Our Wedding: Design + Decor


Before we get into more wedding day pictures, I wanted to take a moment to explain the design and decor we chose: the overall theme, color scheme, paper products, favors for guests, flowers, etc… basically all of those little details that make a wedding unique and personal…

First, let’s go back about a year which will require some non-wedding day photos.

Summer of 2013, after selecting our venue, we settled on a theme inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream — simplified to Wildflowers + the Cosmos. We knew, it being a summer wedding, guests would get to experience the beautiful, natural surroundings of the Twenty Mile House during the day, and the stunning, clear night sky after the sun went down. I wanted to weave that combination through everything we could, starting with the Save the Dates and Invitations.

5x7_std (2)5x7_invite

We decided to purchase a custom PDF invitation suite through Etsy vendor 3EggsDesign (her name is Kim and she is so sweet) which we had printed ourselves through a place in Burbank called GotPrint.net — which unquestionably ended up being the best decision we made for our budget.

(Our exact design isn’t available anymore, but a very similar one can be found here.)

The suite was fairly monochromatic (navy and white) so we added color with a vibrant coral envelope for the Save the Dates…

Save the Date Coral Johnstone Hyatt Wedding

… and by creating an insert for directions to the venue — designed by my illustrator friend Heather Landis.

Our invitations were in a neutral brown envelope, with a yellow RSVP return envelope to play off the yellow wildflowers. A small business card-sized note with our wedding website tied around the bundle with twine topped it off.

IMG_3378Johnstone Hyatt Wedding Invitations

Then, cut to just a month or so before the wedding. I enlisted Heather’s help to create a Wedding Day Program — 4 pages that we connected by hole-punching the upper-left corner and tying them together with twine.

Each seat for the ceremony had a program on it, which gave everyone a full play-by-play of what they could expect for the evening.

When I was working on this with Heather, I worried it would be overkill. But friends and family kept commenting all night long how happy they were to have answers to questions (like “Who’s that bridesmaid?” and “Do I have to pay for alcohol?” and “What song is this?”) before they even had to ask them.

Plus, it gave us a chance to give credit to all our vendors up front.

OK, now some more wedding photos!


Our bouquets were matching, but mine had the addition of my favorite: maidenhair fern. I told our florist (Weddings By Grays) that I wanted the bouquets to be messy and colorful, like if someone went out to a garden or meadow and simply tied a bunch of stems together.

I think she delivered!



I wanted the same feeling for the tables, with a variety of vessels and flower bunches going straight down the middle.


We had burlap down the center of the tables, and went half-half with Twenty Mile House on new navy napkins, which they kept for future use. (They only had ivory and white before then.)

Probably my favorite detail was our guestbook / table number idea. Instead of a traditional guestbook, we decided to use postcards that people could fill out with messages and the next day we would drop them at the Graeagle post office and mail them to our house!

I created postcards using Zazzle and images of vintage constellation art. Then, we used the same images in lieu of table numbers! We did assigned seating (of which I am an adamant fan!) and each guest’s name card was hung with a postcard that corresponded with an image on the tables — which helped people find their seats!


Once guests found their table area, a jar of Livermore honey and a name card on each plate let them know where they were supposed to sit.


What do you think?

There are definitely more details you’ll see in future posts, and some beautiful things were simply part of the venue without my input (like the flower gardens and incredible twinkle lights wrapped around the trees).

Tomorrow: Getting ready with the bride and groom…

(Wedding day photos by Joe Gunn and Justin Divine)

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