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Grace Portraits + A Promotion!

We’ve all been there.  Your nearest and dearest are tying the knot and you want to do something extra special to commemorate the big day.  But finding that perfect wedding gift?  It’s not always easy. Enter Grace Portraits, the fab boutique that creates custom, hand-drawn portraits from your fave pics that are equal parts awesome + unique.  This, loves, is gifting in the most meaningful of ways.

With Grace Portraits, you’ll be presenting your loved ones with one of the most breathtaking gifts they will ever receive.  Think a stunning piece of art commissioned by a local Bay Area artist that can be passed down through generations for a gift they’ll cherish for always.  And with Grace Portraits, you don’t have to wait until there’s a wedding!  Order an amazing drawing for an anniversary gift, engagement present, Father’s Day or even your niece’s first birthday… you can even commission your very own drawing to display on your wedding day.  That, my friends, is beyond amazing.

Contact Grace Portraits TODAY to begin working on your masterpiece.  You’ll be blown away by their awesome customer service as they help you choose the perfect picture, and walk with you step by step throughout the process… you’ll even get a scan of your drawing before final shipment, to make sure it’s everything you ever wanted!  Not to mention that when all is said and done, you’ll receive everything in customized monogrammed packaging, complete with a note from the artist.  We love that.

Visit Grace Portraits on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.


What: Get a 20% discount on all online portrait orders placed by midnight on Monday, May 25, 2015 by using promotion code MEMDAYSALE.

How: Users need to complete their purchase on the Grace Portraits’ website before midnight on 5/25/15 and use promo code MEMDAYSALE to receive the 20% discount.

No occasion? No problem. Order now to take advantage of this deal and you’ll receive a Grace Portrait credit for when you are ready to get started. Shipping preference and delivery date are given in the order in which purchases are received.  Grace Portrait is already taking pre-orders through December 2015, so make sure you place your order now to ensure you can get it by your desired date!


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Napa Valley Weddings

Napa Valley has IT.  And by IT, I mean that little something special that takes your wedding day to levels of amazing you never even knew existed.  Think acres upon acres of rolling vineyards, delicious wine, uber-tasty cuisine and some of the most breathtaking views you will ever lay your eyes upon… and that’s just the beginning.  The world’s most perfect wedding locale?  Yes, indeed.

A little slice of Northern California paradise, Napa Valley has everything you’ll ever need to make your Big Day as magical as you ever imagined.  From the luxurious resorts and picturesque gardens to the amazing vineyards and wineries, there isn’t a spot in this beautiful valley that isn’t perfect for saying “I do” and dancing the night away.  So whether you’re a classic couple looking to celebrate in a glamorous ballroom affair or a rustic chic duo hoping to tie the knot under the stars, Napa Valley is THE place where every last one of your dreams will come true… and in true luxury.

Contact the Napa Valley today for free assistance in planning your dream day.  An entire world of amazing venues, top-notch accommodations and California sunshine awaits you.

Location: Silverado Resort And Spa | Location: Meadowood Napa Valley | Location: The Carneros Inn | Location: Calistoga Ranch | Location: Culinary Institute Of America At Greystone | Location: The Meritage Resort And Spa | Location: Auberge Du Soleil


These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
Custom Gowns with JINZA Couture Bridal

There are bridal salons, and there are personalized bridal salons like JINZA Couture Bridal.  A place where beautiful collections and breathtaking custom creations join forces with the most amazing customer service you’ll ever experience to create an individually crafted design made just for you.  Think private appointments with top-notch consultants or your very own personal designer, aka, a team of wedding geniuses that know a thing or two about making you look awesome for your special occasion.

Serving Bay Area brides since 2002, JINZA Couture Bridal’s new and exclusive Los Angeles boutique is now open in the heart of West Hollywood (933 N La Cienega Blvd), which means that even more brides get to experience the gorgeous gowns and attention to detail that JINZA Couture Bridal is so well-known for. Imagine a timeless piece created from scratch using only the finest of fabrics with custom tailoring to fit your figure perfectly, alterations included.  Brides can try on a range of gowns or mold a custom creation.

