They wanted it to feel like a fancy family reunion—and thanks to 40 kids on the guest list and the bride's 94-year-old grandpa, it was just that.
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Amy Azzarito and Mark Fujiwara met the way so many modern couples do: online. About a year after dating, Mark (a wealth manager and author) told Amy (a design writer) a story, in which he referred to her as "the woman he was going to marry." After that moment, they started daydreaming about what that might look like.
Throughout their dating history, five had been their lucky number, having started dating on the fifth of the month, closing on their house on the fifth of the month, and Mark qualifying to run the Boston marathon on the fifth. And one day, while on vacation in Rome, Amy told Mark that May 5, 2018, was a Saturday. His response? "I guess that's the date."
For Amy, it wasn't real until the proposal, though. Mark tracked down the right sapphire ring for Amy from an antique dealer in London. She was on pins and needles the whole time waiting for him to officially pop the question. When he told her that he needed to film a video for his website, and that he wanted her in it she didn't think much of it. That is, until he called her that day to tell her they were filming at the restaurant where they went on their first date in Sacramento. Amy still thought she was there for mostly moral support. But when Mark began talking about her and eventually ended up on his knee asking Amy to marry him she was in for quite a surprise.
Nine months later, it was another exciting moment for the Marin County-based pair, who ventured to Woodland, California, to The Maples, a venue they chose for its ability to comfortably accommodate all 200 guests, 40 of which were kids. With design help from Two Roads Event Co., it had an upscale family reunion feeling to it, and being Cinco de Mayo, it had festive flare thanks to bright colors.
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"I was a little cavalier about getting the invitations designed and out-the-door," Amy says of the suite she worked on with McKenna Ryan and her team at Lynn + Lou Paper Co. "I didn't realize that every other vendor would use the invitation as inspiration. Once we had solidified the invitation it made it easier for the cake person, to pick the linens, and so roth."
The bright color palette brought so much life to the stationery, as did the watercolored artwork. "Drawing and painting custom watercolor for each client definitely is a labor of love and takes time, but it is time well spent when the outcome looks like Amy and Mark's wedding stationery," says McKenna.
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A Stylish Bride
Amy tried on countless dresses before choosing this lace Liancarlo wedding dresses, which she customized with cap sleeves added by Tailor Made. The bride wanted the flowers to be lush and full, and the inspiration for the day's overall floral design actually came from a somewhat unexpected source. "One of the songs that we had in our ceremony was 'Here Comes the Sun' and I just love the line, 'It's been a long hard lonely winter.' It had taken us so long to find our life's partner and it really felt like the sun had finally come out for us both. So we wanted the flowers to feel like that. That everything is in bloom, in our lives and on that day," Amy says. Bloomers Florals made her bouquet with coral charm peonies, pin cushion protea, anemones, and ranunculus.
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All the Feels
Soon after they started dating, Amy took a trip to New York. When she left, Mark handed her a stack of cards. One to read for each of the seven days that she was away. On the wedding day, one of Amy's bridesmaids handed her a card. Mark had been writing cards to her in the days leading up to the wedding, telling her about where he was and how excited he was to see her.
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A Trio of Flower Girls
Amy's nieces served as the flower girls—and are part of the reason she married Mark. "Six years ago my sisters had kids. A boy and a girl within 24 hours of each other. That brought me to California, and eventually lead me to Mark." Her nephews were also in the wedding as ring bearers.
Months following the wedding, two of the kiddos were overheard talking about the wedding and how much fun it was, and that they should ask their aunt and uncle to do it again.
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"Because it look me so long to finalize the paper elements, my stationer was sending things up until the last minute," Amy says of her day-of paper goods. "There was a tiny error on the programs, so we had them reprinted, and they arrived just in time for the wedding, but not in time to get the ribbons tied on! That mistake led to one of my favorite memories. I was staying on the property in a little cottage with my sister and her family next door. That night before the wedding, my cousins, sister, and one of my bridesmaids stayed up with me to drink wine and tie the ribbons on. It was so fun!"
