Guest Blogging Gig for My Fitness Pal! And caterer LOVE.

Hi!  I am so excited (and so late!) to announce that I am officially a guest blogger for a My Fitness Pal!  Just call me the resident wedding planning expert!  My first post (Healthy Wedding Food Trends) went live a couple weeks ago and I'm eagerly awaiting my next post - 'Why Starving on the Big Day is a Big NO!'  I'll make sure to announce the post via Facebook and Twitter.  Hey!  Do you follow Allure on those platforms?  I hereby invite you to!  Click on those links and let's connect! I'm going to take this opportunity to rave about the catering company that I mentioned in my first post for My Fitness Pal: Culinary Eye.  John Silva, one of the owners, was kind enough to send me a list of some of his Spring and Summer menu items so I could feature them in my post.  Culinary Eye caters events, big and small, with amazing food and service.  I wanted to give specific examples of organic, beautiful food that couples can serve at their receptions and I new CE would fit the bill splendidly.  I love working with John (lead designer) and Collins (the executive chef) and I LOVE eating their food.  This is my blog and I'll rave if I want to!

Below are some of the items on the Culinary Eye menu this season.  The photo is of the deviled quail eggs - I can personally vouch for their deliciousness.  I'm hungry!

- Canape of Heirloom Melon, Thai Basil, Torn Burrata, and Balsamic Reduction
- Petite Deviled Quail Eggs with Caper and Pickled Jalapeno
- Blanched Summer Shelling Pea Tartar with Mint, Organic Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, and Shaved Manchego
- Compressed Cucumber in Pear Vinaigrette, Smoked Salmon, and Chive  on Silver Spoons
Keep following along and I'll keep posting!  Deal?

Allure Wedding featured on Refinery29! My vendor love letter.

Hi there!  Wedding Season is officially upon us.  Which is so exciting!  It means that I am busy with timelines and logistics, site visits and tastings, and the working mom juggling act!  It also means that I am a bit behind when it comes to blogging about the 2013 weddings that are getting some attention now!  Today, I am so happy to share with you one of my very special San Francisco weddings from last year: Evan and Christina at Swedenborgian Church.  Their wedding was recently featured on Refinery29 - a first for Allure!  Please check out the feature and all the awesome pics by Seattle photographer Ben Blood. (I'm not actually including any in this post…long story!) Christina was absolutely stunning in her Amy Kuschel wedding gown, she looked like a movie star!  I loved the eye makeup and overall dewy makeup perfection by Liz Chang (Skyla Arts). Liz is one of my very favorite stylists to work with -- she has a great calm energy, she's an awesome listener and she is always smiling.  She is exactly the kind of person you want in your face (literally) on your big day if you are getting professional makeup done!

I worked with a kick ass team on the wedding day to make sure that we executed the vision perfectly.  This was no easy feat!  It was pouring rain outside (the ONLY thunderstorm of this past fall in SF) up until one hour before the ceremony, which means we had to change our plans for an outdoor bar at the last minute.  Guests were still able to enjoy cocktail hour outside in the beautiful garden at Swedenborgian, but the actual bar was set up inside.  When guests came inside the Parish Hall to eat dinner, they were welcomed with elegant candlelight and pianist at the candelabra-clad baby grand.  Cherries Flowers and A Fork Full of Earth Catering absolutely transformed the room.  Seriously, we all put some muscle into it!  This room usually seats about 60, but with some creative planning and VERY precise measuring, we fit all of the guests (let's just say more than 60…) comfortably and served a 3 course plated meal.  All organic, local and grilled on-site…amazing.  I have never worked with a catering company like this one before - Angela, the owner, was on site all day with me and together we made something really amazing happen.  It was very important to Evan and Christina that we did as much as we possibly could locally.  They live in the Mission and like to walk everywhere…their wedding day was a reflection of that.  Goat cheese from Harley Farms, bread from Tartine, wine from K&L liquors…vendors happily above and beyond to make this couple's wedding dreams come true.  I don't mean to gush, but I was so darn proud of what we did for Evan and Christina!  The entire team of vendors was in it to win it!

Below - two photos that I took with my phone as we were setting up the dinner reception.

