When wedding planner Tory of Smith + James became a bride herself, she didn’t waste any time and booked the vendors of her dreams – Jose Villa, Amorology, Flowerwild and The FlashDance, just to name a few. And while fires spreading through the San Diego area threatened to cancel the festivities altogether, the Big Day went off without a hitch thanks to a dose of luck and one incredibly committed vendor crew. Peek through The Vault, and you’ll see how a potential crisis was (beautifully) averted.
From the beautiful Bride, Tory of Smith + James…I had a really specific vision for my wedding. As a planner myself, I absolutely LOVE details, but it was important to me not to make it feel too forced or fussy. I wanted it ooze romance and cool… but also make it feel like us. We decided to combine lots of leather and lots of flowers to create our own very elegant but still barefoot-in-the-grass sort of vibe.
I’m still so in love with my gown. When I tried it on for the first time, I just knew. The lace is so delicate and I thought the dress was really different yet still classically beautiful.
Jose Villa was the first vendor we booked. I’ve always loved his work but I had no idea what an incredibly kind and humble human being he would be. I absolutely hate having my photo taken so this was the most dreaded aspect of the wedding for me. He made us feel so comfortable and made everything so easy. His photographs are our most treasured (new) family heirloom.
My favorite part of the whole planning process was definitely meeting my all-time favorite human Amber Moon and working with her on our invitation suite. I wanted our invites to be romantic, a little dark and stormy with a rock-n-roll/Andy Warhol vibe. I even asked for a custom rorschach test (that ink blot test used in psychology!) as part of the invite suite. With all my crazy requests, she absolutely nailed it. We had so much fun going totally overboard with leather wraps and toggles and ties. It was a blast.
Kate Holt of Flowerwild is such an incredible lady and her creativity is endless. She really helped make a lot of things come together at the last minute and I can’t thank her enough. She totally understood my vision. The way she tied all the ribbons into that tree for our ceremony was breathtaking. She’s another member of my vendor team that I’m keeping forever.
We hired Heather Balliet of Amorology to plan the wedding, knowing her reputation for paying attention to the details. I’m so glad we had her on our team. She really was more than a wedding planner, she became a friend when I needed help with wedding politics.
The week of our wedding was totally crazy. There were huge arson fires burning through San Diego and much of the city was evacuated. People thought we were going to cancel the wedding. Our venue was evacuated on Wednesday and then my parents home was evacuated on Thursday about two hours before they were meant to host a Welcome Barbecue for out-of-town guests. My mom just grabbed her dress and shoes for the wedding day and my dad’s tux and ran out the door. Bless that woman. Luckily, everything in that area calmed down by Saturday.
I think my favorite part of the wedding day was that everything externally was so stressful for everyone with all the fires and yet Blake and I were so calm. It didn’t stress us out at all. We just wanted to get married. We were so happy to have everyone there. Our only concern was with the people losing their homes in the fires.
With that said, all of our vendors went above and beyond to create this wedding, some of whom were evacuated from their homes while creating our wedding day. No joke.
I think my favorite detail was our guestbook/cake table, which had tons of candles with matches so guests could light a candle and make a wish for us on our wedding day. It kind of went with the unintentional “fire” vibe of that whole week and I remember looking over there thinking that table was all lit up with our friends and family’s encouraging thoughts for us. It was so optimistic.
I know flower crowns are on their way out but I just love ’em. Anywhere I can put flowers, I will and if that means bridesmaids hair, so be it.
For our favors, we gave our guests our secret weapons: macarons from Bottega Louie in Los Angeles. On the favor tags it read “We enjoy these on good days (and require them on bad days!) So, on our best day, we’d love to share these treats with you. -Tory and Blake” People really got a kick out of those since it was so personal to us. I also ate probably 50 macarons the day after my wedding! No regrets.
I also have to add that Gary Ames, our DJ, was a total rockstar. It was such a rad dance party and everyone still reminds us of that.
The best advice I can give to brides-to be is to think of the guest experience first and foremost. When planning our day, we went out of our way to make sure guests would feel included, loved on, taken care of, etc. I never wanted my guests to feel like they were being shuffled around or excluded from something, even if that meant sacrificing something I really wanted. It paid off. So much of the feedback on our wedding is about the way the event felt and the overall vibe. Everyone really felt the love and that is truly the best feedback we could get!
Photography: Jose Villa Photography | Cinematography: WADE Koch | Event Planning: Amorology | Floral Design: Flowerwild | Wedding Dress: Amy Michelson | Cake: Hey there, Cupcake! | Invitations: Amber Moon | Makeup: Amy Clarke | Hair: Linda Moulios | DJ: THE FLASHDANCE | Favors: Bottega Louie | Venue: The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe | Henna: Henna San Diego | Linen Rentals: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Photo Booth: Amigo Booth | Rentals: Abbey Party Rentals | Rentals: Pow Wow Vintage | Table Top Rentals - Stemware: Casa de Perrin | Tabletop Rentals: Flowerwild