Sometimes a theme isn’t shouted, but instead is more of a whisper. This carnival themed affair crafted by Shannon Leahy Events and Cherries Flowers is understated, letting the vibrant color palette of pink and aqua hues and small touches really set the stage. But maybe the best detail of all? That would be the edible cotton candy escort cards. Genius, and so beautifully photographed by Ryan Ray. See it here.
From Shannon Leahy Events…For Kassandra & Michael, St. Vincent’s in San Rafael was the perfect location for their fun-filled carnival-themed wedding. Filled with vibrant colors and classic carnival elements, this beautiful wedding was an affair to remember for all of their guests.
The papers for the wedding included whimsical and light details based off of the architecture of the space. Kassandra and Miles’s light-hearted personalities were revealed in individual cotton candy escort cards and carnival games for their guests to enjoy during cocktail hour. Arriving in a vintage bride car, Kassandra looked stunning in a beautiful empire gown with floral details, while Michael looked handsome and collected in hues of blue.
From a grand walk down the aisle at St. Vincent School for Boys, to a best friend’s sweet toast and everything in between, this film from Silver Tie Films is traditional beauty served up with a side of fun, laughter and pure happiness. Click play below, I promise you’ll be left with a grin from ear to ear.
From Silver Tie Films… Shawn and Chris had a beautiful wedding ceremony and reception at the St. Vincent School for Boys in San Rafael, CA. With a traditional Catholic ceremony, they said their vows in front of God, their families and friends. It was a beautiful and emotional ceremony!!
The celebration went on for the rest of the night with great food prepared by Sage Catering and awesome music by DJ Chris Debol. Everybody had a great time on the dance floor! The entire event was simply impeccable. Everything was so well organized and planned that we were able to just focus on filming Chris and Shawn for the entire day. A huge thanks to Gillian Shenon and her team to make this event a great success!
We are incredibly honored to be part of Shawn and Chris’s wedding! They are amazing, loving, fun and outgoing individuals. Congratulations, Chris and Shawn! We wish you all the best on your new life as married couple!
There is just something about Sonoma County and Marin County weddings that make my heart sing. Maybe it’s the perfect blue skies without a cloud in sight or the lush, green landscapes or the casual elegance that exudes from every event but whatever it is I can’t get enough of it! This watercolor-inspired wedding by Janae Shields Photography embodies everything I love and oh-so much more! See it all in the full gallery!
From the bride… Chris and I met as sophomores at Cal Poly, dated through college and ended up in San Francisco. After about six years of dating, Chris proposed at Donner Lake, one of our favorite places in the world. I wanted a wedding near home so we visited and considered nearly every wedding venue in Marin and Sonoma Counties. Nothing had everything that was important to us until we found St. Vincent’s School for Boys, which had been under our noses the entire time. A five-minute drive from our family home, we visited every chance we got, which led us to Amber at Preferred Sonoma Caterers who helped us execute our vision for our wedding.
Shortly after Chris and I were engaged, while looking through a collection of my late grandmother’s watercolor paintings, my parents and I found one of a church and steeple tucked away in a woodsy forest — mysteriously, it looked exactly like St. Vincent’s. The watercolor ended up being the inspiration for our entire wedding. Our save the dates and invitations by Swiss Cottage Designs and Love, Jenna were watercolor calligraphy, and we let the sprawling eucalyptus trees and pale champagne walls dictate my choices for the visual of the wedding. I wanted a very neutral palette to allow for St. Vincent’s old and stunning architecture to shine the right way without distractions. I chose Priscilla of Boston champagne bridesmaid gowns for my sisters and cousins, sand colored linens for the tables, wild and textured white and blush flowers with a lot of greenery, (executed beautifully by Vanda Floral), thin overhead string lights for the reception, cream place cards with sprigs of rosemary, and white pashminas tied to the mahogany chiavari chairs as gifts for our guests.
I wanted the evening to be memorable and super fun, and my mom and I knew that the schedule and little surprises were the way to make it happen. After a cocktail hour under the sun in the front courtyard featuring passed appetizers, cocktails with grey striped straws, Rat Pack music, and two huge cheese stations, guests were invited through the wrought iron gates to the back courtyard where a huge fountain, an heirloom tomato bar (my request from day 1), a raw bar, and a cigar and scotch lounge were waiting. I knew my crazy friends and family would be itching to dance so we went right into the newlywed dance followed by 20 minutes of fun dancing. After dinner and the adorable and hilarious speeches, everyone danced to an ’80s cover band from Chris’ hometown, followed by a traditional Italian dessert bar with a grooms cake made by my best friend and a gelato cart scooping out of the back of a red bicycle. I came up with the idea for the cigar and scotch lounge for my dad and his friends to keep busy but every time I looked over, my girlfriends were sharing a cigar with my uncles — our wedding was so fun for us because our guests were happy.
