I’m so excited to finally share ALL the details and photos from OUR WEDDING!!!! It was such an amazing experience being on the other side of the wedding world and going through the planning process as a bride! I learned SO much and really appreciate the wedding industry even more than I did before. There are so many things I want to talk about with wedding planning and our experience, so I go into a little more detail throughout this post and share more info and tips I learned along the way!
I first want to give a huge shout-out to Bari Elexa Events who helped me plan the entire wedding from day one! She is full of knowledge about weddings & events and really helped me create my dream wedding!
All the photos below were taken by our wedding photographer The Poffs! I met Danielle five years ago when I attended one of her first workshops, and after working with her over the years and becoming friends, I was so excited to have her photograph our wedding day!
Below I will list out all of our wedding vendors! I hope you enjoy looking through our photos and hopefully this post can help some of you who are engaged and planning your own dream wedding!
Photography: The Poffs // Planner: Bari Elexa Events // Floral designer: Freckled Floral // Venue: Memory Garden // Invitations: Minted // Dress: BHLDN // Bridesmaid dresses: Lulu’s // Makeup: Emma Peterson Makeup // Rentals: Chic Event Rentals // Linen: La Tavola // Terracotta tiles: Tierra y Fuego // Catering: Classic Catering // Desserts: Reds Donuts & Nourish Cafe // Coffee cart: Hedge Coffee // DJ: Dart Collective // Jacket calligraphy: The Bright Line Studio // Ribbon: Party Crush Studio // Ties: Dazi // Ring box: The Mrs Box // Engagement ring: Trumpet & Horn // Wedding band: Gem Breakfast // Brandon’s band: Marke // Styling mat: JRD Art Shop
Our save-the-dates and invitation suite were from Minted. This was one area where I would have loved to get a custom invitation suite designed by a stationery/calligraphy person that I know, but we needed to stick to our budget so I decided to go with Minted!
One tip I suggest doing if you are also going this route, instead of getting the entire matching invitation suite (where the invitation, details, and RSVP all look exactly the same), you can actually choose different cards and mix different styles to find ones that go together but aren’t super matchy! So our RSVP card is actually from a different collection on Minted than our invitation card, and same thing with the details card!
When we started looking for wedding bands, I went to a jewelry shop up in San Francisco to try on rings but had trouble finding one that would fit around my engagement ring stone because the oval stone sits flat against my finger. Every curved band I found wasn’t curved enough or looked weird next to my ring, so I decided to contact Catherine at Gem Breakfast since we’ve worked together on styled shoots before and I knew she did custom work! After a quick chat with her, she knew the exact vision I had for the ring and sent me a mock-up that was exactly what I wanted. I brought my ring to her office up in San Francisco and she had a mold taken of my engagement ring so they could perfectly fit the new band next to it. Within a few weeks my band was ready and I’ve been in love with it ever since! I’m so happy I didn’t settle for a pre-made band that wouldn’t fit right with my engagement ring, and I definitely recommend contacting Catherine if you are looking for something a little more unique and custom!
Getting ready for the wedding with my two sisters! I love these cute robes and custom glasses my little sister got us!
Luckily my sister is a hairdresser so I asked her to do my hair for the wedding! I’ve always wanted to have long loose curls for my wedding, so we did that and then changed it up later in the day! My makeup was done by one of our close friends Emma, she did a really soft matte golden look and made my skin look so nice and smooth!
DRESS & SHOES
I’ve been SO excited to show everyone (and Brandon) my dress for the past year! I chose my dress in March of last year and I decided to go a nontraditional route and order 3 dresses from BHLDN to try on at home. I’m naturally very slim so I knew I would be the smallest size in wedding dresses, and I heard in stores you can usually only try on a size 12, so I figured it was best I try on my actual size dress to see what would fit me the best! The dresses came and I tried all of them on at my parents house for my mom, sisters, and best friend/planner Bari and we all loved the Lucca Gown the most! I thought I was going to like one of the other dresses I ordered more, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much this dress felt like me! The deep v neckline, the bell-sleeves, the open back, the tassels- I just love everything about this dress!! The only thing I had to alter was the length, I got it shortened in the front but left a little train on the back that I could bustle after the ceremony.
