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Vacation rental for parents, yay!

Yet another goal met: we put down the deposit for a vacation rental in stinson beach – 15 minutes from the reception site for parents and ourselves.

We’ll be staying there Friday night with parents, then they’ll get it for saturday night and then we’ll get it for sunday night.

It’s absolutely beautiful!

Check out the pics:


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Band yay!

We might actually be on our way to having a party folks! Location, food, people, and MUSICA!!

The band we’ve hired is called Sara and swingtime. Here is their myspace page for those interested in listening to some sample songs:

For those looking to find a band, we used gigmasters. It’s a website where you fill out the information for your event and then bands bid to be your band. It’s really great!

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Photography yay!

Yay! After our initial issue of finding a photographer who later turned out to be already booked for the date, we’ve found a new photographer that we really like:

check them out! = )!

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The 3 month update

Ok, so the wedding is 3 months away and here’s what we’ve got, what we’re doing, and what we’ve got left to do.

What we have done:

– caterer (trumpetvine)

– bride’s dress (from the wedding party)

– ceremony and reception locations (muir beach overlook and slide ranch)

In the works:

– photographer

– musicians (possibly a trio)

– invitations (will try to get them out in the next couple weeks)

– court arrangements

– rings (check out some examples of what we’re looking at here:



Left to do:

– design decorations

– flowers

– cupcakes

– vacation rental for parents, home base, and post-wedding night/brunch

– alcohol (brian is working on finding a delicious punch to serve along with the wine and champagne)

– brian’s clothes…shopping trip?


– need to get flight tickets

– find a location (we may have done this already)

– hotel reservations (anna and parents)

– food?

– alcohol?

– general planning strategy?

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Location found!

Alright, so we finally have a location and a date:

Muir Beach ceremony and slide ranch reception

Muir Beach information:

Contact: James Sword, 415-561-4373
Fees: 400$ flat rate, includes both application fee and permit, no additional fees after that
Time: sunrise to 1 hour after sunset


parking limited, shuttle service practically required
24 hours advance notice to postpone to next available date
only free-standing stuff
non-seeding flowers
no throwing of things or releasing of animals
ceremony only on lawn, photos yes at the point
max. 100 people
85 decibel sound limit (people shouldn’t have to raise their voices to talk over us)
*note: you can get a lot of stuff if you ask, ask for small exceptions, they’re generally flexible

Slide Ranch reception and after-party camping

We’re not completely sure about the total cost, but it looks like it will be around 4,000$

For this amount one gets:

– the entire space to themselves for the weekend

– a wonderful staff person on site (ours is Rebeca, she’s great!) and possibly an extra staff person the day of to help things go smoothly

– the staff to set up tables, chairs, etc. prior to the event as you want them to

– the staff to be there to receive items if they need to be delivered a day in advance

– a LOT! of space! the reception area will be a small meadow next to the yurt, this is where they have running water and electricity. There is a firering near the yurt (which by the way has a dance floor and a small wood-burning heater), and then there is a campsite on the bluffs about a quarter mile easy flat hike in where there is a geodesic dome and a very large space for camping.

– No check-in,/check-out times!!

– Few, if any real restrictions as compared to other state run/city run parks

Two of our other top choices were:

1. Sunset State Beach: Sotuh of Santa Cruz, nearish to big sur, beautiful little beach spot all tucked away amongst brussel sprout farms on the coast.

2. Huddart San Mateo County Park and Memorial County Park: Both of these were beautiful in the redwoods with rolling hills and tons of space. Huddary has some beautiful picnic spaces and Memorial has a gorgeous little amphitheatre, although it’s a bit under construction at the moment. They both have group camping too. County parks have the added advantage of fewer restrictions than other parks, like state or national ones.

