Photography by Jen Huang.
When the bride is Lead Planner with the stellar team at Shannon Leahy Events, you know her wedding is going to be something special. Clean and elegant, with a crisp, cool palette of white, green and gray, bride Elise gathered a dream team of the best vendors in the business to help bring her vision of an urban garden to life – in wintertime San Francisco, no less. It just goes to show that being a little unconventional (Elise and her groom Rob were engaged for just two months, and had two weddings a year apart!) pays off when you’re doing what’s right for you – and do it with serious style.
Tell us about your dress. It’s a 1920s inspired, champagne beaded gown with a white tulle skirt – the Pisces gown by Badgley Mischka. It was the only wedding dress I’ve ever been personally drawn to, and was actually discontinued by the time I got married. I had to hunt one down!
Elise worked with her friends at Yonder Design on her elegant gray and white stationery suite. She tells us, “the stationery was one of my favorite aspects of the wedding design. Our save the date was inspired by a coaster we saw at a local restaurant that featured a vintage map of San Francisco. Yonder Design perfectly captured our ‘urban garden’ look using images and motifs from vintage English garden maps.”
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? Neither Rob nor I are religious, but we knew a church ceremony would be special for his mom so we decided to marry at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco. It was nice for my parents too, as they were married in a Unitarian church. Plus, I loved its gorgeous woodwork.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? We worked with Rev John Buherens from the UU Church. Also, given I’m a wedding planner, I was able to consider all of the wonderful ceremonies I’ve helped couples plan in the past.
Your ceremony in three words. Family, tradition, classic.
What was your ceremony music? The church has an amazing pipe organ, so while we had strings for our processionals, the recessional was played on the organ. We chose my parents’ recessional song, The Widor Toccata.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Rob!
Aren’t Elise’s flower girls darling? She tells us, “my nieces took this duty very seriously! They wore Dessy Group dresses from Bella Bridesmaids in a soft dove grey. They are both 9 years old so I wanted something that wasn’t too ‘little girl’-y. In the same vein, rather than having them scatter petals we decided on them wearing beautiful floral head wreaths and carried floral garlands”.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding? We met on match.com in July of 2013. We both knew immediately this was it for us and decided to get married that December. We ended up tying the knot on February 28th, 2014 in a small City Hall ceremony. When we decided to do a big wedding to celebrate with our friends and family we wanted to make sure to stay close to our one-year anniversary.
I spent a year planning the big wedding celebration. As a wedding planner this was a unique opportunity to share what I do with our family and friends. It was a completely different experience planning my own wedding, which surprised me. One of our planning associates stayed with the wedding party on the day, and Shannon (Owner of Shannon Leahy Events, where I am Lead Planner) oversaw the set up to ensure it looked just like I planned, and to ensure I could enjoy the day. Our team completely eliminated my stress! I definitely feel lucky to call my colleagues my friends.
On top of our Event Planning & Design team, all of our other vendors were also colleagues and good friends. One standout was my photographer Jen Huang, from Santa Barbara. She was actually my one out-of-town vendor that I wasn’t friends with already. Since our wedding we’ve actually had the pleasure of having her document my pregnancy and we look forward to getting family portraits soon, too!
Why did you choose this location for your reception? We wanted a little piece of wine country in the city. We would have loved to have something outdoors in wine country, but the weather is too finicky that time of year. We found the perfect alternative at Bluxome Street Winery – it’s a beautiful working winery in the heart of the city! We love it’s concrete floors, vintage wine jug light fixtures and gorgeous wine barrel wall at the entry.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? I always wanted a garden wedding and love the outdoors and lush greenery, so when we ended up in an industrial space, it was important to me to bring the outside in. (Pro tip: plant rentals are an amazing way to make a big impact and define a space.) I wanted the existing architectural elements, as well as the rentals I selected, to look as if they had been overgrown with vines and greenery. I love the restaurant at the NOMO Soho Hotel in New York, and it was the starting point for my inspiration.
How would you describe your reception? A relaxed party atmosphere with a sophisticated black tie feel.
What was your first dance song? We chose You Send Me by Otis Redding. We love old blues and soul music — this is our song.
What type of cake did you serve? Our cake was decorated in light grey chocolate ganache and meandering vines. While the cake looked lovely, for us it was all about what was on the inside— delicious cake! We chose a lemon poppyseed cake with lemon curd, and a chocolate cake with hazelnut chocolate ganache.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Remember the wedding isn’t just for you – it’s just as much for your families – so if there’s difference of opinion, it’s another reason not to sweat the small stuff! Overall, don’t forget to focus on the big picture. It’s easy to get caught up in the details, but in the end the only thing that matters is marrying your best friend.