Venue Spotlight: Timber Cove

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All images by Christina McNeil

After an extensive (and totally gorgeous!) renovation, we were so excited to head back to Timber Cove for our end-of-the-year retreat with the Alison Events team. This seaside property, situated on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, is everything a California bride could want: rugged, relaxed, sophisticated, a hippie chic-meets-modern hotel with ‘60s styling, indulgent farm-to-table cuisine, and a plethora of spaces for both indoor and outdoor celebrations.

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Our retreat embraced that casual, woodsy vibe, with invitations that combined raw denim and cork, fresh and textured flowers drawing inspiration from the coastal setting, and a tablescape that mixed Timber Cove’s luxe lodge vibe with the property’s Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired architecture.

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The rooms and suites, with stone and wood accents and a mix of ocean and forest views, are as inviting as they come. There are 46 rooms on-site, plenty of space for an intimate wedding weekend surrounded by your closest friends. Tuck 60 people into the Ansel Adams room, with panoramic views and a redwood deck, to immerse yourselves in the hotel’s history and identity as an artist’s destination.

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Photography: Christina McNeil // Venue: Timber Cove // Planning & Design: Alison Events // Stationery: Yonder Design // Floral Design: Shotgun Floral Studio // Dinnerware, Flatware, and Glassware: Frances Lane // Rentals: Bright Rentals // Linens: La Tavola // Catering: Coast Kitchen // Wine: Jessica Lasky Catering


Venue Spotlight: The Barn at Green Valley

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Images by Sally Pinera

Tucked away in the hills of Napa Valley is a breathtaking barn venue like no other. The Barn at Green Valley is a secluded escape, a relaxed and welcoming property where you won’t know if you’re still in California or if the winding drive somehow transported you to the fields of Provence. Custom-built in 2015 for the owner’s daughter’s wedding, it’s now part of the Event Space Consulting family — and available to rent for your own wedding!

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The centerpiece is the barn itself, with a perfectly pitched roof, stone patio, and massive barn doors just begging to frame your ceremony. The covered veranda oozes refined Southern charm, just the place for cocktails on a warm Napa evening or an open-air dinner for a smaller crowd.

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Inside, the custom bar area is lit with vintage Edison bulbs, and the 8,000 square foot space easily seats 250 guests for a seated dinner or 350 for a standing reception. So whether you’re envisioning an indulgent multi-course meal (prepared in the property’s on-site catering kitchen!) or an evening of mingling and delicious libations, there’s space for everything. Follow the curved staircase up to the open-air loft, where you can sneak away for a moment to toast as newlyweds — or send the kids to play once the party gets underway!

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To really show off what the space can do, Jesse created an incredible shoot and opening party for some of our dearest friends in the industry. Found Vintage Rentals created the most inviting vignettes, Casa de Perrin helped set a stunning table, and Tulipina Design tucked breathtaking blooms on every surface. Élan Artists set the tone for an easy, relaxing afternoon, and Estate Events at Meadowood served an indulgent meal, delicious cocktails, and wine made from grapes grown on the property. And the incredible photography? Sally Pinera really outdid herself!

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The shoot itself captured the intimate, isolated nature of the property. Icy blue and misty lavender hues popped against the dark wood and warm leather of the space. Rich velvets and soft linen added a lush feel to the furnishings, and garden-inspired centerpieces dripped over the tables.

Looking to escape for your wedding (while still celebrating just 20 minutes from Napa Valley and 40 minutes from San Francisco)? Look no further than the Barn at Green Valley. We can’t wait to see what sort of stunning celebration takes over the space next.

