Be swept away by this vintage woodland wedding

Vintage forest wedding as seen on @offbeatbride
Photos by Alyssa Armstrong

The Offbeat Bride: Amy, artist

Her offbeat partner: Jake, chemist

Date and location of wedding: Cold Spring Tavern, Santa Barbara, CA — May 6, 2016

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:

We didn't have a rigid theme or color palette throughout our planning process but allowed ourselves to be inspired by our gorgeous venue, which was established in 1865 as a stage coach stop. We love living by the beach in Santa Barbara, but we both grew up in wooded/mountainous areas and that was the kind of scenery we wanted for our wedding. We're pretty casual people and aimed for a beautiful yet unpretentious event with great food and music. Cold Spring Tavern provided the perfect atmosphere for our day.

Vintage woodland wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Vintage woodland wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Vintage woodland wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Vintage woodland wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Vintage woodland wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Vintage woodland wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Vintage woodland wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Vintage woodland wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Vintage woodland wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Tell us about the ceremony:

Our friend Lucy played a beautiful rendition of "God Only Knows" on piano for the processional. We opted not to have a wedding party and instead had our immediate families make a special entrance. Then Jake and I escorted each other to the altar, upon which hung a gorgeous floral garland designed by Jake's aunt (who also did my lovely bouquet).

Vintage woodland wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Vintage woodland wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Our friend Shaheen officiated the ceremony, which included details about how Jake and I met in college and that our wedding was our eight-year anniversary together. Jake's dad read a Jewish blessing, and we ended the ceremony with the Jewish tradition of breaking the glass. The recessional song was "Once in Love With Amy," which my grandpa used to sing to me when I was little.

Vintage forest wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Vintage forest wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Vintage forest wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Vintage forest wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Tell us about your reception:

I'll never forget how Jake and I returned to cocktail hour after stepping out to take couple portraits and were absolutely mobbed by our amazing wonderful guests with endless hugs and snapshots. We had long, banquet-style tables so everyone could be close together during dinner, and the tables were topped with more floral garlands and old fashioned kerosene lanterns which Jake and I had DIYed to look weathered with a copper chloride solution (chemist husband FTW!).

Vintage forest wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Vintage forest wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Vintage forest wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

It started to rain during dinner and our guests handled it SPECTACULARLY. There was nonstop laughter as everyone suited up in big black trash bags to cover their clothes. I never thought I'd appreciate rain on my wedding day but it ended up adding such a fun element. The hilarious and heartfelt speeches that our siblings and best friends gave were a highlight of the evening (one speech touched on the fact that we found a LIVE POSSUM in our bedroom the night/early morning before the wedding — yes, you read that correctly — which a Google search revealed to be a good wedding day omen!).

Vintage forest wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

We had an awesome vintage-inspired paper moon photo booth that we got on Etsy for our guests to take pictures with between dances. From cocktail hour to dinner to dancing, our music was curated by us using Spotify. We're both music freaks and spent hours putting the playlists together, which ranged from The Beatles to Django Reinhardt to Leon Bridges.

Vintage forest wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Vintage forest wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

What was your most important lesson learned?

I personally had a hard time delegating. As an artist, I can be particularly control freak-ish about aesthetic stuff. I have to say, letting go on that a little bit and accepting some help paid off in spades. One of my favorite memories of my wedding day is seeing all of Jake's family working together the morning of to assemble the long floral garlands used throughout our venue. The garlands were stunning, but more importantly, I felt so humbled by the show of love and support. It was also critical that we assigned day-of tasks to family and friends to help everything flow. We couldn't have done it without them!

Vintage forest wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

Vintage forest wedding as seen on @offbeatbride

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  1. Congrats! What a gorgeous wedding! Love the photo both! And oh my gosh, that's too funny about the possum! I never would have guessed that that was an omen of any sort – good or bad.

    If you were able, I would be interested in hearing how you explained to friends and family who expected to be in your parties that you weren't having wedding parties and how you dealt with any ensuing emotions, if that came up.

    1 agrees
    • Hi Jessie! Thanks for the kind words. The possum thing is one for the books, that's for sure 😉

      You know, we were both the first in our families to get married, and I've only been in one wedding party and Jake hadn't been in any, so we didn't feel much pressure to have one ourselves. I still had a bachelorette party (which was awesome because I didn't have to worry about headcount, just invited who I wanted to invite) and got ready for the wedding with a few friends. Our families entered the ceremony just like a traditional wedding party would, then sat down instead standing up there with us. We were happy with how everything went, and if anyone else was ruffled by it we weren't aware. I definitely think there are ways to include people who are special to you without having a formal wedding party if you don't want to have one!

      1 agrees
  2. Looks amazing! The photos made it look more like a wedding shoot than a real wedding – you've got so many lovely little touches.

    1 agrees
    • Thank you so much Jessica! It was difficult when we were in the thick of planning to envision exactly how everything would go together, so I really appreciate your comment.

  3. THAT fur stole. Wow. Utter glamour. I'll be having a woodland wedding, definitely MUST have a fur stole to keep me warm, as otherwise I guess I'll end up with a skanky old blanket over my dress 😀 Not that I have a problem with that really to be honest.

    1 agrees
    • Yeah, I loved the fur stole too! It looks so snuggly and warm, and it goes perfectly with the theme. I was very glad to see it was faux, too.

      • Thanks Cat! I was really impressed with the quality of the faux fur. Rosa Bridal (an Etsy shop) did a great job.

    • Thank you, thank you! Nothing wrong with wrapping up in a blanket, but I gotta admit, the stole was REALLY fun to wear, and how often do you get to rock something like that?!

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