Ivan & Ali's Wedding: Our Harvest

On October 11, 2019, I was at the best wedding ever.

I was the groom.

My fiancé and soon-to-be wife was Ali.

Officiant

When Ali and I first decided to move to Oakland together, we thought it would make a lot of sense to get guidance to help us navigate the turbulence we’d face as our lives came together. My friend Nicole introduced us to our relationship coach: Soniyah, who has been beside us on our journey growing our relationship together. We’ve been so very grateful for her incredible guidance, love, and compassion. When we thought about who would make sense to be marrying us and officiating, there was without a doubt just one person who we both knew would be perfect: Soniyah.

Our Harvest

Since Ali and I first met, we’ve been aware that it would going to take work to build up our relationship to make it strong going into the future. We each came with our own histories and insecurities, and we both knew we had our own inner demons that would present themselves within the context of our relationship. We worked on understanding each other better, we worked on how to more effectively communicate with each other, we built up skills and patterns that we would later be able to use when times were tough.

Since the first day we met, we’d been planting these seeds that we’ve tended and grown with each other. Our wedding day would be a celebration and recognition of all the effort and work: it would be our Harvest.

Goals

We set out from the start of our planning that we wanted to make sure that people would have fun at the wedding. Fun is such an important part of our relationship, and celebrating in fun ways with each other is incredibly fulfilling and rewarding. We have so much fun with each other. We wanted to share that fun with the people at our Harvest.

Planning

Ali is an incredible planner. She setup spreadsheets for our budget, outstanding tasks, a guest list, and vendors. She started sending out emails and making calls to venues and catering services. I feel incredibly lucky that she was so skilled at managing and organizing so much of the preparation for the event.

Venue

In 2018, we were eyeing the real estate market in Point Richmond. I was keeping up with the local news there to get a sense of the area, and meanwhile, Ali had found a webcam of an Osprey nest on a crane. We drove over to the nest, and lo’ and behold there was a winery right next to the birds! Of course, Ali (and I) had to go in for a glass. When we did, we got our first look at the incredible panoramic view of the bay: from the Bay Bridge to SF to the Golden Gate Bridge out to Angel Island and Tiburon. Sailboats and huge cargo ships could be seen coasting through the water, and as the sky turned to an orange and pink dusk, the glimmer of bridge traffic and the city’s sparkle would paint across the horizon. We had found Rigger’s Wine Loft.

The Drive Video

We knew the drive to Riggers was a reminiscent more of the start of a murder mystery story and less of a wedding, so I thought it would be a fun idea to help give an idea of what to expect with a little video. We’d been visiting Riggers to help check on the layout, review their wines, and just to see the venue here because we were excited for our upcoming day. On one of these trips, I decided to record the drive from the Point Potrero sign to Riggers on my iPhone. I sped the recording up, added REO Speedwagon’s Roll with the Changes (keep on rolling!), and slapped on some fun titles. The video doubled as a reminder that our wedding was coming up for our guests.

The Making Of Video

Our wonderful friends and family wrote us so many kind words wishing us congratulations. We enjoyed reading every one of them, and I particularly enjoyed seeing how there were varying styles of handwriting people had in writing our names. I found it fun to see different people’s “I”s in my name on the card envelopes. I wanted to save them all, but I knew a lot of it would be clutter. I decided to take a photo of each envelope and animate them together.

Furthermore, we also had a collection of photos we had taken from the planning of the wedding as well. I felt it would be a lot of fun to share with everyone the little moments along the path from our engagement to the wedding day.

With these two concepts in mind, a vision formed to make a short video of the journey from our engagement–through the wedding–into the aftermath, including sharing some photos and footage from the honeymoon that people were so generous to help contribute to.

Our Thank You video was what I made. Making it gave me a chance to re-live all the moments that I’d put into it.

The Website

We setup our website on The Knot. As a software developer, I’m actually a bit embarassed about this, but I didn’t do much research before decided to go with them, and I regret it. Both their website and their iOS app were incredibly buggy and difficult to use.

At the time of this writing, I’m unable to view the wedding websites page. It seems to be reloading the page in an infinite loop. The UI for managing the guest list made it difficult to filter by people who had responded and those who didn’t. Things were clearly broken, and it doesn’t seem like it’s well maintained. I’d suggest that you steer clear of The Knot if you’re looking on setting up your wedding website. You might have better luck with Zola.


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