GSS Featured Wedding :: Nikki & Joel’s Backyard Wedding :: Rebekah Westover Photography

Happy Hump Day, Lovelies!!! We have a special treat for you today.  We have an absoultely beautiful wedding to feature today from Rebekah of Rebekah Westover Photography. Rebekah Westover Photography is a Utah based wedding photographer.  She has been so sweet and accommodating to GSS and we have really enjoyed working with her on this feature.

Nikki and Joel were married June 30, 2012 in Utah .  Nikki was kind enough to answer a few questions for us:


How did you and Joel meet? I love it when people ask this question. Actually, no, I love it when people ask Joel this question, because I love watching his embarrassed face as he tells them that we met in an ice skating class during our first semester of college. (He’s a manly man, I promise.) 

How long have you been together? About 4 years. We were apart for a couple of years in the middle of that, but we kept in hopeful contact, and I never stopped thinking about him, so in my book it counts.

How did Joel propose? For Valentine’s Day he surprised me with plane tickets to San Diego so we could get out of snowy Utah and spend a weekend with his family. He proposed down there at one of my absolute favorite places. 

What sold you on your wedding venue? We were married in the Bountiful, Utah LDS temple, and our reception was held in my grandparents’ backyard just a few cities away from there. Both locations are absolutely beautiful, and a simple, fun, classy backyard reception just felt like “us.” Plus, my grandma has been hinting about having my reception in her backyard since I was about, you know, 12.

Your dress is gorgeous, where did you get it and how did you know it was “the one?” It took me all of three hours to find my wedding dress. I know, right? My mom and I went shopping on one random Saturday, simply to look for ideas, nothing serious. We found the dress in the second store we went to, and it was perfect. I didn’t need to keep looking. 

What was your “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue?” To be honest, considering this is one of the most classic wedding traditions in the book, I didn’t really think about it too much. I’m sure we had one of each of those things, but I didn’t really plan for any of them. 

How did you choose your wedding color palette? It was a summer wedding, so I really liked the idea of using bright, summer-y colors and flowers. I found a picture of a bouquet on Pinterest that I loved, and basically just used it as a basis for a color palette for everything else. 

What song did you dance to for your first dance? “What If I Loved You?” by Joey Gian

Do you have any advice for bride and grooms that are in the planning process? Oh, I could probably go on for pages saying little things about this or that– things to do, things to not do, things I wish I had done– but those are the things that everyone just sort of figures out, no big deal. Looking back I have to say that the one piece of advice I’m really glad I took to heart, was how much more important and exciting my marriage was going to be to me than my wedding. Don’t get me wrong, as far as I’m concerned, our wedding day was amazing, and important, and exciting…best day of my life, hands down. Everything was beautiful and perfect, and everyone who came had so much fun, which is just what we wanted. But it was a day. One day…that I spent five months planning for and, occasionally, stressing over. What’s really made that day so special has come after, because every day since then I’ve fallen more and more in love with that goofy, painfully handsome man standing next to me in all those pictures. 

What was your favorite part of your big day? The groom. :)


Venue:  Ceremony: Bountiful, Utah LDS temple      Reception: My grandparent’s house

Dress: Mary’s Bridal

Cake: Salt Cake City

Floral: L & Co. Floral

Linens: Specialty Linens

Catering: Utah Celebrations Catering

DJ/Band: Rich, Complete Music DJ

Videographer: Jesse Felter, Liquid Vision Films

Invitations/Wedding Stationery: Jenny Martin

Event Planner: (Day of coordinator) Carrie Parker, White Ginger Events

Thank you so much, Rebekah, for sharing this amazing engagement session with us! Please stop by her website and her blog and show her some love! And thank you, Nikki, for taking your time to answer our questions and sharing your proposal pictures with us! We wish you and Joel a lifetime full of love, laughter, and happiness!!! May every day be better than the last!

If you have an engagement, wedding, day after, or anniversary session that you would like featured- Please send it to us at We HEART submissions!

