Special Events

Mari’s Glamorous Bat Mitzvah

On a beautiful, sunny San Diego day, Mari’s friends and family gathered to celebrate a special milestone, her Bat Mitzvah. Mari was a superstar at her Bat Mitzvah ceremony and reception – take a look at the pictures!

Mari's Bat Mitzvah Mari's Bat Mitzvah

The party began as soon as the guests entered Mari’s Bat Mitzvah reception at the Ultimate Sky Box in Downtown San Diego.

Mari Bat Mitzvah Collage 2

Guests were able to grab their escort card, which was decorated with bright blush roses, full fresh green and white hydrangeas, and a variety of accent flowers. Hydrangea and rose centerpieces are always a classic choice of centerpieces, that add a modern element to the event. The centerpieces and color palette chosen for this Bat Mitzvah would work great for a bridal shower, wedding, birthday party, and/or baby shower!

Mari's Bat Mitzvah

Take a look at the pink – glittery “Mari” and Mazel Tov towards the back of the escort card table. The words written in Hebrew- style lettering provide a glittery and glamorous touch to the Bat Mitzvah theme, and display the cultural aspects related to the Bat Mitzvah.

Mari's Bat MitzvahMari's Bat Mitzvah

Once guests grabbed their escort card, there was a, flip-book station! A flip-book station is  a different take on the traditional photo-booth. Participants were able to move, make faces, and participate with different guests, to make their very own-flip book!

Mari's Bat Mitzvah
Past the flip-book station ,was a digital caricature station, that provided instant printed versions of the caricature, as well as a digital version that could be emailed to each guest. The flip-book and digital caricature station made a great impression on guests as they entered the Bat Mitzvah reception, and were memorable souvenirs from Mari’s special day.

Mari's Bat Mitzvah

Guests could also write special and meaningful messages on a keepsake piece. This keepsake piece was so special – custom made for Mari, who is an avid gymnast. Guests left messages of encouragement and love for Mari to read for the years to come.

Mari's Bat Mitzvah

One of my favorite things about calling San Diego home is the beautiful San Diego skyline. The Ultimate Sky Box,  was not only the perfect space for this event, but provided amazing views! The terrace boasted of views of downtown San Diego, Petco Park, and allowed the guests to enjoy the evening fireworks (Thank you Petco Park).

Mari's Bat MitzvahMari's Bat Mitzvah

On the terrace, there were foosball tables, and Dance Dance Revolution stations. Adding games for the younger attendees is a great way for them to interact with other children, especially if they are on the shyer side. It allows them to make friends and find their dancing partners! Not only are party activities a hit with the younger crowd, but they are an adult favorite too! No one is too old for Dance Dance Revolution.

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After cocktail hour was officially over, guests were invited to sit at their tables. The table decorations  for each individual table were breathtaking and so elegant!

Mari's Bat Mitzvah

Mari invited some of her closest friends to sit at her special table which overlooked the skyline of, Downtown San Diego. The long table was draped with a blush sequined table cloth, with elevated centerpieces. From the elevated centerpieces hung delicate flower vases, with a fresh flower in each one. Blush and white floral bunches lined the table, accenting the elevated flower arrangements – making for a beautiful Bat Mitzvah table.

Mari's Bat Mitzvah Mari's Bat Mitzvah

The remaining tables consisted of high centerpieces with the same bright blush roses and full white and green hydrangeas, as well as clear vases. Each table consisted of smaller floral bunches as well, similar to those on Mari’s table. The clear vase and elevated arrangement allowed guests to converse across the table, without blocking their view. All guests sat on clear chiavary chairs, which tied the girly and glamorous theme together.  

Mari's Bat Mitzvah Mari's Bat Mitzvah Mari's Bat MitzvahMari's Bat MitzvahMari's Bat Mitzvah

Another cool detail worth mentioning is the table numbers! Each table number was unique – displaying different pictures of Mari at a different age. This was a personal touch that can be used on many occasions.

Mari's Bat Mitzvah

The night was full of fun activities such as a cotton candy station, and a hat & mask decorating station that allowed guests to decorate their own hat or mask to keep with them while they danced the night away during the rest of the celebration.

