High School Graduation Party


This was a graduation party celebrated by adorning the residence entrance with Yard Art, amazing balloon arches and columns showcasing the graduate’s high school colors.  The kitchen again sported the school colors showcasing the dessert/candy bar with a transition of linens from Forest Green to Gold to Burgundy as the graduate was heading off to Arizona State University and the candy was also in both school’s colors.  The backyard was transitioned into all things ASU and the theme being our graduates major of Film Studies so tables were decorated with both gold and burgundy linens, florals also represented the same coloring sprinkled with film décor pieces such as projectors, cameras and clapperboards.

Activities were just perfect for this youthful crowd, friends and family which included a mechanical bull, basketball court, two large yard games, a caricaturist (featuring the graduate) and a graffiti wall with many ASU scenes available as a background for individual’s graffiti drawings and subsequent photo (an interactive Photobooth).  All this along with bartenders, an ASU Ice Luge for the drinks, and a DJ who brought the entire party to life and kept the beat going.

Food was provided by three purveyors.  A gigantic charcuterie board, slider and mac & cheese station all beautifully decorated was only topped by a live sushi chef preparing four different rolls in the kitchen.

We were thrilled with the party. It was everything we wanted and more. Thank you for all the amazing work. You go above and beyond and pay attention to every single detail. It was to perfection.
-Ann, Event Hostess

Balloon Décor: Pastel Balloon Design
Bar Services: Couple of Bartenders
Caricaturist, Mechanical Bull, Lawn Games: Corporate Follies
Catering: Atlasta Catering and Rock Lobster Sushi
Desserts: Sue Jacobs
DJ: Apollo Productions
Graffiti Wall: PixalPaint
Ice Luge: Armitage Ice
Linens: Southwick Linens
Location: Private Residence
Rentals: Event Rents
Yard Signs: You Got Signed!

Coordination & Decor: Kate & Company

Meet Desirae Barquin


Desirae combines her creativity and organizational skills with her love for special events. Her hard working attitude and determination has helped her grow in her event planning career with Kate & Company. She is known to extensively research and find perfect locations and vendors that will cater to the client’s vision.

Her love for numbers and great deals helps keep her clients on or under budget. But she does think that there is always room to splurge on that one special item! Desirae also has a craving for personalized and heart felt touches to make an event that much more memorable. She has the ability to see the whole event come together no matter what little ideas you have to start off with.

Desirae spends her weekends working on DIY projects inspired by Pinterest and baking. If you can think it, she can create it! She loves to spend time outside hiking or reading a good book in the sunshine, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.


What is your current favorite wedding trend? 

I love the use of greenery and wood elements. I like bringing that natural, lush feel into any space – especially spaces with an industrial feel!

What is your best advice you would give a couple planning their wedding? 

As hard as it can be, don’t stress! This is a where a coordinator can really help you out. With a coordinator or not, you have to think “What would ruin this day?” and I mean really think about what would completely devastate you, then anything else that happens you can shake off.

What is your favorite part of weddings? 

When the bride walks down the aisle! I love to see the expressions on everyone’s faces. You can really feel the love and emotion in this moment.

What is your favorite/dream honeymoon destination?

I honeymooned at Sandals Negril and LOVED it! I think my favorite location would be any all-inclusive resort on the beach – you just can’t beat it. I would absolutely return to a Sandals again.

Favorite season for a wedding? 

Fall or Spring weddings are beautiful, especially in the desert – the weather is perfect.

What made you want to work in the wedding industry? 

There is just something so wonderful about helping someone’s dream day come together. To see the planning at different stages and then see the couple finally married, it’s the absolute best.  It really is love that draws you into this industry!

What is your favorite “wow factor” décor item? (i.e. lighting, florals, specialty linen, etc.)?

I think lighting can completely set the mood of a wedding and be very breathtaking (and many times – budget friendly). From bistro lights, to candles, to uplighting – it’s amazing how the mood of the event shines through.

What is your current favorite wedding color pallet?

Lately I’ve been really liking lighter colors with a dark accent color. There is something so dramatic, yet classic about that style.

Do you prefer a first look or the couple seeing one another for the first time at the ceremony?

First look. I love the traditional side of waiting until the aisle, but I really enjoy that intimate moment as well. Plus, as a bride that ugly-cried I was so emotional, I’m glad that moment was just between me and my hubby to-be.

Favorite bride in history? (i.e. Jackie Kennedy, Princess Diana, etc.) 

I’m a Jackie Kennedy fan. She was overall so classically beautiful and elegant. I caught myself Googling Kennedy wedding photos when I was planning my own big day!

Favorite flower?

Peonies! Our house has a peony plant and I’m totally obsessed.

Favorite wedding movie? Favorite movie? 

My favorite wedding movie has to be The Wedding Planner or The Proposal. The Proposal is one of my favorite movies in general too!

Favorite book?  

The Little Prince. I read it at least once a year – love it!

