Most everyone who resides here, and even those who don’t, know that rainy days in SoCal are few and far between. So, it was a pret-ty amazing coincidence that the skies opened up during both Aylin + Joshua’s engagement session AND wedding (both captured beautifully by the awesome Steve Cowell, btw). Luckily, in the end, it all seemed like it was meant to be. The rain during their e-session drove them into their favorite book store in Ventura, which gave them the idea to use books and a “library” theme for their wedding design. And, guys, it turned out as cute as can be! Below, A + J tell us more:
As two English majors and voracious readers – though Joshua’s nose is usually in a math book these days – he’s “reading” a linear algebra textbook in the engagement pictures – book stores and libraries are some of our favorite places! (I cannot get out of a book store in under an hour, even if I rush in to grab something… And did I mention I’m a writer and editor for a living?) Our wedding library theme grew out of those pictures. Our invitations were ‘library cards,; our RSVP cards were ‘library card applications’, and guests got their table assignments in a ‘card catalog.’ Our table ‘numbers’ were half my and half Joshua’s favorite books.
We’re obsessed with the citrus hues seen throughout the gorgeous floral design. Foxtail Florals really knocked it out of the park!
Aylin says, We hadn’t seen each other since the night before, and our first look was planned for 2 p.m. on the 13th floor of the Ace. As I walked up, I felt SO nervous – butterflies as if we were first dating. His back was to me and he said he was equally nervous to see me, too. When he turned around, his face crumpled into happy tears at the sight of me. It was such an intimate, joyful moment, feeling like it was just US in the world, even if we had two photographers there snapping pics. The actual wedding ended up being so hectic and busy that I was happy we got that moment.
We’re noticing the charming library details already!
So many!!!! Well, first it was pouring…in an otherwise drought-ridden summer. It had also rained during our engagement shoot! What are the odds? Once I got over my disappointment that I wouldn’t be getting married on a sunny Summer day, I embraced the rain. After all, California needs it AND they say a wet knot is hardest to untie.
Joshua: The ceremony was perfect. We waited for a break in the rain and to give guests an opportunity to navigate the rainy freeways. We saw our chance and took it and of course it immediately started raining again. Luckily Megan, our amazing wedding planner, had managed to find a dozen black umbrellas. In July! In Boyle Heights!! Between the entire Cook family (except for my sister, the tough one) in tears, our vows crumpling with the ink running in the rain, and the wedding party holding it down with their sleek CVS umbrellas, there was so much love in the ceremony. My favorite moment was going for a second kiss as we returned down the aisle. I didn’t know what to do with my umbrella so I hurled it as I dipped Aylin for a big kiss.
Aylin: The ceremony. It was raining so all the guests were standing under the overhang. Our parents were the only ones who sat on the front benches (along with two close family friends) in the rain; such a physical symbol of the fact that our families are there cheering us on no matter what. It was so sweet! The rest of the crowd faded away into the background, and even though there were 130 people there, it was simultaneously small and intimate. Our vows to each other were so beautiful… we both cried! Joshua was actually crying so hard that his best man, who was holding the umbrella over him, had to cheer him on to finish!
Walking out during the processional and seeing the crowd – I couldn’t believe all my favorite people in the world were all at once place at one time! I was overwhelmed with gratitude that so many people showed up.
My parents, their Turkish friends, and my bridesmaids started a traditional Turkish ‘meeting the groom’ dance … the ENTIRE crowd jumped in, picking up the dance as they went. It was amazing to have all the wedding guests whirling on the dance floor in celebration of my heritage).
Processional: Bridal Party: Coming Home – Leon Bridges; Bride: Earth Angel – The Penguins
Recessional: (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher – Jackie Wilson
First Dance: You Send Me – Sam Cooke
While Aylin + Josh came up with the concept, the setting was styled by Carol Cook + Dee of Fiesta Forever Events. And coordinator, Megan Davis of The Love Riot, kept the day running smoothly; imperative when there’s a freak rain storm!
Decide what your non-negotiables are: The sheer amount of venue options is so overwhelming that it helps to rule some out from the get-go. Our non-negotiables were to have the ceremony and reception in one venue and keep the wedding going late – my family is Turkish and we dance all night. Millwick had all those things.
Go with your gut – we looked at a gorgeous and elegant hotel looking over Santa Barbara. A chic black tie wedding would have been perfect there, and it was such a beautiful setting and would be an easy, all-in-one wedding. In my heart, though, it just didn’t feel like us and was relieved when we decided against it. Same went for our photographer Steve Cowell – I saw his photography and was like “He’s it!” I priced out a ton of other photographers, but always knew he was the one for us.
Skype with potential vendors. You might like someone’s work but realize when you “meet” that you two have different work styles or conflicting personalities. We ended up with vendors we absolutely loved because we got to know them before we hired them.
DELEGATE. Just like in life or at work, you’ll go crazy if you try to control every little detail and do it all yourself, particularly if your talent is not in a particular area. I wanted a very unique look, but I hate crafting: Anything I try is a Pinterest fail. So I could articulate my vision, but not how to get there. Luckily, my mother-in-law is a DIY genius – she even has a popular lifestyle blog in which she showcases her design and DIY projects. She happily took on envisioning and creating those elements, and I happily gave it all to her. I delegated a lot of choices to my mother – menu, logistics, etc. Plus I had a wedding planner, which was a huge relief.
ETSY! I had such an amazing experience with my Etsy vendors. They’re committed to creating the exact look you want, and I’ve found they charge less than traditional design sites. Matthew of WEdueDATES and I went back and forth on my library card invitations – he made multiple prototypes which we perfected together. He had never made library card application RSVP cards or card catalog escort cards… but I showed him a mocked-up screenshot of my vision and after a few iterations, he perfected it! I was wowed by the time and effort he put into it; I don’t think I’d get that from a more commercial site.
Use creative solutions to save money. We didn’t care about cake, so we did baklava on the cheap. We wanted a photo booth, but it didn’t fit into our budget so we brought fun props and a selfie stick.
photography: Steve Cowell Photo // venue name: Millwick, Los Angeles, California // planning: Megan Davis of The Love Riot // florals: Foxtail Florals // wedding dress: Ibex Bridals // hairpiece: Nordstrom // bride's shoes: Badgley Mischka // hair stylist: Danielle and Lisa of A Secret Place Salon // makeup artist: Danielle and Lisa of A Secret Place Salon // paper goods: Invitations, RSVP and escort cards from WEdueDATES // catering: Huntington Catering // cake: Baklava // music: Dart DJs // officiant: Timothy Dakin // event design: Carol Cook + Dee Iacopelli of Fiesta Forever Events // bridesmaid dresses: Bebe, J.Crew, H&M, Azazie // groom: rented from Joseph A. Banks // groomsmen suit: rented from Joseph A. Banks // save the dates: Loren Cook