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8 Tips For Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress

One of my favorite engaged moments was dress shopping without a doubt. But oh, what an adventure it is as you dive into the racks of gorgeous gowns! We’re in luck m’dears, for Lovely Bride SF is here to share their tips for finding that special dress. Josh Gruetzmacher snapped chic styles at their San Fran shop and with One True Love Vintage Rentals, the whole place is a dream. Gather up their advice and soak up all the pretty right this way!

Shop Early Enough

Typically, it can take between 7-9 months from when a bride orders her dress until it’s ready to walk down the aisle! While many of our designers can rush a dress order, it does add extra costs to the dress. With 7-9 months, you have a really comfortable timeline, and can eliminate any stress (and extra fees) in making sure your dress is ready and in perfect condition for the big day.

Set Your Budget

Before hitting the stores, it’s best to set a budget and know what you’re able to spend on your dress. While at your appointment, be upfront and clear with your stylist what your budget is. The stylist can then show you dresses that fall within your budget, that way you don’t fall in love with a dress that you can’t afford. We would hate for a bride to find her dream dress, then become disappointed that it’s out of her budget. Don’t forget the additional costs on top of the dress itself, such as alterations, accessories like veils and jewelry, as well as shoes and undergarments. These additions alone can cost an extra few hundred dollars, which many brides don’t initially think about.

Come Prepared

While shopping, come prepared! Bring the undergarments you’ll be wearing, or at the very least, wear a nude strapless bra and nude underwear (no hot-pink undies, please!). Have a Pinterest board ready to show the stylist; we love to see your inspiration! Come with some makeup on. While you don’t have to have a full face of makeup, having some makeup on can help you envision the entire look.

Shop with a Small Entourage

We always encourage a bride to come in with only her closest and most trustworthy confidants! In fact, our largest salon only accommodates four guests. When there are too many people in the party, the appointment can lose focus, and too many opinions can get in the way of what you, the bride, really feels. We advise brides to bring those who knows her style the best, and will be supportive of her opinions and choice!

Be Open-Minded

We love brides who come in with a vision of their big day, and have an idea of what styles they like. But we also love when brides come in open-minded about styles they might not necessarily see themselves in! You may surprise yourself and find a silhouette or style you did not originally consider to be the most flattering on you. And often times, trying on different styles can also help confirm a style you do NOT like, which is all part of the process!

Trust Your Stylist

On the same note, don’t be close-minded to your stylist’s suggestions. Even if you don’t initially love it on the hanger, you may end up falling in love with it! Our stylists dress multiple brides a day, and have seen our dresses on multiple bodies and body types, and have a good idea of what can be flattering on a bride.

Go During Off-Peak Hours

The weekends are our busiest days, and we’re often running from one bride to another. On the other hand, weekdays are quieter, and we are able to spend more quality time with the brides. If you can come on a weekday, you’ll be able to get more personal attention from the stylist.

Trust Your Instincts

Lastly, always trust your instincts! Ask yourself, can you see yourself walking down the aisle in the dress? If you have to be convinced to love a dress, that dress probably isn’t for you. You know best what feels right for you – no matter what anyone else thinks. After all, it’s your wedding, and it will be YOU wearing the dress!

Photography: Josh Gruetzmacher Photography | Floral Design: Studio Mondine | Hair And Makeup : Katie Nash Beauty | Location: Lovely Bride SF | Styling And Props: One True Love Vintage Rentals | Wedding Gowns: Lovely Bride SF

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Classic San Francisco City Hall Wedding

When you put together a talented team that includes Alicia K Designs and Got Light, and top it off with one stunning Vera Wang gown, good things are bound to happen. Add in the super chic San Fran City Hall as the venue and this m’friends is stuff movies are made of. Vero Suh and The Film Squad didn’t miss a beat and this gallery will have you dreaming of classic romance for the rest of the day guaranteed.

City Hall

From the Bride… Ryan and I first met while Ryan was coaching my cousins’ basketball team. Friends and parents had always said Ryan and I should date, but the timing was just never right – until November of 2011. We decided to give each other a chance and realized everyone had been right all along. Our vision for our wedding was for it to be elegant yet relaxed, and able to withstand the test of time. Although we toured several venues from Wine Country to the City, we instantly fell in love with the grandeur of San Francisco City Hall’s Rotunda.

We knew immediately that we wanted help planning our wedding. As much as I enjoy planning things, I could see our wedding being a bit more than we could handle alone. Alicia Falango of Alicia K. Designs helped us incorporate our personalities into the design and theme of our celebration. She and her amazing team coordinated every detail and brought our vision to fruition.

