A Simple Bodega Bay Wedding

A while back, I sent Kathryn of Snippet and Ink a picture from this wedding for her week of Beach Wedding inspiration boards, and she used it on a stunning Northern California beach board. But this wedding just wouldn’t stop haunting me, with it’s striking Northern California beauty, it’s quirky style, and it’s simple joy. So I decided I had to share this Bodega Bay wedding, as photographed by the talented Jude Mooney.
This bride clearly had her own personal style, and I love that you can see it in the way she dressed, and the flowers that she held. Sometimes I think that wedding dresses can serve to muffle your inner sass, and wrap you up in the perfect bridal package, but that is so not going on here!
One of the things that I love best about small simple weddings, is that the focus is put back where it belongs. A wedding is, in essence, a sacred ceremony followed by a celebratory party, and when you strip back all the details and extras, that is what you see.
I love that giddy joy when couples are walking back down the aisle, newly married.
This is one of my new favorite wedding pictures. I walk on San Francisco beaches every day, and they have a rugged charm that is all their own. By not dressing up the ceremony site, they let the natural beauty shine right through.
Joy… both the best wedding makeup, and all you really need.
The simple beach ceremony was followed by a celebratory restaurant dinner. That gives you the feeling of being in Tuscany sharing wine and good food with family and friends.

This wedding is magic to me. The pictures capture exactly what we want: to be ourselves, to be with our loved ones, to have a simple and sacred ceremony, and then to eat and toast with much laughter and mirth.

The rest is really just details.

**Update: So I’m sure you’re not going to be shocked by this info, since cool couples often roll like this, but the bride made her awesome dress right before the wedding, and the groom found his suit in a thrift store. Thanks to Jude for the info. Northern CA brides, check her out!**

Featured Sponsored Content

  • what a great wedding! i love your sentiment!

  • Just beautiful! It really is true about the joy part…!

  • Anonymous

    I love her dress! Perfectly understated. Do you know the designer?

  • It is such a special wedding! I love how understated it is, and how much of the couple’s personality is in it.

  • Those rock formations on the beach are so cool – how lucky you are to see them everyday!
    Smaller weddings are always so cool because there is always a lot of emotion and feeling in them. This one’s beautiful!
    Thanks for sharing!!

  • Thanks for this. What a lovely wedding.

  • Anonymous

    I love it! As I’m contemplating my own wedding…this is my ideal!!

    I’ve got several girlfriends getting married and I love all the details of their day…but along the way, I feel like their relationship gets lots and they forget about what that day should really signify – two people make a sacred commitment. I love when people embrace that, more than how much they saved on invites or the veil, or the differences in the shade of their lilacs…this was a breath of fresh air! Thanks for sharing!

  • What a stunning wedding! It’s so beautiful! It’s just the inspiration I needed today. Thank you!

  • I love the long table- it’s so “family style.” It looks like it was a really special wedding- no muss, no fuss- just the essentials. very nice.

  • I completely agree about many wedding dresses ‘muffling the bride’s inner sass’ (well put!)

    When I found my dress, I put my hand on my hip, jutted it out and strutted across the room (as best I could holding the dress up with my other hand!) – my friend and sister who were with me laughed at me but I just explained I had to check I could still sass it up before I knew it was the one!

  • Meg

    Ms. GS – I “get my groove on” in all dresses to test them out. Can’t dance? Can’t do it.

  • Anonymous

    this totally got me chocked up. so wonderful/ inspiring.

  • OZ

    This has just reaffirmed my decision to scrap our wedding plans – even though it’s only 3 months away – and do it our way. So it’s out with the big party for everyone we’ve ever met, out with the flowers, out with the decisions and the planning!

    In with an authentic, solemn and spiritual ceremony (we are even booking a church, *gasp*, and we are not “church people”) then a cosy, relaxed and joyful dinner afterwards with our favourite people.

    Two decisions to make. Church (decided), restaurant (decided). That’s it. As easy as that. And I am actually looking forward to it!

    Sorry for the ramble, but this blog is so damn inspiring!

  • Anonymous

    In looking for a way to produce a fun and fabulous beach wedding for my daughter and her fiance on a slim, post expensive college budget…this is a grat inpsiration! It is nice to know that others appreciate the importance of the moment and not the $$$. We are looking for a venue for the reception in Bodega Bay that is within our budget. Thanks~

  • Amy

    I am wanting to have a simple beach wedding exactly like this one, could u give me some info about where the wedding and reception dinner was and a general price estimate.

  • Jessica Estrada

    This is BEAUTIFUL!!! I would like to know what beach they are at if anybody knows. My fiancee and I are trying to plan a quiet, intimate beach wedding on a budget and its not working. We are only inviting close family and friends so we dont need a big ballroom. The natural beauty of the beach with the rocks and water and sand is all I need…besides my wonderful fiancee. I hope I can find something like this for my wedding…its like a fairy tale. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Jessica,

      This was on little Schoolhouse Beach in Bodega. They rented a summer cottage in Petaluma for the dinner, but there are plenty in Bodega Bay.

      Good Luck, Jude

  • Molly

    Where did they eat after the ceremony? I’m planning a bodega wedding in Sept and am in need of restround recomendations. I love the outdoor dinning set up!

  • Ailec Sanchez

    Thank you so much for posting your experience, this is my style completely and I am been looking for 3 months whit out any luck…. the problem that I find is that we want a simple, intimidate weeding whit 20 to 25 guess, we are from Switzerland and Cuba respectively, so we do not have family members here in US.

    The problem that I find is that mostly of the restaurant will not allow you to dance, an it is understandable, but we want to dance after the dinner…

    Can you suggest any venue for us in the area (Bodega Bay)?

    Thank you,

    Ailec and Bruno

  • Amie

    This is exactly what we want to do! Can you email me information on how to reserve such a place?

  • Nancy Navarro

    I have been looking for a simple but beautiful and memorable wedding venue for quiet sometime. In this harsh economic times where finances are scarse, I hope to really find a place that will bring that beautiful simplicity to my dream wedding.

    It is great to see couples that still apreciate teh simple pleasures with no gotty agenda.


  • Amanda

    Hi – Boyfriend (now Fiance) and I just got engaged and are trying to plan a wedding really quickly. I grew up in Petaluma and would LOVE to replicate this wedding – getting married in Bodega would be amazing. Can you email and tell me how they got permission to get married at Schoolhouse beach?


  • Rosalie blaufarb

    Love this==
    this wedding keeps sticking with me.

    I am recently engaged and I am overwhelmed by even starting to plan.

    would love to attempt to duplicate this wedding

    can I get details- what beach they were married on
    where reception was held at

    thanks so much