Editor's Note: Yes, it's Monday morning and so you'll have to excuse my brain lapse! In the newsletter that went out, we mistakenly said that the details were Chinese rather than Japanese (Grace's lovely, origami cranes). Rather Jason and Grace are teaching English in China and I, obviously, need a very long vacation.

Oh, I love, love, love this wedding we have for you today from Emily Takes Photos. Grace and Jason are absolutely adorable and their wedding is chock-full of fantastic DIY details (Grace made their paper cranes, napkins and garlands; Jason's mom made their bundt cake while her mom helped with the flowers; one of her friends designed her fabulous invites).

And I think Grace has some of the best advice I've read in awhile for brides just getting started on their planning who want to tame the wedding beast: We sat down and chose three things that we absolutely needed to have: great food, a casual atmosphere, and a memorable ceremony. After deciding on what was most important, the details became extraneous, and things sort of fell into place. If we ever had a disagreement or hesitations during our planning, we'd ask, "Will this contribute directly to our 'core three'?" So smart, right? Be sure to keep reading after the photos for more ideas and insight.

And, it's such a fun wedding we just couldn't fit it all into one day! Check back on Monday for their delightful reception!


Grace's Thoughts
Tell us about any specific details or DIY projects you did yourself or that have special meaning....
As Jason and I were preparing for the wedding, I got sucked into the world of wedding blogs and got quickly lost track of what was really important. While the color scheme, flower arrangements, linens, etc. all lend to a beautiful event, it became apparent over time that all the traditional wedding details weren't important to us, and brought us more stress and anguish than the joy and love we wanted to feel from our wedding.

We sat down and chose three things that we absolutely needed to have: great food, a casual atmosphere, and a memorable ceremony. After deciding on what was most important, the details became extraneous, and things sort of fell into place. If we ever had a disagreement or hesitations during our planning, we'd ask, "Will this contribute directly to our 'core three'?" And if the answer was "yes," we'd readjust our budget and continue on. If the answer was "no," I'd sulk about it and eventually remind myself that my soon-to-be-husband is wonderfully level-headed and patient for dealing with my wild wedding demands.

I wanted the wedding to have a lot of small details that added color and charm to the day. Bunting and origami cranes were popping up everywhere in the wedding blog world, but I still loved the element of casual whimsy and color they added, so I strung together hundreds of paper cranes (not a thousand, though!) and made bunting using the same origami paper and some fishing line. After burning through all that paper, I still had quite a bit left, so I made sweet little signs to hang up in different areas of the venue to tie everything together. During our engagement, Jason and I were living in China, so we went to different wholesale markets and bought up fabric in different patterns and colors, and had them made into napkins for the reception.

We also loved the idea of the wedding being a collaborative effort, so we enlisted help from a lot of our friends and family. The invitations were designed by one of my bridesmaids. A few of my friends made a scrapbook guestbook using our engagement photos and old ticket stubs from movies and places that Jason and I had been to together.  My mom, aunt, and Jason's mom all collected lavender that was tossed during the recessional.  Our wedding cake was made by Jason's mom, who made Jason's favorite bundt cake in different sizes and stacked them. My mom, sister, and I got together the day before the wedding and made the bouquets for the bridal party.  All the collaboration made the wedding day so much more personal than if we'd hired people to do things for us, and we were so blessed to find that people were more than willing to help in any way they could.

Did your wedding location hold a specific significance to you?
Jason and I met in Santa Cruz, CA, and we knew we'd want to marry there. We also knew we wanted to get married outdoors in a beautiful and intimate environment. Radonich Ranch was the perfect venue for what we wanted... and came with the perfect coordinator, Marky Carr, who saw us through to the very end of the day when she sent us off with hugs and a spare loaf of bread for our after-party!

What was the most meaningful part of your day?
Our ceremony was everything we'd hoped it to be - personal, full of emotion, and extremely honest. As we were preparing our vows and the flow of the ceremony, Jason and I knew that we wanted people to have a glimpse into the devotion and love we share for each other and our faith. We believe so strongly that our faith is what will keep us together in difficult times, and it was an honor to share that with our guests. We also were overjoyed that our good friend officiated for us. He was one of the first people to know Jason and me as a couple, so it was so symbolic and meaningful to have him join us in marriage.
Bride's dress: Jenny Yoo
Bride's shoes: Steve Madden
Bride's comb: Heavenly Treasures
Groom's suit: Banana Republic
Groom's tie clip: Keys and Memories
Bridesmaid's jewelry: Starfish Project
Groomsmen's suits: Banana Republic
Groommen's tie clips: Keys and Memories
Venue: Radonich Ranch
Photographer: Emily Takes Photos
Catering and coordination: Vignette Events
Pies: Beckman's Old World Bakery
Invitations: Kari Waldrep

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