The programs featured a quote from the Secret Garden, which is the bride's favorite childhood book, "If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden." Both Amy and Mark loved that positive sentiment. And to further that theme the ring bearer carried the wedding bands in hollowed-out copy of the book.
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In total, about 40 kids attended the ceremony. Knowing the service would last about 45 minutes, Amy gathered popcorns and crayons for the under-ten set to keep them fed and entertained. At the reception there was more fun in store: squishy animals and other toys, stickers, and fake mustaches.
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The Ceremony Spot
The ceremony was anchored by the doors of the property's stables.
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Here Comes the Bride
Amy and her father entered to the Chariots of Fire theme song after the bridal party had walked down the aisle to "Bittersweet Symphony" by the Verve. She chose her processional song seven months before the wedding and it was one of the few secrets she's ever managed to keep.
"Mark is a marathon runner, and had just run Boston three weeks before the wedding so the song choice was little nod to his running," Amy explains. "But I think we had also felt that we had been running our own marathons to get to this point where we had finally found the person of our dreams. So the song was an acknowledgement of both Mark's literal marathons and our figurative romantic one marathons. In the weeks leading up to the wedding, whenever I was stressed, I would play the song in the car, and picture the moment. It was even better than I imagined."
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The bride's father—an ordained minister—officiated the 5 p.m. ceremony, which was Mark's favorite part of the day. "Having Amy's dad up there to marry us was such an honor and amazing in itself," he explains. "He gave our guests the most entertaining and accurate story of each of us and us as a couple."
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The bride and groom were all smiles as they walked up the aisle hand-in-hand to the sounds of "Good Life" by One Republic.
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Waving Them On
Pink ribbon wands finished with tiny gold bells were given to guests to wave as the newlyweds recessed. It was a true sight—and a cheerful sound—to be seen.
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At the last minute, Amy ordered heart-shaped floats on Amazon and asked her florist to decorate them with flowers before putting them in the pool. It set the festive mood, which continued through cocktail hour, during which guests sipped on Palomas and enjoyed Asian-inspired fare that nodded to Mark's Chinese heritage.
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Small potted succulents served as favors, but before they went home with guests, they helped guide them to their seats courtesy of printed pink escort tags. The couple chose succulents for their tie to the California setting and because they last a while—a symbol of the long marriage they hope to have.
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Instead of a book, guests signed a vintage globe which Amy had given a chalk paint wash in an effort to make the surface easier to write on. It was a way of symbolizing the beginning of Amy and Mark's journey as a married couple. And since prior to dating Amy, Mark had never left North America, and has traveled to three continents with his now-wife, globetrotting is now a part of their shared lives.
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Quite the Entrance
The couple entered the reception with a silly little dance to Pete Townsend's "Let My Love Open the Door."
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Because dinner was a taco bar, the menu was more of an event timeline so that everyone knew what was coming next—not just on the food front but also for fun. The tables were a celebration of color—with aqua velvet runners, marigold napkins, and mostly pink and coral centerpiece arrangements.
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A Modern Spin on Tradition
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"Let the journey begin" was printed on to a banner by Lynn + Lou Paper Co. in the very same pink used throughout the stationery. And then it was attached to the getaway car as a way of further personalizing their exit. After the wedding, it was given a permanent home in the window seat in their bedroom, where Amy sits with coffee each morning while Mark gets ready for work.
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The newlyweds hopped into a 1965 Porsche Cabriolet 356 as their getaway car.
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Photography, Rachel Thurston
Location, The Maples
Event planning, Two Roads Events
Wine, Meikle Family Vineyards
Flowers, Bloomers Florals
Videography, Shutter and Sound
Stationery, Lynn + Lou Paper Co.
Cake, Paper Heart Patisserie
Music, Dart Collective
Bride's gown, Liancarlo
Hair and Makeup, Angela Nunnick
Bridesmaids' dresses, Bhldn
Flower Girl dresses, Janie and Jack
Groom's suit, Hugo Boss
Lighting, 3 Stage Lighting
Seamstress, Tailor Made
Photo booth, Giggle & Riot