NYC residents Stephy and Keith celebrated their dating anniversary with a trip to San Francisco last month…and got married at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park!
Says Stephy, “We flew to San Francisco last summer and absolutely fell in love with it! We’re not big on huge social gatherings so we knew we didn’t want a huge wedding from the get-go. We thought about getting married on a beach, but then we stumbled upon the Japanese Tea Garden on an elopement website. With our love of Asian culture and the cherry blossoms blooming in April, it was a no-brainer!”
We met up with them that sunny spring Saturday and marveled at the bursts of colorful flora everywhere. The garden was also abuzz with tourists and locals alike. It seemed an impossible task, but their officiant Ema Drouillard (of My SF Wedding) magically shuttled us to a relatively private spot for the intimate ceremony. Small groups of people stopped to watch the laughter- and tear-filled proceedings, and then offered their congratulations to the newlyweds as we maneuvered around, past, and through the garden’s lovely towering pagodas, koi-filled ponds, and zen paths. One woman even insisted on floofing Stephy’s dress when they paused for portraits in front of the iconic arched wooden bridge!
Stephy and Keith personalized their special day even further by rocking matching custom Converse (a white pair for our bride, a black pair for our groom), emblazoned not only with “I Do” and their wedding date but also with line drawings of California and the Golden Gate Bridge. A friendly (and soft!) goldendoodle wished them well as we made our way to the adjacent DeYoung Museum, where we managed to spend a few minutes before it closed.
Our adventure continued at Lands End, where we trekked to a secluded bluff overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. It was such a perfect spot for exchanging heartfelt vows! Stephy was reminded of her father, a veteran, when French and U.S. military jets soared past overhead, leaving behind plumes of red, white, and blue smoke.
Our final stop was the Cliff House, where we watched the sun set as waves crashed around the Sutro Baths—an absolutely sublime ending to an unforgettable day. Here are some of our favorite moments. (Not shown: The hundreds of people wandering through the tea garden!)