My husband’s parents are in town this weekend, and we’re taking them wine tasting tomorrow. Do you have any suggestions for low-key wineries or tasting rooms in Sonoma? We were thinking of Ram’s Gate which we’ve heard is beautiful, but I’d love to hear your recommendations! Which NorCal wineries are your favorites?

via My Parents Were Awesome


Love this state fair rehearsal dinner on the new Santa Barbara Chic!

So many wonderful things happening with R&K’s wedding invitation.

Lovely violet cake, via hip hip gin gin.

Amy Friend’s altered vintage photos make me think of fireflies, via sfgirlbybay.

DIY seed packet garden party favors.

Citrus panna cotta… drool…

Put your trinkets in this pretty geode box, via Design Love Fest.

Deliciously pretty Brooklyn brunch.

How romantic is the floral arch in this wedding? (Scroll down.)

Pleased to be included in this list!


Have a happy weekend, lovelies!

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Ever since I learned about Alder Manor, I’ve been itching to feature a wedding there, and today’s the day! “Charming” and “dilapidated” might not be words you’d imagine would go together, but once you see these photos from Jessie and Brendan’s wedding, I think you’ll understand how it’s possible…

Say the couple of their ceremony: “The ceremony held special meaning because it was the moment we actually committed to each other in front our community. We wanted an outdoor ceremony that focused on honoring our family and friends and the community that has helped us understand how to become our best selves, the selves we want to be with and for each other for the rest of our lives. A good friend officiated the ceremony and gave a beautiful talk that incorporated myth and literature, and really spoke to our values and the values of the communities we are a part of. Holding each other’s hands and hearing and saying the vows we wrote for each other was incredible. We stood on a little dais surrounded by our community, with afternoon sunlight breaking through the trees. We did not share the vows with each other until that moment, and in that moment, we felt the awe and wonder of committing to each other for the rest of our lives, and grateful to have our friends and family there to share it with us.”

The couple on what inspired them in their planning: “As writers, we wanted literature to be a part of the event. Our ceremony incorporated Homer, and contemporary poetry and fiction. We used an old library card catalog to hold the dinner cards, each table was associated with a literary figure we admire, the menus had a list of quotes about love by various authors, and the gift bags included contemporary literary magazines, Slice and The Coffin Factory.”

Yes, that is an empty indoor pool. Amazing! Say Jessie and Brendan about choosing Alder Manor for their wedding: “We wanted the reception to be a rocking party that was not too stuffy and overly formal, but that had enough grandeur to mark the importance of the day. Alder Manor had it all. We held our ceremony in the garden outside the manor. The cocktail party lingered until sunset and guests could wander the grounds of the manor, or nibble on appetizers on the enormous back patio. Dinner and dancing were inside the manor’s remarkable library, dining room, and marble-floored foyer.”

Brendan’s cousins led the crowd through a series of Irish step dances, honoring his family’s heritage.

The bride and groom answered some questions about their wedding for us…

Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  We fell in love with Alder Manor immediately, which has a charmingly aged and vintage feel. We met in a graduate writing program, and the space appealed to our love of literature. It felt like a mix of Great Expectations and The Great Gatsby. We are also both lovers of the classical world, and had the ceremony in a garden filled with crumbling columns and classical statues.

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  Everything costs more than you think it will and unless you hold your wedding in a location that offers an all-inclusive package, be sure to set aside funds for innumerable incidentals that will arise as the wedding approaches.

Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  Both our ceremony and reception included traditions that are important to us. Brendan’s uncle Tim played guitar throughout the ceremony and many of his tunes were traditional Celtic compositions. He also played the hymn “Morning Has Broken” and everyone at the wedding sang along, honoring the Methodist tradition that is a part of Jessie’s family’s history. Our ceremony also included a minute of silence, a tradition that was an important part of Jessie’s life since she attended a Quaker school. Our reception included toasts by family and friends, and we had a first dance as a couple, a father- daughter dance, and a mother-son dance, all of which were very meaningful.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Numerous people told me to make sure that I really enjoyed the day itself, to be fully present and to take each moment in. I recommend trying to bring that mentality to the whole process. Planning a wedding can be very stressful, and there are thousands of unexpected details that crop up. But the process itself allows you to spend time with each other and with family members and friends in both formal and informal ways that are unique and meaningful. Looking back, I’m grateful not only for the day itself, but also for the many moments leading up to it.



