Married in Marin

Carly Loveman and Jim Lutz

July 9, 2005

When Carly Loveman’s grandfather, Martin Siem, heard she and her boyfriend, Jim Lutz, were engaged, he told her, “You should just get married in the front yard.” Martin and his wife, June, lived in the Cascade Canyon area in Fairfax and their home was a special place for the family; Carly’s parents owned a house across the creek.

Carly and Jim knew her grandparents’ home couldn’t accommodate their guest list, but the Manhattan-based couple was set on a location in Marin. Carly’s mother’s family had lived in the area for 100 years. In the 1930s, when Martin and June were teenage sweethearts, they would travel by rail from San Francisco to picnic at Mount Tam (and sometimes intentionally miss the last ride home). Jim and Carly are similarly adventurous—they went for a run on the day of their wedding—so they settled on the elegantly rustic Outdoor Art Club in Mill Valley. “It feels like a cabin in the woods,” says Carly, “and that’s what we liked about it.”

Their ceremony took place in the redwood grove behind the main club building, emceed by Greg Scholl, a friend of Jim’s, who was deputized at the courthouse as a wedding commissioner for the day. Carly and Jim wanted the ceremony to be conducted by someone they knew. Each had provided him with answers to a list of questions about marriage to help him create a ceremony. Carly was nervous about it: What if their answers didn’t jibe? But in his remarks, the fi rst thing Greg said was how many answers were the same, especially one meaningful one: They both had selected Carly’s grandparents, together for 57 years, as a marriage model.

Martin Siem died before the wedding, so it was in some ways a bittersweet event for Carly’s grandmother. To remind her grandmother of how cherished she was, Carly told June, “Grandma, you have to dance at my wedding.” June would always reply, “I don’t know if I can.” When the day came, though, Jim asked June to dance, and she said yes. It was one of Carly’s favorite moments at the wedding.

Location: Outdoor Art Club, Mill Valley,

Photographer: Darius Hariri,

Caterer: Michael Goldstein Events,

Cake: OhCake!, 510.713.2257.

Flowers: Christy’s Flowers, 510.276.6016.

Music: Entire Productions,; Platinum Entertainment Group, 415.383.5266.

Gina Silvestri and Ben Sanger

July 23, 2005

Guests at Gina Silvestri and Ben Sanger’s wedding found a CD at each place setting, its jacket embossed with an illustration of the Eiffel Tower. The gift commemorated a trip to Paris, where Gina and Ben had met on a house-exchange vacation with friends. Inside, the liner notes read, “Songs about who we are and the places we’ve been, including one for the garden of a country house in St. Martin, France, where a city girl fell hard for a country boy over ping-pong.”

Ben is not nearly as much of a country boy as one would think from the couple’s whimsical cake topper (a creation of Kentfield designer Maggie McCarty that depicts the groom in a cowboy hat and boots), but the Colorado native did move his entire life to the Bay Area for his bride. Gina has worked in San Francisco for more than a decade and considers herself an urbanite, but she’s stuck close to her family’s Novato roots and lives in San Rafael. “I think if I’d lived in the city, Ben never would have made it,” she laughs.

At first they considered a destination wedding— maybe a villa in Mexico?—but eventually settled on St. Vincent’s School for Boys in San Rafael, which began hosting weddings about 10 years ago after renovations to its courtyard overlooking the bay. A Catholic ceremony was important to Gina, and her younger brother had also married at the historic, mission-style chapel. Family was central to Gina and Ben’s celebration. To welcome Ben’s side, they invited the Lutheran minister from Ben’s hometown church, who co-conducted the wedding mass with the Rev. Kevin Gaffey, a retired pastor of St. Anthony’s in Novato, Gina’s family’s church. In lieu of bridesmaids, Gina asked nine girls and 16 boys, most of them the sons and daughters of her eight cousins, to walk with her up the aisle and stand with her at the altar. “My girlfriends were all done with being bridesmaids,” she explains, “but it meant so much to these kids.”

The children showed their love for Gina with a surprise—a group rendition of “L-O-V-E,” coordinated by Gina’s sister-in-law, Libby Silvestri. For the bride, having everyone from the 25 kids to her two 93-year-old grandmothers at the celebration made the ceremony even more poignant. She was the last of the cousins to marry. “Now it’s about the next generation,” she says.

Location: St. Vincent’s School for Boys, San Rafael, 415.972.1239.

