Selina & Jeremy’s Fall Santa Cruz PAR-tay

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.

Selina & Jeremy, thank you so much for sharing your day with us. Next time, I want to come to your party (I kid. Or, do I?) Check out more of this amazing wedding here and here.

Photos by Jay Reilly

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  • Everything is beautiful and completely unique and sensible… But I must say this bride totally won me over with the dahlias.

  • Meg

    Marie-Eve: How did you know that sensible is my favorite word? (she won me with the dahlia’s too. Well that and the pizza oven.)

  • More details please! Would love to see photos of the flower arrangements mentioned, the cake table, etc. Also – where are those gorgeous bridesmaids dresses from? LOVE IT… Now if I could just find a back yard with enough space to host such a thing…

  • Wood-fired pizza = best wedding food idea ever.

    Meg, any chance you have pictures of the cakes? What Selina described is exactly what my fiance and I want to do. I have an irrational hatred for six-tier wedding cakes covered in ribbons and pearls. (Actually, no, I think it’s a totally rational hatred for cakes that don’t look or taste like real cakes.)

    Tafe, I think she said the BM dresses were from Anthropologie. And I agree, they’re gorgeous!

  • So gorgeous! I go back and forth on doing my own flowers.. I have 7 bridesmaids so I think that between all of us we could get it done… t just makes me nervous! I have a few more months to muster up the confidence!

  • What a gorgeous wedding? I have to know what kind of flowers those were in the bridesmaids bouquets!

  • Jen

    Wow…I love so many details from this wedding, but I think my fav is having a brick oven brought in for the pizza! What a great idea – and who doesn’t love brick oven pizza??

  • I seriously swooned when she said bluegrass. That had me.

  • brick oven pizza is a freaking wonderful idea.

  • oh how I wish I were there! Sounds like an excellent fete to attend, or even host. I agree that it seemed completely sensible while simultaneously elegant.

  • ahhh what a beautiful wedding! I am particularly loving the Groom’s suit (how much do I want to get Dave into that?!), the colour of the bridesmaid dresses, and the price {and style!} of the Bride’s gown. the wood-fired pizza oven is a wonderful idea!

  • Dresses from Anthropologie, two caterers, Italian rum cake, and DIY dahlias. Amazing. Plus, love the groom’s suit. I’m a sucker for pinstripe.

  • Anonymous

    I’m also curious about the bridesmaid’s flowers…GORGEOUS!

  • I totally blame this post for making me go off my good eating habits – the wood fired pizza just sounded too good!!! I love love love that idea! I soo wish it were possible to do that at my venue!!

  • awesome pics!

  • hooray for having a bluegrass band! I loved ours. And a brick oven right there at the wedding?! That is so awesome.

  • Anonymous


    Wow! beautiful, beautiful wedding is all I can say, totally my style. I am planning my wedding and will be doing dahlias myself, and will also be getting them from a local farmer in S.C! Also, we are planning on doing Pizza, but haven't figured out how, just yet. I am a local of S.C and have been looking for a traveling pizza Oven company. Would you be so kind as to give me the name? Thank you!

  • Meg

    I don't know who they used, or if Selina will see this so late in the game, but try Pizza Politana They are in San Francisco, and I don't know if they'd travel that far, but if they don't they probably know people in SC. They are *serious* foody pizza, and *seriously* amazing, but I doubt they are super cheap.

  • Anonymous


    Thank you so much for getting back to me! you're right, I noticed after I wrote the message that this was all from a year age- anyway thanks for caring!