Crushing on this super gorgeous and romantic handmade day!
Shea Shoemaker
Shea Shoemaker August 22, 2018

Gorgeous and Handmade Santa Cruz Wedding

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What is your favorite wedding day memory?

There are so many standouts… from our first look to the father/daughter dance, to the toasts! But my most favorite memory was when we said our vows. We chose to write our own in addition to reciting the traditional vows. I could barely get through mine… and I really had convinced myself I wouldn’t be a blubbering mess! Writing our own vows and declaring them not only to Peter, but also to everyone we love was so special to us. It was so much more to us than making a promise to each other. It was a holy moment where we chose to make a covenant with each other and with God in front of everyone. There was so much weight – a good weightiness – and it felt like we were suspended in time as the gravity of it all settled around us. I’ll never forget that moment and I’m so grateful we decided to write our own vows.

What did you DIY for your wedding?

Besides having a day-of-coordinator, we did everything ourselves. We got married at my brother and sister-in-law’s private residence, right outside of Santa Cruz, CA, where I grew up. Their property is about 11 acres, with the most beautiful oak trees and when they offered their land to be our venue, we were overjoyed… but I don’t think any of us knew what we were getting ourselves into! The ceremony and reception were both located there, which has never held an event before, so we had quite our work cut out for ourselves. My husband and I live in Los Angeles, so pretty much all the prep was done by my family. My dad, mom, brother and sis-in-law did so many things, from leveling land, to laying down pea gravel and brown mulch, to planting grass and flowers, to figuring out all the electrical, which is an entirely separate story! It was a huge project for the whole family, including my 6 year old nephew, who rotated between helping to lay down the gravel, to riding his little dirt bike through that same gravel the next day. Luckily, my brother already had a massive concrete slab poured as the site for a future workshop, so we transformed that into our reception area and the ceremony was only about 100 yards away under a grove of oak trees. All the prep was definitely our biggest DIY undertaking, and I don’t know if I’ll ever know everything that had to be done.

The second biggest DIY undertaking was probably our flowers and greenery. From the very beginning, I knew my color palette and knew that I wanted cream and blush flowers, with greenery everywhere. I didn’t want to hire a florist because I knew I wanted everything very imperfect and unstructured. I didn’t feel like I needed a professional to make perfect bouquets, and I knew my friends were talented enough to make our dreams come true! I found a wholesale flower company from Hawaii who were instrumental in helping me get everything green that I needed. I spoke at length with them about everywhere I wanted to have the greenery – from the tables, to the bouquets, to our ceremony arch. I had a visual from Pinterest of the arch that I wanted to re-create and I had a florist-friend execute it the morning of. Her and another friend completely exceeded my expectations with just some zip ties and staple guns!! I sourced all our flowers with a local flower farm, Camflor. We picked up the flowers and made the bouquets the day before with my bridesmaids and day-of-coordinator. I just kind of eyeballed everything until I was happy with how they looked. We used several different silk ribbons from three different vendors on Etsy to tie it all together. The tablescapes and all other floral details were all put together and arranged by my day-of-coordinator and friends.

Another fun DIY element were our place settings. Instead of assigning guests to a specific seat, I decided to assign everyone to specific tables, where they could sit wherever they wanted at that table which was so.much.easier. Since we were placing our menus inside napkins at each place setting, I wanted something to hold it down that would look elegant. I found 3-inch hexagon shaped marble carrera tiles on Amazon that would be perfect for the task, but since I wasn’t writing guests’ names on each place setting I wanted to add something to the tiles to personalize them. One day, it clicked and I thought, OH! I’m going to stamp them with the same personalized wax seal stamps we used for our invitations! It ended up being one of my favorite elements, and I’m forever grateful to my friends for stamping each and every tile the weekend of the wedding!

Did you have something old, new borrowed and blue?

I didn’t! We skipped out on a lot of the traditions. We didn’t do a bouquet or garter toss either!

Any advice for brides currently in the planning process?

If you decide to plan it on your own like I did, I found wedding apps to be really helpful! Most of them will calculate when you need to get things done by, according to your wedding date. I liked WedHappy because it was also a great money tracker! If you aren’t organized, write EVERYTHING down. I created a wedding note in my phone and wrote every single thing down as soon as I thought of it AND made sure it was synced with the Cloud at all times! -Erika, the Bride

Event Credits

Photography: Jennifer Lourie // Venue: The Ramsey Farmhouse // Greenery: Wholesale Tropical Flowers // Flowers: CamFlor, Inc. // Catering: Kiss Catering // Cake: Freedom Bakery // Pies: Gizdich Ranch // Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas // DJ: All Occasions Entertainment // Transportation: Shuttles by The Santa Cruz Experience // Rentals: Alexis Party Rental // Engagement Ring: Rosado's Box // Bride's Attire: Aria // Bride's Shoes: Betsey Johnson // Bride's Jewelry; Catbird // Bridesmaid's Attire: Union Station // Hair: Erik Hagen // Make-up: Caitlin Anderson // Groom's Attire: Topman // Groom's Shoes: ASOS // Groomsmen's Attire: H&M // Table Numbers: Oriental Trading // Hexagon Placesetting Tiles: Amazon // Reception Terrariums: Hobby Lobby // Welcome Sign: Paper Minx // Seating Chart: INKKPrint // Bouquet Ribbons: Natalie Stopka Studio // Vow Books: Custom Crafted Studio // Guest Book: Starboard Press // Wax Seal Stamp: Zoe Craft Supply

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