My now husband and I really weren't into the whole wedding planning thing. The traditional wedding concepts seemed dated and not at all relevant to our relationship or the commitment we wanted to make to each other. We were engaged for over a year before we reluctantly began looking at venues.
The Hotel Vitale on the Embarcadero blew us away with it's views and non-traditional options for event spaces. We decided to rent one of their penthouse suites with a 2-level terrace overlooking the Ferry building and the San Francisco Bay Bridge then crossed our fingers for good weather. Luckily for us (because we didn't have a backup plan) the weather ended up being gorgeous, even though San Francisco is categorically unpredictable.
Once we found a spot to tie the knot, we planned the whole wedding in a little under 3 months.
I was super busy at the time preparing for a show in Paris, working on a new collection, and focused on making high quality jewelry for all of my beautiful customers. Wedding planning seemed like a silly distraction. To create as little stress for myself as possible, and to make a plan for an event that felt representative of our unique relationship, my hubby-to-be and I made a list of all the things you are "supposed" to do at a wedding then decided not to do any of them.
I never went wedding dress shopping. About a year after we got engaged, I saw an ad on Facebook for Nordstrom prom dresses with a polka dot skirt that caught my eye. I clicked through the ad and bought the skirt online. I lucked out and it fit perfect with no alterations needed.
Over the next few months, I ordered a ton of tops online to try on with the skirt in the comfort of my own home. None of them looked right so they all went back. The day before my wedding, I called one of my best friends in a semi-panic asking her to bring over all the black tops that she owned. Yes, you read that right, I wanted to borrow a shirt because I didn't know what I was going to wear to my wedding - the day before my wedding. Among the tops, she brought me a plunging black bathing suit that I thought looked great with the skirt. Phew! Cameron saved the day.
We skipped the bridal party and walking down the aisle. We didn't even have an aisle. We didn't set up chairs. As guests were arriving, my husband and I went out to join them with no big show of our arrival. We chatted with our friends and family and once all of our guests were there with a drink in hand, my brother married us in front of 48 of our most beloved people.
My brother did a phenomenal job as officiant but we didnt really have a concrete plan for the ceremony. I wrote my vows as I was getting my hair done that morning and my husband had some notes he had jotted down an hour before the ceremony. We hadn't rehearsed and I had no idea what my brother was going to say. We winged it and it was intimate, emotional, and awesome.
After the ceremony, instead of going to pose for pictures, we went straight to celebrating with our guests! That's why everybody was there, right? Why run off for an hour of pictures when we could be spending time with the people we love, basking in the afterglow of our big commitment. Rooftop cocktails for everybody! Our photographer was amazing and followed us around to capture our interactions with our guests in real time.
We didn't do "official" photos with the families or of just ourselves for that matter.
For dinner, we headed down to the restaurant, Americano, and had a locally sourced organic feast. We didn't have a dinner schedule but we did have a mic so people gave speeches as they felt moved to do so. Many tears were shed as people showered us with love. My 4 year old niece even sang the ABC's into the mic as her tribute to our big commitment.
After dinner, we headed back up to the rooftop suite for some dancing under the stars!
We didn't have a cake. We didn't do a garter or a bouquet toss.
I didn't wear a garter or carry a bouquet so we wouldn't have had anything to ceremonially toss anyhow. We didn't do first dances. Instead, the next few hours were filled with music, laughter, tequila shots and passed pizza! It was magical.
After dancing under the stars, we headed to our honeymoon suite for an epic after party! Not gonna lie, post-wedding brunch the next day was rough. But it was all worth it to spend time celebrating with our friends and family until the wee hours.
My wedding wasn't stressful and yours doesnt have to be either! I highly recommend breaking tradition and doing whatever you damn well please.
Our day wasn't perfect. But I didn't expect it to be. It was super windy right before the ceremony and stuff blew over. Things got moved around or completely re-designed at the last minute without my knowing, basically a designer's worst nightmare.
The flowers that were supposed to be on our table for dinner were MIA. Which I honestly didn't notice until I saw the pictures after the event.
A lot did not go as planned, but it doesn't matter. What matters is spending time with the people you love.
Don't let stress or the expectation of perfection ruin your big day. No matter how much you plan or how hard you stress, it is very likely that your day will not be perfect. And seriously, who cares? It's all about celebrating your love! So just go with the flow and have fun with your partner and everyone else who showed up to celebrate your commitment!
Photography by Olga Lacosta of To Amaze Wedding Photography
Flowers by Farm Girl Flowers
Rooftop Wedding Venue: Hotel Vitale - Shout out to Erin who was AMAZING!
Hair and makeup by Kim Merrill
Music by Keelan McKinney
Officiated by My Big Bro Troy Johnson
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