One Couple's Jewel-Toned Wedding in San Francisco
For Stephanie and Tim, the saying "third time's the charm" rings true. Tim claims the pair met briefly in 2011 through mutual friends in New York, but Stephanie doesn't remember this. He also declares they crossed paths in 2012, when Stephanie (a former news reporter for NBC) interviewed people at Tim's office—but again, Stephanie doesn't recall. She asserts they first met in San Francisco in 2013 through Tim's roommate, who is also a friend of Stephanie's. "It began as a friendship, then BFF-ship, before we finally admitted to friends and family that we were exploring the relationship—and we still don't hear the end of 'I told you so' from just about everyone on both sides!" says Stephanie.
After dating for a few years, Tim (the CEO and founder of personal finance company NerdWallet) planned an epic proposal in San Francisco. Tim planted little hints throughout the weekend; for example, the couple stayed at the Four Seasons (where they had a drink at the bar during their first official date), ate at Hakkasan (where Tim met Stephanie's dad), and went to a Giants game at AT&T Park (which is near Tim's old home). The pair then walked down the Embarcadero waterfront while reliving past memories. Finally, as Stephanie and Tim reached an art installation that had ties to the Burning Man event (where they fell in love), Tim dropped to his knee and popped the question. "I was so shocked, the first thing I said was, 'What are you doing?'" notes Stephanie, adding that her sister and best friends, who secretly flew in from the East Coast, surprised her afterward.
As the pair planned their February wedding, Stephanie received devastating news: She was diagnosed with cancer. The couple postponed their celebration, deciding to elope on the their initial winter wedding date instead, and hosted a party on June 24, 2017, at the San Francisco Ferry Building. The summer celebration had 150 guests, bright jewel tones, lush floral arrangements, and a family dance-off. As Stephanie says, it was "a real-life version of a dream we never even knew we had, reflective of all the deep love we've grown with so many people throughout our lives."
The Stationery Suite
Stephanie and Tim wed in the San Francisco Ferry Building. They loved the venue's high ceilings and stunning water views, as well as the feeling of serendipity they felt upon arrival. "We wanted to celebrate our love in the city where it began, and where our love for one another transcended friendship," says Stephanie. Many guests flew from New York City and Asia to attend the festivities.
Stephanie chose the second wedding dress she tried on—an A-line Liz Martinez gown with applique lace detailing—from Kinsley James Bridal Couture. "I loved how it was elegant yet sexy," she says of the plunging neckline. The bride also donned René Caovilla shoes, a Maria Elena headpiece, a "Jolie" belt by Untamed Petals, a Margaret Elizabeth Jewelry bangle, and her engagement ring from Tiffany & Co. Tim sported a J.Hilburn suit.
The elopement date was embroidered on the cuff of Tim's suit sleeve.
Amanda Vidmar Design created Stephanie's bouquet with a mix of green, blush, and berry florals. Blooms included hellebore, ranunculus, 'Quicksand' roses, 'Romantic' Antike garden roses, nude spray roses, dark scabiosa, chocolate cosmos, and thistle. Lush greenery added interest and texture. The arrangement was finished with a pure silk blush-colored ribbon tied around the stems.
Amanda Vidmar Design made boutonnières for Tim, the groomsmen, and the couple's fathers. Each piece was slightly different, but within the same jewel-toned color palette and tied with the same velvet ribbon.
The Bridal Party
Stephanie's younger sister Christina served as maid of honor, and Tim's friend Jake was best man. The couple's close friends acted as the bridesmaids and groomsmen. "Most are people we've been friends with for over 20 years," says Stephanie. The ladies wore Jenny Yoo gowns and carried smaller versions of the bridal bouquet, while the men donned Zara suits.
The First Look
Stephanie and Tim had a first look outside of Hotel Vitale, where they had gotten ready for the day. "I walked out, turned the corner, and gave him the tap on the shoulder!" says the bride.
The Ceremony Location
The ceremony took place inside the San Francisco Ferry Building. Chairs were arranged in a circle, since the couple wanted to be surrounded by the love in the room. "We felt it changed the feeling for guests from voyeurs to participants," says Stephanie.
Amanda Vidmar Design placed lush greenery with pops of jewel-toned flowers in half-circle arrangements on the ceremony floor.
