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Classic Affair in San Francisco with a Modern Twist

A day filled with a Jose Villa wedding is kind of like Christmas in July. Now take away the snow and the ugly sweaters and swap them for a stunning gown and modern gilded details and you have this San Francisco gem. It’s simple, edited, laced with gold and captured in a way that only Jose Villa can do. We’re calling it wildly chic with a side of pure gilded magic. See even more right here along with a film of the day captured by Imaginale below.


From The Bride…Darren and I got married on a cloudy day in the beautiful city of San Francisco, Ca. From the beginning we knew that our wedding had to have several key elements: classy, yet modern, meaningful, and topped with touches of gold (of course!). First things first, we prioritized several things, photographer, venue, and city. The rest just seemed to fall into place. We chose the fabulous Jose Villa to document our special day, James Leary Flood Mansion for our venue, and the beautiful city of San Francisco as our background. Since we chose such a stunning venue, we wanted our decorations to be simple so it would highlight the beautiful architecture of the mansion. Some of our decorations included mirrors with beautiful calligraphy, vintage frames containing photos from our years together and vintage cameras from local flea markets. Both Darren and I are photographers so we thought this would be a nice personal touch. We are also fans of crafts and design so we DIY’ed several things. We worked together to design a logo for our wedding. This would serve as a piece that we could include in other things to make our wedding cohesive. We designed and printed our own invitations, and added gold foil touches (which took several days to do, but totally worth it!) topped with a gold monogram wax seal. We also added gold foil to our table numbers along with some of our favorite quotes on the back side. Instead of a sign-in book for the guests, we had them sign a gold-painted globe which now nicely fits in our home as decor. Our venue wouldn’t allow us to have sparklers for our “get away” and had many other restrictions so we had to get creative and made gold frills so our guests could wave as we left, worked nicely! Since Darren and I have our own photo equipment, we decided to save some money and put up our own photo booth. Our backdrop was a continuous scroll with the words from the song I walked down the aisle during the ceremony in beautiful calligraphy by Jen Halverson. I had our flowers girls (who walked with balloons instead of flowers), bible boy, and ring bearer all dolled up with accessories! I had to! The boys had colorful poms as boutonnieres and the girls had sparkly headbands! Lastly, we’re big IG fans so our wedding wouldn’t have been complete with our very own instagram hashtag, #YGDbestdayever!

Some over my favorite parts of our wedding included all the music during the ceremony. We had some of our dear friends perform songs that are meaningful in our relationship. I walked down to “Most Uncommon Thing” by Five Times August (sung by Kevin Straine on the wedding day), Darren learned this song on the guitar and sang it to me on our first dating anniversary 6 years ago. “Ribbon in the Sky” by Stevie Wonder (sung by Fidi Mwero on the wedding day) was sung while Darren and I tied ribbons for our unity symbol. Towards the end of the ceremony, our pastor asked our family to form a circle around Darren and I while he prayed a blessing prayer. I can’t even describe the amount of support and love we felt while being surrounded by our most loved ones. Kevin Straine returned to sing “What A Difference A Day Makes” as we were announced and walked down the aisle. Truly a difference and beyond the happiest day of my life.

I especially feel thankful and couldn’t have asked for better vendors to work with! Jin Wang personally helped me chose my gown and altered it to fit like a glove! Mar from Team Hair & Make-up is seriously one of my favorite persons…ever! If you ever get the chance to work with her she is amazing and will make you laugh tons! Kristi Herrmann coordinated the wedding, she is so easy to work with and chop full of amazing ideas! Lastly, I can’t image what I would do without Jose Villa (photography) and Alejandra of Imaginale (videographer) on our wedding day! They made us feel completely natural and allowed us to be ourselves throughout the day. There were times when I didn’t even know they were there. And the final products they produced are exquisite! I’m so thankful I have these images and video to relive my wedding with!

