I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a thousand more times – I love elopements. Nothing is more romantic or intimate or gets to the core of what marriage is all about like whisking your loved one away to say I do. And doing it at San Francisco City Hall with Elle Photography snapping every perfect moment? Well that’s just genius. See even more here.
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From Elle Photography...Adam and Kate have been together for close to ten years, and earlier this year, they decided to get married in San Francisco at City Hall in a secret elopement. They are from Australia, so SF was quite a destination for them. They didn’t tell anyone what they were up to until after they said “I-do”.
They kept the ceremony simple – just the two of them with me (their photographer) as their witness. After the ceremony, we took a few pictures outside City Hall and then went to Alamo Square – the scene of the famous “painted ladies” (a row of pretty Victorian homes made famous as the “Full House” houses) to take pictures. The colorful homes made a great backdrop and provided an iconic view of San Francisco that’s not quite as “done” as some of our other famous landmarks.
Kate & Adam had some words of wisdom to share about what they learned about planning a secret elopement: Kate learned: 1. Theres nothing that cant be solved over a coffee, or glass of wine. 2. Boys and girls have different approaches to planning. 3. Elopement is one giant exercise in project management, just on the sly. 4. I am terrible at keeping a secret. 5. Hours get lost to Pinterest.
Adam learned: 1. Decisiveness; its the only way to go. 2. There is a difference between white and ivory. 3. I like having a secret that only Kate and I know about. 4. Kate is a perfectionist. Not true. I already knew that. 5. It doesn’t matter how much preparation you put in, time gets away.
Lisa Lefkowitz has a way of sending us weddings that make our jaws drop, and this San Francisco beauty planned by Jubilee Lau Events and designed by Gloria Wong Design is a wonderful example. It may just be the definition of perfection, and it just take one look below to see precisely what I am swooning over. Not a detail was missed, making this gallery beyond stunning. See it all here.
CONCEPT, STYLE, COLORS, PATTERNS Minnie and Brian fell in love with the Asian Art Museum the moment they laid eyes on the grand staircase and intricate vaulted ceilings. They had been searching for a non-conventional venue to exchange vows and traveled across the country to find the perfect location. Not only was the space beautiful, but it was also meaningful as both Minnie and Brian are of Asian ancestry. The wedding location was the key inspiration for Minnie and Brians wedding concept.
Naturally, one would think to paint the wedding in Asian colors like red and gold and dress it up with Asian motifs like the Double Happiness symbol. However, upon meeting Minnie, you discover right away that she exudes calmness, and thus a soft airy color palette of blush and lavender would be more suitable for this graceful bride. She expressed an affinity for Old World Asian arts and crafts from which we also drew inspiration. We felt that an enchanted mix of classic luxe and woodland earthy in soft blended colors, similar to Chinoiserie wallpaper, would be the perfect type of styling for Minnie and Brians wedding at the Asian Art Museum. Branches, birds, and fluffy flowers, as they often appear in Chinoiserie art, made many appearances throughout the wedding. Feminine flourishes juxtaposed against angular branches created a sense of balance.
Erin Napier of Lucky Luxe produced the Chinoiserie-inspired artwork that became Minnie and Brians signature look for their swanky soiree. From the invitation to the aisle runner to the cake stand, the soft Chinoiserie pattern was threaded throughout the wedding.
CEREMONY The ceremony was held in the North Court of San Franciscos Asian Art Museum. We draped all four walls with soft ivory sheer chiffon and lit the drapes with a delicate blush pink. We brought the outdoors in and asked the talented Hunt Littlefield to create a dreamy canopy of birch branches as the backdrop for Minnie and Brians vows. We kept the classic luxe styling by flanking the woodsy canopy with fabric wrapped pedestals that featured fine architectural moulding. The hand-painted graphics on the aisle runner were inspired by the branches and birds from Minnie and Brians wedding invitation. The runner came to life when Hunt Littlefield decorated the sides of the aisle with faux birds perched on intertwined groupings of birch branches.
SIGN-IN DISPLAY Instead of having guests place their well wishes on the branches of a live wish tree, we decided to install a wall equipped with Chinoiserie wallpaper and have guests hang their well wishes on the branches of the tree graphic.
ESCORT CARD DISPLAY, TABLE NAMES Guests located their names on what looked like Chinese-English flash cards. Each card featured an illustration of a Chinese zodiac animal, its corresponding Chinese character, and its English translation. The animal on the card indicated where the guest was seated. Each of the twelve dinner tables was named after a Chinese zodiac animal. Minnie and Brian sat in their sweetheart table which was named Tiger as it was the year of the tiger!
