Friday, April 30, 2010

Julia's Fashion File: Beauty and The Brooch

Adorning your bridal ensemble with a brooch, like jewelry, needs to be done tastefully or it can go terribly awry. However, unlike your typical drop earrings or dainty pearl necklace, a brooch can add something extra special and unique to your overall look; it's different, fun, and if done properly, will have people wishing they'd thought of it themselves.

As I was perusing the net this morning to find some pieces that I felt would enhance a bride's beauty, I was surprised to see that there weren't a whole lot of pictures out there showing brides how to use them or where to put them. Here are a few of the ideas that I found useful on

1) Use it as a hair pin and put it in your favorite up-do (like in the top above). You can work with your stylist to incorporate it in.

2) Add it to your sash in the front or in the back of the gown (bridesmaids dresses, too!):

3) Place it on your bouquet's at the base where the stems are gathered:

4) Add it to your flower girl's basket or ring bearer's pillow:

5) Strategically place it on a more simple gown to add flare:

There are countless ways to enhance your ensemble with a tasteful brooch. Play around with it and get a few opinions on where it looks best on the gown you've chosen.

Now where do you find an amazing brooch that feels right for you? The Internet (eBay will have tons!) again, will be a fantastic resource for you. As well as antique shops, second hand stores, and vintage jewelry shops.

I found a few I really love on Wedding Factory Direct and Emmaline Bride: and

Now go forth, my beauties, and find the brooch that makes you excited!



Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Spotted: Cocoabella Chocolates

For those chocolate-lover brides and grooms, let us suggest a romp over to CocoaBella Chocolates in San Francisco. You’ll know they’re serious about chocolate from the moment you walk in. These guys know chocolate. And it's a great wedding take-home gift idea!

Michael Freeman, purveyor of CocoaBella, found his passion for chocolate when, as the chocolate buyer for Duty Free Shops, he would travel to Europe seeking each city’s most incredible chocolates. The thought occurred to him to bring the best over, putthem with the finest U.S. chocolates under one roof and, in 2004, CocoaBella was born.

You can choose from over 180 different bonbons of all shapes, sizes, colors and tastes, and they strive to make each wedding order special. They create boxes customized with personalized cards with names and date of wedding, satin ribbon of your choice, menu cards, and special notes for your guests: perfect for give-aways at your wedding. And we love that their chocolates are hand selected from the world’s finest artisan chocolatiers.

As many times as we’ve personally been in and out of the store, you can expect excellent customer service while working with their chocolate concierge, easy accommodation, and a vast variety of beautiful and delicious chocolates. It’s an effortless undertaking when you invite CocoaBella to be a part of your wedding. And trust us: your guests won’t be disappointed.

Bonus: they have an entire area of their website dedicated to great ideas for your Big Day:

Get ready to drool! Find them at 2102 Union St. and at 845 Market St. (Both in SF)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Vendor Spotlight: Lidia Sadoun, Florist

Vendor Spotlight: Lidia Sadoun, Florist

Once you look at Lidia’s work, you’ll know why she’s as successful as she is. She’s worked in the floral industry for 13 years. She began working in a flower shop as a side job, just because she thought it would be “fun.” Well, she fell in love, and now she can’t imagine doing anything else.

Lidia loves creating floral arrangements for weddings, mostly because each one is always different. The colors change, the themes are varied, and each bride is unique. She has a sweet spot for making the actual bridal bouquets for a wedding: it’s the challenge of creating something that genuinely reflects the bride’s preferences and personality.

Last year La Fleuriste did the flowers for a truly unique wedding at a gorgeous ranch in the Carmel Valley. The theme was vintage chic and she accomplished this look by using certain elements and containers. Each centerpiece was different, and each design included a series of funky glass bottles/vessels – all fabulous flea market finds, including old French mason jars. The flowers included Garden Roses, Ranunculus, Blushing Bride, Chamomile and many other interesting elements. The arrangements were also complemented with lush greenery, including Mint and other herbs, Clematis foliage, and Passion vine. The overall look was rustic, yet elegant. It was one of her favorite weddings to date.

Lidia finds creative inspiration almost everywhere: “Nature, obviously. Just walking down the street, I am often stopped by the sight of trees or plants. It might be a color that catches my attention, or it might be the shape of a particular branch. These images then stay with me and when I’m working in the studio, they are translated into floral arrangements. And at a more local level, I sometimes let the flowers and vessels that I am working with guide me. Instead of forcing the elements to go this way or that way, I let them choose their path and the end result is often stunning.”

