We were so blessed to take part in Mary and Derkje’s wedding day. They make such a beautiful couple and are now a beautiful family with Derkje’s two sons. The moment when Mary read vows just for the two of them, there wasn’t a dry eye at the park that day. This San Francisco wedding was so special and personal.
Luckily for us, Derkje wrote an amazing story about how they met, how he proposed, and the wedding day itself. We’ll let him take it from here:
How We Met
“Swipe Right & It’s a Match! Yes, if you’ve heard that tagline before, it’s Tinder. It’s an online dating app that lets you see pictures of potential dates and decide if you want to get to know them better. All you have to do is swipe to the right if you like them, and to the left if you don’t. If you like someone who also likes you, Tinder will tell you that a match has been made and will open up a simple messaging function. Obviously, we both swiped to the right. The only reason Mary swiped to the right was my running picture in my profile.
“The crazy thing about this is neither of us fit the only other criteria we had. Mary was looking for someone that resides within 5 miles of the city (San Francisco) and I was looking for someone near San Jose. However, Tinder had a technical error. I was in Texas at that time we matched and lived in San Jose, while Mary lives in San Francisco, 50 miles away. After a few message exchanges, I finally asked Mary out on a date. The meeting point was in Mountain View, halfway to San Francisco and San Jose, on a Wednesday after work. Don’t worry, both of us did some background investigating of each other prior to our date. After all, you never know who you are going to meet from a dating app.”
“It’s funny how life works and is full of surprises. Being proposed to is one big SURPRISE. The two of us were planning our first Europe trip together, but little did Mary know that I was going to ask her the biggest question of her life.
“The trip was to Ireland, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen. The trip was to celebrate our 40th birthdays in December of 2016. We were actually going to be in Dublin, Ireland on Mary’s birthday, but more about that later. Prior to the big trip, I drove to Sacramento without Mary knowing to see her parents and asked for their blessing to marry their daughter. Mary was out of town that weekend on a girl’s trip. Mary’s mom cried and was very happy for us. They both gave me their blessing.
“At this point, I had made a lot of plans for the big day, and little did Mary know she was helping out with them. On her 40th birthday, Mary wanted to get dressed up and explore the city. She wanted to wear a dress for that day because after all, you only turn the big 40 once! She bought her dress at Zara in New York with her best friend Marc. In the past when Marc was living in New York, Mary would visit him every three or four months, and she would always go to St. Patrick’s Cathedral to pray or attend mass. Whenever Mary and I would visit New York she would always take me there too. It is a special place in Mary’s heart.
“Onto the trip. While I was packing for the trip all I could think about was the movie Meet the Parents with Ben Stiller in it. In the movie, Ben Stiller packs an engagement ring in his suitcase that gets checked in and the airline loses it. Eventually, the airline gets it back to him and everything works out, but we couldn’t have that happen so I packed it in my carry on. Then I would not let that bag out of my sight for the first three days of the trip. Mary was starting to think it was a little odd, but she would soon find out why.
“The proposal day was on Mary’s birthday – December 8, 2016. On that morning, I told Mary that I had a surprise for her. Mary got ready, put on that dress, and started pestering me about what the surprise was. At first, I was hesitant to tell her, but I finally caved. I had hired a photographer to show us around for the day and take some great photos to remember the day. Using her birthday was the perfect cover, and at this point she still had no clue I was going to propose. Mary loves private tours when traveling, so this was an added bonus. The first stop was a light Irish breakfast at a small café near the hotel. Then it was off to St. Patrick’s Cathedral (in Dublin this time). Mary was very excited to go there. The traveling photographer gave us a tour of the cathedral. While inside, Mary did her prayer like she would do every time she was in New York. After touring the cathedral, we went outside to tour the gardens. There was a group of kids playing in the garden as we walked through it, Mary became intrigued to see a ginger (red head) and when she turned around to tell me, I was on bended knee.
“From there the proposal did not go according to plan. As I was giving my well thought out speech Mary got fixated on one detail. The fact that I had gone to Sacramento to see her parents. She couldn’t understand when or why I would go to Sacramento without her knowing. The only way to describe it is, Mary went into shock. She kept asking over and over, “When did you see my parents?” So I ditched the rest of my speech and just asked her to marry me. That snapped her out of it and she finally said yes. After that, the tears started flowing and I was able to explain when and why I went to Sacramento and more tears started flowing. Once she gathered herself she had to make a few phone calls to let people know. Of course, her mom was the first call.”
Us again! Mary and Derkje’s wedding in San Francisco was designed to be light and fun for everyone, while also full of meaning. We especially made sure to take lots of detail photos to capture the personal aspects of this wedding. Many of the locations and vendors were chosen simply because they had already provided such precious memories for them in the past. Very few were the result of searching for the perfect fit; in their case, they already knew exactly who to pick. Check out the list of venues and vendors at the bottom of this post, where Derkje describes each choice in detail.
Back to Derkje, about the wedding day:
“September 8th, 2018 is a day that we will always remember. We didn’t want the day to end. We loved seeing everyone dressed up and smiling. We couldn’t have had better San Francisco weather. Our wedding was very small and simple, with a few surprises for everyone along the way. It was picture perfect! Our wedding was not just about us but about our family and friends too.
“During the ceremony we had laughs, we had tears, and cheers. Mary had a special moment with my two boys and read them a set of vows just for them. She also had her Dad give me a note that said, ‘You touch, you buy! Non-returnable!'”
Thank you so much Derkje for sharing all these beautiful details with us. We had a wonderful time celebrating your special relationship and wish you all the happiness in the world.
Venues and Vendors
All quotations are from Derkje.
Mary’s Apartment – “This is where Mary got ready for the wedding. This is the first apartment she lived in in the city (San Francisco). It’s in a 97-year-old building that still carries a lot of charm from when it was built.” – Most couples choose a hotel, so we LOVE this unique choice that worked out perfectly for photos!
Ceremony – Lafayette Park – “This is our favorite park in the city. We often walk up to the park just to play with the dogs or have a picnic with friends on a nice day. The view at the top of the park is amazing and has a view of the bay. It doesn’t hurt that Danielle Steel’s house is next to the park.”
Reception – Isa Restaurant – “When Mary and I visited Isa for the first time we fell in love with the atmosphere and vibe the restaurant had. We really liked the space in the back. It was cozy and the perfect size for the wedding we wanted, and the food was the icing on the cake.”
Florist – “We did our own flowers and created our own centerpieces. The San Francisco Flower Mart was where we bought our flowers.”
Gown – J Crew Bridal – “Mary’s favorite clothing brand”
Hair Stylist – Ernesto Meneses – Mentor Stylist at Cinta Salon San Francisco. – “Mary has been going to him for years.”
Makeup – NARS at the Fillmore
Wedding Cake/Favors – Bob’s Donuts – “Our favorite guilty pleasure in the city. Rain or shine when the craving hits we will make our way there for a treat or for breakfast.”
Chairs – Mom Chairs – “They had chairs available to rent, and were very accommodating with the delivery and pick up times.”
Churros – Churros Mexicanos – “We really wanted to surprise our guests with a treat after the ceremony while we took pictures. They were a smashing hit.”
Transportation – The Mexican Bus – “We really wanted to surprise our family and friends with a ride on a party bus. We wanted to keep the event light and fun. It was also reasonably priced.”