Wedding season is upon us, and in full swing! As brides everywhere prepare for their big days this season, we’re loving what we’re seeing from their gowns. From amped up hues to fun floral embellishments, this season’s dresses promise to delight even the most skeptical of wedding critics. Late spring and summer offer a fantastic opportunity to skirt tradition, try a new style, embolden hemlines, and play with color – which makes for a fantastic lineup of dress options. Here are our top five favorite wedding dress trends this summer:
When you set off in search of your perfect wedding venue in the Bay area, there is a lot to be said for options! From the south bay and peninsula, all the way up to wine country, gorgeous outdoor venues are smattered throughout the area – just waiting to be booked. Some of our favorites have a distinct tonality to the property that lends itself well to the overall decor and feel of the wedding – a stamp of originality that makes them one of our favorite venues around San Francisco. Maybe its the rustic elegance of the expansive property, or the perfectly manicured landscaping that sets the tone for the French themed affair – whatever it is, these venues have a je ne s’ais quoi to them that makes for the perfect setting for an outdoor wedding. Today, we’re diving into four of our most loved outdoor venues – which one do you love?!
1. The Conservatory of Flowers – San Francisco
Boasting Victorian era charm, educational and interactive areas for your guests, and iconic landmark status within Golden Gate Park, the Conservatory of Flowers is a quintessential wedding location for the San Franciscan traditionalist. Made of wood and glass, the expansive white greenhouse nestled within the park opened in 1879 as a safe place for exotic tropical plants and flowers to flourish within the city limits. Today, it’s a historical monument, and the space (as well as grassy knoll out front) can be rented out for your wedding in the park. As an added bonus, the space includes both indoor and outdoor areas, for weather accommodation year round – or when city weather gets finicky in the summer. The real beauty of the Conservatory is featured in the fantastic floral landscaping surrounding the structure – a ceremony in the garden or on the lawn is certain to be beautiful. Here are some photos from a ceremony Kaella Lynn designed their last Winter.
An equestrian estate sitting on 80 acres of pristine property in Pleasant Valley, Devine Ranch is the ultimate rustic ranch venue in the Bay Area. From the 7,000 square foot lodge and matching stables, to the gated entrance framed in Montana river rock, every elegant detail of the property is intended to delight the event-goer. As a wedding venue, Devine Ranch is host to more than 5 potential ceremony and reception locations, and can accommodate both indoor and outdoor seating. Located just thirty minutes outside of Carmel and 90 minutes from San Francisco, Devine Ranch is a one of a kind wedding location that is certain to provide that “wow” factor to local and visiting guests alike. The best feature: perfect 360 degree views of rolling California hills, pastures, and wineries from the lodge.
A historic ranch house from 1892 overlooking Sonoma Valley from its hilltop perch in Glen Ellen, Beltane Ranch is one of the most charming rustic venues to be found in wine country. Quaint, Victorian, and surrounded by acres of vineyards, pastures, and grassy hills, Beltane Ranch has been featured in films like “The Five Year Engagement”, and has a reputation of beauty that extends beyond bay area natives. Our team has planned a number of weddings at the venue, and their staff and property is unparalleled. The wedding party can stay on property in the ranch house rooms, and choose from a ceremony in the garden or on the lawn, with the reception on the great lawn. The atmosphere feels lively and exclusive, and the view of the stars when the sun goes down cannot be beat! Beltane is a working ranch, and to prove it, you need only drive on property for 100 yards before encountering a fully grown bull in his pen, just before you reach the abundant garden extent of the property.
As one of the most exclusive wedding venues in wine country, Beaulieu Gardens (as part of the famous Beaulieu Vineyards) is host to some of the grandest garden weddings in the state of California. Located in Rutherford on a private family-owned estate, Beaulieu Vineyards is one of the oldest winemaking properties in Napa Valley. Boasting abundant sycamore trees, a quarter mile tree-lined drive up to the property, and formal gardens that highlight the French European family’s influences, this venue is exclusively managed by Paula Leduc Fine Catering. Sporting multiple ceremony and reception sites, perfectly manicured grounds, and an expansive arbor of historic trees, Beaulieu Gardens is the perfect backdrop for your formal garden affair or outdoor fête.
Many engaged couples walk into the wedding planning process knowing a lot about what they want in a wedding – colors, venues, destination location, and bridal party attire included. Some have no idea, and are shopping around for ideas to inspire their event. Whichever category you fit into, booking a planner can be a positive and productive experience – and you may learn something new, or realize what you want, in the process!
Here are five things to never leave at home for a planner consultation:
1. Your Support System – whether its your fiancé, your sister, your mom, or your best friend, your support system is there to give you emotional encouragement, and share in the planning process with you. Make sure you bring along the person that you trust, who makes you feel empowered to share your ideas and vision with your prospective planner. As we know, these meetings are a lot of fun with the right attendees!
2. Your budget – many times, engaged couples will have worked out a prospective budget before beginning to look for a planner. Some couples may not have an idea of how much the wedding of their dreams will cost, and are looking to their planner for guidance. The wedding budget provides a blue print for the planning and vendor selection process, and also keeps everyone on the same page. If you’re working with a particular budget, be it tight or extravagant, be sure to share that with your planner, so that they can provide guidance around how to make the best use of that investment. We will review your priorities and needs to provide insight on how to best allocate the budget.
3. Any vendors you have already booked – if you’ve already booked the band, the lighting company, the cake baker, and the venue, that’s great! If you haven’t, that’s also okay. Just be sure your planner has a clear picture of the contracts that are already set in stone, so that they can help you fill in the gaps, as well as watch out for potential pitfalls. Since typically your planner will take over contract management at some point in the process, you want them well aware of all participants on the vendor side.
4. Your vision – be it a mood board (why yes, we like Pinterest), paint chips, fabric swatches, or a binder titled ‘The Great Big Book of Everything’, bring it with you! Not only do we LOVE looking at pretty pictures, colors, and ideas, but it will also help you to convey your expectations to your planner in a really visual and clear manner. If you already know what you want your floral arrangements to look like but have yet to select your florist, bring a series of images to your planner – not only can she make recommendations, she can also help you manage cost and other intangibles that you might not think of (for instance, peonies in December would need to be imported, and that would likely provide you with an additional cost).
5. Questions – prepare a list of questions about items you’d like to cover, from the planning process in general to the planner’s particular work style and services. This is the time to discuss any uncertainties you have regarding the planning process and any special needs or requirement you have for your big day. Your planner is there as a major supporter, coach, cheerleader, and organizational maven for your big day – no question is too small or unimportant!
6. A notebook – write EVERYTHING down! You want to be sure you leave your prospective planner meeting with a clear idea of what was discussed, next steps, and whether or not you think a partnership with the planner would be a good fit – and you simply cannot do that unless you keep detailed notes. We love our laptops at KLE, and take vigorous notes on both web apps (like Evernote), as well as in cute notebooks. Whatever your style, make sure you’re keeping a record of your meeting – it’s always great to refer back to your notes as you move forward in the planning process.