Caitlin and Farley’s Australian-inspired wedding at The Highlands Estate was full of tiki drinks, an oyster bar, a life-size cardboard cut out of Steve Irwin, and a 90-year-old grandpa dancing to Marvin Gaye. Sound fun? We know! The couple proved they know how to throw one serious party.
With the help of planner Brianna Lopez, the two combined their love for the land down under and San Francisco–where the two met. While we could do all of the talking about this colorful DIY affair, we love how their photographer Paige Nelson described the details!
Photographer Paige Nelson On The Couple’s Special Day
The couple currently lives in Australia and planned their destination wedding day at The Highlands Estate–just outside San Francisco, where the couple began their journey. Farley has a Ph.D. in Ornithology, and his research focused on the Australian magpie, so his suit jacket lining had a custom embroidery of the bird. All of his groomsmen had personalized Indochino jacket linings with embroidered inside jokes as well.
Caitlin, Farley, and her mom made the cheesecloth table runners. The mother of the bride made all of the bouquets. Her sister, Megan, made the three cakes that featured handmade toppers of their cat and dog. Her best friend and bridesmaid, Sarah, did her hair and makeup.
The oyster bar–one of Caitlin and Farley’s food obsessions–opened at cocktail hour. Farley is passionate about tiki drinks and Caitlin loves gin, so the couple offered a “his” and “hers” cocktail. For her speech, the groom’s sister brought in a life-size cardboard cutout of Steve Irwin.
Lauren and Erik
The Highlands Estate, Cloverdale, CA
Combining Australia and San Francisco
Our relationship evolved in San Francisco, and we spent a lot of time exploring the more rural areas of California. We both love the Californian landscape–vineyards mixed into the rolling hills and the surrounding forests. Australia became home for the last four years, so it was important to combine the two lifestyles together. Family and community are incredibly important to us, so we wanted to create a vibe that connected everyone and everything that matters to us. This is how the farm table, family-style meal came to be. Touches like the table names of where our guests traveled from, hints of our obsession with games, and our two favorite cocktails helped us create this personal “us” vibe.
Why The Highlands Estate
We wanted an outdoor venue. We liked the option of having the barn in case the weather was bad. What really sold us were the included farm tables. Those were non-negotiable for me, and including them in the venue cost sealed the deal.
Personalizing The Ceremony
Farley’s father and best friend were our celebrants. Mike told a personal story of us, and Jack (Farley’s Dad) did the official ceremony. We did a handfasting ceremony with rope from his family sailboat. We said our own vows. Then, we toasted with everyone after we said, “I do.”
Wedding Planning Date Nights
Farley established “wine wedding Wednesdays” where every Wednesday for most of the year in the lead-up, we ate dinner and drank wine while we planned. Not every night was productive, some ended in fights, but it meant the wedding was planned together, and it ensured both our voices were heard.
A Non-Stop Dance Party
The dance floor was incredible. We kicked the reception off with a shared first dance–inviting our guests to join us, rather than watch us. This ignited a dance party that had nearly every single guest on the dance floor most of the night. Caitlin’s Irish 90-year-old reserved Grandfather even grabbed her for a dance that shocked everyone.
Congratulations again to Caitlin and Farley on their colorful DIY Aussie-inspired wedding at The Highlands Estate. We’re so glad Paige Nelson Photography was there to capture every detail. If you’re feeling inspired to add some DIY touches to your wedding, check out our DIY wedding guide where we breakdown everything you need to know about planning your own!
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Calling all Stevie Nicks fans–this wedding is for you! Saori and DeVante’s earthy boho wedding at Cypress Falls Event Center is giving us all of the rock n’ roll vibes. Rather than choosing to go down the traditional route, they decided to add personalized touches that spoke to who they are.
The guestbook was replaced with a stack of vinyl albums for people to sign and the seating chart was a world map labeled according to the places on their bucket list. Saori dawned a bell-sleeved lace Rue de Seine gown to harness her witchy goddess side, and rather than a suit, DeVante looked cool and casual in an outfit from Zara and Levi’s.
Oh, and there also happened to be llamas, tequila shots, a wine wagon, and a 90-year-old flower girl. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from these photos captured by T & V Photography, it’s that these two definitely know how to throw a party.
Saori and DeVante
Cypress Falls Event Center, Wimberley, Texas
Earthy Wedding Day Vibes
Our wedding was a direct reflection of our style—bohemian wanderlusty earthiness -–inspired by travel, music, and the great outdoors. The seating chart for our guests was a world map, labeled according to the places on our bucket list. A guestbook was replaced by a stack of vinyl albums for people to sign “for the record.” Our “centerpieces” were inspired by the elements: fire (in the form of candlesticks), scavenged twigs, branches, and moss. It sounds like a hot mess, but it was so perfect, organic, and so us.
