Of all the places I’ve visited over the years, Greece stands out as the most magical. Unfortunately we didn’t get to make it to Ios Island, but this inspiration shoot from Anna Roussos Photography and The 12 Events has me dreaming of a return visit to the country! This talented team of vendors refers to Ios Island as a hidden paradise, and it’s easy as pie to figure out why. The shoot makes use of local artisans and other vendors to create a gem of a wedding setup, making for not only picture-perfect design, but also Eco-friendly!
If you think there aren’t many places more stunning to marry in than Hawaii, then you’d be right – just ask the bride and groom from today’s wedding, shot by photographer Austin Gros. The beauty of the day was only heightened by bride Leah’s Ulla-Maija lace wedding gown and protea-filled floral design from Passion Roots.
From the bride, Leah: I wanted to get married on ‘Oahu where I grew up, outside under a big tree, but my husband wanted to get married where he was from in Lincoln, Nebraska in a Catholic church. We compromised and got married on ‘Oahu in a Catholic church and had the reception in a botanical garden. We had our reception at a botanical garden and set up long rows of tables and chairs under a big Monkeypod tree. Besides the lush botanicals, the venue features roaming peacocks, and even a natural waterfall at the end of the property where guests can swim in a postcard-perfect setting. All this fit with our idea of an old world, exotic, nature experience amongst our close family and friends.
With the wedding taking place in Hawai’i at a botanical garden, I pulled together the history of explorer Captain James Cook and our affinity for the natural sciences to create a scene that featured: nautical décor, a vintage globe, antique and aged wood accents, a cake decorated with black pearls, a garland made out of their oyster shells, and lush natural looking centerpieces. Together with the blush, nude, grey and gold color scheme, one’s imagination could’ve described the whole scene as a garden party, thrown by Captain Cook’s wife with things collected from the ship and garden. A real eclectic, whimsical mix that added to the botanical ambiance.
The surroundings and flower decorations were important to my husband and I, as I am a biologist and my husband an entomologist. Naturally, this part of the wedding planning was a big deal. When one works in the flower industry it is actually quite difficult to narrow down your favorites. All I could commit to was a King Protea in my bridal bouquet. The flower seemed to go with the large bloom featured in the lace in my dress. Plus, the protea held a special meaning – centered around a beetle pollination expedition to Cape Town, South Africa’s Kirstenboch Botanical Gardens with my bridesmaid, Cari.
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? People will invite themselves. So, have a response prepared like, “We are still working on the guest list.” This lets them know not to be presumptuous in a polite way. Remember to say thank you to those who have helped you. On the day of your wedding, empty your mind of any expectations; of how things should look, etc. Just like clearing cache on a computer. The void of expectations will help you maintain joy throughout the day and not get bothered by the things that don’t work out the way you planned; all the while helping you to remember that this is a party you’ve planned and to focus on the fact that you will be spending your life together. Wait a week or two before you leave for your honeymoon, because you will be exhausted after your wedding is done. Waiting will help you enjoy it better and be more willing to explore the wherever you go, rather than staying in the hotel the whole time. Unless that’s all you want to do, in which case don’t go anywhere far or expensive – just spend it all on a super luxurious hotel room.
o We decided to make our own playlists for the Cocktail Hour, Dinner and Dancing portions of the evening and hooked up an iPod to rented speakers.
Bridal Party Processional: “Psalm,” M. Ward
Bridal Processional: “Ave Maria,” Franz Schubert
Recessional: “Oh Happy Day,” edited from the Sister Act 2 Soundtrack
First Dance: “Sweet Disposition,” The Temper Tramp
Wedding Location: Hale’iwa, Oahu, HI / Photographer: Austin Gros / Floral Design: Passion Roots / Ceremony Venue: Saint Joachim Catholic Mission Church, Punalu’u, HI / Reception Venue: Waimea Valley Botanical Garden and Arboretum, Hale’iwa, HI / Wedding Dress: Ulla-Maija/Anna Maier “Bianca,” purchased at Gabrielle’s Bridal Atelier / Shoes: Nina Shoes / Bracelet: Kate Spade / Engagement Ring: Memoire / Hair and Makeup: Amanda Gros / Groom’s Suit: Black Lapel / Groom’s Shoes: Bloomingdales / Caterer: Ke Nui Kitchen at Waimea Valley / Wedding Cake: The four tiered cake was made by me via Martha Stewart inspiration. It was only for display, and the actual cake was sheet cake cut up in the kitchen and served to guests on plates / Sheet Cake: Dee Lite Bakery / Tables and Chairs: Royal Party Rentals / Sound Equipment Rentals: Subsidiary of Waimea Valley Botanical Garden and Arboretum
Today’s wedding from Julie Harmsen shows that you don’t need to have a “color scheme” or “wedding theme” to have a day full of gorgeous details and personal meaning. Kaley and Joel’s wedding day was full of sweet touches, reflection, a little bit of magic, and heaps of expert crafting by Kaley, who actually made the incredible ceremony backdrop herself!
From the bride, Kaley: I didn’t have a distinct style in mind for our wedding. (I’m not a person with keen visualization skills.) When asked what my “colors” were I usually gave some sort of vague answer about a muted, natural palette. I just knew I wanted it to feel natural, magical, and a little bit like home. I also wanted to be thoughtful about what we were there to do. Which was to promise ourselves to one another and to celebrate that promise with our loved ones. So I wanted to make the ceremony a reflection of who we are and what we believe. I wanted it to be something that was entered into with purpose and reverence.
There was definitely some DIY involved in our wedding. I did some of it, but I also had a lot of help from the amazing and generous people in my life. Like many couples, we wanted to keep our costs as low as possible, so the decor was mostly handmade and/or found in thrift shops. All the planters and urns we used on the tables were found at thrift shops and my aunt filled them with beautiful succulent arrangements. We spray painted twigs, made mobiles out of branches, ribbon and mirrors, crafted the ceremony backdrop and got a fair amount of hot glue burns. My mother-in-law and I made the wedding favors. Small jars of jam with locally sourced strawberries and individual loaves of banana bread with my mama’s recipe.
Any advice for brides planning their weddings now? Go easy on yourself. You’ll probably have a lot of ideas and receive a lot of well intentioned advice. There is no way to absorb all this information. Instead, focus on the feeling you want the day to have and follow where that takes you. On the day of the wedding try to stop and take a deep breath every once in a while. Take in what is happening, feel the moment and try to commit it to memory. Everyone says it, but it really does go by so fast. Take a few minutes and enjoy the outcome of all the hard work you put in.
Family & Wedding Party Processional: “Wash.” Bon Iver
Bridal Processional: “Real Love,” Beach House
Recessional: “Punk as F*ck,” The American Analog Set
First Dance: “Choir Vandals,” The American Analog Set
Wedding Location: Whidbey Island, WA / Wedding Photographer: Julie Harmsen / Wedding Venue and Caterer: Fireseed Catering / Wedding Flowers: Local Farmer’s Market / Wedding Dress: Cicada Bridal, “Natasha” / Wedding Shoes: BaliElf / Hair and Makeup: Bride’s Stepmother / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Cicada Bridal and Elbling / Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers / Wedding Cakes: Macrina Bakery, friends and family / Wedding Invitations: Frida Clements