9 Reasons to Have a San Francisco Wedding

9 Reasons to Have a San Francisco Wedding

San Francisco is one of those cities that’s both magic and really authentic. It doesn’t apologize for being itself, and neither do its couples. The average wedding spend for 100–200 guests is $63,00–105,00. San Francisco is also home to the nation’s biggest Pride events. You can only imagine the magic that comes from a city priding itself on authenticity and artistic expression, not to mention the beautiful views and venues at your disposal!

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A Snuggly Couples Session on Baker Beach, San Francisco, CA: Caleb + Eugene "Evgeny"

A Snuggly Couples Session on Baker Beach, San Francisco, CA: Caleb + Eugene "Evgeny"

We met at Dore Alley, Folsom Street fair's smaller, gayer, and more local equivalent. I was experimenting with my exhibitionist side, walking around naked and being the social butterfly that I am. Eugene and I passed by each other from afar a couple times, but we didn't talk until the end when he saw me putting my clothes back on and talking to a friend. He came up to me and asked me a little about myself and asked for my number. We took a selfie together for his contact in my phone, and a couple weeks later, I hit him up for our first date.

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Zoe's Body-Reclaiming Punk Rock Boudoir Session

Zoe's Body-Reclaiming Punk Rock Boudoir Session

There are tons of different body types, but our physical body doesn’t have to be an emotional hurdle to get over. In fact, we should all be honored to be given this life to live in our skin.

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Angie's Confidence-Building and Cat-Friendly Boudoir Session

Angie's Confidence-Building and Cat-Friendly Boudoir Session

So, I did this for myself. To help me love my body as I am today, I got undressed and recorded it. But, I also did this for other women, so they can feel confident about themselves and know that boudoir is for every body.

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Real Couple // A Fijian-Mexican Engagement Shoot in Oakland: Falisha + Jorge

Real Couple // A Fijian-Mexican Engagement Shoot in Oakland: Falisha + Jorge

We chose to have our engagement photos in Oakland because it's special for both of us. My grandparents migrated from the Fiji islands to Oakland, and his parents from Mexico to Oakland. It was the landing place for both our families – their first taste of a foreign culture where they longed to be and the start of the American dream. 

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You, Not Pinterest, Are the Secret Criteria for Having Awesome Wedding Photos // Rachelle Rawlings Photography

You, Not Pinterest, Are the Secret Criteria for Having Awesome Wedding Photos // Rachelle Rawlings Photography

Rachelle Rawlings is a Bay Area photographer that understands the importance of LISTENING to her couples — getting to know who they are, what's important to them, and what they really want out of their wedding day. While she loves details, and can clearly capture a gorgeous detail photo, she's here to serve her clients and capture their celebration of love, and that includes all the moments of the day, not just the Pinterest-worthy ones.Because of this, and her commitment to inclusivity, we are so thrilled to have Rachelle in our vendor community!

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Real Couple // Black Tie LGBTQ City Hall Wedding: David + Michael

Real Couple // Black Tie LGBTQ City Hall Wedding: David + Michael

We are David White and Michael Rawls. We met in January 2011 and were married on June 20, 2016, at San Francisco City Hall. I wanted our proposal story to be special, so we planned a trip to Las Vegas in September of 2015. We saw Celine Deon and Britney Spears in concert two nights back to back, which was pretty awesome. I surprised Michael the second afternoon with a helicopter tour from Vegas out to the Grand Canyon. Michael had never been to the Grand Canyon, and neither of us had been in a helicopter. The helicopter tour we selected was special because we didn't just fly over the canyon. We landed by the Colorado River and had a champagne lunch with the pilot and two other couples. While we were in the belly of the canyon, I asked Michael to be my husband. It was pretty great: he said yes. 

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Real Couples // A Simple San Francisco Elopement: Christine + Lee

Real Couples // A Simple San Francisco Elopement: Christine + Lee

Christine shared with us that their relationship was a bit of a roller coaster ride with highs and lows. They were even apart for a stretch. Through that she learned that when you lose something you once had, it’s an opportunity to realize how important that something — that someone — is. When they got back together, she knew that he was the one and she wanted to share all of life’s blessings and challenges with him.

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Real Couples // New Year's Eve Family Wedding: Matt + Ashley

Real Couples // New Year's Eve Family Wedding: Matt + Ashley

Family is extremely important to us as a couple and we wanted to find different ways to honor family members who have passed. While having a memorial table is a fantastic and obvious way to honor lost loved ones, I wanted to take it a step further. Matt's grandfather was an artist and while going through some of his work, we came across a sketch of a dancing man and woman. I loved the sketch as soon as I saw it and knew we had to integrate it into the wedding somehow. We ended up using a modified version of the sketch on the invitations and cannot be more pleased with the way they turned out. Our amazing florist Nancy Liu Chin came up with the idea of integrating butterflies into the overall decor and we ran with it. There were touches of butterflies everywhere — the escort cards, in certain bridesmaid's bouquets, the seating chart, signage and even on menus. They added a fun, romantic and whimsical element to the wedding.

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Real Couples // Firefighters in Love: K + K

Real Couples // Firefighters in Love: K + K

Kim & Katy’s Livermore wedding was a celebration after my very own heart: chock-full of love, funky, and homemade, the most one-of-a-kind event you can imagine. The pair met volunteering at Pride 2008 in the city, and apparently it was magnetic attraction at first sight! Katy did some shady underhanded redistribution of teams to end up working with Kim, while Kim “lost” her truck to give them more time to talk. They were on the phone the very next day, and the rest is a story that’s just begun!

