Monday, November 29, 2010

Vendor Spotlight: the girl & the fig CATERS! Sonoma Catering

As the the girl & the fig restaurant has always been a Bridebound favorite for weekend jaunts up to Sonoma, it’s natural that we’d insist on blogging about the girl & the fig CATERS! We connected with the fabulous Andrea Koweek, Director of Catering, and we had a slew of newlyweds-to-be common questions for her about their catering services. She tells us their catering offering was a natural progression of the girl & the fig brand. For years guests like us had been asking them to create the girl & the fig experience at offsite locations and so they simply did! Andrea tells us their catering menus are an extension of their restaurant cooking philosophy; seasonal, local and country food with a French passion. Their ultimate goal is to deliver the same warm hospitality in any location that guests receive at the restaurants. Um yeah, we’re hooked.

As for weddings, Andrea says, “We are so lucky to work with people on the happiest days of their life. Whether it is a wedding, anniversary, birthday, graduation or reunion we love helping people celebrate with food and wine in a way that suits them. The best part for us is that most of our clients have already had the girl & the fig experience at one of our restaurants and they truly want what we have to offer. We love when clients have new ideas that we can incorporate into our menus so they can feel a personal connection to the food.” One of the girl & the fig CATERS! favorite trends is tasting menus at weddings. This past year Andrea tells us she saw a lot of small and large weddings where the focus was on the guests sitting down to enjoy a multi-course meal paired with wines. Clients today have had these great experiences in restaurants and want to re-create that for their special occasions. So it’s really a perfect fit with the wine country locations and it’s a lot of fun for them to work on these types of creative menus with the couples. We so dig it.

If you haven’t been up to the girl & the fig restaurant you’re probably wondering what you’ll experience. Andrea tells us that Sonoma inspires her staff – they continue to expand on the products that they’re making in-house and picking from their very own gardens. Their house made charcuterie, vinegars and the produce they grow all encourage them to think creatively about how to incorporate these into new dishes and make existing menu items better. The vineyards that they partner with us also inspire them to figure out new and interesting dishes that complement their wines.

You can expect to have a great experience from start to finish when you begin the process with the girl & the fig CATERS! “Many people are hiring a caterer for the first time and don’t realize how much beyond food we do,” Andrea tells us. “We assist with venue selection, vendor recommendations, design, timelines, rentals, wine pairing selections and rehearsal dinners for those who need or want those services from us. Most importantly, we listen to our clients and help them create a beautiful day that reflects them as a couple.” Well said, from one of our absolute favorite vendors in all of the Bay Area.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Scene & Heard: Jim Hjelm Trunk Show

Always of a fan of Jim Hjelm (we've worn him twice as a Bridesmaid,) The Jim Hjelm Bridal collection, designed by Francesca Pitera, will be shown at the Bridal Galleria in San Francisco starting this Thursday. You'll even be able to meet Ms. Pitera in person! What a delight to actually meet a potential could-be designer for your dress. From the event description, "Her talent for combining luxurious fabrics and delicate embroidery on prĂȘt-a-porter silhouettes give the collection a unique feel of being traditional with a modern edge." Sounds like a fantastic preview to all we know about her craft.

Hop to it!
Where: Bridal Galleria, Embarcadero 3, San Francisco
When: December 2-5

Friday, November 26, 2010

Vendor Spotlight: Pat Gibbons, San Francisco Bay Area Wedding Floral Designer

A true seasoned professional, Pat Gibbons moved to the Bay Area from Cambridge in 1981 where she’d been working in the Events Department at the Museum of Science in Boston. Her career in floral design began when she walked into a flower shop in Berkeley and was hired on the spot. It was an easy transition that combined many of her interests: flowers, art and gardening. From the moment she started, she tells us she loved designing with flowers and it’s never stopped. All you have to do is look at her work to understand why! She’s even been invited to participate in the prestigious Bouquets to Art, held at the De Young Museum in San Francisco for the past 22 years.

“It’s my love of color, texture and bringing interesting elements together that keeps everything fresh,” she tells us. “Every season brings a whole new flower palette. I enjoy meeting people for consultations and hearing about their ideas and find it a fun process to develop innovative designs. Because I limit the number of weddings I do to one per weekend day, I offer personalized and detailed service and great value. On the day of the wedding, I’m always on-site for the delivery and setting up of the flowers.”

