Over Memorial Day weekend, Marissa and Dan tied the knot. More than just a ceremony and reception, their wedding brought together a group of family and friends for a long weekend of fun and adventures. We kicked off the festivities on Saturday morning with a big group sound bathing session at the Integratron. Yes, sound bathing in the middle of the Mojave Desert, where quartz crystal singing bowls are played while you lay with your eyes closed and your mind open. Apparently aliens gave the builder his plans for the structure; I’m not sure we were able to open our minds enough to believe that, but there was some hand tinging, heavy limbs and dancing visions of the color purple. Kicking off the weekend in such a unique and relaxing way was the perfect way to start.

After a day of listening to music, drinking wine and talking nonstop, we headed to the rehearsal dinner. Since all of the guests were invited, the rehearsal dinner was really just BBQ, drinks and an amazing peach cobbler all enjoyed under the stars. Not one of us planned for the freezing weather and after five minutes of pictures in our party clothes, we all donned blankets and beach towels and gathered around the fireplace. Smokey hair for the next three days was totally worth it.

The next day we joined the groom in a wedding day hike throughout Joshua Tree National Park. In case you’ve never seen a Joshua Tree before (and can’t quite make them out properly in the photo above), here’s what they look like:

What I didn’t know about Joshua Tree is that the park is full of huge boulders! We started on a trail and then veered off to climb and explore. I can get a little nervous when hiking/climbing (crouching low to the ground is my trick), but I managed to get pretty high up with the boy’s help.

After running around for a few hours, we had just enough time to grab lunch before getting ready for the wedding. Luckily the ceremony and reception were held right next to where we were staying, so we were able to race back and forth to help the coordinators while beautifying. I might have still been wearing my hiking clothes while everyone was getting seated, but all the hard work really paid off and the wedding looked professional, charming and so personal. The succulent centerpieces were created by a girl Marissa found on Etsy, and she did an amazing job (so glad we didn’t try to finish these ourselves!). We also replicated the adorable “P.S. I love you” mailbox for cards and decorated colorful signage and names for the seating chart, while old mirrors got new life with chalkboard paint.

There was a photo booth in lieu of a guest book, decorated with homemade signs in yellow and white. Everyone wrote the bride and groom messages on a chalkboard, then snapped Polaroids and hung them for everyone to see.

Marissa’s friend Angela made 80 yellow and white chevron place mats for the tables; the bright pop of color looked stunning and I’m so happy to now have a few for my own table at home! Marissa also hand painted some wood signs that added to the whole rustic chic vibe.

For other little special touches, we made yellow heart fans for every seat at the ceremony. Place settings were green apples with a leaf for every guest.

Our friend India made a carrot cake wedding cake. Yes, from scratch…with fondant…including that flower on top. It tasted even better than it looks, if you can imagine that!

Of course, what really made the wedding was the bride and groom. They were both so happy, so in love…it was really special to be a part of their day.

I have to sign off with one of my favorite pictures of the weekend. There’s something about candid joy that turns a beautiful photo into a captured moment in time. Mazel tov to Marissa and Dan!