As mentioned in my previous post, we didn't necessarily get the sand portion of the beach for our wedding ceremony! So, after the ceremony ended, we rushed over with the bridesmaids and our photographer Hanna, to a larger public beach down the road, to get some classic shots while guests headed back up to the reception! To respect our guests and families privacy, we haven't added too many photos of them, nor will I be adding any of the family photos! However, it's taken three full blog posts to share the ones I have shared, so I'd say we're doing okay for content!!
While we we're shooting some photos on the beach, guests arrived back to our reception venue in Malibu Canyon. There was appetizers to be eaten, guest books to sign, and a pool to chill out by while they waited until our grand entrance (don't worry - it wasn't very long.) We rented a large airbnb with enough room to house the parents and the wedding guests, and a yard that was suitable enough to host our reception. The venue was perfect! And the host was great. It was a 15 minute drive up from the beach, had ample parking, and hosted the most beautiful intimate reception we could've asked for! We are simple people, who wanted to have a very small wedding. We also don't have very big families as a lot of our family members are all the way in Europe. It was such a huge deal to us to have guests travel from all over Canada to our wedding in California. It meant so much and it says a lot when people put that sort of effort, time, and money in to come witness your marriage! If you ever consider a destination wedding, please remember that because it is something that should forever be appreciated!!
I get a lot of questions about the planning portion of our wedding and that was definitely something I knew I wanted to share on my blog once I had photos back and could discuss all the fun details! If you are newly engaged, and wondering where to even begin - because that was us at first - I would personally start with budget. What are you working with? And trust me, you can make ANYTHING work. If you have a very small budget, then I would suggest a backyard wedding! Anything and anywhere can be made beautiful if you know what you're doing! If you're budget is a bit bigger, I'd suggest doing something like we did (without the travelling part because that adds huge expenses!). Rent an air bnb, or smaller venue that isn't capitalizing on the word "wedding". A restaurant can be hit and miss, you'll definitely find affordable places, but there's also tons that absolutely are not. Once you realize what your budget is, you can start to base your guest count on that. Every person's wedding has to be specific to themselves as a couple, so it's hard for me to give too much advice. But I'd absolutely start with budget. Then location. Then guest count. Then the DRESS!!! We knew that because we were travelling, we wanted something small. Our wedding was a total of 32 people! It was perfect. I felt like I was actually able to talk to each individual person, thank them for being there, and everyone could mingle with one another. Renting an air bnb that allowed our wedding guests to stay all together, also brought everyone so close and it was such a monumental bonding weekend for all of us!
We did our grand entrance with all guests tossing flower petals at us and it was so fun! We felt like it added a little somethin'-somethin' and it was really beautiful for photos! We immediately went into our first dance after that, and then sat down to dinner. For our reception decor, we knew we wanted simple, and Jim knows how much I love bohemian, so we did a mix. I knew I NEEDED pompous grass for the head table and I'm so happy we got a small bouquet of it together. We incorporated lots of candles, flowers, leaves, and LOTS of doilies. Amazon, Michaels, and vintage shops/markets were our best friend when it came to our simple reception decor. Plus, is it even a wedding without a buttload of bistro lights? They're just too pretty.
The canyon had the most perfect views during golden hour, so we snuck away for some more photos. The lighting was amazing so we used that area and time for all of the family photos too! We then headed back over to do cake cutting and speeches. During cake, every member of our wedding party, and mom & dad, did speeches! It was so emotional - happy and sad - and I'm not gonna lie, it feels pretty cool to have so many people say so many great things about you as a couple he he.
We wrapped up the wedding with a heartfelt thank you to all of our guests and then the dancing began. We don't have any photos of it, because really, who has time for photos when you're dancing that hard? And then, the entire wedding turned into one big pool party. It was the most fun ever and that's probably extremely biased of me but I don't care!!!!! We still have our wedding video coming in the next couple of months and I can. not. wait. I will share that once we receive it, but for now - that is all our amazing photos from the best day ever! Weddings are so fun! Let me plan yours...