Photography: Jose Villa Photography | Videography: Imaginale | Wedding Coordinator: Kristi Herrmann | Floral Design: Cambria Wheeler | Wedding Dress: Olivia Couture | Catering: Melons Catering | Calligraphy: Jennifer Halverson | Favors: Lette Macarons | Grooms Attire: J Crew | Groomsmen's Attire: Zara | Hair And Makeup : TEAM Hair And Makeup | Kids Accessories: Ban Do | Mother Of Brides Dress: Ann Taylor Loft | Pianist: Jed De La Paz | Reception Jazz Vocalist: Ellie Gunn | Wedding Alterations: Jin Wang | Wedding Venue: James Leary Flood Mansion

J.Crew is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. Jose Villa Photography and jinwang are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
Jose Villa Photography


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{ The latest from our most exclusive, hand-picked list of vendors }
Mix and Match Your Maids with Donna Morgan

We all know that Donna Morgan bridesmaid gowns are the epitome of seriously stylish + seriously chic. But did you also know that when you mix and match these fabulous frocks it takes it to an entirely new level of awesome?  One that sees your maids practically glowing in everything from coordinating hues to vibrant prints to pretty pastel tones… see the tips and tricks to make your besties stand out below!

1. Your Maid of Honor is your best friend for a reason, so having her stand out amongst your lovely lineup is a serious no-brainer.  Make her feel extra special by dressing your maids in one amazing hue, then kicking the style up a notch with your MOH in a corresponding color.  And by choosing a hue from your sure-to-be fabulous florals, you’ll be keeping it cohesive AND seriously gorgeous.

2. Want to add a pop of style and still stay in the same color family?  Go for it!  By choosing hues like grape, lavender and eggplant, your maids will stun in a lineup that bursts with variety, all while upping the ante on the pretty.

3. Tip three?  Don’t be afraid of different colors, lovelies!  By dressing each of your maids in an individual + oh-so-stylish hue, you can put your inner chicness (and favorite colors) on display.  And don’t forget to select hues from the same palette… think gorgeous pastels or rich jewel tones.

4. We’re never ones to shy away from a stunning print, especially when it comes to styling your besties. Add a pop of pattern to your lineup of solids to really make a statement.

There you have it, lovelies.  Some inspiration from the amazing Donna Morgan to get your bridesmaid party started.  Choose from any of the fabulous colors and styles that Donna Morgan has to offer to really take your bridal party to the next level.  And, remember – don’t be afraid to mix and match your maids! You’ll thank us later.

Photography: Trent Bailey Photography + Marianne Wilson Photography + Mademoiselle Fiona Wedding Photography + Josh Elliot Photography + Dove Photography + True Weddings Photography


Destination Wedding Inspiration in Umbria, Italy

Our editor Stephanie is currently on a fab European adventure, and following her on Instagram has me dreaming of packing up and setting sail – maybe to a gorgeous spot like Italy. Through the eyes of Squaresville Studios, the floral design of Crocus Fiori and styling by Umbria Bee Coming, this inspiration is proving that Umbria was made for destination nuptials. Click here for more.

From Squaresville StudiosLast summer my husband and I spent several months in Europe, including 4 weeks in Italy. We planned the trip booking local apartments via Airbnb and by pure chance ended up with a cute loft in Terni, Umbria. This particular region of Italy is just beautiful but far less known and completely underrated. It is full of kind hearted people, ancient architecture and breathtaking nature. (great food too, of course!). We were lucky to meet a local named Marco whose passion and profession it is to make Umbria more known. He is involved in all kinds of amazing projects that are geared towards bringing more tourism to the region. Long story short, he suggested that we create a style shoot and try to publish the pictures hoping they would draw attention to Umbria as a wedding destination. Needless to say I was happy to oblige because I truly believe that Umbria makes one of the most stunning backdrops for a wedding and/or honeymoon. The shoot took place at Abbazia San Pietro in Valle. Once an Abbey built in the 8th century it is now a luxery hotel that also hosts weddings. A venue full of unbelievable history and beauty!

