Would you like to be featured as a JLM Couture Real Bride?
Jared and Stephanie
Our love story began with a lot of road trips up and down the coast of California. We first met when we were both in college. I was down at UCLA, while Jared was studying at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. It was in his small college town where my older sister Natalie and her husband Matthew lived. Jared and Matthew had recently rekindled their childhood friendship, and the three of them had become very close. It didn’t take long for Natalie to realize that she wanted Jared in the family. He was “the nicest, sweetest, and most genuine” guy she had met, and she and Matthew decided they had to set us up. They began to gently convince us into believing we were the perfect match. We eventually met, and although we adamantly denied that they might be right, our friendship suggested otherwise. Our relationship quickly turned from being acquaintances, to best friends and into a first date and kiss on September 10, 2011 or, as we fondly recall it, 9.10.11.
After that day, we continued a long distance relationship for three months, driving up and down the coast of California, from Newport Beach to San Luis Obispo every week to see each other. The “I really really really really like you’s” turned into “I love you’s” and Jared eventually moved down to my hometown of Newport. The four hour commute turned into a four minute commute, and we spent every waking hour together. Fast forward four years later, and he proposed!
We had driven up to Big Sur for our annual camping trip in October, and had an amazing weekend camping on the beach, hiking and enjoying the coastline. When we packed up our tent on Monday morning, Jared, being an avid surfer, mentioned he wanted to check the waves on the way down the coast. I was fine with that as long as we got breakfast and coffee first! We started our trek down the coast, and stopped at countless surf spots along the way. He’d park the car, we’d get out, walk a little ways to a viewing point, and he’d check the big surf. I was busy taking pictures of the scenery, so I didn’t mind one bit.
We reached San Simeon, just another stop on his route home, when my sister told me about an bakery and coffee shop nearby that was supposed to be delicious. We decided to stop in and get some coffee, and he somehow convinced me to check out the waves one more time across the street from the cafe. We grabbed some food for a picnic on the sand and headed across the street to the beach. Mid-way through the walk, he stopped and said he had to go get something from the car. That’s when my heart started to race. I knew something was up, but I wasn’t quite sure what it was. I had NO idea he was about to propose. It wasn’t until we were headed down some sandy stairs to the beach when I realized something huge might be happening: we weren’t headed in the direction of the perfect wave he had been eyeing through the window of the cafe. We were headed the opposite way, and that’s when I saw the top of the tipi. Jared immediately turned towards me and gave me a huge hug, told me he wanted to adventure with me for the rest of his life (along with lots of other very sweet words), and got down on one knee. We were both shaking with excitement and nervousness, and I really could not believe what was happening. The beach was completely empty except for the two of us and that tipi around the corner. After we hugged and kissed (and screamed), we walked around the corner and I saw the amazing tipi he had set up by Tinkertin Trailer Co, a fellow wedding vendor friend of ours. It was set up with the prettiest decor, including a picnic basket full of amazing food made by a caterer, champagne and blankets. It wasn’t long until Jared yelled out and told my sister and brother-in-law, to get out of the bushes. It was so special to me that the two people who started it all were there to celebrate with us. It was the most special day of our lives other than our wedding day.
Having a business as a wedding designer made me think a lot about my wedding day before I was even engaged. It’s always important to my sister and I (Lovelyfest) to convey our couple’s personalities and love stories through their wedding day design, so ours was no different. The only other thing we wanted was our family and friends to have great food, drinks, and most importantly, a good time. Although we both grew up on the beach in California, we didn’t want our wedding to be a typical beach wedding. My career might have heavily influenced, but I wanted to look past the obvious beach trends and go for something more. We took a long time to think about what is special to us. So we finally took our favorite accents from our travels: palm trees at the beach, the pinks, oranges and beautiful colors of the sunset, the pampas grass covering the coastline in Big Sur, and married those things with our love of modern, acrylic “Palm Springs” accents. And last but not least we knew we had to get married in the central coast, where it all began.
Our color palette consisted of shades of pink, green, mint, blue, crisp white, and gold. We planned on getting married at my Aunt’s home deep in the hills of the central coast. Although the style of the home is traditional with colonial accents, we knew our wedding theme could fit perfectly. We wanted our day to be a little bit modern, traditional, and full of bohemian accents, but completely cohesive. The first hint of our wedding design went out with the invitations we painstakingly designed. We implemented photos we had taken throughout our dating years of pool water, a beach sunset, and palm leaves. We knew all of these elements would be prevalent in our wedding day.
On the morning of the wedding, my mom surprised me with an heirloom gift that she handmade for me. It was a luxurious white wedding dress bag that she sewed herself in the months leading up to our wedding. The beautiful bag had my new initials monogrammed on the front, with vintage lace accents and a gold zipper. The white on white design was so crisp and clean, and it was so utterly me that I couldn’t help but cry when I saw it. It started the day out on such a special note and when I gifted my bridesmaids/sisters with their Plum Pretty Sugar robes, I was so happy I had one for my mom as well.
Our ceremony took place in the middle of the golden rolling hills of the property, where our florist Katie Noonan created a semi-circular pampas and palm backdrop that swayed in the wind. It was the perfect spot to say 'I do.' My Hayley Paige Teresa gown was the perfect dress for me- not too over-the-top, but definitely unique in its design. The T-strap back was my (and Jared’s) favorite part about it. After the ceremony, our guests ventured over to cocktail hour in the roundabout and front lawn of my Aunt’s home, where a large white bar sat front and center. Guests could choose from our favorite cocktails: margaritas or Moscow mules, and were handed custom napkins adorned with our hand-drawn logo. On another area of lawn was the polaroid guestbook which sat on my parent’s vintage midcentury bar that they recovered in the most perfect palm print fabric. We created our escort display out of a 7ft wall, painted soft pale pink and adorned with acrylic hexagons and brass stand offs. I cut out each guests name and attached them to these acrylic pieces, leading them to their seat at dinner. Palm Springs was one of our favorite places to vacation as a couple, and we knew we wanted some glam modern elements in the mix!
When cocktail hour came to a close, our guests were escorted to the reception where rectangular tables lined the pools. The pale pink of the linens mixed with the gold accents of the flatware and chargers helped the flower arrangements and pampas grass pop. We went for a minimalist look with geometric accents. We hand picked 150 diamond shaped marble tiles to make into place cards, and handmade each little geode napkin ring. Everything on the table that was custom to our wedding was something that we handmade, so the dining area was very special to us. Seeing the tables all set for the first time brought tears to our eyes!
Once all the speeches were finished and the tears were dried, all 150 of us headed to the black and white barn for dancing. The ceremony pampas backdrop was repurposed to the front of the barn along with the vintage furniture from cocktail hour. Our first dance was to The Killers song “Give Me a Shot at the Night”, a very special song to the two of us. It was important to us that we kept our personalities in our wedding and didn’t just conform to traditions for no reason. We cut the delicious cake, had an epic sparkler exit, and went on our happily married way. There is no other way we would have celebrated our wedding and our only regret is that it is already over!