Photography: Heather Waraksa / Venue: Alder Mansion in Yonkers, New York (914-964-8272) / Bride’s dress: Cymbeline / Bride’s shoes: GUESS / Hair stylist: Stacy Pitt / Groom’s suit: Hugo Boss / Flowers: Graceful Gardens / Catering: Chefs at Work / Music: DJ Shakey


This wedding submitted via Two Bright Lights.

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Sponsored Post


If you’re looking for the perfect wedding gift, or need help decided what to include in your registry, let me point you in the direction of Frances Palmer’s beautifully quirky pottery. I cannot get enough of it! Each whimsical piece, from her handmade cake stands to the affordable Pearl collection, adds such a unique touch to any table…

Frances has also recently launched the Pearl Collection, which marries beauty with practicality, and is perfect for your bridal registry. Not only do they maintain the whimsical style of Frances’s handmade pieces, but they’re dishwasher- and microwave-safe, oven-proof up to 475-degrees, and come with a two-year chip and crack guarantee. Plus, each piece is hand cast, pressed and glazed in one of the only remaining ceramic factories in the United States, so your purchase supports local artisans and independent businesses, which is definitely something to feel good about.

No question: the Pearl Collection can make any meal a special occasion!

Whether you’re looking for an alternative registry option, or trying to find the perfect wedding gift, you cannot go wrong with Frances Palmer Pottery. There’s something for every budget, and each piece makes for a special modern heirloom. I know I’d love to own a cake stand. Or vase. Or salad plate. What can I say, I want it all…


This post sponsored by Frances Palmer Pottery.

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Kim and Ken’s wedding was simple and sweet, with classic details and a focus on spending time with each other and their guests. (And can we talk about that romantic bouquet?!)

The custom invitation suite featured California redwoods…

Says Kim, “We wanted our ceremony to reflect God’s love for the world. Our readings included scripture that uses the image of a wedding feast for heaven. The processional included the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy and the recessional was Ode to Joy.”

Before the couple’s departure, groomsmen passed out lavender sachets so guests could send the newlyweds off in a shower of lavender confetti.

Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  We wanted it to be elegant and warm, so we held it at venues with beautiful, natural wood and stone architecture.

Did you include any traditions (old or new) in your wedding?  My goddaughter rang a bell before the bridal processional. I read that this is an old tradition. We also got fairy wings for the two youngest girls, and they ran down the aisle right before the bride – adorable! I couldn’t decide between my having my father or my stepfather walk me down the aisle, so I walked in by myself. When I reached the first row, I kissed both of them on the cheek, and then my mom led me by the hand up to Ken at the altar.

What advice do you have for other brides?  Organize optional gatherings before the wedding in order to have time to visit with all your guests. Make sure to make visit all of the tables during the dinner.



Photography: Julie Mikos / Ceremony venue: Grace Episcopal Church in St. Helena, California / Reception venue, caterer: Meadowood Resort / Bride’s dress: Vera Wang / Groom’s attire: Calvin Klein / Flowers: Maria Philbin Floral Design / Stationery: Painted Tongue Studios / Calligraphy: Kathryn Murray / Cake: Perfect Endings

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A few weeks ago my little sister, Lora (aka Lora Fedora), came home from France after a year away, and she had a sparkly new accessory with her… I figured after letting her keep it to herself for a little while, I could finally embarrass her good and proper by sending my best wishes across the internet: Lora’s engaged!!!

In her last week in Paris, Lora’s boyfriend, Grant, flew out for a visit, and not only did he propose on the trip, but he managed to get it on camera! They had been taking lots of self-timer shots around Paris, so I’m sure my sister didn’t suspect a thing when they set up the camera for a pic in front of Marie Antoinette’s hamlet… until Grant dropped to one knee! Needless to say, she said yes!

Sorry for all the exclamation points – I’m just so excited for my baby sister to marry such a wonderful guy. She’s my best friend, and she deserves all the happiness in the world. Congratulations Lora and Grant! We love you!

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