Wedding Traditions and History: The White Wedding Dress

Queen Victoria, 1840

Queen Victoria, circa 1840

The very first white wedding dress was worn in 1499 by Anne of Brittany, as she married Louis XII of France. Prior to this date, the bride would traditionally wear her best dress to her wedding, and in fact, the color did not matter. This was of course a more practical option because the bride could wear the dress again. The truth was that only the wealthy could afford an extravagant gown that would be worn just once. The trend of wearing a white dress never really took off until the 1840’s when Queen Victoria wore a white dress as she married Prince Albert.

Queen Elizabeth 1947

Queen Elizabeth, circa 1947

Every culture is different.  Here’s an interesting fact: in Japan, a bride wears white to symbolize that she is in mourning for having to leave her family. Later in the ceremony, the bride will change her costume several times to reflect her changing identity.

Photo courtesy e wedding inspiration

Photo courtesy e wedding inspiration

In Western culture, it’s a common misconception that wearing white is a symbol of the bride’s purity; it is in fact meant to be a symbol of joy.  The act of wearing a white wedding dress is still very much the traditional choice today, however, symbolically, they are less about the bride’s purity and more about her debut as a first time bride.

Photo by Gertrude & Mabel

Photo by Gertrude & Mabel

In case you missed it, be sure to read our last entry featuring Wedding Traditions and History: The Wedding Cake!

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Traditional Wedding Cake Alternatives

In our experience, not every bride and groom has the desire to ‘cut the cake’ at their wedding.  So we put together some of our favorite alternative ‘wedding cakes’ to get those individuals’ creative juices flowing!

Photo by the Cake Blogger Girls

Meringue Trifle. Photo by the Cake Blogger Girls

Photo courtesy Dream French Wedding

Croquembouche. Photo courtesy Dream French Wedding

Photo by Michelle Kim Photography

Waffle Cake. Photo by Michelle Kim Photography

Photo by Heather Baird

Donut Tower.  Photo by Heather Baird

Photo by Jane Z Photography

Rice Krispy Cake.  Photo by Jane Z Photography

Photo by Jose Villa

Pie Cake. Photo by Jose Villa

 

Lemon ice cream cake with raspberry ripple.  Photo by Helena Ljunggren

Lemon ice cream cake with raspberry ripple. Photo by Helena Ljunggren

Mint Oreo Ice Cream Cake

Mint Oreo Ice Cream Cake.  Photo by Heather Baird

And for the grand finale, how about this fabulous ‘cheese cake?!’  Perfect for the couple who prefers savory treats over sweet ones!
Photo by Ava Images

‘Cheese Cake’.  Photo by Ava Images

Check out these images and more on our Save The Cake Pinterest Page!

Wedding Traditions and History: The Bridal Party

This week we are taking a look at the fascinating history of the modern day Bridal Party.

Photos by Michelle McMurray

The Bridal Party: Then
Photo by Michelle McMurray

Photo by Gertrude and Mabel Photography

The Bridal Party: Now
Photo by Gertrude & Mabel

In early traditions, groomsmen were called ‘bridesknights.’  These bridesknights supported the groom by helping him capture and protect his bride. They would ride their horses to another town to kidnap the bride, and the groom’s ‘best knight’ would help fight for the groom’s love.

Drawing by Manga and Anime

The Groomsmen: Then
Drawing by Manga and Anime

The bridesknights would then oversee the safety of the bride until the wedding ceremony was over.  The best knight would stand on the Brides side so he could be next to her and protect her until they were married. This was thought to confuse the evil spirits, ensuring that no spells could be cast over the couple.

It’s safe to say that the role of the groomsmen has changed significantly over the years!  Today’s responsibilities include planning the groom’s last hurrah by way of a bachelor party, and ensuring he makes it to the church on time for the ceremony.

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The Groomsmen: Now
Photo by Gertrude & Mabel

Photo by Martin Schweig

The Bridesmaids: Then
Photo by Martin Schweig

Back in the day, bridesmaids played a very similar role to the brideknights. The bride’s closest friends would help the bride get some distance from her over-protective family and unwanted suitors so she could be captured by the groom she desired.  On her wedding day, her bridesmaids would dress similarly to the bride in an effort to throw off any evil spirits and bad luck that could be directed towards the otherwise easily identifiable bride and groom.

Laura & Jeff Wedding by Michelle Pattee

The Bridesmaids: Now
Photo by Michelle Pattee Photography

Nowadays, the maid of honor and bridesmaids are chosen specially from the bride’s close group of friends to stand beside her on the big day.  They celebrate her by planning a fabulous bachelorette party prior to the wedding, and see to it that each and every one of her needs are met while she prepares to walk down the aisle.

