Handmade Paper Flower Wedding: Nata + Jess

giant paper flower bouquet

You might remember Nata + Jess from their stunning engagement photos we shared last year… Well, today we have their beautiful handmade wedding photographed by the super talented Studio Castillero. Nata + Jess came up with a few requirements for their wedding including…

• No matter what, it had to reflect them together. This meant that they could set traditions aside.
• Budget. Jess is a financial analyst so this was a hard-fast requirement. And they spent about 1/3 of the average American wedding. Congrats on that!
• It’s a PARTY. They definitely don’t take things too seriously and love a great shindig!

The most important part of the wedding for them was the photography so the largest percentage of the budget was dedicated towards that. After crunching the numbers, Nata realized she didn’t really have room for a wedding planner, flowers, cake or caterer. But hey, who doesn’t like a challenge? :) Since her entire bridal party lives out of state, Nata pretty much made + planned everything herself, which literally took the entire duration of their one year engagement – but you can see by these photos it was totally worth it! Congrats to Nata + Jess and thanks for sharing your beautiful day with us!

first look

parisian umbrellas

airplant favor

giant paper flower bouquets

Our ceremony was super intimate – about 30 of our closest family and friends. Because we try and spend as much time outside as possible, the botanical garden was an ideal setting for us. My friend, Keoki played us down the aisle (an acoustic version of one of my favorite Dashboard Confessional songs) and our friend Chad was the perfect officiant. My favorite DIY projects for the ceremony were the giant paper flowers I made – the bouquets were made from crepe and tissue paper; the wedding arch was made of cardstock. Because the ceremony site was so simple, I wanted to contrast that with the graphic appeal of bright, oversized flowers.

outdoor ceremony

outdoor ceremony, umbrellas

paper flower ceremony backdrop


giant paper flower bouquets

And those gorgeous huge paper flowers! Don’t you all just LOVE them!? I fell in love with them too and Nata is sharing a DIY on how to make the giant paper rose right here!


bride and groom

giant paper flower bouquets

giant paper flower bouquets

bride and groom

“Til Death Do Us Party” was the theme of the evening and around 100+ people. We thought an art gallery/museum would best suit our tastes and I was so lucky to find San Diego Art Institute. They don’t normally advertise as a wedding space so there was a bit of legwork to find it, but so glad I did! The gallery had a ton of great art already and we opted out of a sit-down dinner, which meant I didn’t have to do much with the decor (though there was no shortage of things to do!). It took us 5 hours to prep the reception space before the wedding…I definitely had no idea how much work it’d actually be.

paper flower centerpieces

sweet and savory bar

sweet bar, chevron stripes

love candy bowls, chevron stripes

The BIGGEST DIY project and the hit of the party was the photobooth, made by myself and my buddy Geoff (software engineer extraordinaire). The backdrop was made out of PVC pipe and some chevron fabric. The photobooth props were acquired throughout the year. And the photobooth was run on my Canon DSLR, photobooth workflow software, a photo printer, and the Geoff-custom-programmed Staples “easy button”. To run it, someone hits the easy button, takes 4 photos and prints out a nifty 4×6 print that I designed myself. 

till death do us party, thumbprint guest book



It was honestly the best day ever…even though I was up for 24 hours straight! The best memory of the day was when our officiant was telling us the meaning of love as told by a group of 4 to 8 year olds.

• Carl, age 5: Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cream and they go out and smell each other.
• Emily, age 8: Love is when you kiss all the time. And when you get tired of kissing you still want to be together and talk more. My mommy and daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss.
• Jessica, age 8: You really shouldn’t say “I love you” unless you mean it, but if you mean it you should say it a lot…because people forget.

Love is such a simple concept and I think as adults we sometimes over-complicate things. I love how Chad reminded us how important the little things are.

If I had any advice for future brides to be, I’d remind them that as much as this day is about you and your fiance, it’s also about including all the people you love and care about…so don’t be a prima donna or bridezilla. You’ll just make yourself and others miserable.

photography: Studio Castillero // dress: Brides By Demetrios // hairpiece: Twigs and Honey // bridesmaid dresses: Coralie Beatrix // groom’s suit: Banana Republic Outlet // groom’s tie: Good Heavens // ring book: Conduit Press // ceremony: San Diego Botanic Garden // reception: San Diego Art Institute // lights, audio, dj: RED Audio // cupcakes: Have Cake! // food: Heather Aaker // thumbprint guestbook: bleu de toi