Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Favorite Dress of 2010

This stunner by Jim Hjelm is my absolute favorite dress of 2010. It just so happens I coordinated a wedding for a bride named Joanne who wore it for her April 2010 nuptials. She was gorgeous in it!

On the runway:
Jim Hjelm Bridal Gown: Style JH8962

On the bride:
From Style Unveiled:  Joanne and Vincent's San Francisco Wedding. Photos by Caroline Tran

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

More hair accessories for under $40

I'll be wearing my pretty hair piece as I count down the hours to the New Year. For you new brides-to-be, let the search for a pretty hair accessory begin! Here are some recent finds on Etsy:

Vintage Ivory Peacock Feather Fascinator ($30)

Champagne Hair Pins with Jewel Centers ($22)
White Beaded Peacock Fascinator ($26)

Leah Bleached Ivory Feather Fascinator ($36)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Our first Christmas

Happy Holidays from Epcot!
I apologize for not blogging the last few weeks. I've been dying to post more pics of our wedding but I've been shopping around on where to get it published and the rules are that you can't have previously shown them. Argh!

Anyways, Fred and I spent an early Christmas with his family in Florida a couple weeks ago (here's a pic of us at Epcot, such a magical place!). And we spent our very first Christmas Eve alone -- just the two of us. I admit it was a bit lonely not to be around either of our families, but we did the best we could to stick with the traditions we grew up with, like buying and decorating our very first Christmas tree and attending midnight mass. He got to keep his tradition of watching A Christmas Story (I still haven't seen it all the way through to the very end) and I got mine -- to watch one, actually two, at the theaters (although Black Swan was a bit intense for Christmas). Fred reluctantly opened his gifts after midnight mass (that's what my family does) and we are going to go with his next year -- open one gift, then the rest on Christmas morning. We also got to spend some time in the company of good friends on both Christmas Eve and Day, so that was comforting.

Did any of you spend your first alone, or did you spend if with yours or his? What new traditions did you make or old ones did you hang onto?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cheap and easy-to-grow centerpieces

I know it's still early December but I'm already counting down the days to when daffodil and paperwhite bulbs spring up at farmer's markets and nurseries. These bulbs are so inexpensive and easy to grow (just place in a beautiful urn-style vase, aged terracotta pot with pretty gravel,or whatever vessel you choose over shallow water). They're perfect for a winter wedding!

Here are good tips for growing your paperwhite strong and tall.

From Beautiful Living Style

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm a sucker for bows

When people ask me where to find affordable bridesmaid dresses, I often reply "J. Crew!" Look at these darling "bow monde" silk taffeta bridesmaid dresses for $99-198 depending on the color.

P.S. There's even a wedding dress but longer!

And this is my very favorite, the Silk organza soiree dress for $275, alas no bows, but plenty of tiered ruffles!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wedding photos are here!

The photos from Davina + Daniel are amazing! We just ordered a few Blurb books for ourselves and as gifts to our parents ( since Groupon had a great deal for $60 worth of Blurb for only $20. 

Click here to see the wedding photo slideshow:

The following are just the tip of the iceberg, the one of us in between the boats is really cool!

Makeup by Beth Alyse of Guerilla Makeovers, photo by Davina+Daniel (2010)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Inspiration #88: Sweetest Wedding Gift

My friend, Linda, gifted us with this graphic illustration of me, Fred and our dog, Munch, as rendered from our engagement session with Stephen Hughes. It's absolutely darling and I totally gasped when I unwrapped it. She's a new seller on Etsy as Bashful Onion. Custom illustration ranges from $40 to $70, plus $10 for a pet.

The inspiration: our engagement pic by Stephen Hughes

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Score! Bridesmaid dress for under $40

I spent hours surfing J. Crew's online sale section, Nordstrom Bridal and David's Bridal for bridesmaid dresses for my girls, and nothing fit my budget, color or style. Then I found these flirty ruffled dresses at a local boutique (sort of like a Charlotte Russo or Forever 21) called Sway in Alameda, CA.

