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San Francisco Wedding by Janae Shields Photography

When the wilds of San Francisco play backdrop to a wedding, we know it’s going to be a doozy. And by doozy, we mean an unabashed feast for the eyes under a canopy of leafy greens. Janae Shields Photography snapped all the pretty pictures which include so many fluffy, bright florals by Studio Choo and one perfect, perfect cake crafted by Cake Coquette. We think this number is definitely deserving of a little breaky break from work and a little looky loo in the gallery for the full shindig. Believe us, that work will probably be there when you get back but at least you’ll have gorgeous images dancing in your head.

Click here to see the entire image gallery!

From the Bride… Our grandmothers inspired our wedding.  We kept saying that we weren’t necessarily going for a vintage look, but more so a nostalgic look.  We wanted something that felt warm, comfortable, and where you could feel the love in the simplest of details.  Just like you would at grandma’s house.  Starting with the location, the Trocadero House at Stern Grove.  We chose the venue because the history of the house is palpable from the moment you see it.  The veranda, the fireplace, the stain glass windows, all of it felt very inviting just like grandma’s house.

One theme that runs through the wedding is the color purple and buttons.  While these are two of my favorite things, they’re also synonymous with Bill’s Nana Kitty.  A famous staple at Bill’s Nana Kitty’s house is her giant tin full of buttons. To this day, Bill loves coming to the fabric store with me, so he can spend time sifting through the button bin. It reminds him of his Nana. I made a lot of things with buttons, myself.  The boutonnieres were handmade with buttons, instead of flowers.  The hair comb was handmade with buttons as the accent.  The shoes were embellished with purple buttons.  And, while cufflinks often replace buttons, in our case the cufflinks were made of buttons.  I got our cake maker on board with the buttons, and she added sugar buttons to the cake.  And, I got Bill’s very talented sister on board with the handmade theme; her gift to us was the beautiful handmade cake stand.

Bill’s grandmothers live in Boston, and my two grandmothers live in South America.  We try to visit them as often as possible.  During a recent trip to Uruguay and Brazil, my mother’s mother was sad to tell me that she would be unable to travel to San Francisco for the wedding.  But, she gave me a tablecloth that she received when she was married.  She kept saying, “I know it’s nothing special, just something you can use day-to-day,” but to me it was so beautiful and I knew I wanted it with me on my wedding day.  We used her blue floral tablecloth at the head table. And, that inspired us to hand pick vintage floral tablecloths that we used as accents on the buffet, and cake tables. As for the rest of the tables, what could be more grandma-y than doilies?  We essentially used oversized lace doilies as overlays.  It all came together perfectly.  In addition to her tablecloth, I also had her wedding band on me that day; it was one of the charms on my charm bracelet.

My father’s mother and I are two peas in a pod.  I was lucky to inherit of lot of her creative traits.  She watched me a lot when I was little, and during those times we were constantly cooking, or baking or sewing.  I certainly wasn’t prepared to cook or bake for the wedding, but I knew that I wanted to hand sew a few things myself, and I knew that would make her proud. Bill’s tie, as well as my father’s, were hand sewn.  I also added hems to the bottom of the bridesmaids’ dresses.

When it came time to think about the wedding invitation, it seemed natural to have a delicate handkerchief to go with our grandmother theme.  We collected a number of different printed handkerchiefs, and silk-screened them ourselves. But, there was only so much we could print on the handkerchief, so we had to brainstorm how we wanted to communicate all the other information – transportation, hotel, Friday night, gift registry, etc.  In keeping in line with grandmothers and nostalgia, we came up with the idea of keepsakes. Basically, we tried to imagine what if our grandmothers had taken a trip to SF when they were younger, what sort of things would they have kept from their trip — a bus schedule, a post card, a receipt from their favorite meal, a baseball ticket, a match book, a photo? Then we incorporated all of those things into the invitation.  We also used old stamps ranging from the 30′s to the 60′s for the envelopes.

We wanted all the pieces to fit together perfectly.  And they did.  Our guests kept saying how they could feel the love in all of the details.  But, the biggest compliment was when guests would say they felt at home.

