I love all weddings. I really do. There isn’t one type of affair that makes me swoon over the next. But I must say, there is a spot in my wedding-loving heart reserved solely for those of the al fresco variety. A wedding that is really like one large dinner party under the stars celebrating two people that just can’t get enough of each other. So it’s safe to say I have definitely made room in my heart for this pretty party by Desiree Shuey Photographyand you can see every little bit of it right here!

From the Bride… When Kevin and I got engaged (on the breakwater of Keanae, Hawaii), I was on a month-long break from my nursing program.  We decided to hold off on planning until I graduated six months later, so we had a pretty long engagement (about 1.5 years). During which time I discovered Pinterest … which became my distraction of choice when procrastinating from studying for my RN board exam! We talked about how we wanted to have a kid-friendly wedding (Kevin has two daughters who are a huge part of our lives, and we absolutely wanted to include them in our ceremony and planning) that was relaxed and fun for all involved. Flowers were a no-brainer, as our family friend Grace, of Tea Rose Garden has done every special event and wedding for the women in my family! She is amazing to work with, and took my description and self-proclaimed love of mason jars, peonies, succulents and springs colors, and just went with it.  The result completely took my breath away! 

Kevin and I set our budget, and our priorities, together. He thought delicious food and good music were must-haves. I really wanted lots of candlelight, gorgeous blooms and a fabulous photographer to capture the day. We both completely agreed we needed to have a photo booth (so fun!) and a relaxed, casual, fun and elegant atmosphere. Some things we compromised on to keep costs down: a smaller cake, forgoing hiring a wedding cinematographer and choosing not to host a full bar (my dad provided all of the lovely wine, and we had beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages only). I also decided that I would have a lot of DIY elements incorporated into the wedding, not only to make it more personal, but because I also felt it connected me more strongly with my mom, who passed away when I was sixteen and who was extremely talented and a DIY-er before the term even existed!

As a symbol of our beginning together as a family, Kevin and I asked our minister, Ramon Garcia, to incorporate the planting of a “Family Tree” into our ceremony.  We had his daughters, Sydney and Savannah, help us add soil to a potted kumquat sapling in order to symbolize our promise to each other to nurture each other, grow together and honor our lives together as a family.  It was a very precious moment, and we plan to plant that tree in our yard at home to commemorate the beginning of our marriage and family together. In the end, with the help of our incredible family and friends, we were surrounded by all of the beauty and personal elements that we had hoped for, and—most importantly—blessed and enveloped by the palpable love of people we cherish.

Wedding Photography: Desiree Shuey Photography / Wedding Venue: Limoneira Ranch in Santa Paula, California / Floral Design: Grace of Tea Rose Garden / Wedding Day Coordination: Merria Laccino of Planning Perfection / Catering + Onsite Coordination: Jason + Jocelyn Collis of Plated Events / Event Rentals: Ventura Rental / Wedding Cake: A Sweet Design / Cupcakes: Cupcakes in Wonderland / Cookie + Ice Cream Truck: The Paradise Cookie Company / Succulents: California Nursery Specialties Cactus Ranch / Ring Bowl: Say Your Piece /Thumbprint Tree: Gamut Media / Photo Shelves: A Friend of the Couple / Photo Booth: Photo Touch Booth / Photo Booth Backdrop: The Bride’s Cousin’s Boyfriend / Table Numbers, Kids’ Ribbon Wands, Wedding Invitations, Cocktail Napkin Embossing: DIY / Lighting: Ideal Lighting and Sound, LLC / DJ & MC: Phil Birdsell / Wedding Dress: Casablanca Bridal via Yelena Bridal (626-301-7838) / Hair: Kelly Jo Kern / Makeup: Karima Fuentes (karimake@aol.com) / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew / Bridal Party Robes: Silk and More / Men’s Attire: Calvin Klein via Men’s Wearhouse

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