Explore high fashion styles, updated classics, unconventional sheaths, opulent ball gowns, the popular soft mermaid style and JINZA’s own signature couture designs at the new Los Angeles boutique. Each gown is light weight and comfortable (no shape wear or bra needed!), so that you can dance the night away with the one you love.  And you can complete your bridal ensemble with a veil, jewelry and shoes all available at JINZA Couture Bridal.  Amazing.

Classic, elegant and totally sophisticated – contact JINZA Couture Bridal TODAY to begin creating that dress of your dreams.  Take it from someone who knows – it will be the best decision you’ll ever make.


Rustic Meets Elegant Ranch Wedding

This wedding right here?  It’s all sorts of magical.  The sort of wedding where gorgeous details, an adorable twosome and a breathtaking setting all come together for an intimate set of nuptials that is the definition of swoon-worthy.  From the beautiful ceremony in front of an intimate group of family and friends to the sweet reception bursting with pretty.  See it all from Kate Osborne in the full gallery.


From the Bride… We took a gamble with the weather— picking a March date in Northern California meant risk of winds, rain and a late bloom, but family schedules dictated that it made sense to book for then. Leading up to the date, it didn’t rain in what felt like a year, but then poured the week before! But, thankfully, on the Big Day, it was pure summer. Not a cloud in the sky and warm. The venue had flowers blooming all over the property including at the gardens, due to the recent rains. We were so lucky!

We chose our location at Mayacamas Ranch — in the serene Mayacamas mountains surrounded by Napa and Sonoma wine country — for its natural beauty and peacefulness. It was rustic but chic, traditionally meant for wellness retreats. My husband, Ivan, and I were both passionate about yoga and wellness, and loved the place the second we saw it. The venue also allowed our guests to stay at the ranch — all 60 of them! — and rooms were simple with only the sounds of nature.

There were hikes within the area, with a pool for the guests and a big green lawn for the ceremony, overlooking the expansive mountains. I custom designed the invitations to be romantic, classic and adorned by silk bows, to signify we were going to experience natural simplicity during the wedding. The guests were greeted with cucumber drinks, and I hand-decorated the chalk board (it was actually quite fun to do!).  We ended up having a chance to greet each guest intimately.

My husband and I met in business school, so we had a lot of common friends, but our values told us to keep our wedding small. My parents traveled from Florida, and Ivan’s from Dubai, with relatives from Russia and Bulgaria, our birthplaces. In total, we had guests from across 15 countries. We are both only children with tiny families, so our parents were experiencing their only children’s weddings.

Ivan was wearing light gray, to complement the colorful nature around him. I wanted my dress to be elegant, but still the fanciest dress I have ever worn. I also wanted to be able to dance and move around in the dress freely. The bridesmaids were wearing peach colored dresses to welcome spring. I adored my florist — my sessions with her was like therapy! — and I told her I wanted clean, modern looks, but pointed to all the photos that to her, said, “romantic” instead, and she helped me figure out my style. (And I learned I was a romantic after all!)

Our food was all sourced locally from all organic, sustainable farms — per our values. We cared deeply about sourcing the food locally, and wanted to treat our guests, who were mostly international or from out of the state, to our local cuisine. We didn’t just have seasonable items like kale and beets, but also meats, fish and local cheese from local, small-scale vendors like Cowgirl Creamery. During cocktail hour, we had a farm-to-table spread on a 6-foot refurbished wooden plank that signaled “harvest” and natural, fresh abundance.

I loved the ceremony because it was out on the lawn, with the mountains in the background. My mom walked me down the aisle, which was really special for me. She raised me most of my life by herself, and it meant a lot to have her support on this special day. She looked stunning on the day, and I was proud to have a gorgeous mother. My stepfather recited a poem that reflected his strong midwestern values. Our officiant was a mutual friend and it was special to have someone so close help us craft our ceremony. He made all sorts of jokes, especially one that mentioned how Ivan and I pretended to both like electronic music when we first met, because we each thought the other was a fan! We didn’t share our vows with each other beforehand, and they were a surprise. It was no surprise though, that our vows ended up matching up so well together!

