Real Weddings

If you are looking for some fabulous inspiration for your wedding, here it is! This wedding is ecofriendly, with a touch of DIY, and a lot of fun!

Along with some amazing photos, here is the story of Krista and Tim’s wedding told in their own words…

Describe any special parts of the wedding, or people who attended.

The ceremony was created surrounding thC 7 foundations we wanted to nurture in our marriage: grace, honesty, generosity, respect, community, growth, and love. Our community of family and friends are a big part of what makes our lives so rich, so it meant a great deal to us to have so many people be a part of our wedding. In addition to the wedding party and officiants, we had Chuppah carriers who not only brought the Chuppah up, but stood surrounding us during the ceremony. It wasn’t supposed to be this way, but there was a strong breeze and the Chuppah wouldn’t have stayed in the holders if our community hadn’t stayed up there with us. It was a perfect accident! The Chuppah was made by Krista’s sister-in-law and sister. Krista’s nephew played guitar and her sister sang during the ceremony. Krista’s father passed away unexpectedly 6 weeks after we returned from the honeymoon, so the time we had at the wedding became more special to us, including our very non-traditional spontaneous father-daughter fast dance where my dad was “getting his groove on”. He had the entire room laughing and dancing!

Why did you choose Boa Ventura as the venue?

Boa Ventura Winery

We looked at a lot of sites prior to Boa Ventura. We wanted something outside since we both love the outdoors. I had been to a wedding in an orchard and loved that venue. Boa Ventura had a similar feel. It is slightly rustic, with wild flowers everywhere and a lot of great little details including a bocce ball court. There were animals around the property including a cat, a horse, a few dogs, and even a few chickens in a coup. This was perfect for the relaxed, community feel we wanted to create. Another bonus was that they didn’t dictate which vendors we had to use, allowing us to create a wedding that was unique and truly embraced who we are as individuals and as a couple.

How did you choose your florist, and the particular flower types and colors?

We bought our flowers from Trader Joe’s. The store has a designated person to order flowers. I went a few weeks before the wedding and we talked about what kinds of flowers we wanted and what was in season. She ordered the type, but couldn’t guarantee the colors. The day before the wedding, she let me pick through the order to choose the types and colors we wanted. We had Van Gough Sunflowers, red, yellow, orange gerbera daisies, and celosia flowers among many other flowers. We also had mint, lavender, and roses from a friend’s garden. The morning of the wedding, myself, the bridesmaids, my sister, and other friends made the bouquets and boutonnieres. The balcony of the hotel room where we were working was overlooking the pool where some of the kids from our wedding were swimming and playing. It was a lot of fun to be around all those flowers and have our loved ones laughing below. The centerpieces on the tables were potted organic herbs planted by myself a week before the wedding.

What drew you to your other vendors?

We chose Whiskie Bits because we wanted something unique, and they had unusual flavors such as malted milk ball and strawberry rose cupcakes. They try to use only seasonal ingredients and organic when possible. It added another original touch to the wedding.

Rebecca is a warm, easy to talk to person, not to mention her photography is amazing. I used to assist wedding photographers and understood that the wrong fit for a wedding photographer can be a big issue throughout the day. Tim was a photography major in college and has an eye for good photography. We knew Rebecca would not only beautifully capture our wedding day, but she’d also be a joy to have around for our special day…..and we were correct on both accounts!

What was your favorite part of day?
Krista: Surprising Tim and dancing flamenco for him. After my dance, Tim was laughing and crying at the same time
Tim: Our time alone together immediately after the ceremony. The owners of the winery let us hide in their garden on a bench and enjoy a glass of wine from their own cellar and a plate of the appetizers. It gave us a chance to connect and take in the ceremony before the party began.

What advice would you give to others on their wedding day?
Take time for just the two of you on the special day! We had about 15 minutes after the wedding ceremony, and our first sighting was just the two of us w/ our photographer. It is such a private moment between the bride and groom, but is usually done in front of everyone. It was nice to have it be just between us, yet captured on film.

