Guests From 19 Different Countries Traveled to San Francisco for This Couple’s Modern Wedding

 California, Real Weddings, San Francisco  Comments Off on Guests From 19 Different Countries Traveled to San Francisco for This Couple’s Modern Wedding
Nov 092016
 
Modern San Francisco Wedding, Bride and Groom Portrait

Photo: Amina Touray

It was only fitting that winemaker Andrea McBride got engaged surrounded by vines. Even better, Fabian John's proposal story was pretty much the stuff movies are made of. Under the guise of celebrating their fifth anniversary, Fabian bought out a St. Helena, California, winery for the day so that he and Andrea had the place entirely to themselves. "One moment we were sipping Sauvignon Blanc in the vineyard, and the next thing I knew he was down on one knee proposing," Andrea says. But the made-for-the-movies magic doesn't end there. "He commissioned an oil painter to paint us post-engagement as we sat in the middle of the vineyard, drinking wine and nibbling on this amazing spread of meat and cheese." Sigh.

The couple's July 11, 2016, wedding was just as magical. With a ceremony held at San Francisco's epic Palace of Fine Arts and a reception at a chic city restaurant, the couple blended breathtaking backgrounds with clean, modern design and delicious food. They also added a hint of their various cultures — from New Zealand and Barbados to Iran and even Alabama — into the decorations of the day. "We wanted to keep things simple, but still very unique to us," the bride explains. Read on to see how Flutter Events helped this twosome bring their vision to life, as captured by Amina Touray.

Modern San Francisco Wedding, Bride in Badgley Mischka Couture Gown with Beaded Details Modern San Francisco Wedding, Wedding Bands

Photo: Amina Touray

Andrea looked incredible in her Badgley Mischka wedding dress, and she has a last-minute change of heart to thank for her finding it. Just six weeks before the wedding (and despite having already bought another dress), the bride-to-be went shopping again. "I just felt like the first one wasn't me," she says. "As soon as I put this one on, I said, 'yes,' out loud."

The dress stood out with it's crystal-embellished shoulders and fitted bodice. "It reminded me of a very decorated military uniform, in a way. It felt like a metaphor for how I've lived life, earned my stars and stripes through the good and the bad and now I was ready to walk down the isle as an accomplished woman to marry the love of my life," says Andrea, who works as an entrepreneur and wine maker.

The couple's rose gold wedding bands were purchased at Cartier. And of course, the couple had plenty of celebratory wine on hand for the big day, including a selection from the bride's own label, McBride Sisters.

Modern San Francisco Wedding, Bride with Bridesmaids in Pink Dresses From J.Crew Modern San Francisco Wedding, Groom with Groomsmen in Black Tuxedos Modern San Francisco Wedding, Wedding Party

Photo: Amina Touray

Along with her bridesmaids, who wore a variety of peach-hued dresses from J. Crew, Andrea welcomed a brides-man into her party. The brides-man and Fabian's groomsmen all donned black tuxedos for the big day, but Andrea's attendant stood out by wearing a skinny neck tie rather than a bow tie.

The couple incorporated their cultures into the wedding in the women's bouquets. Ferns, the national symbol of new Zealand, and camellias, the state flower of Alabama, were the primary blooms in each round arrangements.

Modern San Francisco Wedding, Ceremony Venue Modern San Francisco Wedding, Bride and Father Walking Down the AIsle Modern San Francisco Wedding, Outdoor Wedding Ceremony Modern San Francisco Wedding, Greenery Ceremony Arch Modern San Francisco Wedding, Bride and Groom Exchanging Vows

Photo: Amina Touray

The couple chose the Palace of Fine Arts for their ceremony site not only because it's an iconic venue, but because it's one of their favorite places to visit together. With its ornate arches and stone architecture, Andrea and Fabian knew they'd need little in the way of décor. They added an arch made of lush greenery and twisted branches held in two rustic urns as their altar. There, the couple exchanged vows they wrote themselves, and asked two friends to share readings. "One of our friend's changed the words to the song, 'No Diggity,' and personalized the lyrics to us," says Andrea. "We laughed so hard."

