Tuesday, November 30

Dream Bridal Tour No. 5 | November 14

The most recent installment of the Dream Bridal Tour took place on Sunday November 14th, and we had such a blast with our group of giddy brides!  I got to the studio that morning at 8:00am, and it was already in the high 60's, and by the time the tour started and we were in our shuttle, the temperature was creeping into the high 70's.  The brides all met at our studio at 10:00am, and we loaded our shuttle provided by Coach America to head out to our first stop.  It was a gorgeous day, and we started our day with a delightful outdoor brunch atop the terraces at the Hotel Vitale along the Embarcadero in San Francisco. (Photos were taken by me)

We then headed to Hello Lucky, where we had a presentation about the different options of invitations and cards they offer, and the girls were able to look over all the color options and even see the letterpress machines.  After Hello Lucky, we headed to the Marina District to Haute Bride, where the girls were drooling over the jewelry, veils, shoes, gowns and headpieces.  This shop is a must for any bride in San Francisco looking for the perfect accent piece for her wedding look.

We then walked across the street to the newly opened American Cupcake, where we were served mini red velvet cupcakes and champagne.  It was a nice little pick me up before we continued on our way to Bella Bridesmaid.  This was a great stop on the tour, and they are a mainstay because of their selection and high standards of customer service.  They carry some of the best brands, and it is a fun stop for brides to go with their bridesmaids.

We then hopped back on our shuttle, and headed down to Sen Spa.  This is a somewhat unknown zen retreat built inside an old building in the historic Presidio area.  They offer everything from facials and massages to makeup application for the wedding day.  We learned about the spa day parties that brides can have with their bridal parties, as well as a place for her to come and relax from the wedding duties.  We left with a bag of goodies, and a yearning to book an appointment right away!

Our next stop was the adorable La Tavola Linen studio in Laurel Heights.  This where all the beautiful linens are, and they are all out for you to see, touch and spread out on tables for mock ups.  We were again greeted with champagne and snacks, while the girls were able to check out the table displays and see some of the linen options.

We were then getting near the end of our tour, and headed back to our studio, where it had all began five hours earlier.  The girls were offered champagne, and were situated for presentations by Gabby with Cake Coquette, Kathy with Well Rehearsed, and my roommate, Andrew Weeks Photography.  Gabby passed out the most delicious peanut butter and jelly cupcakes (yum!), and Kathy discussed the importance of not letting the rehearsal dinner get overlooked.  She plans the best rehearsal dinners that really focus on the groom, and are much different than the wedding day plans.  Andrew finished up the tour with a presentation on photography and a slide show on his cutest ever vintage TV screen.

By the end of the day, we were all tired, but the brides left with a wealth of new information and new found vendors they may not have known about prior to the tour.  Their goodie bags were filled to the top with everything from discounts to some of the vendors, holiday cards from Hello Lucky, earrings from Haute Bride and a salt scrub from Sen Spa to name a few of the items.

We will be releasing our next date for our spring tour in the next few weeks, and we are in the works for a Sonoma tour in late winter! Stay tuned for all the new announcements, and make sure to follow the Dream Bridal Tour on Twitter for the most current updates.

Happy Planning!

Wednesday, November 24

Leora + Adam | Time Lapse Video

I can't wait to fully share Leora and Adam's wedding photos, but for now, we can only share this time lapse still video of the event from pre-wedding setup through the end of the night.  The stills were taken by Tara Arrowood, and it is so fun to watch the entire eight hours in about 30 seconds!

This was such a beautiful wedding, and we will hopefully be able to share the images soon, but here is a little sneak peak of some of the colorful goodness.

Happy Planning,

Monday, November 22

Winter Floral Design Class with Soulflower

Emily Dreblow with Soulflower Floral Design is a wonderful designer here in San Francisco, and is offering a winter floral decorating class to a very small number of participants.  This class sounds like so much fun, especially for those looking to fine tune their floral design skills just in time to decorate your holiday table!    She also will be offering wedding floral design classes in the spring, so make sure to get on her mailing list to pre-register for those, as they will book up quickly!

Happy Planning!

Friday, November 19

A Little Help For the Holidays

If the holidays tend to sneak up on you, just as they do me, you'll need a little help to make sure your holiday dinners and/or parties are perfect!  Here are a few little tips that can go a long way when it feels like there is not enough time to get everything done:

1) Place orders for some of menu or desserts - this may sound like cheating, but it really isn't!  While you might be preparing a meal for 12 people, and just the turkey and fixings are enough to take up your day, look into your local gourmet grocery store, or places like La Boulange, that are now offering a wonderful catering menu.  I tend to like to take care of my main dinner myself, but would like some delicious hors d'oeuvres to go with the meal that I just don't have the time to put together.  This year, I have also pre-ordered our pies, since I like to bake cookies and other treats to go with the dessert course, I thought I would save some time and get some local homemade pies.  It may be cheating, but I will at least be able to enjoy this very special holiday spending more time with our family and friends than in the kitchen.

