Grace and David wanted an intimate wedding, and they wanted to share Maui with their families, so they turned the celebration into a week-long family vacation! From the sudden downpour in the middle of the ceremony to the humpback whale sighting during their first dance, it was certainly a wedding to remember.

SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE FROM THIS INTIMATE MAUI WEDDING BY WENDY LAUREL.

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What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Be present and soak up each moment during the day!

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Don’t sweat the small things! At the end of the day, you will be standing next to your new husband/wife and surrounded by your families, friends, and overwhelming love such that all of the details that you have tried to plan to perfection will just be in the
background. Embrace the unexpected and imperfections, and you will have a beautiful wedding day.

If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?
I’m so glad we did everything the way we did…it was truly the family vacation of a lifetime for us!

 

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Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  Maui is a very special place for us. We visited together for the first time during our last year of medical school to celebrate our engagement, and we had such a wonderful and relaxing time exploring the island together and left with so many fond memories. When it came to time to start planning our wedding, we eventually decided to turn our celebration into a family vacation with a destination wedding tacked on right at the end! David and I are both extremely close to our families so it was our top priority that our wedding celebration was as much about our families having a great time as it was about celebrating our marriage. We immediately agreed that we wanted to share our memories of Maui with our families, and decided on Merriman’s Restaurant in Kapalua because of the breathtaking views of the beach and coastal cliffs, their delicious regional Hawaiian cuisine, and their ability to accommodate a small party in a private, relaxed and intimate setting.

 

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Wendy Laurel | Snippet & Ink Wendy Laurel | Snippet & Ink

 

The Ceremony

“Our ceremony was easily the most memorable part of our wedding. The forecast that day did not call for any rain and there was not a cloud in the sky at the start of our ceremony, but as David finished his vows, our entire party got soaked in a sudden unexpected torrential downpour! We all retreated indoors, and though everyone was soaked through their party clothes, we joked and laughed while our parents tried to convince us that the rain would bring us good luck. When it had cleared up a bit outdoors, we came back out and were greeted with applause and cheers from guests at the restaurant. The Merriman’s Events Team expertly created a makeshift ceremony site out of the private cabana where we were going to hold our reception and I was able to read my vows and finish the ceremony. The rain was clearly an unplanned part of our festivities and although to some, it may have been a perceived disaster, it brought hilarity and lightness to our celebration. David and I were so grateful for how easily our families took the rain in stride and realized how fortunate we both were to have them by our side.”

 

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Wendy Laurel | Snippet & Ink Wendy Laurel | Snippet & Ink

 

Your ceremony in three words.  Intimate, relaxed, non-traditional.

Who officiated your ceremony?  Our officiant was Pia Aluli. We chose Pia because his personal style resonated with us. We wanted a ceremony that was spiritual, unique, and reflective of the gravitas and joy of our wedding. We met Pia the week ahead of our wedding and knew that his sincerity and sense of humor would help put our families at ease. He was very flexible and amenable to us planning a simple non-denominational and personal ceremony.

What was your ceremony music?  We were very fortunate to have Marvin Tevaga perform at our wedding. He has an incredibly soulful voice that blew our families away. For our processional, he performed “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and for our recessional, he sang “Sunday Morning”.

What were your vows like?  We wrote our own personal vows to each other! Getting the chance to share our vows in front of our families was very special to us.

 

Wendy Laurel | Snippet & Ink Wendy Laurel | Snippet & Ink
Wendy Laurel | Snippet & Ink Wendy Laurel | Snippet & Ink

 

What was your favorite part of the ceremony?  In addition to the unexpected downpour, we loved seeing each other for the first time as I walked down the aisle, seeing our families’ reactions, and reading our vows to each other.

 

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The Reception

“Our reception was a relaxed family dinner, held under a private cabana overlooking the ocean at Merriman’s.”

 

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Menu:
appetizers: Haleakala lamb spring roll with pineapple dipping sauce / sesame seared ahi tuna slider with pickled cucumber and wasabi mayo / baked brie with fruit and macadamia nuts / hummus with Molokai sweet potato chips and petite garden vegetables // starters: house-made cavatelli pasta / pan sautéed Maui Lehua taro cakes // salads: Merriman’s garden salad / upcountry organic kale and butter lettuce salad // entrees: pan roasted togarashi-spiced day boat mahi mahi / naturally raised lamb / five-spice pan roasted jidori chicken // Maui’s best tropical fruit plate / flourless chocolate cake / Maui gold pineapple and toasted macadamia nut brioche pain perdu / macadamia nut wedding cake with mango fruit filling and vanilla buttercream

Did you have a signature cocktail?  We didn’t have any signature cocktails, but we had a number of tropical cocktails and “mocktails”.

