Their romance blossomed after happy hour, and ignited a journey of happiness which involves traveling the country in a renovated school bus and getting married on Lake Superior, with their 10 nearest and dearest in tow. Everything about their intimate elopement wedding day speaks natural and simple beauty!! The bride, Laura added long sleeves to her simple white wedding dress, and it is magical.
Tell us, how did you meet? I moved to California from Minneapolis in 2010 for grad school. My grad-school roommate was from Redondo Beach and suggested moving there after school. James was high school friends with my roommate, so we met through him. I ended up driving James home from the Pier after happy hour one time, and we stopped for a drink together on our way home, and the rest is history.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: James and I have been traveling in a renovated school bus for the last 14 months. (instagram @shortbustamove) We were traveling on the east coast when I was shopping for dresses. I looked online, and all of my searches kept bringing me to Dreamers & Lovers. My mom, bless her heart, tried to coordinate having dresses shipped to me while traveling, but I didn’t have a permanent address or even a mirror to try them on. My only mirror was at Planet Fitness – ha! So I decided to fly out to California for 24 hours. I had been living in Torrance for 8 years prior to our trip, so I was able to bring some of my friends shopping with me. I had only one appointment set up, Dreamers & Lovers. I knew I wanted a dress from D&L, and I was only in town long enough for this one appointment. So I said, “this is it, I’m finding a dress here”. I wasn’t surprised at all that I was able to find my perfect dress at D&L.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My brother officiated the ceremony, which was one of the most special parts of the wedding. The ceremony in general was non-denominational, though drew from various spiritual themes and traditions. My husband and I come from different religious backgrounds, so my brother was able to weave these into the ceremony. He built a traditional Jewish Chuppah, a canopy that represents the couple’s new life together. Traditionally, a chuppah must be a temporary structure created by hand (my brother). It’s open to the sky above as a connection with ancestors, and open on all four sides to represent hospitality. The is a covering, depicting God is all around us, one/flowing.
Photographer: Alina Kay
He cleansed the area with sage, and had us all take a rock from lake superior to hold for the ceremony. After the ceremony, we returned the rocks to the lake with a message of thanks to nature. He also used the theme of ancestors throughout the ceremony, which made the ceremony pretty emotional. He spoke of ancestors being a bridge between the past and present. He led us in a guided reflection on our ancestors. All married family members also shared “what marriage means to you”.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows… we tried to keep them light, but with meaningful to both of us.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? My photographer. I loved all of the details, including my dress and flowers, and she was able to capture everything so beautifully in such a natural style.
What advice do you have for other future-brides currently planning a wedding? Keep it simple. Spend time on things that will be meaningful to you and your spouse, rather than the “extras”. Spend money on a good photographer – it’s worth it.
Tell us all about the proposal- There wasn’t one! We had planned on getting married while on our trip, and we wanted family to be there, so we decided to get married last summer on the North Shore of Lake Superior with our family 🙂
How many guests did you have?– 10, parents and siblings. My brother officiated.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert? Simple, 8 inch round, white textured. I had my florist make a topper for the cake.
What was your favorite detail of the wedding? MY DRESS!! I’m still getting compliments.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Figuring out logistics while on the road.
What’s next for you as a couple? We just finished our year of travel, and we will be moving to Minnesota. I grew up there and my family is there. I’m a little nervous for James – he’s lived in Redondo Beach his entire life! It’s going to be cold!
Tell us about your wedding flowers? Flora North was amazing to work with. They matched my dream of having moody colors in a natural environment. The flowers were natural, moody and dramatic.
Photographer: Alina Kay Photography
Hanna and Matthias’ picture perfect Cathedral Park wedding was planned in a way that can only be labeled spontaneous. It took them all of 3 months to DIY and dream together the deliciously boho tidbits and touches of their oh-so-boho, laid back wedding. And it all turned out just as they’d wanted.
The venue…which was almost as breathtaking as Hanna in her comfortable wedding dress from D&L, was booked a jaw-dropping week before the day, without them even having visited the site.
The photo-book of Hanna and Matthias’ special day tells the tale of how simple additions, a light copper arch dressed with moody boho blooms, greenery dressed blackboards with hand-chalked notes on love, along with the ultimate venue and the ultimate boho wedding dress go a very long way toward making that perfect day a reality.
Using the Gothic bridge supports in Portland, Oregon’s Cathedral Park as their ‘chapel’ was a stroke of genius from the couple and shots of the small group of attendees under the huge archways of St. John’s Bridge, with the gorgeous parkland’s behind, look like something out of a fairytale.
