When I saw the slideshow of Trisha & Mark’s wedding that Jessamyn Harris had posted on her blog, I fell in love. I fell in love with the sweet simplicity, the honest goodness, and the awe-inspiring experience that these two people had. And although the series wasn’t filled with lots DIY details or grand centerpieces and special lighting, Trisha and Mark’s wedding celebration is just as inspiring as any other wedding we’ve ever featured …

from the groom, Mark …

Initially, we were not sure if we were going to have a small wedding with family, or if we were going to stay local, in the Chicago area. We both work part-time in the catering business, and had worked enough weddings to know that we wanted something different from the formal and highly-structured events that we were so familiar with. Also, we were somewhat limited in budget and time. We are both returning students, and are juggling our course load with a number of part-time jobs.

Ultimately we decided that this was our event, and that we would be happier if we ran off together and got married on our own terms. We both love our families dearly, but we wanted the focus of our attention to be on each other, and not necessarily on our guests. This decision took a lot of pressure off of us, and gave us the freedom to do something that would be really meaningful to us. So with the blessing of our families, we decided to run off on our own!

As far as the planning was concerned, we really made it up as we went along, following our hearts and taking advice that resonated with us from people we encountered throughout the planning process. We really had no plans that were set in stone, including location, setting, lodging, officiant and yes, even, photographer. We were very open and flexible throughout the process. We settled on Northern California, and ultimately Muir Beach, as a destination based on some past experiences, but really because of the geography. We are both lovers of the outdoors, and ultimately, we were looking for a setting that was “natural”.

We were not committed to a beach wedding, and have no real ties to the area, but that is ultimately where the process led us. Once we settled on the area, we decided to seek out people who could help us. Trisha had some contacts through the modeling agency she works for, where we found Raul Anthony, the make-up artist. We found our officiant, Mimi Calpestri, by speaking with the event manager of the Pelican Inn, where we had arranged to stay. And Jessamyn, came highly recommended from another friend and photographer in the area. In discussing our ideas with the people involved, we were better able to make informed decisions. Collectively, these individuals helped shape our plans, and were able to steer us away from ideas that were unrealistic or short-sighted (like having the ceremony in Muir Woods). Talking to people who are involved with a lot of weddings in the area was very helpful.

Our clothes were from J Crew. Trisha wanted a dress, that was elegant, but not excessively formal, or overdone, and she liked having the freedom to move around in it. I chose a 3-piece Irish linen suit, perfect for the outdoors, that had a traditional, old-timey feel to it. The pink ribbon seen in T’s dress came recommended by her close friend (and hairdresser in Chicago), Sally Noblett. Flowers were from Mill Valley florist, graciously provided by my mother (who really wanted to be there!). And Trisha’s hand-crafted purse was a gift from her Aunt Emily, who does exquisite needlepoint work (Emily Elizabeth Heirlooms).

Our wedding day started off with a traditional breakfast at Pelican Inn, which provided much needed fuel for a seven mile hike into Muir Woods and back. Visiting the grandeur of the redwoods seemed like a nice preamble to our big occasion, and provided a nice respite from the sunny skies unseasonably warm temperatures. After some lunch and a nap, we woke to a heavy fog, which really added a surreal and ethereal presence to our ceremony, and made for some great photographs.

In addition to our stay at Pelican Inn during the week, we spent two nights in San Francisco, at the Huntington Hotel & Spa in Nob Hill (We have to go back to San Francisco!). And we also spent two nights at Hope Cottage at Green Gulch Farm (SF Zen Center) overlooking the very spot where we got married! There were a lot of unknowns getting married this way, but it really did feel like an adventure, and we both feel that it exceeded our expectations. Everyone we worked with was wonderful, and we always have fond memories of our wedding, and look forward to returning to the area again in the future to revisit what was really a lovely occasion.

I implore you … if the stress of the day, or the stress of wedding planning is getting to you, take a few minutes to watch Trisha and Mark’s slideshow on Jessamyn Harris’ blog. It will leave you with a quiet contentment and a wonderful peace of mind.

Thanks, Trisha & Mark and Jessamyn for sharing!

ps … Jessamyn LOVES to travel!

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here