 

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Wendy Laurel | Snippet & Ink Wendy Laurel | Snippet & Ink

 

What was your first dance song?  Marvin Tevaga learned Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” just for our first dance.

Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. During our first dance, we were surprised by a family of humpback whales playing very close to the shoreline! It was an exciting and unexpected sighting!

 

Wendy Laurel | Snippet & Ink Wendy Laurel | Snippet & Ink
Wendy Laurel | Snippet & Ink Wendy Laurel | Snippet & Ink

 

Tell us about having such an intimate wedding.  Our families were the center of our wedding celebration. They are very private people, as are we, and so we wanted to have a small private family celebration. We couldn’t remember the last time when either one of us been on a family vacation so having a destination wedding/family vacation in Maui was extra special for all of us. We spent the week before the wedding exploring Maui and getting plenty of beach time; we had our rehearsal dinner at a luau (Feast at Lele); and having our wedding on the last day before our families flew back to the mainland was just the perfect cap to an unforgettable family trip.

What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  Our siblings and parents all prepared toasts, and we loved them. While our siblings used their toasts as an opportunity to roast us, our parents’ toasts were sweet and heartfelt.

 

Wendy Laurel | Snippet & Ink Wendy Laurel | Snippet & Ink
Photography: Wendy Laurel / Venue, Catering, Cake: Merriman’s in Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii / Floral Design: Bella Bloom Maui / Dress: Galina /  Shoes: Gianni Bini / Suit, Shirt, Tie: Hugo Boss / Shoes: Cole Haan / Hair, Makeup: Salon 253 / Officiant: Pia Aluli / Ceremony Music: Marvin Tevaga

Wendy Laurel is a Snippet & Ink Select vendor. This post contains affiliate links.

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When you hear Charlotte describe her family’s home in Chalvron, France, you instantly understand why she and Pete decided to celebrate their wedding there: “The house was the village forge and was bought in need of a lot of love and restoration. My whole family went out there to dig floors, knock walls down, build them back up, install hot water, plaster, paint, etc. and the result is now a much loved home. It is very small, very rural, very French and very a close community, all really important to us as a family. We are now well entwined into the village and all the goings on of various fetes and soirées! Set within a National Park, the distinctly rural French setting, with lots of fields and woodlands, is very pretty, and provided the backdrop for our wedding.”

Also this couple wins the award for Best Wedding Day Transportation, hands down…

SEE THE GALLERY FOR LOTS MORE FROM THIS FRENCH COUNTRYSIDE WEDDING BY NORDICA PHOTOGRAPHY.

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Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink

 

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Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink

 

Why did you choose this location for your ceremony?  Chalvron is a very small village in Burgundy and my family has a home here. We decided as a couple we wanted our wedding to be a representation of us both and our families. After sharing several very happy holidays at the house, soirees with neighbors and exploring the local area, we felt this was the perfect location for us.

 

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“We are very lucky to have an incredibly supportive, pro-active and hands-on family,” says the bride. “Five parents, five siblings, godparents, Auntie, cousins and more. They all got involved with great imagination and enthusiasm. For much of the planning Pete was based in the US (where we now live), and I relied on the help and support of family and close friends, especially with planning a wedding in France as we had limited knowledge of the French legalities, customs, traditions and etiquette. Liaising with the maire (mayor), pastor, florist, etc. was difficult as we are not fluent in French – luckily several family members are!”

 

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Now that is a true boutonniere!

 

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Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink

 

The Ceremony

“We planned the ceremony with the help of a wonderfully supportive friend in France, Lilly. By law, French weddings are civil ceremonies, and so have to take place in the local mayor’s office, so we married in our local mairie (city hall), with Maire Bruno Gardey de Soos. The local eglise, Saint-Aubin-des-Chaumes, is on the hill overlooking the village so we knew we wanted to have a blessing there as well. The church is not ‘active’, however with permission from the maire we were able to use it.”

 

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Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink
Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink

 

Your ceremony in three words.  British-French, rustic, relaxed.

Who officiated your ceremony?  Our friend Lilly assisted and found us two pastors to officiate the blessing, and they were very supportive and exceptionally helpful sharing knowledge on the ceremony and French traditions.

 

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Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink
Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink

 

What was your ceremony music?  For the civil ceremony, my Uncle Christopher, who is in the Coldstream Guards, played Trumpet Voluntary on his French horn. For the church ceremony my Uncle Alan played acoustic guitar.

