She said YES. This wedding began taking shape on Leap Year’s Day 2004, when Neal inventively proposed to Saskia in their Capitola apartment. He printed out a narrated pictorial history of their relationship, which began as a friendship, their first year of college (1998), growing deeper and evolving into romance through the years. Sitting on the couch with Neal, Saskia viewed, and read each picture. The last photos included a red rose petal heart and question mark, and the text: Will you marry me?
Where?The most important decision to be made was the venue, since popular wedding locations are often booked far in advance. Though the couple were to move to Washington in June 2004, the majority of their family and friends reside in California, they’d both been born and raised here, and had graduated from UC Santa Cruz. So they decided to get married somewhere in the Golden State. They began their search in the spring, first online, later by visiting six other popular wedding locales from the SoCal coast to San Francisco. The view at Pebble Beach stole their hearts. It also didn’t hurt that Neal is an avid golfer. Beyond that, childhood memories, nearness to Santa Cruz, and the wonderful customer service provided by resort staff, sold them on the Pebble.
Shopping for a wedding gown was another priority. Since the bride’s gown would determine to a large extent the bridesmaids’ gowns, and the attire for the mothers of the bride and groom. Saskia and I drove to the Bay Area on her first hunt for the perfect wedding dress. Though they all looked great on her, and there were a couple she liked, she wouldn’t find her gown until several shopping trips later with friends, at a trunk sale. Pearl-white, full-length and strapless, subtle beading at the waist, with bustled train. Though Saskia and Neal planned the wedding color scheme to be red and charcoal gray, the color scheme changed to orange-red, orange, and black, due to a lack of charcoal gray present in fashion at the time, and some amazingly inventive floral decorations and bouquets that incorporated red, orange and yellow flowers.
When? Once Pebble Beach was chosen as the venue, Neal and Saskia submitted their preferred wedding dates (six weekend dates, two apiece, in June, July and August 2005). High demand required the request of several desired dates, more than a year ahead in advance. My mother and I were rooting for June 4th, my father’s birthday. Saskia had been the apple of my dad’s eye during the last two years of his life. Sure enough, as if destined to be, June 4th became available for them.
Details: In the Fall, they set up a two-day appointment for sampling and choosing their menu for the reception/dinner and meeting with event coordinator, florist, and baker, and choosing the hair and beauty salon. They also met their wedding photographer for engagement photos. A major plus point of Pebble Beach was the wedding coordinator who came with the package, making hiring a wedding planner unnecessary.