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Inspiration // Bathtub Goddess in A Floral Explosion

Inspiration // Bathtub Goddess in A Floral Explosion

This was a personal creative project showcasing natural creativity and feminist images. We invited a local amateur model, artist, and student to participate in the photo shoot to share her beauty and confidence among the flower structure and style created by Pilar in her home. The overarching look is natural with a touch of rich gold, very little makeup, and focal jewelry pieces. Bold colors, strong lines, fierce eyes, and bodily ease suggest a woman warrior, finding peace and clarity in this garden bath. The creators of this piece are all women (the designer, the photographer, and the model)—most of them brown women. We are creative women and beautiful souls, and we deserve to be boldly represented.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet San Francisco Planner Chanda Daniels of A Monique Affair

Woke Wednesday // Meet San Francisco Planner Chanda Daniels of A Monique Affair

Liz: Can you tell us a bit about your background? What was growing up like for you?

Chanda: I grew up being raised by my grandmother, "Granny," who had the house where all the kids went to get a hot meal! She was always cooking and entertaining. She was always at home, her number was everyone's "emergency" number, and she influenced me to graduate from high school. But little did she know, she was planting the seed for me to become an event planner…

Liz: Your grandma sounds wonderful. How was she planting the seed?

Chanda: I wanted to be like her. She found joy in making dinner and setting a fancy table with Sunday china and having everyone over. She didn't like being in the spotlight, but she loved how everyone felt after they left...I didn't know that then, but that's what I loved and love to this day!

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Real Couples // Pantsuit Glam at the Courthouse: Chloe + Mike

Real Couples // Pantsuit Glam at the Courthouse: Chloe + Mike

I LOVE SF City Hall! It is hands down one of my favorite venues ever!  So of course I was going to make sure we got to tie the knot there, and since we knew we didn't want to jump through all the hoops needed to legally get married in Mexico, like the blood test, my City Hall Dream worked out perfectly.  

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Meet Chloe Jackman, the Unicorn Photographer of San Francisco

Meet Chloe Jackman, the Unicorn Photographer of San Francisco

“Calling all shapes, sizes, colors, vibes, and unicorns! It’s your story, baby, tell it your way.”

Meet the Unicorn Photographer, Chloe Jackman.

She’s based in the Bay Area, and she is a multifaceted photographer “with freckles, a fro, some glitter and sass.”

“Let’s talk about real love,” she says, getting straight to the point. “I want couples to tell their story their way. However your wedding looks, it’s your chance to express yourselves as a couple, and it’s beautiful.”

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Real Couples // Bridal Overalls & City Hall: Nora + Ben

Real Couples // Bridal Overalls & City Hall: Nora + Ben

Nora and Ben were married at San Francisco City Hall surrounded by their families and a good friend. I loved that they weren't afraid to do things a little differently. Nora wore the white, embroidered overalls her mother was married in paired with a lacy, backless top and gold shoes. For their flowers, which were made by a friend, Handsome Flowers, Nora asked for a bouquet that looked like it could have been foraged in the forest. Ben's only request: mushrooms. Which resulted in one of the coolest boutonnieres I've seen!

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How to Make the Most of a Rainy Day Wedding // Advice from Vivian Chen's Couples

How to Make the Most of a Rainy Day Wedding // Advice from Vivian Chen's Couples

Vivian Chen considers herself a "rainy day photographer" because she loves the unexpected delights and the sense of adventure that rain brings on a wedding day. If you think you may have rain on your wedding day, find tips, encouragement, photo inspiration, and advice from three couples who have been there below.

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Real Couples // San Francisco City Hall Resistance Wedding: Thomas + Craig

Real Couples // San Francisco City Hall Resistance Wedding: Thomas + Craig

The pair was planning an August wedding at the Berkeley Botanical Gardens, but given the current political climate they decided to move up their legal ceremony. I donated this session as a part of Catalyst Wed Co’s movement to support LGBTQ and undocumented couples in the wake of the election. Thomas, Craig, and I gave $500 to the Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention for LGBTQ youth, in lieu of the session fee.

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A Day in the Life of Oakland Ring Maker, Kendra Renee

A Day in the Life of Oakland Ring Maker, Kendra Renee

Kendra Renee is a metalsmith in Oakland who truly brings couples’ stories to life through their wedding bands by involving them in significant elements of the ring-making process, from collecting the raw materials to pouring the metal in the cast, creating the actual ring — talk about an awesome date night! Kendra says, “It’s kind of magical.” Recently one of her clients brought in gold nuggets that her grandfather had once been paid in for his work as a dentist. With Kendra, the client alloyed them and melted them into her wedding set so she will always have a little piece of family history with her. “People love to see the process behind the scenes — they literally see their ring take shape and become a part of its story.”

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Elopement Inspiration // Ska, Psychobilly, + Punk Rock

Elopement Inspiration // Ska, Psychobilly, + Punk Rock

The inspiration for this shoot came, for the most part, from my own personal experiences. I knew that I wanted to embrace the romance of an elopement (my husband and I eloped!) and that I wanted to showcase the beauty of unconventionality by adding subcultural elements. I wanted there to be courtship and passion without losing a sense of self; I wanted there to be strength and individuality as well without losing the aspect of soft femininity. Three of my favorite styles of fashion and music are 1960-1970s ska (Rudies), psychobilly, and punk rock; this was the driving force behind making my vision a reality. There are no fancy venues or elaborate décor here. This is meant to be the down-to-earth, private, backyard celebration you’d love to have with the people closest to you.

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