The day started with a fun, lighthearted ceremony in the Rotunda, before moving to a cocktail reception upstairs on the Mayor’s Balcony. During cocktail hour we shared some of our favorite foods with our guests, like cioppino, mac and cheese and strawberries. Ryan’s family farms strawberries in the central coast so integrating these into the day was very important – guests enjoyed strawberry infused cocktails and a special strawberry appetizer.

On the way to dinner, friends and family walked down the marble staircase and entered the Rotunda. Our ceremony space had been transformed into an elegant dining room highlighted by blush linens and gold flatware. For us, the food was an integral part of setting the tone for the evening. Although the event was black-tie, we were still able to maintain a laidback and comfortable feeling by serving salad with cornbread croutons, short ribs, and ravioli.

After the ceremony and dinner, guests captured silly moments in the photo booth, danced to a mix of EDM and early 90’s hip-hop, and munched on tacos and popcorn into the late night. The day went by so fast, but thankfully Vero of Vero Suh Photography was able to capture every special moment. Even now, several months after our wedding, we find ourselves looking at the pictures together and reliving the day.

Photography: Vero Suh Photography | Cinematography: The Film Squad | Event Planning: Alicia K Designs | Floral Design: Alicia K Designs | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang | Cake: Global Gourmet | Stationery: Document Works | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale | Catering: Global Gourmet | Hair and Makeup: Melissa Hoffman | Lighting: Got Light | DJ: Justin Milla | Favors: Jo Mama's Bakery | Groom's Attire: Navin's Custom Shirt | Groom's Shoes: Cole Haan | Groomsmen's Attire: Men's Wearhouse | Transportation: Cost Luxury Limousine | Hotel: Fairmont Hotel San Francisco | Wedding Venue: San Francisco City Hall | Audio and Video: Everything Audio Visual | Ceremony And Reception Musicians: Synchronicity Strings | Groom's Tux: Brooks Brothers | Photo Booth: Night Owl Photography | Rentals: Hartmann Studios

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Finding Your Perfect Wedding Venue with L’Relyea Events + A Promotion!

Loves, meet L’Relyea Events, the talented team of venue scouting specialists that are about to take your wedding to a whole new level of amazing.  Think an entire day of venue tours, lunch and wine tasting, all guided by a planning professional that knows everything there is to know about finding the perfect locale for you and your sweetie.  Day of your dreams in one, two, three?  Yes, please.

If you’re anything like me (and I know you are), you’ve been planning your wedding day since before you were even engaged.  So finding the perfect venue to host all of the happiness?  Sooo important. That’s where L’Relyea Events comes in.  They’ll spend an entire day getting to know you and yours + your wedding vision, so that they can find a locale that best suits everything you’re looking for.  From fabulous wineries to drop-dead gorgeous ballrooms to private estates that are as romantic as they are stunning, they’ll narrow down the field to just a handful that will work well with your style AND price point.  They’ll even follow up with detailed info on each venue you visit, with helpful notes and suggestions.  It’s awesome.

So what are you waiting for, m’dears?  Contact L’Relyea Events today to book your venue scouting experience.  You’ll love their never-ending attention to detail and their ability to paint the picture of how your wedding weekend/day will go.  And don’t forget to ask them about their planning services for a day that is pure perfection… and then some.


For their 2015 brides, L’Relyea Events is offering 50% off the Venue Scouting Package with the purchase of their “Un” Planning Service Package! And if you are recently engaged and looking to get hitched in 2016, L’Relyea Events has something for you, too! With the purchase of their “Un” Planning Service Package, they would like to offer you 25% off your Venue Scouting Package!


IQ Videography

I’ll admit it — I’ve been married almost four years, and I still watch my wedding film all the time. So you can imagine my excitement that I get to introduce you all to the incredibly talented and award winning IQ Videography.

Based in San Francisco, IQ Videography specializes in an artistic, modern style that beautifully captures all the details of your wedding day. Their unobtrusive approach allows for a more intimate filming of your big day and their top-notch HD technology and editing techniques create a finished product that is something you’ll watch on repeat for years to come. IQ Videography also uses combinations of 8mm film and video — swoon! The combination of nostalgic + crisp footage is so unique and seriously special.

Capturing all of the most special and emotional moments from your big day, from gift exchanges to hand-written emotional vows, IQ Videography crafts wedding films that are as visually stunning. For more information and to book them for your big day, head over here.

Ceremony Venue: Calistoga Ranch | Reception Venue: Annadel Estate Winery


Seriously Sweet San Francisco Engagement Session

Take one stunning couple, a breathtaking San Francisco backdrop and a seriously adorable puppy dressed up in bow tie and the results are pure engagement session bliss.  Think one love-filled moment after another with a big ol’ side of cuteness and you are sooo on the right track.  Vero Suh Photography was on hand to capture all of the pretty… and the gallery?  Heartwarming, to say the least.


