Our top priorities when planning our wedding were, 1) to make sure it reflected us as a couple and 2) to make sure our guests would have a great time. I always wanted to get married in a garden, so I began searching out garden venues long before Darren proposed. When we found the Dallidet Adobe and Gardens, we knew it would be the perfect location for our wedding; it was so ‘us.’ Since we loved the look and feel of the Dallidet, we let it shape the rest of our design plans. Rather than deciding all the design elements in the beginning, we just began collecting things we liked. Before we knew it we had a vintage 1930s garden vibe, basically what I always hoped to do! I definitely recommend this approach for other brides- when you start wedding plans it’s easy to feel like you have to make definitive ‘big-picture’ plans right away (like choosing your very limiting ‘two colors’) but by giving yourself time to experiment and find different elements that you love it takes the pressure off and enables you to create an event that genuinely reflects you. We also didn’t want to stick with one set theme; instead we wanted all of the elements to reflect us as couple. That’s why we incorporated the places we traveled to in to the reception, threw in some cute brown bear elements (to match our save the dates), and didn’t restrict ourselves to only vintage decor. We picked out things that said to us, “Darren and Samantha” and one of the most common compliments of our guests was that our wedding was so “us!”
Even though we wanted our wedding to be classy, we also wanted it to be fun. We didn’t want any of our guests to sit around bored, because a wedding is just a big party, right? We also made it a top priority to keep our guests well fed, because hungry guests are not happy guests. Although it might seem a little harsh, when planning we basically just outlined all of the things that had killed the fun at weddings we’d been to before, and then made sure to avoid those things at our wedding. For instance, to avoid the notoriously long and boring wait between the ceremony and reception, we made sure to keep ours to an hour, served hors d'oeuvres, had the vintage soda bar going, and had the photo booth and scrapbook guestbook available.
Some other advice for couples would be to remember this is the one time in your life that all the people you love are in one place, so take advantage of it and enjoy it! The few days before the wedding are so busy; it’s easy to get lost in that. That is why it is so important beforehand to set aside times to spend with your family, friends, and bridal party. To make sure we actually enjoyed time with our awesome bridal party we set up simple events, like the day before the wedding we had a bridal party picnic. The picnic took next to no time to put together, but is now one of my favorite wedding memories. Also, as you get sucked into the week-of craziness try to involve your loved ones as you rush through your to-do list. Even though taking a couple of bridesmaids to Target doesn’t seem all that exciting, you will value those memories later!
Samantha and Darren got married at the BEAUTIFUL Dalidet Adobe in San Luis Obispo, Ca. The weather was perfect, the flowers were blooming, and everyone was super happy :) This was our first wedding of the season, and the first back after the birth of our daughter. I was sooo ready to photograph a wedding, and Samantha and Darren were the perfect "welcome back" couple. There were so many great photos, so this is a long post. Jesse's film shots from the day will be in Part 2 along with their advice and story for planning their wedding.
Samantha and Darren's romantic love story:
Darren and I actually met at LAX, we were both flying to Hungary to spend a semester studying at a bible college there. It was not love at first sight; it was just nice to have a travelling buddy. As we began the semester in our little Hungarian village, we ended up sharing most of the same friends and slowly began building a friendship ourselves. After a month I threw him a surprise birthday party. I didn’t realize my feelings then, but looking back it’s pretty obvious that I had already developed quite the heart for him. Why else does a girl throw a cute guy a surprise party, right? Around the same time, Darren and I had a conversation in which I explained that I thought I might be called to a life of singleness. In response, Darren apparently decided that he should change those plans and sweep me off my feet. He also started growing a beard, because I love beards and let’s face it he wanted to impress me. By the end of the semester, Darren had decided he was going to marry me and proceeded to tell all of his friends and even his parents. Mind you, this is before he’d even asked me out. When he did get around to asking me out in June 2009 (he did let me in on his plans to marry me too) I had already realized what an amazing man Darren is and how incredibly lucky I would be if I could be with him. So obviously I said yes. We spent our first six months traveling Europe together (Crazy romantic, right?). Then we returned home to CA and I decided to finish my bachelor’s degree and Darren got to work, saving up for my beautiful ring and making sure we’d be ready to get married. Yea, I got myself a keeper! After two and half years of dating, Darren proposed to me at the See Canyon Fruit Ranch amidst the apple trees, right before sunset. It was absolutely perfect!
Wedding Dress:Martina Liana (designer) || Shoes: Kelly and Katie from DSW || Garter: Made by Bride’s Grandma || Jewelry: Bride: Mom’s pearl necklace (shortened); Mother of the Bride’s bracelet: Made from extra pearls from Bride’s necklace; Bracelets for Mother of the Groom, Flower Girl, Grandmothers, and Earrings for Bridesmaids: made by Bride’s talented friend, Jessica Oh. || Suits: Groom’s: Men’s Wearhouse; Groomsmen: Assorted Stores || Bridesmaid dresses:Modcloth, Kohl’s, Forever 21. || Bouquets:Sprigs || Save the Dates: Kristin Spencer || Invitations: Jessica Nicholson at Sable and Snow || Cake: Baked by Christy Renner (Bridesmaid), and Decorated by Joanna Tombs (Bridesmaid). Joanna also made our adorable cake toppers! || Catering:Guest House Catering || Photo booth:roycehutain.com || Videography:Gresham Visuals || Coordination: Day-of Coordination: JoAnne Plummer || DJ: James Jepsen’s Borrowed Time || ’57 Pontiac and ’32 Ford: Father of the Bride’s. || Tablecloths and Table Centerpiece Flowers: Bride and her grandma || Pillows: Bride’s other grandma (such talented grandmas!) || Boutonnieres: Bride’s Mom || Bear Cookie Favors: Bride’s Mom, Bride, and Sara Gallagher (Bridesmaid) || Scrapbook Guestbook: Amanda Bell (Maid of Honor) || The rest of the decor: Bride, Bridesmaids, and Bride’s Family (Team crafting effort!)
For set-up, it was all our bridal party, friends, the Bride’s family, and our day-of coordinator. They did such a wonderful job and were willing to work so hard in order to make our day incredible. We could not be more blessed by the loving and talented people in our lives!
Charlie and Paula are simple amazing! This was a very last minute engagement shoot. Charlie and Paula currently live in San Diego, but were up making some wedding plans. I am soooo glad they made some time to hang out with us and take some photos. Charlie and my husband go waaaaaay back! I LOVE being able to photograph friends wedding's...it is always such an honor.
BTW, these horses volunteered their modeling services for us. We really didn't have a choice :)
<<< check out Jesse's film photos below...*swoon >>>