f. Duncan Reyes Events by Design bio picture

    His successful career all began as a Corporate Event Planner until his tenure as Catering Manager for luxury hotels such as The Portman Hotel and The Pan Pacific Hotel San Francisco, The Fairmont Hotel San Francisco & Chicago, General Manager and Director of Events at The Julia Morgan Ballroom at the Merchants Exchange Building, and at the historic Westin St. Francis Hotel San Francisco as their Catering Manager for Weddings and Social Events.

    His impressive accolades have given him credentials to recognize him as an Independent Food Editor, Restaurant Critic and a Contributing Writer for San Francisco, Chicago and New York media publications. Spanning over 30 years in Wedding, Corporate and Social Event Planning, his passion has taken him to new career heights that led him to create F. Duncan Reyes Events By Design and is renowned as the Event Industry’s most Premiere Wedding and Event Planner Extraordinnaire. In January 2009, he was honored by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the Top 100 New Businesses for 2009 and as published in their “Book of Lists 2009”. Duncan is a member of the National Association of Catered Events both for the San Francisco and Silicon Valley Chapters, and was voted in April 2010 as NACE’S “Member of the Year”. And just recently in January 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, was recognized by WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards for Wedding Planning. Committed to creating special events that are as distinctive as his clientele, he creates and executes flawless affairs with sophistication and panache yet with a personable approach that represent your own unique style, exceeding expectations for the planning and design experience. The myriad of Weddings, Corporate and Social Events accommodate all requests large and small with a touch of class. With years of experience conceptualizing ideas, themes and budgets for all events, his capabilities and resources are endless in an effort to create memories that will last a lifetime.

    . . . . Hundreds of Dreams . . . Thousands of Details . . . Millions of Memories

    Contact F. Duncan Reyes Events by Design


Congratulations to Robbin & Mary who tied the knot last July 7th at their beautifully renovated home in Alamo.

They celebrated their nuptials in what couldn’t have been a more perfect sunny day, continued with a spectacular array of gastronomies and delectables, as they danced the night away in a cool evening under the stars.

This amazing couple are true to themselves and to their love.   They are so sweet together, unmatched and they speak love to each other without saying anything.  I absolutely love how they love.  The kind of people who hugs everyone repeatedly.  And like them, their Friends and Families were just as charming, beautiful and gracious.

Humble, heartwarming, enthusiastic, fun and loving – these were all the key elements that will make a beautiful marriage.  And for Robbin and Mary, they embody all of them.  It was a memorable evening of romance, magic and love . . . lots of it!  Flawless and fabulous, just like them!

Special Kudos to my terrific team of “Wedding Dreammakers” – you are all masters of your craft!  And to our incredibly talented Photographer, Vicens Forns . . . you do stellar work, and have a keen eye for creative art.  Don’t every stop being your bad-ass self!!

Wedding Planning and Event Design  |  Duncan Reyes and Laura Westphal – F. Duncan Reyes Events By Design

Photography  |  Vicens Forns – Vicens Forns Photography

Cake  |  Katrina Rozelle and Liz –  Katrina Rozelle Pastries and Desserts

Catering  |  Danielle Sommers – Fraiche Catering

Entertainment (Ceremony)  |  Jeff Ward – The Whiskey Brothers

Entertainment (DJ)  |  DJ Celeste Lear and Jason Mitchell – Gatsby Entertainment

Floral Design  |  Jeeryn Dang – Petite Petal Company

Hair & Make-Up  |  Ashlee Essy

Hotel Accommodations  |  Sean Peach and Jeff Leete – Marriott Walnut Creek

Lighting Design  |  John Woods, Megan Woods and Jazmin Guinto – Enhanced Lighting and Audio Visual, Inc.

Photobooth  |  John Davies = SmileCity Photobooth

Portable Restrooms  |  Royal Restrooms of California

Rentals  |  Mike Mori – Classic Party Rentals Modesto

Valet Parking  |  Jeremy Muldoon, Sara Mariea and Brandon Boyd – Signature Parking


Graced with a breathtaking view of San Francisco Bay, The Presidio Chapel was an incredibly beautiful and an inspiring location for Kiana & Brad’s Wedding.  Built in 1931 by the U.S. Army, the chapel’s Spanish mission revival architecture features arched stained-glass windows, a magnificent fresco, a high ceiling with redwood beams, wrought-iron chandeliers, and lovely oak doors making it the perfect setting for this beautiful couple’s special day.  Following their Ceremony, the Reception followed at The Commissary, the Presidio’s latest gem of a restaurant that is a Mexican-inspired Arguello with lots of “heart and soul” showing craveable Spanish-influenced California fare by Owner/Executive Chef Traci Des Jardin.  While the “mess hall” dining room has been redone, its earlier use is still evident in the exterior, the metal support columns inside and the preponderance of communal tables.  The dining experience could not have been more exquisite while the atmosphere provided an energetic vibe, exactly how Kiana & Brad would have imagined. And how can you not with this couple – they exude so much love!  Like their magnetic persona, they’re wedding was full of vibrance, high energy, enthusiasm, warmth and love.  And that’s exactly how I designed it to be . . . a Wedding bursting with life.  What an incredible evening it was – all I heard was nothing but rants and raves, and saw hips shaking’ and breaking’, booties bumping’ and everyone swaggin’ and swayin’ as they tripped the lights fantastic.

