A Down-Home BBQ Wedding

Garden Weddings, Real Weddings

I love the casual feel of this sweet down-home BBQ wedding captured by Wildflowers Photography. The couple, Kathy and Eric, wanted their wedding to be cozy and filled with personal touches. Even without knowing them, I can tell that every last detail of the wedding radiates their personalities. Fun, down to earth and clearly, very stylish :)

More from the bride, Kathy:

We were sitting at a BBQ restaurant one day (early on in our relationship) — the kind of restaurant that serves ribs and iced tea in mason jars… and I said to Eric: “This is what I want my wedding to feel like.” Little did I know, we would get married a few years later… and the vision for our wedding spawned from that little comment.


Our wedding planner found our wedding venue online. We knew this was the place we wanted to get married after seeing the gorgeous rolling hills surrounding the ranch house. It was quiet and tucked away — perfect for the intimate wedding we envisioned.


Another big deciding factor was the fact that it was in Southern California. All of our family came in from out of town (or out of state) and we wanted them to see Southern California — where we lived.


Our wedding decor was rustic/vintage. Baby’s breath in galvanized french floral buckets lined the wedding aisle. Guests drank from mason jars and barber shop striped straws. Lots of pieces came from the Long Beach antique flea market and numerous thrift stores and garage sales. Mason jars hung from trees. Vintage lace hung from clotheslines. An old drawer with a vintage drawer pull held our guestbook notes. I found an old book published in 1899 entitled “To Have and To Hold” and we pasted our ceremony script in it for our officiant to read.


Speaking of our officiant– we asked our dear mutual friend (the one responsible for introducing us) to be the one to marry us. My mom walked me down the aisle. We read poems to each other and wrote our own vows.


My dad died from cancer a few months after Eric and I started dating, so unfortunately he never got to meet Eric. We wanted so much for him to be there with us, so Eric wore my dad’s vintage Christian Dior tie. I carried his picture in a locket tied to my bouquet (so he would be with me as I walked down the aisle). My two uncles (my dad’s brothers who are also jewelers) made our wedding bands. My dad was definitely with us that day.


I bought 30 pinwheels at the 99 cents store– the glittery kind with Disney characters all over them– and Eric spray painted them ivory. They fluttered in the light breeze, lining the perimeter of the olive tree under which we got married.


Eric is from the south and we always joke that I was a southern girl in a past life, so we knew we wanted good southern food. Our wedding represented who we are as people: down-to-earth, romantic, food-lovers.


Dear friends, family members, co-workers, restaurants and strangers collected clear glass jars and bottles for us to use as vases. In 5 months we collected over 250 jars and bottles. My co-workers bought flowers from the downtown LA flower mart. We wanted it to look like freshly picked wildflowers in jars.


I found some vintage number stamps at an antique flea market and stamped our wedding date on shipping tags. We tied the tags around some of the jars and bottles used in the table arrangements.


Some advice from Kathy:

It’s true what everyone says– your wedding day goes by in the blink of an eye. Don’t forget to take a moment when you’re standing in front of all your friends and family and let it all soak in.

Take pictures of your wedding planning process! Eric and I have fun pictures of us stamping our invitations, cutting out burlap for our table runners, putting our chalkboard menu together. I took one picture a day during the month leading up to our wedding (posted on my Facebook). It’s so great to have pictures to remember even the process leading up to the big day.

Wedding Vendors (Los Angeles, CA):

Photographer: Wildflowers Photography / Venue: Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve / Wedding Planner: Miki Nguyen of Miki Events / Florist: DIY by Friends + Family / Photobooth: Photobox LA / Caterer: Spring Street Smokehouse / Cake: Costco / Invitations: Target / Hair & Makeup: Gina Nguyen / Bride’s Dress: Cleo by Monique Lhuillier / Bride’s Shoes: Electra by Nina / Bride’s Earrings: Banana Republic / Bride’s Rings: Art of Gold / Groom’s Ring: Minh Van Le / Groom’s Attire: Joseph Abboud tuxedo, vintage Christian Dior tie and John Varvatos cufflinks

  1. Angela Gaspar Photography

    I just love everything about this wedding. Great little details like the birdseed. Love it!

  2. WeddingXpert

    This is divine wonderfulness :) I’m loving the etheral photography and raw happiness that was captured. I can’t get over how adorable the receptions was – the hanging mason jars, the string lights, all of it added beautiful ambiance. So charming!

  3. Anna-Maria

    Absolutely perfect!

  4. Eric Kelley

    The pinwheels, the blue shoes, the mac-and-cheese! So much to love about all the creativity.

  5. oknowwhatbride

    Every about this wedding is so soft and dream-like. Love the mood, feels like a movie!

  6. Marina

    It’s like a dream. The wedding is so nicely designed, yet feels entirely grounded and real, a not-so-common combination! Absolutely lovely couple and Wildflowers did a really amazing job capturing it all.

  7. Kimberly@theunweddingblog

    Well, you can’t go wrong with a dress designed by Monique Lhuillier. Just beautiful. And I love when brides wear blue shoes!

  8. postcards and pretties

    thats my kind of wedding…it serves mac n cheese!!! really cute details too love the hanging linens used as the backdrop

  9. ThrilledForYou

    Wow that wedding is absolutely beautiful! It has a very southern feel to it and that menu looks delicious!

  10. lydia {ever ours}

    great idea for mason jars as glasses for guests.

  11. Amanda Thorson

    Beautiful wedding, the shots of them in the field are just lovely!

  12. Bridget { First Kiss Films }

    Love all the wedding details and the photography is breathtaking!

