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Real Wedding
gallery Aug 21 2017
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A Backyard Fête

Our love story began on New Years Eve, Millennium. We'd each been persuaded by friends to join them for the festivities at a huge dance party in Palm Springs, CA. There were no expectations, for either of us, to meet " the right guy" in that situation. If you (can) remember, there was a lot of apprehension in regards to what might happen, in the cyber age, as systems turned from one century to the next. Nevertheless, we were there to party in the Millennium!

Across a crowded dance floor, our eyes met and there was an instant connection. I'm not going to say "The rest is history" because there, potentially, could have been so many deterrents, and so many ways in which that "one night" could have, easily, turned into just that.

But that never happened. After dating for over a year from cities 2 hrs apart, we moved in together.

Fast forward 12 years...we'd been together and happy. The laws had gone back and forth on same-sex marriage. I (Mark) had never been that intent on "actual" marriage. We were Domestic Partners and neither of us was going anywhere. But Paul felt differently. He wanted "the proposal."

He'd consulted his friends and they'd advised him "Do it someplace special to the two of you?" And, upon reflection, he realized that our most special place was home. So, I came in from work and he had made a candlelight dinner, complete with my favorite martini and a nice bottle of wine. On that amazing night, he proposed marriage to me. Though I wasn't sure the formalities were necessary, of course I said yes!

Though now formally engaged, we didn't feel it necessary to hurry the wedding. We wanted it to be perfect. We knew where we wanted it to occur. My friend from childhood, Kathy, and her husband, Bob, have an amazing, park-like backyard. Neither Paul nor I have religious affiliations that would make us want to have it in any type of church or with any sort of clergy.

Their backyard, in which we have spent many, MANY enjoyable afternoons & evenings, was the only venue we even considered. They, graciously, not only agreed but took it to the next level, making it into an eden that every attending guest was absolutely in awe of. We also knew we didn't want it to be somber or traditional. This was a celebration of over seventeen years together, finally being recognized legally! We chose to walk in, simultaneously, from opposite sides of the garden, to the music of Kelly Rowland's "When Love Takes Over."

What surprised us was that the mood of the song resonated so quickly & easily with the guests. They, spontaneously, erupted into cheers as we entered. That set the mood of the evening. We exchanged our self-written vows amid a more somber moment, then the party was on! We had a number of guests claim, afterwards, it was the "best wedding ever!" It was serious, but casual. Fun, but meaningful. The only advice we'd have for couples planning a wedding/ celebration is... do it the way YOU want. This is YOUR day. It's about YOU...not your family, your parents, your friends, or anyone else. If you want it traditional, have it traditional. If you prefer casual and fun, make it that.

In our case, I think we compromised and did a little of each. Furthermore, allow enough time after the ceremony/dinner/etc to at least acknowledge your guests individually. My only regret of the evening would be that I didn't have the time to spend more than a congratulatory minute with many of the guests. The best part of the day, even from the beginning, as we were dressing, but keeping an eye out the window, was to see people as they arrived.

Despite any differences they may have had - culturally, professionally, politically - they were mingling, that day, putting any pre-conceived differences aside for us. What an honor and an acknowledgment to the power of love!

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Weekend Snapshot
gallery Aug 18 2017
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Dismantling Wedding Traditions
gallery Aug 17 2017
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Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

As you probably know by now, I am not the most traditional person around. I don't like structures that force people to do things that they aren't comfortable with and I don't like the notion that things need to be a certain way. I think things, like your wedding day, should be whatever you want it to be. That being said, I have recently been writing about ways to dismantle wedding traditions. The next tradition on the list to forget about? Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. 

In this tradition, something old represents continuity; something new offers optimism for the future; something borrowed symbolizes borrowed happiness; something blue stands for purity, love, and fidelity; and a sixpence in your shoe is a wish for good fortune and prosperity.

I only half believe in luck. I mostly think your life (and marriage) are what you make them. And the idea of "fidelity and purity"? No, thank you. Please don't tell me how to live my life. All of that being said, some folks enjoy incorporating wedding traditions throughout their special day, so I wanted to talk about one way to work in a "something blue" without keeping it too conventional. 

Did someone say drinks?! Why yes, I did.

I found this recipe for a color changing cocktail a while back and I have been dying to try it. It's basically a piña colada that changes color from blue to pink. What the what!? I am obsessed. This is the perfect way to nod to tradition, but keep it modern.

Owl's Brew let me use some of their AH-mazing tea mixers. I chose the Coco Lada (chai tea with coconut and pineapple), because, duh. The cocktail is super easy and would be a great addition to any cocktail hour or reception! They are beautiful, but also interactive. 

Here's the recipe:

1 3/4 oz Butterfly Pea Flower infused Brugal White Rum

2 oz coconut milk

1 1/4 oz Owl's Brew Coco Lada 

Shake all ingredients well, strain over ice

Garnish with a slice of lime and pineapple leaves

Add 3/4 oz lime juice when you're ready for the color change!

I used the W&P Designs crushed ice tray because the ice looks like crystals, which makes this drink look even more magical!

SO easy, colorful and fun! And did we mention it's delicious and perfect for any summer/tropical fête?

Follow this link to find Owl's Brew near you!

Styling by Kristen Poissant

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Tagged: cocktails, drinks, owl's brew, w&p design, brugal
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A Thought For Thursday
gallery Aug 17 2017
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"She's a lightning strike 

and I'm the grinning

idiot,

arms raised and laughing,

in the middle

of the

field."

-Tyler Knott Gregson

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etiquette / q & a Aug 16 2017

Q

We're getting married out of the country. How far in advance should we send our save-the-dates?

A

Generally speaking, if you are getting married out of the country, or if you're planning a wedding around a major holiday, you should send your save-the-dates about a year in advance. This allows your guests the time make travel arrangements. If this is the case, we suggest you contact your hotel to make sure they take reservations a year in advance. 

If you're having a wedding that will not require major travel by your guests, four to six months is standard.

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