Archive for the ‘San Francisco Weddings’ Category
Wedding Date: November 26, 2011
Tell us a little about you and your beloved: Like many couples today, we met on an online dating site and realized that we had a handful of mutual friends. Shortly after “meeting” online and exchanging a few emails, we met for our first date over coffee, and tried to figure out if we had met before given that we had friends in common. We had such a great conversation (we were both smiling the entire time over coffee) and before we parted ways, we made plans for a second date the following week.
When we met, we both had very flexible schedules, so it was a lot of fun getting to know each other while doing everyday things like running errands, going for long walks in the various neighborhoods of San Francisco, cooking meals together, and hanging out with each others friends. We soon became inseparable and quickly became each others best friend, and never did figure out whether we had met previously!
What was the most amazing part of your day? Seeing all of our family and friends gathered in one place to celebrate us was elating.
What else would you like to share about your big day? We carefully weighed the pros and cons about getting married over Thanksgiving weekend. We decided to go for it, since Thanksgiving is one of our most favorite holidays – we love gathering with family and friends, sharing a meal together, and being reflective of what we’re thankful for. To be able to celebrate our anniversary during that particular time of year will help us develop our own combined family tradition.
The long weekend also helped us extend the time we got to spend with our guests who came in from out-of-town. We modified the Indian tradition of having a Mehndi party (where the bride and her close female friends have decorative henna applied on their hands) and invited our out-of-town guests and some close friends for dinner at a restaurant the night before the wedding, and had a brunch on the morning after the wedding for relatives. Because many people were spending one or two nights at the hotel near the wedding, we made welcome bags with a few items inside, and a 2-page guide to things to do in San Francisco.
We also created our own ceremony, combining our multicultural traditions and writing our own vows. Family is extremely important to us, so we each had both of our parents walk us down the aisle, had our barely-walking nephew as our ring-bearer (escorted by his dad, brother of the bride) and our 2-year-old niece was our flower girl. Bridesmaids were sisters of the bride, and our rings were designed and handmade by the groom’s sister.
Ceremony Site & Reception Venue: Bently Reserve
Photographer: Lexigraphics Photography
Videographer: Legacy Films
Day of Event Coordinator: Rolando Mafnas
Caterer: Betty Zlatchin Catering. In addition to their amazing food, they helped us with all of the lighting, draping, flowers and table settings for our day.
Cake: Beaux Gateaux
Flowers: Hunt Littlefield
Favors: Boxes and tags were handmade by the bride, inserts by C.J. Olson Cherries.
Wedding Dress: Sari Palace
Bridesmaid Dresses: Sagar Exclusive
Hair: Donnelle Malnik
Makeup: Sheila Patel
Invitations: eInvite with calligraphy by friend of the bride and groom
Ceremony & Cocktail Reception Entertainment: String trio from San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Dinner & Dancing DJ: DJ Jeremy Productions
Honeymoon location: Las Vegas, South Beach Miami, Caribbean (Seabourn Cruise)
Any other of your wedding vendor(s) you’d like to call out? Mehndi (henna) by Neeta Sharma. Indian sweets by Amber India. Rings from Hannah Clark Jewelry.
First Dance Song: ”Happy Together” the Mel Torme Version
Any advice you’d give to our readers who are planning their weddings right now? A few tidbits of advice:
It doesn’t matter how long your engagement is, you will have a flurry of activity as the wedding approaches. I (the bride) wanted to have a longer engagement to work on all the details, but he (the groom) kept saying that there’s no point in drawing out the stress and frenzy. Wow – he was right! It all fell into place and we had a perfect wedding, and only a 5-month engagement.
After you announce your engagement, everyone will offer to help. If it seems overwhelming, accept gracefully by saying, “Thank you! I can’t think of anything I need help with right now, but I know I’ll probably need some help in a couple of months. Can I reach out to you for some help then?” And make sure you keep track of people who offered to help! You can go back to your list (we kept it in a spreadsheet) when you need something specific, just be sure to give your friends plenty of notice for what you need. And don’t forget to write a thank you note!
Figure out which elements of your wedding are the most important to you. Yes, you want everything to be perfect, but what really matters? For us, we love to cook and wanted our wedding to feel like the ultimate dinner party that we would never be able to pull off by ourselves. So, we found an excellent caterer who was aligned with our style of food and made sure we found a venue that would accept outside catering. We also wanted a warm, festive feeling with personal touches that our guests would remember, so we hand-made our favors, left a note on each table explaining why they were seated at that particular table name (we used names instead of numbers), and I also made our escort cards and the ring pillow.
