Eat your heat out Gatsby. Cynthia and Sean’s “festive old-world soiree” is absolutely dazzling and totally the kind of energy we’re looking for right now. Coordinator, planner and florist, Isabella Sikaffy at Florabella Studios, is a one-woman magic-maker who transformed the Bay Area private club into a seasonal vision and deco-inspired dream. Oh, and we’re also totally mesmerized by Cynthia’s stunning Oscar de la Renta gown. Lucky for us, Meg Smith, was on hand to capture all the details is these beautiful images.
How did you meet and become engaged?
We met at a friend’s dinner party in New York City the day after Valentines Day 2014. It was a snowy night in the city and both of us came close to bailing on the party and staying in. Glad we didn’t! How and when did you get engaged? (Include month and year) Labor Day weekend 2018, we were vacationing on the Amalfi coast. Sean rented a boat for the day, we both love being on the water. We had just hopped back in the boat from a swim in the sea, and he caught me by complete surprise by proposing as we sailed through the “Love Arch” rock formation off the coast of Capri.
Why did you pick the venue? What did you most love about it?
Sean grew up going to this club, so it has special meaning to him. The club itself is a stunning and stately venue at the site of one of the original country estates of the Bay Area. We knew we wanted a formal winter wedding, in a place that could accommodate both indoor and outdoor activity. Between the gorgeous house and lush grounds with a view of the Bay, the club was perfect. To seal the deal, we had recently decided to settle in the area, so it made perfect sense to invite friends and family to our new hometown for the celebration.
What was your vision for your wedding?
Given the date around New Years, and majestic venue, we envisioned a festive old-world soiree – like Gatsby! Glamourous and classy, with some unconventional twists.
What was the planning process like?
Isabella Sikaffy at Florabella Studios spent quite a bit of time upfront getting to know us as a couple and talking about our vision for our wedding. Once we honed in on what we really wanted, she went to work checking availability and pricing of everything from venues to vendors. Then she came back to us with two proposals for options that we not only loved, but that she knew we could pull off. We chose New Year’s in Hillsborough! One of the wonderful things about working with Isabella was that she’s not just a planner and coordinator – she’s an incredibly talented designer. She created a comprehensive design proposal of the entire weekend, then sourced and coordinated every element of the event from linens and glassware to entertainment and photography. We loved exploring possibilities then seeing even our craziest ideas become reality. For us, planning was a fun adventure.
Ceremony and reception décor:
We chose to go with lush tropical greenery – ferns and palms everywhere, even hanging from the ceiling. With lots of candles, of course. The only splash of floral color was the bridal bouquet of red roses. The décor had an art nouveau feel, with deep jewel toned velvet linens and lounge seating, with gold accents.
How did you personalize your wedding day to reflect who you are as a couple?
We wrote our own vows, which was daunting at first, but turned out to be so much fun and made the ceremony so special and personal. We chose the brother of the bride to officiate the wedding. Having an officiant to who knew us so well made for an extra special personalized ceremony with an element of good humor.
Any anecdotes from the dress-shopping experience?
This was the first dress I tried! 2 days and 100 dresses later, I went back to where I started. I’m short, so I knew I needed something minimal, not too heavy. But I also wanted some drama. This dress was perfect! It was simple and sleek in the front, with a wild ruffle down the back. I tried on dozens of gorgeous gowns and could have been happy with many of them. But my dress was the only one that screamed my name. I just felt like myself in this dress.
Special memories, stories, or details from your wedding day:
Not only were Sean’s vows incredible and touching, but he memorized every word! Even though we planned the wedding and knew exactly what was coming, the whole atmosphere and event felt magical with surprises around every corner.
If you could offer one piece of wisdom to couples currently planning a wedding, what would it be?
Relax, have fun, make it exactly what YOU want.
Photographer: Meg Smith // Coordinator/Planner/Florals: Isabella Sikaffy at Florabella Studios // Venue: Private Club // Videographer: Elysium // Officiant: Richard Maus (brother of the bride) // Bridal gown and Veil: Oscar de la Renta // Bridal Stylist: Julie Sabatino, The Stylish Bride // Makeup: Lisa Louie // Jewelry: Jennifer Behr earrings and hair comb // Shoes: Jimmy Choo // Groom’s attire: Traditional Custom Tuxedo from Trumaker // Music (ceremony and reception): Rhythm Collective, and other entertainment from Elan Artists // Accommodations: Fairmont San Francisco