A Boho California Wedding with a Tropical Twist
Stephanie and Jared
Stephanie Duclett and Jared Nafziger's love story began with a lot of road trips during their college days in California. She was a student in Newport Beach, and he was up the coast in San Luis Obispo. Stephanie's sister Natalie was married to one of Jared's childhood friends, and that trio became very close. It didn’t take long for Natalie to set Jared and Stephanie up, and a friendship quickly formed that evolved into a long-distance relationship. So, for three months, they drove back and forth to see each other until the "I really really really really like you's" turned into "I love you's" and Jared moved south so they could live closer to one another.
Four years in, they'd taken another road trip—this time together to Big Sur—for an annual camp out. On the way back home, Jared mentioned he wanted to check out the waves. So the avid surfer and his love stopped here and there until they scoped the perfect spot. But as they descended the sandy stairs to the beach, Stephanie soon caught wind they were headed in the opposite direction of the water. He stopped, turned towards her, gave her a huge hug, and told her he wanted to adventure with her for the rest of his life, and then popped the question. After more hugging, and kissing and screaming, they walked around the corner to see a tipi set up with a picnic basket of food, some bubbly, and blankets. The bride's sister and brother-in-law had once again set magic into motion, helping Jared plan the special event.
Eleven months later, Stephanie (who now designs weddings and events with her sister through their company Lovelyfest Event Design) and Jared, drove up the coast once more to tie the knot in San Luis Obispo. It was on their five-year anniversary, September 10, 2016, that they asked 150 loved ones to join them as they became husband and wife. They chose her aunt's home as the setting, and to celebrate the town in which they first met. "It was really special to us that it wasn't at just another wedding venue," Jared says of the estate. "We love that no one else will ever have a wedding like ours." And it was just that. The couple's theme was inspired by California, with elements that were modern, bohemian, and tropical, and played up some of their favorite destinations throughout it.
The Colorful Invitation
To reflect their relationship, the couple incorporated photos of some of their favorite things into their invitation suite—sunset at the beach, palm leaves, pool water from a Palm Springs weekend getaway. The main invite (by Minted), with its gold-foiled design, resembled the pampas grass that would be used on the big day. All of the elements were tucked into a white folder finished with a hand-cut banana leaf cut from metallic gold paper and affixed with a mini gold brad. Designing the stationery suite was just one of the details the couple tackled themselves.
The Dress & Tuxedo
The t-strap back is what initially drew Stephanie in to the Hayley Paige "Teresa" wedding dress. "I loved it. I saved it on every device I owned and just kept staring at it. No other dress I saw online could compare. So when Hayley Paige was having a trunk show, I immediately booked an appointment with my sisters and mom. With no surprise, the second I tried it on, we all knew. It was so completely me," she says, even though she initially sought something with lace, sleeves, and a slimmer silhouette.
Jared agrees, adding, "This dress was more 'her' than anything I had ever seen before. I had no idea they made wedding dresses that awesome. She looked stunning." He was quite dapper in a midnight blue tuxedo with black lapels that he got from The Black Tux. Golf ball bucket cuff links (gifted to him by his in-laws) were a fun accessory.
The Bridal Accessories
Jared designed the engagement ring on his own. "It took weeks of going to every jewelry store in Southern California, researching late into the night about diamonds and settings, and many secret phone calls with her sister, Natalie. But months later, he found Adiamor, in downtown Los Angeles, and worked with them to create Stephanie's delicate rose gold ring with an oval-stone surrounded by a halo of diamonds.
A Bold Bouquet
Stephanie's asymmetrical bouquet, made by Noonan's Wine Country Designs, boasted bright coral garden roses, 'Juliet' roses, peonies, blushing bride protea, poppies, ranunculus, and andromeda, and also incorporated green palm leaves.
Stephanie's sisters served as her bridesmaid and maid-of-honor, donning light pink Rebecca Taylor gowns and carrying petite bouquets of ranunculus, roses, blushing bride protea, and parrot tulips.
Blushing bride protea and petite rose buds were wrapped in thin gray velvet ribbon before going on the guys' lapels.
Hitching a Ride
The bride and her father rode in a 1940 Cadillac LaSalle to the ceremony. Afterwards, Stephanie and her husband hopped in for a moment together before portraits.
The Ceremony Setup
"Having camped in Big Sur a number of times together, we both fell in love with the pampas grass that lines the coastline up there," Stephanie says. "We wanted that dreamy California coast to be part of our wedding, and Noonan Wine Country Designs built us a backdrop that reminded us of that."
Palm leaves were added for a bit of Palm Springs and Hawaiian flare, and pink and peach blooms on the edges for a pop of color. Jared had spent months before the big day paving the ceremony area and the path on which everyone would walk to it. "He put sweat and tears into making a piece of land the most magical and perfect site to say our vows," Stephanie says.
