San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts Wedding Photos

The Offbeat Bride: Alise, freelance hairstylist

Her offbeat partner: Adam, hotel hospitality engineer

Date and location of wedding: San Francisco City Hall, San Francisco, CA — November 5, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We surprised most of our friends and family by deciding to elope! It was a perfect day for us. Adam and I met back in May from this little weird dating app called Tinder. I had downloaded the app several months back out of sheer curiosity since the whole world was talking about it. Always assuming I was the best version of myself when I was completely alone, I had never contemplated marriage. I didn't consider my lifestyle conducive to the institution of it all. But I was wrong.


The more Adam and I talked about the “M word,” the faster I realized I wasn't against the institution of it, but only the opening act. The “W word.” The wedding! Don't get me wrong, I love weddings. I love my career as a bridal hair stylist. However, after seeing the behind the scenes action of 300+ brides, the wedding aspect of marriage has lost its luster to me.


We had already planned a trip to San Francisco for sightseeing and a concert. Pinterest led us to the idea of eloping in San Francisco. The more research we did, it was clear that this was the place and plan for us. It was far enough away from home that it would truly feel like “our moment” and people wouldn't be upset they weren't invited. Plus, SF City Hall is beautiful. We also decided it would be way more interesting if we didn't tell our friends. Yes, both of our immediate families were in on it but how often do people get to truly surprise one another? It was so difficult not to share the news with my awesome friends, especially after they noted the changes I was making in my personal life.

Wedding Flowers

San Francisco City Hall Elopement

Our wedding day came on Wednesday, Nov, 5th. After getting ready together, we walked hand-in-hand down to city hall. My parents joined us for the intimate ceremony at the top of the grand staircase. Afterwards, we all celebrated with champagne and delicious french food at Absinthe Brasserie. That evening, we strolled along the bay and wharf, enjoying our first sunset as a married couple. Our “reception” was going to a rock concert.

City Hall Kiss

On our way to the wedding

City Hall Elopement

Tell us about the ceremony:
Our ceremony was in the rotunda at the top of the grand staircase inside SF City Hall. There were only four of us present, but our hearts were so full. I had never seen my dad get weepy before — it was a touching moment I will keep forever. We exchanged traditional vows presented by a judge. The cheeky judge covered his eyes while we had our first kiss and the photographer captured it!

Intimate Elopement Wedding Ceremony

First Kiss

We did it!

We did it! We Eloped!

My favorite moment:
I loved the fact that Adam and I got ready together. It allowed us the time to bask in the moment, knowing in less than an hour we would share our joy with the world. However, the most meaningful moment of our wedding was saying our vows to one another. I never expected for the words in our vows to carry so much emotion. Both Adam and I are pretty stoic, but our eyes welled with tears when we committed ourselves with words.

San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts Wedding Photos

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
Adam says that he's learned that it is not important how much money you spend on a wedding, but who you are surrounded by during our moment. I truly agree, and learned that Pinterest-style wedding favors and details are not as important as I thought they were.

I was anxious that our wedding wasn't going to be complete because we skipped a traditional reception. While eloping is not for everyone, it was the right choice for us.

San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts Wedding Photos

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Comments on Alise & Adam’s intimate San Francisco surprise elopement

  1. Congratulations and I hope you and Adam have a wonderful marriage!

    P.S. Your hair is on point! Love it.

  2. You look so gorgeous and happy! It looks like such a beautiful day. Congratulations!!!

  3. Love all the photos. Such happiness! And the sunflower tattoo is simly amazing.

  4. This is so wonderful! Eloping is so romantic and the bride looked so beautiful!

  5. This is one of the elopements to convince me that even if I elope, I want good photography. You two look great (yay plus sized couples getting married), and most importantly, super happy together.

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