Ask H&T: After I Get Married, When Do I Receive My Certified Marriage License?

I got married a couple months ago and haven't received a marriage certificate yet. Typically, how long this take? -Diana

This is actually a really good question because against all common sense, the county won't send you a certified copy of your marriage license. We know, it's silly. You actually have to apply to receive one and it's a bit of a tedious process!

Here are the instructions if you'd like to obtain a confidential license, and here are the instructions for a public license (how can I get a copy of my marriage certificate?).

Since it does require some effort, we always suggest ordering at least 3 copies for your files. It's good to have them on hand - you never know when you'll need them!

Site Visit: James Leary Flood Mansion

Hello Honeys!

This breathtaking venue in the city is the perfect site for an elegant, high class wedding. We had the pleasure of visiting with our clients A&H, who will be tying the knot here in October. 

The mansion is filled with beautiful and ornate details, and a view that's impossible to take your eyes off of. We feel so lucky to spend time in such gorgeous surroundings! Ah San Francisco, we love you.

our lovely bride taking a pic of where she'll say "I do"

can't take our eyes of this view

Definitely worth a visit if you have time! We can't wait to go back :)


Ask H&T: How Long Does It Take To Get A Marriage License?

Our client Leeland asked: 
How long does it typically take to apply for and get a marriage license at the county registrar?  Debating how much time we need to set aside for this (and also how soon we need to do it - i.e., if we leave it to the week before the wedding, what chance this could go wrong)?

Hannah's answer:
When I got my marriage license at the San Mateo county registrar, we went as soon as it opened at 8 am and it only took 15 mins. The Santa Clara county registrar's office can generally be a little busier. Suggest avoiding the lunch time rush hour, but things move quite quickly in the mornings.

I would recommend getting it done as soon as possible or at least 2.5 weeks before the ceremony in case you run into issues. 


Ask H&T: How Long Does It Take To Plan A Wedding?

Happy Thursday Honeys!

Our lovely reader Mingmui asked:

"Of course each couple is different, but what is the ideal time period to allow for wedding planning? And the shortest possible (for those procrastinators out there)? Is a month doable?"

Well Ming, we are believers that anything is possible! The typical length of an engagement in the U.S. is between 14 and 18 months. While some couples begin to plan as soon as the bride-to-be says "yes!", many couples wait a few months and just enjoy being engaged first.

The amount of time you should spend planning your wedding really depends on what kind of wedding and planning experience you envision. If there are certain venues and vendors that you have your eye on and want to obtain before their popularity takes them off the market, it's best to start securing those at least a year in advance. Similarly, if you're the type who likes to research every aspect, you'll need to allow plenty of time for this. 

If however you enjoy making quick, informed decisions, a shorter planning timeline is certainly possible! We've done full planning in as little as 3 months, and had such a great time doing it! We love helping our clients with the challenge of a shorter timeline. Even if any of you out there would like to try a month, we're up for it :)

We do recommend though that if you're going to attempt a short planning timeline, have either a planner or a team of willing loved ones to help you out. Don't wear yourself out before the big day!

Site Visit: Thomas Fogarty Winery

Oh yes. We are so excited Honeys, because wedding season is upon us, and this weekend, we get to be at one of our all time favorite spots:

Don't those images (courtesy of Tim Sohn Studios) just make you want to breathe deeply and take it all in? Welcome to Thomas Fogarty Winery, home of some of the most beautiful views in the Bay Area. We're sure you'll be seeing more of this lovely venue here on our blog, but if you haven't checked it out in person yet, we highly recommend it! 

Ask Us Your Wedding Questions

Hello Honeys!

We'd like to announce "Ask H&T Thursdays", where every Thursday we'll address a question from our clients or readers. Wondering what to look for in a DJ, how to tactfully tell that wedding guest that there are no plus ones, or what colors are popular right now? Ask us anything! Whether it's about planning, budget, style, or etiquette, we'd love to help satisfy your curiosities. You can send questions to us via facebook messages or wall posts, and you'll see answers start to pop up every Thursday. 

Stay sweet~

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Hello Honeys!

With everything blooming so beautifully this month, we wanted to share with you some bouquets that we're loving right now:
tulips, lamb's ear, roses. via 100layercake
cabbage roses, ranunculus, billy balls, poppy pods and dusty miller. via stylemepretty

white and peach cabbage roses, pale pink spray roses, dusty miller, and soft pink dahlia.
via 100layercake
bright lush peonies and thistles. via greenweddingshoes
roses and wispy grass. via stylemepretty

dahlias, spray roses, dusty miller, gray brunia berries, and hydrangea.
via marthastewartweddings

yellow and peach ranunculus bouquet. via 100layercake

Recipe: Peanut Butter Coffee Smoothie

I admit, I am not a morning person. At all. Any kind of activity before 9 am is a royal struggle. So since I'm always running late, I rarely eat breakfast on weekdays even though it's the most important meal of the day.

