It’s easy to understand why Jacky and Willi chose to wed at Headlands Center for the Arts – they’ve spent hours hiking in the area, the views are breathtaking, it’s a wonderfully unique space for a unique and beautiful wedding. Details I love from their celebration? They wrote their own vows (and shared them with us!), brewed their own cider, and their pup was the ring bearer. Plus lots more inspiration, so read on!
“The Marin Headlands has always been a special place for us,” share the newlyweds. “Just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, we’ve spent many weekends hiking the oceanside trails with Alta, our adventurous pup. As soon as we toured the Headlands Center for the Arts, it was clear it was the right place for us to get married. We immediately agreed that the natural beauty of the surroundings combined with the rustic aesthetic of the Art Center made the perfect setting for our ideal party – plus, they allowed Alta to be join us for the ceremony and cocktail hour! What’s more, just down the road from the Art Center, the Marin Headlands Hostel has a gorgeous Annex building that is more of a beautiful cabin than a hostel, which we rented for our wedding weekend. We hosted a few dozen of our closest friends on-site, making the entire weekend a super fun and relaxing retreat.”
The First Look
“I loved our first look,” shares the groom. “We made a game-time decision to change the location from the lighthouse nearby to a gorgeous, tree-lined trail leading down to the ocean. You spend the whole day frantically taking care of final details and getting ready, so by the time the first look comes around, you really have nothing else to do except get married and have fun. To have 30 minutes to just stroll around with your soon-to-be (plus our pup Alta!) and let the day soak in, chatting and smiling and looking dapper – we were elated.”
“I loved the moment when I walked into the ceremony room and saw not only how the room looked after all the planning and my wonderful soon-to-be-husband at the end of the aisle, but all our wonderful friends and family filling the room,” shares the bride. “Looking around the room during our ceremony and seeing the faces of all our favorite people in one room – pure happiness.”
Any special details from the ceremony you’d like to share? We aren’t religious and were wary about following any preconceived, non-denominational ceremony. We figured that if we were going to invest so much time and so many resources into a single day, we wanted to make it 100% our own. That decision brought with it quite a challenge though – we had to write and plan out entirely original nuptials. One of the major creations of our wedding was brewing over forty gallons of homemade beer and (alcoholic) cider. So we decided to incorporate our homemade cider into the ceremony. Soon after the exchange of rings, we shared an inaugural glass of cider with our older siblings – toasting our guests as we invited them to celebrate our incredible community of friends and family by partaking in the same batch of brew that we had just cracked open. That moment of public acknowledgement of those we love, all in the same room, looking so handsome and pretty – that felt truly great. And to do it in a manner that we had personally devised felt even more intimate.
Your ceremony in three words. Personal, Communal, Fun.
Tell us about writing your own vows. We cannot recommend highly enough writing your own vows. It was really tough but so worth it. Beyond making the ceremony more original and personal, the entire practice of writing your own vows makes you think long and hard about just how much you love the person you’re marrying. Writing, scrapping, rewriting, and sharing different iterations of our vows made us all the more excited for the big day.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Our pup Alta was the ringbearer; several times leading up to the day, we practiced her going from Jacky to Willi but once she entered the ceremony the day of, she got a major case of stage fright with all the people now in the room. She hid underneath a friend’s chair while all our friends and family cooed and coaxed her towards Willi – eventually she saw him and sprinted through the crowd towards her dad. The whole room cheered!
Ceremony Music: Performed solo by our good friend Ben Sieglman on cello and fiddle.
Processional, groom: “Goldberg Variations Aria” by Johann Sebastian Bach
Processional, bride: “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Recessional: “Tennessee Wagoner” (traditional fiddle tune)
“We love to make things and knew we wanted to DIY as much as was realistic for our wedding,” share Jacky and Willi. “We’d spent many a weekend and weekday night working on anything from massive batches of ice cream, beer, cider, and limoncello to air plant sculptures, pennant flags, and succulent boutonnieres and corsages. Working during the months leading up to the wedding on all these projects made the whole celebration last longer – friends joined in to help as they could, so we got to celebrate with them for more than just the weekend. It did take a lot of planning ahead of time, but by the day of the wedding we were actually really calm – we took a hike the morning of the wedding with some of our guests staying with us at the hostel.”
DIY Elements: Beer, cider, limoncello from our backyard Meyer lemon tree; cake and ice cream; boutonnieres, corsages, combs; dinner napkins, salted caramels, and welcome bags; not to mention a lot of Alameda Flea Market thrifting for decorations.
Signature Drinks: Limoncello Gin Cocktail / Sazerac // Appetizers: Variety of Cheeses / Seascape Strawberry & Toasted Almond Salad with Greens and Goat Cheese // Entree: Spring Lamb with Spring Onions / English Pea Risotto with Mint Parsley Pesto // Side Dish: Marinated Beets, Roasted Asparagus with Green Garlic and Artichokes with Tarragon Butter // Dessert: Gluten Free Yellow Cake with Nutmeg Frosting / Ice Cream
First Dance Song: “I Love the Weekend” by No Kids
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? One useful thing we did early on was to take a long wander around the Headlands exactly a year before our wedding, taking photos of the scenery. We used the pictures to establish a color palette for the wedding: burnt orange from the rock-clinging lichen, spring green from ice plants and grasses, cream from gigantic Queen Anne’s Lace, and slate gray from the rocky beach and surrounding boulders. We wanted our wedding to reflect the environment we were getting married in.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? A lot of people are going to have opinions about how your wedding should go, but at the end of the day, it’s your wedding so you should make sure you do things the way you want them. Also, eat the food at your wedding.
Any advice for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Get a (great) day-of wedding coordinator. You may think you can plan your own wedding – you may even be an event planner in your day job – but on the day of your wedding, you will want to spend your time enjoying the day, not working. Our wedding coordinator was fantastic and we felt completely comfortable letting her make any last minute decisions that came up. Also, expect things not to go as planned and be okay with it – they may even be better in the end.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding? We had an amazing New Orleans style brass band (local to Oakland where we live!) called MJ’s Brass Boppers. They brought so much energy and everyone, from the little kids to older family friends, had such a blast dancing. One of the most fun moments was during our first dance – all our guests formed a Conga line around us as we did our best swing dance moves.