Oct 05, 2008

  • Last updated on August 25, 2009 at 1:17 pm
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So many parties and get togethers leading up to the big day!

Bridal Shower

My family and friends from Boston hosted a wonderful Alice in Wonderland inspired

Mad Hatter Tea Party!

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The Teap Party, Me and one of my bridesmaids, The Hat Placesettings, Teapot Flower Arrangments


And the Best! was the game--my sister (an artist) drew an Alice landscape with hidden elements of me and my husband in a unique Scavenger Hunt!

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Jack & Jill Beer Tasting Shower in San Francisco

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Our friends in the city gathered for a backyard picnic featuring unique beers that everyone brought with specific food pairings to celebrate our upcoming wedding and our shared love of beer.

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Studio 1154 LILL Purse Making Bachelorette Party

Since most of my guests were flying in from the east coast, we decided to throw an afternoon bachelorette party the day before our wedding with lots of desserts, champagne and designing purses! Best idea ever!!

They have stores where you can go as well but they also have sales reps all over the country and they come to the house, fill it with gorgeous sample fabrics and bags and you spend the day designing every details about your bag--the best part, you don't have to sew it! It gets mailed to you 3 weeks later.

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Wedding Weekend Welcome Reception

We figured since 80% of everyone was flying in to the city we would hold a welcome reception at one of our favorite wine bars in the city. It was also to make sure everyone knew about our shuttle and how they were going to get out to the winery--no one ever reads the invites!

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  • Last updated on August 25, 2009 at 12:42 pm
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Primary colors were chocolate with lime green and then since my bridesmaids wouldnt look so great in chocolate satin dresses, I chose a dark red wine/plum color for their dresses with gold/metallics as accents.

The Dress!

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Pronovias Daifa

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I fell in love with the architectural detail pleating on the top and the asymetrical train.

Shoes--my something Blue (and mighty comfy no one knew the whole night!! HA!):Details photo 7

The Centerpieces:

Since my husband and I were getting married at a winery, I thought incorporating wine elements in non-traditional ways might be fun. I should note that my sister is an artist and did all of my floral work so this DIY project may need to be practiced beforehand as we did.

So I found a website that sold unfinished wooden wine boxes (Wood and Box Supply, $6.90/box)

My sister carved our names and our theme (Oak Trees) since we were getting married underneath a huge oak tree onto each side of the wooden box with a wooden burning tool from Michaels (stinky, would do in a well ventilated room). Then a simple light wood stain was applied to seal the design in but also protect the boxes from water damage from the flowers. You could also buy a custom design iron to just simply press into the wood (spendy about 200 dollars) and there is kits available that have designs and letters etc at Michaels but she did it all free hand.

Then it was as simple as going to the San Francisco Wholesale flower market when it opened to the public (check your city and see if yours allows you to shop where florists do) and she bought white and green hydrangea and used lemon and banana leaves for filler with some other ferns and assorted greenery and arranged them the night before in wet oasis and stuck them in our fridge. The flower market is insanely cheap, total cost of ALL of our flowers was $300...I go there for all occasions now since I can get 2 dozen long stem premium roses for ...12 bucks! It's insane and a fun place to play :)

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My sister and her handiwork--simply amazing! (All self taught!!)


I famously bake decorative sugar cookies for all sorts of parties and celebrations so it was a no brainer I would be making them for the wedding. In hindsight doing it the day before the wedding because I'm a perfectionist about taste was probably not the wisest idea!!

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I also handmake cards for special occasions and I knew exactly what I wanted so this was also another massive DIY project undertaking--but hey, now my husband is an expert embosser for future projects! :)

I wanted to make our STD look like a vintage wine label and then as an added bonus it was a magnet as well.


-5" Chip Board ( originally. I wanted to use Balsa wood from Michaels for the real wood grain look but I ran into two big problems, --very $$ almost $1.00/piece and no one store ever had more than 10 or 15 of them at a time and I needed 100!

