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Rustic Carmel Ranch Wedding

Some people think it’s easy to have a California wedding. After all, it’s a breezy 80 degrees there every day. Well, so much more goes into “effortless” than one might first think. It’s the carefully selected flowers, the perfect music, the feel like home but more special food. It’s the details. And Dream A Little Dream Events reigns queen when it comes to details. Add in Jihan Cerda Photography behind the lens and there you have a perfect California wedding.

Rustic Venue

From the Bride… Planning our wedding was one of the best experiences we went through as a couple. We took our time and wanted to make sure we thought everything through so we could really enjoy our special day. With me being from the Napa Valley and him from Iowa, we wanted to choose a location that would be a memorable getaway for both our families to enjoy and cherish. We started driving to Carmel from San Francisco to celebrate special occasions and feel in love with the beauty and charm of the landscape. Once we knew that Carmel would be our destination wedding, we got busy on picking a location. We had a place in mind but wanted to check out all the options and of course, we ended up picking our first choice – Mission Ranch! Not only because of the adorable sheep in the pasture, but because we wanted a relaxing atmosphere with unforgettable views and a rustic charm.

Living two hours away from where our venue was, we knew we needed help with planning and designing our rustic romantic destination wedding. So we went with the best in the business, Kathryn Kalabokes of Dream a Little Dream Events in San Francisco. Kathryn was a perfect match from the get go. She understood what our vision was and met every vendor with us so that we felt comfortable choosing the right one. The design for our wedding incorporated the richness and beauty that was already provided by the natural landscape with a pop of bright color and our own personal style. We didn’t want a stuffy or overly formal wedding so we went with gray suits for the groomsmen who each wore navy blue ties and an anemone boutonniere that coordinated with the blue of the bridesmaid dresses. I went with romantic lace for my wedding dress by Paloma Blanca and added a touch of bling with a sash that was handmade by a close friend. Against the lush greens pasture and gorgeous flowers provided by Fiona Floral, we had the perfect outdoor wedding. And we can’t forget the string quartet, Corelli Strings, playing our favorite songs as we walked down the aisle. Being a very sunny afternoon, we provided sun parasols for guests which provided not only shade but also charm. When it came to selecting an officiant, we agreed that we wanted someone that already knew us and who we felt comfortable sharing the moment with. We also incorporate a wine unity ceremony signifying our bond and the blending of two families into one.

Our wedding was intimate with about 60 guests who enjoyed our photo booth with hand-made props, a cigar bar, and delicious passed appetizers. One of the best parts of having a weeding in Carmel is access to amazing food and wine – we didn’t want our food selection to disappoint and that it didn’t! We were just as pleased with the food as we were with the music. Jason Mitchell from Gatsby Entertainment kept guests dancing all night long until the very last dance. One of the most memorable moments of the night was sneaking away for our sunset pictures. Jihan Cerda of Jihan Cerda Photography captured every moment of our big day. My husband is not keen on spending a lot of time taking photos and Jihan was very understanding and worked with us on our engagement photos to get a feel for how we interact in front of the camera. She was beyond amazing and made the whole experience so much fun.

The entire wedding weekend was unforgettable! Our family and friends enjoyed sightseeing, wine tasting, getting to know the families, and most importantly… the start of a new beginning.

Photography: Jihan Cerda Photography | Event Planning: Dream A Little Dream Events | Floral Design: Fionna Floral | Wedding Dress: Paloma Blanca | Cake: Layers Sensational Cakes | Invitations: Minted | Bride's Shoes: Kate Spade | Hair & Makeup: Faces By Emily | DJ: Gatsby Entertainment | Venue: Carmel Mission Ranch | Ceremony & Cocktail Musicians: Corelli Strings | Photo Booth: Photo-matica

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Rustic, Glamorous Mission Ranch Wedding

Set in the stunning Carmel valley, this glamorous affair is a total showstopper! With the expert planning from Coastside Couture, Bridesmaids bedecked in the prettiest pink, a stunning chandelier studded tented reception, and Ryon:Lockhart Photography on board to capture it all, there’s no way you won’t be swooning after peeking at the gallery here.

