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California Bohemian Backyard Wedding from Joielala

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.

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
al fresco 2

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 | Venue: Family Home | 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 | Wedding Dress + Shoes: Badgley Mischka

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Carlsbad Wedding Film from Luke McCain Videography

If I could convince all of you lovelies out there in SMP land planning a wedding to hire someone to capture your big day on film, I would feel the greatest sense of achievement. Because let me tell you, you never know how much those minutes captured will mean to you until the day is long over. When you turn it on, years later, and are immediately brought back to that magical day. Particularly if you team up with someone like  Luke McCain Videography - who has a way of not only capturing the beauty of the day, but the emotion. So if you are on the fence of hiring a cinematographer, just hit play…

Colors
Seasons
Fall
Settings
BeachEstate
Styles
Casual

From Luke McCain VideographyLacee and Josh’s Wedding was held at a beautiful quaint venue right on the beach in Carlsbad, California. They’re high school sweethearts whom I had known since high school and we were honored to film their wonderful day together. The venue offers easy access to the beach, and the romantic “first look” shots of Lacee and Josh at sunset are perhaps some of the best footage we have ever captured. Just a stunning bride and groom, with the raw emotion spilled onto film.

Cinematography: Luke McCain Videography | Photography: RCP Photography | Venue: Levyland Estates | Coordination: First Comes Love | DJ: High Energy DJ | Hair + Makeup: Lovestruck Makeup Artistry Hair Design | Catering: I Love Tacos Catering  |
Officiant: Pastor Mike

Carlsbad California Wedding from Studio Castillero

After spending so much of my last few years swimming in sea of weddings, I’m still amazed how they strike such a cord with me. Oh, and they do. I open up a wedding like a child opens up a present, with such enthusiasm and anticipation, and when a wedding like this one from Studio Castillero from a Bride this stylish waits on the other side, I can barely believe me luck. Because this type of soiree sits with me for awhile, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. See why here.

From the Bride… Athan and I met in Encinitas, a little San Diego beach town, three years before we became engaged. We hit it off immediately and discovered that we both had a love for music and art. And we’ve been together ever since!

We had traveled to New York City for a friend’s wedding. The day before the wedding, Athan and I were taking a stroll in Central Park, around Turtle Pond to be exact, when he popped the question. It was a total surprise! Such a beautiful place to be proposed to. Afterward, we had some alone time in the lovely park to take it all in.

Athan is of Greek descent, so it was very important to him and his family to have a traditional Greek ceremony. For the reception, Athan and I wanted a casual yet elegant outdoor atmosphere and we found the perfect location at Leo Carrillo in Carlsbad. It had that old California and Spanish rustic charm in the architecture and landscaping that we were looking for. Plus, I fell in love with the gorgeous peacocks that roamed the grounds.

I adore anything and everything bohemian so I knew I wanted that to influence the style of our wedding. Since Leo Carrillo had these great white-washed walls and beautiful succulents, we wanted to incorporate that into the look for our linens and centerpieces. Our floral designer, Lily, did an amazing job of mixing the succulents with more vibrant flowers which really stood out against the white linens. I wanted there to be a variety of different vases and flowers on each table for more of an eclectic look. My mother-in-law and I picked out all the vases and candle holders, mainly in rustic mercury glass to give it a more elegant finish.

I was on somewhat of a tight budget for my dress. After trying on what seemed like a million dresses, I finally found my dress online. I went to the store to try it on and knew it was the one! It was simple which is what I wanted and it also had a somewhat Grecian look which was perfect for a Greek wedding! My headpiece was just two gold necklaces that my hairstylist, Tara, incorporated into two braids around my crown. I decided to wear flats the entire day– one of the best decisions I made! I was comfortable throughout the ceremony, reception and dancing. Priceless.

Whitney Lee did the cake and desserts which included baklava for Athan’s Greek side and cannolis for my Italian side. Having the reception outside under the market lights was perfect for Greek dancing. D.J. Ray did a fantastic job of keeping the music going and everyone danced until the end of the reception. Festivities went beyond our expectations in making sure everything was coordinated beautifully. I can’t say how happy we are with Megan and Brent’s photography as well, so precious! We were extremely lucky to have such helpful and talented vendors.

The whole day was magical and turned out exactly how we wanted it. We couldn’t have done it without the help of our families. It was beyond amazing to celebrate and dance the night away under the stars with our family and friends. Couldn’t ask for anything better.