Mari's Bat Mitzvah

I hope you enjoyed taking a peak at the different Bat Mitzvah details for this particular Bat Mitzvah theme. I hope they provide some beautiful inspiration for your next event!
A big Mazel Tov to Mari and her family!

~ Vendors ~
Venue: The Ultimate Skye Box ~ DJ: Classy Events ~ Photographer: Brant Bender Photography ~ Photobooth: A Little Scene ~ Catering: The Wild Thyme Company ~ Arcade Games: Arcade Amusement ~ Invitations: Whimsique ~ Cotton Candy: Sensational Treats ~ Caricature: Digital Artist ~ Rentals: APR Rentals ~ Florist: Blue Petal ~ Espresso: Joe’s on the Nose ~ Party Hats: Party Hats Entertainment ~ Event Insurance: Castle Park Insurance ~ Printer: Art Place

A Very Stylish Garden Party – L’Auberge Hotel Styled Photo Shoot

“Would you like an adventure now, or shall we have our tea first?” – Peter Pan

Garden Party Inspired Shoot

Tea first please! I am so excited to share with you this styled shoot. This Shabby Chic inspired photoshoot can serve as your inspiration for your next charity event, bridal shower, or birthday party!

Friends and Philanthropy

Garden Party Inspired Shoot

The shoot took place at, L’Auberge Hotel in Del Mar, California, which was recently rated as the #1 hotel in Southern California. After this photoshoot, I know why! The grounds were breathtaking, lush greens, English Countryside style cottages, and lots of room to soak up the Southern California sun which we are known for. Beata, of BZM Photography, photographed all of the perfect props provided by Events by Gisele, rentals by APR Rentals, and florals by Jolie Fluer (who did an exceptional job).

Garden Party Inspired Styled Shoot

A pastel damask table linen draped the large table, which featured cushioned the Louis XIV Oak Wood Rattan Chair. On the table were floral tea pots and cups, overflowing with fresh florals. Bright pink flowers made a statement in between the pastel roses and white florals. One of the reasons why I loved this shoot so much, was that if you are looking for some ideas for your Shabby Chic bridal shower or charity tea event, you can pick and choose each detail and you will still have a complete and full look for your tablescape. Each tea accessory adds to the overall look, rather than crowding it, same with the florals. I would love to see this look adapted for an elegant and chic bridal shower, which I guarantee will transform a normal bridal shower into a unique experience.

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Garden Party Inspired Shoot

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Each place setting was as full of delicate details as the centerpieces. Gold silverware sat elegantly by each gold and white charger plate. A burlap napkin with a lace border was placed on top, which went well with the wooden and rustic wicker chairs. Each place setting had a unique tea cup and saucer, which can speak to each guest’s personality and serve as a topic of conversation. And let us not forget, a single orchid for each guest. Again, each detail is pretty on its own, and even prettier all together. If you are not able to complete this exact look, pick and choose the details you like, in order to create your own shabby chic or rustic inspired event!

Garden Party Inspired Shoot

Styled photoshoots provide me with so much inspiration that I cannot wait to give my clients. It allows me to work and build relationships with vendors, and exchange ideas. I hope this photoshoot serves as inspiration for your next event. Tag #eventsbygisele on Facebook and Instagram and show me your Events by Gisele inspired look!

Vendors: Location – L’Auberge Hotel – Magazine Publisher – Heather Winfield of Fine Magazine – Photographer & Art Director – Beata Pevny of BZM Studio Photography – Event Stylist & Coordinator – Events by Gisele – Hat Designer – Aimee Fuller of Aimee’s Boutique – Dress Designer – Giti of GK Le Fashion – Boutiques – Tre Boutique and Peaches en Regalia – Wardobe Stylist – Christine Valdez – Makeup – Liz Margin of Sedona Beauty Team – Hair – Victoria Sexsmith of Studio Savvy – Florist – Alyta Milana of Jolie Fleur – Linen and Props – APR Boutique Event Rentals – Models – Sophia Alsadek, Aimee Meals, Michelle Mirandon, Sarah Z. Sleeper, Carrie D. Woodland



Spirt of Syria – Helping Those Who Need It Most

For the past five years, Syria has been plagued with a brutal civil war, forcing many to leave their homes with nothing but the clothes on their back. Many individuals and families make the long and arduous journey to countries around the world, escaping the violence and desolation back home. In an effort to help the Syrian refugees, many have been allowed to settle in the United States. In fact, numerous families have recently been resettled in El Cajon, CA. Due to their situation and status, many do not have the necessary resources or opportunities to provide for themselves and families.

