A Brand is Born: REVEL Wedding Co.

I’m so excited to let you in on a project we’ve been working on for the past few months! Samantha Glascock is a luxury wedding planner in Scottsdale who coordinated my brother’s wedding in San Diego and my sister’s wedding in Phoenix. Samantha is such a talented wedding planner – but most importantly, she is honest, real, hilarious and makes every situation more fun just by being involved.

When Sam came to me asking if my marketing agency SEE IT SIDEWAYS would help her bring her vision to life it was a no-brainer to get involved. We worked through her brand positioning and helped design her a logo that reflected the dynamic brand that is REVEL. The script font is actually her handwriting that was turned into a font – which I just love because it exudes the distinct one-of-a-kind experience that you get when you work with REVEL.

revel wedding co many hats of a mom blog

revel wedding co many hats of a mom blog

revel wedding co many hats of a mom blog

revel wedding co many hats of a mom blog

revel wedding co many hats of a mom blog

Please check out RevelWeddingCo.com and let me know what you think. Photos courtesy of Elyse Hall and Andrea Jade and styled by Sam. I’m telling you, she’s a creative visionary and I’m so incredibly proud to know this girl.  Any brides out there? Email Sam directly here for information on her luxury wedding planning services.

The Wedding Day

bridal party

bridal party getting ready
wedding dress

Kelsey, Colton, Ryan and I snuck into the Presidential Suite the day of the wedding to get a good glimpse at the bride and to hang out while everyone was doing makeup and getting fancy. Colton was smitten with all the girls getting ready and Kelsey made herself at home with the 10 bridesmaids.

In fact, at one point I turned around to find Kelsey chatting with one of the bridesmaids on the couch. “What are you guys talking about?” I asked. Kelsey looked over at me and said, “Mom, we’re talking about Disneyland.” Of course.

Later that afternoon, my in-laws had the brilliant idea to take the kids  to the Westin Gaslamp to use their pool and to get them tired enough to take a nap on the wedding day. It worked! Colton and Kelsey swam, like the little fish they are, and then came back to the hotel and crashed for a 2 hour nap.

And that’s how fast the day flew by. Before I knew it, it was time for us to get ready. We kept calling Colton’s tuxedo “a costume” so he would be excited enough to wear it – I was preparing for a meltdown, but he did great. He jumped right into that tuxedo as if it really was a super hero costume. Phew. I have to tell you though, as we were getting ready, I had this out of body experience. Here’s what happened.

I was putting on Kelsey’s flower girl dress in the bathroom. I had just finished curling her hair, so I was slipping the flower girl dress over her head ever-so-slightly. As I finished tying the back of the bow on her dress, I zipped it up and she began to turn around to look at me. As she turned, she sort of twirled … and in very slow motion (it seemed) I saw her face.

She was smiling from ear to ear, looking down in awe of her dress. There she was. My daughter. My five-year-old beauty looking down on her ivory dress, so angelic. I lost it. I completely came apart because in that moment, I saw it. I saw her future. Her wedding day. There I was standing kneeling at my daughter’s feet, putting the finishing touches on her gown.

I couldn’t help it. The only thing that kept me from completely turning into putty was the fact that I had just put on my make up, eyelashes … the works. Suddenly, she napped me out of it, “Mom, are you crying?” Oops. Caught. But I just smiled and said, “Yes, darling. You look so beautiful.” One day she’ll do the same.

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DSC06302 small

Kelsey and I left the bathroom only to find the next best sight I have ever seen. This. Ryan putting the finishing touches on Colton. I mean. My heart just sank back to the floor. He was so big in this moment. And yet, so incredibly small. He looked like a mini, pint-sized Ryan. He would look up at his dad, and then down at his bow tie, and back again. I literally tripped over suitcases and shoes to snap a photo. It was the best 30 minutes of the entire vacation; watching these two, so young, yet so grown up.

Colton in Tuxedo

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san diego wedding kids

Wedding Flower Girl and Ring Bearer

Can we say it was the best day? I mean, it started out like this and then just continued. The ceremony was really beautiful (I didn’t take any photos there because I was busy paying attention to all of the details). But, I will say this. The second they were ready to say their vows, Colton turns to me and says, “I have to go to the bathroom!” Ahhh … I looked toward my mother-in-law who quickly took him to do his business so I wouldn’t miss the vows. I’m telling you, my mother-in-law is a saint.

