Safari themed forest wedding: Laura + Parker

Categories   Real Weddings

Buenos dias, everyone! We have a super cute, safari-themed wedding to share today from Sara of onelove photography. It was sweet, heartfelt, and a real family effort, with lots of craft and budget friendly ideas.

Now, to start… a little explanation about the theme, from the bride herself:

“Because we were going to such a great and exotic place for our honeymoon–I wanted to incorporate it into our wedding. My sister Jessica got a gift for Christmas this past year-a book called “I Married Adventure.” It was all about the travels of Martin and Osa Johnson in Africa. The book was a design piece as well-styled with a great cloth, zebra print cover. So the title, the vintage look (published in the 1940s), and the African theme was perfect to use as inspiration for our wedding.”


Laura’s dress was made by Parker’s aunt Terry. Laura found the dress of her dreams but there were two problems. 1) it was way over her budget and 2) it was sold out. In swooped Aunt Terry and with some gentle convincing, Laura agreed to have her make her dress. And as Laura says, it came together beautifully, “with the last touch being added the day of the wedding (the bow)! It was beautiful and will be something I will cherish forever! So much love, sweat, tears, and blood (from all the pinpricks) went into making the dress, but it was all worth it (for me at least…and I hope for everyone else as well).”

Aren’t the vintage floral lapel pins genius??!! Such a simple, easy way to make your own boutonnieres! And the bridesmaids have matching hair clips. Very cute.

Laura’s close friend and roommate, Hana, wrote a song that she sang as Laura walked down the aisle. It was a super special part of the ceremony for the couple. While not everyone has a songwriter close to them, allowing family and friends who do have special talent to participate in your ceremony can only make your wedding more meaningful to you!

The Berkeley Botanical gardens are so pretty, aren’t they? And they probably aren’t terribly expensive to reserve them for your wedding. Public spaces are such a good, budget-friendly idea.

Laura and Parker both love pie and don’t love cake, so it was a no-brainer that they’d serve pie for their wedding. But cutting dessert is expensive, and on top of that, pie is hard to cut. So Laura did her share of research and found that baking pies in tiny mason jars is a perfect way to bake ahead of time and freeze. Which meant she could make the pies herself and save a bunch on dessert. Her mason jars were $.60 each, which is way less than a cake cutting fee, even if you bring your own cake. Plus, bonus points for cuteness!

Laura collected the tins and glasses she used for the tables. For those of you curious about how much a project/collection like this would cost, Laura told us the glasses ranged from $.50 – $6.00/each and the tins (which were much harder to find but luckily she needed less) were between $2.00-$12.00 each. And she found all of them at antique stores, flea markets, on ebay and etsy. Garage sales would be a good place to look too!

Her burlap tablecloths really helped set the mood. She bought burlap in bulk for $150/roll from an agricultural store. (Great idea! Burlap at fabric stores is much more expensive, FYI.) Laura figured this was comparable to what she would have paid for rental linens and so worth it in terms of decor.

“One of the most special moments of the wedding was seeing the lights that my new hubby strung with some of his groomsmen the night before the wedding. I really wanted glass globe lights for the courtyard–but using a lighting company was way over my budget. I searched high and low online to find some that I could afford–and finally found some for $11 per string at Kmart. Parker (an engineer) designed and built the structure they were strung from. It was perfect! I felt so special knowing that he stayed up late and put so much thought and effort into something just because of how important it was to me!!”

Another budget tip… Laura and Parker were lucky to have a friend who is a director and filmmaker shoot their wedding. But those out there with a budget that doesn’t allow for videography, Laura suggested, having a friend shoot amateur video and then use editing software (like iMovie) to do the edits yourself. It might not be super awesome Super 8, but it will be special anyway!

Finally, Laura wanted to share that if she can DIY, anyone can! She was taking a class that ended three days before the wedding, that had her commuting 2 days a week, 2 hours each way (ACK!). Which meant that some projects weren’t finished until the very last minute. But they were all totally worth it in the end!

