California Ranch Wedding: Claire & Monica
Claire & Monica got married on July 16, 2012, 11 years after they’d met playing soccer at Smith College.
They live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and chose Dawn Ranch for their venue because they absolutely fell in love with it when they visited. “Once we chose that spot, the wedding was fancier than either of us ever imagined—so then it became important to make sure that it stayed comfortable and relaxed. We really just wanted to have a place to be with our friends and family,” the brides said.
Monica’s favorite part of the wedding? “Seeing our friends and family overcome the very unexpected adversity of cold (or cool weather) in a place that is known to be hot (and was 100 degrees the weekend before). Everyone just allowed the cold to add to the charm. We have pictures of people in their sweatshirts over their formal wear—there was no way to keep that wonderful crowd down!” As for Claire, her favorite part was the funfetti cake. “And having all of our friends and family in one place for an entire weekend of festivities,” she added.
They were married by a friend, and the ceremony featured readings by loved ones, including two poems, a political piece, and a reading from the Velveteen Rabbit. They also had a “laying of hands” ceremony that was a wonderful way to include the love and support of their family and friends. “It was like being wrapped in a community hug committing to honor and support us as well as us committing to honor and support each other,” Monica explained.
Denise Oliveira is a Brooklyn-based writer. She has a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York City and is the founder of Prequels, where she interviews engaged couples to create wedding invitations and favors that incorporate their love story.