Photographer: Linda Russell,

Caterer: Sage Catering,

Cake: Just Desserts, 415.602.9245.

Flowers: Baldocchi & Daughters Floral Designs, 650.343.4094; Aloha State Flowers, 415.781.4095.

DJ: Platinum Entertainment Group, 415.383.5266.

Margi Hibschman and Kevin Trilli

September 4, 2005

Margi Hibschman and Kevin Trilli bonded over a broken bone. It was 2003 and they were on their fourth date, snowboarding at Squaw Valley. Margi fell and injured her ankle. With Margi hurt and scared, Kevin gently took control, guiding her down the hill seated on his board, carrying her onto the gondola and then to the emergency clinic at the bottom. “I’m used to being the one who has to take charge and get things organized,” says Margi. “I was surprised when it was all taken care of.” Kevin went even further. He prepared a gourmet get-well dinner for Margi that night (which he shopped for after the clinic doctors banned him from the examining room).

A year and a half later, after a meaningful proposal at the top of Squaw Mountain (overlooking the site of Margi’s accident), the couple began to plan their wedding. Kevin was excited about a city celebration—he loves the San Francisco skyline— but nothing in San Francisco felt special enough to Margi. Tiburon, on the other hand, had a getaway feel but was close enough so guests wouldn’t have to travel far. At the small town’s turn-of-the-century Corinthian Yacht Club, the couple found postcardperfect city views and the right space for the celebration they envisioned.

“We wanted the party to start as soon as the wedding was over,” Margi says. A trio with an accordion (one of several touches in homage to the couple’s Italian heritage) played a rousing recessional song— “That’s Amore”—to lead guests from the ceremony to cocktails on the outdoor deck. The high-ceilinged ballroom was transformed for dinner and dancing, with muslin hung to soften the redwood walls and wrought iron candelabras on the tables, creating the feel of a wine cellar—albeit a huge one.

Margi and Kevin organized the tables so friends who had similar interests were seated together, even if they were from different parts of the couple’s lives. Then they created a novel system of table cards to encourage conversation. Each one included a fact about one of the guests, beginning, “Someone at this table…” Conversations and laughter unfolded, setting the tone for the entire evening. “You can’t plan the energy of your party,” says Margi. “It was what we were most worried about, and what we were most pleased about at the end.”

Location: Corinthian Yacht Club, Tiburon,

Photographer: Jay Kelly,

Caterer: Corinthian

Cake: Branching Out

Flowers: Julie’s Flowers,

Music: Notable Talent (Pride and Joy),

Beverly Prior and John Friedman

September 10, 2005

Beverly Prior and John Friedman had been together for a decade and they wanted their wedding ceremony to include the people who had supported them over the years. A friend told them about the Quaker tradition of marriage: An individual cannot marry a couple; instead, the whole community must confi rm the union. That sounded just right to Beverly and John, so they created a ceremony that involved their entire community—no bride’s side, no groom’s side, just a circle of seats with their loved ones surrounding them.

The location had to complement the theme, so the couple scoured Northern California. On one extended scouting day, they drove from Napa to Sonoma to Marin. “Each valley closer to the ocean we moved, the better it felt to us,” notes John.

They ended their search at the Point Reyes Seashore Lodge, with its spacious grounds and creekside setting. “It’s an immediately relaxing place,” says John, and their guests could have the run of the place for the weekend. The couple planned the rehearsal dinner across Highway 1 at the Olema Inn, so the wedding party could just walk there.

Beverly and John designed and scripted their ceremony. Central to it were 600 feet of gauzy ribbon. The two strands were woven through the couple’s wedding rings, and then wound along the ground in front of the chairs. At the end of the ceremony, the guests were asked to pass the rings along the ribbons from chair to chair, pausing to share a thought.

Twenty-fi ve minutes of heartfelt sentiments and thoughtful moments later, the couple exchanged the rings and walked up the hill toward the lodge to celebrate, expecting their guests to follow. But when Beverly and John reached the top and turned around, they saw that the guests had stayed seated, still holding the ribbons in their hands. They didn’t want to let the moment go. Later, John got the best compliment he could have received about the ceremony: “They said, ‘We were sorry when it was over,’” he recalls.

Location: Point Reyes Seashore Lodge, Olema,

Photographer: Susan Adler,

Catering: Sage Catering,

Cake: Branching Out, 415.924.0198.

Flowers: Cherries Flowers, 415.924.0198.

Music: Eric and Suzy Thompson,