But to keep myself from being famished in the middle of a 10:30 am meeting, I know I have to eat something. What's easy, fast and doesn't involve the stove? A smoothie.

Inspired by Joy The Baker's Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie, I created my very own Peanut Butter Coffee Smoothie, because I need caffeine! Badly.

And boy... is this creamy, yummy, filling (thanks to oatmeal) smoothie the best. Brides and grooms on-the-go - give it a try!

1-2 shots of espresso or 1/4 cup coffee (I use my handy dandy Nespresso machine)
1 banana
1/4 cup oatmeal
1 tablespoon peanut butter 
1 tablespoon of honey (or more if you like it sweeter!)
Splash of vanilla
1 cup of milk (soy milk, almond milk.. any kind is good!)
1/2 cup of ice

Blend until smooth.  Easy peasy.

Site Visit: Easley Ranch

Happy Tuesday! 

Continuing our East Bay kick, here's one of the best kept little secrets for a stylish celebration:

Easley Ranch

This lovely family-owned venue has so many charming features! A little bridge perfect for a grand exit, a beautiful house, vast yard space to accommodate your dance floor and tables, and even a lovely swimming pool. 

To see an example of a wedding here, check out photographer Kate Harrison's blog

We can't wait to coordinate our couple's June wedding here!

Three Pre-Wedding Wellness Tips for the Bride-To-Be

For all of our brides in the midst of planning, we wanted to remind you not to forget about yourself and your health! With so much pressure leading up to the wedding, it can be easy to let stress overtake your wellness. We have guest blogger Andrea here from Luminous Body and Wellness to give you some tips on ways to be your most beautiful and healthy self on the big day:

Invest in your canvas:  Makeup is a finishing touch, not a solution. Healthy skin is the foundation for a beautiful and natural look.  Begin skincare treatments 3-6 months in advance and develop a relationship with a skin care therapist to avoid unexpected breakouts, reactions to products, or a dry and flaky look with your makeup application.  If you haven’t received a skin analysis in quite awhile, now is a good time to get started with a skin care regimen specifically for your individual needs.

If you are going to work out, do it right!  All too often I see women working out with incorrect form.  Lifting weights in an unhealthy way can bulk up the very muscles you wish to see lengthen.  If you want sculpted arms and elegant posture for your strapless gown…  Work with a trusted expert to guide you through your fitness routine properly.

Take a time out to relieve tension and stress.  Most people don't realize the effects that stress can have on your body and your skin. It's common for brides to experience high levels of stress throughout their planning process which can result in red, inflamed, and blotchy looking skin... not to mention feeling frustration instead of the enjoyment of getting married. Even a few short stress-relieving treatments can bring your focus back to what is really important, ease tension, and result in a much more relaxed experience leading up to your wedding day.

A former dancer with the San Francisco Ballet, Andrea is located in the city but also does home visits. She even offers special bridal packages, so if your bridal party would enjoy a beauty and relaxation themed bachelorette party, or if you know a bride you'd like to treat, you can email Andrea at:

Photo Credits:, Luminous Body & Wellness

Getting the Party Started Part 2: Tips from the DJ

Last time we had dance teacher Annemarie offer her insights into how to encourage people to get moving. Continuing our two-part series on creating great party atmosphere, we could think of no better vendor to shine the spotlight on than Jason Amarante of BIG FUN Disc Jockeys

Photo Credit: Nicole Anne Robbins

At the first wedding we did with Jason, our clients were leaning towards not having a DJ since they couldn't imagine their friends and family dancing. With Jason at the turntables though, every single guest was out on the dance floor, and they didn't want to stop even at the end of the night!

Photo Credit: Tim Sohn Studios

Let's get to know Jason a little more, and find out his secrets to getting the party started.

Quick Q's
Best Meal: homemade Portuguese-style chicken & rice dish prepared by my grandmother.
Best present someone has gotten you: my family threw a "celebrity-style" comedy roast for my birthday last year and invited a bunch of close friends. It was easily the best gift anyone has ever given me!
Favorite place to be: on the island of San Jorge, in the Azores, Portugal.
What do H&T stand for to you? two instruments you'd likely hear on a Motown song: harmonica & tambourine. 

