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Jessica + Erik | Private Estate

This is our wedding!!! (Jess here) Man oh man did it look so incredibly differently than what we had envisioned, but I loved every moment of our day and while it is not the story I would have written for us, I’m so thankful it is ours.

We had our date set for July 18th, 2020, we were engaged in January and it was the month that worked best for our current planning schedule and I knew if I gave myself too much time I would have my wedding planned 3 times over. I found my dream dress in New York City with my best friends on my 30th birthday (a trip that was already planned but I just happened to throw in one dress try on sesh and of course, fell in love with this beautiful, modern, Marchesa gown). We had all of our vendors booked by mid February (like, rentals and all) and when the pandemic hit in March and we had our “2 week” shelter in place, I thought we would be in the clear as Camille and I worked to reschedule our spring brides. As May began to hit I knew we would need a contingency plan. Since I was in the industry and the reality of needing to reschedule our 2020 to 2021 was looming and finding a date that would work well for my vendors and myself was looking near impossible, paired with some tricky vendor policies, we decided that reducing our guest count and opting for a wedding in Erik’s parents backyard was going to be what made the most sense for us. 

Leading up to the day, we definitely faced some large hurdles. My bachelorette was scheduled for the end of March and never happened, some of our closest family and friends were unable to make it last minute due to work precautions around COVID, and I found out my original dress I found on my birthday wouldn’t make it to me in time 3 weeks before the wedding, leaving me weeks to scramble to find a new one. And the list goes on. However, I can honestly say that every bad experience (what I refer to as the “dark times”), while so sooo hard, made it that much sweeter to be sitting there, together, on our wedding day surrounded by not all, but so many we love so deeply.

But now let’s get to the good stuff: prior to planning, I had actually always thought to myself how much I loved private estate / backyard weddings. There is just this personal and “cozy” feel about them that I think really translates the core of who Erik and I are as a couple. Camille and I worked to talk through how to transition our rental pulls that fit our modern, waterfront downtown venue into something that made sense within his parent’s backyard but still felt true to our modern-leaning selves.

I was immediately drawn to the pergola area of his parent’s backyard and knew that this would be a huge focal point for us—add a floral install and some long modern white tables and ship it! I also wanted the flow to make sense and not have everyone trapped in the same space throughout the event, so we opted for a ceremony on the driveway (which we were thankful had a beautiful view), had guests then transition to the backyard space where we provided lounge furniture, brass high tops, and burnt orange velvet cocktail height chairs to give guests a variety of options to gather and be comfortable while doing it. 

We opted to incorporate cane elements—like our card holder and seating chart, while still overall sticking to cleaner lines and acrylic details to help marry the juxtaposed homey yet modern aesthetic we wanted to achieve. Upon arrival, our guests were offered personal acrylic fans, inscribed with our custom logo created by the incredible Alyssa of Fawn Lettering. I knew these were a necessary splurge as we saw projected temperatures climb for our wedding day and nothing seems worse to me than being so uncomfortable watching a ceremony that you’re dripping sweat—not a great way to start out the wedding! Ghost chairs were selected for seating to infuse a modern touch in the ceremony space and also to somewhat blend into the surroundings so as to not distract from the florals or natural landscaping. 

We worked hard with the incredible ladies of Bloom Babes to come up with a ceremony space that felt whimsical and romantic, while bunching floral groups together to play off of Australian wedding design and produce a modern take on a more traditional garden-inspired wedding. Florals of varying heights were featured in growing installations along the aisle leading up to a lush, textural arbor that honestly blew me away and is still my favorite arbor to date (but I may be a bit biased). Our floral color palette composed of earthy neutral tones with pops of lilac and ochre. I have always gravitated towards cool color families and knew a mossy green and muted blue-gray would be main features. Paired with my childhood love for purple and strong adherence to the general blush palate, we decided it was important to infuse the day with hints of lilac and eggplant, contrasted by a punch of burnt orange. 

