Oct 23, 2010

Patricia Gibbons, Floral Designs
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
If you read nothing else of this review (as it really is more like a novel now ;) ), suffice it to say that I am flower knowledgable and picky; Pat Gibbon's delivered on providing wedding flowers beyond anything I could have imagined and the designs were absolutely perfect. Oh, and seriously fair-priced to boot.

I am an avid gardener and demanded unique flowers for my wedding. Upon meeting Pat, I declared that I wanted whimsical, yet formal designs that were much more interesting and unusual than typical wedding flowers.

I pride myself on my ability to distinguish the dendrobiums from the cymbidiums, and if my husband wants to make my day, he gets bonus points for gifting a houseplant or succulent with roots and dirt attached over a dome shaped arrangement of perfect rosebuds. So basically, no roses or phalaenopsis allowed. I wanted texture and interest, succulents and hanging berries, proteas and fiddleheads, unshaped and unconfined arrangements. Wow, I was a pretty difficult client :).

Pat listened well, made excellent recommendations and tactfully corrected my selections. She wasn't afraid to say that the some of my favorite inspiration pictures were not formal enough for my venue. She pointed out when flowers I liked were out of season, and suggested better priced alternatives. She helped define the perfect purples and dissuaded me from omitting white from my bridal bouquet (thank you!!!! What I wanted WAS too colorful!).

All of this is great and dandy, but at some point in the process you realize that, to some extent, you have no idea of what you're going to get. Our conversations with Pat were 6-8 months prior to our wedding. As much as I like flowers, I didn't know what was in season, what would be available at the flower market and well-priced the week of my wedding, and ultimately I don't have the flower expertise to visualize how all of our conversations translate into arrangements. So we put our faith in Pat, trusted her understanding of our aesthetic, and put stock in her editing skills.

I had extremely high expectations. The results blew me away. The woman brought lotus pods out of her arsenal!

OK, so the the bride likes her bouquet and dad's boutonniere is dashing, happy customers, all good. Who else really cares about my wedding flowers, right? No less than ten guests made a point to tell me in my 2 minute average conversation with each of them, how exquisite our flowers were. At the end of the night, there were serious fights over who got to take home arrangements. Poor mom didn't get in on the action early enough, so I had to pull in some serious favors to reclaim a vase for her. I'm still hearing the rave reviews about how "friends knew I was into flowers and wow, how that came across at our wedding." A+ work, Pat. I am so happy we trusted you with our flower vision :).

Oh, and bonus points, it rained on my wedding day and Pat was out there practically in a poncho with a smile putting the finishing touches on our flowers. :)
Services used: Flowers

Stephanie Williams Photography
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
Our venue was stately. My dress was gorgeous. My flowers were whimsical and our food was delish. But by far, the best wedding decision we made (aside from each other ;) ) was choosing Stephanie and Isaac as our photographers.

We got married at the Legion of Honor in October, which basically equates to zero clout with San Francisco wedding photographers. They all have many Legion photos in their portfolios, and chic city brides clamoring for their September and October availability.

Our budget was doable, and I didn't mind if we didn't get an album, but I did want the raw files at the end of the deal, and I didn't want to pay an extra $2K for them (seriously, that was the rate of an unnamed photog we intv'ed). I didn't see the point of considering out of town photographers where we would have to pay for travel. That is, until we found Stephanie Williams Photography.

Stephanie and Isaac were super interested in our venue. They researched before calling us back, which impressed me about how seriously they take their work. We had a great skype intv with them and not only could see spending the most intense day of our lives with them, but also liked their questions and their thoughtful answers to ours. Oh, and they were seriously fair on travel costs and really seemed to have an artistic interest in capturing our big day. Nice :).

The week before my wedding http://weather.com decided to take a nice break from the typical 80's San Francisco epic indian summer we had been experiencing and put some rain in the forecast. Make that lots of rain, 3 days worth, that despite moving around on the forecast throughout my 10 minute interval page refreshes, stood firm on Saturday 10/23/10. Blah. Basically, I lost my sh*t as I had not even considered a rainy wedding and had about 15 SF locations pegged for my day of photos around town, not to mention a courtyard ceremony.

In between reloading http://weather.com and taking out frustration on my escort cards, I put on my big girl pants, bought some golf umbrellas and rain boots and figured that the mere fact that I was now prepared would usher the rain away. Yes, I was prepared, but no, my plan did not work. I had a rainy day wedding... but Stephanie + Isaac absolutely ROCKED IT!!!!!

They reassured me that although I would not get the photos I had envisioned, my photos would still be no less than amazing and now more unique and romantic. They were right and the result was no less that mind blowing.

Isaac is a photography ninja. Point in case: when he arrived at the bridal suite I was pretty sure I had been doorbell ditched until he climbed out of the fire escape he had hopped onto to not waste those 30 seconds and get some city shots. The man is seriously coordinated and put his physical state in jeopardy multiple times throughout the night and captured some ridiculous shots as a result. Much appreciated.

Stephanie's artistic vision is unmatched. The angles, slight nuances and beauty she captures is unbelievable. Everything in my photos is so much more grand and exquisite than even I remember it. She is also so warm and calm. She puts you at ease, poses you perfectly and makes you feel as if you've had all these untapped modeling skills all along. You probably haven't; she is that good.

These two get BONUS POINTS for standing in the rain with no camera-free hand for an umbrella, coaxing us to continue and get in more shots. Once the festivities began they virtually disappeared, only to jump out of the shadows, trigger finger pressed on camera, firing away to capture all that transpired.

OMG, our flamboyant uncle is dancing with an umbrella? Yup, got it. My immature cousins laughing at the nude statues in the gallery? Savored. My husband and I's day of glow of love, excitement, exhaustion and sheer bliss? Captured in all it's glory.... :) I can honestly say I am glad that it rained on our wedding day - the photos are unbelievable and so incredibly romantic and unique. And I still got my shots on baker beach.
Services used: Photography