What were your ceremony readings?  Mixing French and British traditions and language was important for us and our wedding. A personal reading for us inspired by grandparents, Desiderata, was read by my sister in French and Pete’s mother in English. A Bible reading, Philippians 2:1-4, was read in French by the pastor and in English by Pete’s brother. And a letter from my mother that she read in English, and read in French by my stepmother.

 

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Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink

 

What were your vows like?  Pete’s were unbelievably thoughtful and very personal. Mine were a little more haphazard and frank – I finished writing them on the morning of the wedding!

 

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What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  Having no idea of what to expect! We are fortunately both quite relaxed and embraced the French eccentricities mixed with the British and just allowed the day to chart its own course. Rather than a rehearsal the night before, we spent the evening up in the church partaking in the French tradition that the bride and groom start ringing the church bell while family, friends, and the local community come by to wish the couple well. Together everyone keeps the bell ringing for as long as possible. A wonderful shared experience – at one point the bell collectively lifted me and my four siblings clear off the floor! We kept it ringing until past 11pm – a lot of fun and a very traditional French experience!

 

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Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink
Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink

 

Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  The wedding transport is a family tradition, that was given a French uplift. I arrived at the ceremony on the back of my father’s vintage motorbike, with the bridesmaids following on Mobylettes (peddle and pop motored bicycles). After the blessing in the eglise, we took part in another French tradition and led a procession of approximately 20 vehicles around the local area, with everyone beeping their horns and waving, and locals joining in. My father spent seven years restoring a 1920 Bugatti, and as the father to four daughters and one son, he decided that his girls should drive their new husbands in the car, so this family tradition started with my sister’s wedding in 2013.

 

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Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink

 

The Reception

“Our reception was held at my parents’ house in the village. I’d describe it as rustic French, with a vin d’honneur (Champagne reception) followed by a traditional French soiree.”

 

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Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink

 

Why did you choose this location for your reception?  The house is typically French and typical of my family – something Pete has fully embraced and is a part of, very much part of.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  A visit to Grace Cathedral in San Francisco – Anne Patterson’s installation Graced With Light was the inspiration for the ribbon strung in the tent. We were also inspired by our family – their collective effort was a continuous source of inspiration, and was why we wanted the event to be so inclusive and relaxed.

 

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What was your wedding menu?  Authentic rustic French. My father made a smoker for the salmon, and led by Lilly, the house transformed in to a hive of activity with flans, salads, fruit, bread, canapés, aperitifs – the enthusiasm of the French to contribute their local dishes and specialities was wonderful.

Did you have a signature cocktail?  No. However being in Burgundy it was important to have some wine we loved. My sister and mother visited local vineyards and brought a selection with them to our engagement dinner, where the entire family chose the Crémant de Bourgogne to be served at the vin d’honneur.

 

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Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink

 

Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about?  Most of the wedding was DIY – we are very fortunate to have such a creative and hands-on family. We all arrived in France two weeks prior to the wedding and got to work: rebuilding a crumbling wall, clearing a path to link the vin d’honneur and main reception areas, setting up tents, tables made from wood from the local saw mill, sunflowers arranged in vessels collected by all, scarecrows made to represent the bride and groom (a French tradition), ribbon hand tied to the ceiling of the tent… our wedding was a collective effort of so many, bringing their talents and enthusiasm to create a very memorable and special experience.

 

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What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  The speeches – Pete’s brothers did a very amusing true or false questionnaire with Pete, trawling up some of his endeavors for the amusement of the audience. My father spoke in French, for what he lacks in French speaking he makes up for in gestures and support from our middle sister to translate back into English – they made a very entertaining duo!

Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception.  There was an impromptu sing along by the French friends ending in a toast to us.

 

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Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink

 

What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  Burgundy tradition is that the cake is in the shape of something that represents you as individuals. (Our friend Lilly and her husband had a chicken and a tree for their wedding cake.) In talking about it, we mentioned Kilimanjaro (we climbed it together in 2011), and decided that cats and monkeys would symbolize us (I love cats and Pete’s father used to call his three boys his three little monkeys). From that brief conversation we had no idea what to expect, but we were thrilled when the baker arrived with his masterpiece. It was supplemented by flans and cakes made by some of the women in the village.

 

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Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink Nordica Photography | Snippet & Ink

 

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  To accept help.

If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  Not really. There were some unexpected twists and turns along the way, however this all made it our day and part of a wonderful, happy and memorable experience.

