Welcome back to another installment of Real Weddings Magazine’s Partner Profiles!
This week we highlight spunky Anna Hernandez from Whitebird Ceremonial Dove Releases. Anna is passionate about weddings and loves adding that unforgettable special moment for couples on their wedding day. If you haven’t seen her doves in action, you’re missing out! They’re absolutely breathtaking! Take it away Anna!
Photo by Jensen Photo Booth
Whitebird Ceremonial Dove Releases
Tell us a little about your company? Whitebird Ceremonial Dove Releases provides the traditional release of white doves representing love, peace, fidelity, luck and prosperity. They are specially trained to fly home quickly and safely and are not harmed in any way.
We also offer unique items of decor and special touches including antique bird cages, swan topiaries and the prettiest little Flower Girl/Ring Bearer Wagon in town. I was going to SCREAM if I saw one more Radio Flyer spray-painted white!
When did you establish your business? After witnessing a dove release for the first time at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles (I burst into tears, I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen!) and after years of research (read: procrastination) Whitebird hatched in 1991.
What sets you apart from your competition? I’ve seen dove release companies come and go really fast over the past 20 years. Even low prices couldn’t keep them in the game. My brides have told me I sound like I really know what I’m talking about, they can tell I love what I do and that I really care not only about their wedding, but about the birds, as well. I AM more than “just The Dove Lady.” I like to help with referrals and suggestions based on my 20 years of weddings and special events. I want all my brides to have a pretty wedding!
Where do you find inspiration? From the birds themselves. It’s so amazing that they can find their way home from hundreds of miles. They are excellent parents and both husband and wife (they really do mate for life) take equal responsibility for incubating the eggs and feeding their babies. They’re like little miracles of nature.
When you opened shop, what was your promise to your customers? I promised that I would bring the most beautiful, unique, memorable, romantic and symbolic touch to their wedding with an emphasis on creating a personal experience for each. I absolutely encourage the couples’ creativity and custom releases are our specialty.
Do you have any hidden talents? Ask anybody about Oh! Babette’s 24Kt. Caramels. I love to cook and bake, especially. A co-worker even trusted me to make her wedding cake (a success, but never again!). I’ve won ribbons for my African violets (truth: two ribbons at one show, but still!). And I’ve managed to keep a Japanese Reeves turtle alive for 26 years! Her name is Frank.
What trend do you see coming for weddings in the next year? I don’t know nuttin’ ’bout no trends. I tell my brides to do what they want without regard to what’s fashionable. If she likes puce and alstroemeria, I say, fire it up! I’ll avert my eyes.
Do you regularly blog? If so, what’s your blog site? I started “Notes From Anna” on my website (whitebird.com) in 2003 before I’d even heard of weblogs. It was basically for my own amusement/therapy and a way of sporadically documenting things I’d seen at weddings: both the good and the not so much. I offer helpful hints from a PPOO’s point of view (Picky Person’s Opinion/Observation), as well as just plain ol’ getting stuff off my chest. There’s even a killer chocolate pudding recipe.
Do you Facebook? Oh, dear. It’s a verb? (sigh) Yes. I was dragged kicking and screaming almost a year ago. I would like to be able to spend more time on my Whitebird Ceremonial Dove Releases page (“Like” us?), and resurrect “Notes…” in an abbreviated form, this time with pix. But, my Anna Lisa Hernandez page gets most of the action (“Friend” me?). Alas, “like” and “friend” are now also verbs. Oy.
Photo by Sharpe Photographers
Photo by Pach/Phillips Photography
Photo by XSiGHT Photography & Video
Photo by The Dove Lady
Photo by Andrea’s Images Photography
Can you share a funny/embarrassing/touching story about one of your clients (you don’t have to include their name)? There was a couple who was very religious and wanted the doves released when they kissed for the first time. I kinda got the vibe that this really COULD be their first kiss!! I am totally from The School of Timing Is Everything, so with the whole “very religious/first kiss” thing in my brain, I had my finger on the trigger…waiting for THE MOMENT. Then they kissed — a little, teeny, tiny peck, just as I had expected, and the doves took flight. Then the groom grabbed his bride and laid one on her that made ME blush! I would have liked to do that one over, but it was sweet and charming and passionate and spontaneous, and I just hope her family thought so, too.
