When my beloved popped the question on Christmas Eve this past holiday season, both of us knew we wanted to get married soon. (Why wait? It’s the classic “When Harry Met Sally” line of “When you know you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start right now” feeling.)
Both of us have gone to countless weddings over the years, have heard horror stories of Bridezillas and relatives getting carried away with the planning process, and with both of us leading busy lives, we wanted to keep things patently simple.
Here are a few things we did that kept things stress-free and allowed us, our families, and our friends to have a relaxing and enjoyable wedding weekend.
If you’re the type who likes to plan every single tiny detail like which precise flowers go in your bouquet, or if you’re a straight guy, you’ll have no interest in any of the information below. I’m merely providing this information for any brides-to-be who want to keep things simple and stress free so they can actually enjoy time with their new spouse. We focused on each other, our families and friends, the food, and the drinks — everything else was a minor detail that wasn’t nearly as important.
We invited immediate family only to the ceremony, and each of us had only one attendant (a best man and maid of honor.) We had the ceremony in the little church where I was raised in Auburn. It’s been around since 1887, and one of the pews bears a plaque with my late father’s name on it. The ceremony was straight out of the Book of Common Prayer, and we had two readings — one Biblical and one from Gibran’s “The Prophet.”
Other Planning for the Ceremony
Props to the City of Auburn for having a vibrant and pedestrian-friendly downtown area. Following one of my grueling training runs in the foothills a while back, I was able to walk to the church, bakery, florist, hair salon, photographer, and post-ceremony-restaurant all within less than a mile. I told the florist how much I wanted to spend and gave her a rough idea of what I wanted the flowers to look like, but I left the rest in her hands to pick out some in-season flowers that would look great.
The maid of honor got to pick out her own dress (I didn’t even see it until two days before the wedding when I picked it up from my mom who’d hemmed it for her), and the best man wore his own suit. Greg also wore his own suit, and I picked out a simple, elegant dress that I can actually wear again once we hem it to knee-length.
We had a lovely sit-down dinner immediately following the ceremony at Latitudes in Old Town Auburn, directly across from the historic courthouse building. Latitudes is in an old Victorian house, and the food is of highest quality. It’s fresh, prepared nicely, and is reasonably priced. It’s worth the drive up to Auburn for a romantic dinner or fun gathering with friends. Their bar downstairs is very cool, and they have some patio areas for when it’s not raining.
Our friends joined us for a party the night following the wedding. We held it at Curtis Hall at the Sierra 2 Center in Sacramento. Please use Sierra 2 for your events. It’s an old school converted into a community center, and they are the nicest people — especially the groundskeepers Simmons and Joe.
We’ve used Town & Country Catering quite a bit at work, so they were a natural choice when picking out our grub for the reception. We opted for heavy appetizers and desserts, and all our guests loved the food. I wasn’t the best judge since the biggest indulgence I’d allowed myself in recent weeks was my daily Viactiv calcium chew, but everyone else said the food was fantastic. (We have tons of leftovers if anyone is hungry — come on over!)
We stocked up on wine from Trader Joe’s and made a beer run to Costco the morning of the party. My sister-in-law is a manager for Coca Cola, so she provided all the soft drinks and water we could ever need.
I’d purchased a ton of candles and votive holders in various shades of blue and green from IKEA, and Ron Dumonchelle of Monkey Glue Lighting set the tone for Curtis Hall with his lighting expertise. I’d also designed a “frequently asked questions” sheet for each table that answered all the questions we knew we’d get, such as “Where are you going to live? How did he propose? Did you meet at Berkeley? Is she really running 100 miles? Is he still playing music?”
Greg’s friend Ty hosted an after-party for us at Streets of London
Thanks to Peets for providing sustenance both Saturday morning and Sunday morning. If you go to the Lyon Village location and look at the board of Polaroid photos of customers, we’re in the top left corner with our “newlyweds” photo.
Overall, everyone (including us) had the perfect weekend, so we couldn’t have planned it any better. I highly recommend stress-free weddings to everyone. The key is to focus on what’s REALLY important and not get caught up in details that cost a fortune and that nobody will notice.