Laura & Kate’s Science-Meets-Literary Nerd Chic Wedding

* Laura & Kate * Photographer: Nataliya Vakulenko * Soundtrack for reading: “All Your Life” by The Band Perry *

One sentence sum up of the wedding vibe: Gambling the circle around the zero. With cupcakes.

The Info—Photographer: Nataliya Vakulenko / Venue: Cabrillo Beach Bathhouse / Food: Lucille’s BBQDay Of Coordinator: Cindy Pham / Officiant: Our dear friend, Debra Kazden / DJ: Ryan Girgis “DJ Tempoe” / Accordionist: Richard NoelLaura’s Dress: Baklava Beauty Dress from ModCloth, altered by Laura’s friend Freya / Kate’s Dress: Sand by Me dress from ModCloth / Jewelry: Laura’s Aunt Michele / Cupcakes: Buttercake Bakery / Hair & Makeup: Dawn DeKruyf / Marriage Contract: Lilah Koopman-Glass

Other cool stuff we should know about: We’d had absolutely no intention of having live music at our wedding, until one lazy evening surfing YouTube we stumbled upon this channel by Richard Noel, a retired psychology professor who now played the accordion. We watched the video of his playing Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World” and that was it. I think Kate and I pretty much just looked at each other and said, “We need him at our wedding!” We found his email address and asked if he’d be willing to drive down from Bakersfield, a city about two hours north of Los Angeles, to grace our wedding day with his talent, and he was game. He even offered to wear his beret. We ended up walking down the aisle together to Richard’s playing “What A Wonderful World.” He was, by far, the best screw-the-budget decision we made.

Our wedding prologue, read by our officiant’s son, was the opening words to Richard Dawkins’s book Unweaving the Rainbow. I’ve always loved this passage, but while I’d known of its being read at funerals, I’d never heard of it being used in a wedding. Still, it had special meaning to us, as Kate has cystic fibrosis. More often than most couples, we find ourselves needing to focus on the precious time we do have together, since the future holds so many scary possibilities. We couldn’t help but joke, however, for weeks before the the wedding, about the fact that the first words spoken at our ceremony would be, “We are going to die.”

Kate’s a geek for play and a real-life space physicist for work, and I’m a huge bookworm. We chose to represent both of our personalities in the table centerpieces, which were hollowed out old books filled with paper flowers, encircled by paper robots. Both the robots and the paper flowers took many, many hours to assemble, and some of my favorite pre-wedding memories involve sitting around with friends and family, passing glue guns and talking smack (or, in the case of one family centerpiece-making session, singing My Fair Lady songs, and talking smack).

For escort cards we bought packs of those manilla library pockets and loan cards and asked all of our guests to write us a message on their card. After returning from our honeymoon, we had a blast going through the basket of them, (alongside my mom, who had been cat-sitting at our apartment), reading what everyone had written (or drawn, in the case of some young nieces and nephews)! We have some of the most thoughtful, hilarious friends and family (and, apparently, some super drunk ones).

Towards the end of the reception, Kate gave an epic performance of “Ice, Ice Baby.” ‘Nuff said.

Favorite thing about the wedding: One of my favorite moments was at the end of the day, stumbling out in our sore wedding feet to the end of a nearby rock jetty to pose for what would be one of our coolest wedding photos. Before the wedding I had had some apprehension about holding our same-sex wedding in such a crowded public place, fearing potentially unkind comments from an onlooker or two. But on our path down the jetty, we were greeted by several friendly strangers sitting along the rocks asking us if we had just married and wishing us congratulations. It gave us warm fuzzies.

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  • MM

    Periodic Table of cupcakes! That is all.

    • Kate

      Thanks! We chose to cut the Helium cupcake because it has two protons and it is a very stable element. :D It was delicious!!!

      • Carolyn

        Oh hell yes.

      • MM

        Love it!

    • Granola

      My first coherent reaction was OMG PERIODIC TABLE OF CUPCAKES!


    • Bubbles

      Pure genius! I flipping love it.

