Art director and content creator Kendall Chase and private chef Katie Shea’s love story began on the dance floor. The year was 2010 and it was Ladies Night at Q Bar in San Francisco’s Castro District. Katie’s twin brother Kyle brought his friend (and fellow hip-hop dance team member) Kendall out with him for the night. “Katie assumed her brother brought a pack of straight girls with him,” the couple recount. “But the second that she found out Kendall was also gay and single, it was game on. A few gin and tonics later, we shared our first sloppy kiss under the disco ball.”
Kendall and Katie began dating and kept in touch over the years any way they could—sending letters to each other while Kendall studied abroad in Florence and doing long distance between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Eventually, the couple decided to move in together in the Castro District.
In July 2019, before taking off on another adventure moving into a home in Venice, California, the couple went on a trip through Europe. “While in Florence, Kendall decided it would be the perfect place to propose given their early history as a couple. We got engaged at Boboli Gardens,” share the pair. “Kendall chose this place because it was where she used to write letters to Katie all those years ago.”
Katie said yes, but knew she would also want to propose as well. “We both wanted our moment,” they add. So, on a trip to San Francisco in March 2020, Katie rented the marquee of the Castro Theater so it read “Kendall Chase will you marry me?” The couple explains, “The Castro is where we fell in love, spent our twenties, marched for gay rights, lived in our first place together, and did a lot of dancing. The Castro Theatre is iconic and Katie wanted Kendall to have the same beautiful feeling of being proposed to.”
Katie and Kendall set a date to get married at El Dorado Golf & Beach Club in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on October 2, 2021. “Cabo is our main vacation spot and we always knew we wanted to have our wedding there because of how gorgeous the venues were and, more importantly, the lack of curfew,” the brides share.
Their goal for the wedding? “We wanted to throw one hell of a party,” Katie and Kendall explain. “The people that know us and know our love, know that we like to have a good time. Having elements of surprise and wow factors throughout the day was a necessity. But, we also wanted to balance the humor and madness, with beauty and romance. This is a reflection on us as a couple, madly in love but never without laughs.”
“Being a gay couple getting married, you already don’t fit the normal recipe so we felt like this was our opportunity to really put some flair into traditional wedding practices, to not make the day so stuffy and boring,” share the couple. So, they worked with “three absolute badass women” Patricia Armenta, Marcela Chavez Mejia, and Michelle Felix of El Dorado’s event planning team to make their multi-day event come to life. “Our team really got to know us as individuals and know our love, which we all attribute to the success of the wedding,” the brides add.
Of course, Katie and Kendall definitely wanted to put their own signature touch to every element as well. “We are extremely detail-oriented people with design backgrounds and also love to throw a party,” they share. “We were very involved. Our planners said they’ve never worked with a couple more involved in every little detail, and we joked it was because they’ve never had two brides.”
From the welcome cocktail party to the beach ceremony (with a dance number surprise) to the stunning reception, the four-day wedding weekend clearly was an epic celebration Katie and Kendall’s love. Ahead, get a peek into the beautiful event planned by Patricia Armenta of El Dorado Golf & Beach Club and photographed by Paige Jones and Ximena Zermeno.
The brides informed guests of the four days of events with beautiful customized invitations from Minted in their wedding’s sage palette. On Thursday, they hosted a small rehearsal dinner for the bridal party and their immediate families. Then on Friday, Kendall and Katie threw a “Welcome to Mexico” cocktail party with colorful décor, custom papel picado, and street taco food stations. Saturday was the big day, while “Sunday was a wild pool party ‘brunch’ bringing back the DJ from the afterparty and introducing a voguing catwalk runway,” add the brides.
Kendall and Katie each spent the morning of their wedding getting ready with their own bridal parties. The brides gave them robes as gifts for that fit each of their personal styles. While they made sure to celebrate with their friends, the couple did face a slight hiccup. “We woke up to lots of rain the day of our ceremony,” they share. “We honestly thought our wedding would be canceled. It caused a bit of panic you could say but we were able to postpone the wedding a few hours until the skies cleared up.”
With her own design-focused Instagram and blog, fashion was a big part of the day for Kendall. “You’ve really got to listen to yourself and remember who you are, when picking the right dress,” she advises other brides. “That is what will make your dress timeless. Also, you can wear white dresses all weekend! Use that opportunity to your advantage and style your other looks in different aesthetics and silhouettes to make all your wedding dream looks come true.”
For her first look, Kendall chose a stunning Claire Pettibone gown with a plunging neckline, a fitted waist, and a dramatic sweep train. “My dress was designed and made in L.A., consisting of layers upon layers of delicate tulle and lace,” she notes. “It had a little of everything. All the ideas about what I ‘thought’ my dress would be growing up, and what I actually needed and wanted it to be in 2021, sort of culminated in this dress. It had a princess feel without being too big and poofy, and a lace-y feel without being too boho. And, it really matched the beach wedding vibe.”
