Mary Ella & Jeremiah’s Fairytale-like Wedding with a Gnome Motif
Happy Monday, everyone! When I first saw Mary Ella & Jeremiah’s beautiful wedding with all the cute little gnomes, woodland elements, and twinkly lights, I felt like it popped out of a fairy tale. Even their love story, which you’ll get to read in a while, is pretty magical. I will leave it to photographer Dana Koster with Photos Just So to tell you more about the special day as she fondly looks back at it:
Mary Ella and Jeremiah’s wedding was a style I would describe as “woodland glamor” — it was full of moss covered surfaces, gnome figurines, stolen kisses and fairytale red shoes. Gnomes have always been important to them so they went all the way with the theme on their wedding day with gnome cake toppers, fairy tale red shoes for the bride and a venue that looks like it was straight out of a German folktale.
I’d also like to add that Mary Ella and Jeremiah have a rare True Love that shines through in the pictures. One of our favorite moments from the day: the light, misty rain that started to fall just as we were doing their couple portraits. There are a lot of brides and grooms who would be horrified to be out in that weather, but Mary Ella and Jeremiah reveled in it and they allowed us to capture some of our favorite images from a wedding, ever. Even in the viewfinder, we could tell we had something special – the bride and groom, blissfully dancing in the rain as droplets of water in the air around them caught the light from our flashes and sparkled madly. This was just one moment from a truly magical day.
As a farewell, the bride and groom and all the guests who made it to the end of the reception piled into the gazebo at the Rockefeller Lodge and the amazing wedding planner, Kate Halle, armed all the attendees with bubbles. As the music swelled – the DJ chose old songs here, like “Stand By Me” – the couple danced and laughed while everyone around them blew bubbles and struck up an impromptu sing-along to the music. This is the only time I have cried from joy at a wedding that was not my own.
Rockefeller Lodge was the perfect venue for these two. Its twinkle lights and stone fountains, moss and ivy and folktale-carved wooden door look straight out of a fairy tale – just like their love. Justin and I are so thankful to have been a part of this day.
Let’s hear the couple’s story from the lovely bride herself. Over to you. Mary Ella:
In 2001, Jeremiah and I met while we were in High School, he was a Senior and I was a Sophomore, he stopped me in the hallway to introduce himself and we became friends soon after. It was not until I had graduated and moved away to college that we started dating, on my winter break during my Freshman year at Cal State Chico I came home to the Bay Area to celebrate the holidays with my family. For our first official date Jeremiah took me on a boat at a local lake, it was a brisk December day but still sunny and beautiful. We talked and cozied up to each other on the boat, watching the ducks swim along side us, that is where we shared our first kiss. Fast forward through years of long distance and close distance and college and graduation, we moved back to the Bay Area to settle down. Now we still reside in the East Bay, I am a hairdresser, a job I adore and am grateful for every day, getting to touch people’s lives and make them feel beautiful and valued is what I live for. Jeremiah is a book specialist at one of the few remaining family-run bookstores in the area, specializing in history, metaphysics and parapsychology, he is currently writing a book himself.
In 2012 on Valentine’s Day, Jeremiah popped the question, “Will you marry me?” and I said, “Of course!” as we stood (well he knelt) in front of the castle at Disneyland. It was the most magical and happiest of moments, in the most magical and happiest of places on Earth. We shared a lovely week together as newly-engaged sweethearts at Disneyland. One year later we set our wedding date for February 15, 2014.
On their theme and their wedding:
We have always had an affinity for gnomes and kitsch and whimsy, we loved saying, “You gno-me so well!” as in, “You know me so well” and other such silly gnome related quips. I grew up attending a Waldorf school, which is very gnome-centric, an education based on using gnomes to learn arithmetic and the alphabet, it was just engrained in me at an early age. Jeremiah also grew up watching “David the Gnome” which was a classic in the 80’s. We loved the romance that gnomes share together, their Gnome Kisses, similar to an eskimo kiss, because they are quiet and tiny little beings they dont’ want to draw attention with loud smooches. When gnomes find a partner, they are committed for life — and we all know that gnomes can live to be over one hundred years old! We felt that our connection to gnomes, their fondness for fun and general jolliness and immense capacity for love was something that we shared with each other and wanted to share with our wedding guests.
It started with a drawing that Jeremiah had drawn for a Valentine’s Day card in 2007, two little gnomes, awfully in love, the gent giving his lady a heart locket. I happened to find a music box of the same two gnomes in little porcelain figurines, they were perfect for the top of our cake! Everything came together after that. Gnomes for the invitations, gnomes for the mantle at the hearth of the fireplace, gnome candles and gnome salt and pepper shakers… The Rockefeller Lodge was a perfect gnome grotto, ivy lining the fence, tall trees towering over the quaint garden and gazebo, ensconced in twinkly lights and a beautiful misty rain. We wanted our wedding day to be a celebration of love and family and kindred spirits, we wanted it to be magical and beautiful and fun. At the end of the night, as the February mist settled down upon us, we just didn’t want to leave our friends and family –we were having so much fun! — rather than the big send-off we had planned with bubbles and noise makers, we gathered in the gazebo serendipitously, the music grew loud and all of our loved ones gathered around us as we danced in the middle of the gazebo with a full moon shining overhead, “You’re just too good to be true… can’t take my eyes off of you…” everyone sang along as we danced our last dances of night. We finally said our goodbyes and farewells and best wishes with “When You Wish Upon a Star” playing in the background. That was the most magical and memorable moments of our wedding, it was completely unplanned and completely perfect.
Advice from the newlyweds:
My advice for couples who are engaged, thinking of becoming engaged, or have just gotten married, or have been married for eons, is: Live in the moment. Don’t stress over how things will turn out in 5 days or 50 years. If you are mindfully present, living in the moment and making all your best efforts to be happy, it’s pretty likely that things will work out and be okay in 5 days or 50 years. Especially with weddings, there are a million trivial things to stress about, a million huge life-changing factors and decisions to make and they are important to figure out, but make a priority list of what is MOST important so that when things get messy and crazy (because things do get messy and crazy) go back to that list and refocus your energy on those top priorities. Also, document the planning process either in a diary or video blog or whatever, just remember the good and maybe not-so-good times that you and your fiance have shared in this amazing new chapter in your lives. And, last but not least, call your mother and mother-in-law, she will be so happy to hear from you!
Many thanks to Dana for sending her gorgeous photos my way, and congratulations to Mary Ella and Jeremy! Here’s wishing you a lifetime of married bliss. 🙂
Photography: Dana Koster with Photos Just So, Modesto, California (bride’s note: The best photographers ever!)
Venue: The Rockefeller Lodge, San Pablo, California
Catering: Party Time Catering, The Rockefeller Lodge, San Pablo, California
Make-Up: Mary Ella Dugger, Emeryville, California
Hair: Karla Emm of J’Adore Beauty, San Jose, California
Bride’s Dress: Simply Bridal
Bride’s Red Shoes: BCBG Generation
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: David’s Bridal
Gent’s Tuxes: Men’s Wearhouse
DJ: Philip Craner, Oakland, California
Music (Ceremony): Gregg Dugger and Belinda, guitar and violin, Hayward, California