Jessica & Joel

Written by Jenn Talley

Photography by Charleton Churchill Photography

Wedding Date: 07.14.12

The love story of Jessica and Joel begins with a song. Actually, the love story goes back four years before a song that would change both of their lives forever. The couple met in 2007, while both attended Azusa Pacific University. After dating throughout college, the now inseparable couple enjoyed a weekend in Malibu, when a surprise serenade overlooking the Pacific Ocean solidified what they each had known: They were destined to be together forever. Joel, being in a band, had secured a private restaurant balcony and set up with his band mates, before surprising his lovely lady with a heartfelt song he wrote for her. The sweet tune closed with a teary, “Will you marry me?” to which Jessica replied a quick “Yes.”

Jessica, a third grade teacher, describes Joel, a church worship leader, as hilarious, outgoing, entertaining and kindhearted. Joel describes his bride as intelligent, organized, driven, reserved and loyal. As they began the wedding planning process, Jessica shares that her favorite aspect was working with Joel and creating a wedding style that represented them individually and as a couple. Jessica describes the planning process as a bit stressful, but also calls it fun and memory-filled. “Even though wedding planning can be stressful, the times when I sat around the table with my mom, grandma and friends—and even my dad—making crafts were some of the best times of that year,” she describes.

Their special day was filled with unique touches, bride-crafted DIY projects and a vintage-meets-modern flare. With a simple and sincere tone, the ceremony included Bob Dylan’s “Wedding Song” and a recitation of a Dr. Seuss quote by one of Jessica’s former students.

The bride’s bouquet, made by her grandmother, was entirely antique brooches, pins and pearls, enhancing the overall vintage vibe in the most elegant manner. With a robust wedding party of eight groomsmen and nine bridesmaids, the couple had no shortage of happy and supportive friends. Bridesmaids walked the aisle in pastel pink and aqua knee-length dresses in varied silhouettes; the groomsmen donned individually different bow ties and boutonnières made of ivory lace and vintage buttons.

The ceremony was especially touching as the bride laid eyes on her groom. With the rolling foothills and vineyard rows at Sierra Ridge Winery as their backdrop, time stood still for just a moment. “When I walked down the aisle and saw Joel, tears streaming down his face, it was a surreal moment for me. After a year-long engagement and so much planning and preparing, it was finally happening,” Jessica says.

At a beautifully elegant outdoor reception, guests enjoyed Mason jars filled with sangria and lemonade and feasted on salads, chicken and prime rib. Love and laughter filled the air as the wedding party and guests alike danced to their hearts’ content. Jessica and Joel’s favorite moments of their wedding day were simply a series of happy glances—at one another and at the plethora of guests enjoying themselves and celebrating the love and happiness of a lovely couple.


Jessica & Joel's Wedding Resources

CEREMONY SITESierra Ridge Winery
Phone: 209-267-1316; 209-223-1298
OFFICIANTPaster Kim Nielsen
CEREMONY MUSICVision Entertainment and Events
PHOTOGRAPHERCharleton Churchill Photography
Phone: 916-520-4447; 888- 414-5718
WEDDING DESIGNERHeirloom Affairs Weddings & Events
Phone: 209-267-5024
RECEPTION SITESierra Ridge Winery
Phone: 209-267-1316; 209-223-1298
BRIDAL HAIRBella Lei Salon & Spa
BRIDAL MAKE-UPMarica Izzarelli of Glowgirl
BRIDAL ATTIREThe Clothes Mine Bridal & Formalwear
Phone: 209-267-0417
BRIDAL VEILThe Clothes Mine Bridal & Formalwear
Phone: 209-267-0417
Shoes, bowtie and shirt from Topman
Suspenders from The Suspender Store
Pocketsquare from Tie Bar
INVITATIONSDIY by the bride and friend
PLACE CARDSDIY by the bride and friend
WEDDING PARTY FLOWERSDIY by the bride and friend
RECEPTION FLOWERSHeirloom Affairs Weddings & Events
Phone: 209-267-5024
CATERERAmador Catering
CAKED'Agostini's Delights Bakery & Cafe
CUPCAKESCupcakes by Andi
DJ/ENTERTAINMENTVision Entertainment and Events
FAVORSBliss Wedding Market
TABLE RENTALSParty Smart Rentals
CHAIR RENTALSParty Smart Rentals
ADDITIONAL RESOURCESDIY by the bride and friend
DIY by the bride and friend
HONEYMOON TRAVEL AGENTBarry Posner from Sandals Bay Resort
Honeymoon Location

