Morgan and Chris had, what looks to us, like the most fun wedding ever. The bride, Morgan, had a head start on all of us because of her job as the Production Sweetheart for Milou + Olin Photography (who naturally jumped in to photographer her big day!!!). With her toes in the wedding industry already, Morgan dove head first into wedding planning with coordinator, Yelena Johnson of The Stylish Soiree alongside their floral designer, Asiel Design. We just can’t get over all the fun details, ideas, and personality that shine through their big day, which took place at The Sainte Claire Hotel. I mean, the flowers, the aisle runner, those invites from The Aerialist Press, the striped linens from La Tavola Linens, and the cake from Sweet Tooth Confections!!! We are dying! We also decided to include a chance for you to “shop the post” because we really can’t get enough of the details! Are you ready to be bowled over?!?
Tell us about finding the dress!
The dress was a magical serendipitous moment that fell in my lap! I have loved Lazaro’s dresses since I first knew what wedding dresses were, and had subscribed to his trunk show schedule a few years earlier. The night before Chris and I were set to go on vacation to Disneyland for a few days, I got an email that a trunk show was going on only a few minutes away – I dropped in for an appointment and immediately fell in love with a “sherbert” colored light peach tulle creation that was unique from anything I’d seen before. I even got to meet Lazaro Perez (he’s a really nice guy!), and he gave me a signed sketch of my dress! The alterations team at the Mon Amie bridal salon in Santa Ana are so talented; they made small changes that made the dress fit like a glove! They also somehow tackled hemming those yards and yards of tulle!
How did decide on your wedding look?
What we weren’t expecting was how much our friends and family had looked forward to having a giant celebration like this! My parents wanted to jump immediately into wedding planning, and we were off on a venue hunt before we knew it. We searched wineries in the central coast, hotels in Monterey, country clubs in the Bay Area, but nothing really struck either of us as “the one”. Around the time we wanted to call it quits and elope, I was narrowing down my years of Pinterest wedding inspiration boards, and defining the theme – I noticed that my favorites all were a sort of homage to my long standing love of Kate Spade, and succumbed to poppy brights and black and white stripes with gold polka dots.
How did you find your venue?
We decided to visit The Sainte Claire Hotel on a whim; its adjoining restaurant Il Fornaio had black and white striped valances and had popped up in a search for wedding photos. We walked in to glorious 1920’s architectural details and an amazing ballroom space that could easily accommodate our guest count. (bonus: it was also two blocks away from our first “date” together; ice skating at the San Jose rink!) We knew it was too perfect, and booked it immediately.
Tell us about the details that came together for the big day.
This wedding was a product of so many years of love and support from both sides of our families. I had an incredible team of vendors sourced from personal contacts I’ve made in the wedding industry, so the entire event felt like I was surrounded by nothing but friends and family.
I knew my coordinator, Yelena Johnson, through some drop dead gorgeous styled shoots we’d done with her at Milou + Olin, and we are essentially style twins. She was in love with my theme even before I was done describing it, and I knew she would design my wedding with a personal touch. Her eye for detail was everywhere – even down to the adorable striped and polka dotted cocktail straws! She took everything I wanted and made it even more magical than I could have ever hoped for. Our florist, Linnea of Asiel, was so smitten with my theme that I gave her the reigns; all the flowers on our wedding day were a surprise! I’d seen her incredible work with Milou + Olin on shoots before, so I had full confidence in her, and I wasn’t let down! I am still in love with the photos of my bouquet, and the flower hedge at our ceremony was perfection.
What were some of your favorite highlights?
If you didn’t know yet, I work for Milou + Olin Photography as a production assistant, and have seen Caroline shoot some seriously gorgeous weddings in the two years I’ve been here. I knew from the beginning that she was going to be my photographer, and she didn’t disappoint. Caroline told me she was really nervous since I know the business in and out, but you would never know it – she and our assistant photographer Don were like photo ninjas all day; they are so quick to catch all the perfect moments!