The concrete backdrop of their ceremony spot was beautifully offset with simple bohemian touches, the arch mentioned earlier, a small Persian rug for the pair to stand on as they took their vows, a copper bar cart and an assortment of minimal copper candlesticks, greenery and copper goblet and saucer for their communion wine and bread.
It was the ceremony, which really stood out as the most memorable for this happy couple, especially when the March sun decided to show its face during the proceedings, as if the day was designed for them. A particularly sweet moment was when the officiant ask the couple to turn and look at the loved ones present at the ceremony, saying:
“These are your people. These people know you and love you and have come here today to celebrate and bless this marriage. You have a history with them, relationships with them, and intimacy with them. You are very rich people to have these friends and family. And they really love you a lot. ”
Olivia Strohm Photography did a remarkable job of capturing the couple in authentic bohemian style. I particularly enjoyed the shots taken with the Blockhouse’s neighbor, Pomarius nursery, as backdrop, complete with terracotta pots, waiting to be filled and a selection of flowers the couple didn’t have to order and pay for…the result was a feast of natural moments that truly exemplifies the couple’s feelings for one another. Even better, Olivia was always there, encouraging the couple to snog, which both of them really appreciated!
Speaking of the Blockhouse, this quaint event space served the pair’s reception needs just fine and them and their guests were able to settle down to craft beers, good ol’ fashioned burgers, fries and doughnuts…it goes to show, you needn’t pay for a whopping 5 course spread to keep your guests happy.
Hanna fixed all the stationary her creative self and the couple brought in less than a handful of vendors. At the end of the day it was about simple, timeless boho touches along with the love and laughs that they and their nearest and dearest brought to the table.
In their own words:
“We wanted our wedding to be a celebration of God’s sovereignty in our relationship and in the relationships that have and will support us as we grow together. Ultimately, we wanted to mob around and explore an unfamiliar city with our closest friends and family and make new memories as we kicked off this new season of our lives!“
Easy as that.
Photography: Olivia Strohm Photography
Ceremony Venue: Cathedral Park
Reception Venue: The Blockhouse
The Sparks didn’t fly the first time at the coffee shop, but it did on the second encounter. Share in their dreamy warehouse wedding in downtown Los Angeles, and his on-point navy blue suit, and her backless lace simple wedding gown.
Lisa and Kyle had met before, while working at the Campus Coffee Shop at Loyola Marymount University…but that didn’t really result in any sparks. The second time they met, at a party during the weekend before junior year, something in the stars made itself known. After that chance encounter came many more, so called ‘accidental’ encounters, which seemed to be happening a little too regularly to be mere coincidence.
It then so happened that the pair, along with a large group of friends, planned to go on a hiking trip. Oddly enough, every single person in the group called to cancel…only Lisa and Kyle were left and destiny, it seems, was written. The couple didn’t follow suit and cancel though, rather, they took up the opportunity for a first date and… Things have never
been the same since.
The proposal happened on a day that made Lisa even more keenly aware that she’d landed on a catch who’d see her through thick and thin, who she could count on to be by her side through life’s trials and uncertainties…it was the day the of the 2017 Women’s March in Downtown LA. The couple had spent the morning at the march, had lunch and then went to Vista Hermosa Park, where Kyle took the plunge and proposed! Lisa obviously accepted, all that was left to do was plan the big day…and live their love for good!
When it came to finding the perfect, totally boho wedding dress, Lisa couldn’t help but be entranced the moment she came across Dreamer & Lover’s lovely and very aptly named, Lisa simple wedding gown on Instagram. Right away she scheduled a visit to the Dreamers and Lovers Studio with her mom, to try on a selection of three low-key simple wedding gowns, one of which was obviously her namesake.
With more than a subtle instinct about the rightness of the Lisa dress, Lisa arranged that she try that one on last, good move, since it was Lisa that had her in tears the minute she stepped into it. The deal was officially sealed and Lisa had found the ONE…it was Lisa, lol!
95 Nearest and dearest were invited to an intimate wedding that, for the couple, needed to incorporate things that made sense in the context of their relationship. This was an intention that saw the plans deviating rather heavily from tradition at times and explaining the WHY to their largely traditional families was something of a challenge for the couple. Luckily, at the end of it all, their respective families saw the beauty in it all, only to come to appreciate it, as they did, for the intention behind it.
