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Ashley & Chad: A Handmade Wedding at a Historic Victorian House in Fremont, California
Photos By Glass Jar Photography
By Lauren Kathryn on Dec 6, 2013 at 4:00 am in Vintage, Rustic, Whimsical/Playful and Budget-Friendly
Ashley Mitchell, a marketing communications professional, and Chad Rittgers, a business development consultant, met in a way that can only be described as youthfully serendipitous: While vacationing with friends one Memorial Day weekend on Paso Robles’ Lake Nacimiento, Ashley ventured off on an inner tube and happened upon Chad’s party boat. She had never imagined that she would meet the love of her life over Jell-O shots, but that’s exactly what happened. The adventurous, fun-loving pair were engaged several years later during a spontaneous road trip up the Northern California coast.
For the outdoorsy duo, an alfresco venue was a must. When they came across Fremont’s Ardenwood, a historic farm named after the forested area in England that Shakespeare mentions in As You Like It, they knew they had found the perfect spot for their nuptials. One of the property’s defining features is a Victorian mansion surrounded by elaborate gardens, and this inspired the theme of the event—“a playful garden party with a vintage vibe.”
Armed with an inspiration board from The Perfect Palette, Ashley and Chad went to work crafting their dream wedding from scratch. Almost every detail was handmade, from the ceremony arch, which Chad constructed out of tree trimmings, to the cheerful billy buttons, which were grown in Ashley’s father’s garden.
Captured flawlessly by Glass Jar Photography, their day was magical in every sense of the word.
Featuring illusion vine beading, Ashley’s stunning chiffon gown was designed by Tadashi Shoji. Her bridesmaids donned mismatched dresses in shades of pale peach.
The couple’s “first look” was one of Ashely’s favorite moments. “It was really wonderful and touching,” she said. “As soon as I got to see and hug Chad, all of my nervous feelings melted away, and I became so at ease and excited for our celebration.”
Chad made the couple’s ceremony arch out of tree trimmings from a neighbor’s yard while Ashley was away for her bachelorette party. “It was a great surprise, and it turned out beautifully,” she said. The words on the sign (also crafted by Chad from pieces of a weather-beaten white fence that was headed for the scrap heap) were borrowed from a George Sand quote: “There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.”
Left: Billy buttons grown in Ashley’s father’s vegetable garden were used to make brightly charming centerpieces.
Right: A skilled woodworker, Chad transformed an old door, salvaged from a house remodeling project, into a free-standing menu.
“Chad has always been quite handy, but he really impressed me with the creation of many of our wedding ‘props,’” Ashley said. “He collected old doors and refinished them to use as our wedding program, our dinner menu, our bar menu, and our seating chart. This eliminated any need to print items on paper, which satisfied our desire to be environmentally friendly.”
Instead of hiring a calligrapher, Ashley opted to put her lettering skills to good use. The tables were named after places where she and Chad have hiked together.
An extraordinary amount of work and craftsmanship went into the creation of Ashley and Chad’s wedding details. For some candid peeks at the various projects under construction, visit our Pinterest board.
Sharing is Happiness
Photography > glass jar photography
Ceremony Venue > Ardenwood
Reception Venue > Ardenwood
Day-Of Coordination > Natalie of quantum music event planners
Flowers > hill’S flowers
Catering > royal raspberry catering
Desserts > dolce sicilia bakery
DJ > natalie of quantum music event planners
Bride’s Dress > tadashi shoji
Bride’s Shoes > caparros
Bride’s Hair > michelle blain of biyoshi salon
Bridesmaids’ Hair > alyssa morrison of dry bar
Makeup > karen quetano
Groom’s and Groomsmen’s Attire > calvin klein
Invitations > pear tree greetings
Barrels > barrel dreams
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What's Being Said
Sara, Dec 6, 2013 at 8:01 pm
The fact that this couple's love story includes Jello-O shots makes me love them, and I don't even know them!
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