Photography: Sally Pinera Photography // Venue: The Barn at Green Valley // Planning & Design: Jesse Tombs of Event Space Consulting / Alison Events // Floral Design: Tulipina Design // Rental Furniture: Found Vintage Rentals // Tabletop: Casa de Perrin // Linens: La Tavola Fine Linens, Silk and Willow // Paper Design: Yonder Design, Broadsheet Design // Calligraphy: Little Miss Press // Catering: Estate Events by Meadowood // Entertainment: Elan Artists


In the Press: Elizabeth and Patrick on Style Me Pretty

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There’s nothing like a wedding at home, especially when your family’s backyard is as gorgeous as Elizabeth’s! She and Patrick pulled out the stops for their elegantly rustic wedding at Elizabeth’s mother’s home in Napa, with stunning mountain views and an intimate garden vibe. From the softly textured invitations to the linen tablecloths and lush blush and white centerpieces, it was everything you’d imagine for a wedding on a September afternoon in California.

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The lace appliqué on Elizabeth’s gown gave the classic silhouette a modern spin, while Patrick was so handsome in a traditional tuxedo. And those kids! From ring bearers in pink suspenders to flower girls (six of them!) in blush dresses in flower crowns, the little ones almost stole the show — almost. Elizabeth came down the aisle carrying a bouquet that included blooms from her mother’s garden, then the couple’s wedding bands were passed amongst the guests before the couple exchanged vows.

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The sweet ceremony was capped off with an indulgent spread from Paula LeDuc Fine Catering, from tuna tartar cones and miniature tacos to a salad of tomatoes and smoked mozzarella and local beef filet with grilled corn ragout. A white dance floor overlooked the valley, full of grape vines, and Project M kept it packed until guests headed to the grotto for the after-party.

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Want more about this fabulous fall celebration? Head over to Style Me Pretty to see the feature!

 

Photography: Jesse Leake // Planning & Design: Alison Events // Venue: Bride’s Family Home // Floral Design: Kathleen Deery Design // Invitations: A Day in May Design // Officiant: Lisa Francesca // Hair & Makeup: SHE Artists // Rentals: La Tavola Fine Linen, Urban Parlor, Standard Party Rentals // Draping & Tent: Bright Event Rentals // Lighting: Illusions Lighting Design // Catering: Paula LeDuc Fine Catering // Cake: Perfect Endings // Band: Élan Artists // DJ: Boutique DJs // Photo Booth: Magbooth // Cinematography: Max and Molly Films


In the Press: Tyler & Mary’s Big Sur Wedding in Destination I Do

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When we found out Mary and Tyler’s wedding was going to be featured in the Fall 2016 issue of Destination I Do Magazine, we were thrilled. Then we found out that one of Feather & Twine Photography‘s portraits of Mary, in a gown from Stardust Celebrations and a bouquet and flower crown by Natalie Bowen Designs, was going to be on the cover… Well let’s just say we couldn’t contain our excitement! We are so honored to have this gorgeous celebration at Ventana Inn & Spa featured so beautifully. With only 13 guests, the Pacific Coast serving as the backdrop, and an indulgent dinner full of heartfelt toasts and fabulous food, we loved having the chance to pull out all the stops for Mary and Tyler’s destination wedding. Take a peek below, and pick up a copy of Destination I Do to see more!
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Photography: Feather & Twine Photography // Planning & Design: Alison Events // Venue: Ventana Inn & Spa // Floral Design: Natalie Bowen Designs // Wedding Gown: Stardust Celebrations // Groom’s Attire: Armani // Officiant: Life Celebrations // Rentals: Wine Country Party & Events // Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen // Music: Kelly Productions


In the Press: Katelyn and Anthony on The Southern California Bride

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We had so much fun celebrating Katelyn and Anthony’s wedding at the Parker Palm Springs, and loved getting to see it on Southern California Bride! Desert-inspired hues of berry and ochre, paired with warm wood, gold, and gray, accented the setting while creating a warm and inviting space for the couple and their 140 guests. Katelyn loves the Beverly Hills Hotel’s iconic banana leaf print, so we sprinkled a hand-painted version of it throughout the day, from the invitation belly-bands to the calligraphed dinner menu.