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding?  While the wedding is the ‘big day’ in the week running up to it as we created the venue, there is no question it was hard work however with so much support from family and the local friends was a wonderful and extended wedding experience shared together. Throughout the week, in true French style, we always stopped for a lunch all together, and as the evening arrived we shared aperitifs and dinner.

 

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Photography: Nordica Photography / Second Shooter: Nisha Ravji / Venue: Family Home in Burgundy, France / Dress, Veil: Pronovias / Shoes: LK Bennett / Suit: Royal Air Force Uniform
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Today’s wedding took place at a gorgeous venue, with beautiful flowers, a chic bride, bold invitations, and a delicious cake… but the absolute best thing about today’s feature? The emotion in the bride and groom’s faces. And the dancing! These people are dancing machines! If you ever worry that your wedding won’t have enough little details to feel special, just take a look at Shannon and Nikil’s celebration and be reminded that it’s really all about the people and the energy and the love.

SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE FROM THIS UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA WEDDING BY LOVE ME DO PHOTOGRAPHY.

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Truly You Events, Love Me Do | Snippet & Ink Truly You Events, Love Me Do | Snippet & Ink

 

Why did you choose this location for your ceremony?  We were looking for something unique, preferably outdoors, but within the city. We wanted to make it easy for guests to get there. We also wanted the ceremony to be in the same place as the reception. The less travel required the more time to party. Museums offered a variety of spaces that could accommodate a large wedding, and as soon as we realized that the Penn Museum was within our budget I knew it was the right choice. The front courtyard is a lovely – I used to eat lunch there sometimes as a grad student – and the interiors are stunning. Also, of course, the art!

 

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Shannon carried a lush bouquet with a few white orchids, fiddlehead ferns, and a variety of foliage.

 

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Truly You Events, Love Me Do | Snippet & Ink Truly You Events, Love Me Do | Snippet & Ink
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Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about?  Nope. I’m very DIY in real life, but for the wedding I left things to the experts.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Drink like a guest. For real. It’s a party. It’s important to enjoy it!

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  My main advice is to focus on having a great time with the people you love. It’s easy to get hung up on the details beforehand. And no doubt the planning can be stressful. Nikil and I both had our moments. But really, as long as you have your friends and family, some food and drink and good music it’s bound to be a great time.

 

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The Ceremony

“The ceremony was the most difficult thing for us to plan, since we were starting from scratch. We wanted it to be lighthearted and funny, without being too flip. Our wedding planner, Chrissy, helped a lot by giving us a general template and guiding us through the traditional approach to secular ceremonies. We chose poems and pieces from some of our favorite writers for our brothers and sisters-in-law to read. It took us forever to find the right ones. We wanted readings that were about love and family without being overly sentimental. I asked my cousin Shawn, a pastor, to read a Bible passage and deliver a blessing. That made my mom happy! And then we handed off the really hard part of the job to Pete, Nikil’s brother, who we asked to officiate.”

 

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Your ceremony in three words.  Personal, funny, and, um, literary? There were a lot of readings. My husband’s a writer – we met in book publishing.

Who officiated your ceremony?  We asked Nikil’s older brother, Pete, to officiate. He was the first person I thought of. He’s a wonderful guy, with a great sense of humor – I knew he would kill it.

Did you include any traditions in your ceremony?  Not really. We were kind of aiming for non-traditional, but we did the walking down the aisle and exchange of rings – the basic stuff. We had a traditional Hindu ceremony in Bangalore in June 2014 – most of Nikil’s family lives there and wouldn’t be able to travel to the states for a wedding. We printed and framed photos of the Indian wedding and put them at tables around the venue.

 

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Truly You Events, Love Me Do | Snippet & Ink Truly You Events, Love Me Do | Snippet & Ink

 

What was your ceremony music?  We had a great local bluegrass band, The Keystone Boys, play during the ceremony and at the cocktail hour. The processional was Ashokan Farewell, which my nerdier friends recognized as the main music used in Ken Burns’ Civil War documentary. The recessional was Cherokee Shuffle.

Ceremony readings:
A Vision of the Garden by James Merrill
If Only I Could Force by Eugenio Montale
An excerpt from the novel, Pitch Black by Renata Adler
Some Trees by John Ashbery
The Mutual Delight of the Bride and Bridegroom, Song of Solomon, Chapter Six

What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  Having all of our siblings participate.

 

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Truly You Events, Love Me Do | Snippet & Ink Truly You Events, Love Me Do | Snippet & Ink

 

What were your vows like?  Pete wrote them! Thank God for Pete, we totally saddled him with all the difficult stuff! They were fairly straightforward but included a clause about caring for one another in health and in hangovers.

