Wedding Photographer

After months apart, couple get married under the redwoods in Healdsburg

Erica and Justin Lakovic looked forward to an intimate and relaxed wedding in October under the majestic redwoods of Healdsburg’s Riverfront Regional Park. But before the couple could wed, they had to go through hours of planning and paperwork just to land in the same country.

Erica and Justin met in 2019 at church in Melbourne, Australia, where Erica had recently moved to work as a nanny. “We hit it off right away,” she says. Justin, a mechanical engineer, proposed the following June, exactly one year after their first date.

Then things got complicated. Australia closed its borders during the pandemic and Erica then returned home to Santa Rosa on one of the few international flights. She initially thought she would return to Australia, but was refused entry 17 times. So the two planned their wedding while living thousands of miles apart. “We had to get approval for Justin to leave Australia, so there was a lot of stress there,” Erica says. “Everything worked. He arrived in September, a few weeks before the wedding.

The couple spent their wedding night at AutoCamp in Guerneville. (Photo by Jana Contreras)
Flowers from Feather Flower Farm in Sevastopol. (Photo by Jana Contreras)

Erica and Justin got married in the shade of the redwoods – the trees, they say, remind them of their first date in an Australian park. For the ceremony, they stood in front of a wooden arch, which Justin built himself, draped in fabric and accented with blush, white and burgundy flowers and feathery pampas grass. “After 14 months of wanting this moment, and for it to finally be here, it was just a magical moment,” Erica says.

Erica wore a bohemian-style flowing dress with floral details, and the couple wore Vans instead of formal shoes. “It was something I always dreamed of doing – wearing Vans to my wedding,” laughs Erica. The couple also added other personal touches. Guests signed a globe instead of a guest book, a nod to their transcontinental commitment. And the two took pictures eating burritos from Chipotle, one of their favorite places.

For their honeymoon, Justin and Erica spent the night at AutoCamp Russian River, a gift from their wedding photographer and dear friend, Jana Contreras. The next step is to spend a few months in Europe, says Erica. “We have a lot of adventures ahead of us, that’s for sure.”

Resources

Ceremony and Reception: Riverside regional park

Photographer: Jana Contreras Photography

Flowers: feather flower farm

Cake: Nothing Bundt Cakes

Restoration: Chipotle Mexican Grill

Wedding dress: Bridal bliss, Petaluma

Accommodation: AutoCamp Russian River