Magical DIY California Bohemian Wedding at Saddlerock Ranch
Now…at Dreamers & Lovers, we see a lot of love, as you can imagine. Our bride stories are one of the treats that make us feel so blessed! The very-much-unfinished tale of Jen’ and James Caratola, though, is one of the tales that made me think: that’s what I want! The couple share such a deep and powerful love that pours like poetry from every word of her interview, from every line of their self-written ceremony and from the breathtaking photos of Jen’ in her Valentina gown from D&L and James, her VIKING man: I just can’t wait to share it all with you!
The couple created a wedding website, which shared the story of their meeting and touched upon the very powerful mechanism of destiny and God.
The couple met just 5 years ago, despite the fact that they had grown up together on a one-bridge island, just half a mile away from one another…With more than a hundred mutual friends, the couple had been in the same room countless times over the course of their lives until 5 years ago, in a miracle of love at first sight, Jen’ asked her friend…”Who is that?” Obviously, to destiny…and God, it was time for them.
The pair soon discovered that, in addition to their ‘almost-shared’ youth, they’d lived only a breath of 5 blocks from each other when both had stayed worlds away, in Philadelphia, where one had lived, a vagabond graduate student, the other, a blossoming corporate professional.
There first year together was a whirlwind, as James was constantly moving on clinical rotations…Jen’ visited him in South Carolina and on the dock at Charleston Harbour, James discovered their shared curiosity and explorer spirit. When Jen’ departed on the northbound for Philly, he felt taken with longing and almost wanted to chase her down. It was the start of many travels. It was the start of the kind of the love that could make anyone BELIEVE!
Big Sur, in CA, has always been a special place for the adventurers but on September 24th, 2016, it became even more special….While on a camping trip with a handful of their dearest friends, James asked the question that had been on the tip of his tongue for a year, when he asked Jen’ to marry him. With Jen’s beloved ocean below and James’ beloved mountains above, the mountains finally met the sea.
Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress for her Boho Wedding
First up…to find the dress! Jen’s parents had flown in from NJ for the long-weekend, to help with wedding planning and to help their daughter find the ONE (the ‘other’ ONE, haha). With Mom and Dad in-tow, Jen’ booked and attended 4 appointments at different bridal spots. While she tried on so many beautiful wedding dresses at the first two shops, she just wasn’t sold on one yet. That’s when they visited Dreamers and Lovers, where Jen’ tried on more than a handful of favorites!
Browsing one of the racks, Jen’s Mom handed the assistant a laid back wedding dress, asking her to have Jen’ try it on for size. Turns out, Mom knows best, as always…because Valentina was perfect! It was love at first sight for the second time. Jen’ purchased the dress shortly after that and even though she still went to the last appointment, nothing could compared to the Valentina boho wedding dress.
When Jen’ did her first fitting with her two besties, her viking Fiancé sent a gift of flowers to her during the dress appointment, out of the blue. “That is just the kind of man he is and how special he makes me feel”, says Jen’ and we have to admit…she sure is one lucky, lucky Bridechilla.
The lovers invited 125 guests to the event, which was booked at Saddlerock Ranch and Hilltop Estate, a beautiful log cabin on top of the mountains, with views of the vineyard, rolling hills and the ocean (the mountains and the sea, remember…) and while the venue couldn’t have been better chosen, planning was intense, since they had to bring everything themselves…down to the kitchen utensils. The ceremony and reception were held outside the cabin, perfect.
Dreamy DIY Details from the Wedding
Jennifer composed a song herself, on the piano, recorded it and walked down the aisle with her Dad to it but most special was how many guests flew all the way from New Jersey to attend, even their grandparents, a real treat! It would be a night to remember, dancing together with their loved ones under the stars…
The couple wrote their entire ceremony themselves and it only makes sense that we share a few snippets, straight from the day:
The Ring Ceremony (Jen’s ring was custom-made and James’ ring was a unique mix of wood and metal)
You’ve brought rings with you today that shall represent these promises. People say that a ring symbolizes no beginning and no end. But these rings did have a beginning. The stones began as a simple structure that only time and pressure could form. The wood was taken from a tree whose roots grew deep and strong. The metal was forged under immense heat and took effort to shape.
Something miraculous was made from raw elements.
This couple had its own humble beginning. Your love is the process of shaping something beautiful where there was once nothing at all. As you wear these rings over the years, may you carry this love to the end of your days.
And the Vows (With Jen’s favorites in bold)
Jennifer, you’ve made me a better person in countless ways. You’ve taught me strength, patience, attention and humility. You’ve given me perspective into the meaning and purpose of this life. My highest highs and lowest lows need only your presence for enrichment. I want to share every thought, every sight and every feeling with you, my love. I vow to carry when you need, to hold you when you want, and to follow you when you lead. I vow to never lose sight of the amazing person that you are and the great fortune I have, to be your choice.
