ARE YOU MARRYING “THE ONE?” + RUSTIC WEDDING STYLE | ruffled, bird and lace cakes, glittery cake pops, lace letters and the outdoors, by LightSplash Photography

Happy Friday afternoon, lovers!  Ok, today I feel lucky enough to share with you a dreamy styled shoot by the fantastic Kati Decker of LightSplash Photography with EliteVendor Group, but first, as per usual, there’s something I need to talk to you about.  And no, I’m not talking about that decision I made back there to end a sentence with a preposition.  I did that for flow, and it’s not up for discussion.  What I want to speak to is something I worry about.  And it also has everything to do with how a person can know, for sure, that they’re marrying the right person.

I had a dream last night, and in it I was alone with Bambino, and our home collapsed around us in an earthquake.  Somehow, we made it out alive.  It was horrifying, and everyone was out on the street, yet still it was dark, and lonely, even surrounded by people.  I didn’t feel *right* until one thing happened.  Honey came and hugged me and Bam.  It was when I knew Honey was safe, which happened to be the moment he arrived to help me.  We lost pretty much everything to our name, something you’d think would be depressing, even in a dream.  But the moment Honey came to my side, and he, Bambino and I were together, sitting on the back of a pick-up truck (in the Northeast, go figure), I experienced a sustained calm and all was well with my world.  We were safe, we were together, it didn’t matter if our home and belongings were gone.  And we even were able to laugh over something cute Bambino did.

I wanted to recount that dream on the blog today because it reminded me that life is about the moments you spend with people.  And I’m not talking about just those big, huge ones you spend time planning and obsessing over and NEEDING to go right and even, on occasion, yelling at people over it.  The thing that concerns me is how much so many brides feel they have riding on that one day.  Which is SO stressful for them.  As if, if something goes wrong – and it will, I promise you that something will go wrong, don’t doubt this – on that Most Important Day of Your Life, it’s going to bum you out for years to come.  And this is nothing if not completely understandable while you’re in it, since it takes a lot of time, patience, effort, people and money to make a wedding.  No wonder we get so emotional about it and want it to be the best it can be.

But I’m worried.  Because with all this planning, and all these new techie devices we all love to use that connect us with new friends across the world, and allow us to collaborate with people we never dreamed we’d even meet… it seems they’re also having the adverse effect of us spending less quality time with people we love.  Even people sitting over there behind us, on the couch, while we type away, oblivious to the fact that maybe that person in your life over on the couch has been hoping you’ll come over and hug them, or spend some time cuddling, or whatever you like to do when together.

Don’t let anyone, including yourself, convince you that those big events are the important life moments.  They’re not.  They’re the icing on the cake.  They’re the whipped cream on the strawberries.  They’re not the foundation, they’re the celebration of the foundation.

And I hate that it’s becoming easier and easier to forget that life is in those interpersonal details that make that foundation.  They are all that matter.  And liking a friend’s status on Facebook is not an interpersonal detail.  An interpersonal detail is helping your grandmother get from the couch to her bed, because she’s getting old and having you over for an evening probably means more to her than you’ll ever know it did.  An interpersonal detail is that handful of minutes you and your sweetheart spent jokingly but also a little bit seriously talking about and laughing over possible baby names you might agree on for down the road.  (We can never agree on any by the way.  None.  It is beyond frustrating.)

The interpersonal details are what reveal to you whether or not you’re with “the one.”  If you’re happy just being with that person, without bells and whistles and expensive dinners to look forward to, and without other people around you to distract you and keep you interested – if you can spend days alone with that person, with nothing much to do except hang out, play Scrabble on his iPhone, talk, nap, stare at the sunset, and look at one another and just *feel at home*… well then I can tell you from experience that you’ve chosen the right person, and you better not let that person go.

Oh, here’s another interpersonal detail, for fun… It’s when he comes home from work, you cuddle with one another on the couch, and he starts tickling you.  FYI, I hate that detail, I’m completely lying that it’s a good one.  I’m just using this moment right now to throw in a message to Honey: Honey, I want you to know that, when you tickle me?  This is how I feel… and I know some people learn lessons better visually, so…

I feel like a helpless miniature bunny, incapable of escape due to my size, but emitting uncontrollable seemingly DELIGHTED laughter that, as it leaves my mouth it turns around and mocks me, as if to say, “HAHAAHAHAHAHHHH YOU’RE HAAAATING THIS AREN’T YOU!!!!!!  THEN WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING HAHAHAHAHAHHHAAAHHH!”

