Our Favorite Wedding Details from 2013

And we are back with more of our favorites from 2013! Today it’s all about our favorite decor elements. Our couples + wedding designers really stepped it up this past year with the creative elements! Here are some of our favorites…

balloon wall ceremony backdrop

The giant balloon wall from this carnival wedding designed by Bash, Please – photo by Birds of a Feather

vegetable wall

This farmer’s market inspired wedding had the most amazing escort wall designed by Amorology Weddings – photo by Fonyat Photography

flower wall ceremony

How gorgeous was this framed ombre flower backdrop? Madly in love with it. Designed by Oleander Florals + Events – photo by Lauren Fair Photography

mantle ceremony decor

Skyler + Aaron built this beautiful wedding altar for their ceremony that now has a place in their living room! Photo by Priscila Valentina Photography

purple flower altar

Super dreamy bougainvillea ceremony setup from this feature designed by Primary Petals – photo by Farhad Samari

gold love balloons

Giant gold balloons bring the perfect amount of whimsy into your wedding and loved the way they were used as part of the dessert table from this wedding designed by Eco Caters – photo by onelove photography

hanging woven planters

The peonies, poppies + more hanging with macrame were another favorite detail from this wedding designed by Events in the City + florals by Sweet Root Village – photo by Rebekah J. Murray Photography

just married car banner

Loved the getaway car banner designed by the couple from this wedding – photo by With Love & Embers

summer into fall inspiration

This book ceremony arch is so perfect for a couple of bookworms! Designed by She Walks in Beauty + photo by White Photographie

zig zag tables

indigo place mats

The one long winding table and personal dyed placements for each guest were simply perfect in this wedding designed by Sitting in a Tree – photo by Delbarr Moradi

ribbon backdrop

This ribbon backdrop + aisle of candles was so romantic from this Bali wedding designed by Beth Helmstetter Events – photo by Steve Steinhardt

20's modern wedding

The kaleidoscope of flowers backdrop from this wedding designed by the bride, Ashley Revell, and florist Jaclyn Journey, really made such a statement – photo Lang Thomas Photography

modern blue wedding

hanging wood blocks

The super modern backdrop from this feature designed by In the Now Weddings and Events – photo by Jasmine Star

tent wedding

One of the most dreamy tents we’ve seen (love how it brings the outdoors in!) designed by Knot and Pop – photo by Ed Peers

bougainvillea altar

And last, but not least, this second bougainvillea ceremony design! Stunning, right? Florals by The Vine’s Leaf + design by GATHER Events – photo by Caroline Tran

Looking for more of our favorites from 2013? Check out our favorite wedding dresses, favorite engagement photos, favorite bouquets and the top 10 most popular weddings from 2013.

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Rustic Woodland Wedding: Karen + James

california rustic wedding

Happy New Year everyone! And big welcome to all our newly engaged couples. :) We have so many amazing weddings already lined up to share with you all this year starting with a gorgeous woodland wedding…

Karen + James’ beautiful, rustic woodland wedding incorporated some of our favorite things here at GWS: dream catchers, king protea, airplants, chocolate cake – and the color green! Because the couple met in a beautiful redwood forest in Northern California (so romantic, right?!), the most important detail for them was to have their wedding outside, in a gorgeous, natural setting. The Hideout in Kirkwood, California fit the bill big time, but the weather in the area tends to be totally unpredictable. Luckily  Karen + James are a laid-back, go-with-the-flow kind of duo and they weren’t going to let a bout of bad weather ruin their day! When it was all said and done, it only added to the beauty + excitement of the celebration! Here’s a bit more about it all from their talented wedding planner Kate of Kate Whelan Events:

An unexpected deluge of rain hit at the tail-end of guest arrival, right as the ceremony was set to start. As I passed out umbrellas to the guests, the sudden rain storm turned to hail the size of golf balls and we quickly shuttled out guests up to the saloon for the cocktail hour while the storm passed. After we wiped everything down, we moved the guests back down to the woodside ceremony. Karen, James + their guests handled it incredibly well – later thanking me for the hailstorm show and laughing about it like it was just a part of the entertainment for the evening!