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Anthony and Katelyn wed beneath a creamy draped tent-like structure, with vintage pews and wooden chairs taking the place of traditional seating. Their ceremony was incredibly personal, written and performed by two of the couple’s closest friends. At dinner, we mixed mismatched chairs with bare farm tables, arranging an eclectic collection of vases full of burgundy dahlias, peach peonies, and white ranunculus amongst votive candles and geometric objects. The theme continued overhead, with geometric light fixtures strung above the tables.

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Katelyn and Anthony’s priority was to create an amazing weekend for their friends and family and ensure every guest felt special. They pulled it off with aplomb, and we are so thrilled we could be a part of such a special day!

Photography: Abby Ross for Lauren and Abby // Venue: The Parker Palm Springs // Event Planning & Design: Alison Events // Floral Design, Rentals & Decor: Brown Paper Design // Paper Materials: Paper Plane Paperie // Hair & Makeup: Jessica Belknap & Amanda Chaney // Ceremony & Cocktail Music: Elan Artists // DJ: Dart DJ // Videography: Shark Pig

In the Press: An Interview with Jesse Tombs of Alison Events on Borrowed & Blue

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Photos by Leo Patrone

We recently had the chance to speak with Stephanie, a Napa & Sonoma Market Specialist for Borrowed & Blue, about what we do, why we do it, and what we love most. She spoke with managing partner Jesse Tombs, and we’re so excited to share the interview with you! Here’s a little peek into the world of Alison Events.

If you’ve ever sat down and thought about everything that goes into planning an event—let alone, your wedding day—then you know why it’s sometimes just best to leave it all to the professionals. Enter: your very own wedding planner and designer.

“Trust us when we say that wedding planners and designers will make your life a WHOLE lot easier. That’s why Borrowed & Blue loves Alison Events, who time and time again proves they’ve earned the title of one of the top wedding planners in the world (as instituted by Vogue Magazine). Today we’re doing an exclusive interview with Alison Events and after working closely with Jesse Tombs, Managing Partner of Alison Events, we’re going to give you a peek into the stunning, spectacular world of an event planner.”  – Stephanie, Borrowed & Blue’s Napa & Sonoma Market Specialist

Here’s Borrowed & Blue’s Q&A with Jesse Tombs of Alison Events:  

If you could possibly narrow it down, what is your favorite moment of a wedding day?
I love watching the client as they see the whole picture come to life, seeing the excitement in their eyes and on their faces. We see weddings as a way to tell stories from the beginning of the guest experience (usually a mailed save the date) to the final goodbye at the end of a wedding weekend. I want to help our clients create a vision that gives their guests a glimpse into who they are, both individually and as a couple. It can be a challenge for some of our clients to visualize the concept we’re creating, so the most gratifying moment for me as a wedding planner and event designer is when they see all the details and beauty come together on their wedding day and can truly understand the vision we have brought to life for them.

How’d you get into wedding planning?
I have an extremely mixed professional background. I worked in catering in high school and college, and then after in the fashion industry. I returned from New York to the Bay Area and worked in restaurants and hotels. I have always loved taking care of people and feel like hospitality runs in my veins. I also love to create and make things with my hands. When I was six or seven, I moved all the furniture in my parents house and re-hung all the pictures on the walls. I’ve always had an innate design capacity and enjoy using the skills I have gained over the years to provide unparalleled personalized service to my clients. My background enables me to bring a truly hands-on approach to design and aesthetics. I’m not the type of wedding planner that sits in a corner barking orders. I am a servant leader: In the room, moving furniture, folding napkins, and personally making sure that every detail is seen to so that the client’s vision can be brought to reality.

Describe your event aesthetic in three words.
Effortless, Innovative, Rich.

The first thing you ask when you sit down with a couple?
Who are you? What turns you on? What makes you laugh?

Top three pieces of advice for couples who just got engaged?
Don’t rush into anything. Enjoy the planning process, it should be fun. Spend what feels right to you.

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What’s your favorite thing about your job?
My team and the people I get to work with. I love our vendors and consider many of them dear friends, if not family.

