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Tanya & Brett

Brazilian Room Wedding Photography

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We didn’t have a particular theme to start, but what ended up coming together was something I jokingly called “vintage woodland hodge podge.”

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We met through friends. Both of us had recently moved back to the Bay Area. He won me over by talking about his family’s new golden retriever puppy and eventually we made a date to take his puppy to the beach.

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There is not a dating website algorithm that would have ever put us together. We are very different in almost every imaginable way, but we found each other hilarious enough and cute enough to keep trying to make it work.

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I wanted my bridesmaids (who were my three sisters) to feel comfortable in the dresses they chose. I gave them the color palette and the general look I was going for and they all ended up liking the same dress. Their dresses were also fitted bodices with chiffon skirts. They chose their own shoes, accessories, and hairstyles to fit their preferences.

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Our ceremony took place at the Brazilian Room in Tilden Park in Berkeley.  Brett and I had spent a lot of times with our dogs in Tilden Park, though I had never been to the Brazilian Room specifically. Brett remembered going there when he was younger and suggested it as a location. .

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We didn’t have any decorations for the ceremony since we felt the picturesque backdrop of forest and hills was enough.

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Our ceremony was really personal and perfect and probably the best reflection of the kind of marriage we are trying to build. Our entire wedding was such a group effort.

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I really feel like our whole wedding was about as “Brett & Tanya” as it gets.

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We kicked around some dessert ideas and ended up deciding on ordering a variety of pies from Fat Apples bakery in Berkeley where Brett worked in high school.

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We had a vintage VW bus photobooth (by Das Bus in Oakland) which guests really loved. Brett has always loved old VW buses so it was very fitting and a great find through a family friend.

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Advice for future couples: It’s a party; have fun. Prioritize having a healthy, strong marriage over having a Pinterest-perfect wedding. Institute a “No Wedding Talk” date night once a week. DIY is overrated; your sanity and time is worth more than winning the title of Craftiest Bride or Groom Ever. Skip the traditions that don’t work for you. Say “thank you” to every single staff member and vendor you see on your wedding day

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 Most couples reserve their date in our calendars 12+ months prior to their wedding day.

Caterer: Trumpetvine

Your wedding planner or coordinator: Dreams on a Dime, Jessica Franklin

officiating the ceremony: Emily

hair/ make-up: Sabrina Marie

dresses & tuxedos?

Tanya’s dress is from Sarah Seven,

Brett’s suit is from the Men’s Warehouse,

Bridesmaids’ dresses are from Nicole’s Bridal Shop

Photobooth by: Das Bus

DJ’s : Sutherland Entertainment (Cody)

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We didn’t have a particular theme to start, but what ended up coming together was something I jokingly called “vintage woodland hodge podge.” We wanted minimal decorations since our venue had so much natural beauty. We knew we didn’t want real flowers and we both love succulents so we used that as our starting point when we were figuring out colors. We settled on some washed out greens, pinks, and purples with gold accents. I wanted everything to look very natural and effortless, from our day-of looks to our decor.

I knew I wanted a dress that had a vintage look and feel, but that was almost casual. I didn’t want anything that took three people to put on or that would feel heavy or that looked too traditional. I wanted to look like myself, be able to dance all night, and not go into debt over a dress. Again, it came down to wanting everything to feel natural and effortless. I fell in love with a Sarah Seven dress called Clementine as soon as I put it on. It had a fitted bodice decorated in roughly-cut, gold-lined lace with a chiffon skirt. I also wanted a delicate gold wreath in my hair instead of a veil, so this dress worked perfectly with that look. My shoes were just some cute t-strap heels that I found on sale. My earrings and necklace were a wedding gift from my husband-to-be. At the end of the day I basically wanted to look like the Childlike Empress from the Neverending Story so that worked out alright, I think.

Similarly, I wanted my bridesmaids (who were my three sisters) to feel comfortable in the dresses they chose. I gave them the color palette and the general look I was going for and they all ended up liking the same dress. Their dresses were also fitted bodices with chiffon skirts. They chose their own shoes, accessories, and hairstyles to fit their preferences. Our makeup and hair was done by our cousin.

