Boho Classic California Wedding

Today’s real wedding is absolutely gorgeous. Desiree and Brandon created a Boho theme that was classic at the same time. They were married at a gorgeous venue in California for under $14K. We especially love the mismatched bridesmaid dresses and simple DIY decor. You will love this Boho Classic California Wedding!, xoxo, Jessica

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Desiree + Brandon

March 18th, 2018

San Clemente, CA | Wedgewood Banquet

What was the budget breakdown for your wedding?

Our original budget ($12,000) did increase towards the end but we kept the grand total under our projected budget of $15,000, for a grand total of $13,950.

$10,000 for venue space which included: open bar, DJ, coordination services, dinner and appetizers, ceremony space, media package for the slideshow, invitations, sand ceremony glassware, personalized cocktail napkins, all tables, linens and dinnerware, and the bridal suite for the day
$1000 for my dress purchased at David's Bridal on promotion including alterations
$30 my shoes, purchased at a discount shoe store on clearance
$220 for brides hair and make up
$250 for suit rentals through men's warehouse
$850 for all the florals and pompas grass decor
$250 for cake
$850 for photography (photography was gifted we just paid airfare and hotel stay)
$200 for decor and favors (agate slices purchased through Amazon)
$300 for gifts for the wedding party

How many guests did you have?

We had 70 guests.

How did you meet?

Brandon and I actually met in a dive bar, in Vista, California, of all places, seemingly not romantic. But it was a sweet romance, we took a little while before dating. He pursued, I let him chase a bit, after all, we met in a bar! Through this type of meeting we were able to eliminate the need to impress each other, both of us never sold each other to one another, we fell in love without the chaos of trying to make great impressions, we were 100% ourselves from the start. We've been inseparable since our first real date, which was a few weeks after first meeting.

What is your proposal story?

Amidst career changes, a cross-country move from Knoxville, TN back to San Diego and shortly after the birth of our son, Cash, Brandon dropped a knee on Christmas eve 2016. In a similar fashion, as we when we first met we were dressed casually, not to impress and enjoying a private at home steak dinner. I was also a new mom at the time. I was covered in spit-up, my hair had probably not seen soap in a week and to my surprise, he asked me to be his wife. Explaining that the reason he loved me went far beyond the usual support, connection, and tradition but that I was the piece to his puzzle he never knew he was missing because choosing each other was always the easiest part of our relationship. I laughed a little afterward about the less than romantic ambiance but his words and heartfelt speech were more romantic than any atmosphere could ever provide.

Tell us about your wedding vision.

In the end, if I could describe it simply it was modern, bohemian and eclectic romance. We went neutral with nude tones accented with pinks so I never had to be tied down to a color wheelhouse. Honestly, I didn't go with a theme or a color palette at all. I didn't gain my vision till closer toward our date. I found inspiration through magazines, Googling and PINTEREST. From there I started with my florist. I showed her my inspiration, which was bringing the outdoors in! After nailing down the florals which were wildflowers, LOTS of eucalyptus and babies breath, I began to plan around that. I started collecting anything I loved. Amber, mixed, clear and milk vases (lots of milk vases) signs, rugs etc… The only thing that tied all my pieces together was me. I used several different wedding themes and created a personalized space that represented Brandon and me, not a specific motif. We chose a space that was already beautiful, an outdoor ceremony site with succulents and white rose bushes and the reception area I loved for the wrap-around terrace overlooking the ocean, the exposed beams that gave me Spanish vibes and outdoor firepits with lounge furniture I knew everyone would love relaxing and conversing in.

Tell us about your attire choices.

Lace lace and more lace was all I had in mind while choosing my dress. I kept an open mind and tried on just about every style and material but ended with a classic sweetheart A-Line, champagne with a white lace overlay. Best decision ever, I adored my dress. The ladies stayed in the neutral zone yet had beautiful sequinned rose patterns with one of the girls was more lacey with understated silver sequins. I had my girls pick their gowns on their own, giving a very loose parameter of which style they should purchase. I said neutral and floor length. I didn't even see them together until the day of, and I couldn't believe how gorgeous they were and how little they paid. The cheapest one was $30 from Windsor. That was one of my favorite parts. The men I had a little more bold, navy blue pants and grey vest with a burgundy/deep red ties, Brandon was the only one with a jacket. Classic with just the slightest twist. They complemented the girls perfectly.

What was the most important to you while planning? Was there anything you chose to splurge on or skip?

The budget was absolutely the most important thing but right behind that was making sure I had all the elements of a traditional wedding. I splurged on my dress, not because I wanted to but because in the end it was the best dress for me and I just didn't feel right compromising the way I felt to save a few hundred dollars. This was one of the first few purchases so I was aware of where that left my budget and was able to plan around it without any complications or having to nix anything from the end goal. One thing we totally skipped was boutonnieres, and absolutely no one noticed. Another thing I saved a ton on was having nontraditional centerpieces, flowers were very important to me but spending excess to have grand arrangements did not fit into my budget. Instead, I used single bud roses and had several on each table giving that “grand” illusion without breaking the bank.

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What were your favorite parts of the day?

