Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Vendor Spotlight: Passiflora Designs, Wedding Florist

Paige Benjamin has been in the floral industry for 15 years and you can tell by her work. She tells us she started Passiflora Designs 11 years ago, choosing to work with flowers as an art medium while studying sculpture in college. She appreciates flowers colors, texture and impermanence. Paige says she loves weddings “because every wedding is different and has its own character. I love the process of working hand in hand with a bride and groom to make their day more than they ever anticipated.”

As for inspirations, Paige says the Alameda Flea Market is inspirational: “I love going to soak in all the amazing d├ęcor and art. I am mostly inspired at the flower market, as the flowers cannot help but inspire!”

Should you book her for your wedding, Passiflora seamlessly blends contemporary style with traditional elegance. Working with Passiflora and Paige is not just placing an order, but they will walk you through the process. Their philosophy is that the process is just as important as the end product and they have the reputation to boot.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Vendor Spotlight: Batter Bakery, Wedding Desserts

Batter Bakery was created out of a lifelong love of baking, and an even greater love of sharing baked goods with others. As the sole owner and founder, Jen Musty has been baking for as long as she can remember. Throughout high school and college she tinkered with recipes, teaching herself as much as possible and feeding friends and neighbors. After a year of a career of public accounting, there was no question that the future plan was to bake fulltime. As a transition into the food industry, Jen became one of the first members of the startup team for Blue Fog Market. After the main startup process was completed, she focused half of her time on providing baked goods for both locations and the rest to devising a startup business model. As the demand for Batter products became overwhelming and clients were secured, the transition to operating Batter Bakery full time was not just a dream-come-true, but also a necessity.

“I love working with couples as well as their friends and family to create wonderful wedding sweets. It is a time of such joy and excitement, and there is an amazing opportunity to create very personal, memorable treats,” she tells me. All of Batter’s baked goods are made locally in a shared commercial kitchen space, Mission Creek Kitchen. Treats are made in small batches to ensure quality and handmade integrity. They roll and cut their shortbread, shape their scones and scoop their cookies by hand. The kitchen is a playground for me. I am constantly working on new recipe ideas, mixing up our flavor offerings and adding twists to the standard favorites. Cookies are my favorite thing to make, so I am constantly creating new cookie ideas.”

Batter Bakery is constantly searching for ways to support green and sustainable business operations. Their retail packaging includes compostable and recyclable boxes, bags and parchment. New vendor research is ongoing in an attempt to bring their sourcing even closer to home. Currently they use all organic flour from Central Milling, sugar from C&H, dairy from Clover, butter from Gilt Edge Creamery, and premium fair trade chocolate including El Rey, Callebaut, and Cacao Barry. Talk about sweets with a conscience.

Should you work with Jen for your wedding treats, you can expect individualized attention. She is not one to give you a list of flavors and frosting and say, “Pick!” She will work with you to create whatever your taste buds desire. And because she doesn’t create wedding cakes, Batter Bakery opens up a whole new realm of ideas for your wedding dessert table. “I am seeing more and more couples shy away from the traditional cake, but instead offer all sorts of treats: cupcakes, cookies, brownies, ice cream and candy,” she tells me. So whatever your heart desires, Jen can help you create the most delicious dessert table that will leave you and your guests wanting more! Don’t forget to visit her kiosk in downtown San Francisco on the corner of Kearny and California! Treat yourself.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Vendor Spotlight: Aurora Meneghello, Wedding Photographer

Growing up in Vicenza, Italy, Aurora Meneghello was surrounded by art. Born with a creative eye and not much opportunity to nurture her photography and film interests, Aurora moved to the US after high school. She studied filmmaking in Los Angeles and later graduated with a degree in Fine Art Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute. Here she worked along side a wedding journalist and thus her own love for wedding photography was born.

Aside from having her own business for the past two and a half years, she is also the official photographer of Locally Grown Weddings and they are committed to our environment and our community. When you hire Aurora, you also get the option to tap into this amazing network of San Francisco based vendors who share an emphasis for green business practices.

Aurora tells me whole-heartedly how much she loves working with brides. The way ideas flow, how everyone is so beautiful on their wedding day and how unique couples are. She loves to give people beautiful portraits of themselves.

Her inspirations behind the lens include artists, painters, museums and small galleries. She has a post-it note on her computer screen that reads, “Connect the unconnected, see the relationships where there are none,” and says it’s a great way to sum up what she’s looking for in art: she wants to see something she hasn’t seen before and get a glimpse beyond her experience.

