Whitney + Zak‘s wedding is one we’ll be talking about here at GWS for years to come! Simple in the best of ways. Meaningful. Gorgeous. And definitely unique. They chose their wedding date based on when the almond trees would be blooming on their friend’s orchard + held a picnic-style ceremony, where guests lounged on vintage Mexican + Indian blankets, snacked on assortments of cheese + rosemary crackers, and sipped red wine from Whitney’s personal collection of colorful vintage goblets. All of it sounds pretty incredible, right? Just wait until you see the photos by Josh Gruetzmacher! We’re willing to bet we won’t be the only ones wishing we could attend a wedding like this one!
From Whitney, The entire wedding was an intimate reflection of us, come to life with the help of our closest friends and family. Having gotten engaged on December 15, we had 2.5 months of blissful planning. We knew we wanted simple and small and so there was no getting hung up on seating charts or favors or fluffy signature cocktails. The day of the wedding, rain poured and thunder was roaring and we were prepared to exchange vows in the pouring rain, but upon starting the first song, the clouds opened up and the sun poured out light! It was magical.
We’re downright obsessed with Whitney’s beautiful crocheted dress! That stunner was custom made by LA-based designer Dreamers & Lovers.
Isn’t this the most beautiful ceremony site imaginable?! Each of the 75 hand-sewn tapestry pillows were made by Whitney’s mom from fabric she gathered at a local tapestry warehouse. Silks, floral prints, Aztec prints and even a few cut-up Mexican blankets made the covers. Nestled amid the blooming almond trees, it really was such a perfect setting.
Guests arrived to live folk music as they entered the picnic ceremony site. Zak’s brother-in-law was on the fiddle and a brother-sister duo played banjo and sang sweet love and worship songs. The banjo-ist was the one who set us up on our blind date! Hidden in the middle of a blooming almond orchard, music played, glassware glistened, white blossoms covered the trees and ground and people sipped wine and feasted on cheese and crackers prior to the ceremony.
Following the magical ceremony, everyone gathered at La Mo Café, Whitney’s best friend’s family-owned restaurant, for a Latin feast consisting of local farm fresh produce and delicious from-scratch recipes.
The most beautiful day! Thank you so much Whitney + Zak for sharing it with us! We thought we’d close this one with the super sweet story of how these lovebirds met:
We met on a blind date in Santa Cruz, he picked me up in his 1992 Chevy versatile camper van, complete with feathers, a dream catcher and a Dashboard Jesus bobble head. We had a 6+ hour first date over pizza and tea, followed by coffee the next morning and me meeting him in his neck of the woods for dinner aboard his sailboat in San Francisco after work the next day. He left for New Zealand for two weeks only 48 hours after we met, but before departing, I received one of my favorite things he’s ever given me … A video message of him shyly strumming the guitar and serenading me with Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers” (which he states he immediately regretted upon hitting send). I received flowers a few days after that, and was the first girl he had ever gotten flowers for. I picked him up from the airport two weeks later, he made it official that day and we’ve been best friends ever since!
photography: Josh Gruetzmacher // ceremony: Private Residence in Turlock, California // bride’s dress: Dreamers & Lovers // bride’s jewelry: Whitney Shelhamer Designs // groom’s suit jacket: Express // hair, makeup + florals: The bride // mexican + indian blankets: Sercal // tapestry pillows: Handmade by the bride’s mom // vintage goblets: Bride’s personal collection // pottery plates: Local garden store // wood “teepee” tables: Casey Joens // monarch butterflies: Swallowtail Farms // reception + food: La Mo Café in Turlock, California
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