Allure wedding featured in C Magazine! California Style, Wedding Edition

Hot off the presses!  I am beyond thrilled to announce that one of my weddings from last year is featured in the lifestyle magazine C, their current wedding edition - Fall 2014.   I am honored to be a issue contributor along side photographers Elizabeth Messina and Blue Caleel.  There is a little blurb and a photo of me right after the issue's table of contents - my first time in print!  The wedding was at Swedenborgian Church, one of my favorite San Francisco locations.  My clients, Evan Sharp and Christina McBride, hired me to plan their intimate ceremony and dinner party celebration.  Evan is the co-counder of Pinterest and Christina is the global head of marketing at Facebook -- a veritable royal couple in the tech industry.  They are both kind and down-to-earth, and working with them was a pleasure.  I was inspired by how connected they were and I wish them all the very best!

The wedding issue will be on stands through September.  And it is gorgeous - Christina and Evan are profiled along with chef Curtis Stone and his wife, actress Lindsey Price, among others.  C Magazine only does 2 wedding issues a year and I am so proud to have my work in one of them.  Christina and Evan's wedding was really special, and all of the vendors I worked with did a spectacular job making the day memorable.  It's a treat to see everyone's names in the magazine next to the beautiful couple!

I bought my copy at Lunardi's gourmet grocery store in San Jose.  I might have to go back and pick up a few more!  :)

Venue: Swedenborgian Church.  Event Planner: Christy Daly Matthews, Allure Consulting. Event Photographer: Ben Blood. Caterer: A Fork Full of Earth. Florist: Cherries. Bride’s Dress: Amy Kuschel. Hair: Revamp Salon. Makeup: Liz Chang, Skyla Arts. Video: Belvedere Stories

My photo in the magazine is by Gavin Farrington

There's an app for that! Bootcamp for Brides

Every once in a while, a cool inside track falls into my wedding planning lap --  and this is one of those times!  A friend of mine is launching a cool new weight loss app designed specifically for busy brides planning their weddings and trying to get fit at the same time.  Check out the blurb below and contact Sara directly if you're interested in joining the first round!

We're a brand-new mobile app geared towards helping people lose weight through customized diet and meal plans. We're set to launch a 4-week Bridal Bootcamp next month, and are looking for our very first testers. Your feedback will be invaluable as we refine and perfect the program moving forward. Our goal: to help you—and brides like you—look and feel fabulous on your big day. 
What you'll get:
  • A customized meal plan to help you shed up to 8 pounds in just four weeks.
  • 4 weeks of workouts to help you get wedding-dress ready. Killer arms and shoulders? Check! 
  • 24/7 access to the awesome diet coach and personal trainer who created the plan. 
  • Easy food logging via the app. 
  • Weekly newsletters with a shopping list, tips, advice and more.
Why we think you'll love it:
  • No calorie-counting.
  • No time-consuming meal prep.
  • One-on-one advice from your coaches. 
  • Motivating tips and tricks to help you achieve your weight-loss goals.

photo by Mary McHenry

New Allure Addition

Hi Everyone!  I am proud to announce the arrival of Thomas James Matthews, my second son.  I thought I had the entire month of May to tie up loose ends for weddings later this year and to prepare for my maternity leave, but Tom decided to show up a little early!  He was born on May 16 and we are both doing well.  I've been juggling work and family these last two weeks and now I am excited to take the rest of June off for my leave!  I will be going off-line for the month and will be back at work on the rest of my 2013 weddings starting July 1.

photos by Meg Perotti

Winter Flower Inspiration

It's beginning to chill out around here -- both weather-wise and work-wise.  Which can only mean one thing...Winter is Coming.  (Yes, I am a Game of Thrones fan.)  My wedding season substantial slows down once I hit mid November and as the holidays take over, I enjoy lots of family time, catching up on projects, and doing a little Christmas decorating.  I'm no Martha Stewart, but I've been known to set a nice table or two!  As I start to think about that now, I have been inspired by winter wedding centerpieces and bouquets.  I'm leaning towards the ones that don't include pinecones or holly berries.  Here are some of my favorite winter floral looks; appropriate for a small holiday party, a fun photoshoot, and of course, a winter wedding! My favorite bouquet flower--the mini calla lily--is available this season, in many colors!  I love mini callas in deep reds and plums, but I find the simplicity of this monochromatic bouquet stunning.  And the pewter sequins around the stems?  Gorgeous.