Wedding Photography: Janae Shields Photography / Flowers: Studio Choo / Wedding Ceremony & Reception Location: Trocadero Clubhouse at Stern Grove Park / Wedding Invitations: DIY, The Bride & Groom / Wedding Dress: Melissa Sweet via Priscilla of Boston / Catering: Living Room Events (LRE Catering) / Band: Napata and the Kisses / Officiant: Lyssabeth’s Wedding Officiants / Transportation: San Francisco Duck via Classic Cable Car Sightseeing / Accommodations: Hotel Palomar / Rehearsal Dinner: Nick’s Crispy Tacos / Makeup: Annette Avila of Lavish Salon / Hair: Camilla Betteridge / Wedding Cake: Cake Coquette / Rentals: Hartmann Studios

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Mira Vista Wedding by Flory Photo

The ampersand is such a sweet symbol of togetherness and unity.  This Mar Vista wedding by Flory Photo incorporated it so nicely into their design and decor from the awesome, modern ceremony programs to the fun, quirky centerpieces.  The little playful touches bring an element of whimsy to this country club affair.  Click here to see the entire event in the full gallery!

We also have this really sweet video of these two lovebirds from Grey Speck!

Click here to see the entire image gallery!

From the Bride… Our wedding was inspired by US. I wanted people to walk away and remember our day not just as something pretty, but something that was beautifully and uniquely us, Sam & Jensine, which is where I fell madly in love with the Ampersand. This symbol of togetherness really inspired me to represent our relationship in a way where our family and friends would have a great time. We used wire ampersands designed by Michaela at L’alfabeto on Etsy as centerpieces, and you could see traces of the ampersand on our card boxes, programs, and even the photobooth! I had been intensely studying wedding and decorating blogs for years before I even started dating, so I already had lots of ideas, color schemes, and inspiration boards floating in my head. It was all a matter of putting in the love and making it come alive!

We’re immensely blessed to be surrounded and loved by the dearest people who are not only the funniest, craziest, most loving friends & fams on the planet but they are ridiculously and awesomely talented. While Sam & I planned the majority of the wedding, we handed off the love child to my dear friend, Jamie, for day-of coordination. Sam & I designed, printed, and assembled all the paper goods with particular love to friend and photographer, Nathan Kwok, for help with the invitation photos. The bouquets and boutonnieres were crafted by a wonderful local florist especially close to our hearts. Jean from 4th St. Flowers in Berkeley has been helping Sam create beautifully unique bouquets for me during our college years.  Grace at Seko’s Chair Covers was extremely helpful in helping us get chair covers. They are the best deal around! And we owe the biggest, warmest thank you to our musically gifted friends who made my dreams a reality. I told them what I wanted, and they arranged and coordinated everything. The girls walked down to Coldplay’s “Fix You,” while I walked down to Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are.” It was so special! And how can I forget Daniel Chae of Grey Speck for the amazingly gorgeous video of our special day. Words won’t do it justice. I fall in love all over again!

We DIY’d anything we could get our hands on. Everything from the save the date, invitations, and website to the programs, place cards, seating chart corkboards, guest book, ceremony decor, family boutonnieres and rose centerpieces, everything had a little piece of us, which is exactly the way we wanted it. For example, while we were “just friends,” we went bowling almost every week; and I wanted guests to remember that, so I designed guest cards using a bowling score sheet template for guests to sign in. And we also used old root beer bottles on the guestbook table to look like bowling pins. The seating chart corkboards also had mini movie posters of movies and tv shows we watched together, all the way from friendship, dating, to engagement.

My favorite moment was definitely the biggest surprise to me. I originally had the idea to walk down the aisle to an a capella version of “Just The Way You Are” by Bruno Mars sung by our friends, but Sam surprised me by busting out a mic of his own and singing to me as I came down the aisle. I was ready to burst into tears! It was just really wonderful seeing all of our friends and family together, and the night ended perfectly with a nonstop dance party, just the way we like it. It was awesome. I randomly burst out in laughter when I remember that night. Thank you to everyone who got up on their feet and down on the dance floor!