“People also play a part in this process,” she says, “In my commitment to making each event original it is sometimes the voice of the bride that I hear when deciding which direction to go.” All you have to do is look at her work to see how unique Lidia’s designs truly are.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Planner on Patrol: Vera Wang for David's Bridal

Ever dream of getting your hands on a designer gown without having to fight your way through a sample sale or paying the equivalent of a down payment on a house? Now you can: Vera Wang will begin designing dresses for David's Bridal and will include some priced below $1,500. Considering how much some dresses cost, this is a super deal. Read more here

Oh, and (more) affordable priced shoes and accessories from Vera are also on the way!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Venue Spotlight: Dogpatch Studios

For those brides and grooms seeking an urban-chic wedding venue, consider Dogpatch Studios. With its anti-hotel approach, Dogpatch Studios gives brides and grooms the space to get uber creative. It’s a venue where a couple can show off who they truly are because of all the potential and creativity the space allows. Past weddings have included traditional dinner seating, lounge seating, photo booths, live entertainment, and even a staged portrait area. The beauty is that it’s primarily a photography studio venue and thus completely adaptable to the party needs. Hosting about five weddings a year, your wedding at Dogpatch Studios will be extremely unique.
Dogpatch Studios loves taking it to the next level. We love how flexible the space is when it comes to the real estate. You can get clever with how big you want your night to unfold. For example, hold the ceremony on the day-lit 3rd Floor studio among friends and city views followed by dining in the barreled-ceiling, open-rafters on the 1st Floor. A minimal event could focus mainly on the tables. Small areas could be draped to hide catering stations and splashes of light in each corner to accent. And how cool is this? "Use the blank walls for a projector to loop a silent movie or slide show," they suggest.

What do Terry and Kasey enjoy about hosting weddings: "We love that every wedding at Dogpatch Studios is different from the next. We've got space and time for whatever you want to create. We have good advice and knowledge based on ideas from events past and we can even line you up with some of the best vendors in the Bay Area." Score. We love a good venue that comes armed with a trusty vendor list.

Check out this amazing venue out at

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Scene & Heard: Bridal Fair at San Geronimo Golf Course

For those of you lovely bride- and grooms-to-be, if you’re vendor or venue hunting and close to Marin County, check out the Grand Open House and Bridal Fair this Saturday, April 24th at the San Geronimo Golf Course. Vendors include Marin and San Geronimo Valley’s local farms, breweries, wineries, artists, photographers, florists, event planners, hotels, rental services, schools and non-profit organizations. Who knows? You could meet a set of fantastic vendors just right for your Big Day.

San Geronimo Golf Course
5800 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard
San Geronimo, CA 94963

For everything else you need to know,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vendor Spotlight: Temple Nightclub, Venue

Temple Nightclub

For those brides and grooms who want a green, urban-chic wedding, Temple could be just the venue for you. Opening in SOMA in September 2007, Temple, from their 89% diversion rate from landfill to their biodegradable cornstarch cups to the recycled bio-fuel oil in their kitchen, is the first green nightclub in the U.S. Dave Peterson, Director of Sales, says, “We pride ourselves in taking care of our environment and those who live in it, keeping in mind we need to leave the planet to our children, their children, and so on.”
Dave truly enjoys hosting weddings and knows all about the stress that goes along wedding planning. For him, the best part about hosting a wedding is, “Making the bride and groom feel comfortable and stress-free. After all, it’s their day and it only comes once.” Dave also likes the challenge of hosting large corporate events - large meaning 1,100 people! Planning for that many people is mind blowing! And he does it with grace, style, and delicious bites to boot.

If you haven’t been to Temple and you’re looking for a unique venue to impress your guests, especially your eco-friendly ones, definitely check it out. It’s visually stunning and Dave couldn’t be more of a pleasure to chit-chat and discuss your wedding ideas with.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spotted: Robyn Rhodes, Jewelry Designer

Robyn Rhodes is a natural, making jewelry as a hobby since she was 12yo. Eight years ago, she complimented her aunt on her necklace and thought "I can do that". This inspired her to pick up her old hobby and begin creating unique pieces for friends and family. Thus, her line was born.

Robyn says designing for brides is one of her favorite challenges. She loves to create pieces for a bride’s biggest day, andtakes her creative process very seriously: “You don’t want to overshadow the bride and her dress.” Her basic take on creating wedding jewelry is that she wants her clients to wear the jewelry over and over again. Think: timeless and classic.

What can you expect when working with Robyn to create one-of-a-kind pieces for your big day? For starters, Her attention to detail and her love of neutral stones that you will be able to wear for years past your wedding day. She also loves to layer, giving people the impression that it took you forever to get the look, when in actuality, it took about 30 seconds to put on.

