Today marks our first wedding anniversary! We were engaged in December 2012 and by last January we’d figured out we wanted an outdoor picnic themed wedding. We spent 9 months planning what we hoped would be a creative and casual event. September in the Bay Area is beautiful, full of long sunny days with pleasant weather. We looked around East Bay Regional Parks and decided that Tilden Park would be best. We made bunting banners and pompoms, went thrifting for things like picnic baskets and rented tents, tables and chairs. Jack made weekly trips to our rental picnic site with machete and rakes to work on the grounds so they’d be perfect for the big day. He also built stilt frames for the redwood trees1 so that he could make an art gallery from our large wood pieces and canvases.
My Mom made the (vegan!) cake and cupcakes and Jack’s sister made the bouquet and flower arrangements, incorporating our paintbrushes. Jack’s parents brought sulus, salusalus and favors from Fiji. Our auntie organized muruku for us so that there would be snacks to go with the kava. Jack’s good friend officiated and helped us organize the ceremony. My niece played the intro music.
We had friends and family come in from Fiji, New Zealand (via Europe!), Nevada, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida and it was so exciting to see everyone. The days leading up to wedding were full of fun reunions and beautiful weather.
On the day of the wedding, something that we never expected happened- it started to rain. We were in the middle of setting up and figured it would stop, so we continued, and then it started to pour- a rare sight in the Bay this time of year, especially during the drought. At that point, the wedding was in a couple of hours so my friends and I left to regroup while Jack and the guys stayed to pack up. Somehow, over the next couple of hours, our friends and family pulled together a new venue and coordinated with every vendor and guest. We ended up getting married at the hall of Tribe Church by People’s Park in Berkeley, and nearly every detail was a surprise to us. My dress was crumpled and a little dirty so I wore a different one. My friends blow-dried our soaked décor and decorated the hall with our art and signage by my talented friend Evelina.
In the end, our wedding was more personal and perfect than anything we could have ever planned or even hoped for. It was a good lesson for us in going with the flow and not worrying about anything, as everything to date has worked out just fine. It’s great for us to remember now, since we aren’t sure what’s next after Fiji.