These days, it’s pretty cool that you make just about any rad spot a wedding venue. Take Angélique + John-Michael, for example, who found Magical Garden Bed & Breakfast in San Francisco, California through Airbnb and turned it into the perfect setting for exchanging their vows! They juxtaposed the natural landscape with lots of fun knick knacks and cool textiles –and had a picnic atop Bernal Heights with their bridal party prior to their ceremony to catch the amazing view of the city! Sounds like a pretty perfect day to us :) Let’s hear more about it from Angélique:
John-Michael and I are travelers at heart. We have adventured to 34 countries, combined, and have no plans to slow down now that we’re married. Because of this, we decided early in the planning process to have a destination wedding in a place we had never been. We picked San Francisco. We had no friends or family there, but thought it was a cool city. We were right. All-in-all, our wedding was a beautiful reflection of who we are. We did what mattered to us, and ignored everything else.
Thanks so much to Maddelynn + Amari of Foot Candles Photography for the perfect snaps + congrats to the newlyweds on an amazing day!
Seriously loving the idea of a pre-wedding picnic with your fam or bridal party! (And what a view, right?!)
During the ceremony, we asked our guests to pray over us, an act to start our marriage with the blessing of God. We washed each other’s feet as a symbol of our commitment to serve one another in our marriage. We read our own vows, which we had written in our journals (used books we found at a book store a couple of days after we first met). And the officiant was one of John-Michael’s closest friends.
Eyeing those perfect protea bouquets! Yeah, we are too. They’re the handiwork of Home Sweet Flowers.
Just one? Nope. Can't. Here's three that make us smile:
We were all taking turns at the piñata, perhaps having too much fun blind-folding and spinning each other around 'one...two...three times and...swing!', when the Matron of Honor steps up to bat, swings, and almost lands the blow on the face of my now-Father-in-law! Gasps and exclamations erupted from the whole group, followed shortly by hysterical laughter when it was evident that nobody was harmed.
Sitting on the ground--Eastern European style, Turkish rugs and all--with my new bride, my best friend, laughing and crying as we listened to the speeches our friends and family gave. It was the first time we were seated as a married couple, and it was right. I had the overwhelming peace of knowing that I had just made the best decision of my life--I married my best friend.
We rented bikes for our exit, and *tried* to ride them away into the sunset. Turns out, San Francisco hills, wedding dresses, and bikes do not make for the most graceful of exits. So, we walked our bikes away. ;)
Two things that you'll hear a lot: make your day about you and don't stress.
Your wedding day is not, contrary to popular belief, the most important day of your life. That title belongs to every day following your wedding--each day you say, 'I do' without all the hoopla and hype of some big event. That said, your wedding day is quite likely the most elaborate and most celebrated party you'll ever throw. So, make it yours. Don't blindly follow tradition, but choose to participate in the events that are meaningful to you as a couple. For us, this meant that the groom was present when the bride was dress-shopping. It meant that there was no garter or bouquet toss; there was no dancing; there was no alcohol; there was no caterer.
There was, however, a first look on a mountain, a picnic with our bridal party before the ceremony, foot-washing, vows in our journals, and matching wedding bands. Our decor included a plethora of Indian tapestries, Turkish throw pillows, Mexican blankets, and glass, geometric terrariums with beautiful succulents. We had a buffet of local gastronomy, a temporary tattoo bar, large floor rugs all over the ground, and a bunch of games (including twister and the classic 'Guess Who' with the names and faces of our guests, custom-made by Angélique).
We also found ways to cut costs in a city known for it's very high prices: we found our venue--a hillside, backyard garden--using AirBNB; we imported many of our decorations from other countries, getting bulk and wholesale prices without buying in bulk; we found our other decorations online and used coupons and free shipping and spent countless hours searching for the best prices; in the end, we only rented a few items (which we were very happy with!), so we went home to our new and empty apartment with virtually everything that was at our wedding.
But it was a very, very stressful planning process. The combination of having a destination wedding (in a city we had never been to and had no friends or family in), buying every decoration individually and on our own, the logistics of housing and transporting nearly all of our guests and bridal party, and some issues with our original planner made for a lot of lost sleep during the seven months preceding our wedding day. And it was all for a single day, a party.
Finding the balance between uniqueness and too much work is a difficult task, but absolutely necessary if you want to enjoy your wedding and at least some of the planning process. So, our advice is to hire a wedding planner who really, really understands and has experience with your style, and ask friends and family to help.
photography: Maddelynn & Amari of Foot Candles Photography // venue: Magical Garden Bed & Breakfast in San Francisco, California – firstname.lastname@example.org // housing: Chez Poulet //event design + planning: Bride & Groom // day of coordination: Jocelyn Stewart – email@example.com // floral design, hairpieces + jewelry: Lorena Cortez of Home Sweet Flowers // flower dyed silk ribbon: Silk and Willow // wedding dress: Sarah Seven // shoes: Charlotte Rouse // bridesmaid dresses: They selected their own // hair + makeup: Samantha Johnsen // groom’s suit: H&M // paper goods: Wedding Paper Divas // picnic catering: Mission Picnic // reception catering: Bi-rite Market // cake: Pretty Please Bakeshop // temporary tattoos: Tattly, Tattifiy // furniture rentals: Hunt and Gather Rentals // bike rentals: The Bike Hut // officiant: Julio Marin // music: iPod