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How to Have a Bohemian Desert Junkyard Wedding

If you are a unique couple then maybe a bohemian desert wedding is your personal fantasy. If you’re a seriously unique couple, try a bohemian desert JUNKYARD wedding. For this shoot, I dragged over ten vendors two hours into San Diego’s Anza Borrego Desert to photograph a truly memorable shoot. I would like to thank them for personally taking a walk on the wild side and really exploring our weirdness together.

hipster couple at a bohemian desert junkyard wedding

Credit: Courtney McManaway Photography

Producer | Mosaic Bride Magazine | @mosaicbride

Design & Coordination | Ivory & Lace Creative Weddings | @ivoryandlacecreative

Photography | Courtney McManaway Photography | @cmcmanawayphoto

Venue | Desert View Tower | @desertviewtower

Florals | Wyld Blooms | @wyld_blooms

Dress | Lulu’s | @lulus

Hair & Makeup | Beauty by Aubree & Co | @beautybyaubreeandco

Suit | Friar Tux | @friartux

Rentals | Witty Rentals, To Be Designed Rentals, CC Vintage | @wittyrentals, @tbdsandiego, @ccvintage

Macrame | Knots & Ivory | @knotsandivory

Lighting | San Diego SociaLights | @sdsocialights

Photobus | Wander Wagen | @thewanderwagen


Bohemian Desert Junkyard Wedding Venue

bohemian desert wedding venue

Credit: Courtney McManaway Photography

80 miles east of downtown San Diego is a true gem. The Desert View Tower in Jacumba Hot Springs, California, is a folk art masterpiece. The tower itself sits atop a bluff and overlooks the entire desert with a 360-degree view of the Ocotillo mountains. Inside, it has a spiraling staircase and lots of bizarre artistry to really inspire your guests’ imaginations. Punctuated by oddities and anthropomorphic rock features, this tower and its grounds are the perfect place for an offbeat couple looking for an outside-the-box wedding. If the Desert View Tower isn’t quite your style, we’ve also got a list of our favorite spots in Temecula and even some unique ideas in L.A.

Bohemian Desert Wedding Dress

beautiful bohemian wedding dress

Credit: Courtney McManaway Photography

I wanted to keep it a fun, spacey vibe for this shoot. I was inspired by Star Trek and Barbarella when thinking of the models’ aesthetics. My bride is this stunning woman with vibrant red hair that is electrifying. I wanted her beautiful makeup and hair to really pop. So I went with a gorgeous, simple sheath dress from Lulu’s with illusion cutouts along the sides to create an edgier look. She looked like a space goddess at this junkyard wedding!

I paired her dress with some rad jewelry that was modern and outside-the-box. A gold v-neck choker necklace accentuated her modest neckline and cobalt blue, blown-glass pendant earrings popped behind her bright red locks.

Bohemian Desert Junkyard Wedding Beauty

For her beautiful look, again, I wanted a Barbarella vibe, so we kept it simple in some places and dramatic in others. Aubree Young of Beaty by Aubree and Co. really stepped up her game with this look!

I wanted her eyes to pop so we did a dramatic 60s inspired eyeliner with intense lashes – her steely eyes really shined. And how could we NOT put a beautiful red lip on this gorgeous model?

We continued the cobalt blue throughout the look by adding a rich blue nail polish on her hands and toes. It really tied the whole look together.

For her hair, I wanted bombshell hair just like Jane Fonda’s. So, we went with big bouncy curls that swayed so incredibly in the desert wind. This model was truly a 60s space bombshell from top to toe.

beautiful bride and groom

Credit: Courtney McManaway Photography

Bohemian Desert Wedding Suit

bohemian desert wedding suit

Credit: Courtney McManaway Photography

We can’t forget about the Captain Kirk to our Barbarella! I love pairing one color jacket with an entirely different colored pant. I think it brings a creative feel to the look. So, we paired a tan Friar Tux sport jacket with their black trousers, topping it off with their medium brown leather belt and matching dress shoes.