  13. Kellee

    I LOVE the idea of painting store bought pinwheels, they look lovely!

  14. Brancoprata

    Beautiful wedding! Love what the bride wrote about her father and how he was present on her wedding day! These are the little details that make this wedding unique!

  15. hiwed

    it’s a fabulous and perfect wedding!! i can see how delicate you are. backyard weddings are not popular in my country but i always dream this kind of wedding. i envy u~~~

  16. Deborah Ocasio

    Absolutely love it!!! You have given me inspiration. I would love to borrow your ideas!!!! Where did you find the straws?

    • Melissa

      Deborah, the bride purchased the straws from Urbanic. http://urbanicdesigns.com

  17. forget.me.knot.weddings

    This is such a great wedding! Love all the great weddings you guys are featuring! That cake table with the hanging lights to die for!!

  18. Lori @ The Girl in the Pink Wedding Dress

    This wedding is full of inspiration and beauty! I am getting married outdoors and then holding the reception in a big open barn …I love the details of this wedding and a lot of the ideas that were floating around in my head where brought to life with this wedding! Thanks for sharing:)

  19. Paula@DreamWeddingItaly

    I love everything about this wedding… the venue, the mason jars, the soft romantic colours…

  20. Inessa Zherebnenko

    this wedding venue was one of the first places we looked at before making our final decision. I love the olive tree and the ranch house is very sweet itself.

  21. leigh

    Stunning location. Perfect spot for the vows. And those are the prettiest pinwheels i’ve ever seen!

  22. BernaLee

    Such a joy to watch two people begin in simple, romantic and creative fashion. It would be fun to follow them when children are born, as their sentiment flows deeply to the past of those whom they love so much, such as the brides dad! Lovely post. Thank you,

  23. Jennifer Wood

    LOVE Joy’s work-so consistently amazing!!

  24. Kathy

    Thank you everyone for the comments, thank you Ruffled for the blog feature and thank you Joy for the amazing photos! It was our dream wedding come true!

  25. Emily

    A beautiful wedding. I love the relaxed feeling to the whole wedding and all the wonderful details.

  26. Becoming Mrs. Ford

    WOW! stylish indeed, this wedding is beyond romantic. i couldnt take my eyes off! the pic with her thumbs up to his mouth… total lump in my throat.

  27. Erin*sparkle&hay

    From the invitations to the setting to the food this wedding looks absolutely heavenly!!!

  28. Jasmine

    I LOVE THIS! I wish we could have seen what their tables/centerpieces looked like in more detail.

  29. Dani Freitas

    That’s so sweet.
    I loved the contrast of the dress with the blue shoes. Everything is so beautiful. Feel like getting married again!

  30. John W

    I LOVE IT. I’ve been on a 10 year quest to find the best corn bread … I wish I were at this wedding to try theirs. Great photos and a fun time, thanks for sharing.

  31. Dominique Holmes

    I LOVE IT! I Googled “rustic vintage wedding” and this was one of the first sites that came up when I was looking for ideas for our wedding :-)

  32. Casey

    Kathy – where did you get your collection of mason jars? different places?
    Im looking for a similar collection.

  33. Kathy

    Casey, I bought the mason jars in bulk at a local grocery store.

  34. chandra ~ oh lovely day

    I can’t believe I missed this wedding when it was first posted and only found it b/c of twitter today. I LOVE this. So sweet, so well done, so pretty. And I related to the bride, as my dad had passed away and wasn’t at my wedding either, but we found special ways to have him there. So glad I saw this!

  35. Donna

    I absolutely love this! This is my dream wedding too. I always imagined a fun, not so stuffy tuxedo/ball gown wedding surrounded by trees. I hope this isn’t too expensive because I’m praying this type of wedding is in my budget. Thank you for sharing this.

    Ps: I remember the first time I went to the Lucille’s restaurant and saying, these mason jars as cups are awesome!

  36. Pam

    This is absolutely beautiful! My fiance and I have been talking about how we want to do our wedding, and this is pretty close to what we hand in mind. I was wondering if you could tell me what the venue was? We are also in southern california and have been having quite the time trying to find a good location. Thanks so much and congratulations!

  37. Judy

    Love your invitations. Did you make them or order? From where? Thanks!

  38. Kathy

    Judy, I printed the invitations myself — they’re from Target!

  39. camille

    Just wondering how long it took you to get in touch with someone for your venue. Do you have a phone number and name of someone that I talked to? My daughter is getting married next year aug or sept 2013 and is having a very difficult time getting in touch with anybody from the preserve. Any help would be appreciated. Your wedding turned out perfect.

  40. Tammy

    Oh wow – absolutely stunning! I’m glad to see your wedding turned out to be such a great memory!! Very inspiring :)

  41. Melissa

    Where did you get your mason jars if you don’t mind my asking? :)

  42. Melody

    Love the mason jars for guests! Does it help cut costs if you provide guests with their own take-home drinking glass for the night?? That would be great!

  43. Jared

    Hi there just curious where this venue is?

  44. Kara Monteros

    I’m so in love w/ this wedding! I just started looking for rustic hillside/barn venues and I’m so in love withh this location! It’s so serene, romantic, and secluded. I lOvE it! How far was the reception area from the ceremony area? Are there hotels close by for guests to stay? Thanks!!

  45. Catering Santa Rosa

    The BBQ sounds so good! The story behind it is really sweet!

  46. Ginni

    I don’t know if I am just missing it, but where is this venue? It is beautiful!

  47. Wedding Caterer Sonoma County

    I love the idea of a BBQ catered wedding! It seems both simple and delicious!

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