From best friends to husband and wife… This story will have you swooning for days.
Where are you both from and how did you meet?
We were both born and raised in San Diego, California. We met in high school and became close friends — a friendship that grew over the years. In high school, you could often find us together, before and after school, talking on AOL instant messenger and on the phone. We even went to Senior Homecoming and Prom together.
How did you get engaged?
Our friendship continued through our college years and after college; Evan moved into the loft of my apartment. He later went to South Korea for a year to teach English and do graphic design, but we missed each other way more than friends would. My grandmother always liked Evan and clearly knew something was there before we did. She bought me tickets to visit Evan and we walked around the city holding hands and exploring. When Evan came back to San Diego, he took me out to a wine bar and we spent hours just talking, including to a woman there by herself who asked us when the wedding was. About nine years later, here we are (through two major moves — one cross country — graduate school and a cat later). At the wedding, our Rabbi asked our guests during the ceremony how many people knew we would end up together before we did—almost everyone there raised their hand.
Like so much about our relationship, our engagement was natural, unassuming and lovely. It was something we knew we would eventually do and talked about. One Saturday morning, we were sitting on the couch drinking tea and Evan said “Okay! I’m ready.” I had no idea what he was talking about, but he talked about how much he loved me and how he was ready for the next step. It was lovely.
What were you favorite and least favorite parts of planning?
Honestly, we really had a lot of fun during it all. Evan learned what table runners were, which is a funny story about a vendor visit that went wrong.
When we talked about what our wedding would look like, we wanted it to come together in a way that felt natural, welcoming, romantic. We wanted our friends and family to have a wonderful day and when we thought about the feelings we wanted to embody, we thought of some of our favorite trips — good food, unassuming natural beauty and a sense of natural elegance. We thought about a trip we took a few years ago with our close friends and their young daughter where we rented a house in the French countryside and spent many nights drinking wine looking out on a vineyard. It was peaceful, beautiful and romantic. We love France because of its understated elegance and natural beauty.
I also always knew I wanted string instruments like my parents had and a lot of candles. The venue was just perfect because of its outdoor space and those dreamy willow trees, balanced with a beautiful historic barn where we could have candles everywhere.
How did you come across Alicia for your photographer?
We saw some of her photos when we were looking at different venues and just fell in love with her aesthetic. Photography is one of our favorite forms of artwork and we have a lot in our home. While we are nowhere near as talented as Alicia, we hang photos from our travels over the years in our home.
We were head over heels with Alicia’s aesthetic and talent — when we had our first introduction over Skype, I felt like I was talking to a celebrity and both of us felt so comfortable speaking with her.
How about the Barns at Wesleyan Hills for your venue?
We can’t remember exactly how we found it, but we fell in love with the grounds and the beautiful willow trees and water, plus the beautiful feeling of the building. We felt immediately comfortable.
Even more, the people at the Connecticut Wedding Group, which run the venue, were just incredible. They were so friendly and made the entire planning process so easy. Then, on the night of, we didn’t feel like we had to worry about anything.
What made you decide to do a first look? Would you recommend it to other couples?
It was a tough decision, as my mom always talked about how seeing my father look at her at the end of the aisle was one of those most special things ever. But, for us, we knew we wanted the moment to be more private. It was a way to center and connect us and just make it even more special. We are so happy we did it. It was an amazing moment to hug and see each other. We will never forget it.
Can you tell us about the significance of the ketubah? What other Jewish elements did you incorporate into the day?
The ketubah is a Jewish marriage contract and was traditionally a revolutionary concept, protecting the bride’s rights and obligating the husband to look out for her welfare. Today, the ketubah reflects the equality of bride and groom and reflects their mutual obligations to each other.
What is really special about ours is that we actually wrote our ketubah with the help of our Rabbi. We outlined our commitments to each other, the life we want to build together and the ethics that will drive our decision making. We asked our family and friends in attendance to help us stay accountable to the words we wrote. It was a difficult, but special, process that required several re-writes. While Evan is not Jewish and I did not grow up in a particularly religious household, it was important to us to incorporate Judaism into our wedding day. We spent time learning more about the religion and spoke with our Rabbi about how it would be incorporated into the lives we built together. We love the way that Judaism handles and supports life transitions and it also made us feel connected to something larger than us on the day of our wedding.
