As seen on Anti-Bride, Chris and Jess’ intimate Mill Valley wedding was one for the books.
Jess is an archivist and Chris is a filmmaker and film professor. On their days off you’ll find the couple playing with our pup Mochi, going on hikes, visiting thrift stores, and making each other laugh with silly jokes.
The couple had originally planned to get married in the Redwood Grove at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, where they had their first date. However, when they had to rework their plans due to COVID, they were lucky that Jess’ parents offered their home in Mill Valley to host the wedding. “We had always planned to have a small wedding with just immediate family, and we actually ended up being grateful to get married in such an intimate and personal location.” Their dreamy space was created by the talented Brute Botanica, who turned the backyard into a floral oasis and the couple had eleven guests present on their day.
Jess and Chris very much wanted their ceremony to be true to themselves, both as individuals and as a couple, as well as being reflective of their appreciation of thoughtful details. “Jess made all the stationery, place cards and vow books by hand using the cyanotype process. The tables were decorated with vintage ceramic vases that we’ve collected over time and Jess’ mother made the cake.”
The couple wanted to honour Jess’ Chinese heritage by taking on elements of a traditional tea ceremony. “The tea ceremony is a Chinese wedding custom that dates back to the 7th century. The serving of tea is an expression of gratitude to family members for all of their love and support. We loved how it allowed us to interact with all of our guests during the ceremony as we poured each person a cup of tea.”
Jess fell in love with a vintage 1950’s dress when she saw it on Gossamer’s Instagram. “I’m a long-time lover of vintage – but when looking for a dress, I wasn’t sure what direction to go. I wanted something unique but also wanted it to feel somewhat modern. This dress encompassed everything I was looking for, plus I am a huge fan of puffy sleeves!” Jess matched her gown with a vintage crown from Betty Big Day, as well as a bag from Montunas and bridal jacket from Samantha Pleet.
The couple wanted to integrate meaningful details in their celebration. “We all went on a group hike after the ceremony. As we spend a lot of time hiking, going up to the top of Mt. Tamalpais together felt like a special way to celebrate with our families.”
Their advice to other couples getting married? “Particularly for planning a wedding during COVID, we found it important to not just focus on the losses, but the gains of having to switch directions. Even though our wedding turned out nothing like we had planned, there were so many wonderful elements of the day that would have never happened if we had stuck to our original plan. It made us take stock of the importance of a wedding, and it’s not about a perfect day, or about everything going to plan. In a way it allowed us to really focus on the occasion of gathering in front of our families to exchange vows, and in the end we were actually glad for this different direction because it allowed for a level of intimacy and personalization that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.”
Ceremony and Reception location : Private residence in Mill Valley, CA
Hike location : Mt. Tamalpais, CA
Photographer : Sophie Berard @sberardweddings
Celebrant : A friend of the couple
Ceremony Space + Flora : Brute Botanical @brutebotanical
HMUA : Marisa Perel @marisaperel
Catering + Beverages : Ripen Co. @ripen.co
Cake : Bride’s mother
Stationery : Bride
Rentals : Heirloom Events @heirloomeventsrentals
Bride’s Dress : Vintage dress from Gossamer @shopgossamer
Bride’s Shoes : Marais @maraisusa
Bridal crown : Vintage from Betty Big Day @ bettybigday
Bridal purse : Montunas @montunas
Bridal jacket : Samantha Pleet @samanthapleet
Groom’s Suit : Todd Snyder @toddsnyderny
Rings : Kaye Blegvad/Datter Industries @kayeblegvad / @datterindustrie