Monday, January 26, 2009

Sophisticated San Francisco: Caitlin + Mark

Caitlin is an amazing interior decorator based in San Francisco. When it came to planning her wedding, she was a natural for selecting the flowers, colors, and overall look of her event. She chose City Hall as the backdrop for her Fall nuptials and it made for a spectacular setting. Caitlin wanted her reception to feel as if you were attending a dinner party in a sophisticate's home - a comfortable, yet elegant affair. And it was. The evening felt intimate even within the grand walls of City Hall.

We set long tables with lush centerpieces, linen hemstitch napkins complete with the bride and groom's monogram, and lots of candles. Guests dined on an exquisite meal from Paula LeDuc Fine Catering and nibbled on coconut wedding cake from Perfect Endings. Caitlin and Mark loved the coconut flavor so much, they chose it was the only flavor for their wedding cake. It's that good. Guests packed the dance floor as the Chuck Wansley Band played all of the bride and groom's favorite songs.

My favorite detail? The escort card table was amazing! The layout was so unique and complemented the beautiful calligraphy from Maybelle Imasa-Stukls. It was such a visual treat and a great focal point for the guests as they entered City Hall.

Photography by Gertrude & Mabel. Flowers by Kathleen Deery. Ceremony and reception at San Francisco City Hall. Catering by Paula LeDuc Fine Catering. Hair and make-up by Jim Avila and Darlene Carlson. Music by Innovative Entertainment. Printed materials by Jenny Marlin. Calligraphy by Maybelle Imasa-Stukls. Cake by Perfect Endings. Bride's gown by Monique Lhuillier.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Meet Me at Gump's

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, be sure to attend the Gump's Bridal Event on Sunday, February 8th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. You'll be able to preview the best in new bridal fashions, get advice on your registry, and meet some of San Francisco's premiere wedding vendors. Tickets are $30.

I'll be there, along with one of my favorite florists, Kathleen Deery. Please stop by and say hello!

For more information on the event or to purchase tickets, click here or call 415.984.9250.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Words of Wisdom: You're what?

Your engagement is one of the most exciting times of your life. But for most brides, it can be overwhelming too. There are lots of details involved in planing a wedding - where will it be? when will it be? is that band available? will I find THE dress? Fear not. I've compiled a couple tips for the newly engaged to kick off your wedding planning on a high note.

* Give your self anywhere from 10 months to 1-year to plan. You will have more fun with the planning process and be able to keep everything in perspective. You'll also have more options, as many bands and wedding venues book up 6 months to 1- year in advance.

* Figure out a rough initial guest count and then choose a location. Getting a realistic view on the guest count will help narrow down your venue search. I always recommend couples pick a location that has a look they are already happy with, so you won't have to devote too much of your budget into making your location something it is not. In my experience, the hardest time in the planning process for couples is determining where and when the wedding will take place. The last thing you need is for everyone from your Aunt Sally to your mom's former co-worker asking you about wedding details when you don't have a clue! Don't let this phase go on forever, as it can be strenuous and really take away from the other fun details.

* If you are having a complex wedding with many vendors or if you are just plain busy, I suggest you hire a planner early. A planner can take the pressure off a bride by streamlining the process. He or she should be able to find you a group of reliable vendors, assist you in decision making, and keep the planning process organized. If your planner has you on track, you'll be able to enjoy the fun parts, like the cake tasting, a lot more.

* I always suggest meeting with and interviewing a prospective planner before you hire him or her. You'll get to know if that planner shares your style and vision for the wedding. This is important, as you'll want someone with similar taste who has the ability to execute your dream wedding. During the meeting, you'll also need to ask your self if the planner is a good fit with your personality. You want to be comfortable, as you end up spending lots of time with your planner over the next few months and on the wedding day. Here are some questions I would ask a potential candidate:
- Do you have any examples of your previous work?
- May I speak with some of your former clients for a reference?
- Can you describe your ideal client? What makes a non-ideal client?
- Do you work on commission or do you have a flat fee?
- Will you be there on the wedding day? And for how long?
- How comfortable are you with negotiating contracts on my behalf?

* Buy a couple wedding magazines and check out the wide range of wedding blogs to see what other couples are doing. You'll get inspiration and ideas for your own wedding.

* Remember to have fun. You're planning a wedding after all! A glass of bubbly never hurts either!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Vintage Inspiration: Chrissy + Alex

Chrissy set the tone for her Napa Valley wedding from the get-go: 1950's New York chic ala the old Stork Club. Her "save the date", custom designed by Mr. Boddington's Studio, gave guests a small hint of the surprises to come.

The ceremony, held at the beautiful St. Helena Catholic Church, began with a performance of the bride's favorite James Taylor song and ended with a surprise recessional of "Amen, Amen" by a local Gospel Choir. The newlyweds departed for their reception, held at a private estate in Calistoga, in a mint condition 1956 red and white Ford convertible.

Staying true to the 1950's Stork Club vintage theme, we erected a magnificent dinner dance tent. The tables were set with linen hemstitch napkins and old-fashioned dance cards. The dinner began with beefsteak tomato salad followed by cheese ravioli with brown butter and sage. Filet mignon and twice baked potato with white truffle and shaved brussel sprouts made for a delicious third course. Guests danced the night away and indulged in an elaborate dessert buffet full of the couple's favorite sweets. A self-portrait area was set up so guests could create their own unique wedding memories.

My favorite moment? The bride sang a surprise ballad to the groom in the middle of the reception. I was a bit nervous for Chrissy, but she pulled it off in a spectacular way.

Photography by
Thayer Allyson Gowdy. Flowers by Kathleen Deery Design. Reception held at a private estate in Calistoga, California. Vintage cake from Perfect Endings. Catering by Paula LeDuc Fine Catering. Music by Innovative Entertainment, Calligraphy by Jane Brenner, Printed materials by Mr. Boddington's Studio. Bride's gown by Oscar de la Renta.

Spring in San Francisco: Carrie + Jeff

Carrie loves orange and pink and wanted her wedding to be bright, fun, and contemporary. The ballroom at the Four Seasons San Francisco was a natural fit for her reception, as the modern decor of ballroom worked perfectly with the corals, pinks, and oranges she loved. (It is always best to pick a location that works with the look that you love - that way you can enhance it, not fight it.)

The ceremony was just around the corner from the Four Seasons at St. Patrick's Catholic Church. After the "I-dos", all of the guests recessed down Yerba Buena Lane to the reception.

My favorite moment? I took the bride and groom, along with the bride's parents to preview the dinner reception area before the guests entered. As soon as I opened the door, Carrie started gasping for air and yelling, "It's perfect! It's my dream!" Now that is a wedding planner's dream!

Photography by Angie Silvy. Flowers by Kathleen Deery Design. Cake by Perfect Endings. Calligraphy by Barbara Callow. Printed materials by A Day in May Design. Bride's gown by Joan Gilbert Bride.

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