Thursday, November 08, 2007

Nicole and Sander's Wedding, Santa Margarita, California

A few weeks ago, Devon and I had a lovely road trip to attend our friends' wedding in rural San Luis Obispo county. It was really exciting to explore an area of California neither of us are too familiar with (we typically just hit I5 all the way down to LA when we need to go there) - the Central Coast area! Plus, we had forgotten to get a map, so we were really exploring.

Anyway, we left early Saturday morning to make it in time for Nicole and Sander's 2pm ceremony in Santa Margarita (which we found with no real problems, no map not withstanding). That night we stayed in the cute seaside town of Morro Bay, and the next day we drove down to Anaheim so we could play in Disneyland on Monday! More on those later.

Nicole and I have been friends since high school (so about 12 or so years, YIKES!), but Devon has known her even longer - they were on an indoor soccer team together when they were 7 or so. We have a great photo of the team somewhere around here - maybe I'll scan it in and post it!

Here are my friends Nolan, Devon, Nicole... friends since at least the early 90s!

Anyway, Nicole is one of the hardest working people I've ever met. She's worked in the dot-com industry at its height (I think she was 19, and they thought she was in her mid-20s with a college degree - something she didn't bother to correct); co-owned the Mama Buzz Cafe (which they sold to friends a few weeks before the wedding); art directed the now-defunct Kitchen Sink Magazine; curated lots of art shows, projects, publications and collaborations; been a stepmom to her now-husband's sweet daughter, Charlie; bought a house; worked for a newspaper; been a photographer, graphic and web designer; and much more I can't think of right now. The craziest part is, a lot of these things she was doing AT THE SAME TIME, in addition to: falling in love, being a good friend, going out a lot, attending Burning Man almost every year, and tons more. She's amazing!

Sander has been in the picture for several years, but since they live in the East Bay, we don't see them as much so it has taken me longer to get to know him. However, I love his combination of sarcastic humor with earnest sweetness - he's an awesome chef, and his hospitality extends beyond food. I could really see at the wedding how happy he was, and how important it was to him that everyone else was also having a great time. He's Dutch, and strikes us as very European (though that could just be the accent and occasional inscrutibility). My favorite thing about the wedding was seeing the joy, admiration and love he feels for and with Nicole. They absolutely adore each other, and have formed a really strong little family with Charlie! I totally cried at the ceremony. It was so wonderful to bear witness to their commitment - that is really what a wedding is all about, and it is nice to be reminded of that every time I see a couple get married (especially one of my friends!).

Okay, I know I'm gushing. But after I emailed her the slideshow, Nicole called me to say, "you made me cry at work!". I get all teary every time I look at the photos... such a sweet day!

On to the photos!

Here is a sneak peek at their vows (which cracked everyone up while making us choke up):

I LOVED this fancy tiara our friend Aerielle (another very talented woman, who works in commercial wardrobe and styling) found for her. I think she looks like a princess, wonder woman or an opera star!

The maid of honor's little dog, Spider:

Adorable and mischievous Charlie!

Okay. I had sort of forgotten that it was a costume wedding. I mean, not everyone was wearing costumes, but since it was a few days before Halloween, lots of people were. However, as I mentioned, Nicole has gone to Burning Man a LOT of times, and all of her friends (ahem) are kind of artsy-quirky-freaky in their own ways, so when I saw a witch and warlock upon arrival, I thought maybe they were just doing their own, hippy thing (it was a camp-out wedding miles in the wilderness, after all!). Then I saw the Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood, though, and remembered that part on the invitation. Ah. Oops!

I love this picture, because I loved this moment!

I don't know this guy but I totally dug his mustache. Costume? Hmm... don't think so; not sure.

I loved that they made Charlie a big part of their ceremony, since she is part of their marriage. And their vows were done in rhyme! So cute and Dr. Seussian.

Since family is so important to Nicole and Sander both, they incorporated their families in lots of ways - both moms gave a reading (Sander's mom all the way from Holland!); Nicole's uncles, aunts, and cousins stood and presented her with some ancestors marriages licenses, wedding ring, and a beautiful locket with photos of (I think) her grandfathers on both sides. That's where I really started crying!

It was nice to be at a wedding where I wasn't truly working. Nicole's mom's boyfriend is also a photographer, so he took care of some of the more classic, formal shots while I got to play and do whatever I wanted (neener neener!). Sander and his dudes wanted some "Reservoir Dogs" style photos though, and didn't mind that it was POURING at this point. It rained heavily right before the (all outdoors) ceremony, and right after, but stayed clear for the ceremony itself. Luckily the reception was in a little barn area that stayed dry.

Charlie is adorable, but she's also only 6 (I think), so by the time it came to the end of the posed photos, she was not in a serious mood!

Going along with the Halloween/ autumn theme, the barn was decorated with pumpkins and lights, and there were masks for all the guests!:

Being a guest, I let myself pig out on oysters and cookies, as well as all the little treats, pickled fish, sausages and salads that Sander oversaw. This is the third groom this year I've encountered who cooked (or at least organized and planned) the entire menu! Chefs really are crazy.

Oh, man... Charlie worked up her nerve and sang that "if I knew you were coming I'd have baked a cake" song on the microphone - it was the cutest thing ever! She did the "hatchadoo, hatchadoo, hatchadoo"s and everything. And I love the shots I got of Sander breaking down in tears because he was so touched. What a loving dad!

Their sweet first dance.

There was some rain, but it definitely didn't spoil the day, and everyone loved when the rainbow came out!

Yes, these two pix are of Sander smoking (maybe that's why we think of him as "European"?). I love the shots, but I'm glad to hear that he quit smoking on their mini honeymoon. Hooray!

It was a wonderful wedding, and I was so happy we were there to be a part of it. I know they will have a long and happy marriage together. Hooray Nicole and Sander! Can't wait to see you soon.

Edited: Slideshow has been removed, 10/16/2008.


Anonymous said...

Love, love, love the photo of the bridesmaids in their boots, the b/w of the men and the b/w shot of the groom smoking!! Stunning, edgy and classic all in one!


mmmnpr said...

Nicole looks so happy and beeeeeeutiful!

Fun to be a guest, I bet!