January 28, 2013

Hangar One Vodka Tour and Tasting

Last October when the City was in chaos with events happening simultaneously (Fleet week, a Niners game, a Giants game, and I think the Italian Heritage Festival), my friends and I decided to escape the madness by taking the ferry boat out to Alameda and checking out the Hangar One Vodka Tour and Tasting.  It's definitely one of the coolest things to do outside of the city and a great place to take friends who are from out of town.

Fell in love with the Firelit Coffee Liqueur, which we later brought home
and loved the Absinthe with the drop of a sugar cube.  

 The distillery - learned a lot about Scotch and not to call it that when you're in Scotland, or they'll look at your like you're an idiot.  It's whiskey!!

I was supposed to go to a baby shower later that afternoon, but being a light drinker in general and heading out to the Phoenix pub for more drinking while catching the Giants in the playoffs, it's not a shock that I never made it to the shower.

January 27, 2013

Gray wedding palettes

I'm really obsessed with gray, so much so that a lot of it is incorporated in my home decor.  Visitors from the South Bay were stumped when my fiance and I announced that we were going to do grays in the home and received comments such as, "Um, San Francisco's always foggy; and you're going to do more gray?"

Anyways, it's no surprise we'll be extending my love of this color into the wedding...

 Caparros Tracey Satin pump:
A steal at $54.95 at DSW

A lovely dress your bridesmaids can wear again and again
by David's Bridal

Invites from Invitations by Wedgewood in Looking Sharp:
Send an invite to the President and you may get a letter & family photo in return-
something cool to add to your wedding album.

January 26, 2013

San Francisco wedding planning

I am so relieved.  The beautiful gray dresses I ordered from David's Bridal are on the way a lot earlier than anticipated.  When I was told they would be available 12 days before my wedding, which is 3 months from now, I actually didn't panic- working as a component Buyer, I knew the sure way was to expedite the hell out it.  Now I can breathe a sigh of relief.

Without any hardcore research we decided to go with Chiarashine Photography, who was referred by my fiance's sister.  We checked out her website and really loved the pictures - they were natural, candid, and in the moment, which I feel is the best representation of us as a couple.  Also her pricing and wedding packages were reasonably priced.  Instead of engagement photos, we're hoping to do post-wedding photos in San Francisco (the wedding dress will get a second life!)  Even though our wedding is taking place near the Crystal Springs Reservoir in Burlingame, there's no way we could omit one of the most beautiful cities on earth from our wedding.

I also finally got my wedding band from Brilliant Earth.  Because my engagement ring was specially made by a conflict-free, philanthropic jeweler, The Clarity Project, located right here in the city, it just made sense to have my wedding band created with the same concept in mind.  The wonderful thing is Brilliant Earth donates 5% of it profits to charities and the Clarity Project has funded four years worth of teachers salaries in Sierra Leone.

 Custom made platinum diamond ring: 
by The Clarity Project.

  Pile 'em all on:
Diamond bands from Brilliant Earth

January 5, 2013

The Cakery in Burlingame and wedding shoes

Wedding on a budget update #2:

The Cakery on Burlingame Avenue was listed as the main Wedgewood vendor for wedding cakes and it was a huge relief that they had great reviews on yelp and the variation of cakes we tried were delicious.  They were just right- not too moist, not too dry and the filling was rich and creamy.

They offer four complimentary samples with combinations you're interested in trying:

Sponge cake - Yellow or Chocolate
Filling- Lemon, vanilla, raspberry, orange creme, fudge, and more.
Icing- Butter cream, fondant, white chocolate, and marzipan.

We settled on 3 tiers each with different sponges and fillings. Because our relatives aren't too crazy on sweets, we chose the third tier being the yellow sponge and lemon filling, the second -chocolate sponge with raspberry filling, and the first tier which we'll bring home will be the chocolate sponge and orange creme.  Gluten free options are also available!

I also handed Tiffany, our consultant a picture of a gradient/ombre wedding cake that I found in The Knot magazine and was happy to hear that they could make it to our liking with no extra charges on our package.  I didn't want a traditional wedding cake.

The wedding shoes:

I was really, really in love with Badgley Mischka's shoes and they had great sales at Zappo's but sadly all my sizes were gone.  Still because I'm on a tight budget, I have to be realistic about spending money on shoes no one's going to see because my dress is so dang long, and honestly, I live in flats so I don't know if the amount of  repeat wear will justify the cost.

Badgley Mischka's Cissy 

Kelly & Katie Jubilee

For wedding shoes on a budget DWS is an awesome option if you're looking to spend less than $75 on shoes.  My favorite brands are Lulu Townsend (my wedding shoes by this designer were only $40!), Kelly & Katie, and Nina shoes- what I loved was how elegant and chic they looked without that ridiculous thick platform look.   

 Nina shoes

January 4, 2013

San Francisco Bay Area wedding on a budget

I know a lot of brides in the Bay Area get frustrated in finding ways to have a really great wedding on a budget, but I can guarantee you that it's possible, even if you're on a $10,000 budget.  My fiance discovered this really great wedding banquet center at the Crystal Springs Golf Course in Burlingame and what's great is they offer wedding packages suited for couples on a tight budget and is located just a half hour drive from San Francisco.  

There are no ridiculous hidden fees such as cake cutting and serving, or use of tables and utensils - it's all included in your package for a reasonable price.  You can also mix and match what you do and don't want in your package.  If you have a talented friend who makes beautiful invitations, you can have the invitations removed as an option in your package, or say you want to upgrade the house wine to something fancier in another package, you're more than welcome to do so.  Their lowest package available is $40.00 per person for a party of 50 - 70 people in the off-peak season.  

And the best part is, the ceremony area overlooks Crystal Springs reservoir.  When we first made a visit, we knew that it was perfect- it was so us.  

We signed our contract with Wedgewood two weeks ago, with the wedding date 4 months away.  Once I got the wedding date locked in, I headed to David's Bridal a week later to hunt for the perfect wedding dress for under $600, and was surprised to find a few beautiful wedding dresses for under $300.  

I can see why it's easy to get carried away with overspending.  You have that mentality of, well I'm going to end up spending thousands of dollars on this wedding, so what's another thousand?  But honestly, I reasoned, okay, no one is going to remember what my wedding dress looked like months from now and I'm only going to wear the dress for one day for a maximum of 5 - 6 hours, and as long as it looks beautiful in pictures, I'm not spending over $300 on a wedding dress.

Anyway, I did find the perfect dress for $250 at David's Bridal, which is a slight variation of the first picture below.  I got really lucky, it fit like a glove and there weren't many left since it was on clearance.  I wish I can post it, but I'll wait until after the wedding. 

David's Bridal- White by Vera Wang

David's Bridal - DB Studio

David's Bridal - DB Studio

David's Bridal - Galina