We got married at the Chatfield Botanic Gardens in Denver. We were members of the garden so we got a 20% discount on the venue. It was the only venue we looked at and it was perfect because you get to rent the whole space so people could wander around with their wine and feel like they had the space to themselves. Our summer wedding was so dreamy that still, years later, think about it maybe twice a week.
Marcos and I saved and planned for this wedding for over a year. Every detail from the flowers to the food (we invested the most in food) were intentional. While most people feel overwhelmed and stressed with the planning process, we actually had a great time planning, and then enjoying, our wedding.
We got ready at a family friend’s home that was only a ten minute drive from the venue. The rest of the event, thanks to our day of coordinator, ran like clockwork.
Our ceremony was in a beautiful meadow and we wrote the ceremony ourselves. Marcos’s cousin, a buddhist priest, married us. We did a hand fastening ceremony to show our commitment to each other, our family, and our community. The knots, which Shelby tied, are still in our living room. The vows, which we wrote and practice today, are tucked inside of our wedding album. I wrote my vows on a notecard and I love to pick it up and see how its still bent and has grass stains from the day of our wedding.
Shelby and my Mom walking me down the aisle. The emotion flooded me as soon as we walked through that arch.
We incorporated the African-American tradition of jumping the broom to start off our life together. It was important for us to weave our culture into the ceremony and it was so fun to jump that broom, especially in my dress with a train!
This moment of elation is captured perfectly by Dan Chan. We did it!
During the toast Shelby and Marcos’s brothers Julian and Nathan had us in tears of laughter and nostalgia. Shelby read an email I sent her after my first date with Marcos that was hilarious and embarrassing. Our family and friends even did a surprise flash mob style performance. They gathered around us and sang Aint’ No Moutain High and everyone had specific parts, it was amazing.
Marcos and I took dance lessons and danced to At Last by Ella Fitzgerald. We met working on the Obama campaign and we celebrated our one year anniversary at the Inauguration in DC. The first dance Barack and Michelle danced to at the Inaugural Ball, and we danced to in the audience, was At Last and that song holds special meaning to us.
Looking back at my wedding, I wouldn’t change a thing, though, I do have some suggestions for the process/day of.
- Marcos ended up doing a lot of running around a few minutes before the wedding. If you are a groom, this can happen. Make sure to designate a point person for the groom so they can feel relaxed right before their big walk down the isle.
- Outside weddings- 2 things not to forget: Plenty of bug spray and if you eat under the starts, a LOT more candles than you would think. They burn out quickly.
- Dress–I would make sure to get a dress that fits you! I would not recommend going with an amazing dress, that is a sample size. My dress ended up having to go through major alterations and looked nothing like the dress I originally tried on with the bridal clips. I was crying in the dressing room a week before the wedding because it didn’t fit right. Just trust me–buy a dress that fits, and also, with straps! My dress keep slipping down as the night progressed.
- Have shot list- we had an amazing photographer but missed a few key shots, like the bridal party all together.
- Hire a great photographer, you will not regret this. I love looking through images of our wedding day. They are silly, romantic, timeless, and honest.
- Be present- I don’t feel like our wedding flew by. I enjoyed every minute of it because I took a few deep breaths before it all started and had the intention of staying present.
- Write your vows- The ceremony was my favorite part of the wedding. It was intimate, original, and we wrote vows that we actually remember, and practice today.
- Gifts- I sketched this image of me and Marcos on our wedding day and gave it to him as a gift. I had an artist make it into a glycee print, like an old poster. It hangs in our house today and its a nice everyday reminder of our wedding. Marcos gave me a beautiful jewelry box.
- A getaway car. Shelby hired a limo to take us from the reception to our hotel downtown. We could still stay in the dream, rather than crawling into my Pontiac and making sure my dress didn’t get caught in the door.
- Do something after- A group of close friends went downtown to Euclid Hall and we had some drinks. It was a nice little after- after party where we could actually talk with the friends who came from all over for our wedding.
- Remember to bring a piece of your wedding cake to eat later that night or for breakfast the next day. Why waste cake?!All photos taken by the amazing Dan Chhttp://chennergy.com/en