Lauren & Derek’s Budget, DIY, Camp Style Wedding

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

So, I know you may have seen this super awesome wedding elsewhere, since it’s gotten tons of coverage, and heck, these flowers are probably on your inspiration board (they are on mine!) But I couldn’t resist writing about this wedding. It is chocked full to DIY goodness, budget friendliness, amazing ideas, and friends & family pitching in. And given that, how could I not share more details with you?

Lauren & Derek run the Curiosity Shoppe in San Francisco (a store we’re personally huge fans of). They got married a few years back at the Log Cabin in the Presido in San Francisco. This venue is super cool, and we turned it down because I decided that the best possible wedding had already happened there, and I wasn’t going to mess with that! This is one of the few weddings that I’ve seen that used a theme amazingly well. They called their wedding a “True Love Jamboree” and everything tied back to a log cabin, camp, National Park idea.
The brides dress was made by a (famous and talented) friend Todd Oldham. Not all of us have friends quite that talented, but its a great example of reaching out to your circle of friends to help create a meaningful day.
Those amazing flowers were done by a family member. A trip was made before the wedding to San Francisco’s Flower mart (exactly what we are doing) where they loaded up on Dalia’s. They made vases by covering jars with wood grain contact paper.
Their cake was made to look like forest logs, and they even had their wedding rings designed to look like woodgrain rings (awww). You can see Jennifer Kellogg’s wood grain ring designs here.
For favors (again, favors I love) they had scout style patches made that said “True Love Jamboree.” And the detail I’m most obsessed with? Super cool silver flatware that looked like twigs (I want!)
In a great example of a splurge that makes sense, since her dress was made for her, the bride wore Christian Louboutins in a bright, sassy, re-wearable color.
The couple got married out in nature (no need to decorate!) and had a friend as a officiant.
To go along with their theme, they set up a bunch of camp like activities. Mahjong for their Chinese relatives, a horseshoe toss, picnic blankets for hanging out, and… a s’more station! Behold:
Food was simple burgers, corn on the cob, and other picnic food. It fit right into the theme, and it wasn’t crazy expensive.
The evening wrapped up with music from a band that was friends with the couple.
And the point of the story, dear reader? How happy they look.

Photos are by Jessamyn Harris, a awesome bay area photographer (wedding elf!) who will embrace all of your weird and creative ideas. She was a friend of the couple, and took the photos as a gift to them. She wants you to know that she took these photos years ago (but they are so cool she can’t live them down!) You can read more about this awesome wedding and see a slideshow over at her site.

Also, though you know it hurts me to plug the WIC, Lauren & Derek’s crafty home is featured in The Nest’s print magazine this month (don’t even bother with the website. It’s running a story about upgrading your e-ring. Ick.)

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit #NASTY

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  • I’m too lazy to read about this wedding more, so this might be a moot point. However, did the bride and groom enjoy camping, and is this something their friends knew? I think really “theme” weddings like this can be a real drag (and not in the fun way) for guests who just want to go to a party.

  • I love this wedding. After we got engaged, it was the very first one I saw that made me say…”now THIS we could do!” Our wedding will be very different, of course, but theirs was the first that let me see that what we wanted was very do-able. And yeah, those flowers were the first thing on my board! Dahlias, dahlias everywhere!

  • i love the idea of the patch favors. what a neat and unique idea. it makes me wish i had stayed in brownies long enough to earn even one.

  • Meg

    Nikki- I don’t think the actually wedding was very theamy, just that those were the details that they picked to tie it together because they are craft/ design people. My understanding is that the wedding was just a big *ss party.

  • exactly, it wasn’t overly “themey” at all, it just gave their overly-creative and cool minds some boundaries for coming up with awesome details and making the most of a fun location. it was VERY “them”! the wedding flowed just like you want it to (mingling, short and sweet ceremony, cocktail and simple hors d’oeuvres, dinner, dancing, cake, etc) and all of those fun woodlandy elements were just there if you felt like playing horseshoes or whatever.
    The wedding was at a time when the bride and groom lived in NYC, but they love nature and are both from the SF Bay Area, so these elements were a nice way of getting back to that as well.
    To sum up, it was cute without being cutesy, and forest-y without being weird.

  • when I saw the flowers this bride used, my heart stopped a beat. i LOVE THEM (and the rest of the wedding too)!!

  • Anonymous


    I thought this was a great wedding. I was wondering if you know how the bride handled wearing those heels on grass – my wedding is also outside, and I would love to get shoes that I could wear again (e.g. stylish stilettos, nothing too bridey) but I’m worried about sinking in. How did she do it? I’ve heard about some little disks you can clip onto the heels to prevent sinking, but haven’t found them anywhere. Any tips on buying shoes for an outdoor wedding? Oh and I’m short, my fiance is tall, so I’m trying to go for 3-4″ in height :)

  • Meg

    I’m going to say she probably wore the heels CAREFULLY. For serious though, I’d do wedges. Sinking into the grass just sucks!

  • Anonymous

    My beautiful future bride also found the “perfect” shoe but alas, the heels would sink into the grass. Trying to help her find a solution, I thought I had just came up with a million $ idea, but, they already exist. Mostly in the UK but here is a carrier in the US. I found this blog by googling “prevent heels from sinking in the grass” and thought we would post. Who said guys no nothing about weddings?!

  • I am in love with that cake. The mushrooms, and how real the wood looks, is just amazing.

  • Alexandra

    Yeah, the cake is fabulous! Looks way fun.