Katherine and Illian would often pass the Corinthian Yacht Club while out sailing, and they thought it would make the perfect location for their bayside celebration. To make the day even more picturesque, they chose nearby Old Saint Hilary’s church, perched on a hillside overlooking the San Francisco Bay. This stunning location, the subtle nods to their love of sailing, and a strong focus on bringing their two cultures together, this wedding is full of elegant and modern details you’re sure to love!
Photography by Diana Marie.
Is there anything that helps tell the story of your wedding? My husband and I both sail and do so regularly in San Francisco – he even proposed on a sailing trip in the Whitsunday Islands in Australia. Sailing is a big part of our lives, hence the choice in venue, the sailing flag, and subtle nautical touches at the wedding, like the flag-shaped table numbers. For us, our decorations could be minimal thanks to the beautiful reception venue and view of San Francisco Bay from the Corinthian Yacht Club!
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? My mom gave me a piece of her veil to pin inside my wedding dress. The women in both my family and my husband’s family spent the night before our wedding cooking the traditional Bulgarian bread we would break at our ceremony the next day.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Given how quickly the day goes and the myriad of distractions, a friend recommended that we each think of a few events or moments to be particularly present for so we will have distinct memories of that moment. It was great reminder during the ceremony and reception to take a breath and enjoy the day.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Communicate with each other and anyone else involved early and often about what is important to you. And, enjoy the time and the reasons wedding planning creates to spend with your loved ones.
Floral Design by La Fleuriste.
“We sail in San Francisco Bay and often pass the Corinthian Yacht Club while on the water. Both of us secretly thought it would be an ideal place for a wedding, so there was no question that we’d be in Tiburon for our wedding. Old St. Hilary’s Church was the perfect addition to the day. It’s beautiful and intimate.”
Your ceremony in three words. Culture-rich, inclusive, and playful
How did you go about planning your ceremony? It was important to us that we include traditions from both our Bulgarian and Filipino families. I used my Filipino cousin’s wedding ceremony as a template as well as our friends’ wedding script to write our own. Our officiants added their own touches, too.
What was your ceremony music? My aunt played the piano for our ceremony. Processional was “Canon in D” by Pachelbel and Recessional was “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri.
Who officiated your ceremony? Our two friends, who we named our Kum and Kuma. In addition to being great friends of ours, they also set us up on our first date! With the exception of the bride and groom, the Kum and Kuma are traditionally the most important people at a Bulgarian wedding and play leading roles in the ceremonies and celebrations. Historically, the Kum was the groom’s Godfather, but in modern weddings the Kum and Kuma are close friends of the couple and play key roles in their life together.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? Yes, we included three Filipino wedding traditions—a unity candle, wedding coins, and wedding cord. Our secondary sponsors helped us with each. Secondary Sponsors are a Filipino wedding tradition. They are women and men whom the couple chooses to involve in their ceremony because of their affinity or friendship with them. They are typically relatives or close friends who model strong relationships.
What were your vows like? We exchanged traditional wedding vows.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? In addition to the tradition, our ceremony was playful and fun! My husband’s friends and family cheered when he entered the church. And the whole church laughed together when I struggled to fit my husband’s ring on his finger as we exchanged vows.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? We loved how inclusive it was thanks to the Filipino tradition of Primary and Secondary Wedding Sponsors. It gave us an opportunity to acknowledge those most important to us and formally include them in our special day.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Set a maximum budget and adjust individual items’ budgets to fit within that budget. A single splurge may not seem like it will break the bank, but those individual purchases do add up.
“Our reception included many Bulgarian traditions, like the breaking of bread, the groom’s mother feeding us honey and salt to prepare for the ups and downs in life, and our bridesmaids and groomsman competing in a dance battle with professional Bulgarian dancers to win food in our honor! All of our friends and family also snaked around the entire reception room as they danced the horo together holding hands. It was great fun and there was never a dull moment!”
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Our inspirations included colors we love, like orange, and things we treasure, such as the sailing flag and logo my husband created as part of his proposal. In particular, our florist did such a beautiful job making our vision for the day come to life.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? We designed our own programs and menus using the “logo” my husband designed as part of his proposal. It’s on the sailing flag he made for the proposal, which the Corinthian Yacht Club allowed us to fly on their flag pole the day of our wedding.
Menu: Salad: Tender Baby Spinach, Ripe Peaches, Goat Cheese and Candied Cashews with Passion Fruit Vinaigrette // Entrées: Grilled Australian Double Lamb Chops, Potato and Goat Cheese Gratin, and Sautéed Fresh Spinach with a Pinot Noir-Cherry Reduction / Pan Roasted Sea Bass with Saffron Risotto and Crisp Snap Peas with an Orange-Tarragon Butter Sauce / Vegetarian Portobello Mushroom and Polenta Tower with Smoked Mozzarella and Tomato Coulis
Catering by Corinthian Yacht Club.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? Fresh banana cake with cream cheese icing.
Cake by Icing on the Cake.
What was your first dance song?
First dance: “Don’t Wait” by Mapai (acoustic)
Father/Daughter Dance: “My Little Girl” by Tim McGraw
Reception Music from Dion Decibels.
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. Our maid of honor and best man delivered the most amazing speeches. My husband is infamous for a prank he pulled in graduate school where he convinced an entire class that it is tradition to throw paper airplanes during an important speaker’s speech. To commemorate this, his best man played the prank on us by having all of our guests throw paper airplanes at us at the end of his speech.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? Amazingly, no! Our day really was a reflection of our relationship and what is important to both of us. We were so blessed to have family and friends from all over the world travel to California to celebrate with us!