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Solage Calistoga Wedding

Solage Calistoga is one of my favorite places in the world to say “I do.”  It’s the perfect mix of California casual with a big ol’ dash of elegance thrown in for good measure.  And when you add in fab invitations and paper goods from Three Little Words, some yummy goodness from Sweet on Cake and a whole world of pretty captured by Marianne Wilson Photography, well… perfection, lovelies.  See it all here.

And a sweet film from Artisan Production?  Yes, please.


From the Bride… Timmy (my husband) proposed on July 6th, 2012 underneath the Golden Gate Bridge on a bridge to bridge boat tour. It was absolutely perfect, as San Francisco means so much to both of us (I grew up in Marin, where my family still resides and Tim’s friends all live in SF, too). We knew immediately after getting engaged so close to the 4th of July and in the Bay Area, that we wanted our wedding day to reflect that as much as possible. We ended up falling in love with Solage Resort (in Calistoga) for our reception venue, as it was both sophisticated and had an Americana charm to it, as well. We also secured a date close to our engagement day (exactly one year and one week to the day). Tim and I are both pretty traditional so we moved forward with a full Catholic mass at the beautiful St. Helena Catholic Church. We kept the decor within the Church very minimal, as it had a classic beauty of its own that we wanted to really shine through. We adored our Priest, Father John Brenkle, who came out of retirement to officiate just for us – so special and we sincerely appreciated it.

Despite the popularity of it these days, Tim and I decided NOT to do a first look before our mass. Call us ‘superstitious ‘or ‘old-fashioned,’ but it’s always been a favorite of mine to see the groom’s face when he sees his bride for the first time in front of all of the loved ones. In my opinion, it’s always one of the most touching moments. Tim’s reaction upon seeing me for the first time certainly did not disappoint! My dad and I were doing pretty well up until the doors opened and we saw Tim burst into tears! He was overwhelmed with pure joy and happiness and that spilled over to everyone in the Church, including my Dad and I who at that point were laugh/crying down the aisle together. I will never forget that moment as you really could FEEL the love permeate throughout the Church.

It was important to us that our wedding have some ‘oomph’ to it. We wanted our personalities to come through in the details and more importantly, we wanted our love to really be felt throughout the day. The best way we could do that was to just have fun with the planning and find elements that reflected who we are, what we love and our history. I happen to love a good pun! The more areas where we could incorporate fun pun play, we did. For example, for our guest’s thank you gifts and table assignments, we bottled Limoncello and added a custom label to it that we playfully called “Flemincello!” The kids got to partake in this fun too, as we also made “Flemonade” for them to enjoy.

In keeping with the pun play, we also had our ceremony programs turned into actual fans, and we had it read as, “I am a Fan of Timmy and Gianna!” The church itself gets really hot in the summertime, so our guests could literally use our program fans to cool themselves off!

Originally, we wanted to also include sparklers at our reception, especially since we were getting married within the “fireworks” season. Unfortunately, Solage did not allow said sparklers, so we found other creative ways to incorporate a sense of “sparks” throughout the ceremony and reception – hints of gold in our tablescapes and wedding cake, gold lettering in our invitations, custom program fans, menu, etc., my bridesmaids’ gowns and the groomsmen’s bowties were a light gold champagne color, and the chandeliers even had their own little bit of sparkle. To top it all off, we had gold confetti that dropped from the ceiling later on in the night to really set a spark to the dance floor!

A personal fact that we simply couldn’t (or wouldn’t want) to ignore is the fact that Tim and his entire family are from Las Vegas, NV. What better way to acknowledge this fact then by creating a full blown party on the dance floor. The greatest DJ ever, DJ Josh Dukes of Boutique DJs, kept our guests dancing until midnight by delivering some of the best music ever that truly never alienated any age group. It was perfect! At 10PM, the gold confetti dropped from the ceiling and let everyone know it was time to REALLY party. Our waiters passed out “late night” snacks, gold Elvis sunglasses, and oversized glow stick rods that really made it feel like you had just stepped into a Vegas nightclub. One final surprise was left, when we presented Tim with the surprise groom’s cake, a “Welcome to Las Vegas” design by none other than Sweet on Cake.

Overall, this was a day that overflowed with laughter, good tears and nonstop fun. There were incredibly touching/emotional groomsmen speeches (as you can again see from Timmy’s tears in the pics again, love it), to our hyper-energetic father-daughter dance to Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll”, and concluding with my sisters organizing a surprise flash mob that secretly involved all of our awesome wedding guests, Tim and I couldn’t have asked for more! It was truly the most perfect day and what makes it even more perfect, is knowing that I get to spend EVERY DAY with my all-time favorite person in this whole world, my husband.

