A Handmade Wedding in the Woods: Christine + Ian

wooded wedding

Imagine you have the perfect location for the wedding of your dreams, but it would need a lot of work – I’m talking building a stage for the ceremony and all the seats, seating for dinner and finding a place for the catering staff to cook all the food. Well, Christine + Ian knew they wanted to get married in the woods and searched high and low for the perfect spot – campgrounds, state parks, etc but none seemed to be “the place.” It was then that they decided to ask Ian’s parents if they could hold the wedding at their house – it was the perfect location – but would need a lot of work to get it ready. Well, his parents said yes and they spent nearly every weekend for 5 months, and a full month before the wedding surveying, digging, hammering, cutting, sanding, cleaning and generally working themselves to the bone to make it happen. This wedding is truly a labor of love from Christine, Ian and their families. I think it might be the ultimate DIY wedding! Every element was handcrafted by them or family + friends and the day was filled with such love that was felt by everyone who came. Thanks so much to the crazy talented duo of Shelby + Stone from Stone Crandall Photography for the dreamy photos!

dusty miller bouquet

gray bridesmaid dresses

Their invites are AMAZE! Some of the most gorgeous invites I’ve seen. Christine + Ian made them and you can see more photos + learn how they made them here. Also check out their adorable Save the Dates!

kraft paper invites


birds nest with wedding rings

pink bouquet

From Christine + Ian, The flowers, while not initially our top priority, ended up being a highlight for the wedding decorations. The flowers were sourced from a wildflower farm, Indian Hills Organic Flower Farm, down the road. We got what looked best that morning and the maid of honor, Carol Srivongse (who also happens to be a professional event coordinator), created and placed the beautiful arrangements on site.

dusty miller boutonniere

groomsmen in suspenders

groomsment in mint tie

wood wedding signs

The creation and decoration of our wedding was a big undertaking, as everything needed to be made from scratch, by us and our family. Nearly all of the materials, decorations and various aesthetic details were sourced from our property and that of our neighbors. We amassed piles of birch stumps, branches and various odds-and-ends that were chopped, milled, sanded, laser-cut and used for decorations and signs. Fabric was dyed and cut into dozens of long streamers to be used as backdrops and entryways between the trees. And as for the big projects…

A recently fallen pine tree was used to create a log bench amphitheater to seat all 110 guests. The benches themselves (all 28 of them) were split and mounted using a custom rig and system invented by the groom’s father. The aging deck around our house was torn apart for lumber to build a terraced hillside for dining, as well as the stage on which we were married. A madrone tree was cut down and slabbed to create a gorgeous, six-inch-thick surface for the bar. Similarly, various scrap wood and logs were used to construct an elevated platform for the bride and groom to dine on.

past photo frames on tree

I love how they posted the photos of the two of them throughout the years! Super cute.

seed wedding pouches

Out of the many amazing moments of our wedding, one of my favorites was being able to walk down the aisle to my brother playing two of my favorite tunes on the ukelele. It was a combined rendition of “Transatlantique” and “Elephant Gun” by Beirut played on the ukelele by my brother, Peter Srivongse. (Recording) For the recessional, we played “Loin des Villes” by Yann Tiersen and timed it perfectly so that our kiss was exactly at the 1 minute and 26 second mark (my favorite part of the song).

wooded wedding ceremony

wooded wedding ceremony

wooded wedding ceremony

Our Favorite Memory From The Wedding

Unsurprisingly, the most intense and memorable part of our wedding was our ceremony. Standing together in front of all our closest friends and family, on a stage we built ourselves, surrounded by trees in the woods where Ian grew up - it was overpowering and spectacular. A truly incredible moment. It was made all the better by having our closest friend, Tarla Hill, officiate our marriage. The speech she had prepared for us was personal, hilarious and heartfelt. We were so lucky to have her on stage with us.

ribbon wall backdrop

bride and groom exit

bridal party

bride and groom in woods

Christine is wearing a super pretty Sarah Seven dress – perfect for the woodsy wedding!

