I’m going to do my full review once I receive some decent pictures from the photographer. We’re also going to post the ceremony video on YouTube or Google Video. I’ll post a link here.

But to tide you over….


Last weekend, D. and I went to Hakone Gardens, our ceremony and reception location, for their annual Matsuri festival. The gardens were far more lush than they were when we first visited Hakone in December.

Moon bridge where the ceremony will be held. This picture was taken from the covered seating area across the koi pond.

Covered seating area. This photo was taken from the turtle island side of the moon bridge.

Processional stairs.


Wisteria path.

Overlooking the moon bridge and turtle island from the mountain path.

Great news!! D. and I found an officiant. We were worried that we wouldn’t be able to find a Rabbi to perform our Friday evening ceremony. I spoke with interfaith minsters, but they were too… touchy-feely, granola-y. I also spoke with professional officiants who will perform any ceremony you want, but I just didn’t feel a connection with them.

D. and I talked about it and thought, “Hey, what the heck, why don’t we ask Rob Tannenbaum from Good for the Jews? You never know, he just might do it.” (You remember Rob, he was the comedian who sang “I’m Better Looking Than The Guy You’re Going Out With” at the proposal.) It turns out that he’d love to do it.
In Santa Clara county, anyone can be a One-Time Deputy Marriage Commissioner and conduct a wedding if you fill out a form at the Clerk-Recorder’s office and pay 80 bucks.

D. and I need to sit down and figure out the basic structure for the ceremony. It shouldn’t be hard though. We have Make Your Own Jewish Wedding and I Do: A Guide to Creating Your Own Unique Wedding Ceremony to guide us.

I’m feeling pretty darn good about the wedding…

oh poop, I just realized something. Rob is the Music Editor at Blender Magazine. I’d better bring my A-game when creating the playlist for the reception. 😉

Oh thank God!

We have less than 6 months to go, and I *think* we’ve found our new location. The Hakone Gardens are the “oldest surviving Japanese-style residential gardens in the Western Hemisphere.

If everything goes as planned, we will have our ceremony in the Hill and Pond Garden on the Moon Bridge and our reception on the back deck of their Cultural Exchange Center.
D. and I visited the location this past Saturday, and we were very excited about it.

Hakone Gardens - Front Gate
Front gate

Hakone Gardens - Hill and Pond Garden
Hill and Pond Garden (Moon Bridge)

Hakone Gardens - Turtle Island
Island connected by Moon Bridge. The island is in the shape of a tortoise.

Hakone Gardens - Moon Bridge
D. on the Moon Bridge standing where we will take our vows.

Hakone Gardens - Koi

Hakone Gardens - Waterfall
Waterfall in the Hill and and Pond Garden

Hakone Gardens - Rear
Rear of Cultural Exchange Center on the deck.

Hakone Gardens - Deck view
View from the deck.

So, what do you think?

Where the heck are we holding the wedding?!?!

Everyone keeps asking us this question, and I still don’t have an answer. I know this is totally going to bite us in the ass in a few months too.

Ok, we’ve already paid our deposit at the location in Laurel, MD, and I’m willing to eat the deposit if we found someplace out here that we liked just as well. I’m afraid it’s going to be too difficult to plan a wedding on a budget from 3000 miles away.

The Ainsley House in Campbell is within walking distance from our apartment, but you cannot use the inside of the house, only the garden (which is very pretty). They also do not provide an option in case of rain, and they don’t provide tables and chairs.

We drove down to Santa Cruz to check out a winery and general locations there, and it was definitely not what we were looking for. The area was very run down. We even considered the Mystery Spot, but the wait to tour the spot was 2 hours long, so we scratched the Mystery Spot off of our list.

I’ve talked to an event coordinator at the Winchester Mystery House, and he said that Friday the 13th was not doable because they have a public tour that evening. I wonder if I meet with him in person whether they would be willing to work something out….

I have a secret. Promise you won’t tell. You promise? Ok.

There is a part of me that is warming to the idea of eloping. Between the contract delay with the ceremony/reception location,  the psychotic quotes from caterers, and the lukewarm response from family and friends, I’m starting to wonder if having a sentimental wedding is worth all the trouble and expense.

I don’t want to run off to Vegas. It’s a wedding factory out there. Plus, we’ve already been to Vegas and got our marriage license there last year. (It was Valentine’s Day, and we’d thought it would be a fun souvenir.) It’s not valid anymore though.

Getting married at some all-inclusive tropical destination could cost as much as our small sentimental wedding, plus no one would be able to attend besides ourselves.

Maybe it would be better just to rent a beach house for several days and have the wedding with just close family.  But throwing both of our immediate families in the same house for a week? “Two families picked to stay in a house and attend a wedding… The Real World: Eastern Shore.” Hmm, maybe not.

Perhaps, we’ll just surprise our immediate families by getting them together for the first time and have a surprise wedding.  (evil grin) I like that idea. (/evil grin)

Several weeks ago, D. and I visted Montpelier Mansion in Laurel, MD to talk with a rental representative. I’m still waiting on a contract from them, but they are holding the date for me.

Two of the pictures are mine. (The batteries died in the camera before I could take any other pictures. Stupid rechargeable batteries!) The other pictures are from Montpelier Mansion’s website.

Montpelier Mansion Garden
This is a side garden and view of the mansion. The green tents were left over from an event the day before. We’re planning on setting up the tables for our reception where the two tents are located under the tree.

Montpelier Mansion front
We plan on getting married in front of the mansion with our guests seated in chairs on the terraced lawn. I’ll walk down the brick path from the house and meet D. in front of the garden circle for the ceremony. (Photo courtesy of Montpelier Mansion).

Montpelier Mansion Library
If it rains on our wedding day, we will be getting married in the library. This would be our view facing our guests. We won’t keep the chairs in that circular configuration; we would set them up in rows.

Library hyphen
The library hyphen… I would be entering the library from this hall passage. (Photo courtesy of Montpelier Mansion).

I hope to take some more pictures of the mansion soon. I’m really looking forward to finalizing the location. I’m tired of wedding vendor limbo. I want to lock something down.

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