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

Questions for Stacy: First Look versus a Ceremony Entrance

Question:

Hi Stacy.  I recently hired a photographer, and they want to know if we are going to do a “First Look” or wait until after the ceremony to take photos.  Can you explain what a First Look is, as well as the pros and cons of each option?

 Answer:

A First Look is a special moment where the Bride and Groom get to see one another before the ceremony. Often times photographers will stage this so the Groom is located in an private area with his back to where the Bride will appear. One of the biggest pros of choosing to do a First Look is that it gives you an opportunity to take some photographs prior to the ceremony, which often times relaxes the couple from any pre-wedding jitters. Another big plus is that couples are then able to join their guests for cocktail hour, since they won’t spend that time taking photos. We commonly see Bridal Party photos taken after the First Look, followed by a short session of joint family photos. On the other hand, some couples feel that having a First Look takes away from the big reveal as the Bride walks down the aisle. Not to worry, this moment is still just as unforgettable when a First Look takes place.

Choosing to wait to see each other until the Bride walks down is definitely more traditional. The biggest pro is that the Bride and Groom get to experience that incredible moment as the bride walks down the aisle. After the ceremony, both Bridal Party and joint family photos take place. The Bride and Groom are then photographed alone in a secluded setting. This is a good option for couples who are not concerned with joining cocktail hour, as capturing all of these photographs will most likely take up the entire hour.

Now smile and say cheese!

Cheers,

Stacy

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Click here to read our last helpful Questions for Stacy blog entry, which addresses wedding registries!

2013 Trends: Bridal Party Jewelry with AJ Stout of Stella & Dot

In this month’s 2013 Trends feature, we decided to have some fun discussing a favorite pastime of many women out there: accessorizing!  As wedding planners, we encourage our brides to think about bridal jewelry (their own as well as their bridal party’s) as they move along in the planning process. Plus, playing with jewels and accessories is just plain fun!

We reached out to AJ Stout, Independent Stylist for Stella & Dot, based out of San Francisco, for her expert opinion on 2013 trends. AJ also shared some photos from a recent shoot she styled using Stella & Dot jewelry, enjoy!

Tell us a little bit about Stella & Dot, when and where was the company created, and how you got involved as an independent stylist.                                                                                                                                                                     Stella & Dot was founded by our CEO Jessica Herrin as Luxe Jewels in 2003. The company evolved, and in 2007, Jessica partnered with Blythe Harris, Chief Creative Officer and re-branded Luxe Jewels as Stella & Dot, which they named after their grandmothers. The company is based in San Bruno, CA. I began working as an Independent Stylist for Stella & Dot, as a means to satisfy my need to work in a “feel good” capacity after battling Triple Negative Inflammatory breast cancer last year. Styling my clients with beautiful jewelry has motivated me and helped me make many wonderful personal connections!

AJ Stout

AJ Stout

How does the process of seeing and selecting pieces of jewelry work with Stella & Dot? Have you ever held a special party for a bride and the members of her bridal party?

Stella & Dot jewelry is designed in New York City and San Francisco and each piece is hand crafted. Our design team has worked with luxury brands like LVMH and Coach. For wedding jewelry, I have helped brides incorporate a Stella & Dot trunk show into their bridal shower so that they can earn style rewards (jewelry credit) towards their own wedding jewels, and choose jewelry for the bridesmaids, mother-of the bride, or flower girls.  Typically, when the guests know their shopping benefits the bride, they are happy to shop to help her earn style rewards to look beautiful for her big day!

Tell us about the price range of Stella & Dot jewelry.

Half the line is under $50, which makes it affordable for most women. Our current price range is $16 – $298.

Does Stella & Dot create pieces that are specifically geared towards brides?

Our products are not geared to a specific occasion; however, our designers do an excellent job of having some very elegant pieces available, which I have often recommended to my bridal clients.

What bridal trends have you noticed in 2013?

The Great Gatsby film has influenced many bridal looks this year. As seen in the bridal photos, the Stackable Deco rings (et of 3 for $49).

© Stella & Dot

© Stella & Dot

As well as the vintage inspired Deco Drop earrings ($44).  Both pieces emulate the art deco style of The Great Gatsby.

© Stella & Dot

© Stella & Dot

Adding a ‘pop of color’ with jewelry can really heighten the overall look of a bridal outfit. Which colors have been the most popular in 2013?