What’s the best thing about having your wedding in Napa?
The weather, the views and the amazing local vendors and venues.

What about Sonoma?
I really enjoy the relaxed, laid back feel of Sonoma, it is less pretentious than Napa, and also provides beautiful backdrops for weddings and events.

Most important detail of wedding decor?
Paper Materials. Guests come in direct contact with these, and they make a huge impact. Paper sets the tone for the whole event so take that into consideration when you’re deciding on the design and materials. The invitation can be simple, with the majority of the information for guests on an inexpensive custom website, but the feel of the piece of paper they do receive is important, and that usually costs a bit more.

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Photos by Christina McNeill

The celebrity wedding you wished you planned?
Carolyn Bessette & John F. Kennedy Jr.

Your thoughts on DIY weddings?
I certainly don’t have anything against clients making things themselves for their wedding. I had a client this year design the invitations and they are stunning, however he is a graphic designer by trade, so that was a project that made sense for him to take on. If you are not a painter or a sculptor, don’t paint a backdrop or create a sculpture for your alter. Hire professionals to do the jobs that aren’t in your wheelhouse. But if there is something that you love doing, like making granola, by all means make granola as the parting gift for each guest. In my opinion, doing it yourself should be a way to to make things more personal, not more affordable.

Your favorite out of all the Napa wedding venues?
Z Modern.

What about Sonoma wedding venues?
Annadel Estate Winery.

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Photos by Elizabeth Messina

Tell the story of the biggest day-of disaster and how you swooped in to save the day.
I worked my first wedding when I was 15 and worked for a caterer, and I dropped the wedding cake. I was able to save the top and ran to the closest store to buy frosting and another cake. I pieced it back together and did the best I could with frosting and flowers. It wasn’t beautiful, but the couple saw the amount of effort (as well as the tears) that I’d put into fixing it. They forgave me and ended up having the best day of their lives! It was a day I’ll never forget. After the wedding, the client sent a thank you note and specifically thanked me for all of my hard work. They said their cake was one of the things they would never forget, which was terrifying but also made me realize that my hard work will be remembered, even in the shadow of an embarrassing error.

Describe your dream wedding.
My dream wedding would be small, with my closest family and friends. It would feel authentic to me and the location, as well as intimate and personal in both size and details. I want all the weddings I plan and design to feel like a dinner party —not overly produced or overthought, but specific and planned with thoughtfulness, clarity and purpose. Design should be a big factor, but practicality is also at the top of my list. I want everything you need, and none of the things you don’t, so everything is just right.


In the Press: Ashley and Nick on Style Me Pretty

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We are so thrilled to see Ashley and Nick’s laid-back vineyard wedding on Style Me Pretty!

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There are so many gorgeously intimate venues nestled around Healdsburg, California, and we think Ashley and Nick might have found one of the best ones. They were on the hunt for a remote, off-the-beaten-path spot for their wedding, and Wallace Creek Vineyards was all that and more. From a ceremony beneath a hundred year old oak tree to dinner at a single table for 75 in the vineyard to a fun and rustic dance party in the barn, we made use of every inch of the property (with a few golf carts making the sprawling space feel a little less… sprawling!).

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The food was spectacular, a five-course feast surrounded by vines and served at a table eclectically set with bowls of nuts, seasonal fruits, and rich earth tones. The watercolor invitations and menus make our hearts flutter!

Head over to Style Me Pretty to see more of the berry-hued details, and to hear the story straight from the couple!

