Best of the East Bay: Weddings
Feeling freaked out? Here’s how to survive the planning process.
Which Bouquet Is Best?
Let Florali’s Darwin Harrison work his magic.
Reader Pick: Floral Studio
“The bouquet is an extension of the bride. When I’m making the bride’s bouquet, I imagine it and design it based on who will be carrying it, what shape and color her dress is, and so on.”
2345 Boulevard Cir., Walnut Creek, (925) 934-6877, florali.com.
Help! We’re Getting Married
Hire Barbara Llewellyn.
Reader Picks: Caterer, Wedding Planner
Barbara Llewellyn is a second-generation party planner who started a catering business and expanded into event planning when she saw a need in the East Bay. Now, with 50 years of experience under her belt, Llewellyn knows what it takes to make your day extra special. 434 25th St., Oakland, (510) 832-1967, barbarallewellyn.com.
1. Spend money where it matters
Choose the elements that are most important to you. Are you yearning for a killer cake, magazine-worthy photos, or a meal to remember?
2. Be wary of trends
Your wedding should reflect you, your partner, your families, and your relationship. The personal details are the ones that are remembered.
3. Ask your favorite vendor for recommendations
If you like your photographer’s style, he or she might know a band or florist who would meet your vision as well.
4. Recognize your strengths
Unless you are a Martha Stewart acolyte, be cautious about too much DIY, and hire experts to help.
5. Don’t let glitches spoil your day
Remember that the day is for celebrating your love with friends and family.
What Should We Wear?
Schedule appointments at Kinsley James Couture Bridal and Daskalos Men’s Fashions.
Reader Picks: Bridal Boutique; Men’s Suit Store
Not sure what looks best side by side? Whether she’s wearing a classic white gown or something a little more offbeat, here is your guide to the perfect match—style-wise.
If she wears: nude.
Then he wears: navy blue.
If she wears: blush.
Then he wears: light gray.
If she wears: ivory.
Then he wears: charcoal.
If she wears: white.
Then he wears: black.
We Want Memories That Will Last a Lifetime
Call photographer Josh Isaacs.
Reader Pick: Photographer
Pleasant Hill’s Josh Isaacs started shooting weddings when veteran photog Eli Pitta let Isaacs tag along on the weekends—for two years. When Pitta asked Isaacs to complete an assignment alone, Isaacs knew he was ready to go solo.
What shot can you not miss?
For the ceremony, there’s this one little set: I need her looking at him, but what she’s really seeing is his face as he’s seeing her for the first time.
Tell me more.
The photographer has the most intimate job of the day. We are with that couple—and most often, the bride—in the most vulnerable spots of their lives, in the morning and at the end of the day. The client ends up caring about you very much.
And sometimes, your relationship with the couple endures beyond the wedding?
That’s happened with a few couples. I didn’t understand that part of the job until I photographed a wedding and then a family shoot, and then a first birthday party. If I do my job right, I get to be a part of these families.
How do you keep your cool while shooting an event?
I don’t feel panicked anymore. Usually, the experience is calm, as long as I’m prepared. There are a few tricks that help, too, like checking my work often and zooming in on it really quickly to tell if I got what I needed.
What is the most exciting wedding you’ve been a part of?
I shot a cowboy wedding with Eli at Callippe Preserve Golf Course in Pleasanton. The men were dressed in their nice Wranglers and button-ups, and the bride rode in on a horse. I also did a 200-person wedding at Alpha Omega Winery alone. The bride was very specific, but she only wanted me. When I got in the car, I was exhausted. My arms hurt.
What do you love most about shooting weddings?
At first, they terrified me because I didn’t want to screw it up. But now, I love the little moments—obvious ones, between him and her and sisters and parents—but also the moments between guests. There are moments everywhere, and that’s what it’s all about. (925) 285-7316, jjisaacs.com.
We Want to Get Away
Check in to the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, the grandest resort on Hawaii’s Big Island.
Reader Pick: Honeymoon Destination (Hawaii)
Lava Bluff Love
Tie the knot at sunset at the world-famous hole number three, situated on a dramatic, secluded lava bluff.
For dinner and dancing, choose from the South Point Lawn surrounded by palm trees; the North Point Lawn, where you can have your ceremony on a lava-stone patio; and the tree-sheltered Luau Garden.
Retire Like Royalty
Bid farewell to your guests, and head to the Mauna Kea or Mauna Loa suites located at opposite ends of the eighth floor. Both suites have three lanais, master bedrooms with king-size beds, and big bathtubs.
Soak It Up
The next morning, request the couple’s suite with “balneotherapy” (water therapy), and relax at the Mauna Kea Spa by Mandara.
Table for Two
Make a reservation at Manta and Pavilion Wine Bar for a special farm-to-fork menu, including the to-die-for chocolate soufflé or the Harlequin, a dessert that’s half chocolate and half lilikoi (passion fruit). Or sit under the stars at a private torch-lit dinner back at the third hole, which is just a short golf cart ride away. 62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Dr., Kohala Coast, Hawaii, (808) 882-7222, princeresortshawaii.com/mauna-kea-beach-hotel.
Denon and Doyle
2245-B Morello Ave., Pleasant Hill, (925) 930-7180, djay.com.
East Bay Wedding Venue
Claremont Hotel Club and Spa
41 Tunnel Rd., Berkeley, (510) 843-3000, claremontresort.com.
1567 Botelho Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 357-6200, papersource.com.
Gagnon’s Party Rentals
1001 Blackwood Ln.,
Lafayette, (925) 284-3000, gagnons.com.
Locations in Livermore, Pleasant Hill, Pleasanton, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek, menswearhouse.com.
Thomas Hughes Films
3195 Danville Blvd., Ste. 7, Alamo, (925) 586-8532, thomashughesfilms.com.