A Thought For Thursday
"Beside you through it,
through any it that could be
beside you always."
"Beside you through it,
through any it that could be
beside you always."
Tell us your love story!
We met through mutual friends in the beginning. We actually became very close friends for ten years before we became romantically involved as we were both in other long term relationships. When we fell for each other, there was no going back, it was like a runaway train, we couldn’t stop it if we wanted to.
What about the proposal?
I involved the kids, as we are very family and kid oriented, it made sense. They were super excited to be involved. We had them do a lip sync for Nicole’s birthday to one of her favorite songs, called “Say Yes” by Langhorne Slim. At the end they pulled off their sweatshirts and were wearing T-shirts underneath that said, “will you please” “Marry our mom?” Then I had a ring ready and there were giggles and tears because she was totally shocked and we had friends over to celebrate.
When did you know that you were meant to be with each other?
Looking back, I feel like I should have known it from the moment we met, but it became very clear a few months into dating each other, neither of us could imagine being anywhere else, whether we liked it or not. That’s not to say we have not had growing pains, but we keep getting stronger.
Going into the wedding planning, what did you definitely know?
We knew we wanted an outdoor wedding and we love our home and neighborhood, so that was an easy choice. We considered eloping but the kids REALLY wanted to be a part of the wedding and day so we caved to them. I am glad we did it with our loved ones around, it meant a lot to all of us. We also included the kids, they were our wedding party and we gave vows to them in the ceremony.
What surprised you during planning? What was easy, what was difficult?
The logistics of doing it at our neighborhood park ended up being very stressful as no one had really done it before so everyone was kind of learning on the fly and the “rules” got changed on us at the last minute. Once we found the right people and vendors to help us, it went smoothly and it turned out perfectly, but was touch and go for a bit.
Is there anything you wish you knew while you were planning your wedding that you know now?
My wife ran a music festival for 10 years and we entertain a decent amount, plus this was my second wedding, so we were prepared for the amount of work. That being said, you can really bog yourself down in making every detail perfect. Pick a couple things that really matter to you and let the rest go, no one will notice them but they will notice a stressed out couple that isn’t enjoying their day. Start early, get help, stay organized and don’t go over budget, it’s not worth it when it’s over.
Any advice for couples planning weddings now? Anything you would have done differently or anything you’d like to add?
We went to the local gay wedding expo on a whim and it turned out to be so helpful. We found our photographer (Jenny GG, the best!) our wedding planner and our ice cream vendor. It made us happy to support these gay businesses but more importantly, they were all amazing. I would also recommend not over thinking things. If you like a certain kind of cake, get it, or skip cake all together and do something else you want. Life is too short to stress over cake, or flowers, or lights! We also used our people, friends and their business for flowers, decorating, catering, officiating. It was so great to work with people we love and support each other, it made our day even more personal and special.
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
Dancing with my new wife in the sun and warm breeze to an amazing live band in my own neighborhood. It was magical.
"And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple, but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is, now you're in the world"
- Your Song, Elton John
How did you meet and start dating? How did you get engaged?
We met at a pizza party in the Castro, which ended in a night of dancing at Toad Hall. Totally classy. I told Brian that I needed feedback for a website I was building for a graduate school class that I was taking. As he began to scroll through the content featuring an engagement photoshoot I did with our dog, he began to realize that I was actually proposing to him and this was indeed our wedding website (which I had been working on for months). After he said "Yes!" I began to reveal all of the pages on our wedding website and told him I recorded it all with the help of my MacBook camera!
Tell us about the rings!
I like fancy things and he does not care about that stuff. So, my engagement ring is yellow gold with a little diamond from Cartier and his is basically a rubber band from REI. For our wedding rings, he ended up with a platinum band from Amazon and I got a platinum band with a little diamond from Cartier. Also, we bought our own rings after we got engaged because it was more efficient to do so.
Did you work with a certain them or design motif? Please describe in detail why you chose this aesthetic, and how you carried it throughout your wedding.