Shop similar bolo-ties: Turquoise Flowers Bola ($22.86); Zuni Vintage Turquoise Bolo Tie ($75); The Desert Rose Handmade Bolo Tie ($40)
The Rue de Seine Gown
Stevie Nicks is and has been my style icon for a long time. I wanted to wear something ethereal that made me feel like a woodsy forest queen or a witchy earth goddess, and the Sia gown from Rue de Seine was my match made in witchy heaven.
Shop similar hats: Gigi Pip Ivory Monroe Rancher ($112); UO Flat Brim Felt Fedora ($44); Lack of Colour Rancher Felt Hat ($130)
Personalizing the Ceremony
We put our own twist on absolutely everything we could and shared so many laughs. I dropped a few F-bombs in my vows. DeVante spoke passionately from the heart and improvised his vows on the spot. I lovingly spoke of his butt hairs and smelly boots, and he made sure to mention my road rage. We had our 90-year-old grandma as one of our flower girls, and our dog, Jax, stood in as a groomsman. The best part about the ceremony was taking shots of tequila with our wedding party and our officiant (who we met at a karaoke bar in Austin). It was amazing. It was us.
Why Cypress Falls Event Center
We always knew we wanted to marry in the Texas Hill Country. We came across Cypress Falls on The Knot and scheduled a tour immediately–we didn’t bother booking any tours anywhere else. It was everything we wanted. And sure enough, we knew we found the spot as soon as we pulled up. After we drank a beer with the owner, we basically begged her to take our money and locked everything down with no regrets. Best. Place. Ever.
Including Their Cultures
The two most important things for us to include were our families and our cultures. Nearly every single vendor was a Black or Brown owned business and we had a beautiful blend of R&B, reggae, and Mariachi music as the soundtrack to our big day.
The Couple’s Memorable First Dance
Our llamas escorted us in and we were surrounded by our favorite humans on the planet under twinkling lights. All of them surrounded us while we danced. We just felt the greatest sense of accomplishment because we finally made it. Who knew that a random night full of beer, smoke, and karaoke would bring our wild souls together? A love story 13.8 billion years in the making, finally coming together underneath the moon in Wimberley, TX—definitely a moment to remember.
Congratulations to Saori and DeVante and their earthy boho wedding at Cypress Falls Event Center! Thank you to T & V Photography for sharing the beautiful photos with us. To see more eclectic wedding inspo, check out Mel and Lee’s Earthy Eclectic Whidbey Island Wedding at Deception Pass State Park!
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Photo by Peyton Rainey. See more from this real wedding here.
COVID-19 has taken the world by storm and has particularly impacted the wedding industry. Lavish weddings as we once knew them are changing shape overnight. If you’re dealing with rescheduling or trying to trim down your guest list to follow government guidelines and ordinances, know that you aren’t alone. Couples getting married in 2020—and likely 2021—will face a list of new challenges that others have never had to deal with before. Navigating these changes can feel overwhelming and advice on how to change up your wedding has been sparse—until now.
First, start with revisiting your guest list. Trimming your guest list down is already a headache when wedding planning. But now more couples are choosing to throw micro weddings with their closest friends and family. After making this decision, the next question is: how do you determine who will be invited to celebrate with you on your special day?
Give the Option to Attend Virtually
Virtual weddings are becoming increasingly popular because of COVID. This option is especially important if you have elderly or immunocompromised guests on your list. If you hired a wedding planner, they likely have opinions about which video platform you should use for live streaming. At Junebug, we love Zoom, Google Hangout, and Skype. Go out of your way to make any virtual guests feel included by allowing them to request a song or make a speech if they are near and dear to you and your spouse.
Plan a Celebration for a Later Date
For some couples, the idea of not having certain friends and family at their wedding is devastating. If you’re still looking to tie the knot now but you do so in an elopement or a micro wedding, consider hosting a wedding reception party in the future. We love the option of celebrating your first wedding anniversary with a giant party surrounded with your loved ones.
Consider Which Guests are Vital
While this may sound like a silly question, which guests can you not imagine your wedding day without? Those guests are vital to you. These are likely the people you first told you were engaged or the first ones you would share any life news with. Jot down their names, then call them or shoot them a quick text to see if they are available for the day that you’re planning to get married. Since COVID micro weddings are only a small number of guests, this shouldn’t require an overwhelming amount of communication. This will help you determine if you have availability to invite other guests.
Questions to Determine Who is Vital
But how do you take the list you’ve already trimmed and make it even smaller? Professional wedding photographer and Junebug member, The Archivers, recommended this list of specific questions to couples facing this difficult task:
- Can you imagine getting married without this person’s presence?
