Maria and Roman - Golden Gate Club, San Francisco

May, 2017.

Photos: Janae Shields Photography / Flowers: Dream Flowers / Catering: Presidio Foods

Maria and Roman both come from very large Russian Jewish families, so their wedding was a P-A-R-T-Y complete with caviar on every table, a raucous live band, and plenty of vodka. But the true show-stoppers in our opinion were the flowers. Florist Lana Chernyavsky of Dream Flowers created stunning centerpieces that were either towering structures laden with peonies and kumquats or shorter masterpieces popping with vibrant colors and lush textures. Every element of this wedding was romantic and colorful - just look at the gorgeous blues on their ketubah and the soft chiffon of the chuppah!

Amy and Matt - Stern Grove, San Francisco

March, 2017.

Photos: Vero Kherian Photography / Catering: El Metate

Amy and Matt had an impressive collection of friends who served as vendors (dubbed by the couple as 'friendors') that knew them both so well that every element of the wedding was perfectly tailored to them as a couple. The flowers, hair, ceremony music, reception DJ, and pie buffet were all the work of friends who lent their talents and time to create a day full of casual elegance. I love the little details that clearly had so much thought put into them: the sea holly in Amy's hair matches Matt's boutonniere; the pies have the letters 'A' and 'M' around the edges; and the precious objects that were an integral part of the ceremony reappeared in the reception as the names of the tables where guests sat. Stern Grove is such a naturally beautiful setting that it truly doesn't need much dressing-up. For a couple that loves nature and is looking for a budget-friendly venue in the heart of San Francisco, Stern Grove provides the best of all worlds.

Jeannie and Brad - Berkeley City Club

January, 2017.

Photos: www.drewbirdphoto.com / Flowers: Rust + Thistle / Cake: Have Your Cake.

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Brad and Jeannie couldn't have had a more perfect day for their wedding - and it was pouring rain the entire time. Berkeley City Club was their dream venue - it has gothic architecture, romantic lighting, and a library/smoking lounge that makes you want to cuddle up by a roaring fire and read a good book. The inclement weather simply accentuated all of those attributes. The couple chose dark jewel tones for their attendants who looked like they could have stepped out of the set of Downtown Abbey; the women wore long beaded gowns and the gentlemen donned mismatched suits with matching ties. The rainy forecast meant that the ceremony location had to change, but Emily from Rust + Thistle rose to the occasion and created a spectacular last-minute 'chuppah' full of eucalyptus and other lush greenery above the fireplace in the drawing room. The expressions that Drew Bird was able to catch during the whole day take my breath away: Brad's tears during the first look, a Vogue-worthy snapshot of the wedding party in the library,  and Brad and Jeannie's terror as they were lifted in the air for the hora.

Renee and Tim - Admiral's Mansion, Mare Island, Vallejo

October, 2016. Photos: Wellshot Photo Co.

This was the second wedding Hitch Perfect coordinated at the Admiral's Mansion. What is so special about this venue is how much space there is - both inside the mansion and outside on the grounds - to make the day unique for each couple's individual vision. Since October is a particularly good month for weather in the Bay Area, Tim and Renee wanted to use the outdoor spaces as much as possible. They and their attendants got ready inside and as you can see below, the grand staircase made for some stunning photos. All other elements of the day were outside: ceremony, cocktail reception, dinner, toasts, and dancing. If you're looking for some cute ways to save money, check out the bouquets that the bride and bridesmaids had - they're all silk flowers and you truly can't tell! Renee and Tim also had the good fortune to have a baker friend who not only created a stunning cake, but all of the other desserts for the dessert bar. 

Katrina and Andrew - Presidio Log Cabin, San Francisco

August 2016. Photos: Millay and Young Photography / Flowers: Home Sweet Flowers

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The Presidio in August can turn from sunshine to fog in an instant, which is exactly what happened right before Katrina and Andrew's ceremony. Fortunately, the ceremony was short and the guests could move promptly to the warm and cozy confines of the Log Cabin for the cocktail hour and dinner. The inside is incredibly spacious with a gigantic fireplace at one end and plenty of room for all of the tables on the other, with a large dance floor in between. Katrina and Andrew had an inside joke about 'spirit animals,' which then led to some of the cutest escort cards I've ever seen. Katrina found tiny woodland animal figurines, spray-painted them gold, and then made a tiny notch in each of their backs for the card to sit in.The couple also decided to treat their guests to two amazing food trucks for dinner: Chairman Bao and Tacolicious. If you know anything about Chairman Bao, you know that the lines are normally 100-people deep, so it was a true treat to get exclusive access to the tastiest bao truck in San Francisco.

Ariana and Jonah - UC Botanical Garden and Berkeley City Club

August 2016. Photos - Nicole Blumberg Photography / Flowers - Dinner Bell Farms/ Dress: BHLDN

Ariana and Jonah came from two different cultures: she is Indonesian, he is Jewish. It was important to them that they find ways to incorporate elements of each into the ceremony and the wedding day in general. The ways that they found to celebrate this union ranged from expected (breaking of the glass, getting married under a chuppah, doing readings in Indonesian) to extremely special and unique to them (covering the chuppah in an Indonesian batik cloth and having gorgeous Indonesian puppets on each of the tables as part of the centerpieces). Celebrating nature and being eco-friendly was also very important to them, so the decoration in the Redwood Grove was extremely minimal - who needs flowers when you're surrounded by all those redwoods?! Molly from Dinner Bell Farms, a sustainable flower farm located near Tahoe, created stunning bouquets with lots of interesting textures, while the bridal headpiece and chuppah were lush with with jasmine. The table centerpieces were succulent gardens that Molly had grown in a wide range of planters that could be taken home by guests after the wedding. It was by far the most eco-friendly and beautiful use of centerpieces I've seen to date! 

