Rebecca Ann & Abraham James
August 17, 2014 in Underwood, Washington
Rebecca and Abraham met in a hardware store in San Francisco, California. Rebecca was building a vertical garden for the first time, and Abraham worked as a salesman in the neighborhood hardware store. He asked how he could help her and what was she building.
Rebecca went into the store again a week later, when he asked how the garden was coming along, and each time, they spoke a little more. The third time she went into the store, he invited her to see him in a play. Rebecca went opening night, and when he saw her, mid-monologue, he forgot his line. “I think we both blushed,” says Rebecca.
“I loved his name,” she continues “and that he kept asking me question after question about my vertical garden, at one point even saying quizzically, ‘So what do you do for a living? Because you seem really handy.’” Further, Abraham noted how cute and fierce Rebecca was and how much he hoped that she was single.
Abraham had bought a ring, “which I knew” laughs Rebecca “because he is incapable of keeping a secret. After months of alluding to a surprise on the horizon, I went to place a hat in his closet, at which point I was quickly accosted, and told ‘You can’t go in there. There’s something in there.’”
Fast forward several months, and they had just recently returned from Santa Barbara. Rebecca came home from work early, feeling mysteriously tired. Abraham insisted on her taking a pregnancy test, which Rebecca thought was crazy. But she took it, and promptly forgot about it, certain that this was impossible. Minutes later, enthralled in her work, she heard yelling from the other room, “You’re pregnant!” In disbelief, Rebecca ran to the other room to see the two pink lines, still not truly understanding. They looked at each other, hugged, and cried tears of surprise and joy–not planning for this, but always having talked about their excitement to try in the future.
Rebecca went back to the dining room, and several minutes later, she suddenly noticed Abraham, who was instantly down on one knee, saying something about wanting to wait for the perfect moment, and now it had arrived. “I’m not sure if I even said yes, we were so excited,” remembers Rebecca “but I remember him placing the ring on my finger and embracing, and feeling so happy and surprised at the way in which the two biggest events of our lives just unfolded in our living room.”
There was so much going on in their lives and careers up until the day of the wedding–they felt a bit like they were floating. The morning of the wedding, they agreed to walk down to the pergola before getting ready and write their vows together, separately, but in each other’s presence. It took ten minutes, but it was the most peaceful time together, thinking quietly of their love and marriage, taking in the day and the sunshine and the ceremony just hours away.
Their wedding story actually includes two ceremonies. Shortly after their proposal, they got married at San Francisco City Hall because they wanted to share their special day with their grandparents in particular, who they didn’t know would be with them much longer. “It was beautiful, happy, spontaneous and intimate,” says Rebecca “parents and grandparents and one close friend as our witness.”
For the formal wedding, a year later, they wanted to have a big celebration and one that could include everyone. “We knew we wanted to have it in the Pacific Northwest,” says Rebecca “having deep roots in the Willamette Valley and the Gorge in particular, and we wished to honor that. But we didn’t know what venue would be right for us. We flew up during the summer and tirelessly visited venues, all beautiful. But when we arrived at Gorge Crest, we could see ourselves surrounded by family saying our vows.”
At the ceremony, they were both overtaken with joy. “It was beautiful,” remarks Rebecca. “We were surrounded by our friends and family. And we felt the people who have left this world somehow watching over us.”
At the reception, it was more a feeling of gratitude, listening to the toasts, laughing and smiling until their faces hurt. “We felt overwhelmed,” says Rebecca “by how lucky we are to have family and incredible friends, and to get to share that with our daughter.”
The wedding was country couture, with a modern botanical element. The couple love the clean lines of tropical palms, and wanted that to symbolize, in some small way, the way they met. The food was Pacific Northwest fresh, wild Salmon on cedar planks, representing the food of the region for those not from there, while the appetizers, grilled cheese and tomato soup shooters were perfectly Portland.
“We wanted to wait on a honeymoon,” says Rebecca “until we can take Alexis with us. But the night of the wedding, we got to have our first night together one-on-one, since having had our baby Alexis–thanks to my wonderful mother, who got a hotel room across the hall to make it possible. It was amazing!”