Did you guys happen to catch Britt Nielsen’s gorgeous engagement session at the Imperial/Algodones Sand Dunes that we shared a few months back? If not, pop on over there + then come back to check out the wedding day! Britt, a former contestant on The Bachelor, dazzled in Season 19 (with Chris Soules), but it wasn’t until after the show aired that she truly met her match. Enter Jeremy, affectionately known as Jer — and the love of Britt’s life. More details about their super sweet love story are shared on the engagement session post mentioned above!
When it came to the wedding, everything was a bit of a whirlwind. They designed and planned everything in 60 days — with the help of their talented vendor friends (that pitched in a bunch!) — at a venue that doesn’t even host weddings! As crazy as that all sounds, planner + designer, Erica Marie Events tells us that it was the most rewarding project she’s ever worked on. She shares: The wedding was held at Green Oak Ranch, a sober living facility that was founded by the groom’s grandfather many years ago. Such a gift to have that in the family! Green Oak has summer camps for kids and for the local church year round. The groom spent many years there as a kid, and his grandparents also got married there. Jeremy’s grandfather married the couple in the same ceremony location where he got married, in front of a wooden cross surrounded by tall trees and greenery.
The overall aesthetic? They wanted the wedding to feel inviting, outdoorsy, and organic, but still elegant and chic. Let’s see how they pulled it off in the moments captured by their pal, Amy Vafa!
To kick off the day, Britt rocked a pair of pearly Chucks. Britt is blessed with an amazing group of creative friends — who chipped in to make the day so magical. Example A: These darling shoes were beaded by her MOH, Julia.
Love Britt’s Matthew Christopher dress as much as us?! TLC’s hit show Say Yes To The Dress flew her out to Bridals by Lori to pick out the dress of her dreams and gifted her a designer gown! Lucky gal! Heads up, her episode will be airing this January. :)
Britt asked all of her bridesmaids to wear a black dress — whatever they already had hanging in their closet was perfectly fine… What a way to save on the budget! And it turned out insanely GORGEOUS.
We passed out lyrics and had our amazing harpist (our beautiful and talented friend Ann Marie) played for the guests in worship before the ceremony commenced. This was very important to us, as we wanted our marriage to be predicated on our gratitude to God, before our family and friends.
Processional: Be Thou My Vision + How Great Thou Art on the Harp
Recessional: 1940s and 50s Jazz Standards on the Harp
First Dance: Koln by Brolin
We chose was to incorporate the old-fashioned traditional vows — although we did them AFTER saying our personalized vows. This allowed us to maintain the integrity of the “for richer or poorer” vows, but also created space for words that were more meaningful, tender, and vulnerable. This was my favorite part, as we both cried through them along with our family and closest friends.
Hello stunner!! The bouquet + all the florals for the day were a mix of white garden roses, ranunculus and greenery, done by Laura from Bluebell Floras.
Gina Caraballo and Marcie from For Love and Beauty, two of Britt’s gal pals, kept her looking glam throughout the whole day.
Our first dance was to a song called “Koln” by Brolin… It’s also in our wedding video. During the years Jeremy and I weren’t dating we would keep in contact by sending each other songs on Spotify. One of them was this one. It has become very romantic to us and the lyrics are very sweet and felt very appropriate for a wedding vow of sorts.
Stay present! There is so much happening with bridesmaids, family members, vendors, timing, and emotions running on high that the day can go by like a whirlwind! I would tell my friends getting married to find ways to savor the sweet moments and slow down to be grateful! Jeremy and I had our wedding planner actually schedule 15 minutes of alone time during our day, where we could just take it all in and enjoy each other without family, friends, photographers or any distractions. I would encourage my friends to also have a first look before the ceremony. Jeremy and I wanted to wait until the ceremony to show him my dress but our friends warned us against it, because that first time seeing your wife in a wedding dress is such an emotional moment on its own, it can steal away from being present during the ceremony. Not to mention save some public tears! So, we did them separately and got to have 2 magical moments that way!
Nicole from Fontine Letterie created the escort cards with guests’ seating arrangements as nicknames, puns, or plays on words to make them laugh. Fun questions were left on the tables (things like “share a funny wedding memory,” etc.) to allow people to get to know their fellow table-mates and interact.
Since we wanted our wedding to be fun and interactive, we put out lawn games near the reception area. In a large field, we had several games including washers and corn hole. We even told guests to visit the ranch’s petting zoo (yes, petting zoo) before the reception started.
As the night came to an end, the guests enjoyed customized flavored s’mores from Mallow Mallow!
Since the ranch houses a sober living facility, no alcohol was allowed on premises, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t have delicious mocktails for our thirsty game-playing guests! Thanks to Coastal Cocktails who made specialty drinks for our guests to enjoy.
Our exit! Not only were we finally heading into the world as a married couple which was the most exciting thought, but we got to do it in such a precious way! All of our guests were given sparklers to send us off. Hearing our best friends cheer us on and seeing their faces light up as we ran through the corridor of sparklers toward our new lives was so extremely humbling, invigorating, and joyous! We practically floated out of there on a cloud 9!
Congrats, Britt + Jer!!
For a deeper look into the day, check out this clip by Jonty Herman of Icsy Productions:
photography: Amy Vafa // venue name: Green Oak Ranch, Vista, California, USA // event design: Erica Marie Events // planning: Erica Marie Events // florals: Bluebell Florals // wedding dress: Matthew Christopher // wedding dress boutique: Bridals by Lori // hairpiece: Bridals by Lori // bride's shoes: Chuck Taylors beaded by Julia (MOH) // bride's ring: Groom's great grandma // bridesmaid dresses: Wore their own black dresses // hair stylist: Gina Caraballo and Marcie from For Love and Beauty // makeup artist: Gina Caraballo and Marcie from For Love and Beauty // groom attire: Zara // groom's shoes: wore his own // groom's ring: His great grandfather's ring // videography: Jonty Herman of Icsy productions // paper goods: EG Letters // calligraphy: Fontine Letterie // cake: made by a friend // desserts: Mallow Mallow // tabletop rentals: Hostess Haven // specialty rentals: Coastal Cocktails Van // officiant: Groom's grandfather // cake topper + stir sticks: Midnight Confetti