To other brides swamped with decisions, decisions, decisions, remember that this is one day to start many, many more days of happiness, growth, and love. And even though this is the BIG day, the day you’ve been dreaming of for forever, don’t forget to take time to love those around you and be loved. You will love your wedding day no matter what!

The biggest and deepest thank you I could possibly muster goes out to Joel and Cara. Thank you for capturing this day for us so that we could remember it forever. And thank you for helping us throughout the day, keeping us calm, and helping us carry on! THANK YOU!

Wedding Photography: Flory Photo / Wedding Ceremony Location: Skyline Church / Wedding Reception Location: Mira Vista Golf & Country Club / Wedding Gown: Nicole Miller / Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden / Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Selix / Bridesmaid Dresses & Hair Accessories: J.Crew / Event Design & Coordination: The Bride & Groom / Day of Coordination: Jamie, Friend of the Bride / Wedding Invitations & Paper Goods: The Bride & Groom (Design) + Nathan Kwok (Photos) / Bouquets & Boutonnieres: Jean of 4th Street Flowers, Berkeley, CA / Chair Covers: Grace at Seko’s Chair Covers / Music: Friends of the Bride & Groom / Cinematography: Daniel Chae of Grey Speck / Wire Ampersands: Michaela of L’Alfabeto

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Napa Valley Wedding by Jose Villa + Rosemary Special Events

For anyone that is a regular SMP reader you know that I am a total sucker for two things…perfect white weddings and anything Jose Villa. So what do you get when you put those two little numbers together? You get a very happy blogger who just happens to be dorking out on many different levels…from squeals of glee, to wedding butterflies, to maybe even a high kick or two. Or three. You get a dancing, twirling, whirling, counting-my-lucky-stars-to-have-the-best-job-on-the-planet blogger who can’t wait to share all of the Jose Villa gorgeousness with you. Designed by the crazy talented Rosemary Hattenbach of Rosemary Special Events…this little wedding just might be what heaven looks like. Oh and not to fret, we’ve got a buying guide coming up for all of you crafty DIY and budget brides out there. Click here to see the whole shebang!

Click here to see the entire image gallery!

From Rosemary Special Events… From my first meeting with Lauren & Joe when we met to scout out venues in the Napa Valley, I just knew working with them would be a pleasure… they are such a great couple… so much fun and sweet! They wanted a simple, elegant celebration that featured the beauty of Napa Valley… classic and natural with just a touch of modern style.

They decided on Holy Family Mission, a charming and historic Catholic church built in 1912 set in the midst of the vineyards in Rutherford. For the reception they selected the Calistoga Ranch, a beautiful 48-room resort tucked in a private canyon just outside the town of Calistoga.

The wedding took place over Memorial Day weekend. Lauren wanted the wedding day to feel bright, summery and natural so we chose a palette of white and taupe with subtle green accents to keep it light and airy. We had a little weather scare with rain leading up to the wedding but in the final days the weather miraculously turned and they enjoyed temperatures in the mid-80s all weekend.

The traditional ceremony was intimate, simple and gorgeous. Lauren’s parish priest flew up from San Diego to perform the ceremony. Lauren looked absolutely stunning in an ivory, strapless Vera Wang gown. She carried a white bouquet of peonies, hydrangeas and garden roses that was finished with a vintage silk ribbon that her mother had found on a trip to France. Her bridesmaids wore full-length Kirstie Kelly dresses in a blush tone and the men looked very handsome in classic black tuxedos. Bunches of simple white hydrangea behind the altar and on the pews were the perfect accent to the gorgeous wood beamed ceilings and hand painted walls of church. A vintage lace French altar cloth given to the couple by Lauren’s mom graced the altar.

