Meeting at just 14 at a bonfire on the beach, it was love at first sight for Sarah and Chris. They carried this theme of fire through to their day, along with an explosion of bright rainbow colours. The flowers, chair cushions, table settings… even the drinks were brightly coloured!
Sarah and Chris had an ‘unplugged’ wedding , asking their guests to put their phones in ‘phone jail’ for the day and focus on celebrating in real life, without distractions. They chose a beautiful garden setting in La Jolla, California, overlooking the ocean, and created a personalised ceremony, as Sarah explained, “We invented our own ceremony rituals around our relationship, including a mindfulness practice and lighting a sparkler to represent our work mottos ‘Magic is Something you Make’, ‘Make it Awesome’ and ‘Hug and Breathe’, which we do when we’re overwhelmed! We kept it pretty secular, but Chris did break the glass to honour my Jewish roots.”
Bre and Collin knew that they wanted Big Sur in California to be their wedding destination, but had no clue how they wanted to go about it. With Covid, their wedding plans had to drastically change/ They started looking up photographers in Big Sur and stumbled across Flora Gibson on Instagram. “I instantly fell in love with her style and knew I had to have her as my photographer but we didn’t really know all of our options,” Bri told us. After looking over Flora’s website they saw an option for an elopement. “I was instantly curious and started my research. I found that an elopement didn’t have to be us running away to Vegas without our parents permission. Flora offered everything we wanted from an intimate setting to our picnic on the beach.”
After officially making the decision to elope versus the traditional option of a wedding ceremony, the couple know that they needed to find a way to include family. They decided to host a Zoom meeting where family and friends could join them while they read their vows to one another and had family members write them letters. For this pair, this was the perfect workaround for doing things their way, but also including their families in their big day.
When Rock n Roll Bride was created in 2007, I wrote a manifesto, which has remained the same to this day. It states,
Rock n Roll Bride is all about the charm and unique nature of ordinary people’s extraordinary weddings. Our passion is inspiring couples to plan the wedding that they really want in a world dictated by tradition.
Being ‘Rock n Roll’ is not about being cool, a rebel or even thinking of the most unique idea you can. It’s about planning a day that reflects you and your partner and declaring your love in your own special way. You don’t have to be wacky; you don’t have to be offbeat and you don’t have to be intentionally quirky – you just have to be you.
We often refer back to this when accepting weddings for publication, and although on first glance you might think Melina and Steve’s Santa Fe wedding looks a little more on the traditional side, when we heard all about how they took every detail of the day and made it their own, we were convinced they were every bit a rock ‘n’ roll couple!
They met in college but fell in love by going to concerts and enjoying live music together. They really wanted their wedding décor to emulate their relationship and journey together so they tables were all named after venues they had seen shows at and their guestbook was made up of vinyls.
High-school sweethearts Erika and Garrett couldn’t let 2020 (and their 10-year anniversary) pass without at least one good thing happening, so when it got to December they decided to plan their elopement in just one week.
With a budget of $1,000, they just wanted to present their authentic selves on the day. They were originally due to get married at Seymour Marine Discovery Center in Santa Cruz, so as they loved their venue so much, decided to hold their elopement ceremony as close to it as they could.
Together with their ten guests, they walked to the ocean front bluff, for a simple ceremony performed by a mutual friend. Erika wore a dress from ASOS with a floral headband from Kochetova via Etsy, and her trusty Doc Martens. Garrett wore a Kenneth Cole suit from Macy’s.
Erika’s bouquet ended up being completely free! “I’d attempted to get flowers from a local shop, but due to COVID they were all closed. I was left with little option than putting together my own bouquet with flowers from Whole Foods, and when I told them what it was for, the store gave them to me for free!”
