We can't get enough of this gorgeous celestial themed DIY wedding!
Shea Shoemaker
Shea Shoemaker July 31, 2019

DIY Celestial Themed Wedding in the Redwoods of Santa Cruz

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“Stars, and rockets, and moons – oh my! When Lauren mentioned to me that she was having a DIY celestial themed wedding, I was so pumped! It was the natural theme of choice for these two extremely intelligent, space-loving scientists. Nestled into a grove of giant redwoods at Pema Osel Ling Retreat Center, a beautiful wedding was about to take place with surrounding natural beauty complimented with splashes of blues, purples, plenty of glimmering stars, and a few very precious rings.

The couple met at college at the University of California Santa Cruz. The two moved to Chicago shortly thereafter for Lauren to start her graduate program in Planetary Sciences. Lauren and Jack’s proposal was nothing short of breathtaking. While on an adventurous vacation to Iceland, Jack knelt down and asked Lauren to spend forever with him amongst a magical white and blue sea of glacial ice.

The couple decided to get married back in Santa Cruz not only because most of their families are here in CA, but also because it’s where their love story first began. There were so many amazing parts of their wedding day but my favorite, by far, was the ceremony. You will never in your life hear a ceremony as custom to this couple as the one I heard that day. I wish I could recount the entire thing for you, but what I can tell you in that it was the most amazing love poem including aspect of life, love, earth and space. One part that really stuck with me was the meaning behind their rings. Jack’s said about his ring “I take this ring, a metallic meteorite from the far reaches of our solar system as a symbol of our long-lasting journey.” A sapphire was chosen specifically for Lauren for its unique way it came to be, it’s reliance, durability, and beauty, so much of it ringing true with Lauren and Jack’s past, present, and future. Lauren’s last words in her vow to Jack was “I promise not to take for granted our precious time together on riding this little moat of dust, this speck of a planet, in love and happiness as long as possible.”

To Lauren and Jack – thank you again for allowing me to serve you on your special day! I had a blast getting to know you two, your friends, and your family better. I won’t forget how amazingly precious you two looked during your first look, that extremely special ceremony, or Lauren, how you rocked your wedding dress with the most epic twirls! Your wedding was truly one for the books filled with star sparkles, laughter, beautiful redwood trees, and dance. Good luck on your future move to Hawaii! I’m so jealous- I hope two see you two with beautiful tans and tropical drinks soon!” –Corinna Rose Photography

What is your favorite wedding day memory?

My favorite memory was the ceremony. It was such a great feeling to have all of our closest family and friends there with us, listening to use nerd out and express our love! The location was perfect – a fairy ring of redwood trees that with a wooden stage that fit the entire wedding party and all the guests inside it! The choice of an outdoor wedding in the Santa Cruz redwoods was perfect for us because my husband and I met in Santa Cruz in college and loved going on little forest adventures.

My husband and I are not religious, so coming up with a ceremony that really felt like us was a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, one of our closest friends was more than willing to serve as the officiant. He and I knew we wanted to completely write the ceremony ourselves, so we read a ton of Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan quotes and books and just vibed off their eloquent descriptions of their love and their appreciation for the vastness of the universe. The ceremony was incredibly nerdy and focused on how special it was that we could find each other in vastness of space and time.

It was so special sharing this with our friends and family. It was also a great memory because we had expected it to rain and were mentally bracing ourselves for a quick and wet ceremony, but the morning came and the rain had stopped! Coincidentally, we chose an instrumental version “Here Comes the Sun” as my processional song. As I took my position on the stage, the music stopped and the officiant started speaking, the clouds parted and a huge beam of light shined on me through the redwoods for the entire ceremony! It was a magical alignment – a perfect moment in time and space!

What did you DIY for your wedding?

We wanted our wedding to represent us – our shared interests and values – so it only felt right to make nearly everything ourselves! We are both very nerdy people, with a strong obsession with all things planetary and music. I had just finished my Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Sciences specializing in planetary science, and my husband was transitioning from a job working at a particle accelerator {he studied astrophysics in college} to a full time career in music production so that he could be flexible enough to move where my career would take me. We had a decent amount of time to prepare for the wedding and DIY most of it with the help of family and friends!

