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.


OVY Camp Wedding – San Gregorio, California

OVY Camp Wedding – Katelyn & Michael

Early November served up a gorgeous, sunny day for Katelyn & Michael’s OVY Camp wedding in San Gregorio, California. As you wind down the dusty road approaching OVY, you can’t help but get that magical feeling of returning to summer camp. We began with a few getting ready photos at a cabin looking out over the dining hall and ball fields. Katelyn switched out her vintage t-shirt for a two-piece wedding top and skirt with motorcycle boots on bottom. Wedding guests had pitched a tent on the deck which gave the space a communal, sleep-over kind of feeling. Cousins and aunts shared mirrors to put finishing touches on their hair. Michael helped his nephews prepare for their roles in the processional and the ceremony.

The ceremony was held in a hidden redwood grove on a whimsical treehouse-cum-altar, built into the trunks of a cluster of redwoods. As the ceremony began, the sun was high in the sky, but the redwoods filtered the light, and made their special type of magic as they are wont to do. Katelyn & Michael were serenaded by a family band with an acapella rendition of a pop song. Michael and Katelyn read personal vows to each other, and as Katelyn was tearing up, somebody passed a tissue on to the altar to Michael, and rather than pass it along to Katelyn, he dried his own tears, and they both broke into laughter.

Directly after the ceremony, a family friend made a panoramic photograph of all the assembled wedding guests. At the cocktail hour Katelyn and Michael passed out challenge coins with symbols of each of their qualities on opposite sides of a coin. The challenge coins were particularly apt as Michael had served in the Marines, and a few of his fellows were in attendance at the wedding

When the sun got a bit lower in the sky and the light got good and juicy, we returned to the redwood grove for couples portraits. And that, I must say, was some of the most delicious light I have ever encountered. For a moment I worried the drama of the light might overpower Katelyn & Michael, but they held their own without a doubt.

Nieces and nephews blew bubbles, chased each other through the ball field, played soccer and basketball. At dawn dinner was distributed from Lamas, a Peruvian food truck; ceviche, lomo saltado, platanos, all scrumptious. Guests gathered around tables in OVY‘s mess hall

Katelyn comes from a family of old-time musicians with West Virginia roots. A friend called a contra dance while Katelyn & Michael danced with their guests. Then the family band convened: Michael on spoons, Katelyn on Banjo, and her dad on stand up bass. Katelyn’s brother called a square dance. Eventually old- time tunes gave way to pop hits, with an emphasis on 80s and 90s throwbacks. Michael’s father danced with his grown daughters.

Wedding Venue : OVY Camp, San Gregorio
Photographer : Hazel Photo
Florist : Wish Social Events
Catering : Lamas Peruvian
Band : Undone in Sorrow (Katelyn)


A Stern Grove Wedding at the Trocadero Clubhouse in San Francisco

Laura & Matt – A Stern Grove Wedding at the Trocadero Clubhouse in San Francisco

Laura & Matt were married on a dynamic San Francisco day at Sigmund Stern Grove in the Sunset District. The wedding venue is nestled in a forested valley. The Trocadero Clubhouse, A Victorian Inn built in 1892, a small lake, and a redwood grove are surrounded by hills of swaying eucalyptus. The valley has a magical feeling as if at any moment a benevolent elf might just wander out of the woods.

I often meet clients about a month before their wedding day to talk through timeline details, game plan, and get excited together. I remember Laura & Matt came to talk to me at my spot in the Inner Sunset. When I asked them how planning was going, they tag-teamed the answer to my question. It was striking how well they seemed to be communicating and working as a team.

Their wedding was a DIY affair, of which, I have seen my fair share. And, I have to say that it was the tightest DIY wedding I think I’ve ever attended. There was a bit of time pressure to flip the dinner tables in the Trocadero Clubhouse and decorate them with florals between family pictures and the ceremony, but a team comprised of family made fast work of it. Laura & Matt had delegated well, and they both seemed relaxed, and confident that their families would pull it off.  

Our couples portraits were particularly memorable. We walked over to the amphitheater where the Stern Grove music festival takes place, and found some lovely light on an elevated walkway. Matt let his hair down, and magic was made instantly.

During the ceremony the redwood grove made for a serene hidden-away feeling. Laura & Matt entered together hand-in-hand with the long train of Laura’s dress sliding over the redwood duff. I loved the shock of color in the pastor’s robes, and the sweet, diffuse angular light falling over the whole scene.

As the night grew long, Korean Tacos from Koja were savored, a series of riotous toasts were made, and a few old college traditions were revisited. The crowd was certainly “good craic” as the Irish say.

Many thanks to Small Shindigs for keeping everything running smoothly.

Venue : Sigmund Stern Grove & Trocadero Clubhouse
Photographer : Hazel Photo
Florist : Petals
Wedding planner : Brenda – Small Shindigs
Hair : Zip Zap Hair
Makeup : Jelise Baires
Cake : Whole Foods and Mariposa Bakery
Catering : Koja Kitchen food truck, appetizers from Cafe La Mediterranee
Officiant : Reverend Eric Metoyer