June Williams, a global tech policy advisor at Google, and Stuart Glenn, a senior development manager at Apple, first met back in 2007 in Washington, DC, at a barbecue. Ten years later, they’d find themselves both on the West Coast. June reached out to invite Stuart to a professional networking event, but found her future husband.
Stuart popped the question on a surprise trip to Maui in November of 2019 with an engagement ring by Zameer Kassam, and the couple set their wedding date: October 10, 2020. Little did they know that the world would change after sending their save the dates.
“COVID challenged us to ask ourselves whether we would even have a wedding anytime soon because the safety and health of our loved ones is our primary concern,” June says. “We really wanted to honor our wedding date despite the challenges that 2020 delivered. We decided that we should make the day special and celebrate love and life.”
Working with Lea Stafford, the couple put on a backyard wedding at their home in Castro Valley, California. The couple cut the guest list from 150 to 13—just immediate family—but kept plenty of personal details, like a focus on food and music. They maintained their mission of hiring vendors with businesses owned by Black women and people of color. June even managed to surprise Stuart during the reception by flying in his cousin to sing India Arie’s “Beautiful Surprise.” And hosting the wedding at home motivated the couple to finish their landscaping amid lockdown.
“It was the most beautiful backdrop to a magical day,” June says. “We spent most of quarantine between these walls, and it’s the place where we will make many memories together as husband and wife."
June admits the most stressful part of her COVID wedding planning was the guest list. They went from 150 to 13 guests, just parents and siblings, but it was after they had sent their save-the-dates. “We did not want to leave anyone out, but realized that we’d create a potentially risky event, unless we scaled down,” she adds.
The dress symbolized the beginning of our union and I wanted to look back at pictures with pride.
“The dress symbolized the beginning of our union and I wanted to look back at pictures with pride,” June says of her beaded Essence of Australia gown. In fact, it was the first dress she tried on, and she liked it because it “was interesting from all angles.” She paired it with a long veil, since she had originally looked forward to a church wedding.
“When we started wedding planning in December 2019, it was important to us to celebrate and promote businesses with a social equity lens,’ June says of carefully choosing their wedding vendors. “We located some of the best in the business and also wanted to support Black women businesses and people of color.”
June and Stuart wrote their own vows but shared them privately after the ceremony.
To fit with their modern romance theme, the ceremony decor features two simple plexiglass pillars topped with arrangements of blush-hued blooms. Guests sat at French country chairs and the aisle included white flower petals.
We wanted our guests to forget that they were in a pandemic and receive VIP treatment for a day.
“We wanted our guests to forget that they were in a pandemic and receive VIP treatment for a day, make it a night to remember,” June says of the celebration.
For the reception, guests sat at a long kings table covered with a lengthy floral garland. To make guests feel more comfortable with the arrangement, Lea Stafford spaced out the seats, set up a sanitizer station, and gave all guests a safety kit with a mask, hand wipes, and sanitizer.
“Since we were having a fall wedding with family, we leaned into comfort food in an elevated way,” June says of the meal. She and Stuart flew in Chef Brian Stansberry to design the menu, which included mini lobster rolls, shrimp and grits, bronzed salmon, and coq au vin.
The couple’s two-tier cake included a duo of flavors: lemon cake with strawberry filling on the bottom and chocolate dulce de leche on the top.
After the celebration, June and Stuart headed inside to their living room where they plopped on the couch to relax. “Stuart has poured his blood, sweat and tears into designing and renovating this home—and it was the most beautiful backdrop to a magical day,” June says. “It’s the place where we will make many memories together as husband and wife.”
Venue Private Residence
Planner Lea Stafford Events
Officiant Bishop Nathaniel A. Bullock
Bridal Gown Essence of Australia
Bridal Salon J’aime’s Bridal
Rehearsal Dinner Attire Anthropologie
Makeup Tori Camille Heyward-Bey
Bridesmaid Dresses Dessy Collection
Mother of the Bride Dress Alex Evenings
Groom’s Attire Ermenegildo Zegna
Engagement Ring Zameer Kassam
Floral Design Lambert Floral Studio
Other Paper Goods Handlettered by Tiffany
Music TeeBros Studios
Catering Brian Stansberry
Cake Old Danville Bakery
Favors The Cookie Jar
Accommodations Claremont Hotel
Photography Lynn Dunston Photography