Modern San Francisco Wedding, Watercolor Seating Chart Modern San Francisco Wedding, Long Reception Tables in Modern Restaurant Modern San Francisco Wedding, Modern White Reception Modern San Francisco Wedding, Place Settings with Ferns

Photo: Amina Touray

Everyone then moved to Sens Restaurant, which is owned by one of the couple's dear friends, for the reception. "We often happy hour there and have celebrated multiple New Years Eve's there," Andrea says, so it was a natural choice for their wedding day. Another plus? The restaurant has the most amazing views.

Since they knew they loved the bones of their venue, all Andrea and Fabian really needed to do was add a little personalization. On a seating chart, as well as their invitations and menu cards, guests found a custom crest that represented both the bride and groom's different backgrounds. The design featured the fern and camellia that the newlyweds included in their flowers, and also added in a Persian lion and the national bird of Barbados. The menu reflected their cultures, too, with choices like New Zealand grilled angus flat iron, Fattoush salad, and southern friend chicken. Naturally, each meal came with generous pours of McBride Sisters wine.

Andrea and Fabian kept the design of their reception clean and modern, with long white tables decked out with white floral arrangements and gold flatware. Rows of chairs were made more comfortable with the addition of plush white pillows.

"We used green moss to cover the windows and add a nice pop of color, along with some hanging greenery installations over the tables," says the bride. "And you know we had to have the best stemware for the wine!"

Modern San Francisco Wedding, Wine Entertainer

Photo: Amina Touray

In addition to a five-piece band that played throughout the night, the couple hired entertainers who carried giant bottles of McBride Sisters wine, complete with sparklers.

Modern San Francisco Wedding, Three-Tier Wedding Cake

Photo: Amina Touray

Andrea and Fabian served a three-tier wedding cake made of layers of carrot, lemon, and salted chocolate caramel cake.

Modern San Francisco Wedding, Cake Cutting Modern San Francisco Wedding, Bride in Black and White Beaded Reception Dress

Photo: Amina Touray

At the reception, Andrea changed into a Balmain dress that had no fewer than 5,000 beads. "It literally felt like it was 40 pounds," says Andrea. "I had to have my sister help lift it onto me and zip it up."

As amazing wearing as that dress was, Andrea says the best part of their big day was having all their friends and family there to celebrate with them. "It was the United Nations of weddings," she jokes. "We had family and friends from 19 countries in attendance."

Ceremony Venue: Palace of Fine Arts || Reception Venue & Catering: Sens Restaurant || Wedding Planner: Flutter Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Badgley Mischka; Balmain || Jewelry: Ritz Jewelers || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair & Makeup: Style Bee || Bridesmaids' Dresses: J. Crew || Groom's Attire: Tom Ford || Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tuxa> || Wedding Bands: Cartier || Florist: Revel Floral || Invitations: ID 26 || Music: Bayonics || Cake & Favors: Natty Cakes || Rentals: La Tavola Linens; Classic Party Rentals || Videographer & Photographer: Amina Touray

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Loving what you see here? Then check out another couple's California nuptials in the video below.

BRIDES Northern California: 5 Locally-Made Favors for Your Vineyard Wedding

 California, Favors & Gifts, Local, San Francisco, Wedding Favors  Comments Off on BRIDES Northern California: 5 Locally-Made Favors for Your Vineyard Wedding
Nov 092016
 
Vineyard Wedding Favor IDeas

Photo: Anthony Hoang of Lover of Mine

A wedding in Northern California's most famed wine country region is unforgettable on many levels: gorgeous scenery, relaxed California vibe, and, of course, amazing wine! If you're lucky enough to have your wedding take place in the magical Napa or Sonoma regions, then you want your big day to be special for everyone coming in to celebrate with you. While planning your epic wine country wedding, make sure to consider how you can make your guests' journey extra special. Here are some unique ideas for gifts to give to your closest friends and family that will allow them to take a little bit of beautiful wine country home with them.

For wine enthusiasts:
While a bottle of wine is an obvious — and still very thoughtful — choice for a wedding guest gift, there are often other beverage options available from many wineries. Anaba Winery in Sonoma offers their delicious red and white port wines in smaller, less bulky bottles adorably named Aeroports. The famous Coppola Winery (as in Francis Ford) makes sparkling wine in mini cans complete with straws for on-the-go imbibing. They're named for his daughter Sofia, and come in party-perfect pink boxes.

