Your Wedding Day, Your Way
Cakes, invitations, venues, and that extra touch: How to achieve the wedding look you want.
From save-the-dates to the cake, we’ve scoured the East Bay for the best wedding inspiration by style. Whether you’re looking for a vineyard vibe or something a little more offbeat, we’ve got you covered.
Just add burlap.
This understated style draws inspiration from the countryside by incorporating everything from cowboy boots and raffia to candlelight and picture-perfect barn doors.
Get ready in the stunning mansion at Elliston Vineyards in Sunol, and then take photos in the 2,000-square-foot Terrace Room, Victorian gazebo, and hillside gardens. Set your ceremony outside in the fragrant garden. “It’s secluded, and you feel like you’re far away from everything,” says Elliston’s Madeline Simmons. elliston.com.
Surround yourself with wooden wine barrels and twinkle lights at Murrieta’s Well in Livermore, which offers a 100-year-old winery building, terracotta tile stairway, and the Barrel Room, where rustic meets glamour. murrietaswell.com.
Also in Livermore, experience farmyard bliss at BoaVentura de Caires Winery, which boasts a beautiful barn, lawn and garden areas, backdrops of pastoral views, a century-old farmhouse, and rolling vineyards. boaventuravineyard.com.
Go for form-fitting lace dresses with delicate straps, birdcage and lightweight veils, and romantic ruffles. Berkeley’s The Wedding Party offers vintage-inspired dresses you won’t find everywhere else. theweddingpartyonline.com.
Consider a pastel-colored cake with horizontal stucco frosting, a method that involves running a spatula around the cake to make patterns. Adorn with branches and succulents, or real flowers cascading down the side. For an extra down-home feel, order mini pies from Berkeley’s Sweet Adeline Bakeshop. sweetadelinebakeshop.com.
Mix a variety of organic materials, but keep the design refined and a little bit highbrow. Good materials include repurposed and etched wood, paper bags, and natural linens. For an extra personal touch, enlist help from Susan Gildea Personalized Printing in Berkeley. susangildea.com.
Natural elements that are pretty—but not over-the-top girly—are key. Start with wood tables, and then add a burlap or white linen runner, lace, and mismatched silver, as well as simple blooms or grape leaves and eucalyptus. Browse Etsy for artists who specialize in hand-calligraphed wooden signs, including Martinez’s HeartcraftedCo. etsy.com/shop/heartcraftedco.
Break the ice for your guests by providing a bourbon bar. These crowd-pleasing, barrel-aged libations will get your friends and family mingling. Stop by Alameda-based St. George Spirits, and take your pick. stgeorgespirits.com.
Make the most of the Bay.
Reminiscent of misty Cape Cod’s soaring gulls and picturesque lighthouses, waterfront weddings are a great way to show off our region’s breezy, beautiful waterways.
Have your ceremony at The Lighthouse at Glen Cove Marina in Vallejo, with sailboats bobbing in the water and the 1910 white Victorian as your backdrop. Then, dance the night away on the lawn, and stay at the Lighthouse Inn upstairs. thelighthousegcm.com.
For another boutique accommodation, choose Joie de Vivre’s Waterfront Hotel in Oakland, on the boardwalk at Jack London Square. Marina and Bay views and yachtlike details such as wood finishing and portholes make this unstuffy spot a charming place to celebrate. jdvhotels.com.
Or, also in Oakland, choose between an indoor reception or one outside on the pier at Lake Chalet Seafood Bar and Grill on Lake Merritt. If you’re really daring, arrive or depart from the ceremony via a rowboat or kayak (after March 2015), or a sleek Venetian gondola from nearby Gondola Servizio. thelakechalet.com, gondolaservizio.com.
Stay comfortable in a crisp white dress from J’aime Bridal in Pleasanton that will wear well in the wind, and choose vibrant accessories such as bright blue heels. Bridesmaids will appreciate a flattering navy blue dress from one of the many lines the store carries, or something in pale blue, which looks stunning in photos taken near the water. jaimebridal.com.
Cake Delight in Livermore can craft you a cake with fondant waves in blue ombré. Top it off with a figurine of the happy couple setting sail in a toy boat. For something more neutral, choose seashell-inspired tones. cakedelight.com.
Enlist help from the designers at Berkeley’s Twig and Fig, who can customize stationery with octopuses, nautical stripes and maps, and anything else you can dream up together. twigandfig.com.
Keep it classic with navy blue and white, and add boats and anchor details. Or select tones that are more neutral and pair them with plenty of white, suggests Lindsay Noonan of Lindsay Lauren Events in Danville. lindsaylaurenevents.com.
