Sweet Intimate Wedding at Gamble Garden :: Julia & John

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; short lace dress; birdcage veil; vintage truck; floral garlands;

There’s something so sweet about an intimate family wedding, and I love that most of Julia and John’s day wouldn’t have looked out of place fifty years ago! These photos from Christina McNeill really capture how lovely it can be when you keep things simple and meaningful.

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; botanical stationery;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; short lace dress; birdcage veil;

Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? I wore something old (earrings), new (dress), borrowed (my mom’s bracelets), and blue (ring).

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; flower girl;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; bride bridesmaid and flower girl;

The Ceremony

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; short lace dress; birdcage veil; bride dad walking down aisle; backyard ceremony;

Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? I grew up near the Gamble Garden and always loved it. I knew I wanted a small outdoor wedding so it seemed like the perfect place for that.

What was your ceremony music? My cousin and her husband played bluegrass music – we told them just to play whatever seemed right at the time.

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; short lace dress; birdcage veil; backyard ceremony;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; brides parents watching ceremony;

Your ceremony in three words. Relaxed, intimate, casual.

How did you go about planning your ceremony? My husband is a very organized planner who loves Excel spreadsheets… lucky, as I am not! We were having a long-distance engagement, and neither of us lived in the Bay Area, so that was challenging at times. We were lucky that our families were so involved.

Who officiated your ceremony? How did you choose him/her? Reverend Jan Heglund – a friend of a friend who we got to know well during the planning process.

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; short lace dress; birdcage veil; backyard ceremony;

Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? At the suggestion of Reverend Jan we did a hand fastening.

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; short lace dress; birdcage veil; backyard ceremony; handfasting ceremony;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; short lace dress; birdcage veil; backyard ceremony; first kiss;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; guests hugging;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; backyard wedding; family portrait;

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Late afternoon in the summer in California is my favorite time and place, so I really wanted to take full advantage of that. I wanted our guests to enjoy great food, wine and music without it feeling stuffy or fussy.

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; short lace dress; birdcage veil; backyard ceremony;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; short lace dress; birdcage veil; backyard ceremony; cream and white bouquet;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; short lace dress; birdcage veil; backyard ceremony; sisters; bride and bridesmaid;

Do you have any budget tips for other brides? We were lucky that my husband and I were very much on the same page for priorities – we wanted the food, wine, music and photography to be the best we could get, and we were willing to make compromises in pretty much every other area. We discussed that early on and were able to budget accordingly. Keeping the guest list small helps with budgeting as well!

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; short lace dress; birdcage veil; backyard ceremony;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; short lace dress; birdcage veil; backyard ceremony; couple kissing;

What was your favorite part of your wedding dayCocktail hour!

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; outdoor cocktail hour;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; outdoor cocktail hour; cheese and fruit platters;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; outdoor cocktail hour;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; outdoor cocktail hour;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; groom holding bride; vintage truck decorated with floral garlands;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; groom holding bride; vintage truck decorated with floral garlands; bride and groom making out in truck;

The Reception

How would you describe your reception? Small, relaxed, and fun!

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; outdoor reception; handmade calligraphy escort cards;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; outdoor reception; white furniture; simple table florals; floral seed packet favors;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; outdoor reception; white furniture; simple table florals; floral seed packet favors;

At each place setting, the couple included a flower that was actually a plantable seed. Isn’t that a lovely idea?

What was the best advice you received as a bride? Put a responsible friend or family member in charge of keeping track of the wedding license and paying vendors! I didn’t follow this advice and wish I had!

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Don’t procrastinate – you will not have as much time as you think in the two weeks before the wedding (even if you are taking time off work!)

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; outdoor reception; white furniture; simple table florals; floral seed packet favors;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; outdoor reception; white furniture; simple table florals; floral seed packet favors;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; outdoor reception; white furniture; simple table florals; floral seed packet favors;

Julia and John wore traditional Tongan leis at their reception, gifted to them by Julia’s mom’s caregiver.

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; outdoor reception; white furniture; simple table florals; floral seed packet favors; short lace dress; bridcage veil; couple wearing leis;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; outdoor reception; white furniture; simple table florals; floral seed packet favors; short lace dress; bridcage veil; couple during speeches;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; outdoor reception; white furniture; simple table florals; floral seed packet favors; short lace dress; bridcage veil;

What was your first dance song? Father/daughter or mother/son dance? We danced to a simple waltz performed by a bluegrass band. We did a “snowball dance” – so my husband and I started out dancing together, then split and I danced with my dad and he with his mom, then we all split again and got more people involved, until the whole party was dancing.

Photographer Christina McNeill told us “Julia & John’s first dance was totally organic – they couldn’t have amplified music at the venue, so didn’t plan on having any dancing at all. I don’t think I’ve ever photographed a wedding where people do-si-doed before – everyone was having the best time!”

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; bluegrass band;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; outdoor reception; white furniture; simple table florals; floral seed packet favors; short lace dress; bridcage veil; couple dancing;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; outdoor reception; white furniture; simple table florals; floral seed packet favors; short lace dress; bridcage veil; guests dancing;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; outdoor reception; white furniture; simple table florals; floral seed packet favors; short lace dress; bridcage veil; guests dancing;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; outdoor reception; white furniture; simple table florals; floral seed packet favors; short lace dress; bridcage veil; bride and flowergirl dancing;

What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We had one chocolate cake and one vanilla-raspberry cake.

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; couple toasting;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; simple wedding cakes;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; outdoor reception; white furniture; simple table florals; floral seed packet favors; short lace dress; bridcage veil; couple kissing;

Julia told us “at the end of the night, we had one last dance with all of our guests and the band in tow, then drove off in my dad’s truck that he bought just before meeting my mom, in 1966!”

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; outdoor reception; white furniture; simple table florals; floral seed packet favors; short lace dress; bridcage veil; couple driving off; couple in vintage truck;

christina mcneill; gamble gardens; california wedding; family wedding; intimate wedding; simple wedding; outdoor reception; white furniture; simple table florals; floral seed packet favors; short lace dress; bridcage veil; couple driving off; couple in vintage truck;

Colors

Style

Al Fresco

Season

Spring

Location

California

Vendor Credits

Photography: Christina McNeill / Venue: Gamble Garden in Palo Alto, California / Floral Design: Mills Florist / Dress: Tadashi Shoji / Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Veil: Etsy / Clutch: Clare V. / Bridesmaid Dress: Weddington Way / Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Hickey Freeman / Stationery: Paperless Post / Stationery: Etsy / Calligraphy: Bride’s sister / Hair, Makeup: Miani at Juut / Officiant: Reverend Jan Heglund / Ceremony Music: Bride’s cousins / Cocktail Hour Music: Magnolia Jazz Band / Reception Music: Friends of the couple / Catering, Rentals: Melons Catering & Events / Cake, Dessert: The Prolific Oven

Christina McNeill is a Snippet & Ink Select vendor. This post contains affiliate links.

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