Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Magic of Love and Oak Trees

Photo by Paul Silva
We've all been to weddings over the years, and for the most part they all look, sound and feel the same. Not in a bad way, tradition is wonderful, and we grow up wanting to "have our day".

But our traditions aren't the only traditions, and throughout the world there are many, many lovely and fun ways to proclaim our commitment to one another.

When Brian (oldest son) and Shalise were engaged last year they naturally started gathering ideas for their big day. They knew they wanted to be outdoors, and very quickly decided on Malibu Creek State Park. The date was chosen by the availability of the space and the only open weekend in their time frame was March 6-8. Done.

Once the time and place were set they began researching different traditions and ceremonies, knowing more what they didn't want, than what they did. The result was three days of love, family, friends and fun.

In Germany couples are legally married the day prior to the wedding ceremony - because legal affairs are not allowed inside the church (true separation of church and state, how wonderful!). The couple felt this was a great tradition that was also very pragmatic, and they invited their immediate family to join them on Friday for the "legal part."



Becoming husband and wife

From there they headed to the group campground to begin set up for the weekend's festivities. My youngest, Jeff, flew in from Seattle and after picking him up from the airport that afternoon we all met at the site.

The photos don't truly capture the beauty of this place. Lush green hills with old growth oaks and clear blue skies. Nearly impossible to believe you're still in Los Angeles County!



 

 
Location, location, location
 
Got the Jeep unloaded, did some set-up, and rehearsed the ceremony. The stars were bright and beautiful as we headed home.

Saturday was clear and warm with no wind. And everything else was just as perfect as the weather. All of it. Magical.



Picnic tables for seating under the oaks



Gravel clan coming together

Brian and Shalise spent weeks preparing the material, and their family (four parents and two brothers) "performed" the ceremony. The bride was stunning in sage green as her handsome groom walked up the aisle to meet her. 
 
We each read something they selected, and introduced a tradition from several different cultures. Warming of the rings by everyone in attendance, hand washing, drinking from the love cup, and by far the favorite of the day was sawing a log (good size!) in half with a saw her stepfather made for them. I can't wait to see the video because it was so much fun!!

Loving cup

Saying their vows

Explaining the analogy of cutting a log to the challenges of marriage

 
Everyone brought kebobs for grilling and salads and side dishes to share. The reception line ended at a table of cupcakes - including several vegan selections baked by the bride :-). Prior to the traditional toast they announced the gender of the baby and we all cheered for Baby Boy Smith! Jeff gave a heartfelt and beautiful toast to his brother and his wife (I am a blessed mom), followed by tearful words of love from the mother-of-the-bride, and the "formalities" were complete.


Did I mention how magical it was? Under the old oaks, green valley spread out below, and tall hills surrounding us, it was like being swept away to an enchanted land. As the sun set, the lanterns came out and the music began.

Most everyone was camping there until Sunday afternoon so they were able to build a nice fire and celebrate all night! What a great way to continue the happy. To share the joy of the special event.

We weren't staying (no place for the rig, not feeling the tent thing much anymore), and we had a good drive so we left Jeff with his tent and headed for home.

Is there anything more wonderful than seeing your children happy, in love, and preparing to bring their own child into the world?
 


Cheers to love!

 
 


 

22 comments:

  1. Wow, that is a beautiful setting, and I love her dress. How very charming with the traditions and the log cutting. So you get yet another Boy in the family..hehehe, Well, you did gain a beautiful daughter anyway!

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    1. She was stunning! They are so happy :-) We make good boys so we're pretty exited!

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  2. What a wonderful personal wedding. So unique to them. It's a day neither they nor any of their family will forget. A lovely start to their life together. You sound so proud and happy and so you should be. I fear my daughter is getting to wrapped up in the expensive traditional thing. I hope she doesn't regret it. I'd have preferred something much more like what your family did to celebrate their joy.

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    1. The pressure is so strong to spend a lot of money! They had cupcakes and champagne for the toast. Everything else people brought themselves. With the baby coming people understood they weren't going to break the bank for the wedding :-) It was incredibly personal, and yes, very proud! They're both 32 so I think that makes a difference too :-)))))

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  3. What a grand celebration it was!
    Weddings are all about the bride & groom. It sounds like Brian and Shalise combined their own desires and integrated the entire family-how delightful.
    Congratulations to you, Bill and your whole family!

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    1. It really was!! I'm so proud that they focused on making it their day :-))))) Thanks Rene!

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  4. What an interesting and very creative way to begin their lives together! I love unexpected ceremonies. How proud you and Bill must have been on this beautiful day! Congratulations:) Thanks for sharing your very special day with us.

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    1. Thanks Pam! It really was unique and wonderful. We were/are very proud, and loved being a part of their big day in a real way :-)

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  5. What a beautiful, unique wedding! I have seen a trend on smaller, more personal weddings. The setting couldn't be more beautiful. How lovely they looked. Congrats to everyone!!

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    1. I think some people thought "a campground?????" until they saw it! Thanks Debbie! I was perfect :-))))

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  6. What a beautiful, beautiful wedding--loved her dress! Congratulations to the just married couple, may they have a wonderful life together!

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    1. Thanks Janna! She had the dress modified to her specs and it turned out wonderful.

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  7. How beautiful. Our daughter wanted the outside wedding too. It was set around our backyard pool. That's so much fun. Congratulations on your new daughter-in-law and to both of them too.

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    1. There's something about the fresh air and open skies above that make outdoor weddings special. Thank you Geri, they have a great beginning.

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  8. Love the idea of sawing a log together. Cooperation and equal effort required! May they always work together in joy.

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    1. Thanks Merikay. They sure found that out while sawing!!!

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  9. What a lovely day and new beginnings!

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  10. That truly held magic!!!! Congrats all the way around!!💍

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    1. Thank you Betty! It was an amazing day.

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  11. What a beautiful couple and a beautiful celebration! Every detail was lovely and meaningful. Many congratulations them and to you. :-)

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    1. Thanks so much Laurel :-) They worked so hard and it was just perfect.

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