- How often do you see this person?
- Has this person really been there for you throughout your life?
- Do you feel competition with this person? Are they going to judge you?
- When is the last time you saw each other or had a call?
- Do you feel comfortable sharing your most intimate feelings and vows in front of that person?
- Do you feel pressured to invite that person? Is a family member pushing you to invite that person?
Photo by Jesse Schultz Photography. See more of this real wedding here.
Keep Vulnerable and Elderly Guests Safe
We know we touched on this earlier, but keeping your loved ones safe should take priority. The idea of not inviting the sweet elders in your life may feel like tough love. However, the elderly especially are at high risk with the coronavirus.
If you have vulnerable guests on your non-negotiable list, think about how you can incorporate extra safety precautions to keep them safe. Whether it’s hand sanitizer at every table, utilizing outdoor space, or passing out masks the guests will greatly appreciate the effort.
If you are worried about the risks, keep in mind that many vulnerable guests may be happy to avoid being in that position. Consider having them virtually attend—as we discussed above. If virtual attendance doesn’t feel like enough, you can send them their own bouquet, visit them in your wedding attire later on, or have them write a letter to be read on your special day.
International Guests Face Different Risks
There’s no need to immediately uninvite your best friend from another country, but consider the risks they are taking with international travel. Many countries are currently not allowing international travel. If guests are able to travel, there’s a good chance they will have to quarantine when they arrive and when they get back home.
The future is uncertain, but it’s likely going to be a while before travel resumes the way it once did. Letting any international guests know that you don’t expect them to attend might be quite a relief for them and lift any pressure they may be feeling to navigate the situation.
Photo by Sheyanne Lyn Photography. See more of this real wedding here.
Politely Uninviting Once You’ve Already Sent Invites
If you’re looking to make the switch to a micro wedding, but you have already sent out invitations, there are a few ways that you can delicately let guests know that your plans have changed. Don’t forget that everyone —seriously, globally—knows the situation and should be understanding if you are honest and straightforward.
As soon as you know that you will be trimming your guest list you should communicate the decision. Be upfront and let them know their safety is your priority.
Rather than send out a mass email, opt for phone calls. If you can’t feasibly speak to each person by phone, send personalized letters, cards, or emails. Explain that while it is unfortunate, you are looking forward to celebrating your wedding with them at a later date.
Use A Wedding Guest Template to Track Your Guest List Changes
We recommend using a wedding guest template to track the number of guests with their mailing addresses, email addresses, and whether or not they will be attending. This allows you to visualize numbers when they’ve RSVP’d, and quickly provide an accurate guest count. The template also allows you to track any gifts and whether or not a thank you card has been sent out!
Communicate Postponements, Too
If you are postponing rather than canceling, send out ‘change the date’ cards as soon as possible. This gives your guests time to prepare for any travel changes and allows them to make plans sooner rather than later. They’re especially important if you decide to change not only the date but the venue as well.
Photo by SASs Photography. See more of this real wedding here.
Benefits of Trimming Your Wedding Guest List
Trimming your guest list is less than ideal. We get it. While you may be mourning what your wedding was once supposed to be, going smaller does have its upsides. Micro weddings–while small–can still be extravagant. Use the money you save on guests to upgrade an area of your wedding experience. Whether you’ve been eyeing a photographer out of your budget or can’t get enough of the luxury glassware, you can choose to put the money you’re saving back into your micro wedding.
With a smaller guest list, you are also given more quality time to be present with each guest. While there’s nothing wrong with a wedding of over 100, it can be hard to take the time to talk to each guest or get photos with them. Plus, it will have everyone else feeling safer and more relaxed so that they can spend the day celebrating rather than worrying about getting sick.
We asked expert wedding photographer and Junebug member LIT Photography what the benefits of a micro wedding are and this is what she had to say:
“They are so incredibly special, relaxed, and focused on what truly matters: you and your marriage. I’ve found that couples have been able to relax and enjoy more time with the people that are there. The whole vibe has just been so much more chilled out, and they’ve been able to savor every moment.
There are also some budget benefits–although you can go as big or small with a micro wedding as you want. There’s no reason you can’t have all the amazing details like stunning flowers and pay more for your photography because you’re saving money on the food bill, etc.”
While turning folks away from your wedding day will never be fun, it may be necessary in these trying times. We hope these tips gave you the confidence to make those tough decisions a little easier. To see some Change the Date card inspo, take a look at the examples we put together with Minted. No matter what, know that you’ve got this, Junebabes!
Photo by Asha Bailey Photography. See more of this real wedding here.