James, life is grander with you in it and our adventures are unforgettable. You melt my worries and ease my stress. You’ve shown me, and those whom I hold most dear, a love that I never dreamed possible.
To always return that same love, now and to the Man you’ll grow to be,
To be the greatest supporter in your life and aspirations,
To care for you when hurt or sick,
To be your partner through thick and thin,
To be your teammate when raising a family
I vow to love you till my dying day and embrace every step of our journey. Never skipping a day to remember these promises, and to always take every chance to see this world that our eyes were meant to see together.
Wedding flowers, by the way, were succulents, greens, white flowers and…purple cabbage!!! It was a standing joke on the day that if the bridesmaids got hungry during the event, at least they could eat their bouquets. Hmmm, good idea, though I worry I’d munch my whole bouquet and stand empty handed, I kinda dig purple cabbage.
Jen’ says that weddings have become so cookie cutter and expensive, it’s important that boho wedding planners think outside the box. The pair did a lot of things on their own, instead of enlisting vendors for EVERYTHING. James made custom leather bowties and suspenders, with handmade leather luggage tags, with names, for the guests as gifts (what a brilliant idea #gottarememberthatone).
Jen’ designed the invites and skipped out on save the dates by sending the invites out early; she also bought terrariums and filled them with succulents grown by her now-mother-in-law, which were used as centerpieces. She also had a good friend work on photos and paid for raw footage of the day but put the video together herself!
Last but not least, as a dessert, the couple had towers of doughnuts from their favorite, DK’s doughnuts in Santa Monica and coupled that with fresh fruit for everyone to enjoy! When ‘cake-cutting’ time came, the couple shared great big, simultaneous bites of the favorite kind of doughnut!!
So you see ladies, real love is REAL THING…DIY weddings can be OFF THE HOOK…and if you plan ahead like James and Jennifer did…and get married over Labor Day weekend, you can plan anniversary getaways for the rest of your (love) lives.
Thanks so much to J & J, who’ve freshly moved house to Santa Barbara, for the blessing of their story…the future awaits!!
Photographer: Kristen Victoria Photography
Julia..her ‘Julia’ Bohemian Wedding Dress and Mark
Every so often, a free-spirited bride-to-be walks into the studio that Yanique feels she just won’t ever be able to forget. Sometimes, like in Julia’s case, the bride envisions and wears the dress sooo ethereally well that the designer feels it’s only right to name it in their honor.
The story about how Mark and Julia met is a new millennium tale and while their first steps may not seem like romance movie material to Julia… the fact is that, in her heart, some serious alignments were taking place which would give birth to her life’s poetry, Love, which just keeps growing. So, yes, Tinder can make dreams come true. Neither of them were serious about the online dating thing, it was a matter of friends coaxing them on from the get-go.
So that fateful Right Swipe happened in August of 2012, after which it took a few good weeks of chatting on the app and getting to know one another before they were ready to exchange phone numbers and organize a real date. The date was set for a Mexican restaurant near where Mark lived, called Habana. Unfamiliar with the spot and its surrounds, Julia rocked up a full hour late for their first date, after not knowing what to wear and getting seriously lost en-route. Flustered to the brink, Julia remembers the way that nervous energy dissipated on joining Mark at the table and how she so quickly needed to accept the reality of his serious handsomeness.
The Blind Date and Kiss of a Lifetime
That blind date stretched on into the hours, with tales told on a whim that both of them had previously felt to keep secret. Julia was swept up in the intrigue of him, his manners and how easily he made her laugh. In her center she felt the poem come to life that night and was grateful when he walked her to her car and said goodbye with a kiss. She could actually kind of hear the fireworks going off in the distance; something was definitely going on here. That event is now safely filed under Julia’s ‘Kiss of a Lifetime’ heading.
Since Julia had been single for such an age before that first date, she liked to joke that if Mark hadn’t popped the question within 3 years, it would be time to break up. It was a joke but Julia did believe that after couple of years, that’s when you’d know whether this was for the long run. While Julia’s pretty sure that she would have been prepared to wait for him forever, she didn’t have to wait that long: only 2 years and 10 months.
The pair was invited on a 2-week trip all through Iceland; a van, friends and the county. They couldn’t contain their excitement; they’d never been to Europe and for them it felt like the opportunity of a lifetime. Julia knows that God serendipitously opened all the doors to make the special trip possible. Of course, Julia was secretly holding thumbs for a proposal but she knew it was wiser to keep her mind off the idea and just enjoy the trip.
“Jules, you are going to get that ice in Iceland!”
The thing is that her friends had caught on and the official group joke was: “Jules, you are going to get that ice in Iceland!” As a result, she simply couldn’t stop thinking about the possibility of getting engaged to the man of her wildest dreams, while exploring one of the most beautiful places on earth.
On the 9th day of their epic journey, Mark kept raving about a ‘Black Rock Beach’ that featured very close to the top his ‘Must See’ list. This obviously tugged on Julia’s hopes but alas, after visiting said beach, there’d still been no proposal. That’s when Julia decided that she was 1000% sure that she had the wrong idea.
