A Love Letter to Oakland (In Wedding Form)

A Church Wedding with Break Dancing and Sparklers

Shannon, Communications Coordinator for a higher education policy and research nonprofit & Fernando, College Success Coordinator


A love letter to us, our friends and family, and the place that we call home.

Bloc Party’s “This Modern Love”


Fernando and I met in college at the University of California, San Diego, and moved to the Bay Area shortly after graduation. We’ve lived in the East Bay and Oakland ever since, and wanted to make sure that our wedding day was a love letter to us, our friends and family, and the place that we call home.

One of our first adventures in Oakland involved Fernando sweet-talking a security guard into letting us tour the Cathedral of Christ the Light (our amazing ceremony venue) before it was open to the public, and we connected with the space instantly. Fast-forward seven years, we knew that that’s where we wanted to marry. We wanted to show our guests the beauty of Oakland and knew the Cathedral would take our guests’ breath away.

My bridesmaids and I got ready at the Waterfront, a Joie de Vivre hotel, in Oakland’s historic Jack London Square, and the Waterfront not only kept their hotel bar open to our guests well past their normal close time the night of, they let us use the hotel lobby until the wee hours of the morning where my husband, guests, and I drank champagne, laughed, watched the sunrise together.

I considered myself to be a pretty low-key bride during the planning process, and owe that to my amazing vendors. As I told them, I’d never been married before and didn’t know what I was doing, so I put my faith in them. The only things I truly cared about for the wedding were photography and the flowers, and I couldn’t have been more pleased. Sammy Go of Bud Botanical Banditry took our vision for a dramatic fall wedding and turned it into a reality. The romance of autumn was captured perfectly, and my bouquet (dubbed Purple Mountain Majesty) was truly a thing of beauty. Jerry Yoon Photography turned our wedding day into a work of art, even secretly setting up one of my favorite moments (the sparklers!) with my day-of wedding coordinator Kathleen Mather of Love, Laughter & Ever After.

Our reception was held at the Brazilian Room in the Berkeley Hills, catered by Culinary Excellence, who took care of everything from food, to custom linens, to rentals (and our point person Jessica Hardy even showed up to wish us a happy wedding day only a week after being in a major car accident!). Not everything can go perfectly, so when we found out the churro cart we rented wasn’t able to make it to the venue, we were so glad that my best friend’s wife made mini cheesecakes for us (in cookies and cream, chocolate chip, and pumpkin!) from the kindness of her own heart.

People who talk about our wedding call it a love-fest, and we couldn’t be happier. Everyone always says your wedding is the best day of your life, and now I know why. Having every single person that we love in a single room, laughing, and hugging, and dancing made my heart swell, and now I’d have a wedding once a year if I could!


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