Plus, Evan did a great job at breaking the glass on the first try! Something that some of his groomsmen had advised was difficult!
What was your first dance song?
Our first dance was “I Could Write A Book” from When Harry Met Sally. I remember making Evan watching the movie and we felt like there was so much about the movie that we could identify with. And we actually took dance lessons, which were so much fun and probably a highlight of the wedding planning process. It brought us closer and brought a lot of laughter.
What’s happening here?
They were flaming doughnuts! One of Evan’s handful of requests for the night. After our cake cutting and dances, we got to go over and help prepare the first serving of the night. Alicia’s photo sequence of the doughnuts cracks us up — our facial expressions throughout are priceless. And the doughnuts were delicious!
Were there any vendors you were particularly impressed with?
Alicia was just fantastic. She was a calming presence throughout the day and I felt like I trusted everything she said. Stephanie at Earth Blossoms did an amazing job with our flowers. We were thrilled. Even more, my grandmother passed away last summer and she helped plan and provide a tribute to her with a beautiful orchid and then surprised me with orchids incorporated into my bouquet. It made me so happy to feel like she was there with us. When I was with her during her last week with us, my grandma just wanted to hear over and over about the flowers for the wedding, stories about Evan, and plans for our life together. Orchids were something she grew as her favorite flower and she had tons of them all over her home.
Additionally, Nob Hill Design and Coral Pheasant were fantastic with the calligraphy and our ceremony programs. We ended up being in a bind at the end and they helped us out and we still have one of the mirrors in our living room that Nob Hill Design put a quote on for us.
If you had to narrow it down, what would you say were each of your favorite moments from that day?
We also loved our dance. We felt so proud of our hard work! And it was a lot of fun. During our thank you speech, Evan did a great job, but despite me often speaking in front of hundreds of people professionally, I was so giddy that I kept forgetting what I had wanted to say!
We smiled so much, our cheeks hurt by the end of the night! It all just felt like a dream.
Do you have any overall advice for recently engaged couples?
Really take this opportunity to take in all the love and really think about what is important to you — and who you want to be there. It is so important to surround yourself with the right people throughout the day and those are the people who will be there for you, love you, make you feel calm and not add any stress.
Definitely take dance lessons — they are a blast! You see a different and fun side of your partner! And it is just another way to build how you will work through things as a couple.
Even more, enjoy the planning and the process, but as soon as you are not having fun, take a break. And then, just STOP planning a few days before the wedding and just let whatever happens, happens. Whatever will happen is meant to be and this is a time to celebrate, love and be joyful.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Our Rabbi gave us great advice for the day (and weekend) of our wedding. He told us that our job was to be taking in all of the love from our family and friends, and focus on our love for each other. That is what will carry us throughout our lives. We really take that to heart in every day in our relationship and it feels really good to us and helps us focus on what is truly important.
Photography: Alicia Ann Photographers // Ceremony, Reception & Catering: Barns at Wesleyan Hills // Officiant: Rabbi David Teva from Wesleyan University // Hair & Makeup: Simply Gorgeous by Erin // Bride’s Dress: Pronovias, A Little Something White in Darien, CT // Bride’s Veil: Toni Federici // Bride’s Headband: the House of Mac and Zoe // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale // Groom’s Suit: Custom from Suit Supply // Groom’s Shoes: Allen Edmonds // Groomsmen’s Formalwear: the Black Tux (ties and socks from the Tie Bar) // Cake: I Need Sugar Therapy // Flowers: Earth Blossoms // Ceremony Music: Ariana Strings // Reception Music: PowerStation Events // Signage: Nob Hill Designs // Ceremony Program: Coral Pheasant // Videography: NST Pictures // Dance Lessons: Your First Dance