The Taft Gardens and Nature Center Ojai Wedding | Diana+Jake


“Jake brings me a sense of peace and rejuvenation. His positive outlook and silliness always melts away any worries I have in life. That’s the type of person I want to be with. He lightens my spirits and lifts me up everyday. I always feel that my heart is fullest with him”.

Diana+Jake’s  wedding was nothing short of fun, whimsical and full of love and adventure. Their Ojai wedding was held at The  Taft Gardens and Nature Center, a botanical garden which served as the perfect setting for this nature-loving couple.

Below is a slideshow from their big day. To enjoy the photos at your own pace, scroll below!


We began the day with getting ready and detail photos. Diana’s dress was magnificent.

From Diana: “My dress was designed by the same dressmaker who sewed my Aunt’s and cousins’ wedding dresses. He helped design my gown to fit my personality and the wedding garden setting. We used floral french lace, a french bateau boatneck cut with delicate shoulder cap sleeves. The bottom of the dress was designed to complement a short train with a mermaid tailoring. Together, the gown and veil were designed with Italian wedding dress inspiration from the 60s to complement Jake’s Air Force uniform. The look, was timeless and classic. ”


Jake+Diana incorporated elements from their cultures and traditions in to the wedding day, for a mix of Persian Jewish culture and relaxed Californian feel with Air Force classicalness. Noghl, pictured above, was one of the Persian traditions included in the day. Noghl is a Persian candy, consisting of sugar-coated almonds, and is traditionally used in Persian culture for wedding celebrations.  The Noghl is tossed in the air, like confetti. The Noghl is a symbol of the sweet delicacies in life. Not only was it used as confetti throughout the day, it also served as a great prop and background for Diana’s wedding jewelry!


Bride and Groom’s First Look!

“We both loved the first look, it was so fun! Seeing each other before the ceremony in a playful way really set the tone for us to relax as we made our way to the aisle. I loved the build up of anticipation to see each other and hold each other. We were so excited to hold each other’s hands, and then we slowly turned around and were in complete amazement by each other. Our smiles were ear-to-ear and I remember folding into Jake’s embrace, my heart melting completely with his.”


Diana had a strong and supportive group of women there to celebrate with her on her big day. It was so heartwarming to see so much love and commitment between women, and many of them had a role in the big day, such as helping with the veil, shoes, etc.



It’s not hard to see why Jake+Diana chose this Ojai garden for their wedding day…

“We envisioned this whimsical yet elegantly enchanted magical garden wedding.

Jake likes to describe our wedding location as The Secret Garden meets Lord of the Rings. We chose our venue because there is this element of mystery, awe and wonderment at this location. We both have adventurous spirits and wanted our guests to participate in a playful destination wedding that was in a secret location. We also wanted to use the venue because it supports the environmental, non-profit Conservation Endowment Fund. It was important for us to bring awareness to our guests about preserving the environment. Plants from all over the world filled the garden; deer, birds, foxes and frogs beautifully gracing the wedding ceremony and reception.”


The dried flower petals for the guests to toss after the ceremony was a lovely, ecological and colorful touch.


The colorful chuppah beautifully complemented not only the location, but also Diana+Jake’s personalities.



One of Diana’s most memorable moments from the day was when her and Jake walked down the aisle after the ceremony…”It was fun to walk down the aisle together hearing our family and friends cheer, tossing the Noghl candy in the air.” The flower confetti was also thrown, which was such a beautiful addition to the fun photos!


Diana knew early on that Jake was her missing puzzle piece.  She loved how he would plan fun and adventurous outings for them on dates, playing games and exploring.  After each date, he would write to her what his 5 favorite moments of the date were, and send her suggestions for books to read, along with music to listen to.

So how did Jake pop the questions?

Their mutual love of travel comes alive in the story of their engagement.  They were hiking in the snow near Mt. Baldy, California, and Jake pulled out a globe and a colorful marker.  Making it a game he had the two mark all the places they wanted to see. He challenged them to narrow it down to two places:  he picked Denmark and she picked Madagascar.  He smiled and said “it’s going to be hard to decide where we want to go on our honeymoon” as he opened up the globe revealing the ring and popping the question!


Diana’s flowy wedding bouquet from Hogue Floral perfectly fit with the theme of the day.


Jake showing off part of his uniform.


Jump on the School Bus provided the guest transportation and the writing on the bus was super cute!


Left-over flower petals were perfect for romantic photos of the bride and groom.command-performance-catering-1command-performance-catering

Just some of the delicious appetizers and food served by Command Performance Catering.


Diana’s love of wildflowers contributed to the inspiration and vision of the wedding day–Herbal floral centerpieces, encircling white candle lit lanterns, with the refreshing aroma of eucalyptus, peonies and ranunculus, and throughout the venue, popping accents of soft peaches, corals, yellows and pink florals.  The romantic setting, with green hues, was lit with a canopy of string lights stretching across the tree tops of the garden.

From Diana, “The guests were celestially lit by the magnificent full moon night’s sky. It was like a dream and that is the feeling we wanted our guests to experience.”

Bride & Groom’s first dance!ojai-botanical-garden-2ojai-botanical-garden-8ojai-botanical-garden-9

Family and friends joined in with the Horah.



So what’s next for the two? From Jake, “I’m excited to become a better person day by day. Growing with her and accomplishing new goals we could not do without each other. She has helped me to truly love, not only love her, but things in life….to truly appreciate them.  It is hard to imagine life without her. It’s a breath of fresh air when I know I  have her in my life.”

And Diana, “Now, a few weeks after the wedding, we have found ourselves enjoying the beauty of Virginia. Finding new hiking trails, discovering farm land and local eateries. We are on quite the adventure together, side-by-side :)”

ojai-botanical-garden-13Congratulations, Diana+Jake! With gentle souls and the determination you both posses, you’re going to live a fulfilling and happy life!


Wedding Professionals:

Venue: Taft Gardens and Nature Center  (The Conservation Endowment Fund)

Coordinator: Events by Ashley W.

Photographer: Karen D Photography

Hair & Makeup: TEAM Hair & Makeup

Florals: Hogue & Co.

Officiant: Rabbi Lotker

Catering: Command Performance Catering

Transportation: Jump on the School Bus

Rentals: Ventura Rental

Reception Music/MC: Jaide Whitman

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