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Real Vow Weddings | A Rustic Meets Elegant Ojai Wedding

bride, groom, newlywed

From the complete surprise proposal to the perfect wedding day (despite the rain!), Jenna created the wonderful memories with the love of her life. She shares the story of her proposal, how she dealt with last-minute rain warnings, and the little details that made the special day perfect!

Name: Jenna M.
Wedding Date: April 25, 2015
Location of Wedding: Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, Ojai CA

How did he propose?

It's a funny story actually. He waited until I was so convinced it wasn't happening that I was beyond surprised. After dating for over 2 years, I was getting frustrated. I just wanted it to happen already and I knew it was coming. In March/April 2014 two things happened that caused me to think it would be happening. 1. We had a trip planned for Cabo San Lucas and 2. His parents were coming in town to visit from New Jersey. Needless to say, nothing happened on either occasion. This made me so angry/frustrated because I thought why would he not want his parents to be a part of such an exciting event, right? It made me think it wasnt going to happen for months. Little did I know that the ring had already been ordered and it WOULD have happened in either of those situations had the ring been finished. The jeweler's mom passed away in the process of making the ring and she had to go to Israel for a couple of weeks, so this delayed the production of the ring.

When the ring finally came 2 weeks after his parents were in town (early May), he decided to propose immediately that week. His friends helped him concoct a plan to say that he had a friend in town and he wanted us to meet him for drinks that Saturday evening. I was invited nonchalantly and was given no indication of the plan being set until Saturday afternoon. I happened to be working that day and was not sure I would even get off work in time to meet them. I ended up leaving work and was told they were at Casa Del Mar hotel in Santa Monica (conveniently a 5 minute drive from work). After a long day of work, I was exhausted and almost didn't go meet him and was going to let him have a boys' night with his friend. When I arrived at the hotel after sitting in beach traffic for 15 minutes, I found out the hotel valet was closed for an event, go figure! I had to find street parking, which in Santa Monica on a beautiful Saturday is no small feat. At this point I ALMOST just went home. Luckily, I found parking and was so flustered that I didn't even find it odd that he told me to go up to his "friend's" room in the hotel. As I arrived at the room and walked in, he had rose petals and the works ready and got down on one knee. I have literally no idea what he said because I was so beyond shocked that it was actually happening! He had dinner reservations ready to go at my favorite restaurant, Capo, that evening and had my sister pack me a bag of clothes since I came straight from work. It was the most perfect proposal and the best part was I was so surprised.

He took a big risk with his nonchalant invite and no set plans; however he is smart enough to know that i would have suspected something had he told me we had dinner at X date/time with his friend since Darren NEVER makes plans.

rings, save the date

What was your favorite thing about your wedding?

The ceremony site, it was my perfect image and we loved everything about it. We got married under this large old oak tree on the hotel property. We adorned it with a flower garland and a chandelier. The aisle had lanterns and rose petals, it was perfect!! The band also rocked!

ceremony, outdoors, decor, flowers, lanterns, oak tree

Who was in your bridal party and why did you choose them?

My bridal party consisted of my sister (Maid of Honor), Darren's sister and his 9-year old niece, my two cousins that I am close with, and then 5 of my best friends (4 I've known from middle/high school and one from college - University of Michigan). I wanted the people that meant the most to me by my side on my wedding day.

bridal party, bridesmaidsbridesmaids, groomsmen, bridal party, bouquet

Would you have changed anything about your wedding? Why or why not?

Yes! I would have figured out a way to have enough budget for a tent for the reception; it would have solved ALL of my problems. The reception was supposed to be outside but we had a threat of rain on the day of the wedding and had to move the reception into the ballroom 4 hours before the wedding (the last thing you need to be dealing with on your wedding day!). OR I would have planned the reception to be in the ballroom the whole time and would have done a million things differently.

reception, decor, locks, petal bar

What do you think makes a wedding stylish and memorable?

It is all about the flowers, they are everything to the decor. I also like all the little details on the tables that really bring it to life. The big thing that makes a wedding memorable to me is the band, everyone remembers a great band. They liven up the party and everyone has a great time.

centerpiece, flowers, decorflowers, boutonnieres

What was your first dance song?

Let's stay together by Al Green (we wanted something classic and memorable).

shoes, first dance

Describe your food. Did you have a signature cocktail?

We decided to go with family style food for the wedding. It went with our rustic meets elegant vibe and I love being able to have a little bit of everything! We had short ribs, salmon, mushroom risotto, and various sides. For dessert, we had a dessert bar with various desserts, who needs wedding cake?! Mini desserts are way more fun!

During the cocktail hour, we passed around spiked rosemary lemonade. It's refreshing, yet amazing!

What's your number one tip to future brides?

You cannot control everything that happens on your wedding day and during the process, just remember to focus on the most important thing: you are getting married to the love of your life. In the end, all the details wont matter and it will be the most amazing night of your life, even if things don't go 100% according to plan. (also make sure to plan for rain contingencies!)

bride, groom

What was your favorite part of working with Vow To Be Chic?

They are such an easy platform for bridesmaids and the dresses are all amazing. I told my bridesmaid to go there for months before she finally did and was obsessed. Bridesmaid dresses can be so expensive and this is a great way to be able to wear an amazing dress without needing to spend a lot of money for something you most likely won't ever wear again. Plus, all the girls there are amazing and fun to be around! :)

bridal party, bridesmaids

What's your number one style tip for brides during bridal events such as engagement parties, bridal showers, and receptions?

There are no rules. Wear what makes you feel your best, white/black/color whatever, it's your day! This is the one time in your life to do something for yourself so get your hair and make up done or splurge on that great pair of shoes.


Where did you take your honeymoon?

We went to Kauai, Hawaii for a mini honeymoon and leave for Greece and Italy next week. Can't wait!!

Florist - Brown paper design
Photographer - Paige Jones Photography
Wedding planner - Bashplease

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