Category Archives: Wedding


Our Wedding: The Ceremony, Part II

July 12, 2012

With all the details that go into planning a wedding, it can be easy to forget what the day is actually about: the marriage of two people.  KC and I had both been to weddings where it seemed that so much of the focus was on getting to the reception, that the ceremony almost felt like an afterthought.  We had discussed what we wanted for our own ceremony; and while we wanted to keep the ceremony somewhat brief, we wanted it to still be personal and meaningful.

Planning a wedding ceremony can seem like a daunting task, in that many people may feel that it can be overly serious, or even too personal.  Expressing your deepest feelings for the person that you love in front of your nearest and dearest may not be your cup of tea, but don’t let this deter you from putting some thought, time and energy into crafting your ceremony, as it’s likely to be one of the most memorable parts of your day.

KC and I are not the type to gush over our feelings for each other in public, so navigating the ceremony was a bit tricky at times.  We found, though, that through some careful crafting, we could make the ceremony meaningful, weighty, and still very personal, while avoiding the things which we were uncomfortable with.

Here’s a little breakdown of what we chose and why:

Music: To start, we asked my uncle to play the piano for our processional, and chose songs which were meaningful to our relationship.  While “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” and “Chasing Cars” may not be typical wedding-fare, they’re songs which mean something to us and actually sounded beautiful when instrumentalized on the piano.  In fact, at the rehearsal the night before, my uncle was a bit late, so we had been running the ceremony sans-music until he arrived.  Up to this point, everyone had been laughing and joking while practicing the procession and figuring out spacing.  We all lined up to start again when my uncle arrived, and then the music began.  Suddenly the entire mood changed — no one was talking or joking, and the emotion of the room was palpable.  I took a deep breath and found myself tearing up as I readied myself to walk in, then was met with the misty eyes of parents and the bridal party as I made my way down the makeshift aisle.  While there’s plenty of other songs which would have been beautiful for our processional, the two that we chose made the ceremony that much more personal and meaningful for us; and having them played by someone we loved simply added to the importance.

Readings: When choosing readings for our ceremony, we found that picking one reading was fairly easy, but choosing the other was not.  I had found “LOVE” by Roy Croft early on, and liked the message of loving someone for who they are, faults and all, and helping them better themselves simply by loving them.  This was an easy choice for KC’s sister to read, so we’d had this set months before our actual wedding day.  Picking the reading for my brother to do, however, wasn’t quite as simple.  We went back and forth over readings, trading poems, quotes, excerpts from novels, you name it.  Nothing seemed quite right.  Finally, on Thanksgiving day (yes, less than a month before our actual wedding day), we decided to walk to a nearby coffee shop before heading off to family obligations to hash things out.  We sat in front of a rainy window at Peet’s, passing cell phones back and forth, reading passages we’d found online.  We found the Ogden Nash quote first, and while I didn’t want our ceremony to be “funny” (as I felt like sometimes people insert humor into their ceremony as a way of relieving some of the tension of it being such a serious occasion), I thought the message was very apt for our relationship, given that KC and I thrive a bit on stubbornness and a quick remark.  KC then came across the Mr. Rogers reading, “I Like You.”  I was a little worried that people would think it was a bit silly and childish, but we chose it anyway, because those three little words had such a big significance early-on in our relationship.  Also, it echoed the message that I wanted to convey throughout the whole ceremony: I love you for you — not because of what you do, what you wear, or what you’ve done — I love you for who you have been, who you are, and who you’re going to be.

 Wine Box Ceremony: Given that our ceremony was non-religious, I knew that it would be fairly short; and while I wanted to keep things brief, I wanted to give adequate time and attention to what I felt was the most important part of the day — the part where we actually got married.  I started searching for non-religious ceremonies that we could perform, but wasn’t really taken with anything until I came across the wine box ceremony.  In the traditional wine box ceremony, the bride and groom place a bottle of wine into a box, along with letters to each other.  They then seal the box with a hammer and nails, and it is to be opened on a specified later date (an anniversary), or in the event that the marriage hits a rough patch before then.  (The idea being that you drink the wine together and read the letters about why you fell in love and married each other before taking any drastic measures.)

I liked this idea because both KC and I had agreed that we were not comfortable writing our own vows and performing them in front of everyone (like I said before, we’re not great at expressing emotion in front of others).  The wine box ceremony allowed us to write vows to each other, in a sense, without having the pressure of proclaiming these personal thoughts aloud, in front of 170 people + catering staff.  We opted not to seal the wine box with a hammer and nails (because we felt it would be a bit awkward, not to mention our $20 wine box likely would have crumbled under the weight of a hammer), so instead, we asked our parents to write a letter to us to include in the box as well, and had our mothers come up and close the box at the ceremony, after including their letters.  I liked that this showed the unity of our two families, as family had been an important part of our individual lives, and continues to be a priority in our marriage.