Traditions are so much more fun in our day and age!

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Photo by Gertrude & Mabel

2013 Trends: Printed Pieces with Olivia San Mateo of Olive Route

They say that first impressions are everything, and Olivia San Matoe of Olive-Route would be the first to agree.  She always keeps this in mind when designing and creating her beautiful printed pieces for weddings and special events.  As save-the-dates and invitations are the guests’ first impression of the celebration to come, it’s important that the pieces be memorable and unique to the couple.  In this interview, Olivia shares her expertise on the various options and processes that go along with creating specialty paper goods.
OR-logo

Please tell us a bit about your company, Olive-Route. How did you come up with the name and logo?

Olive-Route is a custom design and letterpress studio that I started in 2005 after purchasing my first letterpress machine. My portfolio is a collection of wedding paper goods, small business collateral, and art collaborations. My company name is a combination of the latin meaning of my name: “Olivia” means olive tree and my nickname “Via” means route. The logo was something I developed when I was still in design school and I just carried it through my professional career.

When it comes to creating invitations and other printed pieces for couples planning their wedding, what’s your specialty?  

I specialize mainly in letterpress printed pieces – that’s where my heart is. But besides being a printer I’m also a designer, and will specify other types of printing (digital, foil, etc.) if it makes sense for the design and budget.

What makes you stand out from other design studios?

I’d like to think my designs help me stand out from other studios. Everything I do is custom, so every project is unique and I rarely reprint a design. I always make variations and like to experiment with different styles.

In your opinion, why are printed pieces so important in the grand scheme of the wedding?

Invites and Save-the-Dates help set the tone of the wedding. And since they’re sent out early, the first design decisions have to be made when they get sent out (the color palette, the motifs, the overall look and feel, etc). The day of pieces such as programs, menus, placecards, etc. become wonderful keepsakes and takeaways for the guests.  Not only are they functional, they’re also fun and unique. Here are a few samples that have a variety of paper goods in the set, the first set from a Stacy McCain Event Planning wedding for Rachel and Blake, at Cavallo Point.

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude and Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude & Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude and Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude & Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude and Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude & Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude and Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude & Mabel

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude & Mabel

Second Set:

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Third Set:

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Fourth Set:

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

At what point during the planning process do engaged couples come your way?

I encourage them to come very early on, usually about a year out, since save-the-dates are typically sent out at least 6 months from the wedding date.

What’s the best time frame for the creative process to begin, and what is the typical turnaround?

My process is broken down into two phases: design and production.  Each takes about 4 weeks, so 8 weeks total from start to finish.

How do you begin the process of creating custom wedding suites for your couples?

We usually start with a phone conversation or a meet and greet. I like to get to know my clients and understand their aesthetic and style choices so I can better customize the design for them. Then I ask them for any inspiration they may have collected or take a peek at their Pinterest board if they have one. Once I get a better understanding of who they are and what they like, I put together my own style board featuring all the details of their paper goods. The board will consist of color, typography, image, and material inspirations.

Keeping in mind that each couple and wedding is different, how much should couples plan to spend on their printed pieces?

There’s a huge range when it comes to the amount spent on paper goods. It really depends on how important it is to the couple and how they want it printed.  Digital printing is always less expensive than letterpress.

Which components of a suite would you say are most necessary?

I think that when working within a budget, it’s nice to have the invite card printed letterpress and maybe opt for the enclosures to be digital. I always encourage having the addresses done in calligraphy, but if it’s not in the budget, ask someone you know who has nice handwriting to do it for you. Finding some vintage stamps also adds a nice touch. I think whatever you can do to make it look more personalized is worth the effort.

Can you explain the differences in paper weight?

In simplest terms, I always refer to cardstock in 1ply vs. 2ply. Letterpress is always best on thicker 2ply stock, but that also adds to the cost. So if you want to save some money but want to stick with letterpress, going 1ply is a good alternative.

In your experience, what are the most common printing practices?

I mainly provide letterpress and digital services. I’ll also use foil, which is similar to letterpress but instead of ink we use foil.  This works best for metallic colors like gold or silver. Here are some examples:

Letterpress has a nice textural quality to the printing:

Calligraphy by Nancy Hopkins

Photo by Olivia San Mateo; Calligraphy by Nancy Hopkins

Digital is flat printing and works great with saturated colors such as this example:

Photo by Angie Silvy Photography

Photo by Angie Silvy Photography

Here’s an example of foil printing on cloth and wood paper:

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Photo by Olivia San Mateo

What concepts did we see a lot of in 2012, that we are seeing less in 2013?

