hi there! i'm michelle, southern california based photographer and curator of the coco gallery.

welcome to my blog where i share my life, my latest adventures, photo projects, random nuggets and the occasional stray thoughts.

for clients: to view my portfolio just click on this link - theCOCOgallery.com. to book sessions please send me a message through theCOCOgallery.com or contact me via michelle@thecocogallery.com | 949.734.0604

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

mila | my wedding details

it was the second time for both of us.  we have a baby to think of.  we have bills to pay.  this was not the year for extravagant parties or major expenses.  we had every reason to postpone getting married but i was more than ready to become michelle ford.  i'd already practiced the signature a few times (since 2 years ago).  we had talked about it but hadn't lifted a finger and then all of a sudden we just wanted to get married so we planned it (in 3 months).

how were we going to keep it real, on the DL, super simple and inexpensive? we tried our best to not tell anyone.  we would have opted to pull two strangers from the street to bear witness for us at the courthouse but our siblings matter to us a lot so we told one from each side.  we picked a date (our 6 year anniversary) and we talked about a nice dinner with our invited siblings (dinner for 4 and a half ... including kaya) and we were ok with that for a while.  then... i wanted to look special, after all it's an auspicious occasion!  then i just couldn't let go of the pictures.  i HAD TO HAVE pictures.  of course i had to have pictures!  kaya needs it.  i need it.  my grandchildren need it.  how else do we share our story?!?!  where's the proof??  we only have one wedding picture from my grandparent's own wedding and that left us wanting more.  christmas came and the family brought up the topic of us getting married.  CRAP!  i suck at lying and omission.  so the plan spilled out and we were met with scowls.  of course they were coming to the wedding!  ok so now the dinner list was 14 1/2.  i still hadn't told any of my friends.

i wanted pictures.  how was i going to get pictures without hurting feelings and grow our invite list by another mile?  all my friends were photographers.  who do i pick?  any of them?  none of them?  this was such a conundrum.  i lost sleep for a while.  then i had a light bulb.  katie neal started this journey with me.  if not for her i wouldn't have met everyone else.  i love her and i love her work.  she was on a film kick on top of everything and so was i!  that was that.  i had picked my photographer.  now the budget.  to keep it low and simple i opted for a quick first look at the courthouse, ceremony shots, a fun couple shoot in downtown santa ana and that was it.  for the "reception" katie and her second (harmony) were instructed to leave the cameras in their bags and join us for dinner.

the morning of the wedding i tweeted my plans to get married.  the reactions made me smile.  it ranged from elation to shock to furrowed brows at not being invited.  i was pretty quiet all day, resisting the itch to respond and holding off till the end.  nothing was going to interrupt my fun.   i knew that in the end they would all understand what we did and why.

16.5 people were told and 16.5 people came.  it was all very manageable, low key and affordable, exactly what we wanted.  the photos took up half the budget and it was intentional.   i bought my dress from a shop in fashion island the night before.  my hair and makeup were done by amazing artists and friends.  the shoes were meant to be mine for this day coz i found them on sale in vegas during wppi the month before.  kaya's dress i found on amazon.  curtis already had his suit.  my dear friend sussanna of french buckets made my bouquet and she made curtis a boutonniere but i gave it to kaya instead since i made him one myself.  my head piece i ordered from be something new and dinner was at our favorite indian restaurant clay oven.  i figured out my priorities and appropriated the budget accordingly.  i've seen way too many weddings to not know what's important.  today i look back with no regrets.  in fact, i'm very very happy about how we did it.  who says that a court house wedding can't be just as gorgeous as a year long planned wedding with all the bells and whistles?

Flowers by Sussanna of French Buckets http://www.frenchbuckets.com/
Hairpiece by Jill Prettyman http://www.besomethingnew.com/
Makeup by Kimberly Bragalone http://kimberlybragalone.com/
Hair style by Jen Alvarez of AG lounge http://aglounge.com/
Photography by Katie Neal  www.katienealphoto.com

p.s. i guess a few people agree with my method since it's been blogged in a few places including style me pretty!

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