palo alto reception

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i know three wedding receptions seems like a little…much. but the boy’s parents wanted to celebrate with their friends in texas, and since the bay area has been home to the two of us for several years, we wanted to celebrate with our friends here.   the boy is a counselor to the bishop in our local congregation, so he has developed relationships with many of the people at church, and we thought it would be wonderful to bring together those awesome folks with our coworkers, students, the boy’s professors and advisors, and dear mutual friends from our single days (many of whom could not come to the wedding in utah but who have seen and supported us through our whole wild journey). we kept the post-wedding festivities pretty simple and really enjoyed the opportunity to see and thank so many good people in our lives.

the boy and i hired our close friends michael and melinda to help us put on our palo alto reception – michael coordinated all the food and melinda all the decor. wow, we are soooo blessed to have these incredible friends. michael is an extraordinary cook and has impeccable taste in good good food and fabulous parties, and every single thing melinda touches turns outrageously lovely and beautiful. we are forever grateful for all they did to make the event so gorgeous and dreamy – we loved everything about it.

we had the reception in the backyard of a friend from church. a couple of weeks before, we started checking the weather every few hours, hoping that it wouldn’t rain! the forecast said rain on saturday, october 25 every single time we checked. two days before the reception, the hourly forecast showed a 70-80% chance of rain in the morning and a 50% chance in the afternoon and evening. we started to get pretty nervous. i woke up that saturday to the boy saying, “babe. you’ve gotta see this.” he was on the weather app of his phone, which predicted a small chance of showers in the morning and later at night, but zero percent chance from 1pm until 7pm (right when we needed to start setting up to right when we’d finish clearing up). what?!? we were pretty chuffed at how well that worked out.

i think the best part of our palo alto reception was that we got to be a big part of the day-of work to put it on –for our utah events we had to delegate and in texas my incredible mother-in-law had everything in order. i loved setting up and cleaning up and being a direct part of the actual hands-on creation. early that morning, i drove up to the san francisco flower market and picked out all the flowers and greenery. i was giddy exploring and selecting so many pretty things. i met melinda in the backyard to arrange the flowers in the vases we brought from utah. we had so much fun – i wish i had a picture of us doing this together. we hung vases from the trees and set up the entryway with a greenery arch and flowers around a patio swing set up for gifts. our parents were there helping, and many friends came to help string lights, set up tables and chairs, and arrange the food with michael. it was just really fun!

^^ the result of our flower arranging fun! ^^

and now i am going to share a lot of pictures … it was just so pretty and we got so many good shots! our friends jen and michelle lee (sisters!) took these for us (and i mixed in some from my mom’s iphone). it was just the perfect palo alto evening and i adored everything about the whole setup – down to the golden autumn leaves peppering the grass.

^^ melinda made these chalkboards for us. i can’t stop thinking about how great they were! ^^
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^^ i loooved the entryway with the sign in table, decorated swing for gifts, and this arch melinda and i wired up ^^
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we had three tables of food: 1) fruit, vegetables and canapés, 2) cheese, nuts and breads, and 3) a cake bar! ^^
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^^ melinda created these darling vintage washed circular photos to scatter around in vases
^^ there’s michael directing the cute young women from our ward who manned the cake bar. seriously, michael is incredible. the food spread was so amazing! ^^
^^ and i can’t believe this is the only picture i have of melinda that day. she’s in the background above making sure the tables look perfect. she is honestly the loveliest human i’ve ever met. ^^
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^^ we had these napkins custom made by wedding paper divas, and had some at all three of our receptions. we have quite a few left over so we use them at the dinner table everyday! ^^
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^^  it was so great to see beloved friends and meet each other’s coworkers/students/associates! ^^
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^^ two of my sweet 8th grade (now 9th grade!) students came! ^^ this is jen, who took many of these photographs and who came up from southern california. love that girl.
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^^ see that little peek of autumn on the trees there?
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^^ my friends jonathan and polin came from sacramento and brought their adorable baby boy noah. it was so fun to see them and to meet him! ^^
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^^ soooo great to introduce our parents to all of our people! ^^
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^^ flowers that my parents brought back to my aunt and uncle’s home (where they were staying). i mean, aren’t they just spectacular? ^^

when the party was over, we helped take everything down and clean everything up with our parents and friends. we really enjoyed doing that. then, the boy’s parents helped us cram our tiny apartment with gifts and we had ice cream while we opened them. as we snuggled into bed that night, we realized that all our wedding stuff was really over. it was bittersweet, but mostly we just felt so so so immeasurably grateful for all the relationships in our lives and the opportunity to celebrate them in conjunction with our wedding.

i seriously can’t believe how perfect all of our wedding celebrations felt. i am such a blessed girl.


  1. so pretty!! how wonderful to have so many people who want to celebrate with you! love that you got so much use out of that lovely dress!

