Real Wedding { Teaser } : Cassie + Morgan

Last October, on a crisp yet sunny Fall day, Cassie and Morgan tied the knot at Beaulieu Garden in front of their nearest and dearest.  We loved working with them and their families because they were so excited and enthusiastic about their big day and all the little details.  In addition, the vendors that we had the pleasure of working with on this wedding made it one of our most memorable weddings of 2013.  The printed pieces c/o Chewing The Cud, the decor c/o Atelier Joya, the food c/o Paula LeDuc Fine Catering – we could go on and on!  Without a doubt, the biggest show stopper was Cassie’s jaw-droppingly gorgeous Vera Wang dress; the kind of dress every girl dreams about wearing as she walks down the aisle.

Here are a few of our favorite photos from the day, but you can find the entire album on our recent Style Me Pretty feature by following this link.

Photo by Elle Jae Photography

Photo by Elle Jae Photography

Photo by Elle Jae Photography

Photo by Elle Jae Photography

Photo by Elle Jae Photography

Photo by Elle Jae Photography

Photo by Elle Jae Photography

Photo by Elle Jae Photography

Photo by Elle Jae Photography

Photo by Elle Jae Photography

Photo by Elle Jae Photography

Photo by Elle Jae Photography

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Photo by Elle Jae Photography

Photo by Elle Jae Photography

Photo by Elle Jae Photography

Photo by Elle Jae Photography

Photo by Elle Jae Photography

Photo by Elle Jae Photography

Photo by Elle Jae Photography

Photo by Elle Jae Photography

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Photo by Elle Jae Photography

Photo by Elle Jae Photography

Photo by Elle Jae Photography

 

Wishing Cassie and Morgan a lifetime of good food, delicious wine, and lots of love!

Real Wedding: Olivia and Dan on Style Me Pretty Today!

We’re beyond excited to share photos from Olivia and Dan’s wedding at Beaulieu Garden on Style Me Pretty today!  We worked with an all star group of vendors to produce this gorgeous wedding, including Yvonne Wong Photography, Paula Le Duc Fine Catering, Sharla Flock Designs, Got Light., Sweet On Cake, and many others.  Here’s a little sneak peak of some of our favorite photos, but please be sure to visit the entire gallery on Style Me Pretty by following this link.

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Photo by Yvonne Wong Photography

Jennifer + Brandon Tie The Knot

In honor of the first week of Fall, we have the pleasure of sharing the wedding of Jennifer and Brandon. Their wedding was full of warm Fall colors, echoing the surrounding grape vines which were in the process of transitioning from shades of green to yellows, oranges and reds.

In the months following her wedding, we asked Jennifer to share the story of her relationship and wedding to Brandon. Here she shares their sweet story, as well as some helpful tips on making the most of your own special day:

There was a lot of history leading up to our big day. Brandon and I grew up together since elementary school, and share many mutual childhood friends. We even went to the high school prom together!

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We went our separate ways for college, but one day during summer break our paths crossed in our hometown Clayton, Ca.  We hung out together almost every day that summer, even before we started dating.

We dated for about three years before Brandon proposed at one of our favorite picnic spots at Rutherford Hill winery.  It was the most perfectly romantic proposal; just the two of us overlooking the valley.  We then spent the weekend visiting other wineries across the valley.

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I always knew I wanted to find a venue in the wine country, so I asked our friends, the Sherwins, of Sherwin Family Vineyards, if they had any suggestions.  They told me about Beaulieu Garden.  After seeing Beaulieu firsthand, we knew immediately that this was the spot!

We were engaged for a year and four months before we got married. We had a lot of close friends getting married that same year, so we wanted to choose a date that gave enough space between all the different events. We also liked the idea of getting married in September, as the weather is usually mild and the vines are lush with grapes.

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When the wedding day finally arrived it was absolutely beautiful. The venue was gorgeous, and the flowers were absolutely amazing! It is so wonderful to see all the details come together and look more outstanding than I could have ever imagined. It was so special to have all of our friends and family coming together to celebrate our marriage and future lives together. I was so excited to see Brandon, to be with Brandon and to start our life together. It was so exciting that the day had finally arrived.

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On the day of the wedding, I was so happy and I felt so blessed that all I could do was smile. I watch my wedding video and I laugh because on my wedding day all you can see is teeth! I am smiling from ear to ear the whole time. Brandon and I had the most incredible time at our wedding. We enjoyed ourselves and had tons of fun! We danced with our friends and family and truly enjoyed our time together. It truly was an amazing day filled with so much love and a tremendous amount of happiness.

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The best advice I could give to other brides is to take a few moments to take it all in.  For Brandon and me, our first opportunity to do so was after the formal dances and speeches. We went around the property with our photographer and took pictures of just the two of us. These were the moments during which we could view the reception and watch all of our guests dancing and having fun. It was so cool to see our wedding from a distance. It was also nice to have time for just the two of us to be alone and appreciate our special day.