I knew right away that I wanted to get a pair of Bryr Clogs for my wedding, I have 2 pairs of these shoes and I think they are so fun and unique! I decided to get the Hannah Spanish Toe in blush. And now that the wedding is over, I can wear them whenever I want, they look really cute with a dress or even with jeans!
Brandon has never owned his own suit, so he definitely wanted to invest in a really nice suit that he could wear again after the wedding. He chose a light grey suit so that he could easily wear it with other colored shirts and ties in the future! I love that he wanted to wear a fun floral printed tie and this one from Dazi went perfectly! Brandon wore a gold tie bar from The Tie Bar and cognac dress shoes from JCrew.
My AMAZING florist was Tara of Freckled Floral! I had been following her on Instagram for a long time and always wanted to work together because I admired her work so much! When we got engaged, she was the first person to come to mind for florals and I’m so happy we got to work with her!
I love lots of color, especially colorful lush florals so the inspiration I gave her were some photos of colorful arrangements with peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, and some bougainvillea. I honestly didn’t really picture how the flowers would look on the day of the wedding and I was SO excited to see them (we even did a “first look” with Tara delivering my bouquet to me haha!). I was blown away by how beautiful my bouquet was and how HUGE the flowers were - my dream!!! The flowers throughout the wedding were just so amazing and people still tell me all the time how much they loved our flowers, all thanks to Freckled Floral! Also, the beautiful gold and yellow ribbon draping from the bouquets are from Party Crush Studio!
OUR FIRST LOOK
If you know me, you know I ALWAYS encourage my couples to do a FIRST LOOK so of course we did one too! I was so nervous before we saw each other, and doing a first look was such a huge relief for me! We also were able to take most of our photos, all of our bridal party photos, and family photos before the ceremony so we could all enjoy cocktail hour with our friends and family! Wedding days truly do go by so fast, so why not have the option to spend more time together?!
OUR BRIDAL PARTY
We chose to have our siblings as our bridal party, so I had my two sisters as my “maids-of-honor” and Brandon had his little brother and my sister’s husband as his groomsmen! It was really nice having just super close family with us on the wedding day, and it made bridal party photos & family photos much easier since they were basically at the same time!
I let my sisters pick out their own dresses, I just suggested them pick something that was in our color palette and could either be solid print or floral! I love the dresses they chose from Lulu’s and how they ended up being fairly similar in style, but completely different colors and print. Brandon had his guys wear different shades of grey suits and they all had different floral ties from Dazi and Amazon!
One of the things we decided to save costs on and DIY was all of our signage (welcome sign, seating chart, escort name tiles, and bar signs). Brandon built the signs out of plywood and some chain hinges and I painted on the wording! Super simple and affordable!
Next up, OUR VENUE! We got married at Memory Garden in Monterey! I love Spanish-style architecture (white adobe walls, tiled roofs, rounded archways) and you know I love gardens and cacti, so this venue was basically my dream venue! When we first got engaged December 2017, I immediately started looking at venues (of course!), I never really had a specific venue I always dreamed of having my wedding at so I knew I needed to do a lot of research. Our families live really close to us in the San Francisco Bay Area, so we wanted to have the wedding within a 2 hour drive if possible. I found Memory Garden on a venue website and thought it was really cute and had a ton of potential, but the photos of other weddings I found didn’t really show a lot of the venue so I wasn’t sure if it was the right place.
We kept searching and getting info from other venues for weeks, until I decided we should just go down to Monterey and check out the property in person. As soon as we got there, I fell in love with it and knew it was the one! I definitely encourage doing a walk-through or looking at venues in person, because they will feel totally different when you’re actually there rather than guessing what it’s like based on photos!