  2. Um, yeah, it seems like a little (LOT) much. Time to move on and blog about something else now.

  3. Why do people think that they can tell someone else (who they probably don't know) what to write or not write about on their blog? If she wants to write about her wedding and receptions for a year straight, why shouldn't she? After all, it's her blog and her record of her life and thoughts. We have no say in any of her blog content. No one forces you to read it. I don't know her at all but I like reading about her wedding and skimming her photos. If I didn't, I would just click the litte 'x' in the corner.

  4. I like reading her blog. That's why I'm here. I just think we've all seen and done the wedding thing many times over.

    What adult does this? 4 or 5 receptions, not to mention the lunches, brunches, dinners, showers.....

  5. You're hilarious...and of small perspective... "What adult does this?" We've all seen and done the wedding thing many times over." Serious???

    Is there anything more important in a persons life?

    Nope. Nothing.

  6. Yes but 5 or 6 times? Nope. Never.

  7. Charity, when is the England reception ? Didn't you live there for a while too?

  8. hi sissy! thanks for reading.
    i have several purposes for keeping this blog updated, and principal among them is keeping a record of beautiful, significant or meaningful experiences in my life. and everything associated with my wedding qualifies :) if you're tired of the wedding posts, feel free to skip them.
    the nature of our transient lives and scattered family members and friends contributed to a decision to have multiple wedding celebrations. while i recognize that this is somewhat unusual, i certainly know of many adults who have several bridal/wedding showers, special meals with different groups of family/friends, bachelorette parties (sometimes over an entire weekend), engagement parties, rehearsal dinners, etc. we feel very blessed to have been able to include so many people that we love and appreciate in our wedding celebrations.
    munch, if we had a wedding reception in every place we've lived, we'd also have to throw a party in not only england, but boston, new york city, washington dc, and jerusalem. that would be really fun! but we decided to just go with where our parents live and where we live :)

  9. Congratulations Charity! Lovely photos! what restaurant have you had the best desserts? Remember to add it to your Besty List!

  10. I love this blog post! I was hoping to ask you a few questions via email, would you mind letting me know where to reach you? Thank you!

  11. Thanks for posting so much with all the details of your wedding and celebrations. So happy for you two.

    Some people think that marriage is just a highlight of a game or mear stop on the highway of life - something to enjoy for a season and then move onto what's next. Actually, a wonderful marriage is the one thing that makes life worth living. Every day is great when you're married to your best friend.

    All the best. Enjoy! And keep 'em coming...for years and years :)

  12. What a beautiful reception and wonderful day! The reception looks absolutely glorious, and I think it's amazing how you made such a wonderful celebration with the people in your life who care so much about you both! And I agree with the above commenter, I love that you got to use your beautiful wedding dress for more than just one day!

  13. In Germany, there is the tradition of "Polterabend". It is celebrated a few evenings before the actual wedding and often there are lots of people invited who aren't invited to the actual wedding. Among partying guests smash plates as there is the saying "potsherds bring luck". And we often marry twice: the civil ceremony (obligatory) and the ceremony in church.

    Stretching your wedding over several days is something that can be done often. And if you have the time and money to do it and want to do it, there is no reason why not.

  14. charity, i think this blog is going to be such a gift to you and your future family. you have documented things so thoughtfully! i hope that your future children take the opportunity to peruse your blog and really get to know their mom more deeply as a person! and how lucky they will be to get a perspective of your wedding festivities while they are still fresh in your mind!

  15. Charity, I've loved seeing all the pictures and reading about your celebrations. You made such beautiful selections. Your joy is evident. Don't let rude anonymous people get you down.

  16. Hey Charity! Love Love Love your posts about your wedding celebrations! I know MANY couples who had multiple celebrations! You can FEEL the WONDERFUL energy of a LOT of LOVE surrounding your celebration in each picture!

    And "Sissy"... How about promoting what you love...instead of bashing what annoys you?

    From: A "Post more wedding pictures fan!"

  17. Keep the wedding and love posts coming. No need to stop. As everyone can see you love your life and want to document the happy as well as the bad. No need for anyone to be critical of what you do. You are a breath of fresh air and I am the better for having read your blog. Thank you.

  18. Dang people. Give it a rest. Let her do what she wants and be congratulatory instead of negative or critical. Do you want people to tell you what you should be doing and be getting after you for celebrating the birth of a child or your graduation? And please don't say "Yes, if I do it too many times." That would indicate you're missing the whole point.

    Charity, you keep on loving life. Thanks for being open enough to share the good and the bad with us all. Don't let the bashers get you down.

  19. The house.....ahhhhh! Every year, from when I was about 12-25, my mom, sisters, and I would go to IKEA (once it was built) and Stanford Shopping Center on Black Friday. We would drool over all the gorgeous Palo Alto homes, like this one. It's so "Father of the Bride" and I love it! Everything at the reception was just as beautiful!

  20. I love seeing all the details of your celebrations!!

  21. Ha ha just saw this post. Love you too!


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