Wedding Day—February 25th, 2012

No matter how small or well organized they are, if you’re directly involved, pre-wedding prep always seems to be stressful or, at the very least, insanely busy. And this wedding was no exception. So as you would expect, up until the very last minute we were all running around like crazy setting up, but when it was final go-time and we all sat together at the ceremony a serene calmness set in. Set among the tranquil Redwood Grove of the Berkeley Botanical Garden, Zack and Susan said their very sincere, very beautiful vows to each other. Susan was first and proclaimed that she “had a lot to say” as she pulled out a piece of paper to read her lengthy, but carefully chosen pledge.

Susan Vows

The light was streaming through the canopy of the trees in such a way that illuminated both of them.

And then it was Zack’s turn. I must admit that I got a little misty-eyed as I could feel his emotions well-up when he began to speak.

Zack Vows

After their vows, everyone in attendance had to perform an activity with ribbons that symbolized the interconnected web of our friends and families. I loved that it drew every single person there into the ceremony, that it acknowledged each of us, and that it introduced my family to Susan’s friends and family whom we had not yet met (and vice versa, I suppose.)

Ribbon Ceremony

I love Naomi’s hand on Quinn’s shoulder as he flashes a very genuine smile in this shot.

It was so good to see Aidan vertical at the wedding. The previous day he wasn’t able to join us during any of the festivities because he had caught a nasty cold and was holed up in his hotel room trying to recover.

Aidan

After the ribbon exercise, it was on to the ring exchange and then the recession.

Recession

Then we all hung around for a bit as various group photos were taken. This is Zack’s aunt Pat who flew up from LA for the event.

Pat

And his father, Charles, who flew here from the Twin Cities.

Charlie

And, by now, everyone is well familiar with Nathalie who has quite the independent spirit for a two-year old. The funniest part of the ceremony was when the instant the music started she screamed “I wanna dance! I wanna dance!” while Naomi hugged her as she struggled to get loose and boogie. It was a completely appropriate reaction, in my opinion.

Nathalie Running Ceremony

Audrey, Aidan, and Alex’s lower half.

Audrey Ceremony Redwood Grove Berkeley

After photos were taken, it was on to the reception site in the Botanical Garden. A number of us enjoyed sitting outside on the bench to warm up in the sun.

Nathalie

The below photo is not particularly great, but it makes me crack up every time I see it because the context around what was happening and the looks on Ellie and Nathalie’s faces is priceless. Ellie is quizzically looking at my camera trying to find an ant crawling on it, while Nathalie’s looking at Graeme saying, “Dad, what the hell are you talking about?” To be clear, there was no ant on my camera. There’s no pulling the wool over these two girls’ eyes.

Nathalie

A series of three cute Ellie pics. She almost looks like a porcelain doll with her delicate features. Staring in wonderment. “What the heck did mom and dad just do?”

Ellie

Flashing her little bitty tongue.

Ellie and Tongue

And here she is pointing to something behind me saying “What’s that?” and, as I turn to look, steals a grape from my plate. Sneaky girl!

Ellie Pointing

And then there’s Nathalie who just enjoyed a plate of fresh strawberries where a little chunk of one didn’t quite make it in her mouth and now resides on her chin. And it’s because of that honesty and lack of perfection that I love this photo.

Nathalie with Strawberry on Her Face

Zack’s long-time friend, Paul, and his beautiful wife, Iliana.

Paul and Iliana

Paul and Iliana

And Susan’s close girlfriends.

Susan and Friends

Table and Group

In addition to Charlie and Pat, Zack’s lovely cousin, Ruth, joined us for the event.

Alex and Christina

Naomi Graeme and Alex

From the far right, Susan’s brother, Tim, his wife, Amy, and Susan’s cousin and her husband.

Tim and Amy

Susan’s niece, Katie.

Katie

Cherry Blossom

Flowers

The wedding favors and place cards for each guest was a small figure representing your Chinese zodiac. The kids (which includes Alex, of course) enjoyed the balancing challenge of stacking them on top of each other. At first there were three.

And then four…and then five.

After we enjoyed conversation and ate ourselves full, we packed up and headed back to the city after a quick detour driving along Grizzly Peak.

Damian and Paul Flowers

It was a beautiful and very genuine heartfelt event. It was so nice seeing everyone and I’m glad all of the out-of-towners could make it!

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