I would say patterns have been big and are still running strong, which I love!

Can you tell us about some exciting new concepts you’ve rolled out in 2013?

I’ve integrated some bookbinding into some of my 2013 custom projects like these custom folios with wax seals:

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Photo by Olivia San Mateo

I love lots of texture, so anywhere I can mix and match materials is great. I love the liner on this design as well as the wallpaper backing we used for the invite:

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Photo by Olivia San Mateo

I also love pops of color as seen on these bright edge-painted cards:

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Photo by Olivia San Mateo

Thanks for all the inspiration, Olivia!

Follow Olivia on Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram

In case you missed it, be sure to read our September installment of Trends, featuring Wedding Ceremonies with Lisa Francesca

Questions for Stacy: Home for the Holidays

Question:

Hi Stacy.  My fiancé and I recently got engaged, and will be spending time with our families over the holidays.  We’d like to use some of this time to get started on the wedding planning.  What sort of questions should we plan  on discussing with our families?

 Answer:

First off, congratulations! What an exciting time for you, your fiancé and your families. Tending to some wedding business while enjoying your family’s company sounds like a very smart plan.  Here are some topics I’d suggest you try to cover while you’re home for the holidays:

1. Who would we like to invite?  (We encourage couples and their families to make an A, B and C invitee list, as the venues’ capacity may dictate which list you are able to work from). This is also a good time to chat about whether or not you will invite children to the wedding.

2. What is the ideal wedding month/date for both families? While you won’t be able to run the date by everyone, we recommend coming up with a list of at least three dates that work for both families, just in case your venue of choice already has several dates booked, you’ll have a few back-ups.

3. Where is our ideal venue?  (If you have no idea where to begin, think of some locations that are special to your family ~ such as a summer vacation spot or venue in your hometown ~ or locations that are special to you as a couple such as the place where you first met, had your first date, got engaged etc.)

4. What is our overall wedding budget?  How much will each party plan on contributing (Bride’s family, Groom’s family, Bride & Groom)?

5. Who do we want to be in our wedding party?  Do we want to include children in the ceremony?

Photo by Saskia de Laat

Happy Holidays!
Cheers,
Stacy

Click here to read our last helpful Questions for Stacy blog entry!

Questions for Stacy: Winter Florals in California

Question:

Hi Stacy.  My fiancé and I are in the process of planning a winter wedding in California, and I’m worried we won’t have a lot of options for our florals.  Can you help guide me towards the flowers that are in season during the chillier months?

 Answer:

There is something so cozy about a winter wedding!  California doesn’t experience the harshest of winters, however we do see the temperatures drop significantly.  But have no fear, with this change comes a whole new set of gorgeous florals that are just as wonderful as the other seasons’ offerings.

Here are some of our favorites:

Ranunculus

Photo courtesy Mandala Floral

Photo courtesy Mandala Floral

Amaryllis

Photo via Flikr

Photo via Flikr

Holly

Photo courtesy National Georgraphic

Photo courtesy National Georgraphic

Jasmine

Photo by Angelic Shaman Ministry

Photo by Angelic Shaman Ministry

Anemone

Photo courtesy Champagne : Shotguns

Photo courtesy Champagne : Shotguns

Star Gazer Lily

Photo via Flower Picture Gallery

Photo via Flower Picture Gallery

Narcissus

Photo via Trek Lens

Photo via Trek Lens

Cosmos

Photo via Wallcoo

Photo via Wallcoo

Poinsettia

Photo by Johnson Brothers Greenhouses

Photo by Johnson Brothers Greenhouses

Star of Bethlehem

Photo by Daile Wilson

Photo by Daile Wilson

Tulip

Photo via Architerials

Photo via Architerials

Waxflower

WAXFLOWER MADONNA

Photo via Passion for Flowers

Now isn’t that wonderful array of beautiful flowers from which to choose?
For more information on flower seasonality, check out this helpful chart from the folks at Cuesa!
Cheers,
Stacy

Click here to read our last helpful Questions for Stacy blog entry!

2013 Trends: Wedding Ceremonies with Lisa Francesca

Happy Fall, everyone!  Our November Trends blog post features the words and wisdom of one of our very favorite officiants, Lisa Francesca. Stacy was first introduced to Lisa by her father, Hank Basayne, who was also an officiant.  Hank was the officiant of the first wedding where Stacy served as an assistant in the Bay Area. Soon after, Hank became a colleague and trusted confidant.

