“It was a dark and stormy afternoon. A black ’49 Chevy sat out in the rain. She called him over the intercom to tell him his windows were down. He thanked her for her concern and bought her lunch the next day. One Wendy’s cheeseburger and many years later, they found themselves in Paris, where he asked her the question that gathers us here today…”
Those were the opening lines of our wedding ceremony. Matt and I met while working at an art supply store together back in 2003, and soon fell completely head over heels. We ended up embarking on a DIY wedding adventure that we still can’t believe really happened. The whole affair was photographed by our fabulous photographers from Rad + In Love (who we found here on Etsy). Thanks to our talented parents and friends (along with the world’s most awesome wedding coordinator from Rebel Belle Weddings), we were able to throw a fabulous and memorable party within our devastatingly small budget.
We searched the far corners of California and found a venue that encompassed many of our favorite things: travelling together (we got engaged in Paris, after all!), vintage automobiles, and aviation. The Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino was the absolute perfect place. Matt’s grandfather worked for Continental Airlines back in the day, so we designed our invitations to look like old Continental Airline tickets, complete with ticket jackets and luggage tag RSVPs. I made the ticket jackets and RSVPs – that was rough. After the first six hours of cutting and folding, I stopped to count them: 15 done, 185 to go. Oy vey!
We said our vows in front of a hangar that housed a beautiful P-40 fighter plane. Our path up the “aisle” was marked by portable taxi-way lights that Matt rigged up. The ceremony itself was comically short. Our music began, I watched the bridal party walk out, and then it was my turn. Suddenly the gravity of the situation really hit me and I got so nervous I almost puked. When I stepped out I couldn’t hear the music anymore – everything was blurred and muffled like a dream. I heard our officiant start to speak, and we exchanged rings and said I do. Before guests could set their phones to camera mode, it was over. No joke: I think it clocked in at 1 minute and 45 seconds. We don’t mess around!
Our amazing friends and family really helped to put the finishing touches on our day, along with some great Etsy finds. My custom Whirling Turban dress went perfectly with the gorgeous vintage hat I found at Material Memories Vintage. My stepmom and aunt patiently sewed the veiling I got from Irina Boutique to the hat, and our friend Jo Freker from Salon Lujon did my hair. Matt’s stepmom arranged all our flowers, and I had the honor of making Matt’s ring. The bridesmaids’ dresses had a mid-century stewardess vibe, and we completed their look with hats from Kagikagi.
After the ceremony, guests enjoyed the museum and open bar, then found their seats at tables surrounded by vintage aircraft (designed by my crafty mom). The centerpieces were actually princess cakes from Berolina Bakery. We made the cake stands by adhering aluminum pizza pans to the bottom of small steel mixing bowls. Doing this instead of ordering a huge wedding cake saved us a bunch of money, solved the table décor problem, and solved the problem of who would cut and serve the cake – we just let ’em do it themselves! The cakes were so good we caught guests licking the cake stands and stealing cakes off other tables. Believe me, I’ve seen photos!
Our seating assignment and guestbook table featured an airmail style banner, which I got from Earmark. Among the other vintage aviation odds and ends on the tables was a mid-century pen holder/calendar set to our wedding date (in French!), as well as a vintage pilot’s log, which served as our guestbook.
Once the guests settled in, our live band (provided by my wonderful dad) started to play a jazzy version of “La Marseillaise” as Matt and I made our grand entrance, driving up to the open hangar door in an authentic Korean War-era army jeep. The crowd went wild, and we felt like movie stars. That was my favorite part of the night, which unfolded into a jazzy jet set soiree that still feels like a dream.
All photographs by Rad + In Love.