Prev Next

Laura & Paco


*Laura, PhD student in Public Policy & Francisco, Research Economist*

Laura & Paco | A Practical WeddingWhen we did a call for submissions earlier this week, we asked for each of you who got married this year to consider writing a wedding graduate post. And for me, Laura’s post explains why. This telling of our wedding stories, sharing what we learned with each other, this passing of the baton? For me, that’s the core of what APW is about. And the baton Laura is passing is a damn good one. Let’s dive in.

Laura & Paco | A Practical Wedding

My husband is from Mexico and I am from California, so when we got engaged it seemed that we would have a plethora of amazingly gorgeous places to have our wedding, right? Uh, well not exactly. When it came to thinking about where would actually be affordable, practical, and right for us, we ended up deciding on my hometown in the Sacramento Valley—not exactly an amazing beach town or Napa Valley wedding hotspot, if you know what I mean. However, when we considered the prices and logistics of wedding sites by the water or among vineyards, suddenly a hometown wedding seemed just perfect. (With one exception: There is a significant probability in my hometown that any day in July—when we wanted to get married—will be a scorcher…. Thus, I started regularly checking online averages and recent July weather temperatures in the area.)

Laura & Paco | A Practical Wedding

My husband and I are planners (see weather researching above) and generally people who like to have things organized and in order. However, despite our best intentions, it turns out that planning a wedding requires much more flexibility and ability to “go with the flow” than I had ever anticipated.

Laura & Paco | A Practical Wedding

From the minute we got engaged, I was surprised that other people’s emotions were involved in our wedding. This was our decision, our wedding, our marriage, so why were others emotionally invested in our wedding or our decision to get married? However, what I experienced during the wedding dramatically changed my perspective on the involvement of others. Our wedding was a truly community event, and I came to understand how support from family and friends makes “going with the flow” possible.

Laura & Paco | A Practical Wedding

Yes, this was our marriage. Yes, it was our decision. But our friends and family were there to support us, both in planning and on the day of the wedding. When I think back on our wedding, I think of all the little actions of love and assistance our friends and family made to help us throughout the process. These are the memorable things that will stay with me forever. These are the moments that made me realize on my wedding day that, yes, the day was about the new life my partner and I are going to create together, but it will be a life that includes the support and encouragement of those who mean the most to us.

Laura & Paco | A Practical Wedding

So what were those things that I remember?

Laura & Paco | A Practical Wedding

I remember my grandma and Uncle Danny going to the florist to buy some orchids for my hair, even though this required buying the whole plant. I remember my good friend Leah going to a copy center to make copies of all of the programs the day before the wedding, even though it was something I had planned to do that day. I remember my friend Magie doing my makeup and feeling that I was being taken care of by familiar and knowledgeable hands. Sandra hanging out with me at the salon as I had my hair done as we caught up about life and love. I remember Sarah loaning me her earrings and making sure my dress was properly steamed (using the steamer that Aunt Alana brought up from Los Angeles). I remember the fact that the preparations for the wedding were such fun because my awesome friend Marita is a fabulous wedding photographer, and I was able to feel at home with my best friends in the world.

Laura & Paco | A Practical Wedding

What else do I remember?

Laura & Paco | A Practical Wedding

I remember my dad, who was so proud and nervous, walking me down the aisle. I remember my brother acting as our DJ (and website designer) creating the atmosphere that made us be in the moment during the ceremony and party down at the reception. I remember my mom’s husband, Richard, officiating in Spanish and English at our bilingual ceremony (and giving us tips in the weeks before the wedding on creating a meaningful celebration).

Laura & Paco | A Practical Wedding

I remember my mom, who did so much, telling me on the brief walk across the lawn to the reception, that the wind had knocked over all of the flower centerpieces on all of the tables (which she had designed and put together with the help of grandma), but that she and the caterers had everything back in place (with new tablecloths!) before I arrived to the wedding site. As my mom told me the story, I was amazed that she and everyone else had taken care of these little details so that Paco and I could have a wonderful day.

Laura & Paco | A Practical Wedding

Before the wedding, I was nervous about the potential for heat on the day of the wedding. Getting married away from the coast in California in the summer means you are taking risks with potentially sizzling weather. We were lucky to have a beautiful, sunny, and mild day that provided a basking sunshine on our late afternoon wedding. However, even more than the sun, Paco and I were surrounded by the warmth of those who care about us. We were surrounded by those who showed their support for our new union through so many different ways. These are the details that mattered at our wedding.

Laura & Paco | A Practical Wedding

Despite our tendencies to carefully plan, through the process of planning and having a wedding, I learned that you must let go. However, I also learned that when we let go, there will be a supportive network of friends and family to help us through to the next step. Thus, the wedding was a wonderful and joyous symbol for what’s to come. Though we can’t control what will happen in our future, and though I know there will be ups and downs, after the wedding I feel more confident than ever that Paco and I are surrounded by a community that will get us through the rough parts and will help us to become our best selves. While we have selected each other as our partners in this journey called life, what a blessing to know that we are surrounded by such love and support.