 

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Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  Planning a ceremony yourself is hard! It was easily the most stressful aspect of our wedding and we put it off till the last second. But in the end it turned out beautifully and I’m so glad we did it the way we did.

 

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The Reception

“The Penn Museum is one of the most beautiful places in Philadelphia. I can’t believe we had it all to ourselves for the night! The building itself is really unique and the art and artifacts are just phenomenal. They didn’t have a lot of rules, either, which some museums and galleries have. And the event staff is a joy to work with. They made everything so easy.”

 

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Truly You Events, Love Me Do | Snippet & Ink Truly You Events, Love Me Do | Snippet & Ink

 

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  The Penn Museum and its beautiful collection of Asian and Egyptian art was the main inspiration. Generally, we didn’t want to compete too much with the space. Thousand-year-old works of art speak for themselves – we figured everything else should just accent the museum’s collection. Our planner and my mom were great with the table settings. Because I really didn’t know a thing about that I just left it up to them. For flowers I was looking for simple and mostly green. Something lush but nothing showy. Nikil and my Dad handled music suggestions for the DJ. Everyone kind of pitched in to help with the aspects of the wedding they cared most about. It was a real family affair.

 

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First dance, father/daughter dance:
First dance: “Deborah” by Beck. The first dance was kind of wild. Nikil has a very distinct dancing style.
Father/daughter dance: “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder

 

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How would you describe your reception?  Non-stop dance party. Everyone was on the dance floor.

What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  Dancing ’til they kicked us out.

 

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Truly You Events, Love Me Do | Snippet & Ink Truly You Events, Love Me Do | Snippet & Ink

 

Did you have a signature cocktail?  Budweiser. It’s my Dad’s signature drink. And I grew up in St. Louis. We passed around bottles for the toast.

What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  Vanilla Pound Cake– we’re not big cake people, so we also had a dessert station with a bunch of other options.

 

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Truly You Events, Love Me Do | Snippet & Ink Truly You Events, Love Me Do | Snippet & Ink
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If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  Eat the mini cheesesteaks we served at midnight. I totally missed them! People said they were really good.

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding?  Nikil and I put off getting engaged for years, and a big reason was we both dreaded the wedding planning. It’s a lot of time and a lot of money and we just didn’t want to deal. But in the end we both had such a great time. Even when the process was getting hectic we reminded ourselves that this is the only time in our lives we can throw a party and invite everyone we’d want to come – regardless of geography – and a lot of them will show up. I know circumstances are different for everybody and different couples want different things out of their wedding, but for us, this was perfect.

 

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Photography: Love Me Do Photography / Venue: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology / Wedding Planner: Truly You Events / Floral Design: Falls Flowers / Dress: Houghton NYC / Shoes: Manolo Blahnik / Veil: BHLDN / Earrings: Satomi / Suit & Shirt: Brooklyn Tailors / Tie: J.Crew / Stationery: Harwood Design / Hair & Makeup: Duette Hair & Makeup /  Linens: The Total Table / Ceremony Music: Keystone Mountain Boys / Reception Music: DJ Qlassick / Catering: Restaurant Associates / Cake, Dessert: Bredenbeck’s Bakery / Cake Topper: BHLDN / Video: Rosetree Films

This post contains affiliate links. 

 

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We’re suckers for a San Francisco wedding, and when you add bold black and white stripes to the Legion of Honor, well it doesn’t get much for boldly beautiful than that!

SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES FROM THIS BOLD SAN FRANCISCO WEDDING BY ZAC WOLF.

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Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink

 

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  Pinterest was a huge help during the initial stages of planning, as was scouring tons of wedding blogs. It was easier to figure out what we didn’t like in order to narrow the design choices down to what we were really looking for.

 

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What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Make sure to truly take in and appreciate every moment of the day. We were really lucky that the bumps in the planning process were ironed out before the actual day. We were able to spend the entire day totally stress-free and we enjoyed every second. The day goes by so quickly, that if you’re not paying attention, it’l totally pass you by.

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Delegate as much as you can to friends, family and the wedding planner; they are there to help! If you are on a tight budget, get a day-of planner at the very least to help keep things on schedule. Things may have gone wrong on the wedding day, but we were blissfully unaware. Stacy Wichelhaus, our wedding planner from They So Loved Events, was on top of everything and kept the entire day on schedule (to the minute!).

 

Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink
Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink

 

If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  We spent too much time during the planning process worrying about making other people happy. We felt the need to keep other people in mind when we made decisions, which made it easy to feel guilty about a lot of things, such as not being able to invite everyone we wanted to and not having the same taste in decor as our parents. Once we focused more on our own happiness, it was much easier to plan a day that everyone enjoyed, if not just for the fact that we were so incredibly happy.

