February 9th, 2013 – The day we made it official

Family Shot by Tim Cattera

February 9th, 2013.. The day we made it official

On June 1st – almost 6yrs ago… I fell in love with a man I had know for a very long time.. A man I NEVER would had guessed would BE THE ONE for me….By acknowledging that I was indeed in love with him – would create a lot of lessons, decisions, joy and even sadness.. it was an incredibly long journey to get to that June 1st… and the years that would follow, would in many ways, seem even longer.

But somehow… through all of our lessons and journeys.. I found him on one knee in front of me on December 1st, 2012…. with our kids by our sides… I proclaimed YES! and so it would be… We decided to make it official before our big move… and added the planning of a wedding into the mix… so we did just that… We planned a very small and intimate wedding that would take place about 2.5months later.

For those of you who have not followed along or have forgotten.. we decided to get engaged, get married, have Eric finish his first Ironman and move across the country with our kids – in a 3month timeframe… Yes.. we are crazy!

So off we went to planning.. and our wedding is a testament to our family, friends and our commitment to each other.

We tossed around the idea of eloping.. but after our journey – we wanted to celebrate that.. but because we had a few big ticket items coming (a family trip to Mexico and a move).. we had to be realistic about our budget….

We first had to tackle the location… The venues in Santa Cruz offer some very nice options… but most come with a hefty site fee… even the ones I got to reduce their fee’s actually exceeded our budget before we ever got started… then a very good friend of ours came to the rescue and offered her house to us…. and her house came with a separate party room… so then it was guest list time… we decided that while we typically liked and wanted to invite everyone.. we just couldn’t… due to budget.. size of location and we still decided that this would be okay.. if we included our immediate friends and family… we hoped that everyone else would understand…..

Next up was finding vendors who could work with our budget and vision… I started with caterers because I know that was going to be the bulk of our expense…. We wanted simple… healthy and easy.. we contemplated BBQ’ing but didn’t want to add a ton of work to anyone’s plate.. and yet.. we needed to follow Eric’s eating plan since his Ironman would only be a month away… not to mention that I don’t eat meat… LOL

We went back and forth with a few and ended up going with Caterman Catering out of San Jose. We agreed to a simple grilled Chicken Breast, Pasta with a choice of sauces, grilled veggies and rolls. One of our good friends created fabulous salads as a gift to us. We choose two appetizers (along with fresh fruit and veggies) – Buffalo chicken bites to represent Eric and Puff pastry filled with cheese and nuts for me.. Simple, yet a variety that would encompass all of our guests – including the kids.

We had about 50 people total.. 30-ish adults and 20-ish kids.. give or take 🙂

We decided that due to the weather we would set up the reception inside the party room.. and while we were worried about it being cramped.. we decided it was okay to be cozy… We had gotten round tables and had been told that we could sit 10 per table.. the day before the wedding as we were setting up.. it was clear that NO WAY would we be fit 10 per table and some shuffling happened last minute.. with an addition of a kids table in the middle of the room… which did seem to close it in a bit.. but it was better than putting people on top of each other…as it was going to be close anyways.

For décor we went SUPER SIMPLE… white linens with an off-white/ivory lace runner.. We went with ivory napkins to coordinate and play off the different shades of whites and ivories. For centerpieces, we had 3 various sizes of Mason Jars with candles – accented by votives.. and our florist threw in some rose petals for each table.. We decided to go simple and chic.. it kept our costs down – as well as set-up and clean-up times. I am not a HUGE fan of assigned seating.. but I quickly realized that the room was going to be incredible full and I felt that if people knew where to go and sit – it would be less stressful… so we took an 8oz mason jar – added a cute purple and white paper straw (off amazon.com) and tied a natural tag with purple ribbon(under 5.00 total from Michaels and we had some left over)… I hand wrote everyone’s name and all of the sudden we had name cards and a favor! (not bad considering we weren’t going to do either).