The couple decided to write their own vows, more than that…they wrote two sets! One set was more personal and got read during first look and the other set was read in front of friends and family at the ceremony. Their favorite phrase was, “ to fill our life with adventure and our home with laughter/ to encourage you to grow as an individual and inspire you to do so/ to love you completely.”
Other than that, one of the couple’s favorite poems, Kyle’s sister read ‘I carry your heart with me,’ by EE Cummings. The poem found a place in their combined heart when they had had to endure a long distance summer love one year. And…To honor the families and heritage of both lovers, the couple took turns reciting lines in English and Spanish, during their vows.
Lisa had a lot of fun with her chosen vendors, she felt inspired by their creativity and felt that getting to know the unique individuals who poured so much of their heart and soul into making her day perfect was one of the most rewarding parts f the day, for sure!
Flowers were done and mastered by Sophie Ballmer of Sybil Sophia, who grasped and perfectly executed Lisa’s desire for tons of greenery with subtle shows of white. Even more astounding and perfect was the way Sophie incorporated white orchids into the bouquet mix, since Lisa is of Guatemalan heritage and the La Monja Blanca white orchid is actually Guatemala’s national flower.
One of the best things for the couple was that people really noticed the effort they had put into making their boho Los Angeles wedding original and uniquely their own. One such effort was the adorable, customized papel picado flags they ordered, which had their names on! The colorful flags came out so great that many of the guests took them home as souvenirs, awesome!
For dessert, the pair opted for mini doughnuts and conchas, which are a delicious Mexican specialty that is like a sweet, enriched bread roll with cookie dough like topping and a shell pattern on top, yumbles!
Lisa highly recommends that laid-back-bride-to-be’s opt for a month-of coordinator, as so many possible stress factors arose during the days leading up to their boho dream day, such as rain, for example, that she doesn’t think she would have survived in one piece without the welcome assistance of an industry pro.
Lisa told us that she now understands why they say your wedding day is one of the happiest days of your life! The couple were absolutely thrilled with the way everything turned out on the day, to have so many people from so many different stages and aspects of their lives come together and celebrate on a day that was completely their own was just priceless.
Also major love for their warehouse wedding venue at the Unique Space in downtown Los Angeles. We think it’s the perfect spot to host an intimate small wedding for boho brides. The interior spaces all goes great with the bride’s simple wedding gown.
As for the future, well…in between the endless joys of building and savoring a life together, this pair still have their honeymoon coming up, as it was postponed. Now they’re just eagerly counting down the days before they get to leave on a romantic tour of beautiful Panama! All the very best, you guys!! MWAH!
Photographer : This duo happens to be one of our favorites, based in LA and has now shot so many of our brides’ wedding. Isaiah Taylor Photography.
It’s always such a treat for us to see our ethereal Dreamers and Lovers, boho wedding dresses on brides from other continents…it’s one of the many benefits of our international ‘try on at home program‘ and it’s something that’s been making our laid back boho brides and us very, very happy! (Yes, any of our wedding dress can be tried in your own home.) This time, we were treated to a photo album, courtesy of Zoe Alexandra Photography, of one of our very-much-in-love couples all the way from the green shores of Scotland. Through photos we felt like we were experiencing their wedding day.
Ruth and Neil tied the knot at the moody and magnificent, sweeping locale of the Scotland’s Cambo Estate, in a ceremony that will be the color to their guest’s and their dreams for many a year to come.
The Estate has been around since the 1600s but the impressive, stone manor house was built in the 1800s, set amidst the iconic rolling pasture hills of the Scottish countryside, with wooded walks and its own tract of breathtaking Scottish coastline.
This boho bride wanted a woodland theme wedding, in the heart of fall…or autumn, when the countryside is at its most magical and the colors of eternal sunset fall to earth and dress the trees. Ruth and her man chose the right location and Ruth most certainly choose the right Dreamers and Lovers bohemian long sleeve lace wedding dress, which, paired with a sweeping veil, make the images of the day look as if they were snapped during the making of some epic period tale of Scottish romance.
As is the custom amongst Scots, the groomsmen donned kilts in family tartans for the special occasion, looking old school, highland dapper as they posed for shots, which will entertain their descendants for generations to come. Look how perfect they look!
The ceremony was held inside the estate proper but there was nothing boring about it. The photos paints the picture of a boho chic but very nontraditional wedding. Myrtle and Bracken, who handles the floral portion of the wedding planning, saw to it that Ruth was able to bring some of her woodland wonderland inside with rich boho blooms and gorgeous indigenous foliage.