We chose a celestial theme for our wedding, which everyone was pretty excited about. The first big DIY project was planning the cakes and treats, which ended up setting the tone for the rest of our creations. I really liked the purple blue and turquoise galaxy and nebula kind of vibes, so I worked with my future aunt in-law, Gloria to come up with interesting cake options. She worked so hard, and made the most out-of-this-world treats! She made a delicious purple, blue and turquoise sparkling galaxy mirror cheesecake {my husband wasn’t really into regular cake but loved cheesecake}, rock candy {we all know I love rocks}, and the most adorable spiral galaxy cupcakes with raspberry filling and three different kinds of little hand-made candy rocket ships!

The galactic treats inspired so many other DIY wedding details! I designed a poster for seat assignments – each table was assigned a planet or planetary object, labeled with a real image. Each table had a little sign that I printed myself, with a typical image of that object on one side {e.g. a typical image of Saturn, Mars, or the Crab Nebula}, and a less-familiar image of that same object on the reverse side {gravity map of Mars, a false color image of Saturn’s hexagonal north pole clouds, a color composite of the x-ray, infrared, and visible light of the Crab Nebula}. I had a lot of fun making that!

The flowers were all DIY with the help of many friends! For the table centerpieces we placed three purple roses in a spherical glass and filled the glass with star-like purple fairy lights and turquoise moss. The bouquets and boutonnieres were simple but elegant, made of purple roses and random local flowers from the Santa Cruz Farmers market. We also bought white rose petals and freeze-dried purple lilac petals and made little cones for recessional petal tossing. The cones were made of purple, blue, turquoise, and silver paper, and sealed with silver heart stickers.

My mother-in-law and I designed little personalized flashlights that said our names and the date, with silver stars on it. It was a perfect gift because most of our guests stayed on site, on the beautiful, but very large {and dark!} site. She placed them in adorable starry blue and silver bags with personalized little chocolate kisses that read “Thank you” or “L + J” on the bottom.

The music and sound system were DIY also! My husband created two hour-long mixes of our favorite music for the cocktail and dinner hours. Instead of hiring a DJ, we had our many music-producing friends take turns DJing throughout the night. Our sound system was lent by our friend, who was our main DJ for the night. Our first dance song was a remix of Lana Del Rey’s Young and Beautiful, and transitioned from the two of us ballroom dancing to a glitchy electronic dance party with our family and friends!

One of the most personal DIY touches was our memory table. My husband and I have unfortunately have lost a lot of very close family members over the years, my parents, and our grandparents to name a few. It was really important to me to include them in our special day, so I set up a table of pictures of them in sparkling silver frames, and put out a book for guests to share their happy memories with them. The table was beautiful – decorated with silver stars and silver sequins, and included a gorgeous painting from a friend {thanks Sonali!}. She painted the Big and Little Dipper constellations with each star labeled with a family member that we wanted to honor. It had a beautiful purple, blue, and turquoise nebula pattern in the background – mostly inspired by the cake! She also made a bunch of other signs {guest book, directional signs, bride and groom signs} with that same nebular theme! It really tied everything together.

We went over the Moon with our DIY projects, quite literally, actually, because we also made a nearly 10 foot tall crescent Moon photo booth! Gloria’s husband Dave cut a giant crescent for us with a hidden stand that you could use to actually sit on the Moon! Then with the help of family and friends we pained it silver, and assembled it with a dangling paper star and sparkling navy blue sequin backdrop. I ordered a personalized guestbook with our names on it, and put up a sign {again, credit to Sonali} that instructed everyone to use our Fujifilm Instax instant print camera to take photos of their wedding party on the Moon for a photo guest book! The pictures came out so great and the guests had a lot of fun taking pictures and personalizing their guest book entry. I highly recommend that over a traditional guest book!

Any advice for brides currently in the planning process?

Wedding planning and the wedding itself should be a fun experience. Don’t stress about things that you can’t control. Choose a location you love, invite those who make you happy, and only spend time and money on things that you and your husband care about. This is your big day! Have fun with it! -Lauren, the Bride

Event Credits

Photographer: Corinna Rose Photography // Venue: Amphitheatre of the Redwoods // Wedding Planner: Events with Miranda // Flowers: Costco // Catering: Pema Osel Ling // Music: Moonsplatta // DJ: Zipse // Engagement Ring: Miriel Design // Bride's Attire: David's Bridal // Bride's Earrings: Jenny Packham // Bride's Shoes: Kailee P. // Bridesmaid's Jewelry: Amazon // Hair Pins: Amazon // Groom's Attire: ASOS // Groom's Ring: Jewelry by Johan // Groomsmen's Attire: Macy's // Bow Ties: WormBo // Guest Book: Sunny Home Studio // Freeze Dried Lilac Petals: Flyboy Naturals

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