Pin It

GSS Featured Wedding :: Laura & John’s Beautiful Backyard Texas Wedding :: Gideon Photography

Happy Hump Day, Lovelies!!! Today’s fabulous featured wedding comes from Jimmy of Gideon Photography, a Utah based wedding photographer. Jimmy has been so sweet and accommodating to GSS and we have truly enjoyed working with him on this feature.

Laura and John were married on March 3, 2012 in a black tie wedding on the Guadalupe River in Hunt, Texas. This was a beautiful and classy southern wedding, with all the charm from the decor, to the beautiful lighting, to the stunning couple. Laura was kind enough to answer a few questions for us:

How did you and John meet?  John and I first met when we were 16 years old at a tiny local rodeo and dance hall called Crider’s, just a few miles away from our wedding site. We danced and stayed up all night by the river talking. The night ended with an innocent kiss and we didn’t see one another again until Easter of 2011. A few weeks before easter, John wrote me a letter saying that he had thought about me over the years and said that if I was ever in Hunt, Texas again that we should meet up. I was living in Washington DC at the time and John was living in Houston. I wrote him back and told him that I was going to Hunt, TX with my family and that he was welcome to stop by during the weekend. John wrote me back and said that he couldn’t make it that weekend, but hoped we could meet up in the future. John owns  a moving company called Point2Point, based in Houston and the very next day he got a call from someone that hired his company to move them from Hunt to Houston on that good Friday. So, of course he wrote me again and said that he would be there. Sure enough, he showed up at my family reunion! He was so handsome when he pulled up at the house that I felt like a 16 year old girl again. Three weeks later we were engaged. 

How long have you been together?  Almost a year and a half. 

How did Scott propose?   John proposed by the side of the bed as I was falling asleep. I had just flown to Houston to visit him and met his parents for dinner earlier that night. I now think back to his poor parents that were probably worried sick at dinner, knowing that their son was about to propose to a girl he barely knew. My in-laws are the absolute best and they could not have been more open and kind to me. 

What sold you on your wedding venue?  We call my grandparents’ house ‘Casita’. It is my favorite place on earth. All of my favorite childhood memories are at Casita where we spent our summers swimming and fishing on the guadalupe river. It is also the place where John and I met and re-met 10 years later, so it is a very special place for both of us. 

Your dress is gorgeous, where did you get it and how did you know it was “the one”?  I knew my dress was the one because I felt so beautiful in it. It is timeless, modest, and something that both John and my grandparents would love. 

What was your “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue”? My something old was this tiny, gold four leaf clover that had my grandparents’ wedding date and initials engraved in it. My grandmother wore it in her wedding shoes for good luck and so did I. 

How did you choose your wedding color palette? I didn’t really have a ‘palette’- I just knew I wanted my bridesmaids to wear something black lace because it was easy to find and something that they might wear again. My vision for the wedding was for it to be a black-tie wedding with a relaxed, hill country feel. The guests sipped cocktails during the ceremony and the whole night was just unstructured and fun. George Brownley, created the incredible table flowers after we went to a flower market and I showed him what I liked. I trusted his taste so much that I just knew whatever he put together would be beautiful. 

Do you have any advice for bride and grooms that are in the planning process?  Don’t sweat the details! I know this is a wedding blog, so your readers might disagree- But the truth is-  Guests do not care about the wedding favors you give them, the signs on the back of your chairs, or the million other things you see on Pintrest or wedding blogs and then feel like you need them. Just focus on the basics and the fact that you are marrying the love of your life. I was so relaxed and happy the day of my wedding that nothing could have brought me down! 

What song did you dance to for your first dance? ‘Stand by Me’ by Ben E. King. 

What was your favorite part of your big day?   My favorite part was the moment we kissed and were declared husband and wife. I accidentally jumped the gun early and kissed him mid-ceremony. The words of my bishop during the ceremony were so personal to John and I that it made the ceremony feel so intimate. John and I walked back down the aisle and held each other. My heart was so filled with love for him and it was without a doubt, the happiest moment of my life.  