On the road to their next sightseeing, Mark suggested that she change into something really cute, so that they could do one of their customary photo-shoots at the waterfall where Justin Bieber shot his music video, “I’ll show you.” Julia rather likes JB so she figured that she could probably use a more Instagram-able getup. Taking pictures at their destinations is something of an obsession for them so Julia definitely didn’t think the request at all suspicious.
Once they got to Skogafoss Waterfall, Mark scouted for the ideal spot for their friends to take a few photos…this was nothing unusual for the group. That’s when Julia felt like the whole world went into slow motion. As Mark turned to her, he took her hand and got down to his knee. She sort of blanked out at that point and actually has no idea what words came out of her mouth, nor can she recall Mark’s actual words. Oh well, we’re thinking that the answer must have been something that sounded like 1000% YESSS!!!!
Speaking of epic journeys, Julia’s hunt for her totally unreal, totally exquisite, totally HER boho wedding dress was like running into a brick wall at first. Her and her sister had been on the hunt for a few months already, when her sister discovered Dreamers & Lovers on etsy.com. She instantly saw sparks and just knew that she needed to book an appointment on the double.
Julia’s vision involved a laid back, long sleeve gown with a dramatic plunging neckline and infinitely feminine lace right through. She now sees that trip to visit Yanique at the studio as the second best decision she’s made in her life thus far. In Julia’s words, Yanique is a beauty with a truly incredible talent. After slipping into a few D&L boho wedding dresses, she laid hands on the Lisa, at which point she and her entourage of lady-fam fell in love with the gorgeous lace, the long sleeves, and the plunging V-backline.
The Birth of the Julia Boho Wedding Dress
The only thing is, Julia had hopes for a plunging neckline and not a plunging back. In a burst of creative spirit, she asked Yanique if she could actually try the Lisa dress on backwards. To everyone’s awe, she came out of that dressing room as though her hopes and dreams had come alive. With the help of Yanique’s skilled and thoughtful seamstresses, D&L took every aspect of her vision on board and a few tweaks later; she had HER bohemian wedding dress, straight from laid-back heaven.
Pop-Up Wedding How-to…Solved!
Plans were set in place for an intimate wedding ceremony with just 23 of their nearest and dearest. Their reception, however, was to be a full on celebration with 150 friends and family partying it up into the night.
Finding a destination for their pop-up, outdoor, desert wedding was to be the greatest challenge; they found it so difficult to decide. They only settled on the perfect location 2 short months before the date; well after their extraordinary photographer, India Earl; their videographer, Max Cutrone, their florist, Leelina Martin and their AirBn’Bs had all been booked.
The mission was to have all 23 guests hop onto a 1 1/2 hour party bus ride to a pop-up ceremony on the Salt Flats in Palm Springs, CA, right in the middle of the desert. The couple will never forget that moment when the bus finally pulled over to the side of the road at Amboy Salt Flats. That’s when the guys sprang into fire-drill-like action, grabbing the macramé-decorated altar, ghost chairs and the rug for the ceremony and building it up from nothing in the space of an hour.
Julia felt like someone might pinch her awake at any moment, when her bridesmaids and mom helped her zip up her ‘Julia’ in the bus as the boys worked miracles outside before their eyes. The feeling of love and support from their dear friends and family, who helped them make their wild pop-up in the middle of sublime nowhere a bright reality. The location picked was at 7840 Amboy Road, Palm Springs, CA.
As for flowers, Julia’s favorite specimen is the King Protea so that’s what she chose for her bouquet, Leelina accented it with dusty swathes of eucalyptus, olive branches, silver tree, silver dollar seeds and the bridesmaids had the same dusty green eucalyptus vibe.
Oh, and since Julia has a weak spot for desert plants like cacti and succulents, she opted for a simplistic naked cake with desert arrangements for accents.
Readings were an integral part of the ceremony so, in Julia’s words, here’s what their beliefs entail and what they chose to have included in the ceremony:
God ordained marriage to be unique and to be the most deeply covenantal relationship possible by incorporating both horizontal and vertical agreements. If we were to see a picture of this, it would resemble a cross. For example, Ephesians 5:3 states that in marriage two individuals cleave together and become one flesh. The word ‘cleave’ emphasizes the Hebrew meaning of a man and a woman literally becoming glued together through a binding oath. This is the horizontal binding. Then, the beautiful nature of God’s perfect love for His people and what He desires for a married couple is expressed in 1 Corinthians 13:
“Love is slow to lose patience. Love is not possessive. It does not pursue selfish advantage. Love never gives up and never loses faith. It is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance.”
This is the example of God’s love, which is the binding agent for the married couple. This is the vertical binding. So, pictorially, husband and wife together and then their married partnership in union with God form the full nature of the Cross.
