An Intimate Backyard Wedding in Sausalito, California
In August 2014, Gillian Smelick and Marcus DiLallo met during their first year of medical school at Duke University. Marcus approached Gillian at a rainy orientation event, and he perched on a pizza box to protect himself from the wet ground. The pair eventually started dating, and one-and-a-half years later, Marcus planned a surprise proposal in California.
"I went on a trip with some close girlfriends to Tulum, Mexico," explains Gillian. "I stopped at home in Sausalito to see my parents before flying back to North Carolina, and Marcus flew to California to surprise me there!" Marcus (who is going into orthopedic surgery) coordinated the proposal details with Gillian's parents: Gillian (an aspiring OBGYN) went for a sunrise walk with her mother along the water, eventually stopping at a quiet bench overlooking the San Francisco skyline. Gillian's mother then asked to take her daughter's picture against the scenic backdrop. "When I had my back turned, Marcus did a ninja change-out with her, and he tapped me on the shoulder," says Gillian. "He was holding a small pizza box. I asked what that was for and he took a knee…on the pizza box! I thought it was a sweet detail that brought us full circle—a subtle nod to the circumstances in which we met."
On November 4, 2017, Gillian and Marcus returned to California for their big day. They got married at the bride's childhood home in Sausalito with just 14 guests in attendance. The intimate celebration included a catered lunch inside the house and dinner at a local restaurant. According to the groom, "We did all our favorite things and ate all our favorite foods with all our favorite people in the most relaxed setting imaginable."
Gillian and Marcus got married at the bride's parents' home in Sausalito, California. "Because we were just getting married with our immediate families present, we wanted the venue to be intimate. Our home seemed like the most appropriate place. We also have a wonderful sense of community in Sausalito. Unbeknownst to us at the time, one of my neighbors who I grew up with drew hearts in chalk at the bottom of our driveway as we were getting married, so that we would see them as we drove down after the ceremony!"
Mr. and Mrs.
Marcus wore a dark blue suit by Giorgio Armani. "I knew I wanted to wear a suit rather than a tuxedo, and I wanted to look good for our wedding day," says Marcus, who shopped for options with his wife-to-be in San Francisco. "Once I tried on the suit, it hardly even needed to be tailored. It looked great and we were sold!" He also sported a white shirt from the same designer, a tie from Nordstrom, and Sutor Mantellassi shoes. "These shoes were gifted to me by Gillian for our wedding day and she had the bottom of them engraved with 'G&M 11-4-2017.' They have a really cool blue sole," he says.
Gillian shopped for a wedding dress with her godmother, who lives in Paris. They visited the studio of Albi de Corbiac, who had Gillian sift through two racks of dresses and pull out ones with elements she liked (such as the neckline or fabric). Then Albi quickly sketched a custom gown that included those details. "After leaving, she sent me sketches, which I will have framed and put on a wall when we move back to California," says Gillian. "I sent her feedback and we landed on a final design via email. I also went back for another visit and series of fittings." The end result was a crepe silk A-line dress paired with a removable short-sleeved lace overlay that she wore post-ceremony; and she added a matching veil by the designer, as well as a headpiece from Lizeron Paris.
To finish off the look, Gillian wore yellow gold and rose gold bracelets from Roberto Coin. Her engagement ring had been passed down in Marcus's family for generations; the couple customized it with their own stone. Finally, after the ceremony, Gillian donned her two wedding bands from Buccellati: one diamond eternity band set in white gold and one "roped" yellow gold band.
"Shoes were admittedly a bit of a last-minute purchase for me," says Gillian. "Marcus and I were interviewing for residency when we got married in November, so I zipped over to a Saks Fifth Avenue
." Gillian adds that she's worn the shoes to several other events since the wedding.
The Bridal Bouquet
Loop Flowers and Event Arts arranged Gillian's bouquet with dahlias, ranunculus, and daisies.
The First Look
Before the ceremony, Gillian and Marcus had a first look on the property's lawn overlooking the San Francisco skyline.
