Tag Archives: D.I.Y.

J + TJ’s Rustic Handmade Colorado Ranch Wedding (With Rainbows and a Rodeo Arena Reception)!

08 | 03 | 2011

Now, finally on to Jess and TJ’s actual wedding day!  By the morning of the wedding, it really did feel—as Jess and TJ had so hoped and schemed—like everyone there was one big family.   We woke before dawn to take in the “jingle” with some of TJ’s cousins.  Then, everybody else began readying themselves for the day.  I’m not sure what I could really say to do this wedding justice, so I’m keeping my notes uncharacteristically brief.

Jess and TJ saw each other for the first time in a wide open field, a couple of hours before the ceremony was scheduled to start.  We had planned to make a bunch of portraits during that time … but it started to rain just as they finished with that first quiet moment, so we retreated to stay dry.  Wedding party and immediate family portraits were made in the little sliver of shelter under the eaves of the barn.

Jess’s grandfather was quite the photographer in his day, and he even used to make carbro prints (the vintage photographic process on which I have the second biggest crush).  So when he asked me to make a portrait of him (with his bow tie!), I obliged using one of my favorite vintage cameras.

Jess and TJ’s wedding ceremony was perhaps my favorite part of the whole weekend.  It took place atop a cliff overlooking an incredible valley.  We loved how they made the ceremony so, so personal … and got everybody involved!  One friend officiated, others did readings, or sang songs.  Their dog, Midas, was the ring bearer (bearing the real rings). And Jess and TJ’s guests had sent them pieces of fabric with their reply cards to make a quilt that was incorporated into the ceremony.  Here’s what Jess says:

“I wrote the ceremony (which I would also recommend since it made it sooo personal for us) and as part of that, we did a “community blessing” where everyone in the audience held hands and connected all the way to us—as we were wrapped in the quilt with pieces of them all around us. It was one of my favorite moments of the ceremony, and maybe one of my favorite pics from the entire wedding (maybe also because this was when it started to pour rain!). We then used the quilt as a backdrop for our photo booth which was fun because people got to go up and pick out where their piece was on the quilt. TJ and I now have the quilt on our bed and it’s an awesome reminder of that amazing moment.”

I did my best to hide under an umbrella while the rain pour downed and keep my cameras (more or less) dryish while I was shooting (although I was more conspicuous than I would have wanted to be for sure).  But I love the photos from the recessional, with light reflecting through raindrops on my lens glass.  By then, I think I’d dashed out from under the umbrella!

Guests moved to the indoor rodeo arena for dinner, dancing, and bull-riding.  Despite the enormity of the space or the fact that it was really (really!) just a barn, Jess and TJ made it feel cozy, welcoming and even (kind of, but not too) fancy.  The warm happy color palette seemed especially appropriate after a day that had gone from clear and beautiful, to dark and stormy, to rainbows …

Below: Jess and TJ’s first dance and the beginnings of a long, happy night of dancing.

The photo booth was so fun!  You might recognize the quilt, re-purposed …

Maybe the best thing, though, was the mechanical bull!  I loved seeing everybody’s best wild west moves!  Jess made the operator buck her off (although she really, really didn’t want to buck the bride).  It was so funny!

The wedding is featured {here} today on 100 Layer Cake (hooray!).  Be sure to stop back tomorrow and Friday for photographs from Jess’s bridal session and Jess and TJ’s post-wedding love shoot, plus a peek at some of their paper goods …

photographs: Gia Canali

wedding planning: Stacy McCain; wedding design, Duet Events (the bride and her friend’s design company); florals, Sweet Pea Flowers, Denver; lighting & other magic tricks, Pink Monkey Solutions; dj: DJ Smiles Davis; dessert buffet, Tee and Cakes; venue and catering: C Lazy U Ranch

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J+TJ Rehearsal Dinner Party

08 | 02 | 2011

After Jess and TJ’s guests thoroughly wore themselves out in the field day tournament, everyone dressed up for a tented rehearsal dinner party.  It was the weekend’s most formal event.  Guests dined in a tent that opened up on a little pond and it was embellished with dressy-up, woodsy decor and lots of sweet, handmade touches.  We especially loved all the wooden table numbers, the tree-bark wrapped “vases,” and the escort card heart made of stones with each guest’s name.

{click any image for a closer view}

We stole Jess and TJ away for a few minutes, just before sunset for photographs along the dirt road out to the horse pasture (and spa!) at C Lazy U.   Taking a few minutes here and there out of a busy wedding weekend schedule—particularly in moments with perfect light—to make some beautiful portraits always has a huge impact on the overall coverage of your wedding. We’ll hurry you back to your guests, promise …

I think getting great wedding photographs is one part trained eyeballs (by which I mean vision) and two parts time-management, both on the part of the photographers and on the part of the couple. One little great time-management helper with multi-day weddings is to space out the group photographs across the events.  Not every family photograph needs to be on the wedding day.  We photographed Jess and TJ’s extended families separately at the rehearsal and then TJ requested this lodge-style combined family photograph, which I just love.