It can be overwhelming when you are surrounded by all the guests. Part of you feels obligated to visit with people you haven’t seen in a long time or to thank people for coming. I think it is very important to step away with your husband for a short time to relax and take in all the special little moments. Otherwise it can seem like the day went by way too fast. So remember to have fun and enjoy every moment!

~

Happy Anniversary, Jennifer and Brandon!

~

Planning & Coordination: Stacy McCain Event Planning / Photography: Kate Webber Photography / Venue & Catering: Paula Le Duc Fine Catering  / Venue: Beaulieu Garden / Flowers:  Sharla Flock Designs / Lighting & Sound: Got Light / Rentals: Classic Party Rentals / Videography: Weddings On Film / Printed Pieces: Union Street Papery / Calligraphy: Michelle Papineau Calligraphy / Ceremony & Cocktail Music: Eloquence String Quartet / Band: Sage Music / Cake Maker: Sweet On Cake / Toasting Flutes: Kate Spade / Transportation: Pure Luxury / Getaway Car: Classic Convertible Wine Tours / Wedding Gown and Bridesmaids Dresses: Alvina Valenta / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Men’s Suits: Calvin Klein for Mens Warehouse

2013 Trends: Wedding Cakes with Amber McKenney of Sweet on Cake

Calling all sweet tooths: our August 2013 TRENDS feature is all about wedding cakes!  For this edition, we enlisted Amber McKenney, who is the the owner, cake designer, and bonafide ‘cake whisperer’ at Sweet on Cake, based out of Sonoma, California.  Amber is so enthusiastic about her work; her passion for creating gorgeous cakes is evident in each any every one that she creates.  Needless to say, our mouths are watering as we’re putting together this blog post!

Amber

Photo by Allyson Wiley Photography

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your company, Sweet On Cake.

I actually started out in journalism working as a newspaper editor, thinking baking would always remain a hobby. I quickly became bored and unhappy at the newspaper, and decided to take my career in a new direction and pursue my true passion–cakes!  So I studied Baking & Pastry Arts at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, and landed a job at a high-end wedding cake bakery.  I worked there for nearly two years, learning the ins and outs of custom wedding cakes and sculpted cakes, only to be forced to return to journalism working at a wine magazine (had to pay the bills!).  I was still making cakes on the side and posting them online, and it caught the attention of the good folks at the Food Network.  While I was sitting in my cubicle in 2009, I got a call to appear on the hit TV series Food Network Challenge, and it felt like the stars had aligned!  I quit journalism once and for all, started Sweet on Cake, and the rest is history!

Now I spend my days creating beautiful, unique, and delicious custom cakes from scratch, and have brought my mom on board as the administrative assistant and sugar flower artist–we are quite the dynamic (cake) duo!

Mother Daughter Duo: Heather and Amber

Mother Daughter Duo: Heather and Amber. Photo by Allyson Wiley Photography

How far in advance do you suggest couples come in to do a tasting?  Do you host tastings at your facility?

It might sound crazy, but there’s really no such thing as “too early” when it comes to booking your wedding cake.  As a small, boutique-style wedding cake bakery, we book out many months in advance.  We suggest scheduling a cake tasting and booking 6-8 months in advance, and even earlier if possible (we routinely take bookings over a year in advance for the really proactive couples!).  Just remember that at your tasting, not only will you sample all of our flavors, but we’ll also discuss your cake design and talk pricing, so you should come with at least a general idea of how you’d like your cake to look.  We do realize that this isn’t always possible, as some cake designs are more of a process than others, so we frequently take deposits to “save the date” when our couples aren’t ready to talk cake design, but know they definitely want to book our services.

We hold our tastings at Love & Lovely Wedding Studio in historic downtown Sonoma, by appointment only.

Photo by Allyson Wiley Photography

Photo by Allyson Wiley Photography

Keeping in mind that every wedding is different, how much should a couple set aside to go toward their wedding cake?  Do you have any tips for couples who want to have a beautiful cake on a budget?

For a Sweet on Cake wedding cake, couples should realistically expect to spend between $10-$15+ per guest.  Wedding cakes are priced by the slice, so this is an easy way to calculate how big the cake budget should be.  For example, if 100 guests are coming to the wedding, couples should budget at least $1,000 to $1,500 for the wedding cake (keeping in mind that delivery fees are extra).  My couples tend to want more tailored, custom designs, which are a bigger investment than the simpler, more basic designs.  Rule of thumb: The greater the complexity of the design, the greater the per-slice cost.  For couples on a budget who still want an amazing cake, adding color to your cake is an inexpensive way to give your cake an impact without breaking the bank, as is using fresh flowers instead of handmade sugar flowers.

Tell us a little bit about the process of creating a custom cake.

I love creating custom cakes for couples–the best cakes are the ones where I’m given creative freedom to design a cake to fit the decor, style, and personality of the event and the couple.  I draw inspiration from the invitations, linens, venue/surroundings, and the couple’s personal taste.  Often, all I’ll need are a few examples of elements they’ll be using at the event–photos of the decor and venue, a fabric swatch, recurring themes such as textile patterns and designs–for my creative juices to start flowing.  Although I try not to copy other cake designs exactly, it does help to see a few photos of cakes the couple likes so I can get a sense of what they’re looking for.   I’ll often make sketches of my designs so that my clients can see my vision.

