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Thursday, October 8, 2009

BAWN at Preservation Park, Oakland, CA.

The most recent Bay Area Wedding Network (BAWN) event was held at Preservation Park in downtown Oakland, CA. on a warm and sunny day. Flirty Guide Professional Karen Hsu of Grandiflora had invited me to be her guest for the afternoon. I was delighted to attend and see what she had created for the welcome table that day.

As soon as guests arrived they were greeted by these two beautiful ikebana styled floral arrangements by Grandiflora. It's not often one has the pleasure to experience ikebana in their day to day life so this was a real treat. Her work is beautiful and brides and grooms can order similar pieces or contemporary west coast designs as well as a fusion of east meets west.

The background was a bit too busy so I took the liberty of grey scaling the background to help her designs stand out better. You can click on each image to view an enlargement of each piece.

Before launching into the photos I took that day I want to explain what Preservation Park is. It is a microcosm of the Victorian neighborhoods that once existed at the turn of the century in downtown Oakland. 11 of the 16 structures on the grounds were relocated there from other parts of town to preserve and protect them.

It is now a nonprofit that provides office space to 41 other nonprofit organizations and small businesses that further cultural, social, and environmental aims and rents it's grounds, and some buildings to people interested in hosting special events and classes there. CLICK HERE to read more about the history of Preservation Park on their website.

Basically it is 2 square blocks with a town square of sorts called "Fountain Circle" where appropriately this fountain resides in the center of the circle.

The "Pavilion" is a quaint, outdoor ceremony area.

And this is one of the relocated structures now used as business space for non-profits and small businesses.

How gorgeous is this centerpiece by Soulflower Floral Design? I loved the yummy color combination. I thought it was so unique.

The view of Fountain Circle as one enters from Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

Miraglia Catering provided us with delicious hors d'oeuvres during the networking session. The hand passed delectables were served by the Party Staff Inc. who provided the very professional and courteous food servers and bartenders for our event.

Shaved Duck Slider with Microgreens and Fresh Ginger Blackberry Sauce

Calabaza, Corn and Coconut Soup Sip and Vegetarian Mini Eggs Benedict

And my personal favorite (I think I ate 3 of them), the Spicy Halibut Wraps were offered with Chipotle Aioli (Not Pictured)

This is one of the things I love most about the Bay Area wedding industry. Here I found florists Kay, Karen and Katharina all hanging out together chatting each other up. Each was a sponsor at the event and even though they are technically competitors, they are also friendly to each other.

I've heard from several wedding professionals who have moved to the Bay Area that this type of camaraderie didn't exist in the cities they had relocated from. It's something I'm very grateful for, that I am privileged to work in a part of the country where we are often friends, sometimes even best friends, with our competition. It's a wonderful thing.

And here we were dining outdoors around the fountain for the lunch portion of the day's event.

Our lunch centerpiece was by Katharina Stuart Floral Art and Design. Everyone loved the cool, fluffy seed puffs trailing down the base.

This pear, candied walnut and blue cheese salad by Englund's Café & Catering was so delicious I couldn't stop eating it... And I don't even like blue cheese! I think I had three servings by the end of the meal.

The main course turned out to be lamb and vegetables but I don't eat lamb. I was more then happy to just keep eating salad from the large bowl sitting at our table but Blue Heron Catering had come prepared with a vegetarian entree. Literally seconds after telling our server from the Party Staff that I don't eat lamb, these filo puff pastries were delivered to me filled with yummy Julienned then sauteed red pepper, carrots, red and green cabbage, leeks, red onion, zucchini and assorted cheeses.

This bread pudding was YUMMY! Caramel sauce had been poured over it and I ate every last bit. Thanks to Market Hall Caterers for this special treat.

After lunch we gathered in Nile Hall for the educational seminar that is provided at each BAWN meeting. The room is really beautiful and can accommodate an indoor ceremony with an adjacent room, Ginn House Parlours, that can host an indoor reception.

These fun fuchsia and chartreuse arrangements were also made by Katharina Stuart Floral Art and Design

Gwen Helbush and Marie Rios take the stage to thank the days sponsors and to introduce our guest speaker. Thanks so much to Gwen and Marie for finding such a hidden gem of a venue to host the event. Preservatin Park is literally located at the bend where HWY 880 merges with HWY 980 so the access is very easy. It's just a hop, skip and a jump off of the freeway.

Mr. Bob Annick, of BGD Corporation, who spoke about "How Not To Become the Unpaid Expert." His presentation was interesting and the Q&A after lively with plenty of audience members who wanted to learn more.

OK, so you saw what I ate earlier so sadly I didn't have room for any of these adorable cupcakes from this lavish buffet provided by The Velvet Crumb. I hope I have another opportunity to sample their cupcakes some day.


  1. Nice seeing you Tuesday! Great pics as always! =) Keep up the great work.



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