We’re suckers for a San Francisco wedding, and when you add bold black and white stripes to the Legion of Honor, well it doesn’t get much for boldly beautiful than that!

SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES FROM THIS BOLD SAN FRANCISCO WEDDING BY ZAC WOLF.

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Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink

 

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  Pinterest was a huge help during the initial stages of planning, as was scouring tons of wedding blogs. It was easier to figure out what we didn’t like in order to narrow the design choices down to what we were really looking for.

 

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What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Make sure to truly take in and appreciate every moment of the day. We were really lucky that the bumps in the planning process were ironed out before the actual day. We were able to spend the entire day totally stress-free and we enjoyed every second. The day goes by so quickly, that if you’re not paying attention, it’l totally pass you by.

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Delegate as much as you can to friends, family and the wedding planner; they are there to help! If you are on a tight budget, get a day-of planner at the very least to help keep things on schedule. Things may have gone wrong on the wedding day, but we were blissfully unaware. Stacy Wichelhaus, our wedding planner from They So Loved Events, was on top of everything and kept the entire day on schedule (to the minute!).

 

Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink
Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink

 

If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  We spent too much time during the planning process worrying about making other people happy. We felt the need to keep other people in mind when we made decisions, which made it easy to feel guilty about a lot of things, such as not being able to invite everyone we wanted to and not having the same taste in decor as our parents. Once we focused more on our own happiness, it was much easier to plan a day that everyone enjoyed, if not just for the fact that we were so incredibly happy.

 

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Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink

 

Regina carried a romantic bouquet of roses, pale pink ranunculus, and lilac tied together with black and white striped ribbon.

 

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The Ceremony

“Since I was born and raised in San Francisco, my parents wanted a part of the wedding to reflect my childhood. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church was the ideal location for the ceremony; it was where I attended preschool and it also fulfilled my mother’s wish for a church wedding, while allowing us to have a deeply personal, non-religious ceremony.”

 

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Your ceremony in three words:  Personal, elegant, emotional.

Who officiated your ceremony?  Our wedding planner recommended Reverend Dalton at Your Ceremony Matters, and we’re so thankful that she did! His presence at our wedding was honestly one of the highlights for both us and our guests. After one Skype session with him, we knew we wanted him to be a part of our special day; his professionalism and level of expertise were big selling points for us, and his Irish accent was an added bonus, since James’ family is from Ireland! He really listened to what we wanted and made sure to incorporate everything into a beautiful and spirited ceremony.

How did you go about planning your ceremony?  We worked with Reverend Dalton to create a unique and deeply personal ceremony. We started the planning process without a vision; all we knew was that we wanted it to capture the true purpose of a wedding: a celebration of our relationship and love for each other while being surrounded by those who mean the most to us. This meant scrapping the traditional vows, readings, prayers and huge wedding party, and finding a way to incorporate our community. Thankfully, our officiant worked with us to come up with a ceremony that really reflected us as a couple. Since neither of us practice a religion, it was important that we had a ceremony that we felt reflected us as a couple, while respecting our parents wishes for a more traditional ceremony. We ended up with the perfect balance of spiritual and secular which made everyone feel welcome and included.

 

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Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink

 

Did you include any traditions in your ceremony?  We closed with a traditional Irish blessing.

What was your ceremony music?  We hired a string quartet from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music to play during our ceremony. We chose “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” for the processional because it’s such a classically beautiful song. I walked down the aisle to “Canon in D” by Pachelbel; it was my one “must haves” for the ceremony. One of the most special moments of the day was the recessional because the string trio learned Foo Fighter’s “Everlong” especially for us, and played it as a surprise to the guests. Walking out of the church to that song was so powerful.

What were your ceremony readings?  James’ best friend from childhood, Sean Yeaton, who is a fantastic writer, read a piece that he wrote himself. His reading centered mostly on the concept of love, which included this beautiful quote: “A wedding and a marriage are not mutually exclusive – obviously. You become married once you are wed but your wedding is a candid invitation for your friends and family to catch a meteoric glimpse of your exclusively whimsical romance the way you see and feel it every day.”