Wedding Photography: Studio Castillero | Ceremony Venue: Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church, Cardiff by the Sea, Califonia | Officiants: Fr John Kariotakis + Fr Michael Sitaras |  Reception Venue: Leo Carrillo Ranch, Carlsbad, California | Event Coordination + Catering: Festivities Catering | Floral Design: Lily Custom Floral | Invitations: Papyrus | Desserts + Cake: Whitney Lee (whitney.lee21@yahoo.com) | Hair + Makeup: Tara Fontana of Fairytale Hair and Makeup | Dress: Vera Wang Collection-David’s Bridal | Bride’s Shoes: Aldo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Vera Wang Collection-David’s Bridal | Men’s Attire: Black by Vera Wang-Men’s Wearhouse | Music: Ray Blake from MY DJ’s

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
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Carlsbad Backyard Wedding from Ashley Bee Photography

Every Bride and Groom want their wedding day to be the perfect representation of them as a couple. So what does it say when your day is filled with laughter, billy balls, plenty of DIY, and…a peacock? It means you are F-U-N and that you might very well be on the short list for the sweetest wedding ever. That’s right, lovelies, this backyard wedding from Ashley Bee Photography is adorable in every way and the portraits at Leo Carillo Ranch are the definition of pretty. The best part? You can see it all right here.

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From the Bride… We wanted a small wedding with only family and close friends. After looking at a ton of locations that didn’t have what we were looking for, we decided my parents’ backyard would be perfect. Once we had a location, everything else was easy. I can’t say I had a specific inspiration, but I knew what I did and didn’t want. I wanted a rustic look with white hydrangeas and the color yellow. I’m not a super creative person, so I found a few key pieces such as our barn door, the linens and a color scheme, and enlisted the help of a family friend to help me come up with a layout and flower ideas. We did all the flowers ourselves with the help of my wonderful friends, and they turned out exactly how I pictured them. My two favorite DIY projects had to be the favors and the barn door. With the help of my mom and aunt, we filled mason jars with peanut brittle, which is one of our favorite treats, and we found an amazing barn door at an antique shop and used it as the backdrop for the ceremony.

The day was perfect! There were a few little kinks but thanks to our day-of planner, I didn’t hear about any of them until the next day. My favorite memory of the day was our “first look” that our photographers set up. We drove down the street to Leo Carrillo Ranch, a historical park in Carlsbad that went perfectly with our rustic theme. As soon as I saw Greg, all my nerves went away, and I became so excited to start our life together. If you are willing to consider it, I highly recommend doing a “first look.” Not only did it put us at ease for the ceremony, but we were able to take our time and get the pictures we wanted at the location we wanted. Then following the ceremony, we were able to enjoy the time with our guests rather than be off taking pictures. It was a wonderful experience, and I would do it all over again!

Everyone involved did a great job! Our photographer, Ashley Bee, was able to capture every moment and made us both feel so comfortable in front of the camera. Our day-of planner, Erin Berenda, was so helpful, and if your budget allows, I would definitely recommend having one. I didn’t have to worry about a thing! One of my best friends, Angelina, did a great job on my hair and makeup, and they were exactly what I pictured. I also can’t leave out my mom — I know she’s not a vendor, but I couldn’t have done anything without her. My advice to brides that are planning their wedding now? Everyone is going to give their opinion whether you ask for it or not. My advice is stick with what you and your fiancé want — it’s your day!

Wedding Photography: Ashley Bee Photography / Wedding Venue: The Bride’s Parents Backyard in Carlsbad, California / Portraits Location: Leo Carrillo Ranch / Wedding Day Coordination: Erin Berenda of Erin B. Events / Officiant: Harry Taylor / Catering: Doyle Catering / Wedding Cake: VG Donut and Bakery / Wedding Invitations: DIY / Chairs + Lighting: Allie’s Party Rental / Linens: Party Designs by Dina / Wedding Dress: J.Crew / Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden / Bride’s Hair + Makeup: Angelina Dawson, A Friend / Groom’s Attire: Macy’s

Carlsbad Wedding at Leo Carillo Ranch from Captured by Aimee

This wedding is like a patchwork quilt of vintage goodies, romantic touches and contributions from family and friends! What screams vintage chic more than lace doilies, mismatched china, antique doors and mason jars? The homemade sweets are definitely a highlight, and the bridesmaid dresses and cowboy boots are such a perfect, flirty combo! Many thanks to Captured by Aimee for bringing this wedding to life in the full gallery of photos right here.

