San Clemente Summer Camp Wedding
You know that feeling you get when you read a love story so sweet you feel like you might burst with joy for the couple? In this job, we get our fair share of that feeling, but perhaps never so strongly as when we read the story of Erin and Casey. The couple met in 5th grade summer camp and were lucky enough to know they had found their “one,” and their wedding day was the perfect reflection of all the love they’ve shared over the years. Acqua Photo, Amorology Weddings, and Twigg Botanicals left no stone unturned for this one, folks.
From the bride, Erin: As kids, Casey and I attended the same summer camp which we later both worked at during college. It was here where we met some of our best friends and experienced some of our fondest memories in the entire world. This made it easy to pick “Happy Campers” as the inspiration for our fall wedding. We shared some of our favorite camp stories and photographs with Heather and the incredible team at Amorology. They took these concepts and created a magical camp experience that we will never forget. Our wedding included rustic long wooden tables with a mixture of benches and chairs. Small woodland animals adorned the tables and our guests reported to the reception by first visiting the handmade backdrop with the words “My Thermos Runneth Over” featured prominently. Amorology and Peanut Press created adorable miniature pennants with each party’s name, which was then placed in an enamel mug and displayed on the backdrop. Surrounded by our family and closest friends in the world we had the most incredible day. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!
Our colors included honey yellow, gray, peachy pink, blush, green, teal blue with poppy red and orange accents. Casey had a gorgeous red bell handcrafted to honor the location where he proposed. The talented teams at Amorology and Twigg Botanicals created the most incredible arbor to hang the bell from, which was placed at the front of the wedding ceremony for Casey and I to stand beneath while we exchanged vows. Our wedding readings came from poems and children’s books that spoke to my teaching background and our past experiences at the camp where we grew up. Each word captured the whimsy, fun and devotion that Casey and I try to approach each day with. Standing on the edge of a bluff as the sun fell into the ocean, surrounded by love and marrying the love of my life could not have been more perfect. At the end of the service our friend and minister rang the bell with joy as we kissed, another memory I will always cherish.
Having the incredibly talented Acqua Photo handle our photographs before the ceremony ensured that we were fresh and relaxed and most importantly did not miss a moment of the reception! Each place setting had a personalized Bingo card made by Peanut Press (in honor of a long-standing camp tradition) and the wedding party was provided with vintage Bingo cards as a surprise from Amorology. To kick off the reception we played a game of Bingo with a few winners receiving a special set of gifts selected to speak to our past, present and future. It was an unexpected surprise for our guests and ended up becoming wonderfully competitive! To help create a special camp feel, Casey and I made a set of friendship bracelets in our wedding colors for each of our guests. We spent hours making over three hundred bracelets which were then braided together to create unique napkin rings, which the guests took as a favor. In lieu of a traditional photo booth we created a “Summer Camp Memories” display. Throughout the evening people would stop by and look at the amazing times we had and Acqua snapped a number of awesome new pictures perfectly mixing our past with our future. By the end of the night the wedding party began taking their favorite pictures right off the wall as keepsakes. It turned out to be such a wonderful way to share the special memories that helped inspire our day.
Dinner was a very important aspect of our wedding day. Casey and I really wanted to have delicious food that was not your traditional wedding cuisine. Working with the amazingly talented Root Cellar Catering Co. we were able to create an amazing menu of fresh spring salads, tomato soup shooters with grilled cheese croutons, pulled pork sliders, and vegetarian chili with all the fixings. Guests also enjoyed local San Diego beers and “Bug Juice,” a deliciously refreshing fruit drink created by Root Cellar. In another nod to camp, guests were able to stop by the “S’more Love” bar and toast up their very own delicious treat. This was a huge hit with all our guests! The amazing Susie’s Cakes created a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, which was topped with a custom wood topper and was pure simplistic perfection. Our DJ created a wonderful atmosphere keeping the dance floor packed all night long. Dancing, singing and laughing with our guests under a perfect California night sky was everything we had hoped for and more.
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? Hire a wedding planner! Hiring a professional truly makes a difference. Weddings are inherently stressful and can be overwhelming. Casey and I are always going in a million different directions so it was such a relief to know Heather and her team had everything under control and we did not need to worry about anything. Your wedding planner will also be able to steer you towards other professionals who truly care about your day and will go above and beyond to make it memorable. Figure out what is most important to you and let the rest go. We really wanted our favorite people in the world to relax, have fun, and feel the love we have for them and the excitement Casey and I felt for our marriage to begin. Once we focused on this, all the other decisions fell into place. Lastly, breathe and trust that at the end of the day the most important thing is that you will marry the love of your life. Everything else is great, but the two of you starting this new chapter is the most important thing. The week before our wedding there were five tropical storms sitting off the coast of San Clemente. Panic was definitely on the horizon but my husband and I just focused on the fact that we were going to have the most incredible day no matter the weather. The morning of our wedding we both woke up to see clear skies and the perfect weather held through the day and into the night, it couldn’t have been better.
From the photographer, Jen of Acqua Photo: Erin and Casey met at Summer Camp when they were in 5th grade. They were each others’ first and only boyfriend/girlfriend and have been inseparable ever since. Many of their best friends were also from their camp, and so they thought incorporating that special time in their lives into the theme of the wedding would make it so much fun for everyone. A few of the many highlights of the day: The amazing escort wall complete with vintage lanterns, thermoses, and camp cups overflowing with marshmallows; place settings with friendship bracelets handmade by the bride and groom for every guest; vintage Bingo cards and the game at the reception; engraved wood table signs; bug juice and canteens; Erin’s fabulous red, polka dot shoes; custom Gage Family Bell; Grandma as the flower girl; and chili and s’mores for dinner!
Processional: “Here Comes the Sun,” Acoustic Guitar Classics
Recessional: “On Top of the World,” Imagine Dragons (So perfect! My favorite pick! I have yet to hear this song and not shed a tear or two)
First Dance: “Better Together,” Jack Johnson
Last Dance: “Wagon Wheel,” Old Crow Medicine Show (Everyone ended the wedding standing in a big circle hugging and crying; it’s a memory we will always cherish)
Wedding Location: San Clemente, CA / Photographer: Acqua Photo / Event Design and Coordination: Amorology Weddings / Floral Design: Twigg Botanicals / Venue: San Clemente Historic Cottage / Wedding Dress: Prevue Formal & Bridal / Wedding Veil: The lace on my mother’s veil matched my dress almost exactly. We had our seamstress remove the original headpiece and create a new veil / Wedding Shoes: Nordstrom / Hair and Makeup: Swell Beauty / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Groom’s Suit: A Better Deal Tuxedo / Wedding Caterer: Root Cellar Catering / Wedding Cake: SusieCakes / DJ: David Cutler / Tables, Benches, Vintage Lanterns, Thermoses: Folklore Vintage Rentals / Rentals: Pow Wow Vintage Rentals and Allie’s Party Rentals / Wedding Invitations: Peanut Press Creative