The couple wanted the ceremony to be a true reflection of their souls and it was an intimate part of the event, which allowed Ruth to feel utterly present, at peace and yet tickled with anticipation. Ruth’s dear friend married them; Lucy and another pair of the couple’s artful friends sang and plucked away at the guitar strings while the guests took their seats in the manor hall.
Just then, as if to carve this ceremony even deeper into everyone’s hearts, the musical pair led a sing along in which all the guests happily took part. One of Neil’s groomsmen had the honor of telling the love story of the pair’s meeting and it was a tale that managed to draw both tears and laughs out of all those who witnessed the union.
Photos from the manor house show the adorable flower girls, looking at home in the period manor with authentic knitted sweaters and pure white cotton frocks, stockings and shoes. The bridesmaids wore gowns in faded aquamarine, much like those Scottish waters looked on that misty autumn morning. All in all a picture perfect bridal party.
The ceremony exit was a feature we’re positive the manor house cleaning staff were not so fond of…confetti cannons blasted a rainbow storm of happiness into the air as the couple kissed and headed of to the reception to get the party started.
The reception was held inside a cozy marquee, nestled deep in the nearby woodland. It may have been snug and warm in the marquee but with its transparent sides, the party was able to truly capture the essence and atmosphere of autumn. The marquee was fitted with rustic trestle tables and atmosphere building candles, which created a warm glow amongst Ruth’s chosen, moody blooms and Autumnal foliage.
Glass, brass and gold hints throughout complemented Ruth’s dress and the kilts worn by the gents, together with reams of twinkling fairy lights, did the trick in creating a rustic woodland wonderland vibration which permeated the hearts and souls of all those present.
The guests shared scrumptious food platters and delighted in love, cheese, beer and wine until the early hours…when the party hit the dance floor. It was about that time when Ruth broke out the glitter collection, for which Neil’s beard turned out to be the perfect canvas! LOL!!
In love, with Ruth’s wedding dress? Then you’ll be in love with all of our wedding dresses with long sleeves.
I’m inclined to think of rustic or vintage boho as very much an American thing but our beautiful D&L bride, Lauren, and her hubby, Nick, are here to prove that moody vintage and rustic boho weddings go down just as much a treat in the chilly UK and judging by these gorgeous pics, the genre feels right at home…. anywhere in the world!
The Hunt for her Long Sleeves Lace Wedding Dress from the UK
When it came to picking the perfect dress, bohemian goddess, Lauren, had already run the gauntlet of boutique appointments but with no luck. Lucky for her, she’s an Internet savvy diva and came across Dreamers and Lovers on one of the many wedding blogs she followed. Obviously skeptical about ordering online, Lauren requested 2 sample dresses for the home try-on, one of them being the lovely Valentina boho wedding dress.
She instantly knew it was far more her style than any of the boutique try-ons and she sent in her measurements, along with a request for a few customizations. Lauren was swept away when it arrived, with add-ons, perfect to the last stitch and fitting like a laid-back boho wedding gown glove! She was absolutely pumped about having something that wasn’t readily available in her area and even more excited by just how chill and comfy she felt in it the whole day!
The bridesmaids were all shapes and sizes, including Lauren’s preggo sister-in-law, so they opted to match the floral pallet as near as dang and ordered a selection of boho bridesmaid dress styles from ‘Boohoo’ and ASOS’ online. Even the groom opted for the online route, sending his measurements in to Oliver Wicks for his sexy threads.
Their Dreamy Outdoor Venue – Perfect for a Bohemian Bride + Groom
Now, both Nick and Lauren knew that a run-of-the-mill wedding venue just wasn’t going to cut it for them…as serious lovers of the outdoors, their dream had been a woodland wedding but being in the heart of England, they had to consider, weather, access and protecting their beloved guests from mudslides and frostbite (lol). Luckily for them, Nick discovered the Wild Garden at Hyde Estate in West Sussex online, a large pond, plenty trees and a labyrinth of picturesque little bridges were more than enough to capture both their imaginations.
Lauren and Nick weren’t about to let the details slow them down either. The venue wasn’t licensed, so they finalized all the legalities at Guildford Registry Office a few days prior, who allowed them to have Lauren’s Uncle Glen marry them on the day, as special treat as he put together all the best bits from Internet ceremonies and the couple wrote their own vows! Undaunted by the lack of ablution facilities, they hired loos! They even hired a generator, since the venue had zero power!
