LWD (little white dress) shopping guide with BB Style

This week marks the last installment of our Style Guide with Brianne Binder of BB Style.  She has provided us with so many fabulous tips and advice, and we are so thankful for all of her stylish suggestions.  In case you missed it, be sure to check out last week’s Honeymoon Packing Guide!

The Perfect LWD

Shop this for this Nordstrom dress here

Bri Here!  Take it from me: it’s fun to wear bright, colorful patterns during your wedding events to stand out as the bride, but there’s something particularly special about wearing white or cream.  As the bride, you will undoubtedly shine on the big day in your gorgeous gown, but it’s equally special to wear white to your rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, bachelorette party or any other event honoring your soon to be nuptials.

With the growing popularity of the LWD, it’s become much easier to find a great white dress. This season, lace has been a very popular trend, and trust me, there is a silhouette and fabric for everyone. I’m highlighting my picks that will fit your wedding style depending on your search to find a LWD that is vintage inspired, embellished, boho, classic, lacey or modern.  Like I said, there’s something for everyone!

My tips for accessorizing and styling your LWD are:

– Go all white if your dress is truly white; a cute white heel is very chic.

– Compliment the white or cream with a pop color via a clutch, shoe or hair accessory.

– Wear a statement earring or bracelet to add a little bling

– When in doubt, wear a metallic or nude/tan shoe (any silhouette or heel height will work depending on your style and level of comfort)

– Enjoy every second of wearing white/cream… it’s your special time!!

LWD Style Board

Shop These Looks:

Vintage: Modcloth $58.99 | Dorothy Perkins $89

Embellished: Dorothy Perkins $69|  Dorothy Perkins $110

Boho: Alice + Olivia $297 | Alice + Olivia $228

Classic: Alice + Olivia $438 | Alexander Wang $625

Lace: Topshop $92 | Miss Selfridge $120

Modern: Zara $59.90 | Top Shop $ 92

Accessorize the LWD

LWD Accessories:

Kate Spade Pave Bow Bangle $88

DVF Metallic Cutout Sandals $298

J. Crew Crystal Earrings $58

Sweet & Spark Vintage Blue Leaf Earrings $128

Elizabeth Cole Crystal Statement Bracelet $113

Tory Burch Tangerine Ombre Clutch $225

Aldo White Textured Clutch $23

Zara White Nude Heels $79.90

Thank you again, Bri!  You’re our #1 Style Guru!

See some of Bri’s other recommendations, including Wedding Day Brunch Style, Rehearsal Dinner Style, Bridal Shower Style, and Post Wedding Day Brunch Style.

2013 Trends: Bridesmaid Dresses with Bridget Brown of Bella Bridesmaid

We can’t believe that it’s already mid-July, where is the summer going?!? In this month’s Trends feature, we reached out to Bridget Brown, founder of Bella Bridesmaid, to provide us with the latest and greatest in Bridesmaid dresses.  According to Bridget, 2013 is all about having some fun while styling your bridal party.  In this interview, Bridget shares her fashion expertise and advice for helping your Bridesmaids look and feel their best on the big day.

Bridget Brown

Bridget Brown

Q: Tell us a little bit about Bella Bridesmaid and your role within the company.

A: I founded Bella Bridesmaid in the spring of 2000, after seeing a need in the bridal industry for a boutique dedicated to chic, modern and wearable bridesmaid dresses. My first store was a tiny one room Victorian walk-up in Cow Hollow. We are still in Cow Hollow on Union Street, but in a bigger space with many more fabulous dresses! I franchised the company in 2006, after many emails from brides across the US asking where they too could buy a chic bridesmaid dress for their maids. Thirteen years and 43 stores later, our SF flagship location is still running strong at 2250 Union Street!

Bella Bridesmaid

Inside Bella Bridesmaid

Q: Choosing the bridesmaid dresses is one of the most important decisions a bride has to make.  When do you suggest a bride come into the shop to start the process? How long does it typically take for a dress to come in?

A: All of our dresses are made to order, and not stocked, so we highly recommend coming in at least 6-8 months before the wedding to help you choose your dresses. Your dresses will typically arrive 4-6 weeks before your wedding, giving your maids ample time for alterations.

Sample Dresses at Bella Bridesmaid

Sample Dresses at Bella Bridesmaid

Q: How much time should the bridesmaids set aside to get their dresses altered?

A: Depending on what you need altered, a few weeks is usually enough time.

Bella Bridesmaid

The Salon at Bella Bridesmaid

Q: Should the dress that a bride chooses match her overall wedding color scheme?

