2010 11/08

In Case of Rain — Surviving and Celebrating a Stormy Wedding Day

By Erin Frank

Bay Area brides are well aware of one thing: Weather cannot be trusted. One day the sky could be sunny and clear, the next day rain is sheeting down, running in rivulets around you and ruining your carefully constructed open-air wedding. The best defense against unexpected downpours is preparation and a good attitude. Here are a few tips for taking a rain day in stride rather than letting it stop your wedding in its tracks.

1) Consider a back-up location

A small deposit at a local restaurant or other indoor space could give you some much-needed piece of mind. Get all hands on deck to grab flowers and decor if you decide to relocate due to rain. If you’re determined to have the ceremony outside, I encourage you to consider an indoor reception venue. When selecting the venue, imagine where and how you’d hold the ceremony there if the weather forces you indoors ahead of schedule. If needed, guests can always be seated at dinner tables as they watch you exchange vows.

2) Tent it up

Tents offer both shade for warm days and shelter from mild rains. Side flaps can be ordered for the tent to keep out heavier rains on windy days, but be sure to take them down if the day turns out to be warm—you don’t want your guests sweating from heat trapped in the tent.  Special Events offers tents for ceremonies and receptions of any size: www.bayareatents.com.

3) Discuss rain locations with your photographer

Photography packages often include a pre-wedding meeting on-site to discuss the logistics of the wedding day. Take advantage of this time to scour your wedding and reception sites for great indoor places to take photos. Ask your photographer to bring appropriate lighting. Planning alternate locations will save your photographer added time scrambling for good inside shots at the last minute. Finally, if you’ve got your heart set on that perfect picture with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, schedule a second shoot for a later date. It gives you a great excuse to wear your dress again, the groom can wear a black suit if his tux was rented, and you’ll get gorgeous photos and have the photographer all to yourselves.

4) Umbrella elegant

Pretty parasols can offer protection for your guests, but the paper variety can leave them with a soggy mess on their hands. Brides looking to splurge can buy a lovely waterproof polyester parasol from Bella Umbrella, or event rent them for a reasonable fee at www.bellaumbrella.com. They also make great gifts for bridesmaids. If you want to shelter the majority of your guests, buy in bulk—you should be able to get prices down to about $2 per umbrella.

5) When life hands you lemons, make lemonade

When it comes down to a rainy wedding day, it’s all about how you handle it. The bridal party, and the bride in particular, sets the tone for the day. If you’re crying because you feel your wedding day is ruined by rain, not only are you missing special moments from a once-in-a-lifetime event, but you’re turning your guests’ joy into concern and disappointment. If it rains, take it in stride. You’re prepared, you have a back up plan, and your positive energy will spread through the room like sunshine.

Photo by Juni via Wikicommons.

2010 11/03

Dahlias Daaahhhling!

Over the Summer I had the opportunity to do flowers for an awesome Bride and Groom that were having a very intimate and beautiful ceremony at Mt. Tamalpais. When the bride contacted me again to put together a few arrangements for the reception she and her hubby were hosting at Café Du Nord, I was super flattered!

If you haven’t been to Café Du Nord in San Francisco, it’s a classic SF joint that hosts all sorts of awesome bands and events. With its dark woods, and red accents, it has a very speak-easy/ prohibition era feel to it.

Crimson colored Dahlias were the flower du jour! Other flowers that the bride wanted included: Crespedia (Billy Balls), Succulents, and Fig Branches. I threw in a bunch of white/green Hydrangea, and some green filler to help fill in the gaps. (I hope you’re all memorizing these plant names, as I will have a pop quiz at some point…. ;) )

Dahlias, Billy Balls, Fig Branches, and Hydrangeas

The main arrangement was tall as it was going to be the centerpiece to the buffet.

A tall arrangement as the main centerpiece

Totally Succulent!

The Bride asked for a small bouquet that she could hold on to for some of the special moments at the reception. She was provided with a classic Nafis Designs yogurt tub holding vase for the moments that she didn’t want to hold on to her bouquet.

A bouquet with a lot of texture

A Succulent Bouquet and a Billy Ball Boutonniere!

The Groom received a small boutonniere made of a couple of Billy Balls, a Quail feather, and a sprig of green filler.

Billy Ball Boutonniere

After all the arrangements were complete, there were enough flowers left for an accent arrangement that could either help amplify the table centerpiece, or could be set aside as a separate arrangement.

Accent arrangements always come in handy

Accent arrangements can always be paired up with centerpieces for extra umph!

2010 11/02

Wedding Romance – A Good Read!

For all you brides, wedding industry peeps, and really, any fans of a good wedding filled love story, I bring you THE best wedding romance novel series. I struggle with the stigma attached to romance novels, but Nora Roberts has me seriously hooked me with these books.