About Your Craft
What inspired you to be a DJ? 
First and foremost, my life-long passion for music. I come from a large family that instilled a love of music from a very early age. My mom said I was banging on pots and pans in the kitchen and humming along to Hall & Oats in the car before I could even talk. That love of music took me on a journey which has provided me with opportunities to travel the country in a marching band, play piano at the House of Blues, and DJ for large crowds of people. Becoming a DJ was a natural progression for me, as I love the art of selecting playlists and playing them for a crowd. There's a special relationship that the DJ has with the dance floor, a feeling you get when you're feeding off the crowd's energy and the crowd is feeding off of yours. It's truly an amazing experience. It's what keeps me out there weekend after weekend, playing for diverse groups of people in all sorts of cool venues!

What's your favorite mood music for cocktail hour? 
This really depends on the demographic of the crowd. For many folks, some tasteful 40s-60s vocal jazz (e.g. Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald) really does the trick. While for others, something more contemporary really works the cocktail room - like modern acoustic rock. In the end, it really comes down to what will put that particular crowd at ease and make them feel like they're part of something unique and special, whether that be Jimmy Durante or Jason Mraz.  

Photo Credit: Tim Sohn Studios

What in your experience is the best way to let guests know that it's time to dance? 
That's an easy one: turning off the house lights!

Do you have a favorite couple's first dance song? 
I'm a huge Stevie Wonder fan, so I'd have to go with "Overjoyed" or "My Cherie Amour"! 

If the crowd seems shy or reluctant, how do you as the DJ or MC get them out of their shells? 
If I'm faced with a shy or reluctant crowd, I'll seek out the guests who seem to be the most fun and willing to let loose and I'll adjust my playlist to target them. I figure, if I can get the more sociable and outgoing folks participating, then hopefully, they'll attract the more reserved guests to the dance floor eventually.

Photo Credit: Tim Sohn Studios

When the crowd is starting to look a little tired, what's the best remedy? 
If I've been playing some really up-tempo music and the energy level begins to dip a bit, I'll switch up the genre or tempo completely on the crowd. You've got to keep things fresh out on the dance floor at all times in order to prevent ear fatigue and keep folks interested. It's actually my job to anticipate when the crowd needs a jolt of something new, and kicking in a song that's instantly recognizable, but different from the last tune, usually does the trick. 

What's your personal anthem? 
"September" by Earth, Wind & Fire. It's a timeless track and you can't touch a chorus like that! 

What philosophy do you use to guide your work? 
Rely on your instincts. When you've done as many gigs as I have, you've got to trust your gut when you’ve got a packed dance floor and it’s time to mix in the next song. And more importantly, do whatever it takes to make your clients happy. In the end, your reputation is everything in this business.  

Do you have openings for 2013/2014? 
I have a few open dates, but they're definitely filling up fast. I turn away a lot of potential gigs just because I'm so busy these days. 

What's the best way to reach you? 
I can be reached at or Please also check out for more information (bio, equipment, rates, events, press)!

Site Visit: Piedmont Community Hall

Hi Honeys! Last time we gave you a little peek at a beautiful East Bay vineyard. Here's another fantastic East Bay venue we had the pleasure of visiting recently:

There's such a wealth of diverse indoor and outdoor spaces here. The possibilities are endless! We can't wait to show you what we're planning on doing with the space with this rad couple. 

We'll be using all four of the areas pictured above. Can you guess where ceremony, cocktails, dinner, and dancing will be?
Stay tuned and stay sweet~


Getting the Party Started Part 1: 3 Ways to Get Guests Dancing at Your Wedding

Hello Honeys!

We often hear our couples express unsureness about whether or not their guests are "a dancing crowd". Nothing is less festive to imagine than an empty dance floor. We've asked guest blogger and friend Annemarie (Ree) Estess from The 8 Count (www.the8count.comto give us some tips on getting your guests dancing! Take it away Ree!

Photo credit: Alvaro Ponce 2012

Envision your ideal wedding reception.  The flowers smell sweet, the refreshments are flowing, and the atmosphere is joyous.  As the music starts rolling, you and your honey boogie down on the dance floor, followed by waves of guests eager to dance the night away.  

We would all love for the reception to flow in this fine fashion.  However, most of us have born witness to just how challenging it can be to build the party momentum.  Fortunately, there's no need to fear an uncomfortably-sparse dance floor.  We have a few suggestions for getting folks out of their seats and ready to rock.  