Anything that you would have done differently if you were given the chance? I would have practiced moving and walking around a while in my wedding dress before my wedding day. I had never tried dancing in anything like that before my wedding!
Blog post by Real Weddings Magazine’s Social Media Maven, Aimee Carroll.
Photos courtesy of and copyright Lexigraphics Photography.
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The Couple: Adriana and Austin Westover
Wedding Date: December 27, 2011
Tell us a little about you and your beloved: We met at WalMart! I just like to tell people that because it sounds a little sketchy, but we actually did meet there through a mutual friend. I was with my friend Melanie, and Austin was with his roommate Steven, whom I’d met probably a week before. It was a bit embarrassing for me, because Steven and Austin were in suits, and as it was only 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning (and it was WalMart, for heaven’s sake), I was in basketball shorts and a t-shirt, definitely had no makeup on, and I really hope I was wearing flip-flops and not my slippers. Hopefully. I thought he looked pretty darn good in that suit, and evidently I didn’t scare him off too badly.
We were in the same church congregation though, so through services and other activities in our congregation, Austin was thankfully able to learn that I’m usually a pretty well-put-together person. Austin just got into the master’s program for accounting at Brigham Young University, and I’m about to finish up my degree in exercise science, also at BYU. He’s from California, and I’m from Wisconsin (though sadly, I don’t have that Midwestern accent). We both love to sing to everything on the radio, whether we know the song or not. We’d also live off Mexican food if we could, and we make burritos at least once a week (complete with homemade pico de gallo and guacamole–we’re pretty serious about it. haha). We love to experiment and perfect our food (I love to cook from scratch when I have the time), and we have a secret dream to open a diner someday.
What was the most amazing part of your day? The best part for me was the beginning and end of the ceremony. The beginning of it was when I really realized, “Oh my gosh, this is actually happening! Right now!” And then the end, when everything was official, the first kiss as husband and wife was so surreal, tender and perfect. We had a perfect, private ceremony with family and close friends, and I can’t imagine any way it would have been more perfect. I think I might be overusing the word “perfect,” but if there’s something to overuse it on, a wedding ceremony is the right choice, right? haha
What else would you like to share about your big day? I’m not really someone who likes people fussing over me, but I was literally treated like a princess that day, and I loved it. We also kept a lot of it small and family-oriented, which was great. Most of the people who did things for the wedding (the cake, my hair, the flowers), were either family or close friends. I know that small, simple weddings aren’t for everyone, but that was one of our favorite things about ours.
Ceremony Site: Oakland LDS Temple
Reception Venue: Rio Grande LDS Chapel
Photographer: Emily Heizer Photography
Wedding Planner: Me and my mother-in-law!
Caterer: All homemade food! My amazing mother-in-law recreated taco salads from a place called Cafe Rio; like I said above, Austin and I would live off Mexican food if we could, so it was perfect for us. I’m grateful and still in awe of how she and a few other friends made enough food for three hundred people.
Cake: Austin’s Aunt Vicki, and her daughters Julia and Courtney put the cake together, and Suzanne and Jamie Wilding, who are friends of Austin’s family, did the incredible cake toppers. If you look closely at the photos, you can see that they even did lace detail on my dress!
Flowers: Diablo View Florist. Caroline did an amazing job with the flowers! She asked me for pictures of styles that I liked, asked me about my colors, told me about all kinds of different flowers, and then created these amazingly beautiful bouquets, centerpieces and boutonnieres. I was totally blown away by how perfect they were.
Wedding Dress: Allyse’s Bridal/Beautifully Modest. This dress was wonderful for me! I’ve always wanted something a little vintagey-yet-modern that’s drowned in lace but unique. Added to the difficulty of finding a dress with sleeves, I was kind of scared. My first experience at a different place didn’t help–the consultant put me into a lot of dresses that she thought would look good instead of what I wanted, and only let us stay for 45 minutes before telling us we had to leave for her next client.
Then I found Allyse’s. The consultants were all helpful, and let me try on all the dresses I wanted! They even went and looked for different sizes in their storage for me. When I’d picked out my dress and went back for a fitting, they let me walk around the show room area in my dress for as long as I felt like (which was a while! I loved my dress!), and even finished the alterations to fit our schedule for bridal shots. They were amazing!