Here are some photos from the reception.

us grant - san diego wedding

san diego wedding reception

us grant - san diego wedding

The sweetheart table and the favors! The cookies were shaped like Texas and there was a little frosting heart over Austin – it’s where the bride & groom live. I ate three of these cookies. Shhh!

san diego wedding reception - first dance
At one point in the evening, Shaun came up to me and pointed to Sabrina dancing on the dance floor. With such endearment he said, “How beautiful does Sabrina look tonight?” To say this man was smitten with his new bride would be an understatement. We couldn’t agree more. She looked like she stepped out of a fairytale.

us grant - san diego wedding

us grant - san diego wedding

family san diego wedding

us grant hotel

family san diego wedding

san diego wedding at the us grant hotel

These three. My husband and my baby brothers. Love them all more than words in a blog could explain.

wedding day in san diego

san diego wedding

san diego wedding

And that’s a wrap! These two are now in Anguilla enjoying the time of their lives. We wish them a lifetime of happily ever after’s.

*Let’s take one last look at the GORGEOUS bride and that beautiful wedding dress!

gorgeous wedding dress

Dinner with an (Ocean) View

Anthony’s Fish Grotto

I made so many new memories with my family and in-laws this weekend. I’m not sure how to express my emotions through this blog, but I will try.

There were so many times throughout this weekend where I had to stop and ask myself: Am I really this lucky? Do I really have this remarkable group of people around me? Are my kids really this amazing is that handsome husband over there really all mine? Sure, there were tantrums and hard moments – as you can imagine when you travel with two small children – but the memories we made cancelled all the hard times out. Travel does that to you, doesn’t it. It gives you a renewed perspective on everything.

On night one, we went to Anthony’s Fish Grotto for seafood by the ocean. We really wanted a touristy experience and someplace the kids could see the ocean (and get a little loud without anyone noticing). This was the perfect place. Dinner service was a bit slow – and with kids, you know every minute counts – but other than that, it was great.

Anthony’s Fish Grotto

Kelsey requested that she sit “next to Uncle Shaun” at dinner so I didn’t stand in her way. In fact, the entire weekend, all she wanted to do was be with him. I think she has a crush on her uncles.

Anthony’s Fish Grotto

At the beginning of dinner, Colton was being a little stinker. He literally tried to take his shirt off at dinner (why? because I told him not to) and kept giving me this evil stare. That is … until I found his weakness: lemons!

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

Anthony’s Fish Grotto

Yes, lemons! It was the only way to pull him out of his tantrum state of mind. He loves how tart they are. Want a tip when dining out with kids? Order their food first. Trust me, this way you can get them fed first, then get your food (you can actually eat this way) then go back to finding things to entertain and distract them. More lemons? We actually switched to limes after his dinner to mix things up.

Anthony’s Fish Grotto

I tried to steer clear of the camera all weekend. At 8 months pregnant who really wants a snapshot of themselves. But, my mother-in-law looked so great that I couldn’t help myself.

Anthony’s Fish Grotto

Anthony’s Fish Grotto

After dinner, we watched the sunset while walking to the car. Kelsey immediately grabbed Shaun’s hand (I was clearly chopped liver at this point) and I was able to snap a few images before the kids got too rowdy and I got too paranoid that they were going to fall into the water.

san diego vacation - mom blog san diego vacation - mom blog

San Diego Sunset - Mom Blogger

san diego vacation - mom blog

After dinner, we went over to the lounge at Grant Grill to listen to live music, enjoy some cocktails (them, not me … boo) and eat desert (that was all me!). It was truly a great kick-start to a memorable wedding weekend in San Diego

We Arrived in San Diego!

THE US GRANT San Diego Hotel

After a quick airplane ride on Thursday, we landed in sunny San Diego for my brother’s wedding. As we were waiting to check into The US GRANT Hotel, we met up with my brother and his fiancé in the hotel lobby. We were the first wedding guests to arrive so we were able to have these two love birds all to ourselves for a few hours. I soaked in every moment of that!

celestial ballroom at THE US GRANT HOTEL

Before heading out to grab lunch with these two, we took a quick sneak peek at the Crystal Ballroom where they were going to be getting married a few days later, and the black/white bridal room where the wedding party would hang out in between pictures. My pictures do not do this room justice – its gorgeous and “so Shaun” as my friends & family would say.

