Italian Wedding by Cinzia Bruschini

{Hi all! We have officially tied the know and are off to Australia for a glorious two weeks to de-stress and start our life as a married couple! I'll be checking in here from time to time with updates and photos of the honeymoon, but while I am gone I would love to hear what you all think of the weddings, and if you love it maybe you could help me out and tweet it? I'll back soon to download all the wedding deets to you all! <3 <3) I seem to be drawn to Italian weddings these days. I don't know what it is specifically, but I love the romance. It is so different and so gorgeous. This wedding comes from a favorite Italian wedding photographer of mine, Cinzia Bruschini. This poolside affair reminds us why we love summer so much.

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{Guest Post} Backyard Inspiration by Trisha Dean Events

Today's surprise guest blogger is the lovely Trisha of Trisha Dean Events. She has been so very helpful to me through my wedding planning process thus far. Her inspiration and attention to detail in the wedding world is just incred. I'm excited for her super fun backyard inspiration board. So, here you go! I am so thrilled to be able to guest post while Allison is frolicking about in The Big Apple! I love watching her pull together details for her and her man's big day and hope her readers enjoy this little Backyard Wedding inspiration board I pulled together! I'm feeling like I need some sunshine in this winter weather and I hope you are too! As the rain falls down and the cold wind zips sideways, I really want to be warm! I want long days and green grass again. As you can tell I am truly a summer girl - I don't last long in cold weather! I found this amazing place setting on Country Living that led the way for my inspiration board. Loving the twine details and the vintage green glass plate. The cloth sewn invite sleeves from Bird and Banner had me squealing with joy! Think of all the different pattern fun you could have! Lace on the wedding dress and on the table add a bit of elegance to any outside soirée. The palette of sage green, warm peaches, soft oranges and pale yellows are super light and romantic. Only 6 more months until summer...

Once Wed - April Smith, Elizabeth Anne Designs - Brandon Kidd, Bird and Banner, Ruffled - Jessica Watson, Ruffled - Evan McMaster, Martha Stewart Weddings, Country Living

Trisha Dean Events is a member of The Inspired List located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Find other Bay Area vendors on The Inspired List.

{Inspired Style} Backyard Bonanza

As you know, I had talked about doing a backyard wedding for a long time. It was something that always remained in the back of my head. I love the intimacy of the backyard wedding (and the price isn't bad either!) Overall, having a blank canvas to do as you wish as much as you wish is really an unbeatable scenario. These cute little backyard details transform a regular old backyard into the fun affair that is your wedding day. And a beautiful wedding day at that!

Source: Vase, Reception, Desserts, Fence,

{Help} Narrowing Down the Venues!

I am about to get amazingly personal with all of you, so I sure hope you’re ready for it! I have been so venue-challenged, and I feel like it is only getting worse. It has been almost 8 months and I swear, if I don’t find one soon, I’m giving up! So, I am going to lay it all out here for all of you with the hope that some feedback is just what I need to pick the right place!I started this wedding planning process with the idea that I could do the wedding for $10,000. Now, that may be a very popular number these days for those budget brides, but I never thought that $10,000 would mean giving up my Vera Wang, my fire pit and lounge areas, or all the other million things I wanted. And let me say this in my defense, I never would have had to. I’m smart, resourceful and very DIY handy. I know it could have been done. So, why am I not doing that? Well, because I woke up to the amount of work it would take and the amount of hours I work in a week (well over 100) and I just realized that I would burn myself to the bone. I don’t have the time like I used to.

So, fine. I got over that and I upped the budget. I let the parents and everyone help out and we came to yet another agreement, which sounded fair enough. The only problem is that I can’t get the REASON behind the $10,000 budget out of my head. That’s a lot of money. Really, it is! So, where do I draw the line? That’s the problem I keep struggling with.

Ok, now onto the venues, I have three solid options at this point. Read my pros and cons and let me know what you think!

