Monica and Kevin have known each other since high school, so it’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment they met. “If I had known at the time he would one day become my husband I may have paid more attention,” she says. “When you’re 15 years old, you don’t think about things like future husbands or weddings, or at least I didn’t.”
Fast forward through other relationships, lost contact and a number of years in between. Kevin was ready to get serious about his next relationship. “I wanted someone who was smart, loyal and had a good sense of humor—someone I could build a life with. The first person that popped into my head was Monica,” he says.
Kevin took the risk and sent Monica a text, hoping she still had the same number she had when they were teenagers. She replied, “Kevin who?” but remembered him right away. The friendship was rekindled immediately. However, Kevin would have to wait, as Monica was in another relationship.
Kevin was there for her as that relationship ended. But he knew he couldn’t wait to tell her how he really felt. After taking about 48 hours to perfect his message, he asked her that when she was ready to date again that maybe she could consider him.
She was flattered but feared losing their friendship. After some time, she realized how special he is. “Several of my girlfriends told me I was crazy for not considering Kevin as boyfriend material. I reached out and asked him when he was going to finally take me out on a date, as if I wasn’t the one who kept him waiting,” she says. “I jumped on the opportunity right away and told her I’d see her that weekend,” remembers Kevin.
It didn’t take long for both to know this was it. After two years of dating, Kevin proposed during a surprise getaway to Safari West in Santa Rosa. “Looking back, it was nice to keep it a secret just for a couple days while we enjoyed each other’s company and took in all the sights Safari West had to offer,” she says. “As soon as we left and had cell phone reception, I began my phone calls and video chats with my close friends and my mom to tell them the great news.”
Thinking of her love of Halloween and autumn, they planned for a fall wedding. They had their date, they had the venue, and they were ready to make it a fun night for their friends and families.
One thing they did not anticipate was the nearby wildfires. “If there was a fire going on, it was in a place our loved ones and families lived. Even though this was such a tragedy and several family members in Santa Rosa lost their homes, they still managed to make it to our wedding.” she says. “It is times like these you can see who your true friends are and what people are willing to do for the ones they love. I will always be grateful to them for showing up on my special day and making my wedding so wonderful.”
First Dance Song
“Who I Am with You” by Chris Young
Cake Cutting Song
“How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” by Marvin Gaye
Last Dance Song
“I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness
Details about the cake
For our cutting cake we chose lemon cake and vanilla buttercream frosting. Kevin and I both love anything lemon so it was easy to choose the lemon cake.
Kevin is not a big fan of cake and I wanted him to feel included in the wedding plans so we decided to have an assortment of pies as our wedding dessert.
The pies were provided by Historic Hotel Woodland’s catering company Cracchiolo’s Market Deli; we had pumpkin, chocolate, lemon, pecan and apple pie along with vanilla ice cream and whip cream. It was a huge hit with our guests. Everyone was able to take small slivers of each kind if they chose to, they also provided coffee and tea to pair with the pie and cake.
Details about the flowers
I wanted to make sure I chose flowers that would fare well in any kind of weather conditions. I shopped florists in the area and they were out of my budget so I decided to become my own florist!
I purchased a variety of roses, carnations, chrysanthemums, and baby’s breath from Costco in shades of white and cream. I also chose a 150-stem assorted green fillers package to tie in the pops of forest green in our wedding decor.
I purchased small and large clear vases from the Dollar Tree and purchased skull shaped planter pots from eBay and spray painted them to match the gold accents in my wedding colors. They turned out so great and I’m so happy I took on the huge responsibility of my own wedding flowers!
It was a nice experience to put them together in the wee hours of the morning on the day of the wedding with my mother and our groomsmen Steven and his wife Ashley. I saved thousands of dollars by arranging the flowers myself, and I had complete control of making the vision in my head come to life.
Details about the favors
Our favors were a serve yourself candy buffet; the glassware and utensils and set-up were provided by Historic Hotel Woodland. The signs were designed by myself; bags and stickers purchased at Paper Mart; and candy was purchased from Candy Warehouse.
Anything else you’d like to share about your wedding?
I got really lucky with all my vendor choices. Nikki was so accommodating and creative with my engagement and wedding pictures. She made it so natural and easy, especially with someone like Kevin who hates having his picture taken.
Deb was a dream to work with at the venue, she made the whole package so inclusive it really took a lot of stress out of the wedding planning. You can tell she really loves what she does and it shows in her work and the way she interacts with the couple and guests.
Our DJ Rob was hilarious and really helped keep the fun going at the wedding. He suggested the shoe game which was nothing but nonstop laughs during dinner. He facilitated the announcements, the ceremony, and everything music related for the reception. He provided the up lighting for the venue and really helped add to my vision for the atmosphere and vibe of the wedding.
Any tips you’d give brides and grooms planning their wedding today?
Monica – Make the day your own. Don’t be afraid to have a theme or details that are outside of the norm of what a wedding is supposed to look like, and try not to let outside opinions influence what your day will look like. You only get to have your wedding once and you want it to be a day you can look back on with joy, pride and love.
Make sure you work together as a team and communicate, communicate, communicate! This is key to having a successful wedding and marriage.
When the day arrives just be calm and present and try to go with the flow. I know a lot of brides say the day goes by so fast but it really does! Savor those small moments together and try to hold onto every memory because you will blink and it will be over. All those things that you thought mattered in the long run will come together and the day will happen exactly the way it is meant to.
Kevin – I would say try not to be discouraged by what other people want because it’s not about them. Don’t rush into a wedding just to have a wedding, spend some time together first and make sure you are meant for each other before taking the big leap. It’s not just about the wedding but also about the marriage.
What would you have done differently if you had the chance?
If I could control the weather I would have put out all the fires going on around us to take some stress off my family members and wedding guests. The only thing I would have done differently is hired fire dancers for a sort of intermission to the wedding. I thought of this last minute and it was too much work and not really in my budget so I let it go. I really enjoyed our wedding and the way it turned out so this would really only have been an extra fun bonus.
Historic Hotel Woodland Officiant:
Michael Carpenter, Groom's father Ceremony Music:
DJ Rob Goldberg of East Bay Digital Sound Photographer:
Nikki Hancock Photography Videographer:
DIY with Wedflik Reception Site:
Historic Hotel Woodland Bridal Hair:
DIY Bridal Make-up:
DIY Bridal Attire:
Wine Country Bride Boutique Bridesmaids' Attire:
Renz Rags (Maid of Honor) Bridesmaids' Attire:
Ever Pretty (Bridesmaids) Flowergirl Attire:
Ever Pretty Groom’s Attire:
Men's Wearhouse Groomsmen's Attire:
Men's Wearhouse Ringbearer Attire:
Amazon Bride's Rings Jeweler:
Shane Co. Groom's Rings Jeweler:
Fred Meyer Jewelers Save the Date Cards:
Wedding Paper Divas Invitations:
Watermelon Paperie Thank You Cards:
Costco Wedding Party Flowers:
DIY Ceremony Flowers:
DIY Reception Flowers:
Cracchiolo's Market, Deli & Catering Bar Service:
Cracchiolo's Market, Deli & Catering Cake:
Timothy's Bakery Desserts:
Cracchiolo's Market, Deli & Catering DJ/Entertainment:
East Bay Digital Sound Lighting:
East Bay Digital Sound Favors:
Candy Warehouse Favors:
Papermart Photo Booth:
Always Cheezin' Photo Booth Co. Decor Rentals:
DIY by Bride and Groom
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