“Abby and Mac met twice, years apart, through a mutual friend. Both times at birthday celebrations. The first time, Mac paid very little attention to Abby. The second time, years later, he asked for her number from their mutual friend. After receiving her work fax number, he tracked down the right number and called to invite her out for dinner. The rest is history.
After proposing, Mac and Abby had to determine where to have their wedding. They’d each been in San Francisco for 10 plus years and loved the city. Abby’s family is from further north in California and Mac’s is from near Philadelphia. He did not want to ask them to fly across the country and then drive multiple hours, so they started searching in San Francisco for a venue.
The first and only one they visited in person was the Argonaut Hotel. It was the perfect location! They offered almost everything in-house, it was a great place for travelers, and Abby loved all the photo spots within and around the hotel. Since they were trying to make a tight budget work for their 200 person wedding, they did a majority of the items DIY. The invitations were custom designed by Abby’s brother-in-law, Jacob Aftreth. The flowers and centerpieces were done by Abby’s Aunt, Connie Chrysler-Anderson, and Mac’s step-Mom, Barbara Erskine. The name cards, menus, and seating chart were done by the bride.
They used themes of the San Francisco skyline in their invitations, guest welcome bags, guest koozies, and their guest book. The brick courtyard and maritime feel of the hotel provided inspiration for their color scheme: navy, gold, and plum. The ballroom provided a historical feel with the up-lights creating a relaxing feel during dinner and a more dramatic feel for dancing. The hallway outside the ballroom was the perfect staging area for the bars, photo booth, gift table, and remembrance table. They could not have asked for better weather for their October San Francisco wedding. Guests raved about the experience. It was the most memorable celebration of love!”
What is your favorite wedding day memory?
For us, the entire weekend was memorable. Half of the wedding guests traveled to San Francisco for the event, so we wanted them to enjoy every moment as much as we did. We planned a welcome event and goodbye brunch to celebrate the weekend as well as the wedding. The weather was perfect in San Francisco. So many people had told me the day would fly by and to make sure to be in the moment. That was my focus for the entire weekend.
If I had to pick one memory, I would say our ceremony. Our officiant was a good friend and we trusted him with our special day. He never previewed what he was going to say with us, so hearing it for the first time along side my husband-to-be was pretty special. We wrote our own vows to each other which we shared for the first time that day too. Hearing what Mac had planned meant so much to me. Committing to each other for the rest of our lives was such an amazing experience!
What did you DIY for your wedding?
I may have committed to doing too many DIY projects but they are what made the wedding so special for me. Since we had so many people traveling to San Francisco, we wanted them to feel special upon arrival. We created welcome bags with wedding day reminders, snacks, waters, and Bloody Mary fixings for all to enjoy.
Prior to the wedding, I had worked with my brother-in-law to design our invitations. I purchased envelopes online and then cut San Francisco map liners for each one. I bought a Cricut machine early in the wedding planning process. I used that to address every envelope.
I also used the Cricut machine to design the place cards. I took many ideas from the Something Turquoise website including the place cards we used that clearly showed the meal each person had pre-selected. Since we had the place cards set up at each table, I printed seating assignments by last name and framed them to go on gold easels.
I printed out our menu cards on card stock and used the Heidi Swapp laminator to add gold foil to them. We used many gold spray painted bottles which we made as decorative accents along with frames purchased from the Dollar Store to display engagement photos. My husband and I made all of the table numbers. My Uncle had cut wood for us to make the table numbers and many signs used around the wedding. For the table numbers, we stained them to get an ombre effect and then painted the bottoms gold. I made templates for the numbers with the Cricut machine and used them as stencils. I did a similar process for the other signs including the welcome, seating, guest book, and cards & gifts signs.
We had a professional florist do the bridal bouquets including mine along with the boutonnières. My Aunt and Mac’s step-mom did all the florals for the ceremony and the reception centerpieces including garland on the head table. At the ceremony, I had made reserved signs using a template from Something Turquoise for the seats for our family members.
My husband’s dad also helped in the DIY department. He made our gorgeous cake stand and beautiful wooden ring holder. Mac wanted a copper ring made from pennies of my birth year. We were able to find a jeweler in San Francisco who was willing to make it for us.
Many of the gifts we shared with our wedding party were also DIY projects. We had koozies for the wedding party which we personalized using the Cricut machine and iron-on material. I personalized hangers for the bridesmaids to hang their dresses on while we got ready in our robes with embroidered names. I added “I Do” to the bottom of my wedding shoes.
We had a basket of flip flops near the dance floor and emergency kits in the bathrooms. We purchased a canvas guestbook from Etsy and had colored Sharpies that coordinated with it for people to use to sign. We later made a frame for it and it now hangs in our apartment hallway.
Lots of thought and planning went into having all the aspects at our wedding that I wanted but couldn’t afford to do unless as DIY.
What was your something old, borrowed, and blue?
I borrowed my sister’s veil for the ceremony. My something old were my earrings. My something blue was the bottom of my shoes. I had many new items: my dress, the hair clips, belt, and a beautiful diamond ring my fianceé surprised me with on the day of our wedding to go between my wedding band and engagement ring.
Any advice for brides currently in the planning process?
Enjoy the entire process: the planning, the DIYing, and all the emotions that you’ll feel. It all goes by so fast. Be careful not too sign up for too much. I realized about a month before the wedding I had signed up for a lot. It is hard to know what you are committing to but reach out to your friends and family when help is needed. That made a big difference for me. I felt over committed for the few weeks before the wedding so I asked my bridesmaids for help. That provided a HUGE relief to me.
The key is to remember the day is about you and your partner coming together as one. Do not sweat the small stuff. If anything goes wrong, and something will, you will be the only one who knows. Stay in the moment! -Abby, the Bride
Photography + Videography: Drozian Photoworks // Venue: Argonaut Hotel // DJ + Photobooth: Denon + Doyle // Invitations: CatPrint // Cake: Have Your Cake // Bouquets and Boutonnières: Verde SF // Bride's Attire: Lillian West // Hair +Make-up: Charismatic Bride