Exclusive: Justina Sharp’s Organic Wedding in Northern California
In college, Jordan Schauberger was editor-in-chief of the school’s newspaper. In December 2015, his professor suggested he reach out to Justina Sharp to join the team. She was at first reluctant to take on the extra workload and ignored his Facebook message request, but eventually found herself as a member of the paper staff and, eventually, falling for Jordan. “We never started ‘dating,’ or even really talked about it—we just were together,” they share.
In 2018, the couple moved together from their hometown of Sacramento to Southern California. Then in July 2020, Jordan got down on one knee in a field surrounded by Texas longhorns and asked Justina to marry him.
The newly engaged couple knew that they wanted to return to their Northern California roots to say “I do.” “Our goal was to celebrate our love with everyone who has been a part of it in an intimate setting that showed off the natural beauty of the place we both grew up,” explains Justina, who now is a model and influencer with a popular bridal-focused TikTok. “I had a vision of an English country wedding with a few Italian twists, nestled out deep in a place that will always feel like home to us.”
The couple decided against hiring a wedding planner and wanted to take on the project themselves with the help of day-of coordinator Talia Gonzalez. “We took some time after we were engaged to just be engaged,” shares Justina. “I think that was so important for our relationship, because once we started planning, we were really in the thick of it. Trying to organize a wedding during an unprecedented global pandemic is not some thing that you can just look up a self-help article for.”
“There were two parts of the planning process that I think were really important for our success,” shares the bride. “First of all, before we started planning anything, we created a pyramid of importance—four tiers, each with different vendors, ranked by importance. Second, we did some research and came up with a super basic budget and started saving. We did not reach out to any vendors or move forward with our planning until we had saved that total budget. This way, we figured we could always add more later, but could definitely afford the wedding we wanted. Then, we just started at the top of the pyramid and moved our way down. Having something concrete like that to reference was so helpful as we started to get into more and more of the minutiae.”
When it came to choosing a venue, the couple wanted “a lot of organically beautiful space, intimate gathering areas, and privacy.” Justina adds, “I’ve always wanted a barn wedding, but as a grew older, wasn’t as interested in a ‘rustic’ space so much as I was in a place that felt like home.” They discovered River Highlands Ranch in Smartsville, California and knew it was the one. The rolling natural landscape helped inspire the green-hued accents that filled their beautiful wedding design.
When it came to her wedding beauty, Justina wanted a “natural glam” look. “Something that would look like me, but stay in place from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.,” she shares.
Justina decided to make her hair her statement piece. “My goal was to let it be as free and wild as it usually is, with the smallest intervention of bobby pins and hairspray. I had tried and trialed a lot of more traditional bridal hair styles, and all of them felt like I was trying to restrain a wild beast. So, I simply set it free. My hair stylist, Andrea Henty of Bomane Salon, worked hard over the months leading up to the wedding to keep my mushroom brown coloring fresh and healthy, so my hair wouldn’t need much to be on its best behavior.”
She adds, “I had so many stylists tell me it would need to be straightened or pinned up. It was very upsetting to have people tell me this essential piece of my look needed to be flattened for me to marry the man I love. In the end, my beloved stylist Andrea looked me in the eyes and said, ‘You’re going to do it yourself and it’s going to look beautiful.'”
Justina donned a strapless Elizabeth Lee gown in Italian silk with brocade for her wedding day. How she knew it was the one? “More than anything, it was the dress that made my mother cry,” shares the bride. “She is not prone to crying, nor is she particularly effusive towards clothing in general, but this was the dress that made her cry. I was absolutely shattered at that point in the day, but I remember my best friend dropping her voice to ask me if it was the dress I wanted to marry Jordan in. For the first time, I could really see the whole wedding unfolding before me—so the answer was yes.”
“Feelings aside, having worked in fashion for the last 10 years, I am obsessive about textiles and craftsmanship,” she adds. “I had never seen a texture like the one of this silk before with the raised brocade florals. The dress was expertly put together in a way that really resonated with me.”
A golden crown by Lelet NY was the stunning finishing touch to her bridal attire. “Fairly early on, I had decided that I wouldn’t be wearing a veil down the aisle. I wanted to allow my dress to stand on its own as the showpiece that it is. I looked at lots of hair accessories, and found myself generally underwhelmed. Then, I saw a Lelet NY crown on Instagram and I knew. It was perfect. I am a gold girl, and I felt like the structure of the crown made it a statement piece without it being overwhelming, and it suited my dress perfectly with the gold flowers. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever worn.”
Justina did a first look with her father before he walked her down the aisle. She notes, “We both burst into tears. It was both of us, no matter what he says.”
