WWW readers Aly and Kris got in touch a few weeks back asking if I’d like to share their day and of course I did.
Aly and Kris live in Scotland and decided to tie the knot near to Aly’s home town in California on the 19th October 2014. The result? A super personal meaningful day filled with thoughtful touches, which was held in the most beautiful outdoor setting.
The highlights for me have to be the fantastic vintage furniture, s’mores station, wild blooms and the fairy lit woodland reception. WOW.
Many thanks to Ryan Greenleaf Photography for sharing these beautiful images.
THE VISION | Our vision was to host an intimate, backyard celebration with a laid back vibe, featuring personalised and vintage accents. We wanted a rustic wedding, entirely outdoors, with personalised touches highlighting Scotland (where Kris spent his childhood and where we currently live together) and California (where I grew up and the wedding location).
Family also played a key part in our vision as we wanted an event where everyone (especially children) could celebrate, relax and be together. Knowing from the start that Kris would be wearing his family tartan (which is primarily green), we opted for an organic and natural colour palate consisting of shades of white/ivory, green, blue and brown to complement the garden-chic theme.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Although ours was technically a ‘destination wedding’ the wedding location was very close to my home town and where my parents and family still live. In late February 2014 I visited California for a whirlwind long weekend to scout wedding venues, try on dresses, and meet with vendors. Over 3 days, my mom and I visited 4 potential locations and 4 wedding dress boutiques, met with cake designers, caterers, photographers, and rental companies – it was absolutely exhausting! With just less than an 8 months to go, I was lucky (and beyond relieved!) to secure our ideal wedding venue, my perfect dress, a fabulous wedding planner, an amazing photographer, the yummiest caterer, a delicious cake, and the best vintage rentals and décor all in one weekend!
BUDGET | We set an initial budget of £10,000… and went way over it! No regrets though.
THE VENUE | Leaning Tree Lodge is located in the Apple Hill region of Northern California and is one of the most stunning venues I’ve ever seen. The grounds are so peaceful and naturally elegant, and once you arrive, you instantly feel at home. Leaning Tree Lodge feels rustic yet familiar and surrounded by tall trees even features unique elements such as a tree swing, fire pit, a lake and a cabin-style home. It’s the backyard of everyone’s dreams!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Named the ‘Cher’ dress, my all-over lace dress, from the Love Marley by Watters Spring 2014 Bridal Collection, featured a an open back and trumpet style skirt. The colour was ivory lace with a champagne underlay. With a fitted waist and sweep train; it really had a vintage and whimsical feel to it – perfect for an outdoor, garden wedding. I wore a pair of drop pearl earrings which I’ve owned for years, and my sweet mom loaned me a vintage Tiffany’s pearl necklace of hers (my something borrowed). On my feet, I opted for simple, pointed, gold flats as I knew the entire night would be spent outdoors on the grass.
FINDING THE DRESS | I always knew my perfect dress would feature lace. While trying on dresses at the first (of four) boutiques, the ‘Cher’ dress was pulled from the back-stock, as it was newly into the store. It was instantly my favourite! However, I continued along to 3 more shops (just to be sure) and at the last shop (as luck would have it), they had also just received the ‘Cher’ dress. After trying it on again, I knew it was the one – it fit with our back garden wedding vibe while the ivory lace provided the classy elegance I’d always envisioned and the keyhole back made me feel oh so glamorous!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Kris dressed traditionally in his own kilt in the Stewart Hunting Tartan.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | The readings and music selections were another element which we wanted to keep intimate and personalised. My brother was the officiant and selected soulful readings from Paolo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’ about finding one’s true love. Our life in Edinburgh influenced both our recessional song, The Proclaimers’, ‘I’m Gonna Be’ (500 miles) and our first dance song, ‘Caledonia’ by Dougie Maclean.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | We had 3 bubble girls and 1 page boy, all family members. Armed with a bubble gun apiece, the girls wore ivory dresses with gold accents and floral crowns, while our page boy dressed in a fedora and tartan bowtie (Stewart Hunting Tartan of course) and waved a navy pennant flag down the aisle.
THE FLOWERS | We wanted the flowers to have a natural feel and really reflect the outdoor space we were in. I love the look of fresh, hand-picked flowers (something you would create from your back garden) and therefore decided on a wildflower bridal bouquet, wrapped in a swatch of Stewart tartan (my something blue). On the tables we chose mismatched seasonal wildflowers in an assortment of vessels, think jam jars, milk glass, etc. An element of Scotland that we really wanted to incorporate into the flowers was the Thistle (Scotland’s national flower). This was the prominent flower in the men’s boutonnières.
