A Northern California Gala

This year marked our second year working with La Cocina on their annual gallery. The non-profit incubator kitchen works with low-income and immigrant women entreprenuers who are launching, growing, and formalizing food businesses, and this year we were honored to design the event yet again. The gala hosted 200 guests and took place at the AirBnB headquarters here in San Francisco.

Photography by Drew AltizerSilvana di Franco, and Gustavo Fernandez

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In the Press: Rachel and Abhishek’s Indian and Western Wedding in San Francisco

Rachel and Abhishek’s wedding bonanza was featured on 100 Layer Cake this week.

Here’s a little taste of this colorful celebration. With a traditional Indian ceremony, followed by a Western ceremony, and a wardrobe change in between, the reception after was filled with much revelry and celebrating—not to mention florals that made us swoon, a pretty and delicious cake, and 360 views of the city by the bay.

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See more of this wedding over on 100 Layer Cake.

Photographer: Kate Webber // Ceremony & Reception Venue & Catering: Fairmont Pavilion & Fairmont Crown Room // Event Coordinator: Alison Events // Florist: Natalie Bowen // Hair: The Red Chair Salon // Makeup: Lili from Artists by Sherrie Long // Invitations: Alexandra Rinde of The Aerialist Press // Cake: Inticing Creations // Rentals: Hartmann StudiosFrances Lane VintageClassic Party RentalsOne True Love // DJ: DJ Cams / Photobooth: The Magnolia Photo Booth Co. // Horse: Hackney Horse // Bride’s Dresses: Oscar de la Renta from Marina Morrison in SF & Sahil Boutique in Chicago // Jewelry: Kate Spade // Wedding Rings: Smythe Jewelers // Lipstick: Bobbi Brown // Groom’s Suit: Brooks Brothers // Shoes: Bruno Magli // Bridesmaids’ Sarees and Bangles: from India // Bridesmaids’ Ceremony Dresses: Joanna August // Groomsmen Suits: Jos A. Banks


In the Press: Susanne and Ed’s California Ranch Wedding on Snippet & Ink

Today we’re thrilled to share that Susanne and Ed’s elegant, traditional wedding in Napa Valley was featured on Snippet & Ink.

We loved their style, their musical selections (it was Van Morrison and Willie Nelson for the ceremony), and their inspiration of spring and new beginnings. The setting was casual and the guests were formally-dressed, and all the details in between made perfect sense, with an effortless essence with an attention to details big and small.

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The locally-grown flowers, food ingredients, and grapes used in the wines celebrated California. Following the outdoor ceremony, guests progressed through a series of tents for cocktails, dinner, and dancing, including a lounge tent modeled after a speakeasy with old-fashioned cocktails.

Read more at over on Snippet & Ink!

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Photography: Jesse Leake // Event Planning & Design: Alison Events // Venue: Private Estate in Napa, California // Dress: Carolina Herrera // Shoes: Rene CaovillaJimmy Choo // Tuxedo: Brioni Tuxedo // Bridesmaid Dresses: Dessy // Floral Design: The Monkey Flower Group // Stationery: Olive Route // Videography: Lola Video // Cake: Alexis Baking Company // Photobooth: Magnolia Photobooth // Rentals: Hartmann StudiosOne True Love VintageFrances LaneZephyr TentsRoyal Restrooms // Hair: Stella Rickett // Makeup: Darcy Hunt // Valet: Soiree Valet // Transportation: Pure Luxury Transportation // DJ: Boutique Wedding DJs // Ceremony, Cocktail Music: Synchonicity Strings Quartet via Entire Productions // Band: Monophonics // Catering: Tasha De Serio // Lighting, Sound: Got Light


Destination Spotlight: Jumby Bay in Antigua

The third destination we visited with Katie Frederick from Ever After Honeymoons on our Caribbean scouting adventure was Jumby Bay in Antigua.

This Rosewood resort won me over. With its super great vibe, private island, fabulous food, bikes to ride all over the place, private homes as well as hotel rooms, this place would make for a great spot to hold a destination wedding. And the reception space is awesome! The restaurant overlooks the white sand beach where you can have the ceremony. Best to consider this spot for weddings under 100, so that everyone can stay at the hotel. Heart set on a bigger bash? You can rent homes and up the guest list.

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And a few more pics courtesy of the venue…

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And just so you really get a sense of the place, an awesome aerial shot.

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Destination Spotlight: Viceroy Anguilla Resort

Earlier this week we shared photos and scoop from our trip to the British Virgin Islands with Katie Frederick from Ever After Honeymoons. Today, we’re on to Anguilla, where we’re spotlighting the Viceroy Anguilla Resort.