Thanks so much to Sarah Maren for the lovely photos!

california rustic wedding

getting ready

I’m super in love with Karen’s gorgeous bouquet by Flourish, which contains the perfect mix of textures + colors!

california rustic bouquet

california rustic bridesmaids

protea bouquets

california rustic

california rustic flower crown

white suit

california rustic first look

california rustic first look

california rustic

california rustic wedding party

Karen + James worked with Kate Miller Events to incorporate some of their favorite things into the design. How amazing is their ceremony backdrop, composed of handcrafted dream catchers in various sizes? So whimsical + pretty!

hanging dream catchers

dream catchers

california rustic

california rustic boutonniere

bride and groom

The morning of the wedding was beautiful and sunny, but a storm of rain, thunder, lightning, and hail let loose right as our ceremony was set to begin!

california rustic

california rustic ceremony

california rustic ceremony


california rustic ceremony

california rustic ceremony

After the ceremony, Karen + James led their guests to their reception, set under market lights, mason jars and the starry night. Tables were accented with grapewood hearts, vintage bottles + lanterns, as well as king protea, pheasant feathers and textural natural blooms. An organic faux bois chocolate cake was accented with more king protea and their cake topper – two miniature trees – reflected the couple’s love of nature. The party continued into the night with The Blank Tapes performing on the stage under the stars, with guests warming up via the many firepits or the massive hot tub built into the rockside.

california rustic reception

seating chart window

Love their pretty paper goods too, which were also crafted by Kate Miller Events!

driftwood centerpieces

table numbers

rustic tablescape


naked rustic cake

Processional: Bells of Spring Prelude in C Major – Bach

Recessional: Here There Everywhere –The Beatles

First Dance: Something in the Way She Moves – James Taylor

first dance

From the bride, Big thanks to Kate Miller Events. Kate took our vague ideas about what we wanted our wedding to be and transformed them into the most beautiful magical event. This wedding would not of happened with out her creativity, talent, and hard work!

Congrats to Karen + James on a beautiful day and best wishes from all of us at GWS! :)

photography: Sarah Maren // venue: The Hideout Kirkwood, California // event design + planning: Kate Whelan Events // floral design + hairpieces: Shannon Cosgrove-Rivas, Flourish // wedding dress: Jim Hjelm Bridal purchased and fit at Jin Wang Bridal in San Francisco // shoes: Kork Ease // bridesmaid dresses: chosen by bridemaids in various shades of green // hair + makeup: Hello Glam // groom suit: Etro // paper goods: Kate Miller Events // catering: Beth Sogaard Catering // cake: Coracao Confections // music: The Blank Tapes

This wedding features rad artists fromThe GWS Wedding Artist GalleryKate Whelan Events is a Featured Artist in the GWS Artist Guide! Find more rad artists for your day in our Gallery
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Our Favorite Wedding Dresses of 2013

Today we are taking a look at one of my favorite wedding elements – the wedding dress! So many gorgeous dresses from 2013 – and love that we saw dresses in colors such as pink, green, gold + black too! So many pretty ones, right?!

bride and groom

One of my top personal faves was this custom designed dress by the bride from this wedding – photography by Matthew Morgan Photography

romantic bride

Sarah’s Vera Wang dress was simply stunning from this wedding – photography by onelove photography

blush pink wedding dress

Loved Marissa’s pink sequin gown by Keeradenaan from this wedding – photography by Dan O’ Day

vintage arrowhead bride

Abbygale’s vintage gown is such a perfect find from this wedding – photography by Tyler Branch

pink tulle wedding dress

We loved how fun + whimsical Janet’s altered Wtoo dress was from this wedding – photo by Kelly Braman Photography

free people wedding dress

Laura’s Mara Hoffman dress from her elopement was probably one of the most requested! And this dress is now available in The GWS Shop! Photo by Benj Haisch

moonrise kingdom wedding inspiration

The lace detailing on this BHLDN gown from this feature was stunning – photography by Laura Izumikawa Photography

first look

Cortnie’s custom Joan Shum gown was truly one-of-a-kind! From this wedding photographed by Jose Villa

pink wedding dress

Samia’s pink ruffled Watters gown from this wedding – photography by Alec Vanderboom

crochet ruffled dress

Danielle’s Rue De Seine ‘Louvre Dress’ from this wedding – photography by Nordica Photography


This gold metallic gown that Clayton Austin constructed from this feature – photography by Clayton Austin

secret society bride

This Inbal Dror gown from this feature – photography by Zoom Theory Photography

paris anniversary bride

And this pretty Claire Pettibone gown from this feature – photography by Laura Gordon Photography

Looking for more wedding gown inspiration? Check out our wedding dress gallery

In case you missed it, be sure to also check out our: top 10 weddings from 2013 and favorite bouquets from 2013

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