I love the hot pink and yellow of the following bouquet.  Black and white anemones are preppy and pop-y and make for a youthful, fun winter bouquet!  This bouquet speaks to the Allure brand...modern and memorable.

A cable knit table cloth might not be appropriate at my house (toddler-ruled), but how gorgeous is this tablescape by Sullivan Owen in Philadelphia?  I pretty much love everything about it.  A perfect mix of textures makes a table welcoming, personal and festive.

Baby's either love it or hate it and I LOVE it.  I think it is romantic and soft and perfectly winter-y!  The photo below is by Max Wanger Photography, and when I finally throw a grand holiday soiree in my big Colonial Revival house (of the future), I will design a dinner table in the very vein of the table below.  Decadent, lush and a little over the top!  The toddlers will have to fend for themselves at a kid table.

These are some of my very favorite photos for holiday inspiration.  My decor this year might consist more of handprint reindeers and DIY advent calendars, but I dream big!  And who am I kidding?  I love those little paint handprints.


The Perfect Photo Opp {Inspiration Board}

I have been seeing some absolutely, amazingly gorgeous, perfect "photo opps" lately, and I thought it only fair to share some of my favorites. When thinking about your wedding, photography is one of the key ingredients. Not only do you need to choose the right photographer for your personality and your day, but you need to have a tentative photography plan outlined. Think about when and where those perfect photo opp moments might take place. You can never re-create someone else's, but you can pull inspiration from a gorgeous photo to discover your very own moment. Take a peak at few I found to be pretty stunning.

Bridesmaids | Bride/Groom on Floor | Bride/Groom Against Brick Wall | Balloon Save The Date | Bride/Bridesmaids | Bride/Groom on Dock | Flower Girl | Bride/Groom Confetti | Bride/Groom on Blanket | Bride/Groom in SF | Shoes

Awesome Favor: Caricature Art!

My favorite wedding favors aren't favors at all.  I love the ever popular photo booth, the touching, personal and easy charity donation, and the super fun Artist/Performer at the party.  I've planned weddings with palm readers, faux tattoo artists, cameo artists, and my favorite...the caricature artist!  For an affordable fee, you can hire someone to come to the reception for 3-4 hours, set up a little station, and draw your guests one by one as they delight in the participatory process.  It's a hoot!  And your guests get to take their sketch home--a veritable piece of high art in some cases! I sat down for Brett (Caricatures by Brett, Doodle Ink) at a wedding last summer--just to warm him up before the guests rushed him after dinner...  I thought it was so cool!  And I love my sketch, the likeness is incredible.  What do you think?

Not too shabby, right?  And not cruel--like some caricature artists.  Be careful who you hire!  And look--you can tell I'm a hard working wedding planner here, I've got my phone and clipboard.  And smile!

Stripes {Inspiration Board}

Stripes are one of my all time favorites. I love a good stripe pattern, it has the tendency to class up anything with it's regal nature and touch of boldness. I've been in Charleston, SC for the past week, so bright pops of pink, orange, and green are still in full swing around here. I wanted to pair my love for the stripe with the gorgeousness of these vibrant colors - enjoy!

 Invitations | How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You | Cake |  Flower Centerpiece | Bouquet | Stripped Dress | & Sign

Confetti {Inspiration Board}

CONFETTI!! That word, especially with a few exclamation marks makes me very happy. It gives you the immediate feeling of celebration and joy. Confetti is popping up all over the place, and not only in the truest sense of what "confetti" is, but in the designs of fashion, decor, stationery, and even food. Incorporating confetti into a bridal shower, bachelorette weekend, and EVEN your wedding, just screams fun. Plus, the addition of confetti makes for some AH-mazing photo opps - trust me on this one. So take a peak below, and peruse some gorgeous confetti and confetti-inspired designs that are applied in the most unassuming ways. I also have a swoon-worthy wedding with a little whimsey, some purple tulips, paper airplanes, and of course confetti...right here!

