When Brandi Weiman and Max Vargas met their freshman year at UC Santa Barbara outside of the dining commons, it all began with a compliment: "I think you're really cute," he said.
They bonded over their big families and childhoods on the ice rink. On their anniversary nine years later, while encamped among the palms in Puerto Rico, he posed the question. "It was so romantic knowing we were the only two people in the whole world who knew that we were engaged to be married," Weiman remembers.
Upon their return, the couple made a list of everything they wanted in an ideal wedding venue: outdoor space; the ability to hang string lights; a building with history; something unexpected. They searched high and low in New Orleans and all around the Bay Area, but eventually arrived at the East Bay, where Weiman had grown up and where they'd made their home together after college. They landed on the charming, waterfront Camron-Stanford House in Oakland. "Only a few minutes walking around the gate, we looked at each other and said, "This could be it." They booked it the same day.
Wanting the beauty of the garden to take center stage, they focused on burgundy wildflowers and brass elements in a bohemian theme with mid-century modern elements. Much of their decor—like their peacock chairs, table number frames, and candlesticks—they sourced on a budget at TJ Maxx, Etsy, and locally through Craigslist. "We really enjoyed treasure hunting at the Alameda Antique Faire for additional accents, like the brass room divider which served as our ceremony's backdrop and our amber goblets."
The big day was teeming with sentimental touches. For wedding favors, they passed out books by Weiman's favorite poet, Pablo Neruda, with handwritten messages from the bride and the groom. After a bit of coordinating with the Spanish winery Paco & Lola, they served the same albariño wine they had sipped that night back in Puerto Rico.
Weiman's nine-foot veil was made by Vargas' grandmother, and she wore her own grandmother's ring as her "something old." A memorial bookshelf was filled with flowers and photos of their loved ones who had passed; and to pay special tribute to Vargas' mother, they invited all of their guests with their mothers in attendance to boogie to Prince's 1999 instead of a traditional mother-son dance. "The dance floor was packed with family and friends celebrating her life. Max also wore two of her bracelets the entire day."
In a true family affair, the bride's cousins at Behind the Sweets made all the desserts; and her mom and bridesmaid created all the handwritten signs. Their rescue dog Olive was their flower girl—how sweet.
Dress: Grace Loves Lace
Makeup:Makeup by Tre
Groomsmen suits: River Island (From Asos)
Cake and desserts:Behind the Sweets
Florist:Flower Girl Em
Caterer: Asena Restaurant and Catering
Month of coordinator: Mariee Weddings
Photographer: Encarnacion Photography
Videographer: Imaginem Productions
Photo booth:Exposure Photo Booths
Bartenders: At Your Service Bartending
Shuttle: Fast Limousine Company