Vows: I spent a lot of time researching traditional vows and ring vows; and after much discussion with KC on the subject, we determined that we wanted to have traditional intent vows (where you answer “I do”) and ring vows which we would repeat during the exchange of the rings.  I spent the majority of the time crafting the ring vows, pulling together bits and pieces of things I had found scouring the internet.  Though it was just a mere couple of sentences, I loved the short and simple message that, with the exchange of rings, we were pledging love and faithfulness to each other in our new roles as husband and wife, and joining our lives in marriage.

While I don’t know how the ceremony came across to those not directly involved in our day, I felt like our ceremony was innately personal and very “us.”  I loved that each part reflected us as a couple, and the showed the values which we hold close in our relationship.

Finally, ending the somber ceremony was the recessional, set to “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall and Oates, a song we’ve loved for ages.  I wanted to end the ceremony with something upbeat, as the wedding was meant to be a celebration, after all!  Looking out at the sea of smiling and cheering family and friends as we made our way back down the aisle was the perfect cap to the ceremony, and perfect beginning to the reception.

Post on that coming up tomorrow!


Our Wedding: The Ceremony, Part I

July 11, 2012

When planning our wedding ceremony, I thought it was interesting (and a little annoying) that there were hardly any road-maps of people’s actual wedding ceremonies on the internet.  I’m always quite curious to see how people craft their wedding ceremony, noting the readings they choose to use, the vows they opt to exchange, etc.  With that said, I decided to post our actual wedding ceremony script, omitting the remarks made by the Judge who married us (as that wasn’t provided to us in writing beforehand).  If you’re planning your own wedding, I hope that this might be at least a little helpful!

A quick overview of our actual wedding ceremony.  Notes and thoughts to come tomorrow:



played on the piano

“The Holly and the Ivy” by George Winston

Junior Bridesmaids enter and set up altar

Groom Enters

Seating of Parents

“I Will Follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie (original)

Bridesmaid/Groomsmen Processional

“Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol (original)

Bride & Father enter

Intro by Judge

Quote and Readings

“To keep your marriage brimming, With love in the loving cup, Whenever you’re wrong, admit it; Whenever you’re right, shut up.”  — Ogden Nash

I Like You by Mr. Rogers

It’s you I like, It’s not the things you wear. It’s not the way you do your hair, But it’s you I like. The way you are right now.  The way down deep inside you.  Not the things that hide you. Not your diplomas… They’re just beside you. But it’s you I like, Every part of you: your skin, your eyes, your feelings, whether old or new. I hope that you’ll remember even when you’re feeling blue, that it’s you I like, it’s you yourself, it’s you. It’s you I like!

 LOVE by Roy Croft

I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.

I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.

I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple;
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.

I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good,
And more than any fate
To make me happy.

You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.

Wine Box Ceremony:

Judge introduces the concept of the wine box ceremony.  Chelsea and KC place their letters in the box, followed by their mothers, who place their letters in the box and then seal it shut.

Intro to vows

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment.

At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way.

All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks – all those sentences that began with ”When we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will” – those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart.

All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.”

Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover and even teacher. For you have learned much from one another in these last few years.

Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this is my husband, this is my wife.


KC, do you take Chelsea to be your wife; to live together in the covenant of marriage? Do you promise to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?

I do.

Chelsea do you take KC to be your husband; to live together in the covenant of marriage? Do you promise to love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?

I do.



Chelsea, I give you this ring as a token of my love and faithfulness. I pledge to you all that I am and all that I will ever be as your husband.  With this ring, I marry you and join my life to yours.


KC, I give you this ring as a token of my love and faithfulness.  I pledge to you all that I am and all that I will ever be as your wife.  With this ring, I marry you and join my life to yours.

Announcement of Husband and Wife & The Kiss

“You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall and Oates

played by the DJ



Our Wedding: Getting Ready and Wedding Day Looks

July 10, 2012

For our wedding day, I wanted to keep the look of the wedding party simple and seasonally-appropriate (since it was December).  When deciding on my own look for our wedding day, my main goal was simple: to look like myself.

You’ve probably been to or seen photos of weddings where the bride is suddenly dramatically thinner, or wearing a dress which seems entirely out of character with her general style, or made up to the point where she’s beyond being recognizable.  Obviously, I wasn’t just going to throw my hair into a ponytail, slap on some lip gloss and call it a day; but I did craft my wedding look with an eye on keeping things looking like “me.”

I had my hair done, but did my own makeup.  My bridesmaids chose to do the same, so we were all able to meet in the morning at the hair salon, then reconvene at the hotel for doing makeup and getting dressed.

Everyone lent a hand to get through tricky things like liquid eyeliner, false lashes, and getting sashes tied just so.

