My godmother, Michaele Thunen, is one of the most talented people I know, especially when it comes to flowers, and my bridal bouquet was her wedding gift to me. Though she wasn’t technically a “vendor,” she’s a perfect example of what happens when you hire wedding professionals that you trust to take your initial inspiration and direction, and then use their discretion and talent to create something wonderful.

top {L: wild green bouquet} {R: bouquet with vines}
bottom {L: warm white rose bouquet} {R: gardenia bouquet}

These are some of the photos I shared with Michaele – I knew the general shape that I liked, and that I wanted all white flowers with some greenery. I mentioned to her how much I love lily-of-the-valley, gardenias, and vines. Michaele and I discussed that paperwhites seemed like they would be a good seasonal addition, and dusty miller was a nice way to incorporate the gray that was part of our wedding’s color palette. Also, any gifts I’ve ever received from Michaele are always tied with the most beautiful ribbon, so I knew she would pick something beautiful to embellish my bouquet.

bouquets by Ariella Chezar

Ariella Chezar has been a huge inspiration for me since long before I started my blog, so of course I drew inspiration from her flowers for my own wedding. Though I knew peonies, garden roses and clematis (some of my favorite flowers!) would be unavailable for our wedding in December, and though pink and peach weren’t the right colors, these two pieces really conveyed the overall feel and texture that I wanted for my bouquet.

photo by Elizabeth Messina

Somehow, Michaele brought together all of the different pieces that I loved, and created my dream bouquet – I absolutely fell in love with it. She even found peonies in December! My bouquet included peonies, paperwhites, gardenias, lily-of-the-valley, dusty miller, passion vine, and stephanotis vine, and was all tied up with two types of beautiful silver ribbon from Britex. I trusted that Michaele would make something gorgeous, so after I’d shared my inspiration with her, I left it up to her how to bring it all together. And I’m so glad I did, because not only was the result absolutely perfect, it was also a delightful surprise on my wedding day.

 

Kiss the Groom (Elizabeth Messina) is a sponsor of Snippet & Ink.

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The two things that made me fall in love with Martha Stewart Weddings magazine when I was sixteen years old were the gorgeous invitations suites, and the flowers. I just can’t get enough paper and flowers, and weddings are such a wonderful chance to have fun with them! So I thought I’d share some of our inspiration for those two things with you, starting with the invitations.

Originally, I imagined invitations that were classic black ink printed on ivory paper, done with whimsical or modern calligraphy. But when we decided on the Presidio Social Club for our reception, I started to re-think that look, and with the help of my planner, Laurie, a different design started to emerge. I was able to narrow down the enormous stack of inspiration that was tucked into my wedding binder to what I’ve included here, and it all started to come together.

napkin and drink menu from the Presidio Social Club, calligraphy by Betsy Dunlap, take-away menu from La Boulange, vintage Lone Star coasters (photo by me)

At one of our meetings at the Presidio Social Club, my mom and Laurie and I agreed that the red and white striped napkin was a great starting point for inspiration. Simple, unfussy, and of course the colors. Laurie is also the one who suggested a coaster for our reception card, which I thought was a great idea, and totally fitting with the supper club venue.

red-edged menus by The Lettered Olive
white calligraphy on gray envelope by Betsy Dunlap
blind press wreath on a family Christmas card (photo by me)

I’ve loved Betsy Dunlap‘s calligraphy from before I ever started this blog, and her work is even included in my very first inspiration board! Ryan also fell in love with her whimsical style (My husband has an opinion about calligraphy. I love it.), so we knew that she would add the perfect amount of playfulness and whimsy to our invites.

I really love subtle details that I think add so much to an invitation, like letterpress, hand edging, rounded corners. I wanted to include blind press of some sort, because I think it really highlights what’s wonderful about letterpress, which is the texture. My godmother shared this family holiday card with me, and a wreath seemed fitting for the season, without being overly Christmas-y.

invitations suites both from Martha Stewart Weddings

These two suites are examples of tear sheets pulled from my years of collecting issues of Martha Stewart Weddings. Pops of red kept the look festive, and traditional wording kept it classic.

letterpress studio of Alan Hillesheim (photos by me)

Jill Sassa from PS Paper set up a visit to Alan Hillesheim‘s studio so I could see letterpress in action! It was so fun to see all of those old machines, and to know where our invitations came from, and all of the artisanship that went into making them.

the final product (photos by me)

I also always knew I wanted vintage stamps, and for our invitations, they were a great way to bring color to the envelopes. I was thrilled to discover The Paper Nickel, who made the whole process of finding the right color, style and denomination of stamps infinitely easier than if I’d had to spend hours searching eBay for stamps.

