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Sweet + Stylish Backyard Wedding – Complete with Cowbells!

These two approached wedding planning with a goal in mind: prioritize what’s most important and don’t stress the rest. But that doesn’t mean they let the cutie factor fall by the wayside. From cowbells to ring after the “I do’s” to whiskey bars and fruit tarts, this backyard bash was filled with personal touches galore. Lauren Fair captured them all and we’re loving on all day long – more this way!

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Al Fresco

From the Bride… Anyone who has attempted to plan a wedding knows that it is beyond intimidating and completely overwhelming. In an effort to prioritize, Michael and I sat down together and came up with the most important things that we wanted from our wedding, no matter what. This list saved us when it came to tough decisions that almost always revolved around money. We could look at this list and decide together that no, the more expensive chairs wouldn’t make our ceremony better, or no, the extra flowers weren’t as important as the ridiculously good band. This list helped save our sanity in the overflow of choices that is wedding planning.

Here was our list:
Involve as much family as possible
Make a big wedding feel tiny, personal and special
Have really, really good music
Spend the extra money on a fabulous photographer and videographer
Stick to the budget (we failed)
Spend time on the ceremony, it’s what the entire day is for

Family & Friends: I was given the advice early on that there are only two times in your life when you can have all of your favorite people in the world in the same place: at your wedding, and at your funeral. Since I don’t plan on being around for the latter, we knew that revolving this event around our loved ones, and including them in every way possible, was going to be what made our wedding feel so special.

My cousin played the ceremony music, a different cousin made our tiny sweet wedding cake, our aunts did the flowers, my great Uncle performed the ceremony, a dear family friend catered the event, another close friend drove all the way from NYC with all of the sound equipment, and my Herculean Mother acted as the event planning machine that pulled it all together. We were beyond lucky.

Making the big feel small: I come from a big family, so a tiny wedding was never in our cards. This didn’t change our desire for the day to feel special, and for every guest to feel like they were a crucial part of the celebration, because the truth is we wouldn’t have been there without them.

To pull this off we wanted people to feel comfortable. We made sure that during the outdoor ceremony there was plenty of water available, and handheld fans that people could grab. We over ordered on food and drink because what’s a party without an abundance of both?

We wanted dinner to feel like one giant dinner party, so we placed all of the tables close together, in various angles, and served the food family style. We put out large pitchers of sangria on every table that paired perfectly with our Spanish style meal.

Michael is a huge fan of whiskey, so post dinner we opened the whiskey bar and allowed people to taste some of our favorites that Michael personally selected.

For dessert we had a large table with different types of fruit tarts, and pies that people could grab on their way to the dance floor, or when they needed to take a break. Around 9:30, individual servings of local ice cream were passed around the dance floor as the perfect way to cool down after breaking a sweat.

The music: You can never, ever underestimate the power of good music. Our friends and family are the kind of people who like to dance, and we didn’t want to disappoint. Months later we are still hearing our guests talk about how wild and amazing the band was. You won’t regret the splurge.

Photography & Videography: We knew once the wedding was over, the photos and videos were all that we’d have left to remember the day. For us, paying extra for someone whose style we really, really loved was worth it. We made sure to tell both teams how important it was to capture the guests, not just the two of us, and they exceed every expectation.

Stick to the budget: Everyone’s situation is different, but we wanted to stick as closely to the budget as possible. Things happen, and unexpected expenses occur, but I’m really grateful that we spent what we did because every penny was worth it, and at the same time, that we didn’t spend anymore.

The ceremony: During the planning it was really easy to get sucked into the details of the bridesmaid dresses, or the type of lights to hang in the tent, or what flowers we would have where. We had to constantly remind ourselves that the point of the wedding was to get married, and that if we achieved that, the wedding would be a success.

We had my sister and Michael’s brother read a blessing that was read at my parent’s wedding. We had my Aunt read a poem that was written by my Grandmother. We chose music that meant something to us, and that family performed. We wrote our own vows. We created a list of what we loved most about one another and had our officiant, my great Uncle, read aloud. There were lots of tears, and lots of laughs, and to us it was perfect.

As a closing detail we ordered 50 cowbells that were handed out to guests. Michael and I got engaged on top of a Spanish mountain with the sound of grazing cows wearing cowbells in the distance. We figured there was no better way to start our marriage than to that sound, with the added cheers of our guests.

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Photography: Lauren Fair Photography | Cinematography: Visual Rose | Floral Design: Daniel Vaughn Designs (Large Arrangements) | Floral Design: Backyard Bouquets | Cake: Hope Woodhouse | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Lovely Bridal Shop | Makeup: Kelly Clark Makeup Artist | Hair: Viva Bella Salon | Band: Night Life / Washington Talent | Wedding Venue: Private Residence | Printed Designs + Paper Goods: Shannon Hovick (Bride) | Rentals: Best Event Rental | Tables + Chairs: Weir Event Rentals

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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One Amazing Couple Follow Their Dreams + Say “I Do” in Tuscany

We never know what life might throw our way, and this amazing couple decided, despite challenges, to still follow their dreams, and that meant saying “I do” in the hills of Tuscany. Surrounded by family and friend, they celebrated all they’ve overcome together and toasted to a beautiful future. Peter & Veronika captured it all and this love story is not one to be missed – more this way!