While everything starts with service and quality, Pat strives to bring ‘style-design-beauty’ to everything she does. She has a great reputation with both her clients and peers and is known for her artistry, service and the expertise that comes from designing for 29 years. And true to the Bay Area, Pat strives to be a green as poss
ible; recycling, using local vendors and products. We think she’s divine and so will you. Stop by at:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Spotted: Suzanne Yee, Bay Area Portrait Artist

Suzanne Yee is a lifelong artist. She tells us, “People have been my favorite subject since I was 6 years old, when I padded my stick figures, trying to make them look more realistic. Since then I’ve learned a lot more about anatomy, which is still one of my favorite subjects.” She is always studying and learning. In 2009, she took a portrait painting intensive because she wanted to learn from the teacher, Carl Dobsky. “His portraits were different from others I had seen,” she says and continuing, “More emotional and powerful, yet quiet. I had done portraits of friends and family before, but it was only after taking that painting intensive that I considered painting portraits professionally.” And so she began focusing part of her art on painting couples.

Suzanne says she enjoys working with couples because she’s a romantic at heart. In her work she tries her best to bring out the body language that expresses the trust, playfulness and affection between two people. We love this and think her art is a great idea for a gift for your honey or perhaps even a wedding gift for a couple. Should you do a sitting with Suzanne, you can expect a low-key, relaxed setting for the photo and modeling session. And she’s happy to show you the portrait’s progress with photos throughout the process it takes for the final piece of art to be completed. She says many couples enjoy watching the portrait evolve as it moves toward the finish. “Seeing yourself in a painting or drawing is like hearing your name in another language, exotic and familiar at the same time,” she says. “I like to create that moment of recognition, and make it a pleasant surprise.” We couldn’t agree more. We adore Suzanne’s work.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Scene & Heard: Marina Morrison Black Friday Sample Sale

Come this Friday, Marina Morrison will be holding a 1-Day Sample Sale. If you haven't been there yet, it's one of the more beautiful Bay Area bridal boutiques and they will absolutely treat you like a princess. Word on the street is that many of their sample gowns will be significantly discounted: a fantastic time to get a designer gown for a bargain.

More from their event listing:

First come, first served. No appointments will be taken.

Doors will open for the sale at 2pm. Shared dressing rooms will be provided to try on gowns.

No hold policy. Cash and credit card only; No checks.

All gowns sold must be taken at time of purchase.

Hop to it! Marina Morrison, 30 Maiden Ln., San Francisco.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Venue Spotlight: The Brazilian Room, Berkeley

Intimate, rustic, and classic are all words that come to mind when we think of this spectacular and “very Bay Area" wedding venue option. The Brazilian Room is in Wildcat Canyon in Tilden Regional Park in the Berkeley Hills and seats 150 banquet-style. It’s one of the most popular wedding sites in California, hosting over 200 weddings a year. Think lodge meets elegance. Its historic hall features the original interior hardwood paneling from the Brazilian Pavilion at the 1939 Golden Gate Exposition on Treasure Island. The paneling was donated to the East Bay Regional Park District, who then built a building of local rock and timber to house the paneling and the hall became known as the Brazilian Room. The inside is Old English Tudor style with floor-to-ceiling leaded glass windows, while the outside features a flagstone patio that overlooks the expansive lawn and the beautiful trees of Tilden Park. Perfect place for an outdoor ceremony.

When you inquire about the facilities, you will connect with Michael McNally, who couldn’t be more friendly and passionate about the Brazilian Room, along with the other beautiful venues offered through the East Bay Regional Park District. Michael tells us they host an Open House at the Brazilian Room every Tuesday from 1 pm to 8 pm, except for the 4th Tuesday of the month. The other facilities are available for viewing by appointment, and we’ll be sure to feature them in the coming weeks and months here on Bridebound Blog.

Lucky for you, Michael tells us they have a list of 13 Approved Caterers who are some of the top caterers in the San Francisco Bay Area. He assures us they know the facilities well and can act as a wedding coordinator as well. Michael is also happy to provide you with other vendors like photographers and florists, though you’re free to bring in your own. The Brazilian Room allows a non-catered option (at an additional fee) where you can provide your own food, however, you cannot bring in a Caterer that is not on their Approved List. Should you bring in your own food, you’d then be responsible for table and chair set up, tear down and the initial clean up. The non-catered option is restricted and can only be used on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at the Brazilian Room. Note beer, wine and champagne are allowed at the Brazilian Room, but no hard liquor.

The Brazilian Room stands out for so many reasons: price, beauty, location and the attention-to-detail, which you can’t miss as you take a tour of the property. It’s totally Bridebound approved and we think you should hop to it come your next free Tuesday.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Madeleine Tilin, San Francisco Bay Area Wedding Photography

We had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Madeleine quite recently and how could we not blog about her? Madeleine Tilin is a photojournalistic wedding and portrait photographer in the San Francisco Bay area. Her love of photography stems from a favorite childhood memory: her grandmother playing family slides for her on a projector. “I knew some of the people, not all,” she says, “But the images gave me a sense of history and community. I was hooked.” Graduating with a degree in journalism, she worked as an art director, graphic designer and photo editor in the magazine publishing industry for many years. In 1996, during extended travels in Asia, she realized that photography was her true calling. She has been shooting weddings, events and portraits in the Bay Area for four years.