“It is important for me to designs pieces that you can wear all different ways, so you get the most out of your RR piece,” she says. “I am always coming up with new designs, so every time someone logs onto my site, they will see something new!” One last note: all her materials are made in the USA. We think that’s pretty sparkly.

To view her beautiful collections and for 20% off, visit:
Mention code: RRFANS

Friday, April 16, 2010

Vendor Spotlight: Andrew Weeks, Photographer

Photographer Andrew Weeks began, like many young photographers, as a photographer’s assistant, carrying sand bags and cleaning lenses. One day the photographer let him shoot a few snaps of a wedding and that was it: Andrew fell in love with the art form. After that, he worked for several wedding and editorial photographers who gave him the perfect foundation and support that he needed to launch a great career flying solo. And he hasn’t looked back!

Andrew believes he has the best job in the world, telling us, “I get to capture these amazing moments in people’s lives, and know that on their 50th wedding anniversary my photos will bring them back to how they felt on their wedding day. It is an amazing feeling, knowing that my art can do that for someone.” Swoon.

Among his creative inspirations, Andrew has a soft spot for painters: especially Matisse, Seurat, and Rembrandt. Andrew not only shoots about 25 weddings a year, but he also shoots editorial for magazines, children’s portraiture, and exhibits his travel photography in art galleries. A favorite recent assignment has been shooting fashion spreads for Our Wedding magazine.

In an area filled to the brim with wedding photographers, Andrew stands out because he shoots exclusively digital photography. But, since he was trained on film, his images have a unique look-and-feel to them. Fresh, modern, and classic are all words that come to mind when describing his work. Now go see for yourself why we think Andrew is truly worth looking in to for your big day. View his work at:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Vendor Spotlight: Brix Restaurant, Napa, CA

Brix Restaurant (Napa, CA)

Brix may be a restaurant, but when it comes to hosting the quintessential Napa wedding, it goes far beyond typical. Matt Guyot of Brix’s Special Events Department shared his story with me: “My predecessors didn’t host a lot of weddings because of the work involved, but while I was the General Manager, I held my wedding here. We have a photo on our end table and it's the first thing I see when I enter our house and the last thing I see when I leave for work. It is a photo of us on the happiest day of our lives with this amazing backdrop at Brix.”

When Matt eventually moved into the Special Events Department, he realized that the amazing backdrop should also be sitting on other lucky couples’ end tables – not just his. So he began offering weddings in 2009 and since then, there are over 50+ houses decorated with lifetime memories of weddings at Brix.

Brix opened in 1996 and sits atop 16 acres of gorgeous property. It is surrounded by 12 acres of Cabernet vineyards from which its owners make the Kelleher Family Estate Wines. Brix also features its own greenhouse and over 30 raised vegetable and herb beds. Their garden is used year-round due to the dreamy climate. And most of all, Brix utilizes the farm-to-table philosophy as Executive Chef, Anne Gingrass-Paik, has created many relationships with local farmers.

Perfect for weddings, rehearsal and welcome dinners, Brix is beyond unique and versatile when it comes to venues. Aside from the gardens and vineyards (great ceremony site), with the wine train that runs along the back of the property, geese and ducks flying into their ponds, and the perfect sunset behind the Mayacaymus Mountains, this venue can’t be beat. Brix also offers a unique Sunday brunch buffet: the perfect way to bid adieu before heading off to SFO for your honeymoon.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Scene & Heard: Bridal Galleria Designer Sample Sale

You’ve seen it in the movies: A store with a one-day sample sale and women waiting outside for hours. The scene inside becomes a circus within seconds, women rush the racks, pushing and shoving anyone who comes too close to their favorite designer dress.’s entirely worth it for your big day!

Maximize your time and mirror real-estate: grab styles that you know you look good in, leave the ones that you know won’t work on you. And we all know those suckers are heavy. Use your instincts. Time is of the!

Now put it into practice: get up early this Saturday and head over to the Bridal Galleria in San Francisco. You’ll find designer wedding dresses at discounted prices by Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier, Badgley Mischka, Lazaro, and many more. Go with an open mind – we bet your wallet won’t be disappointed if you score the dress of your dreams. Who cares if the bottom is a bit frayed or a few beads are missing? That’s what a brilliant tailor is for!

The Bridal Galleria Designer Sample Sale
Saturday, April 17, 2010
3 Embarcadero Center
Lobby Level
San Francisco, CA 94111

Monday, April 12, 2010

Julia's Fashion File: Bubble Gum, Be Gone

Having been a Maid Of Honor myself, I know that shopping for bridesmaids’ dresses can be a bit tricky. Lucky for me, the bride chose an elegant, affordable dress that I still like to this day. However, ‘tis not the case for many maids and matrons out there adorning bubble gum pink mermaid dresses or who-knows-what-else down the aisle.

