You might remember Holden and Ryan from this fun engagement session last summer. Well they’re back with their wonderfully stylish wedding! From the bride’s mod-inspired Valentino dress to the intimate San Francisco reception, there’s lots to love here (also, tons of frame-worthy photos from Christina McNeill)…

All of Holden’s jewelry held special meaning, including the pendant she wore around her neck: “The pendant is a coin my maternal grandmother sewed into her clothing when she escaped Stalinist USSR,” says Holden. “Since she is ill and could not make it to the wedding, I wanted to honor her by wearing the pendant.”

Each invitation was hand-lettered and watercolored by hand by the bride, so no two were alike.

Isn’t this a fantastic shot?! Definitely worthy of framing and sharing in your home.

Holden’s favorite part of the day? “Returning to the very place we met, Cafe de la Presse on Grant. I was there one morning years ago having cappuccino and a rather cool guy I’d been checking out asked if he could join me. To go back to the cafe right after our ceremony and have a little mini-celebration with cappuccinos on the sidewalk was pretty sweet. And the caffeine helped us through the rest of the day!”

Says the bride, “We love and use The Cake Gallery for all cake occasions! They might have a bit of a silly reputation, but their cakes taste better than any I’ve had. Our wedding cake was vanilla with raspberry filling, and the groom’s cake was chocolate. My mother made the floral cake topper and used an San Francisco skyline paper cutout around the pedestal.”

There was no shortage of dancing at Holden and Ryan’s wedding! They hooked up an iPod to the hotel’s restaurant sound system and played mostly rock ‘n’ roll from the 1960s (their first dance was to “Never My Love” by The Association).

“Instead of a traditional guest book we left out self-addressed, stamped San Francisco post cards and colorful markers,” says Holden. “The best man mailed the cards while we were on our honeymoon so we came back to a mailbox full of good wishes. We kept getting them weeks after we returned! Now, I’ve stuck them all in a photo album for keeps.”

A little more info about the day from the bride:

Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  Having the ceremony at City Hall was something we barely discussed as it just seemed so natural. It’s a stunningly gorgeous historic building and we’re proud citizens of the city. There is a sense of gravitas and official-ness about the place. All that marble! We’ve each been San Franciscans for over ten years and feel at home here, so we wanted our out-of-town guests to feel the same sense of magic and history. Ryan, who has worked in the hotel industry, knew about Hotel Majestic, the oldest continually-operating hotel in the city. San Francisco is known for its boutique hotel charm and being able to share that in Hotel Majestic’s beautiful, deco styled all-white dining room was perfect for us.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  I wouldn’t say we had any kind of theme but it’s natural for us to want to showcase the place where we live. Ryan is a musician and we like a rock ‘n’ roll edge. We love mid-century modern design and I’m inspired by vintage Vogue photography. I love fashion icons like Jackie O, Brigitte Bardot as well as newer ones like Kate Moss. We wanted something classic, timeless and maybe a little bit punk. Ours was a wedding of yet another guitarist to yet another (former) model and we can make fun of that and play with it a little. We have to be ourselves: music and fashion are important!

Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  We wanted to keep the ceremony short. My parents’ Ukrainian Orthodox ceremony was something like three hours long. Not our style. I’d say we had a modern take on a traditional wedding. We tweaked some old traditions to make them our own.

What advice do you have for other brides?  First: Make sure your maid-of-honor (and/or event planner) is one of those people who can just take care of things before you even hear of them. My sister is amazing at this – there were definitely hitches, but I didn’t know about them until after my honeymoon. To me and the guests, the entire event moved like butter. Second: Leave for your honeymoon immediately, and get your family to pack up and return things to your home. We flew to Bangkok the very next day. It felt wonderful to leave everything behind!

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  Keep your list short and think of weddings before our era. People don’t need tchotchkes or lots of extras to have a good time. Good food, music and company (okay, and liquor) will do the trick. Overall my budget tip is to be skeptical of anything a wedding vendor says you NEED. You don’t need a lot of stuff to have a beautiful and fun wedding. Like Jean Luc Goddard says, “All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl.”