-PaperSource Soft White Text Weight paper

-PaperSource PVA (probably was overkill but that stuff wasn't going anywhere!)

-Matte Finish Acrylic Sealer

-VersaMark pen (also Paper source and my god send!)

-Gold ultra-fine embossing powder

-Embossing gun

-Roll of Magnetic Tape (


and lots and lots of patience!!


1. We took a photo of the winery from their website and converted it into a grayscale image and cropped away unnecessary clutter to the image (we also blurred the edges) all done in photoshop and printed those out on home printer

2. Next we affixed the labels to the chipboard backing with PVA, I found it super easy to use and much less toxic ie no fumes vs. rubber cement. We let them dry for 3-4 hours.

3. Next using the Versamark pen we outlined the edges of the labels and then spread with embossing powder (NOTE: I found out after doing about 75 of them that you should spend the money and get high quality powder= less bubbles and more high quality shiny product)

4. Invert STD onto foil to catch excess powder and lightly flick from the back to really shake loose anything not sticking.

5. Here's the tedious part, go over the STD with a paintbrush and remove any excess granules of embossing powder since anything left behind with be permanently bonded to the front of the STD

6. Lightly go over the STD with the embossing gun --about 30 seconds, you can see it bubble and melt and you should try to work from one corner to the  other, pushing the bead of molten goodness along to create a smooth line (honestly I dont think anyone noticed the ones we deeemed as tarnished!)

NOTE: Do not keep any paper or flammables near gun since underneath the path of the gun gets extremely hot, I sacrificed a ovensafe dinner plate and did everything on that

7. Apply magnet, I reinforced with rubber cement since I didnt trust the flimsy adhesive it came with

for added vintage effect, we also used a worn out gold ink pad and dusted it over the surface, depositing more ink on the edges, however this technique was highly variable so we nixed it for the rest of the STDs

8. Sprayed with matt sealer to avoid any smudges of the text since it was off a cheap-o inkjet printer

9. Since its a magnet and doesnt fit through the standard USPS thickness, we got all of them handstamped plus I hate seeing people's invites have a line dragging through them because they got stuck in the machine!


All in all it took about an 6 hours of work with one of my classmates as an assistant and then eventually my husband stepped in as embossing gun man --I think he just wanted to use a 'gun' no matter what it was and so we set up an assembly line that worked out very well

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Me and my embossing slave...everything starts out fun...6 hours later there was not enough wine in the world to make the process more fun

Aisle Decor:

We chose to do simple pomanders hung from luxurious silk ribbons to decorate the outdoor space. These fooled all of our wedding guests AND our photographer into thinking they were made from real flowers!


5" Styrofoam balls ( has the best price and this is the major cost of the project) ($18.50/12)

1 1/2" Double Faced Satin Ribbon ( in Brown ($2.05/5yd)

~80 Silk Roses**/pomander (ebay Clair's Flowers; $38/300 roses)

Glue sticks and glue gun

1/2 inch gross grain ribbon for support underneath



I just so happened to have ordered the wrong color ribbon online (problem with online ordering/being particular about colors!) So I used that to form the support structure of the pomander but any thin cotton ribbon will do. Start at one end and wrap to the other side, criss cross and wrap around the sphere in the other direction so that there are 4 pieces of ribbon encasing the stryrofoam--this will give it stability. Knot at one end (this will be your top)

To get full use of silk flowers I recommend fluffing them up/opening them up before inserting into styro ball. I found the quickest way to do this was to rub it lightly, face down onto my leg--instead of painstakingly opening up each and every petal!

With wire cutters or good scissors cut the roses off of the stem leaving 1/4" behind to stick into the ball. I put a little dollop of hot glue onto the end of the stem and stuck it into the styrofoam ball working my way around and then filling in dead spots with more flowers. If you notice any loose blossoms, you can always lift up the petal and apply more glue directly to the base of the stem/near ball.