It can be a daunting task to combine two families’ very different cultural and religious traditions and expectations into one wedding but, as this San Rafael couple found out, the outcome is something so personal and touching that it makes all the compromise and hard work totally worth it. On top of creating a unique ceremony that reflected the bride’s Filipino and Catholic background and the groom’s Jewish and African-American heritage this crafty duo also put together a sweetly modern garden-style reception with numerous amounts of details. The look is so cohesive and pretty it’s hard to believe the whole thing is totally DIY! Andi Hatch Photography was there to capture every single picture perfect detail! Click here to see even more in the full gallery!
From the Bride… The wedding canopy or chuppah that shaded our sweetheart table was a beautiful gift from Daniel’s mother. She spent months corralling our family and friends to contribute squares with messages and photos that she assembled into a beautiful patchwork quilt. The quilt is a beautiful symbol of the entire day and the love that will cover us for the rest of our marriage. Through our wedding celebration, we tried to weave together our different cultural traditions and symbols that reflected each of us individually and as a couple. For example, the oak tree on our ring bowl, program and invitations speaks to Daniel’s roots as a native son of the city of Oakland, California. And for me, the lace trim that I worked into our invitation design, cake stand, and escort card display, echoes the beautiful mantilla veil hand-crafted in the Philippines that I borrowed from my sister.
We were married in a chapel at California historical landmark, St. Vincent’s School for Boys, in San Rafael, California. We picked the venue in part for its architectural grandeur but also to support its current purpose as a foster home for at-risk youth. We also wanted to maximize the celebration time and spare our guests having to travel from the ceremony to the reception.
Our ceremony was traditional but personal, solemn but joyful. To celebrate both of our cultures, we incorporated Jewish and African-American traditions to represent Daniel’s heritage, and Filipino and Catholic traditions to reflect mine. Balancing everyone’s expectations was time-consuming and challenging, but led us to craft a wedding that was uniquely our own. A Jesuit priest who was a close family friend flew all the way from the Bronx to marry us. Our friends draped us in the traditional Filipino veil and cord—symbolizing our binding commitment to one another. In keeping with Jewish traditions, our family members read us Seven Wedding Blessings, and we signed a modern ketubah (marriage contract), designed by Jennifer Raichmann from Etsy, which we later displayed on our guestbook table. Before exiting the church, Daniel and I broke a glass as our guests exclaimed, “Mazel Tov!” And then to a jubilant rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “As,” sung by a chorus of our friends, we “jumped” the broom, adorned in our wedding colors by Daniel’s mother, in observance of an African-American tradition. We flew down the aisle to spend some alone time together with a traditional Jewish yichud. After our guests had exited the church, we emerged to a fragrant shower of lavender buds that Daniel’s mother had stuffed into miniature hand-stamped muslin pouches.
Before dinner, Daniel’s cousin blessed the challah in Hebrew, and my uncle from the Philippines also gave a blessing in his native tongue of Tagalog. The evening was punctuated by heartfelt toasts from our loved ones—including my best friend/bridesmaid. She had just had a baby and was unable to make it from New York but took the time to record a surprise toast that had me in tears. We also made sure that everyone was well-fed throughout the night—including a late-night snack of sliders and shots of milk and fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.
My parents had overseen the folding and fluffing of nearly 200 yellow tissue paper flowers, which we used as napkin holders at each place setting and providing extra color on the serving tables. For our table numbers, we used Ektorp double-sided frames from Ikea. I hand-painted the number on patterned craft paper and on the reverse, and inserted photos of me and Daniel signaling the different numbers. We had two different centerpieces on alternating tables: Collections of blooming rosemary plants and succulents in metal containers and fresh-cut flowers in bud vases and blue mason jars. I collected most of the containers for months at flea markets and on eBay for friends and family to bring home as small favors.
I surprised Daniel by singing him our favorite song, and he made our guests laugh by hamming it up. Our guests broke into the horah, and I screamed for my life as my friends almost dropped me from my perch. We danced so hard that my only disappointment was when I realized the next day that I missed the late night snack of mini-sliders and chocolate chip cookies with shots of milk.