Photos by Tara Arrowood / Arrowood Photography Christian Gullette, 38, who is originally from Baltimore, MD, was married to Michael Stevens, 33, originally from Santa Cruz, Calif., this past May at The Bently Reserve, in downtown San Francisco.
The couple first met in Washington, D.C., when Christian had gone to have a drink with a friend at a bar in Adams Morgan, where he met Michael. They shared the same friends, Christian explains, "but we had somehow never managed to meet until that warm, May night." The two went on their first date (a Ben & Jerry's) a week later and have been together for 11 years. Because of that Christian surprised Michael with the Ben & Jerry's Cookies & Cream ice cream they had that night after the cake cutting at their wedding.
Michael (blond hair) is a lawyer and Christian (dark hair) is a poet, translator, and Ph.D. student at the University of California, Berkeley. Now San Francisco residents, Christian proposed to Michael on 10/10/10, the day before his birthday. Christian hid the ring in a "ridiculously big gift bag to throw him off," and there were several boxes one inside the other.
According to the couple, "our amazing planner Corina Beczner (Vibrant Events)," helped make the vision come true, a blending of the simplicity and rustic feel of a Quaker-inspired ceremony (Christian grew up attending Quaker school) with the classic old-world charm of the legendary San Francisco Bently Reserve.
"We had the same wooden benches facing each another that one finds in a traditional Quaker Meetinghouse, and held a five-minute moment of Quaker silence, which was one of the most moving experiences of our lives," Christian says. "After the ceremony, every guest was invited to sign the traditional Quaker wedding certificate hand-made just for us."
Christian wore a black, Burberry suit, and Michael wore black Hugo Boss. The couple's first dance was to Morrissey's "Now My Heart Is Full." "We wanted a song that really spoke to how far we'd come and the experience of finding and accepting joy and happiness," Christian explains.
The cake (Jasmine Rae Bakery), according to the couple, "was a really groundbreaking design," with a layer of cardamom-sake cream and a layer of hibiscus cream. The flowers, including the head table centerpiece, incorporated woods, mosses, lichens, with colorful exotic flowers and bright Billy Buttons.
The couple honeymooned in Barcelona and Southern Spain. "We woke to Moorish courtyards filled with fountains and orange trees, and it was even more romantic than we imagined," Christian shares with us.