{Reality Check: Seeing Red}

August 31, 2009

It's been a while since we launched Reality Check and it's finally back again.

This month, we asked four different floral designers to give us their retail price for this lovely arrangement by renowned designer, Belle Fleur NY. This gorgeous centerpiece was first featured in Brides Magazine.

It's a classically styled centerpiece would work for any season. One of the things that makes this such a strong statement is the uniformity of the blooms and the near monochromatic color palette. This striking centerpiece uses a variety of deep red and dark plum-red flowers including deep red Roses, Reddish Plum Rananunculus, Dark Reddish Plum mini callas, and Red orchids.

Keep in mind that if you want to create a more affordable version of this centerpiece, try bunching together modest blooms like carnations, dahlias, and Peruvian lilies in monochromatic hues.

We want to thank Audrey O'Brien Studio Stems(Utah), Janet Martineau of Floral Verde(Michigan), Jennifer Hocker of Allure Event Designs (So Cal), and Nancy Liu Chin(NorCal) for their help and input.

{Photography: Foto Friday IX}

August 28, 2009

Elaine & Don were married at Villa Montalvo in Saratoga – a gorgeous venue! It's a place that photographer, Michelle Walker, has dreamed of getting married at since she was 5 years old.

She sent us this adorable imagefor our Foto Friday with this quote, "Is he the “lucky guy”!".

Yes, indeed!

Thanks again Michelle. What's in store for next week?

{Flowers: Color Master}

August 27, 2009

We are constantly looking for new inspiration and great professionals to add to our growing list of great resources. You can bet, we are excited that we are adding the wonderful Janie Medley Floral to our list of floral designer.

Janie has a great flair for color and textures. Her bouquets are breathtakingly beautiful and her designers reflect a restrained elegance that we don't see that often.

Many people might know this but if you didn't Janie is also the voice and creator behind, The Bride's Cafe Blog, one of the best wedding blogs out there. Period.

We don't know how Janie finds the time to run her successful wedding floral business and write with such zeal. We welcome JMFlora to our list of great floral designers.

{The List #19: Love Songs}

August 26, 2009

This week's list comes to us from one of our readers, Gabriela Reid of Colorful Events. She's a big fan of Steve Tyrell and offers a list of her favorite Steve Tyrell songs that are perfect for weddings.

We love it when readers share their lists with us and we hope this encourages others to send them in as well.

The Way You Look Tonight
It Had to be You
Cheek to Cheek
Fly Me To The Moon
I'm in the Mood for Love
When You Wish Upon a Star (yes, Steve Sings Disney, too)
This Guy's in Love with You
As Time Goes By
Just In Time
Isn't it Romantic?

Thank you, Gabriela.

{Cake & Sweets: Royal Treat}

August 25, 2009

Many of us on the panel have been noticing the work of Cake Coquette a boutique cake design studio in San Francisco.

This is one of our favorites from their collection of decadent designed cakes by owner and cake baker, Gabrielle Feuersinger.

Drawn to opulent and ornamental cakes, Gabrielle's creations are certainly one of a kind with the flair for the dramatic. We especially love the crown like cake topper on this beautiful 3 tiered cake that is sitting in an urn. Now, that's both royal yet ladylike.

We guess that's why we are so --- following Cake Coquette.

Photography by Elizabeth Messina

{Real Wedding: Here Comes the Sun Part III}

August 24, 2009

The long tables filled with sunflowers in antique buckets were perfectly designed by San Francisco floral and event designer, Nancy Liu Chin. We love it.

We are crazy about this image by Gertrude & Mabel of the couple in the background with the table decor in the foreground.

The twine lends an organic feel. Wonderful. And who doesn't love sitting under the Grove at Beaulieu Gardens?

The vintage luggage with place cards inserted into the moss. Fun!

{Real Weddings: Here Comes the Sun Chapter II}

More from our Napa wedding by Gertrude & Mabel.

The wood signs were created by Gloria Wong of GWD.

How cute is the "Hello Grandma!" sign?

{Real Weddings: Here Comes the Sun Chapter I}

When it comes to summertime, we think bright colors, outdoor receptions, and informal events. There's no doubt that this wedding featuring some of our very own, Pink Blossom Listers, has just that right balance of colors, outdoor fun, and informality that we adore.

