There’s nothing I adore more than an uber-fabulous love story, so it should come as no surprise that this stunning bride and groom have most definitely captured my heart with their love at first sight meeting on a gorgeous San Diego beach.  Swoon.  Plus, after nine years of dating, they crafted a ranch wedding for the ages, filled to the brim with delightful DIY details, vibrant colors and a plethora of special moments to make you smile.  And with Emily Faulknor Photographers capturing all of the lovely, there’s an entire gallery of pretty to enjoy.  Join me there for more!

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From the Bride… They say that when you meet “the one,” you just know. I think that was the case with Kevin and I when we met about nine years ago on a sunny San Diego beach. Our mutual friend was stationed in the Navy with Kevin and after he introduced us, we hit it off right away. You might even go as far as to say that we had met our soul-mate. We were still pretty young though and not quite ready to leap right into a big commitment, so we continued to date and after many ups and a couple of downs, we found that the time was finally right to get married. When we started planning our wedding, we agreed right away that we wanted a day that was all about us! We are a pretty casual and easy-going couple and wanted our day to reflect that and create an event that wasn’t stuffy or uptight. We wanted a cool outdoor venue, delicious BBQ, lots of dancing and all of our family and friends. When we found Leo Carrillo Ranch, we fell madly in love with it’s old-world charm and knew that it was the place where we would be married. We loved it so much in fact, that we canceled our next appointment that day and booked one of the only dates left for the summer.

Being someone who not only loves, but also studied design and plans events as part of my job, I had a field day planning our wedding! I hand picked and/or crafted every last detail of our day from the decor, to the flowers, to the stationery, right down to Kevin’s tie and both of our accessories! We did a ton in eight short months and spent many hours hand-making invites and programs, table toppers, numbers and BBQ sauce favors. It was a lot of work, but also so much fun and totally worth it in the end. Kevin and I really proved that we are a great team during this process and that we can get through just about anything. We worked really well together finding the most amazing vendors and coming up with unique ideas to make our day even more special.

We incorporated a ton of DIY projects including our wishing tree guestbook. We purchased two cool pieces of Manzanita branch and secured them into a pot with plaster of Paris to create a one-of-a-kind sculpture. Guests then hung wishes written on hand punched paper leaves on the tree branches. It turned out so whimsical and beautiful. I found a few hundred vases and candle holders at flea markets, thrift shops and discount stores which we used as centerpieces and throughout the venue to add little personal touches just about everywhere you looked. We made chalkboard menus for the buffet and bar out of old flea market frames and chalkboard paint. We carried the chalkboard theme into the table numbers with $1.00 frames from Michael’s that we painted and glued together like an easel with photos of us in various cities that we’ve visited together over the years. My mom hand-wrote all the menus and city names the night before the wedding which was really special since we love her writing. My dad handmade all of the way-finding signs and he put personal little touches on each one which made them unique and even more special.

My mom and I also designed and made all of the flower arrangements ourselves and are so happy with how they turned out. We decided to keep all of the flowers white and green and add in touches of color with little blue and teal feather accents. One of my favorite things that we did was hang parasols from the market lighting above the dance floor. They created a sort of faux-ceiling and looked really elegant swaying in the breeze above every one’s heads. It was very easy to do. Kevin drilled little holes in the bottom of each and screwed in brass loops. The loops where then secured to the lighting wire with zip ties which made them easy to hang and take down at the end of the night.

We truly loved every minute and detail of our special day and wouldn’t have changed a thing. We had the time of our lives and our guests all said that ours was one of the best weddings they had ever been to which meant so much! I got to marry my very best friend, wear a beautiful white gown and dance the night away with the most important people in my life. What more could a girl want (other than to do it all over again!)?

Wedding Photography: Emily Faulknor Photographers / Wedding Dress: Allure Bridal / Bride’s Shoes: Nina + All-Star and Airwalk / Caterer: Bekker’s West Coast / Cupcakes: Babycakes / Bartender: RG Bar / Makeup: Denise Baker / Wedding Design + Planning: The Bride (Love, Life and Decorating) / Officiant: Andy McCuen of All Heart Weddings / Furniture Rentals: Allie’s Party Rentals / Wedding Venue: Leo Carrillo Ranch / Groom’s Suit: Friar Tux