We knew for sure that we were going to be getting married on the beach. When we first got engaged, we considered elopement: it was cheaper, easier, and way less stressful. But, there was just something about getting married around your closest friends and family that was too hard to pass up! Don't get me wrong, I completely understand why people elope, especially when you don't have a budget to work with. We had a lot of mishaps the day of our wedding ceremony, but that is just what happens when you plan an outdoor wedding! Regardless of what the beach threw at us, our ceremony ended up even more beautiful than we had originally planned. I (of course) was the last to arrive for the ceremony, but when all the guests arrived to the beach location, we were shocked to see the waves way past the beach and crashing into the shore that we were originally going to get married on. Jim had to do some really quick thinking, grabbed the help of his friends, and moved everything up to the staircase leading up to our original ceremony location. It turned out the wedding arch (that Jim built himself!!) fit perfectly over the white staircase leading to the beach! It turned out beautifully... honestly, it all couldn't have worked out better! I don't know why we didn't just think to use that from the start! Guests were also now able to stand off to the side, in the shade, which worked out better for them. And our friend Sean, who played our aisle song Sweet Creature by Harry Styles on acoustic guitar, was able to stand up on a small cliff that suited his position so well!
As far as our ceremony decor went: we didn't want to waste any money or time on real florals. We were so immersed in nature, it felt like it would be okay to use faux vine leaves and silk florals around our arch. The leaves were originally to create an aisle on the sand, but wrapping them around the staircase railings was a great alternative. Pus, it looked so bohemian, I loved it. We chose to build our own wedding arch because it was a total of $120 for each and every supply we needed, but triple that to rent one. It only felt right to save a couple hundred dollars and just build and stain one ourselves. It really wasn't hard and we then sold it to a very friendly couple the day after! Easy Peasy! If you are a hands-on couple, there are so many DIY hacks you can take into your own hands, or so many alternative decor options at a cheaper rate!
We chose a private beach to have our ceremony on because it was so much more quiet, and the the entire entrance was incredible. It was like it was made for a wedding ceremony. We had never seen this beach or entrance before, but magically stumbled upon it when we took a wrong turn while on our wedding location hunt back in February. It was a no brainer immediately. Even the way the vines drop down the path that leads up to the staircase we ended up having our ceremony on, were perfect. Hanna, our photographer, is so talented. She framed the leaves so well in all the aisle the photos, we truly couldn't be happier with how everything turned out. If any of you reading this are due to have a wedding soon, or whenever your day comes, just know: not everything will necessarily go as planned and that's OKAY! It'll turn out even better. You just have to trust the universe has a bigger plan for your big day than you originally thought. Always remember why you're marrying the person you are, and if something goes wrong, it's good luck! At least that's what everyone kept telling us!
I feel really lucky that we already have all of our wedding photos back! We only got married a week ago.... This is UNHEARD of! Hanna is so talented and she was so on it. I'm glad I can share all of the (many) shots with you all so soon! Not to mention the fact that she sent us 6 teaser photos the next day after our wedding. That is how it should be!! Next up is our wedding video and I am so incredibly excited to see it!
I've had a lot of questions about the bridesmaids dresses, and honestly, the girl's just picked them out themselves! The last thing I wanted to be was a bridezilla... I wanted this wedding to be fun, comfortable, and as affordable as possible for the people who were asked to be a part of the wedding party. I didn't want them to feel pressure to wear something they didn't like, or to spend money they couldn't afford to spend on a dress they may never wear again! I knew I wanted blush as their dress colour because I wanted blush incorporated into the bouquets and I just think it tied everything in together very well. They found these BCBG dresses on Revolve last summer for $100! Such a steal and they were so beautiful. They were the perfect mix of comfort and class and I think the dresses were incredibly flattering on them both! And if you are wondering, yes, we only had two groomsmen and two bridesmaids! We wanted a very small wedding and wanted to keep things very simple with the wedding parties. The more you add, the more complicated it can all get and this just kept everything so simple for us! I have known both of these girls for half my life and it was such an emotional rollercoaster ringing in such a monumental day and point in my life with them! We're all slowly growing up...