Today’s first wedding on the Little Black Book Blog, sent to us by the fabulous Alison Ulshoffer Events and Design, took place on the sunny beaches of Santa Cruz! We have tons more gorgeous images courtesy of Penny Sylvia in the gallery … so if you don’t get enough of this DIY inspired wedding in this feature, do check out the gallery!

From this beautiful Style Me Pretty bride ~
I was a very devout Style me Pretty reader from the start of our engagement, and have to admit that I spent hours poring over the site, drawing inspiration from the many “diy” brides before me. I’m extremely detail-oriented, and I wanted things to feel handmade and personal. I have always liked vintage looking maps, stationery, and furniture, and ANYTHING with bird detailing. I made an inspiration board with the working theme of “lovebirds,” which included a lot of navy and robin’s egg blue, with accents of bright red. I first created homemade save-the-date cards, a project which quickly spiraled into handwritten invitations, placecards, hand-crafted boutonierres, centerpieces, and countless other projects. I wanted to “brand” our wedding with our personal style – from start to finish!

For months leading up to the wedding, I had scoured the greater Sacramento area, collecting drawers from old dressers, which we used as a “Shoe Check,” where guests could swap out their shoes for a pair of flip flops, which then doubled as one of our favors. The antique drawers went together with the vintage chairs and chaise lounges reserved to seat family during the ceremony.

See the whole gallery here!

When we first began discussing where to have the wedding, we considered everything from Napa to a destination wedding. Despite all of the research we did, we weren’t stumbling upon anything that felt “right.” Prior to the engagement, I had always pictured our wedding in Santa Cruz – it is where we met and fell in love, and we have so many wonderful memories there. We decided that a beach wedding in Santa Cruz was not only a perfect reflection of us, but also a fun, easy destination for our guests, which was a top priority for us! We did some initial research and found that one of the classic Santa Cruz resorts had recently been renovated by Joie d’Vivre hotels, an amazing boutique-y hotel chain. We had a couple of dates in mind, and fortunately, The Dream Inn, located right on Cowell Beach, was available to host our reception on June 5th, 2010. We booked it sight unseen – we were just that confident with their style and reputation! It also meant that once guests arrived for the ceremony on Cowell Beach, they could simply walk up to the hotel once it was time to start the reception. It was almost too easy!

Jan and I agreed on a few things right from the beginning – we wanted the event to reflect us, and we didn’t want to do things in the formulaic “wedding” way – we left out details that weren’t as important to us given our budget, and used the money elsewhere to truly make it “our wedding,” rather than “a wedding.”Before the ceremony, we served Jan’s favorite cocktails on the beach and had horseshose set up, so guests could relax and mingle. We kept our ceremony short and sweet, but infused a lot of ourselves into it through small details. The bridal party walked out to “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles, followed by me to “Into the Mystic ” by Van Morrision. Jan’s brother-in-law officiated, which made it feel more personal. We included an Irish Wedding Blessing and a love sonnet by Pablo Neruda (one I have always loved!) , which my brother and Jan’s sister read aloud. We wrote and shared our own vows, and as a way to lighten the mood before we shared them, we played Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who had to go first (He won!). This got everyone laughing and made the whole ceremony feel less stuffy and serious, and more like “us.” After what we’re told was a veeeerrrry long kisss, we all walked back down the aisle to “Hotel Yorba” by The White Stripes, and enjoyed local Santa Cruz microbrews from The Seabright Brewery all night.


How totally creative!! Our thanks to Alison at Alison Ulshoffer Events and Penny Sylvia Photography for sharing!

Congratulations to Brooke and Jan on a LOVELY day!

Here’s a bit more of Brooke & Jan’s love story …

It was love at first sight for Jan & me when our paths first crossed at the Baytree Bookstore at UCSC prior to the start of classes in the Fall of 2000. I remember passing by him as I pored over the stacks of books looking for the required texts. Our eyes met, but we were both too shy to say hello. Waiting in line to checkout with my roommates, I noticed that Jan got in line right behind us. To my surprise, Jan had many of the same books in his basket. Thrilled that we were going to be sharing a common course, I wondered if I would get up the nerve to say hello when our paths crossed again.

We have our friend, Paul, to thank for what happened next. Paul & I had become friends and planned to make a trip off campus to explore Santa Cruz with some other freshman. Paul suggested that we include his friend Jan from the basketball team who had been housed in the upper classman apartments, and was feeling left out of the freshman festivities. Paul waited in the car while I went to Jan’s door and rang the doorbell. When he opened the door, we were both taken aback. Jan spoke first, “You’re the girl from the bookstore!” We’ve been largely inseparable ever since!

the proposal …Unbeknownst to me, Jan called my father to ask for his permission several weeks before he intended to propose. a gesture that was as important to me as it was to my father. The two snuck around behind my back – with my dad slipping my grandmother’s ring to Jan over a quick weekend getaway right under my nose! On October 10th – a day of no particular significance before, Jan suggested that we share a fancy dinner at home, using the new Ben Sherman suit he purchased for a friend’s wedding as an excuse to get me dressed up without blowing the surprise. I agreed that this sounded like fun, and was looking forward to Date Night on what seemed like just a regular Tuesday evening. I was late in coming home from work (of course), and decided to skip the gym and head straight home for dinner … much to Jan’s chagrin. He rushed to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients for his one and only culinary masterpiece – Baked Ziti. I hopped in the shower, threw on a dress without make-up, and threw my wet hair into a messy ponytail. I came out of the bedroom to find that Jan had set up a romantic table in the middle of the living room, complete with candles and a bottle of wine we had been saving for a special occassion. As I sat down, Jan stood up and said, “Well, since it’s a special bottle of wine, we should probably make it a special ocassion.” He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out the ring – my grandmother’s Miner’s cut diamond reset on a simple white gold band. I was in shock! Jan got down on one knee and asked, “Will you marry me?” I picked my jaw up off of the ground and blurted out a lot of surprised words and shed a few tears – but as he still likes to joke, I never actually said yes!

Favors: Bags of local salt water taffy from Marini’s Candies
Bouquets: Tiffany’s Flowers

Photogropher: The AMAZING Penny Sylvia
Wedding Gown Designer: Anne Barge
Bridesmaids Dress Designer: BCBG
Necklace: Handmade pearl necklace, made by Brooke Katerkamp (bride)
Event Designer/Planner: Alison Ulshoffer
Invitation Designer: Brooke Katerkamp (bride)
Cake/Desserts: Marini’s Candies
The Dream Inn, Santa Cruz
DJ: Willie B

Anne Barge is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here.