*MAGICAL GARDEN WEDDING CEREMONY OF MY DREAMS*
The venue is enclosed by adobe walls, lush plants and flowers everywhere, lots of magnolia trees, and a fountain in the middle- so enchanting!! This moment right before I walked down the aisle was probably the most nervous I was ALL DAY. I think having so many eyes on me as I walk down the aisle just really got to me, but as soon as I was at the altar, I was totally fine!
We had my uncle (aka Santa) marry us and it was really special having someone we personally know be the one to do that!
Our ceremony was short and sweet, and then guests were invited to head to cocktail hour while dinner was being set up! We also got to join cocktail hour right away since we already took all of our family and bridal party photos earlier!
Cocktail hour included lots of yummy food from Classic Catering (Mexican Street Elotes, Chicken Tostadas, Corn Fritters, and a salsa bar)!
The signage in our cocktail hour (menus & seating chart) were also made by Brandon and I. Brandon cut pieces of plywood, I typed up the signs in Photoshop and printed them on blush colored paper, and I attached them to the wood with gold flat push pins. For the seating chart, Brandon build the structure out of copper pipes and spray painted them matte gold (to tie into the other gold accents throughout the wedding). After thinking about so many different ways to make our own signage, this idea just popped in my head and I love how simple but clean it looked!
While everyone enjoyed cocktail hour, Bari Elexa Events and her team flipped the ceremony space into the reception!
Our tables were probably the easiest for me to design and pick out rentals for, I just love tablescape designs for weddings and think it’s SO fun to pick out unique linens, colors, and flowers for your wedding! I can’t imagine just picking out the most basic rentals just because that’s what everyone else does, your wedding is unique and you should want to have fun with it and pick out things you LOVE!
Before we got engaged, I saw the Jax Cornflower linen on La Tavola’s website and fell in love with it, so when we got engaged I immediately knew I wanted that to be our table linens. The print on it also has a Spanish vibe so it complimented our venue really nicely! When I went to check out La Tavola in person with Bari, she picked out the mustard napkin and I loved how those colors looked together!
We chose clean ivory stoneware plates, matte gold flatware (I love anything gold!), and fun blue and gold goblets for wine and water, all from Chic Event Rentals.
Our table numbers were pieces of cacti (we got them the week of the wedding at a local market) and I just painted on the numbers! I saw a similar idea online and knew it would be perfect since I love cacti and I also brought lots of my potted cacti to the wedding as decor!
I wanted our escort cards to be ceramic tiles with each of our guests names written on them, so I bought terracotta tiles from Tierra y Fuego and used a white ink pen to calligraphy the names on. This was another area that we needed to save money on, and I love that I got to DIY a project for the wedding!
Towards the end of cocktail hour, I left to have my sister change my hair into a little up-do and put on my white denim jacket that The Bright Line Studio did custom calligraphy on!
After we ate dinner, Brandon and I snuck out with our photographer to take some sunset photos, this is also something I like to do with my couples too! Sadly we didn’t really get a golden sunset on our wedding day since Monterey is right by the water and it’s usually pretty overcast there, but we still went out to take photos with all the cacti!
Back to the party! We had Dart Collective as our DJ, we loved that they used actual vinyl records to play the music, and they really customize the music to what we love to listen to! Before the wedding we filled out a music map online and listed out types of songs we like to dance to, must plays, and songs we don’t really like and they used that to create our wedding music playlist!
Our first dance song was “How Deep is Your Love” by the Bee Gees :)
Dessert was one of the things that was surprisingly a little more difficult for us to decide on! I knew I didn’t want to just have a cake because honestly most the guests never end up eating the cake! I’ve seen SO many weddings where they cut and serve the cake and they just sit on the tables and no one ever eats it. However, I knew I wanted us to have a small cutting cake so we could still get those classic photos and have our own special dessert.