The wholesome details created by PBP, Gloria Wong, gives you a window into the soul of this couple. Personable in all aspects, it truly is endearing, inviting, and pleasant. Wonderfully captured by the team at Gertrude and Mabel, it's no wonder that this wedding has been the talk of the wedding world.

See for yourself.

The lovely flowers were created by fellow PBL, Nancy Liu Chin of NLCD. The boutonniere to the left is made with mini calla lilies and summer millett with a kiwi green grosgrain ribbon.

{Photography: Foto Fridays VIII}

August 21, 2009

It seems like our Foto Fridays are getting better and better. Today's image from Michelle Walker is especially wonderful.

Michelle writes, "we were finishing Connie & Steve’s portraits at St. Dominic’s Church when the wind made a surprise visit! " Sometimes the unexpected is truly the exceptional. Love.

{Decor: Relaxed Beautiful}

August 20, 2009

We are proud as a peacock that our very own panelists, Gloria Wong, Anne Millett and Nancy Liu Chin were all involved in this amazing photoshoot but Pink Blossom List, Lisa Lefkowitz. Other professionals involved include Lisa Wong Jackson of Good on Paper, Taylor Pham of Thi Cosmetics, and Cake Coquette. This photo shoot was also captured by Andrew Hsu of MSV.
You can read more about this photo shoot at Style Me Pretty. Thank you Abby for your great post and we can't wait to see the full story in Bride's Northern California.

{The List #18: Hawaii Spots}

August 19, 2009

Evonne Wong of Events by Evonne has graciously given us this week's list of her favorite Hawaii venues for weddings.

Let's see what she recommends.
Four Seasons, Manele Bay - on Lanai
Lanikuhonua - on Oahu
Four Seasons Hualalai - on The Big Island
Robertson Estate - on The Big Island

The photography on the right is from Jessica Strickland of Olowalu Plantation House

{Photography: Urban eSessions}

August 18, 2009

Looks like eSessions(engagement sessions) are becoming more popular than ever. With eSessions - couples are expressing their true nature. These informal photo sessions tend to bring out a couple's personality through their favorite spots, their mutual interests, and even their wardrobe. This recent eSession photographed by our very own, Kevin Chin, explores a couple's quirky, lovable, and vibrant personality.

We're sure you've seen a few of these images as they were featured recently in Style Me Pretty but we thought they were so fun and captivating that it was worth a second look.

{Decor: Rules of Engagement}

August 17, 2009

Some rules are meant to be broken while others are there because they are just darn right. And you can't ignore good wedding decor advice. Sure, if you follow them too much, you might have a cookie cutter wedding where you lose one's personality but the worse thing that can happen is you ignore them altogether. Hopefully if you follow a few of our tips you will avoid the pitfalls of wedding design disasters.

Here's some rules of engagement - other wise known as the do's and don't to keep your wedding full of grace and elegance:

1.0 : EDIT & FOCUS

The tendency when you get engaged is to start going through blogs, magazines, and wedding books tearing out your favorite images and identifying all the ideas that you like. Isn't it hard to narrow down ideas or par down your wish list to the key motifs, center themes, and ideal style. Even the inspiration boards that start as a roadmap can sometimes steer you away from the end goal.

If less is truly more, then the job of wedding stylists or designers is to edit. A rather radical cure for divurging concepts, multiple motifs, and extensive color combinations is actually to remove an object, an idea, even a color when it just is too much. Keep what you love, drop what you aren't passionate about and begin thinking about the key pieces. Sharpen, fine tune, polish. Edit and Focus.

The best utilization of your budget is to marriage the architecture and your overall wedding design/decor. Spend time and seriously look at the space. Look at it empty. Look at it in daylight. Look at it in the evening. Nancy Liu Chin of NLCD adds this, "when I meet with clients, the first thing I recommend is designing with the space in mind. The most elegant and thoughtful events are the perfect unions of space and a couple's sense of style. If you want rustic elegance, should you pick a Rococo ballroom? NO. You want a modern chic wedding, would you pick a dark English hall? NO". Of course if budget isn't an issue, there are tricks to cover the wall. You can recarpet. You can add fancy uplighting, props, and furniture. There's always ways around a room but in general, why design against a space, especially if it is something you like.

