I can think of no better way to usher in the month of April than with this darling Spring elopement from Gia Canali! Proof that sometimes all you need for the perfect wedding is the one you love, and maybe something special to wear…

Lisa on her choice to wear a yellow dress (and the best ever re-use of a bridesmaid dress): “One of the first things I bought for the wedding was a tea length dress. However, whenever I put it on, I felt uncomfortable, like I was wearing a costume. When I thought back to the last dress that made me feel like a better version of myself, it was the one I wore in my best friend’s wedding. It was beautiful and infused with happy memories. So, I wore a yellow dress on my wedding day and donated the white one to charity.” 

Says Lisa, “I’m sure I received loads of wonderful insight from others, but the best piece of advice I can remember was from our photographer, Gia Canali. She told me to hold my bouquet down low for photographs. I can definitely see the difference in the images!”

Such an iconic shot in front of San Francisco’s City Hall!

Gia captured the couple with some of her vintage film cameras.

Miette cupcakes and the Golden Gate Bridge – what a sweet way to celebrate an elopement!

Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  Jared and I love to travel. When we became engaged, the first thing we agreed upon was our honeymoon destination: Japan. As we started looking at local venues and pricing out our options, we realized that the cost of the wedding could jeopardize our honeymoon. The guest list continued to balloon, and we found ourselves lamenting that we “had to” invite so-and-so in order to be polite. I’m not sure when it dawned on us, but we felt a sense of relief when we realized that this was our wedding and we could choose to invite no one at all. To have a ceremony with just the two of us was actually very appealing; it would allow us to stay within our budget and have an intimate ceremony. We began to explore courthouse weddings, but were disappointed to find that most of the venues look like office buildings. We wanted to find a way to have a beautiful wedding and still visit Tokyo. Through the wonders of the Internet, I discovered San Francisco’s City Hall. The beauty of the space, coupled with the fact that it was on the way to Japan, cemented the location for us.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  The idea that we should do what we want.

What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  When my newly minted husband pulled me aside to read aloud a letter he had written for me. It totally caught me off guard and I was touched by his words and the gesture.

What advice do you have for other brides?  There are many ways to get married. Choose the way that best suits you and your partner.


See even more beautiful photos from Lisa and Jared’s elopement in the gallery.

Photographer: Gia Canali / Venue: San Francisco City Hall / Dress: BHLDN / Shoes: Cole Haan / Veil: Ornent / Necklace: J. Crew / Groom’s Suit: J. Crew / Groom’s Shirt: H&M / Tie: Ben Sherman / Floral Designer: Studio Choo / Cupcakes: Miette / Hair, Makeup: Wow Pretty
  • City Hall Elopement in San Francisco

    1 April 2013
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    I’m such a sucker for a classic wedding. Throw in gorgeous photos, a fun venue, and a Sylvia Weinstock cake, and you’ve made my day. I’m pretty sure Katie and Matthew’s New York wedding from photographer Bryce Covey will make your day, too!

    Flower girls were darling in pale blue dresses and jasmine and rose head wreaths.

    After the ceremony, the newlyweds toasted with glasses of Champagne in the vintage checker cab that transported them to the reception.

    What’s a New York City wedding without portraits in Central Park?!

    With the brick venue and romantic flowers from Poppies & Posies, the reception struck a perfect balance of urban and garden.

    I love the way Matthew tells about their gorgeous Sylvia Weinstock wedding cake: “On a table in the dressing room where Katie was looking for The Dress, there was a large book with a wedding cake on it. She comes home from this trip looking for dresses, and the first thing she wants to talk about is this book. Sylvia Weinstock immediately became an A-list celebrity in our lives, and it just so happened she works in NYC. She was so sweet when we met her, gave us an incredible amount of cake to taste, and sketched exactly the cake that Katie had been dreaming of after listening to her describe it for about five seconds. It was stunning; clearly, this woman has found her calling. Our cake came in two flavors: vanilla raspberry (the same kind Katie’s parent’s had for their wedding cake) and chocolate pistachio apricot. It was of course delicious, but the genius of this cake was its flowers. It was covered in a beautiful bouquet of completely convincing sugar flowers and succulents. Our guests – and even us! – were stunned how real these flowers looked. Needless to say, the cake was a big hit, and my wife was happy.”

