brooke + stanley – secluded garden estate pala [real wedding]

I have three different couples to thank for Brooke and Stanley!  Yes, three different of my past couples sent them my way, which told me before I even met them that I would really like them – like attracts like, right?  And I loved that Brooke told me that they had already read my reviews, as I think that they say so much of what it’s like to work together.

The three of us got together very shortly after to talk about what they wanted and didn’t want from their ceremony at the beautiful Secluded Garden Estate in Pala, and then we walked through my process and how I work.

They told me that they are both very close to their families, and that their guests would really be made up of their families and closest friends, so people who really know them, and, therefore, they really wanted their ceremony to have an intimate and connected feel.  They wanted it “short-ish” and appreciated hearing that my norm is about a 20-minute ceremony (long enough for the moms to choke up and for everyone to feel connected to you, but not long enough that we’ve lost folks in their desire for cocktail hour to commence, right?).  We talked about how much they love to laugh together and have a very light-hearted relationship, and how they wanted the ceremony to be about them, special, and different from the norm.

So, what did we create together?

We kicked it off with one of my favorite quotes: “Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning.” (author unknown).  They chose to remember and honor those who could not be there to celebrate with them in person, especially those no longer with us.  We included a more modern alternate version of the handfasting, where they held hands, right into right and left into left, to form the infinity sign with their arms, and we talked about the meaning of including that, as well as how it still included two distinct circles.  After all, marriage doesn’t mean giving up who you are as an individual, but about connecting with your partner fully as the person that you are.  During this handfasting, I wrapped three ribbons around their joined hands, with three wishes for them, after which they made vows to each other while still being bound.  After I removed the ribbons – there is no “knot-tying” in this version, they then continued with making vows to each other, in this case, ones they had written together and chose to both make.  In addition to including the reading entitled, “The One” (author unknown), they also chose to say words as they each accepted the ring onto their fingers, not just the words each said as they placed the ring.  Those rings are a gift, and it’s really special to acknowledge what just happened.

And they did a mixture of traditional and slightly non-traditional during those “traditional” wedding moments.  While they had me introduce the kiss with the traditional, “Stanley, you may now kiss the bride,” and we ended with a traditional instruction for the first time as Mr. and Mrs., Brooke asked her mother to also stand after Brooke and her father came down the aisle, so that she could be there as her father presented her on behalf of both of her parents.

Plus, as always, I included stories about their relationship from the homework assignment they did for me – separately, so that I could pull in both of their voices – to help everyone there really know who these two are together and why everyone was there to celebrate them.  As completely appropriate for their relationship, and always hoped for, there was a wonderful mixture of both laughter and tears!