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photo by Map + Compass Photography
If pumpkin spice, chunky sweaters, and leather jackets make you giddy, a cool and cozy fall engagement session is right up your ally. The Autumn season and changing of weather brings a certain romance unlike warmer months—making it a perfect time to hire a photographer and announce your engagement. While we always recommend asking your photographer for advice when it comes to outfits—they can recommend the best colors for their editing style and location—you’re probably eager to start thinking of engagement outfit ideas now.
We’ve got you!
Tips for Putting Together the Perfect Fall Engagement Outfit:
- Utilize accessories and jackets to create layers, which will provide depth to your photos.
- Include touches of textured fabrics.
- Choose prints wisely—but don’t be scared to mix them.
- Embrace your everyday style by wearing your favorite t-shirt or sweatshirt.
Get ready for ten awesome outfit combinations to inspire your own engagement photo look.
Mix Black and White For an Effortlessly Cool Vibe
Why it works: Neutrals photography well. Especially classics, like black and white. This color combination will look stunning in urban locations or for couples with an edgy sense of style.
photo by The Quirky
Layers are a Good Idea for Fall Engagement Outfits
Why it works: If you’re planning on getting cozy for your engagement photos layers are the way to go. For example, adding a jacket over a flannel shirt allows the checkered pattern to pop without overpowering the photograph.
photo by The Goddards
Include a Touch of Velvet
Why it works: We love when couples play with interesting fabric textures. A touch of velvet or silk will make your outfits look luxurious without much effort.
photo by Maggie Grace Photography
Pajamas Will Always be in Style for Cozy Sessions
Why it works: With cooler temperatures outside (in most places, at least), you might be tempted to stay inside and snuggle on the couch for an in-home engagement session. We’re all for it! Don’t feel obligated to put on a “real outfit,” your PJs will work just fine.
photo by Cedar & Pines
Accessorize Your Outfit With a Hat
Why it works: Accessories are a perfect way to add a touch of pizzazz to your outfit. We love to see couples add fun elements like hats and sunnies to their engagement photo wardrobe.
photo by Kellie Jane Creative
Prints are OK — Just Make Sure They’re Large
Why it works: You may have heard someone say “don’t wear print patterns for photos.” We disagree. Patterns are awesome and add an element of personality that always shines through. Make sure to choose a large, simple pattern so it won’t overpower the photo. A good rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t want to stare at it for hours, it’s probably not a great choice for photographs.
photo by Maggie Grace Photography
Add a Pop of Color in an Autumnal Hue
Why it works: Raise your hand if you love Autumn colors. Is it up? We thought so. There’s just something about deep hues of orange, red, and yellow that make us melt.
photo by Map + Compass Photography
Keep Your Outfit Simple, Minimal, and Chic
Why it works: Your engagement outfits should be reflective of you and your style, but we’d never want them to take away from the emotion of your love. Simple outfits will ensure the focus of the photographs is on you—not your attire.
photo by Liv With the Lens
Mixing Prints Can be
Why it works: This technique takes a keen eye to execute with perfection, but we know you can do it! Ask your photographer—an expert in visual aesthetics—what they think about the prints. They’ll be honest if you nailed it or need to rework the idea.
photo by Maddie Barr
Your Favorite Vintage Sweatshirt Will Always be in Style
Why it works: Purchasing a new outfit for engagement photos can be a lot of fun, but consider an outfit that truly represents you in this exact moment in time—the vintage t-shirt you wear every day, that skirt you just can’t get enough of. While your closet staples might seem like “nothing special” right now, capturing those pieces will help recall memories years down the road. Plus, if you’re comfortable in your favorite clothes your love will look effortless.
photo by Maggie Grace Photography
We hope these ideas have sparked ideas of your own. We can’t wait to see how you rock your fall engagement outfits! Don’t forget to read these tips for advice on how to rock your engagement session.
Still looking for a photographer to capture this special time? Check out our list of the world’s best wedding photographers who are eager to help make your vision come to life.
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The Big Fake Wedding team has done it again with this big fake micro wedding inspiration shoot. Inspired by the juxtaposition of beautiful colors in the desert, this wedding embodies both mysterious and effortless beauty. The colors range from dusty ambers and oxblood paired with bright skies, sandstone, and cactus the desert naturally provides.
These photos captured by Jessica Jones Photography prove that you don’t have to sacrifice quality to throw a micro wedding. In fact, couples can up the ante with over the top floral arrangements, incredible menus, and fun entertainment like live painting!
Want to get in touch with the incredible vendor team that made this all happen? Check them out in our vendor table at the bottom of the post to learn more.
Congratulations to Big Fake Wedding on their micro wedding inspiration shoot! Find upcoming events on their website and—because of COVID—they are offering digital passes to attend any of their events!
In the meantime, check out the vendors who collaborated to create this beautiful micro wedding below.
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