Our Wedding // Picking our venue

February 25, 2015

The second we got engaged, the first things we did was find a photographer and find a venue. We had an idea of what wanted - something rustic/ organic that we could make our own, something without crazy time constraints and somewhere close to accommodations for our guests. We went to about 10 different site visits at venues around the Bay Area and I freaked out for months about finding the perfect place until one afternoon, after hours of site visits at places that just weren't perfect, we stopped by my parents place to say hi. My dad was out in the backyard fiddling around with his many gardening tools, and as we walked around the yard my dad dropped the not so subtle idea that we could have the wedding there. Now I'm not going to lie, I was not too keen on the idea at first. I knew how much time and energy went into the one day event and I did not want the pressure of making the whole planning/ logistics holy on me and my family by not only hosting the wedding, but actually HOSTING the wedding at our HOME. I mean, that's crazy, right?! But as soon as I saw Jack's face when my dad proposed the idea, I knew that we would be getting married in my childhood backyard. I mean, the place has significance for us. Back in the day before we were dating, my family threw a welcome home party for the volunteer program where Jack and I had met. We had spent the previous nine months in the same training group flirting awkwardly and I was so excited to see Jack again when we got back. We hadn't seen each other for two months after experience crazy, life changing, bonding experiences, and we all spent the afternoon hanging out, relaxing, and catching up. Jack tried to impress me by hoping on an old tricycle my dad had in the yard and riding it like a dirt bike - over mounts of rocks and paper cups, only to have my dad yell at him "Hey, are you going to pick that cup up?! (something he'll never live down nor forget) - and after making eyes at each other and him lingering around until the last guests were leaving, we had a quick hug good bye. I whispered to my sister "You see that guy in the red sweatshirt?? That's the one I was telling you about!" A few months later he texted me when I was in photography class asking if I wanted to go to a Giant's baseball game with him, and the rest is history. So yeah, my house is pretty special to our relationship.

Once we finalized the location, we booked a few essential vendors like the photographer and caterer, and then it was on to making decisions on what to do with the place. We have about an acre in a residential neighborhood in a small town in Marin County, and we're blessed with awesome neighbors and tons of space to play with so the options were endless. My only issue is that there were TOO many options to choose from. I can't tell you how many times I rearranged the layout, changing the ceremony location and the dance floor, giving my planner / best friend a migrane every week to almost being disowned from my parents ( literally, I can't believe they still wanted to have the wedding there at the end of it all.) My biggest issue with wedding planning was the fact that there was so many options and so many different ways to do things that I would change my mind each week and continually second guessed my decisions. I'm telling you, Pintrest is a bride's best worst nightmare. It's dangerous.

Not to mention, having it at the comfort of our home made ME feel so safe and relaxed. I'm such a nervous person - from a nervous stomach to random anxious feelings to always envisioning the worst - so my wedding day has always been a terrifying day for me. I always envisioned getting sick the morning of, or forgetting my bra or shoes or, god-forbid, my DRESS, and not being able to get it or fix it or having it all out of my control. Having the wedding at my house made me feel like it was out of my hands in a controlled way.... if that makes sense. On the day of I just knew it was all going to work out, and if it didn't work out, it didn't matter, because we were getting married. And thankfully, it did work out. It worked out perfectly.

Regardless of my own personal nightmare of feeling pressure to have everything cohesive and perfect, getting married in my backyard was the best decision I made, besides of course my choice in a husband. It was the most amazing day made so much more significant - from getting into my dress surrounded by friends and family in my kitchen (my favorite room in the house), to having a last minute dance party in my childhood bedroom before walking down the aisle, to grabbing my dad's arm in our entry way as he gave me his final words of wisdom, the place where he'd hug me before leaving the house and tell me to make good choices, before walking me down the aisle.

It made the day feel like us, made it feel so comfortable and welcoming and relaxed. You could tell that everyone felt at home at our home, that everyone could let loose and have a blast. So yeah, it might have been a hellish year prepping and planning, but it's safe to say that every single person had the time of their lives and I couldn't imagine experiencing this day and those moments anywhere else.

Hands down, the most amazing thing about this whole wedding shindig is the amount of love we felt throughout the entire process. Our families spent the entire year slaving in the backyard - like, actually slaving away digging and planting and hammering and watering - and completely transformed our yard into THE most perfect wedding venue. My biggest fear in getting married at my childhood home was that it would feel like, well, my childhood home. I have so many amazing memories in that yard, that I didn't want to feel like we were just hosting another party there. Needless to say, it did NOT feel like that at all. I can't tell you how many people came up to my parents asking if they could rent out their yard for their own wedding, and I spent the entire day amazed at the fact that we were married and that I was running barefooted in my backyard in my wedding dress. It was simply the best feeling in the world.


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