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…
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).”
SEE THE FULL GALLERY FOR MORE BEAUTIFUL DETAILS FROM THIS SAN FRANCISCO WEDDING.
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.
Downey Street Events and Annie McElwain are Snippet & Ink Select vendors.