Erica & Nathan ♥ California, USA
Photographer: Atelier Pictures
There’s something so enchanting about California weddings. Maybe it’s the ethereal light as the glorious sun sets, or possibly it’s the magical outdoor venue locales, or it could be the relaxed yet refined Cali-style hospitality; whatever it is that makes wedding’s in The Golden State so charming, Erica and Nathan’s nuptials exudes all of these characteristics and more and is captured to perfection by Atelier Pictures.
Be prepared to seriously covet Erica’s big day style. This gifted (not to mention beautiful!) bridey designed her gorgeous wedding gown herself and she also planned and decked out the whole stylish summer soiree, with some help from her hubby-to-be and some fantastic friends. This is one talented DIY-queen and so it will come as no surprise that Erica has her own furniture restoration business and blog and that Nathan is an artist!
If you’re considering saying ‘I Do’ in the Californian sunshine, or if you’re looking for DIY wedding inspiration, then this is the real wedding for you!
“We wanted to make our wedding a true reflection of ‘us’ and also to be an honoring of those who have played a big part in our story thus far—our friends and family. We carefully chose the traditions that remained true to these two goals but left out ones that were superfluous or were unneeded stressors. You can’t do everything so choose the top priorities and focus in on those.”
“We’re blessed to have really talented friends so we called on the gifts of those near to us – our wedding was definitely a group effort! Our friends shared their talents in so many areas from providing live music, to the baking of our wedding cake, to designing my bridal jewelry, just to name a few. Not only did this give a personal touch to the day it made the presence of our loved ones a real tangible witness in all the services they provided (and helped us stay within budget too!).”
“We wanted an outdoor wedding so having it at Nathan’s parents’ property was the perfect solution. Not only did that give us extra time for set-up and tear down, it was also especially meaningful as the property has been in the family for over 100 years.”
“We had many different stations to entertain our guests during the cocktail hour and while we were having our pictures taken. There was the food station with fruit, cheese, meats, and homemade meatballs; there was a station with an Italian chef making fresh mozzarella to be enjoyed by guests; there were lawn games including croquet, cornhole toss, and Boce ball; there was an art station for the kids to color and hang their handmade art; and there was a home-made photobooth with props picked up from local thrift stores. We also had lounge areas scattered around the yard with vintage furniture – settees and chairs – for more picturesque sitting opportunities.”
“My dress was a very personal element to the wedding. For me, it was hard to wear a dress that I knew had been mass-produced in department stores. It’s such an intimate moment that I felt that I needed to be wearing something which had been prepared especially for this day.”
“For this reason, I designed my own dress and had it made especially for such an occasion. The seamstress, matron-of-honor, and I chose the fabric from the LA garment district. In all, there were over seven fittings to attend. And in the end, I was fashioned a dress especially for such a momentous occasion as marrying my best friend.”
- Entrance of the bride: Renewal – written and performed by Gary Casucci a friend of the bride and groom
- Music during the ceremony: Be Thou My Vision – performed by the sisters of the groom
- Recessional music: Jason Mraz – Lucky
“My husband, Nathan, is an artist and so he made sculptural elements to serve as the centerpieces. The boats and chairs decorating the tables were symbolic to the two of us. He has many boats in his artwork and I re-upholster chairs. All the model boats and miniature chairs on the tables were handcrafted by Nathan in preparation for our special day.”
“We had spent months collecting drift wood for the centerpieces and gathered the candles at the 99cent store. My husband also crafted the arbor that we were married under. It helps so much to have an artist for a fiancé when planning your own DIY wedding!”
What were your highlights and your favourite memories from the day?
- “My favorite moment was just after the ceremony as we’re walking down the aisle as husband and wife. We were both SO gleeful! We spontaneously started dancing as we walked out and ran away, behind the house, to get just a few brief moments together alone as husband and wife before being congratulated by friends and family. We were literally overflowing with joy!”
Do you have any advice for brides and grooms-to-be?
- “DIY, outdoor weddings are a lot of work! They definitely come with their own reward just be prepared for a lot more set-up and tear down. We had many hands helping with the many added tasks on our to-do list. For instance, we had to rent tables, chairs, and a dance floor. We also had to construct structures to hold the outdoor lighting. In the end, it was worth all the extra work—just be ready to get your hands dirty and to delegate tasks to friends and family ahead of time.”
Do you have any wedding budget tips?
- “Ask your friends and family for help! It is amazing the wealth of resources that we have in our friends and family. And, in general, people really like helping with weddings when they’re asked to do something specific and within their area of expertise. Not only does it save on cost, it helps friends and families feel more invested in the happenings of the day. We could not have done it near budget without the help of our many talented friends and family.”
Would you do anything differently?
- “The one thing I would have done differently is to have spent time meditating on the vows ahead of time. At the end of the day, the wedding is centered on the commitment. I wish I would have spent more time in the weeks leading up the ceremony reflecting on the words of our upcoming vows in order to keep the heart of the day in focus and not just the to-do list at hand.”
- Stevie Wonder – You and I – performed by Michael Klein, one of the groomsmen
Dance floor classics:
Venue and suppliers:
Photographer – Atelier Pictures / Venue – Private residence / Wedding planner and bride’s dress – Erica Sims (the bride) /Make up – Angela Blake / Hair – Lauren Vopatek – Jackson W Salon / Florist – Allison Vanderwerker / Catering – Vito & Lorenzo Catering / Wedding cake – Leslie Brock / Musicians – Pianist – Gary Casucci, DJ – Paul Layton / Submission via Two Bright Lights