After exchanging our vows, cocktail hour commenced! I decided to replicate my favorite tiki bar drink as my signature cocktail and despite having probably 3 more ingredients than recommended, Moniker Bar killllled it and it’s still one of the top talked about elements from our guests. We also chose to honor my late grandma Shirley who was super special to both Erik and I with a “Shirley’s style” twist on a classic Gin & Tonic—something she drank every evening and felt like a fun take on how to honor her, which is just how she would have wanted it. Beverages were served in an eclectic collection of glassware from Catalog Atelier. The cocktail hour space also featured colorful lounge spaces from Folklore Rentals, designed with a wide array of different textures including tufted velvet, jute rugs, linen pillows, rattan tables, and metallic accents paired together perfectly by the one of us with the most talent—Camille. Before guests sat down to an intimate family style dinner (a non-negotiable for me!), we had them find their seats on the custom escort display designed by Camille and created by Fawn Lettering. The display featured arched top blue escort cards adhered to a cane screen backdrop.  The set up also layered a custom periwinkle wood sign, scalloped side tables, and a sprawling floral installation. It was important to me to give a lot of intention to the signage verbiage, keeping it playful and casual, as a nod to displaying our personalities and how I wanted our guests to feel throughout each space. 

The dining space was made up of one long row of modern white farm tables, paired with brushed gold bentwood chairs that added a touch of femininity in contrast to the sleek lines of the tables. Place settings featured mossy green plates layered with Catalog Atelier’s speckled Canyon salad plate that infused organic shape and texture into the tablescape. Modern gold flatware, ribbed glassware, and a soft lilac linen napkin completed each place setting. Guests found their assigned seats by their names marked on their ultra unique menus. Designed in tandem with Alyssa of Fawn Lettering, each menu was encased in a sleeve of natural bark paper, adding texture and dimension to the tablescape. Florals were arranged as several collections of artistically designed pops of color with delicate blooms lining the center of the table, accompanied by various votive, taper and pillar candles allowing some space between groupings for family style dining. The main feature of the reception space was the floral installation organically growing atop the dining table. The installation was soft and sculptural at the same time, featuring layers of textured neutral florals, as to not distract from the colors infused into the tablescape. 

We had so many favorite “moments” of our day, but what stands out to me the most is sitting under the incredible installation, eating dinner while surrounded by our closest friends and family. We got to spend the majority of our cocktail hour with our guests because we opted for a first look, and I love that I was able to have a moment to talk to almost every single one of our guests and that the majority of the people who were most dear to us were able to form closer bonds as well. I’m a big words of affirmation girl so our vows and toasts are probably the second most memorable—our friends and family blew us away with their toasts and Erik’s vows were truly the sweetest, in the least corny kind of way (also of the utmost importance to me). Our small guest list allowed the day to feel really peaceful, unrushed, and intentional. Our highlighted desserts were an incredible cake by a dear friendor of mine, Peggy, and our favorite vegan cinnamon rolls that we get from our local coffee shop on weekends as we walk the dog through the neighborhood (highly recommend making a trip to Dark Horse).  Overall I felt the intention we had given to our day helped communicate our story, personalities, and gave each moment intentionality, while cutting out traditions that we weren’t sold on allowed us to keep the day feeling simple, unrushed, and prioritize what mattered most to us. 

I also can’t end this point without giving a personalized shoutout to a few of our personal heroes in the midst of all the transitions. While this day was about Erik and I (and I’m still fully sold on him being my absolute dream guy, so just want to take a second tell the ladies out there: please don’t settle!), I also need to mention a few others who were so beyond pivotal in walking me through such a hard season as both a business owner and a bride and making our day more special than I dreamed. Camille never hesitated when we were on our 7th design plan due to ever changing circumstances and per usual, was a force of constant peace. Sammy worked her butt off to make the day so magical for us as she faced our family dynamics, both people who were scheduled to help dropping out due to a covid exposure, and still managing to ensure a tiki drink and water bottle was alternately handed to me throughout the evening (a personal request). And Kevin Miso, the best DJ of all time, literally moved his own umbrella to the dining tables to ensure my parents were in the shade—all while managing to become all the rage among guests for killing it at his actual job. And Danielle Ryan is the perfect blend of calm and hilarious, not to mention the most talented hair and makeup artist who made me look like myself, but 700x better. They were among a few of our beyond incredible vendor team. 

I also want to end our wedding day post (bless you if you’ve made it this far) with the fact that I have always, from deep down inside of me, believed that every one of us is meant to be truly celebrated. I think weddings are this little glimpse of heaven and celebrations are at the heartbeat of acknowledging that each of us have an intrinsic right to be extravagantly loved. Including you 🙂

Vendor Credits:

photo: @elliekoleen

planning + design: @crowned.events

florals: @bloombabes

tabletop rentals: @catalogatelier

furniture rentals: @adorefolklore

signage + stationary: @fawnlettering

napkins: @hostesshaven

hair + makeup: @danielleryanbeauty

cake: @peggyliaocake

comments +

  1. Laurie says:

    Soooo beautiful!! Wish I could have been there to help celebrate. ❤️

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