Handmade California Wedding: Sophie + Jonathan

bride and groom in cactus field

Sophie + Jonathan wanted to throw a relaxed + intimate wedding for their closest friends + family in California. The most important thing for Sophie was that she wanted to get married outside – and fun to hear that she used GWS for lots of ideas! There were lots of great DIY projects for the day including the most amazing one being Sophie’s wedding dress! Yep, Sophie made it with a vintage pattern she found and then even used the leftover fabric to make a matching hat piece with beaded freshwater pearls she found in the NY garment district (see the hat below – stunning, right?!) She also made her pearl bracelet, garter set, cake toppers, menus and the table runners for the reception. Two of Jonathan’s groomsmen/bandmates performed the music for the ceremony, which made it super special. Big thanks to Matthew Morgan for the gorgeous photos!

bridal hat

rustic floral wedding invitations

bridal party walking

tea length wedding dress

birdcage veil

mismatched floral and solid bridesmaids

The day before the wedding, Sophie and her family drove to the Los Angeles flower district and bought all of the flowers for the wedding. Inspired by the floral design of Saipua, Jonathan’s family and the bridesmaids later helped Sophie put together all of the bouquets, boutonnieres and table arrangements for the reception. From Sophie, It was a lot of work, but everything about the wedding felt so personal and unique to us – it was worth it! 

mismatched floral and solid bridesmaids

groomsmen in vests

groomsmen in vests

outdoor ceremony

flower girls with baskets, turtle wedding

There aren’t a lot of younger children in either of our families, so my pet box turtle, Zoe, was assigned the role of the ring bearer! There was a priceless moment (during our vows, even) when both Jonathan and I realized that we had forgotten to inform our officiant, Jonathan’s uncle, of Zoe’s participation in the ceremony. I’ll never forget the look on Jonathan’s uncle’s face when we he reached for our wedding rings and found them tied to a tiny desert tortoise!

outdoor ceremony

outdoor ceremony

outdoor ceremony

outdoor ceremony

outdoor ceremony

bride and groom

bride and groom

bride and groom

bride and groom

outdoor reception

simple wedding tablescape

table seating clip boards

lounge area

croquet wedding game

outdoor reception

outdoor reception

outdoor reception

They say to only choose vendors that you trust, and it’s true! I planned my California wedding entirely from New York, and if I hadn’t been able to trust my vendors with some very important decisions, it just wouldn’t have happened. The wedding is now 6 months past, but when I think of how wonderful all of our vendors were to work with, I still want to give them each a big hug! The whole day was perfect, and we couldn’t have done it without them.

I think the best advice I received when planning my wedding came from a blog and was along the lines of “don’t be afraid to try something you might be good at.” I think it’s great that DIY has caught on in the wedding world, but don’t feel limited to printing your own table numbers! I think brides get shy about doing things themselves because they feel a lot of pressure to get things exactly right on their wedding days, but everyone has their own talent and you can’t know what you’re good at until you try it! My wedding dress was my most ambitious sewing project to date, and it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t convinced myself I could pull it off.

photography: Matthew Morgan Photography // venue: Parker Ranch, Trabuco Canyon, CA // event planner + catering: Iva Lee’s Catering // wedding dress: handmade by the bride, adapted from Vintage Vogue pattern V1084 // hairpiece: handmade by bride // shoes: Kate Spade “Licorice” // bridesmaid dresses: Zara, Anthropologie, Lord & Taylor, Jcrew // hair + makeup: Katie Vollmer and team from Beauty and the Beach // groom suit: Paul Smith // invitations: Karen Gelardi // cake: Boulangerie Pierre & Patisserie, Garden Grove

This wedding features rad artists fromThe GWS Wedding Artist GalleryMatthew Morgan Photography is a Featured Artist in the GWS Artist Guide! Find more rad artists for your day in our Gallery

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  1. a ring turtle!!!! that may be just the coolest thing i’ve ever seen :-) a beautiful wedding too!

  2. This is such a gorgeous wedding! I absolutely love the mix and match bridesmaid dresses…so unique!

  3. Beautiful Couple and Location!

  4. So many fun vintage props! Also love the mix and match bridesmaids dresses, the brides tea length dress, their pet turtle with the rings tied on it is adorable, and the style and flower varieties used through out the wedding is gorgeous!

  5. Nice wedding coverage. I like how you captured the details.

  6. omg the turtle! I love it! I used to have a turtle – his name was Ninja ;-) gave him to a sweet family when I moved out here to Hawaii (<–strict agricultural laws) – what a darling wedding!

  7. That is such a beautiful wedding ceremony! My partner and my spouse and i actually absolutely really like this mixture and match up bridesmaid dresses…so distinctive!

  8. This is a fabulous wedding! The couple truly created an unforgettable day! Thanks for sharing!

  9. I loved this bride! Her style was fabulous! LOVE the turtle! Thank you Sophie for letting me be a special part of it! Your hair and makeup was so fun to do! Great work Matthew Morgan! You are a very gifted photographer!

  10. Wow, I love the uniqueness of this wedding. So beautiful and original. I epsecially LOVE the hair and makeup of the bride. It looks amazing!

  11. What a lovely wedding! And I cannot get over the fact that she made the dress herself… she looks stunning!

  12. Everything is beautiful and seems to be very original and unique to your personalities. I love your venue, where is this place?

  13. Lovely wedding <3 I ADORE her wedding dress! I especially appreciate it since she sewed it herself! I know how difficult sewing clothing can be and especially a wedding dress! (not to mention that awesome hat!) She did a fabulous job! It was so inspiring to see a well crafted DIY wedding. You guys look incredibly happy together. Your love is so evident in the pictures taken on your special day. Best of luck to you both on your new life together! <3

  14. Love the Globe lighting!!! Great vintage props.


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