Venue: My grandparents’ home in Hunt, Texas

Dress: Monique Lullhier 

Cake:  Finale’ by Glenna

Floral: George Brownley

Linens: Marquee Rental Group

Catering: Johnny Borrayo

DJ/Band: Mike and the Moon Pies

Videographer: Kate Graves

Invitations/Wedding Stationery: Mr. Boddington through Ph Design Shop, Houston

Event Planner: I didn’t have a wedding  planner and did most of it on my own.  I will say that George Brownley, my florist, was so much more than a florist! His table settings, flowers, and vision for the tent made the event. Slick from Marquee Rental Group handled everything else- the parking, the heaters, the tent and other rentals, and lighting around the property. I really don’t know what I would have done without either of them! 

Thank you so much, Jimmy, for sharing this amazing wedding with us! Please stop by his website and show him some love! And thank you, Laura, for taking your time to answer our questions! We wish you and John a lifetime full of love, laughter, and happiness!!! May every day be better than the last!

If you have an engagement, wedding, day after, or anniversary session that you would like featured- Please send it to us at We HEART submissions!

Pin It

GSS Featured Wedding :: Jaymi & Andy’s California Tuscan Villa Wedding :: Dana Grant Photography

You’re in for a treat today!  Today we have a fabulous submission from Dana of Dana Grant Photography.  Dana Grant Photography is one of our preferred vendors and sponsors of GSS!  So please join us in giving Dana a great BIG warm welcome to GSS!!!  Dana Grant Photography is based out of California.  

Jaymi and Andy were married in Simi Valley, California at Tuscan Villa Estate  on December 11, 2010 (how FUN- 12.11.10!).  Jaymi was a complete DIY bride and did an AH-MAZING job!!!  Kudos to you, Jaymi!  You are so super talented!  Jaymi was kind enough to answer a few questions for us:

How did you and Andy meet? Andy and I met online…which we are both still so shocked about. I never would have met him because we definitely ran in different circles, but one day I posted an ad on Craigslist (YES, craigslist!!!!) and didn’t even put a picture. I received about 1,000 emails (that’s no exaggeration) and whittled it down to 2 dates, one of which was Andy!!!


How long have you been together? We have been together now for nearly 6 years. 


How did Andy propose? While on a long business trip to New York, I was feeling upset that my plane was delayed by two hours. and I was desperately missing my darling boyfriend, Andy. I arrived at the airport and was expecting my assistant to be picking me up…lo and behold, I caught sight of the pretty red mustang that signified that Andy was picking me up instead. He sensed that I was starving (the plane had run out of food!) and whisked me off to one of my favorite restaurants. While at dinner, he said that we were going to go home for a quiet night of snuggling and movies. That sounded perfect after the week I had!
When we got to our house, he opened the door and to my utter surprise, there were about 200 candles lit and a pathway from our front door of rose petals. The pathway led to a little “stage”, with a huge vase of gorgeous long stem roses… There he told me all of the things he loves about me and about us together. He got down on his knee and said my full name when asking me to be his wife…to which I screamed YES about 40 times. I hadn’t even looked at the ring yet because I was so focused on him, but when I did…I nearly woke up the neighborhood!  Finally, after many minutes of kissing and hugging, I started thinking…”how did he DO this???”  I asked him precisely that, to which he responded “I have one more surprise” and walked over and turned on the light to our adjoining dining room, where my 3 dearest friends jumped out!!! I screamed again!!! I never get to see these girls because our lives have all become so busy. It was a dream come true to have them there to witness one of the most amazing moments of my life. They brought out the champagne and treats they had prepared for the night and we all sat around talking about how wonderful and exciting the night was. Best of all, I have 3 different videos of the proposal!!! That is an absolutely priceless memory to have on video!!! It was the perfect proposal and showed me just how well Andy knows me and knows what I would want.

