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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Beth, Beau and Berkeley

Beth and Beau had only lived in Berkeley a few months, when they decided to have their wedding here, rather than back in Virginia, where they had grown up. Beth had come out in September to begin her graduate studies in Architecture, at UC Berkeley; naturally she had a keen interest in the life and work of Julia Morgan, the first woman architect licensed in California, and a graduate of UC Berkeley.

Once Beth and Beau toured the Berkeley City Club (www.berkeleycityclub.com), designed by Julia Morgan in the late 1920's, they knew they had found the perfect place to celebrate their wedding, surrounded by the beauty and creativity of Beth's predecessor in the field of Architecture.

The front of the Berkeley City Club is lovely, but does not prepare visitors for the beauty and intricate design that awaits them inside.

Beth and Beau held their ceremony in one of the peaceful courtyards filled with lush greenery, refreshing fountains, and even a resident pheasant, who mysteriously found her way there, and is no hurry to leave...I noticed a tiny bowl of bird seed under one of the ferns, so I think she is a wise bird!

After the wedding, the guests were invited upstairs to the Members' Lounge, an exquisite room, with an ornately paneled ceiling, arches delineating room divisions, and bountiful light pouring in from elegantly shaped windows. I learned from my reading that these elements are found in many of Julia Morgan's creations, including Hearst Castle.

In the center of the room was the elegantly decorated, and candle-lit "King's Banquet Table", set for exactly the 32 family members and close friends who flew in to celebrate with Beth and Beau. Their guests were welcomed into the Members' Lounge by the live jazz music of Beth and Beau's favorite group, who play regularly a popular Berkeley night club.
At the far end of the room was the library, where we placed the 2 wedding cakes; it is a strong Southern tradition to have a bride's cake, and a groom's cake, with the groom's cake usually a spice or chocolate cake.

The florals for Beth and Beau's wedding provided another very personal touch; Beth collected each of the 35 vintage vases, pitchers, and carafes which held the flowers, during the infrequent breaks she had in her Graduate Studies. Almost all of the vessels, even the 2 cake stands, were found on EBay! I sensed it would be easy to get "hooked", as I helped Beth locate the cake stands one afternoon...who would have thought there were over 400 vintage cake plates available at that very moment? I can see how the low prices, the thrill of bidding, and winning, could become a bit addictive!

This small blue container went home with one of Beth's good friends, as did almost all of the containers, with various family members and friends; what a great way to remember a close friend's wedding...to lovingly use the vintage vase which was hand chosen by the bride!

Also, because Beth and Beau both come from families who garden, and love unusual flowers, the blooms chosen were anything but ordinary...for example, lady slipper orchids, seed pods of flowers most non gardeners would never recognize, and the beautiful passion flower, seen below, as a part of the entry way arrangement. Leighsa of Branch Out Flowers (www.branchoutflowers.com) worked closely with Beth and Beau, to provide the unusual combinations of flowers and greenery, which surprised and pleased the family of flower/garden enthusiasts.

Wendy Maclaurin Richardson (www.wmrphoto.com) did a wonderful job of capturing the details and the warmth of Beth and Beau's wedding; I am grateful to her for sharing these photos with me. I look forward to getting together with Beth and Beau when they return from their honeymoon to see all the photos, and to once again enjoy the laughter and hugs which were a big part of our months of planning.

Working with Beth and Beau, besides being a joy from start to finish, introduced me to the Berkeley City Club, a treasure of a venue which I plan to recommend often. I can also credit Beth with deepening my understanding of architecture, the heritage of Julia Morgan, AND the wonders of EBay!

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