Guest Blogging Gig for My Fitness Pal! And caterer LOVE.

Hi!  I am so excited (and so late!) to announce that I am officially a guest blogger for a My Fitness Pal!  Just call me the resident wedding planning expert!  My first post (Healthy Wedding Food Trends) went live a couple weeks ago and I’m eagerly awaiting my next post – ‘Why Starving on the Big Day is a Big NO!’  I’ll make sure to announce the post via Facebook and Twitter.  Hey!  Do you follow Allure on those platforms?  I hereby invite you to!  Click on those links and let’s connect!

I’m going to take this opportunity to rave about the catering company that I mentioned in my first post for My Fitness Pal: Culinary Eye.  John Silva, one of the owners, was kind enough to send me a list of some of his Spring and Summer menu items so I could feature them in my post.  Culinary Eye caters events, big and small, with amazing food and service.  I wanted to give specific examples of organic, beautiful food that couples can serve at their receptions and I new CE would fit the bill splendidly.  I love working with John (lead designer) and Collins (the executive chef) and I LOVE eating their food.  This is my blog and I’ll rave if I want to!

Below are some of the items on the Culinary Eye menu this season.  The photo is of the deviled quail eggs – I can personally vouch for their deliciousness.  I’m hungry!

- Canape of Heirloom Melon, Thai Basil, Torn Burrata, and Balsamic Reduction
- Petite Deviled Quail Eggs with Caper and Pickled Jalapeno
- Blanched Summer Shelling Pea Tartar with Mint, Organic Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, and Shaved Manchego
- Compressed Cucumber in Pear Vinaigrette, Smoked Salmon, and Chive  on Silver Spoons
Keep following along and I’ll keep posting!  Deal?

Allure Wedding featured on Refinery29! My vendor love letter.

Hi there!  Wedding Season is officially upon us.  Which is so exciting!  It means that I am busy with timelines and logistics, site visits and tastings, and the working mom juggling act!  It also means that I am a bit behind when it comes to blogging about the 2013 weddings that are getting some attention now!  Today, I am so happy to share with you one of my very special San Francisco weddings from last year: Evan and Christina at Swedenborgian Church.  Their wedding was recently featured on Refinery29 – a first for Allure!  Please check out the feature and all the awesome pics by Seattle photographer Ben Blood. (I’m not actually including any in this post…long story!)

Christina was absolutely stunning in her Amy Kuschel wedding gown, she looked like a movie star!  I loved the eye makeup and overall dewy makeup perfection by Liz Chang (Skyla Arts). Liz is one of my very favorite stylists to work with — she has a great calm energy, she’s an awesome listener and she is always smiling.  She is exactly the kind of person you want in your face (literally) on your big day if you are getting professional makeup done!

I worked with a kick ass team on the wedding day to make sure that we executed the vision perfectly.  This was no easy feat!  It was pouring rain outside (the ONLY thunderstorm of this past fall in SF) up until one hour before the ceremony, which means we had to change our plans for an outdoor bar at the last minute.  Guests were still able to enjoy cocktail hour outside in the beautiful garden at Swedenborgian, but the actual bar was set up inside.  When guests came inside the Parish Hall to eat dinner, they were welcomed with elegant candlelight and pianist at the candelabra-clad baby grand.  Cherries Flowers and A Fork Full of Earth Catering absolutely transformed the room.  Seriously, we all put some muscle into it!  This room usually seats about 60, but with some creative planning and VERY precise measuring, we fit all of the guests (let’s just say more than 60…) comfortably and served a 3 course plated meal.  All organic, local and grilled on-site…amazing.  I have never worked with a catering company like this one before – Angela, the owner, was on site all day with me and together we made something really amazing happen.  It was very important to Evan and Christina that we did as much as we possibly could locally.  They live in the Mission and like to walk everywhere…their wedding day was a reflection of that.  Goat cheese from Harley Farms, bread from Tartine, wine from K&L liquors…vendors happily above and beyond to make this couple’s wedding dreams come true.  I don’t mean to gush, but I was so darn proud of what we did for Evan and Christina!  The entire team of vendors was in it to win it!

Below – two photos that I took with my phone as we were setting up the dinner reception.