TABLETOP DCOR Each of the long Kings dinner tables was dressed in a Blush Dupionique linen by La Tavola. Centerpieces included two tall Manzanita branchy arrangements wired with gold sheer leaves and pink orchids anchored in Asian-style white porcelain vases. The two tall pieces were accompanied by three low fluffy feminine pink and lavender floral arrangements in silver/gold compotes. The tables were finished off with low votive candles wrapped with gold lace and taller candles wrapped with wedding graphics. The china, glassware, and letterpressed menu all featured luxe gold gilded edges.
CAKE TABLE Minnie and Brians cake was inspired by the cascading pleats on Minnies Vera Wang Fairy Dust dress. The cake itself was a soft blush color highlighted with an ivory band of pleats running up the center. We mounted the cake on top of a stand that Hunt Littlefield custom-built. It featured the same classic white moulding from the ceremony pedestals and a center Chinoiserie graphic screenprinted onto silk dupioni. The cake was surrounded by vases of submerged branches and floating candles. All elements sat on top of a gorgeous textured ivory linen that also echoed the swirly pleats from Minnies dress.
From the Bride… Ojay and I met 12 years ago at UC Berkeley while pledging for a business fraternity. We kept our friendship pretty simple and ended up losing touch after graduation. 4 years passed and after a planned dinner through a mutual friend, we quickly rekindled our friendship. It didnt take much time before we started dating. It was surprising that we didnt realize this during college but we had so much in common. I quickly realized that he was my soul mate. Both Ojay and I were fortunate to have the opportunity to work in Hong Kong together and at our going away party, Ojay surprised me with a proposal. I said yes!
We spent 2 years in Hong Kong, working and traveling across Asia. Seeing new places, eating amazing food and being outside of our comfort zone – it was an incredible experience to see the world and enjoy it with my best friend. Towards the end of the second year in Hong Kong, we decided to move back home to San Francisco and plan the wedding of our dreams.
Ojay and I were engaged for close to 3 years before we got married, so I had a lot of time to think about the theme and style of our wedding. I love all things vintage and glam, old Hollywood but with a modern and classic twist. I used Pinterest to pull together several inspiration boards. With a hectic work schedule, it was a challenge to plan every single detail for the wedding. I decided to reach out to one of the most amazing wedding planners and designers, Crystal Lequang, from Amazae Events. To capture my special day, I wanted the very best and hired Augie Chang from Augie Chang Photography and James Burkart from Bukart Studios. As you can see from our photos and videos, all three of my vendors did an amazing job!
Ojay and I picked the SF Winery on Treasure Island for our venue. It was an airplane hanger converted into a winery and event space. We wanted something different and it had everything we wanted in a venue. A big plus it was a winery with one of the best views in San Francisco!
The primary colors of my wedding were taupe and ivory, with accent colors of black and fuchsia. With Crystal’s expertise we were able to finalize on the style and theme of our wedding, vintage glam.
Attire | Fashion: My gown was a simple sweetheart ivory gown and I had a traditional mantilla veil. I kept my jewelry simple and my hair pinned-curled down. My bridesmaids wore black dresses all different in style. Ojay and his groomsmen wore matching modern-fit black suits, with white dress shirts and personalized furnishings. My flower girls wore simple white dresses and my bearers wore newspaper-boy outfits, a homage to my favorite styles of the 1930s.
Ceremony: With wine barrels at our alter, we kept the decor pretty simple. The aisle was filled with a bed of rose petals and lined with different heights of cylinders filled with water and candles. We had beautiful drapery to frame the room.
Cocktail Hour: Cocktail hour was held at the top floor of the winery. During that time, Crystal and her team flipped the floor from the ceremony to the reception. The cocktail room was decorated with simple mercury vases and peonies, vintage teacups and saucers from my mothers collection and chalkboard signs, which I made using vintage frames I collected in the past. I also had my sister and best friend, both designers, to write charming transcripts. We also had a long string of photos of Ojay and I throughout our relationship. Lastly, we had a table filled with chachkies that we collected during our travels in Asia, which made it very special and personal.
Reception: This was the most beautiful part about the wedding. We had string lights, 8 Maria chandeliers, beautiful champagne drapery, a black and white checkered floor, a decadent candy bar, lovely center pieces filled with over 100 vintage books, my mothers prized tea and saucer sets, candles and colorful floral arrangements.
Every little detail counted. It was put together in a way that went above and beyond my expectations. All the hard work paid off and Ojay and I were able to enjoy the day without any regret.