If you loved the story and these photos, here’s a vendor list to help you in your own wedding planning:

Venue: Boa Ventura Winery in Livermore, CA. (

Groom’s attire: Suit bought from Nordstrom to reuse for years to come

Bridal dress & Veil: demo dress & demo veil from J’aime Bridal & Weddings in Pleasanton, CA. (

Rings: Groom’s ring was bought on ebay. Bride’s engagement ring was his mothers & great-grandmother’s wedding-antique ring from Aura Jewelers in Berkeley, CA. (

Bakery: Whiskie Bits Cupcakes ( used seasonal ingredients to make the scrumptious cupcakes.

Invitations: Recycled papers bought from Paper Source In Berkeley (, Flax Art & Design in San Francisco (, and Dick Blick’s in Berkeley ( Invitations designed by bride, groom and a friend.

Center Pieces: Organic Herbs bought at Berkeley Horticulture ( & Westbrae Nursery ( and planted with Organic compost by bride and her mother

Beverages/bar: Home brewed beer, lovingly made by the bride and groom! All materials were recycled on site.

Caterer/Food: Organic Paella by Venga Paella (, organic hors ‘d oeuvres made by friends

Table Linens & Decorations: Rented from Pleasanton Party Rentals in Pleasanton, Califonia. ( Re-used vases, candles, and candle holders from a friend’s wedding. Couple decided to rent everything instead of buy, as many of their friends had done previously, to save from more waste.

Honeymoon: Hacienda San Lucas, Ecolodge-Copan, Honduras ( This lodge is amazing with organic foods and organic coffee that is grown up the hill from the lodge.

Bridal Gift: Antique Earrings from Aura Jewelers in Berkeley, CA (

By Ami Sampat

Check out these wonderful photos taken by Paula Kirkland from a gorgeous wedding held at the San Francisco Film Centre.

Table setting





By Ami Sampat
Jessica and Matthew’s wedding was a true San Francisco wedding.
Jessica found her dress at Bridal Galleria, where she say s the staff was, “really friendly, professional, and knew exactly what I wanted, even when I didn’t really know what I wanted.” The groom found his suit at Nordstrom’s in downtown. Cupcakes
The dessert was cake and a cupcake tower provided by BiRite Creamery in San Francisco. There were two types of cupcakes: midnight chocolate cake with butter cream with cocoa nibs sprinkled on top and a blondie cupcake with marcona almonds and sea salt on top. Jessica and Matthew cut a mini cake topper of midnight chocolate. The bride and groom also got Izzie’s sodas for their guests and hired a beverage server from BiRite Creamery.
The music was provided by a solo guitarist from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Out the Door program. They were inexpensive and set a wonderful tune for the ceremony.
Chairs are one of those things that can be overlooked when planning a wedding, but they are very essential. Jessica and Matthew found great chair vendors who were very helpful. Not only did the vendors give them a great price, they also helped disassemble chairs that were still present at the venue from the event previous and assemble the chairs for the wedding at no extra cost.
Jessica had a picture of exactly the kind of bouquet she wanted and was pleasantly surprised when a small flower shop, Not Just Flowers replicated it down to the last petal.
The venue, Le Colonial, provided the food, alcohol, flower decoration and so on. The bride and groom took care of the rest of the things needed for the wedding.
A wedding is such a special ocassion overall, but one of Jessica’s favorite moments of the wedding was when they walked into the reception hall, with the DJ introducing them as “Mr. and Mrs. Montes” for the first time. As she entered the reception area, she saw her family and friends, dressed to the nines, laughing, clapping, and cheering for them, while the song “I Choose You” by Willie Hutch was playing in the background.
One tip that Jessica would give to those that are currently planning their own weddings would be to not waver from your decisions. Don’t let your family pressure you into doing something you are not fond of, she advises. The bride and groom wanted a small wedding, of about 100 people, while their parents wanted around 200 people. It was hard for them to put their foot down and insist on having a small wedding, but they are so glad they did. Approximately 90 people were at their wedding and Jessica and Matthew were able to talk to each and every guest, which was important to them, while being able to dance with each other.
Having planned and executed a beautiful Bay Area wedding, Jessica says that one of the most important things she learned was to not overwhelm yourself with too many ideas. Having read so many bridal magazines and websites, Jessica and Matthew found themselves second guessing all their selections. They realized that they had to stop overloading themselves with information and believe in what they were doing. And sure enough, everything came out exactly how they wanted!

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