Sarah & Chris – COVID Wedding San Francisco

Sarah & Chris were married in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and a historic uprising for racial equality. 

Sarah & Chris were married on a gorgeous, sunny day at their apartment in the Mission District with bright blue skies overhead and wisps of fog off in the distance. 

Sarah & Chris were married on a moody day, dense with fog and magic in a redwood grove in Golden Gate Park. 

All  of these sentences are true. It’s the concept of “Yes/And:” 

Yes, Sarah & Chris, had their plans for a larger wedding upended by the COVID pandemic… and they planned a gorgeous, multi-climate micro COVID wedding anyway. 

It takes a special sort of person, and a special sort of mind to live out the “Yes/And.” Sarah & Chris are both that kind of special person with that special kind of mind. For some, being forced to cancel or reimagine wedding plans due to COVID-19 is primarily felt as a loss. But Sarah & Chris found about a million ways to make their COVID wedding day one of the most meaningful, gorgeous, unforgettable days the two shall ever live. 

The City of San Francisco offered them a virtual wedding ceremony with a virtual officiant on June 19th… so, they said “Yes/And.” Yes to the virtual wedding ceremony (which they were able to share with their families through a Zoom screenshare) and yes to the fact that the day on offer was Juneteenth, a day of protest and celebration for equality and liberation of black people. They would find ways to honor Juneteenth as part of their wedding celebration. 

The day started in Sarah & Chris’ apartment, where they live surrounded by objects imbued with their love and their story: including carefully tended house plants, a web of photographs from their shared adventures, elaborate paper masks, homemade sourdough bread, and a glossy magazine that Sarah made as part of their mutual marriage proposal. After the official ceremony with the City of San Francisco, sealed with a ring exchange and a kiss, they shared personal vows in front of their family on Zoom. They placed leis over each other’s heads and toasted with champagne.

We made  a few portraits in their apartment and on the roof deck, then headed downstairs, where a bike trailer packed with wedding reception fixings lay in wait. On the bike ride to Golden Gate Park, they wore placards that read (small print) “Just Married” and (large print) “Black Lives Matter.” We biked the Wiggle with sweet passersby cheering and honking in support and celebration.

When we arrived in Golden Gate Park we made some portraits at the Music Concourse, the Rose Garden, and the Redwood Grove, where we met up with a few of the couple’s closest friends. There, they hosted a socially-distant wedding reception with well-spaced group portraits, more celebratory signs, and a socially distant dance party.

If you’ve made it this far reading this post, you too can say Yes/And: Yes, we can enjoy witnessing Sarah & Chris’ expression of love — And we can honor them by joining the struggle for racial justice and equality. Breonna Taylor’s killers walk free. You can find resources for action here, here and here.


Round Pond Estate Wedding – Napa Valley

Cat & Ross held their wedding rehearsal dinner at Round Pond Estate, a gorgeous vineyard and winery in California’s Napa Valley. The Approach to Round Pond down the palm-lined driveway is absolutely iconic, as is the architecture of the winery. The first floor is comprised of a large wine cave with a glass ceiling. The 2nd floor houses a tasting room with a massive window down onto the wine cave below. Dinner was served on a patio off the 2nd floor overlooking the vineyard and the rolling hills beyond.

When Cat & Ross, and their guests arrived they were treated to a tour of the vineyards, the garden, and the wine cave. Dinner was a 5 course tasting menu paired with Napa Valley wines from Round Pond winery. Between the courses we ran out into the field to make couples portraits with the rows of palm trees, and the rows of grape vines. I’m particularly fond of what happened with the light in the vineyards after the sun had dipped below the horizon, such supple bright light for these two the night before their wedding.


Beltane Ranch Wedding Sonoma, California

Beltane Ranch Wedding Sonoma, California – Cat & Ross

Cat & Ross were married at Beltane Ranch in Glen Ellen, California on a gobsmackingly beautiful April day. They opted for an elopement with only family in attendance. Over the weekend I was able to get to know them and their families a bit, especially so as I also photographed their rehearsal dinner at Round Pond Estate the night before. Both nights were celebrations of love, of course, but also of food, as Cat and Ross have a bit of a flare for the gastronomic. But, I’m getting ahead of myself here.

