Real Wedding: John + Stephanie (that’s me!)

After proposing to my now-husband (for more on that story, read this post!) we had to figure out how we actually wanted to do the damn thing. And being in the Wedding Industry for so long, you can become kind of jaded with all of the traditional ways people celebrate their love, and it begins to feel less personal.

Compromise is Key

I knew, being an untraditional gal, that I didn’t want the big to-do with the white dress (I don’t look good in white anyway) and the cake, and the huge expensive (did I mention expensive??) party. So I, of course, wanted to run away and elope with just the two of us.

My husband, being the adorable, fun-loving, sociable guy he is, didn’t love the idea of being completely isolated. And there is something to be said for having your community witness your commitment, and giving them an opportunity to celebrate with you. So, we compromised.

A Romantic Redwoods Elopement

We did our ceremony alone in the redwoods (like I wanted), with just us, a rad photographer (of course), and an officiant. And because I’m a total vintage nerd, we also hired a photographer to take tin type portraits of us at the ceremony site (!!!)

Photo by  Buena Lane Photography  | Tin Types by The Shot Shop

Photo by Buena Lane Photography | Tin Types by The Shot Shop

Tin Types by  The Shot Shop

Tin Types by The Shot Shop

Tin Types by  The Shot Shop

Tin Types by The Shot Shop

Tin Types by  The Shot Shop

Tin Types by The Shot Shop

My dress was a modern re-creation of a vintage flapper dress from Decades of Fashion, and I made John’s boutonniere and my corsage from flowers in our garden.

Untraditional (but Totally Personal) Touches

We got “engagement tattoos” (since I was the one who proposed, and it didn’t involve a ring). The tattoos have nine lines/dots to represent the 9 years we’ve been together, and then the wedding band is the tenth line, added on the day of our ten-year anniversary. We made our wedding bands at Metalworks SF and they feature 10 facets, to also represent our ten years together.

Because we’re not religious, the ceremony was going to take all of 10 minutes, and I wanted something that would take up a little bit more time. So we designed a wall hanging that we could make together at the ceremony, with ten strands and a branch from our plum tree. John had the genius idea to color-code it based on all the places we’ve lived together over the past 10 years.

And the final piece was a colorful rug from Sayulita, where we got engaged.

A Community Reception

After our romantic redwoods nuptials, we headed to John’s parents house, where our family was waiting to greet us, and we did some family portraits. I was SO grateful to have hired Eileen from Buena Lane Photography. She knew to pre-plan the portrait groupings we wanted before the actual day, and she did such a good job calmly wrangling everyone (including the family cat, Elvis!)

Then, we headed to Wood Tavern (one of our favorite local spots) for delicious food, and met the rest of our friends at Tupper & Reed for cocktails and merriment. We opted not to pay for photography coverage at T&R (indoor lighting is never the best anyways) so we set out Instax cameras for our guests to snap their own pics - in keeping with the vintage theme!


And I, of course, designed the invitations (with John's input)! I made them envelope and invitation in one, so they felt like a really rad vintage poster, and we sealed them with gold wax and a custom monogram.

It was so nice to have a day that felt calm, romantic, and completely us, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.