Natascha and Joseph Choose a Church Wedding

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The bride and her family are from Germany: the grooms are from the Bay Area. Long time friend, Catholic Deacon Jim presided, quoting Keats and saying “the ring finger has an artery that goes straight to the heart”.

Natascha was in white ruffles, Cathedral length veil, white and purple running shoes, and carried a cascade of purple orchids. Joseph sported shiny patent leather spats, elegant tuxedo and hand tied purple bow tie. The couple wrote their own wedding vows and talked about tremendous hope, honesty and respect.

Sausalito Presbyterian Church was a gorgeous setting for the striking flowers and Unity candles. After the ceremony and a picture on the front steps with the ninety guests, they were whisked away down the hill to the Spinnaker for a lively reception.

We Still Do! “Love Is A Magic Ray”.

Remembering a Valentine Wedding twenty-two years ago, Georgianne and Paul renewed their wedding vows in front of 80 guests. Their original duo ministers performed the elegant ceremony. Each brought unique tenderness with poetry by Rumi and Gibran.

The sanctuary had a sacred Zen like feeling with a treasured Japanese Obi and Ikebana on the alter table. “You and I” and “The Rose” (a request from twenty years ago) was sung and all agreed that Love is what joins, flows, counts and GROWS.

The church reception hall was transformed into an English Garden for an elegant IMG_0403Champagne and High Tea Service. Treasured tea pots, crystal and hand painted vases were dressed with garden roses, calla lilies and parrot tulips. A close friend designed two entwined hearts and all the guests wrote love messages on fine Japanese papers that were fastened to the borders of the hearts.

Georgianne and Paul will have lots of time to read the happy wishes!

Virginia and Wolf’s Wedding

Even with lots of last minutes changes – the minister, the best man and reception DJ, Virginia and Wolf 2the wedding day of Virginia and Wolf went off without a single wrinkle! The radiant bride in silk chiffon and sparkling veil never stopped smiling. Her groom was elegant in a grey and black formal morning suit. A most handsome sword was strapped to his waist.

The morning church ceremony was followed by a delicious buffet lunch at the Sausalito Yacht Club. Centerpieces were colorful fish in glass vases. Even the huge sea lions basking in the sun were barking like “wolves”.

Guests were touched by personal wedding vows as Virginia and Wolf so tenderly told the stories of their journey to marriage, and to the joy in finding “my princess” and “my soul mate”. Wolf shared the experiences of his life “roaming from the forests to the swamps … from the Arizona desert to the high mountains”. He was “lead to the sea – like the sword to the fire”.

At the end of the vows, they both declared …

W: I will be the crisp, clear creek water that will sustain our pack.
V: I will be the sunlight and moonlight that lights our pack.
W: I will be the Earth under our feet to stabilize and ground our pack.
V: I will be the hunter, gatherer, and food which gives strength to our pack.

TOGETHER we are unbreakable.
Together we are unstoppable.
Together we will thrive, live, give and die for our pack.

Virginia and Wolf will continue their adventurous journey together as they build a new home in Alaska. I wish the much joy and “warmth”!

Memories of a Father

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I usually write stories of unique weddings. But I was touched by a recent lovely Memorial Service and reception at Sausalito Presbyterian Church.

I met Kat at the church when she told me about her father who died two years ago. The family didn’t have a memorial service at the time and her wish was to bring them together for a proper religious service and a tribute to honor her Dad.

The father, Enrique and the Filipino family are Catholic. They could have chosen a Catholic church, but Kat loved the welcoming and inclusive websites and the spiritual feel of the Sausalito sanctuary. We welcomed a Catholic priest to perform rituals and family members from Colorado and all parts of the Bay Area joined in.

As the guests gathered on the church steps at the end of the emotional service, they released butterflies into the autumn afternoon just as the Blue Angels flew over Sausalito. Then it was time to celebrate and share memories on the lovely private deck and Thomson Hall where the aunties had prepared special traditional food from the Philippines.

An Elegant Spanish Wedding

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Picture yards and yards of white silk organza draped against the dark wood of historic Sausalito Presbyterian Church, and white orchids, full garden roses and hydrangeas cascading from wedding pillars.

Picture a bride dressed in the finest lace and an eight foot Spanish mantilla, her bouquet  fastened with a band of rhinestones and an antique jewel.

These are visions of the wedding of Julia and Carlos. The wedding party included a Bible Boy, a Candle Carrying Boy, and a Bell Ringer. Bridesmaids wore raspberry colored dresses with navy satin sashes. They carried huge fragrant “Yves Piaget” garden rose bouquets.

