The Couple: Nora Cary and John Mahoney
Wedding Date: June 4th, 2011
Tell us a little about you and your spouse: John and I met at UC Davis — he was a physics Ph.D. student and I was studying textile design. We both value family, good music, home-cooked food and spur-of-the-moment adventures. We both work at UC Merced. We just volunteered to be the campus Sustainability Ambassadors — we’re excited to help the city of Merced “go green.”
What was the most amazing part of your day? We planned our wedding never considering that it would be pouring rain in June. When the forecast started looking grim, we had to totally re-think our plans. We rented a giant tent at the last minute, and ended up having the whole wedding — ceremony and reception — in there. Even though it stopped raining before everyone arrived, the tent ended up being the best thing that happened to us. It was so cozy and warm, and no one seemed to mind being a little crowded. After dinner, we moved a rug outside and people danced under the stars.
What else would you like to share about your big day? Our wedding really came together because of our creative, loving and generous friends and family. They did everything! The bridesmaids and groomsmen, neighbors and relatives from out of town were all out there mulching the driveway and hanging decorations in the pouring rain, hours before the ceremony. Our friends made our cakes, appetizers, flower arrangements and music. John’s cousin officiated. We couldn’t have done it without them.
Ceremony & Reception Site: Private home
Photographer: Megan Wilkinson Photography shot the ceremony and some posed shots. We also asked Nora’s Uncle Todd and John’s Aunt Lee to take candid photos of the reception and cocktail hour.
Videographer: We had several friends and family members take videos.
Caterer: Culinary Specialists
Cake: We had a dessert buffet. We ordered three cakes from Freeport Bakery, and several friends brought cakes, pies and cookies.
Flowers: Our friends Anne, Jessica and Karen arranged our beautiful flowers.
Wedding Dress: I bought my brand new J.Crew dress on eBay for $175. I’m planning to hem and dye it so I can wear it again.
Bridesmaid Dresses: Our bridesmaids didn’t wear matching dresses. Molly wore a J.Crew dress from eBay and Nadine wore one she brought from Switzerland, where she lives.
Hair: Molly, John’s sister, did my hair.
Invitations: My mom designed our invitations using an antique Japanese woodblock print. We used old record covers for our save-the-date cards.
DJ/Entertainment/Band: Our friends Bob and Doug played music during the cocktail hour. Our family members played and sang the music for our ceremony. We hired our friends, The West Nile Ramblers, to play during the reception. John’s friend Dave Cox put on a one-man circus during dinner. He juggled knives on a tightrope!
Honeymoon location: We spent one night in Napa, at the Arbor Guest House.
Any other of your wedding vendor(s) you’d like to call out? Our beautiful wedding bands are from Mansoor & Gore jewelers, in Palo Alto, which is co-owned by the wife of my dad’s college roommate.
First Dance Song: John’s sister Molly sang, “To Know Him is To Love Him”
Any advice you’d give to our readers who are planning their weddings right now? Don’t let the wedding industry stop you from planning the wedding that’s right for you! Your wedding should be a reflection of you and your values. It is possible to plan a fun, low-stress, affordable wedding yourselves. We did it!
Anything that you would have done differently if you were given the chance? I would have made sure I was first in line for the dessert buffet! We missed out on some of our friends’ beautiful desserts.
Photos courtesy of Megan Wilkinson Photography.
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