Since I recently became dairy-free, and most of my family is either dairy-free/vegan or gluten-free, I decided to make our cutting cake vegan & gluten-free so they would all have dessert too! We got our cake from Nourish Cafe in San Francisco, it was super chocolate-y and amazing, and I already want to order another one for our next party! For the rest of the guests we ended up getting donuts from Red’s Donuts, they are really affordable and everyone loves donuts!
We also got these cute cocktail napkins from For Your Party with our names and hashtag on them!
I think everyone knows Brandon and I LOVE coffee, so we had Hedge Coffee come serve up espressos and lattes to everyone during the last few hours of the wedding! They also offer a stamp option as an add-on, so I designed a custom “wedding logo” in Photoshop and they had an actual stamp made of it and used it for the cups to make it more personal!
We danced, hung out with our friends and family, drank a lot of coffee, and had the BEST DAY EVER! The entire day was such a dream to me, I was really able to get out of “wedding vendor mode” and feel like a bride, enjoy every moment of the day, and just have fun! Everything came together so amazing and seeing all the details we picked out over the past 1.5 years come to life in this beautiful venue was so exciting to see. THANK YOU to our vendors who made this day so amazing for us!!!
I also wanted to share a few closing notes/tips for any brides-to-be planning their own wedding!
HIRE A PLANNER- This is definitely the number one thing I always suggest to my couples, you will never regret hiring one! I’m extremely lucky that one of my best friends is a wedding planner, so she was able to help me through the entire process but still let me be very involved with picking design elements and planning everything out. Most wedding planners offer full service planning, full service & design, partial planning, and sometimes just coordination. I can’t tell you how much of a relief it was to have Bari in charge of communication with the venue and vendors, handling all the emails, asking all the right questions, and just being a huge source of knowledge and information about weddings! Leading up to the wedding, I wasn’t stressed at all and I really got to enjoy the entire wedding weekend without any hesitations because I know we were in good hands. I could keep going on and on about this, but bottom line is hire a great planner!!
THE DETAILS MATTER- So many people say “don’t stress over the little details, no one remembers them” and I honestly think that’s not true! You should pay attention to ALL parts of the day when you are planning, even down to the little details because that is what will make your wedding special and guests will remember those little things! Whether it’s the color of your napkins, the table numbers, the signage, the personalized napkins, people will notice and remember how much thought went into those things!
CHOOSE THINGS YOU LOVE- Throughout the entire planning process, I always chose things that I loved and felt very “us” rather than just choosing things that I thought every wedding should have. Even though they were very bold, I loved the blue printed table linens from La Tavola, I love colorful flowers so I chose to have very colorful arrangements, I love cacti so I brought my potted cacti plants and also used pieces of cacti as my table numbers, and so on! Be different and choose things that you love, you and your guests will remember how unique and special your wedding was because it wasn’t like any other wedding they’ve been to!
DON’T FEEL OBLIGATED TO DO “TRADITIONS”- There are SO many wedding traditions that I think people feel like they have to do at their wedding, things like the bouquet/garter toss, something blue, cake cutting/smashing, bridal parties, etc. Don’t feel like you have to do every single tradition unless you really want to do them! It can sometimes feel like a wedding day is a giant checklist and couples think they have to do every single “wedding” thing that other weddings do, but just choose the ones the you really like!
MAKE SURE YOU EAT + DRINK WATER- I always hear this at weddings and I definitely experienced the lack of food and water at my own wedding unfortunately! I was so anxious and excited the entire day and I was running on adrenaline and too many cups of coffee by the end of the night, so I definitely suggest having someone remind you to eat and drink all day!
I think this is my longest blog post ever! I hope you enjoyed getting the inside look at our wedding, and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or want to chat about your own wedding!
Love, the Marshalls
(p.s. since I have a new last name, I will be rebranding this summer! Stay tuned!)