Dear readers: before you even start, grab your hanky. Here comes one of those “The stars were aligned…” love stories. A real, true one!
Just a few years ago, Lincoln, the groom, had given up on getting married. He told a friend, “Since I won’t get married – let’s just throw a party. A big one – in lieu of a real wedding party!” Which she did, in fact… (and at that real wedding yesterday, she was his decorator!)
Erica, as her Dad said, had already faced a number of challenges in her life… but the moment she met Lincoln, she was transformed. Utterly, completely – and he knew, she had met “the one!”
How they met: through one of their shared passions – dancing! Music lovers, both of them (Erica is a professional harpist, and Lincoln plays in a mandolin orchestra), they met at a ballroom dance, and Lincoln fell for Erica immediately, and hard. Erica, more cautious by nature, took a little longer, but after all, Lincoln can be very persuasive. Done deal!
And – you have to know – Lincoln is very elegant, even a little bit old-fashioned, in the best sense. Following tradition, he proposed on one knee – at the Iguazu Falls in Brazil. It doesn’t get much more dramatic than that!
And of course, a photo of this momentous occasion had to be present at their wedding…
Just 18 months after their first encounter, the two got married, and I was so honored that they chose my company, A Day Like No Other, for their wedding coordination and design. They wanted an elegant, formal wedding, and they wanted - stars! Erica, the bride, is an amateur astronomer, and so we set out to incorporate the Moon and the Stars into this exquisite affair.
First step: find a venue! The two chose the Brazilian Room, a historic building in Tilden Regional Park in the hills above Berkeley. (Was that choice, maybe, inspired by the location of the proposal?)
An open Great Room with exposed wooden beams and a soaring ceiling opens onto a ceremony lawn that seamlessly flows into the verdant hilly landscape.
The bride got ready at the historic Claremont Hotel in Berkeley with hair and makeup expertly styled by her friend Kim Denny.
Meanwhile her groom was getting ready as well…
Coit Limousine service delivered her to the Brazilian Room where Lincoln was already waiting…
… dressed in a traditional morning suit, fitting for this elegant occasion. But the bride insisted on remaining unseen until the ceremony, so we literally snuck her into the building!
Erica had chosen an embroidered ivory A-line gown that literally floated around her and whirled with every step, complemented by a crystal-encrusted belt and elegant veil.
Finally, the great moment had come! Eighty of their closest friends and family members witnessed the very personal ceremony officiated by their friend Karryn Nagel, which incorporated a “Passing of the Rings” ritual. The groom’s nephew (stylishly outfitted in a 3-piece suit like his older brothers and his Dad) passed the rings to all guests present, to impart on them all their good wishes…
All the while, harpist Jessica Schaeffer provided a beautiful musical background.
And then, they were pronounced husband and wife, and the real fun was about to begin…
Now come the myriad personal touches that made this wedding celebration so unique: the bride had styled her wedding shoes herself – with a star motif on a midnight-blue background:
Friends of the couple, Kris, a former actor proficient at stagecraft, and Anne (who would catch the bouquet later that night …), had built them a photo booth, and what a spectacular one at that!
Every single guest took a turn, and then signed the guest book - which, of course, was also special. In lieu of a conventional book, we came up with the idea of a historic typewriter…
To direct guests to their assigned tables, we did not use conventional escort cards (of course not…) – Erica found antique-looking picture frames which doubled as wedding favors, and combined them with handwritten star-studded name cards.
During Cocktail Hour, Silver Strings Mandolin Orchestra (the groom’s ensemble) played for the guests…
Meanwhile, the Great Room was ready for dinner, with centerpieces by the couple’s friend Lizzie Maxwell…
and decor by another of their friends, Jane Dougherty – think custom-made sconces of midnight-blue tulle with sparkling lights… speaking of which: the bride and I had found sparkling stars from Glimmers Inc. which, floating in the guests toasting glasses, added a truly heavenly touch to all those good wishes!
The duo “The Harpoons” (Harp and Bassoon – did you guess it?) kept guests entertained over dinner,
and Morningstar Entertainment took over for dancing.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves. During dinner, guests were asked to propose one impromptu toast per table, and since most of this artistic couple’s guests were artists themselves, musicians, actors, performers – these toasts turned into artistic improvisations of the highest order. From hilarious skits to funny poems (in perfect meter and professional intonation) and rock star impersonations with slightly tweaked lyrics: it was rather a cabaret than mere toasts! In these moments, all the depth of personal connections, the warmth of long-time friendships, and the commitment of all these friends and family members to an extraordinary couple became apparent. Every single guest contributed to their happy union in a personal way… a rare and precious moment to behold.
Another case in point: the star-shaped gold-and-blue cake, home-baked in professional quality by the couple’s friend Effie Seiberg (complemented by some more from Sweet Adeline Bakeshop):
Once the cake cutting (and -eating) was done, Erica and Lincoln enjoyed their First Dance to “Never Stop Falling in Love” by Pink Martini. These two are professional grade ballroom dancers, and just watching them twirl and lead and follow and twirl again was a treat all in itself.
Dancing with the stars, definitely! And that’s what they all did for the rest of the evening… and photographer extraordinaire Amy Carr (just wait until you see HER photos!) and videographer Adrian Quintero captured every precious moment.
Wishing our stars Erica and Lincoln “happily ever after” from the bottom of our hearts! And have a wonderful Honeymoon in Maui!