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THE LOCATION WAS certainly striking: a beautifully designed, modern home overlooking the southern California coastline. But when Barbara Wallace, owner of Corona del Mar, Calif.-based Barbara Wallace Weddings, saw the site of the April wedding for the first time, she knew she was in for a challenge.

The house sat on a narrow lot — the norm for this area — and featured a pool and other water elements that interrupted the usable space. Add that to the fact that the bride and groom live in northern California, and it's not surprising that Wallace admits that making this event a success was “like putting together the pieces of a puzzle.” Her solution? Working closely with the rental company and the owner of the house in order to maximize the available space with minimal disturbance to the festivities.

During the four-month lead time, “The lady of the house was very gracious, even going so far as to make the architectural plans of the house available to {us},” Wallace says. In addition, Diane Cardenas of Santa Ana, Calif.-based Signature Party Rentals took numerous measurements and met several times with the owner of the house, the caterer and Wallace in order to brainstorm the best way to accommodate the 62 guests during the ceremony and dinner. Luckily, the bride and groom had envisioned an Italian family-style feast at a single, long table, which worked well with the space available on the back patio. “The bride and groom came in with the idea for this Tuscan theme,” Wallace notes. “They are both graphic designers and a little offbeat in terms of what they wanted, so they were open to unusual ideas.”

Following the ceremony, guests were invited to move to the front patio for cocktails while the catering staff transformed the back patio, setting up and decorating a 60-foot table. Wallace says that the professionalism of the catering staff was essential to the quick turnaround time: “It was fun seeing the faces of guests as they returned to see the beautiful table set up where the ceremony had been only an hour before.”

Wallace notes that working closely with dedicated people made all the difference to the outcome of the event, and turned the potential lack of space into a non-issue. “All of the people I worked with were amazing,” she says. “Anything like this has to be a team effort, because nobody can do this on their own.”

Barbara Wallace Weddings P.O. Box 84, Corona del Mar, CA 92625; 949/640-7843

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