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From the Bride… It all started when Tim and I met during the summer of 2009. Our first date was at Balboa Park in San Diego, and I always assumed that we would most likely get married there. However, when it came time to the actual planning of the wedding, the idea of getting married inside a museum just didn’t seem to fit our personalities.  We knew we wanted a laid-back, completely outdoor, vintage-inspired wedding, and after searching many outdoor venues in San Diego, we finally found the ONE. Our wedding was held at Leo Carrillo Ranch in Carlsbad, California. Leo Carrillo Ranch had everything we had been searching for in a wedding venue. The historic park contained numerous romantic and aqua trimmed adobe style buildings, vintage windmills, beautiful native southwestern foliage and dozens of brilliantly-colored peacocks roaming the ranch that they called home. 

After finalizing the venue, I began my search for dozens of vintage and antique items that would be the center of our wedding decor. With the help of vintage milk glass, lace-filled fabric hoops that hung from the trees, mercury glass votives, mason jar glasses, handmade lace doilies and mismatched vintage china and silverware, Leo Carrillo Ranch was transformed into a casual yet romantic atmosphere that perfectly reflected Tim and me as a couple. Our wedding was truly the definition of a labor of love, and it seemed like almost every aspect of our wedding was contributed by a family or friend.  or instance, one of my bridesmaids, Meghan, help designed our invitations, the seating arrangement lists that hung from an antique door and our mason jar tags. My mother and one of my sisters created all the fabric banners, our “J” monogram made out of paper from antique books and the “fabric hoop” table numbers. Tim’s parents made all of the appetizers and the chalkboard signs, and his very talented aunt made our lovely cake and delicious cupcakes that our guests are still talking about. 

After a year of hard work and planning, Tim and I had a blast at our wedding, and we couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out.  We want to send a special thank you to all our family and friends that contributed to our day and to our amazing vendors, especially our coordinator (Rachael Lunghi from Lace & Likes), for creating such a fun and gorgeous day that will we will remember for a lifetime.

Wedding Photography: Aimee Westcott of Captured by Aimee / Photography Assistant: Lauren Nygard / Wedding Venue: Leo Carrillo Ranch in Carlsbad, California / Venue Contact: Daniel Ramos-Sanchez (daniel.ramos-sanchez@carlsbadca.gov) / Floral Design: Sally Preston-Gonzalez of Exquisite Blooms / Wedding Day Coordination: Rachael Lunghi of Lace and Likes / Officiant: Jane Ann Caroll (619-302-3304) / Catering: Name: Brandon Jessie of BBQ 81 / Desserts: Deborah Judd (619-518-4206) / Beverage Catering: Andrew Klosterman of Best Beverage Catering / DJ: Vynce Pham / Party Rentals: Gloria Gomez of Allie’s Party Rentals / Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Dorothy Perkins

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Carlsbad Wedding at Levyland Estates from Tres Chic Affairs

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, California brides have the best wedding venues to choose from! No where else are there so many gorgeous outdoor areas and whether they’re overlooking the ocean or in the mountains, their all equally stunning. And this wedding is no exception! Tres Chic Affairs crafted a super beautiful day filled with succulents, moss, Protea blooms, mercury glass and pretty little billy balls. Yup, we’re officially in love with this one and you can see all the rest right here.

And you MUST watch this gorgeous video from XOXO Wedding Studio:

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From Tres Chic AffairsAllison and LJ were married in May at the amazing Levyland Estate in Carlsbad, California. This super-sleek home overlooking the ocean was the perfect backdrop for this modern-meets-Anthropologie-inspired wedding. The ceremony was simple but beautiful. Chairs faced the ocean and a stunning organic structure covered in grapewood, succulents, moss and Protea blooms with a translucent curtain of hanging billy balls. The bride is a former Anthropologie employee, and she was inspired by their amazing collection of home wares, which were used throughout the reception tables alongside beach and mercury glass votives. Guests noshed on a feast of BBQ, a nod to the bride’s southern roots, and equally beautiful and delicious cupcakes.

Wedding Photography: Dylan Mayer Photography / Wedding Venue: Levyland Estates in Carlsbad, California / Event Planning: Tres Chic Affairs / Floral Design: Splendid Sentiments / Wedding Cinematography: XOXO Wedding Studio / Wedding Cake + Cupcakes: Hey there, Cupcake! / Wedding Dress: Priscilla of Boston Vineyard Collection (Now Closed) / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: White by Vera Wang