My bride and groom had attended a wedding of a friend who had a photographer take photos of all the guests in couples as a sort of guestbook.  Evan and Christina loved the idea (and the product!) so much that they hired photographer Steve Maller to photograph every guest right before each person entered the chapel for the ceremony.  The result was so much cooler than I thought it would be!  The photos are true keepsakes for the guests and for Evan and Christina.  Whatever they decide to do with them, it's going to look amazing.  The best part is, Steve printed the photos within an hour after the ceremony and handed me a stack of high quality, perfectly lit and framed shots.  I wish I could hire Steve for every event I do!  He was wonderful.  Below are the photos he took of Evan and Christina.

They're gorgeous, right?  And see what I mean about Christina's makeup?  Love.

Ah!  This was one for the books.  (Note to self, start writing book.)   If you check out the full wedding gallery on Refinery29 and like what you see…you could pin a photo to your Pinterest board if you wanted to.  Hey!  Evan is the founder of Pinterest!  Cool, huh?  It was an honor to be a part of Evan and Christina's big day, truly.  I am so happy that they were able to celebrate their love, their way, in a city they love so very much.

Oh!  And their wedding video!  Belvedere Stories flew in from Miami and captured two days with the happy couple.  This wedding video is the best I've ever seen!  Check out the  version on Belvedere's website…so cool, so unique - I want one of my own wedding!  Alas…

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

Thinking about selling your wedding dress? Couture Consignment.

I have had several brides ask me this year about what they should do with their wedding dress after the big day.  "I love her, trust me!  But I'm never going to wear her again..." is a direct quote from one designer-gown-wearing Allure bride.  I send anyone with this inquiry over to Julie Jones at Encore Bridal.  Encore Bridal is based in San Francisco with a gorgeous showroom downtown, but it serves brides worldwide.  It's a couture consignment boutique and it is a pretty amazing company.  With Julie at the helm, brides are literally walked through the consignment buying and selling process from start to finish.  If you are looking for a designer dress without the designer price tag, contact Encore Bridal.  If you are looking for a trustworthy, green, and highly respected place to sell your dress, contact Encore Bridal.

Twitter: @EncoreBridal   

Email: info@encorebridal.com

Reviews

Allure Wedding: Marin Art and Garden Center

This Allure Wedding was such a pleasure to plan and coordinate!  It was my first time working at the Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross, and I loved everything about working at this unique venue.  With the team from MAGC and with all of the awesome North Bay vendors hired, I was thrilled to make the dream my clients had for their wedding a reality.  Here are some pictures of the gorgeous flowers by Kate's Blossoms.My bride wanted her wedding flowers to be bright and feminine, with pinks and corals, and as many peonies as possible.  Since the ceremony was in a garden, the flowers complimented the look...I love an intimate garden wedding!  And Kate, our illustrious florist, managed to find the perfect peonies--probably the very last of the season.  Beautiful!

The cake is by Sweet Things in Tiburon, and Kate decorated it with the garden flowers.

Caterer:  Insalata's Restaurant and Catering in San Anselmo.  Chris Engle, the catering manager, was a delight to work with and the food was DELICIOUS.  I was seriously impressed with Insalatas from start to finish.  I will highly recommend them from now on to anyone planning a party, or going out to eat in the area.  I can't say enough good things about them!

Venue:  The Marin Art and Garden Center is a true gem of a wedding venue in the SF Bay Area, if you ask me.  It is beautiful, but not over manicured or inaccessible.  It is extremely efficient as a venue, but remains a relaxed and 'low key' place to host a wedding or party. The MAGC staff were all kind and helpful, and most importantly, really took pride in their job.  As a wedding planner, I couldn't have asked for a better place to go to work!

My bride and groom were over the moon--about each other, and about their wedding.  I caught a couple stolen glances and kisses and really felt the love!  Cheers to everyone involved, and of course, to my sweet clients who closed out June 2012 for me in an amazing way!

 

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, birthdays...call 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.

