Thursday, February 23, 2012

Can You Feel the Love Tonight: The Walk

Our ceremony decorations were pretty simple.  We had a flower arch, some tulle, and some rose petals, but that was about it.  For grandeur, we relied heavily on the scenery.

*All photos by Stephen Cheng Photography*

Our other point of grandeur was the aisle.

We were to walk down a full two flights of stairs, across a field, and then finally down the petaled aisle.  It was a task, to be sure, and I made sure to prepare for it.

Choosing the wedding party's song was pretty easy.  I had heard "We're Better Together" on a number of wedding-related sites when I started my wedding research, and it seemed like the perfect song to send our peeps down the aisle.

Lizzy, the flower girl, went first.

Since two-year-old legs are definitely not as long as everyone's else's, we had Lizzy start at the bottom of the stairs, so she wouldn't tucker out halfway down the aisle.

Lizzy was doing a great job, but when she reached the flower petals on the ground, she did the funniest thing.  She stopped.  She didn't want to step on them!

Now, the day before, we had exhaustively tried to teach her how to throw petals out of her basket, and she finally got the idea.  What we didn't know was that she also got the idea that the petals belonged to her.  So instead of continuing down the aisle, she tried to pick up the petals to put in her basket!  Finally, her mom helped her continue down the aisle, throwing her petals, but at the end, she stopped to pick up the ones she had thrown out!

It was hilarious.  I so wish I had been able to see it, but no one caught it on tape, so I heard all this second hand.  Still, I can picture it, and it is so funny.

Then it was time for the bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Bridesmaid and Groomsman

Best Bro (trying so hard not to smile) and Groomslady

Maid of Honor and Best Man

And then it was my turn.

I had both my parents walk me down the aisle.  I would not have felt right having only one since both are so important in my life.  It ended up being a good thing too because I had two people to help me down those stairs.

Choosing a song for me was a lot harder.  I went back and forth for months.  I came very close to doing Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's Somewhere over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World.  But in the end, another song fit better:

I never used to be a Beatles fan, but ever since we got Beatles Rock Band, their world has opened up to me.  "Here Comes the Sun" already had special meaning for both of us.

I think my parents were more nervous than I was because they kept walking super fast!  I had to tell them several times to slow down.  It was kind of funny.  Afterwards, one of my friends said that I looked as scared and excited as she had ever seen me while I was walking down the aisle, but I felt calm.  And happy.  After all our hard work, this was happening!

Now, what wasn't happening was my dress being nice.  I knew I'd have to hold it up walking down the stairs, but I had tested it out on grass before and had no trouble walking.  Maybe the park had longer grass or something because I kept almost stepping on it.  I ended up holding the skirt until we got to the flower petals and then really trying to go slowly so that I wouldn't trip on the dress.  Maybe that's what made me look partly scared while I walked down the aisle.

Before we knew it, the aisle was over.  I gave my parents a hug and went off to make myself a new family.

Why did you choose your processional songs?  Did you have anyone besides your father walk you down the aisle?  How did you feel when that moment finally arrived?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Can You Feel the Love Tonight: The Waiting

Finally, it was time to head to Paradise Beach Park for the actually getting married part of the day.

Fortunately, we found parking (as did everyone else!  Thank God!  It was a close one), and Daniel headed down to see what was going on with the ceremony site.

And I waited.

Waited = hid in someone else's car trying not to be seen.

In retrospect, I probably should have given up on people not seeing me before the wedding to help out with the remaining set up and finishing touches.  If I had, we may have avoided one of the Three Things That Still Bother Me that day.  And I hate waiting.  But oh well, can't do anything about it now.

After a while, I became so impatient that I abandoned the car to go wait at the top of the stairs that would start our aisle.

Now, ever since I put on my dress, every single person I encountered had been starting at me.  I got many a compliment and "Congratulations!" and lots and lots of shameless staring.  When we got to Blackie's Pasture, these two little girls followed me with their eyes from the parking lot until the path took me out of site.  I swear they thought I was a Disney princess or something (one more check off the bucket list :) ).

But none of that compares to the reception I got at the top of those stairs.

Now, this park has basically two levels.  The top has a long row of picnic tables overlooking the bottom level which is all grass and trees.  We were walking down the stairs between the two levels as part of the aisle.  So, that meant we were waiting with all the picnickers until the ceremony started.

When I walked into the picnic area, everyone started cheering.  Clapping, hooting, whooping, whistling, the whole shebang.  I actually had to tell them to quiet down, so the guests wouldn't look up.  I gots to admit, it was pretty cool.

Somehow, the wedding party found me up there (the cheering may have pointed them in the right direction).  And it was then that I discovered Number One of the Three Things That Still Bother Me about that day.  We were supposed to have flowers for the top and two sides of our arch, but somehow, the side flowers had been forgotten or misplaced or something.  I know it sounds stupid to care about something that small, but they were not cheap, and I went to lengths to make sure we could have them, so I was pretty upset for about a minute-and-a-half.

One very short fit later, I knew I had to let it go and just enjoy the moment.

Half an hour later when all of the guests actually arrived, we were ready to go (note:  I am only exaggerating a little *cough Brodskys cough*).

The music started, and we began to walk down the aisle.

Did you try to avoid being seen before the wedding?  Is there anything that really irks you about your wedding day, regardless of whether it should have important?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Can You Feel the Love Tonight: Just You and Me

After we sent the wedding party off to help set up the ceremony site with (very) detailed instructions, Daniel and I headed off to take some pictures just the two of us.

