A Traditional Red, Gray, and White Wedding in California
Kathryn and Ryan
Kathryn Storke and Ryan Grady met in 2006 at an end-of-the-year celebration for Teach for America in Mississippi. Four and a half years (and nearly as many relocations) later, the couple wed in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ryan, an academic adviser, and Kathryn, of wedding blog Snippet & Ink, used a roster of talented vendors to bring their vision of an intimate winter wedding to life. With 98 of their nearest and dearest, they said "I do" on December 4, 2010.
Kathryn worked with Jill Poole from PS Paper to design the wedding stationery. They reworked a Golden Gate Bridge postcard for the save-the-dates. And a cable car postcard listed travel and accommodation information. Each postcard was glittered by hand, and they were tied together with baker's twine and a "Save the Date" tag. Pretty glassine envelopes and wraparound address labels completed the look. Alan Hillsheim Letterpress letterpressed the simple and classic invitation. The wording was in charcoal ink, except for the couple's first names, which were printed in red, and a wreath motif was pressed without color. The reception card -- a coaster -- fit the social club venue. The response cards left plenty of space for creative guest responses, and all pieces were printed on pearl-white 100 percent cotton double-thick Crane's Lettra paper with red edging. The outer envelope featured the calligraphy of Betsy Dunlap, who the bride included on her first-ever inspiration board.
The Welcome Bag
Kathryn created the design that decorated the canvas welcome totes. The small icons represent parts of the couple's relationship, like the states they've lived in and their hobbies. PS Paper silkscreened the design onto the Bagworks totes. Each contained a bottle of sparkling Calistoga water, Beth's mini chocolate chip cookies, Sensible Foods crunchy corn snacks, glassine bags of travel-sized toiletries, vintage postcards of the San Francisco Presidio, and "California" pencils from Paper Pastries (each one has a different fact about the state). Also inside: a welcome letter with the weekend's itinerary, the couple's favorite local spots, and things to do in town.
The pair chose a small church that the bride passed every day on her way to high school. One of their favorite restaurants in San Francisco, the Presidio Social Club, served as their reception site. Their wintery December day brought fog and chill, but the rain held off, giving the couple the perfect backdrop for their wedding day and photos.
The groom wears a Ralph Lauren suit, shirt, and tie along with Bally shoes and Brooks Brothers suspenders. His bride wears an Angel Sanchez gown from Jin Wang, sparkly Steve Madden flats, and a special pair of earrings made with diamonds from her grandmother's watch. All of the granddaughters in Kathryn's family have diamond studs made in this fashion, but the bride's godmother (who used to make jewelry) transformed her earrings by attaching a large pearl stud to each.
Michaele Thunen of Michaele Thunen Designs headed the floral details for the bridal party. Michaele, who is also a close family friend, grouped together peonies, paperwhites, gardenias, lily-of-the-valley, dusty miller, and passion vine for the bridal bouquet. She tied it off with silver ribbon from Britex Fabrics. The maid-of-honor's bouquet includes cyclamen, paperwhites, and dusty miller.
The junior bridesmaid carries a nosegay of ranunculus, paperwhites, and dusty miller.
The flower girl carries a cone of blooms.
Flowers in Her Hair
The flower girl also wears a wreath of white flowers in her hair.
The Ring Pillow
Made by Michaele Thunen, the ring pillow's velvet bow adds a pop of red.
The Young Attendants
Kathryn and her mother, Melva.
The couple exchanged wedding bands from Stephan-Hill Jewelry Designers. Kathryn's delicate band pairs nicely with her vintage engagement ring: a 1920s almandine garnet cocktail ring from Tail of the Yak in Berkeley, California. Ryan remembered how much she had loved it and surprised her with it when he proposed.
Both of the bride's parents walk her down the aisle of The Swedenborgian Church of San Francisco. The couple loved the venue for its dark-wood interior, fireplace, and candles -- knowing it would be perfect for their winter wedding.
A close friend of the couple officiated the ceremony. Kathryn and Ryan exchanged traditional vows and shared meaningful readings, which were printed out in the program so guests could follow along. Since it was December, the couple also incorporated seasonal touches. Lawrence Strings, a string trio, played an up-tempo version of "The Holly and The Ivy" for the recessional. The ceremony was the bride's favorite part of the day.
A Special Surprise
The staff at Laurie Arons Boutique Events surprise the couple with The Golden Gate Boys Choir as they exit the church. The group sings "Joy to the World" and a selection of other Christmas carols for the guests. "A lot of our guests didn't leave for the reception until they were done singing," Kathryn says.
The Reception Venue
The couple picked one of their favorite local restaurants, The Presidio Social Club, as the reception site. Just a two-minute ride from the church, it offered a classic San Francisco look that inspired the wedding's color palette.
Ever since reading the Good Things section in the Summer 2007 issue of Martha Stewart Weddings, Kathryn knew she wanted to do escort cards with buttons. Just like the story in the magazine, the couple enlisted calligrapher Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls. She penned guests' names and table numbers and attached them to cards displayed in vintage postcard racks. "Ryan and I put ours on for a little while," Kathryn said. "It was so fun to see my new name!"
A Poinsettia, served in a coupe glass, is the custom libation of the night. The seasonal drink is made with Champagne, cranberry juice, and Cointreau.
Event designer Kathleen Deery of Kathleen Deery Design decorated the restaurant's interior with white cyclamen in vases made by a local artist and set them atop custom linens.
The Place Settings
Custom napkins were trimmed with pom-poms.
Each place setting has a pine rosette-accented menu, which doubles as a place card. Guests' names were calligraphed by Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls above a glittered wreath icon. Guests enjoy passed hors d'oeuvres of French fries, seared beef crostini with horseradish cream, pork tenderloin sliders with spicy slaw, tuna poke with cucumber, and fall vegetable antipasti with truffle cream. Their dinner course starts with Gruyere cheese toast with tomato fondue and Little Gem Caesar salad with garlic croutons. Guests then choose their entree from a menu of seasonal offerings: red wine-braised beef short ribs with herbed mashed potatoes and glazed carrots; roasted chicken with housemade ricotta gnocchi; or ricotta gnocchi with fall squash, grilled lemon, sage, and toasted hazelnuts. Following dinner, waiters pass around chocolate-filled beignets.
A Seasonal Touch
Kathleen Deery adds a seasonal touch by hanging boxwood wreathes in the windows.
Caught in the Moment
The newlyweds share a kiss.
The Photo Booth
The First Dance
The couple's four-tier wedding cake is half lemon sponge cake and lemon curd and half Mahogany cake (chocolate layer cake with chocolate hazelnut truffle cream). Made by Perfect Endings, it is decorated with sugar cyclamens, to match the centerpieces.
Perfect Endings also created a dessert bar on the tented back patio. It includes: mini coconut cupcakes, mini coffee-crunch cake trifles, white-chocolate choux puffs, peppermint bark, gingerbread cookies, eggnog cups with glazed cake donuts, and "Sam's Passionate Kisses" (passionfruit curd on coconut macarons).
"Our planners asked us what our favorite desserts and flavors were, and lo and behold they showed up on the dessert table," Kathryn says.