In June 2015, artist Amanda Oleander unknowingly moved into an apartment down the hall from her future husband, Joey Rudman. Shortly after, the two were introduced at a luncheon and, as Amanda says, "immediately clicked"—so much that they were the last ones left at the party that day. "Literally, they were cleaning up trash and folding tables around us," she recalls. They began seeing each other nearly every night to play games, drink wine, and sneak onto their shared roof to watch the sunset. "I felt good around him, like I could really be myself," she says.
A few years later, Amanda flew to Boulder, Colorado, to visit her sister Bianca—not knowing that Joey was just one plane behind her. Turns out, Joey had recruited his sister Marlee, who also lives in Boulder, to organize a hike with Amanda and Bianca. As the group hiked the mountain, Amanda texted Joey a video of the beautiful view, only to find her future fiancé at the top waiting to propose! "Amanda was absolutely surprised out of her mind that I was there, and she was shaking, and smiling so big," says Joey of the moment.
When it came time to plan their wedding, Amanda says she envisioned an ultra-personal day that represented both she and Joey, but admits that she knew who would photograph it before Joey proposed. The bride met Julia of Amore Vita in high school and told her, “One day when I get married to the love of my life, I want you to be the photographer at the wedding. No matter where we live in the world, I will fly you out.” Years later, Amanda kept her promise at Vista Valley Country Club outside San Diego, so keep reading to see how her vision came to life with the help of planner Seven Stems. Spoiler: Every detail was personalized—down to the custom wedding illustration created after the wedding, just before jetting off on her honeymoon!
Amanda utilized her own artistic talents to create custom illustrations of she and Joey for the wedding. Her save-the-dates featured an illustration depicting the proposal, while drawings of the couple waving to their guests adorned their welcome bags and invitations. At the end of the night, Amanda and Joey revealed their final illustration on chocolate bar parting gifts. "If you look closely, Joey’s tuxedo jacket is off, his bow tie is undone and our hair is messy," says the bride. "I wanted this version of the characters to be sending everyone off, so I envisioned what we would look like by the end of the night, and drew it."
Following her vision of a personalized day, Amanda worked with designer Veni Infantino at Ronald Joyce Bridal to create a custom lace-and-tulle gown. Because she wanted "a dress that could transform and that [she] could use the whole night," the two-piece look featured a detachable skirt that Amanda removed after the ceremony. She accessorized with Stuart Weitzman heels and blush bouquet of garden roses and dahlias.
Amanda only had one request for her bridesmaids: follow a rusty rose color scheme. "I wanted them to be comfortable and not worry about spending more than their budget," she explains. The result? A perfect combination of different shades and materials that complemented the day's romantic theme.
For the big day, the groom wore a Zegna black tuxedo paired with a black bow-tie, boutonniere, and white pocket square. "Joey was going for a classic look," Amanda says.
Before the ceremony, she gifted her groom a sketch she had drawn of them, adding that the wedding planning process was quite easy thanks to him. "It was stress free thanks to all of Joey’s help," she says. "He created the itinerary and made sure we were crossing off things on our wedding to-do list together daily."
Amanda and Joey encouraged guests to be present for their nuptials and requested that everyone turn off their cellphones for an "unplugged" wedding ceremony. Amanda painted the sign that greeted guests, and they provided Polaroid cameras in case guests still wanted to capture a few shots.
Amanda was escorted down the aisle by both her mother and father. As soon as she locked eyes with Joey, she says they both immediately shed tears. "It was one of my favorite memories from the day," she says.
"We are an interracial and interfaith couple and completely customized the ceremony," Amanda says. They asked a close friend of Joey's family to officiate; read a prayer in Hebrew, English, and Spanish; and exchanged vows they'd written themselves.
The newlyweds exited the ceremony to "Best Day of My Life" by American Authors, even stopping for a kiss in the middle of the aisle.
Finding their gorgeous outdoor venue was easy for the couple. In fact, it was the first site they saw when wedding planning. "As soon as I saw it in photos we fell in love with it," Amanda says. "It was even more beautiful in person! "
The reception kicked off with a first dance to "Overwhelmed" by Tim McMorris, followed by a special father-daughter dance to "Lullaby" by Billy Joel. "We both cried the whole song through and he sang every word of that song in my ear to me," Amanda says of the moment.
The couple sat at a wooden sweetheart table decorated with a loosely draped beige runner, candles, and more arrangements of garden roses, dahlias, and greenery.
Guests dined al fresco on a menu of seared salmon filet, roasted chicken, pasta primavera, and grilled vegetables. The couple's parents and Joey's siblings gave speeches throughout, which Amanda claims were "perfection."
For dessert, the couple served a three-tiered cake adorned with fruits and flowers. Amanda originally made custom clay figurines to top the cake, but accidentally left them at home on the big day.
After, the couple exited the reception through a tunnel of sparklers. When all was said and done, Amanda had a lot of advice for brides and grooms-to-be: "Have fun!"
But before she jetted off to Bora Bora, Amanda created another beautiful illustration to document the wedding itself. She says this project came with a new form of excitement. "Creating the wedding illustration was a different kind of fun mixed in with 'we did it' feelings and the love high you feel after throwing a wedding with all the people you love and now being married to your best friend," she says. Next up for this piece of art? It'll be printed on their thank you notes, obvi!
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Vista Valley Country Club
Wedding Planner: Seven Stems
Officiant: Richard S. Rabinowitz, M.D.
Bride's Dress: Veni Infantino for Ronald Joyce Bridal
Bride's Veil: Veni Infantino for Ronald Joyce Bridal
Bride's Jewelry: Violet + Mable, The Rose Gypsy
Bride's Shoes: Stuart Weitzman
Hair: Elena Prohnitchi
Makeup: Draeh Hancock-Collins
Groom's Attire: Zegna
Wedding Bands: Beverly Center
Floral Design: Seven Stems
Invitations: Botanical Paper Works
Music: Peter Goslow
Catering: Vista Valley Country Club
Cake: Elegance on Display
Rentals: Vista Valley Country Club
Favors: Chocolove Chocolates
Transportation: Winery Hopper
Videography: Amari Productions
Photography: Amore Vita