From Vero Suh PhotographyChristine and Ripan love the city life but are also nature lovers at heart. Since their Fall wedding will be at a quintessential San Francisco venue in the heart of the financial district (Bently Reserve), they wanted a blend of both urban and nature for their engagement session. The Presidio and Fort Point was the perfect location to capture both elements for the couple. We spent a beautiful spring afternoon in a forest, chasing their cute puppy and warm rays of sunshine, peeking through the trees. We then changed the backdrop to incorporate brick walls and textures for a more urban look. I love how we were able to get the best of both worlds in locations, distanced just five minutes apart—one of the many reasons I love photographing in San Francisco.

Photography: Vero Suh Photography | Event Planning: Amy's Wedding & Events | Hair & Makeup: Design Her Image | Location: Fort Point

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Flower-Filled San Francisco Engagement Session

I love this duo.  And not just because their engagement session is beyond sweet (it totally is), but because they’re that type of couple that makes you happy just by being, well… them.  They’re adorable, sooo in love and have the cutest descriptions you’ll probably ever come across (hint: the groom’s ring story is beyond awesome).  See every moment of e-session bliss captured by Jasmine Lee Photography right here.

From the beautiful Bride-to-Be… I get really excited about themes and props, so in planning for the engagement session, I spent a lot of time daydreaming about how to approach it creatively while Randy was working long hours at the hospital.

As the date for the photo session came close, I started to panic about not having any ideas. When I asked Randy if he had suggestions, Randy replied, “I think it’d be nice to not have a theme or intricate props, and focus on what matters to us – our 10 year-long relationship and our dog, Lady!”

And it was the epiphany I really needed – I always overthink things, and Randy was absolutely right in that scaling down to the necessities this time is really better! We feel so fortunate that Jasmine captured a really amazing afternoon in a beautiful park (which is special to us, because it’s a rare event for the both of us to take Lady out for some sunshine, given our schedules).

From the Groom-to-be… A little more than 10 years ago, I had finally mustered enough courage to ask Amy to be my girlfriend. Now we stand at the cusp of beginning the rest of our lives together. It’s very hard to describe our journey thus far, as we have experienced many of the highs and lows and Jasmine had the daunting task of capturing our love within only a few hours of time.

The story of the quest for the perfect engagement ring is one of my favorites to tell. There are only a few things that I truly spend my time doing – practicing medicine and watching sports – so as you can probably imagine, fine-tuning and selecting a ring is not something I would be good at. Thankfully, dating Amy also means getting to know her inner circle of friends who helped me out tremendously in selecting the right ring.

Now one thing about Amy is that she never likes the norm and has one of the most creative minds I’ve ever seen. So when she mentioned she doesn’t value diamonds and loves rose gold, I knew this would probably be one of the most daunting tasks I would have taken (and yes it would be harder than finishing medical school). The mission at hand: to find a ring and peach sapphire stone (which complements rose gold nicely) that she would love. Although narrowing down a stone can be viewed as a victory, there was another obstacle that I came to discover – there are many different types of peach sapphires! With assistance from Marlene, one of Amy’s closest friends, I visited several jewelers located in San Francisco. I was shown many gorgeous stones of different cuts, color, clarity available, but none that I felt would be special enough for Amy. Of course, just to really make sure, I would text pictures of the stones to Marlene to get feedback on what she thought.

During a visit to one jeweler, I finally came across a peach sapphire that potentially could be the one for Amy. Another text was sent to Marlene, who also agreed. At this point I was more than satisfied. I had found a stone that could be “the one.” This could be it! Before moving forward with the purchase, I glanced at my watch — 5 minutes left in the parking meter. And… I didn’t have any more quarters. But… I still had one more jeweler appointment to make.

I stood there weighing my options: should I just leave now since I had possibly found “the one”? Or should I quickly run over to my next appointment and check out the last store? I decided on now or never, and to take my chances on what the next jeweler could offer me.

At the next stone, the moment the associate opened the box, the floor nearly fell out from me for I have never seen a peach sapphire so beautiful in my life. I didn’t even need a confirmation from Marlene because at that moment, it was love at first sight.

The ring that Amy now wears is very unique and special, different in its every simplest way. It’s funny how I almost missed the opportunity to see this gorgeous stone. Things happen for a reason, and this ring is very symbolic of my future wife. When you’re fortunate enough to recognize when life introduces to you something truly special, you just know it’s “the one.”

Photography: Jasmine Lee Photography | Makeup Artist: My-Hang Pham | Hair Stylist: Yasuko Suzuki | Bride-to-be's Attire: Morning Lavender

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