When I laid eyes on this wedding the first thing I did was frantically google Pangea Ranch. The land, the vineyards, the views… I had to be there. Come to find out, it’s the couple’s private ranch. First of all, how romantic is that? Getting married at your gorgeous ranch. And second, raise your hand if you’re as jealous as I am that they actually live here?! MAP Events was on hand to extend the natural beauty to the design of the whole day, and with Jenna Walker Photographers behind the camera, it’s the kind of wedding I can’t stop thinking about.
From the gorgeous bride … “Magic” is always the word our friends and family choose when describing our wedding day. The magic they felt wasn’t because our wedding took place in a historic building, or because of our fancy decorations – no, the magic came from the breathtaking serenity of the top of Sonoma Mountain. This is the very same spot on Earth where the natives of the Bay Area, the Coastal Miwok Indians, believe life began. It’s also where my husband, James, and I fell even deeper in love, leaving the hustle and bustle of San Francisco behind to live together on our ranch only a few years ago. We named our ranch Pangea, to symbolize a place for everyone to come together. It was at Pangea Ranch where we brought everyone together to hear us say “I do!”
While James and I were falling in love with each other, we were also falling in love with the local cheese, food, wine and adventure that Sonoma County has to offer. Naturally we wanted our wedding guests to get a taste of all that goodness too, with hopes that maybe – even for just one second – they might discover the beauty of this part of the world the way we had.
When I began planning how to make our wedding site stunning I knew that nature would do most of the heavy lifting for us. At 2,300 feet elevation, Pangea Ranch is perched in the middle of rolling hills, with breathtaking panoramic views of the entire Bay Area. Upon arrival at the ranch, it dawns on most guests that the top of Sonoma Mountain is the best-kept secret in the Bay Area. One of my goals from the get-go was to avoid any hint of that horrid and feared “wedding cheesiness” that we know all too well. Between the Pinot Noir vineyards, the lake buzzing with wildlife, the ancient trees, and golden rolling hills, I knew that all I had to do was to avoid cheesiness and focus on enhancing the pristine beauty the site already had to offer.
I realized pretty early on in the planning process that I needed to bring in a professional wedding planner who not only had the ability to turn my dream wedding into a reality, but who could also connect me with vendors who had experience working in raw spaces. In comes the incredible master herself Jennie Janzen from MAP Events. I can’t say enough good things about Jennie. In hindsight hiring Jennie was the single best decision we made when it came to planning our wedding. She thought of every last detail and even though I was prepared for some hiccups on our big day it was smooth sailing and it was all due to Jennie Janzen’s genius!
The moment guests stepped off the shuttles they were greeted with a refreshing glass of wine, and the bottles kept flowing all night with wine made from grapes grown in our own vineyard. There were no rushed schedules, in fact the whole day and night seemed to flow like a dream from one scene to the next. Before the ceremony, guests mingled by the pool area while marveling at the views of the Pacific Ocean, Mt. Tam, San Francisco, the Bay, Mt. Diablo, Sonoma Valley, Mt. St. Helena and even the foothills of the Sierra Nevada’s.
The ceremony was next and James and I knew that the jaw dropping views from the Eastern side of the property was where we wanted to become husband and wife. We tied the knot at the top of the Valley of the Moon, which world-renowned author Jack London claimed was his favorite place on Earth after Yosemite. Once we exchanged our vows and walked down the aisle as husband and wife the party started and didn’t stop until the wee hours of the night. From this moment forward it was nothing but FUN. It was essential to James and I that we included homegrown gifts of the land into our reception. As I watched guests sip Pinot Noir made from grapes grown in our vineyard, drizzle honey made from our beehives onto homemade corn bread, and indulge in some of James’ and my favorite local foods, I realized that my wedding dream had come true – there was not one ounce of wedding cheesiness to be seen. Guests danced the night away only taking breaks for the photo booth or for a stroll down a stone path to the caboose where they would find a champagne bar and truffles. I didn’t want the night to end. As cliché as it sounds, it truly was the best day of my life. I will cherish those memories forever.
Photography: Jenna Walker Photographers | Cinematography: Ched Nunez | Flowers: Mums Flowers SF | Event Design: Mums Floral Design SF + Jennie Janzen, MAP Events | Event Planning: Jennie Janzen, MAP Events | Tent : Zephyr Tents | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals, Napa | Lighting: Twilight Designs | Linens: La Tavola Linens | Ceremony Location: Pangea Ranch | Reception Location: PangeaRanch | Catering: Park Avenue Catering | DJ: Chris Fox, Boutique DJ’s | Hair & Makeup: sHe Artists | Transportation: California Wine Tours | Portable Restrooms: North Bay Portables | Photobooth: Glass Coat Photo Booth | Cakes: Tartine | Invitations: Lisa Kasch from Paperwhite, Petaluma | Shoes: Nordstroms BP | Dress: Anne Barge