Rustic meets romantic: Ariel and David’s outdoor wedding in California was beautiful, intimate and unique. Ariel gives us all the details below.
The Scene: September 7th, 2013 in Santa Cruz, CA
Both David and I love being outside, so our vision for our wedding was to create a rustic and elegant garden celebration. My parents’ garden in Santa Cruz had been the site of three weddings before ours, and I had always hoped to get married there.
The land is surrounded by vineyards, and in early September, the flowers were in full bloom. We were gifted with a warm, breezy day. The day unfolded like a dream.
We had many personal elements incorporated into the wedding. For example, my brother Toby came up with a clever idea to hang a huge piece of cream fabric over a branch of an oak tree, creating a natural altar. David proposed to me under an oak tree in Big Sur, so it was a nice reminder of that day.
We found a beautiful heart made of driftwood in an art store and hung it from the center of the branch. Now the heart hangs on the wall in our dining room!
Our “seating chart” also had a story behind it. Early in our relationship, David and I were taking a walk on the beach when I spotted an ocean-polished stone and picked it up. This stone soon became a symbol of comfort for us as our relationship grew; we would pass it back and forth and carry it in our pockets when we weren’t together.
For table assignments at the wedding, we thought it only appropriate to write each guest’s name on a river stone. I’ve had many guests tell me they still have their stones and that they’ve placed them somewhere special in their own homes.
There are so many people who contributed their time, love and energy to making our wedding day bloom in the way that it did. I will be forever grateful especially to my mom, Linda, whose thoughtfulness and thorough planning made the day feel like a seamless dream.
My Look: I wore a lace wedding dress called ‘Cricket’ by Hayley Paige. I vividly remember when I tried on the dress; I instantly knew it was the one for me. It was the way I felt in it. I didn’t want to take it off!
My bridesmaids wore long chiffon gowns by Amsale in a shade of red that was a pretty contrast against my white dress and the bright bouquets. The groomsmen wore matching bow ties.
My Wedding Stylist: Danielle Oxford, Nordstrom Valley Fair in San Jose, CA
From the moment we found the dress together through the months that followed, as we sized and styled the bridesmaids, found the perfect shoes, earrings, necklace, etc, I felt I could always turn to Danielle for expert advice and compassionate words of wisdom.
Danielle was intuitive, knowing exactly what I needed to go with the dress before I did. In one appointment, she somehow managed to run downstairs to the shoe department and find my wedding shoes before I even knew she had left! This is how Danielle was with everything. She went above and beyond for me. Her thoughtfulness, creativity and talent helped to make my experience as a bride both magical and fun!
Our Favorite Moments: There are more memorable moments than I could ever list here! But a few that come to mind are…
Seeing David for the first time and laughing together, overwhelmed by the joy of the day. My mouth hurt from smiling after five minutes with him.
Walking down the aisle in between my father, Eric, and my stepfather, Ned. I loved seeing the glowing faces of my community, their huge smiles surrounding me with love and support.
David’s nephew, Connor, carrying a sign down the aisle that read, “Here Comes Your Bride, Uncle David.” He was so adorable, surprising David with this.
My 88-year-old grandmother Pat offering advice from her 50-year marriage. “When you have a fight, just take your clothes off!” She made all our guests roar with laughter.
My younger brothers, Toby and Kyle, in their crazy tailored tiger and zebra suits, adding creative, wild spice to the wedding in their own way.
And I’ll never forget singing with my two best friends, Jemila and Natalie. I had written a surprise song for David, which we performed for him and all the guests, and then we had our first dance together.
I’m so grateful to have found David, the love of my life. I can think of no greater gift than that of loving and being loved for who we truly are. Love gives us purpose and makes life worth living.
Photography by Terry Way
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