So you've decided to tie the knot. Now what? Despite all the horror stories, planning a wedding in the Bay Area can be quick, fun, and relatively inexpensive (pick two of those for best results).
2450 Geary (at Baker), 775-7113
Once you've found a site — try Where to Get Married in the Bay Area by Reena Jana — you'll need something to wear. If you're not into the poofy white meringue look, you might find having a dress made more satisfying — and perhaps less expensive. For our money, the best seamstress around is Kath Hughes, who works out of her sunlit home studio off Geary. A no-nonsense redhead with a portfolio full of her creations, Hughes turns what might have been a stressful shopping experience into a pleasant diversion.
P.O. Box 347029, 550-0591, www.danielphoto.com
A good photographer is also a must (if you choose to remember your wedding day), and Daniel Gohstand's work is top-notch. A combination of fine-art photographer and storytelling photojournalist, Gohstand captures unexpected details and makes even your homeliest relative look good. He doesn't come cheap, but the results are well worth the cost.
Various Bay Area stores, (877) 812-6235, www.williams-sonoma.com
Lots of people have misgivings about registering for gifts, but believe us, it's better than getting matching appliquéd Fruit of the Loom undies (we don't make this shit up). What you want is useful stuff in a range of prices, an easy process, and a good online setup — and that means Williams-Sonoma. Even if you're not big on cooking, having dishes that match is a big step toward maturity.
San Francisco Center for the Book
300 De Haro (at 16th Street), 565-0545, www.sfcb.org
Creative types might want to consider printing their own wedding invitations at the San Francisco Center for the Book. Take a one-day letterpress intensive course, then rent the printing press (and a helper) and crank away. Your invites will be personal and unique, and if you don't kill each other in the process, you'll be stronger for it.
1969 Union (at Buchanan), 351-2114, www.kozoarts.com
Equally artistic are the frame-making classes (not to the mention the photo frames and albums) available at Kozo Arts, a store so pretty we nearly hyperventilate with excitement every time we enter. Handmade Japanese paper hangs next to silk-covered boxes and beribboned wedding books. Visit the shop early on in a relationship and you'll be dreaming of the pictures you could put in those albums.