J'adore! I bought one for each bridesmaid and an extra one for fabric/alterations at $36 each, plus tax. Our wedding day was the first time I had seen the dresses on any of my bridesmaids and I was delighted how pretty they looked! I gave each bridesmaid free reign for the color of their shoes and gave them a choice between a small coral colored hair accessory or the ivory rose with feathers. The girls decided to wear their hair in side chignons with the ivory hair clip. I gifted them vintage, custom made earrings by Esty seller, Chouettes (see photo).

Black diamond art noveau (custom) by Chouettes

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Our jam wedding favors

Our jam favors turned out so cute thanks to the many hands who not only helped to make it (Shakirah Simley, owner of Slow Jams took the lead in teaching me and my bridesmaids how it's done) but also to package it (thank you groomsmen and their significant others!). The flavors were strawberry lavender and bacon-onion relish.

I bought fabric from Jo Ann's Fabric for $4.99 a yard and elastic silver bands for $1.99 a yard. I used pinking shears to cut 5x5" squares and then cut the elastic cords (and also leftover lace) and tied them in loops. A tag that was handstamped with the phrase "Handmade because you're worth it" was threaded through the loop and slipped over the top of the jars. Each jar featured a custom label that read "Spread the Love, Vera + Fred, 10.10.10."

Here's how they turned out (thanks, Jason Chong, for the photos):

My bridal bouquet by Ideal Floral Art and Design

My bouquet was composed of white anemones, orange ranunculus, and green hydrangeas and accented with monkey tails, lemon geranium. black dahlias, orange dahlias, orange mums and eucalyptus berries. The bouquet was wrapped in lace and tied off with a vintage brooch from Mignonne Decor.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Honeymooning bliss.

View from our suite (Malia) at the Sheraton Waikiki

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Photo booth love

Here's a sneak peek at one of my favorite photo booth (thanks, Green Cheeze!!) with my girl friends, Marie and Jen. The scrapbook that our guests made were even awesomer...Will share when we get back from our honeymoon!

The font is Jane Austen downloaded from and the background was on sale at Joann Fabrics for $4.99 a yard.

Monday, October 11, 2010

We tied the knot!

The goal was to get married and it seemed like it might not least according to my well thought out plan. ;) Our wedding coordinator fell through and I kept telling myself, as long as we make it to the altar, the goal has been reached. Little did I know that the minister was an hour late (he was supposed to be there at 2pm) due to parade-related traffic in San Francisco. I had already had a stressful morning and everyone was walking around eggshells trying to protect me from the hiccups that always happen at a wedding until the very last five minutes before he actually showed up. But in the end, we tied the knot (Reverend Wilson outdid himself and delivered a truly meaningful sermon and our friend Jeremy wrote a personal "reading" for us that made me cry. What struck me was how there was so much love in the air from all our friends and family. We have a truly special community that surrounds us.

The photos by Davina + Daniel aren't in yet, but our friend, Jason Chong, took really awesome photos! He's got a great eye. :)

Photo by Jason Chong
Photo by Jason Chong

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Going to the chapel

Broken nails, sleepless nights, half-done favors, out-of-towners and more. After eighteen months of planning, our wedding converged and hit us like a hurricane. On top of that, my car was stolen two weeks ago and our wedding coordinator got sick and left us without a replacement yesterday, so it looked like my world was falling apart.

Noticed I said "my"? I was falling into the bridezilla trap where it's all about me. And it's not. Fred's birthday was this week. His friends and family from Florida flew in earlier this week and they have been so great and I wish we could've spent more quality time with them.

When I learned that we wouldn't have a coordinator for today early yesterday, I spent time scrambling to find a replacement instead of running the last couple errands I needed to. It was 9:00AM and we had to be at rehearsal 40 minutes away by 10:30AM. We still needed to take showers, buy our flowers from the Oakland flower mart and pick up additional table numbers (you'll see them in a future post).

My motto is "make it work" and in the height of the moment, it's easy to forget that.

I'm resistant to asking for help since I'm always the one helping or getting the job done, but when you're getting married, just let go. Don't forget how many people love you and want to make sure you get to enjoy your day.

I learned that the hard way. Thank God for Fred. He is always so relaxed and level-headed. That's why he's so awesome. He reminded me that we didn't have to do it all. And everything that needed to get done, did because we asked for helped or else let go.