Yay! The whole day was so thoughtful! Thanks so much for sending it over, Sara. And big congrats to Laura and Parker. Hope South Africa was amazing!

Photography: onelove photography / Ceremony: UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens / Reception: Montclair Women’s Cultural Art Club / Day of Wedding Coordinator: Jewell Chung, jchungcoord {at} yahoo {dot} com / Catering: Culinary Excellence / Floral Design: Sonset Flowers / Hair: Rachel Eaton with Salon Non-Fiction, rachel.eaton {at} sbcglobal {dot} net / Mason Jars: / Parker’s coords: 7 for All Mankind / Parker’s/groomsmen broges/wingtips: Asos / Groomsmen skinny ties: Asos / Bowtie: / Bridesmaid/groomsmen brooches: Etsy and antique and thrift stores / Dress: Parker’s aunt Terry / Shoes: Etsy / Shoe clips: Etsy / Bride’s Brooch and earrings: antique store / Necklace: Made by MOH (Jessica Simmons) / Pearl bracelet: Parker’s Grandma, his grandpa bought for her many years ago in Japan—they have been worn by 3 of Parker’s aunts for their weddings / Tins: Etsy, Ebay, and borrowed / Glasses: thrift and antique stores

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Social Love

Megan Clouse on Apr 11, 2011

One of my most favorite weddings ever!! (Especially the rainboots)

DHarvey on Apr 11, 2011

Hello. I'd really, really love to know where the sequined bolero is from?? Thx.

christina on Apr 11, 2011

OH MY! Where did that sparkly, glittery jacket/cardigan come from? I need that! :)

Maggie Santolla on Apr 11, 2011

Love her dress! The whole thing is great.

Gaelan - Uschi and Kay on Apr 11, 2011

I'm with the previous two posters: I need that cardigan! I have been dreaming about something like that for months now, but can't find anything anywhere.

Benita Wheeler on Apr 11, 2011

I love the sprit of this wedding. They had a moment. It is very inspirational.

elaina on Apr 11, 2011

Laura, your shoes from Etsy are gorgeous! What seller did you buy those from!

Laura on Apr 11, 2011

Believe it or not...the sequined bolero is from Victoria's Secret! It's in their online shop.

Laura on Apr 11, 2011

The shoes are from the shop MomoDeluxe... For shoes and cardigans or other accessories, another great place to search is You can search for "teal pumps" or "sequin cardigan," and they search tons of shops and give you all the results in one's really great!

Sara on Apr 11, 2011

So happy for Parker and Laura's beautiful wedding! It was all-hands-on-deck before AND days after and her family and friends truly made this beauty happen. I was nearly crying during their vows, so much love!!

KB {} on Apr 11, 2011

What fun! This couple is just fantastic!

Katherine on Apr 11, 2011

Did you use a pattern for the table cloths?

Laura on Apr 11, 2011

No pattern for the table cloths...we just winged it :)

jenny @ albeit... on Apr 11, 2011

Such a different wedding!! So personalized and hello rainboots!! I LOVE that detail!!

Cire' on Apr 11, 2011

This is so beautiful! OMG so creative and amazing! Great memories! :)

Kevin on Apr 11, 2011

Love It. Wish I'd had a forest wedding.

Jamie Wyckoff | Julia's Poppies Design on Apr 11, 2011

wow!!! this is amazing! style like whoa!!!

Tiffani on Apr 11, 2011

aw man! i was looking for the sequin cardigan for my wedding because i love it, but i can't find it online at victoria's secret...guess they are all sold out. let me know if you are willing to sell yours! send me an email at thanks!

jaclyn @ thelateafternoon on Apr 11, 2011

"i married adventure" is such an amazing wedding theme! the rainboots and multicolored bridesmaid dresses are so cute!

jenn {bow tie & bustle} on Apr 11, 2011

Absolutely loving all the pops of color! I love brides and grooms that aren't afraid of colorful details! Super cute wedding! And her dress is awesome!

