This wedding and I go together like peanut butter and jelly. Every bit of it is right up my alley, from the bride’s cool style to the relaxed ceremony to the amaaaazing flowers arranged by the bride and her bridal party. Not to mention The Weaver House and Bello Event Design are involved, which takes this wedding from a 10 to an 11.
From the bride, Jessa: We knew we wanted a killer party first and foremost and agreed on keeping the traditional itinerary of ceremony/reception events to a minimum. Late night dancing under the stars was priority. We live in San Francisco where July feels more like January, so we really wanted to soak up the most of a real summer evening as possible. Our venue (Peter’s parents home in Oregon) was pretty much a blank canvas at the start. Rolling hills, oak trees, beautiful views, and other than irrigation, hardly any landscaping. We love the wild, rustic feel of the land and wanted to keep things as simple and natural as possible. We focused on the essential elements of an al fresco dinner party; family-style food, good music, cozy lighting, and plenty of booze.
Our goal was to focus on things you’d use or decorate with if you were planning an impromptu dinner party and to eliminate any extraneous elements. This was primarily to keep my DIY ambitions and our budget in check. We approached our bridal party’s attire with the same attitude; we wanted them to wear things they would actually use in the future or already had in their closet. As if they just came over looking great, and surprise! ended up in our wedding.
Almost every aspect of the day ended up turning into some sort of DIY project: We picked up buckets of assorted flowers from the neighbors garden the morning of. A family friend strung 300 ft of cafe lights to adequately light the space. I hung an absurd amount of burlap with gardening twine to hide some unsightly space below the deck stairs. A good friend baked 120 buttercream cupcakes (a service she later coined “The Drunken Promises Bakery”) and our sister-in-law baked the cutting cake. We used Peter’s mother’s collection of antique and vintage linens for the tables. We spray painted numbers onto empty bourbon bottles, old books, and a couple of cow bells to use as table numbers. A friend made the seating boards. Beer and wine was picked up from local breweries and wineries. Friends made several gallons of a bourbon/mint/grapefruit cocktail. And in a move fueled by blind psychotic ambition I hand embroidered my belt when I couldn’t find one I liked.
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? Keep your expectations flexible. We solidly prepared to make sure we ate enough, didn’t drink too much, and were totally present in every moment possible. Ultimately though, the day flew by anyway, was a totally chaotic magnificent whirlwind, and I passed out in my after party dress WAY earlier than I’d planned. All of the things you think you have under control can go awry just as easily as something uncontrollable like the weather. The point is, who cares! Invest your energy in the things that really matter and as long as you end up married and had fun doing it, all those other details pale in comparison. Oh, and hire a day-of wedding coordinator if you can afford it. It’s totally worth rearranging your budget to have a professional directing the show. Without ours, I never would’ve even made it into the shower.
Our favorite song, “Golden” by My Morning Jacket, was intended for the processional. We nailed the timing down to the second during the rehearsal and it was magical. When the time came for me to walk around the bend towards the aisle, a fuse blew and the music cut out. Just total silence. I completely froze. Our coordinator nearly had to shove me to keep walking anyway. As I came around the corner everyone started singing an improvised rendition of Here Comes the Bride and I totally burst into tears. It was sweeter and funnier than any perfect song we could’ve planned for.
Recessional: “Gonna Fly Now,” Bill Conti
First Dance: “You’re All I Need,” Aretha Franklin
We also had a trio of family members perform an acoustic guitar/cello/vocals version of “Wild Flowers” by Tom Petty during dinner.
Wedding Location: Ashland, OR / Photographer: The Weaver House / Day-Of Event Coordinator: Bello Event Design / Flowers: DIY from a neighboring garden / Venue: Private Residence / Wedding Dress: Allure Bridal / Belt: handmade embroidered belt / Feather Brooch: Vintage Dior / Wedding Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell / Bride’s Wedding Band and Earrings: Anna Sheffield / Groom’s Suit, Shirt, Tie, and Pocket Square: Gant Rugger / Tie Clip: Steven Allen / Groom’s Shoes: Allen Edmonds / Groom’s Wedding Band: Bario Neal / Wedding Caterer: Figgy’s Food Truck / Desserts: Homemade desserts and buckets of It’s It Ice Cream / DJ: Several of our friends are talented DJ’s so we had each of them play a set, dancing into the wee hours of the night / Wedding Invitations: Love vs Design