“My amazing clients and their guests often tell me that the weddings I plan are the best parties they’ve ever been to,” Hattar said. “After years of making those dreams happen, I wanted to also do that for my own family, friends, and myself. I wanted to feel special, and I wanted everyone to feel just as important. Each and every person deserved to enjoy, celebrate, and just have fun after the year and a half that we’ve all been through.”
Keep reading for an inside look into how a wedding planning pro plans a day to celebrate her birthday and the ones she loves.
Find the venue, and the rest will follow
Hattar first explored the grounds of Raymond Vineyards in Napa Valley when she attended an event exclusively for wedding planners. The unique experiences and venues that the space offered was unlike any other and never escaped her mind. Eight years later, Hattar revisited the destination to plan and celebrate her 40th birthday. Her secret to planning such a successful event while in the era of a pandemic is answering the same three questions she routinely asks her wedding clients:
1. How do you define yourself?
2. What do you want most out of your event?
3. Who are the people helping to make it happen?
One of the most essential components, other than the actual location, is the party’s theme. After some introspection, Hattar tapped into her love for luxury to focus on old Hollywood’s glitz, glam, and drama as the inspiration for her birthday bash. Guests arrived dressed head to toe in extravagant ’20s style dresses, and tuxedos, entering the Raymond Vineyard’s iconic velvet ensconced Red Room to sip merlot and eat Palestinian-inspired dishes.
The right experts for the job
After answering the top two questions, Hattar knew precisely who to contact to make her birthday fantasies a reality. As an expert with more than 15 years of experience designing luxurious yet laid-back events, she used the plethora of relationships she has maintained with hand-picked vendors to make her night one to remember. First, to compliment her showstopping blue gown paired with a luxe fur shawl from Bliss Bridal & Black Tie, she reached out to media makeup and hair artist, Sherrie Long, to create an eye-catching look. Betty Lok, of Betty Wonderful, handled the elegant invitations and beautiful stationery for the event. From Karen Baba of Plan Decor’s gorgeous floral bouquets that matched beautifully with the venue’s crystal chandeliers to Misti Lane Photography capturing every moment, it is the small details that make events like this come together.
“As an event planner, it’s exciting to see the level of detail and intricacies that go into making an event come to life,” Hattar said. “I love seeing my clients’ faces light up when they can see and experience the level of customization our team puts into their events. It was exciting to feel that on my special day.”
A Cultural Experience
The fete featured a cultural mix of Hattar’s Middle Eastern heritage. DJ Kyanni Productions’ music inspired impromptu belly dancing, and her beloved grandmother’s classic recipes graced the plates. Hattar’s grandmother, whom she calls her Teta, passed away 22 days before her birthday. To honor her Teta and bring her love and spirit into the party, Hattar teamed up with chefs to recreate the delicious recipes her grandmother had once served. The recipes are on close relative and food blogger Mai Khader Kakishes’ Almond & Fig site and below:
Placed in front of the dishes was a heartfelt message from Hattar. The 40 people closest to her received a glimpse into her life as she shared the importance of her culture with them.
Don’t put off celebrating life!
As the world continues its new normal brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is one more question to add to Samar’s list: how will you create a safe and inviting environment that inspires joy?
Wedding and event planners must also navigate planning a safe gathering while giving all attendees a comfortable environment. This is not new to Hattar, who created her own principles to have safe weddings and elopements at “micro-weddings,” so her couples could still have their special day. Following her principles, all 40 attendees were vaccinated and tested three days before the event. With the right guest list and action plan, she alleviated the stress and set the stage for a once-in-a-lifetime event.
“Everybody danced the night away and wanted to know if we’re doing it next year!” Hattar said. “Maybe I’ll do this again in like 10 years.
To read more about how Samar helps others create memorable and authentic events, visit the Blissful Events website for more information.
About Blissful Events
Blissful Events is the premier wedding planner for California’s Wine Country. Specializing in relaxed elegance, the Blissful Events team creates fun, romantic, and luxuriously laid-back weddings. With clients in the United States and internationally, the team has worked with couples from Australia, China, and India. Blissful Events produces 16 weddings a year and selects clients carefully to ensure superior personal attention.
As a “Professional’s Professional,” most couples find Blissful Events by word of mouth from other happy clients, preferred vendor lists from local venues and professionals, and national websites such as The Knot.
Blissful Events was founded in 2007 by Samar Hattar. The company has won wide recognition for its excellence in design and planning and is frequently in the top ten lists of San Francisco Bay Area wedding planners. Blissful Events has been three times voted in the “Top Ten Best Bay Area Wedding Planners” on ABC’s (Channel 7) Bay Area “A” List” and has been seen on the top wedding publications around the world.
Wedding by Blissful Events. Photo by Christophe Genty Photography.