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Brideside + A Giveaway!

I love being a bridesmaid, but I have to admit… bridesmaid dress shopping?  Not so much.  Because as much as I adore hanging with my besties, trekking around to one bridal store after another isn’t really my idea of fun.  Enter Brideside, the chic online boutique that will change the way you operate with amazing gowns, a personal stylist, a seriously simple ordering process AND a chance to win $500 towards those dresses of your dreams.  Stunning gowns + an amazing giveaway?!? Yes, please.

Gorgeous gowns, sans drama – that’s how Brideside operates with a plethora of beautiful designs to choose from, all with the help of your very own personal stylist.  And the best part?  You can do it all from the comfort of your own home, and even try on the gowns before buying.  Bridesmaid dress shopping has never been so fabulous.  Here’s how it works:

Meet Your Stylist - Browsing gorgeous bridesmaid frocks online just got amazing with the help of one of Brideside’s FREE personal stylists.  Think of them as your very own wedding-style expert who will walk with you step by step throughout the entire process, from helping you create a “closet” of unique + oh-so-chic styles to keeping track of all of the specifics.  And Brideside introduced Jenny Yoo gowns this month, which means even more amazing styles to choose from.

Invite Your Besties to Your Brideside Closet - Now that you and your stylist are filling your Closet with some of the prettiest frocks imaginable, invite your bridal party to view your choices for those much-needed second opinions. And when you add or share a favorite, your stylist can see all of the happenings, so she is totally in the loop.

Try It On at Home! - Want to try on the dress before committing?  Once you have narrowed down all of the wedding loveliness to three must-have styles, Brideside will send them to you or your bridesmaids in a Brideside Box!  That means an at-home fitting party with your own shoes, jewelry and a little (or a lot!) of champagne.  Soooo fun.

Order “The One” - Now that you’ve chosen the perfect gown, you can work directly with your stylist to be sure everyone is fitted properly and that the dress of your dreams is ordered for each and every one of your ‘maids.  Oh, and it’s shipped directly to you.  It’s seriously awesome, and seriously stress-free. Seriously.

I know, I know… you can’t wait to get started with Brideside.  Visit their website now or, if you live in Chicago, make an appointment with a stylist here.  You can thank us later.

the-giveaway

What: Brideside is giving away a $500 credit to one bridal party! 

How: Simply sign up here by April 15, 2015 to be entered to win!

Who: The winner, chosen completely at random, will be announced right here on SMP on Friday, April 17, 2015.

Good luck, lovelies! xo

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Elegant Fall San Francisco Wedding

Wedding planning can be a joyful, exciting, creative adventure, but we’d all be liars if we didn’t admit it also comes with its fair share of stressful moments and worries. So this Bride right here is my new hero, taking those anxieties and seeing the silver lining in every one, focusing on what really matters: her, her new husband, their family and friends. Ken Kienow and Swoon Films captured it all, and we all could learn a lesson in love by taking a look through this gallery and reading her fantastic story below.

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Fall
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Garden Venue
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Elegant
From The Bride… Dan and I love San Francisco. It’s where we met, where we dated, and where we call home. The easiest decision was that our wedding belonged in the city that we love. After getting engaged on a surprise trip to New Orleans, and instantly falling in love with the city’s music and culture, our second easiest decision was to bring some New Orleans flare to our San Francisco event. We knew we wanted the wedding to feel timeless and elegant, but still down to earth and incredibly fun. We also wanted our friends and family to feel loved and appreciated. Other than that, we had no idea what we wanted. Wedding planning is an interesting journey for those of us clueless about wedding planning and by “interesting” I mean “sometimes fun, sometimes rough, and mostly just confusing.”

For a down to earth feel, we held our ceremony in a secluded garden hidden within Golden Gate Park and asked my uncle to officiate. It sounds trite, but the garden just felt right from the beginning; it felt like the place we were supposed to get married. The garden was stunning on its own and required no flowers or additions. After walking through an old iron gate, guests were met with a flower-lined brick aisle that centered on an old sundial. The aisle was covered in a gorgeous canopy of trees. Walking down that aisle with my father was purely magical, and our processional song, “What a Wonderful World,” perfectly described the gratitude I felt in that moment.