From the beautiful Bride… Ryan and I first met in the dorms while attending our freshmen year at Cal Poly San Obispo. Although only friends throughout college we both knew something more was there. Amazingly, five years after college we reconnected in San Francisco and began dating. Eleven short months later, in early November, we were engaged on Chambers Pier while spending a winter weekend in Tahoe. Great things are worth waiting for!

Planning started immediately. Location was the first thing to nail down. We were living in Northern California, but both had family in Southern California and out of state. It was a must that our entire families could join in on the loving day. After we were able to gather our wild thoughts of getting married in the snow we decided that the Central Coast could be the perfect meeting point.

While spending Thanksgiving weekend in Carmel we decided to check out a few locations in the charming seaside town, and Mission Ranch made a huge impression. Once we stepped on property we were completely smitten with the views of Point Lobos and the Pacific Ocean, this was the perfect place for us to get married. California Central Coast has this thing called Indian summer where the coasts are warmer during September/October than in the summer months. Date nailed down with that in mind, September 13th, now on to vendors.

My creative mind started turning after we chose the location, that’s when you are really able to visualize what you can do with a property. Now we just needed to find vendors who could make that vision come to life. Choosing vendors can seem like a daunting task at first. Where to start when there are so many details to care about and such talented people in the wedding industry. Destination weddings can be an extra challenge; you want your wedding day to be perfect with the perfect people surrounding you, but usually getting a feel for someone is done in person.

Fortunately we were only a few hours away and made the trip quite a few times, but we also had Skype dates with some vendors to see how we fit together. This is how we first met our wedding coordinator Sonia and how we met photographers Sarah and Tim with Ryon:Lockhart Photography. Truth be told I knew Sarah from high school, but it had been over ten years since we had spoken or seen each other. Sarah and her husband Tim made an incredible photography team with one photographer dedicated to both the bridal party and groomsmen on wedding day. For flowers, Melody was such a pleasure to work with; I knew when I met her in her studio that she was the calm creative type I mesh well with. In addition to the wedding experts we had incredible support and help from my mother and mother in law, I would have gotten lost in the details forever without them!

Now that I had picked my dream team to engage with during the process I wanted to get to work creating a romantic and loving environment for us to get married in and our guests to fall in love with. Given that I already had the perfect groom my one big ask for our wedding day was a chandelier. Luckily Mission Ranch was just starting to play around with the idea of tenting their small barn. This would allow a larger guest list on the barn with the breathtaking views. Not only did we get a large chandelier, but the tent allowed for tooling and lighting which gave the whole space the romantic glow I was dreaming about. That’s when the day started to feel real and within reach, a clear tent to see the night’s sky, a meadow with sheep behind us, a glimpse of the Carmel River and Point Lobos through the meadow, a sunset over Carmel Beach and my chandelier! The framework for our beautiful day was set.

The Big Day could not have felt more right. The wedding party stayed on property all weekend. The guys took the lower meadow and the Bridal Party stayed on the top ½ of the property. Both the Groom and I had balconies off our second story rooms that faced each other and the sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. It was so fun to see Ryan and his Groomsmen across the meadow getting ready while my Bridal Party and I were getting ready in the Bridal Suite. The pictures say it all: we had the time of our lives!

Our wedding was more than either of us could have hoped for. Surrounded by the most loving friends and family, we had a night full of love and laughter. All vendors were incredible to work with and I have to say the band was a major highlight, perfect for all ages! All guests were from out of town and were able to enjoy the charming town of Carmel during the weekend. Best of all Ryan and I were married! I still love creating our love story every day.

Photography: Ryon:Lockhart Photography | Coordination: Coastside Couture | Floral Design: Fleurish Floral Designs | Wedding Dress: Collezione Fortuna | Cake: Layers Cake | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Donna Morgan | Catering: Mission Ranch Banquets | Makeup Artist: Christina Aguayo | Hair: O Salon | Band: West Grand Boulevard | Location: Mission Ranch

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Rime Arodaky + A Giveaway!

Honeymoons are awesome; there’s no doubt about that.  But a honeymoon spent rockin’ Rime Arodaky’s chic new line, “La malle de la mariée” (“The Bride’s Suitcase”)?  Even better.  Imagine a boho meets California-inspired collection of delicate lace cover-ups, fab swimwear and beautiful dresses in some of the richest fabrics you will ever lay your eyes upon.  This is honeymooning in style, loves.