  1. Ventana Inn

I absolutely love this place (remember when I talked about it before), but it is definitely the most expensive! I would get one terrace for both ceremony and reception. The terrace holds 80 people total. This means I am cutting my guest list by 50! (We both have big families). So let’s say I can cut the guest list, those 80 chosen ones are still going to cost $75 per plate for dinner. This is not a bad number, but adding the drinks on is a whole new story! For 2 hours of open bar, it costs $35. 2 hours! OMG, that’s insane. So unless I want to be tacky and make an announcement that everyone needs to literally stock up, I have to pay $10 per hour per person after those two hours. And what about during dinner, during speeches. My 2 hours includes people not being able to stand because of speeches! Lame.Roughly, I will probably end up spending $150 per head for everything including 30% of random dumb extra charges. So, all in all, this wedding scenario will cost me $14,200 for 80 guests. 20 of which are in the bridal party!

Not to mention all of that, the rooms at this place are about $500 per night! I just can’t make my guests do that. So, I would have to research a cute Inn near by.

This one is definitely the splurge and probably my favorite option, if I had the money for it and was comfortable spending that!

  1. Vignette Vintage Ranch

UPDATE: Radonich Ranch and Vignette Events turned into a nightmare of a situation and I ended up taking this option out entirely. Read more about the details: {Venue Nightmare} Radonich Ranch and Vignette Events.

This spot is great, but it’s not 100% my style. I am definitely more a fan of the refined, classy, chic look. It’s a little harder for me to think with rustic, vintage, distressed, and shabby looks. Every wedding I see makes me crave a ranch wedding though, which is why this place is in the running. Only Beer and Wine (but it is BYO meaning I will save literally thousands of dollars!) caterer is $86 per person. It is all inclusive with tables, chairs, linens, taxes, etc. etc. etc. That’s sooooo nice! But, I have a feeling this venue just isn’t the nicest vintage barn. But does that matter?? Chandeliers, lanterns, couches and fire pits should handle that just fine! This one would be about $13,000 for 100 guests including everything. Cheaper and more guests, but definitely not as nice.

Photos: Vignette Website

  1. My parent’s backyard

You may have heard me bring this up before. Well, its definitely still in my mind! My thought is that I would do WHATEVER I wanted and go a little psychotic on the details and the décor. Heck, I have months to do all the prep work. I would save so much money finding my own caterer and bringing in my own drinks. It would be half the cost roughly. So, I decided the one thing that could make me fall in love with this idea would be to plexi-glass the pool and make it the dance floor!  It would be the splurge of the event, but it would be INCREDIBLE! I would still be spending under $14,000 to do food and everything including the plexi-glass.

The con is definitely that it is not set up for a wedding, so it makes it far more difficult. I would want to find a place for the ceremony that wasn’t the house. I’ll have to research some places around the area. The other problem is that there are no epic photo spots. I want some great photos and the backyard just won’t provide that for me. This is definitely a huge consideration of mine!

Check this for ALL the pictures of my parents backyard!

So there you have it.

I would LOVE to hear thoughts and suggestions, ideas or even other venues you think I must see! I need some help ehre, and I am turning to the people that have been riding this wedding planning wave with me for the past 7 months! I know you guys know what I want, what a great wedding is, and what the best decision is-so go for it!

Thanks !

Backyard Wedding Cuisine

The heat has me all obsessed with backyard weddings, spring and summer themes, and some really creative foods! Mix it all into one and I have created a full menu for your backyard wedding affair. Quite honestly, this would be perfect for a bridal shower or engagement party as well. Keeping with the causal theme of the backyard affair, this menu is simple, easy, and pretty darn colorful.

My favorite way to display fruit has to be on a stick in the form of a kabob, or in those cute little balls. I love the creativity of these fruit displays so so much. I definitely wish I had thought about this before my own engagement party!

Source: Intimate Weddings

Always a hit, mason jars and spouted jars with colorful and fun drink choices! LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Depending on the formality of your wedding, these are the perfect solution to a dinner. I love kabobs and all the choices you have with ingredients, but on top of that, the clean up is virtually none. If you are planning on making your own food for your wedding, and I know some of you really are, then this is a great idea for dinner. So simple, and so yummy!

Source:, Country Living

Yummy Yummy ice cream. Now, on an extremely hot summer day, ice cream is the perfect solution. You may not be willing to let the tradition of the wedding cake go, I certainly am not, but as an alternative, or along with the cake, ice cream can be a really fun way to cool down the guests and offer a little something else.