 

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What were your vows like?  We wanted to find vows that were both personal but not generic or cheesy. We spent a long time looking for poems, readings, and songs that spoke to us, and in the end we both chose to modify a poem that had a deep emotional impact on us. James chose to read “Union” by Robert Fulghum and I read “I Love You” by Roy Croft. Reading the poems in front of everyone was extremely emotional, and we were overcome by tears.

What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  Other than seeing the look (and tears) on James’ face as I walked down the aisle, our favorite part of the ceremony was how included the community was. Our officiant made sure to welcome everyone at the beginning, even naming all of the cities and states that people traveled from, and he acknowledged those who were not with us specifically mentioning our grandparents. It was a nice touch to remember those who could not be there. One of the most special takeaways from the ceremony was knowing that there may never be another time in which all of our loved ones are all in the same room together. I was pleasantly surprised at how significant the ceremony was in comparison to the other events of the day, since it’s so easy to spend more time and effort focusing on the reception details.

 

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Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  My mother stayed up until 3am the night before putting together small bags of white rose petals to throw after the ceremony. At first we thought it was overkill, but they completely transformed the pictures of us exiting the church. Some of my favorite wedding photos are from when our guests threw the petals, and I’m so thankful for all the work my mom put into making that moment happen.

 

Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink
Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink

 

The Reception

“We may be biased, but we thought our reception was one classy affair! Our reception was held at the Legion of Honor, which is an art museum specializing in ancient and European art. It was a perfect balance of formal and fun, and hopefully everyone enjoyed getting all dressed up for the event! We wanted it to be timeless with clean, elegant touches.”

 

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Why did you choose this location for your reception?  We wanted the wedding to be in San Francisco, and we probably looked at every single possible venue before deciding on the Legion of Honor. Being a city girl, I really wanted the venue to have a classic San Francisco urban vibe to it, while James wanted to incorporate the great outdoors. The Legion of Honor had everything we were looking for, not to mention some incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge (when the fog cooperates). Being able to host the cocktail hour in the Rodin gallery was a big selling point, along with the outdoor patio space for those looking to cool down from all of the dancing.

Tell us about your wedding decor.  We were going for a clean, modern look that complemented the grandeur of the Legion of Honor. Our design preferences ended up merging at black and white, with black and white striped ribbon as the accent. I guess you could say it was an unofficial black tie event; I loved seeing our friends and family in gowns and suits!

 

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Did you have a signature cocktail?  James makes his own bitters at home, and for the wedding, he made special orange bitters that was served in the Sazerac, a twist on the classic New Orleans cocktail. We wanted a second cocktail that was a little lighter and wouldn’t get people too sloppy before dinner. Our bar manager made a delicious cucumber and mint gimlet that the guests loved.

 

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What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  The speeches were the most memorable part of the evening; it was so touching to see some of our favorite people speak so highly of us, and of course, crack some jokes at our expense. The speeches were so thoughtful and moving, it was actually one of the only times that I cried that entire day. James’s brother (and best man) completely transformed into a late night talk show host (complete with tossing index cards), giving a hilariously rousing, yet touching speech about brotherly love and me joining the family.

 

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Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink

 

What was your first dance song?  Our first dance song was “This Will Be Our Year” by the Zombies. We had been throwing ideas around for months, but our song came to us when we first heard it on an episode of Mad Men and both had the same “this is it!” moment. A month later, the Zombies held a free concert in San Francisco, and we knew it was fate. My father and I danced to “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra; it was a nod to our Italian heritage. James grew up listening to Van Morrison and The Chieftains with his mother on Sunday mornings. Being of Irish descent, a reflection of his mother’s heritage was important, so James and his mother danced a modified version of the Irish polka to “I Tell Me Ma” by Van Morrison and The Chieftains. They had all the guests on their feet, cheering and clapping, as they twirled around the dance floor.

Did you include any other traditions in your wedding?  We gave out bombonieri as our wedding favors, which consist of five Jordan almonds in a tulle bag. The five sugared almonds symbolize health, wealth, happiness, fertility and long life.

 

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What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  Neither of us are big fans of cake, and after a few disappointing tastings with bakeries around SF, Global Gourmet (our catering company) held a cake tasting for us. James fell hard for the dark chocolate Bailey’s cake with chocolate ganache and cream cheese frosting. For the middle layer we got an amaretto cake with toasted almonds and mascarpone. My mother also had 7-layer cookies from Ferrara Bakery in NYC shipped out. The cookies were so much easier to eat while dancing!

