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How One Couple’s Compromise Led to the Most Gorgeous Ranch Wedding

What do you do when the Groom wants a small, rustic wedding and the Bride dreams of a formal affair, big band and all? Compromise. And in the case of this duo, that compromise led to a Holman Ranch wedding more beautiful than either of them could have originally imagined. From the Seascape Flowers‘ arrangements to the Bride’s Oscar De La Renta gown, this wedding is proof that compromises can lead to great things. See all the pretty from Erin Hearts Court in The Vault!


From The Bride…My husband I had completely different visions for our wedding. He wanted an outdoor affair that was small, casual, rustic, and in a remote location. He would joke that he wanted to get married somewhere that our guests would have to hike to! I wanted something more formal, with a seated dinner, big band, and guests in long dresses and tuxes. Zero chance I was going to hike anywhere! We were able to find a great compromise with Holman Ranch. As soon as we arrived at the venue for a tour, my husband insisted that we get married there. It turned out to be the perfect place to create the “classy casual” wedding which embodied both of our styles.

I chose a neutral color palette for the bridesmaid dresses and flowers in order to complement the stucco and stone buildings on the property. Laurie from Seascape Flowers far exceeded my expectations. The bridal party bouquets were adorned with hand-dyed silk ribbons in champagne and white. We kept the flowers simple for the ceremony, with ivory petals down the aisle and hobnob jars filled with a simple mix on the chairs. For cocktail hour, Laurie decorated a large plant stand with olive branches and our caterer filled it full with champagne flutes. For the reception, we used a combination of vessels and tied the look together with gold lanterns and a sprig of olive at each place setting.

In the end, the biggest compliment that we received was that the wedding was “so us.” Perhaps I let my husband get his way too much – after all, I did agree to Coors Light as the “groom’s drink”! However, my hope is that the following DIY / personal touches had something to do with it.
• Invitations: We splurged on letterpress for the invitation and RSVP cards, but created our own stamp for the return address labels. We also added a casual touch by hand-tying gold twine I purchased on Etsy around each invitation suite.
• Tribute to groom’s father: My husband wore cufflinks with his late father’s name on them. In addition, on our ceremony program, we included a poem his father wrote to his mother while they were dating.
• Handwritten notes to guests: We penned a note to each guest thanking them for attending and used small clothespins to attach them to a rod iron railing adorned with olive leaves. These notes also doubled as a way to tell our guests which tables they were sitting at.
• Guestbook: We love animals and therefore we had our guests sign a large ceramic pig. It now sits on top of our china cabinet and is a great reminder of our day.
• Dessert and Aperitifs: Instead of a traditional cake, we opted for an ice cream truck featuring custom flavors. In addition, we created our own “scotch and cigar bar” which turned out to be a real hit. I was able to purchase old cigar boxes to display the scotch bottles (one from each region in Scotland) and wrote the names of each on a small chalkboard.

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Photography: Erin Hearts Court | Event Planning: Engaged & Inspired | Floral Design: Seascape Flowers | Wedding Dress: Oscar De La Renta | Invitations: WedSpring | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Monique Lhuilier | Catering: Paradise Catering | Makeup: Lynn Yee | Hair: Pins And Curls | Groom's Attire: Thomas Pink | Venue: Holman Ranch | Bride Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Earrings: Ippolita | Groom's Shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo | Ice Cream Truck: Negranti Ice Cream | Rentals: Chic Event Rental | Robes: BHLDN

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Design Your Dream Day with WED School + A Giveaway!

We’re big fans of Shannon Leahy (read: she’s awesome), so when she told us she was launching a fab WED School to teach each and every one of you how to plan + design your Big Day like a pro, well… happy dancing ensued.  Think a self-study training platform that will walk you through the creative process + develop your unique sense of style to design a day that is totally chic and totally you. YES.

We all love Shannon Leahy and her stunning, stop-you-in-your-tracks weddings, so signing up for her WED School (aka, Wedding & Event Design School) to learn everything there is to know about creating a breathtaking event is sort of a no-brainer.  I’m talking tips and tricks the pros use, plus step by step tools that will give you that cohesive + professional + beyond breathtaking day you’ve always dreamed of… one that will leave all of your guests talking with each and every gorgeous detail.  It’s awesome.

