(Photography by Christophe Genty)

Wedding Inspiration: A Forest Fairytale at San Francisco's Stern Grove

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Laura and Francesco Fragomeni courted in true millennial fashion: After the met on Tinder, they spent their first date quizzing each other with The New York Times' "36 Questions That Lead to Love." Apparently it worked.

But when it came to their engagement day, and eventually their wedding, the pair was less techie and more down to earth: He got down on one knee during a concert in Golden Gate Park (the crowd around them cheered); later, they planned their garden-style nuptials at San Francisco's Stern Grove.


Keeping it intimate, the two got ready together at their apartment. His parents and their closest friends came over for breakfast and mimosas while she got her makeup and hair done. "It was wonderful to be able to have that experience with everyone because we kept our wedding party really small—just my sister as maid of honor and his best friend as best man."

In what they describe as an "organic, relaxed, and elegant vibe," they highlighted the beauty of the redwood grove and clearing outside Stern Grove Trocadero clubhouse with flowers, dark wood tables, and gold chairs and flatware. Each of their mothers read during the ceremony and they incorporated a number of DIY and multi-purpose elements. Their planner arranged a wood coffee and tea bar with small floral highlights in the grove for guests to enjoy before the ceremony; this became a mimosa bar for cocktail hour.

Laura wore a Haley Paige's Fleur de Lis lace, open-back ballgown with a plunging neckline, full train, and organic floral patterning. "I put it on and immediately felt like the most elegant forest queen," she says. She crowed the look with a simple tiara that she already owned and comfortable Toms rose gold suede and leather Poppy sandals. Francesco rocked a bespoke tweed three-piece suit inspired by late 19th century British attire. A custom blue and burgundy accent tie and blue suede shoes tied it all together. While she sported understated jewelry, he accessorized with 24 karat gold one-inch tunnels in his ears and a yellow and rose gold septum piece.

In the clearing, the couple gathered with 115 guests, all seated in gold Chiavari chairs, beneath a rectangular arch adorned with lush blooms and foliage; their friend officiated. Afterward, everyone enjoyed brunch at tabled decked with florals. "The colors were directly inspired by the color of the leaves and bark of the redwood and eucalyptus trees in the grove and the California Golden Poppies that grew underneath them," Laura explains.

It was crucial for them to really feel good about all aspects of their big day, so they selected a venue that supported the SF Parks Department, employed local organic food growers and sellers, as well as women-owned, POC-owned, and immigrant-owned businesses. They couldn't have amplified music during the ceremony or reception but wanted to dance so they worked with their band to put together an entirely acoustic ensemble and Motown-based playlist that kept everyone on the dance floor after brunch.

Venue: Stern Grove Club House

Dress: Haley Paige Fleur de Lis

Shoes: Toms Poppy SandalsPoppy Sandals

Bespoke suit: Tailor's Keep

Hair and makeup: Ella Leyva

Event planner and floral design: Jenni Grubba Events

Photographer: Christophe Genty

Caterer: Lukes Local

Rentals: AM Party Rentals

Bakery: MiGoodies BakeSale

Band: Lucky Devils Band

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