 

Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink
Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink

 

Regina carried a romantic bouquet of roses, pale pink ranunculus, and lilac tied together with black and white striped ribbon.

 

Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink

 

The Ceremony

“Since I was born and raised in San Francisco, my parents wanted a part of the wedding to reflect my childhood. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church was the ideal location for the ceremony; it was where I attended preschool and it also fulfilled my mother’s wish for a church wedding, while allowing us to have a deeply personal, non-religious ceremony.”

 

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Your ceremony in three words:  Personal, elegant, emotional.

Who officiated your ceremony?  Our wedding planner recommended Reverend Dalton at Your Ceremony Matters, and we’re so thankful that she did! His presence at our wedding was honestly one of the highlights for both us and our guests. After one Skype session with him, we knew we wanted him to be a part of our special day; his professionalism and level of expertise were big selling points for us, and his Irish accent was an added bonus, since James’ family is from Ireland! He really listened to what we wanted and made sure to incorporate everything into a beautiful and spirited ceremony.

How did you go about planning your ceremony?  We worked with Reverend Dalton to create a unique and deeply personal ceremony. We started the planning process without a vision; all we knew was that we wanted it to capture the true purpose of a wedding: a celebration of our relationship and love for each other while being surrounded by those who mean the most to us. This meant scrapping the traditional vows, readings, prayers and huge wedding party, and finding a way to incorporate our community. Thankfully, our officiant worked with us to come up with a ceremony that really reflected us as a couple. Since neither of us practice a religion, it was important that we had a ceremony that we felt reflected us as a couple, while respecting our parents wishes for a more traditional ceremony. We ended up with the perfect balance of spiritual and secular which made everyone feel welcome and included.

 

Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink
Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink

 

Did you include any traditions in your ceremony?  We closed with a traditional Irish blessing.

What was your ceremony music?  We hired a string quartet from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music to play during our ceremony. We chose “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” for the processional because it’s such a classically beautiful song. I walked down the aisle to “Canon in D” by Pachelbel; it was my one “must haves” for the ceremony. One of the most special moments of the day was the recessional because the string trio learned Foo Fighter’s “Everlong” especially for us, and played it as a surprise to the guests. Walking out of the church to that song was so powerful.

What were your ceremony readings?  James’ best friend from childhood, Sean Yeaton, who is a fantastic writer, read a piece that he wrote himself. His reading centered mostly on the concept of love, which included this beautiful quote: “A wedding and a marriage are not mutually exclusive – obviously. You become married once you are wed but your wedding is a candid invitation for your friends and family to catch a meteoric glimpse of your exclusively whimsical romance the way you see and feel it every day.”

 

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What were your vows like?  We wanted to find vows that were both personal but not generic or cheesy. We spent a long time looking for poems, readings, and songs that spoke to us, and in the end we both chose to modify a poem that had a deep emotional impact on us. James chose to read “Union” by Robert Fulghum and I read “I Love You” by Roy Croft. Reading the poems in front of everyone was extremely emotional, and we were overcome by tears.

What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  Other than seeing the look (and tears) on James’ face as I walked down the aisle, our favorite part of the ceremony was how included the community was. Our officiant made sure to welcome everyone at the beginning, even naming all of the cities and states that people traveled from, and he acknowledged those who were not with us specifically mentioning our grandparents. It was a nice touch to remember those who could not be there. One of the most special takeaways from the ceremony was knowing that there may never be another time in which all of our loved ones are all in the same room together. I was pleasantly surprised at how significant the ceremony was in comparison to the other events of the day, since it’s so easy to spend more time and effort focusing on the reception details.

 

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Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  My mother stayed up until 3am the night before putting together small bags of white rose petals to throw after the ceremony. At first we thought it was overkill, but they completely transformed the pictures of us exiting the church. Some of my favorite wedding photos are from when our guests threw the petals, and I’m so thankful for all the work my mom put into making that moment happen.

 

Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink
Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink

 

The Reception

“We may be biased, but we thought our reception was one classy affair! Our reception was held at the Legion of Honor, which is an art museum specializing in ancient and European art. It was a perfect balance of formal and fun, and hopefully everyone enjoyed getting all dressed up for the event! We wanted it to be timeless with clean, elegant touches.”

