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As a self proclaimed foodie, I won’t lie, when Michael + Amy emailed me about having their wedding at both Cotogna AND Bouchon my heart started beating a little faster. Throw in San Francisco City Hall and it was a dream come true.  Michael + Amy’s love for life, food and friends carried over in every aspect of the wedding.  One of my favorite details from their wedding were their invitations which were Bouchon Cookbooks with a personal letter enclosed and then wrapped in this Virginia Woolf quote: “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” I also have to mention the staff at Bouchon. UNREAL. I have never seen a group of staff work so hard, from in the kitchen to the waitstaff to the bar, they were a well oiled machine and it was fitting that underneath every clock in the kitchen was their motto “sense of urgency”. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience to be back in the kitchen and watch Chef Michael and his team work.  Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to read Michael + Amy’s take on their wedding. Enjoy and if you haven’t already I highly recommend dinning at both of these amazing restaurants if you get the chance. p.s. be sure to check out their city hall & Cotogna photos here.


Venue(s) , Date and # of Guests
Married @ San Francisco City Hall – Friday, May 6 – bride, groom, 7 guests, and Joel
Lunch following civil ceremony @ Cotogna in San Francisco
Party @ Bouchon in Yountville, CA – Saturday, May 7 – bride, groom, 43 guests, an amazing staff @ Bouchon, and Joel

Why did you choose this for your wedding?

We always knew we wanted to create a celebration that was intimate, non-traditional, and authentically “us”.  Though we considered other locations, we settled on San Francisco and Napa Valley because we simply love where we live and play.
City Hall is undoubtedly one of most beautiful buildings in San Francisco - maybe even the country.  And we settled on it as our wedding location after attending a party there in December 2010.
We considered Bouchon in Yountville early in our planning because it has, for many years, been a special place for us.  Only one hour from our home in San Francisco, it’s not unusual for us to head to Bouchon on Sunday evenings for salmon rillette, trout almondine, and glass of champagne to toast the weekend.  Once we decided on City Hall, it made Bouchon the natural choice for our post-wedding celebration.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?

From the moment we got engaged - which was across our favorite breakfast table in London - we knew we wanted to create a celebration that was centered around great food and wine, and a shared experience around “the table”.

Over the 15+ years we’ve known each other, we’ve had the good fortune to experience many wonderful meals together.  We’ve whispered across tiny tables in remote Italian villages, sipped champagne in a French chateau, wiped tahini from each other’s chins on a bench outside our favorite West Village falafel shop, marveled at the artistry of four-star dining in Burgundy, even swam up for tacos and tequila while overlooking the Sea of Cortez.  We’ve made friends with strangers while bellied up to dining bars around San Francisco and around the country.  And of course, there have been the countless meals around our home table with our dog, Cali, at our feet.

As we recollected our favorite meals, we realized that they weren’t about food or place at all.  They were about sharing laughter and tears…about celebrating friendship and family…and ultimately, about expressing love.
And so, the concept of celebration our wedding ”around the table” was born.  We wanted to create an outrageous and fun dinner party - only at someone else’s house.  And we wanted our guests to say, “that was one of the best meals I’ve had in my life” as they left.

What was your favorite moment or part of the day?

It’s funny.  We’ve each asked this question of one another since getting married - and we both mark the same moment as our hands-down favorite.  It was during our civil ceremony - standing under the majestic and light-filled dome at San Francisco’s City Hall.  There were only seven other family members present while we exchanged vows - but there could have been 700 for all we knew.   We had our eyes locked on each other - totally present in that moment which will forever mark such a remarkable and important transition in our relationship.
So many moments stand out beyond that very special one.  Lunch right after City Hall @ Cotogna - terrific rustic Northern Italian food and good wine.  A casual dinner across picnic tables @ Gotts in Napa to welcome our out-of-town guests on Friday night.  The entire experience at Bouchon - which in addition to the outrageous food and wine, was set apart by the exceptional team @ Bouchon and the warmth that radiated throughout the evening.  And the day after Bouchon, which was also Mother’s Day.  As a final, quintessentially-Californian experience for our out-of-town guests, we rented the Yountville Boche Ball courts and hired a local food truck, Marks the Spot, to serve up brunch.  That was great fun too!

Did you include any traditions in your wedding?

We didn’t really have any “traditional” traditions - which, given our whole approach to the wedding, didn’t surprise any of our guests.  We didn’t even have a wedding cake!

But Annie, my sister and matron of honor, tied a photograph of our father, John Heidersbach, to her bouquet when she got married.  At my request, she did the same for my bouquet.  That’s a stolen moment with my sister, and a shared memory of my Dad, that I’ll always treasure.

What was the best advice you received as a bride? What advice do you have for other brides?

The best advice - and one of the hardest things to stay true to throughout the process - is to not worry about pleasing anyone else but yourself.  I found this to be really difficult - because I am, by nature, a pleaser.  My orientation is generally outward - and, as my husband will tell you, I’m uncomfortable with the idea of being selfish.  But if there’s any day to be selfish (in a celebratory, not bridezilla, way), it’s your wedding.

The piece of advice I’d lend to other brides (and grooms) is to create a celebration that really reflects who you are as a couple - whatever that is - and to be fully present in that experience.  Don’t let the little dramas - and there will always be some - outshine anything else.  And, most of all, while weddings are wonderful milestones - make sure you spend as much time planning and investing in your marriage as you do your wedding.

Dress designer, shoes, Jewelry, Etc. Groom’s suit, Bridesmaids, etc.

On Friday @ City Hall & Cotogna:
· Bride’s dress and coat by Lily Sami, SF-based designer
· Bride’s shoes by Manolo Blahnik
· Bride’s jewelry – Mikimoto pearls “borrowed” from dear friend, Carla Himy
· Groom’s suit designed by Luigi Borrelli
· Groom’s shoes designed by Gravati
· Groom’s watch – his grandfather’s, Vacheron Constantin
On Saturday @ Bouchon:
· Bride’s dress by Lily Sami, SF-based designer
· Bride’s shoes by Jimmy Choo
· Groom’s suit designed by Sartorio
· Groom’s shoes designed by Stefano Bi

Wedding Vendors, Floral Designer, etc.

Flowers @ City Hall and Bouchon designed by In Water, San Francisco.
Guests in Napa stayed @ Avia Hotel
Friday night “welcome” @ Gotts in Oxbow Public Market
Sunday “send off” @ Yountville Bocce Ball Courts – brunch provided by one of Napa’s best food trucks, Marks The Spot
Music played during cocktail hour dinner @ Bouchon – a mix created by the groom!

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?

Joel’s wonderful photographs tell the story better than words possibly could!

  • kate Says:

    Oooohhh. Such lovely photos and what a phenomenal wedding. I love the ones in the gardens across the street from the French Laundry. My husband and I are total garden nerds and every time we go to Napa (not nearly enough but we live in Salt Lake) we walk around the garden getting inspiration. It is amazing.

  • tracie thomas Says:

    Fantastic . Beautiful . Done your way . A wonderful reflection of all the things you love. Congrats and Best wishes for a long and joyful life together.

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Michael + Amy
Antonette + Michael