Happy weekend lovelies! I have a bunch of fun links for you, but first, a quick shameless plug of my little sister’s Kickstarter campaign for her Denver dessert truck, The Bumblebee! Help launch this yummy little truck and get some fun swag or some delicious goodies!
The bride tells us why she and her groom chose this lovely venue: “Jake wanted to have an East Coast-y garden wedding and I wanted something that felt very relaxed and Californian. The Descanso Gardens’ Oak Forest and Rose Garden felt like the perfect combination of those two inspirations.”
“Surprisingly, my favorite part of the wedding was our ceremony – I thought the party would take the cake!” says the bride. “Our officiant, a friend of ours, blew us away with his speech. We also brought an heirloom rug from our home and stood on it as we got married. After the ceremony, our officiant asked all of our guests to walk across it, spreading their ‘positive protons’ on it. It is now back in our living room, and I love looking at it and being reminded of our wedding every day.”
The bride’s family owns Bake ‘n’ Broil in Long Beach, and is known for their Red Velvet cake, so it was a natural choice for the newlyweds’ wedding dessert. Three of the cakes were displayed on vintage pressed glass cake stands.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? The venue was the main inspiration for our wedding. We were lucky to have the garden inform most of our color and decor choices. From there, we just chose things that seemed to fit and that we genuinely loved, and I think it came together beautifully.
What was the best advice you received as a bride?The best advice I received was to do whatever Jake and I wanted and not worry too much about pleasing everyone else. Though we made sure that our parents had certain wishes granted, we made every decision with our taste in mind. We decided that we didn’t want to spend a great deal of the ceremony mingling at the tables… if people wanted to talk to us, they met us on the dance floor!
What advice do you have for other brides? Being easy-going leading up to the wedding day is the way to go! I really didn’t stress over the small stuff and it allowed me to be present and enjoy every moment.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? I made the invitations myself by looking for inexpensive or free fonts online, buying paper and envelopes from Paper Source, and using a local printer that got good Yelp reviews. We also saved a great deal on our cake; my family owns a bakery/restaurant in Long Beach and they make the world’s best red velvet. It was a no-brainer that they’d make our wedding cake. We also have a friend who is a DJ, so that saved us cash as well.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day? Aside from the ceremony, we made sure to pay homage to my late mother, who died a month before Jake and I got engaged. I tucked a small swatch of her wedding hat in the lining of my dress, carried a handkerchief with her initial on it, and Jake and my first dance was to The Carpenter’s “Close To You.” (Though another reason we chose it was because it is Homer and Marge’s song.) We also didn’t have traditional groomsmen or bridesmaids; instead, we each got married with our respective older sisters by our side.
Three of the most delightful days I’ve ever spent were at one of Ariella Chezar‘s incredible floral workshops, so it’s always such a treat to feature them here. With these beautiful photos by Meg Smith, you’ll be dreaming of gardens and flowers for days…
From Ariella: “Chalk Hill has always been high on my flower fantasy list as it is an absolutely spectacular cut flower farm. The Healdsburg setting and property is beyond, and the owners Kaye and Richard Heafey have created something truly beautiful. Not only are the clematis to die for, but there are row upon row of massive arching bushes of caning garden roses, an olive grove (they make really delicious olive oil and aged balsamico), a beautiful Mary Toomey designed garden, and the most insane kitchen garden I’ve ever seen. Wisteria draped arbor, espaliered fruit trees, fig hedges, citrus galore, several happy humming bee hives, pomegranates…
“It was such a kick to see the greedy glee in all the attendees faces as they cut buckets upon buckets of blooms. Thorns be damned, no one could get enough. There really is nothing like cutting your own flowers.”
Workshop attendees discussed color and choosing flowers for an event, and had the chance to create some of Ariella’s signature-style compote arrangements, taller statement arrangements, and bridal bouquets…
“My goal for these workshops is to teach people in an inspiring setting, feed them delicious food and allow them to work with the most beautiful flowers around. A full on sensual overload,” says Ariella. “I think Chalk Hill offers that and more, and so I intend to make it an annual occurrence.”
There are two spots left in Ariella’s next Master Class workshop at Chalk Hill, May 13-15. Find more information right HERE, or you can sign up for Ariella’s mailing list to be notified of future workshops HERE.