My bride and groom had attended a wedding of a friend who had a photographer take photos of all the guests in couples as a sort of guestbook.  Evan and Christina loved the idea (and the product!) so much that they hired photographer Steve Maller to photograph every guest right before each person entered the chapel for the ceremony.  The result was so much cooler than I thought it would be!  The photos are true keepsakes for the guests and for Evan and Christina.  Whatever they decide to do with them, it’s going to look amazing.  The best part is, Steve printed the photos within an hour after the ceremony and handed me a stack of high quality, perfectly lit and framed shots.  I wish I could hire Steve for every event I do!  He was wonderful.  Below are the photos he took of Evan and Christina.

They’re gorgeous, right?  And see what I mean about Christina’s makeup?  Love.

Ah!  This was one for the books.  (Note to self, start writing book.)   If you check out the full wedding gallery on Refinery29 and like what you see…you could pin a photo to your Pinterest board if you wanted to.  Hey!  Evan is the founder of Pinterest!  Cool, huh?  It was an honor to be a part of Evan and Christina’s big day, truly.  I am so happy that they were able to celebrate their love, their way, in a city they love so very much.

Oh!  And their wedding video!  Belvedere Stories flew in from Miami and captured two days with the happy couple.  This wedding video is the best I’ve ever seen!  Check out the  version on Belvedere’s website…so cool, so unique – I want one of my own wedding!  Alas…

Venue: Swedenborgian Church
Event Planner: Christy Daly Matthews, Allure Consulting
Event Photographer: Ben Blood
Caterer: A Fork Full of Earth
Florist: Cherries
Bride’s Dress: Amy Kuschel
Hair: Revamp Salon
Makeup: Liz Chang, Skyla Arts
Video: Belvedere Stories

Allure Wedding featured on Style Me Pretty!

Today I am so happy to look back at Jocelyne and Daniel‘s 2013 Sonoma wedding.   Last week, this charming event was featured on Style Me Pretty!  It was one of my very favorite weddings of the year…I loved every minute of working with this Southern family, especially Jocelyne and her father, who took on a bigger role in planning than most fathers of the brides do!  It was a true pleasure to put together an event for this couple, and for the guests that all traveled to California mostly from Nashville and Charlotte.  Small destination weddings can be challenging — I only met everyone in person the day before the wedding!  But Jocelyne and her dad trusted me when they handed over all their hard work booking vendors and Kunde Estate, and I was honored to take it from there.  This wedding weekend was filled with sweet Southern accents, hospitality, faith, tradition, affection, and love love love.  It was simply perfect for Jocelyne and Daniel.

                

The photo above is of Jocelyne and Daniel saying hello via FaceTime to Daniel’s grandparents, who couldn’t make the trip to California.  I had to include this shot because I thought it was one of the sweetest moments of the day.  Next to a surprise father/daughter dance on the hilltop at Kunde, of course.  There’s no way I can post all the photos that made this wedding special…the love notes, open gratitude, prayers and blessings, Kentucky bourbon, preppy lawn games…so many love-filled moments.  It was a wonderful day!

You can see the full gallery of photos here, on SMP.  And here is a link to the beautiful highlight video by Awesome Shot.

Here are the credits:
Photographer: Jessamyn Harris
Venues: Kunde Estate and El Dorado Kitchen
Florist:  Lavender Floral
Catering: Elaine Bell
Cake: Crisp Bakeshop
Hair and Makeup: The Makeup Dolls
Bride’s Dress: Collette Dinnigan
Rentals: Wine Country Party

 

 

 

Oscars 2014! Hollywood style meets bridal style?

Oscars 2014!  This fashion recap is one of my favorite posts of the year.  I love movies, I love Hollywood style, and I love elaborate events!  I’m a sucker for black tie weddings and I like seeing bridal trends inspired by red carpet looks.  Here are my thoughts about this year’s Oscar ceremony:

Whites, silvers and nudes.  These gowns directly translate into bridal, and they’re just of few of the subtle hues featured on the red carpet in 2014.  I love the structure of Kate Hudson’s Atelier Versace dress, she looked impeccable from head to toe – so glamourous!
Another shade that stood out was pale pink.  I was pretty impressed with Lady Gaga’s skintight Versace– seemed like she was channeling another famous Versace…no?
Lupita Nyong’o rocked a pretty headband with her gorgeous dress (she made my top 2 below…), and I have adored her short hair since she burst on the awards scene earlier this year.  I saw several beautiful ladies with killer short ‘dos on the red carpet this year (not to mention Ellen!) – will we see more brides following suit this year?
 And now for my two favorite looks of the night: Cate Blanchett in Armani Prive and Lupita Nyong’o in Prada.