Should you book Aurora, you will not only be getting an award-winning photographer (exhibits in Los Angeles and San Francisco include Intersection for the Arts, the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts and Galeria de la Raza), you will be working with a collaborator. “It’s important that the couple feels happy and comfortable with me. In short, we need to be a match. I like to get to know the couple before the Big Day so we can be effortlessly in sync.” And with her warm personality, it won’t be hard to fall in love with Aurora and her beautiful work.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Spotted: 2 Hearts B 1 Designs, Invitation, Calligrapher & Event Design

Just because 2 Hearts B 1 Designs is based in Beverly Hills, doesn’t mean you can’t use her beautiful designs for your wedding celebrations. One of our friends used Jillian Yee-Pham of 2 Hearts B 1 Designs and we couldn’t get enough of her work, so we decided to get in touch and profile her here.

Jillian graduated from Fresno State with a Bachelors of Science degree in Recreation Administration and Leisure Studies, specializing in event, design and coordinating. She then moved to LA to chase the Hollywood limelight first working at a graphic design and animation studio in Hollywood, where she learned the foundation of design. From there, she became a manager at a paper boutique and invitation studio in Beverly Hills where she learned all about the retail side of the business; the stepping stones that led her to open her very own business. 2 Hearts B 1 Designs was born!

She and her worker bees specialize in creative services whether it be floral and event design (including day-of decorating and coordinating), favors and tags, presentation and gift wrap, calligraphy, invitations and cards, and even scrapbooking. As you can see from her immense talent, Jillian takes pride in the work 2 Hearts B 1 Designs presents as if it were her own event or wedding.

“Being a part of a couple's wedding day is such an honor that I truly take to heart,” she says. “I enjoy being a part of the celebration where two hearts will join together to be one. I am thrilled to provide my talents of calligraphy, invitations and design, to be included on this very special day. Also every wedding is different and it's a joy to put that couple's vision that reflects the beauty of them onto paper.”

Jillian says she’s inspired through her consultations with brides and grooms about what they envision for their wedding day: the feeling, the colors, the location, the season, the date and the stories of what brought them together. She also credits magazines, books, art, fabrics, textiles, color, typography, photography, greeting cards and chit-chatting with other creative types as other inspirations.

Should you choose Jillian, you can expect a hands-on, worthwhile experience. She offers a complimentary consultation where she can present ideas and concepts. Rest assured, Jillian is not your run of the mill, pick-out-of-a-book invitation: what she creates is custom and picture-perfect to reflect you and the love of your life for your most special day. Our hearts belong to 2 Hearts B 1 Designs, totally and utterly Bridebound approved…!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Venue Spotlight: ESTATE, Sonoma

We were so lucky to visit ESTATE during the 2010 holiday season and we got a fantastic tour of the place and even met Ms. Sondra Bernstein herself; she’s fantastic! As you may or may not know, Sandra is the Proprietor and CEO of the girl & the fig restaurant. ESTATE is her other masterpiece in town and is located just blocks from the plaza in Sonoma. The historic site and gardens provide a beautiful and charming backdrop.

Beautifully designed and decorated, we think ESTATE is a perfect spot to host a wedding celebration, rehearsal dinner or wedding shower in Sonoma wine country. With multiple rooms and two outdoor spaces to choose from, the options are endless with the space and its capabilities.

The Wine Room(above) is a warm and intimate dining area and seats 13-24 guests. It has glass doors that close to give your party privacy should you book it. Great for showers or small wedding celebrations.

The West Patio (above) is perfect for a summer nights and is covered by a grape arbor and surrounded by a wrap around porch and beautiful gardens. It seats 13-72 guests. Awesome outdoor space for an intimate, cozy and summertime wedding celebration.

ESTATE also offers a restaurant buy-out should you wish to have the entire space to yourself. This option gives you room to have 100 guests inside or 150 outside. No holds bar here: have the big wedding of your dreams where guests can have the freedom to wander the beautiful space, have a cocktail or dance on the patio dance floor.

Once you’ve booked your space at ESTATE, you have the freedom to choose from a family style menu, plated service or chef’s tasting menu. So many options! And with Sondra and her talented kitchen staff behind the wheel, you can rest assured your guests will leave with happy bellies. You’ll just have to visit ESTATE to believe how incredible it truly is. Tell 'em Bridebound sent you.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vendor Spotlight: Paulina's Flowers, Napa Valley

Napa Valley based florist Paulina Humeres-Greene has been working with flowers since 1990. Born in Santiago, Chile and raised both there and Buenos Aires, Argentina, Paulina moved to the US in her twenties. And as you’ll see in her work, she has a unique eye and talent. Raised in a very creative family, she stumbled into flower design quite unexpectedly. A friend who worked at a winery knew of her creative eye and passed on her info to a hospitality director who needed help with floral design. The work never stopped and eventually Paulina’s Flowers was born. But not before she studied Architecture and Design at CCAC (California College of Arts and Crafts) now known as CCA (California College of the Arts).

