Emily de Ayora of Downey Street Events is here today not just as a wedding planner, but also as the bride! Annie McElwain (also a Snippet & Ink Select vendor) was there to photograph the beautiful February wedding…

Annie McElwain, Downey Street Events | Snippet & Ink Annie McElwain, Downey Street Events | Snippet & Ink

Listen to this crazy story about Emily and Gerry’s wedding venue! “Oddly enough, I experienced more hiccups in my wedding planning than I have with any of my couples combined. The first major upset was with our venue. We picked an amazing art gallery in the Mission… which had to shut its doors 3 months before our wedding. The day we found out about the venue I was at a dress fitting, trying on this amazing custom dress and thinking that I had no place to wear it! Luckily I have two of the best colleagues in the world, and by the time the fitting was over, Lauren and Cassandra had a spreadsheet of options ready with availability and site visits set up. Gerry and I visited Dogpatch WineWorks that night. It was about 4 blocks from our home, newly opened, and a wonderfully interesting and flexible space. We signed the contract and I am so glad things worked out the way they did. Having the venue so close to our home allowed me to get ready at my own house on our wedding day. We did our first look in our backyard, and family photos in a park nearby. It was easy and comfortable.”

From Emily: “My favorite part of planning was thinking up wonderful little details to surprise our guests. From our guest book (a cookbook with lots of lovely pictures and white spaces for notes from guests), to vintage sea glass jars as bud vases, to hand painting all of the votives with gold leaf and metallic paint, to displaying framed photos of our parents (married 35 and 36 years respectively). We also hand wrote notes to each of our guests, inserted into little metallic envelopes, which doubled as place cards. Our signature drink was ‘Guns and Roses’ (Brut Rose and blood orange juice with a twist).”



What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  Planning your own wedding when you are a wedding planner is hard. I have seen and done so many things for my clients that it was difficult to come up with ideas that felt new, fun, inspirational, or personal. I tried to relax and focus on things that I really enjoy, and let the venue and the season inspire me. I also gave artistic reign to the vendors I worked with. I know from experience that trusting and collaborating with vendors is the best way to get a truly gorgeous and one-of-a-kind look for your event. Overall, the look of metallics, warm wood and linens combined with the structural but soft florals, perfect lighting, and the smell of wine in the air from the venue set a terrific tone for the event, and I was ecstatic with how it turned out both as a wedding planner and as a bride.

Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  Our ceremony followed the traditional Catholic ceremony and vows very closely, which felt right to us as a family tradition. We also used the same toasting flutes that my parents used at their wedding, and my brother and sister-in-law used at theirs. I wanted our wedding to feel like a wedding – a celebration of our union. I think we succeeded in choosing traditions that led us to that type of event.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  The best advice I received was from Lauren, who reminded me often to focus on what I loved. Also, the wine and chocolate pairing station was her idea, and it was an excellent one.

What advice do you have for other brides?  The best advice I always give to my brides is what I tried to follow as well – hire a planner, trust your vendors to do their jobs without micromanaging them, and get your groom involved in the things that are most important to him. A planner is necessary. Lauren always says that everybody needs a wedding planner – no matter what. There are a range of planners out there at different price points and you will save yourself and your family a lot of stress by having someone to recommend vendors for you, advocate for you, and set up and run your big day so you can just enjoy time with your loved ones. I also think it is important to let your vendors do their jobs. As I said before, giving them creative license can be a beautiful thing. You will be surprised in a good way. Collaborate with them, make them a part of your team. You will get the best results from vendors who value you as a client and want your day to be special as a result. Finally, I think it is extremely important for often-quiet grooms to have a voice in the planning process. I always ask grooms to tell about the thing or things they care about most, so that I can keep that in mind as we plan. In our case that was music, and Gerry spent a long time making sure that our musical choices reflected us and would be enjoyed by our guests. It was really fun to watch him take ownership of that project.

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  One budget tip that I implemented was choosing an off-season date. Between November and March venues are less expensive, more vendors are available and willing to work with smaller budgets, and your guests will be less likely to have another wedding to go to. I loved having a February wedding! It felt cozy and romantic.

Photographer: Anne McElwainMeg Messina, Jennifer Andresen / Venue: Dogpatch Wineworks in San Francisco, California / Event Planner: Emily de Ayora, Lauren Geissler of Downey Street Events / Officiant: Reverend Paedar Dalton, Your Ceremony Matters / Custom Dress: Jinza Jin / Shoes: Jimmy Choo via Bloomingdales / Suit, shirt: Indochino / Tie: Burberry via Nordstrom /  Stationery: Sixpence Press / Calligraphy: Pretty Pen Jen / Floral Designer: Natalie Bowen Designs / Linens: La Tavola Linens / Rentals: Classic Party Rentals / Guitarist: Matt Bacon, Paul Morton of San Francisco Conservatory Music to Go / DJ: Kevin O’Scanlon / Catering: California Table / Cake: The Whole Cake / Lighting: Got Light / Hair: Sublime Salon / Makeup: Katie Nash Beauty

Downey Street Events and Annie McElwain are Snippet & Ink Select vendors.