For a taste of something different:
California wine country is also known for producing delicious olive oil. Many wineries create a variety of flavors and infusions — think jalapeno, thyme, white truffle — which makes for a perfect non-alcoholic gift. Sampler bottles, like those from The Olive Press, offer mini takeaways that make ideal wedding favors. Read real brides' reviews here!

See More: Still Need a Wedding Photographer? Check Out These Local Shutterbugs

For that hint of local flavor:
Amidst the lush rolling hills of Napa and Sonoma counties, you'll also find a thriving scene of locally made goods. What better way to take a piece with you than with some gifts from locally sourced farms and markets? Shed in Healdsburg is a James Beard award-winning dining and retail space that offers not only locally sourced food, but many kitchen accoutrements, such as pottery, gadgets, linens, and cookbooks that all make for wonderful, heartfelt gifts for your guests. They have an online store as well!

For something to pamper:
After a long weekend of celebrating, a gift meant to pamper is a thoughtful idea for your guests. The acclaimed restaurant, The Girl and The Fig has an extensive online store that offers an assortment of giftable items. They also create delectable body lotions, salves, and balms made from unique ingredients like goat milk, Tuscan fig, bergamot, and orange. Their pieces are also available online, and come in travel-friendly gift sets aptly titled "Overnight" and "Weekender." Read real brides' reviews here!

Browse even more local wedding favor vendors here!

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BRIDES Northern California: Iconic San Francisco Foods to Serve at Your Reception

 California, Food & Drink, Local, San Francisco, Wedding Catering  Comments Off on BRIDES Northern California: Iconic San Francisco Foods to Serve at Your Reception
Nov 072016
 

San Francisco has always been a culinary melting pot. Italian and Chinese immigrants, fisherman, bakers, and chefs have left delicious legacies that tell the story of the city though iconic dishes. To incorporate a little local flavor in your wedding reception, consider serving one — or a few — of these iconic San Francisco foods.

Cioppino
Cioppino was created by Italian immigrants in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood way back in the late 1800s. Originally a dish thrown together using the day's catch while out at sea, it later became popular in the neighborhood restaurants. Similar to seafood stews served in Italy but with a San Francisco twist, it's typically filled with local Dungeness crab, shrimp, scallops, squid, and mussels tossed together with tomatoes and wine, and served with local sourdough bread. Serve it as a buffet item or as a hearty seafood option.

Sourdough
And speaking of sourdough, the city's famous bread was created thousands of years before the settlement of California, but when Basque immigrants began making sourdough bread during the Gold Rush, it became the unofficial bread of the growing city. Perhaps the most famous purveyor is Boudin Bakery, which has been making sourdough in San Francisco since 1849 and continues to do so using a portion of the original starter. Serve sourdough in each table's bread basket, or go all out with individual bread bowls filled with clam chowder or a seafood bisque.

Irish Coffee
The original Irish Coffee was born in Shannon, Ireland, but it was San Francisco's Buena Vista Café that brought it across the pond to America in 1952. Café owner Jack Koeppler was so determined to recreate the concoction that he even went back to its birthplace at the Shannon Airport and eventually figured out the secret recipe (it involves aging the cream for 48 hours and frothing it to the perfect consistency). More than 60 years later, the café still serves its signature drink, though you can serve your own version with coffee, whisky, and whipped cream to keep guests caffeinated and dancing all night long.

See More: Finish Off the Night with a Wedding Cake From One of These Local Bakeries

Fortune Cookies
Despite their association with Chinese food, fortune cookies were not created in China. Though their origin is disputed by some, a federal judge of the Court of Historical Review has deemed that they were created in the heart of San Francisco's Chinatown, at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company. The cookies sell for $5 per bag of traditional or chocolate fortune cookies, so they're an inexpensive — and delicious — way to add some local flavor to your reception meal.

IT's-IT Ice Cream Sandwich
Born in 1928, IT's-IT ice cream sandwiches may be the city's most beloved dessert. The sweet treat is deceptively simple: a scoop of vanilla ice cream between two large old-fashioned oatmeal cookies, which is then dipped into fine dark chocolate. Serve the original — or try flavors like chocolate, mint, strawberry, cappuccino, or pumpkin — for a decadent late-night treat.

