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Emily & Susie

Emily & Susie

Sonum May photographer lesbian gay couple elopement wedding San Francisco California USA Dancing With Her
Aside from your wedding, what is your favorite memory together?

S: My favorite memory with Em is from our first trip to Paris; we found an incredible hotel with a secret champagne bar, complete with real chandeliers and beautiful hand-dipped candles. It felt like we were in a scene from Beauty and the Beast. Complete with local French champagnes and little cheese gorges. The Eiffel Tower was in the background of the windows, and all I could see was Em’s sweet smile lit by candlelight. It made me feel like we could have been there in the Renaissance – it was a timeless love glow.

E: My favorite memories of us are a very personal series of out-of-the-way moments from very early in our relationship that wasn’t planned to be grand in any way. They’re memorable because of how I felt during them. That is a feeling that up until meeting Susie I hadn’t felt before: a pure, joyous peace. The backdrop to most of these moments is San Diego, where Susie used to live; my trips to visit her are some of my cherished memories.

AHH, that gives us the warm and fuzzies- so beautiful! What about the proposal?

S: Emily and I have always had an affinity for warm sunny places, with Miami taking the cake. Emily typically spends at least a month there each year for work (on Miami Beach). We’ve absolutely fallen in love with the deco architecture and the tropical foliage. Knowing how special it was to both of us (our first vacation as a couple was to Miami Beach), she planned a sweet sunset proposal on the 21st-floor balcony of our Miami Beach condo. Overlooking the sunset and the entire skyline. To make it even more perfect, knowing our love of Modern Times beer (we’re both shareholders and in their league club), she poured a favorite sour of mine into champagne glasses and toasted to the engagement with them as the sunset. It was unparalleled and perfect.

Talk us through the decision to elope.

S: Emily proposed to me this April on Miami Beach, one of our favorite places. Although we have a more formal wedding planned in May in Cabo San Lucas, we wanted the peacefulness and intimacy of an elopement. Celebrating how far our love has come over the past decade.

So, with about a week advanced notice, we racked our brains as to where we could elope that was special to both of us. SF City Hall is beautiful but had about a month-long wait for ceremonies. Over brunch with our dear friends Anna and Rachel, who are sisters, lifelong SF residents, and art enthusiasts, we decided that the Embarcadero Cupid’s Span was the perfect place. Anna obtained an online ordainment, and Rachel offered to be our witness. 

How was it telling your loved ones that you’re now married?

S: Our elopement was a bit of a surprise to many. Considering our upcoming more formal ceremony later this year, but we were excited to share the news, both on Instagram and through our New Years’ cards. Everyone has been thrilled!

How did you both go about choosing the perfect elopement outfit?

We were lucky enough to both wear custom women’s tuxedos. Mine in ivory, and Emily’s in classic black – which Emily designed. We wanted to show off how tuxedos are the perfect combination of and/or – masculine and feminine, soft and edgy, timeless and modern at the same time. Personalizing the looks with our own individual fashion. Each tux took on a life of its own while complementing the other perfectly.

We liked the idea of a tongue in cheek spin on the classic “bride wears a white dress” tradition. Also wanting to show people that suits are just as sexy and feminine as dresses. That power and essence lie in the women wearing either. Neither of us believes in concrete stereotypes for presentation. To us, what matters the most is that you feel beautiful and confident in what you’re wearing. Em embodies that maxim with her clients and collections, so it was an organic part of our essence for the day.

We also both decided to wear vintage watches. I wore a Cartier de Santos from my birth year (a birthday present from Em). Emily wore a beautiful vintage Rolex from Miami Beach. We both love the idea of including a timeless, opulent accessory to complete any outfit.

We love showing people that there is more than one way to get married, and there is more than one way to be a “bride.”

Conventional stereotypes of masculine and feminine assigned clothing are so arbitrary and can keep people from wearing beautiful, powerful pieces that make them feel their best. Suits are not just for men. Suits are an embodiment of power, expression, confidence, gravitas, and grace. They’re the most underrated weapon women have in their arsenal. We hope that others in our community can see us as an example of being fiercely true to yourself and what makes you feel the best. Regardless of how you present inside or out.

Oh, we can’t wait to see your larger ceremony! Can you talk us through your smaller elopement?

S: Em and I wanted to look photo-ready, and although we’re both makeup enthusiasts, we decided to invest in professionals to give us a glowy, polished look. Our makeup artists (Glamsquad!) honestly made us feel like movie stars and gave us an extra boost of confidence that shines through in our photos.

Rachel and Ana handwrote our vows on beautiful notecards and handed them to us in red envelopes. It was a sweet gesture that will stick with us, anytime we want to revisit our promises to one another. 

We decided to use our engagement rings for the ring exchange ceremony because of our short time frame to plan the wedding (we lucked out and found our fantastic photographer through Instagram hashtags just a few days before!). We both needed to have engagement rings that reflected our personalities. Mine is a yellow diamond because Em calls me her sunshine. Emily’s is a yellow gold Cartier because she is timeless, edgy, and the perfect amount of extra. Being able to honor their uniqueness was a really special part of the ceremony.

Cupid’s Span is located in a public park along the Embarcadero, a street known for its…zestiness. The surrounding park is also a popular spot for dogs to play, and at one point, an adorable golden labradoodle even ran through the ceremony. We could have stressed the uncertainties of public life, but instead, we decided to embrace it. Which made the entire ceremony even more special. Surrounded by the buzz of a Friday night in San Francisco, because we were able to give in to the moment. Em’s face was all that I could see, and I think she’d say the same about me.

Immediately following our ceremony, we had a waterside dinner. We had whiskey sours, champagne, and oysters while the sun was setting directly behind Cupid’s Span. And it felt like a quintessential “San Francisco” moment.

What does the future hold for you both?

S: Emily and I have always had a mantra with our relationship: “I love you today and all days” – life is hard and full of uncertainty. Still, both of us know the future holds travel, adventure, pets, a family, sunsets, good beer, great conversation, and love above all.

Photography by Sonum May

Engagement Rings CartierMirabelle Jewelers
H&MU Rach V. Morales & Mandy Amaya from Glam Squad
Officiant Anna Leff
Suit Attire Emily Meyer

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