1. Dare to draw outside the lines for your first dance.  

We're not advocating that you seek the YouTube spotlight with a flashy routine, but we do encourage you to consider a dance style that suits your personality as a couple and that you'll enjoy using beyond your wedding day.  If you're investing in lessons or choreography, you may as well learn dance moves that you'll have fun with for many years!

The role of the first dance, after all, is to debut as newlyweds and kick off the celebration.  If you're clearly enjoying dancing together, the crowd will follow your lead.

2. Encourage your bridal party and close friends to serve as "dance ambassadors."

Dance parties are largely dependent upon critical mass.  Once you hit a certain threshold of people enjoying themselves on the dance floor, the more hesitant guests will join the fun.  

Bridal party members are the highest-profile guests, and therefore the best positioned to attract people to the dance floor.  Hosting a bridal party dance session just before the wedding day can help everyone bond and get comfortable with upbeat dance moves to show off at the reception.  You can also breathe easier knowing that you'll have a trusted cohort of ladies and gents to break the ice and keep the party from falling flat.  


3. Hire a pro to show your guests the moves.

Oftentimes we hear that guests would like to dance, but they just don't know how.  Hiring a professional instructor to lead fun, simple steps at your reception is a great way to get novice dancers out of their seats.  It also catalyzes the dance party in a much more unified manner, as everyone is able to connect over the same moves.  (And no, this isn't limited to learning the Electric Slide.)

Bottom line: a lively dance floor is largely dependent upon having key people set the tone (and having a timeless music selection, but we'll leave that to the DJ's post). Nothing gets guests more excited to dance than seeing the newlyweds and their loved ones let loose, share joy, and celebrate this beautiful step.   

Annemarie has been teaching dance fundamentals for over a decade.  She specializes in helping clients utilize the social value of dance, recognizing that it is one of the most engaging ways to meet new people, let loose, and enjoy the present. To talk to her about first dance choreography or bridal party dance lessons contact her at .

And watch her fun promo video here.

Site Visit: Wente Vineyards

Hi Honeys,

Our sincerest apologies for neglecting to post last week! We got caught in a flurry of site visits, and are just stopping to take our breath now. 

Whenever we visit our couples venues, Hannah and I always look at each other and say "I love our job. Love!" The excitement of being able to envision their wedding day, the joy of basking in a beautiful environment, the satisfaction of seeing how all the logistics will come together – it just feels good!

We wanted to give you a glimpse of one of the venues we had the pleasure of seeing last week: Wente Vineyards.

This is truly a hidden gem. Most of us immediately think of Napa for a vineyard wedding, but the East Bay has plenty of beauty to offer as well. 

With indoor and outdoor options, a wonderfully organized staff, and views of rolling green hills, you really can't go wrong with this venue! 

Stay tuned for more updates on our site visits!

Vendor Spotlight: Ocean Blue Videography

Happy Tuesday Loves!

We wanted to shed a little light on the creator of Diana & Jon's wedding video from our last post.
Van Hsieh is the lovely storyteller behind the lens. A reassuring and sweet presence, we love having her with us on the day!

Let's get to know a little more about Van:
Quick Q's!

Best Meal:
I love Japanese food. I had the best Japanese tapas at Guu Garden in Vancouver.

Favorite place to be:
Coffee Shop

What do H&T stand for to you?
Happiness & tenderness

Best present someone has gotten you:
When I was about 10 years old, my dad worked late and came home after I was asleep.
One night he woke me up and showed me a plastic bag that emitted bright green lights. It looked magical in the dark. He had brought back a firefly bug. I had never seen one before, and so close!
My friend and I released the firefly into a small garden at school the next day. But I've always remembered the magical lights shining in the dark.  

About Your Craft

How did you become a videographer?
I've always been fascinated by visual arts and literature. While getting my MFA at Rochester Institute of Technology, I took many video and film courses. That was when I discovered how much I love FILM as an art form. Video/film allows me to combine visuals(form) and stories(content) to create something very meaningful and powerful.
After graduation, I wanted to do something related to my field/passion, and make a living at the same time. In 2003, I went to a bridal show as a volunteer, and chatted with a wedding filmmaker there. That was when the idea of starting a wedding/event video studio was born.

What’s your favorite part of the creative process?
When you have been thinking very hard about an idea, a story or technical/artistic issue of a project, and suddenly you have an epiphany.

Tell us about a favorite moment you’ve captured.
I can't pinpoint a specific moment, but I think it is precious when a groom/bride tears up when being interviewed or when reading his/her loved one's letter.
Usually this happens in a quiet room. In these quiet moments, the groom/bride is only thinking about the other person, without being weighed down by other logistics of the wedding day. It is a very pure and tender moment.