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

When I was little I really wanted to be a doctor (ER was my favorite TV show). I used to love setting up a doctor’s office in my room complete with patient files and business cards. I think I liked the organizing better than the pretending to be a doctor part – no wonder I ended up finding a passion in planning, details and logistics!

From the Desk of Desirae: Is your MOH your DOC?


Is your Maid of Honor your Day-of Coordinator?

Recently, I was in my best friend’s wedding. To say I was excited was an understatement. As a wedding coordinator, I was ready to step in and help tackle every aspect of her big day and ensure all the details were covered. I really had a lot of fun wearing two hats the day of the wedding (figuratively, not literally of course). At the rehearsal, when I wasn’t walking down the aisle, I was giving instructions to the bridal party (where to pause, where to stand). When I wasn’t in a photo, I was making sure the other bridesmaids and family members were drinking water and had breakfast that morning, to name a few. After I touched up my make-up before the ceremony, I was checking in with the caterer and confirming how we would release tables for the buffet. That is just my personality and I was going to be there to make my bestie’s day the best it could be.

But then I started thinking what about brides without planner best friends? And I realized how many bridal parties are helping out with no experience, but just because they love the bride?

LADIES – don’t do this to your best friends. If they aren’t a planner, don’t rely on them to be your coordinator. It can be really stressful for someone that doesn’t do it on a regular basis. Don’t put that pressure on them! HIRE SOMEONE. A day-of coordinator will take care of you, your family, your bridal party and all the details – that’s what they do! Let them take that stress of your family and bridal party. If your friends aren’t professionals, don’t expect them to be! Share this day with them as you relax and enjoy these ladies.

From the Desk of Desirae: All About My All-Inclusive – The Resort


If you are reading this, you probably know that Kate & Company plans Sandals Vacations (full disclosure). In my honest opinion, I would love Sandals even if I didn’t promote them on a regular basis and I do truly love Sandals Resorts and how the experience at each resort is different.

My hubby and I knew we wanted to do all-inclusive honeymoon and Sandals was an easy choice. I don’t even remember us needing to talk about it. Kate planned our honeymoon and it was EASY, but you can read more about that here.

I wanted to breakdown what our trip was like and share my experience with anyone considering an all-inclusive vacation (Sandals or otherwise) and hopefully inspire you to book that dream trip! Below is an overview of our time at Sandals Negril. Some of the things may be resort specific, but you’ll find many of the same amenities across the Sandals brand and throughout the Caribbean Islands.

When we arrived in Jamaica (and got through customs) we went to the Sandals lounge at the airport. There were attendants there who checked us in, labeled our luggage and then it was time to start relaxing! (I’m serious here, there is Red Stripe in their lounge). After that, we didn’t have to carry our suitcases again until we got to the airport after our return flight. That’s right – no schlepping bags all over the place!

From the lounge, you’ll get on a shuttle based on resort (if there are multiple on the island), they’ll confirm your suitcase is scheduled appropriately and off you go!

When you arrive at the hotel there is no waiting in line to check-in – our Kate & Company team does this for you in advance. The entire process is completely relaxing. We were in the club level room type and were greeted with a cold towel and taken to the Club Sandals Lounge where we relaxed, had a drink and were checked in by our concierge.

View from our balcony!

We were escorted to our room as they gave a brief overview of the resort. Our room was BEAUTIFUL. We were in the Paradise Beach Front Village and our balcony looked right over the beach. The room was really spacious and featured a table perfect for breakfast room service. We also had a full bar stocked with liquor, wine, beer, sodas, juice and waters (refreshed daily, if you can drink that much!).

That night we attended the resort beach party featuring food, music, and dancing. The Sandals entertainment team does a great job at engaging you without you feeling forced (participate if you want to, but no one will make you!) They had several activities each day ranging from cooking demonstrations to volleyball in the pool. All the details were outlined for the next day in a resort newsletter we received each evening for the following day.

Sandals Resort Negril itself featured four pools (one for scuba and one that was attached to the swim-up rooms).  While we were there, we had six restaurants to choose from (there are 7 now) as well as room service. Our absolute favorite was Kimonos, Teppanyaki, but we also loved Bella Napoli Pizzeria (pizza whenever you want? Heck yeah!) – but I’ll get into the food another day.

The beach was everything it’s made out to be – a beautiful, white sand beach. The water was really shallow at the resort, which was perfect in my opinion, and it was so warm and calm! Warmer than the pools (West coast people, I know you can appreciate this). The resort has floating lounges to relax with a drink and new friends or you can grab a pool float.

Also at the resort is the full service Red Lane Spa. This is not included, but is so worth it. Even if you don’t opt for a massage or facial, you can still enjoy the other spa features such as the whirlpools and saunas for no additional fees. The resort did also have a gym – to be honest, I didn’t make it there.

Sandals Negril, our resort is one of the more intimate Sandals Resorts in Jamaica, which was perfect for what we were looking for. Each Sandals property really does have its own personality and feel which is why it’s key to work with a planner to be sure you are at the resort which will be the best fit for you and has the needs and amenities of your dreams.