The aqua stones of the Lily Chandelier earrings have been a pretty choice for my bridal clients who want to add a little color to their look, and they’re priced well at $39!

© Stella & Dot

© Stella & Dot

What are some favorite pieces that you’ve seen brides and bridesmaids wear in 2013?

My hands down favorite piece is the Ainsley bracelet ($98), which I am wearing in the potrait above.  It’s a sparkly stretch bracelet that adds a lot of glamour to the overall look:

© Stella & Dot

© Stella & Dot

In your opinion, which pieces of jewelry should a bride consider giving to her bridesmaids to wear at her wedding?

I think it all depends on the dress style and is often budget driven. When I got married a few years ago, I bought matching bracelets for my bridesmaids to give them a consistent look and a little color as they were in black dresses.  Something to keep in mind when giving the bridesmaids a piece of jewelry is that it’s a gift for them to wear on the wedding day and hopefully something they will want to wear again and again.

In the 2013 collection, does Stella & Dot feature pieces that would be appropriate for a wide range of ages within a bridal party (i.e. the Bride, Bridesmaids, Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom)?

We have a wonderful collection of jewelry appropriate for the different age ranges of the bridal party.

The bride may want something as simple as our Glint Flower Cubic Zirconia necklace ($39):

© Stella & Dot

© Stella & Dot

Or something more contemporary, like our Dot Bloom necklace ($198):

© Stella & Dot

© Stella & Dot

Bridesmaids can acheive an elegant lace look with the Geneve Lace Bib necklace, ($96):

© Stella & Dot

© Stella & Dot

Flower girls will feel fancy in their Mini Soiree necklace ($24) and Bracelet ($16):

© Stella & Dot

© Stella & Dot

I’ve also seen the mother-of-the bride choose to wear a statement necklace. Some women are reluctant to wear larger pieces of jewelry, but for a wedding where they will be wearing a glamorous dress, these pieces can really bring out the best in their personal style! I like the Marchesa necklace ($178) for a luxurious look.

© Stella & Dot

© Stella & Dot

If you had an opportunity to style your dream wedding featuring jewelry from the 2013 Stella & Dot collection, which pieces would you include?

I recently styled the following photo shoot and included pieces which really set the tone for the overall elegant theme.

On the blonde model is the Metropolitan Mix Chain necklace, (was $198, now available directly through me for $99), the Glint Flower cubic zirconia earrings ($39), and one the Stackable Deco rings (set of 3 for $49).

© Stella & Dot

© Stella & Dot

© Stella & Dot

© Stella & Dot

On the brunette model are the vintage inspired Deco Drop earrings ($44), as well as some very affordable bling: the Radiance Coil bracelet ($29).

© Stella & Dot

© Stella & Dot

© Stella & Dot

© Stella & Dot

Check out the photos from my shoot here:

Photo by Michelle Lacson Photography

Photo by Michelle Lacson Photography

Photo by Michelle Lacson Photography

Photo by Michelle Lacson Photography

Photo by Michelle Lacson Photography

Photo by Michelle Lacson Photography

Photo shoot credits:

Photographer: Michelle Lascon http://www.michellelacsonphotography.com

Jewelry Styling: AJ Stout, Stella & Dot Independent Stylist http://www.stelladot.com/AJStout

Shoot Coordinator: Hoofrish Patel – Tamrish Events http://www.tamrish.com/

~

Thank you, AJ, for sharing all of these helpful tips and ideas!

~

Please contact AJ directly for more information about Stella & Dot and any of the pieces she referenced in this interview: ajstoutstyle@gmail.com.

And be sure to read out last installment of 2013 TRENDS focusing on Wedding Cakes with Amber McKenney of Sweet On Cake!

Some Very Special Mother/Son Songs

Last month, we shared a list of our Very Favorite Father/Daughter Songs.  In this post, we wanted to show our Grooms and Moms a little love.

Let’s face it, when it comes to the special dances at a wedding, most of the attention is focused on the bride and the much anticipated father/daughter dance. But hey, every Mom deserves to have a special moment with her son as well!  The mother/son dance is one of the most touching traditions to take place at wedding receptions. Choosing the perfect song for this dance can prove to be a little difficult, so here’s a list of our all-time favorites.  Warning: you may want to grab a tissue before giving these songs a listen!

Laura & Jeff Wedding by Michelle Pattee

Photo by Michelle Pattee

Photo by Gertrude and Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude & Mabel

Now put on those dancin’ shoes and enjoy your special dance!