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Posts Tagged ‘’

To say that Melissa Comito-Aakre of A Simple Ceremony is merely a florist is akin to saying that Coco Chanel was a milliner. Melissa brings some of the most creative and vibrant ideas to her weddings and events that we have ever seen (see “Designing a Dream” Feature in the Fall/Winter issue of Destination I Do). It’s no wonder that she was voted Best of the Bay for Top Bridal Florist in San Francisco! Spoiler alert: she is my personal soul sister, hiking buddy and margarita enabler. That she also looks like a Vargas-worthy pin up girl in her cherry red muscle car also adds to her magical mojo. But all that said, even if I didn’t love her to death I would write about her in a heartbeat, because her heart is in her work and it shows. Enjoy our new ambience blogger, and her hip handle: “Heavy Petal!” Find her on Twitter @Petal2metal….

Who: Renae and Zared
What: A multinational vibrant wedding
When: May 29, 2010
Where: Cavallo Point

img bouquet and bridal sari...

Bouquet with detail of bridal sari.

Renae and the bridesmaids wore intricate saris in vibrant colors for the wedding. I wanted to work with these colors and bring that detail of design into the design of the flowers as well as incorporate the international aspects of this couple.

Centerpiece from the Japanese table.

• The Chapel at Cavallo Point is old California. For the ceremony I wanted to work with the wood in the room and surrounding scenery.  The design was natural with moss, bark, branches and wild orchids.

Chapel arrangement: Vase wrapped in date husks.

The chairs were not arranged in traditional rows.  I mixed cocktail tables with clustered chivari chairs to create an informal and inviting ceremony. Outside the chapel, tall bamboo poles with clusters of marigolds at the top and streaming ribbons in orange and red lined the path to the cocktail hour. Guests walked through the long strands of flowing ribbon.  It was interactive and playful, well suited to this couple.

Paper cranes decorate guest plates.

• A mariachi band played during the cocktail hour, the décor was thick Mexican glass in rich colors for the containers, vibrant flowers and eclectic handmade quilts draped over the outside furniture to create a welcoming space.  Candles everywhere!

Bright and beautiful bridal bouquet.

• For the reception, the coordinator, Melissa Panico, MAP Events, and myself, decided to create three long tables for the guests that would surround the dance floor. These tables would be representative of the three countries/places most important to the bride and groom. I used the same type of flowers and intricate design to maintain continuity.

Candle table detail.

One table was Japan. For this table I used rice streamers stacked at different heights for the containers. Japanese lanterns were used instead of candles.  An origami crane was placed on each guest plate. For the Indian table I made a field trip to the local Indian store and used vibrant empty food cans and Indian fabric wrapped around the vases.

California table setting.

The candles were glass hurricanes with Indian images.  A marigold in a mini vase was placed on each guest plate. The third table was California nature with shells, wood trunks and coral. The candles were glass hurricanes with sand and shells. A shell was placed on each plate as a gift to the guest. Paper lanterns and garlands of orange flowers hung from the ceiling (thanks to the help of Jimmy from Creative Lighting!).

I try to encourage each client to make their wedding personal and about them.  That is what makes it a wedding that is talked about and remembered for years to come!  Renae and Zareds wedding was an event that their guests will never forget!


Infusing new and eclectic ideas in flowers, design, lighting, décor, table-scapes, point of view, and ambiance, and really getting to the heart of who a couple is, is what Melissa and her company, A Simple Ceremony, does best. Whether you are an eco-chic vegan couple or rock and roll royalty Melissa has the design know how, historical references and the resources to turn on the juice. This wunderkind got her start in Beverly Hills working with celebrities such as Jane Seymour, Bette Midler, Joan Rivers, and Barry Manilow; and companies such as Pixar, and George Lucas. Her work has been featured in several magazines including Martha Stewart and Grace Ormand. Her inspiration comes to her in random ways: a building, a pattern on a skirt, the color of a sunset, a trip to Home Depot, a stack of vintage Tarot cards, a mad scientists laboratory. If you have a dream for an event that must be expressed and created down to the detail, Melissa is the girl for the job like no one we’ve yet seen.