    Why did you choose this location?  When we discovered The Foundry with its ivy-covered courtyard and brick-and-iron interior, not to mention the super cool history, we were in love. We knew from the outset that we wanted to get married in a place with character and charm.

    What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  Possibly our biggest inspiration was the city of New York itself. We have fallen hard for this city. Our paper designer created an icon for us that was based off the old NYC subway token and our getaway car after the ceremony was a checkered cab. We also had a pretty good idea of how we wanted the day to feel from the start. We knew we wanted a traditional, beautiful wedding that was still us – nothing too formal or stuffy. So that helped too as we looked around on awesome wedding blogs – like Snippet & Ink! We planned everything together, researched it all and just knew when something felt right for us both.

    What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  From Matthew: Somehow we never quite found time for those dance lessons we had promised to take. We did a few trial classes at the Fred Astaire studio, and we vowed to practice at home, but suddenly the big day was upon us and we had nothing. So now we’re married just a few hours, have never been so happy in our lives, the day is more than we had dreamed, and then it’s time for our first dance. For the next 4 minutes and 37 seconds, we held each other tightly, very slowly turning around in circles in the middle of an empty dance floor, I spun her once, and we whispered I love you several times. Other than to look right into her eyes, my own eyes were closed the entire time, and the whole room might as well have been empty. And when the music stopped, I kissed my wife and my heart exploded. Favorite moment by far, of that day or any day.

    Did you include any traditions?  Katie’s family comes from a proud Polish heritage and funnily enough the hokie pokie is a Polish wedding tradition. So we insisted that James Mulry, our DJ, play it at some point during the night. I remember the look on his face when he asked, “Which version should I download from iTunes?”

    What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Don’t stress too much. Yes, it’s a big deal and yes, it’s a lot of money and yes, a million other scary things. But it’s the day you marry your best friend and at the end of the day, nothing else even matters.

    What advice do you have for other brides?  Strange as it may sound, learning about the etiquette involved actually made planning a lot easier. Who should sit next to whom? Who should be invited to the rehearsal dinner? When you can fall back on, well, what’s the proper thing to do? No one can really argue or be upset with that. Easily diffuses any possible family issues. Also, there’s a lot of mystique around finding The Dress. When I started shopping, this stressed me out. I felt I was waiting for some ah-ha, halo-of-light type moment and became terrified after a few trips to the store hadn’t yielded any out-of-body experiences. But then I just relaxed, enjoyed it, and found the perfect dress.

    Do you have any budgets tips?  Plan it yourself. It will take you so much time, way more than you can imagine, especially if you choose all your own vendors instead of go the all-inclusive route. But it’s totally worth it because everything is how you want it, the two of you work together to decide on everything – this is incredibly fun and rewarding. And you save a bunch of money.


    See more from Katie and Matthew’s timeless New York wedding in the gallery.

    Photographer: Bryce Covey / Ceremony Venue: St. Paul the Apostle Church / Reception Venue: The Foundry / Bride’s Gown: Junko Yoshioka / Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Bride’s Vintage Earrings:  Charm and Chain  / Art Deco Bracelet: Ben-Amun / Groom’s Tuxedo: Hugo Boss / Bridesmaid Dresses: Ivy & Aster / Floral Design: Poppies & Posies / Catering & Rentals: Real Food Catering / Cake: Sylvia Weinstock / Stationery: Swiss Cottage Designs / Music: James Mulry of 74events
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    There’s so much to say about Ashley and Christopher’s wedding, but honestly, the photos and video, along with the bride’s own words, tell it best…

    I always had a lot of ideas about what my wedding day would be like, from the setting, food, dress, and especially what it would be like for my dad to walk me down the aisle. Yet all those ideas flew out the window when my parents died two years ago in a plane crash. Their lives deeply inspired me during the planning as I wanted to share this special day with them. I think one of the main reasons I have experienced so much joy in knowing and loving Christopher is because I have experienced the depth of pain in losing the two people I love the most on this earth. As Kahlil Gibran wrote, “The deeper sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” We wanted to acknowledge both joy and sorrow on this day because the two are inseparable.

