This rustic, romantic DIY wedding from Ahava Studios makes me want to jet off to wine country for a lovely long weekend. From the gorgeous vineyard scenery to the adorable details (hand-made by the bride!), it’s hard to believe this wedding was completely planned in three months! Photographer Stephanie Haller, explains:
A destination wedding for Chelsea and Sully, who both live in Poulsbo, WA, their wedding was a Monday morning ceremony in Napa Valley, attended by their nearest and dearest. With the ceremony beginning around 10am, we had the earliest start time in my history – 6:00am! What I loved about Chelsea and Sully’s wedding: They got ready together! Much of Chelsea’s inspiration for their wedding came from the light pink and white twine she loved. Mason jars, weathered wood, chalkboards – so much of the wedding is her style and very much DIY – she’s a crafty gal. Almost everything was done by Chelsea herself – she stamped the coffee bean gift bags, designed the sticker for the candy bags, and designed the advice cards and programs.
The beautiful bride, Chelsea, is here to share her insight:
What (or who) helped you most in your planning process and/or on your wedding day?
I think my organization helped my wedding planning and day go smoothly. I had nearly every aspect of planning saved in Excel sheets (guest lists, gift tracking/thank you notes, budget, itinerary, trip planning, contact info), and I created a document of how to set up all the details for my mom and sister to set up the wedding site. I think knowing exactly how I wanted things executed and planning ahead really saved me a lot of stress the day of our wedding.
What was the most important thing to you when deciding who to work with for your wedding?
Definitely make sure your personalities mesh well with all of your vendors! I knew we cared the most about photography, so I talked to a lot of photographers trying to find someone whose photos we liked and who we felt we meshed well with personality wise. I wanted to feel comfortable with the person who would be photographing our day, and I felt like Stephanie and I had been friends for years when we talked on the phone. I think it’s really important to find someone who has the same eye as you.
What was your inspiration for your wedding details and/or design?
We both always thought wine country would be a fun vacation, so when we decided we’d get married somewhere other than home so we could make a vacation out of it. Wine country seemed like the perfect fit! We took the idea of rustic wine country and drew a lot of inspiration from that. We wanted a very simple, classic wedding. It was important to both of us that our wedding was intimate and simple, so I tried to carry that theme through all of our decorations, favors, program/advice cards, etc.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding?
While I was really proud of the bouquet I’d made, and I loved my dress dearly, I loved getting ready together. It was special to share all of the excitement of the morning with each other. As we prepared to spend the rest of our lives together, it seemed so appropriate that we get ready together. It totally breaks tradition, but it was what was right for us. Plus, I think it calmed my nerves having him there.
What is your best piece of advice for other brides?
Be true to yourself and make your day what you want. Don’t change things to make someone else happy. Your wedding day is about the two of you and it should be EXACTLY what you both want. If you know flowers are really important to you, spend a little more on them because it will make you happy. I’m glad we spent our money the way we did because it made for a perfect wedding for us! We changed our champagne at the last minute to one from a vineyard we visited our first day in Napa. We loved it so much and knew it would always be special to us. Sure, it was more expensive, but now we have special meaning behind our wedding champagne and always will. It was absolutely worth the extra money.
We were faced with a limited time frame of three months to plan (because my husband is in the military and was given two weeks of the year–the week in august or the week of Christmas–when he could have time off to get married), so we chose to have a very low-key wedding in August rather than have something the week of Christmas. We’d signed all of our contracts within three weeks of getting engaged, so we really had to have a simple wedding due to time constraints. I was never one of those kids who dreamed of a future wedding, so simple was really perfect for me. I totally think a three month time frame is doable if you’re organized and decisive. I’m glad we didn’t have a long time between getting engaged and getting married. It was nice to just get it all done in three months and be done with the stress of planning it! We’d also never been to Napa, so we were planning everything based on photos online. It honestly turned out very well.
Although a little non-traditional, I love that Chelsea and Sully decided to spend the morning of their wedding together. I totally wish I had done that on my wedding day – It would have made the day that much more enjoyable! How about you? Would you consider dressing with your soon-to-be spouse? I’d love to hear your thoughts!