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michelle + carl – balboa park

I received an email last September from a couple who were planning an intimate and informal wedding celebration right before year-end, with only a handful of family members in attendance, in addition to her two teenage sons, and that it was a second marriage for both of them.

The three of us got together very shortly after to talk about what they wanted and didn’t want from their ceremony, and then we walked though my process and how I work.  Michelle and Carl told me that they actually had dated in college, 30 years ago, but it wasn’t the right timing for them then, so they lost touch and had then reconnected about five years ago.  There is no doubt that timing plays such a key role in relationships, as I hear this more than you would expect!

We talked about how they wanted something simple and casual, and stress-free (or at least low-stress, if stress-free wasn’t possible).  Plus how they envisioned it being on the coast somewhere – but were open to exactly where – and around sunset-ish.  We talked about which family members were likely to be able to travel in to join them.  And, of course, we talked about some different options for what we could include in the ceremony, including how to have her sons participate in some way.

So, what did we create together?

We started with a Ring Warming ceremony, allowing all of those who had come together to celebrate Michelle and Carl in a tangible way, by “warming” the rings that Michelle and Carl will wear for the rest of their lives with their wishes and prayers and blessings and hopes and dreams.  This ceremony component allows their loved ones to treat it how they want – as spiritual or as secular as they each want it to be.

We included an excerpt from “Captain Corelli's Mandolin” by Louis de Bernières, as well as a piece called “Maybe” by an unknown author.  They chose to promise the same vows to each other, done as two “I do” questions, and then Carl had an additional beautiful “I do” question to promise to Michelle’s two sons.  To continue with the celebration of this new family, in addition to this new marriage, they chose to include a Family Unification Sand Ceremony, with four different colors and containers of sand, representing each of them.  Michelle and Carl started to pour their sands into the vase first, showing that their marriage is the foundation of this family.  And then the boys joined in, illustrating that it is our individuality which adds a unique color to the tapestry of the family.  As they each poured, the individual sands mixed together, and symbolize their bond of love and respect that can never be separated.

Since it was an elopement, I didn’t include the stories from their homework, as I do in larger weddings (although they still had to do their homework for me, of course!).  But Michelle and Carl together crafted a piece for me to include about this family that they’ve already created together, and together we were celebrating in this intimate wedding ceremony.

Enjoy the images by La Vida Creations Photography (www.lavidacreations.com)!  I love how well they captured this intimate celebration, and the celebration of family.

Michelle and Carl, thank you again for the honor of celebrating your family, and the relationship you’ve created, in such an intimate way!  Thanks also for your flexibility on the location, when the rain made a change necessary – and what a great spot Betsy and Jeff of La Vida Creations chose for us all!  Wishing you a lifetime of love, happiness, and so much laughter together!


Vendor Team on this Wedding:


Officiant: Ceremonies by Bethel

Photographer:  La Vida Creations Photography

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