wedding gowns: something a little different

We are always blown away by the beauty of our brides’ gowns, but what we love the most is that they’re all so different. We’ve noticed a couple new trends that we hope you’ll love as much as we do.

Unique wedding gowns. Would you dare?

We think this Vera Wang is simply lovely.

We posted about this dress here.

This is a dress that a bride wore last year, Vera Wang, love!

A friend of ours had this amazing and very unique gown custom designed:

This sweet seersucker gown was spotted in a Southern wedding. Isn’t it so fresh looking?

This Carolina Hererra has such a classic and modern look. Love the subtle polka dots!

What about this stunning black gown?
Could you see this on a modern bride?

We also think these pastel Elie Saab gowns are pretty amazing.

Vintage gowns. Making it yours.  

Have you seen Lauren Bush and David Lauren’s wedding photos? David’s dad, the Ralph Lauren, made Lauren’s gown. We love the vintage feel of both her beautiful gown and the traditional feel of their wedding photo.

Why would you go vintage? Well, you might want edit a family heirloom to make it more modern. Or you might simply want the exquisite details at a fraction of the cost of a brand new gown. Our 5 tips to finding a vintage dress:

1)    Don’t get a dress that needs major repairs. They will cost you more in the long run.

2)    Be careful with certain older fabrics. 20s chiffon doesn’t last overtime and might have deteriorated.

3)    Don’t look for your dress when looking for vintage. Sizes had different meanings, so you’ll get stuck with the wrong size.

4)    Consider buying or making a reproduction. Sometimes an actual vintage dress, while beautiful, might not be as practical, so better use modern fabrics, but stay true to the original design.

5)    Keep your budget in mind. If there are many repairs or alterations to be made, the cost might be higher in the long run, so know what you’re getting yourself into!

So, whether you’re stepping out side the box, going vintage, or buying something custom-made, we know you’ll look simply stunning on your wedding day!


with love

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

~ Pablo Neruda

Happy Valentines Day!

(photo by gia canali /  excerpt from sonnet XVII)

our guide to finding THE dress

In our “what to do to start planning your wedding” guide, we told you to focus on some other stuff before running out and trying on every dress you can find. Well, now the time has come! Are you so excited?? Finding your perfect dress is a big deal, and we want to make sure your shopping experience is as fabulous as the gown. First, check out some of the wedding gown trends we predict for 2012.

Then, make sure to keep these key points in mind when shopping for THE dress:

Timing is important.

You should ideally start shopping for your dress about 9 months before the wedding date, but definitely give yourself at least 6 months. If you find yourself short on time, that’s okay, but be sure to budget for rush fees. Many designers will ask for three fittings so that they can tailor your dress. Be sure to bring your wedding shoes and undergarments along to those fittings.

Appointments- make them, even if not required.

Most bridal boutiques require an appointment, so make sure to book in advance to avoid having to wait for more than an hour. That wouldn’t be fun at all!

Where to find THE dress.

Check out bridal boutiques. In San Francisco, our favorites are Amy Kushel, Jin Wang, Jinza Couture Bridal, and  if you’re out in the East Bay, Clarissa Bridal Salon in Walnut Creek.

If you’re looking for a custom designer, we highly recommend Suzzane over at Atelier Des Modistes.

Buying a dress off the rack at a sample sale might be a good option if you’re on a tighter budget or dealing with time constraints. In the SF Bay Area, we recommend Glamour Closet for finding fabulous gowns off the rack. Remember, if you’re buying off the rack, budget money for taking the dress to a good tailor.

“I have no idea what I’m looking for!”

That’s okay, you’ll find it! Even if you have an idea of what you want, we suggest still trying on something totally different, too. You never know! To give you a head start, flip through bridal magazines and check out websites. Bookmark or print pictures of dresses you like, and show them to the bridal consultant. Also, make sure your gown fits in with your wedding style. If it’s a beach wedding, maybe go for something more flowy and re-consider the extra-long train.

