Flowing drinks, gorgeous sky-high redwood trees, and sweet whimsical touches are some of things that made up Ashley and Mike’s fun Carmel wedding. EPlove was there to capture their big day and we’re so, so glad he sent over some amazing shots of their wedding ceremony amidst the mighty California redwood trees. Hana and Pine wanted to keep up with the woodsy theme and incorporated some lovely, dusky-colored floral arrangements of roses and greenery. This beautiful wedding day planned by Colette Cuccia has our hearts fluttering and dreaming of California!
From the bride, Ashley: I didn’t have a set vibe but hoped it reflected our personalities while also highlighting our surroundings. Our wedding was in the foothills of Carmel influenced by the Rumsen Native Americans, Mission Indians and Ranchers so we had so much history to pull inspiration from. Getting married in the redwoods was so magical and whimsical, we joked that fairies were going to fly me down the aisle. We wanted every element to reflect us as a couple and as individuals.
Mike loves whiskey so my dad brought a collection of bourbons and ryes. I’m not a fan of frosting so we served pie instead of cake. I love photos so we had our guests snap polaroids of themselves instead of signing a guest book. We wanted to display all of the love from generations before us so printed photos from our parents’ and grandparents’ weddings. Mike’s mom made lasagna for late-night munchies. We love the beach and sunsets, so having the welcome party on the sand the night before was so special. We even found a fisherman at the local farmer’s market to shuck oysters (our fave date night treat) on the beach! We wanted the personal touches to be about the experience and celebration so that the weekend really felt like us. At the end of the day, it didn’t matter if our napkins were monogramed, we just wanted to have the best weekend ever.
We pulled inspiration from natural dyes so there were a lot of earthy, muted tones like indigo, rusts and warm grays. We DIYed (almost) everything! Working at Brit + Co, I have access to so many talented women and creative inspiration. We DIYed:
Place card holders and place cards: We spray painted plastic toy animals gold for the place card holders. We sawed grooves in their backs so that they would hold the place cards nicely. For the place cards, I used an indigo watercolor wash to give them a pop of color and hand-lettered the names in gold ink.
Piñatas: For this, we used 30” balloons and Italian crepe paper as cocktail hour decor.
Wedding favors: My parents made coasters from a tree their friend had chopped down in the Santa Cruz mountains. They sawed the branches into 300 coasters, sanded and stained each one and then laser-etched “East Coaster” and “West Coaster” on the surface as a nod to our NY and CA roots.
Arrows: The barn where our reception was held was intimidating for a wedding our size. We wanted it to feel intimate so we created visual divides by hanging “curtains” of DIY arrows. We made over 50 oversized arrows out of 4-foot long wood dowels, colored vinyl, and feathers.
Menus: One of Brit + Co’s amazing designer, Rosee, hand lettered our menus! We printed the menus on tracing paper and laid them over clippings of vintage botanical illustrations.
Wedding website: I played around with a bunch of wedding website tools but they all felt so dated. I wanted our wedding website to be modern and beautiful so ended up building one using Squarespace. Squarespace has templates so I didn’t code it from scratch but you are able to make it completely personalized.
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? Pretend like your wedding is happening a month sooner than it is. We were working up until the week of the wedding! In the end, all of our hard work was worth it but we were so strung out towards the end. I was stressed, didn’t sleep, got in stupid fights with Mike and our parents; just silly stuff that I wish I had taken a moment to chill! Don’t feel confined by wedding traditions. Choose ones that make sense for you or revamp traditions making them your own.
Take dance lessons! Mike and I thought we would just get up there and our moves from snowball dances in middle school would come flooding back to us. It turned out we had no idea what we were doing so could have benefitted from a two-step refresher. This goes for mom and dad too! Extend the celebrations for as long as possible. We had our rehearsal dinner on Thursday, welcome party on Friday, and the wedding on Saturday. Extending the festivities over 3 days made it a bit easier to let go on Sunday!
Don’t worry about the things that don’t get done! We had 30 DIY projects on our list and maybe got to 10 of them. Be prepared to work, work, work, work, work even if you have a wedding planner. This might sound weird but have a friend take photos of you in your dress and hair from all angles and then take a peek at them before the festivities begin. Most of us aren’t familiar with what it’s like to have your wedding photographer take photos of you all day, so there are some shots where I wish I had better posture, wasn’t making a weird face, etc. Have a slumber party with all of your gal pals the night before your wedding. It was the funnest night of my life. We stayed up singing Disney songs and giggling like we were kids again.
Processional: “Here Comes The Sun,” The Beatles
Recessional: “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody),” Talking Heads
First Dance: “That’s How Strong My Love Is,” Otis Redding