Gosh so many, however, if I can share the simplest version it would be my friends and family that stepped up to help me create the wedding of our dreams. Brandon's brother designs jewelry at Kimball jewelers in Knoxville and created our wedding bands free of charge to us. We kept it a surprise and Brandon and I saw them for the first time during the first look.  Our photographer also just happens to be my cousin and is one of the most amazing photographers I've ever had the pleasure of enjoying work from. Having Elizabeth photograph our day made not only the pictures themselves that much more special but the connection and experience so much more meaningful. Lastly, my girlfriend of many years officiated our ceremony, she happens to be an aspiring romance novelist and the way she articulated our story and the importance of our promises was worth a million times more than I could ever pay a justice or other professional officiant. Our day felt so personal and having the opportunity to share with not only these people but all our guests made the day that much more perfect!

Tell us about your wedding flowers.

I described a little above but my Bouquet was wildflowers with beautiful bright pops of color which was refreshing and complementary to our neutral designs. It also lent to my eclectic nature of the wedding design. The pops of eucalyptus within also framed the flowers perfectly and tied into my bridesmaid's bouquets as well which were so green, luscious, and full of eucalyptus with white roses and babies breath. The reception was adorned with the most amazing focal point behind our sweetheart table, a large wooden wall backdrop, which I brought in and my florist then created a romantic floral drop for.  Pink roses hanging upside down with satin ribbon. Several small eucalyptus garlands accented tables where I had set up signage and deco and single bud mixed flowers were used on every dining table.

Tell us about your wedding cake.

Meagan is a superb baker. The cake itself was a naked cake adorned with an array of flowers, fresh fruit, and succulents which I had topped with a W sparkler candle to signify us as the Wheelers. The cake itself was out of this world tasty. I made a point to actually eat the cake, mostly because I was so jazzed about the flavors. Out of the 3 tiers, the bottom, which was cookie dough was my favorite. The second tier was strawberry shortcake and the third tier was brown sugar, which we saved for our anniversary next year so you'll have to wait and see how that turned out. The cake was simple yet completely stunning!

What did you do for favors?

Oh gosh, this was probably my most favorite part of the decor because it was so much more than a favor, they doubled as decor and name cards. During my inspiration tour, I came across this idea in a bridal magazine. They were agate slices that I had each guests name written on. They were gorgeous and a perfect addition to the tablescape and a bohemian yet modern feel. Loved them!

Describe any handmade, DIY, or personal details.

Most everything. I created the seating chart myself using an antique window, it came out so cool, I impressed myself. I became quite the crafter through my trials and errors. The agate slices were also DIY. The wood wall backdrop was made by my friend's brother. The wood slices that were part of the centerpieces were cut by my friend's husband, both of which I borrowed, which not only saved me money but added a personalized touch. I borrowed several bohemian and Persian rugs to line the aisle at the ceremony site. I did the calligraphy for our menu board which was probably the most difficult! We also did a nontraditional mother/son father/daughter dance. A friend of mine created a slideshow of Brandon and me growing up, which played in the background. It gave my dad and me, and Brandon and his mom a chance to enjoy the moment without everyone's eyes all on us.

Did you include any family heirlooms or special traditions?

Yes! My Vail was my mother's, except she was married in the 80's and had a very fashionable 3 tiered layered Vail complete with a large beaded crown. I had a seamstress take it apart and create a gorgeous single layer floor length Vail. I felt pretty honored that I was able to wear it and make it my own. I also was gifted and wore my grandmother's original wedding band but the original diamond had been replaced with my birthstone. It was extra special considering my grandma and grandpa are still together today. I also wore both of my grandmothers' jewelry, diamond earrings, gold and diamond pendant necklace and two tennis bracelets. It was so special to have a little something from all the women in my family that I'm close with.

Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?

Don't be afraid to go non-traditional! Think outside the box to achieve your desired look. We used an independent florist and baker which saved thousands (courtesy of thumbtack). Take your time when purchasing and searching for decor. Craigslist and Offer Up are great places to buy gently used items for decor (90% of our purchases were second hand). Use what you have! I accented the lounge area outside with blankets and pillows I already owned which made our space feel so cozy! Borrow as much as you can, you will be very surprised at how many friends and family have just the thing you're looking for to complete or add to your space. I also had a friend who was married earlier this year and she gave me everything that was leftover, one of which was all the bubbles for our send off. Ask for help! I guarantee you have a friend who is good at crafts, or calligraphy, or like in our case can provide high-quality services at a fraction of the cost. Don't stress the small stuff, no one but you knows what it is actually supposed to look like, so no one will ever know! I had a good friend of mine help with set up when I couldn't be there, she knows me well and was able to make sure that the event staff could bring everything to life without asking me. At the end of the day, even if it isn't perfect, I promise the entire event will be imperfectly perfect!


Photography: Adele Photography  •  Ceremony Venue: Wedgewood San Clemente  •  Reception Venue: Wedgewood San Clemente  •   Floral: Joyful Blooms  •  Wedding Cake: Maegs Bakes Cakes  •  Hair: Plush Artistry •  Makeup: Plush Artistry •  Wedding Dress:  David's Bridal  •  Bride's Shoes:Badgley Mischka  •  Bridesmaid Dresses: WINDSOR  • Submitted via: Matchology

Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here

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