After Months Apart, a Couple Marries Under the Redwoods in Healdsburg

Before Erica and Justin Lakovic could tie the knot, they had to navigate hours of planning and paperwork just to land in the same country. See photos from their gorgeous wedding.

Erica and Justin Lakovic looked forward to an intimate, relaxed October wedding underneath the majestic redwoods at Healdsburg’s Riverfront Regional Park. But before the couple could tie the knot, they had to navigate 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 just hit it off right away,” she says. Justin, a mechanical engineer, proposed the following June, exactly one year after their first date.

Then things became complicated. Australia closed its borders during the pandemic, and Erica later returned home to Santa Rosa on one of the few international flights. She initially thought she’d go back to Australia, but was denied entry 17 times. So the two planned their wedding while living thousands of miles apart. “We had to get approval for Justin to even leave Australia, so there was a lot of stress there,” Erica explains. “It all worked out. He got here 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 Sebastopol. (Photo by Jana Contreras)

Erica and Justin married in the shade of the redwoods — trees they say remind them of their first date at 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 there, it was just a magical moment,” Erica says.

Erica wore a flowing boho-style dress with floral details, and the couple wore Vans instead of formal shoes. “That was always something I dreamed of doing — wearing Vans to my wedding,” laughs Erica. The couple added other personal touches, too. Guests signed a globe instead of a guestbook, a nod to their trans-continental engagement. And the two took photos feeding each other burritos from Chipotle, one of their favorite spots.

For their honeymoon, Justin and Erica spent the night at AutoCamp Russian River, a gift from their wedding photographer and dear friend, Jana Contreras. Next up is spending a few months in Europe, says Erica. “We have a lot of adventures ahead of us, for sure.”


Ceremony and Reception: Riverfront Regional Park

Photographer: Jana Contreras Photography

Flowers: Feather Flower Farm

Cake: Nothing Bundt Cakes

Catering: Chipotle Mexican Grill

Wedding dress: Bliss Bridal, Petaluma

Accommodations: AutoCamp Russian River