The magic continued when upon celebration of the first kiss, we surprised our family and friends with an 8-piece New Orleans style brass band and the tradition of a second line. In New Orleans, newlyweds parade with guests and a brass band through the streets, waiving handkerchiefs to celebrate the new union. Strangers in the area will often join in the fun, and it leads to an instant dance party full of joy. We paraded through Golden Gate Park and ended on a huge stage where we all danced, laughed, hugged, and celebrated.

For the reception, we wanted “old-timey-San-Francisco.” We chose an old social club in Nob Hill with sweeping views of downtown San Francisco. We created an elegant and classic feel with voluptuous white and cream flowers, endless candles, and the music of Billie Holiday. Our gold cursive table signs were the names of our favorite comedians. This connected well to the speeches, which were entertaining enough to be in a comedy club while at the same time intensely heartfelt and touching. The speeches were our favorite part of the day, and I think many of our guests would say it was theirs as well. There is so much time and energy put into planning a wedding and making sure your guests have a wonderful time. You easily forget that those closest to you have prepared something special just for you. We were in awe of the beautiful words our family and friends created for us. It was an incredible gift.

After the classic atmosphere of dinner, we surprised guests with a completely different feel. Guests headed to the top floor of the club where they found fun jewel-toned uplighting, a photo booth full of silly props, dancing, a pool table, wedding cake, liquid nitrogen ice cream, and of course, more drinks.

There were far too many special moments to mention them all, but I’ll share of few of our favorites. My mom gave a hilarious start to the day by entering my suite in the morning cheerfully yelling “my daughter is getting married today!” Once I was finally ready in my dress, I had no way to see myself because there was no full length mirror. There was, however, an incredibly large square mirror hanging up on the wall above the bed for décor. Like champs, my bridesmaids climbed on the bed, pried the huge mirror off the wall, and carried it over so I could see myself. All in their dresses and heels. In addition to the first look with Dan, I also had a first look with my father. This was so special for me and my dad, and I’d recommend it for any bride. Dan and I wrote our own vows (and our own ceremony!) and I was worried I’d be too nervous to speak. I was so wrong. I will never forget the overwhelming happiness and calm I felt in the moment I married Dan. Finally, our first dance was a blast. After all the tender and emotional moments throughout the day, it was a thrill to dance to such an upbeat and energizing song and get the party started for a night we will never forget.

The wedding day was incredible. But as wonderful as it was, there were plenty of non-perfect and stressful moments leading up to it. I think that’s important to share because I often felt like the only bride in the world who hated wedding planning. For example, I had no wedding dress one month before the big day. The designer I hired to create a custom gown proved incredibly difficult, and I made the tough decision to walk away and somehow scramble up a wedding dress with only four weeks to go. Another example: a week before the wedding, every online weather report predicted rain. This meant we couldn’t use our adored outdoor ceremony location and even worse, we’d have to cancel our New Orleans second line parade. We were heartbroken.

At the time, these road bumps felt like the end of the world, but they also created beautiful moments. Jin Wang, a designer who owns a gorgeous wedding dress shop in San Francisco, showed me the kindness of strangers by bringing me in immediately and helping me find and alter not just one, but two beautiful wedding dresses in four short weeks. Her empathy touched my heart and I will forever be grateful to her. After hearing the weather report, my parents purchased 80 clear umbrellas, and made tent rental plans in case the reports proved correct. I was so lucky to feel that overwhelming love and support from them.

It turned out we wouldn’t use any of Plan B – we were blessed with a perfect 70 degree day, and it felt like I was always supposed to wear those wedding dresses that I got in such a rush. In the end, I was able to see the silver lining, and I promise all you future brides will too. And really, in the end, things like wedding dresses and weather reports just don’t matter. Can’t we all agree on that? I cry tears of joy every time I look at our wedding pictures or watch our wedding video and it’s not because I had the dress of my dreams or had the perfect weather. I cry tears of joy because I adore the way my husband was looking at me. Because I am overwhelmed by the love I see on my family’s faces, and because hearing their speeches fill me with intense gratitude. I cry tears of joy because it’s my uncle’s voice I hear as we are being married. Because my niece adorably hugged the stuffed animal we gave her, and because my sweet nephew courageously held his little sister’s hand and led her down the aisle. I cry tears of joy because we have footage of our 17 pound cat in a hilarious tuxedo collar that kind of makes him look like he works at Chippendales. If you’re like me, and wedding planning isn’t the thrill all the magazines promised you, I know you can’t see all that yet and that’s OK. I know things like wedding dresses and weather reports are really important right now. But I promise you, you have so many priceless moments coming your way. Prepare yourself for overwhelming joy and if you need 80 clear umbrellas, shoot me an email.

