A Wedding Under the Redwoods


When Ivan met Irene on Match.com and took her out for coffee and dinner, he didn’t immediately know it would be forever, but he was hopeful. “I’d had a lackluster dating life fraught with disaster,” says the doctor. “But this turned out to be the best date I’d had in a long, long time.”

His good date turned into a relationship, and Ivan and Irene were married three years later on September 5, 2011 at Nestldown, a private event space in the Santa Cruz Mountains. “We loved the redwood trees there,” says Ivan. “We wanted something that was very natural, dramatic and rustic.”

The towering trees, event barn and pasture with roaming goats and horses were the perfect backdrop for a couple that craved a wedding with a handcrafted, DIY sensibility.

“We made a lot of the elements ourselves,” says Ivan. “We made the chalkboard signs, the burlap hearts at the place settings, the Mr. and Mrs. signs for our chair backs, and the wildflower seed packet favors.”

Earthy touches were everywhere, such as the cotton stalks in the bouquet and centerpieces, the burlap runners, and the vintage typewriter that took the place of a guest book.

The couple, who opted not to have a bridal party, stood facing the crowd and recited the vows they’d written—after a slight mishap. “Our officiant started to read the vows I was supposed to say,” says Ivan. “We stood looking at each other, not sure what to do, but I finally paused him and started over. I’m so glad I did, because I wanted to say those words to Irene myself.”

After the ceremony and dinner in a meadow, everyone headed to the barn for dancing. “We decided to learn the tango and perform it for our first dance,” says Ivan. “We thought it would be different and more fun for people to watch.”

Ivan says many people told him that they’d never seen him look so happy. “I realized I was walking around with a big smile on my face,” he says. “A lot of people say that getting married is so stressful. But for me, I wished the day would never end. It was exhilarating.”


Wedding Photography: Tanja Lippert Photography / Assistant Photographer: Luke Goodman
Venue: Nestldown
Wedding Planning + Design: The Bride and Groom
Flowers: Precious and Blooming
Wedding Dress: Robert Bullock Bride for Birnbaum & Bullock
Shoes: Nine West
Earrings: Passionate About Vintage
Vintage Purse: Storied
Wedding Invitations: Papier Lapin
Wedding Cake: Margaret's French Bakery
Hair + Makeup: Julie Dy
DJ: Woody of Big Fun DJs

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