    Bridesmaids wore neutral dresses of their choosing. The bride carried a locket with photos of her parents on her bouquet.

    Christopher constructed the gorgeous flower arrangement that hung over our heads, and hung three antique beveled glass windows at the entrance to the ceremony site.

    Christopher’s ring was made from the promise ring my dad gave me. My gold band engagement ring was Christopher’s great-grandmother’s, grandmother’s, and mother’s. My canary yellow diamond earrings were my mother’s.

    Thirty minutes after the ceremony, my dad’s friend and flying buddy did a Missing Man flyover at the reception to acknowledge the deep absence of my mom and dad that day.

    Signature drinks were Champagne with a hint of vanilla and blueberries, and our favorite Yazoo Brewing Company beer from Nashville.

    Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  We knew we wanted an intimate setting, in nature, a place we could go back to, that was unique to us. We decided to have our wedding ceremony on some property my family has had for many years on Lake Martin. We found a clearing created by three huge pine trees on the point of the lot looking out onto the water and we knew we wanted to get married right in between the three trees. We see our relationship and marriage about the triangular relationship between ourselves and God, and the three trees represented the theme of our wedding: I and Love and You. To prepare the space, Christopher and a few friends cut down trees, built a platform, planted grass, and created a welcoming walkway down to the site. Christopher’s hard work and preparation of that site showed me his love and commitment, which is the best wedding present I could ask for.

    What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  Ashley: Ah! I have so many, but one moment that stands out is during the reception when I was dancing on stage with the band to “Rolling on the River.” As I threw my hands up, Christopher snuck behind me and threw me up into the air. With a scream coming from my mouth I looked out over all our friends and family of all ages dancing their booties off. To see everyone else feeling and sharing in the incredible love, joy, and celebration of that day was a powerful gift. // Christopher: There is no one moment but a string of them. I remember stepping up on the platform with my soon-to-be wife next to me and in that moment everything stopped. There was no sense of time, just us feeling the wind on our faces, and the mystery of our spirits becoming entangled in one another. As passages were read and words given to one another, I felt the purest gift of love.

    What was the best advice you received as a bride?  A friend told me to stop throughout my wedding day and take in a deep breath of everything around me. Because I took those moments to breathe, the day doesn’t seem like a blur but rather an endless, timeless joy with details I can remember.

    What advice do you have for other brides?  1. Be authentic to you. There are so many wonderful and beautiful ideas out there right now about weddings – you can have a eco-friendly, citrus-colored, parade-themed wedding in Antartica, but is it you? Don’t do things because you find them on Pinterest; do them because they represent you and your groom. 2. Prepare for your marriage, not just your wedding. The best thing Christopher and I did during the engagement season was marriage counseling. It’s easy to be distracted by all the details of the wedding, but remember, your wedding is one day, and your marriage is a lifetime.


    See more photos from Ashley and Christopher’s lakeside wedding in the gallery.

    Photographer: Clark Brewer / Videographer:  Eric Staples / Event Planner: Mariée Ami / Venue: private property on Lake Martin, Alabama / Bride’s Gown: Lela Rose / Groom’s Attire: J. Crew / Floral Design: Grace’s Flowers / Catering: Shindig’s Catering / Ceremony Pews: P.E.W.S / Cake: Venable’s Sweet Shoppe / Stationery: Social Graces / Calligraphy: Hardink Calligraphy / Music: The Undergrounders / Officiants: Jennifer Fouse, Trey Wince
  • Touching Lakeside Wedding in Alabama

    27 February 2013
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    Today’s chic black tie wedding comes to us from the lovely Laurie Arons (who planned my wedding!) and the talented Jose Villa. With black and white stripes, a unique wine country setting, blush pink roses and candlelight, Stephanie and Tyler’s wedding is a perfectly chic blend of preppy, rustic, romantic, and modern.

    The black and white stripes at Durham Ranch inspired other details, like the gray and white stripes in some of the printed items, and the black and white photography that appeared in the invitation suite and in the photo booth at the reception. (The MVS Studio photo booth not only made for a fun keepsake, but the images were also immediately projected onto a big screen the served as a backdrop for the stage.)

    Stephanie wore a peplum gown from Oscar de la Renta, and carried a romantic bouquet of pale pink and white.

