These two are one seriously adorable duo. The kind of adorable duo that each sends in a description (I sooo love that) and plans a breathtaking Holman Ranch affair that is all about DIY awesomeness and sharing the day with their uber-amazing (+ uber-crafty) friends and family. They are also the kind of duo that doesn’t just plan a wedding, they plan an epic party. One that is chock-full of vibrant hues, personality-inspired details and one gorgeous image after another (cute pig included) captured by onelove photography. See them all in the full gallery.
From the Bride… We love throwing theme parties, and since the theme of the wedding was us and a kind of culmination of our 12-year relationship, we knew we were going to go crazy on the personalization front. We wanted to highlight the best of California, so most everything was local, seasonal, homegrown, and community-driven. A friend made our invitations using photos Christian took of Carmel Valley (reproduced in the program we made); Christian brewed all the beer; a groomsman with a knack for mixology created a signature cocktail; my DJ brother got everyone dancing; a family friend made the delicious lemon cake; and my super-artsy sister Katherine did all the signage, escort cards, and table signs depicting things that are meaningful to us… a cypress tree, Half Dome, a pig. We just wanted the wedding to reflect our love and friendship, and the love we have for our families and friends. And we wanted it to be an awesome party.
Holman Ranch is so gorgeous, we really didnt have to do much to it, but I still wanted a lot of beautiful flowers. I told the florist I wanted it to look like I’d been to a meadow and scooped up an armful of wildflowers, something I’ve definitely never done. She nailed it. She even incorporated hops into the boutonnieres perfect for our beer-enthusiast crew. Also, Christian has been succulent-obsessed since he was a kid (our house in San Diego is like a cactus sanctuary), so we incorporated those wherever we could… the centerpieces, the bouquets, the boutonnieres.
My favorite decoration was probably the cake stand, which our San Diego friends recognized as the famous Geisel Library at UCSD, where we met. It was actually my mom’s idea, and once we took it and ran with it, she confessed that she’d been half-joking when she suggested it. But it turned out so cool! Bonus: It was really delicious.
Keep things in perspective and have fun! That seems obvious, but it can get lost in the strive-for-perfection shuffle. If you ever find yourself saying, “This is more trouble than it’s worth and I wish it were over already,” my advice is to change something up or let something go.
We do something we call the Swim Meet Test. As swimmers in college, traveling to big meets meant packing a laundry list of items: sweats, T-shirts, practice suits, energy bars, extra caps, towels… nervous energy tells you to bring all kinds of stuff just so you have it. But really, all you absolutely require are your goggles and your racing suit. If you forget the rest, you can figure it out when you get there or go without, but you really need those items. With the wedding, we were doing so much ourselves that at times, it seemed like some stuff just wasn’t going to get done. Rather than get discouraged, we’d remind each other that the Swim Meet Test says all we really need is a marriage license, someone authorized to sign it, and each other. All the other stuff, while fun, is somewhat superfluous. Remembering that kept our stress levels low and that helped all the extra tasks get done.
The whole day was a total blast, but our ceremony was definitely a highlight for me. I felt so present, so aware and grateful that this amazing day was finally happening, and that all of the people I love most in the world were there to celebrate it with us. We felt like we were entirely surrounded and supported by the people who know us best. One of my dearest friends got ordained to marry us, and Im so glad we did that. Christian wrote one of the readings, his 94-year-old grandmother read a song shed written, and we wrote our own vows. We spent so much time working out all these details to make it a great party and a true reflection of us, but in the end, my No. 1 highlight was marrying this wonderful man, my best friend.
From the Groom… We’re both native Californians, and we both prefer a do-it-yourself project rather than a ready-made product… I think that was reflected in a lot of the larger choices and smaller touches that went into the wedding. We both have ties to the region; my grandparents and Kersten’s parents live nearby, and my parents recently moved to the area as well. The venue is an old ranch, and the setting really takes you back to historic California, before Silicon Valley, before Hollywood. Holman Ranch is amazing on its own, so we didn’t need to add much in terms of decorations, but we had a few extra touches, some of our own projects, some plants from our gardens at home for the centerpieces, etc. One of my favorite personal touches was the beer we served, we’re both fans of good craft beer, so I brewed all the beer we served. I started about five months out and made five types: a lager, a pale, an IPA, a saison, and a brown ale. They all turned out pretty good, and it seemed like people enjoyed them. And now we have some leftover bottles that we can drink to remember our day.
I collect cactus and succulents, I probably have more than a hundred different types at home, and we made the centerpieces to reflect this (aeoniums in little rustic wood planter boxes). And we had a different take on the guest book, asking guests to write notes on leaves and birds and add them to a panel covered with birch tree wallpaper, leftover from a project in our house. That panel was in an old French door frame, as were two additional screens that held the escort cards and some photos of us. The frames were a Craigslist find from an old mansion in Coronado. And we met at UC San Diego, so the wedding cake was a representation of the multi-tiered library at UCSD. That was something I think all of our college friends got right away.
This isnt really advice, just a comment: I’m really glad we had the wedding where we did more than just being a great location that had meaning to both of us, there was an added, unanticipated benefit of getting married an 8-hour drive from our home in San Diego. We did almost all of the projects at home, and they had to be finished ahead of time so that they could be transported up to Carmel Valley. So by the time Kersten and I got up there a few days before the wedding, there was nothing really left to do, and we could relax a bit instead of stressing out over last-minute things.
From start to finish, it was a really great day. This is one of the very few occasions, perhaps the only one where you’re able to bring together such a big group of your family and close friends. It was really terrific to have people from all walks of our life together to celebrate. As far as the wedding goes, the ceremony was awesome, we’re both really glad we wrote our own vows, and we were married by one of Kersten’s childhood friends, who did a great job. We had a few readings, including one by my Grandmother, and it was very meaningful to both of us that she was able to be a part of the ceremony. The weather was amazing, dinner was incredible, dancing was a lot of fun, and we had a big group stay for the after-party in the game room on the property. Another highlight: Seeing my beautiful bride for the first time on our wedding day, and watching her come down the aisle.
Photography: onelove photography | Venue: Holman Ranch | Event Design + Coordination: Engaged & Inspired Events | Floral Design: Floral Designs by Reina | Custom Cocktail Napkins: With Love + Ink | Caterer: Paradise Catering | Cake: Family friend Betsy Rosenthal | Officiant: Rev. Brynn Hatton | Stationery: Bamboo Star Studios | DJ: Vibeologist | Makeup and Hair: Kim Larson Bridal | Groom’s Attire: Kenneth Cole | Wedding Dress: Modern Trousseau via M Bride Salon | Jewelry: Nadri | Shoes: Something Blue | Bridesmaids Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Hair Accessories: Rachel Larraine | Bridesmaid Jewelry: Anthropologie | Groomsmen Ties: Original Penguin