Home » A Korean-Jewish Wedding With a Surprise Drag Show in San Francisco

A Korean-Jewish Wedding With a Surprise Drag Show in San Francisco

by Staff

Tim VanDeRiet and Robbie Rainin met in March 2011. Seven years later, the two got engaged in the most epic way: with a flash mob proposal. “After having brunch with two of our closest friends, we all walked toward the Bay Bridge. When we got to Rincon Park, one of Tim’s favorite songs started playing—‘Hideaway’ by Kiesza—and two ladies started dancing,” the couple shares. “More people joined out of nowhere, and we stopped to watch. Then, the song changed and it was Robbie’s favorite song, ‘Paris’ by The Chainsmokers. While he is holding his phone recording, he suddenly sees his parents come out and join the dancing—who at the time lived in New York. Then, [he sees] Tim’s parents and sister, [and] Robbie’s brother and sister in-law. Tim slowly walked toward the dancers and joined in himself.” At this point, Robbie realized what was going on. As the end of the song hit, everyone made two lines facing each other and Robbie walked down the aisle they’d formed. At the end of the row, Tim was down on one knee. 

Their wedding on May 14, 2022, had to be just as epic. They needed a spectacular venue for the vision they had in mind, a “Korean Jewish, fashion-forward gay wedding,” the couple shares. “Fairmont San Francisco one of most historic and prestigious hotels in San Francisco. It survived the famous 1906 earthquake, and is so beautiful in all its Beaux Arts architectural splendor.” Plus, they’d created special memories there. “Robbie’s mom would like to relax with us in the rooftop garden after a meal, and it’s where Robbie’s parents liked to stay every time they came to visit over the years,” the couple shares. “So, the hotel started having special sentiments for us.” 

The historic location set the perfect scene for their 150-person affair. Read on to see all the fabulous details, planned by Mandy Scott and photographed by Melisa Hall of Blue Note Weddings.

The grooms wore matching Fendi tuxedos with a subtle shimmer and Fendi Chelsea boots. However, they both accessorized in their own personal ways. Robbie prepped his skin with Botox and laser treatments leading up to the wedding, and donned a white feather bow tie and a platinum and diamond “R” lapel pin, gifted from his mother. Their rings are especially meaningful. “Our engagement rings belonged to Robbie’s late stepfather,” they say. “He wore two—one rose gold and one yellow gold. Robbie has the yellow gold, Tim has the rose gold, and we added diamonds.”

Tim’s white tuxedo shirt featured abalone shell buttons that shimmered blue, turquoise, and green. “This was to help match his real peacock feather bow tie and his boutonniere, that had pheasant and peacock feathers along with the flowers,” the couple says. “Tim always liked the peacock for its striking and flamboyant aesthetics while being a male bird.” He wore a “T” lapel pin from Robbie’s mother to match his groom.

It hit us that what we had been planning for over three years was actually happening.

At the first look, “Robbie got teary-eyed,” the couple recalls. “It was special because it was the first time we were with each other wearing the tuxedos outside of a fitting environment. With us looking our best, it hit us that what we had been planning for over three years was actually happening.”

The couple’s dog, Noona, served as flower girl—and even wore a miniature traditional Korean hanbok.

The outdoor ceremony took place in the hotel’s lovely rooftop garden. Despite Robbie being the Jewish groom, it was Tim who had special requests for the chuppah, the couple shares. “He wanted beads and teardrop-shaped crystals in the background and above us, and lots of green plants as opposed to an explosion of flowers.” As guests arrived, they were met with anything-but-ordinary ushers. “We had ‘glamazons’—women on platforms with long dresses to cover them up—wearing feathered headdresses,” the couple says. “They stood in certain areas directing the wedding guests to the rooftop garden.”

“We had two aisles and we walked with our parents—one on each arm—toward the attendees, as opposed to coming up from behind everyone down the middle,” the grooms share. Their siblings also made their way down the aisles. A live string trio began the procession with a classical Korean tune, “The River Flows in You” by Yiruma, then took up Lauv’s “I Like Me Better” as the grooms entered. 

Robbie and Tim followed a traditional ceremony as they were married by a rabbi. “We did not write vows, mostly due to having terrible stage fright,” the grooms admit. But, the ceremony was emotional all the same, until they recessed out joyously to “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz.

The dramatic design touches continued into cocktail hour. “We had cirque performers on a hoop and a contortionist,” the couple describes. “There was also a lady wearing a hanbok with a caged skirt, holding glasses of Champagne for guests.”

The couple fell in love with the hotel’s Gold Room, and the way its decor been kept up with but largely unchanged in its 100-year history. “Our linens were a champagne color; the chairs were a brushed gold that matched the metal in the centerpieces and we had uplights on pillars that displayed our logo, which was also lit on the dance floor,” they share of their reception design.

The grooms performed not one, but two first dances. It began traditional, with a slow dance to Kina Davis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Then, after the first course of dinner, the grooms snuck away to change clothes and returned with a flourish, performing fast-paced choreography to the K-Pop hit “Make It Right” by BTS featuring Lauv. “This was the hardest thing, because Robbie was never much of a dancer,” the couple shares. But, it was dream moment for Tim, and his groom was up for the challenge. 

After the newlyweds suited back up in their tuxedos, sans jackets, they sliced into a white wedding cake with a green geode cutout. Inside, the confection had a sweet mix of caramelized pear and chocolate raspberry cake, and peanut butter cake with chocolate ganache and cream. 

“There was a surprise drag show after dinner with three of our favorite locally famous entertainers: Mahlae Balenciaga, Carne Asada, and Bionka Simone,” the couple shares. “Dollar bills were provided in envelopes on the tables that said ‘do not open until instructed.’ Everyone was dying to know what was in the envelopes. When the show started, Mahlae, from outside the room, instructed everyone to open the envelope and then started the show. This was definitely a highlight.” The performance brought everyone to the floor and kicked off a dance party as epic as the initial dance that kicked it all off: Tim’s flash mob proposal. 

Post-wedding, the duo was invited to Fendi’s 2023 Spring/Summer Men’s fashion show in Milan,as an ode to their wedding tuxedos. They turned it into magical honeymoon, visiting Venice and Rome after their jaunt in Milan.

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