Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship

Andy and I met the first day of middle school when we were 11 and 12 years old.  I developed an immediate crush on him, going as far as to spell out “L + A = <3” in glow-in-the-dark stars on my bedroom ceiling.

We dated for a short period in high school then went our separate ways during college.  Just months after having both graduated from our respective universities, we independently moved to San Francisco, nearly 500 miles away from our childhood homes.  We found out we were living in the same city via my roommate at the time who was also a mutual friend of ours from high school.  We picked up almost immediately from where we had left off 4 years earlier and the rest as they say is history.

Nearly 10 years later we have a dog, have traveled to 30+ countries together and at the beginning of this year, decided to move to the other side of the world and take up residence in Berlin, Germany.  We were married on September 23, 2017 nearly 20 years to the day after we first met in middle school.

Now we are adjusting to our new lives in Berlin.  Andy works in video games and I am in interior design.  Above all, we love to travel and hope that our new home in Germany allows us easy access to fun European weekend getaways.

Oh and of course, we are pretty obsessed with our 5 year old French bulldog, Beatrice.

Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style? Tell us a little about the setting, the styling and some of your favourite details…

I always hesitate to associate a specific ‘theme’ or ‘style’ to our wedding because one of my goals was for it to be unique and special, and specific only to our own style.  We really aimed to try and compliment the beautiful setting and not do too much that would compete with the natural beauty around us.  Because of this, I avoided any loud pops of color and stuck only to the more neutral, natural colors (cremes, whites, greens, coppers).  I had my father construct our arbor out of copper piping, then asked the florist to affix greenery around it.  I also opted for more natural, wild looking floral designs on both the tables and in my own bouquet.

One of the reasons I knew I wanted to hire our amazing photographer, Gretchen, was after seeing her portfolio and noticing the way she is able to capture the natural highlights and shadows in her photographs.  I loved the contrast of light and dark and thought this really enhanced the natural, organic feel I wanted to create.

We also chose to go with some nontraditional food options; I can’t believe how many times I’ve left a wedding disappointed (and hungry!) with the catering choices, so when I found out that Nopalito, a delicious Mexican restaurant just a block from our SF apartment, catered weddings, I knew I had to book them!  We also opted for pies instead of cake because who doesn’t love pie?!  But really, you can have so many more options, it’s significantly cheaper than cake, and I just loved the way they look all displayed together.

Above all, we wanted our wedding to feel like a big party or get together.  We rented the venue for three days so we could really enjoy all it had to offer (12,000+ acres, private lake, outdoor pizza oven, 20 person jacuzzi, etc.).  We also had quite a few of our friends spend the night with us onsite so we could take advantage of there being no noise curfew!  We wanted people to feel comfortable and free to enjoy themselves whether it be playing bocce ball, hiking the beautiful trails or just taking in the amazing views with a beer in hand!  

Tell us about your main outfits:

Andy and I lived in Melbourne, Australia for a short time and our apartment was just a couple blocks from Gwendolynne’s beautiful Fitzroy studio.  We would walk by it everyday on our way to coffee at Industry Beans (if you’re ever in Melbourne you must hit this place up for brunch!) and I would just drool over the stunning gowns in the window.  They were exactly what I had always imagined I would wear on my wedding day yet had never really seen anything comparable back home in the U.S.

Once we decided to start planning the wedding, I knew I had to get myself back to Melbourne to try on one of these amazing dresses.  I instantly fell in love with the ‘Marissa’ dress with its intricate detailing and subtle 1920’s vibe.  Gwendolynne was an absolute joy to work with despite it being a tricky situation with me having to return to San Francisco after our initial meeting.  Several months later when the dress was finally ready, I had Andy bring it back for me during one of his many Melbourne work trips.  He carried it in its remarkably small box with him on the plane, all the while not knowing what it looked like since I forbid him from opening up the box!  I was so smitten with the dress, it was definitely one of the highlights of the day and well worth the extra effort and cost.  Plus knowing there have only ever been 3 of this dress made, EVER, made it even more special!

What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day?

Our wedding venue was remote to say the least.  An hour from the nearest town on a very narrow and winding road definitely posed its own set of challenges.  This fact added to its gorgeous scenery and appeal but also created some difficulties with vendors as well as car-sick guests having to brave the hour long shuttle ride.  The day before the wedding, our closest friends joined us at the Coppola Winery Pool for a day of relaxing before returning to the venue for the rehearsal dinner. 

Despite looking forward to a wonderful day poolside, the daunting drive was ever-present in the back of everyone’s minds.  One of my best friends who has worked as a TV producer for several survival-style shows decided the only possible solution to avoid the drive was to charter a private helicopter both to and from the winery.  So Andy, myself and several of our friends took turns in a teeny 4 person helicopter, flying high above the beautiful Sonoma forest and wineries.  It was definitely an experience we will not soon forget, I mean, how many people can say they took a private helicopter to their wedding venue?!

Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?

There is no need to rush.  Andy and I knew each other 20 years and dated for nearly 10 before deciding to tie the knot.  I’m not recommending everyone wait that long, but if you truly plan on spending the rest of your life with someone, what’s the hurry?!  I see so many couples rushing into marriages without truly knowing their partner and while some of them will be lucky, others will not.

I believe truly knowing and loving someone takes time- those butterflies you feel the first couple years often fade and if you haven’t built a strong, honest relationship, then you run the risk of it not lasting.  In addition to establishing a good foundation, taking your time also allows you the luxury of being able to plan that perfect wedding you’ve always dreamed of!  Vendors book up quickly and researching every little detail takes A LOT OF TIME, so knowing you have a time cushion will make the planning process so much less stressful and even quite enjoyable!

Oh and also, if you truly want to test your relationship, the best way to do so is to travel internationally with your partner.  You will see sides of each other you never knew were there (both good and bad!) and there’s no truer test of your relationship’s strength than when the only one you have to help you out of a sticky situation is each other.

Photographer: Gretchen Gause | Ceremony and reception location: Anvil Vineyard & Ranch | Celebrant: Holland Smith (bride’s sister) | Entertainment: Irena Eide | DJ: Greg Hanefeld | Day-of coordinator: Samar Hattar, Blissful Events | Flora: B-Side Farm & Floral Design | Catering: Nopalito | Pies: Chile Pies Baking Co. | Wedding dress: Gwendolynne (“Marissa”) | Veil: Richard Nylon | Shoes: Revolve | Groom’s suit: Taylor’s Keep | Shoes: Allen Edmonds | Groom’s watch: MVMT | Rings: Catbird