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Chic and Urban Surprise Wedding in San Francisco

























Destination wedding? No. Elopement? No. Surprise wedding? Yes! We’re so thrilled to share Sarah and Dan’s surprise wedding with you today; the busy couple had just started their own company, and weren’t sure how to fit planning a wedding into their hectic schedules. So, a short 10 week engagement and surprise wedding with just 40 guests gathered in their favorite spots: San Francisco and Big Sur.

Says the bride, “Our number one goal was to create a meaningful escape with our friends & family to celebrate such an important day. We wanted to eliminate as many headaches as possible to keep things simple and fun.”

Read on for more of the couple’s story:
“Dan and I met in St. Louis, Mo as teenagers. We dated throughout high school, during our time at separate universities, graduate school, etc. I became an architect and Dan a graphic & web designer. After a few years of working in the real world we decided to start a product development company together. Many people who start their own businesses can trace the decision back to a pivotal moment. Ours was after a long day of hiking in Big Sur, watching the sunset on Pfeiffer Beach, coming to the realization that it was time to take the plunge. 

The vision for our wedding was a chic-urban-meets-organic juxtaposition. This inspired our venue choices: San Francisco City Hall and a private Big Sur Estate. We’ve fallen in love with San Francisco over the years traveling back and forth for work and City Hall has such a wonderful combination of intricate details while still maintaining clean lines. The historic architecture and sense of permanence seemed perfect for our ceremony. Big Sur already held such a special place in our hearts so we couldn’t think of a better spot to escape for the reception. 

As people who love spacial design we wanted awe inspiring venues for the wedding, and they did not disappoint. Especially the Wind and Sea Estate – there were whales, dolphins and sea lions off the coast. Toasts were accentuated by the magical glow of sunset and gorgeous Northern California foliage. Even the 3 hour drive from City Hall to Big Sur was an important part of our day – taking a few hours to ourselves to enjoy the scenery change, and reflect on our day together was a lot of fun. 

For the details we wanted to stay true to our minimalist aesthetic by keeping everything clean and simple. Decor consisted of greens, whites, grays and golds inspired by stones found on Pfeiffer Beach. Our guest list was small allowing us to spoil everyone with an organic, farm-to-table meal and gourmet smore’s around the bonfire. The flowers were soft and organic with white peonies and local wild greenery. We used concrete vases, gold table numbers, mod flatware and stones found on the Big Sur beaches to merge urban and organic. To apply a few personal touches, Dan and I made our invitations, signage and road trip snack packs for our guests. Believe it or not, my parents actually drove everything cross-country for the wedding and we couldn’t be more grateful for all of their help! “

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Photography: Clary Pfeiffer | Reception Venue: Wind & Sea Estate | Dress: Amsale | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Earrings: Katie Waltman | Groom’s Suit: Hugo Boss | Caterer: Cheri Gladstone | Floral / Styling: Celeste Green | Hair & Make-Up: Mimi & Taylor | Flatware: Frances Lane | Rentals: Alexis Party Rental | Cake: Parker-Lusseau Pastries & Cafe

OnceWed.com

About OnceWed.com

Once Wed was launched in March 2008 to meet a need in the marketplace for an online listing service for second-hand wedding dresses. Within a short time, the company had developed into an online wedding publication and resource to provide newly-engaged brides with inspiration and tools to plan their dream wedding.