“What I really loved was the back of the dress which was completely custom. I had fallen in love with the back of another Claire dress and had her swap it with the back that came on mine,” shares Kendall. “It was an effortless swap because it turns out that the lace pattern of the back that I wanted was in fact the exact same lace pattern as the train of the dress I was getting. This was totally one of those ‘meant to be’ dress moments and I was over the moon with how it all turned out.”
The stunning Claire Pettibone veil also was another custom feature of her wedding day look. In fact, she chose it before she picked out her dress. “Once I laid eyes on that flower-adorned veil, I knew it was the something ‘extra’ I was looking for,” Kendall says. “It was originally a cape that I had Claire turn into a veil for a dramatic statement piece. It was truly magnificent and incredible to see under the sunlight.”
For jewelry, Kendall borrowed vintage flower earrings from her mom and donned a floral, diamond hair piece from Twigs & Honey by Myra Callan when she took off her veil later in the night. She also wore Jacquemus off-white heeled sandals. “I just love this designer and was hoping to weave him into at least one of my wedding looks,” she says. “The shoes I chose because they were ‘low maintenance’ with a low kitten heel, perfect for a beach wedding and future vacations to come.”
For her beauty look, Kendall says, “I just wanted to look like the most beautiful version of myself, but still being myself.” The team from Piel Canela helped her create a soft, but dramatic makeup look and an updo with “movement and layers, like the ocean.” She finished with a spritz of Gucci’s Flora fragrance.
According to Katie, her beauty prep required “a million eye masks and an extremely talented makeup artist.” She notes, “I wasn’t sleeping well for about two months prior to the wedding. The stress of planning it all was too much and my brain would not turn off. That being said, the bags under my eyes the morning of the wedding were actually insane. When I first saw Juan, our makeup artist, he looked at me and said, ‘Girl, I told you to sleep.’ Luckily, he gave me a facial, worked his magic, and it was less apparent I was running on two hours of sleep day-of.”
For her hair, Katie was inspired by a photo of Cara Delevingne featuring her hair loosely curled and flipped over to one side, with a braid along the side. “It was elegant and badass, and I was hellbent on making it my wedding hair,” she shares. For her fragrance? “I chose my go-to romantic scent, a man’s deodorant,” she says with a laugh. “Old Spice Fuji, to be exact.”
The “elegant badass” vibes also translated to her ceremony look, which Katie had designed by William Anzevino and Kelsea Langley of The Site. “I was very lucky and had the massive privilege of having a custom outfit designed by my good friends. They took my desires, worked around my insecurities, and created an outfit for me that made me feel so beautiful,” she shares. “Never been a dress girl, so we wanted to find a way to create a pant look that was still very feminine, bridal, and elegant.” The final look featured a feminine bustier and cummerbund combo with cropped trousers and a tailored jacket.
As a fun and colorful touch, Katie donned gold square-toe boots from Marni. “These boots were originally almost knee high, so they were altered by the designer Kelsea Langley to be shorter for the wedding look,” she adds.
Once you get to the actual day, there is nothing more you can control. So go with the waves and enjoy yourselves.
Before heading to the beach for the ceremony, the brides decided to do a first look to come together and celebrate all their hard work and planning paying off. “We are both control freaks and because we wanted a say in every detail, had trouble letting others take work off our plates,” they note. However, they stayed close through it all. “We rarely disagreed, or got into fights. We have similar creative brains and had the same vision for our wedding. It might have been a lot of work but it was also a lot of fun.”
“Once you get to the actual day, there is nothing more you can control,” the pair add. “So go with the waves and enjoy yourselves.”
The couple’s wedding party was a sea of sage in a variety of outfits of their own choosing. “We wanted our bridal party to be able to feel like the best version of themselves and really love what they were wearing—ideally to be able to wear it afterwards too! So we opted to give them a designated color—sage green—and then let them pick an outfit that fit their personal style, body type, and price point,” Katie and Kendall explain. “But, we love that we ended up with a variety. Not every sage was the exact same and that made for a really nice ocean inspired color palette.”
“One of the first things we knew about the wedding is that we wanted our guests to have a lot of different experiences in different environments,” share the brides. “First, guests were shuttled to the ceremony site and enjoyed a beautiful beach walk with an Aperol Spritz in hand until they entered into our cove.”
Instead of hosting the ceremony at their reception venue, the couple found a beachfront spot that felt like perfect fit. “On one of our trips to Cabo after getting engaged, we stumbled upon this little beach cove with an old wooden staircase leading from the cliff down to the sand, and knew instantly it was the entrance we’ve always dreamt of,” they share.
