Camp-Inspired Backyard Wedding in the California Coastal Hills

Rebecca + Thomas
May 27, 2012
California Coastal Mountains

Rebecca and Thomas included their love of nature, the outdoors, and National Parks straight to their backyard wedding for a delightful homespun feel. Rebecca added pretty details that added a romantic touch. I mean, just look at those green and lavendar bouquets with mix and match lavender bridesmaids dresses! So pretty!!! Be sure to scroll down for Rebecca's awesome Hindsight Advice…
Purple and Green Elegant Bouquet Elegant ivory wedding shoes and goddess gown escort cards on a clothes line wildflowers in mason jars and forest service sign table numbers Joshua Tree Table number turquoise vintage truck for wedding getaway vintage toy truck and wedding rings purple bridesmaids dresses and bouquet purple bridesmaids dresses pink flowering tree and turquoise truck California Backyard wedding backyard wedding on a porch celebrating that first moment of being married bride and groom kiss under a paper umbrella Mariachi guitar players Mariachi horn players bride portrait and engagement picture table woodland wedding cake bride and groom in a vintage camper backyard wedding reception first dance in a California backyard reception dance party reception

Why a Mountain Wedding?

My husband, Thom, and I live in the hills of Los Angeles, and, from the day we met, shared a mutual love of the mountains, trails and hidden staircases of Los Angeles. We are also big into hiking and the outdoors and this inspired our wedding themes of nature and camping.

Where did you find your inspiration?

Our wedding day was inspired by our love of the West coast's beautiful natural landscape and culture. We wanted our wedding to feel like a party in the woods, so we took the natural landscape of my husband's family's home, with the towering deodor pines, and added touches of whimsy and romance, such as the canopy of strung lights, the hanging metal lanterns, the campfire and s'mores bar, and the 1960s robin's egg blue camper, which was a huge hit with the guests. We also drew inspiration from all the state and national parks we had visited in our travels, including Angeles Forest, Mount Hood, and Torrey Pines, and designed our welcome sign and the table name signs to look like vintage national park signs.

What were some personal details you incorporated?

  • My father is Mexican-American, and no Mexican wedding is complete without mariachi. The music as well as the look of the mariachi band created a beautiful juxtaposition against the outdoor surroundings.
  • Thom's brother-in-law and father made the welcome sign using wood and a large color print of the text. As guests entered the wedding venue, they posed next to our wedding sign and received instant photos (we used a Fujifilm Instax 210) of themselves that looked just like Polaroid photos from a family camping trip of yesteryear.
  • My husband's sister did the table décor, and selected California native wildflowers in our wedding colors of sage green and lavender. She also placed votive candles on raw wood coasters that her husband had made the week before.

 Your favorite moment of the day.

It was the end of the ceremony when we were pronounced husband and wife. I felt such a sense of exhilaration at that moment and Thom and I both just spontaneously grabbed hands and raised them into the air, like we had just won medals in the Olympics. I also loved every bit of the dancing. We had a fabulous DJ, DJ Burt Blackarach, who kept the party going for a very long time.

Three things you're glad you did.

  • I'm so glad my husband rented a vintage camper. Not only did it perfectly add to the theme of our wedding, but the guests had a blast going in to the camper and we got some wonderful shots inside and outside of the camper, which we ended up using for our thank you cards.
  • I'm also glad that we found a bakery, A Sweet Design, that was able to work with us to create a forest cake with fondant ferns, mushrooms and a bark icing. The cake surpassed my expectations for bringing my vision to life.
  • Lastly, I loved our campfire and s'mores bar because guests had fun making their own s'mores, and got to feel like kids on a camping trip in the midst of a wedding.

 What was the best piece of wedding advice you got?

After the ceremony, take about 10 minutes to be alone with your new spouse because once you join your guests you will not have a second of alone time. Also, get a wedding coordinator for the wedding day, itself. It spared me and my wedding party the hassle of having to worry about the wedding day schedule.

Anything you wish you hadn't worried about?

I wish I hadn't worried so much before the wedding about how I would look. I felt so happy and filled with love on my wedding day that it completely superseded my self-consciousness and jitters.

Anything You wish you had known about sooner rather than later?

Not that I can think of. There were a couple little bumps in the road, but nothing that we could have predicted.

How did you choose your vendors?

We, mostly, found our vendors through personal connections. Our photographer, Erika Parker, is a good friend of mine, and she flew out from New Orleans to shoot our wedding. She did an amazing job of capturing the natural beauty and joy of our wedding. Our officiant was Thom's brother-in-law. Our dj and florist were both friends of my sister-in-law, our wedding coordinator was a friend of a friend, and our wedding coordinator recommended the bakery. It was really nice to find vendors through personal connections and it also saved us money. My husband found the camper rental and our caterer just by exploring our neighborhood of Echo Park/Silverlake.

What is your very best advice to other mountain brides?

Be true to yourself. We never wanted a stiff, formal wedding because that's not who we are as people. Our wedding was fun and warm because we are fun-loving, genuine and warm people and because we chose wedding elements that bespoke who we are as a couple. The more you allow your genuine personalities to come through, the better your wedding will be. After all, this is your wedding.
Also, specific advice to brides: Wear a comfortable wedding dress and shoes. I wore a comfortable dress and shoes because we were walking on grass the whole evening and dancing, and it felt so good to be able to move and breathe with ease.

DIY elements:

  • We hand-stamped all of our invitation envelopes with stamps of redwood trees and forest critters (deer, rabbits, snails, etc.).
  • We designed and made our own welcome sign and table name signs and used wine corks to hold up the table signs
  • We used a Fuijfilm Instax 210 to take instant photos of all of our guests, that they could take home as souvenirs. We also put the instant photos in our guest book.
  • Thom's sister, Cass, did the table décor using wildflowers, mason jars, hand made wood coasters and tea lights. We made our own burlap table runners
  • We hung lanterns (from Ikea) throughout the wedding location, which created a romantic woodsy ambiance as night fell.
  • We wrote our own vows and Thom's brother-in-law officiated our wedding, which made the ceremony feel very intimate and personal.
  • Bridesmaids selected their own dresses in varying shades of lavender, which meant that they got to wear dresses they liked and save money!

Team Wedding

Submitted via Two Bright Lights