From beautiful white and blush hues to delicate French lace, each and every piece in the “La malle de la mariée” line is pure fashion magic.  Think fresh and flowy frocks perfect for your rehearsal dinner, going away brunch and honeymoon, all designed by one of the world’s leading bridal designers, Rime Arodaky. It’s Coachella meets wedding with that same edgy, rock ‘n’ roll vibe that appears in every gorgeous piece Rime Arodaky touches, whether it’s a sweet “Marry Me?” sweatshirt or the custom fitted gown of your dreams from Rime’s stunning bridal collection.

For more information on Rime Arodaky’s breathtaking, custom-fit gowns, click here to make an appointment.  And for that perfect honeymoon or summer look, visit the Rime Arodaky eshop.  And don’t forget to follow Rime Arodaky’s Instagram for even more inspiration!


What: Rime Arodaky is giving away one fabulous tote bag! (Value $70)

How: To enter, simply visit the Rime Arodaky shop and leave a comment below telling us which fabulous piece you can’t to rock on your honeymoon!

Who: One lucky winner, chosen completely at random, will be announced right here on SMP on Friday, May 15, 2015! For terms and conditions, click here.

Good luck, lovelies! xo

Photography: Greg Finck | Videography: Pascal Delé Filmaker | Flowers: Oak And The Owl | Jewelry: Harpo Paris | Hair And Makeup: Team Hair And Makeup | Campaign: Rime Arodaky | Photography Assistant: Brooke Merrill


These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
Custom Gowns with JINZA Couture Bridal

There are bridal salons, and there are personalized bridal salons like JINZA Couture Bridal.  A place where beautiful collections and breathtaking custom creations join forces with the most amazing customer service you’ll ever experience to create an individually crafted design made just for you.  Think private appointments with top-notch consultants or your very own personal designer, aka, a team of wedding geniuses that know a thing or two about making you look awesome for your special occasion.

Serving Bay Area brides since 2002, JINZA Couture Bridal’s new and exclusive Los Angeles boutique is now open in the heart of West Hollywood (933 N La Cienega Blvd), which means that even more brides get to experience the gorgeous gowns and attention to detail that JINZA Couture Bridal is so well-known for. Imagine a timeless piece created from scratch using only the finest of fabrics with custom tailoring to fit your figure perfectly, alterations included.  Brides can try on a range of gowns or mold a custom creation.

Explore high fashion styles, updated classics, unconventional sheaths, opulent ball gowns, the popular soft mermaid style and JINZA’s own signature couture designs at the new Los Angeles boutique. Each gown is light weight and comfortable (no shape wear or bra needed!), so that you can dance the night away with the one you love.  And you can complete your bridal ensemble with a veil, jewelry and shoes all available at JINZA Couture Bridal.  Amazing.

Classic, elegant and totally sophisticated – contact JINZA Couture Bridal TODAY to begin creating that dress of your dreams.  Take it from someone who knows – it will be the best decision you’ll ever make.


Marmalade Sky Films + A Discount + A Giveaway!

There is something so special about having your wedding day captured on film for you and your honey to relive over and over again. And when the film is done by the insanely creative Northern California boutique cinematography company Marmalade Sky Films, you’ll find any excuse to press play.

Behind the lens is a team of best friends, Eugene + Matt, who worked in the film industry prior to discovering their passion for wedding cinematography. Thanks to this experience, every film they create is based in a deep love for visual storytelling. Their films capture all the special moments of the couple’s big day, from the kisses to the laughter and tears, in a way that is authentic and genuine, to tell each couple’s individual and unique love story.

Are you head-over-heels yet? Well now’s the time to book your big day with Marmalade Sky Films because they’re giving SMP readers who book before September 2015 $200 off a Wedding Cinematography Package of their choice! Simply mention this post when booking to redeem the offer. Check out their packages here.
Oh and there’s more! Marmalade Sky Films is giving one lucky reader a Save the Date film shot on Full HD ($499 value).

To enter:Comment on this post with why you’d love to have Marmalade Sky Films tell the story of you and your honey!

To win: A winner will be randomly chosen and announced in WIUP on Friday, April 24, 2015.

The details: Session must take place in San Francisco or mutually agreed upon location on mutually agreed upon date. The giveaway includes session time and one Engagement Video or Save the Date Invitation video (30 seconds to 1 minute in length).