All of the very best weddings that readers send in are weddings that leave me feeling like “Dang! Why wasn’t I at that party??” And this wedding is undeniably one of those. It also happens to be stunningly beautiful, but that’s almost beside the point. Let me count the ways I love this wedding: awesome Northern California couple, amazing food, bargain shoppers, amazing blue grass band… and wait for it… DIY flowers that my little baby blog helped inspire! Weee! So, ladies and gentleman, I bring you Selina & Jeremy and the Santa Cruz wedding that could.
Ceremony, Wilder Ranch, Santa Cruz, California
Reception, our backyard, an 1877 Victorian in Santa Cruz, California (not owned, but a near-permanent rental from a family friend.)
We loved how our wedding turned out. Every element was handpicked by us. And by doing the legwork ourselves, we were able to spend on just about everything we wanted. We’re pretty big foodies and love to host a good party. By seeking things out ourselves, buying direct, we felt like our money went to the people we like to support. This is how we stayed sane! And by making sure that all of our choices felt true to us and were not excessive.
Our creativity shone through…
… the fall wreath I made for the front door with leaves from the florist and seed heads collected from my garden.
… the chalboard signs I painted and wrote on for directions, the bar and foods.
… making bouquets and big flower arrangements for the first time. The gorgeous flowers really did the work for me. My mom’s acorn boutteniers were the best though.
… using what is in season for décor and food. There were amazing pumpkins, gourds, fruits- especially the apples- at the markets.
… using straw bales to set the mood of the bluegrass band we hired. Added bonus was that all the kids had something to climb and sit on.Where we were thrifty…
… The biggest savings we got were by hosting the party at our house- no corkage, no rental fees, no insurance or other sneaky fees. Plus we had no time limit at night and carried on until 2am!
… We saved money by buying direct (like kegs from the brewer, wine from a friend, the cake, and flowers) and picking items up ourselves and setting a lot up ourselves. We were able to have an amazing spread of food by picking two caterers. One was our top pick, and we selected a minimal but top quality choices from them. The other was a wood fired pizza crew, with their own mobile oven. Not only did they provide fabulous fresh food, but they also a wonderful presence, ambiance and entertainment.… We bought cakes from our favorite local bakery. Instead of spending on one fancy decorated cake, we ordered 3 different flavored cakes from them- a carrot cake, chocolate hazelnut, and Italian rum. I asked for the opposite- to not decorate with piping and to use just a simple spread of frosting. The result was a simple and elegant dessert table that was accented by platters of cookies, and decorated with flowers and fall leaves. The cakes themselves stood apart because of their size and focus on ingredients rather than sugary fluff.
… I did all the flowers myself! I found a local, sustainable grower at our farmer’s market and bought directly from the farm. I only had to supplement with a few things from a wholesale florist. What could have cost us a couple thousand dollars cost us less than $500 for all the tables, bouquets and multiple arrangements around the house and on buffet tables. It probably took about 6-7 hours of my time in the days before, which is a lot, but I budgeted my time for it and it worked out great!… We hired a wonderful bluegrass band that plays at local farmer’s markets. Since we could only afford a 3 hour gig, we put together different themed playlists on the iPod to use with the amplification system we had rented for the whole night.… We found beautiful designer clothes for a fraction of the price. I found my dress, a Judd Waddell made of pure silk for $300 as a sample (reg. $2500!), and Jeremy found a Hugo Boss pinstriped linen suit 70% off! He donned some plaid wool Converse; I found some plum colored wedge heels at Macys that matched my bridesmaids’ dresses. The bridesmaids found their matching dresses at Anthropologie for less than a “bridesmaid” dress price. The best part is that everyone
can re-wear every piece again, with the exception of the wedding dress.
Photos by Jay Reilly