Real Wedding: Leslie + Jamie’s Green Wedding at Marvimon

Thanks so much to the talented duo of Candice + Mark of Mark Brooke Photography for sharing this gorgeous eco-friendly wedding with us today. Leslie was kind enough to share lots of great details (and how they keep their wedding green!) and stories about their day, so I’m going to let her share their day. Congrats you two!!

wedding dress with flower

wedding bouquet fabric flowers

A SECRET LOCATION: Inspired by my m-of-honor’s (can’t bring myself to type out “matron”…sounds too old) wedding a couple of years ago, we decided to keep our ceremony and reception location a secret. It drove many family members to the brink of insanity, but immediately set such an exciting vibe for the event. We wanted our guests to immediately have something in common to be excited about. That and our family style dinner helped set the friendly, informal, and vibrant tone for the whole evening. Plus, it was hilarious to hear where folks were guessing! To disclose our secret location, we had a charter bus/van pick up all the guests and transport them directly to the site – so guests found out where they would spend the night once they got there.

The wedding was at the marvimon house, which used to be an automobile showroom, but has since been transformed into an amazing outdoors meets indoors space. While we had originally thought a destination wedding would be the right match for us, but travel restrictions for some family members had us looking within California, but we knew it had to be something different and funky. Once we walked into the beautiful garden with benches for ceremonies and saw the demonstration kitchen for catering chefs, we knew it was exactly what we were looking for!

wedding party

My dress was a spur-of-the-moment purchase of a Caroline Devillo sample while visiting the aforementioned m-of-honor in Chicago last summer. M-of-honor and I worked with Caroline to add upholstered buttons in various textures and colors, something we saw on another one of her dresses in the showroom. Those little buttons ended up setting the tone for the whole tablescape and color theme. The dress itself fit perfectly and I only had to get the straps tightened a tad…$20 in alterations, wonderful! The groomsmen wore slim-cut suits from Express and skinny ties from Ben Sherman that they will hopefully wear again in the future.

fabric flower boutonniere

Somberness is not something either Jamie or I wanted to convey in our ceremony as it just isn’t us to be traditionally ceremonial or formal. Instead, we had a hilarious friend of ours perform the ceremony, incorporated spoken word of cheesy song lyrics (Prince!) and movie quotes, and wrote the other person’s vows. Yup, that’s right. We each wrote vows for the other and exchanged them right up there at the altar without preview, shocking many of the guests!  There were loads of overzealous compliments and promises we made on each other’s behalf and it ended up being one of our favorite parts of the whole wedding. That and seeing so many people laugh-crying the whole night for us. That was pretty cool too.

marvimon wedding los angeles

wedding portrait movie theater

marvimon wedding

Jamie was integral in figuring out what information we needed to convey to our guests and, although he’d deny it, he was extremely involved in coming up with our invitation design. Our “logo” of a giraffe silhouette was easy to come up with as Jamie proposed to me directly underneath a big giraffe head last May. We were on an animal feeding tour at an African safari in the Napa/Sonoma area when he dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him. Thank goodness for our personal tour-guide who captured the moment for our friends and family to enjoy! They all got the biggest kick out of it and we wanted to honor the image throughout the wedding.

It was fun to come up with ideas to incorporate our cultural mashup of Japanese and Jewishness! We did a few tongue-in-cheek things like using sake in our signature drink – the Torahgami and asking our caterer to incorporate traditional Jewish brisket into a pasta dish. Oh yes, and the dj was definitely required to play some Neil Diamond.

wedding invitation

wedding marvimon succulents

wedding rustic reception decor

wedding food vintage display

Once we heard that Heirloom LA’s signature item was LASAGNA CUPCAKES, we were sold! Matt Poley’s handmade pasta, creative flavor combinations, dedication to local produce and goods was very much in line with the vision we had. I also wanted to surprise Jamie with some of his favorite snack item (POPCORN!) and they came up with variously unique flavor combinations for our guests toward the end of the night.

Um, Lasagna cupcakes?! Yes, please! Those sound so so yummy!

wedding menu centerpieces

love poster

menu tags wedding

wedding desserts

Although I’m a huge fan of cupcakes, I was bowled over by images of miniature layered cakes by Cake Monkey. Meeting Lisa was a terrifically positive experience for us and we loved the unique flavors of her products. DELICIOUS and as many of our guests claimed and texted the next day, she provided the “best wedding cake I’ve ever tasted”. Although we had two different types, the chocolate cake with caramelized rice krispies was my favorite.

cutting wedding cake

HOW OUR WEDDING WAS GREEN One main theme of our design process was to keep sustainability in mind and keep our impact as minimal as possible. While I would love to say that we are consistent with this motto in everyday life, it’s something I really wanted to emphasize when planning our wedding. A nice benefit of keeping things green was that we were able to keep extraneous costs to a minimum; something super important to our self-funded budget. Additionally, all things recycled fit nicely into my mental color palette of natural textures and neutral tones.

Instead of using cut flowers or even potting plants for the centerpieces, all of our “flowers” were cut and sewn from inexpensive fabric and upholstery samples a store was just tossing out. A bunch of friends came over to put them together; after I gave a quick tutorial, they took off with loads of creativity and came up with a variety of fun styles. I set out loads of old buttons, sparkly gems, tubes of glue, and we went to town. The bunchiest ones were sewn onto heavy duty wiring and pulled together into bouquets for the bridal party along with some white porcelain origami cranes (shoutout to my Japanese roots). I had so much fun putting these together while Jamie quietly dealt with the crazy amount of lint and loose needles around our San Francisco flat.

I ordered bio-compostable plates made from fallen palm leaves (, biodegradable paper straws, compostable corn cups for the bar drinks (not the easiest to compost, but the venue does cool things with recycling), and picked up loads of kitchen towels to use as napkins. Most were shipped directly to a friend’s place in LA, ordered from places close to her to minimize shipping. Also, with the exception of some crazy wine-stained ones, I’ll plan to reuse the “napkins” around the house and to wrap gifts in the future…exciting stuff.

We picked up Ball jars at the Alameda Flea Market to use as candle holders and supplemented the look with smaller canning jars that I plan to do actual canning with in the future. Hopefully family and friends can anticipate delicious jams for the holidays this year. I printed our family style menu and displayed them on miniature wooden clipboards that I plan to use as a wall display in our home (with exchangeable photos, maps, etc). Our cake topper is a Jonathan Adler salt and pepper set that will be fun on the dining table and all other white ceramic items were decoration items from around our flat…obviously, those will go back to their spots in our home.

Our favorite memories include:
• the surprise reveal working out so well!
• our vow exchange
• hearing how much the guests loved food & cake
• seeing our guests fawn over how terrific Mark Brooke was!
• personal dance party (bride did the worm with the officiant)
• our three sets of parents getting along so well…first time meeting!

Also, we chose to not hire a videographer and instead got iPod Nanos with video capability for the wedding party. I have a feeling that they were able to capture many of the fun moments for us! At our morning-after-wedding-brunch hosted by my younger sister, we got a preview of the hilarious footage (think interviews Colbert Report style!).

Venue: Marvimon House
Photographer:  Mark Brooke (be sure to check their blog to see even more from this wedding!)
Caterer: Matt Poley, Heirloom LA
Cake: Cake Monkey
Dress: Caroline Devillo
Makeup: Monique Powers, Los Angeles
DJ: Ari Levine, Friend
Day-of-Coordinator: Colleen Bataille, Ween Inc.