Wedding colors…. I think this was the biggest indication that my control-freak-over-the-top-detailed-self had grown up… I pictured chocolate browns and soft pink peonies for this day.. very Southern wedding feeling… In my ideal world – we would have gotten married in an old wooden barn with twinkle lights all over the place and gushing with flowers… Pink Peonies remind me of us…. I thought the softness would go well with my gown and even though we were going low key – my gown was sorta blingey – but very much me…. I had gotten incredibly lucky on my dress…. I went to Bridal Veil in Capitola, CA and I had known Lisa, the owner for years.. My sister and I had modeled in our teen years and my sister had purchased her wedding dress from her. I knew that I didn’t have the 6 month ordering time and I needed something off the rack… I also knew that I didn’t want to spend a crazy amount… so I went in with a challenge for her… I needed something off the rack.. something that was close to fitting and something in the $500.00 price range… I told her $500-1000 but really wanted to stay as close to $500.00 as possible… and oh yeah.. and it had to be perfect!

This would be the second marriage for both of us and while I believe that we both had our priorities in line – with wanting a solid and amazing marriage and not so much a perfect wedding… but, we also had the feeling that if we were going to do it – we wanted to do it right….

I tried on a few dresses and we established that while we would be having a backyard wedding (or a court-house one, as we had not fully established the where yet) – I was still very much drawn to A-line, strapless and feeling like a princess… I wanted to take Eric’s breath away…. After we had tried on a few things.. Lisa said she wanted to grab a gown that she had in storage for a while – and it was from an old, discontinued line but wanted to see what I thought…..I slipped it on and it was perfect… I about fainted when she told me the cost – that would come in BELOW my $500.00 budget… but I didn’t want to love it because of the price… so we wrote down my top 3 and decided I would come back with my mom and sister in tow…. once that happened.. they both loved the same dress… and I hemmed and hawed over changing the ribbon and making it look more deconstructed and changing out the brooch.. but at the end of the day.. its not where I wanted to spend $$.

Because of the taupe/tea stained colors – we wanted to go with a chocolate brown…. yet – we didn’t really want to have my sister and soon-to-be-step daughter, spend over $200.00 for a dress they would wear once… lesson learned here…. we searched and searched and ordered one offline for both of them… only to have them arrive and BE AWFUL.. in cut and fit…. We decided with a few weeks to go to make a girls day of it and head over to SJ.. thinking that winter formal time would produce a ton of chocolate brown options… we spent hours only to come up short and ended up at David’s Bridal.. THANK GOODNESS…. we went through the entire store and once we realized that chocolate brown was out.. it was all about finding two dresses in the same color/fabric and style that would fit each of them…. We tried every shade of blue (Eric’s favorite color) and then had to move to ANY color in the store.. .and settled on Plum Purple – which ended up being perfect….Grabbed the dresses off the rack and found shoes…. We had the baby with us and she was passed out and afterwards, we realized I never stood up next to the girls.. my “little” sister is 5″11 and I typically try to put her in flats when we are together.. since I am only 5’7.. but somehow – the heels I picked out for them were 3” platforms… again.. just goes to show how much more relaxed I am/was with everything.. knowing that this was the absolute right thing.. deep down….

We headed home and then it was off to talk to the florist and tell him we had totally changed the colors.

We went with Rick James from FVJ Luxuries (http://www.fvjluxuries.com)… My sister had worked with him on a number of corporate events – so I reached out and had a GREAT conversation with him… and didn’t freak him out with our budget.. or lack of.. I had a few tell me there was no way they could do it.. I had a number of people never call me back and I knew that realistically.. I couldn’t take on doing the flowers… I told Rick that we had a firm budget of $300.00 – and I needed a bridal bouquet, 3 BM bouquet’s, 2 boutonnieres, a flower girl basket, and something for the arch….He didn’t laugh – and that was good since I could barely say it with a straight face… I still chuckle… I told him my vision but essentially showed him my dress.. the girls dresses and talked about décor and told him I would trust him… no carnations, no daisy’s and no succulent’s. Rick met with Eric and I at the location once and again with me later on…. he assured me that he would rock it.. and better yet – would make sure that we had a toss bouquet, petals for the tables and flowers for the top of the cake…. He also said he would get there early to help hang lanterns…..