  • February Wedding at Dogpatch Wineworks

    19 November 2013
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    You might have seen this beautiful wedding pop up for a brief moment a few months ago, until I realized I was supposed to hold the feature until November. Well it’s November! And seeing as this stunning Blackberry Farm wedding from Snippet & Ink Select vendors Calder Clark Designs and A Bryan Photo took place in November, it seems like an excellent time to share it with you…

    Invitations were a mix of classic calligraphy and playful graphics, printed in dark green ink on cream paper.

    The bride’s bouquet included blush pink and white peonies, white anemones, white ranunculus, white garden roses, and white hellebores.

    Flower planters that lined the ceremony aisled did double duty by decorating the edge of the dance floor.

    The couple’s getaway golf cart gets the full treatment, with garlands, purple ribbons, and a calligraphed sign. Seating assignments were displayed on a wall of moss and succulents.

    “My family always opens poppers on Christmas morning, so I thought it would be a fun idea to use poppers as our place cards. Calder Clark and I played around with ideas on what to include and decided to add a toy farm animal to each popper along with the dinner menu. Our guests loved the toys and they added a nice rustic touch to the table.” Place cards, menus, and favors in one!



    Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  We knew we wanted a destination wedding and somewhere our family and friends could have the opportunity to see each other and really get to know one another. I had this vision of my family and friends having breakfast with Stodd’s and thought it was a cool idea to pick a place where we could take over an entire property and be the only people there. I had long been obsessed with Blackberry Farm and used to joke that I would get married there. Being from Los Angeles, my family thought I was crazy, but the second we arrived for a site visit we knew nowhere else could compare.

    What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  I am an interior designer so I looked to interiors a lot for inspiration. I wanted our rehearsal dinner to feel like the way I would want an outdoor dinner party of ours would look like.  With Blackberry Farm as your backdrop you really don’t need to add much, but I wanted to enhance what as already there with jewel tones and an elegant chic feel. I was also obsessed with an Oscar de le Renta advertisement that had a model dancing on a beautiful black and white marble floor. I couldn’t believe Calder Clark and Blossom were able to replicate it for our dance floor!

    What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  I actually loved the afternoon of the wedding day. Stodd and his friends were playing corn hole and my friends and I were perched on the hillside staring out at the view. It was so fun to be surrounded by our friends and family in a relaxed environment just a couple hours before the big “I Do’s”.

    What advice do you have for other brides?  Enjoy it! Being engaged is such a great experience. You have the rest of your lives to be married, but only a short time to really celebrate being engaged with family and friends.

    Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?  We created a custom Instagram hashtag that we included on our welcome maps. All our guests really ran with it and we had over 300 photos tagged with #stoddisaluckyguy that we are able to enjoy. It was so fun to be able to see what everyone was doing throughout the day. I love that I can pull up all the photos and relive the weekend.



    Passed Hors D’ouevres: Housemade Potato Chips with Paddlefish Caviar and Creme Fraiche / Benton’s Ham and Onion Tart / Mushroom Bruschetta // First Course: Salad of Purple Mizuna with Local Pears, Elderflower Vinaigrette, and Pecans // Second Course:  Mushroom Risotto with Parmesan Cream and Aged Balsamic Vinaigrette // Third Course: Short Ribs, Crispy Onions, Roasted Cauliflower, and Olive Oil Braised Greens // Dessert: Carrot Cake filled with Homemade Cream Cheese Buttercream

    Photographer: A Bryan Photo / Event Planner: Calder Clark Designs / Venue, Catering: Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee / Floral Designer, Production Team: Blossom Events / Gown: Oscar de la Renta / Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Bakery: Magpie Cakes / Rentals: All Occasions Party Rentals / Tent: Skyline Tent Company/Sperry Tents Southeast / Linens: DC Rental / Lighting: TEC / Rehearsal Dinner Band: Whiskey Rebellion / Ceremony Musician: Mary Ann Fennell / Reception Band: The Maxx / Stationery: Mr. Boddington’s StudioCheree Berry Paper / Calligraphy: Elizabeth Porcher JonesTraci Green
  • Autumn Wedding at Blackberry Farm

    18 November 2013
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    There’s something so romantic about intimate garden weddings, like this one from photographer Nancy Aidee that took place at The Gardens of Bammel Lane in Houston.

