For Jessica and Mark’s San Francisco ballroom wedding at Bently Reserve, everything was big and glamorous! From her incredible sky high Louboutin’s—not one, but three pairs—to the gorgeous historical cathedral, to the confetti shower at the end of the night, this modern ballroom-meets-Gatsby wedding made for an unforgettable celebration.
Photography by Tanja Lippert.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? My sister reassuring me that everything will turn out perfect.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Get a wedding planner! Initially I thought I could do it all myself, since I am a very organized person. I could just use Google for anything I couldn’t figure out, right? Wrong! My husband insisted that I look for a planner, so I interviewed a few and found my match: Simone Lennon was just fabulous.
The ruffled petals of Jessica’s peony bouquet echoed the dramatic ruffles of her Vera Wang gown.
“I never pictured myself getting married in a church, but we chose Old St. Mary’s Cathedral because I wanted to make my mother happy – my father passed away 10 years ago and all my family lives in Slovakia, and I come from a very religious Greek Catholic family with old values. After I visited the church and saw how gorgeous it was and how much history was inside, I couldn’t imagine a better location. Old St. Mary’s was one of the first cathedrals in California, which made the ceremony feel extra special and it was a privilege to get married there.”
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? We had a traditional Catholic mass with communion. My mom volunteers at our church so she gave out communion and I had my godfather give me away at the altar.
Who officiated your ceremony? Father Dick Sparks. We met him through the marriage prep classes we took at the Parish. He seemed quirky and had a certain spunk that I knew would help keep our traditional ceremony interesting.
What were your vows like? The ceremony was very traditional with traditional vows.
What was your ceremony music?
Processional/Bridal party: “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Bach
Bridal Entrance: “The Prince of Denmark’s March” by Clark
Psalm 145 “Our God is Compassion”
Presentation of the gift: “Ave Maria”
Eucharistic Acclamation: “Mass of Creation” by Marty Haugen
Communion Precession: “Here I Am Lord” by Dan Schutte
Recessional: “Alla Hornpipe” by Handel
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? When Father Sparks was talking about the symbolism of marriage, he shouted out on Mark’s behalf, “I want everyone to know that I love Jessica!”
“Originally we pictured having an outdoor garden venue with green grass and gorgeous flowing flowers. As we began looking, we realized we were more of a grand ballroom type of couple who wanted a modern twist. Once we started brainstorming more wedding locations, we knew that the city [San Francisco] was going reflect our style best. It was where we met and where our love story began.”
How would you describe your reception? Modern day Gatsby with an elegant (yet sparkly!) design.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? I had dreamed of a celebration where everyone would gather in one place to eat, dance and just have fun. We definitely wanted it to be a statement and something that they would talk about even after the day was over.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? We had a magician during cocktail hour for a quirky and fun interactive activity for our guests. It was fitting because Mark had enlisted the help of a magician during our proposal.
Did you have a signature cocktail? Yes. Mine was a Blooming Blossom champagne cocktail infused with a wild hibiscus flower – the same cocktail that Mark and I drank on the night of our proposal. Mark went with his favorite, a Moscow Mule – seemed sort of fitting since he is from Russia.
What was your wedding menu? We served a plated dinner catered by the Presidio Social Club with our favorite California bistro classics:
First Course: salad of roasted beets blue cheese and baby lettuces / Second Course: pan roasted halibut with lemon beurre blanc & vegetables, red wine braised beef shortribs with horseradish whipped potatoes and glazed red onion and freeform vegetable lasagna with heirloom tomatoes, fresh ricotta & lemon basil oil / On the Side: Presidio Social Club famous mac n’ cheese served family style.
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. Listening to the maid of honor and best man’s speech. They were very heartfelt. A few other memorable moments are when a friend of ours almost turned the dance floor into the set of Magic Mike and watching my sister cut a rug even with a broken leg that she got on our bachelorette party in Cabo. It was amazing to see old friends that we grew up from as toddlers share our day with us.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We served a gorgeous towering three tier wedding cake designed by Perfect Endings. I was so excited that we got to work with this premier cake designer. The cake was elegant in all white, square shaped and a large decorative flower that cascaded down the tiers. We picked our favorite flavors: red velvet, banana with cream cheese frosting and their signature black & white cake.
What was your first dance song? “Young & Beautiful” by Lana Del Ray mixed with “I Need Your Love” by Nicky Romero.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? The confetti cannons, of course! As a secret surprise, we had six large confetti cannons installed and set to explode over the dance floor when our first dance transitioned from the slow part mashed into our favorite club dance song.