Cristal + Shimina’s laid-back DIY wedding was a small, family only intimate ceremony in San Francisco’s gorgeous City Hall on their 6th anniversary. As most of their family does not live in San Francisco, they also decided to have a separate reception party at Cristal’s parent’s backyard in Sacramento on the Saturday before the wedding.
“We had a laid back potluck vision, but Cristal’s sister turned our backyard potluck into an amazing DIY backyard reception, complete with twinkle lights, tons of candles, BBQ, and delicious cupcakes. Our theme was ‘All of Me’, from the John Legend song, which is also inscribed on the inside of our rings. Our colors, navy blue and silver, were chosen simply to match Cristal’s dress.”
“Traditions were not something we thought about at all, while planning our wedding. We did things our way. Backyard reception with extended family, followed by a City Hall ceremony with immediate family was what we wanted and got.”
“Cristal wanted to wear something that made her feel special, something she couldn’t necessarily wear any other day, so she chose a sparkly navy blue dress. (Blue also happens to be Shimina’s favorite color.) Shimina has a thing for bowties and snazzy socks, so once she chose the bowtie (handmade by our friend Lisa, owner of Zelma Rose), she wanted the rest of her outfit to be fashionable, yet comfortable.”
“As a wedding photographer herself, Cristal has become friends with some amazing bay area photographers, including Heidi of Heidi Sandoval Photography, and Danielle of D. Lillian Photography. Heidi has the sweetest heart and is truly passionate about creating art with her camera. Although Cristal was originally thinking of taking photos of the reception herself, Heidi thought she was crazy (rightfully so) and wouldn’t let her do it. Heidi was able to capture our families celebrating with us in a way that Cristal wouldn’t have been able to, and that was truly a gift. Additionally, Cristal has photographed a number of weddings with Danielle over the last few years. In that time, they’ve become close friends and have even had double date nights. Cristal has learned so much from Danielle’s inspiring work and couldn’t think of anyone better to capture such a special day than someone who knows us as a couple. Both Heidi and Danielle have great eyes for the details and emotions of a wedding day, and made us feel comfortable in front of the camera. (And there’s a reason photographers are behind the camera – we, too, don’t know what to do with our hands when we’re being photographed!)”
“The best advice we could give to other couples planning their wedding/commitment celebration is to forget all the wedding rules/traditions and ask yourselves this: ‘What is most important to us, and how do we want to celebrate our day together?’ From the beginning, we knew we wanted to keep our wedding simple and celebrate with our families, the people who mean the most to us. We also didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a one day event. As soon as we decided how to celebrate our wedding, we began feeling the pressure from friends and family about our choices, so keep reminding yourselves what you want throughout the process and don’t succumb to what others want. Don’t feel the need to invite everyone if you don’t want to. Lastly, relax and let others do for you. While we both felt like we needed to help set up our backyard reception, our family didn’t let us lift a finger, other than to babysit our nephew while they were working. They let us enjoy the weekend stress-free and focus on being present with our loved ones, and that was the best gift.”
Photographers: Heidi Sandoval Photography (reception) + D. Lillian Photography (ceremony) | Attire: Adrianna Papell (Cristal’s dress) + Zelma Rose (Shimina’s bowtie) | Make-up: Malenda Wallin Boykin (Cristal’s sister) | Cupcakes: Pretty Sweet | Catering: Texas West BBQ (reception) | DJ: friend | Favors: Cristal’s mom | Rings: Kaya Sattva Jewelry | Officiant: Lieutenant & Governor of California, Gavin Newsom (special note: he was at the forefront of leading the gay marriage movement during his time as Mayor of San Francisco) | Stationery: DIY | Styling / decor: DIY | Venue: Cristal’s parent’s backyard (reception) + San Francisco City Hall (ceremony) + Starbelly (post ceremony dinner with immediate family)