{Real Weddings} Heidi & Shawn's Elegant Garden Wedding

Happy Friday, friends! We have a gorgeous wedding to share with you today, sent over to us by Ashley Paige Photography. The setting is dreamy, the lighting is breathtaking, and this beautiful couple is absolutely stunning, and utterly smitten for one another.  

The bride, Heidi, has taken the time to share with us all of the details to their fabulous wedding, from flower choices, to song picks, DIY details and so much more.  If you're a bride-to-be, you might want to take some notes!

Please enjoy Heidi & Shawn's Elegant Garden Wedding, and behold the beautiful imagery of Ashley Paige Photography:

The love story

Our names are Shawn and Heidi. We met online on Ok Cupid. I had dabbled in online dating for about a year without success. Per Shawn, after some persuasion from a friend, he created a profile and I was the first and only person that caught his interest and emailed! He wrote me a joke as I had requested in my profile. I laughed and the rest is history! After 3 years of dating, he proposed to me on top of Waimea Canyon, which was his mom's favorite place in the world. His mom's ashes had also been scattered at the same spot after a battle with ALS. Although I never got to meet her, I felt as if she was present in a special way that no one else could be. Very special moment I will remember forever!

After that, crazy wedding planning started!! We met our photographer, Ashley Paige, through a mutual friend. We immediately hit it off with Ashley! She is so even keeled and has a keen eye for lighting! Per her suggestion we did a second engagement shoot with her in order to get more comfortable in front of the camera and her. One of the best pieces of advice we got and I think our wedding photos turned out better because of that!

The planning process

We started planning the wedding about a year before the wedding date. We tried to set our wedding date the same as our 4 year anniversary, but it was a Thursday. So instead, we had our rehearsal dinner on our 4 year anniversary. We did hire a wedding coordinator (Cindy Andrade of Celebrations by Cindy) that we met with about 3-4 times over the year to help us organize everything. Her assistant was also present the day of the wedding to make sure everything went smoothly. If finances were abundant, I probably would have had Cindy do more and hire a wedding planner! 

Finding the dress

Finding a dress took some time. I did not want to spend too much on my dress. So, my mom and I went to an event (Brides against Breast Cancer) initially to check out wedding dresses. Although I did not find my dress, it gave us some insight in to the style of dress I wanted. A few weeks later Katrina (my maid of honor and cousin) came up and the 3 of us went to 3 different bridal stores. Unbeknownst to me, Katrina and my mom knew I had found my dress at the first dress shop. After a long day of trying on dresses, I still was not sure and wanted to head in to San Francisco. Instead, my mom had me pull off the freeway, look at all the photo's again and went back to the initial bridal store (Janene's in Alameda). Once I tried it on again, I knew they were right and I had found the perfect dress for me and the occasion. The dress was an Allure gown. It had a pinkish tone, which is exactly what I had wanted. I got my birdcage veil and fascinator off of Etsy.

The bridal party

My bridesmaids were as follows: 
Katrina: 1st cousin on my mom's side, maid of honor, interior designer, could not have made it through the year without her
Melissa: best friend from high school, matron of honor, I'm her oldest daughter's godmother
Allison: first friend in high school, have pot luck dinners with her and her family as well as Stephanie's family, confidant
Stephanie: first childhood girlfriend, helped me with all the stenciling and let me borrow her tools
Cindy: Shawn's one and only sister, planned a super fun rehearsal dinner for us!

Katrina was very involved with picking out the bridesmaids dresses. We took a trip out to the city with our mom's and once she tried on the JCrew dresses, we knew we had found the perfect dress. Plus, they had the exact color of purple I was looking for. JCrew was very easy to work with and everyone was able to pick the dress that fit their body type the best in the same color! I loved that they all had different style dresses on in the same material! We decided to go with a metalic shoe, once again, shoe of their choice in that color range. I loved seeing how their personalities shined in these dresses and accessories.