This is a larger hotel that’s actually super easy to get to from New York City and perfect for larger destination weddings in the Caribbean. Great food, amazing beaches and pools, daily yoga, private estates, and a restaurant overlooking the sea. I love that everyone can stay there together (up to about 200 people) and there are several different event spaces to choose from.

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Photographer Joshua Zuckerman, who has shot a wedding a the venue snapped the pretty images below.

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Destination Spotlight: Valley Trunk in the British Virgin Islands

I recently had the pleasure of checking out some great islands and properties in the Caribbean thanks to Katie Frederick of Ever After Honeymoons—who by the way, plans awesome honeymoons and trips with a boutique feel to them—and I’m super excited to share my highlights. I couldn’t stop taking photos, each of the places we visited were breathtakingly beautiful!

First up, Valley Trunk in the British Virgin Islands. They’re just starting to do weddings here and it’s a great fit for ones with smaller guest lists, say 30 or fewer people. With 15 rooms and a private beach complete with a yacht you can use to check out the scenery, it’s a great setting for a relaxed destination soiree. Plus the food and service were great! With lots of activities to do to keep you entertained, it would also be good for a family trip or a getaway with the girls!

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In the Press: Kate and Sean’s Napa Rehearsal Dinner on Martha Stewart Weddings

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We’re always thrilled to see our work graces the pages of magazines and blogs, and this sunny, sleek, yellow-and-grey rehearsal dinner we did in Napa last summer is no exception. You can check out the full story and  more images over on Martha Stewart Weddings! We loved layering the textures and patterns together for this modern event, which also boasted a fun tent for the kids in attendance, a one-of-a-kind seating chart, and loads of cheerful yellow flowers.

Photography: Josh Gruetzmacher  // Location and Catering: The Carneros Inn // Event Planning: Alison Events // Flowers: Kathleen Deery Design // Cake: Baskin-Robbins // Hair: Diana Lyons, Napa Valley Hairstylist // Lighting: Jeffrey Stone, PSAV Presentation Services // Nannies: Joanna’s Nannies


Ten San Francisco Rehearsal Dinner Spots

If you’re considering a wedding in the San Francisco area, then you should definitely check out our list of great spots to host a rehearsal dinner. So many great options in this city, it’s hard to narrow down, but these are our top 10, in no particular order:

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Central Kitchen (ok, well all of the Flour + Water private dining rooms, really). Great food, lots of different areas for different party sizes, and the pasta tasting menu is amazing. Have more that 25 people? The courtyard fits 40 for a semi-private buyout and boasts a nice layout.

Bar Agricole. The private dining room fits 40, and the patio is ideal for pre-dinner cocktails (which are fabulous).

La Mar. This Peruvian seafood joint has one gorgeous view. And the patio seats 100 guests.

AQ The look and feel of the restaurant changes every season, as does the menu. You can invite two dozen loved ones to join you in their cellar room.

Town Hall. Perfect for about 40 people, and for Southern and comfort-loving foodies.

Tosca. You can fit up to 32 people at this former dive bar. Chef April Bloomfield always serves stellar cocktails and Italian cuisine.

Park Tavern. -The Eden room seats 50 and the burger is simply amazing.

Wayfare Tavern. Chef Tyler Florence’s restaurant that serves upscale bar food done right. Choose from two private rooms—one for 16 and one for 50.

Foreign Cinema. Want a beautiful outdoor setting? Consider buying out the courtyard, where you can even play movies on the large wall. The food is consistently great.

Cotogna. With 50 guests you can buy out the restaurant (which is a sister spot to Quince) and have a rustic Italian feast.


An Indian Wedding in New Jersey

From the moment we met Saiba and Blake, we knew their wedding would be filled with unique elements. Both Saiba and Blake wanted their wedding to have a vintage Indian look that also evoked a feeling of warmth with personal touches. It was important to the bride and groom that both of their backgrounds were represented as well.

Since Saiba is Indian, the duo followed the tradition of having a Baraat as well as a traditional Indian ceremony.  The view at Natirar provided the perfect backdrop for their stunning Mandap. Then, before the reception they both changed into the traditional white dress and tuxedo.

Their guests had an amazing time dancing to their DJ (the proof is in the photos below) and then noshing on the delicious cake made by Momofuku Milk Bar cake (a must for the bride and groom).