What does this have to do with wedding planning? Well, I won’t lie you to, it really doesn’t have too much to do with the planning part. Here is the scoop…

These books are about four fabulous women who own a wedding planning business. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is pure fluff! You will not be learning any secrets of the trade here, just good reading about 4 adorable gals and their quest for love as they plan weddings. It’s full of silly romance that just had me melting. Maybe it was the pregnancy hormones that had me all lovey dovey when I started the series last year, but I truly believe it’s because as a lover of all things wedding, it’s another way to get my fill. So go pick up The Bride Quartet Books, only books 1 through 3 are out…I’m on pins and needles waiting for number 4 which should be this month! If anything, it is a great book to snuggle up on the couch with in front of the fireplace or even take with you on your honeymoon!

And I’ll be honest with you – I was a bit embarrassed to write this post, as these books are not filled with deep thought provoking literature, just a good fun read about an industry I love working in. A few friends and colleagues talked me into sharing these books and I am glad I did. Thanks much – you know who you are. And if you have read them, let me know what you think! :)

Photo source: Amazon.com

2010 11/01

A Homemade Fall Favor with Flavor

Pumpkin Butter

By Erin Frank

With pumpkin season in full swing, I wanted to share a delicious recipe for DIY pumpkin butter. This recipe by Virginia Jane’s Flavorful Edibles is very easy to prepare in large batches, and pumpkin butter makes the perfect homemade favor for a Fall-themed wedding. If you’ve never had pumpkin butter, it’s a tasty treat that’s great with oatmeal, on toast, with either peanut butter or jam, and more. Enjoy!

Virginia Jane’s Flavorful Edibles Pumpkin Butter
by Virginia Lawther

(Will yield five 6-ounce jars):
• 1 can (29-ounce) canned pumpkin puree
• 1 cup white sugar
• 3/4 cup apple cider
• 2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


Combine pumpkin, sugar, apple cider and spices in a large pot, heavy-bottomed if possible. Turn heat to medium and stir until sugar dissolves and spices blend. Increase heat and cook until mixture comes to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 30 minutes continuing to stir until thickened. Transfer to clean containers and chill in the refrigerator until serving.

You can safely double or triple this recipe without damaging the flavor. For a bargain on jars in bulk, Fillmore Container has terrific prices on all different sizes of jars. The Container Store also has an excellent selection of hermetic jars. Finish this simple gift with some cloth around the top and a rubber band, closed in by ribbon. Ribbon and cloth won’t be affected by refrigeration. The whole ensemble can be ready to go on the big day!

You may want to make a simple tag with ingredients and suggestions for how your guests can enjoy it, be sure to include an expiration date. It’s very important that the finished butter be refrigerated; it cannot be kept on a pantry shelf. Even if you are familiar with home canning, still follow this guideline; the acidity level of pumpkin is too low for safe home preservation. The pumpkin butter will stay safe to eat for 6 months in refrigeration from the day it was made.

2010 10/30

Costume Weddings

With Halloween coming up tomorrow I thought I would share some of my favorite photos from themed weddings with costumes!

From Geek Twins

Zombies - From Bad-Ass Weddings

Are you planning a Halloween wedding?  Please send us your photos! – info@bayareabrideguide.com

2010 10/27

Bridal Shower Vase Couture

If you’re Bridal Shower is right around the corner, put your bridesmaids to work by helping you put together some great floral arrangements that your guests can take home with them!

It had been a long time since I had pulled out all the odds and ends in my kitchen to dress up some Yogurt tubs, and pickle jars. So, this week, I decided to create a Haute Couture line of vases.

My sweet sister came to me last week and said she’d like to add to the $20.00 budget so that I could have double the buying power in order to create more floral centerpieces. So, with my $40.00 in hand, I headed to the SF flower mart and came back with some gorgeous green and pink Hydrangeas, pink Amaryllis Belladonna, and bunch of gorgeous silvery green Lambs Ear.

I took about an hour to “dress” my vases, in their couture gowns. I used left over wrapping paper, ribbons, twine, wax paper, and floral mesh to hide all the labeling attached to the cans, jars, and yogurt tubs I had been saving up:

Once the vases were ready, they needed a little “hair and make-up”, so the flowers came in handy. These flowers were practically ready for Ascot!!!

2010 10/26

Vintage Wedding Theme – The Roaring 20’s

The vintage theme is all over the wedding blogs – rustic and old fashioned is super hip. But what about the way back era of glam and glitz? I pulled together another fun inspiration board with a Roaring 20’s feel. One of the best things about living in the Bay Area is all of the amazing architecture we have – and there are so many options for an art deco style wedding venue! The City Club has to be one of my favorites – the details are just amazing! I love the ridiculous amount of fun design elements you can do with a Roaring 20’s theme wedding. Enjoy!

Photo sources clockwise from top left: unveiledbridaldesigns.com, Martha Stewart Weddings, Luxy-luxe.com, Lauren Rose Design via Etsy.com, shoedaydreams.blogspot.com, NoakiJewelry.com, richardvinhais.com

2010 10/25

5 Best Books for a DIY Wedding

By Erin Frank

Planning a DIY wedding without much know-how? Here are 5 helpful books to inspire and equip you for the big event.

