A love affair that began with a few moments of courage in a San Diego bar reached the ultimate destination of a country wedding in Nevada City this past June. It only took seven years and navigating many separations for Jessica and Robin to see their dreams come true.
Long ago, Robin was a bouncer in the aforementioned bar and Jessica spotted him, found the courage to talk to him and then, through a twist of fate, was left without a ride. Robin came to the rescue and thus began a relationship that endured many challenges. “We only had a couple dates in San Diego and then life, in all its complicated glory, tore us apart,” Jessica remembers. Through job changes, school and several moves, they briefly lost touch. That was until Robin, now a maritime counter-piracy consultant, was sent overseas to do contract work in Iraq. Jessica emailed him for some tips on an upcoming Southeast Asia trip, and the spark was reignited. They stayed in touch constantly, buoying Robin during his yearlong stint in the desert.
Eventually, the couple could not stand life apart, and both moved to Tacoma, Washington, to be together. With their relationship clearly established in the serious category, Jessica doesn’t deny her openness about expressing her wedding bell dreams. “I have to admit I was quite vocal about it,” she laughs. “Poor guy, I’m surprised I didn’t scare him off.”
Following an elaborate engagement plan Robin pulled off on the Seattle waterfront, the wedding wheels were in motion. Jessica’s parents’ home in Nevada City, on five acres, proved to be the perfect spot to seal their love. With over a year to plan, Jessica’s family transformed the grounds into lush gardens and a stage area that was everything the couple dreamed of for their country wedding—complete with bride and bridesmaids donning cowboy boots.
Jessica’s focus was to make the event personal, romantic and fun for their 135 guests, with unique touches such as personalized drink stirrers and straws, a photo booth and handwritten invitations. Jessica’s aunt performed the marriage ceremony and the couple decided on the symbolic act of planting a tree together, which will serve as a meaningful reminder of where they come from. “We both took soil from a place that was special to us,” Jessica explains. “Robin took soil from his favorite park in Tacoma where he grew up, and mine came from the shores of the Yuba River where I grew up. We each poured the soil into the potted tree to symbolize the joining of our two lives and families. Now we have a beautiful tree that we get to watch grow over the course of our lifetime!”
“The most memorable moment is when I looked over and realized my dad had stripped off his jacket and tie and only had on his undershirt and was dancing up a storm with all of my friends!” remembers the bride.
A romantic setting of fairy-lit woods, dancing and music capped off a glorious day the happy couple will always remember. Says Jessica: “It was breathtakingly beautiful and we truly felt enveloped in love!”
Jessica & Robin's Wedding Resources
Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ by Nancy Sinatra
A Little Less Conversation by Elvis Presley
Honey Vanilla Cake with Honey Cream Cheese frosting
An assortment of purple, white, pink and green flowers that were in season at the local flower farms. We didn’t have a huge choice in the flowers; they delivered buckets of whatever was in season two nights before the wedding. We ended up with some of the most beautiful and unique flowers, like artichoke flowers. White roses were ordered and delivered by Costco
Muslin bags sewed by the groom’s mother, which were filled with three pieces of Almond Roca (bought locally from their factory in Tacoma, WA where the bride and groom live), tied with yarn and a tag that said “enjoy a sweet treat from Tacoma, WA” which was designed and assembled by the bride. The bag also was stamped with the words “thank you” (stamp bought at Joann’s Fabrics).
It’s important to laugh at the “unplanned” events that may happen during your wedding and embrace them. In some instances it may even add a unique touch to the wedding!
We locked my parent’s dog inside the house during our wedding ceremony but he somehow managed to escape and came trotting down the hill into the garden, right down the center of the stage (while we were saying our vows) and sat himself front and center with the guests. Everyone laughed and it was very sweet, like he was determined not to miss the big event!
We also had some amazing vendors who really made the day special.
Make sure to have a day-of timeline, but be prepared for the timeline to change a bit during the day. Unforeseen problems will arise and certain things will take longer than expected. However, in order to try to stick to our timeline we found it really useful to tell everyone who was giving a speech the exact order they would be speaking and how long each person had. This kept things moving and guests weren’t bored to tears listening to tons of speeches that went on forever. We were also glad that our day-of-coordinator really kept things moving, so people didn’t become uninterested or tired. You need to keep the momentum going if you want people to stay around and dance!
Also, if you are able to start setting up your wedding venue early – DO IT! Since we were getting married on my parent’s property, we drove down a week before the wedding to start the set-up process and thought we would have tons of time. It takes a LOT longer than you think and there will always be mishaps (we had a lot of problems hanging the bistro lights!). We were still madly setting up the day before and morning of the wedding, even though we had been at it the whole week.
I would have taken a few more deep breaths and spent some time taking in everything.