Live music was something Chris and I really were passionate about, and thankfully we were able to find a little extra in our budget, because it was our favorite element of the wedding. Our band, put together by Fil Lorenz , exceeded all expectations. They provided a pianist for the ceremony, two-piece for the cocktail hour, and a full “little big band” for our reception, and our guests were raving the entire night about how amazing they were. We had a combination of jazz, blues, and a little funk that kept everyone on the dance floor all night!
I have to mention the food as well – Il Fornaio, who runs all the events at the Sainte Claire, had the most delicious options for us! They even created special entrees for my mom, who is gluten intolerant, and our guests could choose between beef tenderloin, sea bass, rack of lamb, and mushroom crepes (they were all amazing at the tasting). They also served a peach Bellini sorbetto as an intermezzo, and it was such a big hit! Peach Bellinis are my signature drink, so needless to say, it was my favorite.
The biggest surprise hit of the night was the Giggle and Riot photo booth! It was an awesome way for our guests to get instant, high-quality images from the wedding, and for the next week they were busy sharing them via Facebook and e-mail talking about how much fun the event was. Some of Chris’s favorite photos are the ones he got with family friends and the groomsmen in the booth; they are priceless!
How did you two meet?
Chris and I met in 2005 at college in San Luis Obispo, and immediately fell into a whirl-wind best friendship! We adventured around the central coast, spending endless hours tide pooling and taking long drives in the gorgeous countryside in an attempt to get lost and end up somewhere new. After a year we gave in and became an “official” couple, and since then we’ve finished college together, supported each other through multiple jobs and moves, and have only ever grown closer.
How did the engagement happen?
After seven years of dating, I wasn’t necessarily itching to get married, but it seemed like a natural next step. Chris, however, kept insisting that marriage was a social construct that didn’t apply to us; we were happy, stable, and neither of our parents were pressuring us. I put the idea aside for a while, thinking that maybe he’d come around, or we’d have a small elopement somewhere someday. Chris made a big deal out of his “secret” valentines day plans for 2013, but I brushed it aside; he had set up great surprises before for my birthday or our anniversary previously. It turns out he had made reservations at The Firehouse – a historic, Zagat rated restaurant in Old Sacramento with an incredible romantic ambiance and even more incredible food. We had an unforgettable meal, and walked the docks on the Sacramento River afterward like we had hundreds of times before. He pulled a ring out of his jacket pocket when I wasn’t looking, and I don’t think I fully believed him, because it took me a minute to say “yes, of course!” I shouldn’t be surprised after seven years, but he chose the most perfect ring without anyone’s help – it’s a gorgeous rose gold filigreed band with rows of diamonds leading to a beautiful peach sapphire in the center. It’s traditional and unique all at once!
What was your favorite moment?
Overall the wedding was a huge love fest of all our family and friends who have supported and cared for us for years, and it was bucketloads of fun. We danced, we schmoozed, we talked with friends we hadn’t seen in far too long, and it was perfect and magical. I’ll be reliving the best day ever with Chris for years to come.
Vendors: Photography: Milou + Olin // Coordinator: Yelena Johnson of The Stylish Soiree // Venue: The Sainte Claire Hotel // Florist: Linnea of Asiel Design // Makeup + Hair: Nicole Nguyen of Blush SF // Linens: La Tavola Linens // Cake + Desserts: Sweet Tooth Confections // Band: Fil Lorenz Orchestra // Catering: Il Fornaio // Photo Booth: Giggle and Riot // Dress and Belt: Lazaro, via Mon Amie bridal salon // Veil: Bridal Galleria San Francisco // Shoes: Valentino // Earrings: Haute Bridal Couture // Rentals: Classic Party Rentals and A Party Place // Tuxedo Rentals: Men’s Wearhouse // Rings (both): Shane Co. // Groom’s Bowtie: Brackish // Save the Dates: Minted // Invitations: The Aerialist Press // LOVE sign: DIY (bride’s parents did it!)
Shop the Wedding Details: Chris’s Bow Tie // Morgan’s Shoes // Morgan’s Earrings // Polka Dot Straws // Kate Spade Place Cards // Kate Spade Bottle Stopper // Gold animal sculptures // Ceramic Owl Canister // Bridesmaid Earrings // Turquoise Pillar Candleholder // Turquoise Gallery Frames // Marquee Letters