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.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Vendor Spotlight: Crave Bakery, San Francisco

These days, there are so many options for delicious baked goods and wedding cakes. Thank goodness for bakeries like Crave Bakery which caters to gluten-, casein- and wheat-free baked goods. Cameo Edwards, owner of Crave Bakery, opened the bakery after facing her own difficult health issues that were not easy to decipher by any doctor. It was during a trip to Thaliand that she realized she’d never felt better. She experimented with a gluten-free diet, alas it worked, and thus she was forced to learn a new way of cooking and baking. In 2003, she created an ideal wheat-free brownie which satisfied her craving for the sweets she’d been missing out on. That brownie was the turning point: Crave Bakery was born.

After 5 years of developing her wholesale business which now has a presence in 12 states, she brought in Allison Hobson to help form Crave's custom cake branch, creating delicious and beautiful allergen-free masterpieces. In these last 2 years, they've begun branching out from gluten-free to embrace combinations also of vegan, dairy-, cassein-, sugar-, and soy-free cakes and cupcakes. Allison received an advanced degree in Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Fully embracing this experience, she apprenticed for nearly five years with Cecile Gady, one of the top cake innovators, Cakework, in San Francisco. Her two years working with Elizabeth Faulkner at Citizen Cake also prepared her for her star role with Crave Bakery. Cameo says Allison is easy to work with, syncing clients’ visions and her creative drive to make the most special cake imaginable.

Crave Bakery focuses in on what they consider the centerpiece of the wedding reception, working with the bride and groom to create an ideal and yet healthy fit to the aesthetic of their plans for their most perfect day. “The planning and the care that goes into the cakes and cupcakes is a joyful process and there is a sense of teamwork,” says Cameo. As for their inspirations in the kitchen, Cameo says she personally is inspired by the continuing aspirations of branching out into a more allergen-free line of products; something sweet and elegant for every occasion. “Everyone deserves a celebratory sweet!” she exclaims.

So what can you expect from working with Crave Bakery? Besides a wedding cake or baked good that can satisfy just about any food-sensitive need, Crave has been working diligently to brining the sweet to the discerning and sensitive sweet tooth for seven years. Providing wedding and celebratory cakes and cupcakes to the gluten-intolerant and allergen-free community now for the last two years, Crave is deeply dedicated and doing their very best to support a growing need. Totally Bridebound approved!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Venue Spotlight: Franciscan Estate, St. Helena

We were so lucky to take a private tour of Franciscan Estate in St. Helena last month. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and a wonderful fit for a wedding or wedding-related celebration, big or small. And just as perfect timing would have it, a bride and her maids were getting ready just as we strolled in. The separate rooms are classically decorated with dark woods and neutral tones and the tables set up were just fantastic.

Revolutionaries Raymond Duncan, Justin Meyer, and Agustin Huneeus shaped the winery’s beginnings, leading the winery to greatness through innovation and a commitment to small-lot winemaking. The winery can accommodate groups of up to 120 guests for lunch or dinner and up to 300 for a standing reception with Hors d’oeuvres.

Because of local permit restrictions, they are unable to accommodate wedding ceremonies, but they can help you find the perfect location nearby. Andrea Borchers, of Events in the Vines, handles all the event coordination for Franciscan Estate as well as four other beautiful properties in which we’ll profile in the coming weeks. Once you speak with her, you’ll know you’re in great hands. She knows the area and local vendors like the back of her hand and will help you plan the wedding of your dreams. Contact her directly at: