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Wedding Venue: Casa Real Style and Fun

Posted Mar 18, 2015 by Gloria Atherstone

Photography by: Chung Li Photography

About the Venue

At first glance, you probably are trying to figure out which lavish downtown ballroom had the opportunity to host such a fun event. Well, this incredibly styled event did not require a drive across the bridge. As a matter of fact, this stunning wedding venue is quickly becoming the talk of the Tri-valley area. Casa Real in Pleasanton is a stunning location that can easily accommodate any design – from traditional to contemporary.

Two things I love about Casa Real are their flexibility and their size. Having a wedding reception with over 300 guests tends to limit your options for wedding reception venues. In addition to the limited number of venues who can hold a large crowd, most of the facilities that can cater to a larger number tends to be a “civic” building. Although they are often gorgeous and wonderfully historic, most tend to have lots of restrictions on activities or they feature large ballrooms which can only host one part of the celebration. Casa Real offers several rooms, ample parking, and the ease of one-stop-shopping.

Ask the Expert

Aisle Style at Casa Real. The Amber Room used by this couple for their glamorous ceremony is simply stunning. There is an ethereal quality to the room. The massive limestone fireplace provides a timeless and traditional backdrop for you and your groom to exchange wedding vows. Decorate the room with a formal collection of black, silver, or white chiavari chairs – punching up the look by using a contrasting colored cushions such as soft pale pink or ecru. The chiavari chairs seem to be a natural choice, but if the budget allows, the chameleon chairs (as seen at Classic Party Rentals) look amazing. I love these chairs when I am trying to achieve a very regal and formal look. The chameleon line offers the versatility of several different colored cushions as well as removable padded backs. You can use the same chair for both your ceremony and reception with two completely different looks just by changing out the cushions or by adding a comfortable and great-looking back.

The Amber Room’s papyrus colored walls create a warm glow and are accentuated by the polished Travertine slate floor and the architectural wains coating arches that create a contrast in bright white. The lighting used for this ceremony really transforms the room. The room is an interior setting, so the use of lighting to either create patterns or to create the illusion of exterior filtered lights is the perfect way to add dimension. The fireplace mantle is unbelievable. A collection of candles creates quite a statement! Bright colored flowers are also one of my favorite ways to take this space to the next level.

I Do Venues wants to recognize the talented team of wedding professionals who helped to make this bride’s dream a reality: Photographer – Chung Li Photography, Florist – Nicole Ha Designs.


Wedding Venue: Annadel Estate Winery A Visit to the Ruins

Posted Mar 17, 2015 by Gloria Atherstone

Photography by: Myrtle and Marjoram
Can’t get enough? Click here to view some more fabulous images.

About the Venue

Annadel Estate Winery is a boutique winery, but as a wedding venue, it is ideal. Casual elegance is the perfect theme for a wedding at Annadel, and the wondrous grounds provide the ideal flow for a wedding celebration. The original winery ruins from 1886 still exist and create a one-of-a-kind experience for your ceremony. The stone masonry walls are covered with floral vines, making the backdrop stunning for a couture wedding album and the topic of lasting conversation all night long. Set the stage with chiavari chairs and you’ll feel indulged in both history and sophistication.

Surrounding the historic ruins is an abundance of lush gardens. The collection of heirloom roses perfumes your reception with a sweet fragrance that your guests won’t soon forget. Photos taken in front of the distressed barn will create lasting memories allowing you to reconnect with your family and friends. I am not sure if it is the never-ending ocean of Cabernet grapes or possibly the mystique of the ruins; whatever the reason, there is something deeply romantic and intimate about having a celebration at Annadel Estate Winery.

I Do Venues wants to recognize the talented team of wedding professionals who helped to make this bride’s dream a reality: Photographer – Myrtle and Marjoram, Designer/Planner – Melissa Panico of MAP Wedding & Events, Florist – Willow Floral Design, Catering – Paula LeDuc Fine Catering, Lighting – Got Light?


Wedding Venue: The Carneros Inn Real Wedding Inspiration

Posted Mar 16, 2015 by Gloria Atherstone

Photography by: Tanja Lippert Photography
Want to see more from this gorgeous celebration? Check out the Photo Gallery.

About the venue

The Carneros Inn reminds me of a perfect blend of wine country casual and east coats elegance. The clean lines of the architecture are amazingly balanced with a hint of sophisticated country chic added in for good measure. When your wedding guests arrive, they will instantly feel welcomed. The lobby decor features oversized farm tables overflowing with imaginative floral creations from a selection of the valley’s most talented designers. Organic apples picked right out of the on-site orchard give guests a welcoming “snack” if need be, but also introduce the guests to the farm-to-table philosophy that has been adapted by Carneros.

At The Carneros Inn there is no “standard“ way to host you wedding. The numerous indoor and outdoor event spaces allow you to customize the flow of your event, making your imagination the only thing holding you back. Although I have seen ceremonies in various locations, I still love the apple orchard. Located centrally on the property as your guests make their way to the ceremony, they are led on a self-guided tour of this amazing property. The “cottages” are set on either side of the pathway. This serene setting provides an amazing tone – you feel as if you are walking through a community not a hotel. Be careful not to lose the guests along the way; the rocking chairs and individual herb gardens on each cottage porch are very inviting.

Real wedding inspiration

This couple has done an amazing of job of allowing their wedding venue be their inspiration. The lush green lawn surrounded by apple orchards and fertile country gardens looks tranquil when you set it for a ceremony with the crisp white wood chairs that the facility provides. If you want to add a bit of glam to your ceremony, dress up the decor with a selection of white wood chivari chairs, or if you want a more natural and rustic look, consider using a selection of bamboo-inspired seating (all of these chair-styles can be found at Classic Party Rentals).

The white roses infused throughout the design create a perfect adornment to the wedding stage here; however, my favorite feature in this celebration is the incorporation of the bright green granny apples. Your guests will love the whimsical idea of immersing themselves fully into the orchard sitting alongside clusters of apples that appear to have been grown right on property. The couple has infused the theme of the apple orchard throughout the celebration; we see apples displayed alongside of the centerpieces for the appetizer cocktail reception. I love the modern twist that the styling has taken: square white vases, the stripe of chocolate brown, and the loose apples – incorporating the apples into the actuals flora is always fun and unique.

You can’t look at this wedding and not comment on the photography. Tanja Lippert is amazing! Her style and talent are the cornerstone to her success – there is not a bride who would not want this incredible wedding album; you must admit though that Tanja had a great raw material to work with. Location, location, location – an amazing photo album starts with the perfect wedding venue. The Carneros Inn has is a Pandora’s box of unique locations and different color schemes for you photographer to play with. If you like the idea of a more rustic and country setting, the grass fields and bocci courts are a great place to start. If you are looking to have a bit more of a modern flair, the spa, restaurant, and reception rooms offer great architectural elements to use as backdrops and staging.


Wedding Venue: Brazilian Room Real Wedding Inspiration

Posted Mar 13, 2015 by Gloria Atherstone

Photography by: Todd Rafalovich Photography

About the Venue

Berkeley is one of those cities that has a small town feel but is where you know you are close to everything. The hills that surround the town will make you feel as if you are a million miles from civilization. The Brazilian Room is not only a true historic landmark (designed by famed California architect, Alfred Maybeck), it is one of the most popular wedding and event venues in the East Bay.

The building resembles an English cottage and everything from the leaded glass windows to the dark wood shingles bring you that much closer to a little bit of history. A wedding for 120 guests is a perfect addition to this lovely location. The expansive lawn is a wonderful place to hold your ceremony. The lush green surroundings of Tilden Park is a place where the mist and fog roll in gently and create an unmistakable romantic scene.

Real Wedding Inspiration

Working with color: As a wedding venue, this historic site is oozing with warmth and charm. The hardwood floors melt seamlessly into traditional oak wainscoting, while the crisp white cathedral ceiling is accented by dark wood beams. Fall is the ideal time here. The lush green surroundings seem to creep inside through the leaded glass windows creating a perfect backdrop for a celebration that infuses burnt orange, golds, peaches, and corals.

The vibrant orange tones chosen by this couple are amazing. The table linen in “Pumpkin Dazzle” creates a warm and inviting look in this setting. These same color choices could easily be overpowering against a more neutral background. The natural wood chiavari chair paired with a gold topaz cushion creates a soft transition and makes the room look cohesive. The floral arrangements really “POP” without becoming overbearing distractions. The bright green foliage, crimson dahlias, yellow, peach, and coral roses look amazing.

The contrast of color and texture on the tables allows the design to be front and center. A simple menu card has been slipped into the pocket of the gold colored napkin, while the centerpiece is a variegated green base filled with a collection of tangerine, sunflower yellow, and a hint of brown. It is utterly gorgeous. I love the upgrade on the glassware – the bubbled glass is a very unique change which elevates the look of the table.


Wedding Venue: Cavallo Point The Perfect Little White Chapel

Posted Mar 12, 2015 by Thea Smith

Photography by: Visalli Photographics

About the Venue

There is something so intimate and romantic about a one-room little white chapel. Surrounded by your loved ones in a cozy beautiful room; this alone is reason enough for you to choose the perfect little chapel known as Mission Blue for your ceremony location. Mission Blue is one of the many event spaces available for rent at Cavallo Point in Sausalito, the historic chapel was originally the post chapel for Fort Baker and makes Mission Blue an ideal location for a wedding ceremony.

Your guests will be WOWed when they arrive at Mission Blue with the amazing Golden Gate Bridge in the background. The natural acoustics make it perfect for live musicians. I love seeing a single guitar or cello for music. There are numerous ideal locations for photographs, including the hard-to-come-by bird’s eye view of the ceremony. These are just a few of the many reasons why Mission Blue is perfect for wedding ceremonies.

Ask the Expert

This couple chose the perfect colors for the room. Bringing in red not only pops in the room, but it also brings warmth and romance to the space. It is a blank canvas and you really can do anything you want, but personally I love using color. You don’t need to go over the top with your decor – simple is just as effective. I love bringing drama into the aisle – it helps set the tone for the rest of the event. The rose petals and candles are perfect.

I Do Venues wants to recognize the talented team of wedding professionals who helped to make this bride’s dream a reality: Photographer – Visalli Photographics, Designer/Planner – Leilani Alfaro of For All Occasions, Florist – Nancy Liu Chin, Cake – Sally Ann McGrath of Forget-Me-Not Cakes, Catering, Beverages, and Rentals – Cavallo Point.


Wedding Venue: Omni Hotel Perfect in Pink

Posted Mar 11, 2015 by Gloria Atherstone

Photography by: J W L Photography

About the Venue

Many couples feel that with a smaller wedding party, their options of having a gorgeous formal ballroom style event may not be realistic. Never fear! San Francisco is filled with a wonderful assortment of  formal ballrooms both large and small. One of the things I love about San Francisco is the abundant number of historic boutique hotels which offer couples with a head-count under 120 guests the option of having their luxury ballroom wedding in a classic ballroom setting that will not overpower their numbers. San Francisco is filled with so much history – these incredible boutique properties have all the same architectural grandeur and history of the larger, widely recognized ballrooms, but the spaces are smaller as are the budgets required to host events. They are perfectly matched for the mid-sized wedding celebration.

The Omni Hotel is quintessential downtown San Francisco. The hotel used to be a bank – a part of San Francisco’s illustrious financial district and it still has the smell of classic Old World money. The foyer is breathtaking. You can picture the bride as she ascends up the marble, gold, and black iron staircase and makes her first appearance in the loggia, overlooking the foyer with the twinkle of the Australian crystal chandeliers creating a flicker of light – Wow!

Ask the Expert

How to choose a color palette. Many brides choose their wedding color palette as a first step to planning the wedding. Do you choose a color palette that is soft, romantic and flirtatious, or do you trend towards traditional? Why not explore both options? If you are already in love with the color pink, you might consider a pairing of pink and black. These two shades are not only gorgeous individually, but complement each other in a dramatic way as well.

This bride has taken a soft and delicate pale pink and paired it flawlessly with a hint of classic black, and it looks amazing at the Omni Hotel. The styling of this celebration is very “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” – classic styling that never goes out of style. The bride’s bouquet of pink peonies bound with a classic white satin ribbon speaks volumes about the power of simplicity. The cake is one of my favorite testaments to this classic style. The petite pink flowers, with small black centers, are gorgeous. The pearlized frosting is the perfect classic touch.


