Alexandra Tumbas and Daniel Heller's first date was one for the books: It was St. Patrick's Day 2014 and, after connecting on OkCupid!, the two decided to meet in person. "Dan had an eye patch from getting stiches on his brow line the day before!" Alexandra remembers. But luck was on their sides — literally — and the two quickly became a couple. It didn't take long for Dan to know Alexandra was the One, either. On November 18, 2014, after spending the night sick with a stomach virus, Alexandra used all of the energy she had to drive to her parent's house with Dan. "I was in pajamas, wearing day-old makeup, and eating nothing but ice chips," she says. But since she and Dan were joining her family on a trip to Hawaii the next morning, it had to be done. It wasn't until Dan asked Alexandra to join him in the barn on her family's property that she understood what was happening. "I was completely oblivious to the situation," Alexandra says of Dan getting down one knee. "I have to give the man major props. For a proposal I could have seen coming from a mile away — side note, I picked out my own ring and gave him the number to the jewelry store — he caught me totally off guard. It was perfect."
The couple had already talked about getting married in the same barn where Dan popped the question, so the venue was a no-brainer. They decided on an August 22, 2015, wedding at the bride's family home in Plymouth, California, and invited 145 guests to join them for an elevated backyard bash. Although the bride and groom made sure to stay involved with all the creative elements of their day, Alexandra praises her planner, Kate Whelan, for seamlessly pulling it all off. Their open-air celebration could not have been prettier, but don't take our word for it. Thanks to Michelle Boyd Photography, you can have a look at every sweet detail of this couple's summer wedding.
Alexandra knew she wanted letterpress wedding invitations long before she was even engaged. "I took letterpress in college and fell in love with the process so I knew that not only did I want the invites to be letterpressed, but that I also wanted to design and create them myself," she says. So she set out to design and craft every aspect of her big day stationery from the save-the-date cards (which she stamped and powder embossed) to the invites, welcome cards, thank you notes, and ceremony programs. In the end, she spent over 50 hours at Dee & LaLa's, a letterpress studio in Los Angeles, and made over 5,500 impressions. The final result — a tri-color invitation suite with a custom silhouette designed by Karl Johnson — was well worth Alexandra's effort.
This silk Anna Campbell wedding dress was the tenth gown Alexandra tried on and she knew right away that she wanted it for her big day. "It was simple, flowy, and comfortable," she says. With a beaded scoop neckline and intricate back detail, the romantic gown was the perfect mix of classic and romantic and suited the style of the couple's backyard wedding.
Her loose bouquet gave off a handpicked-vibe and contained a mix of garden roses, café au lait dahlias, lisianthus, seeded eucalyptus, olive leaves, dusty miller, and bunny tail grass.
Although Dan and his groomsmen all chose classic black suits, the groom decided on more personalized accessories. He wore cufflinks with his initials and a tie clip with the coordinators of the barn where he proposed to Alexandra and where they would now be married.
A protea and seeded eucalyptus boutonniere put the finishing touch on each guy's attire.
Alexandra wanted her bridesmaids to feel comfortable on the wedding day, so she told her eight attendants to wear whatever gold or sparkling dresses they liked. Their bouquets were made up of a mix of spray roses, lisianthus, seeded eucalyptus, dusty miller, and bunny tail grass.
The couple's younger attendants stood out in pale pink and mint dresses.
Alexandra and Dan wanted to keep the décor in the barn simple and let the natural beauty of the space shine. They asked that guests "unplug" for the ceremony, allowing the photographers to do their jobs and their friends and family to be entirely present during their vows.
Inside, wooden chairs were lined up facing a raised altar. Those seated along the aisle found a special surprise on their seats — a golden tube filled with confetti that was tossed once the newlyweds made their way out of the barn.
One of the bride's many DIY projects was turning a massive oak tree into a seating chart display. "It's so spectacular so I knew I wanted to include it in the day's events somehow," Alexandra says. So she spent months collecting vintage frames that she filled with family photos and table assignments for each of their guests.
To the left of the seating chart, guests found a lounge area appointed with colorful (and comfortable!) vintage furniture. To the right, an antique dresser and bookshelf were transformed into a DIY photo booth, complete with plenty of props. The couple dyed bed sheets in different shades of blue to create an ombré backdrop.
Also on display were a series of wedding time capsules that the groom had dreamed up. Friends and family were encouraged to leave marriage advice or memories that the bride and groom could read together on their first, fifth, tenth, and twenty-fifth anniversary.
Long reception tables were arranged near the bride's parent's home. Mixed glass and gold vases and bottles were filled with dahlias, roses, hydrangeas, and greenery for centerpieces. Alexandra created each nail and string table number.
"Since my family is in the wine business, we have heaps of corks," the bride says. "With a few pins, a glue gun, and a hack saw, we made simple place card holders for each seat."
The bride and groom decided on three stations for dinner: Tex Mex, Pacific Rim, and New World. Guests dined on everything from carnitas tacos and seared ahi tuna to spring rolls and macaroni and cheese with crumbled bacon and truffle chips.
A two-tiered wedding cake was decorated with plenty of fresh flowers.
For favors, the crafty bride hand-sewed fabric bags in three useful sizes — a small for jewelry or watches, a medium for delicates, and a larger for shoes. And if the couple's friends and family needed a sweet treat to end the evening, they could munch on tasty cookies that Alexandra and Dan packed into kraft paper bags.
"The day goes by faster than anyone can prepare you for," Alexandra tells future brides. "Everyone warned me about this but until you live it yourself, you just can't imagine how quickly it will be gone. Don't schedule anything for yourself. Delegate everything to someone else and hopefully you'll give yourself just one more moment to be truly present and take it all in."
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Private residence || Wedding Planner: Kate Whelan Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Anna Campbell || Veil: Bonnie Hoffman || Shoes: Betsey Johnson || Hair & Makeup: Beauty by Star Dawn || Groom's &s Groomsmen's Attire: Jos. A. Bank || Flowers: Flourish || Invitations & Stationery: The bride || Silhouette Design: Karl Johnson || Calligraphy: LM Lettering || Music: SJ's Disc Jockey || Catering: Beth Sogaard Catering || Rentals: Classic Party Rentals || Lighting Design: BP Productions || On-Site Childcare: The Nanny Brigade || Photographer: Michelle Boyd Photography
Did you love this beautiful wedding? Then go inside another couple's backyard bash in the video below/