There is nothing like an explosion of color to wake the senses and get your mind ready for a fun-filled weekend. Are you ready? This Central Coast wedding is not only color endowed but full of hand-made charm all caught on film by Ahlin Photography. And the florals crafted by April Flowers are beyond words. Seriously this celebration is full of life, love and sure to put a big old happy smile on your pretty faces. Hop on over to the gallery for the FULL day.

see the rest of this shindig here!

Although I’m originally from southern California, Matt and I were living in NY and DC respectively while planning our wedding. On a whirlwind scouting mission, we fell in love with the rolling, verdant hills and lakeside setting of Spanish Oaks Ranch along California’s Central Coast. The Ranch offered a rustic setting yet also a refined indoor space (which differed from many of the barns we visited) and did not proscribe vendors, allowing us to choose freely those we wanted to hire for our wedding day. As none of our family or friends lived near the site, we knew that everyone would be traveling there and reveled in the opportunity to spend an entire weekend with those we love. We rented Flying Caballos, a San Luis Obispo property (that also serves as a fabulous wedding venue), in which to hold a welcome dinner and allowed all of the wedding party to stay together — SO much fun. I’ll just say it: it’s a challenge to plan a wedding from 3,000 miles away while working full-time and living in a different city than your partner! Thankfully, Matt and I divvied up our planning tasks and we stayed on top of it via shared GoogleDocs. (We had a tab for just about every aspect of our wedding weekend.) I also maintained a blog which allowed me to post DIY projects I hoped to take on, as well as inspiring photos and ideas culled from my daily wedding blog review (Style Me Pretty was undoubtedly in my RSS feed :) to share with my mom & friends. Our friends were instrumental in putting it all together. When my friend, Sarah, learned that I wanted to incorporate the Japanese tradition of senbazuru (folding one thousand paper cranes for happiness) she confided that she had been folding cranes since she was in second grade and would love to help. She ended up leading that project, and single-handedly folded hundreds of origami cranes (well, with two hands actually), which we threaded with monofilament to serve as a ceremony backdrop.

Because Matt and I fell in love with the majestic oak trees on the Ranch and planned to wed beneath them, we decided to carry the oak tree motif throughout our wedding. The amazingly talented Dutch Door Press came up with a beautiful design that we used on our letterpress invitation suite and then carried throughout: we created a rubber stamp (that we used on cocktail napkins & to emboss our programs); a friend created an oak tree version of the mini buttons available in her Etsy shop (and it warmed my heart to see people sporting them all weekend); Sarah screenprinted canvas welcome bags; and we ordered playing card favors for our guests to honor our love of card games. Another bridesmaid created cake plates (using antique plates, vintage glass vases, & epoxy) on which the array of tasty desserts sat. My maid of honor saved the day by cutting napkins with pinking shears from various fabric I’d collected over the past year — and she did this the day before our wedding because I sadly ran out of time! I plan to now incorporate those fabric squares into a wedding quilt. I’m an archivist and feel very connected to things from the past, particularly vintage fabric and ephemera. As I travel often for work, I made it my goal to amass an array of vintage doilies, handkerchiefs, tin cans, salt & pepper shakers, and books from antique stores and estate sales from around the country. Each table setting included a mismatched fabric napkin, unique China plate, as well as a personalized menu place card. I embroidered table numbers, a fun project that I saw on Inspired Bride. We eschewed the traditional selection of two “wedding colors” and instead went for a muted autumnal palette that featured gold, terra cotta, rust, sage green, taupe, champagne, persimmon, and goldenrod, and April Flowers did an extraordinary job translating those ideas and the overall feel into the most beautiful bouquets and arrangements.

Some friends, who happen to be professional photographers, whipped up a fabulous photo booth and my bridesmaids all brought along fun & zany accessories — hats, boas, Hilary Clinton mask, you know… — which made the photo booth a serious hit with guests of all ages. Matt and I met one another while traveling independently in Rio de Janeiro in 2005, so we decided to honor our Brazil connection by serving a signature cocktail. To make the “maracuja” come to life, our friends squeezed hundreds of limes, and procured passionfruit nectar from a Bay Area specialty store. It was via Style Me Pretty that I connected with another bride who was married at our venue last year and inquired about her awesome outdoor lighting. She ended up letting us rent the lights (thanks again, Amber!) and the amazing beaus of my bridesmaids hung them. Matt and I edited a video featuring each of us and our families (and allowed us to feature a ton of home movies that I had recently preserved) that we screened at our reception. Crafting a ceremony that reflected us as individuals took time. We each wrote our own vows weeks before the ceremony and pored over potential readings before selecting two simple, yet beautiful poems. Most guests were quite moved by the ceremony, coming up to us throughout the night to tell us how beautiful it was.

Venue: Spanish Oaks Ranch / Florist: April Flowers / Photography: Ahlin Photography / Videography: Fig Leaf Productions / Caterer: Pacific Harvest Events / Cakes: Christine’s Cake Creations / Day-of Coordinator: Sealed With a Kiss Events / Wedding Dress: Saja / Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale / Custom Ties & Bowties: Tux & Tulle / Hair & Make-Up: Jessi Skipton of Bluebird Salon / Hair Fastener: Lo Boheme / Transportation: Central Coast Trolley / Invitation Suite: Dutch Door Press / Officiant: Rabbi Jayne Simon / Welcome Dinner: Flying Caballos

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