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The Couple: Tara & Chris

Wedding Date: July 30, 2016

Photography by CMG Imagery

Tell us a little about you and your beloved: I fell in love with Chris close to 17 years ago as soon as I saw him for the first time at some hippy music festival on the east coast. Reckless and determined, I soon learned that he actually lived in the same town I was attending college, and our inner circles quickly got smaller.

Unfortunately, I was not the only girl in town who had my eyes on him, which forced us to have to jump through loops the first several months of our relationship, but that was the easy part. We would become best friends and lovers over the next year and a half but after graduating from college, the world would test us by pulling us in different directions across the east coast for the first several years of our relationship.

After 3 years of long distance love, in 2005, we decided we would finally move into an apartment together in Philadelphia and give our love an honest attempt. But the world’s still had other plans for us, and just 2 days after signing a lease for our new home, he got offered a job more than 3000 miles away in Grass Valley, CA. Heartbroken, but aware I could never hold him back from such an opportunity, we decided we would accept or fate and see what cards we would be dealt in the future, giving our relationship a “break”.

For the first time in 5 years, I was single and I was living alone in a busy city as the man I loved explored the missions of northern California on his own. About 6 months after the move, I came to visit my ex in CA and we knew then that distance was not going to tear us apart. Within the year, I too was excited to start my new life on the west coast. From there it is history and we have been together ever since.

Not exactly the marrying type, I patiently waited for him to “put a ring on it” for 13 years. After learning I was pregnant with our first child in June 2014, he finally popped the question on top of the Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas while we were there for a pregnant Phish tour Halloween Party! Our son,  Christian Jr., was born in March of 2015 a little over a year before we would throw the 5 day celebration of our love in Kirkwood, CA.

Credited as “the best wedding ever” by all who attended, the planning was a little out of the norm with a one year old running around, but it was my goal to create my fairytale wedding one way or another.

What was the most amazing part of your day? Being a 5 day celebration, it is hard to narrow it down to one amazing part of this event. But in the end, I am traditional and there was no better feeling in the world than rounding the corner with my father as we walked down the aisle towards my future husband while taking in the beauty and rustic-ness my hard work created. I felt the pure and absolute love of all the people that mean the most to me in this world.

Ceremony and Reception Site: The Hideout at Kirkwood

Ceremony Musicians: Achilles Wheel, a Grateful Dead Tribute Band

Officiant: Good Friend, Michael Abramson

Photographer: CMG Imagery

Wedding Planner: Sierra Living Events

Caterer: Nourish Natural Foods

Cake/Desserts: Summer Thyme Bakery

Flowers: Loka Flowers

Favors: For the ceremony, all guests were handed a bag of blessing stones, which included a rose quartz that wedding guests would hold and bless with their love and intentions as we said our wedding vows. When leaving the ceremony, the guests would return the blessed stone to be cherished forever by the newlyweds and they were gifted a small piece of kyanite and quartz point, which had been previously blessed my the couple.

For the reception, guests were greeted with a table full of custom-made etched mason jars made by Brenton Forest of Dark Jars. Each jar included a guests name and table number. It was requested that they continue to reuse their beverage holder throughout the evening at the bar. The etched jars had 3 different designs: a celtic heart, a celtic shamrock and a celtic tree of life- and they all had a lid with the couple’s wedding logo on top.

Bridal Attire: The Bridal Box

Bridesmaids’ Attire: ArmoursansAnguish on Etsy

Hair: Paige Schaeffer

Make-up: Hair & Health with Tiffany Hegstad

Invitations: All paperie was designed by the bride

Signage: DIY

DJ/Entertainment/Band: Achilles Wheel

Photo Booth: Selfie Booth with all handmade props by bride

Linen Rentals: Nevada City Linen Supply

Honeymoon Location: Planning a wedding and having a toddler has delayed the honeymoon for the immediate future.

First Dance Song: “Standing on the Moon” by the Grateful Dead

Any advice you’d give to our readers who are planning their weddings right now? BUDGET properly and realistically BEFORE booking any vendors or venues. If you know what to expect in advance you will be able to properly allocate your funds. Be thrifty where you can because at the end of the day every penny saved will help for your future together.

Anything that you would have done differently if you were given the chance? I was a DIY bride and created the ambiance I envisioned as a result, but while it seems fun and creative to do all the crafting on your own so all the décor is unique, it is VERY TIME CONSUMING and can become pricier than you imagine. When my wedding was over, I ended up selling all of the decor I made to someone on Facebook or Craigslist for a 10th of the price. EXPLORE THIS OPTION FIRST!

Photos courtesy of CMG Imagery.

Blog post by Real Weddings Magazine’s Social Media Maven, Aimee Carroll.

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