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From the Bride…My husband and I met at UC Santa Cruz in 2004 when he began graduate school and I was just finishing up my undergraduate degree. It seemed only natural to draw inspiration for our wedding from those early days as carefree students in the Redwoods!

We started by finding a venue in the Santa Cruz area which was mostly outdoors and rustic that incorporated the gorgeous natural beauty that we had enjoyed together as students. The Groves of Bonny Doon, California was perfect; it’s a beautiful barn estate had an enormous outdoor area that accommodated our large group yet felt intimate and cozy.

When it came to starting the actual wedding planning, I knew I wanted to incorporate vintage elements with Northern California’s natural beauty while also being respectful of our family’s cultural traditions. For the reception we decorated the tables with vintage science books and beautiful bold dahlias from the Homeless Garden Project, a community supported organic garden enterprise in Santa Cruz which provides job training and transitional employment to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness (an organization we had both volunteered at while at UCSC). For the reception we created a family style dinner with long sprawling tables that sat under the towering redwoods. Our menu consisted of local and fresh ingredients which were influenced heavily by my husband’s Israeli and Middle Eastern heritage.

We had a remarkable group of vendors which were all amazing and made the event a great success! My bouquets and boutonnieres were created by Tessa’s Garden an artisanal and organic florist who produced the most beautiful breath taking arrangements and our band West Grand Boulevard kept everyone out on the dance floor boogying down! We dined and danced all night long under the redwoods and stars!

On our invitations we invited each of our guests to take our “Vitamin Pledge.” We asked each guest to bring a bottle of children’s chewable vitamins to be donated to a community school in Managua, Nicaragua (the school is sponsored by the Foundation for Social Responsibility, a non-profit foundation started by my family over 6 years ago). Through the generosity of our guests we were able to supply vitamins to the school for 2 years! It meant so much to us to be able to share our special day and good fortune with 300 amazing children in Nicaragua!

Hands down, one of my best decisions was to hire my photographer, Betsi Ewing. She was incredibly professional and did a fantastic job documenting our wedding artistically and beautifully. I’m so happy I had her to capture one of the most monumental moments in my life! My biggest piece of advice to brides planning their weddings: invest in your photographer and videographer, the other items are fleeting but you will have your wedding pictures forever!

From start to finish it was an amazing time!

Wedding Photography: Betsi Ewing Photography / Photo Assistant: Matt Borden / Wedding Videography: Son of Shark Pig / Venue: Groves at Bonny Doon / Catering: Feast for a King Catering / Wedding Cake: The Buttery / Dessert Table: Desserts by Elise / Bouquets + Boutonnieres: Tessa’s Garden / Flowers: The Homeless Garden Project / Wedding Dress: Vintage, the attached lace bolero was created by Bridal Boutique / Band: West Grand Boulevard / Ketubah: Jennifer Raichman Ketubot Designs / Rabbi: Rabbi Shifra Weiss-Penzias / Vitamin Donation: Foundation for Social Responsibility

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