Lively, joyous, whole-heartedly celebrating – these are all words that come to mind when sifting through the images by Jake & Necia Photography. It could be because this wedding is chock-a-block full of dancing, drum playing and the like. Or maybe it’s the crazy beautiful floral arrangements by Chestnut & Vine, or the personalized details hand-crafted by the Bride. Whatever the case, know that this is one gorgeous wedding where the only thing outweighing all the fun details are the huge smiles on each and every guest. See all those happy faces right here in the full gallery and in the film crafted by Aaron Lee Films below.
From the Bride…Raffi and I met during a volunteer youth group trip in Armenia. We had been dating nearly 7 years when he (finally) proposed after a sunset gondola cruise around Coronado Island in San Diego. I am a graphic designer who is in love with weddings and wedding design. From invitations to day-of details, I love it all, so I could hardly contain my excitement when it was time to start officially planning our special day! Picking our wedding date was simple. We had fallen in love with the venue we wanted our reception to be held, even before getting engaged, so it was just a matter of finding out when they had availability. We wanted the design to be a combination of vintage and rustic while maintaining overall elegance. The main colors we chose were grey and coral, but we also incorporated other neutral tones as well. When I designed our invitations, I wanted them to hint at the overall feel of our wedding. I kept it elegant with the hand-lettered calligraphy and lace pattern, while bringing in the rustic element through the buttons made from coconut shells and the vintage feel from the muslin bags that held the invitation suite.
Raffi and I love waking up at the crack of dawn to go to flea markets and swap meets, as well as checking out garage sales and thrift stores in search for the perfect vintage items to add to our collection. We collected over 300 milk glass vases in various shapes and sizes and several old wooden crates that were all eventually used as parts of our reception decor. I love crafting and working on DIY projects, so most of the decor was made by hand, leading to tons of projects over the year before our wedding. Some of those projects included the following: 350 clothespins that were stained by hand, 15 directional signs made from reclaimed wood, 450 lace wrapped candle votives, homemade jam for favors, table numbers, fabric boas used for the photo wall backdrop and to block the aisle in church, various framed signs, menus, escort cards, “reserved” wooden signs in church, baby’s breath flowers lining the church aisle, “Mr.” and “Mrs.” wooden signs, and “Thank You” sign and more! When we got to the venue after the ceremony, Raffi and I snuck over to see the reception area. We wanted to see it all set up before our guests entered and we were truly blown away. After the year of planning, times of stress and little sleep, it was breath-taking to see it all came together in that moment, which made it all worth it. It was all that we had envisioned and more.
Being that Raffi and I are both Armenian, incorporating our culture and traditions into the wedding was very important to us both. Our ceremony was held at our Armenian church, St. Gregory’s in San Francisco, followed by the cocktail hour and reception in San Rafael, at the St. Vincent’s School for Boys. One of my favorite parts of the reception was the entrance of our bridal party, complete with drums and traditional upbeat Armenian music which set the tone for the rest of the evening. A traditional Armenian wedding usually means a very large guest list. Our wedding had 365 guests in attendance and it was so wonderful to be surrounded by so many family members and friends that all have a special place in our lives. Raffi had just turned 30 a few weeks before our wedding day, so as a surprise I had a groom’s cake made to incorporate his favorite football team. With all the last minute details we were wrapping up, we couldn’t have a party so I had the cake presented to him while all our guests sang “happy birthday”. Big enough party, right?
Even though a few months have passed, we are still getting so many compliments from our guests and we owe so much of that to our incredible vendors. Our truly brilliant floral designer, Svenja of Chestnut and Vine, fully understood my vision from the moment we met. She even incorporated lace from my dress around my bouquet which was so special. The fabulous Alex’s Catering made sure that not only was the food absolutely delicious, (many of our guests said it was the best wedding food they had ever had) but even the way it was served on vintage and rustic platters fit our theme. For Raffi and I, music was extremely important because we feel it is one of the best ways to set the tone for an event (aside from decor) and DJ Raffy did an exceptional job at doing just that. I loved working with the incredibly talented Angelique of Angelique Ink for her to do the calligraphy used on our invitations and many day-of details. None of it would have come together as beautifully or as smoothly as it did without our wonderful month-of coordinator Vera of Va de Vie Events. She took our vision and all our planning and made sure it became a reality. Lastly, we are so grateful to our amazing photographers, Jake & Necia, who captured every detail beautifully!
Photography: Jake & Necia Photography | Event Design, Planning + Invitations: Sweet & Crafty (The Bride) | Floral Design: Chestnut & Vine | Cinematography: Aaron Lee Films | Church Flowers: Ani Ayanian, friend of the bride | Month-of Coordination: Va de Vie Events | Ceremony Location: St. Gregory’s Armenian Church | Reception Location: St. Vincent’s School for Boys | Caterer: Alex’s Catering | Rentals + Linens: Wine Country Party Rentals | Invitation + Wedding Day Calligraphy: Angelique Ink | Menus, Escort Cards + Table Numbers: Sweet & Crafty | Wedding Dress: Marisa Bridals | Shoes: Bridal by Butter | Belt/Sash: Enzoani | Bridal Jewelry + Rings: Jewelry Exchange Co. | Bridesmaid Dresses: J.Crew | Groom’s Suit: Banana Republic | Groomsmen Suits: JC Penny | Flower Girl Dress, Shoes, & Necklaces: Crewcuts | Flower Girl Headbands: Rosebud Lips | Ring Boy Suits: Fine Handmade Clothing | Ring Boy Bow Ties: Divine Domestication | Ring Boy Shoes: Converse Chuck Taylor Kids | Hair: Brittany Hall & Erica Vanderlinden | Makeup: Kenya Pusey and Samantha Moreno | DJ: DJ Raffy | Wedding Cake: Emma Cakes |Groom’s Cake: Dress My Cake |Bride’s Floral Garter: Petal n Pearl Boutique |Bride’s Football Garter: Custom Wedding Gear | Bridesmaid Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Jams Favors: Homemade Groom’s Mother | Jam Labels and Tags: Sweet & Crafty | Fabric Boas: Sweet & Crafty + Mother of the Bride |Photo Wall Photography: Gary Sexton Photography | Lace Candle Votives: Sweet & Crafty |String Lighting: Event Magic | Wooden Signs: DIY by Bride & Groom | Handmade Wood-Covered Guestbook: sschemata