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!



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

Photography: Elizabeth Messina

Videography: Sandbox Love

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:

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

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

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

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

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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Here are a few of my favorite photos from our amazingly talented photographer, and my friend, Elizabeth Messina

You can see more details this afternoon over at Martha Stewart Weddings, and then I’ll be sharing even more right here, starting with our wedding film later today. I can’t wait!


See a list of all our wedding posts right here!


Elizabeth Messina’s blog, Kiss the Groom, is a sponsor of Snippet & Ink.

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It’s been nearly four months since Ryan and I got married, and I am so excited to finally share our wedding with you! There are so many things I want to share, about planning and the day and the details, but I couldn’t think of a better place to start than with my inspiration board…

Mood: classic, playful
Palette: Golden Gate red, charcoal gray, winter white

{click image to enlarge}

Top row from left: vintage framed chalkboard from Blue Bell Bazaar via This is Glamorous, Golden Gate Bridge photo (can someone please help with a credit for this beautiful photo?!), Grace Kelly, Presidio Social Club
Row 2: letterpress menus with tree motif by The Lettered Olive, classic wedding cake from Martha Stewart Weddings, photo of Mindy Rice bouquet by Jose Villa via Jill LaFleur, gray chiffon bridesmaid dress by Amsale
Row 3: topiaries from Martha Stewart Weddings, Presidio Social Club logo, photo of gray suits and ties by Jose Villa, eggnog cocktails with letterpress coasters from Martha Stewart Weddings
Row 4: red and white striped cupcake liners from Fancy Flours, photo of vintage photo booth by Jonathan Canlas, paper cracker from Present & Correct, vintage postcard of the Golden Gate Bridge

A couple things about my inspiration board. Our ceremony and reception were at two separate locations, and the church really needed such little decoration, so my inspiration board focused mostly on the reception site and details, as well as the overall style we wanted for our wedding. Also, this is probably the third or fourth version of my inspiration board, which I played around with and tweaked until it felt right. Once we chose a venue and a date, the colors and feeling stayed pretty much the same, but I refined details over time. And a confession: I never actually shared my inspiration board with my vendors. (I know!) But I did use it as a way to focus my own vision, and from there narrowed down the zillions of tear sheets and stationery samples and things, and brought my (very fat) binder of saved inspiration to vendor meetings.

Charcoal and red were the perfect accents for our December wedding – not only were they seasonal without being Christmas-y, they were also colors that appeared in our venue. The buildings in the San Francisco Presidio, where our reception took place, are this wonderful combination of cream and brick red, and the walls inside the Presidio Social Club are charcoal gray. We wanted our wedding to be timeless and elegant (Grace Kelly, a traditional wedding cake, stationery with edge painting), as well as festive and playful (eggnog cocktails, a vintage photo booth, Christmas crackers). And of course, it was only appropriate to include the Golden Gate Bridge.

So how did it all turn out? Thanks to our amazing vendors, and our incredible friends and family, our wedding day was a huge success – as I said after returning from our honeymoon, I’ve never felt more present, more loved, more beautiful or more joyful in my life than I did on our wedding day. I’ll be sharing lots more this week and next, so make sure to check back in!

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