A love of nature, a respect for the environment, and a sense of humor were all aspects that Susan Iddings and David Colman shared and appreciated in each other, so it made sense that their nuptials would reflect all three. "We wanted our wedding to feel earthy and organic," Susan describes, and the perfect setting was practically in their own backyard. "Everything we wanted -- location, aesthetics, etc., -- was at David's parents' house," says the bride. The sentimental value of marrying where David grew up was a strong asset, too. "My parents' home couldn't be more personal to me," he says. With the venue settled and a fresh color scheme of sage green and dark brown to build upon, the couple set about creating an outdoor event that was truly customized to their tastes and personalities.
To augment the lush, botanical setting of the Colman residence, an array of manzanita trees, moss flowers, and ferns were brought in for the occasion, and the inclusion of succulent plants in everything from the groomsmens' boutonnieres to the reception decor gave the floral design a truly unique twist. "Everything had a very 'natural' look," Susan says. Urns were filled with a fantasy of fresh white flowers and placed on stone pedestals beneath a graceful arch of greenery for the ceremony, and the reception arrangements included green cymbidium orchids, amaranthus, hydrangeas, and aeoniums artfully arranged with manzanita branches. Susan's bouquet was a delicate mix of white and green lady slippers, snowy anemones, white lavender, sweet pea, and luxuriant succulents, while the bridesmaids carried similar flowers with the colorful addition of purple lavender sprigs.
The ceremony itself was a clever and sentimental blend of the couple's original style. First, the pair had a very special person ordained to perform the ceremony: Susan's grandfather. "This made our ceremony even more personal and heartfelt than we could have imagined," says the bride. The pair also incorporated their pets into the nuptials, with their chocolate lab Georgia serving as "flower dog" and their American bulldog Capone standing up as ring bearer. "We were uncertain if the dogs would behave, but they were absolute angels," David says. "They're like our children, and it was important that they had a big role in our ceremony."
The music the couple selected was a veritable stroll through time of unique selections performed by a guitar player. "We love the classics," Susan explains, "so the bridal party walked down the aisle to 'Where There is Love' by Peter Paul and Mary. My procession was to 'Annie's Song' by John Denver, and the recessional was 'All You Need is Love' by the Beatles." Even the couple's choice in wedding attire was a nod to their individuality: David donned a pinstripe suit rather than a tuxedo to reflect his laid-backed persona, while Susan paired her exquisite Claire Pettibone gown with vintage cowboy boots to reflect her small-town Ohio roots. "I don't cry much, but I lost it," says David of seeing his bride for the first time. Susan's favorite memory of the ceremony was decidedly lighter: "When it was time for our vows, David announced that he had very little to say... and then unrolled a paper that was eight-feet long, getting a laugh from all our guests!"
The tented reception was also filled with moments of lightness, beginning with the toast given by Susan's sister, the maid of honor. "She instructed me on how I should treat my husband like a dog!" says Susan of the humorous speech, which was based on the idea that people tend to be kinder to their pets than to their spouses. The couple's first dance was to the cheerful ditty "All I Want is You" by children's author and songwriter Barry Louis Polisar, and the chocolate wedding cake was decorated in a whimsically elegant design and served with glasses of cold milk.
Gift boxes of tree seedlings with planters were given to guests as favors, continuing the natural aspect of the wedding. "It was important that we gave a favor that gave back to the earth," Susan says. The event stayed true to the couple's vision from beginning to end, an accomplishment that the pair admits is not always simple for brides and grooms. "It's easy to be swayed by everyone else's opinions," Susan admits. "But you'll only end up with a generic, cookie-cutter wedding." "Choose your battles wisely," David advises. "This includes with your bride, your parents, and your future in-laws." By following their own advice, Susan and David created a gorgeous and personal wedding their way, and jetted off to an African safari with nothing but beautiful memories of a very special day.