Photography: Sally Pinera // Event Planning and Design: Alison Events // Venue: Wallace Creek Vineyards // Floral Design: Natalie Bowen Designs // Stationery: A Fabulous Fete // Wedding Dress: Oscar de la Renta // Reception Dress: Dolce & Gabbana // Makeup: Bianca Rubi // Hair: Jacqueline Duignan // Groom’s Attire: J.Crew // Rings: Kwiat // Catering: Sage Catering // Ceremony and Cocktail Music: San Francisco Conservatory of Music // DJ: DJ Funklor // Linen Rental: La Tavola Linen // Rentals and Lighting: Bright Event Rentals // Photo Booth: The Bus Booth // Transportation: California Wine Tours


Vendor Spotlight: Yonder Design

 

Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher

The first thing your guests will see that truly represents your wedding is your invitation, but these days it’s so much more than a letterpressed card in a pretty envelope. Innovative ideas, unique mediums, and the desire to brand an event has led to a new crop of artisans who are taking traditional wedding paper goods to a new level. One of our all-time favorites? San Francisco-based Yonder Design, the brainchild of Chris and Julie Neubauer. They’ve helped us set the scene for some of the most incredible celebrations, telling a story that extends so far beyond the wedding day. We talked to Chris about why they do what they do, and what makes Yonder Design an event branding service that’s not to be missed. 

What inspired you to create Yonder?

My now-wife Julie and I created Yonder in 2011 as we sought to start a business together that fit both of our skill sets. My background is in print publishing, so paper, ink, and printing have always been very familiar to me. Julie formally studied fine arts and graphic design in college, but found herself in the finance world for almost ten years after graduation. After a few pivots and slight refocusing, we combined our skills and passions and Yonder became what you see today.

What makes Yonder Design different from other stationers?

We don’t actually think of ourselves as stationers. This might seem like a silly distinction, as we create a lot of stationery products, but we really identify ourselves with event branding. Changing the label from stationers to event branding helps get both our teams and our clients thinking in a more unique way, opening up the creative possibilities and removing the limitations of paper and ink.

Stationery is intrinsically linked to paper, but with our approach, the paper often comes second. We like to take inspiration from physical materials and natural elements, then weave them together with paper in a cohesive way throughout an event to represent a motif, place or style.

Thinking differently is made possible by our experience with a variety of production techniques using materials like wood, metal, leather, fabric, ceramics, and more. Like an event planner creates a mood board for the overall look of an event, we do the same thing to create an event’s brand. We believe that cohesiveness of materials, graphics and typography helps to leave a much larger impression on the overall guest experience.

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Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher

What can a couple expect when they work with you?

A couple can expect a highly tailored experience that is unique to them throughout the process. We don’t start from templates or past designs, so everything we create is specific to each client and event.

What type of couple do you usually attract?

We generally attract couples who are looking to make a statement and set the tone for their special event to come. We don’t have a set design aesthetic, so the styles of our couples range dramatically.  

How does your work in branding influence your work as a wedding stationer?

Our branding work and process is like that of many other creative agencies helping the corporate world to build identities or brands, but what is unique is our ability to offer this expertise to our wedding and event clients. Our team is comprised of members formally trained in graphic, industrial, textile and packaging design, as well as marketing communication and copywriting. Because of these diverse backgrounds, we are able to offer our wedding and event clients the same professional quality service we offer for corporate clients on the branding side.  

Extensive research, group conceptualization, sample sourcing, prototyping and design boards may be more common for creative agencies exclusively working to build brand identities at the corporate level, but we bring these same processes and level of thought to our wedding and event clients.

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Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher

What are three things a couple should keep in mind when they’re assembling a suite for their wedding?

  1. Just because it goes in the mail, doesn’t mean it needs to be paper.
  2. Less is more. Limit the amount of text and number of cards or inserts to 2 or 3.  Additional information can be presented to guests online in a far more efficient manner–and you can update minor details on short notice. This also allows more room in a budget to do unique things that get guests excited.
  3. Technology is wonderful… But we’ve found that not all guests appreciate email invitations. If you want people to attend your event and get excited about it, send something unique in the mail

What are the most important stationery vocabulary words that couples should know?

Stock: The paper being used.

#/LB: Paper terminology for the density of paper. When comparing papers of the same style (cover stock, for example) the higher the number, the denser (generally thicker) the paper.