Spirit of Syria - Hyatt La Jolla - Fundraising Event Photography in San Diego - AbounaPhoto

 I had the honor of planning the Spirit of Syria fundraising event, which raised funds to directly help the individuals and families in San Diego. It was an educational and beneficial event that shed light on the ongoing tragedies taking place in Syria, as well as the hardships that refugees face when immigrating to a new place. The night was full of activities and events, that helped attendees greater understand the Syrian culture and participate in a great cause. As guests arrived to the Grand Hyatt Del Mar, they were able to place their bids on a variety of different donated items. These items included traditional Syrian clothing and musical instruments, services donated by San Diego professionals, paintings, and more. Attendees were also able to purchase homemade sweets made by the Syrian refugees themselves! And boy, were they delicious!

Spirit of Syria

Guests enjoyed traditional Middle Eastern food made by Amerdeen, including kibbeh, hummus, and manakeesh! Before guests made their way into the grand ballroom, they enjoyed dabke performances by the young parishioners of St. George’s Dabke Group! This was just one of the first of many performances that happened throughout the night!

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Following this, guests enjoyed a performance by Tarciana the Belly Dancer, and a zaffe which performed traditional dabke! In addition, a traditional dance was performed in which the performer spins in a circle for a long period of time. This dance is a traditional Sufi dance that is hypnotizing, as the performer spins round and round without getting dizzy.

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Spirit of Syria - Hyatt La Jolla - Fundraising Event Photography in San Diego - AbounaPhoto

After the performances, there was a silent auction, in which guests bid on numerous items. The night was a great night which raised money and awareness for the Syrian refugees, not only in San Diego, but around the world. Share this post to raise awareness for the Syrian refugee crisis!

Love in Palm Desert – Julie and Neil’s Modern Chic Wedding

A desert tableau, modern chic decor, and a stylish and very in love couple, makes for one beautiful wedding! As I look back at all of the beautiful pictures taken by Alicia Chandler Photography, I am reminded of all the personal details and special moments from Julie and Neil’s Palm Springs wedding.

Julie and Neil Palm Springs Wedding

La Quinta Resort will always hold a special place in Julie’s heart, as she spent many vacations and created unforgettable memories with her family growing up. So there was no question to where she wanted to celebrate the most important day of her and Neil’s lives.

Julie and Neil Palm Springs Wedding


Julie and Neil decided to go with a first look before the ceremony. This allowed them to have some private time together before having to take pictures with their bridal party.


The bridesmaids wore chic emerald green dresses, which were complimented by their white bridesmaid bouquets. The blushing bride wore a stunning lace wedding gown, that went perfectly with the modern desert theme of the wedding. Her bridal bouquet was lush and had pops of dark hues and succulent accents.



Adding initials to your wedding decor are a great way to add personal touches! On the gates that led to the ceremony and reception area were Neil and Julie’s initials. The crisp letters were surrounded by rich succulents that boded well with the warm weather. At night, the letters were delicately lit up and went perfectly with the strings of light that lit up the reception area.


The ceremony area was the perfect combination of modern and dessert details. The gold backdrop was accessorized with mirrors, and clear ornaments containing delicate succulents.Surrounding the gold backdrop were different ferns of different textures and heights. Julie and Neil knew it was going to be a warm afternoon, so they had personalized fans placed on each seat.

Julie and Neil's Palm Springs Wedding

Julie and Neil's Palm Springs Wedding

Julie and Neil's Palm Springs Wedding


After Julie and Neil exchanged vows and said yes on forever, they left with their bridal party to take some post ceremony pictures, while their guests enjoyed cocktail hour. Julie and Neil were able to take some breathtaking pictures with the mountains of Palm Desert in the background!



