Time and time again, I find myself falling head-over-heels for a Carmel Valley wedding. Between the perfect, etherial light to the stunning setting, it’s a huge dose of gorgeous everywhere you look! This Holman Ranch beauty from Jason + Anna Photography delivers beyond expectations and you can see it all for yourself right here!

From the Bride… After 4.5 years of engagement, Matthew and I finally tied the knot at the stunning Holman Valley Ranch in Carmel Valley, California. Living in London introduced huge challenges to the planning, but we knew we wanted our guests to experience the magical place Matthew grew up in. The save-the-dates were sent a year in advance to our guests, and we began to plan our vision: “Romantic Whimsy.” There were only three things we needed to have: a short and sweet ceremony, great food and lots of love.

The day started perfectly, and although I didn’t have bridesmaids, I’d asked ten of my closest girlfriends to get ready in the bridal suite with me. Matt, of course, had 10 of his closest friends in the groom’s suite! The amazing Shawn Cavlan did our makeup, while my best friend, Nick Matthews (a hair stylist in Chicago) did our hair. While getting ready, my chosen earrings would not go into one of my earlobes! Before I could panic, my best friend, Jamie took hers off saying,”Here’s your something borrowed!” They were perfect, but she never let me give them back in the end. :) On my wrist, I wore the my wedding gift from Matthew: a diamond tennis bracelet. It was so wonderful to have everyone with me, laughing, drinking pink champagne and getting beautiful!

Two days before the wedding, my father, who lives in Iran, was unable to leave the country, so my mother walked me down the rose petal-lined aisle to Adele’s “One & Only.” It was a magical moment when I saw the ring bearers walking ahead of me with their DIY wooden signs and Matt standing at the altar, bawling his eyes out! We had the great pleasure of being married by Congressman Sam Farr, a very close family friend, whose words were so heartfelt and touching. My mother read a beautiful love poem by the Persian poet Hafiz, and Matt’s father translated the same poem into English as a symbol of unity. After we read our own vows, we looked up to realise that almost every guest was crying! It was just the sweetest thing to see! As we walked down the aisle, our friends tossed white rose petals at us from the DIY lace cones we had created.

While we were off taking pictures with the incredible Jason and Anna Ball, guests picked up their seating plan in miniature envelopes that were hung from an oak tree in the courtyard. Each envelope also contained a hand written note to each guest — some funny, some silly, and all thanking them for their support and love. Our chef, Michael Jones, was incredible, creating our entire menu from local and organic sources. I’ve always wanted miniature wedding cakes, so Laurie at Sweet Celebrations created two tier buttercream cakes for each guest. We cut the cake to a song that I had written for Matthew as a wedding gift, by his cousin’s band, Panic Years. I knew that we had to stick to a tight budget, so I found the wonderful Toni Lucas, who ran the floristry program at the North Salinas High School and asked if she could help with our flowers. Her students created the most beautiful arrangements, using the antique silver containers that we had collected from our family. They even created my amazing bouquet, exactly as I’d dreamed it up, and pinned the groom’s late grandmother’s diamond brooch to it for me. Our last dance was “Tiny Dancer” and in the middle of it, we looked up to see all of our guests in a circle surrounding us, swaying and singing. It was an incredible finish to an incredible evening! After the final dance, I presented Matthew with a surprise: A letter from Mike Aldretti, his childhood baseball idol, who once played for the San Francisco Giants. There’s an infamous story about Matthew sneaking into Mike’s wedding as a child — I figured that Mike could somehow make his presence at ours to return the favor. Matthew was over the moon for this gift!

Wedding Photography: Jason + Anna Photography / Wedding Venue: Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley, California / Event Design: The Bride / Floral Design: Students from North Salinas Valley High School’s Floristry Program / Officiant: Congressman Sam Farr / Catering: A Moveable Feast / Mini Wedding Cakes: Sweet Celebrations / Programs + Menus: Life’s Events by Chelsea (californiachels@gmail.com) / Wedding Dress: Enzoani / Bride’s Shoes: Lola Cruz / Hair: Nick Matthews of Hip Salon in Schaumburg, Illinois / Makeup: Shawn Cavlan Beauty Co.

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