Self written vows were extremely hard for Julia, who says that there just aren’t enough words in the dictionary to truly explain the eternal kind of love she has for Mark. She could only describe her feelings and how Mark changed her life as a lightning bolt. Lightning bolts strike only once, in one spot and at one time. They have a purpose about where they strike and they most certainly leave a lifelong mark. The lightning bolt lights up the sky fast and if you’re not looking or paying attention you may just miss it. When it happens it might make you very nervous for a second but the aftermath is breathtaking.
Here are Julia’s own words:
Mark struck my heart with his love like no one else has done before and will ever do again. He lights up my world with his catching personality, laugh, and affection. I wasn’t looking for love, but it just happened to fall-like a lightning bolt…straight into my life. And I knew in my heart that there was something about this caring, tender man that I wanted more of. His love is the most amazing thing I have ever experienced and it leaves me in awe.
Next on the horizon for this angelic boho couple, who stole the hearts of the whole Dreamers & Lovers team, is thoroughly relishing the married life, seeing where it all takes them with traveling, puppies and even cacti and then, of course, starting their own new family!!
Photographer: India Earl
Florist: Leelina Martin
Megan + Scott’s Boho California Ranch Wedding
Some of our bride stories are all rose tinted from the start, a crush, a sweeping off the feet and then at last the big day…but some, like Megan’s story, start a little differently. In fact, Megan and Scott found each other somewhat annoying in high school, to say the least. Scott (in Megan’s words) displayed a pompous cool musician guy attitude that she simply didn’t care for and Megan well lets just say that a giggling troop of younger girls might not have been Scotts cup of tea.
Their mutual friend in high school, Garrett, knew their distaste for one another and took it upon himself to place them in tight quarters as often as he could muster. After graduating in 2009, Garrett took Megan to a small college church group where Scott played worship music. A small friendship group was formed, made up of community college kids left behind by those who’d ventured elsewhere to study.
Tight bonds were formed throughout the small circle, with the exception, of course, of Scott and Megan, they just didn’t see eye to eye. After more than a year of hanging out in this close knit group and a couple of really snug houseboat trips…things finally began to change. On one such houseboat trip in 2010 the would-be pair decided to settle their differences by floating out into the water for an extended talk. Three hours later, burned to prune status, they had finally started to develop an understanding of one another and that’s when their friendship began. Megan remembers being amazed at how loyal, honest and trustworthy Scott was, wondering why she hadn’t noticed it before.
Megan started dating one of the guys from the church group and not long after he left for the air force, he cheated on her
After a while, Megan started dating one of the guys from the church group and not long after he left for the air force, he cheated on her. It had only been a few months but Megan was devastated. Scott, having been through a really hard breakup a year before, didn’t give Megan a chance to be alone with her thoughts. He was there for her every day for weeks, until, at last, the friendship began to turn into something more. The first night they kissed was on the couch watching an endless stream of John Mayer in concert YouTube videos. Scott still insists on watching such things almost 5 years later: if you ask me, he seems to be a bit of a romantic.
Having talked about the importance of traveling and spending quality time together when they started dating, Scott and Megan began an annual Christmas tradition of driving up the coast together, using the money they’d otherwise have spent on gifts for each other on an adventure instead. It was during one such trip that Scott decided to pop the question. After a day’s wine tasting in Paso Robles, they were on their way back to Cambria when they stopped at a beautiful lookout point on route 46.
Scott had bought a nice camera along for this specific trip, with a tripod and everything…so, in hindsight, Megan should have known something was up. He’d used the camera all day at the winery and so Megan didn’t question him setting it up the minute they stopped at the outlook point. The next thing she knew he was down on one knee, after something about “and now for the grand finale…”. All that Megan could say was “are you kidding, is this real life, is this real life, are you serious?!”
Her Search for a Boho Wedding Dress Found the One
Megan knew from the get go that a boho dress was the only way for her. No fluffy, huge, expensive monstrosity for this free spirit. She started by doing the old Pinterest and Internet search but all the bohemian dresses seemed to be made in New York with price tags that weren’t exactly boho. Finally, Megan typed in the words ‘boho wedding dress Southern California’ and that’s when she first laid eyes on what Dreamers and Lovers had to offer. Seeing the Lisa dress, Megan’s heart was set and she was through the roof that the store was so close to home.
Showing up for her appointment at D&L Megan decided to try on a bunch of other dresses, saving lovely Lisa for last. When the moment finally came to step into Lisa, everyone with her, family and friends, were all in awe. There was just no doubt in anyone’s mind that this was the wedding dress for Megan. Megan say’s she’s ever grateful to Yanique for making her feel so beautiful on her special day.