THE CAKE | I wasn’t too fussed about the cake from the start, probably because I knew we were going to have a s’more station too! As it was autumn, we went for a simple spiced carrot cake covered in butter cream frosting for the main cake. We also offered pumpkin bundt cake and lemon bundtini’s for the kids.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Kris and I don’t enjoy getting our photo taken and we definitely aren’t a couple who enjoy ‘posing’ for photos. We really wanted to come away with natural photos that reflected the day and our wedding story, rather than a bunch of portrait shots! It was also important for us to feel comfortable with the photographers (and even forget they were there), and this is something Ryan and his team did so well. As my planning time was limited, I also wanted a photographer who was familiar with Leaning Tree Lodge (and Ryan was). In the end, it was an easy and one of the best wedding decisions we made!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | I was definitely a details-oriented bride! I wanted every aspect of the wedding to reflect Kris and I; both individually and as a couple. As we had to travel for the wedding DIY wasn’t really an option, so I settled with incorporating ‘our story’ into aspects of the day. Every detail/item was hand selected by me, including the china, flower vessels, furniture, lace and linen, wedding signs, etc.
Photo booth: Instead of a traditional photo booth we created an Instax Photo Station, where guests could take mini Polaroid photos of themselves. We hung laundry clips on a vintage door with twine so guests could leave us a photo and take one home with them.
Post Card Guest book: For the guest book, we gathered a selection of post cards from California and Scotland, and left them next to a vintage post box for guests to leave us a wee note.
Favours: Kris and I share a taste for the American soda, Root Beer, and of course, my new last name is ‘Stewart’. We ordered bottles of Stewart’s Root Beer to give away to our guests and even affixed a note on each one.
Lawn Games: We wanted everyone to enjoy themselves, especially the kids, so we set out vintage lawn games which included a large jenga set and a jumbo dice game. The kids table also featured bespoke I-spy cards, crafts, personalised wedding tattoos and other fun games!
Signs: We selected romantic quotes to frame and display throughout the reception.
Food/Drink: Kris and I love food! In keeping with our relaxed, backyard theme, we decided to serve summer comfort foods – such as barbecue chicken, pulled pork and macaroni and cheese. For cocktail hour, we also served comfort foods and for a Scottish touch included ‘Mini Fish & Chip Cones’ wrapped in newspaper print. For the bar, in addition to beer, wine, champagne and liquor, we brought in Scotch Whisky from Scotland.
S’more Station: S’mores are classically American and are perfect for outdoor weddings! In addition to the classic fixings, we added cinnamon graham crackers and gourmet chocolates (like Reese’s Peanut Butter cups) and even incorporated tartan into the station by affixing green and blue tartan ribbon around the marshmallow and chocolate jars.
Décor: For a rustic-chic, garden feel, we hung 13 assorted vintage chandeliers amongst the trees. They were highlighted by strings of market lights and for a British touch we strung white bunting between a few of the trees. We chose hand crafted wood tables with ivory/peach lace table runners, white, distressed chivari chairs, mason jars, and mismatched vintage china. The sweetheart table was placed under a chandelier, in front of the lake and was accented by a gorgeous white and green cascading flower arrangement. All the tables, vintage décor, furniture and accents were hand-selected (from Forever Vintage Rentals) and baby’s breath and wildflowers added pops of colour throughout.
THE HONEYMOON | Island hopping through the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia, followed by a relaxing week in Santorini.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Dancing on the grass, with bare feet, in my wedding dress, under the stars (and chandeliers) surrounded by my favourite people in the world!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Be sure to eat on the day, as nervous as you are, your body will thank you! Also, book a wedding planner – you won’t regret it!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Venue | Leaning Tree Lodge in Placerville, CA
Planner | Bre Zimbelman, Joyful Weddings and Events
Photographer | Ryan Greenleaf Photography
Hair/Makeup | All Dolled Up
Dress | Love Marley by Watters Bridal Collection Spring 2014 Style 52152 Cher Dress, purchased from Enchanted Bridal Shoppe, Fair Oaks, CA
Food | Mama Kim Cooks, Sacramento, CA
Cake | Ettore’s European bakery, Sacramento, CA
Bundt Cake | Nothing Bundt Cakes, Roseville, CA
Flowers | Olivia Nelson of Olive Leaf Designs
Vintage Furniture/Rentals | Forever Vintage Rentals
Chivari Chair Rentals | Celebrations Party Rentals, Roseville CA
Paper goods | The Best Day Paper Co.
Videographer | Christian DaCosta, DaCosta Productions
Music | DJ JB
Officiant | Matthew Bovaird (bride’s brother)
How very perfect.
Aly and Kris thank you both SO much for sharing your wedding story with us xo Lou