Flowers were fun! My mom and I made several trips to the Oakland Flower Mart to get ideas and practice making bouquets. The day before the wedding, we went down with my aunt and cousin (also my maid of honor and design consultant) to purchase flowers. I wanted our bouquets to highlight more green as the brides maids dresses were eggplant. My bouquet centered around avalanche roses, green hydrangeas and these green puff ball flowers that looked straight out of a Dr. Seuss
book. The bridesmaids each had a rose from my bouquet, green mums and green larkspur. All the bouquets were made by my mom and aunt.

The venue

I always wanted a garden wedding that was not too fancy. So, when looking at venues, we looked
specifically at ones with gardens in our budget. We decided on the Gardens at Heather Farms as it was close to our families and I had grown up going there. From there, my cousin Katrina (owner of FOUR Design an interior design company) helped with the color pallet. I had always wanted purple and ended up with eggplant purple, silver and green. 

The ceremony

We didn't really have any traditions. Our goal was for a short and sweet ceremony in order to get to our fun reception!

The Reception

Shawn and I both like beer and wine, so many of our themes revolved around different breweries and wineries that we liked.

Also of importance to us when picking a venue, was that the ceremony and the reception could be on the same grounds to make it easier for us and the guests. Safe transportation was also important to us so we rented a van and party bus to ensure everyone staying at the hotel was able to get to and from the wedding without worrying about driving.

The details

All of the details and decor of the wedding were DIY! My mom, Shawn and I planted all of the succulent center-pieces in galvanized pots. . Then, my great aunt, grandma and step mom helped with the floral arrangements in different mason jars. Shawn and I found antique mason jars for larger flower arrangements at antique shops up in Healdsburg and he found the beautiful purple one on eBay. 

My step mom and I made all of the table numbers out of wine corks. We made a card box out of a wooden wine box which my uncle and mom's boyfriend made a card slot on the top. I spray painted frames I had found in silver and put engagement photos in some and made signs out of the 3 others to put around. I made all of the place cards with the help of Shawn, my mom and the best woman.  

Our gifts for guests included a Lagunitas mason jar, a copy of photo from photo booth plus a magnet that I had made from either a beer, champagne or soda top.  

As far as cake, this took the longest! No cupcake shop could surpass the burnt sugar spice cupcake that my aunt made. We finally found a super sweet baker through our jeweler and the cupcakes! She made a cinnamon cake with a salted caramel frosting! YUM!

Our DJ was a family friend of Shawn's. He helped organize all the songs we wanted and didn't want as well as help pick out first dance, father daughter dance and son-in-law mother dance.  Our family and friends were involved and very helpful. Mostly my mom as I am the first to get married on her side. She was very supportive and everything you could hope for in a mother of the bride. She gave advice and brought up important points and always kept our vision and opinions in the forefront!

Additional details:


Definitely hire a wedding coordinator or planner. They have details that are forgotten and have inside connections with other vendors.

Honeymoon plans

After much debate, we did decide to take a honey moon since we both had the week off after the wedding. Our main goals were to go somewhere close since we only had a week and that it was all inclusive. We found a great all inclusive resort in Cabo (Casa del Mar Zoetry) and had a blast! Not only was the resort superb, we met several other couples that we will be keeping in touch with!

I love Heidi's approach to every aspect of her wedding planning.  From the search for the dress, which is a beautiful dress by the way, to the venue, meeting with the wedding coordinator multiple times, getting comfortable with the photographer, the end result was a truly stunning, and flawless looking wedding.

Our sincere thanks to Heidi for sharing with us all the ins and outs to yours and Shawn's beautiful day.  And a special thanks to Ashley Paige Photography for sending your beautiful work our way!

Photographer: Ashley Paige Photography//Venue: Gardens at Heather Farm//Wedding Coordinator: Cindy Andrade with Celebrations by Cindy//Dress Shop: Janene's Bridal Boutique//Caterer/Bar: Small Thyme Catering//Photo Booth: 143 Photo Booth//DJ: C&R Sounds, Chris Cavazos//Cake-Dessert: Sweet Bites, Andi Miller//Linens: Pleasanton Rentals//Makeup & Hair:  Katie Nash//Transportation: Black Tie