So, planning a wedding for 160 guests was no mean feat for the couple and the biggest challenge they encountered was money, as is so often the case. They knew they wouldn’t be able to afford everything they wanted and set about narrowing down their list to only what they could afford.
the venue owners went above and beyond and built a 175-person deck under the oaks from scratch
The venue, Highland Oaks Ranch, naturally caught the attention of the couple when Megan fell in love with the exquisite oaks they had growing beyond the grass. The couple asked whether there was anyway they could have their ceremony beneath the trees and to their amazement the venue owners, Jim and Amber, agreed to build a deck especially for them. It was to be no mere platform for the couple to stand on as they took their vows; the venue owners went above and beyond and built a 175-person deck under the oaks from scratch! It was a dream come true for the both of them.
A friend’s mom did flowers; they were a vision all in fall colors. Greens, dark burgundy with hues of tangerine and white intermixed in the bouquet and centerpieces. The bridesmaids had green bouquets with flowing ribbons. The centerpiece flowers were in gold terrariums and the tables were long rows that were laced with more greenery.
Dessert time made history and is now referred to as no less than Cakemageddon, with the last of California’s great cake mobs being to blame for the whole fiasco. The ‘nothing bundt cakes’ were amazing, to say the least but due to some oversight, there weren’t enough of them. The couple never even got to cut their own cake, let alone eat it…the guests got to it first. All to be expected when you put a sign on the dessert table that reads ‘treat yo self.’ And so they did indeed. The bundtinies disappeared as if they were never there.
The couple’s vows consisted of three affirmations each that the pastor had enlisted them to write to each other as reasons why they loved each other. When it came time for the pastor to recite them, the couple was amazed by just how similar they were.
Scott is the one I choose to journey through life with in its greatest moments and hardest trials
Megan to Scott: One of my favorite qualities about Scott is his intentionality within his friendships. He constantly tends to his relationship not only with me, but with others as well. He is loyal in the sense that once you are in his life; you are in it for good. It doesn’t matter if you have been friends with him since childhood, met him in more recent years, have the same things in common, or see each other very often, he is always there if you need him. Scott is consistent, trustworthy, and compassionate. To me, he is the definition of a good friend, which leads me into the next thing I love (probably the most) about Scott; that he is my best friend. I feel so lucky (and cliché at the same time) to say that I am marrying my best friend, but the reality is that I am. As most of you know, he was my friend long before we started dating. We built our relationship on the foundation of friendship, and because of that I get to love him in different ways. He is my partner, my best friend, my true counterpart. The one I want to come home to every night and tell everything to. The one I want to tackle marriage and parenthood with. Scott is the one I choose to journey through life with in its greatest moments and hardest trials.
She is my comfort food, my calm in the storm, and my forever-best friend
Scott to Megan: Her friendship…there’s not a single moment in the past 5 years that I have questioned the strength of our friendship. She gets me, I get her, and it’s really as simple as that. She’s the person I tell everything to, the person I’m most excited to come home to, and the most of all, the only person I can’t imagine living my life without. She is my comfort food, my calm in the storm, and my forever-best friend.
The pastor talked about the book of Genesis, when God created Adam and Eve:
“Because It was in the quiet beauty of the Garden of Eden that God made man in His image. But the Bible tells us that God saw that it was not good for man to be alone. So with loving care he removed the bone from Adams side from which to fashion Eve. And God Brought Eve to Adam. Thus, the scripture suggests that God specifically made Eve for Adam, and Adam for Eve. Scott & Megan, You have both affirmed that you believe you were purposed to share life together. As an acknowledgment that you do receive one another as God’s gift, please join hands. Scott, it is important for a husband to learn something about receiving his wife by observing the manner in Which God created Eve. God did not use Bone from Adams foot to suggest that he should Rule over the wife. Nor did He take a bone from his head suggest the Eve should Rule over the husband. In choosing to use Adams rib it is suggested that Eve was created to share life at Adam’s side, close to his heart…. to live life together, side by side….”
One of Megan’s favorite aspects of the wedding was the paper goods, save the dates, bridal shower and wedding invites. They were truly unique and it was all thanks to Megan’s friend and wedding coordinator Tianna, who was an absolute dream to work with and made everything, come to life. Every aspect of the creative process was a success with Tianna’s help and Megan highly recommends Tianna Friend Creative for any wedding planning tat needs doing in the Southern California area.
The one piece of advice Megan offers for brides to be is this: Slow down and enjoy the engagement, being engaged and planning a wedding is fun. Don’t stress yourself out too much or you’ll miss the beauty of this special time.
What’s on the cards for this beautiful boho couple? Megan just got accepted into UCI’s masters of teaching and credential program and she’ll be starting this summer. Scott is a musician and is working on songs for release and the couple has a long list of places they plan to travel to in the next few years. They want to spend their twenties traveling and enjoying their time together and after that, maybe kids!
We wish this couple of lovers and best friends all the adventure they could hope for and many, many years of laughter, fun and family to come. Bless!
