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The Couple: Shani & James

Wedding Date: June 26, 2015 (the bride’s grandparents’ 61st wedding anniversary)

Photography by Angelee Arceo Photography 

Tell us a little about you and your beloved: We actually met on an online dating site. I had been going on a lot of dates around that time, and I was getting burned out. I almost canceled at the last minute, but luckily decided to go. We both knew right away that we had found something special and we never looked back!

Our birthdays are 2 weeks apart, so we always go away for the weekend in between. In 2014 we went to Half Moon Bay and as we were walking down the beach James got down on one knee and proposed. It was very beautiful and romantic!

Wedding planning was tricky because I am originally from Utah but we wanted the celebration to be in Sacramento. Most of my bridal party and all my family were coming from out of town, so we decided to spread the festivities out over a long weekend. We arranged a catered wine tour, took people to breweries, and visited some of our favorite restaurants. We had the ceremony on a Friday (my grandparents’ 61st anniversary) followed by a dinner with family and close friends. The reception was a much larger event and held on that Saturday. We finished the weekend with a farewell brunch before everyone headed home.

What was the most amazing part of your day? It’s hard to choose! Having my godfather marry us was very special. So was sharing our day with my grandparents, who are my marriage inspiration! Mostly, just getting to spend quality time with so many people we love.

What else would you like to share about your big day? We are both huge nerds, so we found subtle ways to include our Fandoms throughout the wedding without making it super obvious. We wrote the entire ceremony script, and included references to things like The Princess Bride, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and Parks & Recreation.

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Ceremony Site: Natomas Rose Garden

Ceremony Musicians: Bagpipes by Liz Tubbs

Officiant: My Godfather, Howard.

Reception Venue: Antiquite Maison Privee

Photographer: Angelee Arceo Photography 

Caterer and Desserts: Rayna’s Gourmet Catering

Flowers: I am blessed with a very talented and creative sister, so I actually just ordered flowers in bulk (after testing it out in advance) and she made my bouquet. The bridesmaids each put together their own bouquets, which turned out to be a really fun bonding experience! I also ordered custom ribbon in a tartan pattern that matched my husband’s kilt, and that’s what we wrapped the bouquets in.

Bridal Attire: Haute House Couture

Bridesmaids’ Attire: The girls were buying dresses in 4 different states, so I just asked them to all by a little black dress that they would wear again.

Hair: Shirley Bond

Make-up: Jill Briggs from Beauty Box Makeup Arts

Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas

DJ/Entertainment/Band and Lighting: Cope Entertainment (he was amazing!)

Photo Booth: Temple Photography

Transportation: 1920 Ford Roadster rented from the California Auto Museum

Honeymoon Location: Scotland

Any other of your wedding vendor(s) you’d like to call out that we missed in the above questions? Dance lessons with Jennifer at Ballroom Sacramento

First Dance Song: “La Vie en Rose” by Louie Armstrong

Any advice you’d give to our readers who are planning their weddings right now? Focus on the three most important things to you, and allocate more money to those things. For us, it was really good booze, a great DJ, and a location in Midtown so people could walk or take an uber from the reception.

Neither one of us was interested in linen colors or floral arrangements, or even traditional things like a bouquet toss, so we just skipped all of that. Our goal was to have an intimate ceremony that reflected us as a couple, and a reception that felt like a party. Once we got our priorities straight everything else fell into place.

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

Photos courtesy of Angelee Arceo Photography .

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