A Retro DIY Wedding Outdoors in California
Rebecca and Derek
Rebecca and Derek Wright planned more than just a wedding. They dreamed up a daylong celebration complete with a surprise bike brigade and a mini golf course during an evening reception.
The couple met in 2005 when their kickball teams played each other. After years of friendship, they realized they were meant to be together forever, and made it official on August 28, 2010, in southern California. The San Francisco-based pair planned the day's unique, interactive, and memorable series of events around a books-and-bikes theme, and sprinkled in plenty of charm along the way.
Cindy Ferguson, the couple's friend, designed the retro-patterned invitation suite, created to look like a book. When you opened it up, a library card holder contained Rebecca and Derek's engagement photo and special invitations to the day's events. Pal Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day!, letterpressed the pieces, and a group of friends helped assemble the components.
Rebecca wore a vintage 1950s gown she found at Timeless Vixen and paired it with a yellow belt from Club Monaco. along with a vintage headpiece and gold peep-toe slingbacks from J.Renee, she wore her grandmother's pearl necklace.
Derek had a suit custom-made during a visit to Hong Kong. The slender silhouette was accented by a vintage enamel-flower brooch that matched the bride's earrings. Family members and the bridal party also wore enamel flower pins.
The bride fashioned her collection of bright vintage enamel-flower brooches -- she had been pinning them to sweaters to brighten up outfits -- into a bouquet. "It was pretty heavy duty," Rebecca said. "Needless to say, there was no bouquet toss." But that didn't matter. The colorful, everlasting bouquet completed the bride's look.
A Fun Surprise
The invitation informed guests to "dress to impress, but to wear comfortable clothing" that they could move in. They were also told to bring sunscreen and sunglasses, and that lunch would be served. When the guests gathered near the church following the ceremony, they were surprised with a slew of cruiser bicycles and helmets (rented from Perry's) in the parking lot.
A table of colorful streamers, balloons, pipe cleaners, papers, flags, markers, and tape was set up for the 85 guests to create decorations for the for the bike brigade that followed the couple's ceremony. This not only made the ride feel more like a parade, but it also helped guests identify their bikes during the multistop ride that afternoon.
A guest, ready to ride, in her crepe-paper shoulder corsage and helmet.
Aluminum water bottles were customized with the couple's silhouettes and were filled with water before the ride to keep guests hydrated. Afterward, guests took them home as favors.
After looking at a few different tandem bikes, Rebecca and Derek fell in love with one that had its original horn and light. After they bought the bike, they rode the wedding day route to make sure it would hold up. (It passed with flying colors.)
A Colorful Touch
The couple called upon Party Land WLA to create a rainbow balloon arch to mark the start of the ride.
Guests followed the newlyweds through Santa Monica to Westwood Park for a picnic.
A Talented Guest
Friend Keith Paugh rode his bike a bit differently than other guests did.
Prior to the wedding, Rebecca visited thrift stores to find the perfect pieces for the luncheon. She gathered lots of pretty vintage bedsheets, which she offered as picnic blankets.
Sandwiches and sides from La Bottega Marino, a local deli, were packaged using labels that matched the stationery and signage.
A Personal Touch
Recycled paper trays, also boasting the couple's silhouettes, were stenciled with help from Derek's mother.
Guests kicked off their shoes for the casual luncheon.
After lunch, the group rode to Diddy Riese, a build-your-own ice cream sandwich shop, for dessert.
"Coupons" good for one ice cream sandwich were handed out and outlined the cookie and ice cream options.
The Final Stop
The ride ended at Mathias Botanical Gardens, in a small clearing. There, the day's coordinator and friend of the couple, Jordan Ferney, had set up a rainbow backdrop made from strips of plastic tablecloths. Glasses of sparkling cider awaited guests. "It was a pretty magical sight when everyone entered this little clearing with drinks all set up and ready to toast," Rebecca recalled.
A Helping Hand
Jordan Ferney helped pull off the final leg of the bike brigade, and sported a handmade crepe-paper headband in the spirit of the day.
A bridesmaid, Derek's brothers, and two pairs of mutual friends gave toasts in honor of the couple. Rebecca and Derek had encouraged them to make their toasts more like presentations, so one included charts and graphs as visual aids, another included a bag of goodies to be used on various destinations on their Italian honeymoon, and the final performance was a musical number.
Signs were posted at the inn directing guests to the various activities.
The Guest Book
The guest book's cover featured a photo of the couple. "This event felt like more than just a marriage -- it was most certainly an auspicious alliance," said Rebecca. The words "Auspicious Alliance" also appeared on the album's cover.
Deciding against a dance floor but still wanting a fun activity for their guests, Rebecca and Derek settled on a mini golf course. What started as a "Wouldn't it be cool if..." idea became a six-hole course, made by the father of the bride, that told the couple's story. The game offered a way for guests to learn more about the couple while providing entertainment.
Rebecca's father spent six months planning and building the course. It included handmade golf clubs.
Another Personal Touch
Rebecca had the bright golf balls personalized through Sunset Golf.
Players kept score on custom cards that read: "Derek and Rebecca scored. Now you can, too."
The Third Hole
The third hole represented the couple's first date. "No dinner and a movie would do for Derek," the sign read. "He took Rebecca on a haunted walking tour of San Francisco. Perhaps the opportunity for nervous arm-grabbing and hand-holding seemed greater in this setting? The date went well, but they would still remain just friends for several more years."
Rebecca's brother painted the facade of the mansion, which had a ramp leading up to its front door.
The Last Hole
After a hole that represented the pair's love of travel -- complete with a detailed model of the Mexican temple of Chichen Itza and an airplane -- there was a hole that celebrated their engagement. It featured a large diamond ring and a pair of wedding bands near the hole. The final hole was "the future." Because Rebecca had jokingly predicted the couple would be living on the moon, it was propped with planets and a "black hole" that transported golf balls to another green that looked like the moon.
The dessert spread included small pastries and sweets from Porto's Bakery and Cafe and chocolate chip cookies prepared by family friends. The bride's sister also made molasses cookies in the shape of Rebecca and Derek's profiles using custom cookie cutters from FrankenCutters. Though the couple didn't have a cake, they placed a vintage cake topper in the middle of the dessert table.
The night ended with a special musical number: Rebecca's mom (banjo) joined Derek's sister (guitar), along with the couple's friends Kai (bass) and Grace (vocals). They played Zee Avi's "Just You and Me" before Rebecca and Derek departed on their tandem bike.
Photography: Rachel Thurston