An Intimate San Francisco City Hall Wedding

The lead up to Maddie and Jewels’ wedding was hard. They faced challenges when they had to uninvite homophobic family members, but they remained resolute in celebrating with those who truly supported them. They shared an intimate ceremony at San Francisco City Hall with a handful of the people they love most.

Aside from your wedding, what is your favorite memory together?

Aside from our wedding, our favorite memories are from the summer we met. In the summer of 2021, we spent most days together in the park in downtown Ottawa. One specific day, we moved from our usual sitting spot to a different spot under a large tree overlooking the center walkway of the park. Though we had just come to study on this special day, we witnessed the most beautiful wedding on what was ‘just another day in the park’ for us. Jewels was able to snap a photo of Maddie watching the wedding in the park, and to this day, that picture is hung on the wall of our home.

Tell us about the proposal.

M: I had a picnic and a photographer booked to propose on a beautiful afternoon in our favorite park (the one we watched the wedding in). About one week out, I couldn’t wait any longer and asked Jewels to marry me over dinner on our couch. A week later, we celebrated with the planned picnic and photoshoot, followed by a beautiful celebration with our closest family and friends in my parents’ backyard. 

J: For months after Maddie’s proposal, I had planned a proposal at a park near our first home in Stittsville, ON, in the fall/end of summer. I had a sign made by Allie, Maddie’s sister, on a white sheet strung up with greenery, saying, ‘Will you Marry me?’ Weeks before, I had scoped out the park with a friend to ensure there was a pathway that was accessible and had my cousin Lyza help out with the decorations. The proposal was in the evening, and I had tall candles in glass cylinders lit and some music that we loved playing. I also had a small black table set up with photos of us in frames and some glasses of Kumbucha for us to cheers to. Though Maddie knew about the proposal back to them, I just wanted them to have the experience of having someone ask for their hand in marriage. After getting down on one knee, we had a photographer, Shawnae from Shawnae Mutch Photography, spend some time with us to capture the beautiful moments. It was so special that Maddie’s parents could be in attendance with us throughout these moments.

Any stories from the lead-up to the wedding stressful or funny?

Leading up to the wedding, we decided that we wanted this celebration to be intimate, so we only had our immediate families attend. Just days before the wedding, after nearly canceling it altogether, we had to make the heartbreaking decision to uninvite family members who were homophobic towards us. This caused a lot of backlash on us, having people tell us, “You need to get used to it,” after an uncle made the classic “That’s so gay” joke. For us, the actions and words of those people said more about them than us in the way we decided to handle it. At the end of the day, this wedding surely brought out people’s true colors, and no one could love us more than our family that was in attendance.  

Talk us through your wedding day.

We wanted to spend as much time together during our wedding day, present in the moment. So, we decided to stay together the night before the wedding and get ready together in our hotel room at The Proper. The morning of, we had room service and Ubered our Starbucks coffees. Maddisson got their hair done in the hotel room and did their own makeup while Jewels got their suit ready. Before heading to City Hall, we had a first look with Maddie’s parents, godparents, Noah Jewels’ brother, and Lyza Jewels’ cousin in the lobby.

Our ceremony took place on the Mayor’s Balcony at San Francisco City Hall. We were overwhelmed by the love pouring out of the building when we arrived. Together, hand in hand, we both walked down the aisle, and the rest of the world melted away.

Advice for other couples planning a smaller wedding?

Our advice to other couples planning a smaller wedding is to remember the day is yours and that no one can take that away from the both of you. The day can be busy and stressful, so checking in with your partner to see how you are both feeling is important. The whole wedding or elopement experience goes by so quickly, and it is important to be present and in the moment as much as possible.

Photography by Apollo Fotografie

Hair Stylebee
Pocket Boutonniere Bloom Gallery Flowers

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