The dinner, toasts, and dancing reminded me how it was all worth the planning to just enjoy the present moment. I didn’t have any concerns other than to be in the flow of the celebrations. We had our family members and friends give speeches that were profound to us in their humor and love for us. I’m glad our videographer captured it, because we were so emotionally moved at the time!

Ivan’s best man and our mutual friend also said a story that concluded that out of all the fish in the sea, “all you need is one” — that was Ivan’s motto before he met me. I didn’t hear that ever before, and it was sweet! And then my bridesmaids made my night – one of them revealing a bit too much of our joint plottings to have me meet Ivan, “whose surname I now have.” We had so much fun and the night couldn’t have been more *us.*

We made a public commitment to each other and had the greatest community of love surrounding us. We extended the festivities with my parents, and stayed in Napa for a few days afterward, soaking in our newfound partnership. My mom kept on reminding me to call Ivan “my husband,” because the word felt foreign at first. Overall, was a precious weekend, and my one piece of advice is embrace it and enjoy it, but then, be as present in your life with your partner as you were that weekend!

Photography: Kate Osborne Photography | Event Planning: Marilyn Ambra | Wedding Dress: Custom From Bridal Project | Cake: Giorgi's Wedding Cakes | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Etsy | Catering: OAK Catering | Hotel: Mayacamas Ranch | Ceremony And Reception Venue: Mayacamas Ranch | Location: Mayacamas Ranch

Marmalade Sky Films + A Discount + A Giveaway!

There is something so special about having your wedding day captured on film for you and your honey to relive over and over again. And when the film is done by the insanely creative Northern California boutique cinematography company Marmalade Sky Films, you’ll find any excuse to press play.

Behind the lens is a team of best friends, Eugene + Matt, who worked in the film industry prior to discovering their passion for wedding cinematography. Thanks to this experience, every film they create is based in a deep love for visual storytelling. Their films capture all the special moments of the couple’s big day, from the kisses to the laughter and tears, in a way that is authentic and genuine, to tell each couple’s individual and unique love story.

Are you head-over-heels yet? Well now’s the time to book your big day with Marmalade Sky Films because they’re giving SMP readers who book before September 2015 $200 off a Wedding Cinematography Package of their choice! Simply mention this post when booking to redeem the offer. Check out their packages here.
Oh and there’s more! Marmalade Sky Films is giving one lucky reader a Save the Date film shot on Full HD ($499 value).

To enter:Comment on this post with why you’d love to have Marmalade Sky Films tell the story of you and your honey!

To win: A winner will be randomly chosen and announced in WIUP on Friday, April 24, 2015.

The details: Session must take place in San Francisco or mutually agreed upon location on mutually agreed upon date. The giveaway includes session time and one Engagement Video or Save the Date Invitation video (30 seconds to 1 minute in length).


Elegant San Francisco + Napa Wedding Weekend

There’s no denying that a California fetes in and of themselves are amazing, but a wedding weekend set at both San Francisco City Hall and a Napa winery? That’s next level, m’dears. Blueberry Photography tagged along for all the fun and we’re so glad they did because our galleries just got that much prettier. See it all here and make sure to enjoy the film from IQ Videography!


From Blueberry PhotographyThis two day wedding is one for the books! Sarah and Stanley are both doctors from Canada so this was a destination wedding for them. They were married at San Francisco City Hall, one of the most gorgeous buildings in San Francisco. Sarah’s Naeem Khan dress is one of the most beautiful and intricate that we’ve seen. The following afternoon, the two held their reception at a winery in Napa. The winery is full of sculptures and other unique works of art.

Photography: Blueberry Photography | Videography: IQ Videography | Floral Design: The Bow Collective | Wedding Dress: Naeem Khan | Invitations: The Bow Collective | Ceremony Venue: San Francisco City Hall | Reception Venue: Private Napa Winery | Bride's Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Jewelry: Harry Winston | Catering: Cliff Lede Vineyards | Hair And Makeup: Makeup By Quis | Groom's Attire: Prada | Photography - Assistance: Jessica Bradley

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here