Bridesmaid Dresses: Mikarose. I wanted to find a dress that my bridesmaids would be able to wear to things besides the wedding, but that was still nice enough. Honestly, I wish I’d bought this dress for myself too!
Hair: Kathy Lynch. She has a studio in her home, and she was amazingly kind to let us come pretty early in the morning. She took a look at the photo of how I wanted my hair done, and recreated it perfectly!
Makeup: DIY, using products by Benefit.
Invitations: Beautiful Wedding Invitations. They let me design them myself, sent me a proof before printing, called and talked me through their different kinds of paper and printing, and were even great about sending the invites to three different locations (me, my mom, and my mother-in-law).
DJ/Entertainment/Band: Family. Austin and I both sang for each other (and he played the ukulele for me), his dad and some other men from the family sang, and my uncle Brett played piano.
Honeymoon location: San Francisco
First Dance Song: “Marry Me” by Train. There’s even a “first dance” mix now, that I wish I’d known about before. On our first date, we played the song, “Hey Soul Sister” by Train (we both sang, he played the ukulele and I played guitar), so having a first dance song by Train was perfect :)
Any advice you’d give to our readers who are planning their weddings right now?
- It’s your day!! Don’t go all crazy Bridezilla (these are people who are going to be your family for the rest of your life, and they deserve to be treated well!), but if there’s something you really want and care about, go for it!
- Make sure there’s someone at your reception who’s making sure everything is moving along. Of course you want time to talk to the people who came to your reception, but if someone is monopolizing you, or something’s going too long, make sure there’s someone who’s watching to make sure you can talk to more people, and so you won’t have to be at your reception a lot longer than planned. My in-laws were great about making sure that all the events happened in a timely manner.
- The Knot is a great wedding site that helps you plan everything from synchronizing your colors to how to change your name. I’ve never planned a wedding before, and there were things I’d have forgotten if the site hadn’t had this fantastic timeline reminding me of things to do. Also, wedding blogs are the BEST. Create Pinterest boards for different parts of your wedding, and go crazy looking around! There are all kinds of great ideas on the Internet. (Editor’s note — there’s a fantastic timeline in our Real Weddings Magazine’s The Bride’s Guide — you can download the publication at this link; pick up a free copy at any these upcoming bridal shows; or if you have an iPhone or iPad, you can download the free app by searching Real Weddings Magazine. And, when you’re putting together your Pinterest page, don’t forget to check out Real Weddings’ Pinterest page: pinterest.com/realweddingsmag.)
- Get your dress early on. My dress had to have some pretty crazy things done to it; I was way short for the dress, and it was a lot of work for the seamstress to alter it, because there was so much fabric. My cousin ended up having to get a second dress, and then the seamstresses at the bridal store she went to were on strike, and she was scrambling last minute to find someone. The dress should be something you finish at least a couple of months before your wedding, in case something goes wrong.
- We had a line at our reception. I know that not everyone does this now, but if you do… An hour or more is a very long time to be standing in one place, especially wearing twenty pounds of lace (that’s probably an exaggeration, but it felt like it was at least that heavy after standing still in it for so long). Make sure that there is someone to make sure you get water, remind you not to lock your knees, and bring you a small snack if you need it. Better than people have to wait for the bride to take a sip of water than have to wait for her to wake up after she passes out from exhaustion. Wedding days are long!
- Everyone at the reception is supposed to get a piece of wedding cake, but a lot of cakes are made with fondant, which no one really likes eating. We found a place that made amazing sheet cake, and there were other options we considered–cupcakes and trifle are great alternatives, too.
Anything that you would have done differently if you were given the chance? I just found this blog yesterday, and I wish we’d known about this idea before our reception! It sounds like such a cute idea! Read about the idea here.
Photos courtesy of Emily Heizer Photography.
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The Couple: Kersti and Steve Smith
Wedding Date: January 1, 2011
Tell us a little about you and your beloved: Steve and I met at a Christian gathering and hit it off right away. He lived in Fresno, and I lived in San Jose, so we soon began making weekly trips to visit each other. Our similar interests and hobbies, as well as our connection through God, bound us instantly together!
After dating for about a year, Steve proposed to me on my rooftop (the same place he had first asked me to be his girlfriend, kissed me, and told me he loved me). Of course I said yes! We got married after a six month engagement and couldn’t be any happier! He’s my best friend, my confidant and my forever love.
What was the most amazing part of your day? Getting married!! We were married by a close family friend who also married my parents 25 years ago. We chose to write our own vows and finally hearing each other say those words was such a blessing to us both.
