our wedding: the ceremony

September 13, 2011


Some of you might remember that when Matthew and I got engaged we wanted to get married this fall. When we found out that our church was undergoing a huge reconstruction in June we had to move things around to get married in May. Honestly, I am so happy that we got married on May 6th, even though the planned construction still hasn’t happened. Our wedding day was absolutely perfect, especially weather-wise. It couldn’t have been a prettier day. We had a small ceremony with our immediate family at the church and then did another one later in the afternoon at our venue. It was nice to have the church ceremony more intimate and traditional and then have a fun, modern ceremony later on. We had the best of both worlds! And I think if I was currently planning a wedding for October I might be a little crazy! 8 months was just enough time.
Matthew gave me a surprise dip when the priest said, “You may now kiss the bride!”


Matthew’s nieces and nephews were our little flower girls and ring bearers. My friend Eden and I made the floral headbands for the flower girls {she also did my beautiful flowers}. We made them the week before the wedding, while we watched The Royal Wedding. It will always be one of my favorite wedding planning days full of last minute crafts, chips and salsa, smoothies and tears for the royals!
My godparents each read a passage that was important to me in some way. My godmother Susie read William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116. She and my Dad met at Berkeley when they were in a Shakespeare survey course together. They become great friends and she has always been an important part of our family’s life, especially as my godmother. It’s interesting to think about how the circle of life continues since years later I too was at Berkeley taking Shakespeare classes as an English major! My godfather Charlie read Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese XLIII. It’s a beautiful passage about love and I’m also Portuguese so I loved it even more 🙂 It meant so much to have these two very important people read these passages. They’ve made such an impact on my life and having them be a part of our day meant so much.

We chose more traditional music for the church but at the venue our song choices were more modern and personal to us:

Family Procession: In My Life The Beatles
Bridal Party Procession: You Are The Sunshine of My Life Stevie Wonder
Bride’s Procession: You Are The Best Thing Ray LaMontagne
Recessional: This Will Be An Everlasting Love Natalie Cole


I loved ending on that Natalie Cole song. It’s been one of my favorites since I was little because it’s so fun and uplifting. I felt like it was the perfect song to say “Woohoo! We’re married. Now let’s eat cake and dance the night away!”
Tomorrow: the reception!
  • A fall wedding is nice, but I think May weddings are just so special and beautiful! You were lucky to get such beautiful weather on your big day! Fingers crossed it doesn't rain on my big day!


  • What a perfect little ceremony!!! So pretty! And that kissing dip…adorable! Love your song choices too!

  • That last picture is seriously storybook perfect.

  • In My Life is my most favorite song in the entire world!

    Such a beautiful ceremony. I can tell you are all so loved by all you know.

  • I love it all! Where did you find the suits? We are looking for something exactly like that for our big day but are seriously struggling!!

  • Wow, it looks like a wedding straight out of a fairy tale! Everything is just perfect in every way! I hope some day (even if it feels so far away now) I'll have a beautiful wedding too!

    Lidi @ Eclectic Flair

  • i love love love the "wedding" sign.
    such a beautiful ceremony!!!

  • Wow, wow, wow! I love the little ring bearer's outfit..so cute!

    And I LOVE that Matthew gave you a dip. I secretly wanted my hubs to do that too but wanted it to be natural so I didn't say anything. Oh well! It makes for such a CUTE wedding photo!

  • So nice, you look amazing, so romantic. Beautifull wedding.

  • Such beautiful pics. I would love to have an outdoor wedding ceremony if I didn't live in cold, windy, rainy Ireland! I love the Elizabeth Barrett Browning sonnet and might steal it for my own wedding next year 🙂


  • oooh, how beautiful! you won't believe how anxiously I've been waiting to read all about the wedding 🙂 You looked absolutely stunning in that amazing dress! x

  • Mar!!! You looked absolutely gorgeous of course 🙂 I am so happy to finally see all these wonderful things from your wedding! Eeek Can't wait for more!! xoxo

  • Seriously, you are so beautiful!! Having two ceremonies is a genius idea…I want to get married in a church someday, but the timing always seemed complicated if you don't want a first look and don't want everyone to have to worry about driving around if your church and venue are far away from each other. And I cannot imagine a better closing song than the Natalie Cole song you chose! Ever since The Parent Trap, a wedding doesn't seem complete without it! 😛
    Loving these wedding recaps, Mara!
    Lisa xoxo

  • These are absolutely stunning. I love weddings and love good wedding photos.
    I am loving your wedding week!

  • Falling more and more in love with your dress! And the ring bearer's outfit was adorable!! And I love the Ray Lamontagne song. 🙂 What a beautiful wedding!

  • This is one of the most beautiful weddings ever.

  • Awww Mara!
    i can't get enough
    of your wedding pictures!

    they keep gettting better
    and better with each post!

    last picture is adorable!
    is like you just took it from
    a fairy tale book <3

    love it .. you look gorgeous!


  • Cyn

    Beautiful pics! You look gorgeous and happy, Thanks for sharing.

