Real Weddings/Unique Weddings

Amazing Vintage Joshua Tree Camping Wedding

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Joshua Tree is a magical place: imagine a dry, barren landscape with funky desert trees, sage colored succulents & piles of prehistoric rock creating the ultimate, preserved camping playground – the perfect canvas for an eclectic & vintage-filled Southwestern wedding.

Christie & Ryan spent a year collecting vintage rugs, fabulous tents, great furniture pieces & a variety of decor for their campground wedding. As said by their photographer Someplace Images, “Their wedding was a treasure trove of unique elements” and we couldn’t agree more. Each little space within the ancient boulders provided a different activity for guests to enjoy: dancing, tarot reading, live music and more. The couple truly made an “introvert-friendly” space as they dubbed it, showing off their beloved Indian Cove Campground.

Another notable DIY was their self-pump handwashing machine, so that the party could still stay sanitary. While this may not be the “sexiest” detail we think it’s important & inspiring to show that when it comes to wedding planning & throwing a party exactly how and where you want: if there’s a will, there’s a way.

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Our Love Story

We met when we both were in the same English class at community college. Ryan sat in front of Christie and he made her completely nervous and tongue-tied, so we didn’t really get to know each other until about a year later when we were both hired as tutors at the college library.

We had been together for the better part of a decade and Christie hates surprises, so both of us were fully aware of the impending engagement and Christie had even helped in the design of her engagement ring. When Ryan had the ring in hand, he woke Christie up on a Sunday morning, told her how excited he was to spend his life with her and how he didn’t want to wait any longer and asked her to marry him. We went out for brunch afterward and celebrated with just the two of us and some mimosas before calling family and letting them know the big news.

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The Dress & Attire

Christie’s dress was vintage – one that her Aunt wore in her wedding where Christie was a flower girl. We altered the dress to update the look and make it more warm weather friendly by removing the long silk sleeves. Ryan’s suit was easy and something we picked out online from Indochino during their Black Friday sale.

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The Destination & Vibes

We wanted something relaxed, outdoors, and introvert-friendly. We chose the Indian Cove Campground, the first spot we had gone camping together, both because of the sentimental value and because a lot of our friends and family had not been there and we wanted to show it off. We also thought (and we were right) the Joshua Tree rocks would make for a dramatic photo drop and provide lots of daytime hiking and climbing activities for people staying the weekend.

After we secured the venue, we decided to go with more of a broad color palette with lots of sun-bleached dusty pastels with a few bold darks for contrast. Since the rocks are relatively monotone, we wanted to bring in a lot of colors to make things festive.

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The Flowers

We wanted all native plants and flowers so that we wouldn’t have to worry about introducing anything invasive to a national park. Cactus Mart was awesome and allowed us to rent potted plants from them and walk around their grounds to take a couple buckets of trimmings. Ryan’s dad and Christie’s family friend Kiyomi made the arrangements and boutonnieres.

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Favorite Moments

The entire day was so much fun, but our favorite part was when the sun began to set, everyone had eaten, and the vision of the entire venue came alive. We had large carpets set-up as a dance floor and several tents with different activities in each one. The idea was to provide small spaces that people could hang out in and feel comfortable. We didn’t know if people would actually use the spaces we created, so it was really cool to see people loving the tents and the hanging out on the outdoor carpets.

Our friend Sarah did Tarot readings in one of the tents, which were a big hit! People dancing cast amazing, sexy 200-foot tall shadows on the rock walls surrounding us, we had a solid group of people playing board games in one of the other tents, and there were two campfires. It felt amazing to be surrounded by all the people we love and to see our vision come alive.

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DIY Details

We spent about a year before the wedding looking in thrift stores for rugs, old canvas tents, low coffee tables, candle vases, and oil lamps. Christie found a large bolt of flower print fabric at a garage sale and used it to sew the table linens. She also hand poured all of the pyramid-shaped candles using recycled thrift store pillar candles. We constructed our own foot pump operated hand washing sink to make sure everything stayed sanitary in a location with no running water. We used reusable silicone stemless wine glasses for our cocktails, which the guests were able to take home as favors.

So many others helped us in small and big ways. Christie’s brother constructed the copper arch, Ryan’s brother and sister made the signage and helped with a lot of the decor. A family friend made all of our cookies and Christie’s mom made a Hawaiian wedding cake.

Our dear friend Serena played the organ for us down the aisle and our friend Claudia officiated. Literally nothing would have worked if it weren’t for everyone stepping in and helping with the details.

 

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The Planning

We splurged on good food, tent decor, and skipped on so many other things. We didn’t have a cake, formal table settings, a guest book, a DJ, or many of the other things typical of weddings.

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The Music

Our first dance was pretty silly, “2 become 1” by The Spice Girls. We played some of our own music for guests as well. We haven’t had our honeymoon yet, we’re waiting for Christie to finish up her PhD.

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