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Santa Monica Garden Wedding

Photos By: Heidi Ryder

How could I not fall for this wedding from Heidi Ryder? Set in a gorgeous garden area of Santa Monica’s Tiato, bride Renee decorated the space as she’d want her own backyard to look. The result is, of course, an intimate space full of succulents and gorgeous atmosphere.

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From the bride, Renee: Classy and intimate. Most importantly, we wanted people to go a little crazy on the dance floor (which they did). Our goal was to have everything – bridesmaids, groomsmen, groomsmen ties, tables, etc. look cohesive without it looking too coordinated. I always had trouble answering the question “what is your theme”, because we never really decided on one. We focused on a few things we knew we wanted, and built it from there. For the decor, I thought about how I would want my backyard to look (if I had a backyard) and ended up with lots of succulents and recycled materials. For the color scheme, we knew we wanted grey suits and some grey bridesmaids dresses, so I just narrowed down colors that looked good with grey, and landed on a blush/peach (or “dusty rose” as Pinterest likes to call it). I assigned all eight bridesmaids colors by sending them paint swatches with a shade of grey or blush/peach, and had them pick out their own dress.

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The venue itself was built and decorated using recycled materials, so I used that theme as inspiration for our look. My mom and I worked together to decorate the tables. She collected succulent clippings from friends and family and grew a dedicated for the year leading up to the wedding (I live in Chicago, so I couldn’t participate in the garden) while I searched for vintage-looking metal, ceramic and glass containers at thrift stores. My aunt and grandmother came over a few days before the wedding, and together with my mom we arranged all of the planters using stones, pebbles, sand and moss. The venue allowed us to use their tables, but the one difficulty with their set-up was that the tables where many different shapes, sizes and materials. My mom decided to sew all of the table clothes instead of renting. She made beautiful lace runners for the wooden tables with burlap place mats and grey tablecloths for the metal tables. Lastly, our wedding planner painted old books peach/blush and grey and used them on the tables under tea lights for additional decoration. We used any extra planters for bar menus and additional signs.

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Our venue had a nice, small private room attached to the reception area, so we used this for the guest book/photo booth. I purchased a FujiFilm Instax (new version of a Polaroid camera) and set it up next to a blank guest book with instructions. Guests took photos and then wrote a note in the book. It was really great to look at the photos and notes the next day (especially the ones taken towards the end of the night). My dress was made using piece of lace from my mom’s wedding dress. I used the leftover lace from my wedding dress to make each of the bridesmaids and my mom a piece of jewelry. I don’t know if the jewelry made it through the whole night, partly because the lace was delicate, but mostly because I’m not a jewelry maker. Still, it was fun to make and meant something to me to share a part of my dress with everyone. After all, I was only going to wear it once, so I needed to get as much out of it as possible.

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Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? 1) Space out your planning. 2) Choose a few things you care about to focus on and let other people (parents, etc) focus on the things they care about. 3) Accept that you are going to have some fights with your partner. 4) Spend time on your ceremony (if you are writing it yourself). 5) Enjoy having all of your people in one space. It’s a beautiful thing that doesn’t happen very often.

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View all images from this wedding in the gallery

Wedding Music:
Bridal Party Processional: Bach’s Arioso from Cantata No. 156
Bride’s Processional: “The Nearness of You,” Hoagy Carmichael
Recessional: “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart,” Duke Ellington
First Dance: “The Very Thought of You,” Billie Holiday
Father/Daughter Dance: “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” James Brown
Mother/Son Dance: Miles Davis Ballad
Grandfather/Bride: “Another Saturday Night,” Sam Cooke

Wedding Location: Santa Monica, CA / Photographer: Heidi Ryder / Floral Design: A Touch of Lavender / Coordinator: Jennifer Williger / Venue: Tiato / Getting Ready Hotel: Culver Hotel / Wedding Dress: Mignonette Bridal / Hair Pieces: I purchased vintage broaches from a store in Chicago, and our hair stylist turned them into hair pieces for me, my mom and my sister-in-law / Hair: Aubrey Marie / Makeup: Kimberly Bragalone / Bride’s Jewelry: I wore my grandmother’s earrings and my mom’s necklace / Bridesmaids’ Jewelery: Handmade by Bride / Groom’s Suit: Kent Wang / Groomsmen’s Ties: Drake’s / Paper Goods Design: Julie Dwyer / Save the Date Stamp: Antiquaria / Ceremony Music: Tristan Cooley (Flute) / DJ: Robert Collazo / Wedding Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas

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