See more photos from Holden and Ryan’s retro-chic wedding in the gallery.

Photography: Christina McNeill / Ceremony Venue: San Francisco City Hall / Reception Venue, Catering: Hotel Majestic / Hair: DryBar / Makeup: Kristine Burget of Le’Burget Salon / Bride’s Dress: Valentino / White Patent Leather Pumps: Gucci / Veil: Ginger Wedding / Groom’s Suit: Burberry / Cufflinks: Molte Cose / Wedding rings: Kay Jewelers / Bridesmaid dresses: Halston Heritage, Tracy Reese / Stationery: K. Holden Pumphrey / Flowers: Flowers on Chestnut / Bag Piper: Fred Payne / Cake: The Cake Gallery
  • Mod-Inspired City Wedding in San Francisco

    7 January 2013
  • 31 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings, Some Favorites

    These photos by Meredith Heuer make me wonder: how will the bride and groom ever decide which ones to frame and hang on the wall? There are just so many frame-worthy shots from Anna and Andrew’s wedding – full of beauty, emotion, memory. All the things you would want most from your wedding photos. Let me step back and let the images speak for themselves…

    On incorporating traditions: “We kept closely to the Jewish traditions. Our parents, grandparents and generations of other Jewish couples have gone through those rituals and we wanted that same experience. And we did them all: Andrew checked to make sure it was me before putting the veil over my face, I circled him seven times, he stomped on the glass and our friends and family offered seven blessings to us. And we had a killer hora.”

    Anna designed the paper airplanes that were given to guests to throw at the couple once they were announced husband and wife after the ceremony (what a playful alternative to tossing rice!).


    Says Anna: “We’ve celebrated every major milestone in our relationship with a Miller High Life – classy, right? Two days before the wedding, we escaped the planning chaos and drove to a random liquor store to buy High Life ponies – 7 oz. bottles that we gave to all our guests and used for the toasts (I mean, it is the champagne of beers).”

    Animal masks made their way from the photo booth to the dinner table.

    See what I mean? Nearly every single image could stand on its own. And here, some details from Anna the lovely bride:

    Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  Have you seen The Foundry? It’s just plain rad.

    What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  We both feel awkward being the center of attention and so we wanted something that felt unpolished and rough around the edges – messy scribbles that guests drew on the tables, a tent frame without the tent, industrial lighting, Miller High Life, flowers that had opened just a little bit too far, and as little pageantry as possible. People basically went cross-eyed when I described that we wanted the look of an old shipyard – rusty metal, washed out wood, and as many neutral “non-colors” as possible, like grey and cream. Fortunately The Foundry is the perfect spot for that and everyone we worked with - our planner, florist, photographer, caterer, lighting designers – totally got it.

    What was the best advice you received as a bride?  It’s just a tablecloth. Meaning, ultimately, every detail won’t be executed as you’d imagined it and it doesn’t really matter (and isn’t worth arguing with your mom about). Get the big stuff right – like the groom – and trust the people you’re working with. The rest will fall into place.

    What advice do you have for other brides?  My best advice is to remember that your wedding is just one day. Granted, it’s a loaded day, but I wanted to look back on everything that led up to that day without feeling sheepish or over-indulgent. It’s easy to use “it’s my day” as an excuse to be a bit indulgent (or snotty!), but it isn’t worth it.

    Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?  My dad died three years ago, and so there were a lot of nerves leading up to the wedding. We wanted to remember him, without letting the whole day be overshadowed. The subtle things – I wore a pin with a picture of him as a boy on it, we were wrapped in his tallit during the ceremony, and my brothers both cracked serious dad jokes in their toasts – were just the right touch.


    See more of Anna and Andrew’s chic New York wedding in the gallery.

