This Glittering Britney vs. Mariah Wedding Is the *Most* Fabulous


Work, bitch

CW637

Wes, salon owner (he’s meg’s stylist!) & Chris, business management

Sum-up of the wedding vibe: A modern, lounge-y wedding in the heart of downtown San Francisco.

Planned budget: $35,000

Actual budget: $35,560

Number of guests: 105

CW124CW61CW111

Where we allocated the most funds:

The venue. We wanted to choose a venue that would allow us to limit the amount of vendors we would have to use and manage on the day of. So we dedicated approximately $25k to $27k of our budget to finding the perfect hotel, or maybe even a restaurant. Those types of venues usually include the cost of chairs, tables, serveware, service charges, catering, etc., in their packages. The more vendors you use, the more money you spend, and the more people you have to worry about coordinating with.

CW229cw272

Where we allocated the least funds:

Décor. I consider myself pretty creative, with a good handful of super creative friends. We decided early on that a great way to cut costs would be to create and do our centerpieces ourselves. Wes and I aren’t super into flowers, so we purchased a bunch of dried willow branches, tall glass vases, and floating candles (all wholesale from the SF Flower Mart). A friend of mine helped me paint all the branches silver on his back patio the day before the wedding. All in all, we were able to pull off the centerpieces for ten guest tables and one kings table for less than $600 total. Many people will spend thousands on centerpieces and flowers.

We were also able to make use of the multimedia screen at our venue and used a website called ii.do, where people could use our hashtag on their Instagram posts, and that became our backdrop. Our guests were super into it, and it costs about $100. All you have to do is plug your laptop into the screen or projector. Luckily this worked for our wallet and the clean, sleek aesthetic we were going for.

CW623CW350CW349CW633

What was totally worth it:

The W Hotel in San Francisco. The brand matched our aesthetic perfectly. Minimal yet bold with a real genuine city feel. Our package included food and beverage, service charges, tables, chairs, just about everything. We wanted to give ourselves and our guests a genuine San Francisco wedding experience that wasn’t set in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. We wanted people to feel the hustle and bustle of the West Coast concrete jungle, but also give them a lounge-y, cool, and current vibe as well. The wedding contact there is amazing—her name is Kelly We. Go see her immediately, if not sooner.

Including our love for pop culture was also a must. We decided to name the tables at our wedding after Britney and Mariah songs as a fun way to recognize our shared pop culture passion. Thankfully this was a huge hit with our guests. People were taking photos of the table names (instead of numbers, our tables were marked with phrases from Britney or Mariah songs) and getting excited about which diva’s song would be the name of their table. This set a fun tone for the rest of the night. Our first dance was to Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass.” When I danced with my mother, we started with Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” and finished off with Britney’s “Work Bitch.”

CW373CW426CW444CW596CW603

What was totally not worth it:

I can’t say there was anything not worth it.

CW614CW361CW358CW354

A few things that helped us along the way:

We used Google Sheets for everything, and booked as much as far in advance as we could. That really helped us stick to our budget and know exactly the amount to put away every month to meet our goal.

cw786 cw1017CW789CW830

My best practical advice for my planning self:

Don’t overthink everything. Go with your gut. Don’t try and mimic things you’ve already seen. Remember this is about you and your partner, and the most important thing during your planning is creating an environment for your special day that feels like your relationship and things that are unique to you.
photobooth2photobooth1

Favorite thing about the wedding: 

The life-size celebrity cardboard cutouts that we had printed for our photo booth was an awesome touch. The Britney-Mariah theme worked very well in the photo booth. We not only had life-size cutouts of Britney, Mariah, and a few other divas; we also had quotation cutouts featuring popular phrases from Britney’s and Mariah’s songs, and other famous pop culture sayings.

As the night went on and the dance party got going, we were surprised and thrilled to see guests grabbing the life-size cutouts and bringing them onto the dance floor. This made for a lot of laughs and some great pictures.
 CW1140
CW1235

Anything else we should know:

Chris took the bulk of the wedding planning and responsibilities on, but we wanted both of our personalities represented in the wedding, and for me, that was an enduring love for pop culture. Anyone who knows me knows I have been a fan of everything pop culture from an early age. As a teen I loved learning every detail about the movies, music, and moments that defined the pop culture of past generations. I pored over every CD booklet I had, cover to cover. It was important to me to be able to put that love of pop culture into our wedding in a way that was fun without being distasteful.

As fate would have it, turns out my husband has a pop culture background himself. Chris is a talented singer and actor—he played Lightfoot in The Fighting Temptations alongside superstars such as Beyoncé and Cuba Gooding Jr. Chris has always loved Mariah Carey. He grew up idolizing Mariah for her unmatched vocal abilities and talent as a songwriter.

I can still remember being fifteen years old in my mother’s bedroom as the video for “Baby One More Time” played on MTV. It was my first introduction to Britney Spears and I was in awe. For me (and many others), growing up gay was hard. Even in a liberal enclave like Marin County, sitting just north of San Francisco, hatred toward and fear of homosexuality still exists. Watching that Britney Spears video as a closeted young man opened me up to who I really was. Whether I was listening to her songs or trying desperately to memorize the choreography to her videos, it gave me a safe space to be who I truly was.
We wanted our wedding to represent us and how people see us. A big part of that is fun. Fun is what we achieved at our wedding, and the Britney-Mariah theme helped set the stage for the entire night. As Chris even said in his vows, “I’m Safeway, you are Whole Foods. I’m Mariah, you are Britney.”

The Info:

Photography: Kat Ma Photography | Wedding Location: San Francisco, California | Venue: W Hotel | Chris’s Jacket: Zara | Wes’s Tuxedo: Hugo Boss

Staff Picks

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • Sara

    Everything about this is gorgeous! Your wedding party is just full of stunning people.

  • scw

    those cutouts are so great! this looks like a fun fun fun wedding.

  • So great. And the mother of the groom dress in the dark pewter is STUNNING. Also love the navy/black tux!

    • Ashlah

      Her dress jumped out at me too! Gorgeous.

    • H

      Totally agree – both moms look beautiful and I love their dresses!

    • laddibugg

      RIGHT??! that dress is awesome.

  • Amanda L

    Everything about this wedding is amazing. Wishing you both decades of happiness!

  • LJ

    That photo of you both dancing back down the aisle after the ceremony is PURE GOLD. this is amazing.

  • macrain

    This is everything. This was also about my budget and I’m super impressed with what you were able to accomplish in an expensive city. That decor is a slam dunk.

  • Kelsey

    Alright, obvi the visuals on this wedding are 100% fire, but the joy on your faces made me tear up a little! Congratulations to you both (now my wife is going to be SO upset that we didn’t have a life size Mariah at our wedding).

  • jsk

    I would like to rewind the tape of my life far enough back that I can meet and befriend one or both of you so that I could be a guest at this wedding.

    And I mean that w/o (much) hyperbole.