From the Desk of Desirae: “I want to do it myself”


More and more often I hear newly engaged brides-to-be talking about how they don’t want a wedding designer, planner or coordinator and they want to do it themselves. Here is where I think there is a HUGE misconception about wedding coordinators – we WANT you to plan it. This is your day! A wedding coordinator should not be someone handing you a pre-planned wedding – weddings are not one-size fits all. A wedding coordinator is someone to take your dreams and desires for your wedding day and helps bring your dreams into a reality. It’s having someone there who knows the vendors to contact, someone to ask your big and little questions, it’s really all about taking the stress off of the couple through suggestions, recommendations and best practices. You get to shape the day to your desire.

For example, you can scroll through Wedding Wire and look through PAGES of DJs and photographers, but wouldn’t it be great if someone could give you a short-list of tried-and-true and really professional options?  That’s one of the many great services a coordinator can provide!

Pinterest has given brides an incredible tool for wedding design/planning and it’s a great place to look for inspiration. There are so many great resources a bride can use for planning guidance, but the only one that is tailored to your wedding is a coordinator. As a wedding coordinator, I promise we are not looking to take away the experience of you planning your wedding, we just want to make it a stress-free process from early discussion through day-of!

Vendors We Love: SoHo63


Looking for a modern, unique venue? Look no further than SoHo63 in downtown Chandler! This area is the perfect location (easily accessible, near hotels and in a fun downtown atmosphere with multiple restaurants and activates). Here are just some of the reasons we love SoHo63; the spaces, the décor possibilities and their extra ordinary team.  Inclusions include AV equipment (projectors and screens (you bring laptop/media)), large satin draping, door man and more.

The Spaces

SoHo63 has four event spaces – Brix on Boston, the Plaza, Gramercy Ballroom and the Terrace, two with complete AV packages included.

Brix on Boston is fun space featuring huge windows looking out onto Boston St. with exposed historic brick and original ceiling tiles.  With the book shelves and leather couches and cozy furniture, this is the perfect space for a cocktail hour or bridal shower and is also a super fun spot for photos.

The Plaza is a stunning ceremony spot featuring a crystal beaded screen and a nearly 100 hand lit candle wall – this backdrop is sure to wow your guests.

Gramercy Ballroom is the main ballroom space and features beautiful, modern crystal chandeliers, a stunning, reflective black floor and large glass doors opening up onto the Terrace.  Just think of your wedding reception in this room with easy flow back and forth onto the beautiful outdoor space.

The Terrace can be used as your ceremony space and as part of your reception. The enormous marble and gas fireplace and dimmable bistro lighting provides a romantic atmosphere for the whole evening!

One of the best things about these spaces is that you never feel boxed in. Each space compliments the others and has a natural flow that will make your entire event feel open and spacious.

The Décor Possibilities

There are endless possibilities for any décor concepts at SoHo63. The wonderful thing about the various rooms is that they can be customized to fit any theme and any color scheme. The existing décor is stunning by itself but can also be subtle enough allowing you to design the space to fit your dream.  No two weddings in this space are ever the same. We have never seen a theme or color scheme not work in this versatile space!

The Team

Megan and her team at SoHo63 really go above and beyond to make your day special.  As one of the most responsive and responsible teams in town, they are with you from the first walk-through to your wedding day and will feel like close friends by the time you say ‘I do!’ They are professional, knowledgeable and just a ton of fun to be around. If you aren’t already sold on the space, the team will win you over!

Photos by: Charity Maurer, I Do PhotographyMicah Carling Photography

From the Desk of Desirae: Be a Wise Bride!


As I planned my own wedding, many of my vendors did not know that I’m a wedding planner. So I was really able to see what my brides are experiencing as they learn more about vendors and their services and practices. And here is the biggest thing I want to share with fellow brides based what I saw when I was in your shoes: Don’t just go with everything a vendor tells you. Ask questions. If something doesn’t seem right, bring it up! If you’ve already hired a day-of coordinator, ask their opinion.

Here’s what happened for me: We were renting chairs for our reception and selected a rental company that seemed reasonably priced. When I went to pay our deposit I wanted them to update the pick-up time (they had it at 6:00 PM on wedding day – um. NO!, big conflict with my ceremony and reception). So when I asked them to pick it up after the reception they said there would be a late night pick-up fee, but if we could work with the venue to have it picked up the next morning they would remove that fee. So we went to our venue and worked it out so that the rentals could be picked up Sunday morning. Perfect, right? NOPE. When we went to update the invoice to remove the fee and pay our final payment they said not only was Sunday still considered an after-hours pick-up, but they also needed to charge us a Sunday pick-up fee.

BRIDES, this is when you need to stand up for yourself!

If you didn’t originally agree to it or fees keep being added and they aren’t being clear, bring it up. Express your frustration and see if they will discount the fee for you. The worst they will do is say no. I was able to get myself a discount by doing just that. Give it a shot, don’t be afraid to negotiate!