Wedding Planning

Emily and Joe’s Lovely Mill Valley, CA Wedding by Emily Takes Photos

This is the sort of wedding you wish you were invited to. Effortlessly chic, Emily and Joe’s event embraced a simple, modern vibe. And all the guests looked like they had an amazing time. The best modern detail? The co-ed parties on both the bride and the groom’s side. 

Because, after all, some of the most treasured people in our lives are often of the opposite sex, whether they be a sibling or a best friend from college. Held at The Outdoor Art Club, we think this wedding will quickly become a source of inspiration for your own planning. Thank you to the talented Emily Takes Photos for sharing another stunning event with us!

Photography: Emily Takes Photos   |   Venue: The Outdoor Art Club   |   Day-Of Coordinator: Lovely Eleven   |   Catering: Forks and Fingers   |   Pie: Mission Pie   |   Dress: Sarah Seven   |   Accessories: Mignonne Handmade, Dogeared   |   Hair: Milvali Salon   |   Groom’s Suit: J. Crew

What was most important for you to include in your wedding – what was your biggest priority?

Emily: Our biggest priority was our guests. These were our favorite people and almost all of them were coming from far away, so we wanted them to have an amazing time. From the nostalgic music to the alcohol to letting our wedding party wear what they wanted, we always tried to keep our friends and family in mind.
Joe: We’d been living in California for about three years, and for most people it was their first trip out to visit us. So we made sure that there were lots of “extracurriculars” that people could do outside of the wedding day to really experience some of our favorite parts of the Bay Area.

What was your favorite detail?

Emily: My favorite details were everything we could keep after the wedding was over—the bunting a friend made, the wine cork ampersand that took years of collecting, the votive holders I slaved over—now they’re little reminders around our apartment that, yes, this really did happen.
Joe: I really liked the centerpieces. Emily made these really fun double sided cards with pictures of each of us at the age corresponding to the table number. Ages 2 and 6 were particularly good. It was a nice personal touch.

What was your wedding theme or style? How did you choose your theme?
Emily: We didn’t intend to have a theme or style, but after the wedding I would say that our theme turned out to be “family,” although it was completely unintentional. All four parents walked us down the aisle, our siblings stood up with us during the ceremony, our dads both gave incredible speeches, and during our first dances, we showed pictures of our relationships with our parents as we grew. Everyone commented on how much love was present during the wedding, especially from our families.
Joe: Aesthetically, we had intentions of “industrial/rustic” – lots of natural colors and textures. Our venue really dictated a lot of what we did visually. It was a beautiful indoor/outdoor space that did most of the work for us. We just added little personal touches. So like Emily said, what emerged was really a focus on the loved ones who were there. It’s a pretty overwhelming thing to have all of your favorite people in the world celebrating this amazing moment in your life with you. Everyone just poured so much love on us.

Five words (or less) that describe the two of you and your wedding:

Emily: Laughter throughout.
Joe: Together.

What was your first dance song?


Emily: We danced to “I’m Going to Go Back There Someday” sung by Gonzo during The Muppet Movie. To me, it’s a really sweet song about finally finding the place you belong. During the song, we showed side-by-side pictures of the two of us as kids long before we met, but doing all the same things—riding Big Wheels, meeting Mickey, making the same silly face, leading up to pictures of us as adults and finally meeting.
Joe: “There’s not a word yet / for old friend who’ve just met…” That line crushes me every time. It reminds me so much of the way I felt meeting Emily.

What is your advice to couples who are planning weddings now?
Emily: If you want to do something that might be seen as non-traditional and you’re worried what people will think, just don’t tell anyone you’re doing it. They won’t be able to say anything after the fact, because it’s already done! We sent out digital invites, picked all our own music, skipped the bouquet toss, and did dozens of other “non-traditional” things. Except for one conservative aunt who thought the music was too raunchy (in our defense, we thought she would leave before “Baby Got Back” came on…), I didn’t hear a word of complaint, only surprise and delight at the non-traditional choices we made.
Joe: Make planning an activity that you do together. It can be tedious and frustrating. It can also be a special time for you to connect with each other and talk about what’s most important to both of you. Even if you don’t care about what color the napkins are, be the one to do research and get it down to a short list of three options. Or be the one to pick your favorite of the three. Every time you participate in research or decision-making you’re telling your partner you love them.