1563 Solano Ave., Berkeley
Zephyr likes to think of its tented canopies as sails—billowing, crisp, and made to last. This is appropriate given the tent type: The “Sperry” was initially crafted by New England sailmaker Steve Sperry. These canopies are as beautiful inside as they are outside, with many of the panels hand-sewn and the support poles carved out of wood. Most importantly, the entire structure is waterproof. Tents come in a variety of sizes to cater to events of all sizes, and the crew is top-notch. Conveniently, Zephyr also provides beautiful furniture, much of it made from reclaimed wood, hardwood flooring, and incredible lighting (we love the paper lanterns strung from the tent roof, which is as beautiful as it sounds).
This string ensemble, made up of four friends and music school grads, is a fun and elegant option for virtually any type of event. Musically, the Cattus repertoire ranges across classical, jazz, pop, and rock—and they're happy to take requests. (Read: they'll gladly play everything from Pachelbel's Canon to Guns N' Roses with equal aplomb.) A secondary passion for these players—aside from their music—is animal welfare, so a portion of the proceeds from their performances goes directly to charity. Photo: Morgan Hydinger
Sur la Table
6333 W. Third St., Suite P-10, West LA
Reliably good and an American classic, Sur La Table host a series of excellent cooking classes in hundreds of their stores throughout the country (Catch the full list of national classes here https://www.surlatable.com/category/cat2211278/In+Store+Classes?cleanSession=true&pCat=CAT-259413). The LA iteration takes place on centrally located Third Street, around the beautifully outfitted cooking stations in the store itself. Expect totally practical, but still aspirational themed culinary evenings that make for the perfect date (friendly or romantic), irrespective of whether you’re a complete novice or experienced cook. Classes happen weekly and range from the helpful cooking under pressure and knife skills 101, to winter in Paris, a taste of Tuscany or the absolutely necessary fried chicken night.
Duffy Boat Rentals
2001 W. Coast Hwy., Costa Mesa
Renting one of these electric boats is easily one of the best ways to enjoy the coast, particularly right around sunset. They can fit up to twelve people, which makes this a perfect activity for families and visiting friends. It's beautiful to see the houses lining the Newport Bay—a point-of-view otherwise unattainable by foot or car. One goop staffer and her family love to rent one during the annual Christmas boat parade.
Jon & Vinny’s Pizza Oven
While you won’t be able to spot this truck out in the wild, it is available for private bookings—meaning you can get your Jon & Vinny’s fill without braving the line at their brick and mortar location on Fairfax.
San Francisco-based startup Fireside Provisions is a little like the Blue Apron of camp food—peruse their website ahead of your trip, enter your specifications, and they’ll deliver pre-packaged food with recipes to your door on the day of departure, swiftly eliminating any anxiety over food preparation. This isn’t your Dad’s camping hot dogs, either: Recipes include chilaquiles, salmon pita sandwiches, pork-fried rice, and even trail snacks like apples and peanut butter. No-brainer.
A Guy + A Girl Photography LA
The spirited duo behind A Guy + A Girl, Michael Kelley and Lauren Saldutti, are masters at capturing shots that feel full of life. Their portfolio is playful in the best way, and every wedding they shoot looks more fun than the last. Typically, Michael and Lauren shoot separately (with a second photographer), but you can book them together. They’re fully bi-coastal, with posts in both NYC and LA.
Dylan John Western Photography
Dylan's sensibility skews more fine art than over-the-top wedding, as his style is casual and unobtrusive, capturing candid moments from unusual angles, like the first look from behind a paned window. If you’re planning on getting married in an outdoor venue with a view (whether it be mountains, beach, forest, or plains), he’s an obvious pick.
Laurie Arons Special Events
1850 Union St., Cow Hollow
Laurie’s been in the business since 1994, and while she’s handled everything from dressed-up barbecues to intimate dinners, weddings have always been (and continue to be) her bread and butter. If you’re doing a destination wedding—even if it's just in Napa—book her for weekend and destination planning, which takes the pressure off your guests to entertain themselves by providing activities throughout their stay. In addition to being organized, thoughtful, and easy to work with, she’s got relationships with all of the best vendors in SF.
Claire Marie Flowers
167 5th Ave., Inner Richmond
For high-end, fancy flowers in San Francisco, call Claire Marie. The design studio is a family-owned business that’s been in town for almost thirty years now, handling everything from upscale weddings to formal dinners. Perfect for traditional bouquets and fragrant, elegant centerpieces that take center stage without being overpowering.
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