Chic and Urban Surprise Wedding in San Francisco

Destination wedding? No. Elopement? No. Surprise wedding? Yes! We’re so thrilled to share Sarah and Dan’s surprise wedding with you today; the busy couple had just started their own company, and weren’t sure how to fit planning a wedding into their hectic schedules. So, a short 10 week engagement and surprise wedding with just 40 guests gathered in their favorite spots: San Francisco and Big Sur.

Says the bride, “Our number one goal was to create a meaningful escape with our friends & family to celebrate such an important day. We wanted to eliminate as many headaches as possible to keep things simple and fun.”

Read on for more of the couple’s story:
“Dan and I met in St. Louis, Mo as teenagers. We dated throughout high school, during our time at separate universities, graduate school, etc. I became an architect and Dan a graphic & web designer. After a few years of working in the real world we decided to start a product development company together. Many people who start their own businesses can trace the decision back to a pivotal moment. Ours was after a long day of hiking in Big Sur, watching the sunset on Pfeiffer Beach, coming to the realization that it was time to take the plunge. 

The vision for our wedding was a chic-urban-meets-organic juxtaposition. This inspired our venue choices: San Francisco City Hall and a private Big Sur Estate. We’ve fallen in love with San Francisco over the years traveling back and forth for work and City Hall has such a wonderful combination of intricate details while still maintaining clean lines. The historic architecture and sense of permanence seemed perfect for our ceremony. Big Sur already held such a special place in our hearts so we couldn’t think of a better spot to escape for the reception. 

As people who love spacial design we wanted awe inspiring venues for the wedding, and they did not disappoint. Especially the Wind and Sea Estate – there were whales, dolphins and sea lions off the coast. Toasts were accentuated by the magical glow of sunset and gorgeous Northern California foliage. Even the 3 hour drive from City Hall to Big Sur was an important part of our day – taking a few hours to ourselves to enjoy the scenery change, and reflect on our day together was a lot of fun. 

For the details we wanted to stay true to our minimalist aesthetic by keeping everything clean and simple. Decor consisted of greens, whites, grays and golds inspired by stones found on Pfeiffer Beach. Our guest list was small allowing us to spoil everyone with an organic, farm-to-table meal and gourmet smore’s around the bonfire. The flowers were soft and organic with white peonies and local wild greenery. We used concrete vases, gold table numbers, mod flatware and stones found on the Big Sur beaches to merge urban and organic. To apply a few personal touches, Dan and I made our invitations, signage and road trip snack packs for our guests. Believe it or not, my parents actually drove everything cross-country for the wedding and we couldn’t be more grateful for all of their help! “

Photography: Clary Pfeiffer | Reception Venue: Wind & Sea Estate | Dress: Amsale | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Earrings: Katie Waltman | Groom’s Suit: Hugo Boss | Caterer: Cheri Gladstone | Floral / Styling: Celeste Green | Hair & Make-Up: Mimi & Taylor | Flatware: Frances Lane | Rentals: Alexis Party Rental | Cake: Parker-Lusseau Pastries & Cafe

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12.09.15 / Featured, Real Weddings, Real Weddings Blog

Outdoor Summer Bridal Portrait Session

We love the tradition of bridal portraits, and this summer session from the Elisa Bricker Photography Workshop is nothing short of beautiful. From the bride’s stunning Carol Hannah gown to her elegant but unfussy hair style, every image of this collection shows her simple happiness and evokes a lovely romanticism. And that bouquet? Those peach and gold hues couldn’t be more welcome in the summer.

Looking for more inspiration for your own bridal portraits? Don’t miss this session featuring a bride and her stunning lace gown, Victoria’s Secret model Britt Maren’s portraits with 2 of the most amazing bouquets you’ll ever see, and this dreamy session when the magnolias were in full bloom.

More from the photographer, Elisa Bricker:
“This bridal portrait, taken during the Elisa Bricker Photography workshop, was inspired by the light and mountain views at Pippin Hill farm and a desire to provide a clean and feminine shoot for attendees. Designed to focus to movement, the hair and makeup are unfussy and light, and the dress moves easily. Lush neutral florals, designed by Jacin Fitzgerald, with pops of color brighten the mood.”

