A Rustic, Intimate Wedding in Julian, California
A few years ago, Megan decided to join OkCupid. After answering the standard personality questions, the dating website presented her with Scott, who had a 99% compatibility rate. "I remember exactly where I stood in my apartment drafting a witty message, but I was too nervous to send it," says the graphic designer for Prim & Pixie. "I always imagined the guy would be the first to reach out. And five minutes later, he did." But Los Angeles-based Megan didn't narrow down her location preferences on her profile, and she quickly learned Scott (a linguist serving in the Air Force) lived 300 miles north in Monterey, California. But Scott was persistent, and he drove five hours to meet Megan in Santa Monica for their first date.
That night, she texted a friend that she had met the man she was going to marry. "We must have spent at least an hour talking over dinner before we even looked at the menu. We couldn't stop laughing and it felt like I knew him forever," says Megan. Scott also thought the night went perfectly: "I knew our first date would be a hit as soon as I discovered the lady likes tacos and Charles Spurgeon. Upon meeting, all anxious nerves turned to excitement, as I was filled with this instant, yet relentless, deep feeling of desiring more of her company, her thoughts, her smiles, and laughter," he says.
The pair began a long-distance relationship, visiting each other almost every weekend. A few months later, Megan went to brunch with Scott's mom and sisters during a Christmastime visit, and they pushed Megan to get a manicure before returning to Scott's parents' house. "When I walked in, there was a video projected onto the wall of all my loved ones expressing their love and support. Scott had his kids draw posters welcoming me into their family and he strung the living room with tiny lights. He had all our favorite photos hung up, my favorite wine on the table, and favorite quotes of mine he had found on my Pinterest all over. He even had my favorite flower that he moved heaven and earth to find since they were out of season," says Megan, who soon realized that Scott was filming her reaction. After the video ended, Scott got down on one knee and popped the question, and Megan responded with a resounding "yes!"
Megan and Scott tied the knot on July 1, 2017, six months after getting engaged, at Sacred Mountain Julian in Julian, California. The rustic setting was decorated with shades of taupe, gray, black, mustard, and blush to create a one-of-a-kind celebration with 35 guests and countless personal touches—including nods to his home state of Texas and her native California.
The Stationery Suite
A graphic designer at Prim & Pixie, the bride decided to create the stationery suite herself. She went with letterpressed taupe ink, warm gold foil, and pops of black in the envelope and edging. A wood-veneer details card encouraged guests to reply to the RSVP through the wedding website, while a fold-out map highlighted tourist spots in Julian. Hanwriting calligraphed the invitations and Calligraphy Nerd addressed the envelopes, which were finished with vintage stamps from Underwood Letterpress. "Most brides probably don't have as much to say about their invitation suite as I do, but after designing hundreds of wedding invitations over the past five years, it was incredible to be able to finally design my own," says Megan.
Dressed and Ready
Since he serves in the Air Force, Scott wore dress blues to the ceremony. "Serving our country has been an honor and blessing to me. My father served for 25 years and his father had served as well. We both wore our mess dress uniforms for the ceremony, but as a compromise with Megan, we changed during cocktail hour into suits." He paired the Express navy suit with a white polka dot shirt from Macy's, a floral tie from Penguin, and Alfani shoes.
On the hunt for a timeless lace wedding dress in the perfect off-white shade, Megan ended up with the "Amelia" by Tara Lauren from La Soie Bridal in Pasadena, California. "It was the third dress I tried on at the first store I had visited," she says. "I remember saying that I knew it was the dress because I felt the way I felt when I met Scott." Megan accessorized with Vince Camuto shoes, a belt and earrings from BHLDN, and a headpiece from Twigs & Honey. "It actually came with two separate bands that were wrapped together, and since I wasn't totally in love with the double strand, it worked perfectly to separate them into two headpieces and have Lilly (Scott's daughter) wear one to match!" she says. Megan's Art Deco-inspired engagement ring from Heidi Gibson, which had a round halo cut, completed the ensemble.
To create Megan's bouquet, Siren Floral Co. used dahlias, smilax, garden roses, distant drum rose, spray roses, smoke bush, and other foraged elements from the venue. The loose arrangement had a muted blush, white, and cream color palette, and mustard and blush ribbons tied everything together.
Before the ceremony, Megan and Scott did a first look in a garden. "One of the most special moments of the day was getting to see him before our ceremony. It's one of the few moments of my life that I was truly speechless. Such peace came over me and it calmed all my nerves to have a moment with him before the day flew by," says Megan. Scott was initially hesitant about doing a first look, but he ended up loving it. "You get this intimate moment with each other and get a chance to soak it all in before the ceremony. It was a small sense of appeasing relief to all the anticipation," he says.
The couple also exchanged gifts. Megan gave Scott an engraved wooden box filled with their engagement photos and childhood diary entries about her future husband. Scott gifted Megan a journal containing notes and prayers.
A makeshift bar offered popcorn to guests. According to Megan, "On our first date, I asked Scott what his favorite chick flick was. He described the scene in Big Fish when the girl walks into the carnival and time stops, popcorn floating mid-air. He said how he always hoped love at first sight would be like that. So on our wedding day, we hung the quote from that movie scene!" The couple knew guests wouldn't catch the reference, but it didn't make the quote any less meaningful.
Setting the Scene
Greenery lined the aisle for a natural pop of color and texture.
Megan's dad walked her down the aisle to "Come thou Fount," one of her favorite classic worship songs. "Honestly though, in the moment, I was so zoned out on Scott that I don't even remember music playing!" says the bride. A custom-made cross, which anchored the ceremony site, honored the couple's faith.