What’s your favorite local restaurant? Right now it’s Taylor’s Kitchen. A bit on the spendy side, but most of their appetizers are a full meal! You’ll see nary a baseball cap or t-shirt in there! Arrive early enough to browse the gourmet grocery next door.
What’s your favorite local charity? I wish I had time to dedicate myself to and actively participate in a particular cause. But over the last 20 years, local communities seem to be pretty happy with my donations of $$$ and services for such events as the Vietnam Veterans Moving Wall Opening, Playground Dedication at Loaves & Fishes, B.T. Collins Center (WEAVE) dedication, Victims March on the Capitol, Habitat for Humanity Home Dedications, numerous 24-Hour Relays, Sharing Parents Memorials, Firefighters’ Annual Memorials at City Cemetery, Sacramento Heart Walks, and Walks to Defeat ALS, Leukemia, Cancer, to name a few.
What is your favorite fun thing to do locally? I like to take family and out-of-towners on the Hornblower Sunday Brunch Cruise. It covers ALL the bases. You’ve got your Sacramento River, your quality time, your meal time, your accolades for thinking up something cool and different, and, hellooooo! bottomless mimosas! Then you can attack the Old Sac shops primed with the aforementioned adult beverages while they wear off. Shopping is always better with a little, um, let’s call it inspiration.
Do you have secret vice or indulgence? What is it? I like to share my vices and indulgences, so no secrets. Sugar and Spice Specialty Desserts at 12th and F. Carissa Jones and her staff will put anything you see in her darling display case in a box. Just point, they put it in the box. Point, box. As much as you want! My mom and I got a box full and we sat in the car and chowed like no one was watching! I hope no one was watching.
What are you most grateful for in life? My husband. He’s the nicest, kindest, most decent, talented human being I’ve ever known. I have an interesting life, loyal friends and a successful business, but without him, there would be a lot less love, laughter and light. Those corny sayings: completes me, be a better person, soul mate, blah, blah, blah (sorry) are all true with him.
If you were to plan your own wedding, or re-do your wedding, what elements would be most important to you? Oh, the flowers! How does anybody choose a floral designer? There’s so much talent in Sacramento. And once you’ve chosen your designer, how do you narrow down your flower choices even among what’s in season? Mine was easy — I had 30 minutes to put a bouquet together (white freesias, white tulips, cosmos buds and variegated pittosporum). The cake would be very important, too. I never got one, but I have a plan that might come to fruition for our 10th anniversary next year.
What advice would you give to brides and grooms getting married today? Don’t be in a hurry to get married! Give your love a chance to mature. If you’ve chosen well, that blazing fire will mellow into glowing embers that will keep you warm the rest of your life. (That’s so good, I must have stolen it.)
Anything else you’d like to share with Real Weddings Magazine’s brides? YES!! “Two words: Hire Professionals*! You’re on the right track picking up a copy of Real Weddings Magazine, so I’m not worried about YOU. But, to your sisters out there — your fiance’s personal assistant cannot be trusted to photograph your wedding. Your sister’s boyfriend cannot get your party started equipped only with an iPod and really big speakers. Cousin Jess doesn’t even really know how to work his new-fangled video camera, much less understand the anatomy of a wedding celebration. True stories. And I got a million of ’em. I don’t want to scare anyone, but hiring professionals is like an insurance policy. You can’t say you weren’t warned.” *be sure two of them are a videographer and a wedding coordinator…there are NO do-overs!
Photos courtesy of Whitebird Ceremonial Dove Releases.
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