Crystal Ballroom at THE US GRANT Hotel - San Diego Wedding

THE US GRANT Hotel San Diego - Details

Just look at those chandeliers! They were on the ceiling, hanging from the walls, everywhere. It made for such a dramatic effect. During the ceremony, they placed a gorgeous white runner down the aisle with rose pedals. The room illuminated “love” and was truly perfect. Let’s make that PERFECT (all caps!).

The bride, Sabrina, just glowed. First off, her hair was perfect (and it’s real!) and she looked like she was shining from the inside out. You could tell she was ready to marry this man. Kelsey & Colton were so excited to see their Uncle Shaun and I was really excited to have made it to San Diego without having a baby on the plane. <insert sigh of relief>

More photos to come.

From Designing Websites to Designer Dresses

wedding

One day you’re building websites for Starwood hotels and the next you are trying on wedding dresses. That’s how Dani and Allison’s day went yesterday. Together with a few of my co-workers, we visited a local bridal boutique to pull some looks for an upcoming wedding film we are doing for work.

wedding

wedding

Dani and Allison were both models for the day, they took one for the team and tried on dresses for us to choose from (I guess that’s the drawback to being a perfect sample size).

Weddings

Dani was the lucky one and quickly found herself in a bridesmaid and a wedding dress. I don’t care how old you are, or how many years you have been married (or not), you always find yourself twirling around and acting like a princess while wearing a poufy dress. No seriously, Dani actually swirled around and said, “Hold on. (insert twirl) I’m having a bridal moment.”

I just love how girls will be girls, no matter what age.

Ice, Ice, Baby!

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the 2014 Inner Circle Experience (ICE) at the St. Regis Bal Harbour. This was an inaugural event created by Sade Awe, the founder of The Bridal Circle. She invited about 50 of the most influential wedding planners, event designers, florists, Catering Managers, stationary companies and motivational speakers to attend a luxury marketing conference in Florida.

stephanie cross - many hats of a mom - wedding events and design

I scored an invite because I manage the wedding marketing initiatives for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and because Sade Awe and I have become great partners this past year marketing select St. Regis properties. Before I go any further, if you are an event planner … props to you! You are truly some of the most creative people that I have worked with. I really enjoyed meeting each and every one of you.

Our event started with a welcome reception and meet and greet with Alexis Maybank, founder of Gilt. Then, a welcome lunch at J&G Grill at the St. Regis resort. I sat with Kellie from The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, Amy from Amy Mancuso Weddings and Anna with the Cove Atlantis. The brainchild behind the florals, the centerpiece and the event décor was Jose Graterol Designs.

Inner Circle Experience

Inner Circle Experience

Inner Circle Experience

Inner Circle Experience

Inner Circle Experience

After lunch we listed to presentations from Alexis with Gilt; Beth Hayden, author of PinfluenceCindy Novotny, and more. Instead of chairs (I mean … by this point everything was over the top and the day had just started) we were made comfortable with white suede couches, colorful pillows, St. Regis Butler service and plenty of delicious treats.

After a day full of meetings, we were welcomed to a sunset reception at the resort. There was music, drinks, great food and lots of networking going on. There was also a full moon and not a cloud in the sky.

Meanwhile, my husband was dealing with the largest rainstorm in Arizona history. No, really. The streets were flooded. I tried reeeeally hard not to socially share any photos from this evening as I felt horrible that I was enjoying a great night while he was stuck indoors with two crazy toddlers.

the inner circle experience - wedding planners weddings and events

Amy Mancuso and I really hit it off. We were the only two girls representing Arizona so we had to stick together. Amy is such a wild and crazy, talented and fun woman who made this experience that much more enjoyable for me.

weddings and events weddings and events weddings and events weddings and events
Let’s talk about this food for a second. Amazing! This guy is a culinary genius, I know I told you all about his book in this post, but seriously you guys … this food was like a slice of heaven (and it was pretty fun to photograph too).

