Alright folks, we’ll level with you – a few tears were shed in the editing of today’s real wedding, and we suggest you reach for the tissue box, because Melinda and Tobin are so ludicrously cute, we guarantee you’ll well up at least once.
Melinda and Tobin took a leap of faith, and moved in together after a long-term relationship was born during a volunteering trip to Israel. Their heartfelt and family-oriented Jewish wedding day was a real reflection on their obvious adoration for each other.
This is also evident in the beautiful vows Melinda has shared with us, at the bottom of the post. If you’re dry eyed after reading them, then we don’t know what will crack you!
Not only was it an emotional day, but the beachy, bohemian vibe and shades of lavender and purple color scheme made it a real visual treat, too. From the floristry to the bridal party, everything looked absolutely picture perfect.
The couple opted for an equality-driven ceremony, with both bride and groom circling each other and smashing a glass, which, as regular readers will know, we’re crazy in favor of! We also love that the wedding celebrations included volunteering, which is a wonderful way to start married life, by giving something back.
Melinda was the belle of the ball in her Maggie Sottero gown, with a dreamy back showed off by her side swept hair and carefully chosen accessories. Just gorgeous!
All of this was captured magnificently by Stacy Able Photography, as you can see in the divine spread of images below.
We’ll leave you with Melinda for the full writeup. Like we said – it’s a weepy one! You have all been warned!
How we met
Melinda, the bride: Tobin and I met in Israel while working at a clinic for African refugees. Tobin went to medical school in Israel and was doing a rotation at the clinic, and I was volunteering there as a nurse. I had taken a leave of absence from my job in Seattle to volunteer in Israel as a nurse for six months. We both coincidentally are originally from California.
I met Tobin the last month I was in Israel and never thought I’d see him again. We stayed in touch, visiting each other often once he started his residency in Indiana. When I decided to move to Indiana, I had never lived in the same place as him except that one month in Israel, so I was taking a big risk. Glad it all worked out!
Rustic, beachy venues
I saw La Costanera while browsing at venues on the Internet and then realized it was down the street from Tobin’s parents’ house. After seeing it once, we knew it was going to be perfect for us.
The Peruvian restaurant has a rustic beachy feel with so much personality and charm. The patio where the ceremony was going to be held was a bit small for the number of guests we wanted, so Eric, the manager of the restaurant mentioned the possibility of having our ceremony at Villa Montara, an incredible VRBO up the street. After we saw Villa Montara, there was no question about it. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. The two places fit our personalities perfectly.
A boho-elegant theme
The theme I was going for was a rustic, yet elegant, beachy bohemian feel.
Jane Myers was our florist and decorator and she was phenomenal. She took all of my ideas and vision and made them a reality.
We used wooden boxes, as well as tall mercury vases with flowers as the centerpieces, and then had mercury candles scattered throughout.
We planned our wedding from Indiana without a wedding planner, with the help of the most amazing and creative parents, a computer app called Asana, many Skype dates, and a LOT of spreadsheets. The color scheme was an ombre of lavenders and purples.
A hacked invitation
Our invitation and save the date were among the most unique ones I’ve ever seen. My husband, Tobin, has an incredible mind. He hacked the Greenvelope website to put everything we wanted on there, including a drone video from our engagement.
He then told someone at Greenvelope what he did, as well as some suggestions he had for the website. The CEO personally looked at our invitation and wrote him back in awe.
On point hair and makeup
This was my favorite part. Everyone wants to look and feel their best on their wedding day.
For my hair, I decided I wanted it down and to the side, which was more playful and beachy then an up ‘do, but without covering the back. My hair stylist had exceptional reviews, which not only raved about her as a talented artist, but also as a wonderful person who was easy to work with. After my hair trial I knew she was perfect. The hair stylist I used was Beauty by Lia, and her reviews are spot on.
For makeup, the artist I originally chose actually devastatingly got cancer, and had to have radiation and chemo. She recommended her friend who happened to be the makeup artist for the 49ers cheerleaders and she was phenomenal. Her name is Danielle Dentoni.
An elegant Maggie Sottero dress
The designer of my dress was Maggie Sottero. I got it at Glamour Closet in Beverly Hills. The back of the dress is my favorite part because it is beachy and elegant. My seamstress Maya, in Pasadena is a miracle worker and truly made this dress fit me perfectly.