Less is more. It's how we live our life. There's a time and place for being a little extra, and of course we indulge, but we've found simplicity allows us to focus on the important things and to not get distracted with noise. The venue was stunning and spoke for itself and we didn't want to detract from that. Where we did have to bring in stuff, we wanted it to be really nice, yet simple. This allowed us to focus on making sure we were thoughtful about guests, having great food and quality wine, an amazing time dancing, and allowing us and our guests to just enjoy the time together.
How did you decide on your look? Please describe your attire & accessories. And tell us about your wedding party: What did they wear?
We wanted to be comfortable. And we wanted matching suits that were going to photograph well. I also found that spending a lot on a suit does not make it nice. So we got our blue suits from the JCrew Factory website, in the clearance section, with an additional 50% off along with our belts and socks. Our suits were $110 each. We got our matching ties (in our favorite colors) from ties.com for $20 each. And our dress shirts from Calvin Klein for 75% off for $25 each. Brian wore his cute brown shoes he already had. In the spirit of being extra, I bought a pair of Balenciaga boots. And we wore the same Tiffany stays that we gave to our brothers and dads and carried the same style of Hermes handkerchiefs in green and blue to complete the colors of the rainbow that we gave to our sisters, mom, and stepmom. We did not have a wedding party. Instead our entire immediate family participated in the ceremony. We had flower moms, ring dads, all seven of our siblings participated in the spoken part of the ceremony and acted as a team of officiants, and our nieces and nephew walked us down the aisle. We told them to wear whatever they wanted and that the dress code was chic but not black tie. We wanted them to feel free to express their best selves in a way that was comfortable for them.
Tell us about your flowers.
Our sister in law Debbie was so kind to offer to do flowers for us. To keep things simple and focused we only had one flower arrangement. Brian's mom passed away right before we started to date. Her favorite flower was a sunflower. My mom's favorite flower is yellow roses. And Brian's step mom's favorite flower is sweet peas. We wanted Brian's mom to be there with us as well, so we had my mom and Brian's step mom walk down the aisle with our dads with their favorite flowers in hand and had them add their flowers to the existing arrangement that already had sunflowers in it. The succulent boutonnieres for me, Brian, and Bennett and the succulent headpiece for Nea reminded both Brian and I of our moms. It's also why there were succulents on the tables as well.
Please describe your ceremony. How did you decorate the space and the aisle? Did you include any traditions? What were your processional and recessional songs?
Simplicity was the guiding principle here. The backdrop of the trees and the fog was more beautiful than anything I could have artificially added to the backdrop. The ceremony had no traditions at all. We had flower moms who walked down the aisle with our ring dads. Our niece and nephew walked us down the aisle to "Rise Up" by Andra Day. Our siblings gave a brief history of marriage (in)equality over the past 15 years. We had non-religious readings from an Astrophysicist and a Supreme Court Justice. Signed our marriage license in front of everyone because that was the focus of our ceremony. Our vows were our own and were sure to say "I do." We were pronounced as husbands and kissed as people cheered and "Sunlight" by The Magician played. Instead of a recessional, all the guest got up and we took an "everyone" photo on the lawn which segued into the cocktail hour.
Please describe your reception.
We chose the Brazilian Room at Tilden Park in Berkeley, CA because it was naturally beautiful, symbolic of our future life in Berkeley, and our money was going to future maintenance of such an awesome public space. To round out the dollar store candles and candle holders and mini DIY succulent pots that I got at bulk discount, we went with glasses, utensils, and plates with clean lines that served as simple vessels for the food. We had 15 little courses that came out in waves throughout the celebratory hour and reception that paired nicely with our alcoholic signature drink (the "Pound My Aperol") and our non-alcoholic signature drink (the "Shrub One Out"). There were 5 little desserts and wedding cake as well -- all of which were just so wonderful. Brian and I gave a 2 minute speech thanking our guests, and "Formation" by Beyonce kicked off the crazy dancing that took place thereafter.
Is there any advice you’d like to share with future couples?
Do whatever the fuck you want.