The boys had rented tuxes from Men’s Wearhouse, and I believe were ready in a matter of minutes.

Back in the girl’s suite, everyone put the finishing touches on their look as I gathered all the pieces for my look.

I had purchased some accessories to go with my dress, and decided just a few days before that I wanted to simplify my look for the ceremony.  I had originally planned to wear a long, layered pearl necklace with my dress, and switch from a mid-length veil to a headband before the reception.  After receiving my dress back from alterations, however, I decided to use the necklace only for the reception, as I liked the simple, timeless look of the dress and veil together.

For the bridesmaids’ makeup as well as my own, we decided to keep things fairly simple, and crafted similar looks for everyone.  The bridesmaids wore a sweep of black liner on their eyes with neutral shadow, and finished their look with a festive red lip which paired perfectly with their dove-grey dresses.

I played up my eyes a bit more, opting for a dramatic lash line and a neutral, just slightly flushed pale-pink lip.

When the whole wedding party met up for pictures before the ceremony, the looks came together seamlessly.  The groomsmen’s silver vests and ties paired perfectly with the bridesmaids’ pale grey dresses, and the junior bridesmaids’ black and silver dresses accented the color scheme perfectly, while still looking age-appropriate.

Changing my own look between ceremony and reception helped define the transition between the two parts of the night.  I had wanted our ceremony to be meaningful, personal, and reflect the seriousness of the day, but wanted the reception to be a large celebration focused on family, food, and fun.  I loved that changing just a few simple pieces of my look helped achieve this.

And now for a breakdown of the wedding day prep and looks:


Tuxes: Men’s Wearhouse (basic black tux with silver vests and ties for groomsmen, black vest and tie for groom)


Hair: Rosalee Atondo at E11even Salon

Dresses: JCrew (Cotton Cady Serena Dress in Light Pewter)

Junior Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Max and Cleo purchased from RueLaLa

Shoes/Cardigans: their own

Black Hair Flowers: H&M

Junior Bridesmaids’ Black Headbands: H&M

Makeup: their own


Hair: Rosalee Atondo at E11even Salon

Gown: Arabelle Gown from JCrew (with straps added)

Bridal Gown Alterations: Louise Austrie (dress was hemmed, straps were added, waist was taken in)

Shoes: ivory heels by Madden Girl purchased from DSW & sparkly heels by Steve Madden

Veil: Beaded Elbow-length Veil from David’s Bridal

Headband: David’s Bridal

Pearl Necklace: JCrew

Earrings: Banana Republic

Ivory Shrug Sweater: Banana Republic

Makeup: Smashbox HD foundation, primer & powder; Benefit Benetint Cheek Stain; Maybelline lasting drama gel eyeliner in blackest black; Mac #31 lashes; Bare Minerals eyeshadow; Cover Girl Outlast lip stain in Mauve.


Our Wedding: Venue and Vendor Overview

July 3, 2012

When we started looking for venues, I quickly realized it was going to be tough to find a venue that a. would hold the number of guests on our guest lists; b. was the type of place we wanted to get married; and c. was within our budget.

Considering we had over 200 people on our guest list (what up to my giant Irish and Italian family), our budget was very tight.  Based on this, I came to the realization that what we needed to find was a venue which was publicly owned, and allowed us to bring in our own catering and alcohol.

After calling 20+ venues, we narrowed our options and went to see three in person.  We saw the Shadelands Art Center:


Which I quickly determined was not quite “our style.”

We also looked at the UC Berkeley Student Union:


Which I really liked, but unfortunately was not available on any date near what we were looking for.

In the end, we chose the Lucie Stern Community Center for our day.


It was perfect, with it’s high, beamed ceilings, fireplaces, and old-world charm.

We took all of our posed pictures outside the venue before the ceremony.  It ended up being an idyllic setting and the perfect time of day, just before sunset (as we got married on the second shortest day of the year!)

All images courtesy of Iris and Light

Honestly, the best thing I did for my wedding, by far and away, was choose vendors I was comfortable with.  Each and every person hired played such an important role in the look and feel of our day, and we certainly could not have pulled the event off so seamlessly without them.  I don’t have enough words in my vocabulary to give adequate praise to each and every person involved in our day.

To those of you who are planning your wedding right now, the number one piece of advice I can give you is this: hire who you’re comfortable with.  Hire who you trust.  Go with your gut on these things.  I didn’t necessarily hire people who were the most popular, or who had the most experience, the most reviews online, or were the most expensive.  I hired people who I felt a connection with.  People who I thought would support us on our wedding day.

And you know what?  The day went off without a hitch.  I felt so calm, so supported, so loved; all in large part because of the people listed below.  So in the event that any of our wonderful vendors happen to see this post: THANK YOU.  I can’t put into words how much your work meant to me (and KC, and our whole family, for that matter).  You were responsible, in large part, for the amazing day that we had; and for that, I can’t begin to express my gratitude.


