We’re delighted to begin this week with a beautiful wedding from Alders Photography ~ a wedding set at the wonderful Dana Powers House & Barn. As you’ll see, Sara and Isaiah had the time of their lives! First the pics ~ then their story …

See all the pretty details right here!

Sara and Isaiah, June 6, 2010

We met while both in transitional phases of our lives. I had just graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2002 but was having trouble finding a job due to the economy. So, for the 8 months before I started graduate school, I learned how to make excellent coffee at a coffee shop in Oceanside harbor. Isaiah was one of my customers. He would come in after surfing. We’d both try our best to play it cool because we were both really smitten with each other. Isaiah had just moved to Oceanside to liquidate a huge warehouse that was inherited after his grandfather had passed away. Hence, our minister told the story during our ceremony of how a “junkyard surfer” and barista met.

Our vision was to stay as true to us as possible, and have a joyous celebration with friends and family. A part of “staying true to us” was having our wedding on the Central Coast where Isaiah grew up. It has a huge place in our hearts because I went to college there and Isaiah was raised there. Isaiah’s family resides there still, so we knew that having our wedding quite a distance from our home in Oceanside, would be a little more manageable with their help and input. Finding the Dana-Powers house & barn really led the way in completing our vision. Mason jars for glasses, vintage mirrors on the barn walls, and all the amenities that Judi Powers offers (tables, chairs, dishware) …it totally felt like our style and we knew it would feel comfortable for our family and friends, so we embraced that styling.

I focused on only the most important things to me and dedicated some quality time to them: our ceremony and music. We were both taken in by the magnitude of the commitment we were making, so we dedicated time to writing our vows and choosing readings that represented our perspective on love and marriage. However, we were very nervous about standing up in front of 150 people and reciting our personal vows. So, I wanted a little humor in the ceremony to lighten it up. Luckily, we had a fun family friend marry us, which also contributed to the ceremony being very personal for everyone. Music was very important to me, so I spent a lot of time finding the perfect songs for us to walk down the aisle to, and then had a blast thinking about what music I wanted for the cocktail hour and reception. This worked really well with our DJ, Malik, because I could give him a few songs and he would just take that direction and add similar songs around it. Wow, the elation I felt when the music began for the wedding party and myself to walk down the aisle. For the bridal party entrance, I used“The Winner Is” by Devotchka from the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack (so good!) and the acoustic version of “Hysteric” by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs for the walk down the aisle with my dad.

The items we did ourselves were flowers, boutonnieres, burlap centerpieces, table numbers, and I made the decorations for the kids’ table. The boutonnieres were super easy to make…took me 5 minutes. I used a single turkey feather…inspired by the wild turkey Isaiah provided for Thanksgiving dinner for his family. Since he surfs, I laced some puka shells into the boutonniere…I called it the surf-n-turf boutineer. And he freakin’ loved it! It’s funny to see your man enjoying some of the wedding details. He surprised me a lot with that. I bought burlap a couple weeks before the wedding, cut squares, pulled some threads from the ends and done…pretty easy. For the kids’ table I decorated coffee cans and stuffed them with stickers and fun stuff. I had a lot of fun with this one, and it was a big hit with all the kids!

Aaaahhh, the flowers. I delegated this task to family. They arranged to purchase the flowers from some ladies at a local farmer’s market who would also arrange the bouquets and centerpieces…all for under $200. Score, right? So, I gave them an image of what I wanted for my bouquet and some images of what I wanted for centerpieces. Generally, I didn’t want anything too fancy, but I love dahlias and was hoping for some incorporation of those in some sort of wildflower fashion. Well, when friends went to pick up the flowers from the vendors the day before the wedding, the ladies said they didn’t make my bouquet or my bridesmaids’ bouquets because they lost the pictures we gave them. My future mother-in-law revealed this to me at the end of the rehearsal dinner, the night before the wedding. I was so exhausted at this point and barely still surviving on the adrenaline and excitement of our crazy-fun rehearsal party, that I was pretty much resolved to not holding a bouquet because there was no way in hell I was doing another task! God bless my mother in law. She insisted that she would construct all the girl’s bouquets that night. And they turned out AMAZING. Ok, they were not the flowers I had in mind…but I had let someone else be in charge of this particular task, so I was just truly grateful for the help and then the gracious offer of Isaiah’s mom to make the bouquets when all I really wanted to do was have another drink, marry my love, and sleep for a week. Soooo, this is a story of a DIY task gone wrong, and gone wrong the night before the wedding. I truly think that making your own bouquet is a great idea and a great way to save on costs because I think the majority of us forget what the flowers look liked anyway by the time we’re having a sweaty messy dance party on the dance floor. But we hadn’t planned on making the bouquets and it threw a wrench in things and my sweet mother-in-law needed some rest also after helping so much with everything. So expect that in all the fuss of DIY details there may be a couple things that don’t go as planned. Be prepared to let some things slide, brush it off, allow others to help, and focus on the important things, like mentally recording every wonderful second of your husband saying his vows.

We incorporated my Mexican heritage in having a Mexican fiesta for the rehearsal dinner. The feast included chile verde, a special Tres Leches cake, BBQed oysters, and the best drinks ever made by our talented bartender, the best-man.

When asked what Sara’s best idea she had in planning her wedding, she said:  I searched photographers’ websites that were local to our wedding destination, to source venues and vendors. I found many unique locations this way. This is how I found the Dana Powers Barn AND our DJ Malik Miko Thorne. Which, by the way, was another one of the best finds for our wedding. His choices in music kept me on the dance floor most of the night, which is exactly how I wanted it. The string of Spanish music he played was almost more than my family could handle…it was sooo much fun. We hadn’t boogied that hard together in a long time. It brought back so many memories of past family weddings.

Her best advice to future brides and grooms: Find a venue that makes it easy on you. For example, one location we found was a private home/property neighboring our family’s property. It had a private golf green and little lake. They were considering opening it up for weddings and they offered to let us have our wedding there for $500! We were on a tight budget and this sounds like a great deal, right? Isaiah immediately felt was the place was where he wanted to get married. But I couldn’t go through with it. It was deep on a dirt road in a canyon. We would have to bring in tables and chairs, potentially a tent, a portable bathroom, a caterer and their equipment, heaters, etc. I knew much of the groundwork was going to fall on my shoulders, and I could not put myself through organizing all that, and I knew it would result in being just as pricey as paying for a venue elsewhere. We were not going to save money on this location. It was easy for me to face that realization, but hard to say no to Isaiah when I heard him say “this is the place”. The Dana Powers barn had practically everything, tables, chairs, mason jars for drinks, decorations, table cloths, glass plates for cake, silverware, heat lamps, Judi makes lemonade and coffee! and even offers day-of-coordination. So, try to find a venue that offers a lot of amenities that won’t force you to coordinate separate rentals.

Photographer: Alders Photography / Bride’s Attire: J. Crew / Groom’s Attire: JoS. A. Bank / Bridesmaid’s Attire: dress of choice in blue / Groomsmen’s attire: their choice, directed toward grey to black / Wedding Planner: Day of Coordinator, Judi Powers / Flowers: local farmer’s market made table flowers and we purchased extra flowers from them for our bouquets. Also family gardens were sourced for sweet peas / Cake: Madonna Inn, pies made by family and friends / Entertainment: DJ Malik Miko Thorne / Invitations: Hello Lucky/ Reception & Ceremony Location: Dana Powers House

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