Work with your caterer to set up an oyster and champagne bar, complete with baby bottles of Tabasco sauce. Or order shiny blue chocolate anchors from Gourmet Works in Pleasanton, which are unexpected and provide a little cachet. gourmetworks-pleasanton.com.
Break the rules.
Unconventional at heart, anything goes at a boho wedding. kick off your shoes and grab your flower crown: tradition takes a backseat at this type of affair.
UC Botanical Garden’s 34-acre site in Berkeley overlooks the Bay and may be the ideal place for a nature-loving boho couple, with its twinkling outdoor patio, scented garden, peaceful redwood grove, and woodsy amphitheater seating. botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu.
Perhaps the granddaddy of Berkeley venues, the Brazilian Room (below) at Tilden Park stands tall with its floor-to-ceiling leaded glass windows and handsome wooden interior. Enjoy its lovely garden of foxglove, lavender, and a cherry tree that blooms pink in April, as well as a flagstone patio, views for miles, and outdoorsy, national park feel. brazilianroom.org.
If you’re looking for more than a hint of cool, consider the Oakland Museum of California, which provides an artful and historic setting. Dine in the gardens, on the rooftop terraces with views of the rising moon and Lake Merritt, or in the indoor dining area that overlooks a koi pond. museumca.org.
Skip the traditional bridal shop and find a dress at Loho Bride in San Francisco, which specializes in vintage bridal dresses from S.F.–based Daughters of Simone. Or choose something from Grandma’s closet or a consignment store: A secondhand dress with lace, pearls, or embroidery can be reborn with alterations. daughtersofsimone.com.
Opt for a naked cake, which forgoes frosting on the sides and isn’t supersweet. Cake Lafayette tops it off with blooms. cakelafayette.com.
Personalize invites with hand lettering or your own artwork. If you’re not artistically inclined, see Etsy for handmade pop-up, scratch-off, and laser-printed cards. Or hire a stationer who specializes in natural materials and textures, such as Good on Paper in Berkeley. goodonpaperdesign.com.
Scour the monthly Alameda Point Antiques Faire for trays, vintage linens, and mismatched dishes. Create arrangements with different bottles filled with long-stem flowers. Say “I do” under an arch crafted from recycled wood. alamedapointantiquesfaire.com.
Angels Petals’ flower veils are handcrafted in Martinez and will leave your guests mesmerized. Or make your own with flowers, craft tools, and instructions from YouTube. angelspetals1.blogspot.com.
Shimmer and shine.
Your someday has finally arrived, and you want to throw a sophisticated soirEe with a decidedly upscale feel. ball gowns, bling, bedazzled fondant cakes—nothing is too over the top for you.
Pleasanton’s Ruby Hill Golf Club (below) provides a romance-packed wow factor, with its breathtaking main dining room (really, more of a ballroom), 40-foot ceilings, glass
windows, chandelier, and Florentine- motif carpet. After the ceremony, make your big entrance as a couple down the club’s impressive grand staircase. rubyhill.com.
The Claremont Hotel Club and Spa in Berkeley has myriad indoor venues, from ballrooms to swanky lounges to rooms overlooking the San Francisco Bay. If you want, stay a few days before or after the wedding to be spoiled by spa treatments and relaxation. claremontresort.com.
Also contemplate Casa Real at Ruby Hill Winery’s 20,000-square-foot Mediterranean villa, which features an elegant grand salon, limestone accents, hand-carved doors, and tables to accommodate up to 600 guests. Opt to rent dramatic chandeliers and colored up-lighting. casarealevents.com.
Big is back: Pick out a voluminous ball gown or A-line dress from La Soie Bridal in Walnut Creek, and put the guys in traditional black tuxedos. And glam is all about the accessories: Add a rhinestone belt, white gloves, a long veil, and brilliant jewelry. To give yourself a polished, 1920s Hollywood look, add a birdcage veil and bold red lipstick. lasoiebridal.com.
Back in are multilayer cakes with elaborate fountains, lighting features, and cute toppers. Go square, and order one with smooth fondant, sparkly ribbon, and cascading flowers from Alamo’s Katrina Rozelle. katrinarozelle.com.
Glamorous invitations call for something flourished that you might not use every day, as well as formal wording. Concord’s Creative Designs by Mimi can add crystal adornments, buckles, and sashes in silver and white, or black and gold. creativemimi.com.
Opulent ballrooms, chandeliers, and bold colors with glittering accents make a statement. Add moody up-lighting and go-go lights. Put together your tabletop settings starting with luxurious rentals from Napa Valley Linens in Emeryville. nvlinens.com.
Another way to add sparkle, literally: Venues where it’s legal allow guests to line up holding lit sparklers and salute the bride and groom, as they make their showstopping exit.