Jordan also prepared to look his best on his wedding day. “I’d spent the last few months growing my beard and hair to the length that I wanted, and then I had it cleaned up in the week leading up to the wedding,” he says. “I did my own grooming the morning of, but I spent several weeks practicing to make sure I got it right. I also got my eyebrows and nails done two days before.”
The groom stayed true to the wedding colors with a custom suit designed by Ton Chookhare from Chookhare & Sons. The single-breasted jacket featured a slim shawl lapel, gray mother of pearl buttons, and mid-century floral pattern lining, while the vest was double-breasted with a shawl lapel. “One special feature was that I had a ‘j&j’ monogram placed both on the inside of my jacket and the cuffs of my shirt,” shares Jordan. He also wore vintage floral cufflinks that Justina gave him as a gift.
Our goals for the flowers was to feel organic.
The ceremony decor featured a stunning arch on the altar accented with Turkish rugs from Justina’s personal collection. The aisle was also lined with arrangements of florals from designer Linette Myrmyr. “The venue itself is nestled in rolling hills of farmland, and we didn’t really want to overwhelm the space unnaturally. Our goals for the flowers was to feel organic,” shares the bride.
“We really wanted all of the music at the wedding to reflect us and the things we love, and we’re so lucky to find a musician who is able to accommodate that on such a traditional instrument,” explains Justina. Jordan first walked down the aisle to “All of the Lights” by Kanye West on cello.
Justina walked out of the ranch’s barn doors and down the aisle to an acoustic version of “Sunflower” by Post Malone with her father. “A good thing too, because anyone else would’ve been absolutely shocked by the amount of swearing I did trying not to trip over my dress on the grass,” she jokes.
“We decided to do the first look at the altar, and leading up to the event everyone kept making comments about how beautiful Justina looked in her dress and how I’d be crying like a baby when I saw her,” recalls Jordan. “It got to the point where I was in my head a little bit.”
“However, when those big barn doors opened and I saw her walkout, I couldn’t remember anything anyone had said. First, I was shocked by the dress because it was different from anything I had imagined and absolutely stunning. Second, I was struck by how happy and satisfied she looked,” he remembers. “Justina is someone who wears her emotions on her face very clearly, and it was obvious that this was her moment. I actually don’t really remember the rest of the ceremony, because I just kept seeing her walking toward me.”
“Our wedding was officiated by our college speech professor, David Austin. He is an incredible professor, but moreover, he’s an incredibly generous, loving person who really pours himself into his students,” the couple share. “He and his husband Edward are a beautiful example of deep, true love, and we couldn’t think of anyone better to usher us into this next chapter. He stood in the aisle during our ceremony, so he could be clearly seen and heard, and also, wouldn’t accidentally block any shots of the two of us.”
The couple each wrote their own vows to each other. “Funnily enough, we both talked about the same things, which I guess just goes to show that we really are meant to be,” says Justina. The groom adds, “I feel like I’d been writing my vows in my head since the moment I knew I was going to propose. I finally got it down on paper the night before.”
Justina and Jordan sealed their marriage with a kiss and recessed to “Still Into You” by Paramore played on the cello.
After the ceremony, the newlyweds and their wedding party celebrated and took some photos on the grounds. “My groomsmen were made up of my best friends from every step of my life,” shares Jordan. “[They] all wore classic black suits from Tuxedo Den, a local shop in the Sacramento area, and each had a Hunter Green pocket square to match the color of my suit.”
Justina’s bridesmaids and her maid of honor wore floor-length olive green silk dresses from David’s Bridal complete with pockets and a thigh-high slit. Justina adds, “I styled the dresses with a Hailey Bieber-inspired low bun with diamanté hair pins, thick gold huggie earrings, and a three-inch diamanté block heel for a hint of sparkle.”
The easiest part of wedding planning for Justina? “Getting married to Jordan in the end. No matter how frustrating or overwhelming the process became, I knew that in the end I was going to get to marry the man that I love, and while I may have questioned the grain of the wooden chairs, I never questioned that,” she says.
Jordan adds, “The easiest part was doing everything with Justina. I don’t think I could have planned an event of this magnitude with anyone else. We were very aligned on the places where our visions were together, but also separate. Constant and clear communication helped me never feel lost in the wind.”
Justina’s bouquet was filled with roses and greenery in shades of pink and white. She asked her floral designer to create something that was “loose, organic, and light.” “I sent her an obscene amount of inspiration photos over Instagram in the months leading up to the wedding, but I was the last person to see all the flowers on the big day,” reveals the bride. It beautifully complemented her vintage-inspired engagement and wedding rings by Chupi. “My ring came from Ireland, where we first fell in love,” she adds.