I think the shade of Cate’s dress is perfection.  And the delicate appliqués — what a unique, but still pretty and wearable, statement gown!  Cate rarely disappoints.  Her earrings, hair and makeup are all flawless and the dress fits her like a glove.  A beautiful, very expensive glove.
This ingenue is killing it!  I just love her choices.  The dress, the jewelry, the headband…simply stunning.  I don’t necessarily love the dress on it’s own, and I think the pale blue color is really hard to pull off for most women, but on Lupita, it’s amazing.  The neckline works with her body and the she glows in the color.  I won’t be surprised if we see more of this shade of blue incorporated into weddings in 2014, and I definitely think headbands will be more prominent this year.

Well, that’s it!  Another Oscar ceremony down!

 

All photos from Harpers, Metro UK, and Vogue

 

 

Allure Wedding: Sneak Peek! General’s Residence in SF

Celebrations at the General’s Residence make me so happy!  I love this Upper Fort Mason venue — it’s one of my very favorite San Francisco properties.  The house is historical, beautifully renovated and a dream to work at.  The views from the back lawn are unparalleled, and I especially adore the double fire place and antique leather furniture in the mansion’s lobby.  Hosting your wedding there, it is easy to imagine that you live in the house.  You know, just another estate-owning SF socialite throwing a gorgeous party in your home.  Welcome!

I had the pleasure of working with Amanda Tung of Blueberry Photography on this wedding.  And Culinary Eye catered and did all the florals – these guys ROCK.  I will be posting a more comprehensive feature about this wedding later in the year, but for now, I am happy to share a few of the photos.  Kristen and Matt, my illustrious couple, were a true joy to work with and their wedding was fun and laid back…just like them!

Stay tuned for more of Matt and Kristen’s wedding – as always, I’ll keep you posted!

 

Golden Globes Fashion, Wedding Inspiration: 2014

Hi!  Welcome to my annual Golden Globes fashion post!  (See previous last year’s here.)  I look forward to sharing my opinions and predictions about award show fashion and how it inspires the wedding industry, and vice versa.  I also enjoy sharing my favorite and least favorite looks of the night.  Let’s talk about celebrities, y’all!

First off, Tina Fey.  I loved Tina’s jewel tone gown, I thought it fit her perfectly and that merlot color would be beautiful in a fall wedding.  But the element that caught my eye first was her hair.  The host’s messy, center part and full volume looked so chic!
The most obvious bridal-inspired dress was on Jennifer Lawrence.  I don’t hate the dress, but the fit bothered me a bit.  I just felt like she had to keep pulling it up all night.  Strapless gowns on the red carpet are a staple, and it seems that the strapless wedding gown trend is here to stay as well.  I encourage brides to dress to their strengths and keep fit in mind…Jennifer Lawrence has a long torso and I don’t think this dress was necessarily flattering for her figure. But it could definitely work as a wedding gown, and J Law is super high profile this year…so I had to talk about her look!  What do you think?

Black and White – looks like a big trend again!  Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet, Hayden Panettiere and Jenna Dewan-Tatum all rocked the combo last night (and of course, so did Jennifer Lawrence).  I like the look overall, and I love a black tie wedding, so I am looking forward to seeing more of this trend in wedding design this year.  (Big thumbs up to Zosia Mamet, btw, she’s usually a miss in my opinion.)
Next up, a huge trend I couldn’t ignore, but one that I am not a fan of: the High/Low dress.  Zooey Deschanel, Drew Barrymore, Sandra Bullock, Elizabeth Moss, Michelle Dockery and Caitlin Fitzgerald all wore dresses that were long in the back and offered us all a little stiletto peep show in the front.  I don’t get it.  I think all of these dresses would be better off floor length hems.  I also think that this trend will be all over wedding dresses this year.

Now for a little about color!  Canary Yellow popped up on the red carpet, and I liked it!  Not an easy color to wear, but it’s bright and happy and I think both Lena Dunham and Melissa Rauch pulled it off.  And I was looking for Radiant Orchid–Pantone’s Color of the Year–but I didn’t really find it at the Globes.  Maria Menounos came close in this pink shade though, and she flaunted another 2014 trent – subtle cutouts.  Gorgeous.