Yesterday, our friends and family banged out the finishing touches of our reception setup and it is looking great!! They did such a great job. Our friend, Stephanie (bless her heart) volunteered to step in and take care of coordinating our wedding. Afterwards, the wedding party and families headed to the Marin Headlands near Point Bonita for our rehearsal picnic. The view of the Golden Gate Bridge was stunning and we had a bonus: the Blue Angels! :)

So I admit, I'm up at 6:30AM blogging to you all when I should be sleeping considering I've only had 4 hours of sleep every night for the last two weeks. But I got at least 6.5 this time. I had to sketch a little diagram -- last thing I swear I'll do (haha) -- and drink some water. I had a couple glasses of wine (finally) last night and I have a tinge of a hangover. But that's okay. It was worth it.

Today, my goal is to get married to Fred. Not to make sure escort cards are in place, or that the programs are out. They won't affect the goal. They're just a bonus.

Signing off the last time as a single lady. :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Inspiration #87: Rainbow Cupcakes

It happens to be my boo's birthday today! Momentum towards our big day is starting to build since his family gets into town (in just 3 hours from now) and his friends from Florida arrived yesterday. Tonight, we're celebrating at Everett and Jones, a local BBQ fave, and he and the boys are hitting up the Pacific Coast Pinball Museum for a low-key bachelor party.

To kick off the celebration, I'm baking rainbow cupcakes but in our wedding colors -- so not so rainbow-y but fun to eat nonetheless. I got the recipe from my friend Britt Piehl (of Appeale via Living Eventfully).

Rainbow cupcake - Photo by Brittany Piehl

Mini Rainbow Cupcakes

  • 1 box of white cake mix and all the needed ingredients
  • Food gels
  • Mini Baking Cups
  • Ziploc Sandwich Bags
  • 6 drinking cups
  • Frosting: Premade, store bought, homemade or whipped cream

  1. Line a mini cupcake pan with paper cups and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Prepare the cake as directed on the box.
  4. Line 6 drinking cups with one Ziploc bag each.
  5. Pour a scant cup of the cake mix into each bag.
  6. Add one color of food gel to each bag.
  7. Zip the bag closed and gently massage the bag of food gel and cake mix until there are no streaks left.
  8. You can also place the cake mix into 6 small bowls, mix together with the food gels then place into the individual Ziploc bags.Whatever works for you.
  9. Snip off one end of the Ziploc bag.
  10. Squeeze about a dimes (or more for full size) worth plus a little more of the cake batter into each cupcake well.
  11. Don't go crazy, remember you have 6 colors that need to fit into that tiny cup.
  12. Use the drinking cup to place the bag of cake mix in upside down while not in use.
  13. Upside down so the cake mix doesn't ooze out while your working with the other colors.
  14. After each color goes into all of the wells, gently tap the cupcake pan against the counter top to help even out the layer of batter.
  15. Once you have all of the colors in the wells, place pan in preheated oven and bake for about 12 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  16. Allow to cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
  17. Frost with your favorite white frosting or top with whipped cream.
    Purple 9 red and 6 blue drops
    Blue 12 drops
    Green 12 drops
    Yellow 12 drops
    Orange 12 yellow and 4 red drops
    Red 18 drops

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

We're on Style Unveiled SF today!

Our engagement shoot with Steve Hughes at Piedmont Community Park was fabulous! Check out our e-session at Style Unveiled: Bride in the City, including vendor highlights and how our planning process has been going.

Vera and Fred - photo by Steve Hughes Photography

Monday, October 4, 2010

Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome!

I worked on our welcome bags last night. I printed our Welcome sheets outlining the schedule for the weekend's activities as well as places to go and eat in Oakland, San Francisco and Marin/San Rafael. Goodies include flip flops, pack of gum, toiletries, scented candle, bottles of water and snacks in the Bird Blossom tote below. I put the toiletries in Paula Deen cookie tins ($1.50 at Michael's) that they can reuse again but also so the liquids can be contained in their luggage.

$1.95 Bird Blosson Reusable Totes - Pier 1 Imports
Welcome sheet using Budmo Jiggler font and Bauhaus

Sunday, October 3, 2010

7 days and counting...

Both Guitar Fred and I had early mornings: I had a doubles tennis match and he had a gig at an old folks home. We both napped for about five hours before waking up around 7:00PM to run errands. It was an unusually serene and uneventful day for us -- which is a relief considering how busy we will be for the next few days.