For more food ideas and expert wedding caterers, head to our local vendors page here!

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BRIDES Northern California: San Francisco’s Best Party Rental Vendors

 California, Local, San Francisco  Comments Off on BRIDES Northern California: San Francisco’s Best Party Rental Vendors
Nov 012016
 

While some venues might provide everything you need for your dream wedding, it's more likely that you'll need to rent at least a few items to pull off your perfect event. Even at venues that provide the basics, you'll often find they're just that: basic. Renting items gives you more flexibility to match items to your color scheme and theme. Here are some of the best San Francisco party rental vendors.

Classic Party Rentals
With 25 locations in the US, three of which are in California (including the Bay, Napa and San Jose), Classic Party Rentals is one of the most well-known party rental options. The San Francisco outpost is actually located in Burlingame, and carries a massive selection of just about everything you could need. From tents and lounge furniture to lighting and electrical, outdoor heaters to dance floors, chairs and tables to plates and glasses, they have it all. They also carry cooking and service equipment such as chafers, charcoal grills, and refrigerators. Read real brides' reviews here!

Abbey Rentals
Serving Northern California since 1947, Abbey Rentals offers all the standard equipment — chairs, tables, dinnerware, tents, dance floors and more — and their services include setup and breakdown of furniture and larger equipment, free site inspections, and free event layout design. They also have a 72-hour cancellation policy. Read real brides' reviews here!

Gussy Up Decor
If you're looking to add a vintage touch to your decor, look no further than Gussy Up decor, which offers a wide selection of vintage bars, settes, buffets, and vintage doors, plus decorative elements like wine barrels, vintage suitcases and antique typewriters. They can custom order based on your needs and will stage your event for a small extra fee. Items can be picked up or delivered (for a fee).

See More: Be Sure No Guest is Left Hungry with These Top Wedding Caterers

Archive Rentals
When Archive says they are a "specialty" rental company, they mean it. Where else can you rent items like a decorative rowboat, Airstream trailer, teepee, lemonade stand, or vintage vespa? In addition to these wow pieces they also provide vintage-inspired lounge furniture, beautiful tableware, arbors, and other decorative elements. They can also help with floral design and professional day-of styling services; their San Francisco showroom is by appointment only. Read real brides' reviews here!

Encore Events Rentals
Encore Events Rentals has been serving the Bay Area and wine country for more than 30 years. In addition to a wide selection of chairs, tables, decor, dinnerware and serving equipment, they offer tents, dance floors and other staging. Their signature service is a CAD design of your space; they'll create a virtual model so you can see exactly what your completed event will look like. They also include a free site visit with tent rentals to make sure you reserve the best tent for the size of the space. Read real brides' reviews here!

For even more rentals for your "I do" space, browse other local wedding vendors here!

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BRIDES Northern California: 5 Historical San Francisco Landmarks Where You Can Tie the Knot

 California, Local, San Francisco, Wedding Venues  Comments Off on BRIDES Northern California: 5 Historical San Francisco Landmarks Where You Can Tie the Knot
Oct 312016
 
Swedenborgian Church San Francisco Wedding Venue

Photo: WeddingWire

Sometimes newer isn't always better. San Francisco's magnificent historic landmarks serve as a testament, and if you're the type of bride that gets more excited about your 'something old' than your 'something new,' we've found five historic San Francisco landmarks rife with a storied past and oozing with old-school elegance.

Swedenborgian Church (Above)
Built in 1895, this magnificent church was named a National Historic Landmark in 2004 for paving the way for the Arts & Crafts movement on the west coast. Inside, the sanctuary will be awash in warm candle light as you walk down the aisle to meet your fiancé at the alter, which is beautifully flanked by arching beams. After you seal your marriage with a kiss, celebrate in the Parish House, or if the weather permits, opt for an intimate party in the church's lush garden. Read real brides' reviews here!

Firehouse 8 San Francisco Wedding Venue

Photo: WeddingWire

Firehouse 8
Once home to San Francisco firefighters, this historic 1916 Russian Hill firehouse (complete with a firepole!) has since been transformed into a Pinterest-worthy event space. The brick-walled building's Skylight Room (seats 127) and Engine Room (seats 100) can easily be dressed up for a rustic party or be glammed up for a more opulent affair. The possibilities are endless. Read real brides' reviews here!

