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.
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.
If you’ve followed Snippet & Ink for awhile, then you know about my love for a green and white wedding, and this classic wedding is no exception. This breathtaking venue paired with this clean color palette makes for a stunning celebration… not to mention Lindsay Madden‘s romantic photography!
“Looking back, I think that the best advice I received was that the day was going to fly and that I needed to take a few moments to savor it,” says Lauren, “So Bobby and I took a few seconds to step away, both right after the ceremony (we snuck into a stairwell before our big exit from the church), and after taking our photos, to come back to earth and remind ourselves to enjoy every minute.”
After the ceremony, guests traveled to Bedell Cellars for the reception. Guests enjoyed an elegant outdoor cocktail hour near the grapevines, and as the sun everyone moved to the pavilion for dinner and dancing.
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? I actually grew up five minutes from where we got married, and thought it was fitting to celebrate such a big moment in the same place that I was raised. I had visited our reception venue, a winery, many times for wine tastings and had always appreciated the gorgeous setting and views. Since so many of our friends and family, especially on Bobby’s side, would be traveling to Long Island for the wedding, I knew I wanted to feature elements the North Fork is known for, like the wine. Having our reception at Bedell fit in perfectly with our ‘rustic but elegant’ theme and as soon as we met the staff, we knew it was the right place for us.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?We were mostly inspired by the natural elements of the North Fork, from the local wine and cuisine to the beaches and farms. We incorporated local items like lavender and stones from the beach into the décor, North Fork Potato chips into our welcome boxes, and local ingredients into our menu and favors.
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? Bobby: Seeing Lauren for the first time that day, coming down the aisle. // Lauren: When I looked around the reception and saw how everything had come together, and how everyone that we loved was in one room, really enjoying themselves.
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? We did include several traditional elements like a church ceremony, but most of them had a twist. For example, we did the traditional father-daughter and mother-son dances, but, at my Dad’s request, he and I surprised everyone (including my Mom) with a mash-up of Daddy’s Little Girl with classic dances like the Charleston and the Twist. We had a traditional cake cutting too, but also indulged Bobby’s sweet tooth with a dessert bar full of shooters, cake pops, chocolate covered fruit and pastries.
What advice do you have for other brides? Since I didn’t use a wedding planner I found that I needed to have a really clear vision of the day in my head that I could communicate to everyone we worked with. Our vendors also communicated directly with each other, which was a huge help. At the same time, keeping everything in perspective is so, so important. The tiny little details that I obsessed over (like what amenities we stocked in the bathroom for the ladies and what color the flip flops for dancing were) are just that: tiny little details. Even if something goes wrong, your guests probably won’t notice since they don’t know what it was supposed to be like in the first place. They will just be glad to have been part of your big day.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? I found a Groupon coupon for our videographer which helped us save a chunk, and our video came out so beautifully! There’s nothing like having some footage of that day to look back on. We also used the Eversnap app, which was a super cheap way to capture and let our guests share the day with each other in real time. Plus, we got a great selection of photos that we could share with people who couldn’t be there right away while our photographer worked her magic on the professional ones.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day? Both Bobby and I have small families and close groups of friends, so our goal in planning our wedding was to create a memorable experience for us as well as for our guests that let them know how much they mean to us. For me, spending time on the small details was just another way for us to share a part of ourselves with our guests, and a small way to say thank you. At the end of the day there are so many great moments to look back on – like the impromptu conga line through the reception or my parents opening the handkerchiefs that I had personalized for them – that I wouldn’t change a thing.
The couple were inspired by their travel experiences: “Being that we met living in London and have both traveled and lived all over the world, we wanted to incorporate that element into our wedding theme,” says the bride. “Our save the dates were sent to guests in elegant leather, monogrammed luggage tags. From there, we weaved this travel element into all aspects, from the invitation itself (which included a stamped passport book indicating all of the cities that we’ve lived in) to ceremony signage (there was a sign post with the exact distances to the cities where guests came from, all around the world). We felt very honored that our friends and family flew from overseas to join us and wanted to pay tribute to this.”
With an intimate guest list – just 50 of their closest friends and family – the couple wanted to make sure everyone was looked after. To maintain a personalized feel of the entire experience Rebecca Johnson of Kristi Amoroso Special Events had individual SUVs pick up guests from their hotels and transport them directly to the ceremony location.
“We made sure to incorporate little elements/details that tied into our travels together Our signature drink was a Pimm’s cup, which was a favorite summertime drink for us in London where we met.” The cocktail hour also included a raw oyster bar.
The dinner menu – from The Girl and the Fig CATERS! – included fig and arugula salad, beef filet and ricotta gnocchi, and a late night snack of mini burgers with brie and caramelized onions. In addition to a two tiered wedding cake (brown butter cake with salted caramel filling, and chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling), there was a late night dessert buffet with butterscotch pots de crème, lemon tartlets and chocolate sea salt tortes.
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? We both grew up in wine regions (the groom in Australia, and the bride in Canada) and wanted to choose a landscape to represent this. Napa Valley and Sonoma is one of our favorite areas. We have always had an interest in wineries, and it is our pipe dream to have our own vineyard one day. We fell in love with the property (and owner of the property!) the moment we laid eyes on it. A beautifully designed modern home in the midst of rolling vineyards – what’s not to love.
