The Palace Garden Court is one of the most magical places in San Francisco – utterly timeless in its elegance! And the perfect setting for Hillary and Greg’s classic formal wedding, brought to life by Select vendor Stacy McCain Event Planning. Some of our favorite details about this black tie celebration? The ceremony included a love letter from the bride’s grandfather to her grandmother, the tables were adorned with white flowers and cut glass hurricanes, and the cake was topped with a charming vintage bride and groom…
“San Francisco is where we fell in love, got engaged and started our first home together, so it felt very fitting that we should marry each other here as well. Calvary Presbyterian is located just a few short blocks from our home, so we knew it would be a part of our every day lives for a long time to come.”
Your ceremony in three words. Heartfelt, Traditional, Personal.
How did you go about planning your wedding ceremony? We asked our closest friends and family for their advice and wove together many loving stories to create our own ceremony. As a whole, our ceremony was quite traditional; we felt that so many generations of love stories before us had been married this way, we wanted to use the same symbols and messages to bless our day. For our vows, we asked our parents what their vows had been at their own weddings and used them to dictate our own, so they were also very traditional.
Prelude: Flower Duet / Air by Bach / Thais Act II Meditation by Jules Massenet / Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major
Processional: “Le Cygne” Camille Saint-Saens / Canon in D by Pacabel
Bridal Processional: Bridal Chorus by Wagner
Recessional: Wedding March by Medelssohn
Also, my dear family friends sang a duet of Ave Maria during the ceremony that was entirely too beautiful to describe.
Ceremony Readings: My grandfather and Greg’s sister read Ruth 1:16-17 and Mark 10:6-9 – we chose them for their messages of unity, support and love.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Rev. Truly read a love letter my grandfather had written during the war to my grandmother exactly 70 years ago to the day, the very same day of our wedding. He had recently passed away and my brother had found the letter shortly thereafter. My grandparents’ love for one another was the everlasting kind, and when she read it, it felt like he was there blessing the day.
“We loved the history behind the hotel and the romance of the Garden Court. It was one of the few places that could hold our large guest list but still feel intimate. Our reception was absolutely magical, filled with every person we love…and a great band!”
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Walking into a room filled with all of our friends and family, there was just so much love and happiness in one room. Also seeing my grandfather, Frank, out on the dance floor all night – he may have been the oldest person in the room, but he was also the last one to leave the dance floor.
What was your first dance song? Father/daughter or mother/son dance?
First Dance: “Make Someone Happy” by Jimmy Durante
Father Daughter / Mother/Son Dance “The Way You Look Tonight” by Steve Tyrell
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. My brother was one of the best men, which was very special to both Greg and me.
Passed Hors d’Oeuvres: Warm Date with Blue Cheese and Bacon / Thai Spring Roll, Mint, Carrot, Sprouts / Tuna Tartar on Wonton Crisp with Avocado and Chives // First Course: Caprese Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, Basil, Micro Greens, Chive Oil, Sonoma Saba, Avocado // Entree: Seared Center Cut Filet Mignon with Red Wine Demiglace, Roasted Spring Vegetables, Potatoes au Gratin // Dessert: Wedding Cake
Did you have a signature cocktail? Champagne! Don’t mess with a good thing.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We had a five tiered cake. Every layer was a different flavor, from rich carrot cake to a simple rose flavor. We also had my favorite See’s Candies at each table – I have a huge sweet tooth!
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? My something old was a lace handkerchief my mother had bought at a flea market in France and monogrammed with our wedding date; my something new was a pair of pearl earrings from my parents; my something borrowed was my mother’s pearl necklace; and my something blue was my initial monogrammed into my wedding dress.
Any DIY details? I had a handkerchief monogrammed with a personal note for my father and gave it to him the morning of our wedding day, he wore this close to his heart all night.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Don’t leave each other’s side all night – enjoy every moment and take it all in together.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Don’t sweat the small stuff.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? I wouldn’t have sweated the small stuff!