Blissful Beginnings

Four couples with deep roots in Marin say “I do.”

Lita Collins and Chris McNamara,
May 21, 2011

According to groom Chris McNamara, he’d been working up the courage to ask out the beautiful and charming Lita Collins since they were 11. An extreme sports enthusiast, Chris is not timid by nature: He has jumped 3,000-foot cliffs and set rock climbing records. But taking the leap of courtship was a bit more daunting. “Timing is everything,” he says. “We went to middle school and high school together, and Lita even spent two summers working at my parents’ newspaper.” However, there was no official romance until they ran into each other a few years ago and sparks flew.

Lita, now a real estate agent with Frank Howard Allen in Greenbrae, remembers the moment she realized they would get married. Daylight saving time had just started, so it was dark and cold out. “We met for a cozy glass of wine at Vascos in downtown Mill Valley, and while we were talking with Paul, the owner, I realized that I was indeed going to marry Chris McNamara,” Lita says. “It felt very exciting and calming at the same time.”

Few other couples have utilized the entire downtown of Mill Valley for their wedding day as Chris and Lita did. Chris had the idea of a pre-ceremony town stroll, which not everyone was keen on upon hearing about it. “People tried to talk us out of it, but it was my favorite part, hands down,” he says. The couple’s celebration started with a stop at La Coppa Coffee to say hello to Ishmael, their favorite barista; next they visited Evan and Ronnie at The Store; and then they posed with their flower girl at Mill Valley Market.

The couple’s ceremony and reception were held at the Outdoor Art Club, and it ended that evening at the Balboa Cafe. “We asked our favorite bartender Brenden to stay open late that night,” recalls Lita, “so we got to finish the night with him — and his delicious cocktails!”

Venue Mill Valley Outdoor Art Club, outdoorartclub.org
Photographer Ashley Tilly Davis, ashleydavisphotography.com
Caterer Betty Zlatchin Catering, bettyzlatchin.com
Planner AJ Pell at Peridot Events, peridot-events.com
Cake flourChylde Bakery, flourchylde.com
Florist Main Street Floragardens, mainstfloragardens.com
Music Spencer Sutherland, sutherlandmusic.com
Dress L’Ezu, lezu.com
Suit Hugo Boss, hugoboss.com
Hair Dagaz Salon, dagazsalon.com

Megan Keane and Curtis Tuggle,
August 27, 2011

Who invited the frat guys?” was Megan Keane’s first exchange with Curtis Tuggle, a friend of a friend who showed up at her 25th birthday party in a popped pink polo carrying a 24-pack. “You,” was his quick response. Unexpectedly, their verbal sparring resulted in a four-month romance.

“Then life happened, and we went in different directions,” says Megan. Three years later, Curtis insisted Megan join him at a summer barbecue, which led to romantic walks in San Anselmo, Megan’s hometown — which eventually led to an engagement on the Matt Davis Trail above Stinson Beach.

“I knew early on that I wanted to marry Meg,” says Curtis. “Her wit, spunk, beauty, strong will and overall zest for life made me want to be around her all the time. So I did the only thing that seemed logical; I locked her in for life.”

Holding their reception at the San Francisco Theological Seminary in the hills of San Anselmo was an easy decision. “When I showed Curtis the seminary and specifically the view from Geneva Terrace, he was hooked,” says Megan. “We wanted our guests to share in its magic, too.”

Highlights included Bishop Thomas Daly’s homily. “It was personal and funny,” says Megan. Others, she says, were “my dad and Curtis’s brother harmonizing to ‘The Wedding Song’ by Peter, Paul and Mary; the Irish sing-along after the cake was cut; everyone dancing under the stars, especially when ‘Dancing on the Ceiling’ by Lionel Richie played in honor of my late mother, Sandy (she loved Lionel) — my siblings and I danced in a circle; it was wonderful. Lastly, our first dance, ‘You Make My Dreams Come True’ by Hall and Oates. Perfectly goofy and yet endearing. It was so us.”

Venue St. Anselm Church, saintanselm.org
Priest Auxilary Bishop of the Diocese of San Jose, Thomas A. Daly
Reception San Francisco Theological Seminary, Geneva Terrace, sfts.edu
Photographer Jessamyn Photography, jessamynphotography.com
Catering Ann Walker Catering, annwalkercatering.com
Flowers Frank’s Floral Shop, franksfloral.net
Music Brian Fitzsimmons, 21st Century Sounds, 21stcenturysounds.com
Dress Justin Alexander gown from Glamour Closet, glamourcloset.com
Groom’s suit Calvin Klein, Men’s Wearhouse, menswearhouse.com
Bridesmaid dresses Eliza J, nordstrom.com
Invitations Ellie Bauman & Company, elliebauman.com
Website Wedding Channel, keaneandtuggle.ourwedding.com

Danielle Grant and Chris Detrick,
August 20, 2011

Alphabetical order played a crucial role in the futures of Chris Detrick and Danielle Grant 14 years ago, in Ms. Partlow’s World History class at Redwood High School when Danielle, a self-described “serious student type” was seated right next to Chris, who was sporting at the time spiked hair with bleached blond tips and lots of punk jewelry. “If you had told either one of us then that we would end up together, I think we both would have called you crazy,” Danielle recalls.