Ground Zero: San Francisco

Saturday June 26, 2010

Perfect timing: a lunar eclipse and  SF Pride, all on the same day! Ready for some changes? I sure am! has been a longtime supporter of gay marriage since the the first book in the 3-book Anti-Bride was published in 2002.  You’ve got to love Chronicle Books for having the guts, sense of fairness, and open mind to get behind what was then, and is still considered to be, a touchy topic in the White House and beyond. As a publishing firm, they are fearless and peerless. Gay culture has informed, improved, uplifted and changed arts, culture, and society at large, here and across the globe. Many of the issues, laws, and the sea change in public opinion towards gay rights, the right to marry, and health care happened right here in SF – bellwether of change. Check out my latest article in Drink Me Magazine, A Historical Look at Gay Bars: Cultural Politics in a Glass, in this months Issue, Colors, in celebration of Pride.

It is with great pride that I celebrate Pride with some good friends, old and new starting with Dyke March later today in Dolores Park, the Parade tomorrow (check out uber fabulous Bevan Dufty’s float at the parade! We’re voting for him for SF Mayor) and ending most likely at some TBD after party in the Castro.

Some compatriots of note with whom I will be canoodling at Elena’s Pink Diamond Party in the Castro before Dyke March: Melissa Comito-Aakre, our Heavy Petal floral blogger, who just took the Top Wedding Flowers award, Best of the Bay SF Chronicle/SF Gate, the inimitable Irvin Lin, our spanking new food blogger: Eat the Love, and his equally talented boyfriend, A.J. Bates of Marquis Photo SF (bridal portraits, anyone?). The only regret is that I can’t hang with my super buddies and Anti-Bride Two Brides bloggettes, Stacy-Jill and Melissa, newlyweds and founders of

One thing remains clear, straight or gay, it is with pride that we celebrate SF Pride. Let the cartoons begin!


Excerpted from the Official website

San Francisco Pride has been said to be “one of the last remaining pride events that can truly be called a rite of passage.” 2010 marks the 40th anniversary of the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade.

The event will be held over the weekend of June 26 and 27, 2010 in the Civic Center of downtown San Francisco.
With over 200 parade contingents, 300 exhibitors, and 19 stages and venues, the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration and Parade is the largest LGBT gathering in the nation.

The San Francisco Pride Celebration is packed with a wide variety of exhibitors, artists, music of all kinds, performers, dance stages and venues, and fun. There really is something here for everyone.

The Celebration at Civic Center is host to our Main Stage where in 2009 Asian pop sensation BoA wowed Pride-goers with new beats alongside Solange Knowles and the Cliks and where in 2008, attendees saw Lady Gaga, Margaret Cho, Kat DeLuna, Inaya Day, Crystal Waters, speakers from the marriage equality movement, and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, among others.
2010 Event Themes.

The event theme for the 40th annual San Francisco Pride Celebration & Parade was selected by Pride’s Membership.  Acknowledging the need for celebration in the wake of Prop 8, the membership selected “Forty and Fabulous” from a slate of 51 potential themes, each submitted by community members and members of Pride.  Member Richard Kravitz, who submitted the winning theme, explained his submission, “I thought that we needed something fun.  Last year, I told Executive Director Lindsey Jones that the theme for next year should be ‘Forty and Fabulous.’ She said to submit it, and so I did.”
FREE Admission

The San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee takes very seriously its commitment to maintaining an event that is open to people of all economic backgrounds.?  Your generosity at the entrances to the Celebration in the form of donations helps keep San Francisco Pride free to all members of the community and provides crucial support to this important community event.? Our donations program also helps to support over eighty Bay Area non-profit organizations through our Community Partners Program. Donations from the celebration have helped San Francisco Pride to give back more than $1.6 million in grants since 1997.?   With your help, we can do even better this year and invest in our community’s future.?  Join us for two days of music, food and fun… all for FREE! No tickets are needed and no one is ever turned away for lack of funds.

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