The perfect hair accessories
I knew I did not want a veil because I’ve been to beach weddings before where the veil was flapping in the wind and distracting. I also wanted to show off the back of my dress. I ended up using two different ones from Etsy, ‘Zara’ from LottieDaDesigns and floral hairpin ~TP-2825 from USABride. It was exactly what I had imagined it to be.
The handsome groom
My husband, Tobin, got his suit from Bloomingdales. It was very dark blue which I didn’t think would go with my purple theme, but it actually did. Tobin’s mom is an artist and has great style, so I knew giving her this job would be the safest thing to do.
What made me swoon wasn’t what he was wearing, but his reaction to me. He was so loving and happy. Thanks to our photographer, I will never forget his face when he saw me for the first time.
Bridesmaids in shades of lavender
My bridesmaids’ dresses were an ombre of lavenders and purples. Putting this together while all living in different states was not easy for me, especially since three of them became pregnant, but they couldn’t have turned out better.
I wanted them to also have a beachy bohemian feel with flowers in their hair. Since my bridesmaids all live near a Nordstrom, I thought this was a good place to look. The only problem with Nordstom is that their dresses go extremely fast.
I first gave all of my bridesmaids a shade and told them to get their own dress, but there are so many variations of shades. I ended up getting more then 20 dresses over several months just to see if they blended well together. Since it was Nordstroms I knew I could take them back. I kept the dresses I chose for my bridesmaids until either they bought it themselves and it was safe to return, or if it sold out I could send it to them.
I thought of each girl individually and how they would look and feel in the dress, then I thought about how it blended. This ended up being more tedious than I ever imagined so I am not sure I’d recommend this; however; once I start a project I can’t stop. I was determined to have the look I wanted. Now looking at the pictures this is one of my favorite parts. I couldn’t have been happier with the way they turned out.
An emotional, equality-driven Jewish ceremony
We had many individual and special touches to our ceremony based on our individual Jewish backgrounds and traditions. I wanted to have a ceremony that incorporated equality, so we had a young female reform Rabbi lead the ceremony.
We both circled each other three times and then once together and we both stepped on the glass at the end. We had a handful of our friends and family come up with their own seven blessings based on a theme that we chose for them, then had the traditional blessings read in Hebrew.
We wrote our own ketubah with our shared values, and then had an artist in Israel design it using a paper cut and 24K gold. We incorporated the signing of the ketubah in our ceremony and then displayed it at our reception.
Another special part of our ceremony was saying our vows, which we also wrote ourselves. I remember trying to hold back tears, but then looking at the crowd who were also in tears. I think my favorite part of the ceremony was walking down the aisle with my dad who was just glowing with happiness. All of the planning and anticipation was for this moment and it was finally here!
Tobin really wanted a Klezmer band to play at our wedding. We found a band in San Francisco called Kugelplex who could turn into a marching band and DJ as well. We needed all three of those things, so they were perfect.
At Tobin’s tisch, traditional Klezmer music was played. As guests started to walk in, they toned it down and played classical music.
I walked down the aisle to Erev Shel Shoshanim and everyone else walked down to Canon in D. After everyone yelled Mazel Tov the marching band took off and led the wedding party down Highway 1 to the restaurant La Costanera for the reception (which we made sure was safe).
After cocktail hour, everyone marched upstairs for an epic hora. Everyone danced, and a few of us were tossed up in chairs. Tobin and I did our first dance to True Colors that was sung live by the band and our father/daughter dance was The Girl You Think I Am by Carrie Underwood.
During dessert, Tobin and the band members wired the music so that it echoed throughout the whole restaurant, upstairs and downstairs. They played Are You Ready For It by Taylor Swift at my request, because I am a huge fan, then everyone was led downstairs to continue the party.
The dancing was one of my favorite parts because I created the playlist. It was a mix between Israeli and American pop music with a lot of T. Swift, Britney, and 90s jams.
Other than the live band and breathtaking views, the dance floor had incredible lights that Tobin put up himself, and a photo booth that Tobin also made himself. We had the fire pits blazing and people were roasting marshmallows and making s’mores.
Our fabulous photographer
We flew our photographer, Stacy Able, out from Indiana because we loved our engagement pics and she was really easy to work with. She brought her husband, so we were lucky enough to have two photographers.