Photography: Ken Kienow Wedding Photography | Videography: Swoon Films | Coordinator: Dreams On A Dime | Ceremony: Shakespeare Garden In Golden Gate Park | Reception: University Club SF | Bridesmaid Dresses: Alvina Valenta | Hair And Makeup: Maria Chang | Lighting: JL Imagination | DJ: DJ Jeremy | Men's Attire: Men's Wearhouse | Bride's Dress: Romona Keveza | Bride's Dress: Jin Wang | Bride's Dress: Angel Sanchez | Cat's Tuxedo: Etsy | Florals: The Flower House | Music: Bay Area Strings | Second Line Band: St. Gabriel's Celestial Brass Band

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Romantic San Francisco Summer Wedding

Classic meets elegance in this gorgeous day captured by U Me Us Studios and, let me tell you: it’s stunning. With Finishing Touch and Nancy Liu Chin Designs behind the scenes, it’s a San Francisco setting meant for romance. And when the soiree has a gorgeous black, cream and gold palette, we simply can’t contain our adoration. Watch the entire day unfold in the gorgeous gallery, here!

Colors
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Summer
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ChurchMuseum
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Romantic

From the beautiful Bride… We originally wanted to have our wedding in Hawaii because it is the halfway point between our families and guests in Japan and the US, but I didn’t find a venue that I am absolutely in love with. Jay has lived and worked in San Francisco before, and we always love the food and architecture of the beautiful city. When we visited San Francisco during Christmas in 2013, we went to see Grace Cathedral and the Asian Art Museum and we fell in love with both venues.

I wanted to incorporate some of my Japanese culture into the wedding. Even though I didn’t wear the traditional Japanese wedding kimono, my best friend who was was also my maid of honor wore her kimono on my special day.

Seeing Jay up at the altar as I was walking down the aisle was the most memorable moment of the day, and seeing all of our friends and family enjoying themselves at our reception at the beautiful Asian Art Museum was definitely the highlight of our celebration.

I wanted our wedding to be classic, elegant and stylish, so I chose white, gold and black as my color palette… and my favorite flowers are roses, peonies, hydrangeas, phalaenopsis orchids and calla lilies. I saw this beautiful floral cake on Pinterest and really wanted it for my wedding, so I worked with the baker and catering team to design it. It came out perfectly!

My favorite wedding dress designer is Pronovias. When I went to their flagship store, I saw this mermaid dress with a gorgeous lace train. I tried it on and knew right away it was THE dress! Jay looked super sharp in his outfit by Couture!

Photography: U Me Us Studios | Wedding Planner: Finishing Touch | Floral Design: Nancy Liu Chin Designs | Wedding Cake: Global Gourmet Catering | Invitations: Bradley & Lily Fine Stationery | Reception Venue: Asian Art Museum | Wedding Shoes: Sergio Rossi | Hair & Makeup: Design Her Image | Lighting: Everything Audio Visual | Groom's Attire: Couture Uomo | Bride Getting Ready Hotel: The Ritz Carlton San Francisco | Catering & Bartending: Global Gourmet Catering | Engagement & Wedding Band: Tiffany & Co. | Gift Table: Z Gallerie | Groom Getting Ready Hotel: InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco | Guest Book: Union Street Papery | Musicians: San Francisco Conservatory of Music | Wedding Ceremony: Grace Cathedral | Wedding Dress & Hair Accessories: Pronovias | Wedding Jewelry: Tiffany & Co.

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Glamorous San Franscisco Wedding at the Legion Of Honor

Glamorous affairs like this are just one of the many reasons why we love weddings. From the gorgeous scenery a la San Francisco Legion Of Honor to the Bride’s breathtaking Cherries Flowers bouquet, every detail MAP Events planned is pure elegance. After poring through the gorgeous gallery from Gia Canali we’ve already bookmarked it as wedding day perfection.