What sold you on your wedding venue? It was a beautiful home…and I could make it anything I wanted. They were open to any idea and put no rules and regulations on who did the catering, where the ceremony was or what time the wedding had to end. I loved that we got to stay there for five days with our wedding party and we held the rehearsal dinner in the same gazebo where our cocktails were held on the night of the wedding. I considered it a Home Destination wedding…which was exactly what we were looking for.

Your dress is gorgeous, where did you get it and how did you know it was “the one”? Oh, I LOVE my dress. It’s “Billie” from Sottero & Midgeley, I got it at a little Bridal shop near my home called Karoza in Glendale. It was the first dress I tried on!!! When my Mom, Matron of Honor, future Mom in law all saw me in it…they all knew it was the one, too. But, just to be sure, I tried on 28 more dresses over the next two months and always came back to that dress. I absolutely felt like I had never put on a garment that fit me so well!! I loved my dress so much that I even decided to have a Wedding themed birthday party about 2 months after our wedding just so I could wear it again!!! It was a great idea because I got to really enjoy it again before I had it cleaned!


What song did you dance to for your first dance? Andy and I share a love of dancing, so for our first dance, we choreographed a foxtrot that had a surprise in the middle… he rips off my long skirt to reveal a sexy little number underneath…and we did a salsa dance. We cut together our own song of “Lucky” by Jason Mraz for the foxtrot and then “Butterfly” by Jason Mraz for the salsa dance, using my basic programs on my Mac. 

What was your “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue”? My something old was a handkerchief that was my grandmothers from the 40’s, something new was the dress, something borrowed was the bracelet I wore which I borrowed from my future step-mom-in-law, something blue was my adorable underwear that said “I do.”

How did you choose your wedding color palette? I wanted to choose something that was classic and wouldn’t go out of style. Black and White is timeless and it really worked with the theme of Hollywood Modern Romance that I was going for. Then, Andy and I have a true love for all things red…so I added the little pop of red to suit us both…and to add a touch of romance.

Do you have any advice for brides that are in the planning process? Don’t labor over every little detail. Focus on the big important tasks and then realize that no matter what, some things won’t be perfect, and that is ok. Being a bridezilla just isn’t cute and it’s really not necessary… remember that all the people helping you and supporting you are there because they love you so much but they still have lives of their own to deal with. After the wedding, you will look back and realize that the most important moments were the shared moments leading up to the day with your best friends, family and most of all… fiance. 

What was your favorite part of your big day? After we did our first dance, Andy surprised me by serenading me with our song “Calling You” by Blue October. He had his little sister learn it on the guitar and absolutely stunned me by SURPRISING me… I couldn’t believe he pulled something like that off without me knowing about it. It was one of the most romantic moments of my life.

Vendors :

Venue: Tuscan Villa Estates, 1248 Rocky Rd, Simi Valley, CA 93063, (310) 614-5352

Dress: Sottero & Midgeley, purchased at Karoza Bridal in Glendale California

Cake: Dorie Kinney, The most amazing cake I have ever tasted…REALLY. She only does a certain amount a year! 818-240-8454

Floral: Belle of the Ball, 818.415.5541 & 805.660.2947

Linens: I made them myself!! 😀

Catering: Command Performance Catering, I worked with Annette and she was darling.

DJ/Band: Spencer Sutherland

Videographer: I had a friend do the main one and hired a guy off of craiglist to do a super 8 vintage video! Here is a short reel of the super 8 footage, I LOVE it!

Invitations/Wedding Stationery: I designed them, but I had them expertly printed and collaborated with Teresa at Occasion to Celebrate 

Event Planner: Myself! I hand made all of the details… the feather boutonnieres, the bridesmaid dresses, my second dance dress, the graphic details/signs, the lace linens, the broadway musical table numbers, etc.

Thank you so much, Dana, for sharing this amazing wedding with us!  Please stop by her website  and show her some love!  And thank you, Jaymi, for taking your time to answer our questions!  We wish you and Andy a lifetime full of love, laughter, and happiness!!!  May every day be better than the last!