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Previous places we’ve looked at and extra information on locations

1. Natural Bridges SB. Pretty, but not ideal space as its pretty poorly laid out for wedding activity. 831-423-4609 – called on 10/20 and got an answer. wedding space is in the picnic area on the beach with a “great view of the water.” all setup is done by wedding people but the park does mark off space. the picnic area may also be used for a reception. variable space for wedding and/or reception based on size of party and event (20 to 100 people maybe?). bookings and price info can be obtained through special events coordinator.
*no camping (NC)
– place for the ceremony?
– place for the band and dancing?
– alcohol?
– picnic area stuff moveable?
– no camping

Big Sur area weddings: (Katy 831-667-0158) – called them and they will send me more information via snail mail, but definitely available for May/June next year – gave me lots of information over the phone, but will probably be better to look over it in person in the packet they send to me

2. Big Sur SP. Most doable space, but least stunning and looks a bit run down.
Picnic 1: Grills in the way. Bathrooms?
Picnic 2: Less cluttered but next to dumpsters. Nearer to bathrooms. Seems best of the three.
Picnic 3: Largest but most ghetto and no ramada. Would take work.

Over the phone: Pfeffier big sur: picnic areas available near the river area, shady, areas 1,2: 100 people each, area 3: 200 people, 25$ special permit fee non-refundable, 100$ day use space fee for any of the areas, electricity fee (limited electricity – basically it comes from the bathrooms), vehicles have to pay 10$/vehicle to park, alcohol fee: <50 people – 50$, >50 people – 100$, over 100 people deposit for picnic areas, areas close 30 minutes before sunset – roughly 8pm in summertime, live bands are possible but take extra work and fees because of needed electricity, May/June available

3. Campbell Hall and Garden (415-332-0858)
Owned and decorated by a church, lovely space though, nice views, though not quite as nice as the website had suggested…

Monterey area weddings: (SEC: Sleccia Wilson? 831-624-3407) will be in at 8am 10/21/09

4. S. of pt. lobos, state beaches. price depends on type – 225$ for most basic chairs 325$, over 100 people 429$ – 4 hours, chairs, will send me their information packet via email

5. Sonoma coast state beach: (Elizabeth Beale) 707-865-2391 ext. 3 – not currently taking reservations b/c of funding issues, max. group area is 150 people, may not have many facilities though – as in would have to bring our own bathrooms – will email me the wedding information packet, but says to follow up with them in the next month when they will have more information on any changes that might be happening

Santa Cruz state park area: special events coordinator for this whole are is (Craig Holden, 831-335-3455, available Mondays and Wednesdays, very helpful). For info about each park he suggested going to here – website with info about all the parks, look for multiple venues at each site. Then contact him with additional questions. Standard fees across all the following sites: 25.00 filing fee, 575 wedding special event fee, non-alcohol security deposit 250.00, day use per vehicle that arrives 10.00… plus possible additional pending size, venue, and nature of the wedding.

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Ceremony thoughts

Ahh, yes, another important part of the wedding, the ceremony. Through the process of talking to Brian and my parents, it’s been interesting to find out how many different variations there are in what people consider the “traditional” or “standard” ceremony, including opinions of my own that I had never really thought about.  Our general plan here is to construct a super simple, super fast, ceremony that would highlight our feelings about marriage and what it means to us. We’re also including rituals that for us symbolize our ideas.

General theme: emphasizing togetherness without becoming oneness

Pre-ceremony: as people enter they will be asked to pour a small amount of sand into a vase that we will then later use in the sand ceremony. This symbolizes the support of family and friends as well as their continued participation in our lives.

– officiate in, signals start
– brian and brian mom enter?
– bridal party enters
– bride with dad and mom?

– officiate greeting
– officiate statement
– promises
– sand ceremony (usually happens after vows)
– I dos
– rings (maybe with I dos)
– glass break ceremony
– officiate announce the couple and kiss

– process out
– bridal party to pictures, guests to reception

– tables could be Brian and Anna research themes

The sand ceremony:

As far as I can tell, from a couple different websites, the sand ceremony actually originated long ago in Hawaiian and Native American cultures. It has recently replaced the traditional unity candle ceremony in  many weddings, especially beach weddings. Our idea is to first have the guests pour small amounts of sand into a vase which we will then have our parents and ourselves pour sand onto. The whole thing is then kept as keepsake of the wedding. The ceremony is most often used when one or both members of the  couple have kids from previous relationships whom they want to include in the ceremony, the idea being of uniting together as one family. This is how I first saw it used.

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