This wedding right here? It’s all sorts of magical. The sort of wedding where gorgeous details, an adorable twosome and a breathtaking setting all come together for an intimate set of nuptials that is the definition of swoon-worthy. From the beautiful ceremony in front of an intimate group of family and friends to the sweet reception bursting with pretty. See it all from Kate Osborne in the full gallery.
From the Bride… We took a gamble with the weather— picking a March date in Northern California meant risk of winds, rain and a late bloom, but family schedules dictated that it made sense to book for then. Leading up to the date, it didn’t rain in what felt like a year, but then poured the week before! But, thankfully, on the Big Day, it was pure summer. Not a cloud in the sky and warm. The venue had flowers blooming all over the property including at the gardens, due to the recent rains. We were so lucky!
We chose our location at Mayacamas Ranch — in the serene Mayacamas mountains surrounded by Napa and Sonoma wine country — for its natural beauty and peacefulness. It was rustic but chic, traditionally meant for wellness retreats. My husband, Ivan, and I were both passionate about yoga and wellness, and loved the place the second we saw it. The venue also allowed our guests to stay at the ranch — all 60 of them! — and rooms were simple with only the sounds of nature.
There were hikes within the area, with a pool for the guests and a big green lawn for the ceremony, overlooking the expansive mountains. I custom designed the invitations to be romantic, classic and adorned by silk bows, to signify we were going to experience natural simplicity during the wedding. The guests were greeted with cucumber drinks, and I hand-decorated the chalk board (it was actually quite fun to do!). We ended up having a chance to greet each guest intimately.
My husband and I met in business school, so we had a lot of common friends, but our values told us to keep our wedding small. My parents traveled from Florida, and Ivan’s from Dubai, with relatives from Russia and Bulgaria, our birthplaces. In total, we had guests from across 15 countries. We are both only children with tiny families, so our parents were experiencing their only children’s weddings.
Ivan was wearing light gray, to complement the colorful nature around him. I wanted my dress to be elegant, but still the fanciest dress I have ever worn. I also wanted to be able to dance and move around in the dress freely. The bridesmaids were wearing peach colored dresses to welcome spring. I adored my florist — my sessions with her was like therapy! — and I told her I wanted clean, modern looks, but pointed to all the photos that to her, said, “romantic” instead, and she helped me figure out my style. (And I learned I was a romantic after all!)
Our food was all sourced locally from all organic, sustainable farms — per our values. We cared deeply about sourcing the food locally, and wanted to treat our guests, who were mostly international or from out of the state, to our local cuisine. We didn’t just have seasonable items like kale and beets, but also meats, fish and local cheese from local, small-scale vendors like Cowgirl Creamery. During cocktail hour, we had a farm-to-table spread on a 6-foot refurbished wooden plank that signaled “harvest” and natural, fresh abundance.
I loved the ceremony because it was out on the lawn, with the mountains in the background. My mom walked me down the aisle, which was really special for me. She raised me most of my life by herself, and it meant a lot to have her support on this special day. She looked stunning on the day, and I was proud to have a gorgeous mother. My stepfather recited a poem that reflected his strong midwestern values. Our officiant was a mutual friend and it was special to have someone so close help us craft our ceremony. He made all sorts of jokes, especially one that mentioned how Ivan and I pretended to both like electronic music when we first met, because we each thought the other was a fan! We didn’t share our vows with each other beforehand, and they were a surprise. It was no surprise though, that our vows ended up matching up so well together!
The dinner, toasts, and dancing reminded me how it was all worth the planning to just enjoy the present moment. I didn’t have any concerns other than to be in the flow of the celebrations. We had our family members and friends give speeches that were profound to us in their humor and love for us. I’m glad our videographer captured it, because we were so emotionally moved at the time!
Ivan’s best man and our mutual friend also said a story that concluded that out of all the fish in the sea, “all you need is one” — that was Ivan’s motto before he met me. I didn’t hear that ever before, and it was sweet! And then my bridesmaids made my night – one of them revealing a bit too much of our joint plottings to have me meet Ivan, “whose surname I now have.” We had so much fun and the night couldn’t have been more *us.*
We made a public commitment to each other and had the greatest community of love surrounding us. We extended the festivities with my parents, and stayed in Napa for a few days afterward, soaking in our newfound partnership. My mom kept on reminding me to call Ivan “my husband,” because the word felt foreign at first. Overall, was a precious weekend, and my one piece of advice is embrace it and enjoy it, but then, be as present in your life with your partner as you were that weekend!
Bridesmaids' Dresses: Etsy | Cake: Giorgi's Wedding Cakes | Catering: OAK Catering | Ceremony And Reception Venue: Mayacamas Ranch | Event Planning: Marilyn Ambra | Hotel: Mayacamas Ranch | Location: Mayacamas Ranch | Photography: Kate Osborne Photography | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Wedding Dress: Custom From Bridal Project