Tags | Stationery | Garland | Pattern | Thrown Confetti | Make Up | Envelope | Confetti in Hands | Confetti Towel | Celebrate Bag | Mustard Shoes | Dessert | Confetti w/ Girl | Black Shoes

Bows {Inspiration Board}

Bows, Bows everywhere and I love it! Bows are a big trend this year and they're showing up in the most creative ways, from hairstyles crafted into actual bows, to the simple and classic bow tie, to gorgeous bow-adorned gowns - any occasion could certainly benefit from a beautiful bow. They seem to be something that will always be a classic use of embellishment, a trend that will come and go in various styles, but definitely never leaves us for good. What do you think about the lovely bow? Classic, trendy, chic, girly? Take a peak at these uber adorable bow-tie clad mini bridal attendants. Too much!!

Placesetting | Clutch | Couple | Stationery | Bow Tie | Shoes | Bow/Braid | Gown

Color Blocking {Inspiration Board}

Summer is officially here! Very hard to contain my excitement, I'm a big fan of the change in seasons, it always offers a fresh perspective for the coming months. Whether it be personal goals, new adventures, a new wardrobe, or just the feeling of "new" 4 times a year - it's a simple thing in life that makes me happy. Since we're officially in the summer solstice, I wanted to brighten up your day with inspiration around one of my favorite new design trends - color blocking. Color blocking can be applied to just about anything in the design world - fashion, home decor, stationery, jewelry - so why not in a modern soiree as well? What a current style to outfit your bridesmaids in or design stationery after? Go with a more subtle approach through your accessories or the floral design you choose - but either way its a lively, bold, and stylish statement on your big day. Enjoy these gorgeous hues and your first weekend of summer!

For some more summer wedding inspiration, take a peak here and here.

Stationery | Bride/BridesmaidsEggs | Building | Girl w/ CameraPink/White Dress | Bracelets

Wedding Row California

Hello Wednesday!  Today, I want to introduce you to Wedding Row California, a regional wedding blog relatively new to the West Coast.  Here's the blurb: The newest extension of The Wedding Row Network,  a collection of regional weddings blogs in South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, and growing. A network that brings global trends to a local stage. A place where engaged couples can truly connect the dots between the vendors and the inspiration.  Also within The Wedding Row Network is Smitten Magazine, a national e-glossy or as we say "the lookbook of wedding fancy".  

Our goal at Wedding Row California is to provide a thoughtful curation of style and detail possibilities geared towards the modern California couple. We only feature collections from select vendors who are considered the upper tier of their respective trade within the California wedding industry - trailblazers in style, creativity, and service. We also aim to build a trusted industry community through fostering relationships, collaborations, and ongoing promotional support for quality partners.


I am thrilled to announce a collaboration between Allure and Wedding Row California:  Allure will be on the WRC Preferred Vendors list once it is up on June 1, and Abigail Rutkowski, editor and director of business development, will be a guest contributor on this very blog also starting June 1.  Abigail will be posting wedding inspiration boards every Friday and I couldn't be more excited about it!  I look forward to the pretty collections and unique perspective Abigail will bring.  She is fashionable, current, creative and has an impeccable eye for detail.  Abigail and the WRC are a great fit for Allure, and vice versa.


A curator of stylish and beautiful finds, along with Abigail’s love of California’s natural beauty, plus her passion for unassuming, fresh and organic stylistic pieces, allows her to help inspire brides to achieve the California wedding of their dreams.





I love the Wedding Row network, I'm thrilled to be a part of Wedding Row California, and I am looking forward to Abigail's first Allure post, as well as future collaborations!  Exciting stuff, y'all!  The fun never end!