I'm still completely indecisive about the venue and the type of wedding I really want to do, so I am just looking over my options a bit to see how I really would do things and how I could create a really fun and amazing wedding with certain types of venues! I'll probably have more to come as I sort through all the different styles of venues until I can pick the one that I love the most for my wedding!

Who knew venue hunting would be this hard in Northern CA???

Pie Favors

I have said before that I want to do apple pies as my wedding favors. I mean, look how cute these are! Source: Martha Stewart, Finsihing Touches Event Design, Elizabeth Anne Designs

Now the next question is, how do I display these lovelies?? I actually really like the idea of doing a dessert table type design but putting all the favors there instead. Since the pies are fairly large, it would fill up literally a whole table of cake plates and cupcake tiers.

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings

I am going to add a really cute little "thank you" tag on each :) I think that would be so cute. The only issue I see with these is, how are people going to bring them home?? Obviously they aren't going to eat them right then...well, I hope not! But, you can't just put a pie in your purse and walk out the door!

So I had two thoughts on this. I could display the cakes on a dessert type table like the above and make a 3 tiered cute cake looking thing out of the mini to go boxes like the ones below. Then all the cakes on the tiers could have those super cute flags below and I could even make a few different types of pie (maybe pumpkin, and pecan or another berry one??). The tags could say "Apple" on one side and "Thank You" on the other! That would be such a cute little addition actually. When they are ready to leave they can pack away their pie in the to go box, but I will still get to do the whole epic display that I want!

The other option is making the little folded pie and putting it in a box. I could organize the boxes in a 3 tiered cake thing as well.

The first idea is better right?

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Twig and Thistle, Emerald Green Weddings

Ok-such a cute idea right? I have to say that it is going to be A LOT of work....but it's probably so worth it!

Backyard Weddings -Pros and Cons

I have been talking a bit about having a backyard wedding, so I wanted to bring my pro's and con's over to the blog to get some feedback!

Pros: There would be no site fee! The other place we were looking at doing the wedding would be $2650 in site fees. Instead, we could spend some of that money decking out my mom's backyard by planting flowers, repairing pool tiles, and generally making improvements to my mom's house. I know that sounds incredibly boring, but I would love nothing more than eliminating site fees and letting my parents make home improvements.

Con: The space is not set up for a wedding. Some things included in the site fee would still have to be purchased - chairs, tables, dance floor, etc. All these things will have to be brought in, which will cost some money, but not $2650. Since the space is not set up for weddings, the placement of things can become awkward. It will definitely be more challenging for me to plan.

Pro: More flexibility with everything! We could bring our own wine, find our own caterer, etc etc. This cuts costs quite a bit. Also, there are no time constraints or guest minimum and maximums. The money that I save getting a cheaper caterer can go toward inviting more guests, which I would love to do.

Con: We are much more on our own. No site personnel would be there to offer suggestions and help with planning. It is entirely up to us! This basically means a lot more work for all of us which can add much more stress.

Pro: my parent's bathroom is pretty awesome. We could get some extremely amazing pictures if us getting ready in that bathroom, I would even get one of those velvet Victorian chairs.

Con: I wanted our wedding to be a 3 day trip for some of the wedding guests, and this is just not that. I did however find gorgeous villas not too far away that we could all stay at which would still create a 3 day trip experience. There is also a nice hotel right by the house for out-of-town guests. I want to do a day-after brunch, but going to an area we are semi-familiar with just doesn't sound like that much fun! It's all about exploring :)

As you can tell- I have been thinking about this a lot! I am beyond stressed about finding a venue as I have wasted so much time already :( I will post pictures of all these places soon, but rest assured they are all gorgeous so the main issue is with the logstics, not with what I could do with these spaces.

So, Do I put tons of time and effort and planning into my parent's backyard to create a gorgeous DIY amazing wedding that is incredibly personalized???

Or do I go with some structure and build my wedding around what they already have, which would still be just as DIY and personalized but would be a little bit more "normal wedding"???

Or do I just forget about it and elope?? (believe me-I've thought about it once or twice!)