Through the eyes of their masterful photographer, Dario Leventini with F3 Studio Photographers, you can’t help but reminisce that memorable day through images he froze in time.  And special kudos to my superb “Wedding Dream Team” – you are all exceptional beyond words, with talents unmatched like no other.

To our lovely Bride & Groom, from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for our lifetime and newfound friendship, and for allowing us this opportunity to create the Wedding of your dreams!

Wedding and Event Planning  |  Duncan Reyes and Alex Barranco – F. Duncan Reyes Events By Design

Photography  |  Dario Leventini – F3 Studio Photographers

Cake  |  Executive Pastry Chef Ian Farrell – Bakery 350

Catering & Reception Venue  |  Randalyn Young and Stacey Aldrich – Bon Appetit Catering at the Commissary

Ceremony Venue  |  Helen Wu and Natasha Zellerbach – The Presidio Chapel 

Entertainment (DJ)  |  Jason Mitchell – Gatsby Entertainment

Floral Design  |  Jaimie Giorgi – The Monkey Flower Group

Hair  |  Jean Riley – Mirror Court Salon

Hotel Accommodations  |  Terry Haney & Madelyn Ramirez – The Inn at the Presidio

Hotel Accommodations (Overflow)  |  Gill Eklof – The Laurel Inn

Make-Up  |  Gaje Garcia

Officiant  |  Dean Goodwin

Rehearsal Dinner  |  Sessions at the Presidio

Slo-Mo Photobooth  |  Francis Basco – Motionscope Booth

Wedding Gown  |  eDressit

Wedding Bridal Shoes  |  Michael Kors


In choosing a style, documentary photography is a series of posed photos that are candid or spontaneous, photojournalistic that captures the moments exactly as they happened and tell the story, while group portraits are traditionally required for weddings for a more formal composition.  But really, every photographer has a great artistic license to infuse their particular point of view and style into their photographs.  So while their shots reflect reality, it’s their reality.  The photos are dramatic and gorgeous, but are shot with a grainier, dreamier, more muted appearance where usually the subject photographed is in focus and the background appears to blur.  They both also take a fine-art approach shoot.

What sets apart one photographer from another is their creativity in editing each photographed image.  Some have a very extensive experience such as use of lighting, colorizing and saturation and exposure whether it be soft natural lighting or vivid clarity.  Whereas others are hazy, light and airy.  Some angle shots can be more theatrical while others shoot straight without any creative thought on angular options to take the picture.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to how they tell the story that matches your idea of how your wedding will be.  You just have to ask if the photo they take has a sense of humor?  or romance?  or softness?  Is it crisp like magazine image?  Each of their stories will be YOUR story through THEIR eyes, so you’ll want to make sure that they match up.

Lastly, don’t underestimate the importance of liking and bonding with your photographer.  For example, were they excited by your vision when you described it?  When they make suggestions, do they present them in a clear and respectful way, or were they timid?  Are their mannerisms off-putting?  In order to get the best photos, go with a Pro who has a firm grasp of social graces but is bold enough to go out hunting for great images and who, above all, puts you at ease and doesn’t irritate you in any way.  Remember, they’ll be shadowing your every move, and the more comfortable both of you are with the photographer, the better the photos will turn out.  Likewise, you don’t want the photographer to offend or annoy any guests, but to shoot them in their best light in an unobtrusive way.  To get the best photos, your photographer needs to be assertive enough to seek out great moments, cajoling enough to coat relaxed smiles and natural stances from guests, and calm enough to be a positive force.  They should ask lots of questions and be a good listener.



The Pros have it, and so here are a few more tips from a few of my favorite Wedding Photographers who have a keen eye for other details you may not think about.


Vicens Forns, Vicens Forns Photography:

o  As you are looking through different photographers’ portfolios, find the ones that make your heart beat a little faster and cause a reaction deep down inside.  If you are not well versed in photography style terminology (photojournalism, fine art, editorial, artistic, etc) it will probably mean nothing to you so search for the images that move you and tell a story.  Request real wedding samples so you can see variety and make sure the photographer is able to cover all aspects of a wedding such as getting ready, details, ceremony, posed group shots, reception and party time.  Look at the different lighting as the day progresses.  Look at color, and composition.  Are the images focused?  Are they clear and crisp regardless of the style?
o  Trust your wedding planner’s suggestions.  They have worked with the individual before and are familiar with the photographer’s professionalism, technical expertise, personality and trustworthiness.
o  Meet with the photographer and see what his personality is like.  Do you feel a connection or does it feel awkward?  Does he inspire confidence in his abilities?  Does he show the personality traits that you are looking for?  Ask lots of questions.
o  Check online reviews.  If there are negative reviews, take the time to see if the photographer has answered and if so, if they give their side of the story in a calm and professional manner while stating the facts.  It is not always the photographer’s fault and weddings are fast-paced events where complications can arise.
o  Check if the photographer has reputable photography awards because this usually further proof that they are technically good.


