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Real Weddings: Courtney & Yakeen

Courtney tells us how she managed to juggle her time between planning her beautiful wedding and studying for the Bar Exam!

The Scene:
Fall 2012: Rengstorff House Gardens, Mountain View, CA
Yakeen and I dated for about seven years before he proposed in May of 2011 on one of our annual camping trips. Our vision from the beginning was to have a small, intimate wedding, which is exactly what it turned out to be–about 45 guests. I am originally from Mountain View, and I really wanted to get married in my hometown, so the Rengstorff House was the perfect ceremony venue.

We decided to have our reception at Michaels At Shoreline Restaurant, which was so convenient because our guests were able to walk to it following the ceremony.

We did not want to spend a lot of money on the wedding, and we also wanted to keep the stress often associated with wedding planning to a minimum. Most of my planning actually took place while I was in my last year of law school in Los Angeles. I took advantage of my winter and spring breaks while in Mountain View to meet with my venue, flower and cake vendors.

I did most of my planning months in advance, because I knew I could not do it while studying for the Bar Exam, which I took in July of this year. With my mom’s help, I also made the invitations, seed-packet favors, place cards and signs–Yakeen drew our guestbook tree.

My Dress:
I found “The Dress” at the Nordstrom Wedding Suite in San Francisco. As soon as I put on my Nicole Miller dress, my mom said, “That is the one!” It’s a form-fitting, floor-length, off-white silk dress with lace on top. Because I am petite, I originally wanted a knee-length dress, as I thought that hemming a long dress might ruin the look.

I am lucky that both short and long dresses had been pulled for me, because otherwise, I probably would not have even tried on this Nicole Miller!

The Ceremony:
The ceremony was very special for Yakeen and me–in particular because of the people who were part of it. Our officiant was a superior court judge who Yakeen worked with while in law school. We both have the utmost respect for this judge, and we were so honored that he agreed to marry us. Our photographer was one of my best friends of over twenty years; she is not a photographer by trade but took amazing photos because she knows us both so well.

Other special players included another best friend who acted as my “day of” person–ensuring that everything went smoothly–a stylist friend who did a beautiful job on my hair and makeup and my brother-in-law, who played the acoustic guitar while guests arrived for the ceremony. We could not have asked for a more perfect day–celebrating a new step in our lives together with our close friends and family!

My Wedding Stylist:
Heather Bowser at Nordstrom San Francisco Centre
Heather was such a great help from the very beginning. Weeks prior to my appointment, she called and asked about my dress preferences, so that on the day my mom and I met with her, she had several dresses in my size waiting in my dressing room. She even had shoes and undergarments in my size, so I did not have to bring anything with me. Heather made the wedding dress shopping experience fun and stress-free!

Hemming the dress did not pose any problems either. Nordstrom’s seamstress, Lilly, came right up and pinned the dress to show me how it would look once hemmed, and she assured me that it would fit perfectly.

I loved that I could get everything, including the dress, undergarments, shoes and jewelry, all in one place. The personal service I received was exceptional, and I could not have asked for a better experience!

Favorite Accessories:
I also got my wedding accessories from Nordstrom with Heather’s assistance. It was really helpful to try on my Nordstrom undergarments (shorts and body shaper) to see exactly what they would look like under my dress. During the final fitting, I tried on the belt that I originally had purchased at Nordstrom to go with the dress, but Heather suggested a slimmer belt that had since come in; it actually looked a lot better, and I was able to exchange the first one for it.

My mom also asked Heather for jewelry suggestions, and she found the perfect silver necklace, which was simple yet added a little sparkle to my look. It was so convenient that Heather was able to ship my dress and accessories to my house once they were ready, so I did not have to drive back to San Francisco to pick them up.

Special Moments:
I have one funny story about the day, which involves that belt I mentioned. I must have been so flustered while I was getting ready that I forgot to put it on! Luckily the dress looked great without the belt too, because it was not until after the ceremony was over and most of the pictures had been taken that I suddenly realized the belt was missing! I am so happy that I remembered then, so at least I could wear it at the reception.

I tell my friends that this story just shows that as organized as you can be, unexpected things will happen at your wedding. Nevertheless, you will still have a wonderful and memorable day!

Photography by Elisabeth de Kleer

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