the inner circle experience - wedding planners

the inner circle experience - wedding planners

the inner circle experience - wedding planners

the inner circle experience - wedding planners

weddings and events
The next morning the Inner Circle Experience continued with more presentations from top executives and luxury companies. The room was transformed again into a beautiful and botanical space, with succulents and lots of glam (look at the ceiling!). We heard from companies like Starwood (hurray!), Jo Malone London, Fabergé (you know … the infamous Easter egg), and motivational speaker, Simon T. Bailey.

weddings and events

weddings and events

Lunch was another WOW factor … perfectly designed and great food. I sat with Simon Bailey, Beth Hayden, Amy Mancuso and Marley Majcher, celebrity event planner and founder of The Party Goddess … we both have little girls so we had fun swapping stories of our diva daughters.

the inner circle experience - wedding planners

the inner circle experience - wedding planners
After lunch we broke into roundtables, where I got to ask and receive professional advice from Simon in an intimate setting. He was remarkable … everything you would expect in a motivational leader. We had fun making a video for my boss (who loves his work), which I’ll share with her when she gets back from her fancy vacation in Rome, Paris and Italy (me = jealous).

After another day full of meetings, we got all dolled up for an evening to remember. A formal gala. There was a cocktail reception followed by a plated meal, dinner, dancing and lots of great music by Rock with U Entertainment. I would 100% recommend these guys for any event. They were incredibly talented and got us on the dance floor, even before dinner was served!

weddings and event design

weddings and event design

weddings and event design

weddings and event design

weddings and event design

weddings and event design

This is the St. Regis Bal Harbour crew – from the Catering and Sales Managers to the Director of Sales & Marketing – they make up a great group of women and we are lucky to have them working with St. Regis.

weddings and event designThis is Sade Awe, founder of The Bridal Circle and our hostess for the week. She truly is remarkable and has fostered some deep relationships with many key influencers. What a star!

weddings and event design

weddings and event design

Ceci Johnson (Ceci New York) - Stephanie Cross (St. Regis)
I loved meeting up with Ceci Johnson with Ceci New York, you know her work. I know you do. Just click here and see some of the couture wedding invitations that she puts together. Follow her on instagram too – you’ll get a peek into some of the custom watercolor prints she makes and you’ll feel a bit more inspired with her every post.

stephanie cross - many hats of a mom - wedding events and design

stephanie cross - many hats of a mom - wedding events and design

stephanie cross - many hats of a mom - wedding events and design

stephanie cross - many hats of a mom - wedding events and design

stephanie cross - many hats of a mom - wedding events and design
And that’s a wrap! Sade said at the beginning of the conference, “How do I wow people who do wow for a living?” Well, my friend. You just nailed it. Until next year …

stephanie cross - many hats of a mom - wedding events and design

The Professional Hat: Do you want to know what passion looks like?

I am a self-proclaimed passion-ista. I live and breathe to be inspired. I am a marketing manager for nine Starwood luxury hotels and resorts and I love everything about what I do. And, I am so lucky to be surrounded by women (powerful, strong and amazing women) who are just as passionate about their profession as I am. 

My friend Ashley, who owns Ashley Gain Weddings & Events, is a stellar wedding planner in Arizona who works crazy hard to make her brides’  dreams come true. I just watched this video that Ashley posted on her blog about her time at a recent bridal conference. Watching this video, I found myself just as energized as she was. Her passion is inspiring and really fun to watch. Click on Ashley’s image below to see the video.

Brides: I recommend hiring a wedding planner. And not just any wedding planner, a planner who is as passionate for her craft as Ashley.

The Wife Hat: How it all began

Six years ago today, my husband and I were paired to walk down the aisle together as bridesmaid and groomsman in our friends, Sarah and Chad’s wedding. This wedding is where I met my husband.
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The bride, Sarah and I were first introduced in college, as we were randomly selected to be college dorm roommates. It was the best thing I have ever been randomly selected for. Sarah had been trying to introduce me to Ryan for years prior to her wedding day. When the time was right, she tried again.
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“Stephanie will be paired with Ryan for the ceremony”, instructed the wedding planner. As I stood in line, rehearsing my position for the Big Day, I leaned in and whispered to the bridesmaid next to me, “Which one is Ryan?”. She leaned back to me and pointed straight ahead and said, “He’s that one. Lucky.”
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Thanks to Sarah for her persistence and match-making skills. Happy wedding anniversary to you and Chad, and congratulations on another baby on the way.