Going to the Chapel: Preparations for a DIY Destination Wedding

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Having SVV out of work on disability leave (thanks to that pesky shattered wrist from the dirtbike riding accident) for the five weeks leading up the wedding turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as we did a lot of the small things ourselves and it was nice having an extra hand (notice I won’t say two extra hands, as the right one was most definitely disabled). I won’t say it was a DIY wedding by any means, but we did enjoy making the place cards out of the font (“dirty headline”) that appeared on our invites and save-the-dates, as well as the table names (countries we have visited together), which we printed on thick card stock and then mounted. Actually, when I say “we,” he handled all the actual design work; I just did the cutting and punching.

wedding, california, marin, pelican inn, sausalito, muir beach, photography

wedding, california, marin, pelican inn, sausalito, muir beach, photography

pelican inn wedding, seating chart, place cards

Then, there was writing out the seating chart, which we left until the very last possible minute (not coming up with the seating chart itself; oh no, I had that completed before we even had the official head count and all RSVPs in hand! it’s the important things like these, people, that keep me awake at night). We had procured these old windows from SVV’s brother Jim, but weren’t really sure how to use them. So, after our rehearsal dinner, we found ourselves priming and painting (again, I say “we,” when Scott did the work, and I just sat around offering moral support) in our building’s garage at 11:30pm, hoping to God the things dried before morning. The best thing about having a 5:30pm wedding is that you can get a good night’s rest the night before and have the morning of to finish last minute touches like writing 85 names in rusty cursive on old window panes-cum-seating charts.

wedding, california, marin, pelican inn, sausalito, muir beach, photography

(photo by Leah)

The fam and I headed over to the inn around 1pm, while SVV jetted down to San Mateo to pick up 13 dozen cupcakes.

wedding, california, marin, pelican inn, sausalito, muir beach, photography

wedding, california, marin, pelican inn, sausalito, muir beach, photography

We had a lot of accoutrements to transport, such as the cases of champagne and juice for the makeshift champagne cocktail bar (guests were forced encouraged to show up and mix themselves a cocktail before the ceremony began), the Ghirardelli chocolate for the hot chocolate bar at the end of the night, the old-fashioned Strauss milk bottles to accompany the cupcakes, the dozens of vintage cake plates we had collected for the cupcake display, the basket of metallic-hued flip-flops (“Put on Your Dancin’ Shoes!”) for the gals for the reception, and the camera, printer, backdrop, etc. for the photo booth.

wedding, california, marin, pelican inn, sausalito, muir beach, photography

(photo by Leah)

In lieu of a traditional guest book, I created a Shutterfly photo album of SVV and me through the years and left guests ample white space to write us a message with a Sharpie. Something we’ll actually be able to flip through and enjoy in the future! Also, great for coffee table clutter.

wedding, california, marin, pelican inn, sausalito, muir beach, photography

The florist team showed up around the same time we did and went to town setting up the floral arch, decorating the aisle with petals and adorning the tables inside.

wedding, california, marin, pelican inn, sausalito, muir beach, photography

flowers, pelican inn, wedding, california

wedding, california, marin, pelican inn, sausalito, muir beach, photography

(photo by Leah)

In fact, I pretty much took it easy that afternoon, while SVV and a couple of his friends had laborious tasks such as setting up the rental chairs for the ceremony. After a year of being the wedding planner, it was nice to get a break for once!

wedding, california, marin, pelican inn, sausalito, muir beach, photography

I did, however, watch from my bridal suite upstairs, as it was fun to see everyone while they couldn’t see me.

wedding, california, marin, pelican inn, sausalito, muir beach, photography

Since our wedding was in such a secluded spot, I was very lucky to find a hair stylist and make-up artist who was willing to travel all that way. Her name is Anna, and she’s the events specialist at Bamboo, where I normally get my hair styled by Moose’s aunt (the owner) down in Half Moon Bay. She’s as cute as a button, talented to boot and did wonders on transforming Kari and me.

wedding, california, marin, pelican inn, sausalito, muir beach, photography

wedding, california, marin, pelican inn, sausalito, muir beach, photography

Meanwhile, in the other room, my mother-in-law Joan was spiffying up my nephew Jack, our ring bearer, in the suit she made him.

wedding, california, marin, pelican inn, sausalito, muir beach, photography

wedding, california, marin, pelican inn, sausalito, muir beach, photography

And a little of this was taking place between SVV and his brother/best man Jim.

A Destination Wedding in Northern California
A Destination Wedding in Northern California

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I mean, it’s not like we were totally sober down the hall either, of course. My officiant Lemon brought up the champagne, so we had mimosas (in Solo cups, classy broads that we are), a calming agent if ever there were one, and I gave Kari and her the “bridal party” gifts, custom-made clutches to match their dresses (purchased via this Etsy seller).

wedding, california, marin, pelican inn, sausalito, muir beach, photography

https://3h854h1ibj2x19g1cg3nclgc-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/4771997798_4fb566e922_b1.jpg

And we all crammed in one of the cozy upstairs bedrooms in the Pelican Inn to strap me in my dress (seriously, couldn’t breathe), tie my sash and take some last minute family shots.

wedding, california, marin, pelican inn, sausalito, muir beach, photography

wedding, california, marin, pelican inn, sausalito, muir beach, photography

I wound up wearing a few things blue (undergarments and flip-flops that I found myself in more frequently than my heels), but my something borrowed (also, old) was mighty special. My late grandmother Dede, whose wedding ring I now wear, received this necklace for her 21st birthday from her beloved father in 1942. Two days later, he died. It was her most treasured possession while she was alive, and we wrapped it around my bouquet.

wedding, california, marin, pelican inn, sausalito, muir beach, photography

wedding, california, marin, pelican inn, sausalito, muir beach, photography

And just like that—after what seemed like hours years, but at the same time mere minutes—it was time to meet my groom. *deep breath*

wedding, california, marin, pelican inn, sausalito, muir beach, photography

*****

*All images, unless otherwise noted, were taken by our AWESOME photographer Barbara Ries. The others are screen grabs from Leah’s Flickr. The pixelation is all me, as they’re low-res and Flickr recently made it impossible to download other people’s images; I don’t want to do a disservice to Leah’s amazing photography talent!

