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Real Wedding: Jessica & Matt

Jessica Levens, 32, and Matt Herring, 38, first caught each other’s eye on St. Patrick’s Day 2012, while buying cocktails at Union Kitchen and Tap in Encinitas. The two spent the rest of the evening chatting away. Before they knew it, Jessica and Matt were on their first date in Hillcrest. A mere three weeks after their initial meeting, Jessica was taking her 30th birthday trip to Bali and she invited Matt to come along, figuring it would make or break their budding romance. He accepted, and “the rest is history.” Matt surprised Jessica with a proposal over dinner at Addison in the Grand Del Mar. -Paige Pollockmavens_highlights02


NorCal or Bust

The bride, who grew up in Cupertino, California, spent most of her summer weekends in Santa Cruz. The couple chose Nestldown, a nearby private retreat for its “enchanted forest feel.”


Down The Aisle

Jessica, an only child, chose to walk down the aisle with both her mother and father. Her parents’ marriage of 37 years has always been an inspiration to her.



Memories on Display

On Jessica’s grandfather’s antique French door, the couple hung Instagram Polaroids (from the app Social Print) of happy memories together.



Weekend Activities

Guests stayed at the Dream Inn, where every room came with a beachfront view. Prior to the big day, the wedding party enjoyed dinner at sunset. Toasts and roasts were lovingly made, while a caricature artist added to the be achy, boardwalk feel.






Change of Scenery

Dancing took place in a rustic barn, a stone’s throw from the Redwoods and greenery where dinner was served.


Handmade Details

Succulents and flowers were placed in crates hand-stained by the mother of the bride. For favors, guests kept the bud vases that Jessica had used for escort cards.


All Aboard

The bride and groom rode into the reception on a train and even let guests take a ride around the property on it.


Cocktail Concert

Matt’s bluegrass band, the Hilltop Ramblers, played during the cocktail hour. Guests sang along with karaoke microphones and Matt even joined in on the banjo for a song.


Drinks and Games

The bride and groom’s love for games made cocktail hour the perfect time to play bocce ball, corn hole, and board games set up on farm tables. A Mule Bar (the couple’s favorite drink), offered the Moscow Mule, Mexican Mule (with tequila, instead of vodka), and Kentucky Mule (with bourbon).



Coordination, Ceremony, and Reception: Nestldown
Photography: Joielala
Catering: Thomas John Events
Music: Republic of Music
Paper Elements: Sweet Paper (invitations); Pigment and Parchment (menus and escort cards); Tiger Lily (programs)
Florals: Flower Divas
Hair and Makeup: Katie Nash Beauty
Gown: Inbal Dror
Shoes: Brian Atwood
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals; Hartmann Studios
Officiant: Reverend Timothy Mills

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