Standout Memories of Our 2012 Weddings

We have so many great memories from the weddings we planned in 2012, that we wanted to write a little recap of those that stood out the most.

Here is a list of our top 10:

1) Rachel & Blake:  Married at  Cavallo Point Lodge, we used Mission Blue Chapel for their ceremony location and then transformed it into an after party lounge for late night dancing.

2) Jennifer & Brandon: For this 353 person wedding at Beaulieu Gardens, we created a custom tent complete with a chandelier, which we erected over the dance floor.

Jennifer & Brandon

3) Ali & Jake: During their ceremony at Durham Ranch, they chose to use unique songs by The Pixies, The Smiths, and The Cure.

4) Tanya & Mike: For this Sonoma-based wedding, we hired a savior and sweet food truck as an inventive way to serve guests dinner and dessert.

Tanya & Mike

Photo: Love Bird Photo

5) Jaime & Tim: The couple chose to have a dear friend marry them for their December wedding at Flood Mansion, which was a fun and relaxed way for them to become husband and wife.

6) Michelle & Tommy: During cocktail hour at Beaulieu Gardens, we created an open-air photobooth complete with 3 suspended frames and props.Michelle and Tommy

7) Cathy & Alex: After their ceremony, the couple and their wedding party joined a New Orleans style band, which paraded guests through the streets of Healdsburg to their reception at Barndiva .

8) Charlotte & Marc: We hired a live painter to depict scenes from the wedding reception.

Photo by Gertrude and Mabel

Photo: Gertrude and Mabel

9) Courtney & Neal: For their wedding at The Inn at the Presidio on January 31st, the couple rented out the entire 22 room hotel, making for a fabulous New Years Eve wedding and one giant house party.

10) Gretchen & Spencer: We hired the always entertaining Wonderbread 5 for the wedding reception, who pulled the bride on stage for their second set wearing their infamous crazy suits.

Screen shot 2013-01-02 at 3.51.00 PM

Photo: Gertrude and Mabel

We’re looking forward to creating many more wonderful memories in 2013!

Wedding Photography 101

Hello, friends, we’re back with another photography-related post! When the talented Bay Area Photographer Meg Perotti shared with us her tips for posing for the perfect shot, we thought, why stop there? Obviously, you want to make sure you have the perfect shots on your big day, but who will take these pictures and where do you find this person? How much will this cost? And what are your options? Well, lucky for you, we’re here with some answers. Welcome to Wedding Photography 101.

To start, where does one even find a wedding photographer? Well, we think word-of-mouth is always the best. In fact, who better to ask than your wedding planner who has all the great connections? If you know someone that loved their photographer and loved their wedding photos, ask to look at theirs. If you like what you see, check out their other work. You can also check out guides like this one on the Wedding Channel or take a look through all the amazing wedding blogs out there that feature real weddings. Our favorites include Style Me Pretty, Green Wedding Shoes, and 100 Layer Cake. If you see something you like, check out who the photographer is. Hint: you can do a search by location, and weddings shot in your area will pop up along with the local vendors used.

When looking for your photographer, check out their portfolios and make sure you’re into their style. Our suggestion is to not go with anything too trendy- timeless and natural is the way to go.  Make sure the photographer has had experience shooting weddings, and preferably ones similar to yours. If all they’ve taken is pictures of their cat, it doesn’t matter how professional they looked, we can almost guarantee that they won’t be able to handle your shot list and you’ll be unhappy with the result.

Your wedding photographer is the one person you’ll be spending the most time with on your wedding day as they’ll want to capture every special moment. So you should really click with them before they click away! We really love a photo journalist approach. These are the photographers that will help tell the story of your big day, including details of all the beautiful things that you’ve worked so hard to create. Of course they will take a few posed portraits, but where they really shine is through all the candid photos. The look on your groom’s face as you walk down the aisle, the tear in your eye as your proud father talks about how special you are to him, the laugher when you and your best friends dance just like old times.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to your top two favorite photographers, we suggest doing a meet and greet, or at least chatting on the phone. You need to have that instant connection, just like when you found the dress! If you like them, then we highly recommend doing an engagement shoot, which is good for a number of reasons. One, you get a sort of test run to see how you and your photographer work together. Two, you’ll be able to get more comfortable in front of the camera, so taking pictures on your wedding day will feel more natural. And three, our favorite reason, is…you’ll have fun AND get some really special photos of you and your groom to be.

