This was my first wedding at the cozy Haas-Lilienthal house in San Francisco, but I hope not my last, because I am officially in love with this space. It’s not the easiest space to shoot in – dark wood walls, nothing to bounce flash off, and little natural light. Especially during the lower-light months like February, when this bash took place.
But it’s precisely these factors that give the intimate space a feel that’s both tinged with gothic and also feels just like being at home, surrounded by a full house of loved ones.
Not all photographers know what to do with the constraints of small, dark rooms but when you get it right, it really shines (so to speak).
I’m proud to showcase just a small selection of images from this fabulous yet relaxed day with a mix of film and digital photographs.
Table of Contents
About Susan & Ivan’s wedding
These two have the most unique meet-cute I’ve ever heard.
Ivan taught Susan how to turn blood cells into stem cells. Susan reprogrammed Ivan’s white blood cells. For context, they were working together at a biobank at Stanford University.
They became friends and got into pub quizzes, wine tasting and one time went to the midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Show in Menlo Park.
The couple moved in together after a month of dating and their February wedding date marked five years together.
Susan loves art history (the couple went to the DeYoung for their first official date!) and they both adore Victorian architecture so this venue was so right for them.
Though it’s now a museum, it retains that feeling of being a family home, filled with love and stories which really spoke to Susan. She told me, “You can feel the warmth and love of the generations that lived there – and warmth and love are what we feel a wedding should be about.”
The wedding included just over 30 guests, which is the perfect number for “keeping it small without limiting it to family only”, in the bride’s words.
The couple oozed effortless style and class throughout their day and were the epitome of cool.
For their photography, they wanted that which captures the feeling of the day as it unfolds and they saw that in our work.
Using the Haas-Lilienthal House for this wedding
The Haas-Lilienthal House, a grand Victorian-era building in San Francisco, offers a unique and elegant setting for weddings. Built in 1886 and offering 11,500 square feet to play with, it is timeless yet reflects the pioneer spirit of San Francisco.
Featuring Queen Anne-style architecture, this historic venue has a dining room, parlor rooms, a ballroom, and a courtyard. It can host up to 90 guests for sit-down dinners.
This couple finished up getting ready in separate rooms in the upstairs of the property (which is limited to the marrying couple and their party only). Susan took the larger room which has the most charming en suite bathroom (it’s literally the only bathroom I’ve ever requested romantics in).
Susan told me before she booked that she wanted to use the bay window on the ground floor for the first look. Due to having their bar set up there, we switched the first look location to the equally delightful Parlor Room, which was also the spot for their ceremony.
Two of the couple’s best friends, another couple, performed a bilingual Spanish-English ceremony in the Parlor Room.
The wedding was all about what Susan and Ivan love, so they had Indian food for dinner, Italian cake for dessert, and salsa for the reception.
Dinner was served in the lower-level ballroom.
We couldn’t resist stepping out into the Courtyard, which yielded my favorite romantic shots of the wedding.
Other notable moments were the quiet moments and slow start to the day before everything kicked off; having pre-cut cake slices ready at cake-cutting in the ground floor Dinner Area which created a beautiful spread; cigars with the boys; and Susan’s amazing dresses (including a change at the end of the night – that was due to happen after I’d left but I’m glad I stuck around for a bit longer because my goodness, it was a show-stopper!
A combination of stately elegance and old-world charm, the house is a warm, cozy and intimate space. I would highly recommend it from a photography perspective.
The Haas-Lilienthal House makes a unique and interesting wedding venue, with all those delightful spaces for guests to spread out in and enjoy.
Photography: Zoe Larkin Photography
Venue: Haas Lilienthal House
Catering, floral design & rentals: La Bonne Cuisine
HMUA: Urban Beauty Loft
Dress: Cortana via Wild Bride
Evening look: Mercy Vintage via The Vintage Jesus
Suit: Smith Palestro
Bride shoes: Malone Souliers
Rings: Geoffrey’s Diamonds and Jennie Kwon Designs via No 3
Invitations: Paper Source
Sweet: La Biscotteria
DJ: DJ Vetz
Video: Last Light Pictures
Photos from Haas-Lilienthal House wedding
About Zoe Larkin Photography
Looking for a San Francisco wedding photographer? You can learn more about our services at the links below:
There’s me and there’s also a team of excellent associate photographers. Hoping I’ll be back at Haas-Lilienthal House soon, shooting your lovely wedding!