bride and groom in woods

bride and groom in woods

wooded wedding

fingerprint guestbook

Some of the many DIY projects they did included:
• Escort Cards: kraft shipping tags stamped with guest’s names and decorated with washi tape, backs were stamped with their table assignments (animal or vegetable) and their entree selection was on the bottom perforated section.
• Guestbook Table: made from an old door from the trailer the Ian grew up in, hand painted with primer, crackle and mint-colored paint.
• Fingerprint Guestbook: Christine drew the back of their car, a Mini Cooper Countryman, on poster paper and put it in a frame from Ikea. Guests stamped their thumbs and wrote their first name next to their thumbprints.
• Seating Card Clothespins: clothespins were stamped with each person’s name
• Coasters: slices of birch were sanded and their C/I logo was lasercut onto them

fingerprint guestbook

fingerprint guestbook, old books

glass bottles

note tag escort card

wood table numbers

burlap table runner

wooded rustic tablescape

For the food, we sat down and made a quick list of all the dishes we love and our caterer, Antonio Ayestaran Catering, created a delicious menu that incorporated all our favorites. We served: Sea-bass with avocado buerre blanc along with mussels and clams in a cream sauce; BBQ brisket sandwiches and pork ribs; Korean skirt-steak tacos with a Thai chicken larb salad; portabella mushroom filled with grilled vegetables and topped with a puff-pastry. Our desserts, along with our red-velvet wedding cake with cream cheese filling, were Korean rice-cakes and chocolate chip cookies. Our cake was decorated with a fleur de lys pattern on the top tier and dusty miller leaves on the second tier.

We spent a lot of time deciding how to serve the food, and came up with a system we really liked. Our guests chose their food in advance, and were given a tear-off token (on their escort card) to hand to the corresponding food station (a la food trucks). The stations were actually the windows to the house’s basement, which had been converted into a kitchen for the event. Each table had trays of fingerling potatoes and grilled vegetables as sides. The most important drink for us was the beer and we didn’t hold back. A full keg of our favorite beer – Mammoth Brewery’s 395 IPA as well as an assortment of other Northern California beers. We also served wine from a local wine merchant (B.Y.O.B Wine Seller). For non-alcoholic refreshments we had self-serve Arnold Palmer and lemonade.

bbq wedding food

bbq wedding food

wooded sweetheart table

mason jars with deer stamp tags

wooded wedding reception

personalized cake topper wood dolls

The lighting was also a huge part of the ambiance. The groom’s father, an electrician, wired the dancing and reception areas with beautiful rows of overhead lighting. Some said the wedding was even more stunning at night!

wooded wedding first dance

Our Advice To Those Planning Now

Avoid traditions that you wouldn’t do if nobody was telling you to do them. Make it your own day by putting as much of yourselves into it as you can, and not just accepting the defaults. That’s how we made our day so special and memorable – for us and our guests. Embrace your family and friends’ help and support. You wont be able to pull it off without them.

We chose the wonderful and talented Stone and Shelby Crandall for their ability to capture the true emotion of a scene. Their photography style is much more photojournalistic than posed/studio, which leads to breathtaking shots of the little details and epic shots of the significant moments. We ended up spending hours looking at their portfolio site, enthralled by the variety and creativity found in each wedding they photographed.

WOW! What an amazing wedding. I’m still speechless over the ceremony location and the fact they built all the benches! Congrats to Christine + Ian for creating a totally unique and totally “you” wedding! We wish you both the best. Also, they are opening a store on esty (wood and grain) where they will be selling some of the handmade creations from the wedding and will hand make custom items for those of you that are interested. Great idea! And they also have a pretty great wedding website if you like to check that out that also has a gallery of their engagement photos they took themselves - christineandian.com

photographer: Stone Crandall Photography // hair + makeup: All Dolled Up Hair & Makeup // day-of-coordinator: Carol Srivongse (MOH) // venue: Ian’s parent’s home in Nevada City, CA // catering: Antonio Ayestaran Catering // floral design: Carol Srivongse (MOH) // cookies: Basic Cookies // cake: The Cake Artist // invitations + paper goods: Christine and Ian (Invitations and Save The Dates) // bride’s dress + flower belt: Sarah Seven //  bride’s shoes: Chocolate Blu // bride’s accessories: Edor // bride’s beaded belt: hadmade by Carol Srivongse (MOH) // groom’s suit: JCrew //  groom + groomsmen tie: handmade by Christine //  groom’s tie clip: Urban Outfitters // groom’s shoes: JD Fisk // groom’s bow tie: Xoelle // bridesmaid’s dress: JCrew //  bridesmaid’s shoes: Seychelles //  bridesmaid’s necklace: Edor // groomsmen pants + shoes: H&M // groomsmen tie clips: Urban Outfitters