A DIY Wedding in Downtown Santa Ana: Candice & Nathaniel

One of the things that bums be out about living in the UK is that we can’t get married anywhere we like – of course many couples these days opt for a humanist ceremony at the spot of their choice with the ‘legal bit’ taking place a few days before or after, but it’s not really the same. And when I see ceremonies as gorgeous as Candice & Nathaniel right in the heart of Downtown Santa Ana, I’m even more envious!

The wedding took place on June 3rd. The couple organised everything themselves and did so for less than $5000. The ceremony was held on 2nd Street Promenade, and the reception was at Memphis at the Santora, just round the corner. The couple met online and had their first date in the area, and Nathaniel proposed on New Years Eve at Memphis at the Santora,. Basically it was the obvious location for them to have their wedding too!

“Nate & I met online through the most unlikely dating site, OK Cupid”, explained Candice. “Our first date was spent in Downtown Santa Ana, where I was living at the time. Most of our first dates were spent hopping around the bars and restaurants in that neighborhood. We got engaged at midnight on New Years Eve at Memphis at the Santora. All of our friends were there, the bar bought us a bottle of champagne, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more romantic and loving. We celebrated the rest of the night with our friends, and even called our families at about 1am. It was fantastic.”

“We had a very limited budget. I knew we couldn’t spend more than $5000. Our plan was to get married, ask for cash and move to Portland, OR. The only way we could do that was by spending as little as possible. The limited budget was really to our advantage actually. It made us get crafty and use our resources wisely. I can’t stand traditional weddings that have no personality. We wanted our friends and family to know this was our wedding, and it certainly screamed US. We chose to just do things our way, like designing and producing all our invites. No one will ever have the same invitations as us, and that was so important.”

“Our friend Johnny Sampson married us”, she continued. “He’s not only been a long time friend, but he has been my bartender for many years. He really knows me a lot better than some people, and really saw the development of mine & Nate’s relationship. He made our ceremony so personal, it definitely brought a lot of tears not only my eyes but a lot of our guests as well. We wrote our own vows, and no one heard them until the ceremony. It was really special, and I couldn’t hold back tears. We both promised to always have dance parties, and Nate called me the Duchess of Brunch which is pretty accurate. Most of our weekends are spent making brunch and drinking mimosas, while he plays music. I always call him my Breakfast DJ. Nate’s only request for the wedding was a mashed potato bar. Memphis was fantastic and put together an amazing spread. We had a variety of awesome toppings including 3 different kinds of cheese, 2 different gravies, bacon, and they even got some veal chorizo just for us.”

I’m even more thrilled to share this wedding today because Candice was an avid Rock n Roll Bride reader throughout her planning. “We really tried to DIY as much as possible for the wedding. I used the fabric flower bouquet tutorial from Rock n Roll Bride to make the base of my bouquet. I then made a ton of felt flowers and went crazy with my hot glue gun. I then made boutonnieres  or all the guys, and my bridesmaid Nicci helped me make the felt flower headbands for the girls.”

“My advice for all brides-to-be would be to enter any and all wedding contests! I won my dress from a contest on Rock n Roll Bride, so I only had to pay for it to be tailored and have the bustle put in. We also won an engagement shoot, and even got to go to a wedding DJ workshop where we learned to spin. These were all really awesome and memorable activities throughout our engagement.”

AMAZING! Thank you to Candice & Nathaniel for sharing their wedding with us today.

Supporting Cast

Photography Credit: John Robert Woods Photography
Venue Memphis at the Santora
Bride’s Dress: Simply Bridal, tailored & bustle added by Janet Brunton – janetbrunton@gmail.com
Bride’s Shoes: Bakers
Bride’s Headpiece: Giant Dwarf
Bride’s Jewellery: Le Modern Trinket
Groom’s Outfit: Originial Penguin Clothing
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Various
Cake: Beverly’s Best Bakery
Flowers: DIY
Hair: Nicole Simon
Make Up: Patty German
DJ: Steve Fisch & Brian Maul (friends, regular DJs at Memphis)
Stationery: DIY
Photo Booth: All Smiles Photo Booths


  1. Teacup

    As Jemma says if you want a more non-traditional ceremony get married in Scotland. My friend recently got married outdoors in the grounds of a castle in a ceremony that was part pagan, catholic and humanist and it was completely legal.

    It’s more to do with the person that marries you rather than where or how as far as I understand!

    It’s only ever in England where I’ve had friends who have had to go through the 2 ceremonies palaver. You need to remember that Scotland has its own laws for many of these things!

  2. Jessica

    Yay! I voted for them to win the free wedding photography contest (mutual Tumblr friend reblogged them)! This is beautiful!

  3. Nicci

    Woot! I’m so excited for Candice and Nate! The bride is one of my oldest friends, and I am so honored to have been part of this special day! Thanks, Rock ‘n’ Roll Bride for featuring it! It really was as amazing of an event as you made it look 😉

  4. I am ecstatic to see Candace and Nate’s wedding featured here! I absolutely adore her and with my wedding in 10 days, the one sad part of my day is that she has moved and won’t be here to celebrate! She definitely gave me confidence to figure out my own DIY wedding!!! <3 you lady! and <3 RnR bride!!!! Big fan!

  5. Kira

    This is the kind of wedding I want.. low cost, DIY, and all about us and what we like. Candice is a sweetheart and I am so happy that she’s happy! Okcupid can work! I met my current love on there and we’re almost at 2 years.

  6. Angie

    Hi Candice! Great pics!! Can I ask you, Where did you get those CUTE bags for your bridesmaids??? Love those!!

  7. Yaaay Candice! I knew I’d be seeing you on here soon, your wedding looked so fabulous! It looks like it was the coolest, most fun wedding ever, seriously. Cutest, funnest couple! I love all of the details and the love & creativity that went into every single aspect. Looove the “treat yo self” banner. And I would be all over a mashed potato bar. Also, gotta love a Giant Dwarf headpiece! 😉 Hooray for everything! The photos are fantastic. 😀

  8. The wedding looked beautiful and it was done on a budget. Seems like you got very lucky and was able to win a few competitions to help keep your wedding under budget. It is always heart warming to see a wedding like this

  9. Candice

    @Angie I got the bags at Target. They were perfect for my girls to carry a few things for me and also made it so they didn’t have to carry a big purse themselves. 🙂

  10. It looks like the bride and groom had a great day on their wedding which is the most important aspect after all. Congrats to Candice & Nathaniel.


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