A Misty Mountain Marriage

February 21, 2013 in
Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Frances Reade

Frances Reade is a writer and education person who lives in the Bay Area. She and her husband Ben just purchased a fixer-upper house, which they now understand they must actually fix up.

For our wedding, we were committed to avoiding the dreaded “wedding industry complex” as much as possible. Luckily, we love flea markets, estate sales, and Etsy, so we had no trouble amassing a lot of lovely little details for the day without going into debt. Buying from real people and small vendors, and making stuff ourselves or with help from our families, helped keep us grounded.

We were married in a Soto Zen ceremony in the stone amphitheater on top of Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County, followed by a reception in a seaside town called Bolinas. Bolinas is one of our favorite places in California — it’s a very bohemian kind of town. The locals were amused by the appearance of so many people in fancy clothes (someone told my brother “you’re the first guy in a suit I’ve ever seen in Bolinas!”), and our out of town guests got a kick out of the counter-cultural vibe. There was no way to improve on the gorgeous ceremony site, so we saved a lot of decorating work that way!

The reception hall was a blank canvas. We had a casual dinner there the night before, and our wonderful family and friends did incredible work stringing lights, hanging lanterns, setting up tables, and generally transforming the hall into a cozy, glittering party space. That night was one of my favorite parts of the wedding — it was just amazing to see so many aunts and uncles and cousins swarming the hall and making it look beautiful for us. I felt so lucky and loved.

Our wedding decor included many DIY details, like the table runners that my mom sewed for us and the little plastic animals that my awesome sister-in-law spray-painted for each place setting. Ben is a member of San Francisco’s Techshop, so he used the Epilog laser cutter to make wooden name cards for each guest. I still see the animals and name cards at people’s houses! I think my best DIY project was the huge ribbon curtain we hung up behind our table at the reception. It took forever to make, but it was cheap and made a big statement.

We really got everything we wanted out of the day, including gorgeous pictures by Delbarr, amazing food from Sage Catering, and a great dance party care of some volunteer-friend DJs. Hiring a day-of coordinator was one of the smartest things we did. After planning the whole thing ourselves, it was awesome to just hand the reins off to capable and cool Emily from Enjoy Events.

Most importantly, we got to celebrate our love in our beloved adopted land of Northern California, with so many wonderful friends and family from all over witnessing, supporting, eating, drinking and dancing!

All photographs by Delbarr Moradi.