Jess and TJ’s friends and families also made almost all their toasts at the rehearsal dinner.  Except for a quick welcome toast from the bride’s father at the wedding reception, this freed them up on the wedding day for an uninterrupted party (!) … a fantastic bonus since it always goes by too too quickly, even when you have four days of celebrating.   This was a sweet way for everyone to get to know each other, too.

~♥~

The event is also featured {here} on 100 Layer Cake!  Come back tomorrow for more from Jess and TJ’s wedding day!

photographs: Gia Canali

event design: Duet Events (the bride’s design company); planning, Stacy McCain Events; venue and catering, C Lazy U Ranch; florals: Lisa Anderson, Sweet Pea Flowers; dessert (aka tower of awesomeness), Shamane’s Bake Shoppe, Boulder CO.

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Jillian & Dax’s Romantic Handmade Everything California Mountain Elopement

05 | 27 | 2010

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Seeing two of your beloved friends marry is its own particular joy, and although I might be (therefore) biased in saying so, Jillian & Dax’s super-secret informal mountain wedding celebration was just about perfect: romantic, personal, and really laid-back.  Everything was handmade. Everything. And everyone who came pitched in to make the wedding happen.  One friend made the cake, another painted the wooden cake-toppers.  One friend did Jillian’s makeup (actually, the same friend who painted the cake toppers); another did Jillian’s hair.  Of course, I took the photographs.  My husband Matt was making fruit salad until just before he started taking pictures himself. Their friend, Kelly, who married them also barbequed the meat for dinner.  Lots of folks pitched in to make dinner … and the tissue paper pom poms you can just barely see in the few reception photos.  I was “off-duty” at the reception; we just set up a photo booth and let people snap pictures of themselves which are too, too hilarious to share on this blog.

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Jillian made her own wedding gown, including the pattern for it.  She deconstructed a vintage dress to make the pattern for the bodice, sewed it, and then began to work on the doilies.  It took three weeks and over two miles of crochet yarn to complete the effect.  I am still marveling at all the detail.  Nobody I know can envision a wildly ambitious project and then pull it off like Jillian can.

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If you look closely at those little cake-toppers, you’ll see that they’re “dressed” just as Jillian, Dax, and their daughter Phi were, right down to the tiniest details (even Dax’s ascot—Jillian made the real life version from the lining of her dress!).  After the cake-cutting, Jillian changed into a custom-made safari suit to match Dax’s. How cute is that?

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photographs: Gia Canali; hair, Angelina Yuge, 562.686.6200 (she is actually a makeup artist!); makeup, Nicole Burg, 818.970.9582; cake topper forms, Goose Grease Undone (she also makes custom-painted ones, here); Dax and Jillian’s custom safari suits, safarisuits.biz; flowers, LA Flower Mart, arranged by the bride.  We’re thrilled and honored that Jillian & Dax’s wedding is being featured over on {100 Layer Cake} today!

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Jillian & Dax’s DIY Secret Wedding Invitations

05 | 27 | 2010

Wedding invitations always serve as a memento, but that is even more obvious with handmade wedding invitations to a secret wedding/elopement that all the (very few) guests already know about.  With most of the invite’s practical purpose stripped away, getting this invite in the mail seemed somehow so extravagant!  Jillian made these by hand with her cricut machine.

{click any image to enlarge}

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photos: Gia Canali

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Real Weddings :: Eunice & Daniel: One Lucky Wedding

03 | 01 | 2010

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Welcome to Eunice & Daniel’s wedding!  Eunice and her sister Sabrina own Hello!Lucky, while Daniel designs video games at Three Rings, and frankly, I can’t think of a craftier, more inventive—or more exuberant!—crew to plan a wedding.  Eunice designed pretty much everything and she and her friends, led by sister and maid-of-honor, Sabrina, worked tirelessly to make sure those designs became a reality. Much of the inspiration for the wedding’s design is from Tim Walker’s photographs.  Walker’s work has always fascinated me, as it demonstrates, in intricate detail, how Britain was, is, and always will be a magical place, if improbably so.  See his work, if you aren’t already familiar with it.  You’ll know what I mean.  The little stage Eunice and Daniel were married on and the whimsical parade to the ceremony site, led by Daniel with his white unicorn, are lifted straight from Walker’s (or … Eunice-and-Daniel’s) imagination.

{click any image to enlarge the gallery}

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Below: a few images from the ceremony. I love the flower girls dumping the confetti on each other!!  The stage was lovingly made by the crew at Because We Can and painted by Eunice and friends.  (The stage now has a home behind Eunice & Daniel’s bed, which is the perfect sort of re-purposing of wedding decor, I think).  Eunice designed her dress and her friend and colleague, Hello!Lucky’s London office head, Iain Harris Bartlett, sewed it for her.