  • anonymous

    Wow, you guys, I love this. So beautiful. And I needed this this morning, I am planning a same sex wedding and dealing with a lot of anxiety about different issues lately. This has so much joy and reminds me that celebrating your love and being happy should always be number one.

    • Laura

      Sending good vibes for your upcoming wedding!

  • kyley

    The joy in these pictures so evident, it’s almost palpable! Congratulations!!

  • Moe

    Nerd love in my neighborhood!! I love Cabrillo Beach! Congratulations!!

  • Another Meg

    Just beautiful. The whole thing.


  • carrie

    I have so many warm fuzzies!!

    Much needed on this Monday. So many congrats to you two beauties.

  • Kate

    Oh man, I love everything about this wedding! You two look beautiful, the centerpieces are cracking me up, love the cupcakes, and you read Richard Dawkins in your ceremony!! Incredible.

  • Your wedding was beautiful! My husband has CF, and it always warms my heart to see other couples being happy no matter what scary possibilities the future may hold. Congrats!

  • I love so much about this (and as half of a couple that also used library cards and books, I have to send some love to my fellow nerds). Congratulations!

  • kelly

    Beautiful! Such joy, now I’m bawling like a baby!

  • There’s so much I love about this wedding. But especially that Rumi poem. I’ve never read “The Circle Around the Zero,” and it is simply amazing. Thank you for that :)

  • I love everything about this post. Also nerd love. Can’t beat it.

  • I love this so much. and THOSE DRESSES!! want.

  • There is so much joy and love in these photos! Your dresses are gorgeous. The picture of a bride (Kate? I’m guessing, based on the later microphone pic and earlier Vanilla Ice reference ;)) holding a baby, laughing, is just fabulous. Congratulations to you both!

  • You girls stole my theme! Well that was rude ;)

    Genius. Beautiful! Congratulations! And I will steal all of your ideas now (book page roses FTW). I wish you all of the joy in the world. Cheers for the arts and sciences making it into our celebrations!

    • Laura

      Steal away! Our ideas were, for the most part, lovingly collected from around the internet. All I can say is, if you decide to go for the paper flowers, get twice as many people as you think you need to help out, and allow at least twice as much time as you think you need to make them. Trust me ;)

      • Kate

        And get a box cutter for hollowing out the books. Do not use an exactoknife. You will hate yourself if you try.

  • Alexandra

    I’m just in love with your dresses. They’re both just stunning. And everything just looks so gorgeous and sunny and lovely.

  • What a lovely day — congrats to you both! The accordion? Awesome.

    I squealed a little (on the inside . . . I am at the office. Sshh!) when I saw science-meets-literary nerd, because that’s exactly the day my fiance and I are planning. I’m a writer, he’s a scientist — and together? We’re something that may not appear to work together on paper, but totally does. Nerds unite! (And in marriage!)

  • Your dressesssssss. I want. I need!

    Also, I need that little red haired girl in my life. She looks awesome! Will she be my friend?

    Congrats!! Y’all look so lovely and happy!

    • LAURA

      Red headed girl is very friendly indeed, but you might have some trouble keeping up with her! ;)

  • Pam/Mom

    These pictures and comments are a wonderful reminder of how perfect and beautiful the day was! This was not only the most beautiful wedding (of course as the mom I might be a bit prejudiced), but the most fun I’ve had at a wedding.

    • Laura

      Love you, mom.

  • Adorable. Start to finish. This looks like such a joyful celebration. And your hair flowers are lovely.

  • Army Amy*

    Mazel Tov! The wedding looks beautiful! And as a sister to someone who recently lost his battle with CF, I wanted to wish Kate especially (but both of you really) good health and many happy years together!

    • Laura

      I am so very sorry for your loss.

      I don’t know why I wasn’t more specific in the write-up, but Kate received a double lung transplant, so now our worries (well, largely mine– she’s far more zen than I am) are more about organ rejection, with the CF symptoms hanging out in the background. Good news is she will be 10 years out in May!

  • This was very beautiful. Intelligence just drips off the page. Thank you.

  • A Beautiful beach setting. And the dancing looks like such fun too :)

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