Later that morning, we went for a brisk walk around our new neighborhood. Arm in arm. Trying to stay warm. Came home and sat on the couch in our sweats, eating breakfast and watching Friends.
A little while later, Weston left with his suit in his hands and I kissed him goodbye before submerging myself in a hot bath. I got ready in my bedroom with my mom, Weston's sister Taryn, and the two talented ladies who did my hair and makeup - my friends Bianca and Diana. I helped my mom apply her makeup, laughed with Taryn over her constant teary eyes that day, and then we got in the car and headed to Malibu.
The boys all arrived a little early to set up our arbor, lanterns, and the little DIY backdrop of paper cones.
Initially, my dream was to elope in Big Sur. When we decided to have our parents and siblings in attendance at our ceremony, the cost of a destination wedding quickly added up and we decided to look for a place that would have a similar feel without the additional travel costs.
When we met with the family who owns this property in Malibu we were blown away by their kindness, graciousness, and care-free attitude. And as for the canopy of trees in their forest? We just loved it. It encompassed everything we were hoping for in a location. There was a small, enclosed gazebo near the main property that the owners let us use, so when we arrived, my mom, Taryn, and I headed inside for a few finishing touches and to slip into my dress.
I will never forget how excited my mom was before the ceremony. Love her!
When I heard my uncle whistle, a million butterflies took flight in my stomach. My dad squeezed my arm and the three of us started walking around the bend. As soon as I heard my friend Tristen's faint guitar picking in the distance (he played this song by Bibio) I felt myself start to cry. And as we got closer to Weston and I could see his face more clearly - and he was crying and smiling… Well, that's something I'll never forget.
From the start, we wanted to have someone that really knows us officiate our ceremony. After considering a couple people, we both thought of my Uncle Pete. He is the lead singer of my dad's band and not at all lacking in personality, he's the fire chief in his town so he is known for his charisma and steadfastness in nerve wracking situations, he loves God and has a successful marriage of his own that we admire, and of course he knows us better than most. We couldn't think of anyone better suited for the job.
So a few months before our ceremony, I called him and with a shaky, nervous voice, asked if he would consider getting licensed and saying our wedding for us. Thankfully, he graciously accepted the job. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect and memorable officiant. One of my favorite parts of the ceremony was when he shared words that our families had given to him to describe us as a couple. It was sweet, encouraging, and a wonderful surprise when he started reading them one by one.
Weston and I wrote our vows the day before the wedding - haha. I feel like… until the day before, it just didn't feel like there was any rush and then suddenly it was like "oh, we should probably figure out what we are going to say tomorrow." I was working on mine upstairs, he was writing his downstairs when he called up to me, "Are we allowed to make jokes in the vows?!"
Weston is quiet and definitely not the type of person who goes around baring his soul in public and after he asked me that question, I assumed the vows would be brief and lighthearted, which is just like Weston. But when it came time to share them, Weston almost couldn't get the words out. And once he did, I was blown away by the eloquent, heartfelt, and beautiful sentiments that he shared in front of our families. Favorite part of the day. (and who am I kidding - favorite part of my life!)
After the emotional vows, Pete asked us to hold hands and prepare to exchange our rings. Weston's face went white and his eyes widened. He started mouthing something to me while Pete began to talk about the rings and suddenly I realized what he was saying… "Your ring is in the car!"
Now, if you know Weston, you know this is totally in character for him. He would forget his head if it wasn't screwed on - not to mention there were SO many things to remember that day! Everyone laughed so hard as he sheepishly slipped my engagement ring off of my finger as a stand-in until he could go and retrieve the real thing later. It was perfectly Weston and perfectly us and he has jokingly begged me not to tell our children that story one day but c'mon… It's a classic!
We walked away from the ceremony as Tristen strummed In My Life and spent a few moments alone just embracing and trying to let it sink in that we are officially husband and wife before we returned to celebrate with our families and get some photos together.
The sleeve of my mom's wedding dress was wrapped around my bouquet. Loved carrying that with me. ^
In the meantime, Weston's dad had run out to the car to grab my wedding band, so Weston lovingly placed it on my finger to the sound of laughter and applause from our families. It was perfect.
Before we left, we headed to a clearing and shared our first dance to Makin' Out by Pomplamoose and then I shared a dance with my dad. When I was little, I was obsessed with Beauty and the Beast and I'd put on this old satin dress and insist, "Dance with me, dad!" I'd walk down the stairs and we would act out the scene when Mrs. Potts sings Tale as Old as Time. He always joked that one day he'd dance with me at my wedding to that song… and that he did.
After dancing, we left the forest and headed to Geoffrey's Malibu for a sunset dinner overlooking the ocean. We stayed cozy under outdoor heaters and cashmere blankets, with bellies full of champagne and good food.
The day was everything I had hoped it would be - laid back, focused on love, and true to us.
So thankful for it all.
photos by Richard Cao
wedding video here