A Romantic Fall Wedding in San Francisco

A classic black-and-white palette was perfect for this big city affair

Updated 06/06/18

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

When Heather Underwood began her internship in Los Angeles in June of 2008, she had no idea she’d be working with her future husband. But after graduating, she returned to the same firm and got a job working for Hunter Lyall. “We became good friends really quickly,” says Heather. They kept it platonic—until Hunter moved from L.A. to San Francisco to get his MBA at Berkeley, when their long-distance love began. A few years later, Heather joined Hunter in San Francisco, and they’ve been together ever since.

The wine-lovers made the most of their northern California home, and headed to Healdsburg in April of 2017 for a weekend of wine tasting. “As we got back to our hotel room, Hunter had a bottle of bubbly brought up,” says Heather. “He poured us each a glass, then said we need something to celebrate... that’s when he got out the ring and said we should celebrate getting married!”

The couple wanted to give their guests a real taste of San Francisco at their November 18, 2017 wedding, and loved the historic feel and Golden Gate Bridge views at the Flood Mansion. “The venue is on the smaller side, which gave us a maximum capacity to help keep our wedding intimate,” says Heather. Design-wise, they pulled in dark colors to match the late fall season, using black and white to let the stunning venue shine through. Elise of Shannon Leahy Events made the process easy, pairing Heather and Hunter with some of the city’s top vendors—including photographer Sylvie Gil.

Styled as an indulgent dinner party (for 170 of their loved ones!), you’ll love the romance oozing out of this San Francisco wedding.

bride getting ready wedding earrings

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

Heather was so close to buying another dress, but changed her mind as soon as she slipped on this Carolina Herrera gown. “It was unique and classic at the same time,” she says.

jimmy choo wedding shoes

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

bride's bouquet

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

The bride added David Yurman pearl earrings, black patent and suede Jimmy Choo pumps, and an untamed boutonniere of anemones, scabiosa, white peonies, and lots of greenery.

strapless trumpet wedding dress carolina herrera

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

bow detail on back of wedding dress

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

A seed pearl choker added a simple “something” to Heather’s gown, mimicking the folded neckline. A crisp bow topped the subtle swoop train.

bride and groom with wedding party

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

The couple kept their wedding party small—Heather chose her sister and cousin as bridesmaids, while Hunter chose his two brothers as groomsmen. “The bridesmaids’ outfits started with the shoes, which had a tassel detail that tied into our escort card display. I left it up to my bridesmaids to find black dresses that would show them off!” says Heather. The groom and groomsmen all wore custom black suits, with the groom topping his with an Hermes tie. “Our initials are both H, so the subtle H pattern was perfect,” the bride explains.

wedding guests entering ceremony

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

The ceremony took place in the Flood Mansion chapel.

ceremony in Flood Mansion chapel

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

first kiss

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

church ceremony exit

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

Black-and-white blooms and greenery softened the ornate wooden space, with two urns of lush blooms flanking the altar.

courtyard cocktail hour

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

Guests gathered in the courtyard for cocktail hour, nibbling on a cheese and charcuterie display and sipping bourbon Old Fashioneds. Blankets were set on benches in case guests got chilly.

hanging escort card display with tassels

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

hanging escort card display with tassels

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

The escort card display made a statement at cocktail hour, as each was affixed to a dangling tassel.

reception entrance

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

two long reception tables

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

A pair of curtains led to two dramatic long tables, topped with white velvet linens and flanked by black chairs.

tall floral centerpieces of lush greenery and peonies

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

modern table numbers and cut crystal and candles

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

black and white place setting candle centerpieces

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

Tall crystal vases held centerpieces of lush greenery and peonies, bringing a wild feeling to the prim, detailed space. “The cut crystal really sparkled in all the candlelight,” says Heather. Each guest’s place was set with a scalloped black and white charger, modern flatware, and a gold-printed menu finished with their name to double as a place card. Dinner included a beet and persimmon salad with burrata, followed by a choice of pan-roasted duck breast, porcini-crusted halibut, or pumpkin ravioli.

“Hunter and I planned the entire wine list, choosing unique local wines that most people had never heard of,” Heather says.

white wedding cake

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

drinking champagne

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

The show-stopping cake by Jasmine Rae was covered in ruffles inspired by peony petals, then finished with sugar anemones. Inside, almond cake was layered with salted caramel, almond cream, and espresso buttercream, while rose vanilla bean cake was paired with raspberry, hibiscus curd, and Swiss meringue buttercream. Of course Hunter and Heather kicked off their marriage they same way they did their engagement: With champagne!

first dance

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

The couple shared their first dance to “When I Get My Hands on You,” by New Basement Tapes and performed by Marcus Mumford.

“A wedding planner is absolutely worth the investment, especially on your wedding day,” says Heather. “You never know what can go wrong (and things definitely did), and it is such a relief to have someone other than yourself to help you get through the day.”

Wedding Planner: Elise Johnson for Shannon Leahy Events || Venue: Flood Mansion || Bride's Dress: Carolina Herrera || Bride's Veil: Carolina Herrera || Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Bride's Jewelry: David Yurman || Hair & Makeup: Professional Makeup Artistry || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids || Engagement Ring: Brilliant Earth || Wedding Bands: Brilliant Earth || Floral Design: Cherries Flowers || Paper Products: Bourne Paper Co. || Catering: Betty Zlatchin || Cake: Jasmine Rae Cakes || Ceremony Music: Ever Music Group || Reception Music: DJ Cams || Photography: Sylvie Gil

Related Stories