Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and I can think of no better way to mark the occasion than with this stunning red and gold styled shoot at one of my favorite Bay Area venues, from three (three!) of our brilliant Select vendors. With design by Shannon Leahy, flowers by Max Gill, and photography by Josh Gruetzmacher, you will definitely want to check out the gallery for every last detail.
From Shannon Leahy: The inspiration for this photo shoot comes from the fabric, toile. Toile du Jouy (named after a French town) originated in 18th century Ireland and traditionally was used for window treatments and upholstery. In many ways toile has come to represent stuffy, outdated design and I wanted to find a way to take a relic of the past and update it in a fresh and modern way.
Of course, the photographs from Josh Gruetzmacher who found the space and spearheaded the shoot take it all to the next level. The crisp, classic look of his film in this light and bright space bring everything to life and let us all step into the fantasy of what it must have been like to sail across the ocean in a 22-carat gilded saloon.
Many of the traditional toiles are made in blue-and-white but for our shoot at the golden hued China Cabin we thought bringing in warm tones of yellow and cream would blend with the gold beautifully and set a perfect backdrop for Max Gill‘s dramatic red and burgundy toned flowers.
The China Cabin is a historical location in Tiburon, just right over the Bay from San Francisco. The walls are gilded in 22-karat gold in this space which was once an elegant social saloon of the PS China. The ship was originally built in New York City in 1866 and was one of the four sister ships the United States Postal Service ordered to carry mail and passengers from California to Asia. The China Cabin, now docked permanently in the Bay Area was the officers stateroom.
We really wanted to carry the toile through from beginning to end and so we incorporated a toile ribbon on the bride’s bouquet, a custom tabletop runner of yellow toile, a welcome box made we made for out of town guests made of toile and accented with glittering, over-the-top gifts that would set the tone for an evening in the China Cabin.
The toile carried through to the paper products and invitations by Mira Aster as well. We adore the unique place cards she came up with that are made from gilded edged paper to look like a ribbon fluttering in the breeze, perfect for a wedding on an ocean liner.
For this shoot, I found the perfect gowns from local San Francisco designer Trish Lee. The main dress for the shoot is called The Lady. We love the supremely elegant and refined look of this gown and can imagine a Bride who adores the traditions of the past but still wants a fresh and updated look slipping into this gorgeous gown. According to Trish Lee, The Lady was inspired by the poise and spirit of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aunt San Suu Kyi and is a tribute to the designers Burmese heritage. We can think of no better dress for a 19th-century ship that sailed between Asia and the United States.
We imagined a second look for this Bride in the dress Joni also from Trish Lee. According to the designer this dress epitomizes that certain “je ne sais quoi” the elusory “it” factor. The fluttering capelet over the shoulder gives an effortless bohemian effect and to us, symbolizes the China Cabin’s final home in the free-spirited Bay Area. (See the second look in the gallery!)
Julie Morgan styled our Bride perfectly with an elegant and refined Downton Abbey look for the first dress and a more sultry, whimsical look for the second dress complete with a crowning head wreath by Max Gill.
We were so excited to use San Francisco’s own Frances Lane for the vintage tabletop rentals which really elevate the tabletop. Accents like the settee and vintage cake stand from One True Love vintage complete the story of romance rooted in tradition. The deep burgundy and fig tones of the floral arrangements, bouquets and boutonnieres from Max Gill add richness and contrast to this glittering gilded yellow and gold tablescape.
To complete the entire look the toile coated cake by Sweet On Cake is the crown on top of the jewel box. Inspired by the architecture of the space, Amber from Sweet on Cake created a real masterpiece.