After the ceremony, guests were transported by shuttle up to Calistoga Ranch where they mingled over cocktails, sampled delicious bites of Calistoga Ranch’s spectacular cuisine and took in the 180-degree view of the surrounding lake and canyon. Designer, Nicole Sillapere blew everyone away with her absolutely stunning florals and event décor. In order for guests to savor every moment of sunlight and the natural surroundings, dinner was served under a soft and beautiful white Raj Tent with open sides. Nicole kept it clean and modern with contemporary white chairs, a mix of square, round and long tables with crisp white linens. Fluffy white peonies, Star of Bethlehem, lily of the valley, white tulips and white hydrangea were grouped separately in mixed sizes of white and glass vessels. The programs, escort cards, menus and place cards were gorgeous… each finished with taupe custom stitching. Place settings were accented with a taupe woven ribbon and a single gardenia leaf.

Guests enjoyed a delicious 3-course meal and listened to jazz standards performed by Ever Music Group. Once the sun went down and it started to get chilly, we ushered everyone into an underground wine cave that had been transformed into a chic, candlelit lounge for dancing. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Joe, a really talented singer/songwriter surprised Lauren with an original song he had written for her…. it was very romantic! They had a blast dancing the rest of the night to the sounds of DJ Goyo and enjoyed the chocolate wedding cake created by the pastry chef at Calistoga Ranch. It was such a fun and romantic celebration for such a fabulous couple. Congratulations Lauren and Joe!

Wedding Photography: Jose Villa / Wedding Gown (silver belt): Ivy & Aster, Sweet Pea/ Wedding Invitations: Tiny Pine Press / Other Paper Goods: Mira Aster / Event Planning: Rosemary Hattenbach of Rosemary Special Events / Floral Design & Event Décor: Nicole Sillapere / Wedding Ceremony Location: Holy Family Mission, Rutherford, CA / Wedding Reception Location & Catering: Calistoga Ranch / Wedding Cake: Calistoga Ranch / Tent: Raj Tents / Hair & Makeup: Darcy Hunt & Elise Newman of Primped Napa Valley / Band: Ever Music Group / DJ: DJ Goyo of Uptempo Productions / Wedding Dress: Vera Wang / Bridesmaid Dresses: Kirstie Kelly / Film Work: Richard Photo

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Wrap It Up Pretty California!

Phew!  Another week at the California Weddings blog has flown by!  We sure have run the gamut of gorgeous over here from classic vineyard to modern rock n’ roll.  We’ll wrap up all the pretty with this adorable event put together by the ladies at The Collection Event Studo in Sonoma.  The Collection is a genius, creative meeting and design studio that showcases a curated library of vendors, venues and products.  They crafted this nifty bridal tour for couples to find all their wine country vendors and venues in one snazzy place with loads of delicious eye candy.  Feast your eyes on the full gallery to see even more!

Click here to see the full image gallery!

From Shaunna of The Collection Event StudioWe’re a creative meeting space for brides, coordinators and wedding vendors in the area. We recently hosted a bridal tour in Sonoma, sharing all of our favorite off-the-map spots with brides, planners and bloggers. We had photographers on-hand to capture all of the pretty details from food and wine to spa treatments, desserts and DIY crafting back at the studio.

Photography: Ellie Grover, Lori Paladino & Rebecca Gosselin / Venues: Scribe Winery, La Tavola Linen, Camille Day Spa, Ramekins Culinary School, The Collection Event Studio, Fremont Diner / Vendors: Minted, Stella & Dot, Susie Cakes, Sarah Lime Cakes, ACME Party Box, Audrey & Stella Beauty

If you missed any, here are all of our pretty posts from the week:

a casually elegant Temecula vinyard wedding
a contemporary dream of a wedding in Ojai
a special wedding event for Armed Forces Day
a modern, rock n; roll wedding in San Diego
a sweet, simple San Francisco celebration

Some fabulous links from around the web:

a cool + colorful DIY vase project from a creative mint on decor8
a modern venn diagram invitation for a Los Angeles event on oh so beautiful paper
an awesome beach birthday bash on the sweetest occasion

Have a glorious weekend and we’ll see back here on Monday! xoxo.

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
San Francisco Wedding by Daughter of Design + Verité Boutique Photographers

I am madly in love with this next wedding by the always fabulous Daughter of Design.  And I mean madly.  From those red Kate Spade heels (swoon) to the stunning location (double swoon) to all of the gorgeous, gorgeous images captured by Verité Boutique Photographers, there are not enough minutes in the day for this wedding and me.  So, join me in the gallery to devour every last amazing detail.

