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Rustic Meets Elegant Ranch Wedding

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.

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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!

Photography: Kate Osborne Photography | Event Planning: Marilyn Ambra | Wedding Dress: Custom From Bridal Project | Cake: Giorgi's Wedding Cakes | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Etsy | Catering: OAK Catering | Hotel: Mayacamas Ranch | Ceremony And Reception Venue: Mayacamas Ranch | Location: Mayacamas Ranch

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Intimate Palm Springs Fall Wedding

What weddings do I adore the most? The ones that really, truly represent the couple, and this California celebration is just that. Twine Events mixed modern elements with vintage and antique details – just like the Bride’s special sparkler – staying true to the authentic style of the couple themselves. Michael Moss captured every bit and these pics are the kind that leave you all warm and fuzzy inside.

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From The Bride… Max proposed in the spot that we met. It was just the two us and a moment I will cherish forever. In the midst of tears and laughter, he slipped on my left hand a beautiful ring that had both antique and modern elements – an impeccable unity of our styles. It was the same mixture that we wanted our wedding to embody. But most of all, we wanted our wedding to have a feeling of intimacy as we shared this very special and private moment in our lives with our family and closest friends.

After searching up and down California, we found the perfect venue in Casa de Monte Vista in Palm Springs. Casa de Monte Vista is located at the base of the mountain in a quieter estate area of Palm Springs. From the moment we walked through the grounds, we fell in love with the place. It was built in the 1930s in a Mediterranean/ Spanish style with a beautiful lawn backdropped by the mountains. It had a quintessential antique ambience in the midst of a very modern Palm Springs. Although two hours from our home in Venice, California, Palm Springs was a great option for us because we had many out of town guests flying in for the big day. We wanted a location that our guests may not necessarily go on their own, where they could get around easily, and which had plenty to do. Palm Springs was that and so much more.

In planning the wedding, we were very fortunate to come across Erica Espana’s Twine Events website. I fell in love with the simple elegance of her events. Thankfully, she’s located in our area and was available for our wedding day to act as “month of” wedding planner. Erica took our vision and made it more graceful than I could have ever imagined. Her team made our day worry-free and seamless.

A few months prior to the wedding, a close friend recommended his brother-in-law as a potential wedding photographer. I have to admit I was a little skeptical at first, especially because the photographer was based in North Carolina and we were in California. However, the second Max and I went to Michael Moss’s website, we knew we’d found our photographer. We were able to get his last open day for the year. My friend had let me know that, in his opinion, some of Michael’s best shots were in wide open spaces. With that little tip, we made sure to include a trip to the base of the mountains in desert of Palm Springs as our first look location and for bridal party pictures. The timing of it made the day a bit more packed than it would have been without, but the result was well worth it. Michael took amazing photos and captured our day and our family and friends so very beautifully.

On November 1, 2014, [William] Max and I were married by a good friend of ours who knew us well and had been there the night that Max and I met. Our “Deputy Commissioner” introduced us in a light-hearted and affectionate way as he led us through the ceremony. We wrote and read our own vows. Max had all of our guests in tears as he recited his. We tried to release butterflies – they were uncooperative, which elicited many gaffes as the groomsmen tried to warm them up on the cooler day so that they’d fly away. We had spent the least amount of time planning the ceremony, and yet, it was by far the most unexpectedly amazing part of our day.

Afterward the ceremony, Max and I spent a few precious moments alone while our guests enjoyed a cocktail reception, listening to Max’s Rat-Pack inspired list of songs, snacking on appetizers and charcuterie, and enjoying champagne, cocktails and wine.

Our photographer wanted to catch the last light and quickly ushered us outside the venue for a few more pictures. When we were done, we realized that we had been locked out! Thankfully one of my uncles was by the door, heard our knocks, and let us in. We made it back just in time.

The wedding party was introduced at the very end of the cocktail reception. Doing it earlier than the reception worked out very well because Max and I were able to lead our guests to dinner and form a receiving line to say hello and thank each person for coming as they entered the backyard and found their seats under warm lights. We had decided on long tables and family style meals with wine on the table – all of which helped make it more like a fun and intimate family dinner. We listened to the DJ spin discs based on Max’s list of Doo-Wop and R&B infused beats.

Many of our guests were coming from out of town – from Asia to Europe and many places in between. We decided to do a “California” themed reception. We served California wines and prosecco. We hired E.A.T. Marketplace to cater the wedding, who served organic and farm to table food from the area. Our florals incorporated the amazing citrus from the Palm Springs area. We used a small California tangerine at each table setting as a name card. And our gift bags were California Love themed totes with California food specialities.