It was so fun playing around with our invitation design, deciding on the perfect fonts, sizing for the text and wreath motif, and just the right colors. And I had such awesome people working with me to make it all come to life, namely Jill at PS Paper, Betsy Dunlap, and Holly at The Paper Nickel. Can’t wait to show you some close-ups of the suite details next week!

 

Laurie Arons Special Events, The Paper Nickel and PS Paper are sponsors of Snippet & Ink. Thank you to Betsy Dunlap for the wedding gift of envelope calligraphy.

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Today I thought it would be fun to share some of our planning process with you, and some of our wedding inspiration – what better place to start than with our venue search. You may have seen some of these pics and read some of this over on The Bride’s Guide earlier this week, but I added a few details here…

Almost as soon as Ryan and I were engaged, I was dreaming of a wedding at the beautiful Beltane Ranch in Glen Ellen, California. One of the very first real weddings I ever featured on Snippet & Ink was held there, and I’ve been enamored of it ever since. I could picture every part of our wedding there, and visiting, it really is as lovely in person as it is in photos. Unfortunately, our budget didn’t love it as much as I did, so we kept looking…

We considered several other Bay Area venues, including Chileno Valley Ranch (Ryan especially loved this place. It’s a working ranch, in the beautiful hills of Marin County, with an apple orchard, a creek and an old barn), the Olema Inn (we loved the idea of being able to have our immediate families all staying together at this quaint inn, and west Marin is one of our very favorite places), Tiburon’s charming and tiny China Cabin (this is probably one of the most special venues we looked at – the first-class social saloon from an old ship, set on the San Francisco bay - but ultimately the 55-person capacity ruled it out for us), and finally decided on the Lyford House, an historic Victorian landmark on the property of an Audubon sanctuary with an amazing view of San Francisco and the bay. We planned on a small summer wedding there, and hoped that the weather would cooperate (summers in San Francisco are notoriously foggy).

This was the plan, until I went to my family’s summer home in Montana for a few weeks. The longer I was there, the more I could imagine all of the details of our Montana wedding – Ryan even built a bridge across the creek where I’d walk from the house to the ceremony. Montana has a special place in my heart – it’s where my mom is from, and it’s where I spent summers growing up. Of course, we’d have to bring in a tent from two hours away, caterers would have to come from two hours away in the other direction, and our photographer and other vendors would have to fly in to the nearest small airport. Not to mention the  trip our guests would have to make!

When we returned home to Austin, I realized how overwhelmed I was by the huge production involved in a Montana wedding, and how overwhelmed I was by choosing a venue at all. When you look at beautiful weddings all day long, it’s tough to narrow down all of the amazing options you know are out there! So after talking about it, Ryan and I opted to put a moratorium on wedding planning. We didn’t talk about our wedding for a whole week! (That’s only meant to be partly sarcastic – let me tell you, when you’re a wedding blogger who’s engaged to be married, a week of not talking weddings is an eternity.)

There was one point (very briefly), where Ryan and I played with the idea of getting married in Austin. The Hotel Saint Cecilia would have made for a very stylish wedding location, and Austin would have been a fun place for our friends and family to visit. But by Christmas, we knew we’d be moving back to San Francisco at the end of the school year, so a wedding in Austin didn’t make much sense.

Which brings us to January 2010. Planning had been on hold since August, which gave Ryan and me (okay, mostly me; Ryan was pretty much sane from start to finish) a few months to think about what we wanted for our wedding, and to re-focus. It took me a few months, but by then I was less worried about finding the most perfect place, and more interested in just marrying the love of my life already.

Not to say that planning was smooth sailing from there on out, but it was easier. We looked at a couple more Bay Area venues (the Sausalito Woman’s Club and the Presidio Log Cabin), and finally decided on a December wedding in the sweetest, coziest church followed by a reception at one of our favorite San Francisco restaurants…

Ryan saw photos from a wedding at the Swedenborgian Church on Laurie Arons’ blog, and he loved the look of it, so he suggested I visit the church on my next trip home to San Francisco. As it happened, the church was just around the corner from where I attended high school! My mom and I stopped by, and as soon as I stepped inside, I knew it was The Place – charming, intimate, cozy. Originally, Ryan and I planned to have our reception in the parish house behind the church, but it didn’t quite work for a sit-down dinner for the number of people on our guest list. One of my best friends, my mom, and Laurie Arons each suggested the Presidio Social Club, and that was that! From there, everything else started to fall into place…

 

Laurie Arons Special Events is a sponsor of Snippet & Ink.