We spent days searching for picture spots.  Marin shows the true beauty of all that is California--from redwoods to mountains to the ocean--but most of its picturesque locations take time to get to, more time than we had.  Still, we managed to do well for ourselves.

We started at Blackie's Pasture where we had met the bridal party.  This strip of park holds a special place in our hearts because it is where we would have gotten married if the city of Tiburon was not filled with sadistic, empty-headed drones (a chair is not a structure, assholes!).

We got a few good pictures there, but as we got away from the wedding, my mood improved and so did the pictures.  You can see how they progress as we both started to relax.

Next stop: our one location shoot spot.  I wish we could have taken pictures all day, but obviously, that wasn't an option, so we went somewhere easy to get to but still awesome.

And really, you can't get married this close to the Golden Gate Bridge without snatching a few photos with it.

Nearby, there was a pier overlooking the bay and San Francisco with better lighting than the bridge, so we headed that-a-way.

Hello, San Francisco

The pier is where we really started to relax and just be ourselves.  It has some of our favorite pictures from the day.

 My Favorite Wedding Day Picture

And really, what is the point of a professional photographer if you're not going to have silly pictures?  Some of these will definitely be framed.

 Our Relationship Encapsulated

 Our Relationship Better Encapsulated

Alas, too soon it was time to head back to the ceremony site.  You know, to actually get married and stuff.

Oh My!  It's Time!

Did you leave extra time to get pictures of the two of you?  Did you find a location ahead of time or go with the flow?  And most importantly, what were your favorite pictures of the day?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Can You Feel the Love Tonight: It's Picture Time, Boys and Girls!

After our first look, we took a few more shots just the two of us and then grabbed our peeps to start with the wedding party.

Since we were running behind, we did not have as much time to get bridal party pictures as I would have liked, but we still got some good shots.

We started out with the serious photos.

The Groom's Party
Me and My Ladies

And of course I had to get some individual shots with the girls.

My MOH and I went the sweet route:

Aaaaaand then there was my other bridesmaid:


Then my brother entered the scene.  I should probably preface this by saying that my brother and I are very different people.  Growing up, I was the feminine ballet dancer who turned cheerleader in middle school and high school, was sweet and quiet and, for lack of a better word, square.  Cody is a musician whose work echos Bob Dylan, changes his appearance on a bi-annual basis, and spurns human contact not provided by his girlfriend.  I'll save you two thousand words.  This is me:

And this is Cody:

But of course we've known each other forever (in his case, literally), and we were really close growing up, so we've worked out our own way of taking pictures.  Without these, my wedding day would have felt incomplete.

 The picture Cody always takes that makes my parents ask where they went wrong.

 Human Emotion = Weakness

 "Really?  You really made me dress up in a tux?  STOP SMILING!"

"Oh, it's on!"

Ah, brotherly love.  In spite of what you see, we love each other very much, and these are some of my favorite pictures of the day because they are just so real (though the picture where I got Cody to smile is my real favorite of us because it's just so unique!).

Did you do more serious pictures or fun pictures?  Which do you like better?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Can You Feel the Love Tonight: That First Look

If you can recall way, way back when I was deciding whether to do a first look, I preferred to wait until the aisle to actually see each other all dressed up (since we pretty much threw all of the other bride/groom traditions out the window) but was unwilling to sacrifice precious picture time to do it, especially since we had the photographer for the whole day.

I did a lot of internet research before deciding whether or not to do a first look--from bloggers to wedding boards to friends and friends of friends--and the overwhelming opinion of people who were skeptical of first looks was that they were totally worth it, and they were really glad they did one.

I wouldn't say I feel the same way.  In fact, I was pretty spot on in how I thought I would feel.  Pictures aside, I would have preferred to see Daniel for the first time walking down the aisle.  We didn't really have that grand "OMG" moment the way it was, and I think the aisle would have helped with that.  I'm not sorry I did it or anything, but I'm not super happy that I did either.

But the pictures were totally worth it.

There would have been other problems anyway.  Because our aisle was so freaking long, there wouldn't have been much of a "BAM, there you are!" moment anyway.  And I probably would not have been as relaxed if I had had to stay away from Daniel all day.

But mostly we would have missed out on a bunch of great pictures.

Especially with what happened after the ceremony.

But we'll get there.

Doing a first look was the right choice for us, but we would have been happy not doing one too, I think.  So in conclusion, if you don't want to do a first look, don't let the internet pressure you into it.  If you think it would be better to see your husband while walking down the aisle, go for it.  I don't think you'll be sorry.  Though if you want significant time for pictures, you're going to have to do them ahead of time, so keep that in mind too.

So without further ado, our first look:

I was super sensitive about making sure we were as alone as possible before we did this.  As soon as we got to the parking lot (a good 10 minute walk from our picture location), I made everyone who was already with Daniel leave, so it would be just him, me, and the photographer.  I even made the photographer back off as much as possible, so it would be more intimate.  As such, these are not our best pictures of the day, especially since I was still worried about how late we were running.  But they do convey a sense of what we were feeling.

 Getting Ready

 The Look

Daniel's Reaction

And My Reaction

Yeah, told you I was stressed out.  I have no idea what we were saying at this point, but this picture truly encapsulates everything I had felt thus far that morning:  the stress, the worry, the desire for it to all be over.  Fortunately, that was about to change.

And this is how my wedding day became a good one:

Daniel, without you my wedding day would have been wasted, for more reasons than one.  I love you.

Did you do a first look?  Were you happy you did or didn't?  What were your pros and cons?

Classy Wedding by the Sea