Rustic Luxe. Backyard Chic. Going Green. Eclectic Charm. We are all guilty as charged for trying to follow the latest and greatest wedding trendy and concepts. But those who've been in the business know that it's best not to follow what is "in" but what is true and from the heart. For a recent wedding, Jubilee Lau coordinated a wedding of a couple who are both into literature. The couple loved all things about books and writing. Their authentic passion for books and writing inspired the couple to get married in a library filled with books. How fitting is that? Embracing something that's authentic and sincerely one's own has more longevity and truth. A classic is a classic. To make your wedding, a classic, it really starts with being true to your own self.

Someone once said that "glamour is rooted in the unexpected". We love that saying. Don't allow your wedding to be just another wedding cliche. It's normal to do the vows, toss bouquet, first dance, cake cutting. These are all wedding cliche's but are they truly meaningful to you? If they aren't -- why do them? Do you have to do favors just because it's to be expected. Will a organza bag of candy - make or break the feel or design of your wedding? Probably not. If you don't like cake, should you do cake? What if you love ice cream? pie? Why not! Don't fall for the cliche.


Nothing changes a room then a splash of color. Most couples are afraid of color. We can't blame you, it's only natural but did you know that a splash of color in your linens is one of the quickest way to transform. A bold color can transform a black and white motif to another level. One great color with white can turn something ordinary into extraordinary like this blue stripe linen with blue hydrangea centerpieces.

Sure sometimes the hotel linen is fine but then your wedding will have that cookie cutter look. Where's the personality that marks your event from other?

The truly best events we've ever designed, attended, and seen all possess fun, humor, and charm. Sometimes we take things too seriously. Have fun. Put a little humor in your event.


If you embrace something do it and do it in a meaningful way not just once but a several times. When panelist Nancy and Kevin Chin were married in 2000, they loved the mutted hues of Bosc and Barlett pears. Nancy is a big foodie so she really wanted a food motif. Though many of their close friends joked that their pear theme should be titled the "Perfect Pair" they choose to keep the concept subtle with gentle accents like adding a pear motif to the invitation. They thought adding sliced pears in their first course salad, whole pears to their centerpieces and poached pears to their wedding cake would probably be enough. They learned the hard way that these touches - though nice - were too subtle that it didn't come across to their guests that there was a "pear" theme.
At the recent Wedding University, Gloria Wong reminded brides and grooms to take their concept and make sure to "thread" it throughout the wedding concepts.
In hindsight, if the Chin's had understood how to "thread" the pear motif throughout the wedding, they probably would have added "pears" to their placecards, menu, favors, programs, linens, and even the color of the bridesmaid dresses.

Sometimes what may be "over the top" to you, is lost to your guests.

Top Image by Mallory Samson
2nd Images by Mallory Samson
3rd Image from Veranda, Courtesy of Carolyn Roehme.

{Photography: Foto Fridays VII}

August 14, 2009

Photo taken of Kelly McLeskey (event coordinator at SMI) & Nick Dolata’s wedding in Beaver Creek, Colorado.
Michelle Walker writes, "who says you need to wear white shoes?".

{Cake & Sweets: In the Bag}

August 13, 2009

The craftsmanship on this cake is so amazing that we can't believe this brown briefcase is edible.

This is one of the many "haute couture" designs by the talented Shinmin Li of I Dream of Cakes. Recently, two of our panelists, Gloria Wong and Nancy Liu Chin had lunch with the very in demand couture cake designer.

We can't wait to feature more of her wonderful, edible designs that are always refreshingly high on style and so mouth watering.

For more on I Dream of Cake, you should visit her beautiful cake gallery in SF's North Beach district.

{The List #17: The Great Outdoors}

August 12, 2009

As many of you know, summers in the West Coast could not be more beautiful and gorgeous. The weather is sensational though at times a little hot.