The ceremony was performed by two Pastors who spoke in Spanish. Family members lighted candles. Piano and organ music rang through the church and an original wedding song serenaded the couple as they lighted a Unity Candle.

The ceremony continued on the church steps as all the guests watched the bride and groom release two beautiful white doves that were soon joined by ten more. The doves circled the church in formation three times before they flew north heading back home to Glen Ellen.

The celebration continued at the Flood Mansion in San Francisco.

 

Anchors Away Wedding

Bride Sandra and Groom Randy live on a boat on the San Francisco Bay. So it was fitting that they chose a Nautical theme for their Sausalito wedding. Church decorations included life “rings” on the front doors that said “Welcome Aboard”. The Unity Candle was placed in a pewter row boat that was filled with red roses.

Reverand Paul Mowry blessed the newly created family – Sandra’s twin sons and Randy’s grown daughters. His grandson was the best man and tiny grand daughter/ flower girl came down the aisle to the sound of bells.

The wedding guests gathered for hors d’oeuvres on the church deck and then trollied to a Five Star Yacht for a celebration reception under the stars. All hands were on deck!

Daughter Follows her Parents to SPC

Gorgeous Japanese bride Ami who completed studies in Berkeley, and handsome Polish groom Kuba, a fine photographer, recently exchanged wedding vows at Sausalito Presbyterian Church. They brought with them wedding pictures of Ami’s parents who also married at the church 31 years ago.

The carpet and drapes were red then and the church still had a pipe organ. Ami’s parents returned from Japan to visit the church on four different anniversaries. I met them and we shared stories and updated pictures.

Now the carpet is gold and the church has a wonderful digital organ. There are new strawberry trees in front and the dogwoods still bloom in the spring. The old twisted euonymus vine is now a sculpture that tourists photograph and enjoy.

Ami and Kuba were thrilled to have Reverand George McLaird, the same minister from 31 years ago, perform their personal ceremony. We made a short video to be given to Ami’s parents. After enjoying Marin County the couple continued to honeymoon in Monterey – then back home to Japan.

After more than forty years Sausalito Presbyterian Church continues the tradition of welcoming couples from Japan.

South of the Border

Big pots of sunflowers added to the warm summer day as Sausalito couple – easy going Eric and artistic Roberta – celebtared their love and friendship of many years. Both have grown children and lots of grandchildren.

Mariachi music, and even the flower girl, created a festive spirit as guests sipped Sangria on the deck. An elegant catered Mexican feast followed in Thomson Hall. Roberta read original poetry to Eric – one about Mexican folklore, another an Ode to a Double Ring Ceremony. “Two trees” by Janet Miles summed up the feelings of the couple …

a portion of your soul has been / entwined with mine / a gentle kind of togetherness, while / separate we stand.  as two trees deeply rooted in / separate plots of ground, / while their topmost branches / come together,

forming a miracle of lace / against the heavens

International Wedding

The busiest wedding month at Sausalito Presbyterian Church that I remember was when there were seventeen gorgeous weddings in warm and wonderful September. I have memories of an elegant Sunday afternoon.

The stunning bride was born in Ethiopia and works for non-profit Tangible Hope Foundation in Africa empowering young women and families to help break the cycle of poverty. The groom is a successful San Francisco business man.

A long time friend and spiritual leader performed the ceremony, and after the vows were repeated, she sang a moving Gospel song. Masses of white flowers filled the church and Grand Ballroom of the San Francisco St. Francis Hotel where guests celebrated at a lavish reception.

Modern Day Matchmaking

Bride Kelly is a woman of the world with roots in the San Francisco Bay Area. She went East to college and is now active as the President of the San Francisco Yale Alumni Association. She has created adventures wherever her passport has taken her. From playing polo in Argentina during college, performing in the closing ceremonies of the Sydney Olympics, camel racing in Jordan, petting cheetahs in South Africa and bathing elephants in Thailand, Kelly creates and enjoys the thrills of life wherever she finds herself. Her passion and beliefs have recently taken her into the world of professional matchmaking!

Groom David is from Cincinnati, Ohio. He completed his degree in Econ and Computer Science from Northwestern in Chicago. He turned an early job in New York into a thrilling career with an internet startup and media consulting that spans four continents. David’s work has taken him from Paris to Hong Kong, Amsterdam to Argentina, and Tokyo to London. But none of those places compares to what he has found in San Francisco!

Kelly and David are celebrating the next set of adventures with their match at a joyous wedding ceremony and reception at Sausalito Presbyterian Church. Guests have traveled from around the world to be with them.

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