For the love of Pinterest

Hi!  As I caught up on work and blogging last night, I spent some time 'pinning' and I noticed that I am getting close to 1000 pins!  Thought it would be fitting to post about Pinterest today and share my boards with you.  As a wedding planner, I use Pinterest all the time.  Admittedly, it's addicting and a great way to procrastinate and distract myself from momentary boredom.  But the site as a whole is so much more than just that.  For clients, I create Pinterest boards that they can pin on with me if they want.  Each client board is like a personalized wedding inspiration board, it's always evolving and it's extremely user friendly.  If my clients see a cake stand that they like online, they can pin it to their board on my account and I can see what they like, and since the original link is attached, I can click on the cake stand image and find out where they saw it--maybe on the retail site, so I can order it for them if they want.  Basically, Pinterest boards take the place of the bulky binder with torn out magazine pages, or the stack of wedding magazines a bride might collect and then stick post-it bookmarks all over.

Here is one of my current client boards, Wedding Collection: Joanna.  It's a board that speaks to Joanna's general wedding vision and it's a collection of colors and patterns that Joanna loves.  She can pick specifics from this board to include in her wedding, or mix and match a little inspiration from here and there.

Here is a board called Weddings of My Clients!  It's just that, a Pinterest portfolio of my past weddings, with links to the wedding photographer's site, or to other blogs my weddings have been featured on.  This board is a fantastic way for prospective clients to see my work and get to know me a little.  I bring my iPad to initial consultations and show couples this board, instead of bringing several photo books of weddings I've planned.  Interactive and fun, y'all!

I also use Pinterest to collect images when I'm doing research on wedding trends or when I  want to explore a theme or design element.  These boards, like Weddings: Lace Ideas, are filled with ideas and images I love.

lace, clothespins

I love Pinterest, obviously!  I have boards filled with dinner recipes, interior design inspiration, and fun projects to do with my son.  On my to-do list today, in fact, is to go grocery shopping for the next week.  First stop, my Food board to choose some entrees and sides and check out the recipes.  It's time to try those red potatoes with parmesan!

As I get busier with wedding season, I'm sure I'll be relying on Pinterest more when it comes to my blog.  I look forward to sharing some of my favorite Pinners with you, and to continue to explore and collaborate on Pinterest--and you're invited, of course!

Our President Supports Same-Sex Marriage!

Finally!  Good news on the heels of North Carolina's hateful amendment passing.  President Obama came out in support of gay marriage today and I am so happy about this, I keep crying!  I seriously had to pull over earlier today when I heard the news, and with my son in the backseat, I joyfully read the posts and articles and tweets out loud to him.  This is a monumental announcement, and I LOVE it! Here's some of what I have been reading and sharing today:

Huffington Post Celeb Reactions Think Progress 

My fierce support for LGBT equal rights and same-sex marriage is no secret.  It's personal to me, it's obvious to me, and I'm actively making it a part of my business in the wedding industry.  Today, I am proud of our president.  I'm emotional because I know how much this means to so many people, and I believe we are all basking in the light of a brave man right now.

Here is one of my very favorite quotes about President Obama's announcement: “This is a major turning point in the history of American civil rights. No American president has ever supported a major expansion of civil rights that has not ultimately been adopted by the American people–and I have no doubt that this will be no exception.  The march of freedom that has sustained our country since the Revolution of 1776 continues, and no matter what setbacks may occur in a given state, freedom will triumph over fear and equality will prevail over exclusion.” -Mayor Michael Bloomberg

I too believe that freedom and equality will prevail, and I think we took a huge, beautiful step in the right direction today!

Irresistible! Sprinkle Cake, star of Pinterest

Hi Wednesday!  Today I want to introduce you to the most popular girl in school.  The girl is a wedding cake and the school is wedding industry favorite, Pinterest.  I recently pinned this Sprinkle Cake to my board, General Prettiness.  This cake has been a Pinterest star, pinned and re-pinned all over the place.  I fell in love with it at first sight.  The colorful cake is eye-catching and whimsical, it's playful yet still classic in a way.  And it looks like it tastes amazing, right?  I want to be at the wedding that has this cake.

I had to do a little hunting to find the original source of the picture, and the cake's creator. Here is the original post, over on the Storyboard Wedding blog.  And the bakery is Birchgrove Baking in Vermont.  And the photographer is Jessica Hardy.  I wonder if she got to taste the cake... This cake just won't leave me alone!  I am a wedding planner in the SF Bay Area, far far away from this cake's 'hometown'.  But I am inspired by it and would love to see a similar effect on baked goods and decor at weddings I attend and plan this year.  The possibilities are endless!  Solid gold sprinkles, confetti shaped sprinkles, cupcakes, even ice cream sandwiches or macaroons could be rolled in delightful sprinkles.  Basically, the cake makes a statement and I like it!


