Photo: Clane Gessel Photography
Your wedding is all about you and what makes you and your fiancé unique. And for San Fransisco brides looking to incorporate a bit of the Bay Area into the mix, there are plenty of ways to do so — whether you want to add in a few subtle touches or make it the main theme of the event. From California products in welcome bags to Bay Area food and drinks, here are some creative ways to showcase San Francisco throughout your wedding.
Start your guests off with a collection of city-centric items that will welcome them to San Francisco and help them see the best of the Bay Area. A map or guidebook is essential, or for the more crafty brides, create a personalized list of your favorite things to see and do — and throw in a Clipper card for easy transportation. Build the base for a picnic with some Boudin sourdough bread and Cowgirl Creamery Cheese, or opt for a gift card to one of your favorite coffee shops.
Favors are an easy way to add a little bit of San Francisco color into your big day. Ghirardelli, San Francisco's most famous chocolatier, can customize favor boxes in varying colors and flavors to match your wedding palette. Golden Gate Fortune Cookies, credited with creating the crunchy cookie in 1962, sells bags of cookies for $5 each. Order a custom message to be placed inside for tasty wedding favors for a fun twist on a 'good luck' sendoff for your guests. Read real brides' reviews here!
Flowers and Colors
The official state flower of California, the poppy, makes for a beautiful, simple option for a bouquet or centerpiece. These florals come in red, cream, orange, gold, and pink, but to really drive the California connection home, tell your Bay Area florist to go for the gold. Not only will the bright color pop, but it also ties into other aspects of the state: the state colors are blue and gold, the state's nickname is The Golden State, and the official state mineral is gold.
Beer, Wine, Cocktails and Spirits
Between local breweries like 21st Amendment and Anchor Brewing, Bay Area distilleries like St. George Spirits and Spirit Works Distillery, and all the amazing wine from Napa Valley and Sonoma County, there's no shortage of delicious ways to incorporate NorCal products into your reception bar. To make an even more memorable impression, consider adding a specialty cocktail born in the Bay Area. Try a Pisco Punch — a mix of pisco, pineapple, lime juice, gum arabic, and water that was shaken up in 1853 and reputed to be San Francisco's first cocktail — or go with a Mai Tai, a mix of rum, lime juice, orange curaçao, syrup, and orgeat that was invented in Oakland. For something more modern, borrow a recipe from the iconic Starlight Room atop the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. The Cable Car cocktail mixes spiced rum, curaçao, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a glass rimmed with cinnamon sugar. Read real brides' reviews here!
San Francisco cuisine is a mix of traditional international foods and seasonally influenced farm-fresh fare. Nod to the past with a traditional meal like Italian cioppino (a hearty seafood stew popularized by Italian fisherman) or classic clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. For a more modern take on NorCal cuisine, enlist the catering services of your favorite restaurant, or plan for a late-night snack from your favorite San Francisco food truck.
Table Names and Signage
When it comes to table names, it's easy to get creative. Name your tables for iconic attractions such as Alcatraz or the Golden Gate Bridge, neighborhoods like Nob Hill or The Mission, or expand to cover some of your favorite places in Northern California, such as Big Sur, Napa Valley, or Half Moon Bay. Create your own or enlist a quality Bay Area stationer to create beautiful table signs that feature icons representing your favorite places.
There have been dozens of songs written about San Francisco, so it's easy to choose one, or a few, to set the scene for your reception or cocktail hour. Go for a jazzy classic like Tony Bennet's "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" or Mel Tormé's "Got the Date on the Golden Gate," or opt for the bohemian 70's anthem "San Francisco" by Scott McKenzie or Train's modern rock song "Save Me, San Francisco," which namechecks Alcatraz, Filmore, the Tenderloin, Marin, and more. If you'd rather keep the musical connection to San Francisco a bit more subtle, there's Otis Redding's "Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay" or Starship's "We Built This City," which are both about the Bay Area but don't specifically mention it. To expand to cover more of California, there are even more options, including the classic hit "California Dreamin" by The Mommas and The Poppas and "California Stars" by Billy Bragg.