During cocktail hour, guests signed this adorable Kate Spade guest book, and picked up their escort card! The escort cards, which also served as the wedding favor, were dainty little planters that held the cutest succulent! This escort card and favor tied in perfectly with the succulents in the florals throughout the day.


Now onto the reception! The bridal party table was a dark stained table that had a sophisticated rustic charm to it. Wicker charger plates were placed on the table, as well as personalized sugar cookies for the bridal party to enjoy.

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Modern accents, succulents, and fresh hydrangeas decorated the long table, as well as romantic candles. What I loved about the decor from the Hick’s wedding is the variety of shapes! It allowed every decoration to have a certain unique element, while cohesively decorating the special day.

Julie and Neil's Palm Springs Wedding


On each of the guest table, modern accents mixed with succulents served as the centerpieces, and were accompanied by glass gold-rimmed chargers and vases.

Julie and Neil's Palm Springs Wedding

Everyone enjoyed celebrating Julie and Neil’s special day under the desert sky, dancing the night away with a live band and having fun in the photobooth! After the festivities were done, guests got a little more cozy at the after party and had fun the rest of the night! It was a pleasure planning Julie and Neil’s destination Palm Springs wedding, and I wish you nothing but love and happiness!

How to Plan an Easy and Elegant Christmas Party!

Throwing a Christmas party is easy! Yes, I said it, easy! Christmas time is a busy time for everyone, but here are a few tips on how to easily plan and host an elegant Christmas party for your friends and family!

Plan your Menu
First things first, food! You have already chosen a date and invited the people on your guest list, now you have to figure out what to feed them! Whether you know your way around the kitchen, or prefer to have your Christmas party catered, figure out what you want to offer your guests.
If you are planning on making all of the food, realistically plan out how much time you will have to prepare the day before and day of. Once you have done that, you can plan your menu! Don’t stress yourself out and try and make every single recipe you have ever made. Stick to a few that you know are winners, and even try some knew ones! Inviting your guests over for dinner is also a treat for you! Now you can whip out those recipes you save for special occasions, or have been wanting to try!
If you don’t have any recipes on hand, ask your friends for some go-to recipes! Below are two of my favorite and easy recipes that are always a crowd pleaser!

Easy Christmas Recipe

Now time to make a list and get cooking!

Details and Décor
Decorating is one of my favorite things about hosting a Christmas party, or any party in general! Keep your tablescape simple, with small décor details. Don’t overwhelm guests with large Christmas centerpieces, or an overwhelming amount of plaid. Go for smaller more detailed décor, and avoid clutter!

Add some scented candles to your elegant Christmas party in order to set the Christmas mood. Scented candles invoke certain memories, and will remind everyone of happy times they spent with their friends and families.

Make a Playlist

Set the mood for the party with a festive Christmas playlist! Some cheery Christmas tunes will definitely set a merry tone for your event! If Christmas music isn’t quite your thing, pick any playlist and have it playing in the background! Make your own on Spotify or YouTube and sing and dance the night away with the ones you love.


Have Fun

Most importantly, enjoy your time with your family and friends! Be proud of yourself that you were able to put together an elegant Christmas party that everyone loved! Enjoy the planning, the preparing, and the partying!

My Christmas wish to my family, friends, and followers is that you have a blessed holiday season this year, and every year! I hope my easy-to-follow tips will help you plan an elegant Christmas party that you can enjoy, and celebrate all the good things and happy memories in life!

Radys Children’s Hospital Benefit Gala

Every year I look forward to participating in the planning of the Radys Children’s Hospital Auxiliary – Rancho Santa Fe unit Benefit Gala. It is so rewarding to plan such an amazing event  for an organization that does everything it can for every single sick child that walks through its doors.

Clap Board - Broadway Decor

With every passing year, we have been taking the gala to the next level, and this year is no exception!  Broadway Nights,  will forever be one of my favorites!

Broadway Nights Decor Broadway Nights Decor

Upon arrival, guests were transported into a surreal broadway dream, complete with a living read carpet!  Red velvet curtains draped the entry ways as guests walked along the red carpet to the cocktail area. The cocktail hour and silent auction was held in the Capella Ballroom. Each table in the Capella Ballroom had a centerpiece that paid homage to the popular Broadway play, Phantom of the Opera.