Click here to see the entire image gallery!

From the Bride… As wedding planning goes, ours came together quite simply as we wanted our guests to experience “An Enchanted Evening with MNO” (our initials) and everything that defines us as a couple. A large part of the wedding was DIY — from the calligraphy to designing the dessert table. I was aiming for a very specific look and guest experience that was not readily available on the market. But I knew exactly what I wanted and just had to work on execution.

Thankfully, tackling the three most important elements was the easiest because they were simply the best: planner (Annie of Daughter of Design), photographers (Robyn & Maria of Verité Boutique Photographers), and venue (San Francisco Opera House). The three of them working together created the *magic* of the evening.

We were fortunate enough to get married at the San Francisco Opera House — where we had our first date and have been season ticket holders ever since. The historical significance of where United Nations charter was adopted in 1945 was particularly meaningful as a nod to the joining of our cultures. The idea of “staging” an opera made the planning even more enjoyable.

To construct the grandeur of old San Francisco, we opted for a formal yet intimate event accented with a palette of blues, golds, and hints of delicate pink. The invitations were handmade with custom calligraphy and petal enclosures with French silk ribbons by colliding stars. We also included personal messages with each invitation thanking our family and friends for their support with hopes that they would journey to California for the wedding — 80% out of town and several coming from over 6000 miles away.

We wanted to capitalize on the wow-factor of the Opera House and give the feeling of an opera in full swing. In front of the entrance on busy Van Ness in San Francisco, we framed giant posters of our Opera Wedding for all passerbyers to see! Lighting design and ornamental table settings from Hartmann Studios were used accomplish the look. We made programs that mimicked vintage playbills with our love story and the evening’s events in acts and guests as characters. The highlight of the ceremony was our friend/officiant who shared hilarious stories about the progression of our relationship from the early days of workplace flirtations. Our pianist, Michael Udelson, manned the Steinway grand piano and kept our guests entertained with an eclectic mix of modern rock interpretations from Muse to Jimmy Eat World.

We both wanted a classic and timeless look and opted for the designers Melissa Sweet and Hugo Boss. Our accessories were also a nod to our cultures — red Kate Spade shoes for Chinese good luck for the bride and a Nara Camacie cravat as a Croatian invention for the groom. Learning how to dance in 4-inch heels was a challenge, but we planned in advance with weekly waltz lessons over 3 months. Instead of a typical love song, we danced to “L’amour Toujours” by Sagi Rei since the original euro dance version “I’ll Fly with You” by Gigi D’Agostino was a little too fast.

The cocktail hour and reception were our chances to showcase the best of San Francisco dining and the culinary skill of Chef Dean Rona of Patina. Guests were greeted with nickname/inside-joke place cards and enjoyed a delectable five course food and wine pairing featuring our favorites including duck confit and filet mignon with corn-sotto. In lieu of a traditional wedding cake, we served the groom’s beloved desserts — handrolled truffles by XOX Chocolates in various flavors, Parisian macarons and dame blanche by La Boulange, and Scharffen Berger chocolate bars a favors.

All-in-all, the planning and wedding was an amazing experience both creatively and bonding with my now-husband. Our guests still rave about what a great time they had and ask when we’re renewing our vows so they can take another trip to San Francisco.

Photography: Verité Boutique Photographers / Floral Design: The Bud Stop / Event Design: Colliding Stars (The Bride) / Event Planning: Daughter of Design / Wedding Ceremony & Reception Location: San Francisco Opera House / Wedding Invitations & Calligraphy: Colliding Stars (The Bride) / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Wedding Dress: Melissa Sweet / Catering: Patina Catering / Rentals: Hartmann Studios / Hair: Eric Xia / Makeup: Go Blush by Tammy Son / Pianist: Michael Udelson / Bridesmaid Dresses: Jim Hjelm / Groom’s Tuxedo: Hugo Boss / Groom’s Shirt & Ascot: Nara Camacie / Groom’s Shoes: John Fluevog / Chocolate Buffet: XOX Truffles Inc. + La Boulange