Stop everything! You are going to just ADORE Morgan and Jesse’s California desert wedding and I am so excited to share it with you today! They were married at Rimrock Ranch in Pioneertown over the summer. They wanted their day to have a fun and joyful atmosphere and for it to be a little bit country (good music was a non-negotiable!) and a little bit weird! “We deemed the weekend ‘MJ Boogi Fest’, so it would feel like a weekend long celebration!” the bride said.
Morgan wore a Houghton NYCdress with adorable pink Iron Fist shoes and an incredible, yellow veil! She did her hair and make up herself because she wanted to feel like herself and she wanted them both to be quite minimal and non-fussy. Jesse was in a snazzy pink suit jacket from ASOS. “We didn’t have any decorations and I created silk bouquets for myself and bridesmaids. We wanted to let the desert shine on its own, so we kept things very minimal”, she said.
Samantha and Jason didn’t want a big fuss and they certainly didn’t want their wedding to overtake their lives. So instead of taking the traditional route, they decided to rent an AirBnB in Yucca Valley and have a low key yet perfectly ‘them’ wedding in the desert. Both lovers of this environment, they’ve spent many vacations exploring places such as Joshua Tree, Mojave, Red Rock and Death Valley. Surrounded by their nearest and dearest they said their “I do’s” under a homemade arch, with the ceremony officiated by the bride’s sister.
“We are outdoor wanderers and love to explore and camp in nature,” Samantha began. “Most of our birthdays and anniversaries are spent celebrating out in the desert, camping, exploring and enjoying delicious steak and wine under the night sky. So many memories were formed in this magical place and we always dreamed that we would celebrate our commitment ceremony out in the desert.”
Desiree and Matthew’s wedding was a craft-lover’s dream with loads of beautiful cosy DIY and thrifted elements. They also included lots of greenery and plants. The bride looked like a total bad ass in her amazing specs (we love a bride or groom in glasses!)
Desiree describes her level of DIY as, “As much as possible without going crazy! I tried to make things that I’d be happy to display in our home post wedding; this included our welcome sign, our stationery suite, a hand-painted ‘family portrait’ and Himmeli prisms for the tables. I also made our guestbook out of vinyl records mounted to frames, with metallic pens there for ‘autographs’. Our wedding favours were handmade soap and organic seeds. Many guests said when they arrived at The Hacienda, Santa Ana, that it felt like stepping into our house, which was a huge compliment.”
Brides wearing leather or denim jackets is nothing new (in fact I’d say it’s probably one of the ‘trends’ I see more than anything else these days!) So, when a bride is able to take something we see a lot, twist it on it’s head and make it 100% her own, well we are DOWN. That’s precisely what Gia did when she married Adam in August. She wore a quite traditional dress but added a twist of ‘her’ with her custom made jacket by Charlotte Hudson.
They decided that they wanted to elope and to take an epic Pacific Northwest road trip at the same time. They had their friend Yuriko Warden officiate the ceremony for them. It was just the three of them and their photographers there as witnesses. “Our good friend Yuriko lives in Trinidad, CA, near the Redwoods, and she has officiated ceremonies for a few of our friends, so it just happened organically”, Gia explained. “We were very inspired by the breathtaking beauty of Northern California. Getting married in the middle of a Redwood Forest, just the two of us, was amazing. So many couples get pressured into having a wedding that they never envisioned for themselves, and we were able to do it the way we wanted.”
I would say Jess and Kenny’s wedding day was nothing short of magic, but that would be wrong: it was nothing short of spiritual and stunning. As lovers of the desert, and frequent visitors to Joshua Tree for quick getaways, they knew they had to get married out there. They also wanted to incorporate a little of their Native American background into the day, mixed with their love of Rock n Roll. What resulted was a desert bohemian wedding that is the stuff of dreams.
Jess and her bridal party got ready in old band t-shirts before changing into their deep red bridesmaid outfits (which they’d all chosen themselves), whilst Kenny and his party all looked slick in black suits in a Reservoir-Dogs-meets-rock-band photo shoot against the desert backdrop. Jess’ wedding dress was a strapless dress from Pronovias, which she wore with knee-high lace-up camel coloured boots from Nine West.