 

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Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink Zac Wolf | Snippet & Ink

 

Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception.  James proposed to me in a photo booth, so it was very important that there was one at the reception. In fact, the photo booth was the first detail that we booked. It was a total hit, and we had our guests paste the photo strips into a memory book as an alternative guest book.

 

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Photography: Zac Wolf / Wedding Planning and Design: They So Loved Events / Ceremony Venue: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in San Francisco / Reception Venue: Legion of Honor / Bride’s Dress: Vera Wang / Officiant: Your Ceremony Matters / Catering: Global Gourmet Catering / Rentals: Hartmann Studios / Linens: La Tavola Linens / Floral Design: Mindy Rosenberg / Photo Booth: Perspective Photo Booth / DJ: Dart DJ / Ceremony Music: Music to Go / Transportation: Classic Cable Car / Transportation: NLS Limo / Makeup: Eliza Desch / Hair: Natalie Keklikian / Invitations: Union Street Papery / Paper Goods: Black Lab Studios / Signage: Blunder Construction
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With Paris as the backdrop for your wedding, there’s not much else required for a beautiful and romantic day. Though she always thought she would want a big, traditional wedding, Morgan realized that an intimate celebration was a better fit for her and Thomas, so they spent a week with 14 of their closest family and friends in Paris, where they were wed at The American Church. Inspired to fly off to Paris for a small, destination wedding? In addition to sharing their photos and details, Morgan and Taylor have also kindly shared their wedding budget breakdown with us, which you can see right here.

SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES FROM THIS INTIMATE PARIS WEDDING BY L’SECRET D’AUDREY.

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“Aside from the location, we went simple with our wedding, and it was perfect,” shares Morgan. “We were able to have an intimate wedding and also make it a special vacation for everyone. We spent a week in Paris, and the day after the wedding we left for our honeymoon in Greece. With a destination wedding came planning challenges (we couldn’t just call up vendors to talk with them, not to mention the language barrier), but in the end we had a memorable experience that we will never forget – and it spanned over a week, not just a day! The day we received our pictures, it really sealed the deal, as they blew everyone away! It was a dream wedding come true.”

 

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L'Secret D'Audrey | Snippet & Ink L’Secret D’Audrey | Snippet & Ink

 

“Our wedding was far from traditional, but there were a few touches that made it feel like home to us. My grandma passed away just before my birthday in 2014, and a little while after that, my mom gave me a pearl necklace that used to be my grandmothers’s to wear for my wedding (something old). My dress didn’t quite fit with a necklace, so I wore it around my wrist as a bracelet. My mom and I both teared up as she put it on my wrist before the ceremony, and it was truly special to get to have that to remind me of my Grandma.”

 

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Morgan’s bouquet was the only floral detail from the wedding, and it complemented her romantic blush gown perfectly. It included peonies, garden roses, dusty miller, and viburnum.

 

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The Ceremony

“We had a couple locations in mind for our ceremony, but ultimately we decided on The American Church in Paris because of the gorgeous and traditional chapel. There were stained-glass windows surrounding the entire church, and an organist to play music. It also really helped that they spoke English (which was important in planning a wedding in Paris), and they frequently host weddings, so they knew what to do.”

 

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Your ceremony in three words.  Traditional, simple, memorable.

How did you go about planning your ceremony?  The church provided a basic template to go off of, and we kept with that, and chose music that the organist would play.

Ceremony music:
Processional Music for the Bride: Canon in “D” Pachelbel
Lighting of the Unity candle: “Ave Maria” Franz Schubert
Recessional Music: “The Wedding March” Mendelssohn (the traditional
march)

Ceremony readings:  1 Corinthians 13:1-8, 13 / 1 John 4:7, 16b, 19

What were your vows like?  We did not write our own vows, and instead went with traditional vows. Neither of us are very good at putting our feelings into words (nor reading them out loud), so this fit us well.

 

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What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  Standing in front of our close family and friends who were able to make it, and just focusing on each other. We barely even noticed anyone else, as we were so concentrated on one another.

Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  It was a cold and cloudy day in Paris for the wedding, but when the Pastor pronounced us as husband and wife, the sun came out and shined right through all of the stained glass windows. It was a beautiful sight.

 

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“I love details, but I tend to fret over the small stuff,” says Morgan. “If I would have had to plan a full reception, I am not sure that it would have gone so peacefully! The day goes by so fast, that I didn’t even notice the small things. For us, it was about spending time in a gorgeous new city with some of our family, which is exactly what we did.”

 

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The Reception

“Our reception was very simple and non-traditional. Since we only had 14 people, we had a private dinner at a Paris restaurant after the ceremony. Our photographer recommended it (it was difficult finding restaurants with private rooms online, and I wasn’t able to call any of them), and it was small but simple with a great menu option. It was also in a great location that was easy to get to.”

 

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What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  I did a lot of searching on Pinterest for “Paris wedding” and got ideas of what a wedding in Paris looked like. Many pictures that came up were of Parisian-inspired weddings, which isn’t what I wanted; I wanted it simple, which is why a private dinner was perfect. We had a macaron “cake” from Ladurée, but no decorations were needed besides what the restaurant provided, and it was simple and perfect.

 

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If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  I wish we had planned the ceremony better, and had our parents do the readings and be more involved. We visited the church a couple days before the wedding, but neither of our parents came with us, so they weren’t quite sure what to do. Also, I missed not having a first dance and father/daughter dance, but we can have that moment next time we are all together. Otherwise, we loved our wedding just as it was.

What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  Because our wedding was small, a private dinner was the perfect way to just sit and enjoy everyone’s company. At the traditional receptions I’ve been to, the couples are so busy trying to get around and talk to everyone, that they have no time to sit and enjoy the moment. We had the luxury of being able to sit at one table with all of our guests, and be able to talk with everyone and enjoy the setting.

 

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Photography: Le Secret D’Audrey / Venue: The American Church in Paris, France / Floral Design: Estelle Preston / Dress: Vera Wang via Warren Barron / Shoes: Valentino / Suit: Boss / Tie: Burberry / Shirt: Nordstrom / Shoes: Gucci / Hair: Ciara Coiffure / Makeup: Charles Gillman / Rentals: One Fine Stay / Officiant: Rev. Dr. Jeff Powell / Dessert: Ladurée

This post contains affiliate links. 

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When you’re planning a wedding, one of the first things that comes up is The Budget, and it can be incredibly helpful to see how other couples allocated funds for their own wedding celebration. Morgan and Thomas have graciously shared their full budget breakdown with us… You can see their full wedding feature here.

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BUDGET BREAKDOWN

Friday, May 15, 2015
Paris, France
14 guests

 

From the bride: One of the reasons we chose a wedding in Paris was to save money! Thomas and I were lucky, and our parents paid for us to go to college (which is expensive without a doubt), so we felt that we needed to pay for the wedding ourselves. We both have large families spread out all over, so a traditional wedding/reception would have been large, and expensive. I know my taste level is high, so it would have been hard sticking to a budget when it came to decor and flowers, etc. Here is a basic breakdown of what we spent (not included here are DIY invitations printed at Staples, DIY calligraphy, or the cost of the apartment for all of us to stay for a week):

VENUE
Ceremony: The American Church, $1200
included location for 2 hours, officiant, and organist
Total: $1200

FOOD / DRINK
Dinner: Chez Julien, $1600
Cake: Ladurée, $200
Total: $1800

ATTIRE
Dress, purchased at sample sale for 90% off: Vera Wang, $500
Shoes: Gucci, $1000
Alterations: $300
Hair, not including trial: Ciara Coiffure, $165
Makeup, including trial: Charles Gillman, $275
Groom’s suit: Hugo Boss, $400
Total: $2640

BOUQUET
Estelle Preston, $125
Total: $125

PHOTOGRAPHY
Le Secret d’Audrey, $2640
included 5 hours of photography, plus ~400 edited, full-resolution images
Total: $2640

TRAVEL
Flights, $2000 for 1 round-trip ticket
“We planned in advance, and saved up credit card points to get one ticket for free.”
Total: $2000

GRAND TOTAL: $10,405

 

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Photos by Le Secret d’Audrey.

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