Brian MacStay, Brian MacStay Photography:

o  Can your photographer shoot in the dark?  Literally half of your day will take place at night.  Ask to see low light, night time photos.

o  Don’t just look at their posed portraits.  Ask to see “real moments”.  Their ability to tell stories with emotional impact.

o  Ask to see a “full gallery” of images (meaning all the photos they delivered to you!).  So for example, I show my new clients, and give the password to past clients’ galleries, so they can see exactly what they will get.  The overall quality of the photos from the start of the day, to the end.  Not just seeing the photographers “best” photos that they put on their website or blog.



Clane Gessel, Clane Gessel Photography:

o  Ask the photographer who’s editing their photos.  Talk about the images and use of them.  For example, does the photographer edit their own images or do they outsource it to companies who edit them for him/her?

o  Ask if you get a full resolution disc.  What’s the point of having great photos if you’re not allowed to print them?  Sometimes, they’ll have to pay more for the usage rights.


So there . . . now, who will you choose?  Good Luck!


Each and every time I plan a Wedding, I always remind all my Brides and Grooms that the only way we can make a success of your special day is to take care of it as though it was for my best friend’s wedding . . . and simply have fun with it!  Trust me … trust you … trust your Vendors.  And that’s exactly what happened with ANALYNN MANDANI and ARNEL YABUT.  Not only were they the most remarkable couple I have ever met, they too have become very good friends.  In fact, all the Wedding Vendors will agree with me when I say they are ‘Friends for Life’!  Surely enough, their Wedding was as fabulous as they were (and still are!).

Huge kudos goes to my A-MAYYYY-ZING “Wedding Dream Team” for executing yet another flawless Wedding Extravaganza.  You guys rocked it!

Wedding Planning & Event Design  |  Duncan Reyes and Alex Barranco – F. Duncan Reyes Events By Design

Photography  |  Vicens Forns and John Wright – Vicens Forns Photography

Cake  |  Chef Bala Subrahmayam – The Cakemaker

Catering, Hotel Accommodations and Reception Venue  |  Vicki Idzal – The Westin San Francisco Airport

Entertainment (5-Piece Jazz Band)  |  Charito Angeles – New Jazz Review

Entertainment (DJ)  |  Alexson Lim and Dino Rivera – Spintronix Entertainment

Floral Design  |  Jeeryn Dang – Petite Petal Company

Hair and Make-Up  |  Angelie Herrera

Hotel Accommodations (Overflow)  |  Monica Le – Crowne Plaza San Francisco Airport

Lighting Design  |  Jason Mitchell – Gatsby Entertainment

Linen and Napkin Rentals  |  Diana Cardenas – Napa Valley Linens

Rentals (Tablescape)  |  Dani Fandino – Flowers and Events By Dani

Rolls Royce  |  Carl Payne

Transportation  |  Shielah Ramo – SFMinibus

Venue (Ceremony)  |  St. Elizabeth’s Church

Venue (Rehearsal Dinner)  |  Grand Palace Seafood Restaurant

Videography  |  Sydney, Daniel Pryde and John Frothingham – ByDesign Films

Featured Image


Fairy tales really do come true, and for Katelyn & Jeff, they embody all of them.  Humble, heartwarming, enthusiastic, fun and loving – these are all the key elements to a wonderful marriage.  And for this fabulous couple, we pulled out all the stops to make their Wedding become a reality, and it certainly proved to be just that – a magical affair.

Congratulations again to both of you … we’re all so very happy to have been a part of your beautiful day.  Here’s to a Honeymoon that will last forever!

Thanks to my incredible team of Wedding Vendors who created a gorgeous Wedding for Katelyn & Jeff … you are all stellar at what you do!

Wedding Planning & Event Design  |  Duncan Reyes & Alex Barranco – F. Duncan Reyes Events By Design

Cake  |  Jen’s Cakes

Catering  |  Kristin Murphy – The Cellar Door Catering

Floral Design  |  Kren Rasmussen & Elizabeth Price – Bloomster’s

Hair & Make-Up  |  Frankie Jones – Artistry Hair

Officiant  |  Kevin Kelly

Photographer  |  Deanna Graham-Garcia & Joanna Lemus – Deanna Graham Photography

Valet Parking  |  Derek Turner – Precision Parking

Venue  |  Kristin Murphy – Clos LaChance Winery

Videography  |  David Ethridge, Billy Kessler & Jim Snow – AVR Films

Wedding Video by AVR Films