survivors, formed “Fired Up Sisters,” and raised $5 million to help fellow fire survivors. Five years later, VanHeel founded the Every Swipe Benefits Charity program with the idea that if so much good could result from tragedy, much more could be done in good times. To date, the two-year-old charity has given more than $100,000 to 25 nonprofits. Visit, pfprocessing.com/giving-program.

• • •


By BY DEBORAH SULLIVAN BRENNAN ;Photo by Eduardo Contreras | midnight Feb. 6, 2016 | Updated, 8:07 a.m.


Photo by Eduardo Contreras

For busy brides and grooms-to-be, the wedding planning process can be a dizzying trip to caterers, florists and photo- graphers. Pamela Noxon tries to streamline that process by bringing all the wedding pros under one tent at her Wedding Party EXPO in San Diego.

There, engaged couples can sample cake, sip cocktails and meet some 75 experts who can help them celebrate their marriage in style. The next one is on Valentine’s Day. For all the attention to detail, however, Noxon believes that engaged couples should focus on their unique relationship and create a ceremony that reflects their family history and future life.

Noxon, 53, of South Carlsbad, became involved in the wedding business through her work as an officiator, presiding over unique weddings ranging from multicultural and mixed religious ceremonies to same-sex marriages.

From there, she branched out to throwing expos that pull together the many elements needed for the big day, and blogging about the process on her website SanDiegoWedding.com. In a culture focused on “me,” she views weddings as one of the few rites of passage that join two individuals as “we.”

Q: Please tell us about the Wedding Party Expo.

A: There is a process to effectively planning a wedding. You have to find and hire a wide range of wedding professionals and you have to interview them to make sure they are the right people to have actually creating and attending one of the biggest, most personal days of your life with your entire family and world. Personalities play a big role in hiring wedding pros. You need a really good fit. If you are the laid-back, chill beachy couple, you may not want a very rigid event coordinator at your event directing things, and if you are a very structured, corporate go-getter you will not do well with the super relaxed “hang back and grab some artsy photos” photographer. Like the beginning of any relationship, you need to feel the person out to see if you (and your family and group) will mesh well with them. I found that San Diego desperately needed a wedding planning event that brought all the amazing people and things people wanted together in one gorgeous, stylish and fun day.

Q: What are some of the unique weddings you have officiated?

A: One wedding I did brought together a large family comprised of Christians, Jews and Muslims. Clearly a challenge to create a ceremony that would be sacred, yet respect everyone. Not being affiliated with any religion, I always worked to show that we are all the same and love is all that matters. I used to say that I spoke many languages, all of them “love.” I created a ceremony for that couple that they felt really spoke to everyone present.

Q: How do you see the role of the wedding as a rite of passage in our culture?

A: In our Western culture, we live for a very long time as individuals. We celebrate the individual deeply and have amazing opportunities for becoming empowered persons in our own right. But marriage is a completely different way of operating compared to functioning as an individual. To marry is to partner with another human being – you live differently, you decide things differently, you end up using your brain differently because you change from “I” thinking to “We” thinking and that is a huge transition to make emotionally and psychically. A wedding is a ritual that takes your whole world into account and celebrates the transformation of two individuals becoming one partnership. Of course, in our culture many people partner without marrying. But there’s something deep and in our DNA that makes a wedding a little more.

Q: What are some of the trends you see in wedding styles, customs or ceremonies?

A: Organic catering and locally sourced foods for receptions. Philanthropic catering by companies like Kitchens for Good. Much less DIY (do it yourself) than a few years ago; people are hiring experts to create a wedding day, not spray-painting mason jars for vases like during the recessions! More luxurious “Bohemian Luxe” style. Color, color, color. Elaborate cakes and dessert bars. Antique and vintage lounge furniture. Signature cocktails and unique libations. A lot of things that speak to the guests and keep them entertained. And authentic ceremonies that are very personal.

Q: What are any benefits or fundraisers you participate in?

A: I like to incorporate philanthropy into everything I do. SanDiegoWedding.com will donate to a local charity with every ad sold: everything from animal shelters to Rebuilding Together homes and foster kids.

Q: What are your tips for brides and grooms planning a wedding?

A: Stay calm and focus on the bigger picture. Don’t get too bogged down in stuff. Focus on adding elements to your wedding that will generate emotion or connectedness. I actually feel like the planning process, which may sound grueling, is an important step in the transition. A wedding honors the tradition of your and your people’s past, while it reflects the couple as individuals. A wedding inspires people who attend to remember why they love, and it transforms the whole group into something more connected than they were when they arrived; it creates a new tribe or family. That matters.

Q: What’s the best advice

you ever received?

A: “Fill your own cup up to the brim with love and joy, then when you have enough it will overflow to others.”

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to find out about you?

A: I am one-sixteenth Native American.

Q: Please describe your ideal San Diego weekend.

A: Eating a nice lunch at one of the many great local restaurants with my friends or my mom, reading, relaxing, and going for a drive in the mountains.

What I love about South Carlsbad …

It’s so quiet and friendly – I have great neighbors. I love having a yard that backs up to a wild area so I can pretend I am in the country.