San Francisco City Hall Wedding | Chris & Kelsey

September 9, 2022

Love Stories, Personal

My Brother Got Married!

I’m a little late in posting this blog as this wedding happened on March 8, 2022 (Yes, that’s international women’s day!). Better late than never.

Friends, my sweet brother Christopher finally tied the knot. Chris and Kelsey met a few years ago in Huston, Texas when Chris transferred to the city for work. These two are a product of modern matchmaking. Aka, hinge, or tinder? Honestly, I can’t remember. 

I remember the first photo I saw of Kelsey – mostly because my mom has it printed and framed in her house. Actually, now that I think about it, my mom had it framed almost immediately after they started dating. Maybe she knew Kelsey was the one? Or maybe she just loves her kids a lot, who knows. 

Regardless, Chris did not send me this photo. Chris sent it to my mom, as a cute “look at the girl I’m dating”. In which my mom then sent it to me with a text like, “Look at Chris’ beautiful new girlfriend”. Which I immediately texted my brother with the same photo saying, “What the heck, why didn’t you tell me you were dating someone?”

If that text chain doesn’t scream that I’m the baby of the family, I don’t know what will. 

Of course, after he responded to me, I demanded I meet her ASAP. They flew out to California for Christmas and I finally got to meet the lovely Kelsey. My mom instantly loved her because, upon arrival at the house, Kelsey got down on the floor and played with my mom’s dogs. I loved her because she drank a beer with me and helped me make fun of my brother.

Our family vacation where my brother spilled the beans 

Chris and Kelsey lived together through the pandemic and because of COVID, family visits were very limited. As a family, we did lots of facetime calls to keep in touch and check-in. But it was quite some time until we were reunited. 

One of the first family vacations we took post-pandemic was to Pinecrest lake in 2021 to celebrate my parent’s 50th anniversary. Kelsey was in Canada with her family at the time and couldn’t join, so I got a full weekend to grill my brother on his relationship with Kelsey and what their future plans were. Again, as a little sister – I’m allowed to be annoying, regardless of what my husband says. 

On this trip is when Chris told me he wanted to marry Kelsey. One thing about my brother is he is a thinker, he is a planner, (even if he says he’s go-with-the-flow), he likes the details and logistics. So right there at the lake, I got all the details of their plans of getting married and starting their lives together.

Just a casual, “I’m getting married”

Fast forward to October 2021, Chris has just moved back from Texas to San Francisco and was renting a great little spot near the mission district. On his move-in weekend, I decided to swing by and check out the place. At this time, Kelsey was in Canada and the two of them were doing long distance so it really was just the two of us hanging out. 

Halfway through my visit, after we were chit chatting about life, work, mom and dad – literally an hour into me being there,  Chris says, “Hey, so Kelsey and I are going to get married at City Hall in March, would you take some photos?”

Why are men so freaking casual? Why are my brothers so nonchalant about big moments? Why did it take you over an hour to share this info? Why wouldn’t you lead with this news? Why would you bury the lede?

As a normal reaction, I freaked out with excitement and couldn’t wait. He then proceeded to tell me that they wanted this to be super small and relaxed. Oh and here’s the fun part, they did want mom and dad to feel stressed about it so they wanted to tell them after they got married. 

One thing about me is if I love you and you tell me fabulous news, I’m going to tell my mom, my husband, and best friends. No, it’s not a small circle, no I am not a good secret keeper, and yes this was truly the hardest secret I’ve ever had to keep. Why am I like this, I dunno? I just love celebrations and I wanted everyone to get in on the happiness – is that so bad?

Then they got married! 

I can go on about the details of planning and how I barely called my mom because I was afraid to spill the beans. I truly only texted her for months out of fear of being the weakest link. 

And then their wedding day came and it was magnificent. Kelsey got ready at the apartment with Chris. She had her hair and makeup done, I steamed her jumpsuit and Chris packed a cooler with champagne and beer to celebrate. 

Another fun fact, Christopher’s ring came in time but Kelsey’s ring was accidentally shipped to their old home in Texas! So for her ceremony, she actually got married with my wedding band! 

We arrived at San Francisco City Hall at 4:00 PM and got lucky with an officiant who brought us to the fourth floor for their ceremony. Their quick five-minute ceremony was exactly what they wanted. Afterward, we took photos throughout city hall and then headed to Crissy Field to get some fun champagne shots at the pier and near the bridge. 

I am so honored to have been their witness and take photos for them. During their ceremony, it was just me crying behind the camera trying to not miss the shot. 

Here are some photos from their day, keep scrolling to hear about my parent’s reaction.

Bride and groom at San Francisco court house wedding
Bride and groom wedding ceremony at the courthouse
Bride holding bouquet
Bride standing with bouquet in black and white
Bride and groom standing in the San Francisco court house
Married couple celebrating with champagne on the beach in San Francisco.

Surprise, Mom + Dad!

So the two love birds get married, then they took off to wine country for a small honeymoon. Before they left, they had asked my parents to host a little BBQ at their house under the premise that Kelsey was in town! (Since they are still long distance at this point). 

Of course, my parents were excited to see them and were happy to have us all over for dinner. To help surprise mom and dad, I printed and framed two photos from their day so they could give it to them and they brought a little wedding cake to enjoy. 

Chris and Kelsey arrived and we all made small chat. Then my brother literally stopped us and said,  “Kelsey and I have some news!” pause for excitement, “We got married!”

My mom’s face went from happy to confused, to shocked to happy again. I think she responded with, “Are you kidding, wait what – is this a joke?” then she looked straight at me and said, “You knew, didn’t you!”

I smiled and just handed her the photos of the day and she was beside herself. They were so happy to have Kelsey as a daughter-in-law and excited for my brother. 

Not a dramatic ending, but a happy one. Photos of the day they told my mom:

Surprising mom that couple was getting married
Couple celebrating engagement by bride feeding the groom cake

Cheers to my favorite middle brother and my new sister-in-law, I love you both.

Hey, I'm Shannon

I'm a lifetime photographer that documents your milestones - from weddings to motherhood & all the moments in-between.

I'm based in Pleasanton, California where I live with my husband, our pup and way too many house plants.