Jamaica Sandals Bay Grand Riviera Resort

First Dance Song

The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson

Father/Daughter Dance Song

I Loved Her First by Heartland

Mother/Son Dance Song

Song for Mama by Boyz II Men

Bouquet Toss Song

Single Ladies by Beyonce

Details about Jessica & Joel's cake

We had a small two tiered display cake that was pink champagne flavored cake with butter cream frosting it had lace and pearl décor with a vintage brooch stuck onto the side of the top layer and we had cupcakes that were vanilla in lace liners with pink shimmering butter cream frosting, and edible pearls and chocolate cupcakes in gold liners with the same frosting. The cake and cupcakes were made by different people but went well together. The display cake was on the top tier and the cupcakes were surrounding it in layers.

Details about Jessica & Joel's flowers

Our decor flowers were a combination of lisianthus, preserved roses and a filler of misty to create a romantic vintage look.

Details about Jessica & Joel's favors

Silver heart-shaped wine bottle stoppers

Anything else you’d like to share about your wedding?
  • The most unique part of our wedding was the fact that almost 100 percent of the décor and details were hand made. I used mason jars with cupcake liner lids and stripey paper straws for the guests to drink lemonade and sangria out of. We had lace covered mason jars in the cocktail area with candles in them. We had five old chandeliers that my mom and her friends painted and decorated hanging all around the ceremony and reception area outside. My dad, brother, cousin and the groom took four old doors from my dad’s church and cut them, mounted them, replaced the knobs and painted them so that I could have a grand entrance even though the wedding was outside. The doors were one of my favorite parts of the wedding and so many guests commented on how unique and beautiful they were. When people found out that my dad had made them they were amazed. The bridesmaids’ bouquets were made by me using Michael’s flowers and pins, the groomsmen and ring bearer’s boutonnières were made by my friend Andi Sanchez and me using lace and buttons. The bridesmaids’ and flower girl had hair pieces that matched the groomsmen’s boutonnières. I made those with Andi as well out of lace and antique brooches that I collected. I made each flower different to fit the bridesmaid’s unique personality. Andi and I also made the invitations, which went along with our vintage theme. My dad and I designed the programs, which were fans. My friends and I put them together and attached lace and buttons to give them a special touch. All of these personal touches came together to really show our guests who we are as a couple, and I think our style came across very well.
  • I would like to rave about our photographer Charleton Churchill from Charleton Churchill Photography. As you can tell by our pictures, he is just absolutely amazing. He not only takes amazing pictures but he knows exactly how to direct the bride and groom. I am NOT photogenic yet he coached me in such simple ways for different poses that made the pictures turn out great. I know I will never find a photographer who can make us look that good again.
  • Our DJ was also amazing. He has great energy and really kept the party going. He was so easy to work with and made our night flow effortlessly. He worked well with our other vendors and everyone commented on how fun the music was.
  • One BIG BIG saving grace for the wedding was my good friend Lori Halvorson from Heirloom Affairs Weddings & Events. She worked with me from the beginning asking what types of things I loved and then she was able to see exactly what vision I was going for. At times I would go overboard and want to include EVERYTHING in my wedding. She was so helpful in guiding me to choose a few of the most important things and then pull them all together. She literally took my dream wedding from inside my mind and made it a reality. She guided me while I was choosing which DIY details to include and then I gave them all to her and completely trusted that she would bring it all together, and she definitely did. I am a little biased but my wedding was so gorgeous because of her hard work and eye for decorating. I couldn’t have asked for a better wedding decorator!!!


Any tips you’d give brides and grooms planning their wedding today?

Tips I would give other brides and grooms who are planning their weddings is to do as much of it yourself as you can. I loved planning my wedding and using Pinterest you can find the BEST ideas. The thing I enjoyed most during the year of planning my wedding was getting together with my mom or grandma or friends to create the different crafts we would use. On the day of the wedding being able to see it all come together was so rewarding and made the day even more special. I could look out and see all of our hard work and efforts come together. Not only does it save money but it makes the wedding day very personal and heartfelt as well. Even though wedding planning can be stressful the times when I sat around the table with my mom, grandma, friends and even my dad making crafts were some of the best times of that year and the least stressful.

What would you have done differently if you had the chance?

If I had done anything differently I probably would have splurged and hired a videographer as well. I love our pictures so much but as the bride and groom you miss so much of the night because you are overwhelmed and busy visiting with everyone. I would love to be able to watch some video footage of the day and especially of the ceremony before I walked out. I missed all of my wedding party, nephews and parents walking out, and I would like to see the looks on everyones’ faces, etc. I think a videographer is worth that extra money.