Bohemian Handmade Wedding – and on a Budget! Gemma + Steve

Today’s lovely wedding was truly a labor of love – and lots of handmade details! Gemma + Steve did everything themselves for their wedding or with the help of family + friends. This wedding is a perfect example that you can have a gorgeous wedding even on a budget! Every part of the wedding was a reflection of them as a couple: their favorite colors, favorite foods (and that it was locally sourced and organic), style (a bit bohemian + a bit artsy) and lots of live music! Thanks so much to our amazing sponsor, Justin Lee Photography for sharing this wedding with us and big congrats to Gemma + Steve!

bride and groom signs

bridal headpiece

bridal portrait

From Gemma, “We are both creative people that love making things so having hand-made details were really important to us. We built and painted all the signage, hand-cut and stained wooden tags for the table seating. We cut hundreds of tissue paper Mexican flags, and constructed a cupcake tower from scratch. We hand made hundreds of ceramic pottery bowls, planted with miniature succulent gardens for the tables that were taken home at the end of the evening as party favors. We joked that all the art projects we had done previously were just practice for our wedding – the biggest art project of our lives! Our family and friends also contributed their skills, from hand-sewn details to delicious baked goods for the dessert table. It was definitely a labor of love!

bridesmaids in mint

red bouquet

ceremony schedule on wood

lace trim wedding invitations

What song did you walk down the aisle to? My mom and dad walked me down the aisle to a beautiful acoustic guitar version of Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” by musician Jojo Hahn. This was also the song for our first dance – a personalized rendition by our blues singer Susanna Kurner, which she began with a ukulele … so not everyone caught on that it was the same song! The bridal party walked down to an acoustic “All You Need is Love” and the exit song was a joyous “Here Comes the Sun.” We are big Beatles fans!

bride and groom ceremony

bride and groom portrait

bride and groom portrait

bride and groom portrait

bride and groom portrait

bridal party

green escort cards

cake topper

izze soda wedding

Love that their food was from the yummy Miho Gastrotruck!

food truck wedding

dessert bar

wedding reception

bride and groom exit in car

Most memorable moment of your wedding day?
Our ceremony! It was the heart and soul of the entire event. We identified early on that the ceremony was important to us – really it was why we were there – to stand up in front of our family and friends and declare our love for one another. We had heard that it was often an aspect of the wedding that couples over-looked and ended up doing at the last minute because there is so much else to think about. So we planned ours early, took our time researching and writing a personal, unique ceremony, executed by one of our dear friends, and started writing drafts of our vows months before. The words were beautiful and sincere and Steve serenaded me with the guitar as part of his vows – bringing most of the guests to tears. And the lighting was beautiful! We stood under the shade of a gorgeous tree and there was a gentle breeze – it was overwhelming and emotional but so calm and natural and peaceful at the same time.

Any advice for those planning now?
Start early! We did not procrastinate at all and made it a goal to have everything completely finished a week before, and stuck to it. It was so satisfying to not be panicking as the wedding approached- to relax on the beach the days leading up to the big day! It made a difference on the day-of- we were calm and collected and it really showed.

Don’t be scared to dive in head first and tackle things yourself. Identify and recognize the talents of your family and friends and put them to good use. It makes it that more special! More than likely they will love to help and have their hand in your special day. Make it about what YOU want, not what you think your guests may want- it’s all about you!! Also, prioritize what is important to you. We wanted amazing photography so nailed down an excellent photographer (Justin Lee) right away… but other things weren’t so important or we felt were just as beautiful handmade. Working with a limited budget can be a challenge but an exciting challenge!


photography: Justin Lee Photography // venue name: Leo Carrillo Ranch, Carlsbad, CA // wedding dress: J Crew // hairpiece: DIY (bride's headpiece by friend Jennifer Mulligan, bridesmaids' flowers hand sewn by mother of the bride) // bride's shoes: Franco Sarto // bridesmaid dresses: J Crew // groom attire: Jos A. Bank // paper goods: DIY (designed/ handmade by bride & groom), graphic design by friend of bride/groom Kara Leen) // catering: Miho Gastrotruck // cake: DIY dessert table (mother of the bride, friends of bride/groom), cupcake tower handmade by bride+groom // music: Jojo Hahn (ceremony), Mariachi Mexicano (cocktail reception), Susanna Kurner & Danny Green (reception) // floral design: table arrangements DIY by bride, bouquets + boutonnieres by Isari Flower Studio // hair stylist: hair by friend James Mendoza from Fabrika Monet, makeup by friend Ashley Burruss // makeup artist: hair by friend James Mendoza from Fabrika Monet, makeup by friend Ashley Burruss // invitations: DIY (designed/ handmade by bride & groom), graphic design by friend of bride/groom Kara Leen) // day of wedding coordinator: Janai Bashore