See here for some gorgeous gowns.

Your “search party”.

You may be thinking of brining everyone and their mom (literally) to come wedding dress shopping with you. Your family, friends, their families….while it sounds like it might be fun, trust us, it’s not. It can be overwhelming and you want to avoid too many cooks in the kitchen. Our advice is to limit the amount of people that come with you. Ugh, that’s hard! Yep, it can be. But think about this: who knows you best? Who would support you in your decision and not judge you? We suggest limiting the number of people that come dress shopping with you to no more than 3. And a little note: if someone else LOVES the dress on you, most certainly doesn’t mean you should love it too. Your day, your dress.

Bring a camera and ask to take pictures.

Most boutiques will allow you to take photos of you in your gown, but always ask first. Oftentimes, you might find multiple gowns that you like, but just aren’t quite sure. We suggest you sleep on it. Take some pictures of your favorite dresses, and compare them. If you can’t take photos, have someone jot down the designer and dress number so you can find it online.

How will you know it’s the one?

For most of us, finding “the one” might have taken some time (yes, we’re talking about that wonderful fiancé of yours!) Same thing might happen with your dress. The first one you try on may not be the one, keep your options open and keep looking. And then…there it is. It’ll just feel right, like the day you knew you wanted to marry this person.

You should feel comfortable (make sure you can dance, sit in the dress, still be able to breathe and eat!) Most importantly, your dress should make you feel absolutely beautiful and confident.

Happy shopping and have fun!

natural and romantic: wedding trends of 2012

As wedding season quickly approaches, we thought we’d take advantage of this calm before the storm, and put together a little list of what we think will be the big trends of 2012.

Just because we simply cannot wait until the end, we must start with the gowns. Yes, they’re just that good.


We’re eternally in love with super-romantic looks and are excited to see more of these light and airy gowns. While strapless will still be lovely as ever, we’ll be seeing lots of lace and sleeves. Soft, modern, and a bit more coverage, but definitely with a sexy twist. Whether you channel the classic Kate Middleton, or the bombshell Marilyn Monroe, or simply looking for your fairy-tale gown, 2012 is the year for all these. And don’t be surprised if you see something that’s not traditional white. We’re loving Elie Saab’s stunning lace and pastel dresses…

PS be sure to check back later this month for our guide to finding THE dress.


While we adore a pop of bright color, we’re predicting seeing more watercolor designs and soft shades, so pastels won’t just be on dresses.



Going with the glam and romantic vibe, decadent and ethereal are the way to go for flowers. Soft, lush, earthy bouquets filled with flowers like cabbage roses, peonies, and wild roses, Queen Anne’s lace, dahlias, and gardenias.




We’ve been seeing more and more “natural” and traditional photography. We agree: the panoramic wedding portrait of all your guests is a must!



We are so incredibly lucky to live in an area with some of the most beautiful outdoor venues for the most perfect rustic-elegant weddings. Take some notes from the ritzy ranch wedding à la Lauren Bush and David Lauren’s recent nuptials on the famous Double RL Ranch. Check out some of their stunning details, here!



We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: we’re foodies. We’re so excited to see (and taste!) some beautiful, innovative meals this year. These farm-fresh, organic options are the way to go, while crafted into photo-album- worthy presentations. A feast for the eyes and palate, check out our post about what’s cooking at Cavallo Point.

Oh, this is going to be a great year!!

Laura + Lee = San Francisco’s Royal Wedding

For those of you who are still obsessing over the royal wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William or those that indulged in last night’s Gossip Girl where Blaire Waldorf and Prince Louis of Monaco said “I Do” in their own version of the royal wedding, you’re not going to want to miss this post. We’ve got our own royal wedding right here in San Francisco, or at least our story of Laura and Lee tie the knot.