Next up was the cake…. We are blessed with having very talented friends… I had reached out to two of them, who do cakes to ask for a quote… I never really got a straight answer from one and after thinking about it – went with Stephanie, who would also be marrying us…. We sat down one afternoon and looked through my pinterest folder and the details… and again.. we essentially left it up to her… we went with chocolate and vanilla cake with whipped cream filling (Eric’s favorite) and the design would be up to her.. though we loosely talked about it… Stephanie, also happens to be the MOST ARTISTIC and CRAFTY person you will ever meet! We had talked about the mason jars and how Rick James suggested making them hang to hang them fro the giant oak in the backyard… and I loved the idea.. but with kids at home.. a full time job and less than a month – I wasn’t sure how crafty I was going to get…. So she gave me a quick tutorial and we decided the hanging lanterns were totally doable… LOL

Eric had his coast ride coming up – where he would be riding his bike from North of SF, down to Santa Monica and we would stay with him the first night and meet him the second night… there also happened to be a Wal-Mart in Sand City, where we would be meeting him… so I grabbed a few cases of different sized mason jars and a few different shades of purple ribbon…. and figured we would be good to go on décor.

I also needed to find flower girl dresses for our 3yr old and 1yr old.. and again.. we didn’t want to spend a crazy amount… I had started to look while we still believed that we were going with chocolate brown. I found a great vendor on ebay and the ivory dresses with chocolate brown sashes would be 25-27.00 each… I thought they may run big but figured we would deal with it…. They arrived and were beyond cute!!!! and better yet… when our colors changed – I was able to send back the sashes and they sent me new plum purple ones. As we got closer to the day.. we tried the FG dresses on and realized that both needed to be altered… of course… I had just had my first alteration session and about passed out when I was told that the cost to hem and take in the waist was going to cost as much or more than the actual dress… so I was panicked… but alas… remember.. Stephanie is the most creative and crafty person that I know.. so I called her and asked if she could hem the girls dresses… She said she never had done anything like that but we would come up with a plan… and she did.. and she rocked it!!!!! and it was perfect and showed off their gold glitter shoes perfectly… because our girls are total princesses and Mackenzie – our now 4yr old was beyond excited for our wedding day…It was really as much about the kids as it was about us.. There is something very special about having your kids standing next to you on your wedding day.. it reminds you how much is at stake and I firmly believe that this foundation we have set – will help us weather everything that will come our way…

Now it was just about bringing everything together…. We spent a few days wiring the mason jars that would be hanging from the trees and then tying different ribbons to them (My sister and Monisha were such huge helps here!!! And while we got it done.. it was not as easy as Pinterest or Stephanie may it out to be.. LOL).. We tied the ribbon for the mason jars that would be hanging from the sheppard hooks for the aisle… and we even found putty/modeling clay to stick to the bottom of the votives so that they wouldn’t tip over in the mason jars (Thank you to Maya, Monisha’s daughter for helping us out here)…As we were coming up to the big day – an old friend of my sisters and mine, who had just gotten married in Hawaii offered up her white and purple paper lanterns for us to use.. and THANK GOODNESS because they really made the décor and brought everything together.. especially when we figured out that hanging the mason jar lanterns were going to be rough (or Monish, Patrick and Jarrod realized it as they were setting everything up).

It was then time for Eric and Alex to get fitted for their tuxes and for Eric to pick out what he wanted… we figured that he would be going with a champagne color to accent my dress… but my husband is a bit of a redneck… and I say that in the most loving of terms… and he sorta fell in love with the MOSSY OAK aka CAMOFLAGE tuxedo vest….and here is the thing… I decided that it was a day for both of us.. and he was lucky that the greens and browns would work with my dress ;-).. Lisa at Bridal Veil was great and actually ordered him 3! one black, one mossy oak and a champagne color… and said we could switch them out, etc….. but you know what… it was perfect! Eric wore his tux and looked amazing and took my breathe away.. camo vest and all 🙂 our wedding was going to be very much about us and our family… I did draw the line at the orange vest though ;-).. We put Alex in a purple vest to coordinate with the girls… and poor guy.. on the wedding day, he REALLY wanted a camo vest, just like Eric..

and once again… everything works out for a reason.. we came to find out that Eric’s older sister would be making the trip from the East Coast to share in our day – which was amazing and unexpected.. because we would be moving shortly and our engagement was just over 2months long – we didn’t want any of our family members to feel obligated or have to spend a large amount of money for a few hours.. but we were honored that Melissa was making the trip.. and Eric asked her to stand up next to him and be his “Best Woman”.. and lucky for us.. there was a David’s in her neck of the woods and not only did they have a dress that fit her in the right color.. they had the right dress.. and the Davids near us – happened to have her shoes… I’m telling you… it all happens for a reason…

It was all coming together and I was giddy with excitement – knowing that I was going to marry my best friend and father to two of my children…. The rest was going to be “extra”… though.. I was still able to make an apt at MAC for makeup on the day of the wedding and with my good friend, Julie Chimel at KATWALK for all of our hair to be done….She is incredible!

