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Safari themed forest wedding: Laura + Parker

April 11, 2011

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: jarstore.com / Parker’s coords: 7 for All Mankind / Parker’s/groomsmen broges/wingtips: Asos / Groomsmen skinny ties: Asos / Bowtie: thetiebar.com / 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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