Wedding Venue: Vine Hill House Capturing Magical Moments

Posted Mar 10, 2015 by Gloria Atherstone

Photography by: Daniela Degrassi Photography

About the Venue

Vine Hill House has its share of great landscaping and breathtaking scenery, but when you combine it with the incredible talent of a photographer like Daniela Degrassi, your results are just magical. Daniela has worked her magic with this couple. The intimate nature of these whimsical photos makes it seem as if the bride and groom quietly escaped to have a bit of fun while no-one was watching.

Ask the Expert

When you are seventy years old and your grandchildren want to look at your wedding album, what do you want them to see? The goal should be to see a different side of you – the two of you when you were young and carefree. When it comes to photography, this is the perfect opportunity and place for you to display your personality and even a show of PDA.

Don’t try to fit a mold of what you think wedding photography should be like. Talk to the photographer and get to know them. More importantly, let them get to know you so that they can help figure out ways to bring out your personalities. There are a ton of ways to have fun. Just think of the various backdrops and poses that your wedding venue offers, and if your selection is a bit more “plain Jane,” don’t hesitate to bring in your own props to create the moments you want. If you are nervous in front of the camera, props are a great way to relax and take the pressure off. If you love your shoes… show them off. If he loves his socks… show them off too. When taking your couple portraits, do what you normally do when you are together. Walk, smile, and laugh… or just talk. Your photographer will guide you to what works.

I Do Venues wants to recognize the talented team of wedding professionals who helped to make this bride’s dream a reality: Photographer – Daniela Degrassi Photography, Florist – Rivertown Flowers.


Wedding Venue: Sonoma Mission Inn Fun Photos

Posted Mar 9, 2015 by Gloria Atherstone

Photography by: Michelle Walker Photography

About the Venue

What do you call it when the charming, laid-back atmosphere of the wine country meets the refinement of the world’s most luxury resorts? That’s easy – the Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa!

The Sonoma Mission Inn is a Fairmont resort property, and as a guest you receive all the lux accommodations and services associated with the refined level of resort living. The hot springs of the Sonoma Mission Inn have been providing holistic healing properties which date back to the Native American Indians, but the current hotel (an architectural replica of a California Mission) was built in 1927 after a fire had destroyed the original property. For a destination wine country wedding, you can’t pick a more spectacular location. The 228-room hotel feels like a boutique venue, but the level of service is unquestionably among the best in the valley. The red adobe architecture is stunning, as is the California mission-style architecture with its brightly colored tile accents. Your wedding photo album will be incredible with no staging necessary.

Your main question will be where to hold the event? The world class resort has five standard reception venues, but more than that, they have an unlimited amount of property where you can construct your own custom reception where the only limitations are your imagination.

Ask the Expert

The DIY photo booth… I’m not sure who first thought of having a photo booth as an activity at a wedding celebration, but I do know that thousands of happy couples are thankful that they did. The photo booth has taken the place of the cheesy wedding video where the videographer goes around to each person and makes them say something profound to the bride and groom. For the more timid guest, this is a moment of dread, and for the bride and groom, a microphone in the hands of “tipsy” wedding guests could be complete disaster.

Enter the photo booth. What a brilliant idea. It offers a tiny corner of privacy where you can let your silly side show – no judgment, no pressure. The trend seems to have started start with several of the entertainment companies providing great all-inclusive booths. We love these as a planner – I have to say they make life very easy. Most of the booths include a person to handle any problems, refill supplies, bring props, and help make suggestions to those that lack imagination.

Recently we have seen many DIY brides, and even several ingenious photographers, put together the DIY open-air photo booth. The creativity behind the open-air style as pictured above is the interaction. Instead of one or two guests going into a booth and having a bit of fun, now the entire crowd can be entertained while mom and dad, brothers and sisters, and friends all take part in a bit of irreverent wedding frivolity and document it on film. If you choose to go the DIY route, it is significantly less expensive, but you need to facilitate the booth as well. The camera, printer, and supplies need to have someone in attendance at all times. The crowd always needs to be encouraged, at least at first, and if problems should arise, you need to have an on-site troubleshooter to take care of business.

I Do Venues wants to recognize the talented team of wedding professionals who helped to make this bride’s dream a reality: Photographer – Michelle Walker Photography, Designer/Planner – A Savvy Event, Photo Booth Photographer – Snapshot, Florist – Fleur Essence Floral Design, Cake – Inticing Creations, Linen Rentals – La Tavola Linen.

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