Wedding | Pema Osel Ling Retreat | California

September 21, 2009

One Wish. Two Wish. Red Wish. Blue Wish.

The bride wore red. The groom did not wear his leprechaun suit. San Franciscan?s love a costume.

They met on Halloween, and so it was obvious that their rehearsal dinner should also be in costume; T. as a Vampire and R. as a leprechaun. But the pre-party wasn?t the main event.

T. and R. chose a naturally stunning venue to host their weekend long marriage celebration, the Pema Osel Ling Retreat in the Santa Cruz mountains? Beautiful day- sunshine burning through the cloudy morning and filtering through the redwoods.? Not only did R. write and record the song ?Little Red Bridinghood? that T. walked down the aisle to, he created countless hours of [kick-ass] playlists that appropriately accompanied the various activities of the weekend.

T. radiates a delightful enthusiasm, she bubbles over with a warm and loving laugh. It is a soulful joie de vivre. Arriving at the Round House, where the bride was getting ready, gales of laughter echoed in the room.? Surprised to find myself in the middle of scene I don?t usually encounter on a wedding day: the bride and her bridesmaids meditating (and giggling) in a near empty room.

Their friends and family gathered in a grove of redwoods for the ceremony. The officiant performed a custom blend of traditions new and old, referencing Catholic roots and acknowledging their Buddhist location and the calendar day for Rosh Hashanah.? Directly after the processional, the bride and groom had their own version of yichud ? where they knelt together and had their first meal as husband and wife (which was pie). Rather than a traditional receiving line, the bride and groom were blindfolded and passed between two rows of guests, each person whispering a deeply felt personalized wish for the newly married couple.

T. is a graphic designer, and created the exquisite invitations, programs, place-cards and menus herself.? And it wasn?t only paper that she had a hand in.? The reception began with a toast of hand crafted mead. T., mind you, is an actual Beekeeper Bride. Her first batch of honey became the celebratory drink for her wedding. This beverage making is apparently part of the family spirit, as the bride?s brother brought cases of his own home-made beer to share with all the guests.? A full candy bar (gummy worms, jelly beans, caramels) and single servings of mojito cheesecake made the dessert buffet.


Bride and bridesmaids meditating to begin the wedding day.


T., looking the part of graceful composed bride.


The red wedding dress.


The groom, getting his tie on. [one of Melissa’s images]


Mother of the Bride and grandmother of the bride adjusting their corsages.


Sewing on the crystal worn by the groom’s mother and the groom’s sister on their respective wedding days.


Bride and Groom in a small grove of redwoods.


Whispering a secret.



A pensive moment before the ceremony begins.


I love the nervous gesture of the groom’s hands here.


A gorgeous setting for the ceremony – a platform in a grove of redwoods.


Being blindfolded before embarking through the wish line.


T. receiving a wish from her friend.


A shot of mead being poured before the toast.


Dancing to Flight of the Conchords.




Kiss. Kiss.

Enchanted when they offered the extra cots made up in the yurt in case I was tired at the end of the night. Special thanks to Melissa Schwartz of Organic Photographs for shooting with me this weekend.

My wish for the couple ? That they continue inspiring love in others.