So what are you waiting for, loves?  Head to WED School today to sign up for your very first course, Event Design 101.  You’ll learn the skills you need to throw the greatest wedding ever, plus master all sorts of celebrations, from gorgeous dinner parties to intimate anniversary parties to baby showers and more. In other words?  You’ll be planning like a pro in no time at all.  Contact them NOW to get your party on.


What: WED School is giving a free event design course to one lucky winner! (Value $399)

How: Simply leave a comment below telling us which aspect of your wedding planning experience your most excited about!

Who: One lucky reader, chosen completely at random, will be announced right here on SMP on Friday, April 22, 2016.  For terms and conditions, click here.  Good luck, lovelies! xo

Photography (Top to Bottom): Josh Gruetzmacher (Image 1, 2, 5) + Silvana Di Franco (Image 3) + Sasha Gulish (Image 4)


European Inspired California Estate Wedding

Lane Dittoe, you’ve done it again. You’ve photographed a wedding so impossibly chic, it’s hard to believe it’s actually real. You see, when this Bride and Groom traveled through France not only did they come home engaged, but completely inspired for the design of their Big Day. Believe me, your afternoon just got infinitely sweeter. More inside The Vault and don’t miss REB6studios‘ beautiful film below!


From The Bride…Christophe proposed to me on a trip to France that he had planned as a birthday gift. I was looking forward to three weeks of food, wine and French country life, and had no idea that this would really be our engagement trip! We were staying in a small town in the south of France and he told me the hotel had a special bottle of champagne to give to us before dinner. It was a beautiful setting – a small balcony with room only for two chairs and a table overlooking the Mediterranean as the sun set. He gave me a photo book he had made of all of our travels together. I can’t imagine the anticipation he must have been feeling as I slowly looked through each page; the last page of the book asked me to marry him! When I got there, he got down on a knee with the ring and a violinist appeared and began to play. It was the most magical and happy moment of my life.

As we travelled through France, which included meeting some of Christophe’s family who live there, we began to think about what type of wedding we would have. We loved the villas we visited in Provence and Burgundy and we hoped to incorporate those memories into our wedding. We wanted a destination wedding, but a destination closer to home (San Diego) so that all of our family and friends would be able to come. We took several trips to northern California, looking for a venue that would feel like a private European villa where we could hold all of our events and host our family. When we found Stonepine estate, I knew it was perfect.

We spent many months planning ever detail of the wedding with our wedding coordinator Thomas and Bonnie. We wanted the wedding events to last several days and for it be a vacation for all of our guests to celebrate love and romance. We included an al fresco family-style dinner at a local restaurant, a day of wine-tasting at nearby vineyards in Carmel Valley, horseback riding and hiking. Instead of the traditional rehearsal dinner, we held a western-style welcome dinner at the estate’s equestrian center for all of our guests. It was so fun putting on our cowboy boots and hats! The morning of the wedding, I went on a hike with my girlfriends and Christophe and I each wrote letters to each other to read before I walked down the aisle.

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Vault CTA

Photography: Lane Dittoe | Cinematography: REB6studios | Event Planning + Design: Thomas Bui Lifestyle | Floral Design: Flower Divas | Wedding Dress: Reem Acra | Cake: Parker Lusseau | Stationery: Whimsique | Jewelry: Justine M Couture | Makeup Artist: James Overstreet | Hair Stylist: Kassidy Vaughan Of Studio Savvy | Entertainment: John Kelly Productions | Entertainment: Scott Cummings Music | Groom's Attire: Giorgio Armani | Venue: Stonepine Estate | Bridal Salon: M Bride Salon | Linen Rentals: Concepts Event Design | Linen Rentals: Luxe Linen | Live Artist: Nataliya Tyaglo Live Artist | Macaron Tower: Parker Lusseau | Rentals: Luxe Linen | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals | Vendor: The Bride's Aunt & Grandmother

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
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These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here