I have three rules when it comes to bridesmaid dress shopping:
  • It should be affordable by today’s standards. Not everyone has the money or the desire to drop upwards of $300 on a dress that they'll more than likely only wear once.
  • It should be a style that will flatter all of your bridesmaids’ body types. Consider allowing your bridesmaids to pick their own style of your chosen designer and color.
  • It is always a plus when your bridesmaids can use the dress again. It’s a long shot, but there are so many fashionable bridesmaid dresses out there these days.
After doing a little site searching, I came across this fantastic site for dresses: One (affordable!) designer in particular, Bari Jay, really caught my eye. I prefer a sassy short-length bridesmaid dress, and if I had to choose between some of the designs from this site, I would be a happy woman. The charmeuse, strapless bubble dress with a front twist bodice in green is my favorite style, but I also love-love-love the petal-detailed strapless dress, because it's so different from the stuff I've seen and it's completely wearable outside of a wedding.

There were also a few floor length designs that caught my eye. My favorite is the gown with the overlap bust and brown band but for longer lengths (on top), I found myself actually liking most of her stuff.

These designs are proof that there are definitely endless options to have classy, modern, beautiful bridesmaids… without stealing your thunder.

XOXO Jules

Friday, April 9, 2010

Vendor Spotlight: Thor Swift, Photographer

“Photography opened up a whole new world to me.” Thor Swift has been drawn to images all his life, spending his younger years pouring over copies of National Geographic, fascinated by the images of other cultures and people. By the time he graduated, he photographed everything from international business leaders to people on the fringes of society. He also worked in Eastern Europe, witnessing some wonderful people and events. He used a few of these images to create a story that was syndicated by the Associated Press.

So what does Thor like about shooting weddings: “They’re a celebration of life: it is just that simple. I am able to be a part of one of the most important celebrations of the human spirit,” and continuing, “Every wedding is an opportunity for complete creative freedom on my part. The couples we work with understand that to best document their celebration, it is best to allow their personality to blossom with out interference. My ultimate goal is to reflect the complete person and not impose my personality on a photograph.”

And what keeps Thor’s creativity fresh? “My 10-year-old twins. They get me up in the morning. And it is the joy that each day brings with the possibility of meeting some new people, learning their stories, and hopefully making some photographs.” He could list the photographers, writers, artists who are his inspirations but one truly stands out: his grandfather, Loren Hansen. A cattle rancher in Idaho; he loved the land and animals he worked with. He was a man of few words, but he truly loved what he did.

And so does Thor : “I love what I do and I think it shows in every aspect of my work. My style of photography is very emphatic; I’m able to get a sense of who someone is and communicate this to others. If a photographer does not truly love all people, I think they will not be a true success.”

This is a photographer worth talking to. View his beautiful work at

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Scene & Heard: Brocade Bridal Fair

Brocade Weddings is hosting their elegant wedding fair at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Foster City this Sunday, April 11. Featuring local vendors and wedding gown designers, you'll also receive a FREE trip to Las Vegas (insert elopement joke here) and $200 off their exclusive wedding packages.

Visit to learn more about the event and to preregister. For $10, it sounds like a great deal to us!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Vendor Spotlight: Parker’s Crazy Cookies

Check out these sweet treats:

When we came across Dave Parker’s website we wanted to know all about his background and about his unique cookies? So the story goes, Dave started baking cookies to make extra money while he lived in Spain. He wanted to do it back here in the U.S. but wanted a twist to make his cookies more...interesting. It was while working at Leapfrog that a light bulb went off: to make cookies that look like people! He started with sports figures but quickly started getting requests for weddings.
Dave loves baking for weddings. Of brides and grooms he says, “They are such happy people! Everyone is excited because they are moving towards something special and the custom cookies will make that wedding day even more special.”

Of his inspirations, Dave credits a lot of people, especially his old colleague Mike Wood of Leapfrog, who he says created a company and product out of thin air. He also credits his grandfather who built a business from the ground up.
It seems like Dave’s cookies are truly unique as there is nothing else out there like them. Dave tries his best to explain over the phone what his cookies are like, but you really have to see them to understand how fantastic and unique they are. They’re not the typical shaped cookies with frosting faces or an image on the frosting; they’re an actual, edible 3D sculpture! Check out his website for more unbelievable creations and don’t forget to bookmark it.