The brides wanted to have their ceremony décor highlight the natural beauty of the landscape. “We had flowers coming out of the sand, wood benches that were different in size to avoid looking church-like, rustic patate rugs for the aisle, and a beautiful circle altar symbolizing our forever love,” they add.
Katie’s three-year-old niece, Ridley, performed flower girl duties for the day. “Apparently, she was reluctant to drop any flowers on the aisle because she wanted to keep them all,” note the brides. “Her dad made her go back down the aisle and complete her job. As soon as the wedding started, she got up out of her seat and started picking up the flowers again”
Katie and Kendall each had their fathers walk them down the aisle. “They waited at the foot of the stairs so that we walked the first bit down the stairs alone, and then met them arm in arm to walk down the aisle together,” they explain.
For music, the brides had a solo guitarist Roy Goldschmidt play during the ceremony, beginning with “Underneath it All” by No Doubt without lyrics for the bridal party. “Roy sang the chorus as Katie walked down the aisle,” the couple share. “There was a pause, then Roy played a rendition of “Hang With Me” by Robyn with no lyrics as Kendall walked down the aisle. This song was playing in Q Bar the night we met and quickly became ‘the song’ of our first few years together.”
The couple each wrote their own vows for the ceremony, which was officiated by their best friend Emily Resnick. “We didn’t have any special readings but the officiant did fake out the crowd telling everyone, ‘And now a reading from the Bride’s favorite passage of the bible….. Just kidding.’ People looked very confused at first, then had a lot of laughs because this was not a religious crowd,” they recall.
While rain might have postponed the wedding slightly, it did set the scene for a truly remarkable moment. “A rainbow appeared behind us during our vows, a gift from the gay gods you could say! Katie’s twin brother Kyle shouted ‘Rainbow!’ amid Katie’s vows,” the brides share. “We had to stop and laugh for a moment. Katie forgave her brother over the microphone for interrupting her mid-vow because the reward of seeing the rainbow was just too good to be true.”
“After that, the sky lit up in pinks, purples, and oranges,” reminisce Katie and Kendall. “It was the most beautiful sunset we had ever seen in Cabo. It was truly magical.” That beautiful sky was also the perfect backdrop for the epic surprise dance number to come.
Katie Shea and Kendall Chase’s Real Wedding Video
“We knew from the start of the wedding planning process that we wanted a dance moment with our bridal party to Madonna’s ‘Like a Prayer.’ It’s one of our favorite songs of all time and both of us were always obsessed with Madonna’s live performance of the song during her Blond Ambition World Tour, in Paris 1990,” explain the brides.
“The idea of ‘nuns on the beach’ was just too funny not to take place. As soon as we started to walk down the aisle away from the altar, while everyone’s eyes were on us, the bridal party changed into their nun outfits,” they share. “Katie’s twin brother and Man of Honor choreographed the dance, pulling lots of inspiration from that Paris live performance. The bridal party learned it during the bachelorette party, practiced one time over Zoom and then polished it off before our rehearsal dinner.”
“The dance was also created to have multiple shock factors,” explain Katie and Kendall. “At first, it would seem that we had no clue this was planned, looking shocked as the officiant began to sing and the nuns began the routine. When the chorus began, Katie ran down the aisle lip syncing the song to Kendall, making it seem like Kendall was the only one not in the loop. Then, Kendall was lifted up into the air and that was the big moment that everyone then knew wasn’t a surprise for the brides it was a surprise for our guests.”
“We are also obsessed with the show Schitt’s Creek and Catherine O’Hara’s character Moira Rose,” they explain. “We recreated a version of Moira’s wig and pope hat combo for our officiant to put on for the dance.”
Seeing the final frame of the nuns on the stairs against the sunset backdrop as we exit the ceremony venue was the cherry on top to the ceremony of our dreams.
“Seeing the final frame of the nuns on the stairs, against the sunset backdrop, as we exit the ceremony venue was the cherry on top to the ceremony of our dreams,” they share. “We can’t thank Kyle and our bridal party enough for making our dreams come true with this epic and unforgettable wedding moment. Everyone put their heart in it for us and it shows through everyone’s beaming smiles during the routine.”
After the dance number, the couple road off into the sunset. “We DIY’d our ‘Just Married’ car (or should we say cart) to drive away in, after the ceremony,” Katie and Kendall say. “We covered a golf cart in white everything: fabric, fringe, and balloons. Along with four rainbow flags on each corner, a ‘Just Married’ placard on the front, and Corona cans clanking in the back, it was hilarious.”
After cocktail hour, wedding guests were transported to El Dorado Golf & Beach Club for the reception. With 11 years together under their belts, the couple had lots of stories to share. So, they incorporated their narrative into their reception décor with a very personalized seating chart.
