Sunday, June 20, 2010

Surprise Wedding!!!

Chris and Caroline are so in love. From the moment Caroline contacted me about the possibility of shooting their day I knew this was a special couple. I admire the 2 of them for the devotion they showed to one another by respecting each other enough to keep their big day- just that- theirs!!!! A total secret other than the handful of people on a must know basis knew about their day...a beautiful couple on a beautiful day creating such a beautiful memory. Thank you Chris and Caroline for honoring me in witnessing your big day. I hope the 2 of you return to the city year after year to remember your secret moment in time...
Here is the story of how these 2 soul mates met. Written by the bride herself...
Chris and I have known each other since we were 11 and 12, nearly 14 years now. He used to hang out with my next door neighbor, Scott, and my brothers. Back then, he was the annoying tall kid that I didn't like at all! Well, fast forward to the summer before my senior year of high school (and the summer after he graduated)...I didn't find him so annoying after all =)

We've been together since August 2002, 7 1/2 years. We've taken trips to LA, San Diego, and twice we've been to Maui (for our 2nd and 7th anniversaries). Between both of our families, we've gone to dozens of birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and graduation celebrations. His family became my family, and my family, his.

We moved in together September 17, 2009. Neither of us have ever lived away from home before. Strangely, it was an easy adjustment. We loved seeing each other every day rather than commuting back and forth between Redwood City and Cupertino.

On December 18, 2009, we got engaged. The diamond has been passed down for 5 or 6 generations and I feel honored to wear it. We got engaged right in our living room with candles and our first Christmas tree together all lit up. Just the two of us, no fancy show.

Since the engagement, we tossed around dozens of ideas on how we wanted to get married, but none of them felt quite right. One night, after much frustration about wedding planning, I looked at Chris, hit him on the forehead and hit my own. He looked at me a little stunned and I said, "I wish it were that simple, I wish we were married now". Without saying a word, he smiled at me, hit my forehead and hit his own, and just hugged me. At that moment, we knew we'd get married by ourselves, just the two of us. A couple days later, I bought my wedding dress.

About a week and a half before we got married, we firmly decided to get married by ourselves at City Hall in San Francisco, we just didn't have a date. We knew it'd be "sometime this summer". That day, May 18th, I started crocheting a red shawl I wanted to wear. The next day, Chris said, "why don't we get married next week?" You're right, why don't we?! I went into crazy crochet mode and when I wasn't working or sleeping, I was crocheting.

The only people that knew we were getting married were our photographer, the guy who sold us our wedding bands and the guy who helped us with Chris' tux. "Is it okay to have the tux ready by June 4th?" It all came together, my ring was sized and his tux was ready a couple days later on May 25th.

We got up early on Wednesday the 26th, after very few hours of sleep. We did our usual morning routine, just hours earlier and instead of dressing in basketball shorts and yoga pants, I wore my wedding dress and shawl, and he put on his tux. We eat oatmeal every morning and this morning was no different. Our photographer, Jenna Kangas, came over right before 7:30. We had our appointment at 9 a.m. to get our marriage license and our ceremony was at 10. Their website stressed being 10 minutes early, no rescheduling for any reason. Well, we left in a hurry and made it into San Francisco at 9:15. *sigh* Well, don't sweat the small stuff, right? That's when I realized I didn't put on earrings or a necklace either. I was so focused on making sure we didn't forget our wedding bands, I forgot about all other jewelry!

We made it to the clerk's office by 9:30 and they made no fuss about us being late. Phew! We filled out our marriage license and met with the Commissioner, Cynthia Gregory, who was going to be the one to marry us.

About 15 minutes later, we were standing together, in the Rotunda of the San Francisco City Hall, saying our vows to one another. The only thing I remember was holding onto his ring with all my might on my finger, so I wouldn't drop it. I also remember hearing her say humor was important in a marriage and saying "with this ring...I marry you". Other than that, I don't remember much about what was said or what I said to him. All I could see was Chris' smiling face through all my tears. I couldn't stop crying, I was so happy. Sealed with a teary kiss, we were married.

We took pictures around City Hall, at the Palace of Fine Arts and at Baker Beach. Then, we headed to the Woodside Deli, where we've visited hundreds of times, for our first meal as husband and wife. Everyone inside the deli picked up on us really quick. The owner of the deli was so happy, we got our meal for free. We brought our lunch to Chris' mom's house first. Chris sneaked up and once she got sight of us two, immediately hugged us and started crying. She was shocked, but so happy for us. We told her all about our day while we ate our lunch in the backyard. She cleared her schedule for the rest of the day and came with us as we told the rest of our families.

Next, we went to see his mom's parents, Grandpa Mike and Grandma Martha. Like mother, like daughter, Martha had the same reaction as Heidi. Smiling ear to ear the entire time we were there, she kept saying, "you two are so smart, that's the way to do it! Geniuses!" These two know a good marriage, they've been married for 54 years.

Off to Chris' paternal grandparents' house, we walked in to see Grandma Joan having a tea party with her friends, and Grandpa John was out playing dominoes. We told her the news and promised to come back an hour later when Grandpa John was home.

Next we went to Chris' dad house hoping to surprise him, Chris' step mom and his two sisters. The only one home was his dad and we got a big "I knew it!" from him. Where was his step mom, Carolyn, and his sisters? Of course, they were at Carolyn's parent's house. Off to see his third set of grandparents! Carolyn was the first to see us and her look was priceless. She was frozen in shock at first before she burst into excitement. Grandma Diane and the girls, Jerusha and Kasey, couldn't believe it either.

Now, just as promised, back to Grandma Joan's to see Grandpa John. He saw us and said, "oh too bad, they used to like each other so much" =) He's always been the joker of the family. Humor must be important in a marriage, it's helped them last 55 years. Oh, and to round out the grandparent visits, we we to the rehab center to see Grandpa Earl (Grandma Diane's husband) to surprise him. Lots of kisses later, he couldn't be happier for us.

The last visit was to see my Dad, step mom and my brothers. My sister is on vacation in San Diego. My step mom, Adel, answered the door, and looked confused for a few seconds before bursting into a huge celebration of jumping and screaming. With the dogs running around our feet, we hugged my brothers, dad and step mom and took oodles of pictures.

I feel incredibly lucky and blessed that I'm married to my best friend and so happy we got married in a way that was very "us".