Payne Mansion Hotel San Francisco Wedding Venue

Photo: Courtesy of The Payne Mansion Hotel

The Payne Mansion Hotel
As soon as you step foot inside, you'll fall in love with the Payne Mansion Hotel. Formerly a mansion, which was transformed into a luxury boutique hotel, it's easy to see why the striking 1881 structure was declared a San Francisco historic landmark. Its Victoria-period architecture is downright glorious. Rent out the place for just few hours or host all your wedding festivities here by booking the entire weekend. Whatever you decide, the hotel's main event space (accommodates 300 guests) complete with five different rooms can be easily arranged to create your dream configuration.

See More: Adorn Your Venue in Beautiful Blooms from These Local Wedding Florists

Bently Reserve San Francisco Wedding Venue

Photo: WeddingWire

Bently Reserve
Constructed during the Roaring 20s, the Bently Reserve is the jaw-dropping venue that wedding dreams are made of. If you crave a fairytale wedding complete with a storybook venue, this is for you. The locale's Banking Hall is perfect for a lavish affair (seats 805) with its solid bronze doors, Doric columns, high ceilings, ornate chandeliers, and Italian marble floors. When it comes time to walk down the aisle, make a dramatic entrance by floating down from the bronze and marble imperial staircase. Read real brides' reviews here!

San Francisco Ferry Building Wedding Venue

Photo: WeddingWire

San Francisco Ferry Building
The stunning San Francisco Ferry Building first opened in 1898 and served as a ferryboat station welcoming locals and travelers alike to the San Francisco Bay. Rife with history, the waterfront venue offers an inspiring event space on its second level (seats up to 400 guests) that sets the scene for romance with its marvelous architecture, soaring ceiling, and mosaic floors.

Click here to see even more Bay Area venues to say "I do!"

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BRIDES Northern California: 5 Reasons to Go on a Glamping Bachelorette Party in NoCal

 California, Local, San Francisco, Showers & Parties, Showers and Parties  Comments Off on BRIDES Northern California: 5 Reasons to Go on a Glamping Bachelorette Party in NoCal
Oct 262016
 
Glamping Bachelorette Party Ideas

Photo: Courtesy of Shelter Co.

Steer away from the typical Las Vegas bachelorette party, and instead whisk your BFFs away to Northern California for an unforgettable glamping experience. Here, five reasons you and your girls will love spending time in the stunning wilderness.

1. You'll disconnect from the world and spend quality time together.
A few days in the wild without Wi-Fi will really allow you and your girlfriends to do some serious bonding reminiscent of the awesome sleepovers you had when you were growing up. Only this time, you can stay up all night and talk about life while sipping a glass (or three!) of wine. And all those killer selfies you take during the trip? You can Instagram them when you get home.

2. It's much more luxurious than regular camping.
This isn't your typical roughing it in the woods, sleeping in a sleeping bag type of camping trip. Glamping is much more than that. It's living inside luxurious canvas tents and enjoying cushy amenities worthy of a five-star resort — all while soaking in the splendor of the great outdoors. For your bachelorette bash, you can't go wrong with a luxury tent from San Francisco-based camping service Shelter Co., which come fully equipped with comfy full-size beds topped with Egyptian cotton sheets, plush seating, rugs, and lanterns.

3. You'll be fully immersed in nature.
If you're mind has been racing with all the wedding planning stress, a bachelorette glamping getaway in nature will make you feel completely at ease. When lush greenery, scenic views, and your best girlfriends surrounded you, it's difficult to feel stressed. Take the opportunity to slow down, take deep breaths, be in the moment, and bask in the beauty of nature.

See More: Need Favors for Your Gal Pals? Check Our These Local Favor Vendors

4. There's a ton of fun activities you can partake in.
Whether you're an adventure-seeking bride-to-be who loves going hiking and mountain biking or you're a laid-back type of gal who just wants to hang out with her girls and go wine tasting, you'll never run out of things to do. Whatever activities you enjoy during the daytime, once nighttime rolls around huddling around a fire to make s'mores and swap stories under the stars is a glamping must.