But in most cases, perfect for outdoor weddings. We asked our panelist to come up with some of their favorite West coast outdoor venues. Here's a few of their favorite spots:

Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara
Beltrane Ranch in Glen Ellen
Beaulieu Garden in Rutherford
Four Seasons Aviara in San Diego
The One & Only Palmilla in Cabo San Lucas
Painted Rock Lodge in North Lake Tahoe
Solage Calistoga in Calistoga
The Parker in Palm Springs
Villa Montalvo in Saratoga
Esperanza Resort in Cabo San Lucas

Photography by Gertrude & Mabel of Beaulieu Gardens, Rutherford, California

{Event Designers: Catching up with Jubilee Lau}

August 11, 2009

A wedding has an energy all its own. Often on the actual wedding day, you might not realize that wedding vendors might be meeting each other for the very first time. However, when you hire vendors who work together often, there's a great thing called - chemistry that occurs. An undeniable chemistry happens when you get like minds together. There is a certain synergy that occurs when you get a team of vendors who work well together.

Ultimately, strong vendor partnerships play key roles in creating a harmonious environment.

When we asked Nancy Liu Chin to interview Bay Area wedding expert, Jubilee Lau of JLE, Nancy was quite eager and excited as she and Jubilee have partnered on many elaborate events throughout their careers including the upcoming Wedding 360(formerly, The Wedding University). Wedding 360 was co-founded by Jubilee Lau and Jean Marks and will take place in January 2010 at Four Seasons Silicon Valley. Nancy is thrilled to be returning as a wedding "professor". Nancy credits her own success to having great partners like that of both Jubilee and Jean.

Let's listen in on their conversation.

NLC: So Jubilee, what is something about wedding planning that most people don't realize?

JL: There is such a heavy focus on beautiful wedding designs, which is of course very important, but many people don't realize the importance of having all the nuts and bolts in place behind the scenes in order to create a a great wedding experience. I am referring to the logistics, which is not considered a 'fun' part of the planning, but certainly plays a major role in bringing all the different vendors and elements together seamlessly. Without the proper nuts and bolts in places, even the most beautiful weddings can fall apart.

NLC: In this economy what is one thing most couples should not cut???? Do you have a cost saving tip?

JL: This may sound self serving, but I honestly believe planners are all the more IMPORTANT in this economy. A well experienced, knowledgeable, and well connected planner can help couples evaluate their options wisely, including how to best allocate the money that they have to spend. Not only can a planner help couples connect with dependable vendors that matches their budget, style, and personalities, but a planner can also help prevent couples from making costly mistakes throughout the planning process.
NLC: Amen to that!

NLC: So, if you had to plan a wedding in 24 hours, where would you start?
JL: I would try to gather as much info as possible from a brief conversation in terms of the couple's style, priorities and budget. From that, I would help them secure a location and put together a time line right away to determine the ceremony/reception start time so they can call all their guests. Then, I would help them to secure all the key vendors while they shop for their attire, jewelry, and accessories.

NLC: Tell me one thing that your best friend doesn't know about you.
JL: That is hard! I think my best friend knows everything about me…..Okay, here's an attempt. I don't think she knows that I once tried to apply to be on the show Fear Factor
NLC: (I gasp in shock!)

NLC: And what are you known for in the industry?

JL: I'm known for being calm, under any circumstances, especially on a wedding day!

NLC: You truly are. And let's also add knowledgeable. Must makes you a perfect person for starting something like Wedding 360. As a co-founder, can you tell me how it came about?

JL: The Wedding University concept came from a passion of mine--to educate, inspire, and empower brides and grooms to make wise decisions for their wedding. I realized that not everyone will have a planner, and studied a great deal on how they obtain information during their wedding planning process. Many admitted feeling overwhelmed with the overload of info that they obtain from the internet, magazines, and particularly bridal fairs because so much of the focus is on selling. Therefore, I partnered up with another planner Jean Marks who shared the same passion as I, and we decided to produce an event that was strictly focused on wedding planning education.

We hand picked top experts in their fields to be the 'professors', and teamed up with the Four Seasons Silicon Valley to create an elegant afternoon to pamper 150 attendees that were brides, grooms, bridesmaids, and mother of brides. At the end of the afternoon, one lucky bride won a three night stay at the Four Seasons Bora Bora!

