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Lindsey & Peter’s Aracely Cafe and Event Center Wedding

February 14, 2018

Aracely Cafe Wedding Photography

Lindsey & Peter’s Romantic New Year San Francisco Wedding

We actually met in middle school! Our school was really small and tight knit so we were all pretty good friends.

We went to crosstown rival high schools and didn’t hang out much freshman year, but over that summer one of our mutual best friends was moving away so our group became inseparable.

From there, our friendship developed into something more, and he asked me to be his girlfriend on December 31, 2006.

Peter proposed on September 22, 2016. It was super sweet and a surprise (we were long distance at the time, so he was able to sneak into town to surprise me!)

He enlisted the help of my brother to decorate my backyard with candles and strings of photos from our ten years together, and one of my best friends to kidnap me at the end of our work day and drive me home under the ruse of going to yoga.

 “Simple Elegance” was our goal for every aspect of the wedding, but considering that we were throwing a party on NYE and our 11th dating anniversary we wanted it to also feel intimate, inviting and really fun. The vibe of the venue was very simple and rustic, and we let that set the tone with addition of some sparkly accents to ring in 2018.

 In keeping with the theme of simple elegance, I wanted a dress that wasn’t too over the top, with freedom to dance, and hug, and eat, but with pretty details. My dress was from BHLDN and was the very last dress I tried on – it didn’t jump out at me on the hanger and wasn’t the silhouette I had originally envisioned, but I’m so glad I chose it.

I adore the beading details along the neckline, and added a little more sparkle with the belt. The shoes were totally inspired by NYE – silver, sparkly block heels that were danced in before purchase.

My girls all got their dresses from the brand TFNC in “lavender fog” – I picked the color and let them choose the silhouette and loved that everyone ended up with something different that suited them.

“Don’t be afraid to give each other space.”

 Most couples reserve their date in our calendars 12+ months prior to their wedding day.

 Photography: Apollo Fotografie

We actually met in middle school! Our school was really small and tight-knit so we were all pretty good friends. We went to crosstown rival high schools and didn’t hang out much freshman year, but over that summer one of our mutual best friends was moving away so our group became inseparable. From there, our friendship developed into something more, and he asked me to be his girlfriend on December 31, 2006.

Peter proposed on September 22, 2016. It was super sweet and a surprise (we were long distance at the time, so he was able to sneak into town to surprise me!) He enlisted the help of my brother to decorate my backyard with candles and strings of photos from our ten years together, and one of my best friends to kidnap me at the end of our workday and drive me home under the ruse of going to yoga.

“Simple Elegance” was our goal for every aspect of the wedding, but considering that we were throwing a party on NYE and our 11th dating anniversary we wanted it to also feel intimate, inviting and really fun. The vibe of the venue was very simple and rustic, and we let that set the tone with addition of some sparkly accents to ring in 2018.

In keeping with the theme of simple elegance, I wanted a dress that wasn’t too over the top, with freedom to dance, and hug, and eat, but with pretty details. My dress was from BHLDN and was the very last dress I tried on – it didn’t jump out at me on the hanger and wasn’t the silhouette I had originally envisioned, but I’m so glad I chose it. I adore the beading details along the neckline and added a little more sparkle with the belt. The shoes were totally inspired by NYE – silver, sparkly block heels that were danced in before purchase. My girls all got their dresses from the brand TFNC in “lavender fog” – I picked the color and let them choose the silhouette and loved that everyone ended up with something different that suited them.

The boys wardrobe was far simpler (isn’t that always the case) once Peter decided a NYE wedding was the perfect occasion for a tux. Everybody was outfitted by The Black Tux, and looked extremely dapper!

I entrusted the floral design to the venue owner, simply showing a few inspirational photos of cascading bouquets with beautiful greenery. I requested white bouquets for the bridesmaids, and touches of purple in my bouquet to bring in the bridesmaid dress – and absolutely loved the end results!

We had an outdoor evening ceremony, lit by heat lamps and fairy lights. Guests had blankets, and walking down the aisle it just felt so cozy and intimate. We asked Peter’s sister, Joanna, to officiate the ceremony for us and she worked with us to come up with a really beautiful but simple ceremony that was perfect for us. Both Peter’s mom and my grandmother shared readings they’d chosen for us. I thought the ceremony was going to be a whirlwind, out-of-body experience but it was the most present both of us felt all night, soaking up all the love and support surrounding us.

Each song that went into the ceremony was really carefully considered since we both love such an eclectic range of music. Peter and the rest of the family walked down the aisle to Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect”, which was so fitting since the songs about falling in love as kids (ironically it was the song the airline played every time we landed somewhere new on our honeymoon, and there maaaay have been some tearing up every time). The wedding party walked into “Bloom” by The Paper Kites, which is soft but upbeat and reflects our love of indie music. I walked into a cover of Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend” by The Once. It’s folksy and sweet and so perfectly captures our relationship. I bawled on my way down the aisle (but somehow managed to get it together for the ceremony itself!) The recessional song was “I Choose You” by Sara Bareilles (A fellow UCLA Bruin!) – I’ve always believed real love isn’t something you “find”, it’s a series of beautiful but deliberate choices.

Our reception was at Aracely Cafe and Event Center. It’s a really beautiful, simple space and we both could envision throwing a party there when first visited – there was space for dancing, space for chatting, a beautiful bar, and outdoor firepits.

We joked throughout the wedding planning process that we were throwing a New Year’s Eve Party, that just had a sentimental kickoff. In lieu of a sit-down dinner, we did heavy hors-d’oeuvres passed around family style during the toasts/dances, then passed out NYE hats almost as soon as the DJ started playing for the rest of the night! One of the most special touches at the reception was the photo booth. Peter’s family helped us to recreate the “I love you so much” wall in Austin, TX (where I went to grad school) that has been the backdrop to many a photo op during the five years in which we were long distance. The photos from our DIY photobooth were pretty hysterical the next day, so I think our guests also loved it. Our first dance was to John Legend’s “Stay With You”. We wanted a song that was soulful and contemporary but not too overplayed…and then when we heard the first line “We’ve been together for a while now” we laughed and knew it had to be the one since our wedding was on our 11th dating anniversary.

We have two pieces of advice – one for the wedding and one for life in general 🙂

We chose to do a first look (had to get that beautiful natural light in our photos before our 8pm ceremony!) and would absolutely recommend it to any couples who are on the fence. We were both so nervous up until that point, and having that moment to ourselves was not only a beautiful pause in the middle of an otherwise whirlwind day but allowed the anxiety and anticipation to just melt away so that we could feel relaxed and truly present the rest of the day. As for general advice – don’t be afraid to give each other space. (I don’t necessarily recommend 1,000 miles, or for as long as five years – long distance is certainly not easy – five minutes, or a long weekend would work too!). While long distance was hard, it made us the couple we are. Having the space to pursue our individual passions, while supporting each other from afar, strengthened our relationship immensely. We get to live in the same place now (finally! hooray!) but that lesson is one that we will carry into marriage: having the freedom and support to fulfill our own personal or professional goals makes us better partners to each other.
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