After lovely speeches by Max’s father, his best man, and my sister, my maid of honor, we danced as late as Palm Springs let us.

Photography: Michael Moss, Michael Moss Photography | Wedding Planner: Erica Espana, Twine Events | Florist: My Little Flower Shop | Catering: E.A.T. Marketplace | Hair & Makeup: Team Hair And Makeup | DJ: Scratch Weddings | Groom's Attire: J. Lindeberg | Wedding Venue: Casa De Monte Vista | Bartenders: Happy Mobile Bartenders | Bridal Boutique: Brides Against Breast Cancer (2nd Hand) | Bridal Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Maid of Honor's Dress: Jim Hjelm Occasions | Party Rentals: Signature Rentals

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Sleek + Sophisticated Black Tie Wedding

This, loves, is how you do a wedding.  Think two dapper grooms, a dream team of San Fran vendors (Morgan EventsSweet On CakePaula LeDuc and Michelle Papineau Calligraphy… to name a few) and an urban warehouse setting hosting the whole (totally glamorous) shebang.  It’s sleek + sophisticated details meets gorgeous candlelight meets a breathtaking Kevin Chin gallery.  Join me there for more.

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From Kevin Chin Photography + Cinema“All love is good love” is how I describe Gabriel and Thom’s same sex wedding. Classic church wedding in an old historic San Francisco church followed by a lively reception complete with disco ball and flaggers! This wedding is so San Francisco and so in the moment!

From the Grooms… Our story started in late 2002, when our paths crossed at Crunch Fitness.  After spending a couple of month’s talking every weekday morning before leaving for work, we decided to start seeing each other outside the gym.  Even though we were raised in different countries, we soon realized we had a very similar upbringing and so much in common.  By March of 2003, we officially started dating and a true love was born.  Over the years, we had casually talked about getting married, but in October of 2011, in front of a beautiful waterfall deep inside a rain forest of Olympic National Park, we exchanged rings and officially were engaged.  At that time, we agreed that we wouldn’t get married until it was legal to do so, and with the Supreme Court rulings in June of 2013, we knew our dream could now become a reality.  Fearing changes in laws again, we legally were married on August 10th with a small group of family and friends.   Now, we are so excited to spiritually renew our vows and have the kind of celebration we have talked about for years, with all of our friends and family surrounding us. 

Our wedding celebration was a dream come true, thanks to our wedding planner aka our “Fairy Godmother”, Morgan. From our initial conversation with Morgan, she knew exactly what we wanted – a modern classic black tie wedding that was filled with whimsical elements that reflected our personality but also our love for food and wine, ultimately a fine dining experience with a splash of fun. She definitely delivered our vision and beyond.

The attention to detail in all aspects of our celebration was magical. From the four-tiered ombre hand painted wedding cake to the two thirty-two feet kings tables to the whimsical large sculptural of hanging green amaranth, Spanish moss, white orchids and teardrop shaped LED candles vases to the six course wine and paring tasting menu – our celebration was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Photography: Kevin Chin Photography + Cinema | Cinematography: Kevin Chin Photography + Cinema | Event Planning: Morgan Events | Floral Design: Hunt Littlefield | Cake: Sweet On Cake | Invitations: Hello!Lucky | Ceremony Venue: Swedenborgian Church | Reception Venue: Bluxome Street Winery | Catering: Paula LeDuc Fine Catering | Calligraphy: Michelle Papineau Calligraphy | Lighting: Got Light? | DJ: DJ Cams | Linens: La Tavola | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals | Rentals: Blueprint Studios

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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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.
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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).

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Elegant San Francisco Spring Wedding

Having first met and fallen in love on NBC’s “Love in the Wild” these two cuties continued their story and only a couple years later, won their true prize and said “I do” with one sparkling soiree in San Fran. With the help of Charmed Events Group and Nancy Liu Chin Designs, they sealed the deal and Meg Perotti captured it all for us to ooh and aah over right here!

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From Charmed Events GroupThere are certain love stories that are a “forever love” that you could only imagine happening in movies and on TV, but not in real life. Samantha and Mike not only have one of these love stories, but they found love with one another, true love, on a reality TV show. They were both competitors on NBC’s season 1 of ‘Love in the Wild,’ and not only did they find love, they won the entire season and earned themselves a first class trip around the world! Samantha was a wedding planner in Southern California when she chose to join the show, and after winning the show, decided to move to San Francisco, where Mike was in commercial real estate, and the two were shortly engaged two years later.

It was important for Samantha and Mike to incorporate personal and sentimental elements of their journey to finding each other into the feel and look of their wedding. It was also important for Samantha and Mike to invite their family and friends for an elegant evening of celebration so they chose to have a black tie affair at the historic Palace Hotel in San Francisco. A sophisticated palette of charcoal, white and black was chosen to color up the day with notes of gold. Elements of glitter added texture to the day and infused a sense of fun and sparkle.

