Alfresco Black Tie Wedding at a Historic Property in the Bay Area

Mimi and Jake

Photographed by: Coco TranLocation: Redwood City, California, United States

“He walked in [wearing] a Biggie Smalls sweatshirt with the lyrics to ‘Juicy,’ one of my all-time favorite songs, which immediately piqued my interest,” Mimi Huggins shares of her first meeting with her future husband, Jake Cerf. The San Francisco couple fell in love, and just two days before Christmas, Jake proposed during a hike near the Golden Gate Bridge. “We got to celebrate our engagement over Christmas and on our amazing winter Europe trip,” muses the bride.

During the six months of wedding planning, the duo elected a historic estate for their October nuptials. “The [venue] only started allowing weddings on property this year, so we were the fourth couple to ever get married there,” reveals the bride. The couple’s 200 friends and relatives gathered in front of the garden house for the ceremony, which was officiated by the groom’s uncle. “Jake and I opted to write our own vows, and we are so glad we did,” Mimi tells. Following the heartfelt ceremony, the newlyweds and their guests visited the other gorgeous areas the estate for the rest of the celebration. “[We chose] the pool area for the cocktail reception, the entry courtyard in front of the house for the dinner, and the old classic ballroom in the mansion for dancing,” she explains. “It felt like four unique events and kept our guests entertained!”

As a nod to Jake’s East Coast upbringing, the couple decided to incorporate nautical elements in the décor. “We named the dinner tables after islands in Maine and the San Juan Islands, where I grew up summering,” the bride says. “All of our paper goods were white and navy to reflect this theme.” This aesthetic perfectly paired with the gardens and simple, yet stunning, floral arrangements. In addition to sampling gelato and listening to hilarious speeches throughout the evening, guests were thrilled to experience the couple’s unique first dance. “[We] started off with a classic: ‘At Last’ by Etta James. Midway through, the song skipped and switched to MC Hammer's ‘U Can't Touch This,’” she remembers. “We completely surprised our guests with a coordinated dance to the song while wearing MC Hammer glasses.” After the fun special dance, everyone danced the night away in celebration.

When asked about her wedding experience, Mimi stressed the importance of quality time throughout the planning process. “Enjoy this special time of being engaged and planning your life together,” the bride encourages. “Everything else will fall into place.”