This was our room, in yes, a hostel in Barcelona! We visited Barcelona during the beginning of high season and given we were staying in Europe for 3.5 weeks, a combination of factors came into play--including budget. The Gracia neighborhood of Barcelona is a popular one, with lots of cafes, tapas restaurants, the Segrada Familia and beach within walking distance and, of course, night life! While I wouldn't normally consider a hostel, Generator Hostel allows you to select the choice of a private room, private bath and balcony all at a cost cheaper than a hotel or apartment. Laundry facilities are also within the property.
As you can see the bathroom is colorful; our balcony was a large one with two chairs. The power outlets are not compatible with anything you use in the U.S.A. so make sure you purchase a converter that is compatible with the configuration pictured below.
As we stepped out of Barcelona's baggage claim area, you could see Taxi's lined up. Once in town, we walked everywhere. The only time we used Uber was when it was time to head back to the airport weeks later in London when our summer vacation ended. More detail in posts to come.
Gaudi's Sagrada Familia! One of the highlights of Barcelona, it is an architectural masterpiece, due to be finished in 2026 on the centenary of Gaudi's death.
The interior, ablaze with light from enormous and beautiful stain glass windows, will be a different visual experience depending on what time you visit. Cool colors illuminate the basilica at sunrise and into the morning, as the sun moves to the afternoon, the reds, oranges and yellows dominate the color palette. (Interior photo courtesy of: Joseph French.)
There are other Gaudi designed structures throughout Barcelona, but this is the most magnificent.
We used the Get Your Guide app to arrange our approximately 1.5 hour tour of this monument and paid extra for access to the towers (see below). You ascend the tower in an elevator, but the descent is all stairs. If you don't like heights, skip the tower tour. Also make sure you book a "Skip the Line" tour.
Yes, that is someone's arm as they held onto the rail during their tower descent. The spiral staircase is indeed that narrow and that steep.
Next post: More Barcelona highlights including accommodations & eateries.
As an educator, I have the luxury of having summers off to officiate weddings and to travel. This year was a milestone birthday for me, so I planned a 3.5 week trip to Spain, Portugal and London. Many of you have seen my IG photo posts and wanted BTS detail, so I've committed to follow though and focus this upcoming series of blogs to do just that.
Where to start? I subscribed to a few travel publications and started paying attention to the Costco travel brochures available in the membership area. I also asked my colleagues who love to travel and I researched/read a ton of travel blogs.
Flight-wise, I started with Google flights, searching for the cheapest flights available, varying departure and return dates to maximize my savings.
Accommodations/Itineraries: The blog I found most useful is Wheatless Wanderlust | Gluten Free Travel & Detailed Itineraries. Admittedly, I don't have a gluten tolerance issue so their culinary recommendations were of no use to me personally; however, their accommodations and itinerary suggestions piqued my interest. Matt and Alysha's site includes neighborhood detail, convenience to top attractions, average pricing for either a hostel, boutique hotel or apartment, parking and, of course, photos. With each recommendation, I'd cross-reference, Apple maps looking at satellite views and cross-reference Booking.com as well.
Spain and Portugal are top destination spots for the summer months, so making/paying for reservations needed to be done 4-6 months in advance.
Next Blog: Barcelona
Themed weddings are special project weddings but serious fun to plan. From attire to invitations and venue lighting to dessert, it takes extra effort but the outcome is seriously worth it. Erica and Nevin will soon be celebrating their second anniversary and yours truly had the honor of planning their Big Day. These awesome photos courtesy of their photographer, Nick Otto, NickOttoWeddings.com
A good wedding planner quickly becomes a Bride's BFF in a newly formed friendship and through all the support, whether it's the big things like the walk-through or the tiny details like assembling and stuffing customized favor boxes. Congrats to you both Deb! (Photo taken from the Bride's Room at Boundary Oak Country Club, Walnut Creek)
Looking for a date idea? Then check out the newly updated Taco Bell Cantina in Pacifica!! Yes, you read it right, a Cantina featuring tapas style menus, fantastic views from the ocean-front patio, together with beer, wine and sangria. Parking available for your car or your surfboard!
