Wedding Rehearsal and Berkeley Hills Hike

Friday was a jam packed day—first we needed to visit the ceremony and reception site, which was at the Berkeley Botanical Gardens, to sort out some logistics and meet with the coordinator there. It was a toasty 77 degree day and we all enjoyed sitting on these benches at the entrance to the gardens soaking in the morning sun.

Oma And Kids

Audrey’s an interesting girl—she has a sharp mind that can remember the finest details and also reflects about human psychology. Years ago I remember this time during the holidays when she was several months shy of turning four and we were sitting on the couch at night in front of the glowing Christmas tree and she turned to me and said, “do you like the Christmas lights?” Such a simple question, but I was blown away by it. All I could think was, “I’m having a conversation with a three-year-old about human emotions and I find this baffling not only because she seems to already have grasped the concept of emotions, but also because she cares to know how I feel.”

Quinn and Nathalie

This shot of Quinn holding Nathalie is sweet (mostly because it’s so rare :P)

Hauling Flowers

The guys were tasked with hauling mountains of flowers to a cool, dark room to prevent them from wilting…unfortunately, some were already unsalvageable after just an hour of sitting in a hot car.

Audrey and Oma

Oma and Audrey enjoying some time together. And then after sitting in the sun for one too many minutes lethargy started to set in for Audrey and she felt it was time to take a snooze on Oma’s lap.

Audrey Sleeping on Oma

That girl does expend a lot of energy so it’s a good thing for her to take a break on ocassion.

Audrey Sleeping

Then it was onward to the Redwood Grove where the ceremony was to be held so that we could sort out the details.

Redwood Grove Berkeley Botanical Gardens

Even though this is new Redwood growth, the trees here are already massive. How cool to have a wedding ceremony among the species of trees that are the tallest in the world?

Redwood Grove Berkeley Botanical Gardens

I love this photo of my mom and Naomi. They look so serene and peaceful. And I’ve never noticed this before, but I might actually see some similarities in appearance.

Naomi and Mom Berkeley Redwood Grove

Nathalie watching as we hammer out of the details of the procession.


But stillness doesn’t last long and soon she was showing me every little fern and twig she found on the ground. I think that’s what I love most about tiny people—everything in the world is new and completely fascinating to them. It makes you re-think about the world in new ways.

Nathalie Fern


After our time at the ceremony site, we headed to Saturn Cafe for lunch.

Saturn Cafe Berkeley

And afterwards walked around the corner to Cinnaholic for some divine vegan cinnamon rolls! Nathalie’s favorite part was the frosting, but I suppose that shouldn’t be surprising after seeing her drink every last melted bit of her ice cream the night before.

Nathalie and Oma Cinnamon Roll Cinnaholic

I think it’s safe to say that Audrey looks stoked to dive into her Old-School roll. Meanwhile Quinn was enjoying some sort of oreo chocolate chip roll.

Our third goal of the day was to climb the hill to the spot where Zack and Susan serendipitously met two years prior. There are some very, very precipitous hills in the Bay Area and I can attest that this particular one stacks up with the best of ’em.

Climbing Berkeley Hills

Naomi and Zack hiking a leisurely pace while taking photos.

Naomi and Zack Berkeley Hills

Naomi and Zack Berkeley Hills

Mid-way through the hike, we came upon this swing. This crazy cool, swing high up on a hill overlooking Berkeley makes it feel as though you’re going to swing right on into the bay.

Audrey Swinging in the Berkeley Hills

Audrey and Quinn both gave it a try.

Quinn Swinging in the Berkeley Hills

After our brief swinging interlude, we continued on…

Berkeley Hills Hiking

Did I mention that it was warm? Well, by the time we finally made it to the spot Zack and Susan met, and with the sun beating down on us, I think that we were all feeling a little parched and I, uncharacteristically, hadn’t brought my water bottle. Susan was smart to wear a skirt. But the view was spectacular enough to make me abandon my thirsty thoughts.

After looking at the photos, I found it interesting how the light and angle of the sun were just so that if you took multiple photos at slightly different angles you received vastly different looking pictures. I like all four of these in this series and couldn’t pick a favorite because they are all so different.

Berkeley Hills Bench

Berkeley Hills Bench

Berkeley Hills Bench

Berkeley Hills Bench

After relaxing and taking in the view for an extended period of time, we then needed to coordinate how we were all going to get our different assignments completed before the next day and somehow make our way to the rehearsal dinner, which is what I’m doing in these photos—coordinating and planning with Naomi who’s higher up the hill.

Christina Berkeley Hills

Again, crazy light causing interesting effects with the camera.

Christina Berkeley Hills

Then it was down to our cars to drive back into the city for the evening’s festivities.

Berkeley Hills Hiking

The last place we had to be was the South Sea Seafood Village restaurant in the sunset for a dinner hosted by Susan’s parents. This was the first time all of our families met together. It was lovely. Alex and I enjoyed conversation with Susan’s brother and sister-in-law and the kids got to know each other via iPhone games.

Zack Graeme South Sea Seafood Village

South Sea Seafood Village Rehearsal Dinner

South Sea Seafood Village Rehearsal Dinner

Only one more post to go summing up the wedding week! Hopefully, I can get that done tomorrow 🙂

7 Responses to Wedding Rehearsal and Berkeley Hills Hike

  1. Aaron says:

    Christina I really enjoyed all the photographs; You did such a nice job organizing them and all the comments along with the photos are priceless. Please make everyone aware of the pictures so they can also enjoy them. I will also let Naomi know about them. What a nice memory of such a fun event. love Your mom Anni

  2. Wanderer says:

    Hi there,

    These are gorgeous photos! My fiancé and I live in Berkeley and are getting ready to take our engagement photos. Can you please tell me where in Tilden or Berkeley this hike is? The swing looks amazing! Thanks and congratulations 🙂

    • Christina says:

      Hi Wanderer! Congrats on your engagement! I’m trying to get the information for the exact parking lot that we started the hike, but since I’m not as familiar with Berkeley (I live in the city) I need to get that info from my brother or his (now) wife. The thing that I do know is that we ended the hike at the big C— Again, I’ll get you the name of the parking lot so that you know exactly where to start the hike. The swing is not too far from the start of it…after you climb a VERY steep section of the hill, though 🙂

      • Christina says:

        Ok! I finally figured out which parking lot it was where we started the hike. It’s right here: You take Hearst up the hill and right before it turns to Cyclotron Rd there is a long parking lot. At the far end of the parking lot (the far right if you’re looking at the map) there is a path where we began the hike. The swing was about half-way up the hill to the Big C. I hope this helps!!

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