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? Seeing each other for the first time. We took our photos prior to the ceremony so that we would be able to join our guests during the cocktail hour. We couldn’t stop smiling and laughing with each other while pictures were being taken, and this came through in the photos. We felt very relaxed and did our very best to make sure that we took time to enjoy every single moment.
￼￼ What was the best advice you received as a bride? It was from my husband – he took my hand on the dance floor and told me to stop and take a moment to look around at our friends and family enjoying themselves.
“I’ve always had a love affair with the city, and the Brooklyn waterfront, particularly near Dumbo, felt romantic to me, so when looking for a venue, I really wanted something on the Brooklyn waterfront that faced Manhattan,” says Sarah. “A friend of a friend mentioned Liberty Warehouse which we had never heard of, nor did we come across it in any of our research, but we loved the rustic feel of the space and warehouse, that it was right on the water facing the the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan, and that it was catered by The River Cafe. We really wanted to take advantage of the outdoor space, so having the wedding in a warm month was key. We lucked out that there was one date still available – it was a complete coincidence that we got married on July 4th facing the Statue of Liberty!”
Sarah kindly shared details of the wedding ceremony:
“I come from a practicing Jewish family where many on my side are quite religious. Additionally, my grandmother who was present, is a Holocaust survivor, so Jewish traditions were important to me and my family. However Bobby is not Jewish and although he was OK with us having a Jewish wedding, it was important to him that he and his family felt included and that everything wasn’t in Hebrew. Our officiant, Rabbi Gloria Milner, was great about explaining the ceremony to guests as we went through it and anytime there was Hebrew, we countered it with English. Additionally, we tried to find a more egalitarian, contemporary/modern version of the traditional Sheva Brachot (seven wedding blessings), and instead of the bride circling the groom seven times to protect him, we changed it up and I walked around Bobby three times, he walked around me three times, and then we walked together in a circle once. We also involved our family in the traditions of the ceremony instead of having the rabbi read everything which was a nice touch.
“A great touch that Rabbi Gloria thought of was to talk about how our two families with very different backgrounds were uniting together. It was even more poignant that it was happening on July 4th with the Statue of Liberty in the background. My grandparents were all immigrants and Holocaust survivors and my grandmother, who immigrated to this country after the war was with us that day. Bobby’s family on both sides had been in this country for a very long time. His father’s side first came here in 1684 and a relative on his mother’s side signed the Declaration of Independence. She did a great job of weaving our stories together.
“Another thing we did which was not traditional at all but was really well received was, in addition to writing our own vows, we each wrote a bio about one another that we read to our guests. As is often the case, the officiant will say something about the bride and groom but Rabbi Gloria suggested that this come from us instead. It was great advice and though at first I was reluctant to do it (I’m not a fan of public speaking), it was one of the best parts of the ceremony. What we both wrote was really from the heart, funny, and even people who’ve known us for years learned something about us. One of the many compliments we got after the wedding was about our ceremony and how it was the best ceremony they’d been to. People said it was beautiful, from the heart, and I couldn’t believe how many people told us they teared up including many men! One good friend who has been to many weddings said it was the only time he actually paid attention to an entire wedding ceremony!”
The bride tells us about her escort cards: “Since it was the Fourth of July, we decided to give out sparklers to our guests and thought it would be cute to incorporate them with the escort cards. I researched a ton of tags as I was trying to find something with a vintage feel. I finally found tags that worked on Etsy. To keep the look consistent with our invitations, programs, and menus, Judy Paulen Designs was able to print machine calligraphy on the tags. I then tied the sparklers to all the tags.”
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? To take advantage of the warmth and feel of the warehouse, we wanted everything – from the lighting and candles, to the vintage garden inspired floral arrangements – to have a similar feel and accent the space without taking away from the location and views.
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? Our first look was the most memorable moment. Though a close second would have to be shortly after the ceremony when we walked out together into the cocktail hour which was outside on the patio with the most ridiculous beautiful sunset as a backdrop. Everything looked amazing – the tables, flowers, food, and the guests!
What was the best advice you received as a bride? I was told by numerous people that no matter how much you prepare, something will go wrong or not as planned and to expect it and just roll with it. It was great advice and a good reality check. Luckily, nothing of any importance went wrong!
What advice do you have for other brides? Even though I knew how stressful planning a wedding can be, I was not prepared for just how stressful it was and this is coming from someone who works in a similar line of business. The best thing I did was hire a month-of coordinator. I strongly suggest that if it’s in your budget, to hire a coordinator of some sort – even if it’s just for the day – to handle all the wedding day logistics. If you can’t or don’t want to hire someone, ask a friend or family member that you know is organized and won’t mind dealing with the details on the day of the wedding. Go over these details ahead of time so they know what needs to get done and plan out a detailed timeline. The last thing you want to do on your wedding day is deal with the logistics of load-in times with vendors, making sure everyone is on time, that buses are picking people up and are not lost, and that everything and everyone is in it’s proper place, etc. You’ve been planning this day for months and this is supposed to be one of the best days of your life so enjoy it!