Allure: 6th Week in Review

This week flew by!  I can't even believe it is March already!  I was busy with lots of following up, lots of flower and vintage inspiration research and LOTS of proposal drafting. I sent them out like a mama bird pushes her babies out of the nest...I hope that some of them come back to me! Here's a little of what kept this wedding planning mama busy this week:

1.  Flowers Flowers Flowers:  I feel like I am up to my eyes in flowers right now.  Working on the design concepts for two of my couples now, I am constantly adding flowers and information to my lists and pinboards.  Also, I am helping a friend out with the flowers for her wedding at the end of this month and this week the basic plan for this friend-job changed drastically.  I was juggling ideas, research, contact, and budget for these flowers and I learned so much in the process.  I also met a new vendor friend!  Yo, from Array of Flowers, was an amazing contact to make.  His tiny shop is literally across the street from my house and he creates beautiful arrangements in addiction to selling wholesale flowers to businesses like Allure.  I know I will be working with Yo on future projects (so knowledgeable, so helpful!).  And I will also be heading to Yo for my own flowers.  I'm going in today, actually!  I need some hydrangeas on my kitchen table stat.

2.  Office Hours.  I feel like I am working all the time...I have a 2 year old and I have a babysitter that comes once a week to help.  In the 4 hours that she is with Joey, I swear I do a full day's work.  The to-do list I have to catch up on by the time she gets here every week is daunting, to say the least.  Between my son, my husband, my house, my work...you know the rant...I have very little time for anything!  I love my wedding work, I love the business that I am able to have and still be a 'stay-at-home' mom, and I am proud of what I have going on.  But I am on my computer until 2am most nights and weekends don't mean anything anymore.  So I have decided to try to maintain a better balance.  I need to set boundaries for myself and for my clients.  If they see that I am emailing them a response at 2am, I'm afraid they will think I am always available to them, which just isn't possible.  (Or fair, or right, or sane!)  Every profession has 'office' hours in some respect, mine does too!  I just don't adhere to them because I think I can't justify having set office hours since I am working on things all day long...but not 'full time'.  I'm a full time mom, doing my best to do it all.  The only person who can always get a hold of me 'after hours' is Joey.  So, New Allure Hours: 8am-10pm, Monday-Saturday.  Ha!  See, I'm trying, ok?

3.  Styled Shoot!  Allure is teaming up with Kaella Lynn Events and Meg Perotti for a styled shoot.  My first one to produce and coordinate!  My first one to be a part of at all!  I'm super excited about this...Kaella and I have been teasing you for a while about our big 'project' coming up and this is it.  Details are still top secret, but I can tell you it is going to be bright and beautiful and inspiring.  Not just in the pretty details and fun ideas, but also in it's inherent message.  It's been a lot of work to come up with it and set it up, and Kaella is working hard on the styling and design.  I'm so happy with everyone involved.  I can't wait to do it (mid March) and I super duper can't wait to see the final product of Meg's!

A New Friend

Hi!  I hope you all had a delightful Valentine's Day!  I want to take today's blog to introduce you to a new friend of mine.  I met Lauren Cohn Frankel just a few days ago and I'm so happy I did!  Lauren emailed me several weeks ago after finding my name on Bernadette Smith's blog post listing graduates of her Gay Wedding Certification Course.  I was excited to hear from Lauren--she reached out exactly when I needed someone to!  Making sure Allure is a wedding vendor for the LGBTQ community is so important to me, but sometimes it feels like I'm treading water uphill.  Or something.Anyway...Lauren is an awesome photographer.  I love her style--I think she's refreshing, and I love her storytelling.  Lauren's pictures are edgy and honest, but feel immediatley genuine and they're just so beautiful.  I really like Lauren.  I like how she presents herself, I like where she stands and I like that she reached out.  And her pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy!

 

Allure: Week in Review!

Hiya!  Happy Sunday!  Today I am going to post about this week.  And every Sunday, I am going to do the same thing--an Allure recap of sorts.  The 2012 ball is rolling now and as we start working, I'd like to share our adventures!  Each week is different, that's why I love this job.  A post at the end of the week will be a chance for me to reflect on the work done and recharge for the work ahead.  I envision the posts will be about where we were, who we met, what's inspiring us, and what weddings we are currently working on.  I'm looking forward to sharing!

