Lauren and Brandt live in Colorado, but decided to throw their wedding at a special getaway – along the Northern California coast where they spent some time in their early relationship! I just love their quirky private estate venue at Castle House + Gardens! They also fell in love with its Spanish-inspired castle architecture, redwood groves, palm trees, an amazing garden and even several farm animals!
From Lauren, “We wanted our wedding to feel warm, funny, comfortable, honest, silly and genuinely moving. And even through the stress and craziness of planning a wedding, we tried to be careful not to get too swept up in tradition, always remembering that the wedding was all about celebrating the things we love about each other and the wonderful blessing of bringing our two fantastic families together. We decided on a fun, saturated color palette for the wedding, with lots of aqua blue, vermillion red and beige/sand, and let the details spin out from there – ultimately arriving on a very colorful, playful, whimsical aesthetic with touches of mid-century modernism and some rustic, woodsy details well-suited to our outdoor garden wedding in the woods.”
Thanks so much to Sun + Life Photography and congrats to Lauren + Brandt!
Processional: La Valse de Amelie – Yann Tiersen
Recessional: How Sweet it Is – Marvin Gaye
First Dance: You Are the Best Thing – Ray LaMontagne
It sounds like a cliche, but the most meaningful moment of the wedding for me was when I first arrived at the end of the aisle and saw Brandt waiting for me at the end. Seeing him, and all of our closest friends and family, all looking back at me and beaming, with my mom on one arm and my dad on the other, was so overwhelming and so happy it nearly knocked me off my feet. I had thought I would feel incredibly nervous, and be worried about making sure I didn’t fall, or trip, and remembering to smile. But when I was really there, I felt like I was completely floating on air!
I loved reading the personal vows I wrote to Brandt, and hearing what he had written to me. Brandt felt that the most memorable and meaningful aspect of our wedding, to him, was the time we invested into making our ceremony just as we wanted it - writing our own vows, finding a reading that really resonated with us, and incorporating a unique ritual involving tasting different flavors that symbolized aspects of a marriage (sour, sweet, bitter and spicy.) Saying these emotional and personal things to each other in front of everyone was a strange experience, as we are both pretty private people, but it made our commitment to each other feel so momentous, and we feel lucky to have had our loved ones hear our words to each other in such an honest, raw moment.
And, we had so much fun listening to our parents and members of our wedding party make their toasts at the reception! It was so great to hear everyone’s laughter and feel their support and warmth as we all reminisced.
My biggest advice would be not to stress yourself out too much during the wedding planning and especially not during the week of and day of your wedding. The actual wedding festivities really fly by, especially because your adrenaline is pumping and there are so many loved ones to talk to, and things to do (photos, bouquet toss, cake cutting, dancing!) So, do your best to enjoy the planning - brainstorming about the elements you care about, and not worrying too much about the rest - and try your best to relax and slow down on the day of! Soak in all of the moments with your friends, family and most importantly, with your spouse-to-be. Don’t over-program and try to fit too many things into the timeline of the day, don’t get too hung up on the perfect experience, and in particular try not to worry too much about throwing the perfect party for your guests. I wanted to be so sure every detail was just right for them, but in the end I realized everyone truly was there to support us and was just so happy to be there and be a part of the momentous day in their loved ones’ lives. The food, decor, music, cake, etc. were wonderful and were certainly fun to pick out, but in the end they were just icing on the cake - details that added little touches to a day that was really about everyone just being together.
Oh, and even if you don’t take a honeymoon right away, try to set aside at least a few days after the wedding to be alone, just the two of you, to reminisce about and try to commit all of the details of your wedding to memory, take a breath and say “whoa - that just happened!” For us, everything was such a crazy whirlwind, that it was really lovely to slow down and hear each other’s recollection of the day in a quiet, remote setting before we saw any pictures or talked to anyone else who attended.
photography: Sun + Life Photography // venue name: Castle House + Gardens, Bonny Doon, California // florals: Tessa's Garden // bride's shoes: Kate Spade // hair stylist: Kathleen Gregory, Brides by Kathleen // makeup artist: Kathleen Gregory, Brides by Kathleen // groom attire: Custom designed by Metroboom // catering: Feast for a King // cake: The Buttery // linen rentals: La Tavola // music: Sound in Motion // officiant: Alison Hurwitz, Ceremonies by Alison // coordinator: Coastside Couture // wine: Bonny Doon Vineyard // beer: Firestone Walker, Mad River Brewing, Nectar Brewing, delivered w/nonalcoholic beverages by Leo's U-Save Liquors // rentals: Alexis Party Rentals // vintage aqua mason jars: A Jewels Quest // transportation: The Santa Cruz Experience // save the dates: HelloLucky! // wedding invitations: Cheer Up Cherup // wedding programs: Bride's DIY // escort cards: Bride's DIY // thank you cards: Bride's DIY // bride's dress: Justin Alexander, Style No. 8465, The Bridal Collection // bride's bolero: Custom sewn, The Bridal Collection // bride's earrings: Dana Castle // bride's veil: Twigs & Honey // bride's clutch: Pink Rose Vintage // rings: Designed by Ooh! Aah! Jewelry // bridesmaids' jewelry: Designed by Ooh! Aah! Jewelry // ceramic ring bearer bowl: Paloma's Nest // cake toppers: Blessed Lessons