A: We’re seeing so many amazing and unique ideas these days. The days of matchy-matchy are long gone! I always think it’s a good idea to come in with an idea… albeit a far reaching one.  While it’s important to keep in mind your chosen venue, season, favorite color etc., there are a lot of ways we can start the process of talking about what the maids should wear. We’re seeing a lot of mix and match bridal parties, where the bride gives the gals a palette or designer, and then lets them choose a dress within that range.  Brides have also been choosing a combination of patterns and solids and then allowing the maids choose their style within that range. We’re seeing mixing of patterns, colors, and hemlines.

Right now I’m mad about STRIPES! Striped dresses are super popular and perfect for a preppy wedding. Unique, pattered dresses a refreshing departure from 6 maids in identical dresses! After all, they don’t all have identical personalities and body shapes, right?!

Sassy Stripes from LulaKate

Sassy Stripes from LulaKate

Q: What are some of your favorite dress designers?  Are there any new designers we should keep our eye out for?

A: We are loving the new dresses from Ivy & Aster and their subsidiary company which is exclusive to Bella Bridesmaid stores, Love Lane. Think flowy frocks in muted tones, florals, and polka dots. You’ll see these dresses in most of the Bella owners’ closets for everyday wear!

Phoebe by Ivy & Aster

Phoebe by Ivy & Aster

Gemma by Ivy & Aster

Gemma by Ivy & Aster

Q: Which styles of dresses do you suggest for various body types (busty, tall, short, pregnant, etc.)?

A: This question is a perfect example of why we embrace the idea of the bridesmaid choosing her own style! Mini lengths have made a big comeback and work great for the petite gal. Cap sleeves, wrap necklines and v-necklines work beautifully for a fuller bust because you can wear a normal bra for support. Pregnant gals look great in an empire waist that will allow for a growing tummy!

Margurite by Ivy & Aster

Margurite by Ivy & Aster

Q: Which colors are we seeing less of in 2013?

A: For 2013, it’s less of the bright, punchy colors and more of the softer muted tones.

Q: Are there any dresses out of your 2013 collections that you think are particularly exceptional?

A: We love the new Mamie and James pieces with mix and match tops and skirts.  Mixing and matching allows the bridesmaids to have a cohesive look and feel but choose a top and skirt style that is not only flattering to their body, but also something that fits their personality and that they will wear again! There’s even a darling little pant included in this collection. Tres Chic!

Mix & Match Options from Mamie + James

Mix & Match Options from Mamie + James

Thank you, Bridget, for all this fabulous advice!

Makes us want to run out and go dress shopping.

In case you missed it, click here to read out last TRENDS entry, featuring Florals with Atelier Joya!

2013 Trends: Colors with Sharla Flock Designs

Welcome to this month’s installment of 2013 Trends, where we explore all things associated with COLOR!  For this interview, we enlisted floral guru Sharla Flock to share her thoughts on the ‘it’ colors of the moment, define colors as they pertain to her overall aesthetic, and to have some fun creating her very own ‘dream wedding’.  If you’ve had the pleasure of working with Sharla before, you’ll definitely hear her fun-loving, heartfelt, passionate personality shine through in this interview.  We are such fans of Sharla’s work, and are looking forward to partnering with her on several weddings this Summer and beyond!

Q: First, tell us a little bit about Sharla Flock Designs including your scope of services and a description of your overall aesthetic.

A: Sharla Flock Designs is a floral design studio specializing in wedding and event work.  I enjoy playing a part in the overall event design whenever possible. For me, there is no better “high” than walking away from a wedding feeling as though it has been flawlessly executed. Having a creative team working together with a passion for design makes our work so fun and rewarding.  Details, details, details; it’s all about those tasty little details!  I’m drawn to texture, am a freak for color, and love all the subtle differences in tones. Pink is never just pink. Raspberry, bubble gum, blush… Being able to create a floral and color palette for my brides that reflects their aesthetic is what it’s all about. Each wedding is as unique as the individual client!

SharlaFlock-COLOR image

Photo by Sharla Flock

Q: At the beginning of each year, Pantone announces their Color of the Year, which is Emerald this year.  In your experience, does this announcement directly affect the way color trends shift from year to year?

A: In 2012, the Pantone color was Tangerine. I can honestly say until most recently, I have not embraced the color orange and most of my brides have followed suit. I tend to be known for my green, white, brown, blush tones. In my designs, people tend to appreciate neutral palettes that are reflective of nature. However, I am really yearning for more color in 2013 and am excited to see what trends will play out.

I have a wedding in April with a Mad Men underlying theme. Some of the bridesmaids will be in an Emerald tone and I can’t wait to see it!

Photo by Sharla Flock

Photo by Sharla Flock

Q: Are you seeing any innovative color combinations (ie: coral & turquoise) in 2013?

