Friday, August 28, 2009

Inspiration #35: Street Food Chic

Did you receive the latest issue of Utterly Engaged? I have been chatting with some friends on alternative food options for our weddings -- the San Francisco Bay Area is teeming with street food trends, with the Street Food Fest last weekend and the Eat Real Fest this weekend in Oakland, CA. Gourmet "taco" trucks are the hottest thing right now.

I'm swooning over how d*lish design and Grey Likes Weddings brought this trend to life, here's a sampling. Visit their online issue for more eye candy.

4 Must-Haves for the Circus Themed Wedding

Ever since I saw Josh Goleman's photos of Adam and Halli's wedding in Georgia, I've been smitten with the circus theme. My fiance and I are incorporating a circus spirit in our cocktail hour (with carnival games, a kissing booth (featuring his jovial dad), and mini-corndogs with a gourmet mustard bar. If you're DIY lite (as one of my fellow Wedzilla bloggers calls it) like me, you can find some great items online to bring the circus to life for your wedding. Here's some of my favorite finds:

{Petitsmetier | Custom Pinwheels - $35 for set of 10}
If you'd rather make them, click here for the how-to.

{Homemade Circus |2 Lovebirds under Red Diamond Tent - $75}

{Royalsteamline | Coney Island 1896 Vintage Wedding Invitation - $4}

{Bunting Boutique | Bunting Flags - $4.50 US}

Thursday, August 20, 2009

SF Brides: Save the Date 8/27/09

I met Peter Towers, owner of Magnolia Photo Booth, at the Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco last month and he just invited me and my readers (yes, you!) to Magnolia Photo Booth's launch party at 111 Minna. Attendees will get a chance to win a free 4-hr rental (value $1,300). See you there!

The Magnolia Photo Booth Co. is celebrating its arrival in the Bay Area with a soiree in the friendly confines of 111 Minna. For the past three years, the Magbooth has brought vintage charm with modern sheen to parties, weddings, corporate events, and other fine festivities all across the midwest.The Magbooth is renowned for turning run-of-the-mill moments into photographic marvels, and now we're touching down in my native San Francisco to keep on keeping on.

Stop by on Thursday, August 27th from 5pm to 9pm, have a drink, and get a behind-the-curtain look at the stylish, fun, and fully portable Magbooth.

We'll have free pics and drink specials all night, so you can try time and time again to see if your face really can get stuck that way. You can also enter a free drawing for a chance to win one of two free Magbooth rentals! These will be full-fledged rentals valued at $1300 each.

So ladies--let your hair down, and gents--comb your moustache, because The Magnolia Photo Booth Co. is here to take your picture and greet you with a firm handshake.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Top 5 Etsy Wednesday Wedding Bargains under $50

I recently attended the Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco, and if you haven't already gone to RCF in the nearest metropolitan city nearest you, I urge you to go and support craft and design artists, many of whom are on Etsy! Today, I'm sharing some of my top 5 picks for wedding bargains under $50 on Etsy.

Seller NakedPeggies sells custom-painted bridal cake topper peggies for $55-75. If you want to save money, paint the peggies yourself using these "naked" ones.

#2 {Pr. Champagne Flutes: Lovebirds on a Leafy Branch - $22}

#3 {For Him: Vintage Typewriter Key Cufflinks - $24}

#4 {Poster: Custom Romantic Love Bird Silhouette - $17.95}
Custom silhouettes of you and your fiance are available too, but price varies.

# 5 {Placecards: Peacock Placecards - $25 for 25}
{I published this post on, check out more tips from other featured bloggers here}

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Masters of Reception: Premieres tonight on TLC

I have a confession: I am a reality TV addict! Top Chef and Project Runway top my list but those darn marathons of America's Next Top Model and Real Chance of Love get me hooked. Tonight, TLC premieres its newest show for bridezillas across the country: Masters of Reception. The show centers around Robert and Jerry Frungillo, who've been creating over-the-top weddings in New Jersey for over 30 years. The cameras will document how the Frungillos will deal with zany requests, from incorporating cats into the ceremony to finding Diablo Conjuelo (Dominican) dancers for the reception.