1) Martha Stewart’s Keepsake Wedding Planner — Every bride needs a great basic planner, and this is one of the best. Martha’s 3-ring format let’s you insert all those random 8 1/2 x 11″ price and information sheets you get from vendors, plus easily add in your own pages of notes. It has all the timelines, checklists, and diagrams you need, but still manages to be light enough to tote around town. With spaces to collect business cards, fabric swatches, paper samples and ribbons, you’ll have everything you need at your fingertips.

2) How to Have the Wedding You Want (Not The One Everybody Else Wants You To Have) — With Martha’s planner you’re on your way to a picture perfect wedding, but as a DIY Bride I’m guessing you’re looking for some non-traditional aspects as well. This book has you covered on both angles, despite having been published more than a decade ago. From the storybook wedding to the non-traditional, you’ll get savvy advice from real brides and grooms and learn from their experiences. Not only does it run the gamut of wedding types to appeal to any bride, but it also speaks to the emotional aspects of getting married. Do you have a pushy mother-in-law? Unenthusiastic bridesmaids? Is your vendor hard to work with? Author Danielle Claro has helpful answers to these questions and more to help you navigate the thorny world of weddings planning.

3) Jane Packer’s Guide to Flower Arranging — What makes this book perfect for a DIY bride is not only its great step-by-step photos, but the fact that the book doesn’t zero in only on weddings. Yes, Jane covers flower arranging for celebrations and bridal-specific arrangements, but she also shows you the foundations you need for a wide variety of shapes, styles, and types of arrangements. It really opens the door for you to express your own aesthetic and inspires you to think outside the box. With so many shapes, from traditional bouquets to wreaths to garlands, and a variety of arrangements—flowers in baskets, on pedestals, or with stag antlers!—you’ll have the know-how to turn your DIY flowers into real showstoppers.

4) Wedding Cakes You Can Make — Design is fine, but sometimes we need to start with the basics. Author and cake expert Dede Wilson takes you through the timetable, techniques and logistics of actually making your own wedding cake. Recipes go beyond basic to tasty cakes like Raspberries and Cream Cake, Nutella Cake and Chocolate Covered Caramel Cake. She’ll teach you all you need to know, even up to transportation on the wedding day, and have you make a 6″ sample cake along the way so you know what to expect from your finished product.

5) Wedding Planning for Dummies — When in doubt, be prepared. If you’re just starting to plan, pick up Wedding Planning for Dummies as a go-to reference guide. It’s an easy skim the first time through, but where it becomes invaluable is when those unexpected questions and issues arise. Its chapter format and handy index make it easy to pinpoint answers to the most obscure wedding questions you didn’t even know you had. Is part of your DIY motivation a modest (or minuscule) wedding budget? Opt for Budget Weddings for Dummies instead, and find out how to save yourself some money!

2010 10/20

Harvest Bride-to-Be

Autumnal Centerpiece

If you’re having a white winter wedding, chances are that your bridal shower will be sometime in the fall.  With all the pretty fall colors around us, it’ll be easy to go all autumnal for your shower.

Ask the host of your shower to head down to their local Trader Joe’s where they sell organic and locally grown flowers, and  for roughly of $22.00 they can purchase some decorative Gourd’s and Squash and three pots of “Pin Cushions”. (The cutest ground cover I have ever seen)

Top left: Pin Cusions. Bottom Left: Mini Apples from Farmer's Market. Right: Gourds and Squashes

Ask your host to raid their kitchen cupboards and use grains, legumes, and fruits to accent the centerpiece arrangement for the table. For example I had some extra flowers from last week’s arrangements that I decided to take apart, cut up, and re-use, along with some lentils from my cupboard, and some mini apples I had purchased from the farmer’s market.

With a bit more rummaging around in the cupboards I’ll guarantee that your host will be able to find vases or containers that can be used as alternatives to complete the look. After searching through my storage cabinet, out came my great grandma’s old tea cups (used as mini candle holders), a few vases I had from a wedding last summer, and one of my Ikea canisters from the kitchen counter top.

Tiers of activity help make your centerpiece interesting

Get creative with legumes and the containers in your kitchen

Remember, centerpieces don’t always have to be done with flowers; you can get creative with fruits, veggies, and yes, even legumes! Happy Fall & Happy Shower!!

2010 10/19

Pretty Paper

I love paper. I am a self professed notebook geek and I am that girl that buys dainty little cards to actually mail out to people for no other reason than I love sending and receiving  mail. Years ago, in 2003 to be exact, the internet lead me to the wonderful Kristin Sanchez and though we have never met, cyberspace has created a sweet little friendship for us. I reached out to her back then to design a lovely custom wedding logo and a fabulous wedding website for me and my man. And now, I am a huge fan of her adorable Etsy shop where you can find one of my recent loves – these sweet table numbers. I love how simple yet fabulous they are. My other favs are the amazing wedding logos and monograms she creates – check out the starfish!! And her lovely poppy invitations – I need to find a reason to throw a party so I can order them stat! Take a peek!

All photos from Kristin’s shop at Etsy.com

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