The Couple: Stephanie & Kevin

Wedding Date: September 1, 2012

Photography by White Daisy Photography

Tell us a little about you and your beloved: Kevin and I met in college, but it wasn’t until we spent the first summer of knowing each other, working together as field biologists in the forests of Humboldt, Trinity, and Klamath forests surveying the plants and animals that we knew we were perfect for each other.

About 4 wonderful years later, Kevin wanted to take me camping in Quincy. Kevin holds a very special place in his heart for Quincy, for he had so many wonderful memories of his transition from boy to man there. We have gone there together many times and I love it dearly as well. Timing was a little odd for a 14 hour one-way trip for camping, but I could tell it was important for him, so I didn’t want to question it.

Once we arrived, Kevin expressed he wanted to take me and our dogs on this hiking trail, his favorite place in all of Quincy, to Spanish Peak along the Pacific Coast Trail. Once we arrived at the top, the view was magnificent! While I was admiring the view, Kevin was writing in the log book they have for guests in an old ammo box so I wasn’t really paying attention to him at that point. He then he called me over to “look at this cool rock I found”. I quickly walked over as I was interested to see what he found, I didn’t notice that he was kneeling on one knee until I saw that he was holding a beautiful ring. I immediately became overwhelmed with joy and heavy in emotion because we both knew that we were soul mates. I started to cry, almost hysterically, and forgot to say yes…..by this time Kevin was almost worried that I was crying too much so he asked, “is that a yes?”. I could hardly make out the words “yes, yes I will marry you”.

After a few minutes he walks back over to the guest book to write something else. Before asking me Kevin had written “I hope she says yes”, after the proposal he wrote, “she said yes!!!!!” The most wonderful day of my life.

Planning for the wedding was really really fun (most of the time). I still can’t believe how well we worked together on what we like to call, our masterpiece. That’s what it was to both of us. We both had a vision that was very similar and we modified them to make it perfect for the both of us. It was definitely high stress many many times but we both always thought about why we are doing this and that was always the center of our motivation.

What was the most amazing part of your day? The ceremony!!! I cry now just thinking how happy I was to be walking down that isle and seeing Kevin standing in front of me. I did cry when I was walking down the aisle. I heard guests say I was supposed to wait until after we say, “I do”. Kevin’s vows were the most beautiful thing. I will never forget him calling me “his singing mountain bluebird”. Just breathtaking. You can’t plan things so perfectly, it just sort of happened that way, at least that’s how we remember it.

What else would you like to share about your big day? In all honestly, we could not have created this perfect day if it were not for all the help and support from friends and family. I am talking about the physical effort like when I was running a sweat shop so my mom and grandma could make freaking pin wheels until all hours of the night, but also just the overwhelming positive support from so many. I think that really helped it have the *spark* that it did.

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Ceremony and Reception Site: Squirrel Creek Ranch. This place had so much natural charm, it was unbelievable! We had all the freedom in the world to do what we wanted and felt so comfortable. Calling it a “hidden gem” is an understatement.

Ceremony Musicians: SJ’s DJ Service. Greg did such an awesome job!!! He was just the right amount of MC, and jokes that were cute, but nothing too much. So easy to work with. We also spent a lot of time coming up with specific songs that we wanted at certain times that he nailed perfectly.

We also had our friend play some beautiful classic guitar while people were getting seated for the ceremony. Sam added that personal and very classy touch.

Also as a gift to us, Kevin’s dad and youngest sister sang a duet- “give into me” while his dad also played the guitar. There was no better gift we could have received. So wonderful in every way. We were completely taken aback, originally we didn’t know if we really wanted them to sing. I am so glad we did!!!

Officiant: Kevin’s Uncle Jimmy married us. He is a pastor and had also married two of his sisters. It was the perfect combination of non-secular but with a very unique prayer. I think again what made it so great was that he supported us greatly which was portrayed in his words.

Photographer: White Daisy Photography. Aimee did such a wonderful job!!! Pictures were beautiful and she did such a great job of capturing “moments”. She had an assistant and another person in-training. 3 photographers seems like a lot but they did such a great job of working around and with the guests. Her organization and experience helped the entire day run smoothly. She had given me a lot of guidance before hand on doing a timeline for the day that was key.

Caterer and Rentals: Kat’s World Foods. These guys were so impressive, so timely, so on the ball!! Truly, they were the one who made me think that we could actually pull this off. They really were my saving grace through the whole thing. It could have been a whole lot different if we didn’t have someone who was so together. And, the food!!! So delicious!! We had so much flexibility with them. They were willing to work with us whatever our budget was.

Cake/Desserts: I am proud to say I made the carrot cake myself. This was not easy task as it was the first wedding cake I have ever made. I am a novice baker but I was determined to make it and it was delicious! Just making the cake should not have been such an insanely difficult task but life just kept rudely interjecting herself into my plan. Mind you, I baked the cakes in San Diego the week before the wedding while it was 105 degrees in my house because we were in the midst of a heat wave and my air conditioning went out due to overexertion of AC in our area.