    Photographer, Cinematographer: Meredith Heuer Photography / Venue: The Foundry in New York City / Wedding Planner: Roey Mizrahi Events / Band: Lucy Music “The Affections” / Lighting, Sound: Universal Light and Sound / Floral Designer: Honey of a Thousand Flowers / Officiants: Roly Matalon, Anson Laytner / Bride’s Dress: Reem Acra / Veil: Stone Fox Bride / Reception Dress: Wren, purchased at Stone Fox Bride / Bride’s shoes: Christian Louboutin / Earrings: Lisa Mackey / Groom’s Suit, Vest: Epaulet / Groom’s Tie: The Hill-Side / Groom’s Shoes: Heutchy / Caterer, Cakes: Betty the Caterer / Rentals: Broadway Party RentalsAce Party Rentals / Balloons: Balloon Bonanza / Photo Booth: We Love Photo Booths
    17 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings, Some Favorites

    If eloping to Paris is a dream of yours, then you are going to love Naomi and Jeremy’s intimate and elegant wedding as much as I do. And if you don’t dream of it yet, I have a feeling you will by the end of this post. (Also, don’t miss the full gallery for tons more gorgeous photos from Audrey of One & Only Paris Photography.)

    The story of Naomi’s dress is wonderful: “My dress is a Pricilla of Boston sample that still has the pattern and numbered tags sewn in,” says Naomi. “My mother found it in a thrift store in California for $30 about a year before I was even engaged. She mailed it to me and I knew right away it was The Dress.”

    On her bridal bouquet Naomi says, “We ordered my bouquet from a flower shop around the corner from our apartment in Paris. The shop owner did not speak any English, so I just pointed to flowers I liked. I was thrilled with the end result!”

    The lovely Naomi shared some words about her elegant and unique wedding, and why she and Jeremy decided to elope to Paris.

    Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  Neither Jeremy or I had been to Europe previously, and Paris was at the top of our travel list. We ended up having our symbolic ceremony in the gardens of Notre Dame Cathedral, which is significant to us for its permanence and beauty. Really anywhere in Paris would have sufficed, though.

    What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  The way we planned our wedding wasn’t exactly tradtional. My mother was a wedding planner for years when I was growing up. After helping her plan so many weddings, picking out flowers and table settings was nothing new or magical for me. When I started to plan my own wedding, the idea of plunking down my savings for chair rentals and tents did not seem like it would make me any more married or more happy. I asked Jeremy, “What would make you feel married?” Thus we arrived at Paris.

    What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  One of my favorite moments was walking around the grounds of the Louvre with my husband just after we were married. The grounds were eerily empty, and it felt like a moment outside of time.

    Did you include any traditions in your wedding? There were no specific traditions in our symbolic ceremony in Paris. When we returned to the states we had a party for family and friends, which was held at the same venue where Jeremy’s parents were married. We surprised everyone and had our civil marriage ceremony that night.

    What was the best advice you received as a bride?  To listen to your betrothed. Anyone can have a wedding, but in the end what kind of marriage do you want?

    What advice do you have for other brides?  There is no right way to get married. There is only what is right for you and your partner. Look at your financial situation, look at how you want to share your day and why. A big factor in our own decision to elope was that both my family and Jeremy’s had celebrated large family weddings within the past year. Our wedding wasn’t going to serve as the only time to see distant relatives for the next decade. It was nice to have the freedom to do what we wanted without any family pressure.

    Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  What do you want to spend your money on? All of the trappings in the world don’t necessarily make the wedding. Your friends and family really just want to see you happy. If for you that means flowers and ballrooms, go crazy. But if you worry guests might doubt your style or creativity by the look of your flower arrangements, then how well do they really know you?

    Is there anything else you’d like to share about the day?  After our wedding ceremony we had dinner at Laperouse, one of the oldest restaurants in Paris. The food was amazing, but I think the private dining cabins were our favorite part.


    See the full gallery here.

    Photographer: One & Only Paris Photography / Venue: Gardens of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris / Bride’s Gown: vintage Priscilla of Boston
  • Timeless, Romantic Elopement in Paris

    3 December 2012
  • 18 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings, Some Favorites

    Samantha and Christophe’s July wedding in Northern California’s wine country was romantic, elegant, and modern, all at the same time. And the color! Says the bride, “We wanted our wedding to be full of life and color, and we were inspired by the natural beauty of summer at Annadel, so we tried to embody that in our “citrus and herbs” color scheme: blood orange, ruby red grapefruit, lemon yellow, grass greens.”