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Okay friends, here it is! I have a hard enough time editing real wedding features when I’m not the bride, so you can imagine how hard it was to narrow down photos from my own wedding. It was also tough trying to write the text for this post – I didn’t want to leave out a single detail! Which is why I’m doing more posts next week, so I can share even more pics and details and stories. First, though, I wanted to give you a “Real Wedding: Kathryn & Ryan” post…

Since I’m from San Francisco, and since it would be my home with Ryan by the time of our wedding, it seemed like the best place to get married – plus we thought it would be a fun city for our out-of-town guests to visit. Because I look at wedding photos all day everyday, I had moments of serious wedding planning confusion, but once we decided on a date (December 4) and venues, the details started to fall into place.

Cavallo Point is a beautiful hotel that overlooks the San Francisco Bay, and it was the perfect place for all of the girls to get ready, as well as for portraits before the ceremony.

The bouquet my godmother made for me was pretty much my dream bouquet. She incorporated all of the things I asked for and that she knows I love: peonies (in December!), lily-of-the-valley, paper whites, dusty miller, gardenia and passion vine. She tied it with two kinds of silver ribbon from Britex.

I’m totally in love with my wedding dress – the pale dove gray was so perfect for a winter wedding, it had just the right amount of sparkle, and I felt like Grace Kelly when I put it on (especially after Jim Avila worked his hair and makeup magic on me!).

For our invitations, I wanted a look that was classic and elegant, as well as playful – it was so much fun working with Jill at PS Paper, and seeing my ideas come to life.

The Swedenborgian Church is such a perfect venue for a winter wedding – it’s intimate and cozy, all dark wood and candlelight. And it’s one of those magical little places that you’d probably drive right past if you didn’t know it was there. Also, how cute are those valet guys out front with their white dinner jackets? And I don’t even need to ask how adorable our flower girl is…

So many brides have told me that the ceremony was their favorite part of the day, and I totally know why. Aside from the obvious (the marrying my best friend part), every moment I could feel the love of our friends and family like a hug. It was also wonderful to have one of our dearest friends officiate – she did such an amazing job, and gave us the most wonderful gift of a beautiful and personal address. And as though it wasn’t all perfect enough, Jenna Lam (one of our incredible wedding planners) surprised us with a boys’ choir singing Christmas carols as we walked out of the church!

One of the few details that I was certain I wanted from the get-go was button escort cards – I’ve loved this idea ever since I saw it in an issue of Martha Stewart Weddings, and together with calligrapher Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls, Jill from PS Paper made it happen. And our guests loved them!

The Presidio Social Club is just a short drive from the church, it happens to be one of our favorite restaurants in the city, and was all around a great pick for our reception. It has a retro vibe, delicious food, and since it’s in the Presidio, it feels very “San Francisco.” When guests arrived, they were greeted with Poinsettia cocktails served in retro champagne coupes, which I thought were pretty festive.

Is it weird that one of my favorite details from our wedding was the napkins? Kathleen Deery had them custom made for our wedding, and somehow those little pom-poms added so much to the tables! They also fit so perfectly with the elegantly playful mood that we hoped to create for the party. Oh, and a few of you asked about my crystal hair piece yesterday – it was a gift from the wonderful Jennifer Behr.

At the bottom of their menus, guests were reminded to save room for dessert: Noci Gelato brought their party bike (in lieu of a groom’s cake, since my groom is an ice cream man), waiters passed around beignets filled with chocolate, and Perfect Endings created a gorgeous (and delicious!) cake and dessert buffet for us.

This is probably one of my favorite photos from our entire wedding – how cute are these kids! They probably enjoyed the photo booth more than anyone, except maybe for all the grown ups. The booth printed duplicate copies of everything, so our guests could leave one in an album for us along with a note. It was so much fun looking through the album/guest book later that night.

The dessert buffet included some of our favorite flavors, including seasonal treats like eggnog (with donuts), gingerbread cookies and peppermint bark.

My mom (I love you mom!) made more than 100 Christmas crackers, which our guests had fun with – we have some great pics of people popping them open and wearing the paper crowns. My godmother found the cute silver holly that decorated them.

