Tell us your love story!
We met online. Mary was happily living a single life and was done with dating. She was closing her Match.com account. Jackie was just coming out. She joined the service as a way to meet other lesbians. Though cliché, neither of us was looking for a long-term relationship and yet here we are.
What about the proposal?
We were facing some difficult challenges and early one morning Jackie said, “I’ve been thinking and it is important to me that I am your ‘person’.” Mary replied, “Of course you are my person.” Jackie said, “I know but I want everyone to know that I am your person and that you are my person and that no matter where we are or what the circumstance, no one can keep us apart because we are each other’s person. I would like to be married to you.”
When did you know that you were meant to be with each other?
For years, Mary occasionally had a momentary mental picture of standing at a counter with a woman as they prepared dinner for friends. This woman was in shadow so there was no sense of who she was. Mary was content with simply the notion that she would have a partner someday. The day they met, Jackie was waiting in the restaurant when Mary arrived. It was dark in the restaurant and very bright outside. As Mary’s eyes adjusted and she saw Jackie waiting at the maître d' stand. It was like a déjà vu moment of the elusive scene with the woman at the counter, only this time Jackie came into focus. Mary knew in that instant that they would spend the rest of their lives together.
Going into the wedding planning, what did you definitely know?
A wonderful thing for us about marrying later in life is that we had less pressures and rules about what we must do and who we must invite. Every single aspect of our wedding was exactly as we wanted it. We knew we wanted to gather our friends and family in a comfortable home-like environment. It was important to us that everyone feel pampered as they shared our special day. Every decision we made about the venue, the food, the décor, the music, the ceremony…all of it…was tested against questions like “How will this make our guest feel?” “What will they remember about this day?” “How can we make it obvious we are grateful to share our love with all of them?”
What surprised you during planning?
There were no surprises during planning. We approached the planning with a pro and they proceeded to define and create the experience we wanted.
Is there anything you wish you knew while you were planning your wedding that you know now?
There was not a thing left unknown during the planning process. Having a really good wedding planner gave us the benefit of all that knowledge and experiences. We used much of it in our plans.
Any advice for couples planning weddings now? Anything you would have done differently or anything you’d like to add?
We have three key pieces of advice for anyone planning a wedding.
First, do it your way. It is easy to get caught up in “musts” that may not actually be important to you and can cost a lot in energy and time. On the flip side, don’t let anyone talk you out of something that you want a lot.
Secondly, get good help. A seasoned wedding planner will have the experienced and knowledge to steer you clear of wedding mishaps and be your second self to make sure everything happens exactly as you intended. Our wedding planner worked closely with us through ever step leading up to the wedding day. Then we turned it all over to her and we thoroughly enjoyed the day. We still hear comments like, “I felt like I was living inside a fairy tale love story all day.” and “Just when I thought every imaginable wonderful thing had happened, something even more splendid would happen.”
Finally, make sure you plan so that you can have as much time as possible with guests. Just like so many people have said, we wished we’d had more time to spend with guests. If you are able to make a weekend of the activities, do it. Get as many of the pictures taken as possible before guests arrive. Our wedding and reception venue had a 10 pm curfew so we had an “after party” back at the hotel where many guests were staying and hosted a brunch the following morning.
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
Just like kids at Disneyland, every single event was our favorite. It was especially wonderful that every single person there was someone with whom we really wanted to share the day. The planning was so complete and our staff was so fantastic that we were able to focus on being in each and every moment and remembering everything.
·We arrived early to our estate venue and it as if we were at beloved uncle’s home as we did hair and make-up and dressed had a light lunch as we watched as vendors set up and listened to musician practice.
·We had the chairs for the ceremony arranged in a circle of four quadrants and we stood in the center, rotating our positions periodically to face all the guests in turn. We were literally surrounded by the love of our friends and family. It was very powerful!
·We danced around our guests as we came into the ceremony site. So energizing and fun.
·Jackie surprised Mary by singing her vows. Amazing!
·It was a sweet moment when we released two doves at the end of our ceremony to symbolize our life’s journey together. It was a spectacular, jaw-dropping, gasp-worthy moment when four dozen more doves were released and, just like our friends and family, they encircled the first two and then they all flew off on a journey together.
·We had one very long table to seat our 100 guests. It was another instance of letting all of our guest know that they were special and that we were all together at one table.
·Our caterer and wait staff were unbelievable. The food was over-the-top yummy. The waiters used a list of guests with current pictures (easy to do in these days of social media) and called each guest by name and they remembered each guest’s favorite beverage. There was also this cool thing they did when serving each course. Eight waiters came in together and, in unison, they placed the plates at a section of the table.
·Our first dance started out as a classic waltz but we faked a problem with the sound system and when the music came back it was a hip hop medley and we broke into dance that became a flash mob of dancers dressed as waiters. Our guests were howling.
- Photography By Good Eye Photography
- Venue By Villa Montalvo
- Planning By All Set
- Florals By Kathleen Deery Design
- Cake By Lindy Zink
- Catering By La Bocca Fina Catering
- Hair By Jessica Lam
- Stationery/Paper/Signage By Yonder Design
- Videography By Alumiq Productions
- DJ/Lighting By Sound In Motion
- Band By Synchronicity Strings
- Rentals By Classic Party Rentals
- Linens By La Tavola
- Dove Release By Avian Joy
- Getaway Car By Elegant Journey