California-Bay Area

Wedding recap

I got married in San Francisco over Memorial Day weekend and wanted to provide a write up of the vendors I used in case it's of interest to people here.  I will provide information on what things cost me in case it's helpful.  I understand everyone has different budgets.

Ceremony: This is probably not relevant to almost all of you, but I got married at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.  It is a beautiful church that my family has been attending for decades.

Reception: The Spinnaker in Sausalito.  For about 110 people, we paid roughly $10,000, which included alcohol, gratuity, and valet parking for guests.  The restaurant doesn't look amazing indoors, but when everything in the room is set up, you don't notice.  The banquet hall is located right on the Bay, so it's beautiful.  At night, they provide soft lights on the walls so it looks nice.   The food was delicious, and everything was run smoothly.  They have managers who do everything.

Photographer: I did not use a SF-based photographer as they were very pricey with the quality I wanted.  I ended up going for a Southern California-based photographer called Andre Niesing.  His photos are amazing, better than the stuff you find in bridal magazines.  He cost me $3,900, which included engagement photos.  However, he's extremely difficult to get in touch with.  We ended up taking our engagement photos with him at Ghirardelli Square/Fort Mason.  On the wedding day, a traffic jam prohibited us from getting to Golden Gate Park, so we took photos at St. Francis Wood and the Forrest Hill staircase before the wedding.  After the ceremony, we took photos in Sausalito.  Great locations!

Attire: I got my dress from Priscilla of Boston in San Francisco.  Their dresses were out of my budget range, and when I asked for a discount, they gave me 20% and my bridesmaids 15% off!  I found their service with my dress impeccable.  My BMs got their dresses from there, and unfortunately they all had problems.  For example, the store ordered the wrong size, mixed up orders, did not provide enough information on alterations, and overcharged one girl.

Florist: I used Added Touch Flowers.  The owner did an amazing job!  Carol runs her shop out of her house.  All of my flowers looked expensive (think English country garden), but she kept it at my budget of $2,000 (14 tables at the reception and 9 people in the wedding party).  She can also go lower if you wanted to.  

DJ: I used Verducci Entertainment.  It is about $900.  I went to high school with the owner, so I got a discount.  He's very professional and very responsive when replying to emails.

Cake: Ambrosia Bakery in San Francisco (Ocean Avenue).  They are not a wedding cake specialty shop, but they do really, really delicious cakes.  We ended up getting a cake for 150 people at around $1000.

Favors: I had Ghirardelli chocolates that came in special boxes.  They usually come at $5.00 per box, but I happened to look at their online shop when they had a big sale.  I got free shipping and 20% off.  However, the decorative bags came wrinkled, so we had to steam and iron them and put the chocolate boxes back in them.

Rehearsal Dinner: Il Fornaio at the Embarcadero, which is Italian.  They have amazing food, good service, and a beautiful interior.  A three-course meal costs about $45 per person, and they have rooms of different sizes to fit guests.

Hair: I used Camilla Betterbridge, who has a place on Nob Hill.  She does a beautiful job, and I chose her because her work appears so natural (not too hard or stiff like in many wedding photos).  She charges $175 for day of hair on location and $75 for a trial run.  My only complaint is that she works very slowly.

Makeup: We used Paige at the Joseph Cozza salon.  She is very expensive, but we used her because my family has been going to her for over a decade so we're close.  She does an amazing job, though.

My last piece of advice for San Francisco Knotties.  If you can, avoid crossing any bridge between the ceremony and the reception.  You never know what the traffic may be like!  Our ceremony was in San Francisco and our reception in Sausalito, and that day there was a horrendous traffic jam on the Golden Gate Bridge.  We ended up getting started over an hour late, and we had to pay for that extra time (which is reflected above).  

Hope this helps!

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