What are you planning in your wedding that will be uniquely you and your fiance?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Inspiration #34: Love...Tennis Style

{Tennis hotties, Marat Safin and Tommy Haas | Out in Hollywood}

I'm an avid tennis player and can't go a week without playing. My tennis association used to run a "Wood and White" tournament, an homage to the golden years of tennis, when white was the only color you could wear and wooden tennis racquets were in vogue. I'm such a big fan of tennis that I secretly wanted to have a vintage "Wood and White" wedding of my own. What would it look like? Here's some inspiration from the talented gals at Lollipop Event & Design (photos from their Bubbles, Baubles and Breasts charity event) if you want a unique spin:
{Bubbles, Baubles and Breasts | I Love Lolliblog}

For your sweet tooth, you can try this green lattice cake or a meringue topiary:
{Green Lattice Cake | The Party Dress}

{Meringue Topiary from Domino Mag | The Succulent Wife}

Finally, check out this cute tennis dress from Stella McCartney, perfect for a laidback, sporty wedding that you can pair with Stuart Weitzman's Sashay peeptoes:
{Stella McCartney Tennis Dress $160 | Sugar High | PopSugar}

{Stuart Weitzman Sashay Peeptoes $165 | Zappos}

9 Ways to Throw a Budget Bachelorette Party in Las Vegas

{Photo from}

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, right? I'm all for abiding by this infamous motto, but not when it comes to parting with my hard-earned money. As a bridesmaid for an upcoming wedding, I was obligated to attend a destination bachelorette party in Las Vegas a couple weekends ago. Each person easily dropped a few hundred dollars on the bare essentials, such as hotel, airfare, drinks, and meals. Today, my mission is to show you that having fun in Vegas on a budget is possible!
  • Airfare: Book early, or book late! I booked my tickets well in advance -- February -- and scored $98/RT (albeit, I've got the advantage of being only an hour from Vegas). Orbitz and Expedia certainly offer great deals at less than $120 RT compared to most major airlines. If you're willing to gamble, you can wait for last minute deals on flights, but you run the risk of getting a very early/late arrival or departure or more than 1 stop.
  • Hotel: Share your room with 2+ guests at hotels on the end or off-strip. We split 2 rooms at Caesar's Palace (a prime central location on the strip) among 8 girls (not including the bride-to-be). This certainly cut the cost tremendously. If you want to trim your budget even more, check out hotels further away from the center of the strip, such as Excalibur, The Tropicana, Stratosphere and Flamingo Las Vegas.
  • Cash: Don't leave home without cash and avoid ATMs in the casino! I made the mistake of not pulling out enough cash before I left home. When I tried pulling out cash, the ATM fee in the casinos were $4.99 for withdrawals up to $51. Insane. I was lucky to find a Bank of America tucked in a hallway in the Caesar's Forum Shops and saved $2.99 in ATM fees. There are bank ATMs in most shopping areas; definitely don't withdraw cash from the casino areas!
  • Alcohol & Water: There's nothing wrong with BYO alcohol and water. See if someone is willing to check in luggage (about $22-30 R/T) as most travelers are allowed to check in up to 5 liters of up to 140 proof alcohol. An average bottle of vodka, like Absolut, or Patron is 750mL and 80 proof. By doing this, you can save a few rounds of $13-20/shot at a nightclub if you do a few shots or mix your own drinks in your hotel room before you go out! We had about $100 worth of liquor in our hotel room that lasted 2 nights where in the club, some of the bachelorettes spent $90 + tip for 1 round of shots for 6 girls. Of course, you can also leverage your charm with the guys, who are likely to buy you shots as long as you are willing to flirt a little {wink, wink}.
  • Transportation: Yes to the Double Decker. First, when you arrive to the airport, definitely invest in buying a round-trip pass for the airport shuttle (about $12 RT); that way, you won't have to worry about how you'll get back and you'll save on cab fare, which can add up quickly while you're sitting in traffic. If you're staying on the ends of the strip, you should also consider getting a $7 24-hr pass to the Double Decker bus that runs up and down the strip. The group I was with preferred to take cabs everywhere and each trip (about 10 trips x 2 cabs each time) ran anywhere from $10-17 with tip -- just to go 2-3 hotels down! If you'd rather hoof it, stash a pair of flip flops in your clutch.
