Anjelica Monet Kelly and John Henry Watson first met in January 2012, when Anjelica was the teaching assistant in John's microeconomics class at Columbia Business School. For their first date, the now-couple explored New York City, beginning with a cocktail at Prohibition on the Upper West Side and ending at a hookah bar (Horus) on the Lower East Side. They continued to travel after that, and have since visited Japan, Lebanon, and South Africa together. "We fell in love overseas," Anjelica says. Naturally, John proposed in a far-off destination, choosing Belmond Hotel Caruso in Ravello, Italy to pop the question on June 2, 2017.
However, after traveling across New York City on their first date and around the world during their five-year relationship, Anjelica and John decided to stay close to home (specifically, Anjelica's hometown of San Francisco) for their wedding. At the recommendation of their planner, Alicia K Designs, the NYC-based couple booked San Francisco City hall for a 257-person wedding that celebrated the city in every design element from the invitation suite to the day-of transportation (trolley cars!).
The couple worked with Aerialist Press to design their invitation suite and day-of paper goods. The invitation design felt modern with a brushed detail and sleek monogram, while the ceremony program was more classic with a script font. However, while different, each was done in the wedding's black-and-white color palette and accented with an illustration of the San Francisco skyline and Golden Gate Bridge.
After struggling to find "the one," Anjelica took elements of her top three gowns and asked Mika Inatome to combine them into her dream dress. On the big day, she paired the long-sleeved lace gown with a pearl necklace and earrings (from her mother-in-law, Dr. Gloria Watson) for the ceremony, then exchanged them for a diamond emerald-cut earring and necklace set by Tomas Edipson for the reception. An embellished veil, also by Mika Inatome, and Jimmy Choo pumps completed her look.
John wore a custom black tuxedo by Martin Greenfield Clothiers. The style featured satin accents, and the groom added his IWC Schaffhausen watch and monogrammed cufflinks.
Anjelica and John had a large wedding party made up of 11 bridesmaids and 13 groomsmen, four of whom were best man! "Despite it being nontraditional, it was important for us to recognize every member of our 'village' on our special day," says the bride. The men dressed in their own black tuxes, while the women wore long gold gowns of their own choosing.
Before the ceremony, the group posed for portraits in front of two Bay Area staples: a trolley car and city hall!
Inside, the couple created an atmosphere that the bride describes as "accessible glamour." "We wanted it to be the most fun black-tie event you’ve event attended," she says.
Guests were greeted by an acrylic welcome sign and a guest book table at the entrance of the venue.
The ceremony took place in the venue's lavish rotunda. Chairs were placed at the base of the grand staircase, and the staircase served as the altar.
The massive space was filled with modern décor elements (acrylic signage, gold fanfare chairs) and "elegant, timeless" florals.
John's father, the Honorable John H. Watson Jr., officiated the ceremony, and even had to get special permission from the city to do so! The couple had a hand in personalizing the proceedings, incorporating Hamilton tunes and asking loved ones (the bride's godmother and groom's cousin) to read throughout. As a final touch, they each shared a personal message with Anjelica reading a "Dear John" letter and John reciting a note on love and family.
After the ceremony, guests were directed upstairs to the mayor’s balcony for cocktail hour. A live band played jazz, blues, Motown, and R&B.
Meanwhile, the grand rotunda was transformed for dinner with a mix of rectangular and round tables. Long tables were dressed with luxe gray linens, tall arrangements of greenery, gold chargers, and black vases and napkins to achieve the couple's sophisticated vision.
The night's menu, which featured pancetta and linguine and clams, was Italian-inspired as a nod to the couple's engagement location.
Even the couple's first dance was highly considered: Rochelle Stewart, a close family friend who introduced the couple, sung "At Last" by Etta James as the live band performed. "It was a truly unforgettable experience and was a surprise to all guests," adds the bride.
Wedding Venue: San Francisco City Hall || Wedding Planner: Alicia K Designs || Officiant: The Honorable John H. Watson, Jr. || Bride's Dress & Veil: Mika Inatome Custom Bridal || Bride's Jewelry, Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Tomas Edison || Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Bride's Makeup: Brandon of B Your Stylist || Bridemaids' Makeup: Salt Spell Beauty || Mother of the Bride Dress: Mon Cheri Bridals || Groom's Attire: Martin Greenfield Clothiers || Floral Design: Hunt Littlefield || Invitations & Paper Goods: Aerialist Press || Guest Book: Alicia K Designs || Ceremony Music: The D-Lucca Music Group || Reception Music: DJ D Sharp || Catering & Cake: Taste Catering || Rentals: Theoni Collection || Lighting: Illusions Lighting Design || Linens: Hensley Event Resources || Neon Sign: Name Glo || Photo Booth: Two Dudes Photo || Transportation: Hornblower Classic Cable Cars || Accommodations: Hyatt Regency San Francisco || Videography: Elysium Productions || Photography: Angie Silvy Photography