A: Sigh… still not a lot of color yet! I’m getting a lot of requests for Black & White themes again. And of course, all white is still popular. Again, this may speak more to my design aesthetic, which attracts brides who want a more monochromatic color theme. The season is still young and full of possibilities however, and I’m hopeful that color will rain down on this wedding season.

Q: Which colors are you hoping to see more of in 2013?

A: I’m embracing, with a new enthusiasm, the colors of the sunset. There is something about orange, rust, coral, and plum tones that feels so alive and vibrant. They are also a wee bit earthy, which is always something that I gravitate towards.  Autumn is like candy for my eyes. I’m also so happy for the turn of seasons when I see the deep plum tones, rich reds, browns, and rusts around every corner at the flower market. It’s as if you can eat you way through the palette. SO yummy!

Photo by Sharla Flock

Photo by Sharla Flock

Q: Which 2012 trends and colors will we be seeing less of in 2013?

A: Blush needs to go on a vacation and bring mercury glass with her. Don’t get me wrong, I have been THE card-carrying member of the “blush peony, garden rose, dusty miller in mercury glass” club for a few years now, but it’s time to move on to something different and perhaps unexpected.

Q: When building a color palatte with your clients, what are the first steps you take towards making a final decision?

A: I listen to what my clients are naturally drawn to. I ask them about the color in their home, what they like to wear. It’s always a tell-tell sign when they whip out their ipad and the cover is hot pink!  I give my clients permission to go with the color palette they are drawn to, regardless of the season. It’s so important that the palette be reflective of the client.  Having an all blush wedding in October is perfectly acceptable in my book and should be embraced.

Photo by Sharla Flock

Photo by Sharla Flock

Q: If a client comes to you with a desire to incorporate two colors which you feel clash with one another – how do you compromise?

A: I’m always honest with my clients. I wish I could sensor myself at times, but if it feels really jarring, I will always share my concerns. Most times it’s just a matter of adding a transition color to help bridge the gap so the palette feels more cohesive.

Q:  How do you gauge the number of colors to be included in a wedding color palatte?  Is there a certain number of colors at which you would suggest capping?

A:  I try to keep within a color story palette, meaning in a range from light to dark and either warm or cool tones. (this is where my art background rears it’s ugly head – ha!).  I love playing around with possible options, mixing textures and colors that really play off each other. I think it’s best to have less range in color and more range in tones.  There isn’t a magic number to this equation, it’s more about the type, style, and shape of the individual flowers in addition to the colors.

Photo by Sharla Flock

Photo by Sharla Flock

Q:  If you had an opportunity to create your dream wedding featuring your favorite colors and florals – how would it look?

A:  I think it would feel like a vintage Thanksgiving: abundance of food, florals, and gratitude. Deep, rich reds, browns, burgundies, and plum tones in a collection of rustic, vintage footed vessels.  Think trophy vases, goblets, and tarnished silver. (Side note: I had the loveliest bride this year who had a note for each and every guest at his or her place setting. That kind of thoughtfulness is better than any wedding cake, hands down!)  I would see a candlelit evening ceremony followed by a feast of beautiful and delicious food.  Then there would be dancing until we collapse on day beds set out on the lawn of the property and fall asleep under the stars.

Photo by Robert Hatch

Photo by Robert Hatch

In case you missed it, click here to see last month’s Trends feature on Lighting!

2013 Trends: Wedding Cuisine

Welcome back for our second installment of 2013 Trends!  (Here is last month’s trend feature on wedding gowns in case you missed it!)

Our February 2013 Trends post features an interview with the fun and fabulous Jessica Haro of Global Gourmet Catering.  We had the pleasure of enjoying a tasting with Global Gourmet in January and were dazzled and delighted by everything we were served.


A snapshot of our tasting with Global Gourmet Catering (clockwise from top left): Inside Out BLT; Pan-Seared California White Sea Bass with sauteed Northern Lights chard and lemon horseradish-carrot puree; Kalua Pork and Taro Root Taco; Roasted Eggplant, Quinoa and Minted Burrata Wrapped in Phyllo Pastry

Based out of San Francisco, Global Gourmet prides it’self on being able to deliver restaurant-caliber food, impeccable service, and trend-setting design while paying close attention to detail.  In addition to offering seasonal, sustainably farmed organic cuisine sourced primarily from the Bay Area, this truly green caterer commits to incorporating environmentally friendly practices in their event production as well as their day-to-day operations.  We caught up with Jessica to discuss and forecast the newest trends in wedding cuisine for 2013:

Q: What do you think will be different this year in terms of food trends in 2012 versus 2013?