The late-afternoon ceremony took place on a hill with views of the rolling hills in the background. Stephanie's childhood pastor had conducted a bit of pre-marital counseling as part of his role officiating the service, and during that time he asked the bride and groom for ten reasons why they love each other. During the ceremony, he revealed to everyone that he had never seen answers more similar, and then read them aloud.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the newlyweds recessed to Randy Newman's "You've Got a Friend in Me" from the Toy Story soundtrack, played by a pianist.
One Cool Seating Chart
A soft pink seven-foot wall displayed the seating assignments for dinner. A palm printed wallpaper and rattan mirror added some Palm Springs punch and a little boho touch came in the form of a macramé-wrapped vase of pampas grass at the base. "It's one of our favorite places to vacation as a couple," Stephanie says of the desert town and its influence on the décor. "We knew we wanted some glam modern elements in the mix!"
Please be Seated
Stephanie cut out each guest's name from gold foil and attached them to acrylic hexagons held in brass standoffs.
Dinner by the Pool
"We wanted our reception design to be one of the most special parts of our day," Stephanie explains. "It's where our guests would be sitting and enjoying themselves for the longest duration of the day, so it had to be comfortable and beautiful. And table settings are my sister's and my favorite things to design at Lovelyfest Event Design." Ghost chairs kept things modern, soft pink velvet linens added a touch of color without detracting from the natural setting. And bistro bulbs strung overhead kept things glowing as the sun set.
Tables were accented with brass candlestick holders, various gold and blush votive holders, gold chargers, modern flatware, and a mix of vintage glassware from the Lovelyfest Event Design rental collection. "It was so fun to finally use all of our best rental items for my own wedding," Stephanie says of being on the other side of the equation. It all came together in a balance of clean, minimal, yet bohemian design, with colorful arrangements and clusters of pampas grass by Noonan's Wine Country Designs adding more texture and dimension.
Diamond-shaped tiles with guests' names served as place cards and doubled as favors, and table numbers were made of agate slices, also with gold foil applied, just like the seating chart.
Dinner began with a "dip duo" of guacamole and queso with tortilla chips, and followed with a butter lettuce salad, and a duo of entrees (red-wine braised short rib with macaroni and cheese for him, and grilled salmon with forbidden risotto and a crab fritter for her).
A white book was dressed up with the couple's names and wedding date on the cover in gold foil. Photo corners were adhered to the pages so that polaroids could be inserted with room for everyone to write a note to the happy couple. The book sat atop the bride's parents' mid-century vintage bar, which had been re-covered in a palm print fabric.
Vintage lounge furniture was accessorized with fun pillows, candles, lanterns, and photos of the couple during their years of dating.
The Reception Location
Following dinner, guests were led to the side of the property, where a white barn with black trim anchored the dancing space, and the same floral arrangements that framed the ceremony were repurposed to the sides of the barn's doors.
Macramé table runners hung behind a trio of cakes made by Paper Cake Events. Palm leaves were then affixed to the structure holding the textiles to tie it all together.
The main cake was a Funfetti confection (a favorite of the bride's growing up). The other two were chocolate and brown sugar cinnamon crumb. Here, the crumb cake, was topped with dripping edible gold, hand-cut modeling chocolate in the shape of banana leaves, white rock candy, and mini strawberry macarons.
A Vintage Cake Topper
The same topper used at the bride's paternal grandparents' wedding in the 1940s perched on their cutting cake, which was enrobed in vanilla bean buttercream and finished with pink chocolate drips. Both of Stephanie's sisters used the family heirloom at their own nuptials too.
The First Dance
"We went back and forth choosing a song, with friends and family (and the internet) telling us we should do something traditional. One day when we were driving, ['Shot at the Night' by the Killers] came on and it just clicked," Stephanie says. "We knew we had to dance to our favorite song, no matter what anyone thought. It still is one of our favorite parts of the wedding."
Another song by the same band played during a key moment of the reception. "Jared and his college friends dance to 'Mr. Brightside' at every wedding," Stephanie explains. "They lift the groom in the air and re-live their college days. We had to have it at our wedding too. I'm just glad they didn't drop Jared before the honeymoon!"
A Bright Sendoff
Everyone lit sparklers and surrounded the couple for a festive sendoff.
Photography, Mirelle Carmichael
Event Design and Calligraphy, Lovelyfest Event Design
Event Planning, Karson Butler Events
Catering, Field to Table Catering & Events
Flowers, Noonan's Wine Country Designs
Videography, Cameron Ingalls
Cake, Paper Cake Events
Bride's gown, Hayley Paige
Hair, Victoria Connolly of Faces à la Mode
Makeup, Amanda Olson Beauty
Bridesmaids' dresses, Rebecca Taylor
Groom's and groomsmen's tuxedos, The Black Tux
Transportation, SLO Safe Ride