To start the story of Kristen and Brian, I have to go back. REALLY back. To when I was a baby. I took my first baby steps into the arms of my cousin Mark. He is the oldest son of my beloved Auntie Jane, and had a very close relationship with my dad. His oldest child is Kristen, who was the delight of my Auntie Jane’s life, the first of her grandchildren, and my very first babysitting job at the age of ten. Our families have always been very very close. WHen Mark and Donna got married, I was already rather obsessed with all things wedding related, and I caught the bouquet. To have it torn from my hands. I was devastated, and Donna marched right over with a beautiful basket of flowers for me, saying SHE knew who REALLY caught those flowers! When I got married (ten years ago this week!), it couldn’t be my dad who gave me away (he died when I was 14) so I did the next logical thing and asked Mark. I figured, I took my FIRST steps with him, it seemed only right that I take my most important walk as an adult with him by my side too. I can recall asking him to really CHECK WITH KRISTEN that she wouldn’t mind sharing him with me that day–of course, she was thrilled too. Because that’s the kind of person she is. In fact, when I asked him about giving me away, he first asked about my grandfather. I explained that he was too frail to make the trip from Savannah, and Mark said, “Well, you tell him that if he can GET HERE, I will put him on my back and carry him down the aisle.” (See? Didn’t I tell you he’s amazing?)
Kristen and Brian have been together for a LONG time. We all rejoiced at the news of their engagement, but it took a little while to decide where and when. A job opportunity arose a year ago, and the happy couple packed their bags and moved from their friends and family in Lowell all the way to San Francisco. And I think it is safe to say that it is right where they belong. They LOVE that city, and decided to share their love of the city by the bay with the rest of us, and they decided on a Sonoma wedding. TK and I decided that since we are celebrating our tenth anniversary, we would really make a trip of it, and we flew to LA the week before the wedding, and spent the entire week driving from LA to Sonoma. There is a WHOLE OTHER POST about the sheer amazingness of that trip up the coast…today I am starting with the end, with the grand finale!
The 40 guests who made the trip were treated to the most incredible rehearsal day. After a run-through at the wedding site, we hopped on a bus and took a tour of three vineyards in the Russian River Valley. At the first vineyard, we rode up to the top of the hill for an AMAZING lunch with a spectacular view. Vineyard to vineyard, with some of my favorite people on earth. And I left that day with some new favorite wines, which is always a good thing, right?
The morning of the wedding dawned blue and clear and warm, but not too hot, which Kristen tells me is what it’s like there all the time. So I see why they love it. I have always said that I have the best job ever..that I get to be with the bride for all of the intimate and emotional parts of her day, but when that person is someone I LOVE, it makes it so much richer and so much more wonderful for me. Needless to say, I spent a good part of the day wiping tears from my eyes! The wedding took place at Madrona Manor, in Healdsburg. It was as beautiful as Kristen promised it would be, and there were hidden gardens and pathways, each more green and fragrant than the last. Kristen and Brian did a first look, so we are able to walk the grounds before the ceremony started…have I mentioned how much I love first looks?? The ceremony was personal and beautiful, and just after we had cocktails and appetizers and a couple of dances on their patio. Dinner was served on their sprawling porch, and the chef from this 5-Star Michelin Rated kitchen served 5 of the most spectacular courses I have ever had the privilege of partaking in! The sun set, and the outdoor heaters kicked in, turning the porch into a cozy candle-lit space, filled with laughter and love. It was, in a word, perfect. And something I will never ever forget.
One more thing–when Kristen was ticking off her something old, something new checklist, she realized she didn’t have a something blue. I had the star sapphire pendant that was my mom’s engagement ring from my dad, the same pendant that was sewn into my own wedding dress as my something blue. I offered it up, and Kristen happily accepted, that not only would it be something blue and borrowed, but that it would be a way to “Have my Uncle Charlie and Auntie Sue here with me today.” I have never been so touched to see that pendant pinned to her bouquet, right net to my Auntie Jane’s gold cross…favorite favorite favorite moment.
Enjoy the sneak peek…there are LOTS to see, and I’ll try to keep the commentary to a minimum. I’ll TRY. :)
The beautiful bride, and her parents!
Here’s what married-for-almost-a-decade and almost-married look like, side by side:
Um, HELLO. Kristen, you may be one of the most beautiful brides to ever stand in front of my camera. EVER.
Danielle gave one of my favorite toasts…remembering when she and Kristen graduated, and they were nervous enough that they held hands the whole time…and how honored she was to hold her hand on this day too…*sigh*, I am getting all weepy again!
This is Mark with Mia, my cousin Amy’s youngest. Mia and Jane are three weeks apart…she’s pretty awesome, and aside from cutting a rug with her uncle, she was making requests of the string trio…like “Hey Soul Sister”. They didn’t know that one.
Oh, man, I am salivating. I am not ashamed to admit that I dream about this meal.
Congratulations, Kristen and Brian, we love you SO MUCH!