**As to not overwhelm you all with our wedding, I’ll post one recap a week until I’m done talking about it and fill the other days with the much-anticipated South Africa, Dubai and Borneo coverage I owe all of you. If you want to read more about the wedding for now, Leah wrote a lovely post, and Moose recapped how she almost ruined the wedding “cake” (*snicker*).

COMMENTS
  • July 7, 2010

    Lovely, lovely, lovely, every little thing.

  • July 7, 2010

    I’m swooning. Love every little thing about it.

  • July 7, 2010

    Ahhhhh… What a divine day.

  • July 7, 2010
    Nicole

    Everything looks so beautiful, but my favorite are your flower arrangements — perfect! Congrats.

  • July 7, 2010

    So lovely! And it sounds like you had tons of friends and family around to make things happier.
    PS-Love, love, love the mix-your-own-mimosa idea! How sassy!
    PPS-That last picture? Epic.

  • July 7, 2010
    k

    Everything looks amazing!

  • July 7, 2010

    Beautiful beautiful! You look absolutely glorious!

    We’re collecting vintage cake plates, too, though it has proven to be a fiasco thus far. Glories of ebay, and all that.

    (Your recaps are making me INCREDIBLY excited about the day when I can finally write my own!)

  • July 7, 2010

    Wow, your recaps are making me realize that I never actually wrote my own! Not proper orderly ones like this, anyway. Huh! I wonder if it’s too late 10 months later….

    So nice to be reliving your day again through the pictures! Your flowers were gorgeous, I kept meaning to tell you. And I love that you had something so meaningful wrapped around your bouquet: I had a tiny little picture that used to hang on the wall in my grandmother’s house. It made me feel so connected to her when I looked down and saw it. I know your grandma was with you too.

  • July 7, 2010
    kat

    SO pretty! i love that necklace.
    so nice to see a total lack of bridezilla too. 🙂

  • July 7, 2010

    Don’t even know what to say other than I got teary eyed reading this post. Absolute perfection–though I didn’t expect anything less. I could comment on every detail you mentioned, but just know that I loved everything and the pics are faaaaabulous. You looked AMAZING!!!

  • July 7, 2010

    Yay, wedding recaps! I’ve been waiting for these! Everything looks gorgeous, I can’t wait to hear the rest.

  • July 7, 2010

    I love all of these. What a special necklace…and I love your sister’s clutch!

  • July 7, 2010

    I just love everything about this post, probably because your wedding day just sounds so supremely perfect and it just makes my heart so happy for you. Yay! love.

    Also: Your grandmother’s necklace is stunning.

  • July 7, 2010

    Keep talking about it!!!! You had such a beautiful wedding.

  • July 7, 2010

    There were so many things I loved and these pictures do them justice. Everything was just lovely.

    1) I loved the bar right when you came in.
    2) The venue WAS TO DIE FOR.
    3) The centerpieces! So lovely!
    4) Have I told you yet that those were the best cupcakes ever? NO? Because they were.
    5) The look on the bride and groom’s faces. So full of love!

  • July 7, 2010

    You look simply gorgeous! I love Dede’s necklace and ring and how wonderful that you can carry them as a family tradition. The photographer may have taken awhile to get these shots to you, but did an excellent job.

  • July 8, 2010

    So beautiful! All of it. Look forward to reading more 🙂

  • July 8, 2010
    Sarah

    I, for one, am happy to read and see every last little detail you’d like to share. I *love* weddings.

  • July 8, 2010

    Looks soooo pretty!!! Love your dress, the location, the wildflowers, the cupcakes!! 🙂
    viele grüsse, kristina

  • July 8, 2010

    wow–what a beautiful wedding! loving these recaps!

  • July 8, 2010
    KT

    All of it, so lovely! You’ve captured that pre-wedding feeling so well and I have chills all over again just thinking about it (even though I went through that five years ago).
    The photos are stunning and it doesn’t hurt that you and Scott are both insanely easy on the eyes! Congratulations, again. 🙂

  • July 8, 2010
    Brandy

    So gorgeous! You two are a beautiful couple! And I love the decorations, too.

  • July 9, 2010

    Looks perfect! I love the way you used the window frames. Very cool. And I love the naming of the tables, but maybe that’s because we did the same thing (five years ago this month!).

  • July 10, 2010
    Haidang Nguyen

    congrats on getting married , once again! awesome pics!

  • July 11, 2010

    SIGH.
    Love this. It’s so beautiful.

  • July 12, 2010

    I’ve been following your blog for a short while and have been completely fascinated by your world travels and your willingness to document for all of the blogosphere. I have been anxiously awaiting your nuptials to SVV and am so happy for you both.

    You guys clean up GOOD. Congrats and many more years of happy travels to you both!

  • July 13, 2010

    Oh wow, it all looks so lovely.

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