And now, let’s talk logistics. One of the most important things to keep in mind is timing- photographers book fast. Book your photographer as soon as you can, preferably right after you choose your wedding date and usually at least 9 months before the big day. Photographers’ fees can range greatly, especially here in the Bay Area, that said average services tend to be between $4,500 and $10,000. Fees will depend on the amount of hours needed, the size of your wedding, the location, and what type of package you’re looking for, etc. Check out some more wedding photography tips, from Martha Stewart Weddings, and enjoy the rest of your wedding planning!

Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Etiquette of Invitations

Now that you’ve set your date and decided on a wedding style, let’s talk a little about etiquette. No, this isn’t the table manners post, but the etiquette of save the dates, invitations, addressing envelopes, and all that good stuff! We’re all about planning and staying on top of our timeline, right? So make sure you give your guests plenty of time to plan for your wedding, especially if there is travel involved. Timing isn’t the only thing we want to discuss in terms of etiquette, but also what to write, how to write it, and how to address it. All these things are really important and fun, too, so let’s begin!

{Who to invite and how}

First of all, do you have your guest list ready to go? Make sure you’re keeping your budget in mind when putting together your guest list. While putting together your list, you probably gotten stumped by a few sticky situations…ie. When and how to invite those “plus one’s”? Do you invite children, and what about teenagers? And do you invite co-workers or not? Check out some tips, here. Once you have the names of everyone you need to invite, be sure to get correct addresses for everyone, which might take some time!

{What’s the deal with Save the Dates?}

In a nutshell, a save-the-date is a good idea as it gives your guests a heads up about your wedding plans and location (esp. if it’s a destination wedding, a full wedding weekend, or if it’s during a high travel/holiday time). Some quick tips:

-Send them out 6 months prior to the wedding.
-There are so many creative new save-the-date ideas out there, so have fun with it!
-Send them only to people you definitely want to attend.
-If inviting a plus-one, try to include the name so it’s clear who is being invited.

For more details, see here.

Now let’s get down to the business of the invitations!


Send out your wedding invitations 6-8 weeks before the wedding, allowing your guests adequate time to respond (especially if they need to book flights) and ensuring that you will get a reliable head count a week or two before the event. If you’re having a calligrapher address your envelopes, you’ll need to give them (and the addresses!) to your calligrapher 2-3 weeks before they are to be sent out. So, put on your math hat…that means you need to have a guest list AND all the addresses no more than 10 weeks before the wedding.

{The invitation, deconstructed}

Though it’s not mandatory, you can use an inner and outer envelope. All that means is there’s a main envelope that includes all the address info and stamp, then there’s another envelope inside that actually contains the invitation and all other components. This is a nice touch in the case that the outer envelope gets soiled or torn in the mail, ensuring that the invitation arrives in pristine shape.

Here’s the order of all components of an invitation:

Invitation, on the bottom, with print side up. All other inserts, such as a map, reception card, and reply card, on the invitation in order of size (smallest on top).The reply card should be under its envelope’s flap; this envelope should be pre-printed with the mailing address, and should be stamped as well.

{Anatomy of an invitation…the wording}

Basically, your invitation should include the following: the host line, request line, bride and groom line, date and time lines, location line, and reception and R.S.V.P. lines. Whether your wording is formal or informal is up to you, and will probably depend on your wedding style. Check out the specifics, here, or but we suggest talking to your paper designer for help with this.

{Addressing Envelopes}

According to Martha Stewart Weddings (in our opinion, they know their stuff!): “The address on a wedding invitation should be handwritten; printed labels are not appropriate”.

Your guests’ names should be written in full on outer envelopes — no nicknames or initials. Check out more tips, here.

Now, what if a married couple has different last names? What about a same-sex couple? And what do you do about special titles, like Dr.? Find out here.

Now you’re probably ready to run out and start looking for a paper design company. But what type of printing will you go for? There are SO many beautiful options out there to create the perfect look for you, so check back for our upcoming post about all the different types of printing. And, as a special treat, we’ll be showcasing one of our favorite paper designers in our upcoming Vendor Spotlight series. They’ll have some great tips to share, of course along with their beautiful work. See you soon!