This Week in Review: 1.  Cake Plate in downtown Napa.  Kaella and I met Paige Smith at The Lab Event on January 14th.  We totally hit it off and planned a visit to see Paige at her gorgeous clothing and accessory store in Napa.  We aren't exactly sure how we will collaborate, but all parties involved hope we do soon!  We'll start the brainstorming off with the fabulous private "shopping parties" that Cake Plate has been known to throw.  Shopping...engagement parties...brides...there's gotta be something in there, right?

2.  Calistoga Ranch.  Allure has been on Calistoga Ranch's preferred vendor list now for a few years, I'm proud to say.  I have planned weddings there before, with Michelle Martinez (the owner of Allure), and I very much look forward to working there again in 2012.  It was really fun to head back up to the resort with Kaella to meet with Mike Moran, the director of sales and marketing there.  The property is simply gorgeous.  The experience of staying at Calistoga Ranch, or having a wedding there, is one of pure luxury -- nestled in wild, beautiful nature.  When I win the lottery, I will definitely book a personal stay.  Until then, I will work for clients getting married there.  And very happily! check out this wine cave--dinner reception inside!!

3.  The Clement Monterey.  Kaella and I drove out to Cannery Row the day after our wine country trip to Napa and Calistoga.  Lots of driving in two days, but totally worth it.  We went to the Clement to visit Nicole Lisane, the new catering sales manager there and old friend of Allure's.  She isn't old, of course!  She and Michelle have been friends for many years and along with 3 other wedding planners in SF, called themselves the Fab 5.  Nicole showed us the hotel and Kaella and I briefly discussed moving in.  (It could never work, how would our husbands eat dinner?)  Right in the heart of one of my favorite little towns, Monterey, this hotel is new and pristine and it smells like a beach and there are fireplaces everywhere and they give you fresh chocolate truffles just for walking through.  I fell in love with it.  And with Nicole!  She was so gracious to take time out and show us around...and Allure is on the Clement's preferred vendors list too...very exciting!

Hope you enjoyed our first Week in Review!  I enjoyed writing it.  I can't promise every post will be this long, but this was a big week for us!  And it's fitting that I would start this new installment after a big week!

In other news--I am almost finished unpacking and I don't need my gps to find my house anymore.  Next week will be filled with lots of research, inspiration hunting and referrals for my newest clients, Kate and AJ.  I'll keep you posted! (Literally.)

photo from calistogaranch.com

This one's for the boys!

Hello Wednesday!  I am excited to introduce the very first of our 'Vendor Love' installations here on the blog.  Occasionally, when we are working with a particularly awesome vendor and we want to tell you all about said vendor, we will here on the Allure blog!  We have so many fellow industry pals and sharing the love is important, so here we go! I have an ongoing list of fabulous photographers, designers, florists, venues, artists, musicians...you get the point....all wedding vendors that I could start showering with love and blog affection here in the first post.  Instead, I am going to get the ball rolling with the oft-neglected needs of the GROOM.  Oh yes, I know you are out there, gentlemen.  You may not be reading this blog, but I hope to get you!  For now, dear readers, pass it on, will you?

I would like to introduce Georges' Creations.  You want a suit?  Here's how it works:  A tailor comes to you--your house, your office, or you can meet at the SF City Club, or in a suite near Santana Row in San Jose.  Remember, this is an experience.  Bring your best man.  Bring some cognac.  Bring your wedding planner.  This is the bespoke tailoring experience perfected.  The tailor, expertly trained in France, takes precise measurements as an advisor discusses style, color and fabric with you.  Decisions are made.  High fives are exchanged.  The suit (and we are talking the WHOLE suit--pants, jacket, shirt, vest, even tie) is made to order in France and delivered to your door in 4 weeks.  A tailor is available if any final alterations are needed.  But they won't be. 

 

Listen, I've seen the suits and they are exquisite.  And not as expensive as you would think, considering.  Depending on what you choose, prices range between $940 and $3000.  This is a suit or tuxedo that will stand the test of time.  Looking through the website and brochure, I can't help but think of my brother Alex.  At 6'4" and thin, he has to get his suits tailored pretty extensively and he is quite the fashion plate, so one of these would be perfect for him.  Plus, Georges' can add whatever flair a man desires...bright orange lining?  Sure.  Swarovski crystals?  Of course.  I know the latter takes a 'specific' kind of guy...and I love him!

mmm...sharp!  Allure.  Loves.  Georges'.

