This Couple Celebrated Their California Wedding Surrounded by Some of the World's Most Famous Sculptures
San Francisco-based couple Jessie and Qi planned their entire wedding in just two-and-a-half months—but even if they'd had years, they couldn't have predicted the 35-mile-per-hour winds that would sweep through the city on their September 28, 2019, big day—which just so happened to be one of the windiest of the year.
Even with the tricky weather working against them, the pair, who met in 2017 at their company's Chinese New Year party, pulled off the celebration of their dreams. They were surrounded by 60 of their nearest and dearest at the Legion of Honor—which boasts the Rodin Gallery—in San Francisco when they tied the knot. "We picked the museum because we wanted to have a wedding theme that matched the venue's style: elegant, vintage, artistic," Jessie explains.
In conjunction with their planner, Lovely Time Weddings, the couple played up the event's seasonality with an autumnal palette of burnt orange, navy, and ginger; plenty of art-inspired details, from the bronze lettering on the invitations and Dutch-still-life-inspired floral arrangements to the menu cards in the shape of Rodin's "The Thinker," connected the event's décor to the venue. (Their reception actually unfolded inside the Rodin Galleries at the museum.)
And as it turned out, the wind even had an unexpected positive effect: When it came time for Jessie and her father to walk down the aisle during the non-religious outdoor ceremony, the breeze swept through her organza skirt, creating a romantic swish as she walked. And—true to the theme and place—what came to follow really was a work of art.
Left My Heart in San Francisco
The couple's romantic Sweet Wedding Thing Paper stationery suite introduced the palette for the autumnal celebration: orange, blue, and ginger. A sketch of the museum appeared on the invitation, which was printed in bronze and topped with an acrylic card. Dutch still-life artwork inspired the floral envelope liner and kept the museum theme front and center.
A Sculptural Space
While venue shopping, the couple looked at hotels, vineyards, private estates, and gardens in Big Sur, Carmel, and Berkeley before settling on the stately The Legion in Honor—in the heart of the city where they live, San Francisco. "We were immediately drawn to the breathtaking view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the lawn and the fascinating art pieces inside the museum," Jessie says. "We were even more thrilled when the museum coordinators told us we could have our reception inside the gallery, surrounded by Rodin's sculptures."
A Fashion Find
Jessie's Yumi Katsura lace and organza wedding dress was actually a sample, so she was surprised that it was in such pristine condition. It fit perfectly, and she immediately knew it was the one.
For her walk down the aisle, Jessie held an autumnal collection of dahlias, heirloom garden roses, Wabara spray garden roses, ranunculus, freesia, and abelia. Hawthorn Flower Studio added blooming clematis vine for a soft accent.
All Dressed Up
Qi wore a midnight blue tuxedo with black satin lapels from The Black Tux for the occasion.
Sugar and Spice
Bridesmaids donned three different Jenny Yoo dress styles in the same color—Cinnamon Rose—and clutched small bouquets of periwinkle blue muscari, red butterfly ranunculus, dahlias, heirloom garden roses, Wabara spray garden roses, ranunculus, freesia, spray clematis, and abelia.
Groupings of dahlias, maple leaves, abelia, roses, and zinnias defined the ceremony aisle.
The original plan for the ceremony space's design involved displaying the altar's floral arrangements on pedestals, but the day's strong winds grounded them. "Luckily the arrangements were extremely large, so the impact of the florals wasn't diminished at all," Jessie explains.
The Words That Bind
During the non-religious ceremony, Jessie and Qi exchanged self-penned promises penned in vintage-inspired vow books with deckled edges.
Making an Entrance
No amount of wind could stop Jessie's father from walking her down the aisle; their journey to the altar was accompanied by a harpist and cellist, who played a version of Camille Saint-Saëns' "Swan" during the processional.
A ceremony highlight? Both Jessie and Qui recited a poem to each other in their mother tongue, Chinese.
During the first half of the cocktail hour, the pair snuck off to pose for portraits. Meanwhile, guests noshed on Vietnamese chicken meatballs, five-spice duck, poke, and Thai dungeness crab cakes.
Tiny busts and framed phrases (such as "You Will Forever Be My Always") played up the art theme during the reception.
Guests dined in the Rodin Galleries, surrounded by some of the artist's most famous sculptures. Each tablescape—featuring crushed blue velvet linens, apricot-colored candles, and more flowers—was a work of art in its own right.
A Well-Thought Out Plan
The night's menu—a choice of cod, New York strip steak, or chickpea panisse—was printed on a card printed in the shape of Rodin's "The Thinker." Onyx and gold flatware rounded out each setting's look.
Let the Music Play
Jessie and Qi took to the dance floor to "Yellow" by Katherine Ho. "We loved this song after we watched the movie Crazy Rich Asians," Jessie says. "The lyrics in Chinese were fantastic!"
A Delicious Display
The bright blue two-tier dessert—a Cake Coquette confection made with citrus buttermilk cake, citrus cream filling, and lemon curd—stood out against an impressive floral arrangement.
Embedded into the cake display was a series of multi-sized busts—offering yet another connective moment to the event's locale and theme.
Half-way through the reception, Jessie slipped into a long-sleeve dress by Needle and Thread—just before the DJ played a video that Qi made, which told of the couple's love story.
Photography, Janine Licare
Venue, Legion of Honor
Event Planning, Lovely Time
Catering, Grace Street
Flowers, Hawthorn Flower Studio
Videography, Apollo Fotographie
Officiant, Larry Wilkerson
Stationery, Sweetweddingthing Paper
Cake, Cake Coquette
Music, Anna-Maria Mendieta (ceremony); DeeJayPros (reception)
Rentals, Standard Party Rentals; La Tavola
Bride's Gown, Yumi Katsura (ceremony); Needle and Thread (reception)
Bride's Accessories, David's Bridal veil; Salvatore Ferragamo shoes
Hair and Makeup, Alice Tang
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Jenny Yoo
Menswear, The Black Tux
Lighting, Verducci Event Productions