“We had 11 tables at the wedding, one for each year we’ve been together, and so each table got assigned a year with a personal story and matching photo to go along with it,” share the couple. “This was a massive undertaking because we had to dig through the archives and find old photos of us to match these hilarious anecdotes from our past. But, it was quite the reward because we will have these printed memories forever and it also gave the guests something to learn about us at the table.”
The reception décor kept to their theme of rustic meets natural—with the addition of disco balls. “We started with an empty lot and built everything from the ground up,” share the brides. “Lighting was a huge factor as well. We had dim romantic lighting during dinner, then blues, purples, and pinks for the party. We even lit up the greenery surrounding the space to give it a Tulum jungle-party vibe.”
“We named all the bars at our reception Q Bar, after the bar where we first met in the Castro of San Francisco,” share the couple. “We had custom names for all of our cocktails based off songs we love by some of our favorite gay pop icons, which included Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Lady Gaga, and Robyn. For example, ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ was a tamarind mezcalito and ‘Call Your Girlfriend’ was a fresh watermelon margarita.”
Another fun touch to the bar setup? A stationary bike that guests could ride to blend up their own margaritas.
“We always thought we would have a big live band all night long but when it came down to it we landed on two smaller local bands and then a DJ to get the party going,” share the brides. “For our dinner band, we went with a talented local group called Doowap. They have a very sexy sound and lead female vocalist, which was perfect for the vibe we wanted during dinner.”
“We also had the very talented saxophone player, Tibu Santillanes,” the couple adds. “He started the party by playing over some songs to help get people to their tables. He also played behind us as we made our dinner entrance to the song ‘Finally’ by CeCe Peniston.”
For dessert, the couple served up donuts, Kendall’s favorite food, and mini milkshakes with cookie dippers. As for the cake, the two-tier designed featured both of the brides’ favorite flavors. “We did chocolate cake with peanut butter icing for Katie on the bottom and banana cake with Vanilla icing on top for Kendall,” they explain. “The flavors combined exceptionally!”
Katie and Kendall decided to have more than one surprise dance moment during their wedding. For their first dance, they decided to do a fake out “We started with the band playing ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love With You,’ but after the first chorus, the DJ took over and we broke out into a full routine to ‘Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel’ by Tavares,” they share. “Towards the end of the routine, three of the boys in our bridal party joined in and confetti cannons went off at the very end.”
Even the brides’ dads got in on the fun during the father-daughter dance to “Your Song” by Elton John. “This was a very special moment because we started off dancing with our dads, then we switched dads,” the brides share. “Then, our dads ditched us and started slow dancing together. It all happened on the fly and was hilarious.”
One of the most special moments of the night for Katie and Kendall is when fireworks went off. “The DJ started blasting the song “Born this Way” by Lady Gaga and the night sky started to party. The entire crowd started cheering and singing along,” they recall. “That was a very special moment, because the song is a gay anthem and is about being proud of who you are. We had been dating long before same-sex marriage was even legal, so to be able to finally get married and create such a fabulous wedding with hints of pride all around was very special to us.”
As the party really got started, the brides knew it was time to put on their dancing shoes. “Being the fashionista that I am, I thought I was going to have a million outfit changes but when it came down to it, I realized this was my only chance ever to wear my gorgeous gown. So, I decided to stay in it as long as possible,” shares Kendall. “I made my first outfit change after midnight when the dance party was unstoppable and I feared for my delicate lace dress. I changed into a white fringe Halston dress and white go-go boots to completely change the style from romantic beach boho to disco-party chic.”
Katie also got down in a brand new set. “The designers who made my wedding outfit also created my second look,” she shares. “I wore custom shorts and a muscle tee made out of gold rectangular paillettes, and all-white Prada combat boots—a dream outfit for a queeny lesbian like myself. The idea behind this look was that it was in some ways a reverse of my wedding outfit.”
However, the party wasn’t over just yet. “The last ones standing shuttled back to our house for the after-party which began around 2 am and ended at sunrise,” share the brides. “There was raging house music, a fog machine, a laser-light filled dance floor, wigs, sequins, and a pink-lit pool. Most importantly, our best friend and a DJ in Berlin, Tahl, threw down the most magical selection of dance music we could have dreamed of.”
The outfit changes weren’t finished for the night, either. “When we got back to the house for the after-party, I made outfit-change number two—a silver sequin Saint Laurent dress and a rainbow wig I had acquired during our bachelorette party in New Orleans,” says Kendall. “I couldn’t let Katie be the only one with sequins at the wedding!”
The brides’ advice for anyone planning a wedding? Don’t hold back to achieve your vision. “Splurge—you won’t regret having more but will regret having less,” they share. “Also, it all goes by so fast. Take a second to step away from the crowd and take it all in together.”