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The day passed by at lightning speed, as it really always does at weddings.  I was so happy to have a few moments with Eunice and Daniel along the winding dirt road and in the wide, grassy fields at {Wilbur Hot Springs}.

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The details of this wedding were myriad, intricate, and marvelous.  Nearly everything was made by hand, and much of it by Eunice, Daniel, and their friends. There was so much to look at (and photograph and share!) that I needed a dedicated post to do those details any sort of justice at all.  Here are just a few, though.  Sharla Flock designed the florals, which were rich and varied and added so much color and texture to the wedding.  The cake topper is hilariously cute (worth clicking to enlarge!).

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The guests were dressed to match the wedding perfectly, even the littlest ones.  It gave me the feeling that we were all in a movie we couldn’t see being filmed.

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As night fell, the party began in earnest.  There was square-dancing and Eunice’s sister, Sabrina, sang a song.  Their father accompanied the band on his mandolin for another song.  And, yes, Eunice and Daniel really did cut the cake with a cleaver.  I think Daniel might have a collection …

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For fewer, larger photographs, please see {this gallery} on my main site.  And satisfy your floral-detail-loving-cravings {here}.  Hello!Lucky posted a great feature on their, site, too, complete with a gallery and diy wedding project instructionals, and it’s {here}.

photographs by Gia Canali; wedding design, Hello!Lucky; paper goods, Hello!Lucky and Joel Dewberry; wedding planning, Lisa Feldman Designs; Daniel’s dapper suit, Al’s Attire; bridesmaid’s dresses, Al’s Attire and Jessica Bobillot; Eunice’s fascinator, Jennifer Behr; cake topper, Publique Living;  stage, wooden table “numbers,” and parade props, Because We Can and Hello!Lucky; lighting design, Jimmy Duhig, Creative Lighting Design; Eunice designed her dress and it was handsewn by her friend Iain Harris Bartlett. Go handmade!!

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Real Weddings :: Eunice & Daniel: Down to the Details

03 | 01 | 2010

This post is just for all you lovers-of-minutia.  Some of the details will be repeated in the main post about Eunice and Daniel’s wedding (coming later today!), but it’s fun to see them bigger and in context.  We especially like the non-numerical table numbers. Had I been a guest, I’d have hoped to be seated at the dragonfly or goldfish tables.  The tissue paper pom-poms, Eunice made by hand, are so pretty, too.  And, I imagine, were a lot of work!! Click any image to enlarge the gallery.

 

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photos: Gia Canali; floral design, Sharla Flock; cake topper; PubliQue Living; paper goods, Hello!Lucky and Joel Dewberry; table “numbers,” Because We Can with Hello!Lucky; lighting, Jimmy Duhig, Creative Lighting Design.

 

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Nicole & Abram’s Malibu Wedding

12 | 07 | 2009

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Nicole and Abram had a beautiful summer wedding in Malibu.  And although they wanted to wed on the beach, both imagined having some photographs that were decidedly more woodsy and magical.  I’m not sure how many times Abram went scouting by himself—at least twice!—but the afternoon the three of us visited this site (pictured above), we knew we’d found what we were all looking for.  This brings up an important point about working with a photographer: communicating your vision can make all the difference in the world.  While you’re at it, it’s good to let your imagination run a little wild.  You don’t know, really, what is and isn’t possible.

The feeling I got from this place made me want to pull out all the toy cameras …

{click any image to enlarge}

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Megan Fickling-Pearson from {La Partie Events} did an outstanding job on the day-of wedding coordination.  We love her boundless creativity and good spirits and cannot wait to photograph a wedding where she does the floral design, too.  Her {blog} is always a good read—Meg knows where to find all the cool stuff! Below: a few photographs from the ceremony. Nicole and Abram were so sweet with each other.  I love that!

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Below: some of the details. Chalkboards can be really fun decor elements at weddings. Abram decorated these for the reception.  DIY projects like this are great for weddings, as they are easy and memorable. We also liked the sweets table!

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After the ceremony and just as the sun was setting, Nicole and Abram took a few more minutes to run around the beach.  If you have an opportunity to take advantage of multiple setups or locations for portraits, do it!  Your album will have lots more variety.

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Nicole and Abram made a point of getting the portraits they wanted—and it really paid off.  Photographers are always ready for a happy collaboration!  We highlighted their good sense previously, but this tip from their wedding is definitely worth reiterating: take a walk!  It’s nice to have some quiet time with your beloved and it makes for really good photographs. 

photographs: Gia Canali Nicole’s gown: Edgardo Bonilla Florals: Michelle, Larchmont Village Florist, (323) 464-8146

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