Instead of hearing from me about this beautiful classic day, I’m going to share with you an interview with the bride about it!
Kelly Lynn Knight, who works in real estate development, and Thomas Porter Mitchell, an account executive at a digital advertising company, met while attending Lake Forest College and had their first date nearly nine years before their wedding and have been together ever since. On a sunny day in May, he proposed to Kelly on their weekly morning walk through Oz Park in downtown Chicago.
Kelly, a Bay Area native and Tom, wanted to highlight her California roots at their September wedding and choose to say, “I do” at The Westin St. Francis in San Francisco. The bride impressively and masterfully took on all the planning duties from a far with the help of Google spreadsheets and her parents, “who were my boots on the ground”.
“I was very lucky to have my Dad come out of retirement, a successful and talented graphic designer, and compose all of our wedding stationary- from save the dates to menus and place cards. It’s the best project we have ever done together. I felt as if I was 8 years old again and we were working on a school project. I’ll have that memory forever held in these pictures- such a blessing,” the Bride fondly recalled.
Since most people were in from Chicago and there no large wedding party, the Groom’s family generously hosted a welcome party for all guests invited to the wedding instead of a classic rehearsal dinner where they handed out welcome bags complete with snacks, recovery items and under eye masks. “It was nice that we didn’t feel pressured and rushed with all of our guests on the wedding day, since we had welcomed everyone the night before. It also allowed Thomas and I to sneak in some last-minute alone time and have dinner just the two of us- our last one as fiancé’s,” Kelly reminisces.
To walk down the aisle, Kelly chose a Lihi Hod gown from Bella Bianca Bridal Couture, paired simply with embellished satin Manolo Blahnik heels. “My wedding dress shopping process was relatively stress free because I had a clear vision of how I saw myself on my wedding day. I tried on four dresses and knew after a champagne lunch with my parents, which dress was the ‘one’,” the bride shares.
Planning from across the country has its difficulties, but once the Bride found her hair and makeup artist, Marisa Perel, she had no worries about having her beauty trial 5 days before the wedding. “I truly believe when you get to work with such talented individuals, it makes planning much less stressful- and this is coming from a human stress ball” the bride exclaimed.
To complete her ensemble, Kelly wore Tiffany & Co. pearl and diamond studs along with a diamond tennis bracelet to match her cathedral veil.
On September 10, 2020, Kelly walked down the aisle with her father while the string quartet, Bay Area Strings, played a custom arrangement and met Thomas, who had luckily gotten out most of his tears during their first look. The couple’s officiant who also moonlights as the Groom’s cousin, gave a record-breaking ceremony at just under 8 minutes. “It was important to us that the wedding felt more like a party than anything else. We didn’t have groomsmen or bridesmaids and wanted to spend as much time with our guest’s as possible. 85% of the wedding flew across the country and we wanted to show them a good time,” Kelly recalled.
They exchanged vows in front of a round floral arch of babies breath and roses created by Liz Tsutsumi-Hypnar of Enchantment Floral. “Saying my vows that day forever changed me. I have never felt so deeply connected in an instant. It felt incredible,” the bride shares.
Once announced as husband and wife, the newlyweds retreated to a private area, tasted the hors d’oeuvres and enjoyed their first glass of champagne as a married couple. The happy couple rejoined their guests in the other wing of the floor for cocktail hour. The wedding was all held on the Westin’s private 32nd floor, which is comprised of two main rooms, completely encased with floor to ceiling windows, showcasing 360-degree unobstructed views of San Francisco and the Bay.
After the ceremony, Lauren and [Ariana] from Something Blue Productions and hotel staff flipped the ceremony space into the reception during their cocktail hour. While people mingled and enjoyed the signature cocktail of the evening, a French 75, hundreds of orchids and white roses were expertly, and unassumingly, ushered into the reception space.
Kelly and Tom made their grand entrance into the reception ballroom to “Clocks” by Coldplay, followed by their first dance to “Home to You” by Sigrid. Throughout the night, Jason Mitchell of Last Wave Productions with a mix of lively, upbeat, modern pop songs. “We didn’t have a must play list and only a few do-no play songs- we only had a ‘vibe’. We let Jason run with it and he kept people on the dance floor all night,” the Bride exclaimed.
One of Kelly’s fond memories of the night is when the flip flops came out for people on the dance floor and the first to grab them were two men who were cutting up the dance floor. “I see Tom’s neighbors roll up their pant legs and immediately change into the flip flops. I instantly knew people were feeling the music.”
After the reception had hit its high note around midnight, the love birds headed back to their suite at the hotel overlooking Union Square. Kelly concludes, “Overall we truly feel so thankful to be able to say we had the perfect wedding.”
Thank you so much to this incredible team for making their perfect day!
Planner: Something Blue Productions
Photographer: Yuliya Jul Photography
Venue: Westin St Francis
Florals: Enchantment Floral
DJ & Lighting: Last Wave Productions
Musicians: Bay Area Strings
Bakery: Pretty Please SF
Stationary: Mite Print
Beauty: Marisa Perel
Dress: Lihi Hod