Photography: Elisa Bricker | Design + Florals: Jacin Fitzgerald | Styling: Abby Capalbo | Venue: Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyard | Hair and Makeup: Lora Kelley | Gown: Carol Hannah | Ring: Trumpet + Horn | Earrings: Kate Spade | Cameras: Contax Rental | Model: Marisa Pazik of THE Artist Agency

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12.08.15 / Featured, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Ideas Blog

DIY Garden Inspired Wedding Bouquet

Lush, asymmetrical, garden-style bouquets are coveted by today’s brides. Thanks in part to the renaissance of small flower farms and the popularity of the seasonal flower movement, the availability of locally-grown blooms continues to expand.  Here, Erin Benzakein of Floret, demonstrates how to make a hand-tied bridal bouquet with seasonal flowers.  As both a flower farmer and floral designer, Erin specializes in crafting fresh-from-the-garden designs that make brides swoon.

Bouquet ingredients include: garden roses, dahlias, lisianthus, zinnia, foxglove, stock, rose foliage, chocolate cosmos and heuchera.

Here are Erin’s tips for creating gorgeous garden-inspired bouquets with seasonal flowers:

1.      Establish shape: To start, choose foliage with sturdy, arching stems in order to create the overall bouquet shape. Take two stems and make an X, and then add in a third stem to create a splayed-out triangle. When holding your bouquet, avoid using a tight grip with your entire fist. Instead, use the tips of your fingers to hold the stems loosely.

2.      Build your foundation: Begin layering in supporting greens, echoing the original triangle shape you established at the start. I generally work with one ingredient at a time, evenly spacing each stem around in a circle, working clockwise.

3.      Thread in color: Now it’s time to start adding in the flowers. Begin by adding in smaller flowers and work up to the bigger blooms. Be sure to give the flowers “room to breathe.” In other words, don’t try cramming a bunch of flowers into a tight, dense cluster; you want your bouquet to have a light, airy feel to it.

4.      Finish with airy accents: After placing all of the primary flowers, weave in any delicate accents, such as grasses, or any frilly or umbel-shaped flowers. These elements should occupy a separate “plane” of the bouquet, which may be slightly higher or extended outward just beyond the larger flowers that form the shape of the bouquet.

5.      Fluff and finish: You may find that you need to raise or lower the flowers in your bouquet in order for it to form the shape you prefer. With a loose grip, gently pull the stems up or down in order to ensure each flower is placed correctly. When finished, use waterproof tape to wrap the bouquet stems followed by a ribbon wrap in a color that complements the flowers.  Enjoy your creation!

Flowers:  Floret | Photography:  Heather Payne Photography | Photo Lab: Richard Photo Lab

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12.07.15 / Featured, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Ideas Blog

Celebrating the Holidays with Zola Registry

The holidays: the perfect time to come together with family and friends, celebrating the past year and looking forward to the days to come. And what better way is there to spend time with your loved ones than sharing delicious food?

Our top holiday staples are baking essentials (wouldn’t you love to recreate the childhood memories of decorating Christmas cookies with grandma?) and entertaining essentials (to show your parents you can host just as well as they can!). For the former, our trusted friends at Zola Wedding Registry have the perfect items you need to create your own baking traditions, just in ways that are a little more chic: a metallic stand mixer, a set of sweet cookie stamps, and even the basics like a handy cooling rack.

For the latter, Zola also has the pieces you’ll need to serve up an amazing feast in style. Add that classic-with-a-twist dinnerware or choose a clean-lined carafe for your newlywed home. Your registry is more than just gifts – it’s so you’re ready for all moments with family and friends that newlywed life will bring.

When the holidays have come and gone and new memories have been made, don’t worry about putting those beautiful Zola pieces away. Learn how to style your kitchen shelves here and see more of our favorite items from Zola.

Recently engaged? Start a registry with Zola and receive a $25 credit to spend on the site!

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12.07.15 / Featured, New Sponsor Blog