Brett wanted a classic look. He found a charcoal gray suit that he liked because it had a very subtle pattern of different shades of gray. Because the rest of his outfit was simple, he chose a colorful, patterned tie.

We asked the groomsmen to wear their own dark gray slacks and we provided them with shirts and ties.

The flowers were the first thing I decided on. I knew from the beginning that I wanted Brett’s mother to knit my bouquets. She is a talented knitter and after seeing some flowers she had done as decoration for sweaters or mittens, I knew I wanted a whole bouquet of them. Luckily she agreed to do them even though it was an unbelievably time consuming process. We went through a few books and chose flowers together. My favorite flowers are gerber daisies so we started with that general shape for some of the flowers and then added in some other more unique types to make the bouquets fuller and more interesting. I chose some washed out purples, pinks, and greens to go along with the bridesmaids dresses. She added in offwhite and gold accents to brighten them up. The bouquet was wrapped and sewn onto it were the dog tags Brett used to propose as well as a small blue pendant that was gifted to me from my Nana Barbara as my “something blue.” She also knit and assembled the boutonnieres to match the bouquets.

Our ceremony took place at the Brazilian Room in Tilden Park in Berkeley. Brett was born and raised in Albany and both of us lived in Oakland before we moved to Seattle last year. Having our wedding in the Bay Area and specifically in the East Bay was important to us. Brett and I had spent a lot of times with our dogs in Tilden Park, though I had never been to the Brazilian Room specifically. Brett remembered going there when he was younger and suggested it as a location. As soon as we saw it we knew that was the place we wanted to get married. We wanted an outdoor ceremony and loved that the reception could be inside but still very much surrounded by nature.

We didn’t have any decorations for the ceremony since we felt the picturesque backdrop of forest and hills was enough.

Our ceremony was perfect. We asked Brett’s sister, Emily, to officiate and she did an amazing job of making our ceremony really personal. We have already been together for 8 years so it was important to us that our ceremony reflected the reality of being in a long term relationship and didn’t brush over the ugly, weird, difficult parts of building a life together. We chose two readings that we felt really spoke to this, one from one of my favorite authors and the other from a children’s book that we love. We each chose a close friend to do a reading. We wrote our own vows. All of this combined made for a ceremony that I felt really, truly represented our relationship.

The wedding party and Brett walked down the aisle to Vitamin String Quartet’s cover of Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love.” I walked down the aisle to Vitamin String Quartet’s cover of the Princess Bride theme, “Storybook Love.” The Princess Bride is my favorite rainy day movie and I have forced Brett to sit through multiple viewings in our 8 years together so it seemed fitting.

Our ceremony took place at the Brazilian Room in Tilden Park in Berkeley. Brett was born and raised in Albany and both of us lived in Oakland before we moved to Seattle last year. Having our wedding in the Bay Area and specifically in the East Bay was important to us. Brett and I had spent a lot of times with our dogs in Tilden Park, though I had never been to the Brazilian Room specifically. Brett remembered going there when he was younger and suggested it as a location. As soon as we saw it we knew that was the place we wanted to get married. We wanted an outdoor ceremony and loved that the reception could be inside but still very much surrounded by nature.

We didn’t have any decorations for the ceremony since we felt the picturesque backdrop of forest and hills was enough.

Our ceremony was perfect. We asked Brett’s sister, Emily, to officiate and she did an amazing job of making our ceremony really personal. We have already been together for 8 years so it was important to us that our ceremony reflected the reality of being in a long term relationship and didn’t brush over the ugly, weird, difficult parts of building a life together. We chose two readings that we felt really spoke to this, one from one of my favorite authors and the other from a children’s book that we love. We each chose a close friend to do a reading. We wrote our own vows. All of this combined made for a ceremony that I felt really, truly represented our relationship.

The wedding party and Brett walked down the aisle to Vitamin String Quartet’s cover of Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love.” I walked down the aisle to Vitamin String Quartet’s cover of the Princess Bride theme, “Storybook Love.” The Princess Bride is my favorite rainy day movie and I have forced Brett to sit through multiple viewings in our 8 years together so it seemed fitting.

Our reception was at the Brazilian Room as well. We kept all of the decorations minimal, since the Brazilian Room is beautiful on its own and has huge windows on every side.