     Says Samantha, “Our wedding was a coming together of Taiwanese, Americans, and French. And in France, the civil (and official) wedding is always separate and held in city hall, where the mayor is present and the couple signs the official marriage certificate in the presence of friends, family and the state. To signal to all our French guests that our wedding ceremony in the winery ruins of Annadel was official and legitimate, we (and our witnesses and officiant) signed our official marriage certificate during the ceremony, to replicate the French civil ceremony. We also included bits and pieces from California and French civil code within our ceremony.”

    The custom tent canopy was designed by Shannon Leahy, and created by Wine Country Party & Events.

    The youngest guests enjoyed their own special table, plus a croquet game set up on the lawn.

    Samantha and Christophe are total foodies, and their menu reflected that passion (see the full delicious menu at the end of the post). 

     Says Samantha, “In a typical Taiwanese wedding, the bride changes outfits several times throughout the reception. Although I only changed once, I did change into an amazing bright red (lucky color in Chinese) Oscar de la Renta gown that I found the week before the wedding.”

    Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  We knew we wanted to get married in California’s wine country, not only because we both love great wine and good food but also because the wine country has become a special place for us as residents of the Bay Area. We probably visited every single wine country wedding venue in Napa and Sonoma counties, and we chose Annadel because the grounds were magical, from the old winery ruins to the barn. It was authentic, natural, and beautiful, without being pretentious and stuffy. It was also important to us that we could bring in our own wines, since the wines we served at the wedding would be a very personal choice for us. At the end of the day, we chose Annadel because we knew we could create a personal wedding experience in a stunning environment.

    What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  We knew that we wanted our wedding to be elegant and beautiful, but at the same time modern, and, most importantly, true to us as a couple. We were inspired by delicious local food and wine. I love fruit, and my mom is in the fruit export business, so she sourced seasonal California fruits that we incorporated all throughout the wedding weekend: nectarines, plums and cherries filled our welcome bags, and fruit was used as décor throughout the wedding. We also had local pasture-raised pig and lamb roasted on spits, because we love the concept of farm to table eating, and knew our French and Chinese guests would love it too. We sourced only domestic American cheeses, so that the cheese-loving French guests could see just how good artisanal American cheese can be. Wine was from Sonoma and Santa Cruz counties from some of our favorite local producers. We had a beautiful linen canopy structure built by Wine Country Rentals so that the Chinese guests would have shade during dinner. Everything we did held a little bit of meaning to us, or to our friends and family, so I guess you can say the people and things we love inspired us!

    What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  For both of us, our favorite moment of the day was when we said our vows to one another and promised to be husband and wife forever.

    What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Don’t confuse your wedding with your marriage. It’s great to have a beautiful wedding, but it’s much more important to have a beautiful marriage. This came from my now-husband.

    What advice do you have for other brides?  Try to enjoy the process. It’s so easy to get caught up in the world of beautiful wedding blogs, magazines, Pinterest, others’ weddings and details, details, and more details. At the end of the day, your wedding is going to be amazing, wonderful, and beautiful – and it will be that regardless of how all the little details turn out. Find vendors that you trust, so that you can let go when it comes to crunch time, knowing that they will be able to execute your dream wedding.


    See the full gallery here.