The laughter that results from tickling is nature’s most evil joke.

Anywho.  We work so hard to make a huge future moment perfect.  But it seems that we so often – hey, I so often, too - forget that it’s the here and now that’s perfect, if we just pay attention to it by stepping outside of ourselves to take little mental snapshots for safekeeping, in our memories.  So while it’s immeasurable fun (mixed in with completely overwhelming and downright emotionally exhausting at times) to work hard to make your wedding day as beautiful and representative of you as a couple as possible… I hope you guys are also choosing to spend a lot of little moments every day creating even more of those little details about your relationship that you so want to infuse into the decor of your Big Day.  And strengthening the interpersonal bonds you’re intending to celebrate.  It just makes for such a better, funner, excitinger and more memorabler wedding day in the end.  Ya know?

Ok, I’m shutting up about it now.

Because I have LOTS OF PRETTY PICTURES to show you today, and they’re all below.  And we’re going to get to it NOW.  Pardon the probably very pedantic-sounding spiel up there.

Today’s breathtaking shoot which we’re FINALLY GETTING TO OH MY GOD is the result of a group of stellar Northern California vendors getting together and making magic.  It always amazes me what can come of a group of talented people getting physically together, smashing their minds together, developing a concept, and then acting on those ideas in physical form, to perfection.  This fab shoot was submitted by the incredible Kati Decker of LightSplash Photography, and I’m thrilled to share it in all it’s loveliness and splendor.  It’s shot so beautifully.  Such care for the details.  And it’s always a plus when it looks like everyone had fun, amirite?  I hope it inspires you guys as much as it did, me.  Heck, it got me into such a schmaltzy mindset that I wrote a frikin’ novella up top about moohhments and feeelings.  … I talk a lot.

Here are some words from Kati about this fabulous shoot, and some tips for brides to be:

Recently I teamed up with a bunch of FABULOUSLY creative and diverse wedding vendors, and formed our own wedding vendor group, EliteVendor Group.  In attendance were cake artists, a calligrapher, DJ, florist, make up artist, hair stylist, wedding planner, a videographer, and a few others who contributed and helped make this event a huge success.

To prepare for your own wedding, carefully choosing your vendors and location is most important.  You must feel comfortable and build a relationship with those who will help make your special day extraordinary. If you meet with a vendor and don’t “click,” with that individual, their portfolio will not matter and you most likely will not enjoy your wedding day.  Ask for referrals from your current vendors. If you’ve hired a vendor you already like, their referrals will compliment your wedding AND your personalities.  This will be a win win for everyone concerned.

The ladies and gentlemen I worked with on this photo shoot are top notch, professional, and go above and beyond in their work. The passion for their work shines through.  We, as vendors, worked well together and it is this collaborative relationship that makes your wedding day the best.  Surprises will pop up, and you want the team of professionals you hire to handle those little hiccups efficiently and expertly.

Add to that an amazingly breathtaking location, Nestldown.  Nestldown is hidden in the Santa Cruz Mountains within the city of Los Gatos.  It used to be a private residence, and some parts are still privately owned.  Originally it was developed for non profits working with disadvantaged or disabled individuals or those in crisis and transition.  Once a working ranch, Nestldown still has 35 acres of working orchards producing peaches.  With amazing light, beautiful scenery, and a working orchard, this place is as close as you can get to heaven. The theme of this shoot was a woodsy, red-riding hood event with good and bad versions.  When choosing location, natural light is one of the most important factors for a successful wedding shoot.  Visit the location several times at different times of day to watch how the light changes. Your ceremony site might be perfect in the morning when you visited, but completely in shadow on the day of your ceremony. Nestldown, is perfectly situated with a LOT of natural light, making each image glow, even inside.  This is, by far, one of my favorite places to photograph and I can’t wait to go back!