While we are on the topic, check out The Distilled Man.  Offering classes in "Essential Man Skills".  I kid you not. 

 

 

The Lab Event!

Hi Wednesday!  So last week was pretty huge.  I moved to San Jose, attended a fantastic social media workshop by Kara Kull of How Fab at Blu Bungalow Studio in SF, and Allure was part of the Library Collection at the fabulous wedding event, The Lab Event in Sonoma.  Kaella and I had been looking forward to this for months and it didn't disappoint!  Putting our binder (that Kaella worked so hard on!) on the shelf in the Library was a really proud moment for us.  The Lab Event was the baby of Allison SilberYasmin Zialcita Ali and Erin Taylor.  These three ladies got together and decided to throw a party for engaged couples to meet inspiring wedding vendors, taste awesome catering, and basically have a great time in a beautiful, to-the-nines, wine cellar (Cline). 

 I think I was as inspired as the giddy brides at this event.  Everything was just put together so well!  Seriously, the huge room was transformed and I wanted to live there!  I definitely want to throw a party there.  Or in my living room, but with some of the decor from the Lab!  Huge round balloons, playful paper pompoms, candlelit wine barrels, a surprise confetti blast, and lush floral designs on every surface...Kaella and I were in vintage-inspired heaven.

water colored runner by Aerialist Press

"groom's lounge" by Milkglass Vintage Rentals

the Library. (can you see our binder? pink bow.)

I met lots of amazing Bay Area vendors, and have many thank yous and emails to send out.  The biggest thank you goes to the ladies of The Lab Event.  I was really just so happy to be there, all thier hard work made for one amazing, succesful party.

Also, I'd like to shout out to Fox and Fawn Bakehouse.  I probably had 4 cupcakes last night (they were mini, but still...) and I LOVED them!  Delectable and vegan.  Vegan?  Yup.  I have to admit, I was surprised.  I'm not exactly on the vegan train...but I will seek out this bakery in the future.  For myself and my clients.  The cupcakes were so so so good! 

I was so happy to finally meet Meg Perotti and Edyta Szyszlo -- 2 amazing photographers that are both based close to my new home in the South Bay.  I also connected with Chelsea Tucker Butts of Off the Beaten Path and Laurel Anderson of Esla Events, 2 other event planners/designers I hope to collaborate with in the future.  Elizabeth Chang from Skyla Arts, a hair and makeup artist, shared a little table with Kaella and I and it was so fun connecting with her as well.  I was mentally putting together a "dream team" of vendors all night!

It was a wonderful night all around and I'm proud that Allure was a small part of it.  Our binder and more information will be on the Allure shelf at the Inspired Collective studio in Campbell this Friday.  I'm looking forward to an awesome year...this week was a great start to 2012!

ladies of Allure!

photos by Kaella via Instagram!

 

 

Allure in the Inspired Collective!

Hi Wednesday!  I am knee deep in the middle of moving this week and while I am sad to leave my beloved San Francisco, I am excited about our move to San Jose.  It will be a friendlier city for my two year old, and we will be living much closer to my husband's work, so it will be nice for our family.  I'm relocating both personally and professionally, so I have a lot on my plate right now, it's filled to the brim with exciting transitions!  I am ready to get Allure into the south bay fold while continuing to work in San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area.  My first big step in San Jose was getting Allure in the Inspired Collective at Engaged and Inspired.  Done and done!  I'm thrilled to be a part of Allison Silber's collective and I can't wait to get to know the other wedding vendors in it. (A short list of some of the other vendors is below).   Also, I'm so happy to announce that Allure has a new logo (created by the amazing Kaella--see her intro post our blog) and that we will be part of the library of vendors at The Lab Event in Sonoma on January 14.  I'm not even officially living in San Jose yet, but Allure is all over the place! Let's do this 2012!

Some of my Inspired Collective peers!  Encarnacion Photography Fox and Fawn Bakehouse Huckleberry Karen Designs Over the Moon Vintage Rentals Josephine Harmon Fine Makeup Artistry I can't wait to get to know everyone!