On the final day of Ariella’s Master Class workshops, attendees learn about designing a cohesive, unforgettable party. Check back later today to see Ariella‘s stunning table from last year’s Chalk Hill workshop, with more beautiful pics by Meg Smith.
You guys, I had the hardest time deciding which images to share in this post, because there were SO MANY amazing photos and details to choose from! Do not miss the gallery on this one – so much more inspiration from this woodland wedding to see! The bride shared so many great details, and Caught the Light captured the day beautifully – it feels like stepping inside a fairy tale!
Says the bride on the choice of venue: “Both James and I love being outdoors and going on walks, and I’ve always found it incredibly uplifting to be out amongst nature. Being a bit of a romantic, I think I’ve always had a thing for forests and woodlands – there’s a certain magic and wonder about them. The woodland we got married in also runs alongside our home, so this particular location held a lot of significance and personal meaning for us as well.”
(From the photographer: “Marina and James live beside the woodlands, and through the land registry they were able to find out who owns the woods and sought permission to use them for their ceremony.” What a special place to tie the knot!)
Caught the Light | Snippet & Ink
The bride shares some of the thoughtful details from the day: “We created a ‘Family Tree’ which we adorned with pictures of our respective family members getting married through the generations through to the present day. It was a sweet reminder of all the different loves and marriages that had led to each of us arriving at the present day and our own marriage. We also hung up little animal masks for children to pick up as they entered the woodland, to add a bit of fun to their experience of the day.”
“We wrote our own vows for the wedding and had a humanist celebrant officiate the event, who also wrote and read a lovely personal statement about us as a couple and our hopes for the marriage and our future together. Before exchanging rings, we also planted a tree in the wood, as a symbol of our marriage, and our family members gave readings before and after. We wanted our guests to feel very much a part of the event, so they all sang ‘Hey Jude’ together under the trees, which was fun.”
Some DIY details: “My cousin’s wife created all of our wedding stationery, which really set the rustic and organic theme of the big day,” shares Marina. “I also got quite hands-on, creating a number of embroidery hoops which we strung up in the garden, along with hanging tea lights. For wedding favors, we gave our guests little saplings that we had grown from acorns after we got engaged. The guests then took these home & planted them in recognition of something that held meaning for them.”
“For the wedding breakfast, we all sat together at long refectory tables, which made it feel like we were all eating together ‘family feast’ style. The name cards at the table settings also contained an unusual fact about each of the guests which was fun for starting conversations. Our florist dressed the tables in the most spectacular floral arrangements that brought the outdoors in and gave the illusion that we were all in amongst the trees.”
“Instead of a wedding cake, we came up with the idea of a ‘Brownie Mountain’ that everyone could take a slab of. I like that it was presented in a very informal style, with the sense that we were all feasting on a something home baked, out of the family kitchen.”
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? I remember watching the woodland wedding scene from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves when I was young, and being completely taken by the visuals – being married amongst the trees and the natural beauty of it all. Thinking back, it probably was the starting inspiration for our own wedding day. Throughout the wedding planning process, I was also quite inspired by the idea of creating something very organic, handmade and personal that really reflected us as couple. So we did as much ourselves as possible and it ended up being quite a “crafty” project with lots of DIY touches.
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? Probably the point at which my bridesmaids and I walked through the woods to the ceremony itself. It was quite overwhelming to see our nearest and dearest gathered together in the clearing and James waiting beside this incredible floral arch. I was excited and nervous in equal measure, but also blown away by the visual impact of the setting, so it was a really emotional moment!
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? For my something blue, I had a piece of my Dad’s tie pinned to the inside of my wedding dress (he passed away 3 years earlier), so that was very meaningful.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? To create a really thorough “on the day” plan, that you delegate to someone else to take charge of on the day, so you can really relax and enjoy the whole day’s experience as a carefree participant, rather than a project manager.
What advice do you have for other brides? To enjoy the process as much as possible, and accept offers of help from friends & family. Not only does that mean you don’t carry the burden of preparation and organization single-handedly, but it’s actually the contributions of others that help make the whole day really personal!
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? The best investment we made was on the photography – we’d definitely recommend getting a great photographer whose work you connect with, as the photos really do last a lifetime and have the power to evoke all the memories and spirit of the day over and over again afterwards.