Because of her background in graphic design and art direction, she tells us she really enjoys experimenting with filters and effects when the situation calls for it. “I try not to overuse them,” she explains, “But I find they can enhance a mood or transform the energy in an image. My custom work on images can be included in certain packages if the client is interested in this option.” Madeleine also tells us she loves love. “Who wouldn't enjoy being around that energy? It's an honor to be invited into this day to document all of the energy, love, emotion, crazy, fun moments and sacred, quiet moments that encompass a wedding day. My radar is wide and very pointed at the same time. I'm so ‘in the moment’ with the person I am shooting, but at a wedding you have to be really aware of everything going on around you. One thing you can't learn is great timing: I have it. Otherwise, you just have pictures of people with no story.” Looking at her work, you can see what she means.

She tells us her influences behind the lens are music, nature, yoga, and her own history. Photographically, Annie Leibowitz, Richard Avedon and Dorthea Lange are her portraiture heroes. “Staying fresh as an artist means being open to these influences around you all the time,” she says, “It means constantly looking at other photographers' work to see what works, what doesn't. It means going to museums and galleries and taking in other mediums of art and reflecting on what the connections are between what I'm looking at and what I do. It means being curious and understanding nuance.”

Should you choose to have Madeleine with you on your Big Day, you will no doubt have an artist and friend by your side. “When I meet a couple for the first time, I'm really trying to get a sense of who they are as people. Before we take another step together, I tell them it is important that we feel comfortable around each other because I will be following them around for 8 hours, and that's just the wedding!” for more insanely beautiful images, totally Bridebound approved.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Vendor Spotlight: Verde Flowers, Santa Rosa Floral Design

Photographer: Joy Marie
Photographer: Joy Marie
Sara Mcconneloug of Verde Flowers stumbled upon floral design quite uniquely. After a BA in English and History, she worked on a biointensive farm in Southern Yosemite. She instantly fell in love with design and companion planting. Discovering that farming was hard work, she returned to work cleaning buckets at the local florist shop, determined to glean more about design. Floristry classes at San Francisco City College and hands-on experience in several event studios led her to a full-time career as a floral designer.

Photographer: Susan Adler

People find Sara largely due to her positive word-of-mouth reputation which she says gives her working relationship a great starting place. She works closely with couples to come up with a look they love for a price that works. “Making a wedding celebration a personal reflection of my clients make my work interesting and every event unique,” she says.

She tells us her mother’s garden has been a huge inspiration. “The sacredness of making and keeping a home and kitchen garden takes skill, determination and love. My siblings and I had the best playground: an undeveloped parcel of land in Fairfax with a meadow edged by bay trees and blackberries. The natural beauty of Marin continues to shape my designs. Hiking with my husband and shopping at the Farmers Markets keep me going. There are so many independent-minded, small farms in Santa Rosa where we live.” She says the change of seasons also keeps her fresh: as the weather changes, so do the flowers, fruit and foliage. “Hard to say goodbye to the juicy dahlias, hydrangea, garden roses and late summer apples and lingering sunlight. Snowberries, narcisssus, peonies and citrus and rain that we all need are ahead,” she says, thoughtfully.

Photographer: Richard Wood
Photographer: Richard Wood

We love Sara’s work. Totally Mother Nature inspired and you can see it in every aspect of her designs. Verde Flowers is hands down Bridebound approved.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Vendor Spotlight: Global Gourmet Catering, San Francisco

Global Gourmet Catering opened its kitchen doors in 1999 by co-founders Laura Lyons, Mark Walker and David Ashley. With backgrounds in the restaurant industry, the three teamed up to bring restaurant-caliber service and cuisine to the Bay Area catering world. Their combined history enabled them to think outside of the “catering box,” leading to the development of catering firsts like large scale multi-ethnic stations menus. Also the first certified green catering company in all of Northern California, GGC prides themselves on using local, seasonal, organic ingredients and sustainably-farmed produce, meats and seafood.

The GGC team of highly-trained chefs extend their expertise by cooking food on-site at events in order to ensure the perfect execution of the menu. So this means what you try at your tasting will be exactly what you’ll devour at your wedding. A site-manager will be assigned to your wedding, available to address any pressing needs and flawless execution. And their top-notch service staff will make your Big Day shine, using the most experienced and professionally-trained wait staff and bartenders. In addition, should you need custom lighting, beverage services, photographers, planners, transportation or any other vendor, GGC has a name or place to refer. You may also plan a design meeting that allows you to see a mock version of your slated wedding in their showroom.

