Every now and again the most stunning elopement lands in my inbox. Today’s real wedding...
Yay it’s Thursday, we are nearly at the end of the week, not quite but you can see the finishing line if you look really closely! My mum is coming up from Cornwall this weekend to visit, which is why I am so keen to see Saturday come round quickly! Today though we have some more sunshine to cheer you up, with this gorgeous California wedding. It’s a beautiful woodland wedding that takes place at a buddhist retreat The whole wedding took place over the whole weekend, which gives it a real laid back feeling. The different shades of blue work look great against the redwood trees and the gorgeous outdoor ceremony and reception set up really make the most fo the backdrop. Thanks to Hayley Anne Photography for the lovely images
Katy and Scott were married on 9th May 2015 at Pema Osel Ling Retreat Center, Corralitos, California. ‘We fell in love with Pema Osel Ling immediately because of the beautiful scenery and peaceful atmosphere. While we’re not Buddhists, this retreat center had a very serene and positive vibe that was quite powerful. Another huge bonus of this venue was that we could make it a “wedding weekend” where we stayed Friday-Sunday instead of the typical 5-hours many venues give you. Guests were able to stay on-site in cabins and camp sites, where they could enjoy the on-site swimming pool, campfire and s’mores at night, free yoga class, and lawn games we brought. This added an extra element of fun as it felt like a summer camp, where our families could actually get to know each other over the 2 days. We had a total of 200 guests. It took 9 months to plan the wedding! There was a lot to coordinate with planning events over the 2 days and coordinating guest on-site lodging and such.’
How they met
Scott and I first met during our senior year of college at UC Santa Cruz. While we were both Theater Arts majors, we had never met, until we were cast in a play together! Our characters in the play had a romantic history together, so we found out pretty quickly that we had chemistry in real life too! We have been together ever since, moving to San Diego together while Scott attended law school, and eventually finding ourselves back in the Bay Area to be closer to our families.
Scott and I had been in a long distance relationship for 2 years due to jobs. I lived in Redwood City and he lived in Petaluma, so we only saw each other on the weekends. We knew we wanted to get married, so it was only a matter of time before one of us had to make a move. That ended up being me. On moving day he drove to Redwood City with the moving truck and helped me pack up, and left a little before me going back to Petaluma. We had an apartment to move into and when I arrived he was waiting for me out front. He insisted that he carry me inside, and when he did he pointed out a ring box hanging from the ceiling fan. He put me down, grabbed the box, got down on one knee and proposed. It was a great idea because I was so preoccupied with the move that I wasn’t expecting a proposal at all. His brother and cousin came over a few minutes later with champagne and we celebrated. And eventually we went back to unloading the truck, ha!
How did you allocate your budget
The most expensive items were the venue rental and catering. We kept décor, favours, and invitations pretty simple and inexpensive.
Where did you splurge and where did you save
WHERE WE SPLURGED: Venue, Catering for both rehearsal dinner and wedding reception. The Photographer
HOW WE SAVED: Only having the florist make the bouquets and not any reception décor (we made simple centerpieces using lanterns on top of wooden rounds). The natural surroundings were already so beautiful we didn’t need to add to it too much. Having guests RSVP through our website instead of in the mail (eliminated buying twice as many stamps!) Making one poster with everyone’s names and table number instead of buying place cards for each guest.
How did you choose your photographer
I began my search on Yelp and contacted Hayley because of her great reviews. I also loved that her photos had a very artistic quality to them. When we met in person, she was very down to earth and easy to get along with, so it was an easy decision!
Wedding gown & jewellery from Trudy’s Brides Mori Lee gown.
Shoes from The Dessy Group
The Suit and Bridesmaids
Groom’s suit was from Men’s Wearhouse / Vera Wang tuxedo
Theme or Colour Scheme
It ended up being different variations of blue. Strangely the colour was picked from Scott picking out his waistcoat, and then we told my maid of honour and both moms to wear a shade of blue as well. Nothing was the exact same blue, but it ended up looking really nice all together.
I actually have no idea what kinds of flowers they were but they were variations of blue, purple, and white flowers in the bouquets and boutonnieres, which looked great with our color scheme. We used Susi’s Flowers in Aptos, CA
As far as décor, we were inspired by the gorgeous redwood trees and decorated the tables with wooden rounds, lanterns, and moss.
All the food was fantastic. The venue catered our rehearsal dinner which was a Hawaiian Luau theme, so the food was also Hawaiian. At the wedding we had steak, eggplant parmesan and salad/veggies. We also had a taco bar for a late night meal around 10pm.
No cake for us. We bought an assortment of cookies from a Santa Cruz favourite, Pacific Cookie Company.
We had a DJ from Music Now DJs
We got free samples from several online shops and had our families take votes on their favorites until we landed on one we all liked.
Personal or Handmade Touches
As two full-time workers, we didn’t have a lot of time for lengthy craft projects, so there wasn’t very much of this in the decor. But we’re both outdoorsy so the venue really let our personalities shine through.
The whole weekend was a dream come true! My goal was to really enjoy myself and I truly had an amazing time. I felt like I had real conversations with almost everybody at some point during the weekend, which from what I hear normally does not happen! I also loved the speeches, food, dance party, campfire circle, and heartfelt ceremony. However, I’d say my favourite part was just seeing all of the most important people in our lives interacting together – it really made it feel that our two families were becoming one. It was also awesome to hear afterward how many people told us it was the best wedding they’d ever been to!
How relaxed I was and how much fun I had. It is nerve-racking leading up to it all so I was happy that I was able to just let loose and enjoy my own party!
Advice to other couples
The most challenging part was keeping track of all the small details and coordinating who was bringing and doing what to set up the venue. My advice to current planners is to do as much as you possibly can early on. Even if you think you don’t have much left, things always pile up at the end that you didn’t think of. Try to make a very thorough list in the early stages so you don’t have too many last minute stressful surprises. You don’t want to be a complete stress-ball leading up to it. I also tried to purchase any items I could early on so that I wouldn’t be spending a huge chunk of money all in the same time period. For the day of, try to stay with your partner as much as possible – it is easy to get pulled away in different directions but you don’t want to spend the whole day apart!
Simple, natural, and real photos inspired by great love and epic scenery. Hayley Anne Photography is based in Santa Cruz, CA and travels worldwide. For 2016, all destination weddings are $2,500 for all day coverage with travel included.