Photography: Marianne Wilson Photography | Videography: Artisan Production | Event Design: L'Relyea Events | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Cake: Sweet on Cake | Ceremony Venue: St. Helena Catholic Church | Reception Venue: Solage Calistoga | Bride's Shoes: Valentino | Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo - Bella Bridesmaid | Make-Up: Marisa Perel | Hair: Stella Stevens Hair Designs | Bridesmaids' Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Confetti: Confetti Unlimited | Custom Printing +Invitations: Three Little Words | Florals: Olivia Rivas of Papillion Floral | Food/Catering: Solage Calistoga | Groom & Groomsmen Tuxedos: Vera Wang | Lighting Design: Lux Lighting | Music: DJ Josh Dukes | Rehearsal Dinner: Farmstead At Long Meadow Ranch | Veil: Monique Lhuillier | Wedding Website: Wix

Monique Lhuillier and Plum Pretty Sugar are members of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. Plum Pretty Sugar, Sweet on Cake and Three Little Words are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
Plum Pretty Sugar

Sweet on Cake

Three Little Words


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Elegant Picnic Wedding with a Fresh Color Palette

A cocktail hour picnic, farm-fresh favors and seating areas that we could spend the rest of our days in are just a few of the details tucked inside this vibrant affair. The brains behind the operation include photography by Lisa Lefkowitz, design and styling by Gloria Wong Design with planning by Jubilee Lau Events and a killer display of blooms by Cherries. See even more jam-packed inside the full gallery.

Al Fresco

Upon our first meeting, Karen and Orson shared their vision for their wedding. They wanted to marry at a private estate, a secluded place that would feel special to them, and their guests. They stressed the importance of keeping the vibe and decor fun and casual while maintaining a beautifully put together event. They also exclaimed how they’re big-time foodies who love to eat and cook. So, the direction for the wedding was good eats and good company, at an outdoor venue that would feel exclusive to them! A fancy fun picnic with touches of French Country Farmhouse! The style that we established was casual luxe, refined rustic! The fresh color palette was comprised of bright red, salmon pink, apricot orange, and indigo blue.

After we narrowed down a few sites for them to see, Karen and Orson fell deeply in love with a private estate in Calistoga, nicknamed “Black Swan Lake.” The pristine, glittering lake on the property served as the breathtaking backdrop for Karen and Orson’s vow exchange. Guests arrived to this “secret location” by shuttle buses, and were greeted upon arrival with refreshing minted ice teas by bistro attired servers. French wooden slat chairs were adorned with brightly colored flowers wrapped in jute twine. The ringbearer held a floral embellished jute rope that symbolized the act of tying the knot. The flower girl carried a sculpted birch basket that was most suitable for the natural setting. Guests found muslin bags filled with rosemary (a nod to the food-loving couple) resting on their seats and were instructed to shower the newlyweds with this traditional wedding love charm as they walked down the aisle for the first time as husband and wife.

During the cocktail reception, guests were treated to vintage lounge seating under wooden canopies, a picnic area with rugs and grain sack pillows, and an oyster bar! Guests enjoyed a relaxing hour by the lake indulging in culinary treats by Paula Le Duc Fine Catering, which included items like “Fire and Ice”–ahi tuna, wasabi, and siricha paired with fennel sorbet. In lieu of the traditional escort card, guests grabbed canvas tote bags inscribed with their names and table assignments. They were encouraged to poke around the marketplace area where kitchen utensils like egg whisks and tea infusers were displayed. Guests were free to fill their “escort totes” with all the giveaways! In addition to kitchen utensils, we also custom printed tea towels and recipe cards which made the roundup of favors personal and all the more festive!

For dinner, guests dined al fresco by the gorgeous estate pool. Jute twine wrapped votives hung from nearby trees. Casual farmhouse tables were dressed with natural linen runners and coupled with distressed French vintage chairs. The tables were brightened up by cheerful centerpieces contained in rustic wood, tin, and antique jars. To promote a sense of community, a menu calligraphed onto a piece of slate chalkboard was passed around the dinner table. An olive branch topped off the simple yet lovely place setting. Paula Le Duc Fine Catering served a remarkable three course meal, each paired with its own wine, including a Chateau Haut Brisson, St. Emilion 2009 wine that came from the bride’s family vineyard in France.

Karen and Orson’s wedding cake sat atop a copper tin bucket. The cake itself was inspired by the hand-drawn graphics from the couple’s wedding invitation. It echoed the artistry from old Asian porcelain vases.

Following the sumptuous dinner, guests danced the night away under the clear evening stars to the music of their live 7-piece band, Big City Revue. A small dessert display on a vintage console table included delicacies such as chocolate obsession cookies, tropical panna cotta, and vanilla creme brûlée. Servers made their rounds as well, with mini waffle ice cream cones, and chai bubble milk tea shots. Still hungry? Not to worry….late night snacks included mini banh mi’s and mini ramen bowls.

