When Stacia and Nick's mutual friends invited them both to a group camping trip in Big Sur, California, they jumped at the chance to enjoy the outdoors. "Nick offered to drive, and I ended up riding in his car," says Stacia. "We talked the whole way there, and spent the whole weekend getting to know one another. We were inseparable once we got back to Los Angeles." A few years later, Nick asked his family for the Cartier ring that had been passed through generations since it was given to his great-great-grandmother, Eleanor Roosevelt, in the late 19th century. In September of 2014, as the couple reached an oak tree (outfitted with a bench swing!) at the end of their favorite hike in the canyons of Los Angeles, Nick proposed.
The pair decided to wed just ten months later, on June 27, 2015. Though initially worried that they'd have a hard time finding a venue and vendors they loved, they were thrilled when a family friend offered The Banning Museum, a private home with an East Coast vibe that was transformed into a Southern California museum, for their celebration. "It was the perfect way to host the family-style event we wanted, but elevated beyond our own backyard," says Stacia. They spent the months working on DIY projects and wrangling family members to help bring the wedding together. Check out the gorgeous images, photographed by Studio 19 Photography.
Stacia knew her pale skin would look best in an off-white hue, and immediately fell for this two-piece gown by Watters. The lace corset and tulle skirt had a ballerina vibe that was perfect for a bride who loves to dance. "It was the first dress I tried on in the first store I visited, and I bought it that day!" she says. Rose gold wedges were a beautiful match, and a great choice for the outdoor celebration.
The bride topped her braided updo with a tulle veil handmade by a friend. "We ordered extra fabric from Watters so that it would be an exact match," she says. She carried a colorful bouquet of desert roses, succulents, and freesia down the aisle.
The six bridesmaids wore dusty mauve gowns from BHLDN, a soft and feminine choice to match the slightly vintage feel of the rest of the wedding.
The flower girl, Nick's cousin's daughter, was the most serious one Stacia had ever seen. "She individually chose every petal, then carefully placed it on the ground. She circled a tree next to the ceremony after she'd finished with the aisle!" the bride remembers.
Stacia and her father wanted to take their time as they walked down the aisle. When they were about halfway, they came to a stop to take it all in before making their way to the altar.
Though the couple didn't write their own vows, they did exchange letters the morning of their wedding, and customized the ceremony (officiated by Stacia's aunt) with interfaith traditions and special readings, including the Apache Blessing.
"I know it's gone out of style a little, but we had a receiving line after cocktail hour, and were so glad we did," says Stacia. "We got to talk to every one of our guests one-on-one, which was so special."
On the lawn, blush tables were topped with roses and succulents. Watercolor table numbers were designed by Stacia's stepmother, and all of the escort cards were hand-written. "Everything was a family affair. Any details we could handle ourselves or with our family and friends, we did!" says Stacia.
The couple's casual dinner choices, catered by Lucille's Bar-B-Que, included serious crowd-pleasers like blackened catfish, smoked chicken, tri-tip, garlic mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, biscuits with apple honey butter, and watermelon slices.
One of Stacia's bridesmaids made the cutting cake, based on the Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Layer Cake recipe, and the couple served five other 9-inch cakes to their guests. "We wanted everyone to feel free to try whatever flavor they wanted, so Nick and I actually stood at the cake table serving people for a few minutes!" Stacia says. The five flavors were lemon, coconut, chocolate marble, vanilla, and seasonal berry with whipped cream — it's amazing guests could decide on just one!
A DJ played everything from Motown and country to pop and R&B, and guests were on the dance floor all night. Says Stacia, "Planning can get overwhelming, so try to let it go on the day of your wedding. Make eye contact with your guests as you walk down the aisle, because there is so much joy and emotion around you." Adds Nick, "Stand up straight and remember to smile! And don't lock your knees!"
Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Banning Museum || Bride's Wedding Dress: Watters || Shoes: Louise et Cie || Hair & Makeup: Schavon Suchanek || Bridesmaids' Dresses: BHLDN || Groom & Groomsmen's Attire: Mr. Tuxedo || Engagement Ring: Cartier || Wedding Bands: Le Parisien Design Company || Florist: The Bride's Family and Friends || Invitations & Paper Goods: The Bride's Stepmother || Ceremony Music: Katrina Saroyan || Reception Music: Extreme DJs || Catering: Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que || Bartenders: Hi-Time Wine Cellars || Cakes: A Bridesmaid, SusieCakes || Favors: Peach Couture, First Source, LLC || Photography: Studio 19 Photography
Did you love this backyard wedding? Then check out another couple's homespun wedding in the video below.