We used two main motifs in designing their wedding: a compass that represents their journey to finding love and the phrase “I Choose You,” both paying homage to their time on ‘Love in the Wild’ and where it’s taken them. Love is a choice and throughout their time on the show and through the different challenges they’ve faced on the premise of the show, they repeatedly chose each other and chose to be together no matter the obstacle.

The ceremony was held at the Sunset Court on the mezzanine level of the Palace Hotel and the decor and floral design was in an all-white, lush palette with hints of silver and gold. The idea behind the ceremony design was to create an ethereal and heavenly feel to the altar. The ceremony backdrop was draped in white with a modern white table with luxurious blooms and candles by Nancy Liu Chin.

Guests were invited to the Ralston Room for cocktails and hors ‘d’oeuvres and asked to find their seats by seeking out our Escort Wall which had individual guest cards and feathers with glitter gold tips for each guest. The feather represents that “love always finds a way” and pays homage to the couple’s love story. Upon the Bride and Groom’s entrance into cocktail hour, a live demonstration of a champagne tower was poured in celebration.

The reception was a rich and luxurious space with sparkle silver linens and adorned with decadent and lush white flowers that were perfectly matched against gold rimmed chargers. The menus at each place setting had corners dipped in gold glitter that created the perfect setting to a regal and ethereal affair. There were so many warm moments of the evening that is such a beautiful reflection of the love shared by Samantha and Mike’s family and friends. Their first dance happened on a white dance floor with their compass motif on it, serenaded by a good family friend on video as a surprise to the couple, the cousin of the bride performed a special song after dinner and the evening was complete with an custom ice cream sandwich station with cookies made by the Bride’s family. Every moment of the evening literally glistened and danced under the grand chandeliers of the Palace Hotel’s Garden Court surrounded by the sparkle reflected from the candlelight on the table. The cake topper that said “I Choose You” is the perfect way to describe Samantha and Mikes’ day, one that was sentimental in telling their love story and one that was a beautiful and luxurious experience for their guests!

Photography: Meg Perotti | Videographer: Twisted Light Films | Floral Design: Nancy Liu Chin Designs | Officiant: Tim Mills | Wedding Venue: Palace Hotel | DJ And Lighting: Sound In Motion | Drape And Chairs: Asma's Designs | Event Planning, Design And Stationery: Charmed Events Group | Event Rentals: Hartmann Studios | Linens: La Tavola | Photobooth: Tomfoolery

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Tuscan Villa-Inspired Santa Monica Wedding

This is the sort of wedding that makes your heart happy: a backyard meets totally elegant charmer planned to perfection by Carly Rae Weddings and filled with vibrant blooms from Primary Petals.  It’s one part boho, one part Tuscan beauty and all parts pretty… just the way we like it.  See it all captured in gorgeous images from Anna Delores Photography in the full gallery.

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From Carly Rae WeddingsKatie and Jon’s Italian-inspired wedding materialized with many meaningful touches from the Bride herself. Katie, who comes from a large family, chose to get hitched in her childhood backyard in Santa Monica surrounded by her closest family and friends. Primary Petals provided lush garlands and greenery to bring the backyard to life, and Urbanic and Rock Paper Scissors tied to it all together with the paper goods (Katie hand-painted the roses herself!). All in all, this rustic Tuscan wedding had many meaningful touches that made the guests feel right at home.

From Anna Delores PhotographyKatie and Jon selected Palihouse in Santa Monica for their “first look” photo op; this boutique hotel was a perfectly chic choice for the Bride and Groom portraits before heading to Katie’s parents’ home for their ceremony and reception. Katie and Jon’s organic, authentic day focused only on the traditions that the couple held dear; their ceremony acknowledged Jewish traditions, while Jon and Katie decided to skip the bouquet and garter toss.

Katie’s dress was a customized Claire Pettibone gown, and she wore a family heirloom emerald cuff bracelet; her earrings and necklace were also inherited from her grandmothers. Amy Clarke created a beautiful look for Katie’s hair and makeup, with a lovely undo that Katie was able to let down after the ceremony for a slightly more relaxed vibe during the reception.

Photography: Anna Delores Photography | Floral Design: Primary Petals | Wedding Dress: Claire Pettibone | Stationery: Urbanic Paper | Hair And Makeup: Amy Clarke | Event Coordination: Carly Rae Weddings | Getting Ready Venue: Palihouse | Paper Goods: Rock Paper Scissors | Rentals: Town And Country

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