Yummy! Glass Slipper Gourmet Wedding Cakes

I love cake.  I love cupcakes, I love frosting, I love it all!  I am very thorough when it comes to quality control for my clients...I often go back to the bakery many times after my clients have booked a cake baker, just to make sure things are still tasting delicious.  I take my job very seriously, people. One of my very favorite cake bakers to work with is Kelly O'Brien.  Her company is Glass Slipper Gourmet and her cakes are DELICIOUS.  I've tried many different flavors and I love them all--the s'more cupcake by Kelly I had at a wedding last year was crazy good.  And the white cake with raspberry filling that Kelly made for the styled shoot we just did was amazing.  And it didn't necessarily have to be!  I mean, she could have skimped--it just needed to look awesome, we weren't expecting to actually eat it.  Then, after the shoot, we did eat it, and that's when I knew I had to post about my love for Kelly and her cakes.  I can't say enough good things about Kelly, honestly.  I love working with her and I recommend her to my clients all the time.  And I will continue to!  If you are looking for a beautiful cake -- weddings, showers, Kelly.  I know you'll be more than happy with the look and taste, and I'm pretty sure you'll also really like the baker herself.  I know I do!

Both pictures are from the Gallery on the Glass Slipper Gourmet blog.

Pastel Wedding Inspiration

Do pastel colors and Easter go hand in hand for you like they do for me?  I'm a big fan of the bold, bright color trend this season, but have an equal respect for soft, feminine pastels.  With Easter coming up this weekend, it couldn't be more perfect timing to give some love to pastels.  Have you completely crossed over to the bold side or do you still have a long lost love for these soft hued babies?  

Top: Bridesmaid Dress, Nail polish, bouquet

Middle: Invitation, macarons

Bottom: Eggshell votives, heels, Centerpieces




What We Do: Month of Wedding Coordination

Day of Wedding Coordination.  Month of Coordination.  Partial Planning, Full Planning, Custom Proposals and Agreements, Wedding Designer, Wedding Planner, Wedding Consultant...  What's what?! Allure is here to help.  Literally, that's the business of Allure...helping couples have amazing weddings, and doing the work so they can enjoy every second of them!

I don't believe in "Day of Wedding Coordination".  The whole concept is sounds nice, but it's a unicorn as far as I'm concerned...not real.  Not possible.  Not a good idea.  To simply show up at a wedding and 'take over' is unrealistic.  I am getting anxious just thinking about how unprepared I would feel in that case.  Sure, I can direct vendors and I know the most basic timeline for the average wedding...but there would still be a lot of guess work involved.  And who wants an average wedding??  There are so many boxes that need to be checked in order for an event to run well and look effortless in the process.      If a planner is willing to show up on the day-of with little or no work before hand, those boxes are not getting checked, bottom line.  It's a risk to hire someone offering this service and I question that planner's training and experience if they are willing to take on a true "Day-of" job. What we do for you: Allure's "Month of Coordination" package is our version of the Day-of deal.  Allure specializes in Month-of packages, and custom drafts each proposal for each and every inquiring potential client.  The proposals start with this:  The Month-of Breakdown.  From here, we add in other services such as design assistance, vendor research and referrals, and production--which can all add up to a Partial or even Full Planning package.  We start working with you, at the very latest, 1 month before your wedding.  We take over at this point as the main vendor and venue contact, and act as a liaison between you and your wedding 'team' from this point forward.  40-50 hours on average go into a Month-of package on our end.  We create a full day-of schedule and do all the prep necessary to execute it on your wedding day.  Allure has been in business for 9 years; we have systems and templates in place so that our weddings are coordinated and come together in that last month to ensure a flawless day.

Here is what Bernadette of 14 Stories in NYC posted about Day-of/Month-of service.  Allure is recommended on her page of national wedding planners that specialize in Month of Wedding Coordination (and are educated in LGBT weddings).