The truly remarkable thing that happened on that Saturday in April in Glen Ellen California under a live oak tree overlooking a vineyard, is that time came to a standstill. The wedding ceremony was proceeding as planned. Ross’s mother led him to the altar. Cat’s father led her to Ross. Ross’s brother, the officiant, spoke eloquently. Cat’s mother shared a reading. The wind rustled the ribbons tied to the chairs, and the leaves of the oak overhead, and all of the rows of grapevines beyond out into the horizon. And then Cat produced a small notebook and began to read her vows. Like that. Time stopped. It was everything I could do to continue making photographs. Cat’s words demanded the attention of all present, Ross, her family, the old ranch house, the chef, the farm kitten, but also, the clouds, and all of creation. I had never experienced anything quite like that before.

It feels strange to go on, but one must. We all found our legs again, and the two recessed down the aisle, husband and wife. Champagne was poured, toasts were made, hugs were dispensed with abandon. The sun began to reach for the horizon. Cat and Ross shared a first dance under the oak tree to the dulcet tones of a string trio.

Dinner was served at a long table flanked by heat lamps overlooking the vineyards. This wedding may only have had 10 guests in total, but there were seven courses on the menu. Wines from Sonoma Valley were poured to pair with each course. When golden hour struck, Cat, Ross and I hopped in an ATV with Lauren from Beltane, and headed off to the rolling hills of vineyards to make a few portraits. When we returned we were graced with an absolutely spectacular sunset to close out the night

Venue : Beltane Ranch
Photographer : Hazel Photo
Hair and Makeup : Ashley Jensen
Wedding attire : Grooms Suit: Jojayden, Bride’s gown: Jenny Yoo
Cake : Bouchon
Catering : Beltane Ranch
DJ/Band : BellaRosa String Quartet
Wine : Schramsberg , Davies Vineyard


Trolley Tour Wedding San Francisco: Alamo Square, Crissy Field, Palace of Fine Arts

Part 3 of 4 the Trolley Tour SF City Hall/2nd Line Parade/Trolley Tour/Big Daddy’s Antiques

To begin at the beginning click here.

Trolley Tour Wedding San Francisco: Alamo Square, Crissy Field, Palace of Fine Arts – Sasha & Andrew

With a smaller wedding, renting a pair of Hornblower trolley cars to tour San Francisco with your out-of-town guests is a fantastic way to elapse the time between a San Francisco City Hall Wedding and a nighttime reception at an Antiques store that needs to be flipped after business hours. Sasha and Andrew’s trolley cars had names. Clearly, “Nacho Cheese” trolley was equipped with only the classic, Nacho Cheese flavored Doritos. While, “Cool Ranch” Trolley stuck to its namesake as well. Both cars had coolers full of champagne and hard grape Faygo.

Our first stop was Alamo Square Park with its spectacular view of the painted ladies, and the San Francisco cityscape beyond. We greeted local puppies, gazed at Victorian architecture, sunned our faces. Portraits were made with San Francisco framed by bursts of cypress trees. Sasha’s gold sequined wedding gown threw reflections everywhere. Before we hopped back on the trolley, I grabbed Sasha for a portrait in front of this fantastic basketball mosaic.

Next we drove Westward through the Presidio towards the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge. Trolley stop number two was at Crissy Field where we made a few romantic portraits, and a few goofy ones all with the glory of the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.

The final stop was at San Francisco’s iconic Palace of Fine Arts. Where we strolled the grounds and admired the flora and fauna… Stick around for the reception at an Antiques shop. You won’t be disappointed.

Ceremony Venue : San Francisco City Hall 4th Floor North Gallery
Reception Venue : Big Daddy’s Antiques
Photographer : Hazel Photo
Florist : Max Gill Design
Wedding planner : Jenni Grubba
Makeup : Kelly Jo Makeup & Hair
Makeup : Kelly Jo Makeup & Hair
Wedding attire : Grooms Suit: Custom, Bride’s gown: Sachin & Babi
Cake : Butter &
Catering : Fogcutter
2nd line Band : MJs Brass Boppers
DJ/Band : Golden Bells Music
Wedding Transport : Hornblower Cable Cars
Photobooth : Pika Pika

 

Part 3 of 4 the Trolley Tour SF City Hall/2nd Line Parade/Trolley Tour/Big Daddy’s Antiques

 


Big Daddy’s Antiques Wedding – Portrero Hill

Part 4 of 4 SF City Hall/2nd Line Parade/Trolley Tour/Big Daddy’s Antiques

To begin at the beginning click here

Big Daddy’s Antiques Wedding : Portrero Hill – Sasha & Andrew

Sasha & Andrew’s wedding, phew, this was one of those parties you really don’t want to miss, it just kept unfolding and unfolding. While we were galavanting through the city on a trolley tour, an incredible team of wedding vendors led by the inimitable wedding planner, Jenni Grubba, was hard at work turning Portero Hill’s Big Daddy’s Antiques into a wedding wonderworld. Look at those gorgeous climbing florals from Max Gill on the column, what is that, ionic? (It is. I looked it up.) Big Daddy’s Antiques is already a beautiful cavernous and fascinating space, but it was completely transformed with the king’s table for 80 oozing with Max Gill’s genius floral centerpieces.

