Weddings like this are an automatic homerun for me. Outdoor in a super lush, gorgeous green spot. Something I’ve never seen before, and totally beautiful, as the ceremony backdrop. A reception that looks like something you could wander into a fairy tale and stumble across. And pictures from Janae Shields Photography so beautiful, I literally lost track of time in the gallery. So consider that a warning, before you jump into the gallery for more!
Block out a few minutes for this film from Grover Films. You won’t regret it, I promise.
From the beautiful bride … On an evening in October, a handsome southern gentleman came up and asked me to dance. He was so sweet and polite, I couldn’t resist. Three years later Josh surprised me by getting down on one knee and proposing in front of both of our families. From that moment it was time to plan the wedding that would bring together two different cultures, one from Mississippi and the other from California.
Our wedding planner Janece Shelooe made our dreams come true when she took us to Nestldown, a private estate nestled among the redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The lush gardens, ponds, and orchards offered several locations for the guests to be moving an experiencing the beautiful land. My favorite part of the site is the long elegant walk down an earth-and-wood staircase to the lakeside amphitheater. I knew that was the moment I really wanted to savor with my Dad and sure enough, it was like walking out of a dream.
The overall inspiration for the wedding was the idea of a love story. As a little girl, I used to love to hear my great grandmother’s story of how she fell in love with my great grandfather who was playing the banjo at her local dance hall. I had the pleasure of gathering up the love stories of both families along with some pictures and used them as inspiration for the table cards.
We wanted the wedding to be rustic, eclectic, vintage, and romantic. We used Fall inspired colors; bright and burnt orange, burgundy, wine, gold and copper with accents of dark sky blue to cerulean. Some of my favorite touches were by Rachel Hansen where she added letter seals to the place cards and used a copy of an actual love letter from my great great uncle as a background for the table stories. Amy Burke Designs incorporated natural elements into all of the flower arrangements including my bouquet where she was able to add bits of cotton to give it a soft and natural feel. She used vintage lace from my godmother’s wedding dress and a family heirloom to tie the bouquet together. The vintage lace was matched throughout my original wedding dress and veil designed by Amy Kuschel. At the reception we gave our guests a blend of Italian and Southern food to reflect both our cultures including wood fired pizza and pulled pork sliders from Bella Terra Catering. We also had a southern style dessert table with pralines, red velvet cake and decadent chololates by Chocolates and Moore. Our guests were offered fall-colored pashminas to take home with them as the evening cooled down.
Some of my favorite photos were from the reception in the Barn where Josh and I had a choreographed dance to Sinatra’s “The Best is Yet to Come”. He wore a fedora hat to get into character and twirled me into our best rendition of the fox-trot. I also love the pictures with my bridesmaids, who wore long chocolate brown dresses designed by WTOO Watters and earrings by Vera Wang. My absolute favorite would have to be the “first look” pictures our photographer Janae Shields recommended to take before the ceremony. It allowed for us to take some time to share an intimate moment in the redwoods where we gave each other our wedding gifts and expressed our gratitude and love before the guests arrived. The pictures capture our excitement and created a memory we still talk about months later. Above all, planning this occasion with my mother was an experience I hope to share with a daughter one day.
Photography: Janae Shields Photography | Venue: Nestldown | Coordinator: Every Elegant Detail | Floral Design: Amy Burke Designs | Catering: Bella Terra | Video: Grover Films | DJ: Feet First Entertainment | Paper Products: Rachel Hanson Designs | Wedding Gown: Amy Kuschel | Makeup: Makeup by Sarah Dean | Hair: Jamie Zimmerman | Cake Designer: East Bay Chocolates