A Big Sur VW Bus Wedding

Okay, this wedding is something I have waited too long to share. The bride, Kate, went above and beyond and wrote ALL about her wedding including tons of clutch advice for other couples planning their elopement, intimate wedding, or wedding in Big Sur. So, the words you read will be those of Kate. Thank you, Kate!

“First and foremost, Big Sur has been our “Happy Place.” It’s the place we look to when LA, a town we’re in by cirumstance, gets to be too much, and we just have to get out. It’s absolutely beautiful, the people have only been kind to us and it gives us a taste of the nature we look for. Plus… being a huge Jack Kerouac fan it has always been a place I wanted to visit. Ultimately it felt like the perfect place for us  to get married.”

Advice/Florals: “Go with local vendors. Big sur is a small town and they know the customs as well as the best resources. …Giving Kate from Big Sur Flowers the opportunity to create was the best thing I could’ve done in terms of flowers. Leave your overly clear expectations at the door (exact type of flowers).  She creates the most magical and beautiful arrangements that make the venue feel the way it should.  Bonus, she grows them all on her property in Big Sur. Last minute she even made a wreath for our VW bus.    (Scroll for more)

Advice/Coordination: “If you don’t think you need a wedding planner, at least go with day/month of. Some vendors in the area can be hard to get a hold of and the coordinator helps.   We ended up going with more planning because of distance and my lack of planning capabilities. Mariah Green was AMAZING! At one point before the wedding we both looked at each other and said how thankful we were to have hired her. The day before the wedding we found that after our call with her she had a list of 20 things and we had 2 to do. She was also a super calming presence and fun to be around. She tied up so many loose ends that I hadn’t even thought of. Also, she dealt with cleanup. We ended up back at Big Sur Bakery the day after to pick up remaining things and it looked as if nothing had happened.    

Advice/Photography: “Kristen, we feel honored to have worked with you. ..You made what could have been a very uncomfortable situation into something that just felt right. (I’m not one to be in front of the camera, ever, but I felt like I could with you). I look back on the moment where I looked at you, after the disaster that was my makeup/hair, saying “everyone has to make the shuttle, I have no one here… looks like you’ll be getting me into this dress,” and you didn’t even flinch.  Thank you for also allowing us to direct a bit on the photos, as a photographer it’s hard to give up control (see the cow pasture photos). You also showed us an amazing road that has beautiful redwoods.”

Advice/Transportation:   Make sure you have a shuttle or transit for your guests. There is limited  housing in Big Sur & for cost reasons your guests might stay further out. You don’t want people driving down HWY 1. It’s worth it to invest in transportation.

FAVORITE MOMENTS      It’s funny I spoke with Ben and we had the same response … it was the private moments. The first look and being able to do that just with us (plus photographer) there. Also the drive. We played some of our favorites on the stereo. It felt like a normal “bus cruise,” but was so much more. Right before the wedding we were running late and there was a line to Pfiffer beach, Ben in the bus, with its lawn mower engine, starts passing people  on the left and yelling out the window… “I gotta get married!” I feel like the moments taking photos before it all were the best. It felt like the “us” moments.        The other moment we should talk about is after the party ended. We have a lot of musical friends who, after the venue closed,  brought the party outside and on to the transit bus. The whole ride back Ross (previously mentioned) and Patrick (he did the most amazing speech at our wedding) played songs by request as we went down HWY 1. My mom and brother were even getting into it.  It felt like college all over again. Side note: I was there when Ross learned guitar, it was tough times in the beginning. 

PERSONALIZATION            “Anytime we’re in town we always stop at the Big Sur Bakery. The bacon croissants were our favorites and the Bakery was able to make that happen for us for cocktail hour. It’s also the most reasonable priced place I could find in Big Sur, so Win! Of note, none of our guests missed not having hard liquor at our wedding. I know that was a concern for us when we were planning.        

I always thought I would have a Stevie Nicks Dress, flowly maybe some lacy…. very hippie… but alas. Both our Moms came out from Wisconsin for the search, as well as one of our best friends from LA, Dana Ponder (who just happens to be a dress designer).  We went to a few places where I was almost in tears and Dana would make a motion like “wrap it up” and we would leave. Couldn’t have found the dress without her. The one i wore was the dress that everyone gasped at. It even made Mom Twohig cry…. when that happens it’s the dress 🙂        My mom hand-sewed my wedding veil with the same type of lace that was on her wedding dress. She also let me wear the ring her mother bought with her first ever paycheck as my “something old.” The rest of my jewelry were a part of a set that Benny gave me after I had a “really hard day at work,” “just because.” He is always there 🙂       We wanted to bring the VW bus up to Big Sur for our wedding. Bringing it to the mechanic we had doubts it would make it. Benny bought the car because It was ALWAYS my dream car. We decided to caravan so that we had two cars up there for before the wedding but also we had sooooo much stuff to bring. I ended up making these burlap signs to signify we were a caravan, “Gettin’ (peace sign) Hitched”. Right before we left I was cleaning the apartment, all packed and Ben spent 15 minutes detangling the 2nd sign from the vacuum rollers haha.         We wrote our own vows, in special hardcover books I had made… it felt important to say how we felt to one another. We hand dyed all of the napkins for our reception. Mom even flew out to LA to help with “anything wedding related,” because we had been procrastinating and she was “worried it wouldn’t get done.” So over labor day weekend, we labored for hours making “dip dyed” napkins. I will never forget that day. To her credit she did get us on track that trip.     The candles at the reception were the scent I always have burning at my house, Capri Blue “Volcano”.  Think walking into an Anthropologie….Anyone who has been to my home would recognize it. We tend to dance a lot at our house together and had originally thought of a Ray Charles song, but then Ben found a string version of the song that was playing when I first realized I was in love with him… “Feel So Close” by Calvin Harris (cheesy I know but my Jeep didn’t have bluetooth, think tape deck with the cord hanging out that sometimes worked). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuTpfBl0H-g       Our guest book was a collection of pictures of us from throughout the years (we’ve known each other since we were 18 — we were 32, now 33). The Invitations: I found this amazing design off of a humidor box we have in the house and Ben’s friend Martin made one exactly like it personalized for our wedding. It’s crazy he did it within hours, so talented. That was the logo we used for everything (invitations, signs etc). His mom painted the backs of all the enclosures in watercolor and sent them to us. She hasn’t painted in years but is also so talented. She only took a couple of days (if only I could do something like that!… super magical. The list of events coming came later in our planning process so we used a painting on the back that Ben commissioned over the trip we took to Santa Barbara for my 30th Birthday by street artist of our 74 VW Bille Mae. I  hand wrote and addressed all of the invitations. My handwriting is very recognizable so it felt like a very personal touch to send to such an intimate gathering of our closest friends and family.      

The Music. We spent hours compiling a list of our favorites from oldies to newer stuff. To be honest we thought we didn’t need a DJ but the one Mariah suggested was perfect… not too many outliers, he played most of what we picked…. Also did you see that outfit?

Wedding Planning – Mariah Green, c: (831) 747-4623 mariahgreenevents@gmail.com

Officiant: Gregory Twohig (Kate’s brother)

Photographer: Better With You Photography, Kristen 

Florist: Kate Healey, kate@bigsurflowers.com

DJ: DNA Entertainment, Anthony, sales@dnaent.com

Catering/Bartending/Desserts: Big Sur Bakery, danielle@bigsurbakery.com

Shuttles: Monarch Pacific Grove, 831-883-8900, info@PacificMonarchLtd.com

Rentals: Chic Events, andrea@chicevents.com and Stardust Vintage Rentals, jamiejeanjarrard@yahoo.com






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