The Couple:  Marissa and Matthew Korbel-Bowers
Wedding Date:  August 22, 2009
Photography by Emily Heizer Photography
Tell us a little about you and your beloved:  Matt and I had been dating and living together for nine years when we got married. When people used to ask us why we weren’t married, we’d shrug and say that we couldn’t imagine it would make much of a difference. We already lived together and were very committed.
In April of 2008, Matt asked me to marry him while we were on a totally luxurious and romantic trip to Calistoga (that he’d planned himself). Obviously, I said yes. And immediately, we agreed that things felt different. We couldn’t put our finger on what, exactly, had changed. But being engaged was wonderful.
We knew we wanted a weekend-style wedding where all our friends and family could show up and relax. We were so excited when my parents (who live in Mount Shasta) called to tell us about McCloud. It has the perfect, small-town atmosphere, and the location is so breathtakingly beautiful, we knew our wedding guests would enjoy spending a weekend there. And they did.
What was the most amazing part of your day?  For me, it was probably standing under the chuppah, surrounded by all our friends and family and exchanging the vows we wrote for each other. Hearing Matt tell me all the things he loved about me made me laugh out loud at times (like when he said he loved my sense on humor and my “cognitive abilities”), and made me cry, too.
Matt’s favorite part was stomping on the glass at the end of the ceremony. He said it was amazing to hear all our friends and family shout our “L’Chaim” and clap and cheer for us. It really marked the end of our ceremony, and the beginning of the party. And we really had quite a party.
What else would you like to share about your big day?   We are really happy that we decided to create a weekend of events instead of focusing all of our time and attention on one evening. It set a very relaxed and happy tone for the whole wedding, since we weren’t running around trying to spend time with 100 people at our reception. We got to talk to nearly every guest at some point over the weekend, and spend quality time catching up with family and friends who traveled far distances to be there with us.
One of the most creative things we did was organize a wedding recessional parade, complete with musical instruments and an accordion. After the ceremony, Matt and I led our family and friends down the main street of town. We laughed and talked and it felt great to be walking with everyone over to the party.

Ceremony Site:  McCloud Guesthouse
Reception Venue:  McCloud Mercantile
Photographer:  Emily Heizer Photography
Wedding Planner:  The Bride and Groom
Caterer:  Helena Darling Catering
Cake:  Dane and Johnnie Nichols Custom Wedding Cakes
Flowers:  Barclay Botanical
Wedding Dress:  Amy Kuschel Bride
Bridesmaid Dresses:  I asked my bridesmaids to choose any dress in navy blue jersey that they liked and would wear again. Two of them bought theirs at American Apparel, one of them bought hers at J. Crew, and two of them bought theirs at Butter by Nadia.
Hair:  DYI
Makeup: One of my bridesmaids, Alysha Umphress
Invitations:  Designed and printed by Matthew Korbel-Bowers (the groom). Assembled and mailed by Marissa (the bride)
DJ/Entertainment/Band:  Matt and I made two playlists, and basically hit “play” on my laptop twice: once after the toasts, and once after the cake. It was awesome! I was a little nervous about not having a DJ, but everybody danced and had a great time.
Honeymoon location:  We still haven’t taken our honeymoon, but our plan is to go to Paris.
Any other of your wedding vendor(s) you’d like to call out?   Not really “vendors,” but I took major inspiration and solace from the fine ladies on indiebride and offbeatbride’s message boards. Everything from ceremony readings that were totally appropriate for a couple that had been together for a long time, to non-matching bridesmaids’ photos, to photographers (that’s how we found Emily).
First Dance Song:  Into the Mystic by Van Morrison
Any advice you’d give to our readers who are planning their weddings right now?  We approached our wedding with a lot of DIY spirit. We made everything from the invitations to the reception play list to the place cards. We bought our own alcohol (vodka, whisky and gin), mixers and wine, and hired bartenders to serve it. We decorated the tables and designed the reception layout.
On the other hand, we tried not to micro-manage, and instead let people run with what they cared about. For example, my mom wanted to make place cards for the front row seating of the ceremony. My instinct was that it was unnecessary, but I didn’t worry about it, and there’s a whole bunch of pictures of our family members wearing their ceremony place cards and smiling.
Our close friends helped us set up the reception hall, and we let them decorate the tables with the supplies we bought. We took music requests on our wed-site. We basically tried to listen to the people in our lives that have gotten us this far. And things worked out even better than we planned because we were able to get out of the way and let the cool, spontaneous, creative stuff happen.
We took all our pictures before the ceremony, and I would totally recommend doing that to anyone willing to refrain the tradition of first seeing each other at the ceremony. Matt and I planned a sweet little “first look” in our suite. When I was all dressed, my bridesmaids went and got him. We got to enjoy seeing how awesome each other looked in a setting that was a little more intimate. Plus, we didn’t have to miss any of our reception to pose for photos!
Speaking of the reception, one of the best things we did was skip the passed hors d’oeuvres. Instead, our caterer created a snacking plate of cheese spreads, hummus and roasted olives with sliced breads. The bar was open, and the snacks were on the tables when everyone arrived.
We did this because we’d experienced the low-blood-sugar-crazed waiter ambushing, and quick intoxication that passed hors d’oeuvres style created at other weddings. So many of our friends thanked us (we still hear compliments on that a year later). Everyone said it was really relaxing to come in and be able to eat a little something right away.
Finally, I would encourage every couple to look at your various religious and cultural traditions for ideas, but not be afraid to alter them to fit you as a couple, or toss them out altogether. We did a lot of “our” version of traditional Jewish wedding things, but our ceremony was performed by a Unitarian universalist minister, and had no Hebrew at all.
Anything that you would have done differently if you were given the chance?  I would have printed directions to every wedding event and had them available at all the hotels where our guests stayed. Cell phone reception was a little spotty in the mountains, and it was stressful to be fielding calls from lost folk at the beginning of some of the other weekend events. Luckily, the wedding itself was right in the center of town, so nobody was lost.
Photos courtesy of Emily Heizer Photography

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