It took three years for Lauren Pieretti’s and Lori LaCoursiere’s relationship to develop after they met at The Café in the Castro District. But once Lori proposed on Baker Beach during a training run for a half marathon, the couple decided they couldn’t wait for the legalization of same-sex marriage to wed, so they staged a nautical-theme commitment ceremony at the Argonaut Hotel on November 5.
“In 2008, eight months into dating, same-sex marriage was made legal,” says Lauren (she’s the one wearing the gown in the photos). “But we just weren’t there yet. By the time we got engaged, same-sex marriages were no longer legal. We have friends who have been engaged for years waiting to be legally wed, and we didn’t want to go through that frustration. We decided to have a big ceremony.”
The Argonaut Hotel was the second venue the couple checked out, but it immediately became the top choice on their list. “I can’t say that we agreed on everything throughout the process, but the one detail that was non-negotiable for both us was a San Francisco wedding,” says Lauren. “The Cannery is one of our favorite parts of the city, and the Argonaut sits in the middle of it all. We fell in love with the nautical feel, the beautiful courtyard, and the original architectural details of the hotel. It also was a great place for our guests to stay and experience San Francisco.”
The nautical elements found in the hotel’s design (a sailing motif and a marine blue color) set the tone for the wedding that included 13 bridesmaids (seven for Lauren, six for Lori); escort cards with an anchor motif; cupcakes decorated with a ship; and a blue-and-white color palette throughout. “At the beginning, blue was my last choice for a wedding color,” says Lauren. “But I loved the blue in the hotel, so half of our wedding party wore it.”
Although the bridesmaids wore either blue or white, each woman wore a brightly colored shoe. “Because their dresses were long, it was almost like a peek-a-boo effect when they walked,” says Lauren.
One of the things that drew the couple to the location was the romantic brick courtyard—but the weather worked against them. “I had my heart set on walking down the stairs with my Dad through the courtyard,” says Lauren. “But on that day, the rain was coming down hard. We had to move the entire event inside.”
The last-minute change was disappointing—at first. Now, the couple remembers it as the favorite part of their day. “One of the things our guests commented on was the intimate ceremony in the Maritime Room,” says Lauren. “The lights were low, the room was really great—it made it really special.”
Inside the Golden Gate Ballroom, guests were entertained after dinner (featuring steak, salmon, and the Argonaut’s award-winning chowder) by a bridal party flash mob set to “Play that Funky Music.” “People were truly surprised, and they loved it,” says Lauren. “Everyone rushed the dance floor afterwards.”
Venue and catering: Argonaut Hotel
Photographer: Dawdy Photography
Cake/Cupcakes: Kara’s Cupcakes
Florist: Stunning Stems
Make-up: Elissya Barel
Officiant: Rick Kaplowitz