From Stephanie: “At first we were going back and forth on finding the perfect barn venue or a dock in Lake Tahoe, but when my stepfather suggested Mission Ranch, something just clicked. When he first met my mother, he was just starting out his painting contracting company and Mission Ranch was his first job. He grew to love the property and vowed to have a special party there, either for himself, or for someone he loved. It ended up being the best gift ever. The rustic vibe and intimacy of the small barn was just perfect, as were the gorgeous views from the pasture.”
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What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? I loved the idea of handwritten script and the personal feel it brings. My biggest inspiration for calligraphy was Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls, who happened to be offering a class in my own town. She encouraged me to take a risk and do my own invites and hand lettering. I followed that advice and the result was perfectly imperfect but worth every minute…a serious labor of love.
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? From the moment we arrived at Mission Ranch, I knew it was going to be smooth sailing from there on out. I had done a lot of fretting before hand, but at that point I realized what was really important, and what wasn’t. I knew I wanted to enjoy every moment of the weekend and be extremely present.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? I can’t remember which one of my brilliant friends said this, but it has stuck with me: “No matter what happens, your day will be perfect because it’s about your love, and that’s it.” You can’t beat that advice because it’s so true. That’s now the advice I give other brides. That and, at some point, you have to stop looking at what else is out there and can be done and just accept and trust the decisions you’ve already made.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day? Our family is very important to us and we tried to honor and include them in various ways. An example of this was the “Rosemary for Remembrance” plant, where we tied hand written pendants of names of our grandparents who are no longer with us, to go along with photographs we displayed of them.
From the couple: “We fell in love with the magical, fairy tale feeling of Cafe Brauer [in Lincoln Park]. We both envisioned getting married with lots of twinkle lights, and imagined floating candles suspended from the domed ceiling. There is something incredibly romantic about the space, which is the feeling we were going for.”
“We had, what we are calling, a Jewish-style wedding. Jessie’s brother officiated, which was very special. Although there was no rabbi, the ceremony still felt inspired by Jessie’s Jewish background. It was important to Jessie to include certain traditions, but we also made sure that everything we did reflected our interfaith and egalitarian beliefs. So, for example, traditionally a Jewish bride circles her husband seven times to demonstrate her loyalty and obedience. In our wedding, Jessie circled Garrett three times, Garrett circles Jessie three times, and the bride and groom made one circle together, holding hands.”
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What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? First and foremost we were inspired by Cafe Brauer itself. The beautiful arts-and-crafts details, the many shades of green, and the gorgeous views of Lincoln Park. After we settled on Cafe Brauer, we really designed the wedding around the space. The next important decision was the dress. Once I settled on my perfect dress, that also helped set the tone for the event.
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? Reading our vows to each other was definitely the highlight for both of us. We also loved sneaking away from the cocktail hour early to hide in the gallery above before our big entrance, and watching our guests enter the main hall and start dancing like crazy to the band. It was special to be together watching everyone having so much fun.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? We were given five dance lessons by Garrett’s brother and sister-in-law. They told us it would be great time to spend together, doing something fun (and useful). They were right! We loved our bi-weekly lessons leading up to the wedding, and were so proud of our “performance” for our first dance.
What advice do you have for other brides? Enjoy the planning! The actual wedding goes by in a flash. It’s everything leading up to the big day, all the special moments with your mother, your friends, and your husband-to-be, that make the celebration last.
Says the bride, “We had previously been to Cowley Manor for a long weekend and fell in love with the amazing venue and beautiful grounds. As we had such a small wedding the church was perfect for our needs. We also loved the contrast of the traditional English countryside and church with the modernity of the Manor House.”
Naturally, Tribble the hedgehog appeared in some of the newlyweds’ portraits. “We also made sure that everyone had a part in the service,” says Rebecca, “with our siblings doing readings and my grandma and Mike’s aunt signing the register as witnesses.”
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What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? It was important to us that the venue and ceremony reflected our personalities and that everything was organized to our taste. I also think that flowers are vital to setting the tone of the wedding and they were one of the most important aspects of the decoration to me.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Make sure to spend time as a couple throughout the day, as well as devoting enough time to the guests who are really important to you. Luckily this was very easy for us as only our closest friends and family were there, so we were able to spend time with everyone.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day? Rebecca’s Grandma was diagnosed with a serious illness shortly before we were engaged. She’s a very important person in Rebecca’s life and we wanted to make sure that she could be at our wedding day. We therefore decided to organize a small wedding for as soon as we could so that she could be there for our special day, with a big party next year to celebrate with our friends. Having such a small wedding really worked for us. It was an incredibly intimate and special day, one that we will treasure forever.