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Photography: Lev Kuperman // Wedding planning: Alison Events Planning & Design // Location + catering: Natirar // Florals: Ariel Dearie Flowers // Lighting: Ken Lapham // Linens: La Tavola // DJ + audio: DJ Kucha Company // Cocktail hour music: Mike Lukshis of Taalim School of Indian Music // Officiant: Anju Sikka // Photobooth: We Love Photobooths // Cake: Momofuku Milk Bar // Hair + makeup: Shelby George // Invitations + paper goods: Katharine Watson // Hair + makeup: Susmita Patel // TransportationA1 Limousine // Horse: Caliber Farms

 


Vendor Spotlight: Lisa Francesa

When it comes to weddings, as much as we love designing them and personalizing the look, feel, and details—what’s essentially at the core of the event is the start of the marriage. And we tend to leave that to the pros—the talented officiants that help a couple actually get hitched.

Back when Alison did her first wedding in 2002, she worked with Hank Basayne, a sweet man with a very gentle disposition. A man who would walk into the room and make you feel at ease just by his presence. Someone who thought before he spoke, said nice things about everyone around him, and was so calm when things went hectic. And earlier this year, over a decade later, when it came time for Alison to actually be the bride herself, she turned to Hank’s daughter, Lisa. “Lisa is the exact same way as her father. She really listens,” Alison said. “She listens to your story and navigates through everything that is important to you and then she customizes the ceremony to work for you. If you want God in the ceremony or if you want a more spiritual service she caters to your wishes. Markus and I spent about an hour with her on two occasions and she wrote the most beautiful ceremony that was so reflective of my husband and I. She suggested several readings as well that were so on point. Lisa is very special to me and to many of our clients.”

Now that Alison has worked with Lisa as both a planner and a bride, it’s only fitting to shed more light on her ability to create a ceremony befitting of each and every couple she encounters. But first a bit more background…

Lisa Francesca got a voice mail from her father around the time that Alison and Hank started working together. Hank, a humanist minister, left a message saying that he had ordained her online. It came as a surprise to Lisa, though she had shown an interest in ministering and he had trained her over the years, it wasn’t something she expected. After Lisa married a few couples she really grew a passion for it, and the way in which she could bring her writing and poetry skills to the forefront, completely tailoring each service. Now, 80 weddings later, she’s written a book, The Wedding Officiant’s Guide, which will be published by Chronicle at the end of the year! You can pre-order it right here!

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Here, some tips to consider whether you’re the bride, groom, or helping out by officiating for a loved one. Certain ceremony milestones, such as the ring exchange and the recessional when the wedding party walks back up the aisle, tend to stay pretty much the same from wedding to wedding. But you and your officiant or celebrant can often craft a ceremony that is really unique. You can make the most significant changes in these three areas:

Write Your Own Vows
It’s not difficult to write meaningful vows. First, take some time to talk through the vow exchange as a couple: Will both of you recite the same vows, or will you each write your own? If you do the latter, will you show them to each other before the ceremony, or keep an element of surprise? Once you decide, it’s time to sit and reflect with a pen and a piece of paper (and maybe a mug of tea or glass of wine). Start with this simple pattern: think of a few things that you love about the other person. Jot them down. And then, think of a few promises you would like to make to your beloved. It can be very simple, and it must be from your heart. Later on, review what you wrote and see if you can polish it a little. That’s all there is to it. Print your vows once you have written them, and ask your officiant to hand them to you at the appropriate time during the ceremony. That way, since public speaking is a bit scary for nearly everyone, it will be a lot easier for you to simply read them and not have to memorize anything.

Unusual Readings
Many of us have heard the same classic wedding readings recited over and over. Consider choosing your readings from an unexpected source. In one wedding, a 12-year-old child stood and recited Edward Lear’s charming antique poem, “The Owl and the Pussycat.” All the guests agreed that the poem fit the couple perfectly. At another wedding, the groom himself recited a very modern poem to his bride that was written by NPR host, Garrison Keillor.

Sincere Ritual
Finally, think about what kind of ritual you could add to your wedding ceremony that adequately communicates to your guests something about who you are. Not every couple needs to light a wedding candle. In fact, in many outdoor weddings, candles are not even allowed. Take the time to think about your own cultural background, your own tastes and desires, and those of your intended. Between the two of you, you may decide, for example, to have both a Jewish chuppa and a Chinese tea ceremony. Or you might bake bread that morning and share it with your guests. Sometimes a couple will leave the altar to embrace each other’s mother and give her a flower. That always draws smiles and a few tears from those assembled. Google “wedding rituals” to fire up your imagination.