Whoever says wedding cake is overrated has never tasted one from Perfect Endings – not only was our cake beautiful, decorated with sugar cyclamen to match the centerpieces, but it’s quite possibly the best cake I’ve ever eaten. Two tiers of lemon sponge cake with lemon curd and two tiers of their Mahogany cake (chocolate layer cake with chocolate hazelnut truffle cream). I’m drooling just thinking about it…

I truly loved every part of our wedding, but next to the ceremony, I’d say our first dance was a favorite moment. Crystal Monee Hall has such an incredible voice, and having her sing You’re All I Need to Get By (our song!) was such a treat.

Oh my goodness – there is so much more I want to share with you! Tomorrow I thought I’d share some of the planning process, and then next week I’ll go more in-depth about the details and moments and stories and vendors. We were so lucky to have friends and family there to celebrate with us, and to have some of the most amazing wedding vendors anyone could hope for. I can honestly say that our wedding was one of the most wonderful and special days I’ve ever experienced, and I know Ryan would say the same thing – thank you for letting me revisit it here by sharing it with you!

 

Vendors

Planning, coordination: Laurie Arons Boutique Events, directed by Jenna Lam

Photography: Elizabeth Messina

Videography: Sandbox Love

Venues
Getting ready, portraits: Cavallo Point in Sausalito, California
Ceremony: The Swedenborgian Church of San Francisco
Reception: Presidio Social Club in San Francisco

My attire
Dress: Angel Sanchez purchased at Jin Wang
Veil: purchased at Jin Wang
Hair clip: Jennifer Behr
White bridal shoes: Kate Spade
Sparkly flats: Steve Madden

Hair and makeup: Jim Avila and Darlene Carlson (415-381-5609)

Wedding bands: Stephan-Hill

Ryan’s attire
Suit, shirt, tie: Ralph Lauren
Shoes: Bally purchased at Saks Fifth Avenue
Suspenders: Brooks Brothers

Other attire
Flower girl, Junior bridesmaid dresses: Lula Kate purchased at Bella Bridesmaid
Flower girl, Junior bridesmaid shoes: Payless
Maid of Honor dresses: Amsale purchased at Bella Bridesmaid
Ring bearer suit: Janie & Jack
Ring bearer bow tie: BuyYourTies.com

Stationery
Invitation suite, save-the-dates: PS Paper
Letterpress: Alan Hillesheim
Envelope calligraphy: Betsy Dunlap
Vintage stamps: The Paper Nickel
Day-of details (menus, buttons, coasters, etc.): PS Paper
Day-of calligraphy: Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls

Decor
Personal flowers: Michaele Thunen
Ceremony, reception flowers: Kathleen Deery Design
Tent, Chiavari chairs: Classic Party Rentals
Linens: LaTavola Linen
Lounge furniture: Kathleen Deery Design

Catering
Dinner: Presidio Social Club
Cake: Perfect Endings
Dessert buffet: Perfect Endings
Dessert buffet details: PS Paper
Gelato bike: Noci Gelato

Music
String trio: Lawrence Strings
Boys’ choir: Golden Gate Boys’ Choir and Bell Ringers
Band: Jazz Mafia
Vocals: Crystal Monee Hall
Professional sound: Delicate Productions

Photo booth: Magnolia Photo Booth
Custom booth curtain, guest book: PS Paper

Transportation
Valet: Soiree Valet
Shuttle: Bauer’s Transportation
Vintage cab: Marin Checker Taxi, 415-789-5356

 

See all of my posts about our wedding right here!

 

Bauer’s Transportation, Bella Bridesmaid, Classic Party Rentals, Kathleen Deery Design, Kiss the Groom, Laurie Arons Special Events, Lawrence Strings, Magnolia Photo Booth, Noci Gelato, The Paper Nickel, Perfect Endings, PS Paper, Sandbox Love and Soiree Valet are sponsors of Snippet & Ink. Thank you to Betsy Dunlap for the wedding gift of envelope calligraphy, to Cavallo Point for extending the media room rate for our stay, and to Jennifer Behr for the gift of the beautiful crystal head piece.

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You might remember Jesse Tarnoff and the team at Sandbox Love from this awesome video, so you can imagine how excited Ryan and I were to have them film our wedding. They’re such a fun bunch, and it was so nice getting to know them in the months leading up to our wedding, and then to have them there that day. Somehow, even with four guys filming, they managed to be inconspicuous and unobtrusive (some of our wedding guests didn’t even realize we had videographers!). And I think they did a perfect job of telling our wedding story…

 

Sandbox Love is a sponsor of Snippet & Ink.

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