Before we knew it – the day before the wedding was here.. Melissa, Eric’s sister had arrived and we started to set-up the location…

We quickly realized the issue with the tables – and I think that Eric started to get stressed about the space and it was my first and only freak out moment and I tried to come up with a new plan.. what resulted was a rectangular kids table – for the older kids – Luckily.. we had enough of everything to make it work.. and while it made the room more cramped… we pulled it out right after dinner…

We made it work – with only a few tears… LOL and we were off for the evening!

That evening we got all the last minute items together for my bag, Eric’s bag and the girls bags – since they would be spending the night with their daycare lady! (Such a great wedding gift.. as it would be our first night without the kids in well over a year).

We all got up in the morning and Eric made us all breakfast and we loaded up the van and off I went to the hair salon – Eric, his sister and Amber watched the kids…. I was met at the salon by my sister, a friend and our photog and friend – Tim Cattera – to start my hair and photos… My splurge was a “bride” hoodie and tank top… and I have to say it made me feel very bride like… because getting married a second time, with kids is very different.. its really not all about you or even you as a couple… its about the family… which is awesome.. but I had not felt very much like a bride up until this morning… and I tried to enjoy every moment because I wont be getting married ever again.. unless its renewing our vows :-)… So having a few moments without the kids.. in my bride gear helped me get centered… it could have also been the champagne my sister brought 

I enjoyed a “bride” chai from Starbucks and a little mimosa and my hair came out perfectly!!! Soon I was off and running to MAC at the mall…I arrived and waited my turn… she started and thank goodness I don’t have any issues speaking up because my eyes were REALLY dark.. so I asked her to lighten and start over… and once we got back on track – my makeup came out perfectly!!!!! And I felt that it was all coming together perfectly… and I loved getting “put together”.. there was a time a long time ago that I saw myself all done up, often… but after kids and leaving my modeling career behind, it was far and few between that I was able to get all made up… and I seriously recommend having your hair and makeup done for your big day.. it takes the pressure off and it will look amazing, not only in person but in your photos… and if you follow this at all.. you know I have a thing for photos  At this time the girls were at the salon and I was getting hair pictures and hearing that Mackenzie was loving being pampered and turned into the princess that she is… and amazingly…

We were running right on time!!!! and by the time I made my way up to Scotts Valley – I ran into our florist and got a preview of the flowers… They were amazing!!!! and so many more than I figured would be possible with our budget… and the funny thing.. I had told Rick that we didn’t want Succulents.. and yet.. there were succulents worked in.. but Rick quickly told me he incorporated them to be pulled out if I hated them… but I didn’t.. I LOVED them! and he said we could plant them afterwards so that we would always have a piece of the wedding bouquet.. which I loved!!!! He really made the flowers better than I could have imagined and the toss flowers were incredible….I was able to get a peek of the ceremony site and my breath was taken away… Monisha, Patrick and Jarrod had been working hard all morning – hanging lanterns and setting up chairs and the Sheppard hooks… it looked incredible and I was sooo over-whlemed by the effort and love we were being shown… this wedding really was a testament to our journey and the people in our lives… we never would have been able to pull this off without everyone’s help…

We also added the services of Stoney Godet from GoodDay Entertainment – to run our ceremony and reception music and Stoney RAN THE SHOW… seriously! He kept us on schedule… made sure we knew what was going on and seriously acted like an amazing coordinator… Originally we were not going to have a DJ – since we were going to have minimal music.. but we are SOOOO SOOOO SOOOOO happy that we hired Stoney because he really helped make our day amazing! Eric had been in charge of our music selections and after a night of listening to all his songs and “testing” out a few first dance songs – we gave Stoney a flash drive and list of our “musts” and the rest was up to him…

I finished getting ready and helped the girls get ready… I finished my card and private vows to Eric – we were not going to be doing them publicly.. but I wanted to share what I had written with him before I met him at the end of the aisle. We took some pictures and Eric and I were able to hold hands for a few mins (with a door between us) that helped ground me… I tend to get a little high strung.. but with this wedding.. I was able to let-go … for the most part.. a trust in everyone else to make it happen..