5. Northern California boasts beautiful glamping campsites.
Just a short one-hour drive from San Francisco, you'll find the stunning Costanoa Lodge overlooking the Pacific Ocean where you and your BFFs can live in decked out cabins replete with kitchenettes and showers, stay in a tented bungalow, or pitch your own glamorous tent. Days here can be spent going horseback riding, taking kayak tours, doing yoga, getting pampered with deep tissue massages, or just exploring the breathtaking ocean bluffs, private beaches, and acres of splendid wilderness. For a glamping getaway that feels worlds-away, head to Safari West in California wine country for an African wildlife safari adventure. Spend your time here marveling over the hundreds of exotic animals including flamingos, cheetahs, giraffes, and zebras in their natural habitats. Then, retreat to luxury safari tents — imported from Africa, no less — complete with hardwood floors, plush beds, and private bathrooms with hot showers. Whatever Northern Cali campsite you choose for your bachelorette bash, it'll no doubt be a trip of a lifetime you and your girls will always treasure. Read real brides' reviews here!

Want a more traditional locale for your bachelorette bash? Browse local venues here!

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BRIDES Northern California: 5 San Francisco Boutiques to Find Your Perfect Rehearsal Dinner Outfit

 California, Local, San Francisco, Wedding Dresses  Comments Off on BRIDES Northern California: 5 San Francisco Boutiques to Find Your Perfect Rehearsal Dinner Outfit
Oct 242016
 
Best San Francisco Shopping for Rehearsal Dinner Outfit Local Brides

Photo: Getty Images

With so much energy devoted to your wedding day look, it can be easy to overlook another important ensemble: your rehearsal dinner outfit! The rehearsal dinner is the unofficial beginning to the wedding festivities. It's also often the first time you get to connect with friends and family who have traveled in to celebratewith the happy couple. What better time to make a memorable entrance? It's worth it to take a minute away from the wedding day planning to focus on what to wear to your rehearsal dinner. Below are some places to shop in San Francisco for that perfect, knock 'em dead look.

HeidiSays
Whether it's chic separates, or a head-turning party frock, HeidiSays Collections in Pacific Heights is the one-stop shop for your memorable rehearsal dinner look. There's also an accompanying shoe store with sleek brands like Rupert Sanderson, Veronique Branquino, Dee Keller, and Stuart Weitzman, so you'll be head-to-toe ready to go.

Alice & Olivia
Just up Fillmore Street, you'll find yourself at Alice & Olivia's fun and fantastical boutique. Designer Stacey Bendet specializes in party-ready frocks, shoes, and accessories that will be sure to dazzle in any rehearsal dinner setting. Think lots of color and girly sparkle. All tastefully done, of course!

See More: Still looking for jewelry to complete your look? Browse San Francisco jewelers to find your perfect statement pieces!

Dish Boutique
For the more minimalist bride, Dish Boutique in Hayes Valley showcases independent and up-and-coming designers specializing in understated tones and fashion-forward silhouettes. With a range of inventory from dresses to denim, you're sure to find a look that's just right, no matter the dress code.

The Factory
The Factory is a truly unique space in the city's tech-heavy SOMA district. The conceptual store is both a cozy retail space and an in-house factory where the designs are manufactured. Their own label is replete with edgier, cocktail-ready designs that can be purchased off the rack, or made completely to measure.

Barneys
If you're looking for the best of the best for your rehearsal dinner entrance, Barney's is the go-to destination. At the posh Union Square store you'll find event-perfect designers like Alexander Wang, A.L.C., L'Agence, and Charles Youssef. Explore the 5th floor for more contemporary names, and a variety of options ranging from laid back to black tie-ready.

Check out other dress shops and boutiques in San Francisco for all your pre-wedding festivities (and even your big day!)

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BRIDES Northern California: 5 Unique Shops to Find Your Groom’s Wedding Gift

 California, Favors & Gifts, Local, San Francisco, Wedding Gifts  Comments Off on BRIDES Northern California: 5 Unique Shops to Find Your Groom’s Wedding Gift
Oct 182016
 

While you may be busy with the preparations for the wedding, it's so important to take some time to think about how to show your soon-to-be groom just how excited you are to marry him. Taking a few extra minutes to find him the perfect gift is a special way to say I love you, and I'm so excited to be your bride. Here are some places in San Francisco where you'll discover the ideal gift for every type of groom.

