This autumnal celebration took place in an industrial art gallery, but the couple made the space their own with a bold color palette and a cosmopolitan vibe.
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Katie Woolf and André Robitaille first met at a mutual friend's party when she grabbed a beer that was intended for him. But two weeks after meeting, she moved to Chicago for a year. A buddy gave Katie's number to André a few months after that, and soon they were texting back and forth countless times a day. When André and some friends visited Katie in the Windy City, he stayed three extra days so that they could go on a few dates. When she moved back to San Francisco, about a year after first crossing paths with André, they officially started dating. The rest was history.
And exactly seven years after the day they met, André (a data architect) asked Katie (an interior designer) to marry him. Sixteen months later, on November 18, 2017, that's what she did. The San Francisco-based couple were joined by 250 loved ones as they tied the knot at Terra Gallery, just a few miles from their apartment. The bride and groom wanted a venue that felt right for an evening event taking place in late fall, but that also had a vibe that was moody and cosmopolitan yet still fresh. With help from Kate Siegel of Kate Siegel Fine Events, they established a color palette of marsala, sapphire, smoke, plum, gray, and gold, and then played with textures and materials to keep it interesting. The celebration was a mix of contemporary art, lush flowers, and the charm of the city that utilized all of the areas within the two-floor venue.
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Save the Date!
Katie had the idea of a postcard save-the-date card depicting the skyline of San Francisco in a style inspired by the old Pan Am airline advertisements. Yonder Design brought the vision to life in a pink and purple color scheme that would continue throughout the celebration.
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Yonder Design also crafted the bespoke invitation suite. Thin sheets of acrylic took the place of typical paper for the invitations, and the card's text printed in gold. Those pieces were layered over a print of a contemporary painting, then wrapped together with navy blue wax cord for a modern touch.
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A Black-Tie Twist
Even though the groom loves to dress up, the idea of wearing a standard black tux felt kind of boring to him. On the recommendation of a friend, the couple went to Suitsupply, where he discovered a midnight blue velvet tuxedo jacket that fit the bill for the fall evening's black-tie dress code. He accessorized with a custom shirt by the same company, a bow tie and shoes by Calvin Klein, a Citizen watch, and Pronto Uomo cufflinks.
Other than the fact that her gown had to be ivory with a classic silhouette, Katie wasn't sure what she wanted to wear on her wedding day. She fell in love with this cotton and silk J. Mendel gown from Jin Wang. She wore burgundy suede Jimmy Choo heels for a pop of color. Her mid-length veil was by Britten Weddings.
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Katie's bridesmaids wore a mix of different black gowns. "I love the individuality it brought to the group," the bride says of their mismatched attire.
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André proposed with a 22-carat gold ring with a round European-cut diamond made from the 1930s, which he purchased at Lang Antiques. Unbeknownst to the couple, jewelers no longer use 22-carat gold so the search for a matching band was a bit tricky. They turned to La Bijouterie, who suggested dying an 18-carat gold band (they chose one with small diamonds set in it) to match.
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Like the invitation, the program consisted of two parts—translucent vellum outlining the details of the ceremony layered on top of the printed painting—tied together with navy blue wax cord.
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When designing the ceremony on the top floor of Terra Gallery, wedding planner Kate Siegel felt it was important to keep the event airy and bright, even though the colors were quite saturated. The design called for floral canopies, twinkle light hedging, and candles. Glass globes lit the canopies down the aisle, while the trellis of illuminated hedges anchored the space in a modern way.
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A few months into dating, André introduced Katie to his good friend Mike. Although they had never actually met, Katie and Mike recognized each other and realized they had lived in the same student housing flats while abroad in London. Upon departing London, Mike moved into a house he then shared with André at Cal Poly. Mike, an incredible musician and now friend of both bride and groom, played an acoustic version of Queen's "Somebody to Love" while Katie and her father walked down the aisle.
