A Big Sur Whimsical Wedding in the Woods: Nichole + Jeff

dried flower bridal head piece

You can just tell that Nichole + Jeff are a super fun couple from their whimsical + playful DIY wedding! Nichole + Jeff actually entered a contest we helped promote here on GWS for free wedding photography from the awesome duo at EP Love and they were the lucky winners! I’m so excited to share their amazing DIY wedding today. Nichole + Jeff are both artists so they really went all out with the details + decor for their day! Nicole + Jeff wanted an intimate wedding with their closest friends and immediate family. They wanted it to feel like a joyful picnic in the woods, where even the animals come out to join you. Love that so much! Before they even picked a location, they were collecting vintage dishes, mugs and decorations from thrift stores. They are both passionate thrift store scavengers so incorporating all of the vintage decorations was like taking their home and putting it in the woods.

first look

bride and groom in woods

bride in pink tights

A bit about her dress + accessories: Even as a hypercolor wearing, Punky Brewster worshipping child of the 80’s, I loved 70’s fashion! So I was always admiring the bohemian style Gunne Sax dresses hanging in my Mom’s closet. Soon after our engagement I began searching etsy and ebay for one to wear as a wedding dress, but after a year, still hadn’t found one I liked. Three months before the wedding while shopping with my maid of honor at a used clothing store, I came across a lace Gunne Sax dress that actually fit and only cost 30 bucks. Once the puffy shoulders and prairie length bottom were removed it was perfect!

My parents have been married for over thirty years. Seeing them work through issues and express their love to one another in such a lasting way has always been inspirational to me. As a symbol of the two of them I wore a pair of diamond stud earrings my father gave to my Mom early on in their relationship. The mini pocket knife necklace was an unexpected gift from Jeff earlier this year. I love it so much that it seemed completely appropriate to wear it on our wedding day. It was purchased from the boutique Lula Mae in Pasadena and designed by Bunnies in LA.

bride and groom in woods

dried flower bridal head piece

They chose to have their wedding in Big Sur, CA because it allowed all of their loved ones to celebrate with them the entire weekend and the Henry Miller Library couldn’t have been a better spot for the wedding. It was a beautiful location without being too manicured or too formal. They were given complete freedom to use the grounds however they wished, so they choose to have their dinner seating in two long rows to keep everyone close to one another. Dinner was served family style to reinforce the picnic atmosphere and since they had less than 50 guests, they were able to spend time with everyone and really enjoy and appreciate their presence.

fall wedding ceremony banner

bride in pink tights

wooded ceremony

wooded ceremony


groom bride and groom in woods

bride and groom in woods

A bit about the details from the couple…Since we are both artists, the wedding details and decor were quite an obsession. Jeff’s wonderful mother sewed all of our napkins, tablecloths and baked tons of treats for the sweets table. My own amazing mom also baked up some sweets and crafted tons of felt mushrooms that were displayed on the tables. The mushroom decorations stemmed from Jeff’s collection of 1970’s mushroom decorated ceramics.

Since we both love animals and also collect vintage owl and deer items, those had to be in the wedding too! I borrowed a projector from a friend and was able to magnify and trace images I drew myself and copied off the internet, in large scale onto plywood. I then painted and cut them out to be the animal “sign holders” for the celebration. Jeff focused more on the special little details like deer flags on the coffee stir sticks, screen printed bags, and hand made crates for the sweets, beer and coffee tables. The owl tree was the biggest project that we accomplished together. We wanted a unique way for guests to find their seat and also give them a small remembrance to take home with them that they actually might hang onto.

tree and owl escort cards

cards box, orange red yellow

owl goodie bags

mason jars, beer

wooden drink flags

orange red yellow chair ribbons

felt mushroom centerpieces

mushroom centerpieces

vinage plate, muschroom centerpiece

wood and yellow table number

owl cupcake topper, moose cut out

mushroom cutting board

brown paper bag goodies


animal masks

guestbook, photobooth

bride and groom, unicorn

We spent months collecting, building, painting, and creating all of the decor for our wedding. But it would have been all for nothing had we not had an army of loving friends and family to help us the weekend of the wedding. We laugh at ourselves quite hysterically as we think back to how Jeff and I thought we would be able to set everything up by ourselves in two hours the morning of the wedding. Thankfully we are blessed with friends who knew better, and insisted on helping us that morning and throughout the entire wedding. We are endlessly indebted to them for making our wedding appear seamless and absorbing the wedding day chaos on our behalf. xoxo to all of our friends and family!

During the planning I obsessed over all of the wedding blogs that showed unique and creative DIY weddings. Green wedding shoes became one of my morning routines, and how I learned about the wedding photography contest and give away by EP Love. I was stunned when we became a finalist! The after math was amazing. All of our friends and families rallied their troops to vote for us in the competition. We were, and are still, so touched by their efforts to collect us the winning votes. And holy smokes EP Love are completley fantastic! Jeff and I never thought we would have photographers who were just as excited and energized about our wedding as we were. Their vibrant spirits are contagious and our gratitude towards them is infinite! Also, I cannot give enough compliments to Jennifer Lynch Catering for her fantastic food. We asked for a vegetarian meal that even a meat lover would enjoy and holy smokes did she deliver! Every single person that attended our wedding has repeatedly gushed over how delicious the food was. Don’t let her simple website fool you, her food is astounding!

What a unique + truly special day! Thanks so much to Nichole + Jeff and congrats to you both!

photographer: EP Love // venue: Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, Ca // bride’s dress: Vintage 1970’s Gunne Sax Dress that she altered // bride’s shoes: urban outfitters // bride’s headpiece + veil: made by Nichole // bride’s jewelery: Lula Mae // brides ring: purchased from Sumi’s and was designed by Rebecka Froberg // groom’s ring: Custom made from Ravens Refuge Portland, Oregon // groom’s outfit: Custom suit from Thick As Thieves and vintage tie // bridesmaids dresses: H&M and BCBG // groomsmen outfits + accessories: H&M // cake: Sprinkles Cupcakes // flowers: handmade by the bride // band + dj: Aaron Headley (best man), DJ Number Sixx // coordinator + caterer: Jennifer Lynch Catering // photobooth: Glass Coat Photobooth¬†// necklace: Bunnies in LA