Broadway Nights Decor

Once cocktail hour was over, guests took their seats in the transformed ballroom. Rich red drapery lined the  Elizabeth Ballroom, but the focal point was the “Broadway” sign. The marquis  “Broadway” sign was huge, lighting up the whole room and  contributed the vintage and authentic ambiance.

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The Broadway theme even carried over to the menu – which was designed to resemble a Playbill. The room was lit up by romantic candlelight and accented with white florals. 

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One of the things I liked about the design of the ballroom was the use of different chairs. Some chairs were gold art deco style chairs, while others were solid black with more of a modern style.

Broadway Nights Decor

Guests were not prepared for the Broadway surprises of the night. They had no idea that they would be experiencing not one, but four of the best Broadway plays! The LED wall behind the stage changed with the performances, making it seem like each short performance was an actual play!

Broadway Nights Decor

As the evening started and guests took their seats, the cast of, “The Lion King” walked through the crowd and onto the stage, performing the most famous Lion King song.

Lion King Collage
After the Lion King, the cast of Wicked took the stage followed by Les Miserables.

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The last performance by the cast of the Jersey Boys was an excellent closer for the live performance portion of the night. Guests got out of their seats and sang along and danced with the lively cast.

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I love that guests were able to enjoy the hits from not one, but FOUR Broadway plays!  Guests were kept guessing which play was going to come next, and were excited to see all of the impressive acts, creating a great energy for the rest of the night.


The party continued in the Capella Ballroom with a dance floor and DJ. Guests danced to their favorite songs and enjoyed sliders and other yummy appetizers.

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The gala and silent auction raised an exceptional  amount of  funds and awareness for a great cause, and every year I am grateful that I get to be a part of it!

Vendors: Living Red Carpet/ Champagne Diva Dress – Creative Champagne Group — Chair Rentals – Hire Elegance — Chargers- BBK Linen — Event Decor – Pacific Event Production — Entertainment and AV: Imagination Entertainment — Photographer – Emilio Azvedo — Venue – The Fairemont Grand Del Mar



Tim’s 50th Birthday Celebration!

Every birthday deserves to be celebrated, especially the big 5-0!


Tim’s milestone birthday party took place right in his backyard. Guests enjoyed appetizers, which included a wide variety of cheeses and individual servings of fresh ceviche.





After guests enjoyed their starters and got their refreshments, they were escorted to the tennis court to continue with the festivities.


The whole evening had a rustic feel to it, from the earth tone table linens, the fresh rosemary place settings (which were picked from Tim’s garden), to the mason jars used for water.




The tennis court was dimly lit by strings of lights and guests were kept warm by heaters on the chilly evening.



Each table had a vase made out of vintage cassette tapes…catering to Tim’s love for music. Guests enjoyed reminiscing about their favorite artists and songs as they saw the different cassette tapes across the tables. The vases added a personal touch to the fresh floral and succulent flower arrangements that were lit up by delicate lights and surrounding candles.



Guests helped themselves to a variety of delicious foods at the food stations which lined the back of the tennis court. Food stations are a nice design element that allows guests to pick and choose what they want to eat, and provides a nice variety of food choices for everyone.


After seeing, Higher Grounds, on Youtube, Tim and his wife, Catherine, decided that they were a must for this special celebration.


They sang classic hits, both new and old, that got everyone out of their seats and onto the dance floor!


Now we know when there is a birthday, that means there will be birthday cake. Tim’s three sweet daughters brought a special cake out after Catherine gave a heartwarming speech.


This was a truly touching moment for both Tim and his family, as well as his guests. After the candles were blown out, guests helped themselves to different desserts at the dessert table, which included cake, s’mores shooters, and brownie bites!


Even though the cake had been cut and the desserts had been eaten,guests still stayed and enjoyed the music and company. Everything about this celebration was amazing, including the fact that it was all planned in TWO WEEKS! It was a great party in honor of Tim’s milestone birthday that will be remembered by everyone!

