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Real Wedding | Alison + Bryan

Tell us a little about yourselves!

We’re Alison and Bryan. We met in San Francisco in August of 2021 – only 19 days after Alison moved to SF. We had an immediate sense of how special our connection was, and San Francisco provided the perfect backdrop for our romance. We love city life: frequenting concerts and our favorite restaurants, and we find balance through our escapes, chasing sunsets and exploring the coastline. We share a love for travel which has taken us to destinations like Cabo, Hawaii, CDMX, Italy, Japan, and Spain.

Why did you decide to get married where you did?

We got married at The Sea Ranch Lodge in Northern California, a special place along the rugged Sonoma Coast. Living in San Francisco, driving up scenic Highway 1 to Sea Ranch provides the ultimate sense of ease and has become a ritual for us. For two Thanksgivings, we've dined at the lodge - just us two. The stunning architecture, grounds, and unexpectedly great food made it a favorite city getaway. The Sonoma Coast offers endless coastal trails, beloved Pinot Noirs, and the chance to watch whales from the bluffs – a fortunate sighting on our wedding day (whales, deer, and a flying-V-formation-of-birds all made wedding crashing appearances).

How many guests did you have?

We hosted about 25 guests, prioritizing an intimate ceremony with our closest family and friends. It was essential for us to interact fully, have quality time with each guest, and to create an intimate atmosphere for our wedding. It was the first time most of Alison’s family from Tennessee was meeting Bryan’s from Southern California, and the focus was on our love, union, and family.

Tell us about your outfits.

Alison wore a Cinq wedding gown and scarf, paired with Anita Berisha Mini Mermaid earrings. The scarf and earrings felt like they belonged at Sea Ranch – the scarf was windswept throughout the day, and the earrings featured beautiful shells and pearls to complement the coast.

Bryan wore a custom tux with Todd Snyder details. His inside chest was embroidered, Bryan’s - if lost, return 2 Alison, and he sported vintage bear cufflinks (a gift from Alison, and an homage to his mom’s Bear-surnamed family).

What was the most important aspect for you, in terms of planning your wedding?

Every part of the day was intentional and had a piece of us in it. Alison is a Bay Area floral designer and did most of the wedding design herself with some help from our event coordinator, Meag Breanne Events. Alison designed the stationary, matchbooks and candles (wedding favors), food and bar menus, the tablescape, and the flowers. Bryan planned the entire night of music with Alison copiloting: curating three separate playlists for the day and evening (see next question for much more detail here). Alison and Bryan also handcrafted their entire ceremony script, including custom vows, readings, and rituals that honored their union.

Were there any elements that were important for you to incorporate?

1) Flowers!

Alison: I have a floral company in San Francisco called Good News Flowers. As a floral designer, I’ve been dreaming up my own wedding flowers for a long time. Since our wedding was so intimate, I decided to design my own flowers (with the help of my amazing flower community and friends – huge thank you to my dear flower-friend Andrea Bergamaschi who helped me immensely!). I sourced all of the flowers locally from trusted flower farmers (The Borrowed Garden, Puck’s Garden, Dewey Farms Flowers) and from our beloved San Francisco Flower Market.

Given The Sea Ranch Lodge's stunning natural setting, I opted for minimal ceremony florals, concentrating on the tablescape at reception with a few statement pieces. As both the bride and florist, managing the floral design the day before the wedding was a considerable task, so it was a blessing to have a landscape already so beautiful that it didn’t demand an elaborate floral setup. My aim was to keep the floral arrangements minimal, yet impactful.

I’m originally from the mountains of Tennessee, where I got my start in the floral industry. Foraging on my grandmother's land was a pivotal part of my floral design journey. For our wedding, I aimed to blend my mountain roots with coastal elements by incorporating autumnal flowers reminiscent of home. The stunning Triloba Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan) - a tribute to my late mother - graced the centerpieces and my bouquet. Additionally, cherry tomatoes played a significant role in the floral arrangements.

2) Music!

Bryan: Soundscaping a place like Sea Ranch is a dream come true for us – we’re musically driven and couldn’t let the opportunity to handcraft the day’s soundtrack slip us by.

Aside from the set pieces (aisle tracks, entrance, first dance), we put together three playlists: 1) cocktail 2) dinner 3) after dinner (dance!).

For anyone who’ll indulge:

- Officiant entrance: Aphex Twin – “QKThr”

- Groom entrance: Josė Gonzáles – “Heartbeats”

- Bride entrance: Adrianne Lenker – “not a lot, just forever” (our wedding ring bands are also inscribed with this track title)

- Kiss and recessional: Talking Heads – “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)”

- Reception entrance song: Mary Clark – “Take Me I’m Yours”

- First dance: Gerry Rafferty – “Right Down the Line”

We anchored on timeless, and each track from the 7 hours’ worth of music is something we see ourselves listening to when we’re 80.

Any tips for couples getting married?

This is your day - create it as you wish, following or breaking traditions. It’s rare that you get the chance to have full control over a day’s look, sound, and substance, so make choices that reflect both of you and that you'll be proud to share for years to come. The clichés are all true: the day flies by and can be a lot to process, so stay present and soak it all in.

Are there any vendors that you would like to tell us a little more about?

Alison: Being in the Bay Area event industry, I’m so grateful to have met amazing vendors that I now call friends.

Meag of Meag Breanne Events – I already knew Meag was amazing because I’d had the pleasure of working alongside her on other events. She truly goes above and beyond for her clients. She’s extremely organized, forever one step ahead, and her wheels are always turning with ideas and important questions. Beyond the logistics, she’s detail-oriented and has a keen eye for design, helping us nail down details big and small from linens to where to place photos and decor. On top of all of that, she’s a calming joy to be around and an advocate, always ensuring everything’s in the best interest of her clients.

Amanda of Amanda Pool Photo – Her photos speak for themselves, they’re so raw and real. We wanted someone to naturally document our wedding day and are so happy we chose her. Her talent is beyond. She’s dynamic – shooting both digital and film, while pulling off tricks like double exposure. She’s also just so personable and made both us and our guests feel at ease. Apart from the wedding day, Amanda delivered an exceptional engagement shoot that included various locations, from our SF apartment and neighborhood to Mount Tamalpais. We capped the day at In-N-Out together, received the gallery, and had no doubt we were in the best hands heading into our wedding.

Elisa of Salted Rye – Our cake was made by the very talented Elisa of Salted Rye. We first tried her cake at a pop-up (definitely some of the best we’d ever had) and knew we had to have one at our wedding. She stands out with the experimental/unique ingredients she uses in her baked goods. We decided on a chocolate dome-shaped cake with miso caramel and burnt honey buttercream. It turns out this was the first dome cake she had made for a wedding, and it was absolutely perfect.

Special thanks to others that contributed in ways big and small to our day: Misty Seagle and Bill Wright, Liz and Dave Mojica, Andrea Bergamaschi, Katia Dreschke, and Anna Rubin.

Photographer : Amanda Pool Photo @amandapoolphoto | Reception + Ceremony Location : The Sea Ranch Lodge @thesearanchlodge | Planning: Meag Breanne Events @meagbreanneevents | Flora: Good News Flowers @goodnewsflwrs | Hair and Makeup : by Bride's sister | Cake: Salted Rye @saltedrye | Dress: Cinq @cinq | Linens: BBJ La Tavola @bbjlatavola | Earrings : Anita Berisha @anitaberisha | Tuxedo : Todd Snyder @toddsnyderny | Rings : Trabert Goldsmiths @trabertgoldsmiths


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