An Eclectic, Outdoor Wedding in the Escondido Mountains

Jackie and Dave

jackie dave wedding couple
Dear Lovers Photography

This couple's love story began where most get their first taste of hopeless romance and heartbreak—in high school. Jackie, a fungal community ecology PhD candidate, sat behind her future husband, Dave, who now studies the art of music therapy, in geometry class. They grew closer in drama class and what started out as friendship quickly blossomed into young love. Sadly, after graduation, the two went their separate ways. However, eight years later, they met up for dinner and it was like time had stood still.

The second "act" of this romantic tale culminated in Dave's proposal. On a typical gloomy fall day in San Francisco, he asked Jackie (a fungus enthusiast) to take him mushroom hunting in Golden Gate Park. Upon arriving there, he put headphones on Jackie's head, with instructions to "not talk, just listen". As Arctic Monkeys' "Baby I'm Yours" played in her ears, he led them down a path of sunflowers, dotted with high school pictures of the twosome, protected from the rain in sealed zip locked bags. That's when Jackie spotted the biggest mushroom, and when she picked it up, realized it was made of wood. The top popped off and inside was the ring. "I gasped, he knelt, and I sobbed with joy," she recalls. "I was muddy, in a flannel, and completely overwhelmed with how beautiful life can be."

A year-and-a-half later, on June 18, 2016, the Merced, California-based couple tied the knot in front of 88 loved ones at Golden Door, a luxury spa resort in the Escondido Mountains. Known for its 600 acres of land that includes olive groves, citrus orchards, and Japanese gardens, the locale's woodland-like surroundings allowed Jackie and Dave to create their "magic on a mountain" celebration. The couple focused on vintage and festival-like elements, complemented with a sunset color palette balanced out by ivory and earth tones. Since Dave is a musician, a number of artists and performances was a key component to the festivities. Intimate and unique, they emphasized freedom of self expression and as a result, guests came clad in long tulle skirts, lacy dresses, bow ties, suspenders, and hats—the ideal dress code for this fun, bohemian fête.

01 of 16

The Location

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Nestled in a California oak forest, the couple chose the retreat grounds for its scenic paths and zen-like ambiance—a fitting reflection of both their love for nature and all things organic.

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The Fashion

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Dear Lovers Photography

The bride first spotted her vintage-inspired Daughters of Simone eyelash lace and satin "Tessa" gown before she was even engaged! "I went with my mom to see it, tried it on and knew it was mine," she says. "It was our little secret, and then five months later, he popped the question."

On the big day, Jackie paired her dress with Lucky Brand booties, completing her bohemian-chic bridal look. Dave, who donned a tan Armani suit, Burberry tie, Kenneth Cole shoes, and a Goorin Bros fedora, was the perfect casual-cool complement.

The twosome wanted a matching article of clothing and chose Sockshop Haight Street avocado socks. "We both love avocados!" Jackie says. "They almost always get split in two and eaten in pairs, which sort of made sense for a couple, and they were kooky enough without being too wild and crazy."

03 of 16

The Flower Crown

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Forgoing a traditional veil, Jackie instead wore a flower crown of roses, lavender, thistle, hellebores, and exploding grass. The handmade silk butterflies in her crown and braids acted as the bride's "something blue" and was a tribute to the close friend who had made them and passed away a few weeks before the wedding. The bride's bouquet also matched her flower crown with a few additions, like eucalyptus and peonies.

04 of 16

The Rings

jackie dave wedding wedding rings
Dear Lovers Photography

Inspired by the elements, the stones on Jackie's engagement ring represented earth, air, fire, and water. While her engagement ring had the image of the sun, her custom-made A Jeweler's Place wedding band bore a moon image. The groom kept it classic with a Lashbrook ring, made of Damascus steel with a thin 14k gold band inside it.

05 of 16

The Bridal Party

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Dear Lovers Photography

As some of Dave's best friends are women and some of Jackie's are men, the newlyweds had a co-ed bridal party featuring "bridal boys" and "groom's gals". "It was important to us to have our people look like themselves and feel comfortable all day long, so we asked them to wear whatever they wanted!" Jackie explains. Great minds certainly do think alike, as even without planning, the groomsmen looked cohesive with their respective blue ensembles and the bridesmaids stuck with blush tones.

