San Francisco City Hall Wedding
December 17, 2013
United States
Classic WeddingsCity HallSpring Weddings
I want this wedding.  Like, really, really, really want this wedding.  I want to rush off to San Francisco with my handsome beau, look beyond fabulous in a Camille DePedrini gown and say "I do" in the always stunning San Francisco City Hall.  And while I am celebrating (gorgeous bouquet from Laura Miller Design in tow), I want the always fabulous Jasmine Lee on hand to capture every moment.  Because this, my friends, is pure awesome.  See it all here.
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From Jasmine Lee Photography... Kate and Larry came from Los Angeles to get hitched at the gorgeous San Francisco City Hall. Their wedding was filled with vintage details including her beautiful Camille Depredrini dress and Liza Shtromberg wedding rings. Kate and Larry's intimate wedding was witnessed by five of their closest families. We had a great time photographing around City Hall and Golden Gate Park where we were able to capture dappled light - just the way Kate and Larry wanted!

From the Bride... Larry and I met back in '95 - he was married at the time and I was five short years from marrying my first husband. Cut to 2011: he and I were both single, but I was not yet ready to settle down again. And I knew with him it couldn't be anything but serious. He courted me patiently and we grew our friendship as he literally wined and dined me. We shared core values across the board and while being somewhat liberal in our views, we both also share traditional values. As much as I had protested previously, when 2013 rolled around I did want to get married again - but only because it would be with him.

I have incorporated vintage everything in my life since I was in utero (inherited that thrifty/aesthetic gene from mom), so with that in mind, Larry planned an incredibly thoughtful, creative, and romantic proposal in our favorite city, San Francisco. Though I knew he had intended to propose (he had kindly indulged my desire to help him select my antique 1920's engagement ring from Single Stone in DTLA), I had no idea how he planned on doing it. It wasn't until we hit our gate at LAX did I realize we were officially soon-to-be engaged in SF. At the time, I owned a vintage store in Los Angeles just outside of China Town called Finster Studio. Once we had found the ring, I started squirreling away certain pieces from the store that I was inspired to save for our wedding day. The first was a 1950's pale blush-colored, beaded cashmere cardigan with satin piping and the other was an art deco small, off-white beaded clutch. Since it was my second wedding, I knew I wanted to to do it differently on all counts. I felt lucky that I already gotten to experience the whole typical wedding thing in 2000, so I didn't feel compelled to create that kind of wedding event again. Back then, I had already produced countless photo shoots working for a prominent food photographer, so I was a natural (extremely detail-oriented--read: OCD!!) to act as my own wedding planner. I dove headlong into what I called the "Wedding Vortex." I planned down to the last detail: I wore the white wedding dress, we rented him a tux, Dad walked me to the alter, squabbles over the guest list, created DIY favors made out of vintage white hankies, fancy cake, flowers, color theme, etc., etc., etc.

This time around I wanted small and intimate. Larry wanted tiny and intimate. We're both non-religious and didn't want to throw a ton of money at this ONE day. We wanted to get married in a meaningful, beautiful, and intimate setting. I remembered seeing some amazing shots of glowingly happy newlyweds bursting out of San Francisco City Hall. I suggested this as our "site," and Larry was immediately on board. We both loved how classic and elegant (and cost-effective) getting married there would be. We invited only our parents, siblings, and each of our closest friends and their spouses (both sets of parents and my sister-in-law made it). And then I did it: I opened a bridal magazine. I was immediately sucked into the aforementioned WEDDING VORTEX! What kind of Dress? Shoes? Jewelry? Makeup? Hair? NAIL POLISH?!?!?? So many decisions that would forever be captured by our yet-to-be-determined wedding photographer. Couldn't recover... Despite being in my 40's, I wasn't beyond being a traditional bride-to-be. Ah well, we are who we are.

I can't do anything halfway. As much as I try to talk myself into chilling, I approach everything from the perspective of leaving no stone unturned. Thus, much to my fiance's chagrin, I embarked on turning what really could have been a simple planning process involving a City Hall wedding officiated by a judge we'd never met, into as detailed a planning process as I could possibly turn it into - down to the exact peeeerfect nail polish color (my groom wishes I was kidding). I was in total Bridal ZONE. So, if I haven't been abundantly clear, I spent an inordinate amount of time delving into researching and honing my bridal details as I worked toward my ever-present goal of finding the biggest bang for my buck. I practically snuggled with my tablet as I passed out bleary-eyed every night. I mean, an in-or-di-nate (got the OCD gene from Mom too!!) amount of time.

As far a conceptualizing the wedding style, going "vintage" wasn't a decision so much as vintage is simply the aesthetic I gravitate to in every design choice I make. But I'm not so hardcore that my every belonging must be vintage. I usually mix and match some current with mostly vintage or vintage-inspired pieces.  I continued to get lost in the wedding blogs labyrinth and the occasional bridal mag purchase as I sought further inspiration to solidify my vision for our wedding day. What, specifically, did I want to wear and what bouquet would I carry as we celebrated our love in commemorating this major transitional milestone in our lives? Would I look back at our wedding photos and "wish I had...?" 

The hands down, stand-out of all the details on which I so obsessively fixated was the bouquet. No, not the amazingly gorgeous architecture of SF City Hall, not my beautiful dress, the rings, no Laura Miller of Laura Miller Design in Oakland, nailed it! I had vacillated about spending the extra money to get my bouquet and Larry's boutonniere done professionally for our simple little wedding and OMG, to say that I am extremely glad I did is an understatement. In my normal OCD fashion, I was fastidious about figuring out what I wanted it to look like/which flowers I really cared about Laura using and communicated it clearly to her. The way the bouquet popped against the backdrop of my creamy dress in each of our two settings--the architecture of SF City Hall and the dappled lighting in Golden Gate park - made every picture a stand-out. Thanks to our wonderful, sensitive, and talented photographer, Jasmine Lee's detail-oriented and nuanced artistry captured our blip-in-time day to gorgeous effect. Laura Miller's bouquet seriously elevated our shots from looking like a simple wedding gathering into appearing as if it was a full-blown event. I got my bang for the buck.

Jasmine truly cared about capturing our joy along with my painstakingly curated details in all their glory (she made sure to get still-lifes of the DIY San Francisco-themed invites I created from supplies purchased at Paper Source, along with my grandmother's blue embroidered hanky pinned with my new husband's initials in vintage sterling/marcasite). We were beyond pleased with how easygoing, creative, professional, and accommodating Jasmine was to work with. We loved Jasmine's work before we met her and once we received her final edits, it confirmed she was the absolute best choice we could have made to capture, yes our details, but more importantly, our milestone moments together. Perfect.