'Two-thousand and eighteen was another stellar year of heartfelt abundant love. I was fortunate to have been a part of so many newlywed couples' Big Day, contracted as either an officiant or wedding coordinator.
Last year found me in some wonderful venues again, among them, San Francisco City Hall, Boundary Oak Country Club, Concannon Winery, Casa Real at Ruby Hill, Wente Vineyards, Ravenswood Historic Site, Dunsmuir Estates, Elliston Vineyards and south to Saratoga Springs just to name a few.
I also had the opportunity to work in a few venues I wasn't familiar with previously like the Wild Oak Saddle Club in Santa Rosa, Hiddenbrooke in Vallejo and Chouinard Vineyards in Castro Valley.
As I read the responses to the questionnaire I have all couples complete, love sparked between couples who met in college, some as far back as high school, a few met at work yet the majority continue to make that love connection online.
Some of my clients have stayed in touch from prior years, sharing photos of a newborn or an adopted puppy; I appreciated receiving holiday cards, email updates or being friended on Facebook.
I'm thankful to be a part of such an important milestone in this journey of love and life.
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!
T stands for Transportation
As a planner and coordinator, I find that many couples overlook the importance of transportation on their wedding planning task list. It is actually a practical matter; you both don't want to drive to the ceremony and deal with two cars at evening's end. The fun part is deciding what kind of car best suits your style and the theme of your Big Day!
When considering transportation for your wedding party and out of town guests you can consider everything from a cable car to a luxury coach. One of my Bay Area group transportation favorites? Black Tie Transportation in Pleasanton. A great team of professionals--customer service agents who you'll work with to establish service and their drivers of course!
Whether ordering a limo or "coach" or a trolley car through Classic Cable Cars, either company will ask you for the estimated number of passengers you'll need to transport, as well as, the pick-up and drop-off locations. You'll want to ensure you know the minimum contract hours--most are 4 hours. When you get the contract you'll see a section titled PAX, that's transportation lingo for the number of passengers. Luxury vehicles, including vintage ones, can often be rented for a 2-hour minimum, SF Bay Area couples might consider utilizing DriveVinty, they have a good selection of chauffeur driven vintage car choices.
Have a favorite vehicle, but don't want to spend money to rent one? Be inspired by the photo below, certainly do-able for the DIY couple.
Yes, despite all the commercial and residential building that continues in the Bay Area, you can still get horse drawn carriages too. This one for a wedding I coordinated at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga.
Are you thinking of eloping during the summer or early Fall months? Then I'd highly recommend you consider a yacht charter through Passage Nautical. You can arrange embarkation points at either Jack London Square or Point Richmond.
I hope this post has left you feeling inspired.
My three favorite wedding related words that begin with the letter "S" are:
I love stationery; I could spend hours looking for just the right message, the feel of the card stock, not just the front of the card, but the back too. You could say I'm a stationery geek. Enough about me. You have lots of choices--a digital invitation sent by email, traditional 'send in the mail' invites both with an awesome array of designs from whimsical to opulent.
Minted.com has a "all-in-one" design; the RSVP detaches from the invite which makes for a less bulky invite and likely no extra postage needed. GoldenMomentDesign Co. an Etsy featured company, is the place to find acrylic invitations, perfect for family members as a keepsake from your special day.
Some couples think they need to stick to the traditional wedding procession songs to have a nice wedding by their guests standards. I caution against that kind of thinking; don't allow yourselves to be limited. Here in the Bay Area many couples take advantage of all the wonderful outdoor locations in which to be married. Whether it's Faith Hill's "Breathe" or Billy Joel's, "Just the Way You Are" or this Elvis classic, "Can't Help Falling in Love", by either Andrea Bocelli or Haley Reinhart. Love the melody of a particular song, but don't want the lyrics for your Big Day? You might enjoy the Piano Guys, this one a piano/cello cover, but Piano Guys has a great variety from which to choose. So many musical choices!! Don't forget you'll want a Recession song too! I highly recommend something up beat as you celebrate your union.
Every smart planner knows the importance of a seating template. If you are hosting a buffet-style or plated meal during your wedding reception you'll want to utilize a seating template in figuring out where your guests will be seated. To master that tedious task easily visit Etsy for a variety of choices in both design and of course printed size.