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California Camp Wedding with Western Details

California Camp Wedding with Western Details

As lovers of the outdoors and redwoods, a camp wedding was the perfect call for newlyweds Emily and Duncan. Their wedding day was a true labor of love, and the couple called on the talents of their loving friends and family to help put everything together – with some extra help from professionals Gather West, Simply Events Bay Area, and Crimson Horticultural Rarities, of course.

California camp wedding with western details - photo by Gather West

From the bride, Emily: Duncan and I are both illustrators, so naturally we were super excited about infusing our illustrations and artistic style into everything we could. All the aspects of the wedding were fun opportunities to create something uniquely us. The Save-the-Date was our first artistic collaboration and it made the planning process really special. We also have a sketchbook that we shared back and forth when we first started dating, so I printed out a bunch of the drawings to display on the tables to help illustrate our history together.

California camp wedding with western details - photo by Gather West

bridal fascinator - photo by Gather West

groom boutonniere - photo by Gather West

winter wildflower bouquet - photo by Gather West

bride getting ready - photo by Gather West

bride and bridesmaids - photo by Gather West

We are so lucky to have some extremely talented friends and family members who were all so generous in their contributions to the wedding. The love and support we received from everyone was overwhelming! I co-own a stationery company called The Nimbus Factory, and my partners Julia Kuo, Claire Konishi, and Phyllis Sa, were essential in creating the invitations and all the beautiful hand-lettered signage. My sister, owner of Marthette Vintage, was also a huge reason our wedding turned out so beautifully. The hairpiece she made me was more perfect than I could have imagined, and she nailed the boutonnieres! So many others helped out — Duncan’s mother added some embroidered touches, and I had friends volunteer to do my make-up and make sangria for the reception. We were also just floored at how many people traveled great distances in order to be with us on our wedding day. We’ve moved around a lot, so we have friends and family who came from Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Texas, Florida, and beyond. It was touching. I still can’t get over it.

wildflower bouquets - photo by Gather West

forest wedding ceremony - photo by Gather West

wedding portraits - photo by Gather West

Our inspiration for the day came from our shared love of the outdoors and the redwoods. We knew we wanted to be outside under the trees, and most of all, we wanted it to be a fun celebration of our love and friendship. When we stumbled upon Roaring Camp, we knew it was perfect. We tried to infuse the day with all the things we loved, including fish tacos, live music, redwoods, and chocolate chip cookies. Music has always been important to both of us so we spent a lot of time researching bands in order to find one that we loved. We hired a live band called The Rusty String Express, which turned out to be a perfect fit. For the ceremony, they played ‘I’ve Just Seen a Face’ by the Beatles, a song that was on a mix CD Duncan made for me on the first day we started dating. Listening to any of the songs from that mix still gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

California camp wedding with western details - photo by Gather West

navy escort cards - photo by Gather West

navy escort cards - photo by Gather West

We both agree that the most special moment was the ceremony. Our friend and colleague from American Greetings and supremely talented writer, Giao Buu, flew all the way from Cleveland in order to write and perform our ceremony. He was the most perfect officiant we could’ve asked for…he even wove in some LOST references because we’re huge fans of the show, along with some beautifully written sentiments about destiny and the cosmos (and then he hand-lettered it all in a journal he gave us after the wedding!). Having everyone we love surrounding us in the sunlit forest was more intimate and magical than I ever imagined, and sharing our own handwritten vows made it even more meaningful. The train ride up and back from the ceremony site also turned out to be one of my favorite moments because it let me relax and reflect on what was actually happening instead of rushing from one thing to the next. Plus, every time I hear a train whistle from now on, my heart will skip a beat.

See Also
Floral Embroidered Wedding Dress Fairmont Grand Del Mar

simple rustic centerpiece - photo by Gather West

grooms wearing vests - photo by Gather West

California camp wedding with western details - photo by Gather West

Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? I prioritized anything that would create the fun, rustic atmosphere we were going for and didn’t spend money on the things that wouldn’t help achieve that goal. If I had to give one piece of advice to brides planning now, it would be to think about how you want to feel on your wedding day, and make anything that helps create that atmosphere a priority!

rustic dessert tables - photo by Gather West

dessert tables - photo by Gather West

California camp wedding with western details - photo by Gather West

View all images from this wedding in the gallery

View Comments (9)
  • What a beautiful, heartfelt celebration. So many incredible details!

    I’d love to know the source of those gorgeous bridesmaid’s dresses. They’re just what I am looking for!

  • I love the boots with the dress, so quirky! The whole wedding was beautiful!

  • Such a beautiful wedding! Especially love the brides dress! Can I ask whew the dress is from?

  • How amazing! I tend to avoid looking at American weddings too much as the sunshine & light just can’t be emulated over here in rainy Ireland and I get so jealous, but the outdoorsy and natural touches are so inspirational! I’m pinning this entire wedding!

  • Wow, I love these weddings pics. So many gorgeous quirky details. I love the bride’s dress and the fab lace up boots….such fun.

  • Simply amazing vintage wedding. Like a wedding photographer in San Francisco Bay Area myself, I admire the work and preparation the couple put into setting their wedding in such wonderful location. Every details in well placed and every moment is well captured.

    Vintage weddings are so much fun! I enjoy them a lot and looking at this wedding photos is simply so rewarding. many couple nowadays decide to go for more modern and fashion themed weddings but having a vintage one is so romantic and in the same time unique in a way.

    No stress and pressure to spend lots of money o super expensive wedding dress and flash lots of money on a super modern venue. Simply elegant and genuine. That’s what I like about this theme.

    Great job by the photographer on capturing the moments from this day. Wonderful couple, natural and amazing location, pleasant light. What else one can ask for.

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I am inspired with new ideas for my next vintage wedding in June, 2015.

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