They rented a couple of giant white teepees from Makatipis, complete with mirror ball, lighting and dance floor. Indeed, everything had to be rented… tables, chairs, crockery, glassware…one thing was certain, this DIY boho wedding turned out a little more expensive than expected, what with all the extras made necessary by the unique venue but y’ know… even though they’d expected a manor house wedding with all the necessaries included to be the pricey option, it was all well worth it in the end!
Now, in spite of the fact that the Wild Garden venue was beautiful in and of itself, this boho bride had been keeping a sneaky Pinterest wedding board for years prior to the proposal, you go girl!! Meaning, there was a wedding vision well in place, a boho décor vision as well and, come hell or high water…those visions were going to be met! There was to be a vintage/DIY/botanical theme and the couple, who share the same tastes, had to scour a good number of car boot sales before the time to gather all the bits and bobs they needed. Some things were also bought on Gumtree, while others were bought new.
The venue was split up into sections, which made it more interesting for the guests to sit or stand around and chat in different sections or explore. They had a bar area, with a borrowed drinks trough and everything displayed on a table with big drinks dispensers. Nick made a big ‘Bar’ sign and a clever ladder with shelving to keep the glasses in!
For the chill out section, a green leather chesterfield couch was found on gumtree, as well as a convenient bar trolley! Creative Nick even made the dream-catchers himself! The pair made a ‘family-tree’ with old family pictures as a tribute to family members who’ve passed on. And speaking of trees, they used a natural aisle of trees for the ceremony and lined it with glass flagons filled with flowers and with giant white balloons tied to them, all signs were hand painted on stained plywood and doors, benches and archway were crafted by DIY extraordinaire, Nick!
Remember those tipis they hired, well, those needed decorating and they were pretty big! Luckily for the couple, their family members were feverishly engaged in setting everything up a few days prior. They had giant clear balloons filled with confetti and ferns hanging from the tipi apices, one of which popped during a speech, showering confetti all over the place, unplanned but seriously cool!!!
They had long tables full of flowers for the sit down meal, the table setting had been planned in advance, so they knew what they wanted on each one. They had collected lots of old jars, bottles and vases of different sizes and colors to put flowers in, as well as little terracotta pots filled with wax flower and eucalyptus. The tea light holders were jars from Nicks parents that Lauren had painted gold, while table names were vintage bird postcards from Etsy set in little Rose Gold wire stands, also found on Etsy.
To get the party started, Nick came up with the idea of playing ‘Hook A Duck’ to find your seat…they found their ducks online, wrote the bird names on the bottom and stuck guests names on top. Nick made a huge barrel for the pond and he also made the sign, Nick turned out to be seriously handy, and handsome as well…score! Not only did the game help folks kill time during photo hour, it broke the ice and guests had crazy fun doing it!
DIY Floral Arrangements
When it came to the all important floral aspect, the couple knew they were already spending a lot and that florists can be seriously pricey, so they ordered all their own flowers and foliage and did all the arrangements, centerpieces and bouquets themselves, with the help of Becky the bridesmaid for bouquets and flower crowns! Lucky for the ladies, the hen-do had actually been a flower crown-making workshop so they didn’t have to count on the Internet for all their how-tos and inspiration!
Speaking of Becky, who is also Lauren’s cousin…, she turned out to be hella useful during preparations as she also happens to be a professional make up artist who even works on West End productions in London. In between her London shows they got together for a little trial with Lauren showing some of her favorite hair and make up Pins. While Lauren isn’t big on make up, she trusted her cousin to get it just right and that’s exactly what she did on the day, with a bunch of giggles to boot. When the gals were ready, Nick surprised them with a vintage car pickup from the hotel to the beautiful venue!
Food was a vegetarian BBQ (since Nick is a vegetarian), courtesy of Jonathan’s Catering near Cirencester, although it was a sit down meal it was served buffet style, with folks getting up to dish by table…which added to the relaxed atmosphere. Everyone enjoyed the munchies and Jonathan managed to get all their requests in within budget!
The gorgeous 3 tier, blueberry and lemon sponge cake with ombre icing, gold leaf and edible flowers was thanks to the baking talent of Nicks own brother, Dom……They were, of course, thrilled with the result!
So you see, with a little help from friends and fam, a handy hubby-to-be and some original thinking, you can turn even the most unequipped venue into the perfect boho-wedding spot.
We wish the stunning couple all the best and decade upon decade of love and laughs to come!
Check out this other amazing UK bohemian wedding we just looove.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Louise Scott Photo
Featured on UK Wedding Blog Rock My Wedding
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