Kelly and Oscar describe their wedding as “modern winter witch themed” and we’re inclined to agree. Their beautifully moody day was inspired by witch practices including herbalism, crystals, tarot and the importance of natural, balanced elements.
“These elements weren’t just for show,” the couple explain, “but are things of importance to both of us. Having all the elements present, that the building had openings in all directions (north, east, south, west), crystals to bring good energy and spirits into the area, herbs to chase away bad energy and spirits, celebrating the cycle of life by having both living and dead pieces; all of these details were intentionally brought in to not only create a fun ambience for the guests, but to include things of deep meaning and importance to us.
Kristen and Clayton’s kickass Californian wedding was held in a WINERY. An eclectic ensemble of Native American inspiration and wine themes, it radiates warmth through our computer screens, and we love it.
Clayton was always going to have a nod to Native America in his wedding, Sara (their amazing photographer) explains. “When Clayton was a teenager on a music tour, a native tribe member gifted him a special ceremonial basket and told him that whenever he married, he was to incorporate this into the ceremony and he and his bride would eat sacred cornmeal out of it. Clayton hung on to the basket all these years, so it only made sense to plan the ceremony around it! He and Kristen are also earthy, spiritual people, so the Native theme vibed well with what’s important to them.”
“Clayton is 1/16 Navajo”, the bride took over. “We also just liked the ceremonial and spiritual aspects of the culture since neither of us are particularly religious.”
Their beautifully airy venue, Cordiano Winery, opens onto a beautiful Tuscan-style landscape with the most amazing views of California rolling beyond it – perfect for their couple’s portraits. (And that golden light! Dreamy.)
Brooke and Michelle’s October wedding drew inspiration from Memento Mori, Phantom of the Opera, the Addams Family and Stevie Nicks – so you know it’s going to be an absolute beauty. Their wedding showed a delightfully darker side to regal, and a more gothic side to the romantic.
Their day was breathtakingly beautiful aesthetically, but also heart-achingly beautiful emotionally, as Brooke explains, “Off the bat, being a gay wedding is to a degree, unique, though it won’t be someday. For most guests it was their first gay wedding, and our short ceremony, including vows out of Kurt Cobain’s journals, was about love, freedom and creating a safe space for all attending. We have friends and family from all walks of life and we wanted everyone to feel as comfortable and free as we did.”
Brooke continues, “Our favourite part of the wedding was feeling so incredibly vulnerable and authentic in front of everyone. It was a very freeing feeling all that love and support and putting it all out there in front of people close to us.” After they put a ring on and sealed it with a kiss, Brooke and Michelle walked down the aisle to Tears For Fears’ Head Over Heels, as they’re massive Donnie Darko fans.
Stephanie and Raul met when they were only 16 and 18 when they worked together at their local K-Mart store. They started dating two years later after Stephanie asked him to be her date for her senior Winter Formal at her high school. After deciding to elope they were lucky enough to win an Instagram elopement contest run by Jessica Carrillo of Art & Soul Events and Photographer Evangeline Lane! They received complimentary photography, planning, florals, and hair and make up…How amazing!
They wanted their day to be a glamour-filled rockabilly elopement with lots of old Hollywood elements. They got ready separately at the Culver City hotel, once owned by Charlie Chaplin, and housed the munchkins while they filmed Wizard of Oz!
The bride wore a gorgeous black dress while Raul donned a red velvet jacket, both looking the epitome of old Hollywood glam. “We both love the rockabilly and pin-up lifestyle so it’s safe to say we stayed pretty true to that!” began Stephanie, “We were heavily inspired by our love for old Hollywood and history. Our love for the rockabilly subculture had a huge influence on our style, and we were also inspired by Miss Rockabilly Ruby‘s gorgeous vintage wedding. Another inspiration was make up artist Lora Arellano from Melt Cosmetics! Her wedding was out of this world!”