I wasn’t nervous… I was giddy and excited… the difference I felt was incredible… knowing deep down that you are marrying the right person and your best friend is incredible.. with no doubts… no questions… its an amazing feeling that I wish for everyone.. being fully content = weightless….

and before we knew it – it was go time!

I gave all the kids hugs and kisses and my dad came to get me…

As I made my way towards my husband to be, I was gleeful! I tried to take in the sight of our closest family and friends and our children…. And I stayed focused on the love of my life at the end of my path… because walking towards him I was walking towards our future and leaving all the hard stuff behind.. that had made us stronger and gotten us to this point.

We had worked with Stephanie to design a short, yet meaningful ceremony…. Happy tears… happy squeels from the kids and kissing my husband for the first time was incredible.

We took some quick photos and then tried to do our family shots, etc.. Tim was amazing… he managed the photos and us perfectly. And Eric and I are a funny couple… I am someone who spent a lot of time in front of cameras as well as behind them – so I can shoot all day… Eric on the other hand is a “great – you took 3 pictures… now lets be done” type of guy…. And I think we had the perfect in the middle… Because we weren’t going to be leaving the ceremony site – we didn’t want to be away from our guests for very long and really used the area around us.. which was amazing! We then joined our guests for some appetizers and then quickly got the show on the road and did our intros… then started dinner. Maybe its because we have small kids… but we decided that lets everyone with small kids hit the buffet first – get their kids situated and then had everyone else go… once everyone had their dinner… we did speeches and then moved to our first dance and our “family dances”… We wanted to take a moment to have a moment with our kids… Eric and Amber. Alex and myself and then the two little girls…. Then it was bouquet and garter toss time… we weren’t sure that we were going to do either by Amber, Eric’s 15yr old really wanted us to do them and I think she wanted the “full wedding experience”.. and we had a blast…. Then it was cake time…. And let me say.. IT WAS FABULOUS.. seriously.. if you are in the local Santa Cruz area.. hit me up for Stephanie’s contact info because it was seriously the BEST cake ever… super moist… and just perfect! My Ironman-in-training husband had two pieces.. because it was THAT GOOD!

By 8pm the evening started to wrap-up… Eric’s sister and Amber would be dropping off the girls at their daycare provider, Alex was off with his dad and Melissa and Amber had a girls night planned…

Eric and I loaded up his truck and then headed off to The Dream Inn for our wedding night… Monisha and Patrick blew our minds by not only offering their home for our special day but then making sure that we had an incredible place to spend our first married night together…

The Dream Inn was great and we were met with a bottle of Presecco and a dessert, we had also brought our wedding cake… we ordered grilled cheese and tomato soup and enjoyed a few hours with just the two of us and the incredible view of the Santa Cruz Wharf and Pacific Ocean.. it was a perfect end to a perfect day…..

My advice to Bride’s out there…. Remember to take it all in.. the day goes quick… enjoy the moments… and when you are in the middle of the crazy planning and the pinning on pinterest and looking at all the bridal magazines… Remember why you are getting married.. and remember that it is one day, a few hours… and while amazing – you want years and years filled with happiness and joy.

Ceremony Site: Private residence in Scotts Valley, CA
Caterer: Caterman Catering, San Jose, CA
Cake: Stephanie Drake, Santa Cruz CA
Officiant: Stephanie Drake, Santa Cruz, CA
Florist: Rick James from FVJ Luxuries (http://www.fvjluxuries.com)
DJ/Coordination: Stoney Godet, Goodday Entertainment
Photographer: Tim Cattera, Tim Cattera Photographry
Ring Pillow: Megan Rosenhart, Big Heart Designs
Wedding Gown and Tuxedos: Bridal Veil Fashions, Capitola CA
Hair: Julie Chmiel: Katwalk Salon, Soquel CA
Makeup: MAC
Engagement Ring: J. Weisner Jewlers, La Jolla, CA
Wedding Bands: Kay Jewelers

Bridal portrait - Copy

Bridal party - Copy

top shot

throw bouquet

the room




Momma and Kenzie

Rings2 - Copy


Melissa and Maddie

Me and Jaime

Mason Jars

Jenna and Amber

Maddie and Amber





Family Shot


hanging lanterns

Eric wedding

Eric Camo


closeup couples shot

couples shot





Bridal portrait



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