There were a few looks last night that I think really missed the mark.  Below are three of the worst, in my opinion.  Paula Patton just looks silly, Zoe Saldana is all over the place, and Emma Stone is…confusing.
And now for my favorite look this year…Laura Dern!  I think she looks flawless from head to toe.  If I had a reason to Spanx myself into a formal gown this year, I would choose this one.  (Or a less expensive version of this one.)  I love the metallic tones, the neckline and the print.  It fits her perfectly and her hair and makeup complete the look.
Second place goes to Diane Keaton.  She works a suit in the very best way.  The cut of it was divine and I love that she had the balls to wear it for her presentation.  A suit tailored this well is certainly wedding appropriate, for a man or a woman.
And her hair looked AMAZING!

 Ok, that is it!  I’ll be posting about the Oscars as well – see you then!

 

All photos are from the Huffington Post, except the first one, which is from www.stylenews.com

 

 

Allure Wedding: SF Bayside Bash

I’m thrilled to share another September Allure wedding today!  Joanna and Patrick tied the knot at the St Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco.  The private club is right on the beautiful Bay, with the Golden Gate Bridge framing the view.  Mary McHenry captured the feeling of the day…joyous, laid back, a little goofy, and full of love — big, loud, affectionate, long toast kind of love that makes me so darn happy to be a wedding planner.  I love the big smiles in these photos, and the bright flowers, and the sneakers.  Enjoy!

 

2014!

Hello Lovelies!  Happy New Year!  I have taken a bit of time off…my last blog post was August!  2013 was a very busy year. I had my second son, Thomas James, in May, and planning weddings while being a full time mom to two was a whirlwind!  The holidays brought a much needed break, and now I am back to the office (during kids’ naps and weekly set aside hours) and I’m thrilled to also be back online – blogging, pinning, tweeting and generally trying to keep up with the wedding industry’s crazy social media scene.  On one hand, I feel like shouting, “I’m back!” from the proverbial rooftops.  On the other, I feel like I wasn’t ever really gone.  Like all working moms, I have a lot of balls in the air and I’m just doing the best I can to keep juggling!

Later this week, I’ll be posting an Allure wedding shot by Mary McHenry.  Here is a sneak peek of Joanna and Patrick’s SF wedding:

This year, I am looking forward to planning weddings at the Fort Mason Center, the W Hotel and the Presidio in San Francisco.  So far, so good!  Keep up with me here:  Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Yelp.  Seriously, say hi!  Let’s comment, share and link away in 2014– together, we’ll stay connected and stay inspired!

 

Photos above by Ashley Paige and Mary McHenry.  Click on the photo for the link!

Allure Wedding: Sneak Peek! Southern couple ties the knot in Sonoma

I am still floating on happy air after this Sonoma wedding!  Jocelyne and Daniel hired me from Charlotte, NC to plan their intimate wine country wedding at Kunde Estate.  All of their 30 guests flew in from Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina for a weekend of wine tasting, pool lounging and celebrating.  Everyone stayed at the El Dorado Hotel on Sonoma Square and enjoyed the gorgeous destination wedding filled with tons of Southern charm!

Here is a sneak peek from photographer Jessamyn Harris:

Congratulations Jocelyne and Daniel!  I am over the moon for you two and it was an honor to be a part of your big day!

Full post coming soon!

There’s an app for that! Bootcamp for Brides

Every once in a while, a cool inside track falls into my wedding planning lap —  and this is one of those times!  A friend of mine is launching a cool new weight loss app designed specifically for busy brides planning their weddings and trying to get fit at the same time.  Check out the blurb below and contact Sara directly if you’re interested in joining the first round!

We’re a brand-new mobile app geared towards helping people lose weight through customized diet and meal plans. We’re set to launch a 4-week Bridal Bootcamp next month, and are looking for our very first testers. Your feedback will be invaluable as we refine and perfect the program moving forward. Our goal: to help you—and brides like you—look and feel fabulous on your big day. 
What you’ll get:
  • A customized meal plan to help you shed up to 8 pounds in just four weeks.
  • 4 weeks of workouts to help you get wedding-dress ready. Killer arms and shoulders? Check! 
  • 24/7 access to the awesome diet coach and personal trainer who created the plan. 
  • Easy food logging via the app. 
  • Weekly newsletters with a shopping list, tips, advice and more.
Why we think you’ll love it:
  • No calorie-counting.
  • No time-consuming meal prep.
  • One-on-one advice from your coaches. 
  • Motivating tips and tricks to help you achieve your weight-loss goals.

sara@rise.us

photo by Mary McHenry