The Couple: Seija K. Murphy and Craig D. Zimmerman
Wedding Date: May 21, 2011
Photography by Siegel’s Portrait Design
Tell us a little about you and your beloved: Seija: I grew up in Saudi Arabia, the child of a pilot and a housewife. I have one older sister who was born with mental disabilities. My father worked for the oil company ARAMCO until 2003 when he retired and moved to Oregon with my mother. I lived in the Middle East for the first part of my life and then having attended boarding high-school in Pebble Beach, I stayed in California to finish university at UCLA.
As an undergrad I studied psychology with the intent of working to support individuals with disabilities. It took the better part of the next three years (2006 – 2009) after graduating for my life to gather momentum; not only in my work interest, but my personal life as well. I struggled with alcoholism and when I began on the road of recovery in 2008 my life changed drastically.
I never had much of a life, because I was very afraid to pursue it. I was very insecure and had been in a tumultuous relationship for almost nine years. I knew that I had more to offer and took a chance on changing my life to fulfill my purpose. I was making great strides to better my life and change my situation when I met Craig at work in November of 2009.
At the time I knew that I loved being a recovered person, I had a passion to support others, and I trusted that God would take care of me no matter what. I learned throughout the next year and a half (Jan 2010 – May 2011) that indeed God would take care of me. Coming from a life of fear to a life where I was encouraged to pursue my interests and supported by an incredibly loving man was a miracle for me.
We both work at a non-profit providing vocational support to individuals with disabilities. I am pursuing a career as a marriage and family therapist. Along with a passion for psychology I have learned that I love music (both creating it and listening to it), I love art, and my close friends are treasures.
Craig : I was born and raised right here is Sacramento. I am the youngest child, and have an older sister — Renee’ — who is six years older than me. My upbringing was pretty boring compared to Seija’s due to the fact that I lived in the same home for 24 years, rarely strayed from California, and never had been in a serious long term relationship. All kidding aside, as a child, I was happy. I went to good public schools, had (and still have) the best parents in the world, and was very busy with sports.
Later in life, I went to Sacramento State University where I got a B.A. in sociology as well as picked up a nasty habit called alcoholism. By 2009, I was a mess and began to live a life without alcohol. I was working full time by then, bought a home, and I met Seija through work. After that, well, I lived happily ever after.
What was the most amazing part of your day? The most amazing part of the day were the ” I will’s ” (we said “I will” vs. “I do”) at the ceremony, the speeches that were given during the reception, and the picture slide show that Nick (Craig’s brother-in-law) put together for us (pictures of us separately as children, growing up with our families and together as adults)… even though Craig would make a reference to the wedding night as the best part of the day!
What else would you like to share about your big day? Before walking down the aisle, it was important for me (Seija) to take some quiet time to reflect on the past year. We worked so hard to make the wedding happen, and I had to go through some family issues to get here, but it was so worth it.
I lived with Craig’s parents for the five months preceding the wedding. We respected our parents wishes not to move into together before we were married and although it was difficult not to live together it was definitely worth it. So, on our wedding day right before the ceremony I sat alone and reflected in gratitude.
Also, Craig and I made sure that during the reception we stayed by each other’s side and held hands as often as we could. We also tried to make sure that we thanked all of our guests for making the trip: personally by going around to tables and publicly by saying thank you over the microphone after the speeches were given.
Ceremony & Reception Site: Carvalho Family Winery at Old Sugar Mill
Photographer: Siegel’s Portrait Design
Caterer: Jackson Catering & Events
Cake: Shelton’s Wedding Cake Design
Flowers: Garden Wishes
Favors: We made them! Personally recorded CDs of music from our band The Two Steps
Wedding Dress & Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal
Hair & Makeup: Terri Wangler from Space 07 Salon. She’s absolutely one of the most wonderful people I know.
Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas
DJ/Entertainment/Band: Extreme Productions Entertainment
Honeymoon location: Orlando, Florida
First Dance Song: “I Won’t Let Go” by Rascal Flatts
Any advice you’d give to our readers who are planning their weddings right now? I would suggest to give yourself at least a year. Pay attention to each other’s needs and wants for the day. Craig didn’t have many opinions, so the things that he wanted to have (black and white table cloths for a supper club feel, vanilla cake on the top tier for our one year anniversary, and no roast beef) I was happy to honor.
Keep in mind the budget. We didn’t have a fixed budget at the beginning, so when Craig’s mom took over the planning we had spent a little bit that was unnecessary. Thankfully she got us back on track!
If you have the chance to do premarital counseling I would suggest to do it! We learned a lot and our pastor counseled us very wisely.
Lastly, get registered on the The Knot and follow the timeline suggestions on the To-Do list. That Web site saved us so much time and effort!
Anything that you would have done differently if you were given the chance? No! It was a perfect day!
Photos courtesy of Siegel’s Portrait Design.
Subscribe to the Real Weddings Magazine Blog!