The event was a huge success based on the student evaluations that were filled out. The students enjoyed the pampering of exceptional food and service, but more importantly they were able to take away a lot of valuable knowledge and information regarding all aspects of wedding planning. They felt empowered to make the right decisions for themselves as they continue their journey towards the wedding day. After the success of TWU, Jean and I decided to pursue this passion of ours and after 6 months we now have a new name and identity--Wedding 360.


Jubilee Lau, the Founder and primary Wedding Planner of Jubilee Lau Events, established the company in 2002 as a pursuit to follow her dream. Upon receiving her degree in Mass Communications at U.C. Berkeley, she began her career in the corporate world planning community events, holiday parties, and executive meetings. She loved utilizing her remarkable organizational skills to plan and produce extraordinary events. After several years of planning corporate events, Jubilee ventured off to explore the wedding industry where she became professionally trained and certified by the Association of Bridal Consultants and June Wedding, Inc. She was elected President of June Wedding, Inc. Northern California Chapter in 2005 and through this role, enjoyed the opportunity to give back to the industry by planning magnificent networking events for event professionals.

With her cheerful and calm personality, Jubilee has helped hundreds of couples journey through the fun process of designing, personalizing, and planning for their big day. A detail oriented person by nature and years of event planning experience under her belt, no stones are left unturned when Jubilee takes the lead on a wedding. She works with couples closely throughout their engagement period to ensure that their planning process is smooth, fun, and manageable. Clients love working with Jubilee because she sincerely cares about them. She listens carefully to understand her clients' desires and utilizes her vast resources and exceptional coordination skills to help bring their visions to life.

Photography by Gertrude and Mabel. Floral design by Nancy Liu Chin Designs. Wedding Planning by Jubilee Lau Events.

{Invitations: Lace Design by Betsy White}

August 10, 2009

We are so lucky to have Gia Graham with us today on Pink Blossom List. Gia of Betsy White shares how inspiration becomes a real design. Let's take a look as inspiration turns into reality for one lucky couple.

In this instance, Gia's cliented wanted to create an elegant and classic design inspired by the delicate patterns of lace. These are the kinds of images that she found inspiring:

The result was the Olivia wedding invitation . Here’s what it looks like:

Photo Credits:
Top row: brocantegirl on Flickr, Martha Stewart

Middle row: image via Tiara Inc, Behance Network
Bottom row 3: MyFonts.com, decor8 on Flickr

Invitation image courtesy of Betsy White stationery boutique

{Photography: Foto Fridays VI}

August 7, 2009

We are so glad that Michelle Walker our resident photoguru has returned safely from her wedding photo shoot in Africa! Can't wait to hear her details!
Now that we have Michelle back, we have our next installment in Foto Fridays. This time Michelle writes, "I love this photo! I was walking by the dressing rooms at Villa Montalvo (where I’ve wanted to get married since I was like, 5 years old) and spied Dad practicing his speech in front of the mirror – priceless!"
Thanks Michelle for your fabulous photo - priceless, indeed.
Have a great weekend everyone!

{Invitations: Calligrapher Lauren McIntosh}

August 6, 2009

A few weeks back we highlighted the beautiful calligraphy of Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls. In learning more about Maybelle, we noted that her calligraphy teacher and mentor is none other than Lauren McIntosh.

Lauren is a divinely talented artist, calligrapher, printer and painter. Much of her graphic design inspirations comes from 18th and 19th century botanical illustrations and natural history collections.

Lauren has collaborated with the world-renowned Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse on many menus over the years. The artistry and simple perfection of a Chez Panisse meal richly deserves such lovely menus to enhance and commemorate the experience! A few of our favorites were reproducted in Menus of Chez Panisse, 2002 Engagement Calendar published by SF's own Chronicle Books.

In addition to her career as an artist, Lauren is the co-owner of Tail of the Yak in Berkeley - the one-of-a-kind gift store specializing in gifts, ephemera, new and antique decorative arts, and antique jewelry. If you have the chance to visit the shop, be prepared for a magical experience.