The ceremony was cozy and intimate, and the pair wrote their own vows. "We wrote them in little booklets that we still have today. We didn't just want to do the cookie cutter vows that you usually hear. We wanted them unique to us. It's a daunting task laying out your love on paper, but we filled them with promises that are important to us with the intention of keeping them for life," says Scott, who was surprised to hear Megan speaking half of her vows in Hebrew (which he speaks fluently). "I think my jaw dropped to the floor! She went behind my back and worked with one of the language professors I work with to learn how to say each word. It was amazing."
Megan says she spent "more time than she ever cares to admit" putting together the perfect vows, since she wanted them to resonate with Scott and his two kids (ten-year-old Lillian and eight-year-old Elijah). "I wanted them to feel as much a part of that wedding as they could, and I wanted them to hold me accountable to the promises I made on that day. Lilly had told me later on that it was her favorite part of the day," says Megan.
After the ceremony, the newlyweds took portraits with Birds of a Feather around the venue. "I trusted our photographer's vision one hundred percent, so wherever they led us, we went!" says Megan.
Honoring Their Roots
"California and Texas culture could not be any more different. Coming from equally prideful states, we knew we wanted to somehow bring in a nod to our upbringings," Scott explains. "Texans tend to pride themselves on their sweet tea and Megan is always making fresh-squeezed lemonade." The stir sticks were a way to further tie that in, plus they also had his and hers beers that were their favorite local brews from their home states.
Since they had a small guest list, Megan and Scott decided against a formal wedding party—but Megan still wanted to include her friends in the big day. "I had my best girlfriends from childhood and college wear colors in the palette of my wedding, so that I would still get some photos with my girls!" she says.
Knowing some of the guests wouldn't be drinking alcohol, the couple served lemonade and sweet tea as a nod to the groom's Texas roots. Guests also sipped "his and hers" beers from local brewers and crowd-pleasing mixed drinks.
The reception took place a few feet away from the cocktail hour site. Long wooden tables with off-white runners and black bentwood chairs created a rustic setting. The color palette included taupe, gray, black, and mustard with rose gold and blush accents.
Tables were set with black and white chargers, rose gold silverware, and vintage glassware. According to Megan, "One of my favorite parts was how we incorporated slate as a 'place card.' Guests took them home and reused them as cheese boards!" Triangular menus sat atop the slate and described the dinner by A MIHO Experience: smoked chicken agnolotti, grilled steak, local wild fish with a mushroom sauce, roasted vegetables, macaroni and cheese, and citrus salad. "Scott and I are really big into dinner parties, and we knew at the very beginning of wedding planning that we wanted our reception to feel like an intimate family dinner. All the food was passed around family-style and then sat atop beautiful glass lanterns that we flipped upside-down and used to bring some height and function to the tablescape," says Megan.
The Sweetheart Chairs
"Before we ever talked marriage, we would disguise how serious we were about each other by joking about how we were 'stuck with' the other person," says Megan. "It ended up becoming a running phrase we'd say all the time. So I had a calligrapher write it out, we got a laser cut decal made, and my mom sewed the flags together out of leather." The couple used these flags to adorn the backs of the sweetheart chairs.
The Guest Book
Megan and Scott love cooking together, so they engraved a cutting board with a custom design and used it as a guest book.
A Sweet Installation
"Our wedding planner, Vanessa Noel Events, came up with the idea to make this beautiful covered arbor into a dance floor. To complete it, we took some lyrics from a love song that reminded us of each other ("Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis Presley), had it laser cut with copper vinyl, and hung it up with a few floral pieces added in," says Megan.
The First Dance
The newlyweds danced to "When I'm Married" by Wilder Adkins. "We still listen to it often and sing it in the car!" says Scott. The DJ also played "I Cross my Heart" by George Strait as their "parent's dedication song." According to Megan, "We are both incredibly lucky to have parents that are also our best friends. They've always been role models to us, and we can only dream of having a marriage as happy and healthy as they do. We wanted to honor our parents on our wedding day for all that they have been in our lives, so we chose a song to dedicate to them that they danced to." Additionally, Megan and her father danced to "I Loved Her First" by Heartland, while Scott and his mom danced to "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong.
"Megan really made every bit of the wedding about both of us," says Scott. "Realizing my limitations with aesthetics, she really went out of her way to incorporate things that I would care about." Therefore the couple had a barbecue cookout (Scott's favorite) for their rehearsal dinner, and they carried the theme to the reception with homemade barbecue sauce as wedding favors. The couple filled bottles with Scott's homemade sauce and rub, affixed handmade labels on the outside, and placed them on a table at the reception. The display was popular among guests, since all bottles were gone by the end of the night.
A Fun Night
Since they aren't fans of cake, Megan and Scott served passed churros instead. Guests spent the night playing lawn games and hitting the dance floor. According to Megan, "During the reception, Scott's daughter Lilly had her head rested on my shoulder and she whispered to me about how much she loved that day. We had spent so much time making sure Lilly and Elijah would feel the weight and the joy that came with that day, and knowing they did was so special."
In lieu of a honeymoon, Megan and Scott decided to spend their post-wedding time with the children, visiting a waterpark and having dinner together as a new family.
Photography, Birds of a Feather
Location, Sacred Mountain Julian
Event planning, Vanessa Noel Events
Catering, A MIHO Experience
Flowers, Siren Floral Co.
Officiant, Thomas Webb
Stationery and paper goods, Prim & Pixie
Music, Party People San Diego
Bride's gown, Tara Lauren
Hair and Makeup, Girl Meets Bongga
Flower Girl dress, Nordstrom
Groom's suit, Express
Lighting, Brilliant Event Lighting
Bar, RG Bar Services
Vintage Postage, Underwood Letterpress
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