Colors
Seasons
Fall
Styles
Romantic

From the beautiful Bride… My husband and I are world travelers and after our engagement in Rome, we considered several destination wedding options: France, Cabo, Aspen, and of course New York (where we live). It wasn’t until we looked at my hometown, San Francisco, when one specific venue stood out and kept drawing us in. That was the Legion of Honor at Land’s End. I loved the glamour and history of the museum, and it was around the corner from where I grew up in Sea Cliff. The venue also houses one of the original Rodin’s The Thinker statues (identical to the one on the lawn outside of Philosophy Hall where Phillip and I met at Columbia University)!

We wanted our wedding day to have a classic old-world feel, but with the natural beauty of San Francisco incorporated throughout. The Legion fit the bill as it sits on the cliffs high above the Pacific Ocean with view of the Golden Gate Bridge. We had our ceremony on the lawn with the cypress trees in the background, underneath a beautiful birch branch chuppah designed by Cherries Flowers. Inside, the museum itself provided most of the ambiance, with a lot of complementary details designed by Melissa Panico, Got Light, and Global Gourmet.

The best part of the day was walking down the aisle. Surrounded by friends, family, and the beauty of our surroundings, my new husband and I were completely focused on each other. It was such a powerful and beautiful feeling to know that everything stemming from our connection was perfect.

Our Rabbi Oren Postrel encouraged us to pull in traditions from my Irish and Chinese background as well as elements of Phillip’s Jewish and Latvian heritage. We had a large Chinese banquet at R&G Lounge in San Francisco. Our kiddush cup was an Irish Waterford Crystal vessel. We had a steamed Chinese bao station and Moscow mules with Russian Standard Vodka and caviar and blinis at the wedding. While our wedding was not religious, it was very traditional. Our Rabbi, a former ballet dancer and lover of art and history, was the perfect person to lead the diverse group of wedding attendants through the meanings of the Jewish traditions in our wedding.

For all of the planning that goes into a wedding, the day goes by incredibly fast. My advice is to hire a great photographer to capture every last of the detail so you can remember for years to come. That and of course stay organized! We had a timeline and shot list which we stuck to and the results were absolutely beautiful.

Photography: Gia Canali | Videography: Weddings On Film | Cake: Cake Coquette | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Joanna August | Catering: Global Gourmet Catering | Lighting: Got Light | Groom's Attire: Theory | Groom's Attire: Tom Ford | Officiant: Rabbi Oren Postrel | Bride's Gown: Monique Lhuillier | Ceremony & Cocktail Music: Starlite Strings | Florals: Cherries Flowers | Linens: La Tavola | Linens: Hartmann Studios | Makeup & Hair: Sarah E. Hyde | Rentals: Hartmann Studios | Wedding Planning: Melissa Panico, MAP Events | Wedding Venue: San Francisco Legion Of Honor

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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The Lovesick Wedding Expo + A Discount!

Calling all of you indie-minded, totally nerdy, seriously artistic and all-around fabulous ladies and gentlemen… this wedding show is for YOU.  Yes, I am talking about the Lovesick Wedding Expo, an alternative wedding showcase celebrating its fifth year of complete awesomeness.  Think one amazing party boasting uber-talented vendors and crazy cool inspiration at every corner.

Happening this weekend in both Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area, the Lovesick Wedding Expo will completely rock your world with amazing burlesque performances, giant glowing jellyfish (!), circus performances, skee ball and even more surprises.  Each and every show is completely different (and all sorts of wonderful), from the spectacular live music to the fab cash bar to the thousands in giveaways.

What are you waiting for, lovelies?  No matter your budget or wedding vision, grab your mister or misses-to-be (or just your besties) and plan your trip to the Lovesick Wedding Expo happening this weekend in both Los Angeles (Saturday, February 21st at Unique Space) and Alameda (Sunday, February 22nd at Rock Wall Wine Company).  Tickets are only $10 online, $15 at the door and all money raised from the show’s giveaways will benefit the Human Rights Campaign’s marriage equality efforts!

And don’t forget, use the code STYLEME at checkout for a 50% discount on tickets! 

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