You will be pleased to know that Lauren teaches calligraphy classes at her home studio in Berkeley. For more information, please contact Tail of the Yak at 510-841-9891.

{The List #16: Summer Groom's Attire)

August 5, 2009

Dapper wedding photographer, Kevin Chin, may be well known for his wedding imagery but many in the know often taut him to be one well-dressed man. So we sat with Kevin and asked him to help us pick great summer attire for groom's getting married in the summer time. Here is his fabulous(and fashionable) suggestions:

Outdoor: Khaki Suit, white cotton shirt with light knit ties
Beach: Linen Suit with crisp white open collar shirt and no tie(sandals only)
Informal or Day Time Chic: Light Grey Suits with white collared shirt and tie
Traditional: Slim cut black suit with pale color tie
Country Club: White Dinner jacket with black pants and bowtie
Backyard: Seersucker suit with white shirt and tie
Yacht Club: Navy blazer, oxford shirt with REP tie, loafers(no socks)
Art Gallery: Black peak label suits with white shirt and slim black tie
Vintage: Slim cut suit with plaid shirt and old school Converse(add a vintage cap - no, not a baseball cap, silly!)
Destination Tropical: Long knee length shorts, Aloha shirt with fresh garland or lei from the local florist

Photography by Kevin Chin

{Decor: A Sitdown with Especially Yours}

August 4, 2009

Venues don't just look good by themselves. Catering managers alike know that their venues look best with a little bit of design and ingenuity. Creative floral designers cannot transform a room with just flowers only. And even the best wedding planners know that without the right chairs and linens to dress up a place, no amount of coordination can transform a space into an elegant wedding affair

And though many people think that covering up functional ballroom chairs seem a waste, there is something to be said about the beauty of coordinating linens with chair covers or beautiful bamboo Chiavari chairs.

Today, we had the talented Michelle Barrionuevo-Mazzini interview owner, Beverly Yip of Especially Yours - Chair, Covers & Linens. Beverly Yip has a very specialized chair, cover and linen rental business in the Bay Area. She services many of the top hotels, wedding venues, and industry professionals. Let's listen in on their conversation and Beverly's advice on chair, linens, and covers.

MB: How did you come up with the name Especially Yours?

BY: Believe it or not, I can’t remember (really!) but honestly, I think I was sitting at City Hall and 15 minutes before registering f or a “company name” I was holding an article wedding related and said Especially Yours. It was then when I copied and wrote down on my City Hall f or m – Especially Yours Chair Covers & Linens.

MB: Do you prefer silk or taffeta? (Please include why you like one more than the other).

BY: Taffeta. I love love love our Satin Taffeta Linens. They are crisp. They are clean. They are Chic. It’s going away from the Traditional Organza Sashes and attracts those brides who dare to be edgy, which I love! Plus, Satin Taffeta sashes tie and fluff better! Last year, my bride at Empress of China in San Francisco used all our Satin Taffeta Line! From her Red & Gold Table linens to her Red Satin Taffeta Chair Sashes to her Gold Satin Taffeta cake linen! Plus, it was pretty awesome to work with a powerhouse wedding team – Kevin Chin Photography, Nancy Liu Chin Designs and Enhanced Lighting!

MB: What other places can brides used chair sashes on, aside from chair covers?
BY: A lot of times I’ve been asked to provide additional sashes for the ceremony wooden chairs or Chiavari chairs. Satin Sashes create a formal setting for these chairs and an added embellishment. Organza Sashes are also great and they come in a variety of colors.

MB: What is your biggest or most successful accomplishment to date?
My biggest accomplishment would have to be building Especially Yours Chair Covers & Linens 5 years ago debt free, while successfully maintaining business relationships and executing flawless weddings every weekend. Most recently, Especially Yours was recognized as a “Top 10 Finalists” f or the 2009 USPAACC Education Foundation/Wells Fargo Asian Business Leadership Award. The award celebrates the vision, success and community contributions of Asian entrepreneurs in the U.S. I am humbled by this honor .

Thank you MB and Beverly for this fun interview!

Photography by Julie Mikos

{Flowers: Button Holes!}

August 3, 2009

Blog Widget by LinkWithin