Dress Featured: Dreamers & Lovers Lisa Backless Bohemian Wedding Dress
Venue: Highland Oaks Ranch in Murietta, CA
To see other brides wearing the Lisa, see this Chloe’s wedding here and Lizzy’s wedding here
This laid-back southern girl with a love for all things boho marries her love in a chilled out Palm Springs wedding. She was one of the most ‘anti-wedding dress’ bride we had the pleasure of meeting. She wanted no frills, no fluff, and nothing too ‘wedding-y’…She first tried on the Annabel caftan and was hooked, and then she tried on the Agnes and fell in love. She felt the Agnes Simple Lace Wedding Dress was more appropriate for her ceremony, but knew that the Caftan had her name and heart on it, so she wore that to her reception. She added custom elements to her Amber gown, as she wanted to make it more ‘Jennie” and naturally more bohemian…the long fitted sleeves were just the perfect pairing on her dress. Just stunning!!
Jennie’s a Southern girl…with a blues and rock and roll soul (especially if the music’s live and something she can dance to). She moved to Hermosa Beach from Louisiana in 2007 and chilling at Boogaloo bar, she felt she’d found a little bit of that Southern style. Of course, the rather attractive barman didn’t hurt either and Jennie soon became something of a regular
Jennie’s a Southern girl…with a blues and rock and roll soul (especially if the music’s live and something she can dance to). She moved to Hermosa Beach from Louisiana in 2007 and chilling at Boogaloo bar, she felt she’d found a little bit of that Southern style. Of course, the rather attractive barman didn’t hurt either and Jennie soon became something of a regular. Needless to say, the two of them were friendly, even though they both had to pretend not to be into each other for the next two years or so. At long last though, they started dating and the rest, as they say, is history.
Aaron and Jennie were born two weeks apart, in the same year, so they are both Aries. With a handful of friends in tow, they made their way to Las Vegas to celebrate their 30th birthday in style…Jennie flew in from Dallas, where she had been working, while the rest of the crew popped in from LA. The first thing that seemed to be a little out of the ordinary was the fact that, on arrival at the hotel, the crew was nowhere to be seen: only Aaron was there, he’d decided they should have a private birthday dinner together before the party got started in earnest.
Jennie really started to wonder when she was taken up to the Eiffel Tower Restuarant and offered the best seat in the house…sure enough, midnight came and there was Aaron, down on on knee, proposing.
Anyone who knows the couple will know that the whole set up was pretty out of the ordinary for them: but that’s what’s so great, the uniqueness of it made it even more unforgettable. On top of that, they got to spend the rest of the weekend celebrating Las Vegas style with all of their best friends.
In spite of their two and a half year engagement, planning started for Jennie almost immediately…through the first year she used Pinterest to source photos of the sort of dress she hoped to find, she spend many a night obsessing over the Annabel gown but had no idea that Dreamers and Lovers (and Annabel) was right around the corner from where she lived. When she finally found out, she was overjoyed and what’s more…she ended up buying not one but two gorgeous, laid-back Dreamers and Lovers boho wedding dresses (I suppose she just couldn’t make up her mind!)
Jennie is super happy that they waited and gave themselves a chance to really enjoy their engagement, without planning stress and time constraints: after all, you only get to be a fiance once in your life so you should savor it. Because they gave themselves ample time they ended up with every venue and vendor that they had hoped for, plus no hectic last minute rush. Jennie knows that stressing during engagement time is not worth the negativity it can introduce to your relationship.
So, the couple invited 130 guests and 99 of their nearest and dearest ended up attending…but the number was just perfect. Aaron and Jennie paid for everything, so finances were a little tricky to manage during planning, although in the end everything worked out just right and was exactly the way they’d hoped it would be. They created an incredible atmosphere, surrounded by greenery in Palm Springs at a lush estate. The atmosphere was probably Jennie’s favorite thing about the wedding!
The couple had one of their best friends act as officiant, because they aren’t religious he opted to tell funny stories about the two of them instead of doing readings: he’s known them for the full 8 years they’ve been together. The couple also wrote their own vows, which ended up being overwhelmingly emotional for Jennie (I love this story). Aaron’s vows described the first time they saw each other and he literally compared it to love at first sight…this was the coolest and sweetest thing for Jennie, who’d spent two years thinking that he just saw her as a friend, more or less! She’d had no idea he felt that way from the get go!
Another favorite was the photobus (from sdphotobus.com), it’s a refurbished VW bus that doubles as a photo-booth, so they have unique and hilarious memories to add to their photo collection. They also had all the palm trees lit up in different colors, which created an absolutely awesome vibe.
Jennie loves nothing more than succulents (except Aaron, obviously) and so her flowers were bright, colorful and succulent heavy. Apparently her bouquet actually weighed more than she does but nonetheless she was 100% happy and her florist absolutely killed it!
Not really ones for tradition, the couple opted for an ice cream sandwich cart instead of the usual wedding cake. The flavors were out of this world and the addition of home made cookies made the idea a huge hit with both the guests and the couple.
The reception really went off with a bang when the entire party jumped into the swimming pool!
