Jimmy and Isabel met through mutual friends at a bar in San Francisco’s Marina district. Within days of dating, they were both sure that each other was the one, and that they would one day be married. Many years passed before they decided to take the plunge together, because there was no real rush and it would be nicer to wait a few years to save up for the wedding of their dreams. During a trip to Hawaii, Jimmy and Isabel took a scenic hike up to beautiful Waimoku Falls in Maui, and that’s where Jimmy proposed. The rest is history!
Along with their love of food, culture, and exploring new cities, they love the magic and bygone eras of old bars and speakeasies. It seems to be a pastime for them to search out these unique places in whatever country they are visiting. So fittingly, they had their engagement photos taken in the very same bar in San Francisco where they had their first date. And from there, it only seemed natural to them to have a speakeasy theme for their wedding, as well.
We decided to do a speakeasy wedding, partly because of our appreciation of the mysterious and unique experience of secret bars but mostly because of our love of cocktail and drinking culture! Because we live in San Francisco, it made sense to host our family, friends, and out-of-town guests in wine country. We found a place that allowed us to combine the beauty of the outdoor vineyards while setting up a big surprise for everyone!
We love the classy and glamorous style of the 1920s era, from men in suits to beaded dresses. The rings weren’t just diamonds — some included unique colors or gold details. So my engagement ring was forged by his uncle, who is a jeweler, to include a hand-picked pale pink morganite stone with a matching and stackable gold wedding band.
Our seating chart was based on a classic cocktail menu. Our event designer, Katharina Stuart, screen printed it onto a gold-framed mirror made to look vintage. All of our tables were named after our favorite cocktails, and many of the drinks had meaningful moments for us, like drinking Lava Flows in Hawaii after we got engaged or mixing an Aviation, which was the first cocktail Isabel ever made on her own.
Our event designer and florist, Katharina Stuart, helped us put together a spectacular floor plan and design. She’s probably one of the most amazing florists working in the Bay Area right now and has a keen eye for romantic and artistic details. For our tables, we did vintage touches like bell jars, mercury glass votives, and tea lights. For flowers, we went with soft and romantic, like peonies, roses, and ranunculus. But we wanted to make sure each table had something unique to look at, like collections of drift wood, orchids under bell jars, or vases displayed on wood rounds. We also had Katharina put together two lounges which she decorated with an old typewriter, stacked books, and a bar cart. We also liked how in some speakeasies we had been to, there were naturalist items — things like butterflies in shadow boxes, birds nests, or drawings. And what speakeasy wouldn’t be complete without a leather chesterfield?
Instead of a traditional guestbook, we put together a typing station. It was made to look like an old writing table, complete with a letter holder for paper and envelopes. People had fun playing with this because it’s so nostalgic (and for some, it’s just plain novel)!
One of our big surprises for the night was creating a secret speakeasy inside of a barrel room on the property. It had its own bar and specialty cocktail menu, and we hired an amazing live band (Lucky Devils Band) played jazzed up versions of modern tunes. We even created a second “false” dance floor in the dining area, just so we could fake out our guests. Even our bridal party didn’t know! It was amazing to see the look of surprise on people’s faces when our coordinator, Joanne Lue, and her team slid open a “door” (which was really a giant wooden wall on rails) to reveal the secret room! People had a blast there all night.
We love jazz and live music, and it was one of the “must-haves” for our speakeasy wedding. We hired a 6-piece band (Lucky Devils Band) with an amazing female and male vocalist duo as well as a saxophonist. It’s one of our favorite instruments, because Jimmy used to play the sax himself.
Our photographer, Tyler Vu, has an amazing ability to capture character and interest in each of his photos. Whether it’s waiting with our bridal party, cutting a cake, or having our first dance, none of the photos feel forced, too posed, or plain. There’s emotion and artistry in each picture.