Stephanie and Tim were both escorted down the aisle by their parents. "Latch" by Disclosure played during the bridal party processional, while the bride chose "All Of Me" by John Legend (performed by violinist Shaina Evoniuk) as her processional song. Maid of honor Christina and best man Jake officiated the ceremony. "Jake was incredibly funny, and Christina speaking meant waterworks for a lot of people (including me) just a couple minutes into the wedding!" says Stephanie. The couple chose to write their own vows, and later heard from guests that there wasn't a dry eye in the house during the unplugged ceremony. "This was the first time I would be seeing most of the guests after being holed up at home for more than half a year because of the cancer. It was a celebration of love—of all those who attended, but also of the commitment that was shown even before the vows were exchanged," says Stephanie.
The Ring Warming
The Hors d'Oeuvres
Paula LeDuc Fine Catering made the hors d'oeuvres, which included ahi tuna cones, Peking duck mini tacos, crabcakes with thai flavors, Asian peppered prawns, and chilled summer corn soup.
The Seating Chart
Brown Fox Calligraphy created the seating chart, which was printed on lucite and placed in front of an art installation by Corrin Messing inspired by the couple's love for Burning Man. Kaella Lynn Events wrote a note for guests about the meaning of the art, explaining how the installation represented strength, bravery, resilience, vulnerability, fragility, and love coexisting in harmony—and how the traits describe Stephanie and Tim's journey.
The reception took place in an expansive room of the Ferry Building. Windows opened up to the San Francisco Bay and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Stephanie and Tim had originally planned a winter-themed wedding, but due to the postponement, they embraced a romantic spring and summer aesthetic instead.
The Place Settings
On each table were light gray cement vases filled with arrangements by Amanda Vidmar Design of garden roses, "Quicksand" roses hellebores, ranunculus, poppies, nude spray roses, and other seasonal flowers mixed with greenery. Decorative chargers held brown napkins and menus designed by Brown Fox Calligraphy and printed by Aerialist Press.
"I thought it was really nice that we made the wedding truly our own, like the unusual menu choices," says Tim. "The main course [prepared by Paula LeDuc Fine Catering] was a high-end version of one of our favorite dishes: Taiwanese beef noodle soup." Stephanie adds that the dish represents their heritage as Taiwanese Americans.
The couple used "Burning Man: Art on Fire" as their guestbook. It was placed on a table with a floral arrangement in a lucite box.
Pretty Please Bakeshop created three wedding cakes: pistachio lime, salted caramel, and raspberry amaretto. Each had a light-colored fondant finish, and one had rock candy decorations.
Stephanie and Tim danced to "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran. Afterwards, Stephanie danced with her dad and Tim danced with his mom to "The Way You Look Tonight" by Michael Bublé—but the music stopped after about 30 seconds, prompting a family dance battle with songs like "What Is Love" by Haddaway and "Where Do You Go" by No Mercy. "My parents stole the show, especially my dad," says Stephanie. "He's a retired businessman who is low-key funny. He won MVP for sure!"
The bride also projected a slideshow about the couple's relationship, which ended with a montage of them listening to "Red Lights" by Tiësto. Party Crashers started playing the acoustic version, and Stephanie sang along to her groom. The surprise song was Tim's favorite moment of the night. "It was so beautiful, I was so touched, I didn't realize I was holding my hand over my heart until pictures came out!" he says.
Guests then headed to an after-party at a private social club called Modernist. Soon after, the couple went on a mini-moon to Vancouver and Tofino to enjoy beautiful nature, food, and quality time together.
Photography, Melanie Duerkopp Photography
Location, San Francisco Ferry Building
Event planning, Kaella Lynn Events
Catering, Paula LeDuc Fine Catering
Flowers, Amanda Vidmar Design
Videography, Stillwater Cinematography
Stationery, Aerialist Press
Calligraphy, Brown Fox Calligraphy
Cake, Pretty Please Bakeshop
Bride's gown, Liz Martinez
Hair and makeup, Skyla Arts
Bridesmaids' dresses, Jenny Yoo
Groom's suit, J.Hilburn
Lighting, Got Light
Photobooth, Giggle and Riot Funbooths
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