  • Meals: Do your research (for prefixe/tasting menus) and don't be shy to pack a few snacks. Since I was already checking in luggage, I packed a box of Trader Joe's crackers (the starchy antidote to one too many shots) as well as a soft lunch cooler with a Trader Joe's Thai chicken noodle sandwich (packed in ice). As soon as I arrived to the hotel, I had the salad for lunch, saving myself $15 for the same thing I could have gotten had I gone to a casino restaurant. I had also used to run a search on user reviews for 3-4 star places on the strip with a low to moderate cost ($ - $$). Definitely plan one special dinner, such as prefixe dinner at Fiamma ($45/pp) and eat cheap the rest of the time you're there (especially if you go to the more divey casinos like O'Shea's). Some restaurants have specials after 9:30PM; keep your eye on the boards for recommendations.
  • Nightlife: Getting a VIP table is most desirable, as you'll get to lounge and avoid the long lines at the bar; however, minimum fees start at $1,100 per table or $375 for bottle service. Yikes. First, if you're at a hotel with its own nightclub, check with the front desk staff or concierge to see if they can offer you free VIP passes that will get you to the front of the line and waive the cover charge. For example, Caesar's Palace offered us passes to Pure later that night -- it had an outdoor terrace that had a great view of the skyline and multiple rooms. The hottest new nightclub in Vegas, XS at the Wynn's sister, Encore, costs $20/women and boasts a spacious indoor/outdoor dance area and access to cabanas and wading pool for your tired feet. We were fortunate to get in for free the night before Jay-Z threw a party (cover was $150/pp the night he was celebrating the last day of Beyonce's concert at the Wynn).
  • Shopping: Try the outlets! Since I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, trendy upscale stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and more are easily accessible. Nonetheless, thousands of people flock to the Caesar's Forum Shops, Fashion Show Mall and Miracle Mile to whet their fashion cravings. If you're willing to see a bit of Vegas beyond the strip, you can hop on the Double Decker just past the Stratosphere and catch the 108 to the Premium Outlet Mall (by the way, the keyword here is "premium" as I endured the misery of going to the regular outlet malls past McCarran airport). The Premium Outlet Mall features designer stores such as Christian Audigier (bunches of tees were $23-25), L'Occitane, Banana Republic Factory Store, Dolce & Gabbana, and more. I was in budget shopping heaven. {Photo from The Premium Outlet Mall Las Vegas}
Conclusion: The bottom line is, doing a bit of preparation beforehand will save you money in the long run, from booking your flight, packing your libations and cash on hand, to figuring out whether your weekend will be focused on partying vs. R&R by the pool. Planning ahead will help you keep your mind off how much is left in your bank account and more on having fun with your friends!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Yay! We Won Davina + Daniel's Free Photo Contest

Apologies for the long break, my darlings. My first post on is in the queue and so I can't share with you my tips on throwing a budget bachelorette party in Las Vegas until it's published. I didn't win big, not even a $1 on penny slots in Vegas, but Fred and I did find out we won Davina + Daniel's free photography contest! According to Davina + Daniel, what sold them were keywords such as "romantic glam and crafty chic,” zooey deschanel, “retro-pop whimsy,” vintage white milk glass compotes, guitar pick boutonnieres… but what really sold [them] was their vision for a carnival-themed cocktail hour, “complete with mini corndogs, a gourmet mustard bar, a kissing booth, a ring toss, vintage photo booth, and caramel apples.” Davina + Daniel sold us on them: their photojournalistic style oozes with sophistication and yet balances it with a playful spirit and warmth. We loved Davina + Daniel's wedding photos of Johanna and Noah on July 5 -- it was just what we are hoping for in terms of a balanced mix of lighting, black and white shots, rich/deep color saturation, softness and....sassiness!
They are flying all the way from Montreal, Quebec to shoot our wedding next fall. We can't wait to show them around Sausalito, where our wedding is taking place! Above is the inspiration board we submitted to Davina + Daniel that we are continuing to build on it. And thought you should also check out some samples of their work that won us over:

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