How would you like to meet your future soul mate amid the romance and happy setting of a wedding? Well that's exactly how Tiffany Leinassar and Adam Vetere met in the summer of 2007 attending a wedding for some dear friends in Long Island, New York. The hitch was that Tiffany lived in Seattle and Adam in San Francisco. But they regarded that a minor problem and, after some back and forth flights, they spent several weekends together over the next few months. As their romance deepened, a January trip to the Virgin Islands was all it took to convince them they were meant to be together.
The following March brought the couple to Borrego Springs, Calif., to spend Easter with Tiffany's family. It was there, after 36 holes of golf, that Adam, in a bit of old-fashioned charm, asked Tiffany's father, Astoria dentist Dr. Jeff Leinassar, for Tiffany's hand on the return trip to the family vacation home. Dr. Leinassar immediately gave Adam his blessing and pledged to keep it to himself. But husbands are no match for the intuition of their wives, and his wife Cathy knew something was up and got him to fess up. Thus, did the family know before Tiffany that Adam was going to propose that evening. Tiffany slyly noted, "Good thing I said yes!"
Tiffany and Adam set out right away to find a date. It was a proud moment for both families, "one of those highlights in life, a time to do what you can for your children," said Cathy. But, as in any wedding, size and budget is always a concern, Dr. Leinassar put it this way, "You have to go at these things with enthusiasm and fun, but you have to go at it with a little sense of budget too."
The couple decided on a reception outside Tiffany's family home, a tricky choice given the fickle coast weather, even if it was August. To play it safe, they rented a large tent and estimated they could handle about 200 guests. Family and friends were invited from as far away as the East Coast and the Midwest.
The final planning resulted in a wedding bash that lasted four days. Tiffany shared the planning strategy, "It grew sort of organically . . . we started out without any preconceived notions, we just wanted everyone to be surrounded by the people that we love and we wanted them to have a lot of fun. Once we started planning, the pieces just fell in place. We enjoy golfing and going to the beach when we visit the coast, so we wanted to incorporate those activities for our guests."
And that's how it all began. Guests began arriving Thursday and that evening were treated to a roaring beach bonfire complete with fresh local oysters and hot dogs. The couple had a lot of help with the wedding. Cathy was involved every step of the way. "She was a huge help, I really don't think we could have done it without her. She was on top of every detail the whole weekend. It was pretty remarkable and we loved working with her on it," Tiffany recalled. But they weren't alone, some of Tiffany's aunts and uncles took charge of planning the beach party and cousins Jim Wright and Josh Wright, who are big golfers, planned the next day's event.
Golf is a passion for many of Adam and Tiffany's family and friends, so it was natural that Friday featured a golf tourney at the Astoria Golf & Country Club. While guests were challenged on the links, Tiffany attended a ladies' lunch before the families and wedding party met for an afternoon rehearsal.
Tiffany and Adam, looking for ways to include their guests as much as possible and keep the fun factor going, decided to have a big evening rehearsal dinner at a beach house rented for a group of friends. It was a relaxed, backyard barbecue with a pig roast, a fun "beachy" theme spearheaded by Adam's mother Jana Vetere. Adam surprised the guests with a slide show chronicling the couple's individual lives and their new life together. "Another nice, personal touch was that Adam and his best man Doug brewed all the beer for the rehearsal and wedding. People loved it," said Tiffany.
Saturday was the big day. Two hundred guests arrived at St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Astoria for a late afternoon wedding. Tiffany wore a dress she had selected in San Francisco where she was living at the time. Tiffany recalled the final selection, "Dress shopping was one of the highlights for me. To have my mom and friends there made the experience really special. It was one of the first moments that made the wedding and the marriage seem real."
The church ceremony was coordinated by Thelma Rose and the church music was performed by family friends Rebecca Clark and Jeremy Rosignal. The rendition of "Ave Maria" was stirring and moving. Father Nicholas Nilema conducted a beautiful ceremony and the wedding was everything the couple hoped it would be.
The wedding was followed by a reception at Tiffany's parents' home in Surf Pines. Again, the family was a great help, making sure all those last-minute details were covered, as was Chris Bigelow Landscaping who got the yard in great shape, and worked closely with the florists and West Coast Productions to prep for the tent. "It was really helpful to have them work together as a team," said Cathy.
The event coordinator was Becki Duckworth of West Coast Event Productions. Tiffany noted, "Becki does lots of beach weddings, knows the local vendors and understands the nature of coastal weather so she made it easy to put together a plan B just in case."
And with the fun meter always at 10, a highlight at the reception was the father-daughter dance planned secretly by Tiffany's father Jeff. "Tiffany and I have always been close . . . so I wanted to have something that was unique and memorable, not just a boring waltz," he said. Her father had taken her to her first Rolling Stones concert at age 15 which she thought was "very cool." So, he set out to find a Stones song for the dance. He selected "Just My Imagination," which had some very appropriate lyrics. He even hired Jeanne Maddox Peterson of Maddox Dance Studio to choreograph the dance. Even his wife Cathy was unaware of what was planned. At the wedding Jeff danced the first part of the song with Tiffany and as the critical lyrics changed, handed her off to Adam. While she danced with Adam, Jeff snuck away to don a headband and grab a guitar. Surprising the crowd he then proceeded to do a Keith Richards "air guitar" routine. Very cool dad! And, it also energized the crowd, who then danced all night to the band Intervision.
And as if all that wasn't enough, the couple sent their guests off in style with a Sunday brunch the next morning. Whew!
Looking back, Tiffany and Adam enjoyed the whole process. Their attitude from the beginning was that there would be some bumps in the road, but as Tiffany put it, "We took the attitude that it didn't matter, the important thing was that we getting married and that we loved each other, and that family and friends were going to be there with us . . . we just tried to keep a relaxed attitude about it."
Tiffany summed up her wedding experience this way, "It's the one time in your life that everyone you love is gathered in one place. We did our best to enjoy every moment."
After honeymooning and relaxing in Hawaii, work brought the couple to Portland where they are now shopping for a home of their own.