 

Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink

 

Why did you choose this location for your reception?  We wanted the wedding to be in San Francisco, and we probably looked at every single possible venue before deciding on the Legion of Honor. Being a city girl, I really wanted the venue to have a classic San Francisco urban vibe to it, while James wanted to incorporate the great outdoors. The Legion of Honor had everything we were looking for, not to mention some incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge (when the fog cooperates). Being able to host the cocktail hour in the Rodin gallery was a big selling point, along with the outdoor patio space for those looking to cool down from all of the dancing.

Tell us about your wedding decor.  We were going for a clean, modern look that complemented the grandeur of the Legion of Honor. Our design preferences ended up merging at black and white, with black and white striped ribbon as the accent. I guess you could say it was an unofficial black tie event; I loved seeing our friends and family in gowns and suits!

 

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Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink

 

Did you have a signature cocktail?  James makes his own bitters at home, and for the wedding, he made special orange bitters that was served in the Sazerac, a twist on the classic New Orleans cocktail. We wanted a second cocktail that was a little lighter and wouldn’t get people too sloppy before dinner. Our bar manager made a delicious cucumber and mint gimlet that the guests loved.

 

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What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  The speeches were the most memorable part of the evening; it was so touching to see some of our favorite people speak so highly of us, and of course, crack some jokes at our expense. The speeches were so thoughtful and moving, it was actually one of the only times that I cried that entire day. James’s brother (and best man) completely transformed into a late night talk show host (complete with tossing index cards), giving a hilariously rousing, yet touching speech about brotherly love and me joining the family.

 

Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink
Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink

 

What was your first dance song?  Our first dance song was “This Will Be Our Year” by the Zombies. We had been throwing ideas around for months, but our song came to us when we first heard it on an episode of Mad Men and both had the same “this is it!” moment. A month later, the Zombies held a free concert in San Francisco, and we knew it was fate. My father and I danced to “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra; it was a nod to our Italian heritage. James grew up listening to Van Morrison and The Chieftains with his mother on Sunday mornings. Being of Irish descent, a reflection of his mother’s heritage was important, so James and his mother danced a modified version of the Irish polka to “I Tell Me Ma” by Van Morrison and The Chieftains. They had all the guests on their feet, cheering and clapping, as they twirled around the dance floor.

Did you include any other traditions in your wedding?  We gave out bombonieri as our wedding favors, which consist of five Jordan almonds in a tulle bag. The five sugared almonds symbolize health, wealth, happiness, fertility and long life.

 

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What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  Neither of us are big fans of cake, and after a few disappointing tastings with bakeries around SF, Global Gourmet (our catering company) held a cake tasting for us. James fell hard for the dark chocolate Bailey’s cake with chocolate ganache and cream cheese frosting. For the middle layer we got an amaretto cake with toasted almonds and mascarpone. My mother also had 7-layer cookies from Ferrara Bakery in NYC shipped out. The cookies were so much easier to eat while dancing!

 

Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink
Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink

 

Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception.  James proposed to me in a photo booth, so it was very important that there was one at the reception. In fact, the photo booth was the first detail that we booked. It was a total hit, and we had our guests paste the photo strips into a memory book as an alternative guest book.

 

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Photography: Zac Wolf / Wedding Planning and Design: They So Loved Events / Ceremony Venue: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in San Francisco / Reception Venue: Legion of Honor / Bride’s Dress: Vera Wang / Officiant: Your Ceremony Matters / Catering: Global Gourmet Catering / Rentals: Hartmann Studios / Linens: La Tavola Linens / Floral Design: Mindy Rosenberg / Photo Booth: Perspective Photo Booth / DJ: Dart DJ / Ceremony Music: Music to Go / Transportation: Classic Cable Car / Transportation: NLS Limo / Makeup: Eliza Desch / Hair: Natalie Keklikian / Invitations: Union Street Papery / Paper Goods: Black Lab Studios / Signage: Blunder Construction
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With Paris as the backdrop for your wedding, there’s not much else required for a beautiful and romantic day. Though she always thought she would want a big, traditional wedding, Morgan realized that an intimate celebration was a better fit for her and Thomas, so they spent a week with 14 of their closest family and friends in Paris, where they were wed at The American Church. Inspired to fly off to Paris for a small, destination wedding? In addition to sharing their photos and details, Morgan and Taylor have also kindly shared their wedding budget breakdown with us, which you can see right here.

SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES FROM THIS INTIMATE PARIS WEDDING BY L’SECRET D’AUDREY.

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“Aside from the location, we went simple with our wedding, and it was perfect,” shares Morgan. “We were able to have an intimate wedding and also make it a special vacation for everyone. We spent a week in Paris, and the day after the wedding we left for our honeymoon in Greece. With a destination wedding came planning challenges (we couldn’t just call up vendors to talk with them, not to mention the language barrier), but in the end we had a memorable experience that we will never forget – and it spanned over a week, not just a day! The day we received our pictures, it really sealed the deal, as they blew everyone away! It was a dream wedding come true.”