And a little bit about Nestldown, while we’re at it:

Nestldown is a 180-acre property that was originally designed and developed for the owners and their family use, with the goal of offering a special space for the non-profits benefitting disadvantaged or disabled individuals or those in crisis and transition. Once a working fruit ranch at the turn of the century, the property was also the location for the Summit area grade school. It is a private family retreat nestled among the redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains and surrounded by acres of carefully tended flower gardens and orchards. Nestldown has over seven acres of landscaped lawns and gardens, as well as 35 acres of working orchards producing peaches, apples, kiwis and other fruits. Nestldown is an especially beautiful escape from the everyday world.

LOL. so freakin’ aDORable. ↑

By the way, if you’d like to check out the video, click here to go to it!

So, my questions, and there are just two today…

1) Do you find you get caught up in the planning sometimes?  Do you and your sweetheart get enough “me-you” time with one another?  Does he effing tickle the eff out of you and do you hate it, the way I do?  Grrrr.

2) How GORGEOUS is this inspiration shoot??  Any fave details?  I love that ruffled mini cake so much that I wanna marry it.  And those lace letters!  I think we need a DIY for that sometime soon.  Too pretty for words.

xoxo!  – Alison

LightSplash Photography is a member of TKB’s Vendor Love.  You can explore more of LightSplash Photography in our guide!

Location: Brooke Greene, Nestldown Venue / Photography: Kati Decker, LightSplash Photography / Cinematography: Luke Goodman, Luke Goodman Photo & Cinema / Flowers: Laura Sabahi, LS Blooms; Makeup: Kristen Calderaro, Make-up by Kristen; Gigi Moss, Hair by Gigi; Lauren Beene, Lauren Beene Skincare / Dresses: Azita, In the Olde Manner / DJ: Sergio Arellano, BlazeWave Entertainment / Calligraphy: Eleanor Abril, 2inspire Designs / Cake + Treats: Lisa Eliopoulos, Cakepop Delight; Jen Kwapinski, Jen’s Cakes / Rentals: Susie and Sonny, A1 Rentals, Redwood City / Arlene Marcos, “Ah…New Beginnings” Professional Wedding Consulting / Shoes: Bakers / MODELS - Groom: Garrett Dunham / Bride: Jillian Gomez / Bridesmaid: Amy Vosters / Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Label(s): Color, Green, Red, {Inspiration Shoot}

Love all of this...


  1. Cheryl on November 4, 2011

    Um. How fantastic is that. That location is awesome.

  2. Janna on November 4, 2011

    That part about the tickling- It’s like you live in my house. My sweetie is super strong and he thinks it’s hilarious to hold my hands over my head with one hand and tickle me with the other. I’m anemic and bruise easy so even if he’s not doing it to hard I bruise and work at a facility for abused children—-try explaining those all of the time. So we had a long talk that began with me yelling not nicely- “I’m laughing because I’m being tickled but it hurts, I need you to listen to me” and basically had to have the it’s my body and when I say no I mean it talk which was weird since we were talking about tickling. since then he doesn’t hold my hands up and he is more gentle but occasionally he can’t help himself and all I have to say is “I’m serious, I don’t like this” and he stops. Usually I do laugh because it tickles and if you knew him, you would know that if he’s touching you and laughing out loud then he is showing a side of himself others don’t get to see. I love him to pieces but they don’t seem to understand tickling….

    and the photo shoot- amazing! I love the non-traditionalness of the colors for the flower girl and the wonderful landscape. So beautiful!

  3. Linda on November 4, 2011

    I think this is my favorite post, maybe ever. I love how you talk about real things. Not just weddings. Although I love the weddings, too!

    I am guilty of focusing every free moment (as well as time I should be doing actual work and earning my paycheck, yikes) on planning our wedding, and I definitely don’t spend enough time with family or with my fiance. It’s easy to say work gets in the way and that planning a wedding takes all my time up, but if I’m honest with myself, I’m just not making it a priority. It’s not like we don’t spend time together, we do. But I think I’m not alone in admitting that I’m spending a lot of that time thinking about the wedding and what I have to do tomorrow. It’s hard these days with all the distractions like you said, to just live in the moment. It’s terrible!

    Long story short, I’m really glad I read this post.

    Now, about that shoot. AHMAZING. The photography blows me away! And those shaped hedges/bushes?? I want some of those in my yard. I can imagine that being so cool to walk down that path in my ceremony. How beautiful and unique and entrance that would be!