Lucy Scherschligt on Apr 11, 2011

OHHH my gosh! Her hair! And those boquets! SO perfect!!

Louisa on Apr 11, 2011

Laura, can your Aunt Terry make me that dress? I absolutely LOVE it!

ArticulateArt on Apr 11, 2011

The matching floral lapel pins and hair clips are a great idea! Especially love the picture where the bride and all the bridesmaids are in rain boots! Love the colours of their bouquets too!

Renee on Apr 11, 2011

This is seriously one of the prettiest wedding photo collection I have ever seen. I am jealous! hehe And OH MY GOSH on the flower arrangements!

Kristen B. on Apr 11, 2011

Congrats Laura and Parker!!! Your wedding day was absolutely beautiful :) So much time, hard work, and love into all these projects. It was such a perfect day, drizzling rain and all... now on to the next project! The house! :)

caroline on Apr 11, 2011

hi laura! i'm getting hitched at the garden soon too. wanted to ask how you "walked down the aisle"-did you do the stairs? where did you "hide out" beforehand? such a beautiful wedding!! i'm so re-inspired after seeing your photos! truly magic + charm :)

Aileen on Apr 11, 2011

Ohhh I LOVE this wedding! Love that she found such beautiful things on a budget and her sparkly cardigan is amazing.

Sally @ ourdreamlives on Apr 12, 2011

This wedding is soooo beautiful! Love her dress so much and the bridesmaid dresses look amazing. So incredible that the dress is handmade!!

Danielle | Studio Fleurette on Apr 12, 2011

Oh my GOSH! The flowers and design used through out this wedding are too die for! The creativity is amazing!!

grace @ wedding favors on Apr 12, 2011

Gosh, the rainboots are soooo cute! This is a very unique wedding. :) The bridesmaids' hairpieces, the bride's necklace, and her red nail polish! :D

anh on Apr 12, 2011

love the details. love the rain boots!

B on Apr 12, 2011

I'm with Lucy...HER HAIR IS AMAZING! She's such a pretty bride! Also, I LOVE the pins in place of traditional boutonnieres - and I love that they coordinated with the bridesmaids' hair accessories. Perfection! Very creative and fun!

jennifer on Apr 12, 2011

i LOVE the hair omg im dying over it! i need those pins for my hair that your bridesmaids wore! i need to get the patience to look through antique stores more i get so discourage but you found so many beautiful things! gorgeous!

Laura on Apr 12, 2011

Hi Caroline, I did use the stairs as the "aisle." I hid out outside of the ceremony site before hand since there was really no place to hide there. We waited until almost all the guests were there and the groom, groomsmen, and minister had taken there places, and then we walked down a path that was sort of bridesmaids and dad hid me from site while we walked up the stairs...I hid behind my dad until I walked down the wasn't perfectly hidden, but it was the best we could do :) I just told Parker not to look at me until I was walking down.

KansasKate on Apr 12, 2011

For their second honeymoon, maybe they'll visit the Martin & Osa Johnson Museum in Chanute, Kansas -- a little over an hour SW of Kansas City.

katie | dreamlove wedding photography on Apr 12, 2011

this is amazing! so many great ideas... love the groomsmen's brooch-boutonnières!

Yasmin@Whimsically Divine on Apr 12, 2011

Oh my goodness this wedding is so beautiful! Its so unique and-oh-too-excited to form sentences! Just love it!

Alanna on Apr 13, 2011

Adorable wedding. I like the flower pins for the guys. And the teal shoes look great!

lillian on Apr 13, 2011

wow, i love the that photos in the woods and all the guests along with the couple have unbrella very much. Your wedding is so beautiful, i love it, and do you make it all by your own?

Freea on Jun 4, 2011

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Jenny @lafleurvintage on Dec 8, 2011

Love the book. Love the dress. Love the boutonnieres and hair clips. Love the boots.

Ana on Feb 5, 2012

I too LOVE the dress. What dress inspired this creation? i would like to see the original design.

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Does anyone know where the postcards that are used as table numbers are from?

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