A Crafty Vintage-Inspired Wedding in San Francisco
A Rooftop Romance
Charlene and Bram met as high school students when their paths crossed at a UCLA scholarship event for incoming college students. A friendship blossomed and things turned romantic a few years later when they took a spontaneous road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco. After a long-distance courtship and many other adventures together, they tied the knot in the City by the Bay on October 27, 2012. Fusing vintage, industrial, romantic, hand-crafted, and natural elements together, they celebrated their love in their adopted city with a uniquely timed order of events.
The couple designed and created their invitations using supplies from a variety of vendors, including recycled chipboard, paper supplies from Paper Source, a branding iron of their likeness, rubber stamps, a wax seal, and a return address stamp.
The suite also incorporated an illustration of the duo created by Nan Lawson. It inspired many of the wedding's designed pieces, including the guest book, which was a wooden plaque with the drawing burned on. Guests signed it and it now hangs in the couple’s home.
The First Look
Though Charlene doesn't remember much about when she saw her groom for the first time on the big day, Bram recalls clearly that she had a huge smile on her face.
The Marriage Contract
The couple selected a simple design for their ketubah—the traditional Jewish marriage contract. It was intended to resemble a chalkboard.
Bridesmaids wore gray lilac gowns. Charlene originally picked three options for each girl, and every 'maid ended up picking the bride's favorite. The groomsmen wore suits accessorized with custom tie bars from Bram.
The bride chose a Manuel Mota gown that felt both vintage and modern. Rose gold shoes, a pearl-and-crystal hair comb, a "something borrowed" pearl bracelet, and diamond studs she received at the Chinese tea ceremony held the day prior rounded out her ensemble. Bram looked dapper in a three-piece J.Crew suit.
A Soft Clutch
The bridal bouquet consisted of peonies, roses, pieris, and ranunculus.
Charlene's attendants carried bouquets of succulents, roses, brunia, rice flower, millet grass, and feathers wrapped in ivory lace and finished with a vintage brooch.
The guys dressed up their suits in textural boutonnieres. Bram's boasted bark, scabiosa, millet grass, and a garden rose.
The Grand Entrance
Cocktail hour actually occurred prior to the service, with jazz music, hors d'oeuvres, and signature cocktails named after the bride and groom. After some merriment, guests took their seat for the service. The bridal party entered to the theme song from Game of Thrones just before the bride walked down the aisle with her parents.
Utilizing the rooftop terrace of Jones, an event space with a San Francisco backdrop and surrounding Edwardian and Victorian architecture, the couple timed their service to coincide with the sunset. Bram's little brother (and best man) officiated the ceremony. The couple exchanged wedding bands they made themselves (melting the metal, molding and sanding the rings, polishing them, and imprinting their finger prints inside), and recited personal vows (hers in Mandarin, his in Hebrew).
The Golden Hour
The sun cast a warm glow over the newlyweds and their loved ones during their embrace.
Place Setting Details
Custom napkins were commissioned by Be Sweetly Inspired and made with repurposed ivory fabrics edged in mustard thread. Vintage icons like a hot air balloon, teapot, and skeleton key were stamped on.
This recycled idea was just one of the eco-friendly elements incorporated into the celebration. Recycled and carbon-neutral materials, locally-sourced ingredients, reclaimed wood, and recycled and refined raw metals were all found in the special details of the day.
The couple got crafty with the menus, too, designing and printing them themselves. The meal began with a salad of butter lettuce, persimmon, aged goat cheese, and hazelnuts with shallot vinaigrette. Entrees were grilled lamb chops, tomato-poached halibut, and eggplant parmesan.
Mix and Match
Centerpieces were curated to compliment one another, but no two were the same. Working closely with florist Melissa Comito from A Simple Ceremony, a mix of textured metal, wood, stone, and glass vessels were paired with an overall color palette of ivory, aubergine, mustard, and blush. One table boasted stacked teacups filled with garden roses sitting atop a stack of old books, while another featured various blooms and glowing votive candles in mini galvanized buckets.
A Table for Two
The newlyweds sat at a sweetheart table set with a stone, footed centerpiece and a vintage settee that now lives in their home.
Multiple cakes were served, including this one for the bride. The two-tiered confection mimicked the lace embroidery on her gown. Inside, a carrot cake with walnuts and cream cheese icing, and an almond cake with fresh raspberries and white chocolate mousse.
Photography: Kate Harrison
Event Planning: Dream A Little Dream Events
Catering: Jersey Tomatoes
Flowers: A Simple Ceremony
Cakes: Branching Out Cakes
Hair and Makeup: Giao Nguyen
Lighting: Got Light
Bartending: Bartenders Unlimited
Engagement ring: Twinkle Star Jewelry
Favors: Leland Tea