 

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L'Secret D'Audrey | Snippet & Ink L’Secret D’Audrey | Snippet & Ink

 

“Our wedding was far from traditional, but there were a few touches that made it feel like home to us. My grandma passed away just before my birthday in 2014, and a little while after that, my mom gave me a pearl necklace that used to be my grandmothers’s to wear for my wedding (something old). My dress didn’t quite fit with a necklace, so I wore it around my wrist as a bracelet. My mom and I both teared up as she put it on my wrist before the ceremony, and it was truly special to get to have that to remind me of my Grandma.”

 

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Morgan’s bouquet was the only floral detail from the wedding, and it complemented her romantic blush gown perfectly. It included peonies, garden roses, dusty miller, and viburnum.

 

L'Secret D'Audrey | Snippet & Ink L’Secret D’Audrey | Snippet & Ink

 

The Ceremony

“We had a couple locations in mind for our ceremony, but ultimately we decided on The American Church in Paris because of the gorgeous and traditional chapel. There were stained-glass windows surrounding the entire church, and an organist to play music. It also really helped that they spoke English (which was important in planning a wedding in Paris), and they frequently host weddings, so they knew what to do.”

 

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Your ceremony in three words.  Traditional, simple, memorable.

How did you go about planning your ceremony?  The church provided a basic template to go off of, and we kept with that, and chose music that the organist would play.

Ceremony music:
Processional Music for the Bride: Canon in “D” Pachelbel
Lighting of the Unity candle: “Ave Maria” Franz Schubert
Recessional Music: “The Wedding March” Mendelssohn (the traditional
march)

Ceremony readings:  1 Corinthians 13:1-8, 13 / 1 John 4:7, 16b, 19

What were your vows like?  We did not write our own vows, and instead went with traditional vows. Neither of us are very good at putting our feelings into words (nor reading them out loud), so this fit us well.

 

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What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  Standing in front of our close family and friends who were able to make it, and just focusing on each other. We barely even noticed anyone else, as we were so concentrated on one another.

Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  It was a cold and cloudy day in Paris for the wedding, but when the Pastor pronounced us as husband and wife, the sun came out and shined right through all of the stained glass windows. It was a beautiful sight.

 

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“I love details, but I tend to fret over the small stuff,” says Morgan. “If I would have had to plan a full reception, I am not sure that it would have gone so peacefully! The day goes by so fast, that I didn’t even notice the small things. For us, it was about spending time in a gorgeous new city with some of our family, which is exactly what we did.”

 

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The Reception

“Our reception was very simple and non-traditional. Since we only had 14 people, we had a private dinner at a Paris restaurant after the ceremony. Our photographer recommended it (it was difficult finding restaurants with private rooms online, and I wasn’t able to call any of them), and it was small but simple with a great menu option. It was also in a great location that was easy to get to.”

 

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What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  I did a lot of searching on Pinterest for “Paris wedding” and got ideas of what a wedding in Paris looked like. Many pictures that came up were of Parisian-inspired weddings, which isn’t what I wanted; I wanted it simple, which is why a private dinner was perfect. We had a macaron “cake” from Ladurée, but no decorations were needed besides what the restaurant provided, and it was simple and perfect.

 

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If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  I wish we had planned the ceremony better, and had our parents do the readings and be more involved. We visited the church a couple days before the wedding, but neither of our parents came with us, so they weren’t quite sure what to do. Also, I missed not having a first dance and father/daughter dance, but we can have that moment next time we are all together. Otherwise, we loved our wedding just as it was.

What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  Because our wedding was small, a private dinner was the perfect way to just sit and enjoy everyone’s company. At the traditional receptions I’ve been to, the couples are so busy trying to get around and talk to everyone, that they have no time to sit and enjoy the moment. We had the luxury of being able to sit at one table with all of our guests, and be able to talk with everyone and enjoy the setting.

 

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Photography: Le Secret D’Audrey / Venue: The American Church in Paris, France / Floral Design: Estelle Preston / Dress: Vera Wang via Warren Barron / Shoes: Valentino / Suit: Boss / Tie: Burberry / Shirt: Nordstrom / Shoes: Gucci / Hair: Ciara Coiffure / Makeup: Charles Gillman / Rentals: One Fine Stay / Officiant: Rev. Dr. Jeff Powell / Dessert: Ladurée

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