  • GORGEOUS! That last photo is perfection!
    and YES! I love all those songs! Especially All My Life 🙂

  • Mara, this looks PERFECT. I love the back of your dress and your bridal party's outfits. So beautiful. It looks like such a lovely day and I love the songs that you chose!
    xo Josie

  • Love this!! That was a very memorable wedding planning day… especially when I spilled salsa on our wooden signs!! 🙂 I miss these days!! Love you Mar!

  • Absolutely gorgeous and romantic!

  • Gorgeous! You look so ethereal and lovely. Your dress and hair are so perfect! I love Sonnet 116… my fave. 🙂

  • Gorgeous pictures!


  • Your venue looks beautiful, and your dress is so stunning! Happy for you that you had nice wether. What a romantic dip 🙂

  • You look positively stunning, Mara. I almost want to cry just looking at the photos, I can't imagine what the poor congregation must have been like on the day! There must have been a whole lot of weeping going on!

  • gia

    I have never dreamed of a wedding or a dress, but that is seriously the first dress I've ever seen that has been something I respond to. It is just brilliant. Absolutely timeless.

  • So so sweet! I just love all of it! You were a gorgeous bride! Simply stunning!

  • so pretty!

  • What a gorgeous wedding. You look absolutely perfect!

  • Gorgeous Mara! I hope you do tutorials on all the DIY you did.

  • Mara, it's SO fun to see all your wedding photos. Your dress, you and your wedding are absolutely STUNNING!! Congrats again love.

    XO, Katie
    Running on Happiness

  • It looks amazing!! Love the dip!

  • So beautiful!

  • Absolutely breathtaking!!!

  • the Natalie Cole song is absolutely perfect for weddings! and "You Are the Best Thing" is one of my favorite songs ever. I plan to play that at my own wedding some day…whenever that happens.

  • You were such a beautiful bride! XO, Rae


  • Your wedding photos are simple stunning! Thank you so much for giving us a little glimpse of your special day.


  • what a beautiful couple! the ceremony looks amazing!!

    <3 steffy
    Steffys Pros and Cons

  • LOVE the pictures!! You were a stunning bride! And I love your hair..
    I'm so glad your day was perfect!

  • I feel so lucky to be getting a glimpse of your wedding! It looks so beautiful and I'm so happy for you guys. 🙂

  • Beautiful ceremony! 🙂

  • OH MY GOSH YOUR DRESS. it's so pretty!

  • You look so pretty Mara, and oh my gosh, I love how Matthew dipped you for the "first kiss"!

    Such a beautiful wedding, it looks like it was perfect!

  • you look so great!!:D

    congratulations to both of you~

    parenting articles

  • So beautiful romantic and intimate. I love it! And I love the dress.

  • this looks just so beautiful! I love your dress – the back is awesome!

    congrats girl!

    Spotted Appeal

  • Yeah! Finally, the wedding pics! I've been waiting for soooo long! 😉 Your dress ist just a dream!

  • Mara, your pictures are outstanding! you two look so happy! I'm so excited you're sharing wedding pics! and the dip – amazing!! Go Matthew! 🙂

  • so so beautiful 🙂 i love the small little arch with bunting behind you and all of your sing choices. question though, what was the difference between the two ceremonies? i get that the church one was smaller, but what did you do at that one compared to this? i'm just curious 🙂

  • so beautiful. and your dress is gorgeous!!

  • stoppp it. processing to ray?! love it.

    and i love that natalie cole song too- i remember it was at the end of the lindsay lohan parent trap movie (before she turned crazy) and i loved it then too.

  • Aww these pictures are AMAZING!! I'm speechless x

  • Just wonderful, and hello he clearly knows how to make a wedding unforgettable!!!! 😀

  • Loved how Matthew dipped you for the kiss! So sweet.

  • mara- you look drop dead gorgeous!!! im so glad to finally see your dress too, i knew it would be stunning!! cant wait for the rest of these posts! 🙂

  • I love this! I love how whimsical and romantic it looks. Looks like you had gorgeous weather too!

    x Jasmine

  • Gorgeous!!! Love the surprise dip!

    M x

  • Love that you had two ceremonies. And I'm dying over the fact that you used "You are the Best Thing" by Ray Lamontagne in your ceremony. I just saw him at The Greek; too cute!

  • Gorgeous, just gorgeous! So many of your details and your hair and things are just as I have picked out for my wedding next year…so lovely! Congratulations again, Mara!!!

    Liesl 🙂

  • It really seems like you had a fairytale wedding, congratulations! And I didn't know you were Portuguese?! I've studied Portuguese litterature and I'm crazy about the language! ♥

  • Anonymous

    Eu sou de Portugal 🙂 encontrei este blog por acaso e adorei.. e agora é que me apercebi que também tens aqui raizes 🙂 devia de ter percebido logo pelo nome eheh Muitas felicidades e muitos Parabéns, estou a adorar conhecer este teu cantinho!

Read previous post:
our wedding: the dress and getting ready