Pantone Color: Digital proofs can be very misleading when it comes to color. Different monitors and displays show colors differently, so what we see on our end, might look entirely different to the customer. To avoid any confusion, we use the Pantone Matching System, which is the worldwide standard in the design and printing trades. You can generally get a Pantone book from your planner or order one online

Embossing/Debossing: Printing method used to raise or lower an image on paper, giving a three dimensional effect.

Die Cut: A die is like an industrial cookie cutter, which cuts paper into specific shapes.  This differs from straight edge trimming, where paper is stacked and trimmed along crop lines.

What should the couple already know about their wedding when they start working with you?

The couple should have a venue booked with the dates of their wedding set, as well as an idea of their budget range.

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Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher

Which trends or details have been popular recently? Is there a color scheme or style that’s a go-to? What about one you’ve been surprised to see take off?

We’ve seen a large trend toward the use of non-paper materials in invitations. I believe we are seeing more of this because of the glut of online stores providing basic paper invitations. Our clients tend to want something that has a lot of finishing details that can’t be ordered online.

A lot of our clients have gravitated to neutral tones or black and white color schemes lately. I don’t know if this is a trend or more of a timeless style. However, most of our clients prefer an icon over a traditional monogram.

Is there a style or design element you’ve always wanted to incorporate into a wedding stationery suite?

We are always interested in working with new and unique materials. Recently, we’ve been really excited about mother of pearl, tortoise shell acrylic and rattan paper.

Describe your dream clients.

Our dream client is simply one that trusts us. They are able to articulate what they do and don’t like and aren’t afraid to say it. We’ll try to push the envelope and present a variety of unique concepts that haven’t been done before. It takes a lot of trust to make this happen.

Do you have any tips for couples to help them narrow down a design, or bring their inspiration to life?

Stop pinning pretty styled invitation suites that were created for other people or just for a photo shoot. Styled invitations may look great for a photo, but consider what the opening experience for your guests will be. Instead, pin isolated images of things that express your interests and taste. Pull from packaging, typography, interior design, works of art, architecture, nature, experiences, etc. Most importantly, look at elements from the venue and the local area. Styled images are great to capture a mood, but not what specific design elements you may care for or that best represents you.

Focus on what you do NOT like and make a list. Eliminating options is a powerful tool!

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Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher

Is there one design you’ve created that made you say “I wish I was invited to this wedding!”? What was it about the stationery that got you so excited?

We worked on a project last year with Alison Events that incorporated moss, cork, acrylic, splatter paint, laser engraving, gold foil, screen-printing, lacquered boxes and much more. The design was unlike anything we’ve ever created for a wedding client. The amount of creativity involved and the challenge of creating production techniques to make it all happen was very rewarding.

What is something about you and Yonder Design that couples should know?

We love what we do and we love our clients. We understand that what we create is not for everyone, but we can create something unique for anyone. Our designs don’t get posted on the refrigerator. They are art pieces that provoke conversation and create excitement for the upcoming event.

When we aren’t in the office, we are most likely out chasing the next storm in search for snow.


In the Press: Jesse and Matt on Style Me Pretty

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Style Me Pretty has just published a fantastic post about a wedding we did in Northern California last fall!

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Last October, we celebrated Jesse and Matt’s wedding with a stunning celebration at the Burlingame Country Club in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was full of personal touches (like the cocktail hour dim sum from the couple’s favorite local Chinese restaurant!), and the cream and gold color scheme was the perfect complement to the dinner tent we erected around the club’s stone fountain. Head over to Style Me Pretty to see all the amazingly gorgeous photos, taken by Jose Villa!

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Photography: Jose Villa // Cinematography: Elysium Productions // Planning: Alison Events // Venue: Burlingame Country Club // Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier // Tailor: SewHeidi Wedding De-Tailor // Hair & Makeup: Kate Rodriguez // Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse // Invitations: Olive Route // Custom Signage: Yonder Design // Floral Design: Kathleen Deery Design // Oyster Bar: Hog Island Oyster Company // Entertainment: Elan Artists, The Hudson Project // Cake: Perfect Endings


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