GGC tells us they absolutely love creating ethnic menus for weddings. “Being global, GGC loves challenges and customizing menus. Over the years, we have accumulated fantastic Indian, Asian, Mediterranean, Latin and other international menus, but continue to customize and create new items for each client,” says Lauren Entner, Catering & Events Sales Manager. They even say if a bride or groom were to list a few restaurant favorite menu items, their chefs have been known to recreate it with a twist in their honor!

“As a chef in such a diverse market as San Francisco, it’s easy to look around and see the wealth of cultures that have come to call the Bay Area home. I love to experience small-neighborhood restaurants that put emphasis on bringing their country's food and culture to the U.S.,” says Executive Chef, Eric Magnani, of his kitchen’s inspirations. A veteran chef with over 25 years cooking abroad, he’s a trendsetter and is constantly pushing the envelope on flavors, textures, aesthetics and menu design. Exactly what you want to awe your guests.

Bottom line: Bridebound approved. GGC absolutely loves what they do and it truly shows. From their food presentation, to the quality of food, to the level of professional, genuine staff members and beyond, this is a passionate catering team you want on your side for your Big Day.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Venue Spotlight: Epic Roasthouse, San Francisco

If you’re looking for an absolutely breathtaking seaside venue for a smaller, more intimate wedding or engagement party, consider Epic Roasthouse on the Embarcadero. We’re calling urban chic on this one. Located on the waterfront and featuring panoramic views of the Bay Bridge, Treasure Island and our beautiful city skyline, Epic seats up to 60 in their elegant Bay Room, on their second floor, purposely set on its own for private events.

Beyond your traditional steak house, Epic offers a gorgeous space and a unique menu that combines the traditional and the contemporary. Chef Jan Birnbaum has packed his menu with fish, fowl, and of course, a fantastic selection of meats and steaks. The wine menu lists over 400, impressive, even considering where we are in the world of wine production. Should you call to take a tour, you will meet Nita Howard, Director of Sales and Business Development and Kevin Biggerstaff, Private Dining Room Director. Both consummate professionals, you will be treated like royalty and they will provide you with personalized, friendly service. They can help with your every need for your Big Day, from on-site planning to vendor referrals.

Besides from Epic being a special venue in San Francisco, Nita tells us about some of the recent events that they’ve been a part of. Rich Bride / Poor Bride just wrapped up taping there and will air in 2011 and Chef Birnbaum recently created a steak tartare birthday cake for Ron Owens at his celebrity studded birthday held there.

Epic is beyond worth visiting; the space is gorgeous and is the perfect place to host a celebration around your Big Day.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Spotted: SusieCakes, San Francisco Bakery & Wedding Cakes

Stumbling down Chestnut Street in San Francisco a few months back, my mouth dropped. The most beautiful, enticing storefront adorned with a glass case full of absolutely precious cupcakes, cakes and cake slices to-go stood before my eyes. Then the Daily Candy posting followed. Then the press; all as delightful as her work. I became hooked and connected with her soon after after hoping, praying she did wedding and shower cakes. Of course she does(!) and her story is just as sweet as her bakery.

Susan of SusieCakes just opened her doors in SF after being in LA for many years. Having lived in SF before moving to LA, she tells us it’s always been in her master plan to bring her delicious and beautiful cakes back to SF. The bakery is a tribute to her grandmothers who baked every day back in Chicago where she’s from.

Susan says designing custom cakes is one of the best part of her job. “We do wedding cakes as well as groom's cakes and sweet tables for showers and rehearsal dinners. We recently created a whole event around a Candyland theme - we added retro candy elements to our desserts - cupcakes with crushed malted milk balls in the frosting, sugar cookies shaped like lollipops, almond joy layer cake. Every day is inspiring - we never make the same custom cake twice.”

So, why SusieCakes? Well Besides from her beautiful, mouthwatering bakery on Chestnut Street in the Marina, couples can expect a personalized tasting and old-fashioned goodness in their wedding cake. And they bake entirely from scratch with natural ingredients (no mixes, no shortening, no preservatives), specializing in American buttercream. Our personal fave? Oh, treat yourself to a piece of her confetti cake topped with dreamy mint-colored frosting.

Run, don’t walk to either of her Bay Area storefronts:

2109 Chestnut Street, San Francisco

310 Bon Air Ctr, Bon Air Shopping Center, Greenbrae