Basically, Allure is an event planning firm.  I am a Certified Wedding Consultant.  I specialize in Month of Wedding packages.  I can be hired to plan your wedding from the very beginning of the planning process, to coordinate your wedding day, and to assist with design ideas and implementation.  I call myself a wedding planner, that term seems most recognizable and more all-encompassing than the others for what I do.

Hiring a wedding planner is a huge part of wedding planning.  A wedding planner can save a couple lots of money by negotiating with vendors and by working with vendors they know and trust.  A wedding planner is an expert in the industry--who to hire, and for what exactly, is an important decision for couples.  Here is an article from Sunday's Style section of the SF Chronicle--Allure is mentioned because we are professionals certified by the program featured.  Finding a planner that is experienced, professional, certified, connected and awesome to work with* may not be easy, but is absolutely worth it.  I'm not just saying that because I am a wedding planner!  I wish every couple could hire a "Month of" planner, I hate that it's often a cost-prohibitive decision.  It truly does make the process easier and more enjoyable.

* This is important.   I always tell couples inquiring about Allure that they should like (if not love!) their wedding planner.  We work so closely on such an important day, and the days leading up to it.  Being friends makes the whole thing a better deal for all of us!




Neon and Hot Pops

Neon!  It's everywhere right now.  Some love it, some hate it, some are intrigued by it's playful nature but afraid that they are too old and uncool to actually wear it (that would be me).  But you can't deny it...if it's in a room, you'll see it!  I love the way I'm seeing pops of neon in unexpected places right now.  Neon makes me smile, it makes me think of summertime and it scares me a little!  Check out this wedding table-scape design from Brooklyn Bride - Totally.  Awesome.

See, nothing scary about this post!  I want to share some flowers with you that play along with the neon trend, but keep it classic and beautiful.  I'm collaborating with Ingela Floral Design right now and the first thing I noticed when I met Ingela at her studio was how bright and modern her flowers are.  I was drawn to the hot pinks especially.  The neon trend seems to be the naughty little sister of the 'vintage shabby chic' look all over weddings right now.  Like a good parent, I love them both, but have to admit that I like how refreshing the neon/hot pink look is--it stands out, I'm helpless against it!

Fun, right?  I kept digging...and viola!  Neon veils!

Yes, it would take a very special rockstar bride to pull one of these off and I want to plan her wedding!  These veils are from Jennifer Behr.  I'm her newest biggest fan.

Allure: 5th Week in Review

This week has been so busy; I feel like I barely have time to draft this post!  When it rains, it pours...true for work and 'real' life, I guess! Here's a little of what I've been up to this week:

1.  Big Day of Meetings:  On Saturday, my clients from LA came up for a visit and we were a wedding planning A-Team!  We met with Shawna Futagaki of Flower Divas, Kalani Germono for a hair and makeup trial, Gavin Farrington for a photography consultation, and then had a cupcake tasting and planning session at Frost Cupcake Factory in Downtown Campbell.  (Black Velvet = best cupcake ever!)  We got so much accomplished in the wedding-planning-department and had a ton of fun getting it done!  After a long day...I felt really great.  Confident, energized and's a nice feeling! One of my favorite engagement shots by Gavin.  Look at that light!

2.  Pinterest!  I am always on the look out for inspiration to add to my Pinterest boards...Pinterest is now pivotal to my job as a wedding planner, and I'm addicted personally as well.  This week, I have posted a ton of pictures w notes for several clients.  My boards serve as a reference when I am talking to vendors, brainstorming design ideas, and planning styled shoots.  Kaella and I LOVE Pinterest.  I'm planning on posting specifically on Pinterest later...but for now, check out my boards and follow me if you want!  I'll see you out there, pinners!  (Tidbit: I coordinated Ben Silbermann's wedding, one of the brilliant founders of Pinterest!  Learn more about Ben and Pinterest here!)

3.  Allure on the Inspired Guide on Engaged & Inspired!  Check out our listing...we are in great company!

Now...on to the Oscars!  If the cable guy makes it out in time to fix our dish...womp womp...