2) Have separate entertaining glassware - one of the best purchases I have made for my personal entertaining supplies is boxed glassware sets.  I have used these so many times, and they make my life so much easier on the day of my event.  I have three different glassware sets; wine glasses, champagne flutes and tumblers.  These are perfect to set out on your bar for self serve beverages, and cover everything from water, mixed drinks, champagne and wine.  The best part is after the party, you pop them in the dishwasher, put them back in their boxes, and out to the garage they go.  I have found my sets at Cost Plus World Market and Pier 1 Imports, but I know there are many other stores that carry them as well.

3) Make your play list ahead of time - one of the easiest things to forget about when planning an event at home is the music. Make sure you have the right music to go with your event, and you may want to have separate play lists for the dinner portion and something more upbeat for later in the evening.  I usually burn a few cd's and put them into our stereo (I know, so old school), and never think about it again.  Those of you more tech savvy can also do the same thing with your ipod.

4) Rent items instead of purchasing - We are lucky enough here in San Francisco to have places like La Tavola Linens and Hartmann Studios to rent anything our hearts desire.  Check your local area for equipment and linen rental shops and see what they have available.  A lot of times you can rent really beautiful linens for your tables, as well as chargers, china and even extra tables and chairs.  You can save money by picking it up yourself, but if convenience is your key word, have them deliver.  The best part is, they wash everything!

5) Invitations don't have to go in the mail - If you are running behind on sending out the invitations, the better thing to do is to send them electronically.  The worst thing is to go ahead an plan an elaborate holiday party only to find out only 1/4 of your guests can attend because your invitation came too late.  I really like Paperless Post as an online option.  They even let you upgrade to electronic envelope liners... love it!  Also, a quick tip about getting guests to come, don't plan your party on a Saturday evening, there is too much competition.  Thursdays and Sundays are great alternatives and you will notice a better turn out.

I hope all your dinners and parties are wonderful, and I would love for you to share any other easy tips for our readers that are entertaining this season! 

Happy Planning!

Wednesday, November 10

Getting Ready for the Holidays

We are so happy that our 2010 went off without a hitch, and sent a lot of happy newlyweds out into the world!  The other news is that we are going to start blogging a little more frequently now that the season has ended and we can post all these amazing images and share some things we learned over the year.

In the midst of wrapping up the season means getting ready to decorate and entertain for the holidays, and I was so excited when I opened my email this morning and saw the lovely trimmings West Elm was offering from event planner David Stark.  These are perfect in a time when we are all trying to reduce our waste, and also make things look elegant.  I'm loving this mantle-scape!

The mosaic bottles, and really mosaic anything, is not only great holiday decor, but is popping up in some of our winter weddings.

If you are entertaining this year, I always love to hear how you plan decorate your table or home!  This is one centerpiece I am hoping to try and re-create this year, since it is very similar to an installation we did at one of our weddings this year.  If you want to try and re-create this with me, you can get the instructions by clicking here: CB2 DIY Hanging Centerpiece.

Whatever you are planning, we hope it is festive and full of joy!

Happy Planning!

Monday, November 1

San Francisco Entertains - A Great Gift Idea!

Calling all foodies, if you have been racking your brain over gift ideas for a Bridal Shower, Bridesmaid's gift or Thank You gift look no further! San Francisco Entertains is the latest cookbook by The Junior League of San Francisco celebrating its centennial in 2011. According to Gary Danko “[it is] a foodies manual for the perfect party.” Top Chef contestant Ryan Scott of Ryan Scott 2 Go says, “San Francisco Entertains will help make every season delicious.”

This brand new cookbook features amazing recipes from league members and top local restaurants and chefs, such as James Beard Award winning Chef Gary Danko of Restaurant Gary Danko as well as Michelin star award winning chefs Mark Dommen of One Market Restaurant and Jesse Mallgren of Madrona Manor (a fabulous wedding location). Nearly 500 recipes were triple-tested and whittled down to the top 139 that include local and historic recipes with a twist, accompanied by enticing menu options and beverage pairings. To top it off the book contains gorgeous color images of the dishes and iconic images of San Francisco in addition to interesting facts about the people, places and events that occurred over the last one hundred years in San Francisco.

To give you an idea of the recipes included here are a few:

Sugar Pumpkin Martini
Red Snapper and Green Apple Ceviche
Grilled Peach with Warm Pancetta and Frisée Salad
Spicy Meatball Sliders
Ancho Chile Brownies

And if you are in the mood for entertaining here is a sample of the menus available:

Cozy Valentine’s Day Supper for Two
North Beach Italian Family Get Together
Wine Country Cocktail Party

Click here for some sample pages from San Francisco Entertains!

If you want to purchase multiples you can get a 10% discount off a case of 10 books as well! This is a great gift for everyone, it’s a wonderful keepsake for those visiting and it’s a fabulous addition to any Bay Area foodie’s cookbook shelf. Even if you don’t cook the photos alone make this a gorgeous coffee table book. To purchase online visit http://www.sfentertains.jlsf.org/ or visit Williams-Sonoma Union Square (founder Chuck Williams donated a recipe too) or The Real Food Company on Fillmore or Polk.

Bon Appétit!