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Semi-DIY wedding of my dreams!

As a young girl I planned my wedding in, what I called, the “Secret Garden” at the college my mom attended and then worked at for 20+ years, which I now also call my Alma Mater.  This enclosed hideaway features wisteria-covered trellises, bubbling fountains, beautiful arches, and a small chapel in the northeast corner.  I had planned my wedding here so thoughtfully that I knew how many chairs would fit for the reception.

When I was an angsty teenager, I had pretty much written off the idea of marriage for my future.  I stood on my platform preaching about how absurd it was to get married since it’s impossible to know if it will really last and you shouldn’t need a piece of paper to prove that you love someone.  Some may say this is because I was a child of divorce, others may say I just liked challenging the status quo.  Eventually, I realized how ridiculous this all sounded as the fight for marriage equality grew stronger and louder during my college years.  When other people are being denied the right to legally marry the person they love, who am I to devalue this rite (or rather, RIGHT) of passage? There is so much more to marriage than a legally binding document.  Like many, I cried when Prop 8 was passed in California.

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A few months later, I met the first person I have ever fallen in love with (my now husband, Paul, if you didn’t guess!).  It wasn’t long before I realized I wanted to marry him – I wanted to share our love in front of friends and family, I wanted to be his wife, I wanted to start a family together (also something I had written off as an angsty teenager!).  He proposed in that “Secret Garden” in June 2012.  In June 2013, Prop 8 was officially overturned.  By then we had settled into our jobs and home in the Bay Area, so the addition of this landmark for marriage equality in California helped us decide it was time to set a date.

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Paul and I looked into planning the Southern California garden wedding I had envisioned as a child.  However, colleges are not your typical wedding venue.  We would have had to contract with vendors for everything from napkins to lighting.  Since the vast majority of the wedding planning would take place from our home 400 miles north, we ultimately decided that this wasn’t a practical idea for our time span, budget, or sanity.  That’s when we discovered the Wedgewood Wedding & Banquet Center at the Upland Hills Country Club.  This place was wedding-central!  They have a beautiful outdoor ceremony space overlooking the golf-course and mountains, large reception areas with built-in dance floors, on-site catering, and arrangements with multiple outside vendors (cake, floral, photography, etc.).  I like to refer to this as a wedding-in-a-box, which is exactly what we needed when planning remotely. 

venueHowever, my mom and I had already been brainstorming how to cut costs and DIY the majority of the event details.  At one point, we had come up with a way to cook and prepare all the reception food!  This may have been a bit idealistic on our parts… Still, I wanted to add our own touch to day and avoid having a cookie-cutter wedding.  By that, I mean I wanted to try out all my ideas from Pinterest!

Here is a brief guide to some of the neat DIY projects from our dream-come-true June 22, 2014 wedding!

Please also take a moment to check out our amazing photographer, Ignacio Lopez, as some of his work is featured in these posts.


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