I sure do love Nancy Neil‘s photos – she does such a lovely job of capturing not just pretty details, but also special moments. Caroline and Christopher’s wedding was full of both. The intimate celebration took place at the bride’s sister’s home, with just over 50 guests in attendance. One of the questions I ask brides and grooms is, “Why did you choose this for your wedding? What inspired you?” Caroline’s answer: “Doing it any other way just wouldn’t have felt like us.” Isn’t that exactly how you want to feel about your wedding?

Christopher and I planned the wedding together, which was a fun, exhausting, and ultimately rewarding experience. We learned so much about the ways we like to communicate under different circumstances, about the ways we interact with our family and friends, about the stuff we agree and disagree on, and about what really matters to us. From the beginning, we each took on different duties, and consulted each other on everything. As a result, our wedding day felt like a celebration that we had truly crafted as a couple with the people closest to us. It was a great start to our marriage.

One of my favorite things about the decorations was that my friend Lisa [Van Wambeck] made some garlands specifically to honor a very dear friend mine and some close family members who had passed away. I knew I would be missing them on the day of the wedding, and I wanted some way to represent that without it feeling too heavy or sad. Lisa asked for a color or motif to represent each of them, and worked them into specific strands of the banners. We didn’t tell any of the guests about it, and it wouldn’t have been obvious at all to anyone looking, but it felt really nice to look out at those decorations and remember the people I wished could have been there.

We wanted the reception to feel like a relaxed dinner party that we would host in our own home, and finding a way to serve food that we really loved was an important part of that. We were so lucky to find Ayda Robana from Om Sweet Mama. She was wonderful to work with and everything was delicious: gorgeous trays of fresh fruit and vegetables, beautiful crostini, and a wonderful cheese platter for the cocktail hour. Dinner was served in multiple courses, family style, to encourage people to mingle and linger over their meal: Orecchiette con salsa di noci with sage and roasted squash, roasted seasonal vegetables, sautéed greens with parmesan and truffle oil, polenta puttanesca, red leaf and arugula salad with citrus vinaigrette. For dessert we had two cakes: olive oil cake with Sauternes and roasted pears and fresh whipped cream, and chocolate hazelnut cake with crème fraiche. I made the little cake flag decorations at the last minute the night before the wedding!

Photography: Nancy Neil

Venue: private home in Arroyo Grande, California

Bride’s dress: Amy Kuschel

Hair: John Allen for Bungalow Salon

Bride’s hair accessory / feather hair clips: Lisa Van Wambeck

Groom’s suit: Theory

Personal flowers: Shell Beach Flowers

Stationery design / printing: the bride / Boxcar Press

Catering: Om Sweet Mama

Congratulations Caroline and Christopher!

15 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings
  1. redfrizzz

    I love the feeling the photos express. This looks like such a sweet, simple, genuine celebration. Lovely!

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  2. jacin {lovely little details}

    wow, so pretty!

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  3. Jessica R.

    This posting rings true to what my fiance and I are striving to do for our own wedding – really make it feel like us and created by us. The setting is just lovely and I also want to keep it to an intimate ‘family style’ dinner. Thank you for your inspiring words and gorgeous photos. Congrats!

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  4. Perpetually Engaged

    So beautiful! Do you know where the bridesmaids dresses are from? I love them!

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      One of the bridesmaids is wearing a vintage dress, and the other is wearing a dress from Allsaints Spitalfiels (UK).

  5. jane

    gorgeous stationery! simple w/great color + typography.

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  6. the Perfect Palette

    gorgeous wedding. loving the color palette!

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  7. Skellie

    where are the bridesmaid dresses from??

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  8. Katherine {flower & honey}

    the image of them holding hands at the altar is so beautiful :)

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  9. lydia {ever ours}

    love the gown and the simple details on it.

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  10. Brancoprata

    Stunning… Not only the photography is truly amazing but the wedding details are pure perfection.

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  11. Em

    Perfect wedding menu!

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  12. Laura@ {éclat} event design

    Beautiful wedding! These pictures are gorgeous!

    Laura xo

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  13. ArticulateArt

    Love the contrast of the old couple holding hands and the newly weds holding hands as well… foreshadowing a happy and long lasting marriage =)

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  14. desha

    Wow! What an amazing wedding, the photography is stunning, and the food…. YUM! I’ve actually been priveleged to taste Ayda’s food, and she is hands down the best and most ceative chef out there. thanks for sharing~

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