An homage to San Francisco with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

A San Francisco wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)
Photos by Blake Weber Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Serena, Supply Chain Manager

Her offbeat partner: David, Software Engineer

Date and location of wedding: University Club of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA — September 3, 2016

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:

Our San Francisco wedding not only highlights classic San Francisco character with cable cars and sweeping views of downtown, but also features the new Shipyard neighborhood. We also incorporated a traditional Chinese tea ceremony and lion dancers to kick off the night. Almost everything was DIY, from the invitation, centerpieces, personalized gift boxes (miniature of our home), programs, place cards, signs, calligraphy, and decor. We also drove a Hello Kitty car to our wedding!

A San Francisco wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

A San Francisco wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

A San Francisco wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

A San Francisco wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

A San Francisco wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

A San Francisco wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

A San Francisco wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

A San Francisco wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

Tell us about the ceremony:

Our wedding ceremony started off with a live ukulele player, Ukulenny, playing "Clair de Lune" for the bridal party and parents to enter. We chose Ukulenny because we had seen him play at a Hawaiian restaurant on one of our dates, and thought his style was very cheerful.

A San Francisco wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

Since my dad passed away when I was a teenager, I had my mom walk me down the aisle to Ukulenny playing "Canon in D."

A San Francisco wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

A San Francisco California wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

A San Francisco California wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

A San Francisco California wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

Tell us about your reception:

We had Ukulenny stick around for cocktail hour right after our ceremony, and had him play slow jams and pop music. After taking family portraits, David's parents decided to ballroom dance in front of everyone!

A San Francisco wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

The backdrop to the bridal table was a view of downtown San Francisco, and as the sun set, everyone could see the city lights appear. After dinner, we had everyone go back to the floor where the ceremony was so we could have our first dance to Frankie Valli's "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," which we half choreographed ourselves and half borrowed from a YouTube video.

A San Francisco California wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

A San Francisco California wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

A San Francisco California wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

Since there wasn't going to be a father/daughter dance, we grabbed each other's parents to finish off our first dance. To kick off the night, we had Chinese lion dancers perform to bring us good luck, thanked everyone for coming, and started dancing the night away.

A San Francisco California wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

A San Francisco California wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

A San Francisco California wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

What was your most important lesson learned?

Our biggest challenge was involving my mom and balancing what she wanted for our wedding (in addition to our self-funded budget concerns). Once we set expectations for each other, it made things a lot easier.

A San Francisco California wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

A San Francisco California wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

A San Francisco California wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

The last bit of planning, which was left to the night before our wedding, was preparing vendor thank-you cards which included their remaining balance and a tip. Tracking all wedding expenses in a spreadsheet helped us manage to our budget and keep track of our finances.

A San Francisco California wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

A San Francisco California wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

A San Francisco California wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

A San Francisco California wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

A San Francisco California wedding with Chinese traditions (like lion dancers!)

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