06 of 16

The Ceremony

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Dear Lovers Photography

The bride's mother accompanied her down an aisle of Jacaranda trees to Yann Tiersen's "Comptine d'Un Autre Été". "Honestly, when I saw my best friend, my future wife, walking down the aisle, I knew that I made the right decision—she was the woman for me," Dave recalls.

The ceremony was officiated by a high school friend who witnessed their entire love story unfold and retold that tale to those present. Overlooking a lake, Jackie and Dave exchanged their own vows under a willow-branch arch, crafted by Rosemary-Duff Florist.

07 of 16

The Lounge

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Dear Lovers Photography

"Our aesthetic is eclectic mix-and-match with shabby chic (me) and craftsman (Dave) influences," the bride explains of the lounge. The ocean-facing lounge was designed specifically for people to enjoy the sunset and to feel like they were right in the couple's living room. The brown leather sofa, which Jackie says is "what Dave would look like if he was a piece of furniture" acted as the main piece. Rustic end tables, floor pillows, and mismatched chairs finished off the homey seating area.

08 of 16

The Photo Booth

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A photo booth was a must-have on Dave's list and so, the couple chose The Photo Bus' VW van for its cool retro feel and vintage aesthetic. The van's blue exterior also coincidentally tied into the groom's ensemble.

09 of 16

The Reception

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"We wanted all the elements to be represented in the wedding, and the wind particularly was something we wanted to focus on," Jackie explains of the reception's open-air concept. Inspired by music festivals, the newlyweds channeled that open feel for their reception, resulting in a somewhat al fresco seating arrangement. Jackie worked with her mother and their florist to create the floral installations of roses, peonies, delphiniums, amaranths, and ferns, and mismatched vases added hints of color and greenery to the tent.

One prized detail on the main table: the wooden mushroom that Dave used to house Jackie's engagement ring during the proposal.

10 of 16

The Layout

jackie dave wedding round table
Dear Lovers Photography

The couple also conveyed their love for all things mismatched with a mix of long and round wooden tables, with a lace runner trailing down the main table and off-white linens covering the latter. While the main table featured a selection of single flowers in glass bottles, the round tables boasted a more traditional centerpiece of the day's posies.

11 of 16

The Place Settings

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Dear Lovers Photography

Blue was yet again seen in the place settings, with the baby blue napkins that were tied with each guest's name, complete with a tiny mushroom illustration by Julie Himes and a sprig of lavender. Hammered silverware was also selected to match Jackie's hammered ring.

12 of 16

The Centerpieces

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"I wanted the table to be completely covered in glass bottles, just like how in Alice in Wonderland, the long table is covered with tea cups," Jackie says of their children's book-inspired centerpieces. The result: an array of flowers like peonies, hellebores, and thistles in various pastel-toned vases.

13 of 16

The Tent Décor

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Dear Lovers Photography

Under a ceiling of hanging floral fixtures and with the setting sun providing a warm, natural light, everyone dined on a summer harvest salad starter and were given a choice of lemon thyme heirloom tomato, miso-glazed California black cod, or butter baked jidori chicken for dinner. With a light breeze, the soft tinkling of wind chimes could be heard, adding that extra magical touch to this elevated "tea party".

14 of 16

The Cake

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The three-tiered Hansen's Cake confection was a traditional white cake with buttercream frosting, quaintly decorated with little mushrooms, some greenery, and a mix of blooms.

15 of 16

The Night

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"We had rain after dinner for good luck, a full moon, and the most incredible sunset with mountaintop views—it was awesome in every sense," Jackie gushes. Once the sun set, the tent lit up with a string of fairy lights, creating a whimsical mood. For the rest of the night, guests danced along to the live band (with the groom making a special performance) and soaked in the amazing rustic surroundings.

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jackie dave wedding couple
Dear Lovers Photography

Photography, Deer Lovers

Location, Golden Door

Event planning, Tricia Trupiano of Golden Door

Flowers, Rosemary-Duff Florist

Videography, SJ Videography

Stationery, Wedding Paper Divas

Cake, Hansen's Cakes

Music, Caprice Strings (ceremony); Socorra Camposanto (recession); Jukebox (reception)

Rentals, Classic Party Rentals

Bride's gown, Daughters of Simone

Bride's accessories, Lucky Brand shoes

Hair, Soleil Ivicevic

Groom's suit, Armani

Groom's accessories, Burberry tie; Kenneth Cole shoes; Goorin Bros hat

Transportation, Top Dog Limo

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