We met in college working for the school newspaper. Alan was photo editor and I was a photographer, so Alan was my boss. Then, the next year, I became photo editor and became Alan's boss.
Alan and I went on a motorcycle ride along the Northern California coast near Stinson Beach and Mount Tamalpais. He pulled over to fix something on his '79 BMW; later, he pulled off again for what I assumed was another quick fix stop. I was admiring the view and turned around—and there he was, proposing.
A friend of ours was looking at the same venue for their wedding, the Brazilian Room in Berkeley, Calif. They didn't end up going with it, but I remember looking at the details then and immediately looked it up for ours.
The venue itself is pretty simple and we didn't add or change much. We wanted to put the bulk of our budget towards making sure everyone was having a good time rather than decor. We also played almost exclusively Motown music (a nod to where I'm from—near Detroit), which set a nice vibe as well.
I wouldn't say we had a wedding theme, but I chose the gold-foil invitation "Gallant" by Genna Cowsert and loved its whole vibe. It was a good mix of modern and minimal, plus some extra personality with the watercolor texture.
To add a floral touch to the invitation suite, I chose a different design for the RSVP card—"Spring Wildflowers" by Mere Paper—and a Minted design associate helped us create a custom blue color so that it complemented the invite.
I made the table number signs by pressing and drying sprigs of eucalyptus; the wedding favors were printable starfinders I found onlne—Alan is into all things space exploration and they showed a map of the stars and constellations. And I made the seating chart using a Minted frame and reception cards that I used as table-number assignments.
Make a list of priorities—this will help you decide what to put your money towards. Also, the guest list is a never-ending headache, so I'd recommend having a casual dinner party that's actually your surprise wedding, ha!
Photography: Kindred Weddings
Venue: Brazilian Room, Berkeley, CA
Florals: Hello Flowers
Wedding Dress: "Philomena" by Willowby by Watters
Engagement Ring: Heidi Gibson
Hair and makeup: Wild Heart Brides
Groom's Suit: Express
Catering: Cafe Soleil
Cake: Crispian Bakery
Photo Booth: U2 Photo Booths