It’s been almost a year since I got married and I still haven’t shared details or photos on the blog, so I figure now is as good a time as any. If for no other reason, I thought it would be nice to write a bit about what the day was like so I can look back on it later.
I’m so happy with how the day turned out and glad we got to celebrate our vows with family and friends. Before we got engaged, we had talked about possibly having a courthouse wedding to avoid the planning and expense of something bigger. But I really wanted a wedding with our extended families and friends. I didn’t want to get married without my cousins, aunts, uncles and close friends there. Paul would have been okay with a small courthouse wedding, but in the end he said he was very glad we had everyone celebrate with us.
We ended up with what I would call a medium-sized wedding. We both have somewhat large families and they ended up being fairly involved in the wedding.
The idea from the start was to have a family-friendly wedding (including kids!) with a sweet, romantic vibe. You can probably tell from what I’ve already said that family is pretty important to us. I was also hoping for an outdoor venue, possibly with indoor space as well, and we were considering having Mexican food either by traditional catering or a food truck.
In the first few months we were engaged, I researched so many places and had a long Google Spreadsheet going with possible venues with specifications and a calculation of what each might cost. I even contacted more than one for more information. Then Paul, my mom and I visited our fist potential venue and decided it was the one. Wedding advice will tell you to visit more than one place before you decide, but we lucked out.
We got married at the Garner House in Claremont on Saturday, October 14. It fit our understated romantic vision perfectly. I like the look of the adobe building, the history of it, the twinkle lights at night, the big oak trees in the park, but possibly most of all I love the location. Paul and I went on our first date in Claremont and quite a few dates there after, so it was special for us for that reason. It’s funny that we ended up moving to Claremont from Santa Monica nine months after our wedding.
The day of the wedding felt a bit hectic. Paul and I had planned so much, with our moms’ help, but there were some things that needed to be done the day of. I rushed my brother and brother-in-law out of the house in the morning, so they could take boxes of decorations and instructions on where not only the decorations, but also the tables, chairs and sound equipment should be placed to the venue. Then, my sisters, niece, mom, and I went to the hair salon where my best friend met us. The day flew by a bit after that. I was glad to get ready with all the girls. Well, actually I was in eager anticipation to get to the Garner House and get the ceremony started.
I wasn’t nervous at all when someone said it was almost time for us to walk down the aisle. I was just excited to see Paul and get married. One of my nephews and one of Paul’s cousins served as the ring bearer and flower girl, respectively. My two sisters, Paul’s sister and one of my friends were the bridesmaids. They all went down the aisle and then my mom and I walked down the aisle together. I gave her a big hug when we reached the end of the aisle. I became a bit nervous to be standing up in front of everyone, but I was also happy to look around and see my favorite people.
My uncle Greg, who is a judge, served as our officiant, and I’m so glad he did. He’s a great man, he’s so gifted with words, and his smile makes me feel at home in a way. Before the wedding, he and his wife had asked Paul and I to come over for brunch so we could talk about the ceremony. In talking, they got to know Paul better and got to learn about us as a couple. My uncle used that in what he said during the ceremony in such a nice way. My brother also said a prayer at the start. We said our vows, which were fairly short and not original but we liked them.
During our reception, we had a taco bar and a personally curated music playlist, which is totally us. We actually got to eat and socialize, which was amazing. I loved getting to dance with two of my uncles. At one point, we also had a young people dance circle going with some crazy kiddos. That was loads of fun. If I remember right, we danced to Weezer’s Buddy Holly. Of course, dancing with Paul was pretty special too. Our first dance was to When You Say Nothing At All by Alison Krauss. Funnily enough, my mom said that was the first dance song for this couple we know from church who got married when I was in junior high. Maybe I remembered that subconsciously.
When our time was ending at the venue, we packed up the car and went over to a nearby bar so we could spend more time with my siblings,a few cousins, and friends. I’m glad I planned that, especially because I don’t see my brother much and he was in town. That bar just happened to be the spot of our first kiss as well. I remember looking over at Paul and being so happy that I can now call him my husband.
If you’re wedding planning and would like any advice, I would be happy to help. I couldn’t have gone through planning without the help of my mom, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sisters, and the very necessary input of my fiancé, not to mention lots of Googling.
Photographs: Vanessa Jane Lamb