We can't believe we are just one week away! It feels a little unreal now. My last day of work is tomorrow and I just wrapped my last wedding before ours last night. Here's a photo from the venue, it was GORGEOUS. I'm looking forward to a similar scene at ours next week. AHHHH...

Sunset at Diablo Ranch, Walnut Creek - photo by Vera Devera

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sneak Peek: E-session with Steve Hughes

Love it!!! My friend, Patrina, gifted these Anthropologie monograms and they were perfect props. We will be featured on Style Unveiled in a few days -- can't wait to share!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Inspiration #86: Hearts on a String

I wish I had thought of these --check out the center image of escort card hearts on a string!

Photo by Marianne Wilson, via StyleUnveiled LA 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Inspiration #85: Engraved Vintage Flatware

Really, someone needs to deny me access to Etsy. I just discovered WoodenHive's shop and I want to buy so many beautiful things. I was especially tickled to find a fork engraved with the message "Give Thanks." That's Rule #1 for the supperclub I help run in the San Francisco Bay Area AND our other motto is "Hold onto your forks." It's perfect, because without the Ghetto Gourmet, I never would have met Guitar Fred (aww).

I'm tempted to buy these his and her forks (and they're $14):
Bride & Groom Fork Set, $14, WoodenHive

Give Thanks Fork, $15.99, WoodenHive
Table Numbers, $6.50 each by WoodenHive

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sneak Preview: My Bridal Hair

In preparation for our engagement session, I got my hair and makeup done by Penney Do. Recognize the hair accessory you helped me select? I like my hair down, but I have the option of a side chignon. What do you think?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Va-va-voom: e-session outfit

I heart Anthropologie. Here's the outfit I'm wearing for our e-session tomorrow!

The "Silken Stitches" dress:

paired with this "Redux" jacket in black:

and Stephen Loewinsohn is taking photos of us at the Albany Bulb.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Spread the Love

This Sunday, a couple of my bridesmaids and I are joining Shakirah Simley, of Slow Jams, at La Cocina to make the last batch of our wedding favors: onion-bacon relish! Chef Peter made the bacon himself, so there will be lots of extra love put into these.

Here is some jam-favor inspiration to get me through until our favor-making extravaganza! The "Spread the Love" label is available on from Miss Pickles Press for $15.

{from DailyCraft}

{Not jam, but I love the doily and baker's twine! From We Met in a Bar}

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My Uber-Fantastic Bachelorette

Voila! My bachelorette party was so much fun aboard the wine trolley. Click to watch the video slideshow set to Madonna's "Holiday."

Friday, September 10, 2010

1 month to go!

Here it is. 30 days left! Everyone's asking, "How are you doing?" 

From a tactical perspective, we're on track. In fact, last night, Guitar Fred and I finished printing and binding our programs! It took about 4 hours because we had to punch the corners to 250 individual pages, hand stamp and emboss a peony pattern and insert a brad into the corner. We printed the free custom monogram from the Wedding Chicks for the backs of our programs.

I also had my third dressing fitting with Anne Ventresco, who came highly recommended by my friend, Jill. I hadn't seen her since May and the dress was a little bit looser (yay!). I also got to see what the Pegasus Maiden fascinator that you helped me choose looked like with the dress.The whole ensemble looked splendid! More alterations are needed, like deepening the sweet heart neckline (Guitar Fred will appreciate that) and hemming the bottom. My last fitting is October 1. Gulp.

Last night, Guitar Fred and I also revisited our budget, which has been stressful and provides a glimpse into how we'll manage finances for the future. Fred is such a solid guy -- he kept reassuring me and pointing out that we weren't as far off as we thought. Ultimately, we came up with a couple solutions to cover the gap. This exercise helped me realize I'm more the spreadsheet-calculator person in our relationship and he's the big picture (and optimistic) type, which I believe is a good balance.

Things to look forward to over the next few weeks:
  1. Bachelorette party on the wine trolley tomorrow!
  2. Engagement session with Stephen Loewinsohn (
  3. Getting our RSVPs by September 17 and putting together our seating chart
  4. Friends and family flying into town just in time for Guitar Fred's birthday on October 7
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