On the day of his wedding, Ryan Tan stood at the altar with confidence in a dashing navy suit, eagerly awaiting his bride. His eyes scanned the faces of his wedding guests: forty of the couple’s closest friends and family members, all of whom had traveled to San Francisco to witness his marriage to longtime girlfriend, Gabriela Valles. As music began to play and those in attendance rose to their feet, Ryan turned to his best man, his brother Jenson, and whispered a question in his ear: “You do have the rings right?” The look on Jenson’s face told Ryan everything he needed to know. The rings were, in fact, somewhere else, sitting on the nightstand in the hotel room where they had dressed hours earlier. With no time to spare, the best man leapt into action. While all eyes were on the bride, he dashed off, borrowed a set of rings from the bride’s sister and her husband, and returned to his place beside the groom without anyone being the wiser.
Despite the early hitch, the day was a beautiful culmination of ten months of detailed planning. The Houston-based couple opted to host their intimate celebration in the City by the Bay because of the array of cultural and culinary options it presented. “We figured if people were going to travel, it might as well be somewhere fabulous,” says the bride. In keeping with their metropolitan surroundings, the duo desired a clean, modern aesthetic with timeless romantic overtones. The classic design of a champagne coup best encapsulated the style for which the bride was aiming. “Unbelievably, a glass did dictate the look of my wedding!” she affirms.
The exchange of vows took place on the 32nd floor of a luxury hotel overlooking Union Square. Bride and groom were framed on either side by branches of pussy willow anchored in blush roses that stood in tall, translucent vases. Behind the arrangements, grand floor-to-ceiling windows showcased breathtaking views of the city as the sun began to set.
The bride was a vision of elegance in an ivory ball gown with a strapless bodice that blossomed into a full skirt of floating tulle and Chantilly lace. A gossamer veil cascaded over her shoulders, and a bouquet consisting of ranunculus and peonies contributed a delicate blush of color to her ensemble. “I will always remember the first time I saw Gaby in her wedding dress,” effuses the groom. “It conjured up so many feelings in me. That was probably the happiest I had ever felt in my life.”
The inclusion of special people made the service all the more personal. The bride’s beloved brother-in-law, an important figure in her life since losing her biological father at a young age, was given an exclusive role of honor. “It seemed only natural to ask him to walk me down the aisle,” Gabriela says, “and he, of course, was there for me once again.” A close friend served as their officiant, and the couple’s toy poodle was also designated a role in the ceremony. “Carmen is the love of our lives,” beams the bride. “We couldn’t imagine her not being a part of the day.”
While guests enjoyed the cocktail hour that followed the ceremony, the venue was transformed for dinner and dancing. A single, long banquet table ran the length of the room. Centered in the reception space, it was decorated with twenty centerpieces, each consisting of ranunculus, hydrangeas, and roses densely packed into low, clear vases. Sleek flatware and luminous charger plates added metallic accents to the quixotic tablescape. “I loved that we had a king’s table,” says the groom. “It was one thing we absolutely wanted: one table for everyone.”
The couple’s wedding cake was both stylish and delicious, wrapped in white chocolate and decorated with a gold lattice design that was fashioned after the motif on their wedding invitations. In lieu of a traditional cake topper, the pair’s initials were piped onto the uppermost tier.
Ryan and Gabriela assert that the intimate size of their wedding was crucial to making the day as meaningful and memorable as it was. “Everyone invited was very close and dear to both of us,” affirms the groom. And although the number of invitees was kept low, the enthusiasm was boundless. “My favorite moment was when we entered the reception and were introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Tan while ‘Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)’ by Arcade Fire played,” beams the bride. “The energy in the room was indescribable; I can still feel it!”
Most importantly, both bride and groom quickly forgave the best man for his regretful, yet understandable oversight, proving once and for all that a wedding need not be flawless in order to be perfect.