  4. lauren on November 4, 2011

    Love this post, because I feel really good about my apparent success in picking the right guy according to your test. I can go on with the planning, yeah!! ;) And I hate it when my fiance tickles me. It’s such torture that laughter is the response because I can’t get the words YOU’RE GOING TO DIE out through the laughing.

    This shoot is unbelievable. My favorite non-interpersonal detail is probably the ruffled cake. And those lace letters are a touch I never would have thought of but now feel like I NEED IN MY WEDDING two months from now.

  5. Marie @ Emici Bridal on November 4, 2011

    Alison I think you really nailed it on the head here. The time in between the grand events is really the most important. They are the grains of sand in our lives and each one means something very special.

  6. Lena on November 4, 2011

    You just made me tear up. At the office, in the presence of people who make fun of criers. And I am not ashamed.

    Have a wonderful weekend with Honey, Homey.

  7. Stacie on November 4, 2011

    Alison you have literally made the start of my wedding planning bearable. I wasn’t the little girl who ever imagined her wedding. My priority was always finding the one. I have found the one but I didn’t know it til similiar weird dream situations. I knew when I had same kind of earth shattering dream where I realized how devastated I would be without him in my life. Literally we have had our ups and downs but whenever I imagined him not there I would bawl. You have also reiterated the point of making a wedding about you. That is the first thing we promised that we wouldn’t lose our relashionship I the process. As much as I question myself on a daily basis when I read all the wedding blogs all the choices we have made so far have been us.

  8. Casey on November 5, 2011

    That paragraph in bold? DEAD ON. Thank you for reminding me :)

  9. Kristine {In Love, Engaged} on November 6, 2011

    I think I agree with you–this may have been your most important post. Especially this:

    They’re not the foundation, they’re the celebration of the foundation.

    It’s just Truth. Weddings are celebrations, they’re wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to gather everyone in your life together and party. But they are meaningless without the marriage. That can be said for so many other parts of our lives too. There are just so many *extras* that we tend to make priority in our lives, forgetting to concentrate and grab ahold of what really matters. So, thanks, girl, for reminding us. Keep doing it. Please. :)

  10. Talia on November 7, 2011

    Did anyone notice that cupcake which is wearing a lace skirt?? Seriously. A cupcake. In a skirt.

    From now on I think I will demand a skirt on all my cupcakes…….. LOVE :) Wait – that is a cupcake right?!

  11. The Demoiselle on November 7, 2011

    I need one of those sparkling cake pops in my life immediately. YUMMY! (and your writing is tops as always. it has me thinking…and laughing till my stomach hurts.)

  12. Jo Green on November 7, 2011

    The photos are in such a gorgeous area. I love the trees and the bright green colors. Thanks for sharing these lovely photos.

  13. Kate N. on November 7, 2011

    I’m the tickle monster in my relationship – my boyfriend is horribly, desperately, violently ticklish. If I look in the direction of his ribs he flinches. He has told me many times that he can’t be held accountable for any injury to me or damage to property that he might inflict when I’m mean enough to attack him. Of course, this doesn’t mean I don’t take full advantage of his weakness whenever I get the opportunity.

  14. Karlie on November 7, 2011

    Wow, I was just looking for some great wedding ideas and I got so much more from your blog. Great write up, gave me a lot of perspective. The pictures are beautiful but the stories I found here are amazing!

  15. Brancoprata on November 7, 2011

    This is like the perfect location… such a dreamy place, perfect details, gorgeous couple and beautiful photography!!

  16. Wendy on November 25, 2011

    Love this post :)

  17. Erin on January 13, 2012

    The pictures are beautiful! I LOVE the red shoes, where are they from???

  18. Martine on April 14, 2012

    My fiancé and I have one rule in our relationship, which was established very early on: NO TICKLES! We both love to tickle and hate being tickled, so it was an important thing to decide on in the first few months we were dating! If one of us forgets or tickles the other by accident, we just say “No tickles!” It’s very silly, but it works!

    Also, thank you for the beautiful reminder that a perfect wedding is just the icing on the cake. I’m definitely with “the one” and I’ve never doubted it. :)

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