Matha & Phil’s Whirlwind China Beach Blessing Ceremony

* Matha, Self-Employed & Phil, Logistics Manager at Royal British Army * Photographer: Chloe Jackman * Soundtrack for listening: “Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones *

One sentence sum up of the wedding vibe: Some elegance, some beauty, some close friends and family, great food, lots of laughter, and all together a successful intimate and fun-filled, laid-back celebration.

The Info—Photographer: Chloe Jackman / Location: San Francisco, California / Civil Ceremony Venue: San Francisco City Hall / Blessing Ceremony Venue: China Beach / Matha’s Civil Dress: Max Mara from Goodbyes / Matha’s Blessing Dress: Loehmann’s

Other cool stuff we should know about: We got married at city hall, and then had a blessing ceremony at China Beach, and a party afterwards to celebrate.

Since it was a small low-budget wedding and we had only two months to plan for everything, the last thing we wanted was to spend money on our wedding outfits. Phil wore an Italian designer suit that he has had for few years and my dresses were also straight out of my closet. The Max Mara black and white dress that I altered for the City Hall ceremony was a lucky find from last summer at Goodbyes in Laurel Village. For the China Beach Blessing Ceremony, I wore a 1940s vintage-style beaded silk dress. It is one of the oldest dresses I own. It’s been in my closet for twelve years and the day I set eyes on that dress at Loehmann’s, I told myself that I was going to get married in it! Amazing how things worked out and it all came together at the end.

Life surprised us both when we fell in love in four days and knew with every fiber in us that we were destined for each other. We got married on March 8th, and we will live separately for a year or so until Phil finishes his work and school commitments, then he will move to San Francisco and we will start our happily ever after.

Favorite thing about the wedding: The wedding cake that my cousin Tanya baked. She made Tartine’s signature Lemon Chiffon Cake with Passion Fruit Mousse and shaved coconut. It was absolutely divine!

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  • Emmers

    Love the photos! If you don’t mind me asking, where did you get the pashmina’s from? They’re so happy, and I love how yours is slightly translucent.

    • Matha

      Thanks Emmers! My sister got them from Chinatown. Not sure what particular store but I remember her saying that there was a wide selection down there and at an affordable price.

  • Beautiful! Blessings and happiness on you both, and much strength to the two of you during this year of long distance.

  • Rachel

    This is beautiful! I can’t stop looking at that cake!!

  • In love with these photos and the whole vibe of this special day, which looked just fabulous. A reminder that we don’t need anything crazy or over-the-top or expensive to commemorate our commitment to each other. I wish Matha and Phil so much happiness!

    • Matha


  • Lauren


  • How gorgeous & absolutely lovely! Your wedding gown is just stunning. Congratulations!

    • Matha

      Thank you Lauren!

  • The pink and purple…I die….
    Congratulations, you are splendid!

  • That dress! THAT DRESS!!!

    What a beautiful couple and beautiful ceremony!

  • Lauren

    The cake, the dress, the venue…all gorgeous! I have soft spot in my heart for small, intimate ceremonies as that was what I had and I wouldn’t have done a thing differently! I honestly don’t know why anyone would want to spend a small fortune when you’re starting a life together and the money could be spent in much better ways.

  • L

    Lovely! This put a great big smile on my face and not only because I am aching to be at the beach. So much love and joy in the pictures. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Toni1835

    I love this wedding!

  • Such a sweet, intimate, personal, low stress wedding. And its always great to see another bride of color wearing beautiful natural hair.

    • KINA


    • Matha

      thank you Jalondra :)
      It was all of the above and I wanted my husband to see my natural beauty…my crown of glory :)

  • Cee

    The whole wedding is beautiful, but can I just say what a HOT couple you guys are? Wow! Best of luck to you in your long-distance love!

    • Matha

      Well thank you CEE! :)

  • How beautiful!! Congratulations!

  • So much beauty, so much joy.

  • Tee Weldeab

    Beautiful photography and even more beautiful couple! Congrats to both of you!!

  • Victwa

    So, so loved this. Friends and love and happiness!!

  • Your dress is AMAZING. I am not just covetous that you got married in it, but that you have that thing in your closet and can wear it any damn day. So jealous.

  • Evelyn

    What a beautiful story of love this is…you both look amazing, time will move fast and you both will be together soon again. Wishing you all the happiness and love this life has to offer. God Bless…xoxo

  • Ligia

    Beautiful Blessing Cermony at China Beach. Great idea Martita!
    The cake and your dress bring the colors of Fiji. Congratulations!

  • Susan Ferrell

    Lovely! Did you have to pay a fee with either golden gate conservatory or SF parks and rec or anything? If not did you get any kind of grief from anyone down there? Thanks in advance. It looks like a perfect wedding.

  • Andree K.

    I love how relaxed and low-key this wedding was. It is the kind of wedding that makes you feel more at ease just looking at it.

  • VeronicaAllen

    This is such a beautiful story! Congrats again to Matha and Phil – lifelong happiness and love!