As much as I LOVE it, I’ve never truly been able to pull off the whole boho look. There’s something about me in tribal print or flowy skirt that just feels awkward. So instead, I like to live vicariously through weddings like this one from Joielala. It’s boho done right, and set in one of the prettiest backyards you’ve probably ever seen. Oh, and in case you find yourself in the same boat as me, you can freely embrace your inner bohemian spirit right over here.
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From the Bride… Having both grown up in Southern California we wanted a wedding with an old California beachy, bohemian feel. We are very involved in the Carlsbad surf community where Nowell grew up, so it seemed perfect to be married at his childhood home. The beautiful 1920s era house was formerly an avocado grove and is now owned by his aunt and uncle, who were also married there in the early 80s!
We wanted to create a sophisticated backyard party with a true California feel. The type of party we would throw with our friends if we could really do it up. Authenticity was important to us. Despite getting married in a backyard, the contrived rustic element isnt our style (no Victorian dressers and bicycles on the lawn here!). We just tried to stay true. We used big farm tables for a communal party vibe and found fabric with sweet bohemian feel for table runners – sewn by my wonderful mom.
We focused on romantic florals, including garden roses and big fluffy peonies to balance the less conventional elements. A family friend married us in a personal ceremony under a tree beneath an amazing floral chandelier filled with flowers. Our simple wedding party consisted of Nowells (now our) daughter as our flower girl. Although my dress was formal (bought online!) and Nowell wore a classic black tuxedo, it was cocktail attire for our guests. We figured comfortable guests are happy guests. Having gone on frequent surf trips to the Northern Baja town of Puerto Nuevo, one of our favorite meals is the lobster special the town is famous for. We used this as the inspiration for our entire menu, with tray-passed mini Patron margaritas and mini seared ahi street tacos and sausage empananda appetizers. We served a dinner of Puerto Nuevo style lobster tails with warm tortillas and butter, a station of mini bean & cheese burritos, garlic & carnitas stuffed quesadillas and lots of hot sauce options.
We focused on keeping the wedding elegant but also laid back and a little bit rock & roll. At cocktail hour, we were lucky to have friends who are popular local classic rock musicians play, including lots of Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Dylan and the like. Instead of serving a signature cocktail neither of us has ever had, we served our true (albeit simple) favorites: El Lobo (the wolf) – a Jack & Coke for him, and La Conejita (the bunny) – a Kettle & grapefruit for me. The bar included wooden stir sticks for each selection and customized cocktail napkins with meaningful lyrics from our favorite song, Talking Heads This Must Be The Place also our first dance. We offered a cigar bar with matchbooks using the calligraphy from our invitations and the famous Doors lyric: come on baby, light my fire.
And we had actual fire! Both growing up going to bonfire parties with our family and friends, I liked the social area it creates within a large party. We ordered a custom fire pit with our new last name and lit it up for a little area where friends could have cocktails or a cigar and catch up while watching the dance floor mayhem. We now have the fire pit at home for parties with friends and beach nights. The most memorable parts of our wedding were our family dance with our little girl, dancing to Hey Ho by the Lumineers, which is her favorite family song, and seeing all of our fabulous friends and family getting to know each other and living it up. And of course, being married to the love of my life.
(Fun side note: I was in such a hurry to get to the wedding and marry Nowell I got pulled over! The cop saw the veil and let me go with a warning ticket – but I will always have that ticket with our wedding date on it.)
Photography: Joielala | Floral Design: Plenty of Petals | Cake: VG Donut & Bakery | Invitations: Bella Figura | Catering: The Wild Thyme Company | DJ: Disc Go Round | Officiant: Dr. Geoffrey Bell | Bar Decor: For Your Party | Bride's Hair: Shannen Chadick | Bride's Makeup: Rachel Dixon | Ceremony & Cocktail Music: John Bennett & Jimmy Volkert | Flower Girl Dresses: J.Crew | Groom's Tux: Ascot Shop | Jewelery: J.Crew | Jewelery: Nordstrom | Linens: Mother of the Bride | Rentals & Lighting: Classic Party Rentals | Venue: Family Home | Wedding Dress + Shoes: Badgley Mischka
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