Photo by Jennifer Skog Photography

Photo by Jennifer Skog Photography

What are some of your most popular flavors?  Do you give couples the opportunity to create custom flavors?

Earlier this year I revamped my menu, introducing a few new, interesting flavors while keeping the tried-and-true flavors.  The Strawberry Basil and Lemon Blackberry have been quite popular this year, and the rich, sinful Caramel Toffee is still proving to be a fan favorite.  I even improved my salted caramel recipe, making it even thicker and more buttery, and started making my own English toffee.  Since I do extensive recipe testing before releasing flavors, I don’t like to go off-menu and allow couples to choose flavors that have not been tested and proven to meet our quality standards.

Are there any exciting flavors, cake trends or other new concepts you’re exciting about rolling out this year? 

I’ve been doing some experimentation with gluten-free versions of my cakes, and have been really pleased with the results!  I have very high standards for my cakes, so I won’t offer anything that I wouldn’t be thrilled to eat myself.  I didn’t want to jump on the gluten-free bandwagon without first making sure that my gluten-free recipes were as amazing as my original recipes, so it’s been a process.  But I can happily say that I do offer gluten-free versions of some flavors, and you’d never know they were gluten-free (they’re that good!).  This is still a bit of a secret, though, since I don’t advertise (yet!) the fact that I offer some cakes gluten-free.

Photo by Allyson Wiley Photography

Photo by Allyson Wiley Photography

What kinds of 2012 trends are we seeing less of in 2013?

I think the ombré effect (fading from a dark shade to a lighter one) is on its way out, as are ruffle cakes.  I’m still seeing a little bit of each, but definitely less of it this year than last year.

Tell us about the most over the top cake you’ve ever created.

The most over the top cake I’ve ever created was a collaborative project between my friend, the incredibly talented Julie Durkee of Torino Baking in Berkeley, and I.  We made a 5-foot replica of the new 49ers football stadium for its groundbreaking ceremonies in Santa Clara last year.  The cake was so huge, it took several days to make, took four people to lift, and we had to rent a moving truck to transport it to the party.

Amber McKenney

Amber McKenney

If you could create your dream cake, what would it consist of?

I design cakes so often for other people, you’d think I’d know exactly how I want my own wedding cake to look by now!  The funny thing is, that couldn’t be farther from the truth!  I don’t even know what flavors I’d choose because I love them all; it would feel like choosing a favorite child.  Overall, I tend to be drawn to simpler, cleaner designs.  One thing I know for sure is that I want my cake to be decorated with handmade sugar flowers since they’re so delicate and beautiful (and my mom is the one who creates them, which makes me love them more).  And yes, I plan on making my own wedding cake!

Be sure to read out last installment of 2013 TRENDS focusing on Bridesmaid Dresses with Bridget Brown of Bella Bridesmaid!

amanda + brett tie the knot: Durham Ranch Style

Amanda and Brett searched up and down Sonoma and Napa Valley for their ideal wedding location. They were looking for a venue that fit with their relaxed and down to earth personalities and Durham Ranch was the perfect solution. With a guest count of 100 of their closest family and friends they wanted to make their wedding a fun party for everyone to enjoy. Music played an important part of the evening and who could leave the dance floor with Edna Love and The Fat Tuesday Band on stage?

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

Wedding Photography: Kate Webber Photography  / Wedding Coordinator: Stacy McCain Event Planning / Venue & Caterer: Paula LeDuc Fine Catering / Flowers: Atelier Joya / Cake: Sweet On Cake / Music: Edna Love and The Fat Tuesday Band / Lighting & Sound: Got Light / Hair & Make-up: SHE Artists / Linens & Rentals: Classic Party Rentals / Transportation: California Wine Tours

rain, rain go away

June 4, 2011 will forever be a date that no one in the event industry will soon forget. The skies above open-up and decided to play tricks on us throughout the day. Heather and Carol with Gertrude and Mabel Photography worked wonders, they were quick to get the shots just before a major downpour. Our amazing team of vendors made it our mission to make this the best and dry as can be day for Kim and Jeff. Rain boots, umbrellas, tent, check!

Wedding Photography: Heather and Carol for Gertrude & Mabel Photography / Wedding Coordinator: Stacy McCain Event Planning / Venue: Annadel Estate Winery / Caterer: Elaine Bell Catering / Flowers: Cherries / Cake: Sweet On Cake / Band: Notorious / Videography: Basico  / Lighting & Sound: Got Light / Hair & Make-up: Wendy Walter / Tent: Zephyr Tents / Linens:La Tavola / Rentals: Classic Party Rentals / Paper: Union Street Papery / Transportation: Pure Luxury  / Getaway Car: Classic Convertible Wine Tours