Intimate Ojai Wedding: Lauren + Steve

bride and groom

While I truly love weddings that go crazy with lots of design elements, sometimes the opposite approach of minimalism can be just as gorgeous as you’ll see in this intimate wedding. :) Lauren + Steve have had a difficult journey, but that only made them stronger.  A bit about their story from the lovely Lauren:

Steve had been sick for most of our 6-year relationship, which culminated in three surgeries and five hospital stays in the Fall of 2011, just a few months after he proposed. Thankfully the surgeries were successful, and we were able to enter into wedding planning with health on our side. With that in mind, we wanted our wedding to be a celebration in the purest sense of the word. We didn’t just want it to be a 5-hour event, we wanted it to be an entire weekend that was offered as one giant Thank You to our friends and family who had rallied around us and supported us through all the of the difficult times. Having that as our focal point helped us make the weekend about things and people that we loved rather than what was expected of us. From the guest list, which we narrowed down to people who had been intimately involved in our lives together, to dessert, which was pie and s’mores instead of cake, we wanted to make sure we loved every single thing we saw that day.

Oh, and did I mention that their good friend, singer-songwriter Eric Hutchinson was their officiant! How fun. Biggest congrats to Lauren + Steve and thanks so much to Ashley Rose Photography for sending this one my way!

BHLDN wedding dress

BHLDN wedding dress


Isn’t Lauren’s BHLDN gown stunning! Love all the ruffles.

BHLDN wedding dress

pink bouquet


And such a sweet first look moment…

first look

bride and groom

pink and purple bouquet

bride and groom

bride and groom

outdoor ceremony

Our Favorite Memory From The Wedding

I absolutely adored our ceremony. It was a time to stand still, bask in the love that radiated from our guests and reflect on everything Steve and I had endured to get there. One of our dearest friends (and musician) Eric Hutchinson officiated for us, and he also sang a cover of "Cry to Me" by Solomon Burke during the processional. It was magical.

Since we weren't having a religious ceremony, we asked two of our closest friends and both of our moms (it always bothered me that moms don't have a traditional role in weddings) to share memories or anecdotes about our relationship in lieu of readings. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but holding Steve's hand and trying not to sob too hard during the speeches was one of the best moments of my life. Our only mistake was not having tissues on hand for our guests. It was a very wet ceremony.

outdoor ceremony

outdoor ceremony

outdoor ceremony

outdoor ceremony

outdoor ceremony

Our Musicial Choices

Processional: Cry to Me by Solomon Burke (acoustic cover performed by Eric Hutchinson)

Recessional: Day by Day – Eddie Kendricks

First Dance: Cry to Me – Solomon Burke

mason jar drink

bride and groom

BHLDN wedding dress

bride and groom

bride and groom

bride and groom


I would encourage couples to really think about what they love and incorporate it into their wedding. It can be so liberating to think about what would make it a great party instead of just traveling along the well-worn path of a traditional wedding. For example, Steve and I decided early on not to have a wedding party, and it completely streamlined the day and gave us more time to focus on us instead of herding a lot of additional people into photos, etc. I also can’t tell you how many of my friends were relieved to not have to buy a dress!

Our Advice To Those Planning Now

I don't consider myself much of a DIY'er, but there were a few small (or so I thought) projects that we tackled. One of those was taking individual pictures of me and Steve holding a chalkboard with each guest's name written on it for place cards. It ended up taking a lot longer than we anticipated, but people loved them and most took them home as little mementos. We also took the silhouette from our awesome save the date (done by Kelly Bell) and had a stamp made out of it. It was the cheapest, best decision we made. The stamp ended up becoming a logo of sorts for the wedding. We used it on everything: welcome boxes, menu cards, our sign-in poster, and custom thank you cards. I think it was those small, relatively easy details that made the day feel personal and special.

I would also say that we were very fortunate to work with amazing vendors. It can be so hard to sort through the thousands of options, so we ended up going with our gut on most things. If we liked chatting with the person and they seemed like someone that we would be friends with outside of our wedding, then hiring them seemed like a safe bet.

I would also say that if there's something you want to have but the traditional routes are too expensive, there is always a cheaper way. It felt important to have the day captured on video, but we knew a professional videographer wasn't in our budget so we hired two film students right out of school instead. They did an amazing job! Oh and having a planner for the day (and several weeks before) was a total life saver. Not having to worry about all the details meant that we could be much more present in the enjoyment of the day.

photography: Ashley Rose // venue: The Dent House in Ojai, California // planner: Donna Romani // floral design: Le Petite Gardenia // wedding dress: BHLDN, with extensive alterations by Daniela Kurrle // shoes: Carven // hair + makeup: 1011 Makeup // groom suit: J. Lindeberg // paper goods: ElloThere // silhouette Stamp, save the dates, welcome poster: Jack and Jill Wedding // catering: SBB Gourmet Catering // pie: Simply Pies // music: Good Beats

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