Forest Hill Clubhouse Wedding Photos

Lisa & Michael’s Winter Clubhouse Romance

Everything will work out, so don’t sweat it. Also, don’t be afraid to DIY, but pick and choose. Pinterest is a terrifying place. Have fun with it all.
Most couples reserve their date in our calendars 12+ months prior to their wedding day.

Venue: Forest Hill Clubhouse

Caterer: James Stanfield Catering

Coordinator: Janette Najar

Photography: Apollo Fotografie

Officiant: Michael DiGrande

Hair & Makeup: Bloom Blow Dry Bar

Dress: Nelly’s Bridal SF

Mike and I met at Jefferson High School in August of 2011 where we both work.  I was a first year teacher and it was his third year there.  We signed up for the same computer/gradebook training class the day before school started.  The training was horridly boring, so we started chatting about which was better, English or Math.  The answer is English, obviously.  We continued flirting at happy hour that Friday, and the next week Mike asked me out under the pretense of me teaching him how to play poker. We went to Half Moon Bay for our first date for coffee and then back to his parent’s house where he proceeded to almost kill my by making me incredibly spicy hot and sour soup.  We totally hit it off and very quickly became the worst kept secret at school.

As for the proposal, we had known that we wanted to get married for a long time, by due to Mike’s heart condition, I had always tagged it as an “after the transplant” event.  I didn’t see how I could have the wedding that I dreamed of when Mike wasn’t at 100%.  But two years passed and the transplant wasn’t happening.  My sister had her first child and my brother got engaged and I was just tired of having my life on hold.  We went to Calistoga in February of last year and I, during dinner and after a glass of wine, told Mike that I was tired of waiting and wanted to get married.  After the initial shock wore off (I’d been pretty adamant about not wanting to get married until after he had his transplant) he was elated.  We came back and started ring shopping the next week. Together, we picked out my ring at Brilliant Earth in SF.  A month later, after asking my parents permission, he formally proposed to me in my parent’s backyard with the sweetest poem.  It was perfect.  Well, mostly perfect.  I’m never going to forgive him to proposing to me while I was wearing a stupid punny Trigonometry shirt that he and his students had designed.  I guess Math won that day :)

We picked out Mike’s ring from Patronik Jewelers in Burlingame.  Nick at Patronik also designed a wedding band to fit my engagement ring.

Being teachers and book nerds, we wanted to have a literary style wedding.  Our Save the Dates were styled as the old style library check out cards.  Since we both teach at Jefferson High School, we made our check out card “Property of Jefferson High School” and stamped the dates with all our big moments.

Mike and I both LOVE Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (the first piece of jewelry he bought me was inscribed with a quote from Mr. Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth) so the back of our (homemade) invitations was printed with a passage from Pride and Prejudice.  Our readings at our wedding were literature (a passage from Les Mis by Victor Hugo and “Invitation to Love” a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar).

I love old style romance.  The venue that we got married at was built in the early 1920s, so we fully embraced that in our “soft romance” theme.  Dress shopping was…  stressful. I wanted something soft and romantic while still feminine and simple all while having no real idea about what I wanted.  For an English teacher, I FAILED at articulation when in the fitting room.  It took a couple of weeks, but I finally found the perfect dress at Nelly’s Bridal Boutique in SSF.

When I had found my dress and described it to my grandmother, she told me that she had a veil that she thought might match it.  She went upstairs to her cedar trunk and pulled out her mother’s bridal veil.  The veil, which was first worn in 1918 by my great grandmother, was also worn by my grandmother for her first communion and her wedding in the 1940s.  To my extreme pleasure, it worked perfectly.  I loved loved being able to be part of this tradition.

Bridesmaid dress shopping was much easier.  Having only one bridesmaid, I let her pick out whatever dress she wanted.  The only requirements was that it had to be long, and couldn’t be navy or purple.

Tuxes — the mannequins at Men’s Warehouse seemed like awesome choices :)

My mom, sister, and I headed to the Flower Market a few days before the wedding with my wedding coordinator Janette.  I knew that I wanted blushes and creams with pops of burgundy and dark greens and browns.  We spent an (allergy filled) morning looking at what was there and picking them out.  My sister and I made all the centerpieces and my bridesmaid’s bouquet.  My mom made the boutonnieres and corsages.   

My bridal bouquet was made by Janette.  My only request for her was that it include peonies.

I’m Catholic and Mike is a blend of Jewish and Christian, so for our wedding, we wanted to stay away from religion.  We asked my best friend from high school, another Mike, to marry us and went for a civil/literary ceremony.  Our readings were from literature. Continuing with the Pride and Prejudice theme, I walked down the aisle to “Dawn” from the 2005 Pride and Prejudice theme song, and we walked out the theme song from the BBC mini series version of P&P.  Additionally, during the ceremony, Sean, another friend from HS, sang “One Hand, One Heart” from the Romeo and Juliet remake, West Side Story.   

Traditions.  We have A LOT of traditions in my family (as you all saw).  I’m heavily involved in the Basque Community in San Francisco and help teach dance on the weekends.  I was so beyond thrilled and touched that Valerie, the person that I teach dance with, organized for there to be two dancers there with flowered arcs to be our honor guards when Mike and I processed out.

As an impromptu post ceremony bit, Mike’s aunts and uncles organized an enacting of the Jewish tradition of breaking a glass to ensure a happy marriage.    

My mom was the one that suggested the venue to us. She grew up around in the corner in the Avenues and had been to a wedding there when she was young.  When we told her that we wanted to have a small wedding, she brought up the idea of the Forest Hill Clubhouse.  I went to go check it out with my sister and fell in love with the place.  (We booked it before I even took Mike there to see it.)

On the table, we had two extra touches beyond the normal menu card, favors, and centerpieces.  First were the songbooks.  In the Basque Community, we sing and it’s a tradition to have song books at important events.  A second touch was the candles.  We wanted to continue with the lit theme, so we wrapped votive candles with onion skin paper that we had printed the passage from our invitation on.  A way to make the tables a bit prettier and hide the rather unattractive votive candles.

Cake!  More traditions!  So, full disclaimer, I don’t like cake.  So I really didn’t want to have a wedding cake that I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy or eat.  Instead, we went with crepe cakes from Whole Cakes in SF.  In addition to our crepe cakes, we also had two traditional basque cakes.  These beehive shaped cakes are cooked on an open fire and are something that we generally have at large family gatherings.  They were made by my cousin Valerie.

Mike and I are best described as Earth (When I asked Mike this question, he immediately pulled out his World of Warcraft anthology that has a description of the elements.  He has chosen Earth to describe us because it represents stability and stubbornness)

So… that in mind, I would say that our silliness, our nerdiness, and our understanding are what best define us as a couple.

Our advice to others — embrace what makes your partner unique and what makes you unique.  If you feel like you have to hide who you are, you’re not in the right place.

My wedding advice — Everything will work out, so don’t sweat it.  Also, don’t be afraid to DIY, but pick and choose.  Pinterest is a terrifying place.  Have fun with it all.

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