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Laura Hunt

Traditional Wedding Ceremony and ... Surprises

Johanna Kaestner & Kathleen Stearns

This fabulous wedding was celebrated in March at the Regency Center, in the heart of San Francisco. Following are descriptions of the event as told to us by some of the main participants: the bride, Kim; the event coordinator, Suzy Somers of Always r.s.v.p.*; and the florist, Karen Axel of Tapestry. Also, be sure to take a visual tour through the decorated Regency Center and get an idea how the event was set up by Joel Cook, from Royal Weddings Video.

Kim, the bride: I envisioned my wedding to be playful and unique, meaningful, sweet, tender, full of laughter and dancing, and lots of fun.

The wedding ceremony was more traditional. When the door opened, and I walked down the rose petal covered aisle with my parents to the sound of acapella singers. The beautiful chuppah really took my breath away. It looked as if the white flowers, which were Casablanca lilies, gardenias, and orchids were really growing out of a green branches. Amazing lighting added to the drama. It felt magical to exchange our own, self-written vows in this secret garden.

The reception was full of gaiety and surprises. Custom-made hot pink, cantaloupe, and lemon yellow tablecloths covered the tables. The napkins and the chair covers were made from the same fabric. In the exact same colors were centerpieces which were tall glass vases filled with rose petals and huge tulip bouquets bursting out of the top. Rose petals were delicately placed between two glass chargers and added an another focal point to the table design.

We are Sinatra fans, and for the first dance, "Fly me to the moon," I surprised my husband with a singer who was a Sinatra look-alike. We never got off the dance floor because we choose a band that all ages enjoyed. At 11pm the curtain in the back of the room lifted and revealed a second band that played all Beatles songs through the remainder of the reception. The whole wedding surpassed my wildest dreams.

Suzy Somers, the event coordinator: We planned the ceremony as a mid summer night's dream, and to set the theme we began with the white flowers growing out of the green chuppah. It was a more traditional, beautiful ceremony. The reception turned to the more playful aspects of the couple, and we had fun using lots of strong colors. Hot pink, orange, and yellow were the dominant colors on everything from the flowers to the napkins to the chair covers. Even the drinks for the toast and the Kleenex paper used for programs were matched. The sentiment on the pocket holding the Kleenex was: "All you need is love..." We had designed them to fit into the men's breast pockets, and when I looked for an additional program at the end of the reception, there was not a single one left.

Karen Axel, the florist: The bride's bouquet was made of tulips surrounded by berries and crystals, to match the crystals in the wedding dress. The maid of honor had a pomander of red roses, and also the mothers carried smaller versions of the pomander. The deep, rich red of the roses was inspired by the decor in the Lodge.

The white tulip arrangement at the entrance gave a statement of simple elegance. It fooled the guests into thinking there were attending a white wedding, and indeed, they did not see any hint of color before they entered the ballroom for the reception.

The chuppah was designed as if it were growing in a forest, and invited bride and groom to step into another world. It was constructed of 14' branches crossed at the top and intertwined with Casablanca lilies, gardenias, and dendrobium orchids.

The reception was intentionally designed to be a complete contrast. Each table was monochromatic and was either hot pink, cantaloupe, or lemon yellow. Even the rose petals between the two chargers had the same color as the tablecloth. I gave linen swatches to the flower growers to get the colors exactly right. The front of the stage showed a spring garden border filled with colorful tulips and edged in grass.

Thanks to all who contributed to this story:

Kim, the Bride
Suzy Somers, Event Coordinator, Always r.s.v.p.*
Karen Axel, Tapestry
Joel Cook Video Productions
Michael Dakan, Event & Location Photography
Photos 1 and 4:
  Jan Lundberg Photography
All other pictures:
  Linda Russell Photography

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