What does the future hold for this shining couple? Right now they’re just savoring their journey as newlyweds…with no plans for children at the moment, they know that it will happen if and when it happens. They love to travel, still dig their live music and don’t plan to stop loving life anytime soon. We wish them all the best of a lifetime filled with laughter…
To see other brides wearing the Agnes, take a look at this wedding
Both natives of a small Southern California town called La Crescenta, where everyone knows everyone, Lauren and Brent first met when she was in the 7th grade and him in the 9th. Lauren had been invited on a ski trip to Big Bear for the weekend with a friend and her family and Brent, who was friends with the brother, had been invited as well. Lauren had heard of Brent before but had never actually locked eyes with him; as soon as she had she knew that this would be the guy she married one day. Right from the start, whenever he tried to talk to her, she would get really nervous and feel butterflies in her stomach.
They had an awesome time on the trip but they were still so young and since Brent had a girlfriend at the time, the best Lauren could do was to develop a huge crush on him, which stood the test of time. As Laura approached her senior year, the pair ended up in the same friendship circle. Brent became really close friends with Lauren’s brother, which in turn made it a little easier for Lauren to be around him. Brent officially asked Lauren out on their first date when she graduated from high school: she was 18 and he was 20.
Lauren grew up in a family of avid campers, with a passion for riding dirt bikes and off road vehicles in the desert. For her 26th birthday they planned a trip to Cal City to go camping and do exactly what they love. One Saturday evening, while the girls were all sitting in a trailer talking where it was warm, Lauren noticed Brent walking around the camp aimlessly, in the corner of her eye. Now, this was a little weird because usually the guys would all be together around this time, working on something together or hanging out.
Lauren turned to grab a couple of beers out of the ice chest and when she turned back, she found Brent on one knee, proposing…it was perfect and 100% magical
Lauren approached him and asked what was wrong, insisting he was perfectly fine, he invited Lauren for a sunset cruise in his razor. Lauren agreed and her cousins were set to follow along shortly. Brent even said that she could drive, which was something he never did so she got really excited and they took off. Brent guided her to the top of the mountain where they could switch off engines and enjoy the sunset. Lauren turned to grab a couple of beers out of the ice chest and when she turned back, she found Brent on one knee, proposing…it was perfect and 100% magical.
After a moment of hugging and crying together their cousins showed up out of nowhere…they’d been hiding in the nearby bushes the whole time, taking pictures. They headed back in to camp to find the entire family there cheering for them with glow sticks and champagne. Brent had planned everything out just perfect and it was the most wonderful feeling in the world.
So, Lauren didn’t exactly have an image of her ideal dress in mind…she did, however, know that it would have to be comfortable, as well as a good representation of her style. After seeing pictures from her brother’s friend’s wedding, she fell in love with the dress. She did a little digging and soon found out that the dress came from Dreamers and Lovers. Lauren made one other appointment and an appointment at Dreamers and Lovers. Although she was really discouraged by her first appointment, she knew that she’d find her dress at D & L and lo and behold, she ended up falling in love with the first dress she tried on!
Lauren remembers her favorite one for Brent: “I promise to roll my eyes with you and not at you.
The celebrations were by no means understated, with a total of 257 guests along for the ride.
The couple’s only readings were their vows to each other; they wanted to keep it short and simple but still very meaningful. Lauren remembers her favorite one for Brent: “I promise to roll my eyes with you and not at you.”
The wedding flowers, by Katie from Bottles and Blooms, captured Lauren’s vision perfectly. Ample greenery with pops of rich merlot and blush. At the beginning of the aisle was pampas grass in beautiful big vases and at the altar there was beautiful hanging and draped greenery with a vintage chandelier in the middle. The table settings, boutonnières and bouquets were all absolutely stunning.
The cake was a small and simple cutting cake with a beautiful and simple flower on top. There was also a desert table with cupcakes, brownies, desert shots and s’mores station.
One of Lauren’s favorite details of the wedding was the massive light-up LOVE sign that Brent built. It stood on a little hill behind the dance floor and made its way into just about every picture taken of the event…it looked so cool!
One of the biggest challenges the couple faced during planning was probably the guest list…both their families are huge and Lauren felt terrible about not being able to invite everyone.
Other than that, the day was magical from start to finish and Lauren feels that they couldn’t have asked for anything more. From getting ready with the girls, their first look and pics with their wedding party to the reception, the weather and the music…everything was phenomenal. In fact, they wish they could relive the day from start to finish, maybe the second time round they’d get a chance to sample the food as well!
Photographer: Anna Delores Photography
Venue: Retro Ranch Temecula
Planning: Pure Lavish Events
Florist: Bottles and Blooms
Dress: Agnes with Customizations
So you fancy that sexy colleague but you’re convinced it won’t end well? Think again…as Anna says, it’s worth it to date a co-worker when you’re planning on marrying him! You guessed it, this gorgeous couple met on the job. Now, although they worked in different locations they got the chance to chat on the phone regularly. Anna would call Mike to ask for help with a task and Mike would soon have her in stitches, laughing uncontrollably. They became friends until, two years later, they started dating and lucky for them, co-workers and management were super-supportive, to the extent that their CEO ended up being their officiant!
