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Mary Jo Bowling

The Winning Proposal: A Scavenger Hunt Around San Francisco

We asked soon-to-be-weds to submit their best wedding proposal stories to win tickets to Sunday’s San Francisco Wedding Fair at the Four Seasons (check out our guide to the Wedding Fair). Many of the entries were memorable, but the tale of Nani Dickinson and Evan Stern won our hearts and (no lie) made our jaded eyes a bit misty. Evan went to extraordinary lengths to surprise Nani, sending her on a riddle-studded quest around San Francisco before he dropped to his knee at one of the city’s most scenic spots.

A Bride’s Guide to the San Francisco Wedding Fair

The San Francisco Wedding Fair at the Four Seasons Hotel on Sunday, January 16 is a not-to-be-missed event if you are engaged (or even thinking about it). It’s a one-stop shop for elegant food, fashion, photographers, invitations—any thing and every thing you need for the big day. Here’s a common-sense guide to making the most of it.

A Dream Wedding at Santa Lucia Preserve

Writing about weddings in the Bay Area is like picking produce at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market: everywhere you turn, another vendor is offering up something fabulous. But even in an embarrassment of riches, the exquisite stands out. That’s why, when I discovered this Santa Lucia Preserve wedding while researching a blog about the best barns in Wine Country, I had to squirrel it away. This event is so good; it deserves a post of its own.

Can't-Miss Estate Sale in Old Firehouse on Broad Street

The estate sale this weekend at the old SFFD station on 117 Broad Street is filled with so many rare, valuable, historic and downright kooky collectibles, it will light a fire under your feet. Use that motivation to hot-foot it to this sale, because it's a can't-miss opportunity for people who want to own a bit of San Francisco history—or just something that's truly unique.

Tell Us Your Holiday Proposal Story: Most Creative Gets a Prize!

December rules as the most popular month for popping the question, so if there was a diamond in your stocking this weekend, you are not alone. But if your loved one gave you a rock just before sky diving or in a tub of buttered popcorn at the movies (both stories we’ve heard, by the way) then you are in a very select group of people known as the creatively engaged, and we want to hear your story.

iPhone Wedding Photos?

When it comes to wedding photography and videography, an outfit called iPhone Shooters says the best tool is likely in your pocket. Brian Adams (photographer) and Rainer Flor (videographer) have gone where no professional has gone before when they recorded Flor’s wedding with their iPhone 4s. And here’s the startling news: Even the pros can’t tell the difference between the iPhone pictures and the images shot and recorded with conventional cameras.

Barn Betrothed: The Top 5 Sites in Wine Country for a Barn Wedding

To many brides, Wine Country wedding = barn reception. Nothing else says rustic elegance like a beautiful barn, and the wide open spaces inherent to the structures are perfect for a big party. I asked three of San Francisco’s best wedding pros (wedding planner Laurie Arons and photographers Lisa Lefkowitz and Anna Kuperberg) for their favorite rural buildings, and here's what they said:

Wedding We Love: Endless Love in Sonoma

Abbey Banks & John Jakubowski
July 31st, Sonoma

One fateful night in January 2006, two strangers—set up on a blind date through a mutual friend—met for dinner at Indigo restaurant in Hayes Valley. “I spent the entire time talking about myself. I thought John was the most amazing listener,” recalls Abbey. “The next time we met, he actually apologized to me for having talked so much. He thought I was the most amazing listener he had ever met.” Their conversational chemistry hasn’t waned since, except for a brief blip a few years later, when John proposed to Abbey under a Moroccan lantern-lit trellis he'd built especially for the occasion. In that moment, all she could muster was “yes.”

Wedding We Love: California French in St. Helena

Talia Smith & Nick Carter
June 19, 2010 St. Helena

They met 11 years ago in college, he proposed nearly two years later and this summer they were (finally) married in a French-inspired event at Durham Ranch in the Napa Valley. “We don’t do anything in a hurry,” notes Talia.

Furniture & Housewares Galore @ Estate Sale This Weekend In Oakland

I've heard that when people lose it all in a catastrophe, material goods become either irrelevant or paramount. When the couple who owned this Piedmont estate had their former home and possessions go up in flames during the Oakland Hills fire of '91, they decided to recreate the good life in a new house. The trappings of that existence are for sale this weekend.The estate sale is located at 25 Wildwood Gardens (a neighborhood that feels like a gated community, although it is not) in the charming Mediterranean dwelling where the husband and wife rebuilt their household. Read more. . .

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