The first San Diego Bridal Bazaar of the year attracted thousands of glowing fiancés to the convention center downtown. Over 330 specialty vendors showcased their latest offerings, and The Eco Chic Event was there to assess them all. Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are our top picks from San Diego Bridal Bazaar 2016!
Our favorite florist of the entire show was Rhapsody in Bloom. The ladies of Rhapsody were by far the sweetest and most informative of the bazaar; they had turned their booth space into a tiny magical garden full of surprises, and they had the most handsome succulent boutonnieres we’ve ever seen. Our favorite featured thistle and feathers (see the top left of the sample board below)! Seriously, contact them for some excellent suggestions.
We liked San Diego SociaLights for their genuine friendliness, their charitable aspirations, and their open mindedness toward alternative energy. They have extensive LED offerings, and they are a proud member of 1% For The Planet! Not one vendor of the hundreds there offered solar, so we spoke with Socialights about the possibility of incorporating solar options into their selections.
One gown entirely stole the show for us. The Bustle Bridal Boutique in Del Mar told us that it was created by Anne Barge specially for one client who wanted a removable skirt rather than the traditional bustle. This is what she came up with:
Raw Dupioni silk, Alencon lace, a bateau neckline, and a removable overskirt fastened with a bow. It is called “Jenny” and it is in Anne Barge’s Blue Willow line. Très élégant!
The runway show brought nothing new in silhouettes or styles. Nevertheless, here’s a quick replay:
D’Angelo Couture featured mint green accents, large flower hair pieces, and a long, Spanish-style mantilla veil. The unfortunate model wearing the final dress had considerable difficulty walking in the heavy buttercream frosting-like skirt.
Demetrio’s went dramatic with drapey, full-length dresses and deep V backs. The models were accompanied by flower girls in sweet ballet-style dresses complete with full tutu skirts.
David’s Bridal featured 1920’s inspired fascinators with draping ribbon, tulle flower fascinators, and plenty of the cutout backs you’ve been seeing on tweens all over town.
Dapper Dames, providing custom suits for women, walked with Unveiled Bridal, a plus-size designer. Together they showed a couple great suits that were fitted, feminine, and looked comfortable, as well.
Bridal & Veil had the most daring costumes, with feather fans of all sizes, dropped waists, mermaid and trumpet skirts, and sparkles everywhere. We particularly liked the sparkly shoulder caps of one gown.
PreVue put on the best show, if not the best dresses. The models performed a fun routine, and a ham of a ring bearer got a standing ovation for pure cheek.
Let’s eat … or just have gelato
While we didn’t care for any of the caterers, Gelato Paradiso had a charming staff and a pretty sweet (get it?) catering cart. They also make gelato-filled cakes! Be still, our hearts. We’d choose a custom gelato cart over the cute but undelicious cookies from Joybaked any day.
Flour Power Cakery gets our award for best in show. They had a wide selection of styles that showed their prowess with a pastry tube.
Eccentric International Chefs definitely win best in taste, and friendliest food exhibitors.
Only one stationer had any recycled paper products available. This was Designs by Lenila, which offers island-inspired invitations for the beachy bride. Lenila was knowledgeable, and kind enough to share a few sample thank you notes with me. I’ll be bringing them to Earth Fair in Balboa Park April 17th for those who’d like to see them in person. Otherwise, Designs by Lenila is by appointment only. A portion of this company’s sales go to Jeremiah’s Ranch, a future community for developmentally disabled adults.
Our top two venue picks from this show: If you’re thinking of staying ultra local, The Lafayette Hotel has serious vintage cred, and accommodations for parties of all sizes. Honestly, who doesn’t love this ballroom:
If you’re leaning more toward a getaway event, Rancho Tecate Hotel and Resort is a short drive, yet still a world away in Mexico. They’ve got all-inclusive packages and English-speaking staff for a streamlined celebration. This venue was recommended to us last year by Chef Kenji of Restaurante Amores Tecate (more on Chef Kenji and his creations in an upcoming Artist Spotlight post), and we are planning a visit soon.
We love surprises
The vendor we were most surprised to like this year was Old Town Trolley Tours. If you know The Eco Chic Event, you already know how we feel about fossil fuels; however, you might also guess that we are totally into carpooling. This beautiful trolley is a seriously fun way to carpool with your entire bridal party and then some … and it comes with a tuxedo-clad driver.
The Princess Project, for supporting the Five R’s by collecting used dresses and accessories, and offering them to high school girls who can’t otherwise afford them. They are nonprofit and oh so sweet. Not a bad place to send the ghosts of bridesmaid dresses past.
Tosso glow in the dark bocce ball, giant Connect Four (“Mega Four”), and they offer laser engraving on their giant Jenga (“tumble tower”). Do you need these in your life as much as we do?
Farm Fresh to You, the popular local CSA, also receives an honorable mention from us. The staff has never been overly friendly, but this CSA offers fresh produce at reasonable rates. On top of that, you can choose from a number of different box sizes, delivery frequency, and your boxes are more customizable than we’ve seen anywhere else. We can’t think of a better gift for a newlywed couple.
2016 wedding outlook
If this bazaar gives any indication, the overarching trends for weddings in 2016 include: club-style dj’s with lots of bass; sparkles, sparkles everywhere, especially on table linens and invitations; statement chandeliers; dramatic floral displays; lacy laser cut stationery; and you haven’t seen the last of those photo booths.
The rustic country look is still popular, but there is movement toward more drama and glamour. Think opulence, lots of reflective materials, and oversized furniture. Pastels and roses, sheer curtains, and lights – lots of them. Marketplace string lights, fairy lights, custom marquee lights, the sky is the limit.
Thanks for reading our top picks of the 2016 San Diego Bridal Bazaar – check back in later for an upcoming post on the latest French wedding trends!