2018 Best of the East Bay: Weddings
Take the jitters out of tying the knot with help from these nuptial experts, who ensure your special day will be picture-perfect.
Eventfully Yours Event Designs coordinates weddings of all sizes.
Photo by Anne-Claire Brun Photography
Eventfully Yours Event Designs
If anyone understands the challenge of organizing a wedding, it’s Rayna Hess, co-owner of Eventfully Yours Event Designs—and she uses that pressure as motivation. Hess says she’s happy to take the wedding-planning stress off the bride and groom so they can revel in their celebration rather than worry about the details. To make sure everything is ready on the big day, Hess arrives hours before the music is cued and reviews every element of the event multiple times with her staff. And she always comes prepared for the worst.
“I go into every wedding knowing something will go wrong every time,” Hess says. “My job is to troubleshoot those issues and make sure they don’t affect the day. If you go in
expecting there to be issues, you’re never surprised or caught off guard when they happen.”
Working with couples from the earliest planning stages through the wedding day itself enables Hess to bring her clients’ dreams to life. She takes her cues from their personalities: Are they fun and spunky, eclectic and artistic, reserved and mature? With her wide-ranging experience, Hess can propose a variety of ideas and pick up on what sparks someone’s excitement, then implement an expertly curated celebration.
Hess will even stay until the last guest leaves and the clean-up crew is done—because she’s just as invested in the success of a wedding as her clients are. Concord, eventdesignsbyrayna.com. —K.H.
Claremont Club and Spa
"[My husband and I] were married at the Claremont in 2010. The entire experience was excellent, and the views are incomparable. [The Claremont] even allowed me to completely customize the menu and made an entrée I specifically requested. We frequently go there on our anniversary." Berkeley, fairmont.com/claremontberkeley.
—Rhonda Temple, Pleasant Hill
Katrina Rozelle Pastries and Desserts
The sweetest part of your wedding day is—arguably—your dessert. And with Katrina Rozelle at the helm, your cake will be more than just a delectable treat. Providing complimentary tastings and design consultation, Rozelle ensures the cake will be a centerpiece of your celebration. She encourages clients to bring in samples of their flowers, invitations, and even their wedding gown (if possible) to help her create a confection that matches the style of the event. Alamo and Oakland, katrinarozelle.com. —K.H.
Kinsley James Couture Bridal
This chic bridal boutique elevates the experience of finding the perfect wedding gown. Owners Dawn Silva and Amber Haycock attend New York’s Bridal Fashion Week twice a year to hand select each of the luxe looks Kinsley James Couture Bridal sells. That means you’ll get to choose from the latest trends and fashions during your VIP appointment—a two-hour session that includes a mimosa bar with two bottles of champagne and bride-approved snacks for you and your bridal tribe, plus 10 percent off your purchase. The Kinsley James team can also help you find top-notch wedding vendors to make your nuptials perfect, offering recommendations for florists, event designers, photographers, and more. Walnut Creek, kinsleyjames.com. —K.H.
When Josh Isaacs documents an engagement or wedding, he’s not just taking a snapshot; he’s telling an intimate story about the couple. To capture the beauty of their love—and of all the moments that led them to their union—Isaacs puts his subjects at ease, allowing them to forget they’re even being photographed. “Engagement photos these days are much more than just ‘save the dates,’ ” Isaacs says. “They are a celebration.” Lafayette, jjisaacs.com. —K.H.
Bachelorette Party Hot Spot
Editor Pick: Tommy T’s
Brides-to-be can enjoy some eye candy and Magic Mike–esque action at this intimate Pleasanton venue, which hosts shows like Hunks and Fifty Shades of Men several times a year. Ladies (and fellas, if they’re so inclined) are bound to enjoy a fun and flirty evening of burlesque entertainment, featuring seductive theatrics. So, don your best party gear, order a few drinks, and let loose. It’ll certainly make for a night to remember. Pleasanton, tommyts.com/pleasanton. —A.S.
Place for Prewedding Pampering
Editor Pick: The Purple Orchid Wine Country Resort and Spa
Feeling stressed before walking down the aisle? Unwind at this award-winning Livermore destination, where you can treat yourself to a relaxing massage, skin-brightening facial, or soothing body wrap. The resort’s luxurious spa offers various packages that combine an array of rejuvenating treatments; many of them also include a food and beverage credit so you can savor a glass of champagne or a delicious snack during your day of pampering. Afterward, stroll through the rose garden or stretch out on a chaise by the swimming pool and waterfall to take in the stunning views. Livermore, purpleorchid.com. —A.S.
It’s no wonder this flower shop is a perennial Best of the East Bay winner: Brides can tell that owner Darwin Harrison truly loves his job. Following in the footsteps of his mother—who launched Florali from her home studio—Harrison pursued his passion for plants by attending flower school in Paris and then earning a degree in horticulture from Oakland’s Merritt College. He consistently crafts breathtaking bouquets and garden-style arrangements, mixing in blooms with foliage, grasses, and fruits for a look that’s lush, slightly whimsical, and always unique. Walnut Creek, florali.com. —A.S.
By the Numbers
2: Places where Harrison cultivates flowers for the shop: He has a greenhouse in San Francisco and a farm in the Sierra Foothills.
10–15: Number of weddings for which Florali designs flowers each year.
15: Years in business.
40: Varieties of flowers available in the Florali shop, including orchids, zinnias, honeysuckle, cosmos, foxgloves, and scabiosas.