Weddings on a budget

Tips from Jin Wang

What are some of the latest trends in wedding dresses?

  • In this economy, brides are looking for gowns that are understated, yet elegant
  • "Less is more" has always been an important element in bridal design and it is especially important now. Less elaborate beading reduces cost; while a more dramatic draping of fabric on the body creates an impact without significant cost

    Brides are looking for dresses that are sophisticated with unique embellishments, such as:

  • Feathers, silk organza and chiffon flowers for more an organic look
  • Cascading layers of fabric like tulle overlays for an ethereal look
  • Silk satin dramatic architectural detail in the back of the gown
  • Touches of lace

    Popular gown silhouettes in 2009 include:

  • Less fullness in skirts and more tailored gowns like sheaths, mermaid and trumpet shapes. Brides want to look sexier.
  • Strapless is still strong, however, gowns with straps are definitely making a comeback

    Hair ornamentation - Silk flowers

    Shoes - Metallic shoes (especially silver) are very popular

    Designers are now offering more moderately priced gowns:

  • Priced between $1900 to $3900 (usually $4000 and $8000).

    Trends in bridesmaid dresses:

  • It's very popular to have different styles for each bridesmaid or choose different colors that complement one another
  • Average price: $250; Many designers are now offering discounts when purchasing 3 or more

    Jin Wang
    111 Maiden Lane, 3rd Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94108

    Tips from David Robinson, Director of Catering at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco


  • Local and Seasonal: Choosing menu items that are in season and available locally often saves money and doesn't compromise flavor or esthetics

  • Contrary to popular belief, it's more cost-effective to provide butler-passed appetizers versus an appetizer buffet


  • Instead of having a full bar, the bride and groom could offer a signature cocktail representative of them, in addition to beer and wine

  • Use moderately priced liquors rather than top-shelf spirits

    Setting the ceremony and reception in the same location, simplifies logistics and reduces costs. Fewer locations means fewer things to rent, fewer decorations, and less transportation to pay for as well.

    Rather than having an evening wedding, plan the wedding earlier in the day. Hosting a brunch, lunch or early afternoon receptions are becoming more and more popular, as they keep reduce expenditures on alcohol and elaborate dinners. Also, a Friday or Sunday wedding can dramatically reduce the venue rental fee.

    Tips from Laura Little, owner of Floramor
    Generally, brides are looking at bouquets as more of an accessory to their dress rather than a statement piece.

    Examples include:

  • Small, tighter bouquets will be less expensive and are in-fashion

  • Think small - Choose nosegays, or small bunches of flowers, for the bridesmaids

  • Transferring flowers from ceremony to reception, rather than decorating two venues, will reduce expenditures

    Create a big impact while staying within budget by:

  • Using bold colors and/or larger blooms will produce a great effect

  • Candles - Incorporating candlelight can dramatically alter the feel of a room

  • Lighting - Adding colored lighting to the dance floor or tables

  • Low centerpieces with lots of candles cuts costs, and won't isolate people at the table as tall arrangements can often do.

    The 2009 San Francisco Wedding Fair, "A Five Star Afternoon"
    Sunday, January 18, 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco
    757 Market St. (between 3rd and 4th St.)

    General Information:
    The San Francisco Wedding Fair, in its sixth year, is the complete Bay Area resource for wedding planning. The event provides hundreds of Bay Area brides-to-be with the resources to plan the perfect wedding amid the elegant and festive ambience of Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco. By the afternoon's end, brides will be more than equipped with the information and knowledge needed to plan their own magnificent wedding.

    Brides will enjoy the sounds of a string quartet and harpist while sipping champagne, sampling the newest trends in hors d'oeuvres, and tasting wedding cakes from top Bay Area bakers. The event features more than 75 exhibits including, florists, photographers, videographers, stationers, jewelers, and calligraphers, wedding planners, gown designers, bakers, caterers, and musicians. Celebrated San Francisco bridal designers Jin Wang and Lily Sami will showcase their new wedding collections, and guests will discover the latest trends for brides, grooms, bridal parties and the all-important Mother-of-the-bride.

    Tickets for the fair are $28.00 if purchased in advance or $35.00 at the door. To purchase tickets, please visit .

    What's new at the 2009 San Francisco Wedding Fair:

  • "Wedding Trends by the Decades" - The Four Seasons Ballroom will be transformed, featuring table settings inspired by the top fashion and style popularized in decades spanning 130 years. Brides will have the opportunity to peruse table styles featuring the traditional look of Victorian San Francisco in the 1890s, classic Art Deco of the 1920s, the Hollywood glamour of the 1930s, the energetic style of the '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, present day as well as the future.

  • Bridal Bar - Featuring the latest trends in cocktails in the tented outdoor Veranda, future brides can get inspiration for the creation of their own signature wedding cocktail for their special day while sampling colorful "signature sips," such as the Wedding Bliss, Blushing Bride, and Aisle Dash, created by the expert bartenders at Seasons Bar and Lounge.

  • "Groom's Lounge" - A haven for respite grooms-to-be who may need a short break from planning to check out the score of a game, have a beer and snack on some bar bites.

    Weddings at The Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco
    757 Market Street (between 3rd and 4th St.)
    San Francisco, CA 94103
    (415) 633-3000

    Moment after unforgettable moment - from engagement to honeymoon - your wedding unfolds effortlessly at Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco. Choose from magnificent settings, just two blocks from Union Square, in which every detail is marked by Four Seasons care and warm, thoughtful service.

    For more information, visit

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