The couple made sure guests would have a blast during cocktail hour, with a fun phone guest book, a seven-foot charcuterie board, a fire pit, a mobile bar, and even corn hole. The bride’s advice to curate your perfect ambiance? “Figure out what you want for your wedding, and filter every decision through that lens,” she says. “Don’t like how a band sounds? Don’t have one. Don’t like that uplighting? Get it taken down. This is the one day where you two get to completely shape both your experience and that of your guests, run with it.”
“Designing the tables, I was heavily inspired by weddings in Italy—super clean, simple greenery, and lighting that gave a romantic glow to the space,” Justina elaborates of the reception décor. “The best detail of dinner was the setting. Our venue had never hosted an outdoor dinner in front of the barn, and we were entirely sure how it would work, but it was perfect.”
“The venue had these beautiful heavy wooden tables that I wanted to showcase, so we set places directly on the table rather than having any sort of table clothes or runners. I do love a luxurious textile, and the linen napkins were a nod to my own personal style, which trends heavily towards natural fibers,” shares the bride. “We worked in our guiding color with the green glass goblets and the art-deco inspired menus and name plates.”
“The only DIY was our seating chart,” shares Justina. “The mirror is from my closet, and I thought it would be a cute, easy project that would allow me to get my hands dirty. If I had known then what I know now about using a Cricut, I would have outsourced this one, too.”
After a grand entrance as a couple through the barn doors, a Southern-inspired dinner was served. “We really felt that we needed to find some who specialized in the specific dishes we were looking for. In the end, we found Southern Creations and they were perfect.” The menu featured beef brisket, pulled pork, garlic mashed potatoes, candied yams, coleslaw, mac and cheese, and corn cake, along with freshly made strawberry lemonade or sweet tea.
The couple also had their bartenders at The Wobbly Wagon design two cocktails to compliment dinner. Justina’s choice was a classic mint mojito, and Jordan’s was a mango margarita.
Fun fact? The couple isn’t actually fans of cake. So, they decided to minimize their investment and still got a sweet deal. “We got a $65 three-tiered floral cake from Walmart for the photo, and a giant, crowd pleasing sheet cake from Costco for everyone to actually eat. We got our photos, our guests got their sugar rush, and everyone was happy,” Justina shares.
“No matter how stressful the planning got, I kept telling myself there was going to be this one perfect moment that was worth it,” reveals Justina. “Not just any moment, but a very specific one, where we would be eating dinner, and I’d look out at every person I loved, all in one place for the first and maybe last time ever. No matter what happened, that moment was going to soothe it all. Then all of a sudden, that moment was happening. I looked out, and the sun was setting, my friends and family were laughing, and we had made this beautiful moment reality. It was perfect.”
Jordan shares some advice for other couples tying the knot. “Remember why you got to this point. The wedding planning process is inherently stressful, and there’s no way to avoid it,” he reflects. “That doesn’t mean you have to live in stress from the proposal to the ‘I do’s.’ It’s important to take chunks of time throughout the process to forget about the wedding. Go on a trip to the beach. Get a milkshake at the local diner. See the newest movie in theaters. Take every moment that you can to just enjoy your relationship with your partner without the context of a wedding hanging over your head. It’ll help remind you why you decided to put up with all the stress in the first place.”
When it came to the dance floor, the couple made sure to create the perfect ambiance for their guests. “We sent our DJ a massive 200 song playlist that was very meticulously curated by both of us—the idea was to pack the night with songs that our guests would want to get up and dance to, even though we’re not big dancers. Mission accomplished,” they say. For their first turn around the floor, the couple danced to “Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur.
The couple each shared dances with their parents as well. Justina and her dad got down to “My Girl” by The Commodores, while Jordan and his mom swayed to “Better Things” by The Kinks.
That particular moment was a miracle.
After passing out fortune cookies as party favors to guests and dancing to the final song “Blessings (Reprise)” by Chance the Rapper, the couple ran off to Justina’s 1987 Ford Bronco parked out. However, that perfect getaway almost didn’t happen.
“The morning of the wedding, my truck was not functioning,” shares Justina. “The day before, driving back from the rehearsal, I had blown a water pump and a freeze plug—several thousand dollars and at least 10 hours worth of mechanic work. I was extremely disappointed because it was a Friday night, the truck was our planned getaway vehicle, and I just got it a fresh paint job for the wedding. My brother, a professional restoration mechanic, woke up at 6:30 a.m., went to his shop, got the parts he needed, and proceeded to disassemble my engine in our driveway. Within two hours, he came into the house covered in fluids and announced that it was fixed. He was going to take a shower, get his suit, and then drive it to the venue. I called in a lot of favors that day, but that particular moment was a miracle.”