San Francisco isn’t the easiest place to wed on a budget, but Tracy and Jake prove that you can have a playful and stylish wedding in the city without breaking the bank. Says the bride:

We were originally going to have our wedding in the countryside of northern Wisconsin where Jake is from. It would have been a beautiful outdoor summer wedding but we realized that it was going to be waaay too much work, and a major pain for all our friends and family since it’s 3 hours from the nearest airport. San Francisco is where we met and have called home for the past six years, so instead we decided to do a simple ceremony at SF City Hall, and we started looking at restaurants whose food we enjoyed. Two friends recommended Axis Cafe in Potrero Hill so we checked it out and it was perfect. They only serve seasonal/local ingredients which makes for a delicious menu, and they offered us an off-season discount.

Decide where you want to save and where you want to splurge. Photographs were very important to me so we put more of our budget there. I’ve never seen a photo of my parents on their wedding day since they eloped and move to the United States right after. We wanted to have something to show our children and grandkids!

A good friend is a floral designer who created simple loose arrangements. The groom designs and makes furniture from salvaged materials, and he made the sandwich board sign and T&J table decoration (below) from salvaged wood.

I couldn’t wrap my head around spending over a thousand dollars on a dress that I’d only wear once, so I opted for two affordable dresses (one for City Hall and one for the reception) and splurged on shoes which I’d get to wear again and again.

Tracy’s favorite part of the day? “Jake’s speech. We had nothing planned so I had no idea it was coming. He brought me and all the guests to tears (of joy that is!).” And Jake’s favorite moment? “When I walked walked into City Hall and saw Tracy in her dress for the first time.”


Photography: Traci Griffin

Ceremony venue: San Francisco City Hall

Reception venue: Axis Cafe in San Francisco

Bride’s dresses: Wilfred by Aritzia / Alice + Olivia

Bride’s shoes: Christian Louboutin

Hair / makeup: Mike Page Style Lab / Mary Sanchez

Groom’s suit: Burberry

Flowers: Twig & Twine

Custom signs: Reason Furniture Design

Cake: Caitlin Williams Freeman


Congratulations Tracy and Jake! And thank you to Traci Griffin for sharing these beautiful and fun photos with us!

19 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings
  1. CN

    Love this! I wish I had the guts to do it this way. Also, good on you for not dropping a ton of money on a wedding dress – your dresses are adorable!

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  2. Jocelyn Stott

    SOOOO cute!

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  3. A Girl and A Camera Photography

    very sweet wedding

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  4. jenn {bow tie & bustle}

    Absolutely ADORABLE! Adore her city hall outfit…veil is super cute!

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  5. Jennifer

    Love this wedding. It looks like they had a great time and I adore her dresses!

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  6. fianceesarehumanstoo.

    Absolutely love the balloons!

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  7. Ally

    Love love love this whole wedding. Such a gorgeous bride. And what fantastic dresses!

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  8. Theresa

    Such a lovely dress for a wedding! She looks lovely and very stylish!

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  9. Kristen

    I echo the dress compliments. And BRILLIANT move on splurging on the shoes–something you will use again and again. I like her thinking!

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  10. Tracy Thunderbolt

    This wedding is so stylish! The dress really is adorable, and I especially like the shot in the birches.

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  11. Emi Hatanaka

    She is a picture of bride from a modern fairy tale story book :)

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  12. lydia {ever ours}

    love the simplicity of the whole day. adorable couple!

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  13. Kate – Modernly Wed

    I love this wedding…really sweet and intimate!

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  14. Elle

    I *love* this wedding – so simple, chic & original. (& I adore the shoe splurge!) Just awesome.

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  15. Angel @ | 77inspire |

    What a cute wedding. Love her short dress :)

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  16. Sally @ ourdreamlives

    This wedding is gorgeous, so so stylish! I looove the first dress, and the balloons are so much fun.

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  17. sara

    well aren’t they just the cutest couple ever.

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  18. Abegail

    How lovely!
    Simple and beautiful :)


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  19. Kim Bell

    What an inspiring wedding! Truly…breaking tradition and doing it in such style! I love it!

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