Continue until entire ball except for one or two flowers near the knot at the top are complete. Then taking your double faced sating ribbon, slip one end underneath the knot of your gross grain ribbon and pull it through to appropriate length and tie in a knot. Work the knot back to the knot/top of your ball. Now cover remaining spots with flowers so you dont see the knotted ribbon. No need for tapestry needles or pulling through the entire ball (this is definitely necessary if you choose to use wet oasis/real flowers as it will be significantly heavier and need more support)

It will be messy and you will be covered in spiderwebs of glue gun glue but for an hour project I was pleasantly surprised how easy and great they turned out!

**Notes: Previous posters said you could do 30-40 roses and so that was what I used as my estimate but in the end, I would say for a very full looking pomander, you want more like 70-80 roses/pomander. However, when things got tight, I changed my original plan to pomanders only on every other aisle and it still looked great and I also put less flowers on the bottom of the pomander since I knew no one would be able to see it from that angle. I also would use  4inch balls since I forgot about how much the flower size would increase the diameter of the pomander!

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We also made the Martha Stewart Tissue paper version for my purse making Bachelorette party

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mmm Chocolate Cake

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Slighty unorthodox, but we chose Dark chocolate ganache covered chocolate cake with either cream cheese or espresso mousse filling--we both love chocolate so it was an easy choice for us. YUM!!

Men's Attire


My husband and I share strong Celtic backgrounds and so he was more than excited to get a REAL sword and wear his family's tartan--plus the ever important bag piper to pipe us out at the end of the ceremony!


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  • Last updated on August 25, 2009 at 12:32 pm
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We knew we wanted to get married out in Wine Country--however since we were paying for the wedding ourselves, we knew Napa was out of the question.

                             Napa 2005

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                 Napa 2009

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The solution--Livermore! Great sprawling vineyards but a quarter of the venue rental costs!

We spent a day out in Livermore, tasting and checking out venues--not a bad way to explore venues! We finally found Garre and were so impressed with the quality of food, their wines and the gorgeous location.

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  • Last updated on August 25, 2009 at 12:27 pm
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On the snowy and blustery night of January 27th, 2005, Kate was serendipitously dragged out of her house by her friends to a funky dance lounge in North Philadelphia known as the ‘700 Club.’

Just as the bar was closing, she had a chance meeting with a tall, dark and handsome man making his way across the crowded dance floor- Jason. Truth be told it was one of Jason's favorite hangouts but he had actually planned to stay in at home that night due to the inclement weather...but fate had a different plan.

Phone numbers were exchanged... In the chaos of loud music and people exiting, he thought she was a philosophy major (a doctor of philosophy in Cellular Biology actually) and she thought he was in business/finance or one of those other stuffy professions (Health Insurance actually... Wait that IS stuffy.)

Their first date lasted over seven hours; they shared a pitcher of Belgian beer and nachos at Jason's favorite pub, delicious but messy S'mores at Cosi and at the end of the night Kate gave her best effort at a few rounds of billiards in Old City. Jason decided what his prize would be for winning all of the games, a second date...

Three inseparable years later, Kate and Jason made the big trek together out to San Francisco, where Kate is now finishing her degree.

On August 5th, 2007, after a failed attempt at a romantic picnic in Golden Gate Park (it was a typical San Francisco summer day filled with cold and rainy weather) following dinner at home, Jason got down on one knee and asked Kate to be his wife.

After we were engaged at a typical SF 'Summer' day ie cold and foggy!

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  • Last updated on August 25, 2009 at 12:23 pm
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I'm a 5th year doctoral student completing my research on developing more effective breast cancer therapies at UCSF medical school. Originally hailing from outside of Boston, I have quickly become engrossed in California culture--we make all of our food from scratch and we're adamant recyclers and composters!  My hobbies include baking, wine tasting, CRAFTS!, and spending as much time as possible playing with our two adopted German Shepherd mixes.

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