Photography: Iris and Light

Videography: Aubrea Felch Video

Day-of Coordination: Emily Figueroa of Monarch Memories Event Coordination


Getting ready portraits: The Westin Palo Alto

Room Block: The Westin Palo Alto and Sheraton Palo Alto

Ceremony and Reception: Lucie Stern Community Center

Posed Portraits: Lucie Stern Community Center courtyard


Groom and Groomsmen: Men’s Wearhouse (rented)

Bridesmaids: JCrew (cardigan and flats of their choice)

Junior Bridesmaids: Max and Cleo purchased from RueLaLa

Wedding Bands: mine is Christopher Designs purchased at Spitz Jewelers, KC’s  is from Shane Co.


Save the Dates: Made by my aunt

Invitations, Rehearsal Dinner Invitations: Borrowed and Blue Invitations

All reception signs made by me (with help from KC and my mom)


Bouquets & Boutonnieres: Made by a family friend

Centerpieces and other plants/flowers: purchased from Trader Joe’s and Costco

Linens and Rentals: A Party Place


Catering and Staffing: Just Us Catering

Cake: Made by my sister

Dessert buffet treats: Made by family and friends


Piano during the ceremony: Played by my uncle

Reception music: Mark Haggerty of Denon and Doyle


Our Wedding: The Invitations

July 2, 2012

Image courtesy of Iris and Light

So, I have a thing for paper.  Nice paper.  With adorable fonts and maybe even a hand-painted edge.  I’m that person who keeps cards and invitations I get for months, sometimes even years, and displays them on a bulletin board in the kitchen.  I’m that person who might just appreciate your $30 per person invitations (I might think you’re crazy for spending that much, but I’ll like them).

With that said, I wanted a memorable invitation for our wedding.  And while I love a classic invitation just as much as the next girl, I knew I wanted something a bit off the beaten path for our invites.  I mean, we got married 2 days before Christmas — not exactly a “traditional” time of year to have a marital soiree.

I started searching for someone to do our invitations, and found the lovely and talented Lindsay Ward of Borrowed and Blue Invitations on Etsy, through a friend.  As luck would have it, Lindsay and I went to high school together (and more “knew of” each other than really “knew” each other).  So through the powers of Facebook, we were reunited nearly 10 years later for purposes of invitation-making.

I sent Lindsay what inspiration I’d conjured up, really having no clue how everything might come together.  I liked the idea of doing something sort of vintage and Christmas-y, while sticking to our color palette of creams, greys, and red.





I loved the vintage Pepsi image (which we were unable to use due to copyright issues), and had a sort of vague idea of using a wreath similar to the one in the second image.  I liked the mix of fonts used in the third image, and the general color scheme of the fourth.

I have no idea if all this inspiration was helpful to Lindsay; but somehow she took my jumbled set of ideas and created something better than I’d ever imagined.


I loved all the little details Lindsay incorporated, from the thermographed wreath, the the whimsical mix of fonts, to the rounded edges and vintage Christmas paper liners.

In sticking with the holiday theme, Lindsay and I found vintage Christmas postcards on Etsy (all from prior to 1920!), which Lindsay scanned and used as the front image for the RSVP cards.  She made each RSVP card an actual folded card, so they looked like little holiday greetings.  There were 10 different designs in all, so it was a fun little treat to get them back in the mail and see who had gotten what design.

Images courtesy of Iris and Light

The RSVP cards were also a bit funny too, as the response lines were “Accepts with merriment” and “Bah, Humbug!”  (I have to admit, I did feel a little bad that those who couldn’t make it had to check the Scrooge box, but I think most people understood it was all in good fun.)

I wanted the invitations to be like getting a little gift in the mail, so we (meaning me, a couple of my lovely bridesmaids and 2 very nice friends) wrapped up each bundle with red and white twine and tied on a small tag before stuffing them into their envelopes for mailing.

Image courtesy of Iris and Light

Lindsay also created our rehearsal dinner invitations, modifying a Christmas party invite she had already created, to say “Eat, Drink, and Be Married” rather than “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry.”

These were backed with red cardstock, and then mailed in cream envelopes with a different vintage Christmas liner.

Image courtesy of Iris and Light

All in all, I felt like the invitations were a wonderful embodiment of the wedding to come.  They were festive, fun, and very personal — all elements I worked hard to incorporate into our wedding day during the planning process.

If you’re in the process of planning your own wedding, or simply need stationary for some other type of event, I would highly recommend that you check out Lindsay’s work over at her Esty shop.  She’s immensely talented and a complete joy to work with.

Image courtesy of Iris and Light

An overview of our other vendors coming up tomorrow!