One of the sources of inspiration behind today’s absolutely gorgeous wedding was the bride, Harben’s, immense affinity for the winter sky. Couple that with the beautiful beach setting where she grew up (Paradise Cove just north of Malibu), and of course, the love she and her now-husband, Ryan, share and you have the recipe for a stunning and thoughtful coastal celebration. Though the entire wedding was handmade with love, there were so many elegant touches, executed to perfection. You’d almost never know professionals weren’t involved with every element! Most of the florals were foraged from neighbors + assembled by family members, they used decor straight from their home to make the setting feel cozy and Harben even took a calligraphy class to create all her invitations, signs, and escort chart herself! Let’s hear a bit more about the day before checking out the lovely images by Celeste Noche:
From the start, our goal was to have a wedding that was organic, rich with love, and felt in-sync with our surroundings. We wanted the day to feel intimate and inviting, and to reflect the love that we share with each other, and within our broader community. Inspiration was drawn primarily from Malibu’s natural landscape and the time of year (December) — the rich greens of the Malibu mountains, the deep blue of the ocean, and the full moon, which rose pretty dramatically over our reception. Having our wedding in Paradise Cove, where I grew up, allowed us to incorporate personal touches into just about every aspect of the day. Ours was a DIY wedding through and through – and the immense love and support we received from friends and family permeated the entirety of the event.
Sometimes (read: most of the time) it’s the little details that make simple moments all the more special. We love that Harben gifted her bridesmaids a treasure box filled with meaningful things – and champagne, because you gotta have champagne! We have a DIY for making a similar bridesmaid box for your besties right here!
Processional: Wedding Party + Groom: Riches and Wonders – The Mountain Goats; Bride: Red Right Ankle – The Decemberists (Played live on acoustic guitar by friend of the couple, Alan Savage)
Recessional: At the Beach - Avett Brothers (Played live on acoustic guitar by friend of the couple, Alan Savage)
First Dance: You & Me – Penny and the Quarters
Harben: Several days before the wedding, Ryan and I hiked up one of our favorite trails in Malibu to the top of Solstice Canyon where the remnants of an old house are nestled next to a modest waterfall. When we got to the top, we toasted to our life and relationship, found quiet spots away from each other, and wrote our vows. I thought composing our vows was going to be my favorite memory, but it paled in comparison to actually exchanging them. We took a lot of care in writing our ceremony, and hands down, my most favorite part of our wedding was hearing Ryan make those promises in front of friends and family. And because it's impossible to choose just one, other favorite moments from the day include having my sister perform Simon & Garfunkle's Song for the Asking, and taking pictures with my Grandpa in front of his old surfboards. Those were pretty great too.
Ryan: Exchanging our vows in front of all of our loved ones was one of the most profound moments I've ever experienced and one that I will never forget. My other favorite moment was during the last song of the reception (Michael Jackson's Will You Be There), when Harben and I somehow ended up busting a move in the middle of the dance floor with our friends and family clapping and cheering around us. As the music faded out, everyone opened up the circle to lead us out the door, and somebody handed us a bottle of champagne as we made and impromptu exit. It was a fun and spontaneous end to an otherwise perfectly coordinated event, and it seemed to sum up the day perfectly.
Aren’t these ‘maids in white lace-y beach frocks the absolute cutest?! Steal this look with fun finds in our shopping guide below:
Find your vision (one that reflects you!), get creative and stay organized. There are many moving parts and players involved in the planning process, and that's heightened if you're doing things yourself and not accessing any sort of package or large, all-in-one vendors. We used Trello and multiple google docs/spreadsheets to organize the planning process, and to keep people connected. A wedding is a great excuse to take some time for yourself and develop new skills. Harben took calligraphy classes to address our envelopes, and Ryan brushed up on Photoshop and designed the invitations. Another word of advice: Make sure the people who have offered their help know exactly what their role will be, and what they will be tasked with. And then thank them, profusely, for spending their time and energy contributing to your day. Hiring a wedding coordinator was also a tremendous help. It was so wonderful to wake up the morning of the wedding and know that all of day's to-do's were in capable hands. Lastly, and we know that everyone says this, but stop and take some time with your love. Carve out a few quiet moments to let everything soak in, and bask in it all. The day goes by very quickly, and when all is said and done, those minutes you took to look at the moon with your partner will be among your most special memories.
photography: Celeste Noche // event design: Bride + Mother of the Bride // florals: Mother + Aunt of Bride // hairpiece: Mother of Bride + Bridesmaids // bride's shoes: Seychelles from Anthropologie // hair stylist: Helen Hening // makeup artist: Helen Hening // groom attire: J.Crew // paper goods: Bride + Bride's Sister + Groom // catering: Chris and Kristine Bocchino // music: Anna Schulze // officiant: Friend of the Bride and Groom - Rachel Heinz // location: Paradise Cove in Malibu, California // day of coordination: Helen Hening // wedding dress: Spruce by Watters purchased at The Wedding Party // bridesmaid dresses: Stone Cold Fox, Pixie Market, Nordstrom, Anthropologie // rentals: Pico Party Rentals