Photography: Squaresville Studios | Floral Design: Crocus Fiori | Stationary: Susan Asbill | Catering: Hora Media | Calligraphy: Lettering Art Studio | Location: Abbazia San Pietro In Valle | Planning: Marco Angeletti At Umbria Bee Coming | Stationary Styling: Bows And Arrows

Botanical Garden Wedding Covered in Cherry Blossoms

This Brooklyn Botanic Garden wedding is gorgeous all on its own – no question about it. But when it just so happens to be that time of year when the city is blanketed in cherry blossoms, it makes for a pinch-me-perfect setting you HAVE to see for yourself. Thanks to Photo Pink (so appropriately named!) springtime nuptials have never looked sooo good.


From the Bride… As native New Yorkers, we wanted to create a wedding that was incredibly romantic yet iconic to our great city. The Palm House in Spring had all of the elements to create the magical night we envisioned. Guests were greeted with champagne and a string quartet playing melodiously in the stunning magnolia plaza. The Art Deco facade of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden was the perfect backdrop to create a classic Hollywood vibe. With the groom’s Oscar night worthy bow tie, the bride’s Monique Lhuillier lace wedding dress, and a jazz band playing the cocktail hour made our wedding feel timeless. The glass Palm House captured the essence of romance with candlelight and an early spring sunset greeting our guests as they entered for the reception.

We wanted our ceremony to be special for us as well as our guests. So, Tom and I got down on one knee and proposed to my sister and asked her to marry us! Kiera created a ceremony that was undeniably memorable, filled with humor, heartfelt sentiments and really engaged our guests. Most notably, she incorporated elements from Native American traditions, such as the invocation of the directions, which allowed our guests to feel a part of the ceremony by reminding us to stay in the present and to focus everyone on what was happening. Tom and I used Steven Curtis Chapman’s “I Will be Here” for our vows. Kiera gave us a beautiful Pendleton blanket as a wedding gift, and it was used in the ceremony to wrap us for the moment we became husband and wife.

Our “let love grow” theme really came to life with the selected readings for the ceremony and was complimented by being outside in a beautiful botanic garden surrounded by all the trees and flowers coming to life for the season. The ceremony concluded with a surprise reading of Dr. Seuss “Oh the Places You’ll Go” which was made extra special by the participation of a dear friend and our 2.5 year old nephew.

Tom and I both were excited to have our reveal at the Prospect Park Carousel! I felt so giddy waiting to see him, the excitement had been building after it took us an inexplicably long time to arrive due to some afternoon traffic. I’ll never forget the moment when he turned around and we saw each other for the first time! Feeling so excited and it was all really about to happen. WIth our bridal party standing by we laughed and hugged and let it all sink in.

I’ll never forget the sweet smell of the magnolias as I entered the magnolia plaza. They rustled ever so softly in the breeze creating an inviting atmosphere for us and our guests. As we exited the plaza after the ceremony it was a surreal moment, everything and everyone disappeared and it was just the two of us, a moment of total happiness and love.

At the end of the evening Liesl and Randy came to get us to come outside for some pictures, it was about to rain and the sky was the most magnificent shade of orange! It was magical and an incredibly special way to end the night.

Photography: Photo Pink | Videography: Kiss The Bride Films | Floral Design: Rebecca Shepherd Floral Design | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Cake: Ana Parzych Cakes | Reception Venue: Brooklyn Botanic Garden | Brides Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids Dresses: Twobirds | Catering: Charles Sally Charles | DJ: DJ Gaza | Groom's Attire: Kenneth Cole | Groomsmen's Attire: Kenneth Cole | Officiant: Kiera Nagle

Monique Lhuillier and twobirds are members of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. twobirds Bridesmaid is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
twobirds Bridesmaid