As guests arrived, they were offered champagne garnished with edible flowers in vintage crystal coupes. Gardenias were placed in the entryway to give off their intoxicating scent. The menus were folded in the shape of fortunetellers, and unfolded to reveal all the goodness to come.

When we arrived, Sasha & Andrew’s dog was patiently awaiting them, and we took the chance to make a few family portraits of the three of them with the lovely late afternoon light. Fogcutter passed their always gorgeous hors d’oeuvres, I especially love those flower-petal-dusted deviled eggs, and they plied guests with course after course of family style platters from nasturtium-speckled salads to roasted wild mushrooms to duck confit. Pika Pika set up their quirky Japanese-style photobooth. Golden Bells Music kept everybody dancing through the night with a 5 piece band, heavy on the brass. You know it’s my kind of wedding when there are not one, but two brass bands! At some point after the first dance, and before the dance party got jumping, Sasha slipped away to change into a 2nd gold sequin number, but this one was sequins all the way from head to toe, and was built for dancing. As the night grew long, a garage door mysteriously opened out to the street. A taco truck was parked in front of the building ready to dole out midnight snacks of al pastor and barbacoa.

Ceremony Venue : San Francisco City Hall 4th Floor North Gallery
Reception Venue : Big Daddy’s Antiques
Photographer : Hazel Photo
Florist : Max Gill Design
Wedding planner : Jenni Grubba
Makeup : Kelly Jo Makeup & Hair
Makeup : Kelly Jo Makeup & Hair
Wedding attire : Grooms Suit: Custom, Bride’s gown: Sachin & Babi
Cake : Butter &
Catering : Fogcutter
2nd line Band : MJs Brass Boppers
DJ/Band : Golden Bells Music
Wedding Transport : Hornblower Cable Cars
Photobooth : Pika Pika

 


San Francisco meets New Orleans 2nd Line Wedding

Part 2 of 4 SF City Hall/2nd Line Parade/Trolley Tour/Big Daddy’s Antiques

To begin at the beginning click here.

San Francisco meets New Orleans 2nd Line Wedding – Sasha & Andrew

So… when Sasha and Andrew threw open the front doors of San Francisco City Hall to the sunlight, there was a full on New Orleans style 2nd line with a 7 piece brass band awaiting them (the fantastic MJs Brass Boppers.) A friend reached into her coat and magically revealed a pair of decorated Mardi Gras umbrellas. One of my favorite photos from the day happened when Sasha’s veil blew over Andrew’s face during those first moments of extreme joy as they held each other very tight and attempted to somehow parade down the street at the same time. Somebody distributed these sweet white handkerchiefs printed with a private joke of a dapper frog for the waving. Eventually the party wove its way past the War Memorial Court, through Hayes Valley, to a side street, where we danced for a few more minutes before boarding a pair of Hornblower trolley cars. So, even though they didn’t get to have their wedding in New Orleans, Sasha and Andrew still had a big brass band, they still had Mardi Gras umbrellas, and they still got to 2nd line through the streets of Hayes Valley.

Ceremony Venue : San Francisco City Hall 4th Floor North Gallery
Reception Venue : Big Daddy’s Antiques
Photographer : Hazel Photo
Florist : Max Gill Design
Wedding planner : Jenni Grubba
Makeup : Kelly Jo Makeup & Hair
Makeup : Kelly Jo Makeup & Hair
Wedding attire : Grooms Suit: Custom, Bride’s gown: Sachin & Babi
Cake : Butter &
Catering : Fogcutter
2nd line Band : MJs Brass Boppers
DJ/Band : Golden Bells Music
Wedding Transport : Hornblower Cable Cars
Photobooth : Pika Pika

Part 2 of 4 SF City Hall/2nd Line Parade/Trolley Tour/Big Daddy’s Antiques