A: Being in the Bay Area, fresh seasonal food will always be what’s in style. During the last couple of years, rustic foods have been a trend and while I feel we will still see this at some weddings, I think it’s more of a shift to upscale, “comfort” food that allows guests to enjoy themselves while not feeling stuffy.

Crimson Watermelon and Gold Heirloom Tomato Napoleon with a Fino Verde Basil Emulsion, Burrata, Arugula and Balsamic Reduction.
Photo Credit Sasha Gulish

Q: What’s new in the Global Gourmet kitchens this year?

A: Our executive chef, Eric Magnani, is always working on new dishes. Something he’s excited about this year is going back to basics. Working with our core staff on producing products from scratch, for example, since the start of January, Eric has been hosting weekly seminars with his staff on how to create dishes such as tofu straight from soy beans, or pickling and fermentation. Next week’s seminar is on sourdough bread making and an upcoming seminar is on mozzarella fresca and burrata (you can bet I’ll be sneaking into the kitchen that week!).

Q: What kind of service will we be seeing more of in 2013 (family style, Russian etc.)?

A: Traditional seated meals at weddings will always be the frontrunners because there’s something to be said for serving guests so they can relax and enjoy themselves with family and friends and have breaks for speeches. The tables have changed a lot: shifting from the usual 60-inch rounds to square tables and long kings tables. With the long tables, couples tend to prefer family style,but at Global Gourmet we provide a mix of Russian style (servers walking with platters and serving individually) with the proteins, and family style with the sides, so no one drops a juicy short rib on their dress while trying to serve themselves :). We have been seeing a spike in station service for weddings lately (not buffet, but rather stations scattered around the room) to allow guests to try different types of food and mingle.

Photo Credit Sasha Gulish

Q: What’s your most popular entree request thus far?

A: Global Gourmet Catering is known for all of our short rib dishes because our chef braises them for four hours in various, local wines depending on the season and clients preference (Chardonnay for Spring, Pinot Noir for Summer and Cabernet for Fall/Winter). Short ribs are a wonderful protein to offer guests at weddings because the couple doesn’t need to be concerned with how their guests prefer their meat cooked, and when the meat is so tender it doesn’t need a knife, women can enjoy them without it splattering on their dress.

Q: Have you had many unique fusion requests for 2013?

A: Our chef’s favorite saying is, “Fusion leads to confusion,” so I’ll have to say we haven’t had any “fusion” requests, but rather world flavor inspirations with California sensibility. My favorite last year was Japanese and Hispanic and we combined a miso wrap with jalapeño peppers. We’re currently working on a menu that is Indian and Persian and another one that will combine Indian and Scottish flavors. Our chef and team are always very excited when we have couples that ask us to create custom menus combining their cultures and allowing us to further expand our menu.


A Duet of Salads and Mini Mug of Curried Cauliflower Bisque, topped with a Red Pepper and Hot Lime Samosa.
Photo Credit Cliff Brunk

Q: What will we be seeing more of for first courses in 2013?

A: Global Gourmet will be focusing smaller plates with larger flavors featuring local productions from the nine Bay Area counties. For example, a local snapper crudo from the Farallons on shaved baby artichoke salad with beet emulsion.

Q: What 2012 trend are you happy to be seeing less of in 2013?

A: Honestly, while I love the concept of family style service, I prefer plated because it allows us to highlight the beautiful presentation of our dishes. With family style, if you’re the second or third person receiving the platter, while it still tastes phenomenal, you loose the beauty that the chef has put into setting up the dish. It’s also more costly for brides because more food needs to be prepared when guests serve themselves, and oftentimes, they over serve themselves and the food can go to waste.

HD photos Weddings By Sasha

A Variety of Hors d’Oeuvres including the famous Kālua Pork and Taro Root Taco with Green Onion Slaw, and the Twice Baked Potato Cup with Truffled Brie and Fresh Chives.
Photo Credit: Sasha Gulish

Q: If you could dream up your perfect meal, what would it consist of?

A: My perfect meal would start with Global Gourmet’s watermelon, heirloom tomato, burrata and arugula salad. Then I would have one of our sea bass dishes with a seasonal puree, and end with a dessert from our amazing pastry chef, James McCann, which would either be a fresh strawberry shortcake or a pana cotta. Oh, and I would have a large glass of Sauvignon Blanc to enjoy through the entire meal.

Photo Credit: Andrew Weeks Photography

One of James McCann’s Famous Panna Cottas with a White Chocolate Stick.
Photo Credit: Andrew Weeks Photography

And finally, are you able to share a recipe with us?

Screen shot 2013-02-28 at 11.24.05 AM

A huge thank you goes out to Jessica Haro from all of us at SMEP!  We’re excited to see all of the wonderful menus you continue to create in 2013!