    Passed Hors d’Oeuvres:  local charcuterie board {cured and smoked local meats with mustards, garden pickles, and tapenades, dried and fresh fruit, crostini, crisps and breads} // summer fritto misto {crispy baby artichokes, meyer lemon and basil} // chilled heirloom red gazpacho with aged balsamico // crisp potato cups with black olive tapenade and tuna confit // little skewers of fresh mozzarella and cherry tomatoes with crispy basil vinaigrette // wild salmon sake tartare in a cucumber ribbon

    Plated First Course:  summer tartiflette {grilled eggplant, summer squash and oven dried farmed tomatoes with basil and redwood hill chevre}

    Whole Roast Animals:  whole roast Clark Summit Farm pig {marinated in citrus, oregano, garlic, annatto and spices} // whole roast Clark Summit Farm pastured lamb {prepared with lemon zest, rosemary and garlic}

    Accompaniments:  sweet corn salad {with grilled portobellos, crispy red peppers and bocconcini di mozzarella with oregano vinaigrette} // baby summer vegetables en papillote {local heirloom farm veggies steamed in parchment with lemon, thyme, white wine and strauss organic creamery butter} // shaved celery root salad {with house cured gravlax, grapefruit and pine nuts}

    Cheese Course:  cowgirl creamery red hawk {triple-cream cow, Petaluma, California} // uplands cheese pleasant ridge reserve {aged cow, Codgeville, Wisconsin} // vermont creamery bonne bouche {ash-ripened goat, Websterville, Vermont} // bohemian creamery capriago {aged goat, Sebastopol, California} // served with organic baby lettuces

    Sweets Bar:  macerated strawberries with orange almond meringues // fresh nectarine, peach and berry galette with whipped cream // dark chocolate drizzled cream puffs with custard cream filling // mini-lemon tarts // chocolate bark // chocolate, hazelnut and framboise truffles // gluten-free donut holes // wedding cake {lemon chiffon cake with passion fruit curd and lemon mascarpone cream bittersweet chocolate cake with passion fruit curd and dark chocolate ganache}

    Oh my goodness… are you drooling yet?

    Photographer: Collin Hughes / Venue: Annadel Estate Winery in Santa Rosa, California / Event Planner: Shannon Leahy Events / Bride’s Dress: Vera Wang / Bride’s Red Reception Dress: Oscar de la Renta /  Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Makeup: Maria Nguyen / Bridesmaid Dresses: J.Crew / Groom’s Bespoke Suit: Stitched / Groom’s Shoes: JM Weston / Stationery: The Aerialist Press, Olive Route / Floral Design: Brown Paper Design / Rentals: Wine Country Party & Events, La Tavola Linen, Wildflower Linen / Lighting: Got Light / Music: Laurent Fourgo / Catering: Jessica Lasky Fine Catering, SOL Catering / Cheeses: The Cheese Shop in Healdsburg, California / Desserts: Dynamo DonutsJessica Lasky Fine Catering
  • Vineyard Wedding at Annadel Estate

    5 November 2012
  • 15 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings, Some Favorites

    Some of my favorite vendors, including Rebecca Stone of Duet Weddings and Kate Holt of Flowerwild, to bring Megan and James’s romantic wedding to life – in shades of vibrant pink and red – and it’s just full of details to inspire and brighten your day!

    The aisle was covered in fuchsia petals, and lined with overflowing potted arrangements.

    The groom’s boutonniere perfectly echoed the bride’s red and pink bouquet.

    Escort cards were displayed with pomegranates: perfect for both the vibrant red color scheme and the fall season.

    Centerpieces included peonies, roses, and red (unripe) blackberries.

    In lieu of a traditional guest book, guests signed a globe on the location where they are from.

    Signature cocktails included a Spiced Pimm’s Cup, Blooming Champagne Cocktail with Wild Hibiscus, Raspberry Champagne Cocktail, and Sardinian Iced Tea.

    See the full gallery here.

    Photographer: Lauren Ross / Venue: private home in Pasadena, California / Event Planner: Duet Weddings / Bride’s Dress: Vera Wang / Hair, Makeup: The Studio Agency / Stationery: Chewing the Cud / Calligraphy: Little Miss Press / Floral Design: Flowerwild / Rentals: Classic Party Rentals / Linens: La Tavola / Music: West Coast Music, Spazmatics / Catering: The Food Matters / Cake: SusieCakes
  • Romantic Pasadena Garden Wedding

    24 September 2012
  • 26 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings, Some Favorites