Laura & Paco | A Practical Wedding

I understand now why others were emotionally invested in our wedding and our marriage… and I am so thankful.

Laura & Paco | A Practical Wedding

The Info—Photography: Marita Madeloni / Venue: Putah Creek Lodge

More in Latest in

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • Faith

    I don’t think it’s possible for me to resonate more with this post. It is exactly how my husband feel about our wedding and the community involvement that we were not expecting and turned out to LOVE about it. It definitely served to open our worlds up and take notice that people love us and want to bless us. And it is not just about the two of us at all.

  • http://theroadto92912.blogspot.com Molly

    I hope this is how I feel on my wedding day. I’m 9 days out, and I just can’t wait to be done. I’m sick of the planning and the arguing with parents over stupid stuff. I wanted a wedding because I love weddings, but like Laura said, I never knew that people would be so invested and have so many opinions about our wedding. Please tell me I’m not the only one who had these feelings and that everything is going to be great?

    • Catherine B

      I’m too far out to tell you that, and in the middle of my own storm, but HUGS! You’ll make it !

    • Faith

      You’re not the only one! Remember they love you! And something magic happens that rehearsal day/night and into the wedding day. You are in love, surrounded, people that love you are there to keep all the things going wrong away from you, making your day wonderful. Just get through the next days with grace, love, and the understanding that at the end of all this, you will be married to the love of your life!

  • Alyssa

    You did an excellent job capturing the warmth of your community. Reframing what can be perceived as nominees nosiness and outshines pushiness as helping to ensue you have a beautiful wedding is really important (annoying as it may be sometimes).

    Also, hooray for Davis!

    • Laura

      double yay for davis!

  • Susanna

    “…and I was able to feel at home with my best friends in the world.” You just summed up exactly how I believe everybody should feel on their wedding day. That feeling is just the best.
    Also, (squeeee!) I think I saw your wedding from a distance as it was happening, as I was walking through the arboretum!!! I live in Davis- go Aggies! My husband and I have an engagement picture almost identical to the one of you in the arb, except, you know, with us instead of your beautiful selves.
    May the two of you know every happiness.

    • Laura

      Thanks so much—Amazing that you might have been by there that day! Seems there are a lot of Davis readers:)

  • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

    “Despite our tendencies to carefully plan, through the process of planning and having a wedding, I learned that you must let go. However, I also learned that when we let go, there will be a supportive network of friends and family to help us through to the next step. Thus, the wedding was a wonderful and joyous symbol for what’s to come.”

    I love this part, and it is very much how I felt too.

  • http://bettencourtchase.blogspot.com Helen

    “Though we can’t control what will happen in our future, and though I know there will be ups and downs, after the wedding I feel more confident than ever that Paco and I are surrounded by a community that will get us through the rough parts and will help us to become our best selves. While we have selected each other as our partners in this journey called life, what a blessing to know that we are surrounded by such love and support.”

    I love that! I have similar memories to the ones you describe about the incredible outpouring of love and support on OUR wedding day, and they are so precious to me. Congratulations!!

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    I love your list of remembers from your wedding. It’s those types of memories that I cherish in my heart from our wedding. From the pictures, you have a lot of beautiful remembers.

  • Laura

    Yay and congratulations from another Laura! Great post. I appreciate how you started off describing your surprise and mild displeasure at everyone’s emotional investment in your wedding, and then explained how/why your perspective changed.

    Also – hello UC Davis Arboretum!! I knew I recognized those toppled signposts (Fig 5) :-)

  • DanEllie

    This, this, this!!!
    “But our friends and family were there to support us, both in planning and on the day of the wedding. When I think back on our wedding, I think of all the little actions of love and assistance our friends and family made to help us throughout the process. These are the memorable things that will stay with me forever. These are the moments that made me realize on my wedding day that, yes, the day was about the new life my partner and I are going to create together, but it will be a life that includes the support and encouragement of those who mean the most to us.”

    You said this so much more eloquently than I have tried to articulate it. My husband and I just got married in May, and we still feel bouyed by that community support.

  • ElisabethJoanne

    We’re a little under two months out, and other people are just beginning to display their own emotional investment in the wedding. Mostly, it feels, they’re doing this by giving me more things to do, more things to buy (even if they’re paying). It’s been really hard to be grateful. This helps. Thank you.

  • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.ca/ Sheryl

    Those community details that added to your wedding experience are amazing. And oh that pictures of the little girl spinning in her dress is darling!

  • brendalynn

    Awww, the UC Davis Arboretum, I love that place! We came |thisclose| to getting married there. Beautiful pics!

  • http://www.perfectring.ie Rings

    Love this wedding, so pretty and the bride looks so happy.