Fast-forward 12 years to a Tuesday after a long day at work (the couple had been going out for eight years at this point), when Danielle settled in to watch one of her favorite shows, Murder She Wrote. Suddenly, to her chagrin, Chris appeared on the screen, and she thought he had recorded over her show. “I found the episode where Jessica Fletcher gets a marriage proposition and ‘green screened’ myself into the part where her suitor says, ‘The bride I had in mind was you, Jessica,’ ” says Chris.

The couple held their ceremony and reception at the Ralston L. White Retreat in Mill Valley. “Getting married on a heart-shaped lawn in the middle of the redwood trees with the peak of Mount Tamalpais as our backdrop was the ideal setting,” says Danielle, and they even gave redwood saplings as gifts to their guests.

Local KCBS news anchor (and Chris’s bandmate) Stan Bunger was ordained especially for the occasion; Danielle’s constant canine companion, Brutus, was in tow; and the couple spent months perfecting their own vows. “Our coordinator, Nichole, was amazing; she took care of every detail,” remembers Danielle. Another highlight was that many guests were able to spend the night. “We were able to have brunch and take a hike with our guests in the morning,” says Danielle. “It gave us a chance to spend more quality time with the people we love and don’t get to see often enough.”

Venue Ralston L. White Retreat, ralstonwhiteretreat.org
Officiant Stan Bunger, ordained online on ulchq.com 
Photography Linda Russell & Jarreau Lucien Cross, russellphoto.com
Wedding Planner Nichole Kohake, Swank Events and Weddings, swankeventsandweddings.com
Caterer An Affair to Remember, remembercatering.com 
Cake Gluten Free Wedding Cake from flourChylde Bakery, flourchylde.com 
Flowers Kate’s Blossoms, katesblossoms.com
Music The Crymuscles, Greg Scott II, and Big Earl & the Cyrin’ Shames
Invitations Wedding Paper Divas, costco.com
Dress Maggie Sottero “Rhianna Royale” from La Boutique Des Brides, laboutiquedesbrides.com
Suit Ermenegildo Zegna Black Tuxedo, Gene Hiller, genehiller.com
Hair Wendy Sissel, A Line Salon, alinesalon.com
Favors Coastal Redwood Tree Saplings for guests to plant, arborday.org

Chelsea Hardesty and Marc Ialeggio,
May 14, 2011

On September 24, 2010, Chelsea Hardesty switched her Facebook status from “single” to “engaged.” By the end of the day, she had over 100 comments and tons of phone calls. “It made me smile and feel thankful that I have so many fantastic people in my life that were really happy for me,” she says.

Chelsea met her future husband, Marc Ialeggio, in 1986 at Redwood High School; the two were in the same ceramics class. Twenty-three years later, after a first date at Marinitas, Chelsea knew Marc was the one. Marc says the feeling was mutual. After three hours of “catching up,” he knew he would ask Chelsea to marry him.

While his proposal atop Mount Tam continued their love-made-in-Marin story, their wedding took them south of the border to Mexico’s Capella Pedregal for an intimate celebration with about 70 guests, most of whom were from Marin. Highlights included fireworks that Chelsea’s mother, Karen, surprised the couple with after dinner. Another was the pint-size (all-kids) wedding party that included Lauryn, Marc’s 8-year-old daughter and Bella, Chelsea’s 9-year-old niece, who brought the crowd to tears with a speech she wrote. “It was the only time I couldn’t hold back the tears all day,” says Chelsea.

Another special moment involved their friend Bob Matousek, who performed the ceremony under a colorful strand of paper dragonflies made by their friend Colette Clowes. “Dragonflies are symbolic in our family and remind me of my grandparents,” recalls Chelsea. Chelsea and Marc agree: Good things are definitely worth waiting for.

Venue Capella Pedregal, capellahotels.com
Photographer Alec & T, alecandt.com
Coordinator Cecilia Villanueva, Capella on-site wedding coordinator
Cake Jennifer Hatton, cabodessertdiva.com
Music Corcovado (a 10-piece mariachi band), Gaston Montaño, capellahotels.com
Invitations Paper Source, paper-source.com
Dress Novella Bridal, novellabridal.com
Bridesmaid dresses J. Crew, jcrew.com
Hair Suzanne Morel, suzannemorel.com
Website eweddings, ewedding.com

Categories: Weddings