The Voyager Shop
This unique store offers an eclectic array of gifts for your casual guy. Choose from relaxed ties, wallets, leather goods, dopp kits and even luxe grooming products. They have two locations in the city: the Mission District and Hayes Valley.

Paul Smith
If your guy leans more upscale, venture over to Paul Smith on Geary Street near Union Square. The posh — and slightly quirky — British brand has been in the menswear business for over 40 years, and carries an assortment of higher-end accessories for men including cufflinks, tie clips, wallets, scarves and watches. Read real brides' reviews here!

Cask
This spirits shop off of Market Street is the go-to destination for specialized and artisanal liquors. If your guy is into hard-to-find whiskeys, this is the perfect place to buy him that special gift. You can even get his bottle engraved with his initials or a heartfelt message from his new bride.

See More: Still Searching for a Florist? Browse SanFran's Top Wedding Florists Here!

Taylor Stitch
Taylor Stitch is a bespoke company in the Mission where you can make your groom a custom shirt just for him. With the help of the knowledgeable (and always well-dressed) staff, you can choose your fit, fabric, and notions to make it a truly one-of-a-kind gift. Have his shirt monogrammed to make it extra unique.

Wingtip
If your guy appreciates a hint of nostalgia, then Wingtip is the ideal stop for finding the groom gift. Not only does it offer unusual, oldey-timey pieces like canes, leather goods, bar accessories, and even cigars, but you'll also find an in-house barbershop and private lounge for a true gentleman's experience.

Discover more San Francisco hotspots to find wedding favors and gifts here!

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BRIDES Northern California: San Francisco Fitness Studios to Get Wedding-Ready

 California, Fitness and Health, Local, San Francisco, Wellness  Comments Off on BRIDES Northern California: San Francisco Fitness Studios to Get Wedding-Ready
Oct 052016
 
San Francisco Fitness Studios

Photo: Courtesy of Pure Barre via Facebook

Given that your wedding day will be one of the most photographed days of your life, looking your best is a top priority. Perfectly coifed hair and flawless makeup, however, are just the finishing touches. The real prep work begins months beforehand with a fitness regime designed to get you in the best shape of your life. With the help of these seven butt-kicking San Francisco workouts, you'll shed those few extra pounds, tone up, and be ready to walk down the aisle in no time.

Pure Barre
You'll look tight and toned on your wedding day thanks to Pure Barre's 55-minute full-body workouts. The technique incorporates a ballet barre and uses small, precise movements that target hips, thighs, butt, abs, and arms. Not only will you burn tons of calories, you'll also gain lean muscle, flatten your abs, and sculpt and strengthen your arms.

Pop Physique
Craft the body of your dreams with regular workout sessions at Pop Physique. The one-hour ballet barre-inspired classes incorporate artistic dance movements that focus on your upper body, lower body, and abs. Strength work is then followed with deep, luxurious stretching on the ballet barre, which will help creates long, lean muscles for your wedding day.

SoulCycle
SoulCycle isn't just a workout, it's a cardio party. The 45-minute fat-burning indoor cycling classes make exercising fun thanks to dark, candlelit rooms and energetic music. The empowering full-body workout will also work wonders in helping you relieve any wedding planning stress.

See More: Dress Your New Bod in a Gorgeous Gown From These Local Bridal Boutiques

Equinox
With five locations throughout the Bay Area, Equinox makes it super easy to get in shape for the big day. Brides-to-be who love to switch up their workouts will never be bored here thanks to a variety of classes including hot yoga, cycling, and Pilates. For a more personalized wedding day-ready regime, future brides can opt for personal training. After the workout, brides can then relax with a massage or a facial at the full-service spa.

Barry's Bootcamp
Even if your wedding day is just around the corner, Barry's Bootcamp will help whip you into shape in record time. The one-hour sessions incorporate cardio and strength training using free weights, resistance bands, and medicine balls. Each class promises to help burn up to 1,000 calories. Opt for the Barry's Academy class package, which includes five straight days of bootcamp classes, each day focusing on a different muscle group.

For more bridal beauty and fitness experts, head to our San Francisco Beauty page!

