We all know that a first date on Valentine’s Day is usually a bad idea, but thankfully Nina Kim and Kenny D’Amica didn’t have to worry about that. The pair met on OKCupid in February of 2014, a week after Valentine’s Day, avoiding an awkward first date full of forced romance and instead spending the evening talking non-stop in the bar area of a restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown with incredible city views.
The SF couple dated for almost two years before Kenny popped the question as they were driving from the Bay Area to Portland in December of 2016. “We were on the Oregon coast with our dogs, and stopped for a hike to see the tide pools and lighthouse at Yaquina Head,” says Nina. “Kenny proposed on the stairs down to the beach!” The couple didn’t want planning a wedding to take over their lives, so they opted for a long engagement – nearly 17 months! – so they could balance, work, their personal lives, and planning without any extra stress. “It enabled us to really research and plan, as well as set us up for prime vendor booking a year before our wedding day,” Nina explains.
Though the couple considered a big wedding with a huge guest list, a smaller event won out, and they invited just 50 guests to celebrate with them on May 18, 2018. First, they headed to a San Francisco landmark for their ceremony, tying the knot amongst the history of City Hall, then celebrated with an outdoor reception at Stable Café, a Neapolitan-inspired restaurant where the couple skipped traditional wedding food in favor of pizza. “We wanted our ceremony to be short and sweet, and our reception to be a fancy pizza party,” Nina reveals. So how did this couple combine everyone’s favorite Friday night dinner with the trappings of a wedding? Take a peek at the photos by Hannah Costello to find out!
Nina’s Rime Arodaky wedding dress paired silk tulle and crepe with delicate embroidered flowers around the neckline and waist. “I had shopped with my sister, my mother, and even my brother, and tried on a lot of dresses without finding what I wanted,” says Nina. “When I went by myself, though, I finally found what I was looking for!” The bride loved the low back and comfortable silhouette. She enhanced the comfort factor by wearing a pair of customized Bryr clogs beneath her gown.
Instead of having a wedding party, the couple asked their siblings to stand by their side at the ceremony. “My sister was the maid of honor and my brother was my bridesman, while Kenny’s sister was his best woman and his brother was his groomsman,” Nina explains. Her sister donned an off-the-shoulder Jenny Yoo dress in mustard yellow, while Kenny’s wore a floral dress from Anthropologie.
All three women carried whimsical bouquets that included ranunculus, dogwood, and trailing ivy in peach, dusty pink, and pops of white.
Nina’s grandmother was the flower girl, and was escorted down the aisle by the couple’s friend, Alex, who served as ring bearer. Alex’s fiancée, Kate, officiated the ceremony. “We wanted to write our own vows, but I could barely get through the traditional ones without sobbing,” says Nina. “We tried a few times at home, and I became incomprehensible every time!”
While waiting for the reception to begin, guests grabbed drinks at the couple’s favorite date-night spot, Mission Bowling Alley. Meanwhile, Kenny and Nina were changing into traditional Korean clothing for the reception. “We had our outfits made in Seoul while we were visiting my family there, and the whole time we were changing, we were reminiscing about the trip and dreaming about when we’d get to go back,” says Nina.
The patio at Stable Café was the perfect spot for the couple’s al fresco reception, and the on-site Cheese School meant every pizza was totally delicious!
Guests nibbled on indulgent cheese platters as they sipped hibiscus and prosecco cocktails out of vintage crystal glasses.
“We wanted everyone to feel free to mingle throughout the evening, so we opted for café-style seating instead of larger tables,” says Nina. But they didn’t skimp on making the space their own. Roses, ranunculus, and dogwoods tumbled out of brass bud vases, while taper candles and green glassware helped dress up the relaxed space.
The real reason Kenny and Nina chose an outdoor reception was so they could bring their three dogs with them! The dogs wore garlands of greenery, and one even assisted the couple’s DJ with the evening’s playlist.
The meal of fresh, wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas was followed by an assortment of cakes and cupcakes, flavors ranging from lemon and carrot to vanilla tomboy (chocolate cake with vanilla frosting) and strawberry charlotte, with ladyfingers and berry mousse. The lemon cake was topped with custom merman and mermaid ceramic toppers, an unconventional choice that added a touch of whimsy to the reception.
“We very carefully chose vendors who aligned with our personal style, and really trusted them to do their best work when planning and designing our wedding,” says Nina. “They were almost all part of women-owned and –run businesses, and it was amazing to support their passion and creativity!”
Ceremony Venue: San Francisco City Hall || Reception Venue: Stable Café || Day-of Coordinator: Blushing Joy Events || Bride's Dress: Rime Arodaky, from LOHO Bride || Bride's Veil: Yuri C Wedding Shoppe || Bride's Shoes: Bryr || Bride's Jewelry: BHLDN, Mejuri || Hair: The Pretty Pretty Collective || Makeup: Young Jae Cho || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo, Anthropologie || Groom's Attire: Men’s Wearhouse || Engagement Ring: Lang’s Antiques || Wedding Bands: Bario Neal, Jennie Kwon from No. 3 || Floral Design: Marigold || Paper Products: Minted, Kelly Design Co. || Catering: The Cheese School || Cake: Miette || Cake Toppers: Barruntando || Music: Heart of Gold DJs || Rentals: Frances Lane, Pieces by Violet, La Tavola Fine Linen || Favors: Scents of San Francisco, Picture Perfect Papier || Accommodations: San Francisco Proper Hotel || Photo Booth: Say Ya! Photo Booth || Videography: Gold and Gumption || Photography: Hannah Costello