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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San Francisco Wedding at City Hall + Starbelly Restaurant

San Francisco’s City Hall might just be the most perfect ceremony venue I have ever seen.  It’s elegant and classic architecture make it an extraordinarily elegant and romantic backdrop for any set of lovebirds but when those two sweethearts are as cute as these two?  Forget about it!  I could just burst with giddiness and delight!  Her ridiculously adorable tea-length dress, bird cage veil and sassy blue pumps and his debonaire suit were made to stand against that majestic, gilded entrance.  The rest of this modern meets vintage fête from Modern 8 Films and Angi Welsch is just as perfect and sweet!  So you better click here to see the rest!

And the romance is brought to life with this incredible video from Modern 8 Films.  How sweet are these vows?

Click here to see the entire image gallery!

From Modern 8 Films A classic 1960′s “Mad Men” inspired wedding at San Francisco’s historic City Hall Building on March 4, 2011.  Jason and Yvonne wanted a wedding that focused on the simplicity of exchanging vows and bringing family together at City Hall followed by a late lunch. The bride wore a knee length wedding dress, teal shoes, lace gloves, and a bird cage veil.  Bridesmaids chose individual vintage dresses in similar shade and era. Reception held at the swanky Starbelly Restaurant on Market St.  Centerpieces were hand made signs displayed in and around mini succulent gardens.

From the Bride… Our wedding was the wedding that almost wasn’t. Jason and I were both quickly defeated by the reality of the costs of wedding locations and were beginning to be discouraged about even having a wedding at all. We were about to call it quits (and elope) when we found San Francisco City Hall. It was love at first sight and, on our first visit, we booked the date and started planning.

I had no idea how difficult it would be to plan a party for 100 people, but after only four months of planning we were able to pull it off without a hitch. I quickly decided on what mattered and what didn’t, in order to save on costs. Some major savings came from my dress and some DIY decor. The biggest savings was probably from choosing locations that were so beautiful on their own, that we didn’t need to do much to spruce them up. The ceremony had virtually NO decor. We simply rented some chairs and printed the programs and let the bridal party and the orchestra make the bulk of the ambiance. The reception was held at a local restaurant, Starbelly, which we originally just picked for their delicious menu, but it didn’t hurt that the restaurant is beautiful and already had a sort of unique feel.

I knew a big place I could save was on flowers, so I only ordered bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages. For the centerpieces I ordered some plain planters and sourced some succulents at my local farmers market. My dad and I planted them together, which was a fun project that he could participate in. I also made a pomander for the flower girl out of yellow satin fabric that I sewed into little rosettes and pinned into a styrofoam ball. The ceremony venue does not allow petals and our flower girl was only two years old, so a pomander was the perfect solution.  A HUGE help to the reception decor was to enlist some graphic design help. An old friend of mine, Andy Tran, is a graphic design student and I called him up to see if he’d be interested in a few wedding projects. He designed our wedding logo, program, table numbers and signs for the guest book and cards. I turned the logo into stickers to make cupcake flags.  I hired a friend of mine to do the wedding planning. It was great to have someone I knew in the role. I had worked with her as a buyer for years and knew that she wouldn’t let a single thing go wrong. Having so much confidence in her was huge, because when it came time for the big day, I wasn’t worrying for a second. I knew everything that needed to happen would happen.

Our wedding was a blast. We did it our way. We had a lovely and honest ceremony (we had a friend as the officiant) and a lively and natural reception. Everyone commented what a great time they had and how great the food was. By 6pm everyone was on their way and had the whole weekend to themselves!

Wedding Photography: Angi Welsch / Cinematography: Modern 8 Films / Flowers: Church Street Flowers / Event Planning: Emily Adachi, Friend of the Bride / Wedding Ceremony Location: San Francisco City Hall / Wedding Reception Location: Starbelly Restaurant / Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson / Wedding Dress: Dolly Couture / Graphic Design: Andy Tran, Friend of the Bride / Wedding Cake: Pinkie’s Bakery