For our centerpieces, we spent a few months collecting tin cans and buying different sized glass jars from thrift stores. We filled the cans with baby’s breath. I found some photos of some succulent terrariums online and Brett’s mom and sister used succulents from their own gardens to make them.

We kicked around some dessert ideas and ended up deciding on ordering a variety of pies from Fat Apples bakery in Berkeley where Brett worked in high school.

Our food, provided by Trumpetvine, was great. Because Brett is white and I’m Pakistani-American, we really wanted food that was the best of both worlds. Trumpetvine delivered and then some.

We had a vintage VW bus photobooth (by Das Bus in Oakland) which guests really loved. Brett has always loved old VW buses so it was very fitting and a great find through a family friend.

I created a coloring book for our wedding. It had drawings of Brett and I, our dogs, and wedding-related activity pages. It was meant for the kids who attended the wedding, though I think the adults also enjoyed coloring during cocktail hour.

We created a memorial table for the members in our family who we wish could have been with us on our big day. I think it was a good way to include the people who were really important to us in our wedding.

My super crafty friend, Pamela, created the banners for our chairs and our dessert table.

Brett’s dad built our lawn games that people played during cocktail hour.

These are not elements of the wedding that we had anything to do with, but they definitely deserve to be talked about:

Brett’s best man, Dan, made an amazing National Geographic style video in place of his speech. It was all about Brett’s search for a mate and Dan narrated it in the style of an anthropologist as photos of Brett growing up played on the screen. It must have taken forever and it was unbelievable.

My sisters organized a full-wedding flashmob for us to the song Best Song Ever by One Direction. My sisters and two of my cousins wore masks and serenaded us, which was hilarious and great on its own, but then almost every single guest was up on the dance floor doing a coordinated dance. They all had to have learned and practiced it in their own homes and come prepared to do it at the wedding. I cried. A lot. It made me realize how truly loved Brett and I are and how incredibly lucky we are to be surrounded by so many fun, silly, amazing people.

We met through friends. Both of us had recently moved back to the Bay Area. He won me over by talking about his family’s new golden retriever puppy and eventually we made a date to take his puppy to the beach.

There is not a dating website algorithm that would have ever put us together. We are very different in almost every imaginable way, but we found each other hilarious enough and cute enough to keep trying to make it work. Eventually we adopted our first dog, Dexter. Then we moved in together; first in San Jose, then in Oakland. Then we adopted our second dog, Lulu. 6 years after our first date, Brett proposed in our home in Oakland by buying dog tags for our dogs that said “Will you marry me?” It was perfect and private and very “us” and I loved that our dogs were involved.

Brett proposed with a gorgeous vintage ring from the 1930s. I am not a jewelry person at all, but I love my engagement ring so much that I almost didn’t want a band at all. Eventually I settled on a very delicate, rose gold, hammered ring from Greenlake Jewelers in Seattle. Brett’s band is a simple hammered white gold band.

I really feel like our whole wedding was about as “Brett & Tanya” as it gets. We both started out pretty indifferent about the whole wedding planning process in general. We almost went to city hall instead of having a big party, but in the end we really wanted the opportunity to celebrate our relationship with our friends and families who have had such a huge impact on us as individuals and us as a couple. Our original indifference towards a wedding ended up being a huge positive throughout this process. At the end of the day, we just really wanted to have fun and be married. Even having as laid back of a wedding as we thought we were having required so much decision making (AND MONEY!). It was good to regularly remind ourselves that at the end of the day this was just a fun party. It didn’t need to be perfect.

Our ceremony was really personal and perfect and probably the best reflection of the kind of marriage we are trying to build. Our entire wedding was such a group effort: from the ceremony to the crafts to the surprises. I think it says a lot about us as a couple that we have so many people around us who wanted to help make this day so special for us.

Advice for future couples: It’s a party; have fun. Prioritize having a healthy, strong marriage over having a Pinterest-perfect wedding. Institute a “No Wedding Talk” date night once a week. DIY is overrated; your sanity and time is worth more than winning the title of Craftiest Bride or Groom Ever. Skip the traditions that don’t work for you. Say “thank you” to every single staff member and vendor you see on your wedding day.

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