Once in a Blue Moon
You move cross-country.
You swipe right.
A total stranger becomes your best friend.
You fall deeply in love.
You shave your really big beard.
You take her to a castle.
You pop the question.
You say HELL YES!
You throw a (intimate/outdoor/social-distanced) wedding with your favorite people during a global pandemic.
Once in a blue moon...
You find your beloved and your forever together begins.
It's been almost a year since we became husband and wife!
We chose October 31st, 2020 because it was a blue moon. A blue moon is a rare second full moon in a single calendar month. The ancient Greeks believed that marriages on the full moon were the most prosperous and happiest. More than any ancient theory, we thought it was just darn romantic and mystical!
Also, a full moon on Halloween only occurs roughly once every 19 years.
We knew we wanted to get married in 2020, yes, during the global pandemic, even if it meant just the two of us. I told my now-husband I'd marry him on the sidewalk in a burlap bag if I had to. For us, it has always been about getting married, not throwing a wedding.
(No burlap bag was harmed... I dusted off my old sewing machine and made my dress and veil from scratch!)
Because of C-19 restrictions, we considered just the two of us eloping to our favorite Clydesdale ranch in Cambria. But I couldn't imagine my sisters and mother not being there to witness me marrying the love of my life. With everything going on in the world, we felt so blessed to be able to make arrangements for an outdoor ceremony with 15 of our closest friends and family at our favorite Wayfarers Chapel overlooking the Pacific, followed by a celebration on the lawn of my sister and brother-in-law's charming Los Angeles home.
My vision for our wedding was never based on a specific style, theme, or time period. My driving inspiration was togetherness. After nearly 7 months of everyone feeling isolated, distanced, and alone due to stay-at-home orders, my wedding goal was to bring my people together (safely) in a warm cozy twinkling cocoon of light and love.
So, my husband got to work and built an extra-large table to fit 15, and a custom light canopy to envelop us in a thousand white lights. The night before the wedding, after our rehearsal dinner in Malibu, we went back to the house to check on the set-up one last time.
We flipped on the lights for the first time at night. I cried. I squeezed him. I probably peed a little. Passing neighbors stopped, stared, snapped photos, and told us it was the most beautiful thing they'd ever seen.
You better believe I fell in love with him all over again.
After our ceremony on the front steps of the glass chapel, we spent the afternoon at some of our favorite spots in Palos Verdes with our incredible photographer, Lauren Turner.
I'm in awe of the beautiful first moments as husband and wife that she captured! She felt like a friend we had known forever, and I think it shows how at ease we were with her in our pics! (I can't recommend hiring her enough, check out more of her gorgeous talent on Instagram.)
We worked our way back to the city to celebrate with our guests, and kicked off the evening at sunset with a champagne toast, followed by drinks, hors d'oeuvres, and mingling around the yard.
I'll never forget the light, it was one of those pink and orange warm but bright perfect sunsets.
Once dusk set in, the moon started glowing, the light canopy and candles began twinkling, and we were seated for a delicious meal catered by Made by Meg. (If you're in LA, hire them immediately! I will rehire them for all future catering needs. They are so warm, friendly, professional, and delicious!)
After dinner, the speeches began, and let me tell you, they were the most touching part of our day. I still get teary-eyed thinking about how our family and friends went above and beyond with their words and sentiments.
Sitting there with my new husband, under a beautiful moon with my people, surrounded by flowers, candles, twinkling lights, while I listened to the most thoughtful and hilarious speeches made my heart beyond full.
I can't even begin to describe the feeling, other than I thought my heart might burst into a million pieces from the love and gratitude I felt.
We cut the cake (once I stopped crying from the speeches), and skipped the traditional group dance floor for a sweet first dance as husband and wife to our song, Better Together, by Luke Combs.
We ended the evening with a tawny port toast—my late father's favorite after-dinner drink—a most touching surprise my sister Melissa worked into the evening to honor him (and to make me cry even more).
Finally, we relaxed, laughed, and enjoyed s'mores by the fire, before our loved ones sent us off with sparklers, hugs, and blessings into our new life as husband and wife.
Best day of my life.
Looking back, I'm happy the circumstances inspired a more intimate gathering. We both could have easily filled up a guest list to a hundred+ people, but celebrating our union with just our inner circle of friends and family was perfect—for us.
(BTW, one of the perks of having an intimate wedding was purchasing everything for the table instead of renting. I love being able to reuse all our tablescape details and be continually reminded of our reception!)
We planned and prepped for about 3 short, intense months and pulled it off, with much help from our friends and family, and a rockstar day of coordinator.
I went to the DTLA flower market at 5am the day before the wedding, and spent the day designing the centerpieces and pampas grass installation with my sisters and BFF. I assembled my bouquet and his boutonnière the morning of, while getting my hair and makeup done.
For better or worse, I am wired this way, and it felt so much more meaningful and special to do it myself.
Taking on so many sides of the wedding ourselves pushed me to a whole new DIY limit. There were days I felt I might never finish the dress. And days I promised myself it would be the last thing I ever DIY'd while shaking my fist!
This was the first real tablescape I've designed, and I was sweating when some items were still arriving the week of the wedding.
But that's what i love about DIY—the push, thrill, the victory. It always teaches me that I'm capable of more than I thought.
I think the total hours slept the week of the wedding was about 4... But I'd do it all over again and again to experience the magic, love, and light I shared with my incredible guy and our closest friends and family.
I'm so excited to share our day (and biggest DIY so far!) with you here.
FIRST LOOK LINKS
DIY LIGHT CANOPY
LIGHT CANOPY DETAILS
BLUE MOON RECEPTION
Thanks for taking a peek into our day! Hope this might inspire some DIY for your next special occasion. More links below.
Mr. & Mrs. Peterson
Photography: Lauren Turner
Location: Palos Verdes, CA
Chapel: Wayfarers Chapel
Reception venue: Los Angeles residence
Caterer: Made by Meg
Day of coordinator: L. Campbell
Light canopy: custom made by groom
Dress: custom made by bride
Dress fabric: Mood Fabrics (Los Angeles location)
Hand-embroidered handkerchief: groom's mother
Suit: Custom by J. Hilburn
Hair & makeup: Kumiko Ando
Flowers: DTLA flower market // DIY by bride
Wedding favors: Anthropologie faux fur throws here and here
Cake: Vanilla Bake Shop
Cake topper: JD Craft Design Studio
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