Talia’s Senior Session

Graduating high school is an exciting milestone, and having a senior photoshoot is a great way to commemorate the achievement.
Talia wanted to do something unique for her senior session, and that’s exactly what Events by Gisele did!
Four of us, including Emilio Azevedo  and his assistant, made the 2 1/2 hour trip to Borrego Springs, only to be met with harsh weather conditions making for a rather difficult photo shoot. Despite the bad weather, we made it work and got some gorgeous pictures! Talia wore a vibrant pink dress which contrasted beautifully with the neutral dessert scenery. To take this graduation photoshoot to the next level, Talia added an 8yard long magenta  train! This particular senior session proves that it is worth it think outside the box and go through with your unique and different ideas. Check out the video, and see a behinds the scenes look of  the photoshoot, and just how amazing the pictures turned out! More pictures to follow on the next blog post-stay tuned!

Circus Nights Benefit Gala

The Circus Nights Gala  raised money and awareness for the Sam S. and Rose Stein Emergency Care Center, the only emergency care center in the San Diego region solely dedicated to caring for kids, as well as the only center in San Diego County designated as a Level 1 pediatric trauma center. Hosted by the, Rancho Santa Fe Unit of Rady Children’s Hospital, over 350 guests attended the Circus Nights Gala at The Grand Del Mar. The event was dream-like, with different elements making this event out of this world.


As guests entered the main room, they walked through an arch made of two 10foot long LED trees, with crawling fog covering the ballroom floor, which allowed guests to feel like they were walking amongst the clouds.



The dream-like feel did not stop there, three styles of tables were created to contribute to the extravagant feel of the evening.  What is special about the tables, is the amount of detail that each table had. The first style of table was a mirrored family style table, with whimsical cloudy, upscale flowers such as, cymbidium, phaelopis orchids, and catelaya. White pill candles also adorned the tables, creating a warm glow throughout the room.




The second style of table consisted of a LED center, creating an ethereal glow, topped with fun floral arrangements that consisted of floating candles and a variety of glass votives. 


The third style of tables surrounded the ballroom and were covered in a beautiful Silver Shantung linen with a white sheer Fantasia  swirl overlay. To complete the look, white orchids and other silver and white elements, as well as floating candles, were used to create a beautiful centerpiece. 



Even though each table was created with different design elements, they tied the room together perfectly.


The night was not only aesthetically pleasing, but featured exceptional entertainment as well. The internationally acclaimed troupe, “Il-Circo” performed their cirque style show, “Vilaggio”. Late night snacks and desserts, auctions, and dancing also contributed to the spectacular atmosphere



Circus Nights was a beautiful event for a great cause, and I loved contributing to an event that makes such a positive impact on peoples lives!


Audio and Production: J & S Sound Systems — Entertainment: Il Circo — Party Rental: Kool Party Rentals, Classic Party Rentals — Event Production: Pacific Event Production 


Rady Children’s Hospital Event

Rady Children’s Hospital is one of the premier institutions in San Diego, offering children hope through means of medical care, treatment and prevention.  I am so proud of this organization, and as a Board member on the Rancho Santa Fe Unit of the Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary, it is an honor to help plan fundraising events for such a worthy cause.


Last month, at the Grand Del Mar, our unit held a very special event, which not only raised money for the hospital’s Emergency Care Center, but also honored a musical icon, violin soloist, David Garret.

The event, coined “Bohemian Nights,” featured an amazingly delicious sit-down dinner, a private musical concert, as well as live and silent auctions.  The night was truly magical, and even a local, Rancho Santa Fe newspaper, the Rancho Santa Fe Review, called the event so in a feature on the paper’s website.


As a wedding/event coordinator, this gala requires similar planning and execution, so I took advantage of my specialty and assisted as the event’s head decoration coordinator.  My fellow Board Members were thrilled with my contributions.  In a lovely note from one woman: “Gisele! You did an amazing job as head of decorations this year! It all came together beautifully! Thank You So Much!!”


To offer assistance for a cause like this one is not work at all.  Much as the newspaper mentioned, the event was spectacular.  The music by such a celebrated performer, coupled with fundraising for an amazing cause, made this event a night to remember.

Photos courtesy of Brant Bender Photography

Floral Designer: White Lotus