Erica & Frank’s Home-Run Oakland Wedding

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When we met up with Erica and Frank at her aunt’s house in Oakland this past October, the excitement was palpable. Not only did they fly out from Michigan to tie the knot that beautiful day, the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals would be battling each other in the fourth game of the World Series!

Erica was absolutely stunning in a floor-length lace gown complemented by a red peony in her hair. Frank rocked a black suit and bowtie, and made sure to top his outfit with a Giants ball cap before we made our way to Piedmont Community Hall. (It turned out that many of the catering staff would be sporting Giants paraphernalia, too.)

More than a hall, this lovely venue tucked amid a residential park features a wooden Japanese tea house, a Mediterranean-style hall with a striking beamed ceiling and chandeliers, and a circular plaza surrounded by greenery. It also boasts soaring redwood trees, which served as the backdrop for Erica and Frank’s heartwarming ceremony.

After the wedding, guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and Homestead whiskey (the featured bourbon, Erica’s stepdad’s whiskey brand) on the plaza while we explored the grounds partially by piggyback. The light was gorgeous, as was the weather, so we weren’t the only ones caught off guard when, right as dinner was served, it suddenly began sprinkling. Some folks took their plates inside the hall itself, while others showed faith that the shower would soon pass by huddling under their napkins. Luckily, the rain disappeared as quickly as it came.

In keeping with the fairly lush environs, the table centerpieces showcased seasonal and local vegetation, including figs, pomegranates, and artichokes. What a fun idea! We also love that the cakes were decorated with succulents. Kudos to Erica’s mom for making fudge for favors!

The rest of the night was filled with touching toasts, joyful cake cutting, boisterous hip shaking, and wacky photoboothingall punctuated by hearty cheering whenever the Giants scored. (Incidentally, the Giants won game 4 and went on to take the 2014 World Series.) Here are some of our favorite still and animated moments from this momentous day.

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Dress: Sottero & Midgley, alterations by Litsa Nelson
Shoes: Kate Spade
Red peony hair accessory: Blissful Silks (Etsy)
Bride’s wedding band: Easy Gem (Etsy)
Groom’s wedding band: Minter & Richter
Groom’s suit, shirt & bow tie: Banana Republic
Caterer: Small Thyme Catering
Cake: Taste of Denmark (decorated by Sandra Sampson)
Florist: Sandra Sampson
Ceremony paper flowers: The Knot and Especially for You by Y.W. (Etsy)
Bubbles: The Knot
Personalized napkins, guest name cards/wine tags: The Knot
Guestbook: Red Otter Creative (Etsy)

Jenn & Ryan’s Parisian Honeymoon Adventure

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When the Lovesick Expo and Offbeat Bride brought their fabulousness to San Francisco this past February, we thought it’d be fun to offer a three-hour photo session in Paris as a prize. Considering that the couple would need to fly themselves out to the City of Lights in November, we were surprised by the amount of folks who entered. Our lucky winners? Jenn and Ryan, who got hitched roughly a week before jetting off on their European honeymoon.

Although we were expecting a stormy day when we joined up with our newlyweds on Armistice Day (November 11), the sun had chased away the rain. Apparently Jenn and Ryan had brought the California sunshine with them! We kicked off our excursion on Île Saint-Louis, one of two natural islands on the Seine River. Despite it being a national holiday, the streets were filled with tourists and locals window shopping, riding bikes, walking their dogs, and simply enjoying the unexpectedly gorgeous day. Jenn and Ryan indulged in coffee and a slice of tarte tatin (upside-down apple tart) at a café before we strolled across a lovelock-laden bridge to adjacent Île de la Cité (the other island on the Seine), home of the celebrated Notre Dame cathedral.

The Notre Dame plaza was abuzz with shutterbugs, tour groups, and men who let pigeons peck bird feed off their heads (we’ll let you imagine what their heads and shirts looked like). After some portraits with the church itself, Ryan sought out a group of confused Japanese students for a photo. From there, walking along the banks of the Seine was a natural transition, and we thankfully had a chance to do so before the paths were opened up again to vehicular traffic. Ironically, a bicyclist ran into Jenn and Ryan as they were checking out art and book stalls on the sidewalk!

The metro whisked us to the last stop on our whirlwind tour: the Arc de Triomphe. A grand structure commissioned by Napoleon in 1806, it honors the French soldiers who had fought in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. Since it was Armistice Day, the area was especially popular with uniformed veterans and their families. The top of the 164-foot-high arch is reached via 300 or so narrow, winding stairs. We survived the climb and were rewarded with a panoramic view of Paris, which included a sparkling Eiffel Tower. Many thanks to the couple from Wisconsin who took the photo of us!

We had a total blast running around Paris with Jenn and Ryan, and were honored to spend a few hours with them on their honeymoonnot to mention capturing Jenn’s expression (and tears!) when she saw the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe for the first time! Here our some of the wonderful memories we made together, in still and animated form.
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Rachel & Nathan’s Sky-High San Francisco Engagement Session

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Earlier this year, we had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of engaged couples when the Lovesick Expo came to San Francisco with the fine folks from Offbeat Bride. We gave away an engagement session and were thrilled when Rachel and Nathan redeemed their prize several months later.

It turns out that Nathan works at a high-rise construction site in downtown San Francisco and thought it’d be a fun spot to photograph. We agreed, and didn’t even blink when he told us there’d be a 17-story climb to the top (the elevator wouldn’t be operating when we were there). As it turns out, hoofing up 17 flights of stairs is a pretty intense workout, especially while lugging a ton of gear and keeping an eye out for stray nails, eye-level wires, and other dangers.

Happily, we all made it to the top in one piece, albeit a touch sweatier than we started out, and enjoyed the panoramic views of the Bay Area as day turned into night. Here are some of our favorite shots from the day.
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