What else would you like to share about your big day? We had SO much help by our wonderful family and friends! We never could have pulled it off without all of them. I think the fact that so many people contributed to our day made it that much more special for us and for everyone in attendance.
Ceremony & Reception Site: Palmdale Estates
Photographer: Lexigraphics Photography
Videographer: Nick Nichols
Caterer: Lisa Blackburn (She was incredible! She saved SO much money and totally took control and made it all happen — and happen wonderfully and deliciously!)
Cake: Cakes by Angie (She can do anything, I promise you. Totally amazing, beautiful, and the best cake you’ve ever eaten!)
Flowers: Fiore (Rachel Watson went above and beyond what I ever could have dreamed. She is so talented with flowers, and has wonderful ideas. Couldn’t have done it without her, and that is the truth!)
Favors: DIY (shout out to my bridesmaids!)
Wedding Dress: Bay Area Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal. I had a pregnant bridesmaid, so these were perfect and flattering on everyone.
Hair: Candy Valencia, a family friend
Invitations: 123Print (plus a lot of DIY to embellish)
DJ/Entertainment/Band: Entertainment: Friends and family (Dani Hansen, Weston Everett, Kurt Dehut, Bryan Malone, bridesmaids, groomsmen)
DJ: Miles Davis
Honeymoon location: Maui, Hawaii
Any other of your wedding vendor(s) you’d like to call out? Not “vendors” exactly, but great friends who did BIG things for us! Gay Beville, Miles Davis, Reagan Ward, Greg Zeroun, Christine Akhtar, Jay and Katie Simmons, Beckie Barnes, Debbie Marlowe, Lori Gager, Bihn Ly, Rob Malone, Paula McCollum, Teri Bethell, Sherry Moncrief, Debbie Main
First Dance Song: ”The Moment We Fell in Love” by Michelle Featherstone
Any advice you’d give to our readers who are planning their weddings right now? Be as organized as you can — I wasn’t very good at this! Also, start early. It gets really overwhelming the closer you get, so get as much done as you can right away.
Anything that you would have done differently if you were given the chance? Get more than two hours of sleep the night before the wedding!
Photos courtesy of Lexigraphics Photography.
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The Couple: Ryanne Bradley and Nick Steele
Wedding Date: July 9, 2011
Tell us a little about you and your beloved: We met in high school in 1998 because a friend of mine took Nick to prom. We lost touch about two years later….only to meet at a mutual friend’s (a bridesmaid’s) party in December of 2009.
We started dating three weeks later, in January 2010, and got engaged 4 months later in May 2010, and that’s all she wrote! We moved to San Francisco the next month. We knew as soon as we reconnected, that we were meant to be. We had both attended college and travelled the world, only to end up marrying someone from our small hometown of Hollister, California. We still had tons of mutual friends, and practically our entire wedding guest list was people who had been friends with us since high school.
What was the most amazing part of your day? Seeing my husband right before our ceremony. We did a “First Look” photo session. I also loved our Taco Truck and taking time to hide out together, and watch the party for a few minutes…taking it all in over a cocktail under the hanging lights in the trees.
What else would you like to share about your big day? My older brother Jason surprised me, and showed up to the wedding. I hadn’t seen him in more than 10 years!!!
Ceremony Site: Stern Grove Park
Reception Venue: Trocadero Clubhouse
Photographer: Anderson Images
Caterer: El Tonayense (Taco Truck)
Cake: Bridesmaid, Raina Overman
Flowers: DIY from San Francisco Flower Market
Wedding Dress & Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal
Hair & Make-up: Ariel Verrissimo, owner of Magically Babelicious
Honeymoon location: Halfmoon Bay and Santa Cruz, CA
First Dance Song: “By Your Side” by Sade
Any advice you’d give to our readers who are planning their weddings right now? Start planning and budgeting early, get a clear vision of your ideal wedding in your head, and stick to it. Search for ideas that you can do yourself. DIY as much as possible! A wedding doesn’t have to cost as much as everyone says/quotes. Take help from crafty friends and family when it is offered. Don’t let a planner or anyone else talk you out of your vision….make your day totally YOU and you wont regret anything! Stay organized, and stick to your budget.
Anything that you would have done differently if you were given the chance? Nope. I loved my wedding day and all of its quirks. It had our personalities all over it…and it was obvious to our guests, and they appreciated that.
Photos courtesy of Anderson Images.