    Tyler’s mother made the flower girl dresses by hand. She also made a garter for Stephanie to wear, with one of the groom’s baby charms stitched into it.

    Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  We fell in love with the fact that it was a home, and we didn’t have to shut down at 10:00PM like vineyards in the area. Also, the moss on the trees is such a beautiful thing – just stunning. That really set a romantic mood, almost like you’re in the movie The Notebook. We loved the barn, and I loved being able to get ready in the cottage and peek out the window to see what was going on.

    What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  We really wanted an intimate wedding. We’ve been to so many weddings with hundreds of guests – we just wanted to have our closest family and friends there with us. We wanted to be able to talk to everyone – really have a conversation, not just say hi and move on. For the design, I like everything really clean, white, soft pinks, romantic. We kept it clean and somewhat minimal – we had just the right things, nothing more. No favors on the tables that people would forget at the end of the night.

    What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  Holding Tyler’s hands and looking into his eyes at the ceremony – it was like no one else was there, and it was just us. That was very special. My uncle is a minister and he married us, so we automatically felt comfortable, and totally tuned into each other. There was a gust of wind and my veil blew off my head completely – I was so in the moment that I didn’t even notice or care.

    What was the best advice you received as a bride?  My dear dear friend told me that when you’re walking down the aisle, you want to look at everyone there, you want to smile and them, look at them, and acknowledge them since they’re there for you. But you also want to look directly at your husband, look him in the eye as you walk toward him – he’s why you’re there. That was great advice.


    See all of Stephanie and Tyler’s romantic black tie wedding in the gallery.

    And in case you missed it earlier today, see Stephanie and Tyler’s delicious rehearsal dinner right here.

    Photographer: Jose Villa / Planner: Laurie Arons Special Events / Venue: Durham Ranch in St. Helena, California / Bride’s Gown: Oscar de la Renta / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bride’s Chandelier Earrings: Louis Newman / Groom’s Tuxedo: Jim Shay / Floral Design, Furniture Rentals: Kathleen Deery Design / Catering: Paula Le Duc Fine Catering / Lighting: Got Light? / Cake: SusieCakes / Band: Robert Vickers Orchestra / DJ: Alexander Koutsouannis / Photo Booth: MVS Studio / Late Night Taco Truck: Tacos San Buena / Printed Items, Escort Card Display: PS Paper / Calligraphy: Barbara Callow
  • Black Tie Wedding at Durham Ranch

    28 January 2013
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    If you loved Sharon and Adam’s wedding, then you’ll love today’s feature – another stunning celebration at San Ysidro Ranch, this one from my dear friend Elizabeth Messina. It’s also being featured in the latest issue of Magnolia Rouge, so be sure to check that out as well!

    The bride wore a lace dress by Rivini that she found just a month before the wedding: “The dress was perfect – the problem?” she says. “The wedding was in one month and there was not enough time to order a dress! The stars were aligned for me that day – the sample was in perfect condition and only needed minor alterations.”

    Mindy Rice designed all of the romantic floral decor. Says Tiffany, “I knew I wanted a soft and romantic ambience for the wedding and ceremony. Mindy Rice truly helped to make that vision come true through her floral and event design.”

    This bride is a girl after my own heart – her favorite details from the day? “The cake! When I close my eyes, I can still taste the fresh berries and lemon! To be honest, my husband and I couldn’t wait the full year to eat the top layer of the cake. I think we ended up only waiting one day!”

    How much are you loving these romantic details? Then you won’t want to miss Joel Serrato’s 8mm of the day:


    You can see so much more from Tiffany and Peter’s gorgeous garden wedding in the gallery.

    Photographer: Elizabeth Messina / Videographer: Joel Serrato Films / Venue, Catering: San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara, California / Planner: Soigne Productions / Floral Designer: Mindy Rice / Bride’s Dress: Rivini / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Hair, Makeup: Team Hair & Makeup / Bridesmaid Dresses: Donna Morgan / Groom’s Attire: Mission Tuxedos / Stationery: Lazaro Press / Music: Ybarra Music / Ceremony Pew Rentals: Found Rentals / Linens: La Tavola Linen / Lighting: Ambient Event
  • Classic Garden Wedding at San Ysidro Ranch

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