The Ceremony Site
The morning started with pouring rain, so the couple debated moving the ceremony to Gillian's parents' living room where they would marry in front of a bay window. Luckily, the clouds cleared two hours before go-time, so the nuptials took place in their intended location: the lawn of the property overlooking the San Francisco Bay.
The Ceremony Décor
Loop Flowers and Event Arts created floral arrangements in shades of white and pink, complete with lots of greenery. "I loved floral arrangements that transformed the house in which I grew up in into the beautiful venue that it was for our wedding day!" says the bride.
Gillian's father walked her down the aisle to "Anema e Core" played by The Americano Social Club. "After walking down the aisle with my dad, he shook Marcus's hand and they both just smiled and laughed. It made me immediately relax because I realized at that moment it was just our closest family members, all of whom I love so much," says Gillian.
The late morning ceremony lasted under 30 minutes, and the non-religious service was officiated by the bride's older sister, Alexandra, and the groom's older brother, Matt. According to Marcus, "We asked both sets of parents to offer advice. Seeing how much thought and experience went into what was said by both couples, and then seeing my dad start to cry, made me cry!"
An Intimate Event
Fourteen guests attended the ceremony: the couple's siblings (plus two of their significant others), their parents, and Gillian's childhood babysitter and her family. Their parents had actually never met before the wedding, and Gillian and Marcus loved the intimacy of it. "My family rented a home three doors down, so when we were ready, we were able to just walk on over. And because the day was so relaxed, we were able to have a perfect day without so many formal obligations," says Marcus.
The newlyweds recessed to an instrumental version of "In the Summertime" by Mungo Jerry.
After the ceremony, everyone gathered on the lawn to enjoy a celebratory glass of Dom Pérignon champagne and hors d'oeuvres prepared by Dan Ripley Catering, including lobster salad on brioche toast, crab cakes, and arancini with mushrooms and fontina. The Americano Social Club continued to play the mandolin, bass, and guitar throughout the cocktail hour.
The Reception Lunch
"We had lunch in our kitchen, which has always been the center of our home," says Gillian. "It's a big space with a fireplace and lots of natural light!" As it was a chilly fall day, they lit a fire to keep things cozy.
The Place Setting
Each place setting at the large table had a white charger, white napkin, and simple menu with guests' names at the top by PS Paper to double as place cards. Flowers and fruit decorated the linen-covered table adding color to the scene. According to wedding planner Jenny Schneider, "We wanted it to feel elegant and appropriate for a celebratory lunch with just a hint to fall with the overall palette."
A neutral color scheme, flower arrangements by Loop Flowers and Event Arts, and tapered candles tied the décor elements together. "It was a very relaxed affair, there was no real theme other than our just wanting something simple and elegant," adds the bride.
Dan Ripley Catering kicked off the meal with an amuse-bouche of agnolotti with roasted pork, caramelized carrots, parmesan with sage butter sauce. A first course of winter chicories with grilled prawns; and an entrée of lemon and sage brick-roasted chicken followed.
After lunch, The Edges photographed the couple in the Marin Headlands. Afterwards the pair checked into their honeymoon suite at The Inn Above Tide before meeting guests at Angelino for dinner. "This was also a really special part of the day because I grew up going to that restaurant, Marcus had been a number of times with my family, and my mom's paintings were hanging on the walls at the time," says the bride.
Gillian and Marcus threw a larger celebration with extended family and friends in April 2018. Then, after they graduated medical school in May, they headed to Bora Bora, Easter Island, Patagonia, and Buenos Aires for some much-needed R&R.
Photography, The Edges Wedding Photography
Event planning, Jenny Schneider Events
Catering, Dan Ripley Catering
Flowers, Loop Flowers and Event Arts
Videography, Gold and Gumption
Menus, PS Paper
Music, The Americano Social Club
Bride's gown and veil, Albi de Corbiac
Hair and makeup, Clifford Hashimoto
Groom's suit and shirt, Giorgio Armani
Dress Detailer, The Wedding Detailer