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BRIDES Northern California: 7 Ways to Incorporate San Francisco in Your Wedding

 California, Local, San Francisco  Comments Off on BRIDES Northern California: 7 Ways to Incorporate San Francisco in Your Wedding
Sep 082016
 

Your wedding is all about you and what makes you and your fiancé unique. And for San Fransisco brides looking to incorporate a bit of the Bay Area into the mix, there are plenty of ways to do so — whether you want to add in a few subtle touches or make it the main theme of the event. From California products in welcome bags to Bay Area food and drinks, here are some creative ways to showcase San Francisco throughout your wedding.

Welcome Bags
Start your guests off with a collection of city-centric items that will welcome them to San Francisco and help them see the best of the Bay Area. A map or guidebook is essential, or for the more crafty brides, create a personalized list of your favorite things to see and do — and throw in a Clipper card for easy transportation. Build the base for a picnic with some Boudin sourdough bread and Cowgirl Creamery Cheese, or opt for a gift card to one of your favorite coffee shops.

Wedding Favors
Favors are an easy way to add a little bit of San Francisco color into your big day. Ghirardelli, San Francisco's most famous chocolatier, can customize favor boxes in varying colors and flavors to match your wedding palette. Golden Gate Fortune Cookies, credited with creating the crunchy cookie in 1962, sells bags of cookies for $5 each. Order a custom message to be placed inside for tasty wedding favors for a fun twist on a 'good luck' sendoff for your guests. Read real brides' reviews here!

Flowers and Colors
The official state flower of California, the poppy, makes for a beautiful, simple option for a bouquet or centerpiece. These florals come in red, cream, orange, gold, and pink, but to really drive the California connection home, tell your Bay Area florist to go for the gold. Not only will the bright color pop, but it also ties into other aspects of the state: the state colors are blue and gold, the state's nickname is The Golden State, and the official state mineral is gold.

Beer, Wine, Cocktails and Spirits
Between local breweries like 21st Amendment and Anchor Brewing, Bay Area distilleries like St. George Spirits and Spirit Works Distillery, and all the amazing wine from Napa Valley and Sonoma County, there's no shortage of delicious ways to incorporate NorCal products into your reception bar. To make an even more memorable impression, consider adding a specialty cocktail born in the Bay Area. Try a Pisco Punch — a mix of pisco, pineapple, lime juice, gum arabic, and water that was shaken up in 1853 and reputed to be San Francisco's first cocktail — or go with a Mai Tai, a mix of rum, lime juice, orange curaçao, syrup, and orgeat that was invented in Oakland. For something more modern, borrow a recipe from the iconic Starlight Room atop the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. The Cable Car cocktail mixes spiced rum, curaçao, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a glass rimmed with cinnamon sugar. Read real brides' reviews here!

See More: Get Your Bling On at These Local Wedding Jewelers

Food
San Francisco cuisine is a mix of traditional international foods and seasonally influenced farm-fresh fare. Nod to the past with a traditional meal like Italian cioppino (a hearty seafood stew popularized by Italian fisherman) or classic clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. For a more modern take on NorCal cuisine, enlist the catering services of your favorite restaurant, or plan for a late-night snack from your favorite San Francisco food truck.

Table Names and Signage
When it comes to table names, it's easy to get creative. Name your tables for iconic attractions such as Alcatraz or the Golden Gate Bridge, neighborhoods like Nob Hill or The Mission, or expand to cover some of your favorite places in Northern California, such as Big Sur, Napa Valley, or Half Moon Bay. Create your own or enlist a quality Bay Area stationer to create beautiful table signs that feature icons representing your favorite places.

Songs
There have been dozens of songs written about San Francisco, so it's easy to choose one, or a few, to set the scene for your reception or cocktail hour. Go for a jazzy classic like Tony Bennet's "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" or Mel Tormé's "Got the Date on the Golden Gate," or opt for the bohemian 70's anthem "San Francisco" by Scott McKenzie or Train's modern rock song "Save Me, San Francisco," which namechecks Alcatraz, Filmore, the Tenderloin, Marin, and more. If you'd rather keep the musical connection to San Francisco a bit more subtle, there's Otis Redding's "Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay" or Starship's "We Built This City," which are both about the Bay Area but don't specifically mention it. To expand to cover more of California, there are even more options, including the classic hit "California Dreamin" by The Mommas and The Poppas and "California Stars" by Billy Bragg.

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