Since she is located in Indiana, we were able to sit down with her and explain what we envisioned. She is very laid back, which calmed our nerves, but is also extremely professional. She truly captured the moment. We did not have a videographer but we placed GoPros in a few locations that we have yet to look at.
Exceptional catering looking out over the sunset
Our cake was made by Moonside Bakery in Half Moon Bay, and was a carrot cake decorated with flowers. We wanted a small cake, more for symbolism, because the desserts from the restaurant are exceptional.
The restaurant where our reception was held, La Costanera, is a Peruvian-style restaurant with all glass windows and breathtaking views. Our dinner was served family-style so everyone could try several dishes. Everyone ate dinner while watching the beautiful northern California sunset. A fun fact about the restaurant, it was once Michelin rated, but it no longer is because they change the menu too often.
Volunteering in San Francisco
Our wedding started on Friday evening and went all weekend, finishing with brunch on Monday. The most unusual part of our wedding was the Saturday activities in San Francisco. For guests who wanted to participate, we organized vans to take us to the San Francisco Food Bank to volunteer. Then we went to AT&T park for a picnic lunch catered by Boudin Bakery, followed by a cruise around the SF Bay on a giant sailboat.
Several people told me volunteering was their favorite part. We have incredible family and friends who find the most joy in giving and helping others.We made it back in time for the rehearsal dinner at It’s Italia in downtown Half Moon Bay.
Since we wanted to limit the speeches on our actual wedding day, we had an open mic and a roast and toast at the rehearsal dinner. Our parents and friends made a slide show which was a surprise to us, and a few people wrote poems that were hilarious.
Another special and unique moment was marching from the ceremony to the reception down highway 1 with all of our guests, led by our Klezmer turned marching band. Everyone was dancing down the street and even the people driving were having the best time.
The most beautiful and unique part of our chuppah were pictures of our grandparents who passed away. We had small silver frames with pictures of them in remembrance and to honor them which were really beautiful. Another creative prop we used were signs on our chairs that said pilot and co-pilot. It was a surprise to my husband who loved it, because he loves planes almost as much as he loves me.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
You will be stressed until the day of your wedding, which is inevitable, but when the day comes, just let it go and enjoy the moment. There are going to be little details that go wrong. For me, it was the napkins and runners, which were supposed to be lavender. I am probably the only person that noticed, and you just can’t sweat the small stuff. (However, I am a bit of a hypocrite because I’m still sweating the small stuff and my wedding was three months ago).
Melinda’s heartwarming vows
Tobin, on our first date we walked the beach in Tel Aviv and I felt a sense of comfort. Over the next few months, I opened up to you through our numerous skype chats that kept me up til the wee hours of the morning.
Not knowing what our future held, there was a feeling inside me that knew you were someone special. My feelings for you grew even stronger when I met your family in Tahoe. It was so evident where your warmth, kindness, and values came from.
That same sense of comfort I felt at the beginning, on that first date, evolved into a sense of home. Now, as your wife and partner in crime, I know wherever we may be, as long as we are together, I’m at home.
Not only do I feel at home, but I am inspired and in awe of you every single day. You never seize to amaze me. Your beautiful mind is just one of the many things I love about you.
I love your honesty, your loyalty, your wit, your optimism, but most of all I love your heart. I love you because you believe in me, you encourage my personal growth, help me triumph over challenges, and be the best person I can be.
Tobin, I see these vows not as promises but as privileges. I get to laugh with you, cry with you, care for you, and share my life with you. It is a privilege to be the shoulder you lean on, your rock, and your best friend. I am truly honored to get to call you my husband. I love you.
Melinda & Tobin’s little white book
Photography – Stacy Able Photography
Venues – Villa Montara and La Costanera
Bride’s dress – Maggie Sottero purchased at Glamour Closet
Bride’s accessories – LottieDaDesigns and USABride
Groom’s attire – Bloomingdales
Bridesmaids – Nordstrom
Hair + Makeup – Beauty by Lia and Danielle Dentoni Artistry
Flowers – Jane’s Roses & Flowers
Band – Kugelplex
Cake – Moonside Bakery
Invitation – Greenvelope
Video – GoPros
Rings – Diamonds Direct and Shane Company
Rehearsal dinner – It’s Italia