From the Bride…The first thing I asked Lee after he proposed was, “Do you want to just run away to Vegas?” He said, “Absolutely not.” So then I, the girl who never pictured her wedding, never cut out pictures from magazines, didn’t have my nuptial power point presentation all ready, had to plan a wedding. Well, I’m a firm believer in go big or go home.

I had remembered going to eat at The Slanted Door one night and I’d heard a party going on up on the 2nd floor. I had made a comment like, “that would be a cool place for a wedding.” Remembering that, I called up the Ferry Building after getting engaged and was connected to Paula le Duc catering who runs the space. Perfecto! In one swoop I had the top caterer in the city and, what I think is, one of the best venues. From there, the rest fell into place. Paula le Duc recommended Stacy McCain (wedding planner;) who recommended Atelier Joya (flowers,) Cakeworks (cake,) and Innovative Entertainment (where I got the band from.) EVERY one of those vendors proved to be top notch, super helpful, and on top of their game. And, luckily, one of my good friends is Ashley Garmon who is a phenomenal photographer. So, that decision was easy.

I have crazy taste in some things but for a wedding I feel like you can never go wrong with classic, clean, and simple. The best decision I made was to purchase my bridesmaids matching shoes and let them wear whatever black dress they wanted to. They all looked like themselves and all looked beautiful. The flowers were all white with the exception of the anenomies that have  a black center. We took the time to make sure the Ferry Building was lit up beautifully inside and had tons of candles on the tables. I think the lighting and flowers were in perfect balance. Not too overdone on either. And the place card display ended up to be a big focal point. We covered a table between the room we had cocktails in and the large open room and did a beautiful display with orchids, candles, mirrors, and black rocks. People loved it. They took more pictures of that than they did other guests.

A few other details. . .well, we tried to “San Francisco” it up for all those traveling. So, the church we chose was Grace Cathedral. Talk about a venue that needs NOTHING else. The church speaks volumes for itself. The bridal party rode on trolleys. Both the wedding reception venue and the rehearsal dinner venue had bridge views. All of the guests stayed on the Embarcadero. And, amazing enough, we had perfectly clear, sunny, blue days the whole time. Food was also EXTREMELY important to us. Luckily, we had PLD and the use mainly all fresh and organic ingredients from the farmers market at the Ferry Building. Everyone agreed it was the best wedding food ever (it tasted EXACTLY how it did at the tasting.

The other big thing that was important to me was music. We had Ever play the cocktails after the ceremony, dinner, and the cake cutting (wonderful.) And for our party band we had Big City Revue. They were ridiculous! They rocked it out. My request was a “classic wedding band that can belt out all the tunes everyone wants to dance to.” That’s JUST what I got. They were so fun. And they dealt very well with my whole family who has a penchant of getting on stage and singing.

Now to integrate Vegas. . .we had a last dance. We danced to Elvis’ song “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.” The band announced it was our last dance. So, everyone made their way onto the dance floor. As the song was ending we had an Elvis Impersonator (Rick Torres) come out and ham up the Elvis thing. We handed out Elvis glasses to everyone and Elvis directed the guests to the door and told them to go out there and wave goodbye (and then to meet us at the Vitale bar after!) Then, Elvis whisked us away in his pink Caddy. It was classic. Everyone was so surprised. Hysterical.

There are so many details and things I’m sure I’m forgetting. But, to me, it was perfect. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Wedding Photography: Ashley Garmon Photographers / Wedding Coordinator: Stacy McCain Event Planning / Church: Grace Cathedral / Ferry Building & Caterer: Paula LeDuc Fine Catering / Flowers: Atelier Joya / Cake: Cakework / Cream Puffs: Pacific Puffs / Ceremony Music: Gabriel’s Trio / Cocktail Music: Ever Music Group / Band: Big City Revue / Lighting & Sound: Got Light / Make-up: Nellie Muganda / Linens & Rentals: Classic Party Rentals / Transportation: Bauer’s Transportation / Getaway Car: Elvis & Pink Caddy