BBSF Fall/Winter 2011 : Page 78

Ei l E E n R E n n ER & S t E p h E n D i F R a n c o O c t o b e r 10 , 2 0 10 No Beginning, No End A high tech couple welcomes eternity. | By Robin Wilkey | Photography by Alex Johnson | W hen ma rket ing consu lt a nt Ei leen Renner s t e p p e d i nt o a t e c h n o l o g y i n d u s t r y s a l e s c on f e re n c e , s h e w a s b l o w n a w a y b y t h e content. “Stephen DiFra nco ( Vice President a nd G e ne r a l M a n a g e r, S olut ion Pa r t ne r s Org a n i z at ion at He wlet t-Pac k a rd) wa s t he keynote speaker,” explains Eileen. “A nd I loved what he had to say.” A fter meeting, Eileen and Stephen kept in touch professiona lly. “I wa s just a lways so impressed by him.” A ye a r or s o l ater, E i le en h a d a s a le s meeting scheduled at Stephen’s new company, and they ran into each other. “So I gave him a call and we reconnected,” she remembers. A nd Eileen and Stephen fina lly went on a first date. “ I wasn’t ready for him to meet my t wo young children, so he had me meet him at the train stat ion,” she remembers. Stephen t hen rode 78 f a ll / w i n t e r 20 1 1

No Beginning No End

Robin Wilkey

When marketing consultant Eileen Renner stepped into a technology industry sales conference, she was blown away by the content. "Stephen Difranco (Vice President and General Manager, Solution Partners Organization at Hewlett-Packard) was the keynote speaker," explains Eileen. "And I loved what he had to say." After meeting, Eileen and Stephen kept in touch professionally. "I was just always so impressed by him."<br /> <br /> A year or so later, Eileen had a sales meeting scheduled at Stephen's new company, and they ran into each other. "So I gave him a call and we reconnected," she remembers. And Eileen and Stephen finally went on a first date." I wasn't ready for him to meet my two young children, so he had me meet him at the train station," she remembers. Stephen then rode with Eileen to San Francisco for dinner and a show at the symphony. For a second date, he invited her to see Etta James at the villa at Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, and they shared a first dance to "At Last."<br /> <br /> One night, Stephen took Eileen to the Ritz- Carlton, Half Moon Bay for a romantic dinner, and invited her to watch the sunset on the cliffs."Stephen has a theory about wishing on sunsets instead of stars," she explains. So as the sun set on the Pacific, Stephen walked Eileen to the cliffs and asked her to be his wife.<br /> <br /> Eileen and Stephen approached their wedding with a specific theme: no beginning, no end. "This was a second marriage for both of us, and we were sensitive about what forever means-we'd seen 'forever' not work out before. So for us, our relationship has no beginning and no end." With extensive family on the East Coast, they originally planned a wedding in New England, but their bed and breakfast venue declared bankruptcy. The couple then explored another place special to them-Carmel Valley, the home of their very first getaway. Coincidentally, Eileen had recently reconnected with an old coworker who was taking on a new career as a wedding planner, and had just moved to Carmel. Once the planner heard their theme, she suggested 10/10/10-a date signifying eternity, without beginning or end. When she took Eileen and Stephen to Holman Ranch, they fell in love at once, but worried about availability. One of the only dates open was 10/10/10. "All signs were pushing us toward Carmel. Everything just fell into place," remembers Eileen.<br /> <br /> When the wedding day arrived, Eileen walked down the aisle with her mother, holding a blue ribbon and a picture of her late father. In lieu of wedding gifts, guests made donations to the Alzheimer's Association in his memory. During the ceremony, Eileen's daughter Sophia memorized and recited the Prayer of St. Francis, while her younger daughter Julia read a community prayer. Stephen's nephews shared a reading and a blessing. Eileen and Stephen wrote their own vows without sharing them beforehand. "We read them to each other during the ceremony, both hearing them for the very first time."<br /> <br /> The couple craved an intimate wedding and kept the guest count to a spartan 70 guests plus 17 kids. "We seriously considered a bounce house," laughs Eileen. To entertain young guests, the couple hired sitters and created a photo scavenger hunt that spanned across the ranch. For the grownups, the owner of The Cheese Shop in Carmel set up an elaborate cheese table with wine pairings. Guests then sat down to a feast of lamb, chicken, and couscous at a king's table decorated with dahlias, harvest flowers, and fragrant rosemary. The toast was timed perfectly with the sunset so Stephen could seal the meal with a wedding wish.<br /> <br /> During the reception, a DJ played an especially premeditated selection. "We made dedications to everyone at the wedding," explains Eileen. I let my daughters choose some of the songs and dedicated Katy Perry's 'California Girls' to them." Celia Cruz honored Eileen's mother and her Cuban heritage. And for Stephen, Eileen played Etta James's "At Last."<br /> <br /> "It was one of the happiest days of my life," remembers Stephen. "If heaven is anything like our wedding day, then I'm ready to go now." <br /> <br /> Eileen smiles. "Sign me up too."

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