If you have an engagement, wedding, day after, or anniversary session that you would like featured- Please send it to us at  We HEART submissions!

Pin It

GSS’s Top Wedding Trends :: 2010

We  have taken the liberty of researching the emerging trends for weddings in 2010.  Here’s what we have found:

  • Smarter Budgeting:  The recession that has hit our economy has affected most of us these days… So gone are the days of frivolous spending on lavish, outrageous weddings.  Many engaged couples are becoming more and more budget conscious and refusing to go into debt for their wedding.  We agree with this trend whole-heartedly.  (We applaud these couples for their responsibility!) Come up with a reasonable, reachable budget for your wedding and stick to it.  Most couples can foresee their engagement, so start saving when you begin to talk about getting engaged.  
  • Turquoise:  Pantone has chosen turquoise to be the big color of 2010.  They predict that we will begin seeing this color everywhere you look… clothing, interiors, and especially weddings.  Turquoise can create the feeling of serenity and relaxation and is perfect for spring, summer, and destination weddings.

  • Memories:  This is one of the best trends on this list, in our opinion.  Couples are scaling back on floral and other frivolous decor items and opting to spend more on their photography and videography.  This is wonderful because when all is said and done and you are now officially Mr. & Mrs.,  you can look back on the day and relive it as many times as you want.  Photography and Videography is not an expense, it’s an investment.  With that said, in order to get your money’s worth, make sure you do your research and interview a few photographers and videographers before signing a contract.  You want to make sure they have a good track record (they’re dependable and past clients rave about their work) and that they mesh with your personalities.  You want someone who can see the “true you” and know how to showcase you.
  • Props:  This one isn’t all that new.  We saw this trend emerge in full force in 2009, but we had such a good time with it, that we’re sure it will stick around.  Props are being used in engagement and bridal sessions, and not to mention in the wedding itself.  Such props include, but are not limited to:  fake mustaches, bicycles, oversized picture frames, balloons, and fun hats.

  • Mismatched Bridesmaids Dresses:  Again, not entirely new to 2010, but a fabulous trend.  Let’s face it, your bridesmaids are not all the same size and shape.  So that single dress you picked out for all of them to wear may not look so great on some.  Allow your girls the freedom to pick the style of dress they wear, and maybe even the color.  Most weddings are not completely monochromatic.  They usually have around two contrasting, but complimenting colors or various shades of a single color.  Set boundaries if you like, such as length and colors, and allow them to have fun and pick a style that’s  flattering for themselves.  In the end, they may be able to wear their dress again or more importantly, they may actually even WANT to wear it again!

  • Not-So-Far Away Destination Weddings:  We’re definitely a fan of destination weddings.  Especially because depending on the destination you choose and the location, the venue may have all-inclusive packages.  In fact, some places such as RIU, Sandals, and Dreams offer a FREE wedding package included with your stay.   However, again, due to the current state of the economy, couples are opting for a destination a little closer to home.  There are a myriad of unbelievably beautiful places in the continental United States to travel to get married…. Savannah, GA… Seaside, FL… Southern California… Miami, FL…. Hilton Head, SC… Austin, TX…  Just to name a few.  By keeping it within the continental states, it allows your guests the option to drive and save money.  You could keep your guest list a little smaller and use that money to create a fun wedding weekend for your guests! 
  • Friday or Sunday Wedding Dates:  Don’t get upset just yet, Saturday is still the most popular day to get married.  But a lot of venues offer significant discounts to couples who choose to get married on a Friday or Sunday.  This is another way to save money in one area in order to use it in another.  Or maybe the venue of your dreams is just not within your budget on a Saturday, but if you book on a Friday or Sunday, it would be.  It’s definitely something to consider…
  • Internet Wedding Planning (DIY Wedding Planning):  With the tremendous amount of helpful wedding websites and blogs (GSS Included!!!), it makes planning your wedding by yourself a much easier task.  A bride can find almost anything she needs online to plan her wedding.  Side Note:  However, even though the Internet can aid you in planning every detail up to the wedding, we HIGHLY recommend hiring at least a “Day Of” wedding planner.  We suggest scaling back on other areas of your wedding, if need be, in order to make this happen… You could get married on a Friday or Sunday as mentioned above, or make your own favors, centerpieces, or invitations… There are ways to scrounge up enough money to hire a planner.  Trust us, having a wedding planner on your big day is 110% worth the money.  If a problem arises, which chances are at least one will, your planner will handle it with grace while you’re relaxing and enjoying every minute of your big day.  Trust us, GSS’s Tamra learned this the hard way and that’s why we’re preaching to you.
  • Getting Married at Home:  Although backyard weddings aren’t always less expensive, it absolutely gives your wedding a more personal touch.   Everyone feels more comfortable and at ease at home, so why not have your wedding there? 