The proposal story is a classic: the couple was on holiday in Hawaii when, on the first night of their trip, Mike got down on bended knee to make the move. However, in his attempt to locate the ring in his obviously very complex jacket…he fell hopelessly short. That didn’t deter Mike, he simply removed then entire jacket and offered that to Anna instead. Needless to say, she refused to comply until he’d unearthed the elusive ring. The rest of the trip was spent with them both deliriously happy.
So, living in Santa Barbara, Anna visited a few Bridal outlets before deciding rather to schedule a big dress hunting expedition to LA with her mom and sister. They’d made appointments to visit four boutiques on their first day, with Dreamers and Lovers being third on their list. Anna had a vision in mind, lace, with a low back and a stunning train. In true boho spirit, Anna was un-phased about wearing a train at an outdoorsy ranch wedding and with good cause…her gown ended up fitting in just fine. When they reached their third appointment and she tried on the Amber dress, she knew she’d found the one. Amber ticked all the boxes and on top of that, it just felt so Anna. They quickly cancelled their fourth appointment and the rest is history!
Using their own mixing skills, the couple laid the track over a piano cover that they found on YouTube, resulting in a wedding-worthy and truly romantic number for their first dance
So, it was to be a medium sized, boho-ranch bash with 150 friends and family on the guest list. As they set about planning, they considered which song to use for their first dance, as this was an element of importance to them. Having spent a night at a big electronic music gig, shortly before they began dating, they’d fallen in love whilst dancing to one specific song. They wanted to use it for their first dance but let’s just say that the beats were a little on the intense side. They reached out to the producer, expecting nothing back, what with him being well known and traveling the globe doing gigs and all. To their pleasant surprise he responded by donating a sample of the vocal track. Using their own mixing skills, the couple laid the track over a piano cover that they found on YouTube, resulting in a wedding-worthy and truly romantic number for their first dance. A choreographer friend helped them to come up with the perfect moves to match their song.
When Anna was nine, she’d decided that her centerpieces would be rustic bowls with floating flowers and candles and that’s exactly what she had. This was the only detail that she used that was part of her childhood vision of that perfect day. She’s incredibly grateful to her mom, who designed them, because they turned out exactly how she’d always pictured them.
Cake tasting was one of the couple’s favorite parts of the planning process. The wedding cake was a red velvet naked cake with a cream cheese frosting. Both the cake and the catering for the event were beyond delicious and thoroughly enjoyed by all.
At one point during the day, the photographers took the happy couple and bridal party into a field to do a shoot. Anna and her bridesmaids were all barefoot and they soon discovered the ground in the field was prickly and painful. Mike offered Anna a piggyback ride and it was only a matter of time before every bridesmaid had paired up with a groomsman to receive the same service. One couple even took a tumble; it was a hysterical experience which none of them will ever forget.
Readings were not of the traditional kind. As you know, the couple’s CEO officiated
Readings were not of the traditional kind. As you know, the couple’s CEO officiated…now; he took it upon himself to request a gem of wedding advice from each family member, which he then related at the ceremony. It was both touching and hilarious, such a brilliant idea!
The couple chose to write their own vows and Anna warmly remembers this snippet from the end of Mikes vow to her: “
“I promise to continue to be the person you fell in love with. I will always put you first, and try my best to make you laugh and smile. I will always make you feel safe, secure, and comfortable. In doing this, I hope I can make you feel even half as good as you make me feel. I love you.”
Mike’s favorite was when Anna explained that he had a tendency to make her laugh so hard that she usually became quite self-conscious about it.
The only challenge they encountered in the planning was the fact that they didn’t realize that their day coincided with a popular local fair, for which the streets were closed. As you can imagine that made transport somewhat difficult and also meant that hotel rooms weren’t easy for the guests to find. An outstanding shuttle service and a few strings pulled though and the event were a great success.
Anna’s advice to other boho-brides is that it’s your day and you can do whatever you want, you don’t have to do something just because it’s tradition. The couple made no grand entrance or exit, as it just didn’t feel authentic to them. Make sure your family and friends know to stay close on the day of the event…they will ground you and keep you centered!
So what’s next for the couple? They have plans to buy a house soon but otherwise they’re just relishing their time together as a young husband and wife. Little ones are on the cards but likely only in the next five years or so. We wish them many a romantic summer and many a wholesome, homely winter, together with all the love they can possibly bare!
Photographer: California based Kindred Weddings
Anna’s Dress: Dreamers & Lovers Backless Amber Simple Wedding Dress
To see more bride’s wearing the Amber, see Alexis California Wedding and see it in this California coastal setting here