Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bright Fall Wedding at Briarcombe ~ Bolinas, CA

I'm so excited to share this lovely wedding of my beautiful friend. She was married about a month ago in Bolinas, CA, to the most wonderful man, and I couldn't be happier for both of them. Gabe and I have been friends since our teens, and many of my happiest "single" memories include her. Gabe often used to visit me at the flower shop I worked at in Oakland, and I loved making her bouquets, so it was fitting that I was on board for her special day. The thing about Gabe is that she has very definite tastes, and an incredibly specific style, so figuring out her wedding flowers wasn't too difficult. I also had the luck of her having worked at Chez Panisse for years now, and because of that, she's fully versed in the concept of seasonality, and getting whatever is best at market the day of. So, not only was this wedding a joy to design for, it was also completely relaxed. I had a sense of freedom that always makes for better design.  (Photos by me and Phyllis Christopher Photography - I will do my best to specifically delineate each one. My website will be updated by week end with the correct credits given.) The photos above are by Phyllis Christopher Photography.

Along with having incredible personal style, Gabe is also a fashion designer and seamstress. She designed and constructed this dress, and it was crazy beautiful. She has this way of incorporating vintage deco, and making it completely accessible to current tastes. The dress had so much fluid movement, fit her body type perfectly, and was this amazing shade of softened butter-cream that complemented her skin tone and softened the overall look, making her appear like a bridal goddess. I'm sure I sound over the top, but you have to see it in person. I'm not exaggerating. I always knew she was good at her art, but she took it to the next level with this dress. Her business, Gastah Designs, is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, although she travels for her custom line. She is even the personal seamstress to Alice Waters. She's an amazing talent; you should seriously consider hiring her to design your wedding dress. The photos above are by Phyllis Christopher Photography.

An old buckeye tree was the focal point for the ceremony. Gabe and I discussed how to embellish the tree, but not take away from its natural beauty. I came up with dressing it with a seeded eucalyptus and variegated pittosporum garland, and finishing it off with the flowers used in the rest of the event. Because I was told the tree would have lost its leaves by the wedding, and that it was covered in lichen, which is a greyish green, I thought a euc and pitt garland would be perfect. The photos above are by Phyllis Christopher Photography.

The wedding was held at Briarcombe (you can see the main house in the background), which is a beautiful Arts and Crafts (with Asian influences) home and estate in Bolinas, CA. It is truly an amazing place for a wedding. There are multiple houses on the grounds for family to stay, as well as English gardens to walk through, and a beautiful old buckeye tree to get married under. I read the word "magical" a lot when looking up Briarcombe, and that is a great word to describe it. It really does have this magical quality to it. My friends and I got to sit and watch the moon rise and see the fruit bats come alive, and it was so peaceful and lovely. I wish I could have stayed all weekend. I raced back to my boy in Socal the next day, but this was definitely one of the best weddings I've been to. The photos above are by Phyllis Christopher Photography.

The photo above is by Phyllis Christopher Photography.

The color scheme for the wedding was to be strong: yellows, reds, oranges, and whatever variation in-between. The groom's (Zack - such a great guy. Love him!) dad is Japanese, and Gabe wanted to give a nod to his heritage. So we included oncidium orchids into the mainly garden mix of dahlias, jasmine (from Gabe and Zack's yard), garden roses, and ferns. The orchids and vines also gave an organic and gestural quality to the arrangements that was important to Gabe. 

The photo above is by Phyllis Christopher Photography.

The reception was all about food! Zack is an exceptional chef and he and Gabe actually met at Chez Panisse when he was in the kitchen. He has since left and has worked in some amazing kitchens in the East Bay. Much of their lives together is about good food, cooked beautifully, and they wanted their wedding to reflect that. The guests were treated to the most incredible dinner, all done by Chez chefs. Because food was such a focus, and the tables were set family style, I had to keep the reception flowers on the more minimal side. Now, I'm not a minimalist, and this was one of my best friends’ weddings, so I did a little bit more on half of the tables, and kept the other half with just bud vases. There was some worry as I was installing, that everything wouldn't fit, but I made it fit. Gabe was really happy with the final product, and the larger arrangement gave the event a more cohesive feel, so it worked out! 

The photos above are by Phyllis Christopher Photography.

The double photos above and the rest below are by Phyllis Christopher Photography.

I was so lucky to have one of my best friends help me with the install of this wedding. Peter St. Lawrence and I have been friends since our college years and I literally miss him during every event. He's an amazing floral designer, and that's not even what he's best at. He's an incredible ceramicist and sculptor, created and now runs (with his partners) one of the most prominent fine art galleries in Oakland - FM, and is currently working as an interior designer for a new restaurant about to open in Oakland. Sometimes I feel like, what in the world, how are we not closer while expanding our businesses? But friendships like ours stand the test of time. We're just a phone call away when we want to share something new and exciting about our careers. A (kind of) quick drive when I need a strong drink and a shit talking session, and an email when I have to show him some new crazy flower species. Oh, and we're also garter and bouquet toss winners. Lol...

I think Loriel was telling me she was going to take me down here... And I just laughed.

I wish Gabe and Zack a beautiful life full of wonderful experiences, great food, friends and family, and while you're at, maybe a couple of kids. Ha! ;-) I love you both and am so happy to have been part of this amazing day. So so many x's and o's to you and your families.

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