To customize the junkyard wedding look even more, I added a few pieces I found on Etsy: a cobalt blue tie with embroidered skulls and crossbones and gold cufflinks with cobalt blue rhinestones in an astrology pattern inlay. He looked really rad, if I do say so myself!

We made sure to coif up his hair to really make him look like a dashing Captain Kirk – the perfect space hero for our space goddess.

Bohemian Desert Junkyard Wedding Photography

bull skull with floral head decoration

Credit: Courtney McManaway Photography

The amazing Courtney McManaway did our stellar photography on this shoot. Her playfulness throughout the day really helped add to the whimsy of the shoot.

Courtney works really well with light and does very minimal editing. I felt this was important since we were working in a folk art junkyard of sorts. I wanted it to be gritty and raw, but still really authentic and appealing. Courtney also does a great job playing with depth and texture, so I think she was the perfect choice for the shoot!

Bohemian Desert Wedding Florals

As for the luscious and out-of-this-world flowers, we enlisted the help of Callie Salmon of Wyld Blooms. She was so stoked to do this shoot with us. I could tell how inspired she was just from my explanation of this eclectic design!

She took the space theme and really ran with it. She designed a large hand-gathered look with sunflowers, thistle, ranunculus, air plants, kangaroo paw, and eucalyptus resulting in a truly unique vision. If you look at the bouquet, all you see are incredible shapes and textures. It’s truly not your average bridal bouquet!

The air plants were probably the most spacey of the blooms and added so much to the overall design. It felt like a space creature itself! She also created a gorgeous headpiece for the centerpiece bull skull from TBD San Diego Rentals. Again, it was all about playing around with different genres and feels.

bohemian junkyard wedding florals

Credit: Courtney McManaway Photography

Bohemian Desert Junkyard Wedding Tablescape

For the tablescape, I really wanted an eclectic junkyard look, so I ended up renting from multiple sources. Witty Rentals provided the white Eames chairs (perfect for a space captain’s ship), and To Be Designed San Diego provided the tabletop and miscellaneous décor pieces. CC Vintage Rentals provided the lounge look with wired chairs and antique tables and crates.

tablescape design

Credit: Courtney McManaway Photography

I wanted it to look completely like a junkyard pulled together into a gorgeous wedding! I personally made the oil drums with a special drip paint technique to add even more folk art of the look. For the table runner, we got Knots and Ivory to provide a gorgeous macramé piece, adding to the bohemian vibe. I couldn’t have done it without all of these vendors, and I appreciate it so much that they were willing to help this little weirdo!

Bohemian Desert Wedding Lighting

Another HUGE factor of this shoot was the incredible lighting. My very first piece of inspiration for this shoot came from an amazing heart arch by San Diego SociaLights. Typically, their heart arch is illuminated by all white bulbs, but I knew I wanted to mix it up and have them put in alternating colors – so bohemian and Vegas!

fun wedding signage

Credit: Courtney McManaway Photography

We also used their large cinema box to tie in the lights even more. We came up with the saying “Be Weird and Wonderful and Out-Of-This-World!” on the fly and it couldn’t have encapsulated this shoot more. SociaLights is also responsible for the ultra rad neon cactus décor pieces and the stunning uplighting – which adds to the drama and spacey-ness of the shoot.

Bohemian Desert Junkyard Wedding Photobus

wander wagen photobus

Credit: Courtney McManaway Photography

And finally, the spaceship herself! We employed the help of the amazing Wander Wagen! I knew that no space shoot would be complete without their space vessel, so we had to go for a vehicle element to the shoot.

Wander Wagen is so amazing – they drove hours down the incredibly windy highway to get to us! Their marquee lighting and edgy colors really added to the hipster vibe of the shoot.

Wander Wagen is a vintage VW Bus converted into a trendy photo booth. Guests and couples can get in the booth with provided props and get a filmstrip of about 4 photos. It’s truly a unique way to capture the moment of your wedding (or our cool shoot). Also pictured are the neon cactus pieces by San Diego SociaLights.


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