Shortly after Hank’s passing, Stacy began to work more frequently with Lisa. Lisa is kind and has a wonderfully calming presence about her. She is a superb listener and is easy to talk to. Lisa is so well respected in the industry that she is in the process of writing a book, forthcoming in the Fall of 2014, from Chronicle Books.  You can read some samplings of her writing on her website.

Photo by Mark Baumann

Photo by Mark Baumann

First tell us a little bit about yourself, and the scope of your services.

I was born and raised in a multiple-module, multiple-faith family in San Francisco. As such, I began my informal studies on religion and spirituality at the very young age of eight, when I left my home and wandered four blocks to an empty church! I have officiated at weddings and other ceremonies since 2002. My ceremonies range from civil and community-oriented to spiritual to interfaith and intercultural. I believe that love wins, and every adult should be able to marry.

What is your process in terms of getting to know a couple?  How much time do you spend with them prior to their wedding?  How far out are couples hiring you?

I like to spend at least an hour during the initial interview with my couple. We usually meet in person, but often we need to meet by phone or online because they are from other parts of the country.  We often have a second interview to hammer out some parts of the ceremony after they have had time to think about their options. Once I draft the ceremony, I ask them to review it online. I attend the rehearsal and am basically on call for anything they might want to discuss from the first interview through their wedding day.

Ceremonies come in all shapes and sizes.  What are the first steps a couple should take when drafting their ceremony?

I encourage a couple to think about their ceremony from the inside out. An easy first step would be to start thinking about what kind of vows they want to make to each other. That is the kernel, the essence of the ceremony. Everything else is the frosting on the cake.

The second step should be an examination of the outside: how long do they want their ceremony to last? This will depend, frankly, on the comfort of their guests. They can go longer, adding more elements, if their guests are appropriately seated and shaded from the sun.

Photo by Gertrude and Mabel

Photo by Gertrude and Mabel

How much personality do you suggest couples incorporate into their ceremony?  Is there a time when the couple should defer to traditional practices?

Great question! Personally, I am not “married” to traditional practices at all. A legal ceremony can be as brief as “Do you?” “I do.” Any ceremony choices after that should be all about the couple’s unique personalities.

How long do ceremonies typically take place?  What is your ideal length of ceremony?

A typical American wedding takes between ten and forty minutes. If you are in the hot sun at a beach, ten is better. But usually twenty or thirty minutes is best for everyone. Any shorter and they will wonder what just happened. Much longer, and guests might begin to fidget. This is not to disparage wedding masses, which can take hours, and Hindu ceremonies, which can take days.

Photo by Meera Fox

Photo by Meera Fox

What is the most unique ceremony you’ve ever been a part of?

I had to think a long time about this question. I think my own wedding in 2004 was perhaps the most unique in terms of sheer variety in faiths. My Humanist minister father married my husband and me. Our ceremony included readings from a Jewish sister and a Baptist brother, and a Buddhist sibling led Grace at our reception.

What is the one thing you’d advise couples against when they’re working to create their ceremony?

Don’t feel the need to try to memorize your vows. You don’t need to add anything to the pressures of an already exciting day. As the officiant, I always have the vows written down for my couples.

Photo by  Kate Harrison Photography

Photo by Kate Harrison Photography

To write vows, or not to write vows – that is the question.  When do you suggest couples make the decision to write their own vows?

Each participant must feel comfortable reading something personal in front of a group. If one just feels nothing but terror at the prospect, it is far better to just limit the speaking to “I do.”

What is your all time favorite ceremony reading?

A: I wish I had just one, but I keep finding new ones to add to my list of favorites. As I am preparing for a wedding in October, I have been researching Slovenian poets and finding new poems to love.

What should couples keep in mind when choosing their readings?

The readings should enhance the tone you want for your wedding.  What three adjectives describe how you want your ceremony to feel? If you want romance and passion, try poetry by Octavio Paz, or D.H. Lawrence. Or you may prefer the simple, plain-speaking piece of advice from Hugh Prather. If you’re looking for a poem about nature, check out Mary Oliver or Jane Hirschfield. If you’re hoping for more humorous and whimsical literature, try something like Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein.

Here’s a Shel Silverstein poem we’re particularly fond of:

IMG_4349

by Shel Silverstein

Thank you, Lisa!

To learn more about Francesca or to contact her directly, please visit her website.

In case you missed it, be sure to read our September installment of Trends, featuring Bridal Party Jewelry with AJ Stout of Stella & Dot