Because we were planning everything, we really wanted all parts of the wedding to represent us as a couple. Early on we thought “What kind of wedding couple are we? Are we church people, beach people, estate people?!” Then it struck us, we are wine people, and what better place to have our wedding and celebration of our journey together than a winery. We had decided from the start that we were hoping for three words to describe our wedding, “Simple, Fun, & Elegant.”
We met online while he was Iraq serving his second deployment there (his third at that time) and I was in Studio City, CA. At first I thought it was just a neat pen-pal situation, but because of the distance we were far more open with each other than with people we were hanging around with no fear of re-percussive judgements. Daily Skype chats helped with getting to know each other though, and after his return home we in fact started to “go out”. I kept telling him that we should “just be friends”, but he definitely had other ideas in mind. Upon one of our first dates he asked me to meet him at a popular brewery/restaurant because his friends were throwing him a “Welcome Home” party. When I walked in everyone either had children or were coupled up, I thought to myself “Holy crumb, I’m dating the Marrying Man!”
All the DIY touches we had are truly “us” as we love being hands on and creating together, whether it is furniture or art. So a woodsy, shabby chic vibe kind of overtook our ideas. Early on we had an idea we wanted to use chalk and slate board in the decor so that too became a running theme in the design of the wedding. The most fun thing to do was not an actual item but the morning of the wedding when my mother, sister (Matron of Honour), Fiancé, and I got together and set everything up alongside the coordinators of the venue. Although stressful it was absolute fun chatting while sprinkling polished stones and petals on the reception tables or setting up the guest sign in table.
I absolutely took into account my art when it came time to look for a dress. My prerequisite was that it had to be strapless to show off the art on my arms. I did, however, receive some push back when people asked if I would were something to cover my tattoos up. “Why on earth would I cover up who I am?!” was my typical response to that question. I’ve always loved the dichotomy of the unconventional mixed with traditional. Of course those who know and love both of us know we have been collecting our art for years, those that scoffed usually weren’t even thought of in the “invitation” process.
If I had to choose one highlight of the day, it would be hearing his vows – He is an EOD bomb tech in the Army and to hear those words laced with such emotion was definitely a powerful and memorable moment. We made sure, though, to take moments to take everything in from time to time. Whether it be looking out at everyone during the ceremony, stopping before we disappeared to take photo’s after the ceremony to catch peoples happy reactions, sitting at our sweethearts table and feeling blessed to have everyone in attendance, or even watching people dance the night away… We made sure to mentally capture moments and enjoy it.
What a gorgeous backdrop the Ponte Family Estate is for the wedding! I am in love with the rustic look of Eleoni and Paul’s wedding. Thank you to them both and for Karen Leah Photography for sharing their special day with Marry Me Ink. Be sure to leave them some love!
Photographer: Karen Leah Photography
Venue: Ponte Family Estate
Eleoni’s Dress: Michaelangelo
Paul’s Suit: Calvin Klein suit, custom Converse pumps
Flowers: Primal Flower
Cake: Cakes To Celebrate
DJ: Sterling DJ