Photographer: Lisa Lefkowitz | Event Design: Gloria Wong Design | Event Planning: Jubilee Lau Events | Floral Design: Cherries | Cake: Studio Cake | Catering: Paula LeDuc Fine Catering | Calligraphy: Little Miss Press | Lighting: Got Light! | Band: Big City Revue | Cabanas: Wine Country Party Rentals | Ceremony Chairs: Hartmann Studio | Ceremony Musicians: Eloquence String Quartet | Dinner Chairs: Blueprint Studio | Linens: La Tavola | Luxury Restroom Trailer: Royal Restrooms | Makeup + Hair: JBeautique | Musicians Booked Through: Bay Music & Entertainment | Paper Goods: Good On Paper | Photobooth: Snap Yourself | Tabletop Rentals: Classic Party Rentals | Transportation: Pure Luxury Transportation | Venue: Black Swan Lake | Vintage Furniture: One True Love Vintage Rentals

La Tavola Fine Linen Rental, Got Light, One True Love Vintage Rentals and Paula LeDuc Fine Catering are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
La Tavola Fine Linen Rental

Got Light?

One True Love Vintage Rentals

Paula LeDuc Fine Catering

Flowerwild Workshop With Jose Villa + 2014 Announcements!

Florals are my weakness. There’s just no getting around it. Beautiful bloomage can take any wedding to the next level, so when Flowerwild shared the snaps from their latest floral design workshop, we jumped at the chance to share. Along with a few of our industry faves - Jose VillaTEAM Hair & MakeupFeast Calligraphy, just to name a few – they managed to school a group of budding designers and capture some serious pretty in the process. Pssst: 2014 workshop announcements are waiting down below!

From Flowerwild… Set against the backdrop of the Mayacamas mountains, tucked in the hills, at a serene retreat away from it all. I always try to pick a place for our workshops where people can fully relax and be apart from the everyday buzzing of our industry. So important for the creative self to unplugg and be given a clean slate on which to grow and build creativity. The amazing scenery, organic and freshly prepared foods facilitates the perfect space within which we can all unwind, refresh, and focus on taking our skills further.

This time with students is so enjoyable and it is something I look forward to each year.. These students become my friends. Watching them build friendships amongst themselves, friendships that will exists and thrive long after the workshop has ended…that is something I never really anticipated…and a part of the workshops that I truly love.

People have come from Ireland, the Midwest, Charleston, New York, the Bahamas, Australia…so many places. All with unique experiences and perspectives that help us all build and grow our businesses and possibly change our expressions and craft – simply by SHARING.

My talented friend Jose Villa came to capture all the attendee’s work and the results were truly inspiring and beautiful. With Mar of Team Hair and Makeup making the model pretty as usual…

photographer: Jose Villa | Flowers: Rachel Bowes of Finch and Thistle Events | flowers: Amy Reed | flowers: Angie Tomey of Little Boy Flowers | flowers: Pearl & Godiva | flowers: Karin Woodward of Haute Horticulture | flowers: Shilhi Seibel of Passion Roots | flowers: madalyn covey | flowers: Ashlyn Gibben Hobbs of Stratford Events | flowers: Mandy Grace | flowers: Anne Bowen Dabney of Charleston Stems | flowers: Jahana Bilal of White Squid | flowers: Sarah Neal of L&S Design co. | flowers: McKenzie Powell Designs | flowers: katie wachowiak of Reinhardt Blooms | flowers: Shannon Mahoney of Thistle and Honey Floral | hair and makeup: TEAM Hair & Makeup | calligraphy: feast calligraphy | creative direction and design: kate holt - flowerwild | model: scout model and talent | prop rentals: Found Vintage Rentals | venue: mayacamas ranch | wardrobe: bhldn

2014 Workshop Announcements

Pippin Hill Farms- Floral and Event Design 
April 15th & 16th
2 day Workshop – Investment: $2500
Special help from Lynn Easton of Easton Events and Corbin Gurkin

Exploring the gorgeous Virgina countryside at one of the most celebrated venues and sustainable vineyards on the East Coast. We will be hosting our discussions in their amazing space, eating from their farm to table menu, and pulling together gorgeous arrangements for a shoot. All against the backdrop of this lush setting. Probably a little fun foraging in there for good measure! All materials provided. Lunch both days provided, as well as the final dinner together. Accommodations on your own. We will give you recommendations upon request and booking your space. Maximum enrollment 16 people.

The following 2014 workshop dates TBD…

Los Angeles: January – Flower Intensives
Santa Barbara: February – Photographer’s Styling Intensive 
Kauai: March – Creative Artists’ Retreat
Please contact the Flowerwild team for more information on any of these events:
BHLDN is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. Jose Villa Photography, Corbin Gurkin Photography, TEAM Hair and Makeup, Finch & Thistle Event Design, Found Vintage Rentals and Pearl & Godiva are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
Jose Villa Photography

Corbin Gurkin Photography

TEAM Hair and Makeup

Finch & Thistle Event Design

Found Vintage Rentals

Pearl & Godiva