Best of the East Bay 2016: Weddings
The ultimate wedding-planning duo; a local calligrapher.
Bridal Boutique: Kinsley James Couture Bridal
Perennial Winner If this chic Walnut Creek wedding boutique’s bread and butter is an A-line gown with lace, it’s just as slick with alternatives—royal blue and burgundy gowns, plunging-back designs, pantsuits, tea-length dresses in every fabric, and gowns featuring a rip-away overskirt atop a miniskirt. VIP treatment lets brides-to-be visit after hours, model dresses, and walk the runway, while bridesmaids and guests sip champagne. 1623 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 330-9228, kinsleyjames.com. —Lou Fancher
Custom Invitations: The Aerialist Press
The New Kid When it comes to wedding invitations, gone are the days of layers on layers of paper. Instead, a single sheet is all you need. “I’m all about subtle accents and neutral color palettes,” says Alexandra Rinde, co-owner of The Aerialist Press invitation shop in Walnut Creek. “I like to keep an invitation classic, but dress it up by adding a beautiful ribbon or colorful envelope liner.” 43 Quail Ct., Ste. 203, Walnut Creek, (510) 520-6749, theaerialistpress.com. —Michelle Robertson
Honeymoon Destination: Hawaii
Soft sand beaches and ocean breezes make Hawaii the ultimate escape for honeymooners. After completing a $15 million redesign in January of last year, Maui’s Hotel Wailea is grand yet intimate, with one-bedroom suites, poolside cabanas, and private dining in the property’s new tree house suspended above mango and avocado orchards. Experience a romantic sunset dinner with a private chef and a menu that uses seasonal island ingredients. 555 Kaukahi St., Wailea, Maui, Hawaii, (808) 874-0500, hotelwailea.com. —Rachelle Cihonski
Cake: Katrina Rozelle Pastries and Desserts
After graduating from the California Culinary Academy and working as a pastry chef, Katrina Rozelle opened a bakery on Oakland’s College Avenue. It boomed, so Rozelle opened a second in Alamo, which is celebrating its 25th year. The Alamo shop is where Rozelle creates her masterpieces—unique, elaborately decorated cakes for weddings, birthdays, and other celebrations. 215 Alamo Plaza, Ste. B, Alamo, (925) 837-6337; 5931 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 655-3209, katrinarozelle.com. —R.C.
Wedding Music: Musical Heart Strings
Martinez-based ensemble Musical Heart Strings has spent the past four years adding magic to East Bay weddings by customizing its set list—performing everything from classical favorites, to the Game of Thrones theme song, to Guns N’ Roses—for the wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, and dinner. (925) 603-3002, musicalheartstrings.net. —Katie Henry
Party Rentals: Chairs for Affairs
When it came to planning our wedding, my husband and I did everything. By the time we had to decide the particulars like what color napkins to choose, we were frazzled. Then, we stumbled upon Chairs for Affairs in Concord, the fairy godmothers of rentals. In less than two hours, the team helped us select everything we needed. 140 Mason Cir., Ste. J, Concord, (925) 370-1300, chairsforaffairs.com. —K.H.
Wedding Venue: Wente Vineyards
Whatever wedding you want, Wente can do it. The legendary Livermore Valley winery can host weddings with 1,000 guests on its tree-lined terrace lawn. It also offers highly customized ceremonies at Murrieta’s Well, a charming and romantic stone winery with an outdoor area for up to 110 guests. Plus, the Winemakers Studio lets couples create special blends to celebrate their day. 5050 Arroyo Rd., Livermore, (925) 456-2425, wentevineyards.com. —L.F.
Calligrapher: Mariko Giverink of Bee Curious Designs
Editor Pick With her custom wedding signs, Concord’s Mariko Giverink has quickly made a name for herself. Her new enterprise started when she surprised her daughter with a hand-painted wall calendar and posted pictures on social media. Orders immediately rolled in, and the artist hasn’t put down her paintbrush since. After requesting a couple’s wedding invitation to get a sense of their style, Giverink designs signs that have flair and function, such as offering directions to the ceremony. etsy.com/shop/beecuriousdesigns. —K.H.
Bridal Boot Camp: Martinez Athletic Club
Editor Pick Looking for a fun way to relieve pre-wedding stress? Martinez Athletic Club Bridal Bootcamp’s Ben Borsellino—a wedding DJ in his past life—creates a perfect workout set to a classic wedding playlist. Think lunges down the aisle to “Going to the Chapel” and a medicine ball bouquet toss to “Celebrate.” Work out that nervous energy in a heart-pumping, music-fueled pre-wedding party. 729 Castro St., Martinez, (925) 849-7128, martinezathleticclub.com. —K.H.
Reader’s Quote “I love [Florali’s] designs—so unique and gorgeous. They find great flowers! Also, the owners are super nice,” says Adrienne Glasgow of Pleasant Hill. Walnut Creek, florali.com.
Photographer: Josh Isaacs Photography
Big Number: 7000 Average number of pictures the Pleasant Hill–based photographer takes during a wedding. (925) 285-7316, jjisaacs.com. —R.C.
Long Story Short: Sister Act
Wedding Planner: Linen and Lilac
When Linda Lathrop’s older sister, Leslie Yrueta, got engaged in 2008, Lathrop spent hours on the phone helping her sister plan her dream wedding. And when Lathrop herself tied the knot a few months later, Yrueta returned the favor. So it was only natural that when the sisters, who live in the Lamorinda area, decided to go into business together in 2014, they chose the wedding planning business.
“Neither of us hired wedding planners, but we should have. It’s a mistake a lot of people make,” says Lathrop.
The sisters have executed more than a dozen weddings and events since founding their wedding-planning business, Linen and Lilac, and have 10 more lined up for the coming year. One of their favorites involved an Instagram contest for the Claremont Club and Spa, in which the winning couple received a free wedding at the dreamy East Bay location.
“The winners were high school sweethearts, and the fiancé had started on his road to recovery from testicular cancer,” says Yrueta. “A lot of couples meet in college or at a bar, and those stories are sweet, but this felt very special.” linenandlilac.com. —R.C.