Happy New Year! I've been meaning to share photos for awhile now but time got away from me and in all honesty, writing is not one of my strong suits. I use images and art to express feelings and emotions. That being said, I do enjoy sharing my passions and journey in life with others in the best way I can and sometimes words are needed. In November of 2016 Doug and I got engaged while on a short vacation to Lake Tahoe. He proposed to me at the end of a boat dock, in freezing cold weather with snow pouring down on us. So, pretty memorable. Even though I legitimately thought I might fall off the boat dock (it was so windy and the dock was really far out in the water) I would not have wanted it any other way. Doug and I have been on a lot of adventures while we've dated because our relationship started out long distance so traveling was a must. I haven't seen much of the world before we started dating so a lot of my experiences in new places have been with him. There is always some location, that will probably terrify me, that Doug will ask me to stand in so we can take photos. It usually makes for amazing shots so I always agree, with a little complaining in there because, hey, falling off things kind of scares the crap out of me. I'm not the most graceful of humans, ha! So of course when he asked me to stand at the end of a boat dock for a photo, I didn't think much of it. I'm so glad I didn't refuse to walk out there that day. It was so magical, I will never forget it.
I never expected to get married. I had a thirteen-year long relationship from the age of 19. For the last half of that relationship he became very ill and I became his caregiver. Unfortunately about four and a half years ago he passed away after quite a lot of suffering. I share because my past is a huge part of who I am and most of my adult life before now. Life is completely new, terrifying, amazingly wonderful and something I look forward to now. Doug and I met on Instagram of all places. We both followed each other because of similar interests but we never had any conversations with each other, I didn't even know what he looked like. One day he posted a photo of half of his face and I felt the need to tell him he had beautiful eyes. After that, we never stopped talking to each other. Although thousands of miles away, he helped me start to heal after a pretty traumatic past. Fast forward a year and I packed up my home in Kansas City and made the move to California to be closer to Doug. We now live in beautiful Santa Cruz, California. A place that instantly felt like home. I knew it was the right decision. I have never felt more comfortable and able to be myself than here. It's also done wonders for my health both physically and mentally. I've always loved the ocean but never lived near it and it had always been a dream to someday live in California. A dream that I never thought would actually happen. Life is such a crazy journey and if you keep pushing, your dreams can come true.
Okay, so back to the wedding! We decided a small intimate destination wedding was what would be best for us. I love my family and friends but the stress and anxiety that would have come with planning a larger wedding was just not something I was able to take on. I suffer daily with anxiety and the less stress the better. Take a vacation and get married all at once, sounded like a great plan! After much thought, we landed on Hawaii. Hawaii has always been one of my favorite places to visit and one of the few places I had traveled to over the years. We did a lot of searching for the perfect location for us and ended up choosing the the Four Seasons on the Big Island. Neither of us had visited the Big Island and we really loved the photos we saw on line. It just felt like the right choice and I have zero regrets about our decision. It was important to have most things taken care of in one location so all we really needed to focus on were the small detail like what we would wear and what colors our flowers would be. It was nice to not stress too much but that being said last year was still pretty stressful and just finding a dress that I liked was tough. The date we landed on for the wedding was Halloween. I take full responsibility for the date because I've known since I was a child that if I were to get married, it would be on Halloween in a black dress. I've never been one to do anything the traditional way and wearing white just isn't me. It didn't take much to convince Doug about that date because now we have such a fun anniversary date and I'm so excited to celebrate each year!
Lets talk about the things that did stress me out a little. I'm the kind of person that usually knows exactly what I want and if I can't find it, then I'll make it if I can. As for my wedding dress, little did I know how incredibly difficult it was going to be to find a black dress that I loved, could afford, and felt like a wedding dress. I had spent so long hunting for dresses and had always been on the lookout for something vintage but with no luck. With time running out I was close to just picking a prom dress but I really didn't want to go that route. Then I considered having a dress dyed but if you know anything about dying fabric, black can be a difficult color to achieve and I was worried it might come out navy. Finally, after months of searching I found a wedding dress shop near us that had options of custom made dresses. They had a few different styles and you could change up the parts, add different trains, different sleeves, and the most important part, I could get it made in a different color! I knew I wanted black lace and thankfully that was an option! You have no idea how excited I was to find this out! After that, everything went pretty smoothly with the dress. I picked out all the details I wanted and my dress was custom made to fit me (and for less than I would have paid for most other designer wedding gowns)! I knew I wanted some sort of birdcage veil to wear and found quite a few on Etsy I liked but nothing was perfect so I decided to make mine. The floral fascinator I created with velvet millinery flowers and leaves I ordered from Etsy and I decided to cover my veil in crystals for a little bit of sparkle and color. I loved how it turned out and I'm so happy I decided to make it. I'll post some detail photos and more info about the dress and veil in another post!
Our immediate family joined us for our big day and it was absolutely perfect. The Four Seasons did an amazing job and they were so wonderful through the entire process. As for the colors of our wedding, I wanted to keep them more in the fall color tones since it was going to be on Halloween... even though it was 80 degrees on our wedding day! We didn't really think that one through too well when it came to our clothing choices. I didn't want to go full-on Halloween theme so we kept it very subtle and since sunset was the time of our wedding, we went with a more moody sunset color palette. When you have a wedding like this, you don't have the luxury of really seeing your flowers and decor before you arrive. We did send inspiration photos but had no idea how it would all look until the day of the wedding. Heidi at the Four Seasons did an amazing job of taking what we gave her and creating something so incredibly gorgeous. Can we talk about that bouquet! It seriously weighed about ten pounds and my arms got a really good workout but it was beautiful and they were so kind to dry it out for me so I could keep it forever. I honestly didn't even get to appreciate all of the flowers until after the wedding when we saw photos. Everything became a blur the day of the wedding and it went by so quickly. Our wedding was at the "Wedding Tree" on the resort right next to the water with the gorgeous white sand and black lava rocks. It was a magical day with our family that we will never forget.
Doug and I both take lots of photos but surprisingly we have never had professional photos taken together. I'm used to taking my own with a tripod or I have Doug take them. Rarely do we get both of us in the photo. We were excited to finally have more photos taken together and I am in love with how they came out! There are so many good ones that it was difficult to narrow them down to share. I may have to post more in the future! Our beautiful photos were taken by Ruth Powell who was so wonderful to work with. She made two people who generally feel very awkward in front of a camera, feel very comfortable. I love how she kept a moody vibe with the photos to go along with the day! If you decided to share any of our photos please give credit accordingly. All photos from our wedding in this post are by Ruth.
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read a little about our wedding! We are so excited for what the future holds.