Elegant and Relaxed Ranch Wedding
June 24, 2014
RomanticRustic WeddingsSummer Weddings
Here's living proof you can plan a stunning wedding from the other side of the country. This New York couple picked the splendid Holman Ranch in the bride's native California for their Caribbean-inspired nuptials. Coral hued bouquets from Fionna Floral and DIY ikat runners obviously made photographer Cooper Carras's job a delight. Inspired? Make sure to check out the full gallery!
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From The Bride...There were a couple things we knew we were searching for when my husband and I went to plan our wedding: an outdoor ceremony and reception, long tables, Italian string lights twinkling overhead, good food, good music, good drinks and most importantly a weekend with good friends and family. I am writing this post, because I know how much Style Me Pretty helped me when it came to sifting through the endless possibilities for wedding planning, and really crystallize the choices that best reflect you as a couple.

Holman Ranch is spectacular. It is an intimate escape with a special combination of natural beauty and relaxed elegance. My husband and I knew we would be able to spend a weekend full of fun with our guests and enjoy special time with loved ones who flew in from around the world. Planning the wedding from New York, where we live, was a challenge, but once we picked Holman everything seemed to fall into place.

As a California girl at heart, I knew I wanted an outdoor ceremony and reception. Sky, mountains, and hills are all around you as you say your vows. It's absolutely breathtaking. My husband and I both love running, biking and being out on the water, so being able to stage every part of our wedding outside was a real draw. Moving from the ceremony, to the cocktail hour, to the dinner, to dancing has a magical quality of discovery to it.

We were engaged in the Caribbean, on a beach we had visited many times together. We knew we wanted to incorporate elements from this very special day into our wedding reception. He proposed by carving "Will You Marry Me?" into a piece of driftwood, that I discovered in the sand. We decided to name every dining table after a beach we had been to together. Selecting the names of the beaches and carving them in with the latitude and longitude was a memorable, if unexpectedly challenging part of the wedding planning process. Each place-card was then attached to a piece of driftwood, directing you to your table. My brother, of AJ Bain Design, created all of our paper products from menus, to programs, to our save the dates which were printed on wood. My mom designed the beautiful blue ikat table runners and pillows that reminded us of the changing colors of the ocean in the Caribbean  After dinner we served bushwacker's a local drink that tastes like liquid tiramisu.

Our unflappable planner, Amy Byrd, helped us pull together the weekend we were hoping for. She was unstoppable, ever ready, and incredibly observant. We got to enjoy the day as she took care of all the small stuff. She helped steer us to a wonderful set of vendors that were perfect for the intimate wedding we wanted. That includes Nancy and John at Paradise Catering who spent a great deal of time working with us to come up with a fantastic seasonal menu. They created an ideal meal--- including recreating an amazing fig salad that we both love.

Our florist, Sarah, of Fionna Floral, captured an unstructured elegant look in stunning arrangements. We knew that during the ceremony we didn't need to compete with the landscape at Holman, so we created two large bouquets of white delphinium with white passion flower. Two smaller arrangements marked the start of the aisle. When it came to the rest of the flowers I knew that wanted color in our wedding, and lots of it. Pink really popped in a natural landscape of blues and greens. We used dhalias and passionflowers throughout our arrangements. We also anchored many of the floral centerpieces at dinner with protea-- in honor of the South African side of my family.

One unexpected challenge we encountered was finding our wedding cake. Bobby and I knew we didn't want a traditional cake. We decided on Key Lime Pie, in honor of a sentimental connection to Key West. Finding a Key Lime Pie in San Francisco and the Monterey Peninsula proved to be well... difficult! After rounding up a taste test judged by my family, the unanimous winner was the amazing Black Jet Baking Company in San Francisco.

We feel tremendously lucky to have had such a memorable day surrounded by so many friends and loved ones.