I have to admit. Before I ever fell in love with this wedding...I fell in love with the wedding cakes. It was the one picture that just totally stole my heart and convinced me to look a little deeper at this absolutely charming, totally DIY affair. Of course it helps to have one of the most amazing backdrops that just happens to be your parents backyard, but still. This wedding is the definition of rustic elegance and I for one, am smitten. Photographed by Lori Huneke of Images by Lori, it's definitely bookmark worthy. Click here to see even more!
Several years ago, my parents acquired property in the unbelievably beautiful and lush Capay Valley of Northern California. The valley is best known for sustainable and organic farming practices, as well being an extremely close-knit community – both of which have been of major importance to Steve and me. The olive farm plays host to everything wonderful in our lives, all revolving around the celebration of friends and family – birthdays, holidays, olive harvests, and regular old, fun-filled weekends.
Because of this, it was only natural (and perfect) that the farm is where Steve staged his proposal; November 2, 2009. After setting a date for the following September, and after having many conversations about how we envisioned our wedding, we came to one conclusion: the most important thing was not to lose sight of why people have weddings in the first place. We wanted our day to be a celebration of our love for each other, and our love for family and friends. Our first wedding decision: to be married at the farm.
Because the farm is so naturally serene, it was important to only add accents. We didn’t want to overdo it, just simply enhance the natural beauty of what was already there. We were lucky to have an old, rustic barn, a red water tower, an enormous pecan tree, a quaint little porch, and an amazing team of helpful family and friends. Rather than choosing specific colors for the wedding, we enveloped a color palette – dusty, vintage-inspired colors, similar to that of Anthropologie. Burlap embodied the wedding as our textile of choice. It was elegant, yet right in line with the vibe of the farm. We used it as table runners, curtains, covers for the hay bales, and to dress the aisle for the ceremony.
Each of our centerpieces were slightly different from one another, and were composed of antique bottles, vintage cloth-covered novels and cookbooks, mason jars with handmade wire handles, small aluminum flower pots, and brightly colored bowls. The bowls were filled with lemons, the flower pots with strawberry plants, and the bottles and mason jars with flowers. The centerpieces ended up serving as a very special and sentimental part of the wedding because of all the help we had gathering its parts – my sister planted the strawberries, our good friends from Full Belly Farm composed the flower arrangements, the wire handles for the mason jars were made by my mom and I, and my entire family was on a constant search for antique books.
My aunt and cousins designed our wedding invitations, and played the violin and cello during the ceremony. My parents’ best friend, Jimmy, was our officiator, and we had my eight year old cousin sing a song amidst the ceremony. A friend of my mom’s made a wooden sign reading “Steve + Sara,” another friend gave us the tree stumps for our wedding cakes. I made the table numbers and place cards, and we had an entire team assembling the place settings, complete with a book page from Charlotte’s Web wrapped in the napkin and tied with hemp twine.
Of the 220 guests attending the wedding, about thirty were children. These thirty exuberant kids were another loving and important ingredient into what made our wedding so special – the liveliness and happiness that was cast by their little, happy spirits was pure magic. All in all, our wedding was a dream come true. We celebrated our love. A large portion of this had to do with bringing our friends and family together to work so hard on making this day so special. When people work together to reach a common goal, and the end result is better that anyone ever imagined, a very special and rewarding connection is made.
Photographer: Lori Huneke, Images by Lori / Dj: Denon and Doyle, Chris / Event Coordinator: Amber Firestone / Caterer (paella): Chef Ciado / Cakes: Market Hall Bakery / Flowers: Full Belly Farm / Makeup: Michelle Maddux and Sheila Cassani / Dress: Nicole Miller / Shoes: J Crew / Hair Accessories: J Crew / Bridesmaid dresses: J Crew, Club Monaco / Invitations: Gayle Strang / Save the dates: wedding paper divas / Decanters: CB2 / Groom's suit: Express Men / Groom's shoes: Banana Republic / Wedding décor/details: Alameda Antique Flea market / Olive Oil: Capay Oaks Farm