Mariah and Michael - Stern Grove, San Francisco

April 2016. Photos: Kate Hoss Photo / Flowers: Rust and Thistle / Cupcakes: Susiecakes

Michael and Mariah's Stern Grove wedding was all about simple elegance. Mariah's bridesmaids were in mismatched lavender (the color) dresses, while the groomsmen wore lavender (the flower/herb) boutonnieres. There were other little touches of lavender sprinkled throughout the venue including bunches of lavender tied to the outside of the ceremony aisles. This couple loved the outdoors and wanted to celebrate the natural beauty of the surrounding redwoods and only add small pops of color here and there, but as you can see from the bouquet, the 'pops' of color were so incredibly rich and lush that not much was needed anyway. Michael is a graphic designer on the side and not only designed their wedding website, save-the-dates, and invitations, but also designed a custom wedding logo (see the 'choose a seat' sign below). After this wedding, I recommend Stern Grove to any couple who wants a natural setting in the heart of San Francisco; it's a pretty bare-bones venue, but with a little bit of craftiness and the right touches, you can turn it into the wedding of your dreams.

Darlene and Alan - Burlingame, CA

November, 2015. Photos: Mark Kuroda

Darlene and Alan's ceremony was held at Wedgewood Crystal Springs. It's hard to believe that this gorgeous gazebo backed by verdant hills overlooking a river is only a mile from Highway 280 in the Bay Area peninsula. In fact, if you face the other way, you can see cars zooming by. However, there is no traffic noise and on a good day, the scenery is truly stunning. You can only reserve the ceremony space for a couple of hours, so the reception was held at the nearby Marriott, where guests were treated to a three-course dinner and a show (a Chinese lion dance complete with dragons and drums)! 

Gabrielle and Bruce - Admiral's Mansion, Mare Island, Vallejo

September 2015. Photos: Rachel Simpson Photography / Calligraphy: Gabrielle Wunsch

If DIY weddings were an Olympic sport, this bride, Gabrielle, would win a gold medal - no question.  

Folks, this woman did her own gorgeous calligraphy for the invitations, favors, and wedding signs, created floral arrangements for the ceremony and reception sites, and made all the food for 90 guests. I'm sorry, do I need to repeat that? She MADE the (delicious) food for all of her guests. The buffet included marinated and grilled steak, marinated and grilled tofu, potato salad, farro salad, marinated zucchini noodles, and a salad with homemade vinaigrette. 

Not to be outdone, her groom, Bruce, made all of the beer for the guests. I probably don't need to point out that it takes a lot of dedication and planning, not to mention extreme skill, to create FOUR delectable beers worthy of guest consumption. (If you're wondering, the beers were Mannekin Pis Belgian Ale, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Porter, Oktober Fest Lager, and Kitchen Sink Pale Ale). 

Below are the pictures to prove that a DIY wedding is completely possible and can turn out incredibly beautifully if you are willing to dedicate yourself to each minute detail. Bruce and Gabrielle did - look how well their wedding turned out!

Meghan and Cheri - Kenwood, CA

April 2015. Flowers and Site Design: Erika Anderson Designs / Photos: Robin Jolin Photography / Signs: In the Moment / Cake: Jasmine Rae Bakery

The wedding of Meghan and Cheri was Hitch Perfect's first same-sex wedding. Their song was "Ribbon in the Sky," so Erika worked with them to tastefully incorporate ribbons into various parts of the site. The shepherd's hooks along the aisle and all of the signs had ribbons streaming from them and all of tables were decorated with a criss-crossing pattern of ribbons under the place settings. And can we talk about Meghan's stunning purple wedding dress?? The sheer tulle over the shoulder, the subtle ombre shading, and the fabric petals all made for an incredibly unique look. 

Jessica and Jonathan - Barndiva, Healdsburg

January 2015. Photos: Misti Layne Photography / Flowers: Dragonfly Floral

Jessica and Jonathan are both professional musicians, so their schedules can get a little hectic. They had a small block of time free in January and decided that would be a good time to get married, so they planned a winter wedding in wine country. Jessica's bouquet is one of my favories; anemones are just such classic bouquet flowers and they pair so well with so many color schemes. Also: check out those shoes! Most wedding shoes are covered in sparkles or are the bride's 'something blue,' but these were just complete knockouts. The black lace and peep-toe were completely unlike any other wedding shoe I've ever seen and they paired beautifully with her black fur overcoat (it's pretty chilly in January!).

Laura and Liam - Sebastopol, CA

Laura and Liam are dear friends who were willing to take a chance on me - this was Hitch Perfect's first wedding! They held their wedding in the backyard of a beautiful home in Sebastopol. I love the mismatched bridesmaids dresses in grey and the mismatched suits of the groomsmen. With all of the neutral blues and grays, everything worked perfectly!