Tag Archives | Wedding

MCLV Weddings | Advice for the Newly Engaged

Welcome to the new MCLV Weddings series!

The number one thing that I realized when we began to plan our wedding is that I had absolutely no concept of the sheer volume of things that would need doing. Things that I didn’t even know existed. I primarily blame myself, 35 years of disinterest in weddings doesn’t exactly prepare you to take the plunge…

That being said, I wanted to keep a positive attitude, stay on top of the timeline, and end up with a fun party at the end of the planning process. And since I am a classic Type A personality, I immediately started drafting spreadsheets, Googling checklists, and making To Do Lists. Since I found some great websites and blogs, and learned some lessons, I thought it would be helpful to round-up those online resources, along with what I’ve learned along the way, to benefit future generations of wedding planners.

As this is the first post in this new series, I thought I’d start with a little {unsolicited} advice for the newly engaged.

Engagement San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger

Set Your Intention(s):

Regardless of whether you’re like me and a bit unsure about the whole wedding thing, or whether you’ve been planning a princess wedding since you were a kid, there’s an important thing to remember. It’s not about the wedding – It’s about the marriage.

Especially if you find yourself getting caught up in the whirlwind of momentum and losing sight of the end goal, this can be a helpful little affirmation for you. While we all love a great party, the party isn’t why we all go through this insane process – Building a strong, happy marriage is the ultimate objective.


I beg of you – Upon getting engaged, take a moment to stop and smell the roses. It’s easy to get swept away in the excitement and all the questions people are asking and start planning immediately. But you have a lot of planning to do, so why not stop and enjoy being engaged for a bit? There’s no rush. You’ve just found the person that you want to spend your life with, and that’s huge. Hold them close. Enjoy the excitement together.


Planning a wedding is an extremely stressful, time consuming process that involves lots of people, and an endless number of decisions. You spend so much time worrying about everyone else that you tend to lose sight of your own wishes and desires. I highly recommend sitting down with your partner before things get underway and discussing what you want. I wrote down a page of questions early on and we sat down and went through them. What’s important to you? What doesn’t appeal to you? What traditions do you want to uphold?

Get an idea of what page you’re on and check back in with each other throughout the process to make sure that you’re still a united front. It was important to me that I not be the one doing everything, so we made sure to schedule appointments and meetings when we could both attend. We were also extremely lucky to have our families involved and helping out.

Make It Fun:

We happened to get engaged right in the middle of a period where many people around us were getting engaged and married. Which meant tons of helpful advice and suggestions and tips. We even got spreadsheets and binders sent to us!

One of my favorite recommendations was about handling all of the details and decision making. Rather than handling it all ad hoc and answering questions as they came in, this couple set aside time to do it all at once. They opened a bottle of champagne, toasted, and worked through the list together. We’ve been doing that and I highly recommend it. It’s a great way to stay united and keep it fun.

Be sure to stay tuned for some fun posts on wedding dresses, accessorizing, beauty & skin care, and more!

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Wedding Guest Essentials

Being a wedding guest isn’t always a cake walk. Between transportation, housing, and attire, there are a number of boxes to check off before you even arrive at the event. And what’s worse than realizing that you forgot something? To help us all get through wedding season in one piece, here’s your wedding guest checklist.

Wedding Guest Attire Dress Code Checklist Wedding Season San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger

{My favorite luggage – Longchamp Le Pliage Nylon Expandable Travel Bag}

First things first…

  • Check the dress code
  • Then check the dress code again
  • Still not convinced you know what to wear? Reach out and ask another guest or the bride/groom. They’ll appreciate it in the long run, even if they’re busy.

Rehearsal dinner outfit – Be sure to take into account the weather, venue & dress code. Always better to be on the dressier side if you’re not sure.

Toiletries – I’ve got you covered with a full toiletries packing How To here.

Downtime outfit(s) – I have a terrible habit of packing for events and forgetting that I’ll be killing time in between. Check out where you’re staying and what you’d like to do and pack accordingly. I like to workout when I can and hit the hotel pool if there is one.

Wedding outfit – Same as the rehearsal dinner, take into account the temperature, time of day, dress code, and venue. You don’t want to wear spiked heels on grass, you don’t want excessive cleavage in a church etc. Check out my MCLV How To: Wedding Attire post for some dress code decoding. 🙂

Accessories – I always bring a wrap and a cropped jacket or cardigan for Spring/Summer weddings. If there’s a temperature shift at night or if you feel under dressed, that’s a great way to cover up a bit. I also like to pack a back-up pair of shoes just in case. Plus sun glasses for daytime events!

Invitation – I’m a huge fan of bringing the invitation with me. You’ll have the times, website information, location, and dress code all in one place. Never a bad thing!

Extras – Creating a little “emergency kit” is a great idea for wedding season. These are things that it’s always good to have, even if you don’t need them, someone else might.

What do YOU make sure to pack when you’re traveling for a wedding?

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MCLV How To: Wedding Attire

After tackling the cocktail attire conundrum in MCLV How To: Traditional Cocktail Attire, I thought I’d help you decode the various dress codes associated with wedding attire. Here’s my cheat sheet for the four most common dress codes you’ll see on a wedding invitation.


  • Her – A sundress or a skirt or pair of pants with a blouse. Think of lightweight fabrics, light colors, and Summery patterns.
  • Him – Slacks with a light-colored button-down shirt or a polo shirt.


  • Her – A cocktail dress or a skirt or slacks with a blouse. For a daytime wedding with a cocktail attire dress code, I would consider bright jewel tones or other solid colored pieces. For evening, a bold hue or black will work equally well.
  • Him – Slacks and button down shirt. And I would also bring a blazer or suit jacket for evening.

Check out my MCLV How To: Traditional Cocktail Attire for more suggestions and tips for the perfect evening look

Wedding Attire Casual Cocktail Formal Dress Code Black Tie San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Street Style

Blue Lace Cocktail Dress – BCBGMaxAzxria

Ankle Strap Peep-Toe Heels – Fendi via The Real Real

Black Clutch – Nancy Gonzales

Wedding Attire Casual Cocktail Formal Dress Code Black Tie San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Street Style

{Photography by J. Villarete Photography}

Wedding Attire Casual Cocktail Formal Dress Code Black Tie San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Street Style

{This was my look for a recent “cocktail attire” wedding in Northern California}

Formal or Black Tie Optional:

  • Her – A chic cocktail dress or a floor-length gown. You want to aim for a classic evening style – Black, midnight blue or metallic are traditional color choices.
  • Him – A tuxedo or a suit and tie. The two looks should match in terms of the level of dressiness, so if she goes black tie and wears a gown, he should also adhere to that dress code and wear a tuxedo.

Black Tie:

  • Her – A floor-length gown.
  • Him – A tuxedo with a bow tie and patent leather shoes. A cummerband is optional.

Now two quick “rules” that apply to most weddings, regardless of the official dress code that you should keep in mind.

(1) Don’t wear white. Or cream. Or off-white. Or champagne. Stay away from that whole side of the color wheel – That’s the bride/bridal party only.

(2) Bring a wrap or lightweight jacket, even in Summer. There’s nothing worse than feeling out-of-place or over/under dressed, and a pashmina is the perfect fix. Just throw it on and you’re all set.

How do YOU feel about wedding dress codes? Any questions I can answer?

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