Paulina counts her maternal grandmother as one of her main inspirations. Living with her in Argentina and eventually in Chile, she spoke French and Italian in addition to Spanish, “Music to your ears when you heard her,” she says. Most of all, Paulina says she realizes now that she ran her home and later on her mother's home like a 5-Star Swiss Hotel. “She was an extraordinary manager of time and the help that worked for her. She was talented in everything she did, everything she touched was perfect. She cooked fabulously, sewed, embroidered, wrote beautifully, would go in the garden, come back with two or three branches and would make a beautiful arrangement for the foyer.” Paulina has been blessed to have inherited some of this talent from her.

As for weddings, Paulina says, “I love the whole process, creating the whole event. Starting with the venue: what is the style and the architecture of the site. How does the couple envision this special day? Why did they pick this site? How would the flowers achieve what they want and also compliment the venue? The simplest of events can also exude class. What props should we use, pedestals, containers? What style do they want? Formal, contemporary, modern, Tuscan or Napa Valley inspired?” Paulina takes it all into consideration explaining that the whole look is much more than just the flowers. The more she knows the better, even details like the look of the place card and napkin holders and even who the chef is and what they’re putting on the table.

Besides from her grandmother, Paulina credits nature and architecture as two elements that give her inspiration on a daily basis. “Living in the Napa Valley and being surrounded with beauty is a great thing. Daily walks up different streets and paths. Seasons dictate a lot of what is out there, in nature that can be brought inside in some shape or form.” She also says the La Tavola Fine Linen Rental showroom in Napa, the Ritz Carlton hotel lobby and the Campton Place hotel lobby and restaurant flowers in San Francisco are visual inspirations.

Should you book Paulina for your wedding day, you will not only be hiring a keen eye for detail, but a florist who is dedicated to you and only you: she only designs for one wedding per day. You will have her full attention and she will be onsite to make sure that everything is as perfect as possible. Her flowers are of the freshest available and if quality is compromised, she’ll choose something different but comparable. Paulina’s Flowers, by far, is totally, undeniably Bridebound approved.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Spotted: Steps on Toes, Dance Instruction, Oakland

If you’re one of the many brides or grooms out there with two left feet, or perhaps not even sure where your feet are, consider a lesson or two with Laurie Ann of Steps on Toes. Laurie started teaching social dance about 30 years ago when her partner and her, after learning Foxtrot and Jitterbug, had no place to use them as there was no real partner dance scene in the 70s except Disco. So, they mashed what they knew into one dance and styled it to fit Disco so they could go dancing. “People thought we were doing some new partner disco dance they had never seen before and asked us if we offered classes. So we started teaching!” Laurie Ann tells me. She says she’s been a teacher all her life and loved teaching dance, but her partner didn't. Laurie Ann began private lessons in her home. She was doing couples counseling and mediations at the time and also teaching self-defense classes to people with physical disabilities. When she decided to make it more of a career, she started learning more and more dances. Ultimately, she decided to target the market of people who had difficulty learning and needed a lot of special attention, which is most of us! She loves working with people individually where she can tailor her teaching to the individual needs and particular learning styles of each student.

Off weddings, Laurie Ann says, “I love them. There is something magical about weddings, and of course it's lovely to be around people in love. I use my background to teach couples how to practice without getting on each other's nerves, and a lot of the dynamics that come up with the challenge of learning to dance together are metaphors for the rest of their relationship. Couples can expect to learn what THEY want, rather than my own agenda. They may want to spend a lot of time learning how leading and following really works so they can do it the right way, or they may want to just put together something that works and looks good once, but they can't be used later on a social floor. They may come with enough lead time to get comfortable with the dance so they are just dancing, and not practicing, on their wedding day. They may come at the last minute and get one or two basic steps and learn how to make it look good. Most importantly, they'll all get advice on how to have fun with it, and to have the right attitude. It's not a dance recital, it's a metaphor for their love. When they remember that, it's guaranteed to be wonderful. In fact, none of my students have ever had anything less than a magical dance they loved.” We love this! And we love Laurie Ann: we've met her personally and can say she's full of all the spunk and energy you'll need to learn the perfect moves while having a friend teach you along the way.