A family friend led the nonreligious ceremony, which included two readings by friends: a quote by Albert Einstein and an excerpt from Paulo's Coelho's "The Alchemist." Kate and André's vows were the words of Fred Rogers' "It's You I Like" and then it was André's favorite part of the day—being pronounced husband and wife. The newlyweds then recessed up the aisle to the sounds of "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" by The Darkness.
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The Cocktail Hour
Following the ceremony, guests went to the lower level of the space where they were greeted by an open bar, tray-passed Champagne and wine, and appetizers including seared sea scallops, curried butternut squash soup, fried pork belly, and meatball sliders. Square cocktail tables dressed in velvet linens were set up for those who wanted to take a seat. The couple had created a playlist of their favorite rock and roll songs to play throughout cocktail hour and into dinner.
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At over seven feet tall, the one-of-a-kind seating chart was quite a showpiece. Three pieces of acrylic were arranged with the front panel listing guests' names and seating assignments, the frosted middle panel adding geometric details, and the rear panel featuring a gold-leafed application done by hand by Underwood Letterpress.
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For dinner, guests were ushered back up to the now-transformed ceremony space. Tables were arranged under and around what had previously been arches over the aisle, the artwork on the walls was revealed as the pipe and drape had been removed, and even more candles had been lit to cast a warm glow in the space.
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Gray velvet linens covered the tables, which were then set with matte black stoneware plates, modern gold flatware, and a plum velvet napkin. Cherries Flowers arranged parrot tulips, protea, Eugenia berries, garden roses, peonies, ranunculus, clematis, anthurium and snowbush leaves in gold, footed pedestals, tying the color and metallic accents together.
The menu was printed on a translucent vellum sleeve, inside of which was a card with the abstract painting featured throughout the paper elements. On the back of that card was a thank-you message to the couple's friends and families as well as one of five famous quotes about love and food. The meal began with a caramelized pear salad, and guests chose between wine-braised boneless beef short ribs, chicken en sous vide with morels, and farro risotto, all prepared by Betty Zlatchin Catering.
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In keeping with the materials and designs of the day, the guestbook was also made with acrylic. Underwood Letterpress used a translucent acrylic cover and gold hinge for the book, with the cover panel featuring the linear pattern they created from the couple's original monogram. Inside, thick cotton pages were ripe for guests to write their well wishes on, and the first page had the abstract painting from the invitation on it, visible when the book was closed.
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The couple wanted a cake that was a bit bold, and Jasmine Rae Cakes delivered just that. The three-tier confection appeared to be made of marble. "It actually looked like another piece of art in the gallery," Katie says. A dessert table was also set with crème brûlée, brownies, cookies, s'mores bites, raspberry tartlets, and gold-leaf accented macarons.
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The band, JumpStart, said they would learn two new songs for the reception and the couple immediately knew which two they'd ask for. It's become a tradition with Katie's friends from Santa Clara to sing Billy Joel's "Piano Man" while in a giant group hug, and André's tradition with his fraternity brothers is to toss the bride and groom to the sound of Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride," so it was during the latter performance when Katie found herself five feet about the crowd, face-to-face with the disco ball.
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Katie's dad is an almond and pistachio farmer and it was only fitting to offer these nuts as favors. The mother of the bride tucked them into gift boxes so they were easy for guests to take at the end of the night.
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Photography, Rebecca Yale
Location, Terra Gallery
Event planning and design, Kate Siegel Fine Events
Catering, Betty Zlatchin Catering
Flowers, Cherries Flowers
Cake, Jasmine Rae Cakes
Rentals, Abbey Party Rentals (black stoneware dishes); Bright Party Rentals (stage, draping, tables, chairs and stools, bars, carpeting); Dekko 88 (lounge seating); La Tavola Fine Linen (linens); Standard Party Rentals (hedging and twinkle lights, glassware, lounge tables); Theoni (flatware, butter dishes, placard holders)
Hair, Lindsey Proctor
Makeup, Amy Hanlin McNally
Groom's tuxedo and shirt, Suitsupply
Menswear, The Black Tux
Lighting, Got Light