Colors
Seasons
Fall
Settings
Villa
Styles
Romantic

From Bride… Evan and I met seven years ago when we were both working at a restaurant – Evan was working as a bartender temporarily and I was paying my way through university. We were friends first and then quickly became more.. after eight months we moved to the city and got our first apartment downtown. We both began our careers doing what we love: Evan as a Construction Manager and myself in Marketing and graphic design. Over the next few years we grew as a couple and as people – we went through great times and some intense personal struggles, but kept the focus on our life together and each other. We would always come out strong no matter what life through at us. Little did we know that it was this mentality that would prove to be extremely helpful when the biggest challenge we would face yet was thrown at us unexpectedly…

Two years ago while working in his dream job as a Construction Superintendent, Evan broke his neck when an improperly secured load of flooring weighing 3500lbs fell off of a delivery truck onto his head and neck. Evan was instantly paralyzed from the shoulders down, and was left without full use of his arms and no use of his hands or legs. He was lucky to have survived his accident without any head trauma. After five months in the hospital and intensive rehabilitation, we began our new life together – although very, very different, nothing changed our outlook on life or how much we love each other. Evan is now confined to a wheelchair and needs 24 hour care and assistance, all of which I do myself as we decided early on we didn’t want to live with nurses and care aids – we wanted to lead normal, private lives!

After Evan returned home from the hospital we packed up our life and moved temporarily to Southern California to attend a world renowned rehabilitation facility for five months in order to help him gain his strength and focus. While we were there, Evan proposed to me at our favourite restaurant in San Diego called Juniper and Ivy – completely by surprise! He had designed my ring himself with Dino at Harlings Jewellers in Vancouver while he was in California – he even had it shipped to California without me knowing with help from his therapist!

We decided to have our wedding in Florence because we had planned a trip to Europe BEFORE his accident happened that we had never been able to do – and we did not want his injury to stop us from visiting all the places we want to go. Our passion together is great food and wine and Florence, Italy was at the top of our list for destinations. We found an amazing wheelchair accessible seven bedroom villa located 45 minutes outside of Florence in the Tuscan countryside called Castel D’Acone, and the rest just fell into place! Our wedding was intimate as we decided to turn the whole thing into a group European vacation with our closest family and friends for the week. The wedding was perfect and our entire week there was like a dream. For our honeymoon we decided to stay in Europe and visited Rome, Barcelona, The South of France and Amsterdam.. and enjoyed every minute of our travels.

We hope to meet other couples from around the world who are going through similar situations as us. We are soon launching a new website soon as a vessel to connect with people we can help, and let others know that you CAN live your life to the fullest as a happy couple – even after devastation and loss.

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Photography: Peter & Veronika | Floral Design: Marco Nocchi at Il Giardino Del Re Florist | Wedding Dress: Kathryn Bass Bridal | Bride's Shoes: Aquazzura | Rings: Harlings | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Plum Pretty Sugar | Catering: Giulia Panzariello and Angela Lamarra of Delizia Ricevimenti in Florence | Lighting: Castel D'Acone in Pontassieve | Groom's Attire: Canali | Officiant: Silvia Todini | Wedding Venue: Castel D'Acone in Pontassieve | Decor: Giulia Panzariello and Angela Lamarra of Delizia Ricevimenti in Florence

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
A Vow Renewal Guaranteed To Make You Believe in Forever Love

Our love story is perfectly imperfect but it’s ours” says this beautiful Bride and we couldn’t agree more. Those love and life stories are often filled with bumps and bruises and what really amazes us is when couples can take on those difficulties and become stronger. And that’s exactly what Cindy and her husband Nick did. They reunited after time apart and Luminance Wedding Films captured all the magic that went down as they renewed their vows. You’ll be one lifelong believer in love after this right here!

From Luminance Wedding Films“You are my miracle, and I am happy that it is you once again that I get to spend the rest of my life with.” Cindy shared these beautiful words to her husband during their vow renewal session. Their story is one that is very unique and one that we were so honored to be a part of. Cindy and Nick had been married before several years ago. As life sometimes goes, the couple struggled and found themselves going through a divorce a few years later.

After doing a lot of soul searching and finding their faith in God, the couple realized that they were meant for each other and re-connected. Having shared two children together and adopting a third, this family was made whole once again and they were re-married. Not having a video to document this special occasion, the couple approached Luminance Wedding Films to see about creating a vow renewal film. We of course jumped at the chance. Vows are the glue that binds two hearts together. They are what we reflect on when times are tough and when we need a reminder of what we have promised to each other. They see us through the good and the bad times. This film focuses on those important vows and on the strength they found in a life giving and reconciling God.

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Cinematography: Luminance Wedding Films | Styling: Cindy Sandoval + Jessica Kennedy | Floral Design: Costco | Cake: Costco