  • Personalized Wedding Favors:  Personal wedding favors can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  These can be made by you…  Maybe you’re known for your baking or cooking skills.  Make cookies and bag them up nicely or whip up some homemade jam in your favorite flavor.  Or maybe there’s something local that you want to share with your guests.  We’ve even seen a couple who had a local winery bottle their favorite wine in small bottles and personalize them  with a custom label.  The couple then added a tag to the bottle that requested the guest to have a toast to them on one their one year anniversary.  Also, charitable donations are always an extremely personal wedding favor.  Maybe you’ve lost a loved one to Cancer or Alzheimer’s.  In lue of a box of chocolates that means little to your guests, make a donation to a charity of your choice in honor of your lost loved one(s).  Photo Booths are also a wonderful personalized wedding favor.  Guests get a fun strip of photos to remember the wedding by and you get a copy for you to remember your guests by! Personalized wedding favors make so much more of an impact on your guests than anything you can buy at a store.

  • Video DJs:  Move over regular DJ with their flashing lights and disco ball… Video DJs are becoming a new and hot trend for wedding receptions,  allowing your dance party to dance not only to the beat of the music, but also allowing them to dance along with the visuals of the music videos.
  • Shorter Engagements: We all know that the standard engagement period lasts a year, giving ample time to plan your wedding.  This time frame is not obligatory but can can help relieve the stress, by spreading out the tasks and the expenses and give you a little more time to save money.  However, a wedding can be planned in less than a year and we’re seeing this trend grow.  A shorter engagement means that you don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to plan the perfect wedding, and often means that you spend less money on unnecessary things. 
  • Tea-Length and Shorter Wedding Dresses:  With the increasing trend in all things vintage, retro, and old Hollywood glam in weddings, tea-length and shorter wedding dresses are making their way back into the wedding scene with great popularity.   These fun and flirty dresses bring you back to the day when Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe ruled the day!

  • Day After Wedding Shoots:  Your wedding day tends to fly by not leaving much time to take all of  the much treasured pictures you want.  That’s where “Day After” shoots step in.  You get to get all glammed up and slide into your stunning dress all over again.  You could get a little more funky for this shoot than you would on your wedding day… add a smokier eye to your makeup, big colored accessories, brightly colored shoes, and add all kinds of fun props.  This is your time to shine and really let loose!

Credits: (In order, Left to Right, Top to Bottom)

Prop Images:  Mark Brooke Photographers, Perez Photography,  Mark Brooke PhotographersJill Thomas Photography, Boutwell Studios

Mismatched Bridesmaids Images:  Emily Photo, Rose & Ruby, Michele M. Waite, Stephanie Williams Photography

Backyard Wedding Images:  Allison Davis Photography

Personalized Wedding Favor Images:  Portland Photo Booths, Charlotte Geary Photography, Charlotte Geary Photography, The Knot, Steven Myers Photography

Tea-Length Dresses Images:  Stephanie James Couture

Day After Images:  Sarah Maren Photography

Pin It