    Caroline and Will wanted a simple wedding, and were inspired by the colors and flowers of spring. Says the bride: “We knew we would have a smaller wedding and wanted an intimate, outdoor setting. We are confirming our vows in the Catholic Church at a later date. It was a perfect and beautiful day in May. I couldn’t ask for more.”

    Guests were greeted with ginger-infused lemonade.

    The menu included sweet potato fries, soft pretzel rolls served with honey butter, buffalo sliders, Gulf shrimp quesadillas, and more. Later in the evening, waiters passed around frozen White Russians and Bourbon pecan bars.


    Photographer: Nancy Aidee / Venue: The Gardens of Bammel Lane in Houston, Texas / Event Planner: Jennifer Hobson of Keely Thorne Events / Gown: Vera Wang “Farrah” via Casa de Novia / Suit, tie, pants: Mens Wearhouse / Bridesmaid Dress: Anthropologie / Stationery: Smock Designs / Signage: Papellerie / Rentals: Events in Bloom, Aztec Events and Tents / Ceremony Music Divisi Strings / Music: Pro Sound / Caterer: A Fare Extraordinaire / Cake: Susie’s Cakes / Valet: Sovereign Services

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  • Gardens of Bammel Lane Wedding in Houston

    13 November 2013
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    Lisa and Benjamin’s wedding looks like it was just as fun as their rehearsal dinner! So much personal style and laid back fun, plus gorgeous photos from Jillian Mitchell

    Says the bride, “We knew that we wanted a simple, outdoor, family-oriented wedding that was suitable for all ages from the much loved children in our family to our grandparents. Our folks, who enjoy bringing family together at their home, knew we were on a budget, so after our engagement they offered to let us use their beautiful backyard as our venue. We were so excited about this venue, because it had a sentimental family feel in a beautiful mid coast Maine town that we were happy to invite our friends and loved ones to share with us.”

    “We were surprised to find that we were more traditional than we thought when it came to rings and vows, and even the first dance and cake cutting. Yet everyone remarked to us that although there were elements of tradition in our ceremony, no one knew what to expect next. Everything was very off the cuff and unrehearsed.”

    A bicycle built for two!

    Bridesmaids wore dresses in every style and color.

    Lawn games added to the relaxed, playful vibe of the summer wedding. Centerpieces were assembled from the groom’s father’s antique collection. Almost every element in the wedding was a collective effort of friends and family, from the picket fence ceremony backdrop to the tablecloths and bunting to the fireworks.

    The signature cocktail was a Vodka Raspberry Lime Rickey. Cupcakes were white buttermilk cake with pineapple filling, cream cheese frosting and a cherry on top.



    What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  We were inspired by the venue itself being a beautiful old farm house in the Camden Hills. We were excited to throw a party to celebrate our love and to bring our families and friends together, but we did not want to get wrapped up in pointless details and did not want to feel on our special day as though it was something outside of us. We wanted it to represent our own unique styles.

    What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  The ceremony. Marrying my best friend in front of our families and friends, in a symbolic ceremony was the most that any bride could ask for.

    What was the best advice you received as a bride?  The best advice that anyone gave me came from my sister. While planning the wedding she reminded me to let others help with the details, to not be afraid to delegate tasks. Let go of the worry that you are burdening your loves ones and realize that they truly want to help make your day special, and in return it truly will be.

    What advice do you have for other brides?  For us we decided to make a list of details we’d like at our wedding before looking at Pinterest. That way the ideas were all personal and meaningful to us rather then just randomly picked from someone else’s dream wedding. It was really important for our day to reflect us. Also, don’t be too particular or obsessive about the way it all ‘must’ be.  We  had so many particular ideas at first and planned on doing them all ourselves. When others wanted to help, we realized that these ideas may turn out different from what we originally imagined. This may have made me nervous at first being one who likes to be in control.  Then you realize that although the details may not look the way you first arranged them in your mind, everything has much more meaning and is more perfect being a mix of the tastes and talents of everyone who loves you.

    Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?  The groom’s pocket watch was custom engraved with a Tom Waits quote: “Champagne for my real friends and real pain for my sham friends,”

    Photographer: Jillian Mitchell / Venue: private residence in Lincolnville, Maine / Dress designer: Ann Phaneuf / Reception dress: Anthropologie / Shoes: Koi Couture / Jewelry: J.Crew / Ring: Mona Lisa Jewelers Boston / Veil: Gracefully Girly / Apron: Pretty Little Pearl / Makeup: Boston Vintage Factory / Hair: Kimberly Riposta of Glow / Shirt, pants: American Apparel / Tie: Olivia Paige Clothing / Shoes: Rokit Vintage / Hat: Coal / Pocket watch engraving: Danger!Awesome / Bridesmaid dresses: Alfred Sung / Floral Designer: Kate Hall-Roy, flowers from Millie & Bemp’s organic farm / Rentals: Wallace Tents / Music: Steve Jinx / Caterer: Sandy Boddomer / Cake: Bunny’s Warm Oven

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  • Rockabilly Camp Wedding in Maine

    5 November 2013
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    Abby Jiu and Rex and Regina are here to help us kick of the week in style with a beautiful Washington D.C. wedding!

    I love the special story of how Oxon Hill Manor became Tess and Marcus’s wedding venue: “I fell in love with Oxon Hill Manor when I helped out at the wedding of my boss. When we got engaged and my mother asked where we might like to be married it immediately came to mind. I was convinced that just one year out we wouldn’t be able to find an available date in the month of June. Unbeknownst to me, a few weeks prior, my mother had asked my then boyfriend (who she knew was about to propose) where he thought we would like to be married and the two of them surreptitiously booked the last date available the following June. They surprised me with the booked date the morning after we got engaged!”

    The bride’s sister was her maid of honor, and “was in charge of coming up with something old, something new…” says Tess. “We ended up pinning fabric taken from my mother’s wedding dress, and from items of clothing from my maternal grandparents (who are no longer with us) into the inside of my dress as the something old and borrowed so that they could all be with me on my special day.”

    Says the bride, “My family is Jewish so I was very happy to have both my mother and my father accompany me down the aisle. We also had our floral designer create a beautiful birch wood chuppah for us.”

    Located just outside of Washington D.C., the property includes a beautiful Georgian manor and formal English gardens with a view of the Potomac River in the distance. The cocktail hour took place around the reflecting pool, then the reception moved to the tented brick patio for dinner and dancing.

    As a nod to the groom’s Brazilian background, says Tess, “We asked Sarah Gallo from Design Cuisine to create a Latin inspired menu complete with caipirinhas as our signature cocktail. We continued to embrace Marcus’s Brazilian heritage by having my father give his toast in both English and Portuguese (which he had practiced for months). The best man, Marcus’s brother Ramon, also gave his speech in both English and Portuguese. It was a wonderful way to include all of the non-English speaking guests who had traveled from Brazil.”

    The bride describes her decor inspiration: “Although our aesthetic would normally be more urban, we liked the rustic look of numerous and varied containers with loosely arranged flowers and lots of beautiful antique mercury glass votives. We were able to combine the beautiful and formal Oxon Hill Manor with uncovered farmhouse tables and lush and overflowing flowers to create the perfect blend of rustic elegance.”



    What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  After a year of planning, I was ready to just let go and enjoy myself once our wedding day finally arrived.  it was such a pleasure to finally see everything come together and simply spend the day with my best friends and family.

    What was the best advice you received as a bride?  The best advice I received was from my former supervisor, who also worked in the event industry. She shared with me the importance of finding vendors who are both good at their jobs and enjoyable to work with. Wedding planning can be a long process and it makes all the difference to work with fun and friendly people.

    What advice do you have for other brides?  Pick a few aspects that you really care about to focus on during the planning process. If you try to perfect every detail, you will quickly burn out. I found it was better for my happiness and sanity in the months leading up to the wedding to identify those few aspects (food and flowers, in my case) and let my team handle the rest.

    Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?  My parents surprised us with a vintage Rolls Royce as our getaway car. It was gorgeous and great fun for our photographer to use in our photos. It looked fabulous parked in the driveway outside the front door as the guests arrived. It made for a perfect ending to a perfect evening. We gathered together black and white wedding photos from our parents and grandparents, framed them is beautiful silver frames, and displayed them in the foyer of the mansion. We selected one particular photo of my grandparents and their parents on a set of steps from their wedding and had our photographer replicate the same staging of our families for a photo to match.

    Photographer: Abby Jiu / Event Planner: Teresa Lee of Rex and Regina / Venue: Oxon Hill Manor in Oxon Hill, Maryland / Dress Designer: Paloma Blanca via Robinson Bridal / Shoes: Manolo Blahnik / Suit: Hugo Boss / Bridesmaid Dresses: J.Crew / Stationery: Paper Source / Floral Designer, Rentals: Shawn Cosette of Beehive Events / DJ: Les Talusan / Catering: Design Cuisine / Cake: Maggie Austin Cake / Cake stand: Sarah’s Stands
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