What do you hope people will feel when they watch your work?
I hope they can feel the emotion(s) of the character(s) in the video, be it happiness, anticipation or sorrow. I hope they can be emotionally engaged.

What philosophy do you use to guide your work?
Give the best of you to your craft. Stay truthful. Enjoy the process.
Talking about this, please watch the movie "Jiro Dreams of Sushi."

Do you have openings for 2013/2014?
Yes we do. Feel free to contact us for availability.

What's the best way to reach you?
Please fill out the contact form on our website (
We can also be reached by email or phone
(Ph: (408) 316 3932; Email: info [at]

Inspiration Shoot Backstory

Hee hee, I know it's been over a week since we were on Ruffled, but we're still so honored and pleased that our pet project got some love from such a great blog. We wanted to tell you a little more about the meaning and process of this photo shoot, as well as show you some images that haven't been published before. Without further ado:

Sometime in the 1960’s...

....a very skinny, very quiet high school boy in suspenders was poked in the stomach at his bus stop by a pretty, playful girl two grades above him. The girl claimed not to remember, but the boy never forgot, and when they met again years later [he pursuing science and she pursuing art] they stayed up talking all night and realized they had more in common than they ever imagined. 

In 1972 they were married in San Francisco, and lived a charmed life with their dogs and cats, the artist adorning their windowpanes with little painted flowers and grasses, the scientist juxtaposing his carefully conceived equations next to them. Their family would grow to include three daughters: Nessa, Meesha, and me.

When coming up with our inspiration shoot, I wanted to pay homage to the two fields that my parents brought together so harmoniously: Art & Science. Also, since my mom is no longer with us, I wanted to pay tribute to my parents’ marriage of 38 years, and design a wedding to perfectly fit them.

Hannah and I had such a wonderful time brainstorming and executing ideas to show how science and art can complement each other. We also wanted the shoot to reflect the personality of my parents, two very free spirits who embodied love in the 1960’s and 70’s. For our lovely model Maria, Novella Bridal Boutique provided us with two gorgeous dresses, a short Pronovias, and a long Manuel Mota. We chose these beautiful smocks because they reflected the comfortable relaxed nature we were going for, and harkened back to the 70’s in the most modern and lovely of ways. 

For the hair and makeup by Jira at Wowpretty, we went natural and soft. We wanted our model to look angelic, as if she were my mom awaiting my dad on the other side to welcome him to their dream wedding reception.

Church Street Flowers arranged all of our florals into real science equipment – we were so thrilled that beakers, flasks, cylinders and test tubes can look so very elegant! They also provided us with the materials to arrange a wild free spirited centerpiece of curly willow, moss and succulents. 

The tables, seating, and mix of eclectic dishes were all provided by Classic Party Rentals SF. We love that they have such a great range of items. We were able to mix and match to get the casual yet refined and character-filled look that we wanted.

We fused science and art in the details as well: the watercolor invitations and painted sign gave an artistic representation of the dna helix. 

Using this same dna twist idea, we made both the enclosure for the invitations and the twisted “paintbrush holder” that adorned the back of the bench. The fabric for the twists was the same as that of our napkins which we custom-made. 

Above the table we hung “atoms” twisted from gold wire and pearls.

All of our pieces came together at the amazing Allied Arts Guild. Once we came up with our concept, we could think of no better place than this artistic gem in Menlo Park. There are so many hidden corners and intimate areas here. It’s our personal favorite for either weddings, or just a relaxing stroll.

Last and certainly not least, our photographer Page Bertelsen not only provided us with gorgeous images, she also entrusted us with someone very dear for the day: her sweetheart dog Ginger! Hannah & I are pet lovers, so we just had to have a pup in our shoot!

We’d like to thank all of the talented and wonderful vendors who worked with us on this shoot, and helped our vision come to life.

Photography by Page Bertelsen
Hair and Makeup by WowPretty
Model: Maria Fang
Venue: the Allied Arts Guild

Behind the Scenes: Prepping for Our Inspiration Shoot

Hello Honeys!

We were so honored to be featured on Ruffled right before the weekend. 

Here are some phone pix from behind the scenes of creating decorations for our inspiration shoot :D 

watercolor sketch for invitations
golden atoms, the diy here:

my workstation

Watercolor Invitation 

Watercolor Placecards
Homemade molecule sets from which to hang atomic escort cards
We'll be back with more photos from the shoot, so stay tuned!