Then the freezer I planned to store the cakes in was unavailable. I live on a wildlife preserve so it is important to take inventory of the animals in the area, dead or alive. Well, the land manager found a dead, totally gross, bloated badger and he felt he needed to keep it, IN THAT FREEZER!! I had to beg Albertson’s to allow me to store mu cakes, which they did after some persuasion.

Now getting the frozen cakes from San Diego to Northern California in a heat wave may sound like a “piece of cake” (haha) it wasn’t. I bought close to 50 lbs of dry ice and spend $50 on packaging the cakes so they would stay frozen for the drive if we drove at night to avoid hot temperatures. Unfortunately, we attempted to do this after getting off of work and we could not make the entire trip, we needed to stop for sleep. This made the trip twice as long, but we made it!! And, the cakes were all still frozen…whew!

The day before the wedding was when I decided to decorate the cake. I did, things are going smoothly for once and it was looking even better. Ok, so the cake is 100% complete, I them put it in the refrigerator until were are ready for it. About a half later, I go into the fridge to get something and I see the cake is dripping icing into a pool at the bottom of the fridge. I see that there is a steady drip of water coming from the freezer- and dripping directly onto my cake!

I’m freaking out at this point, but it wasn’t ruined. It turns out it had only ruined a small portion of the cake so we took it out and were forced to leave it sitting out. Given the situation we were in, I needed to leave my precious cake alone with three hungry dogs in the house while we were off at the dinner rehearsal- yikes! We did the best we could to position furniture in a way that would keep these slobbery mutts away. We hoped for the best. The cake was safe on our return. Everything turned out just fine in the end. The cake was the best wedding cake I have ever made, if I do say so myself!

Flowers: Jeannie Bringolf. I heard of her by word of mouth. The flowers were astonishing! I really wasn’t sure what I was gong to be getting. We had discussed my vision but I really couldn’t be in control of one more thing at that point in the planning. I said to myself, “what will be will be”. She did just an amazing job. Her work speaks for itself. They were all home grown from her garden. The one thing I should have done was keep them in water as longer. We did photos before the ceremony they were getting a little sad but still beautiful.

Favors: We had orange and white lollipops with a picture of us on the front with the date. It was very simple but we loved them and it fit well with our whole whimsy thing. Who wants more crap you have to keep?

Bridal Attire: David’s Bridal. Loved my dress!

Bridesmaids’ Attire: Weddington Way

Hair: Lindsay Fiocco Mackey from Salon Empire. She was awesome!! Such a professional and really knows how to deal with brides and their drama. I loved my hair!

Make-up: Natalie Browning from Salon Empire. She did such a great job and was so easy going. I really liked spending so much of my wedding day with these ladies. They definitely added to my day and they made me look like a princess.

Invitations: Michael’s. I fell in love with the design but they were a pain to make- I still would have rather of done that than paying someone else a bunch of money to do it.

Lighting: Inside the barn we had hundreds of white Christmas tree lights and a few mason jars with candles inside. The DJ also provided up lighting in the Barn which looked fabulous. We had café lights strung over the guest seating out on the lawn where we had the reception and two cases of solar lawn lights to help define paths and illuminate the ground.

Décor Rentals: Simple Country Weddings & Vintage Decor Rentals. We found a woman who provides country style wedding décor from her house. We got a lot of really great stuff including mason jars for guests to rink out of, old wagon wheels and window frames. The country décor really helped set the mood for the event. We also made hundreds of paper pinwheels in all sorts of colors that were attached to trees and chairs at the end of the aisles during the ceremony. We were trying to go for a very whimsical feeling and I think we nailed it.

Other Rentals: Port-a-potties were rented from a local company in Grass Valley. We also rented bails of hay from a local ranch that we used as seating in the barn. It was a really nice touch.

Honeymoon Location: Princeville in Kauai. Best place in the WORLD!

Any other of your wedding vendor(s) you’d like to call out that we missed in the above questions? We had the reception dinner at a really nice Mexican restaurant in Grass valley called Maria’s. They were very accommodating. Grass Valley was a great town to have the wedding in. Everything was close and guests could pretty much walk where they needed to go. The after party was a lot of fun as there are a number of bars and music venues to take advantage of. There was a great country feel without being too remote (all the services/amenities could be found locally).

First Dance Song: “Crazy love” by Van Morrison. Such a beautiful and classic song that suits us perfectly.

Any advice you’d give to our readers who are planning their weddings right now? Enjoy it! Do a little bit each week and stay organized, share the load in ways that best suit you both. Don’t be shy about asking for help from your family and friends delegate tasks but be specific and remember to be nice!!! It’s easy to get bratty but resist. Find vendors that you like on a personal level and make sure you feel that that are competent in their professional capacity.

Anything that you would have done differently if you were given the chance? I probably would have gotten a videographer. My friend was so sweet to take it upon herself to take video but it was nothing that we ever discussed, it just happened that she took video.

Also, I would have considerably reduced the amount our family photos. Kevin’s and my parents are both divorced and re-married so we had a lot of “different” families and trying to involve everyone and taking their “feelings” into consideration was ridiculous. I should have reduced it a lot and just have tried to take more group photos throughout the evening rather than having it all at one designated time.

Blog post by Real Weddings Magazine’s Social Media Maven, Aimee Carroll.

Photos courtesy of and copyright White Daisy Photography.

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