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French Garden Inspired Wedding at Carmel Valley Ranch

There is nothing quite like a garden wedding. The magic is in the natural open air setting and the feel of an intimate backyard affair – hence why it’s one of our most popular genresAnd all of those elements layered in with a handful of fab vendors including calligraphy by MM Ink, florals by Pink Petals and loads of pretty images by Onelove Photography truly makes for a stunning celebration.

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Spring
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Elegance

From The Bride…Eric and I really enjoy the outdoors, we live in Los Angeles and love spending our weekends hiking in the canyons or exploring the California coastline. We knew Carmel was the perfect place for us to get married because it is our favorite local getaway and it has all of our favorite things to offer: beautiful mountains, the beach, wineries, art galleries, cute shops, and great restaurants! Since Eric is originally from New York, and I am from Sao Paulo, Brazil, we knew that our family and friends would be traveling from several locations, so we thought Carmel would be the perfect place to meet up for the weekend.

We wanted a small and intimate wedding that would give us a chance to share our favorite things about Carmel with our loved ones. We planned a welcome dinner for everyone at our favorite restaurant in town (Christopher’s Restaurant), where they serve the most delicious fried green heirloom tomatoes that are locally picked. We spent the weekend enjoying the area, hiking, and relaxing in the sun with our friends. I even had a chance to catch a yoga class one morning, so we really felt relaxed by the time the big day rolled around.

On the wedding day, we wanted our guests to feel comfortable and at home, as if we were inviting them to a garden wedding in our own back yard. Hanging tea lights, scattered candles, our favorite books, and family portraits and pictures of us growing up decorated the ceremony site where we exchanges vows. The sun was setting over the mountains and wineries in the background, which made the occasion feel like a dream. Eric loves the sounds of violins, so we knew a string trio would provide the perfect music for the occasion. We picked our favorite songs, which were mostly a combination of jazz, Brazilian music, and classic rock songs by The Beatles, Billy Joel, Elton John, etc. You would be surprised how beautiful Led Zeppelin can sound on a violin!

At the reception, we wanted to treat everyone to our favorite foods; charcuterie, seared halibut, and delicious local wines that Eric selected. We filled the space with large couches, comfy pillows, blankets, and a fire pit to keep everybody warm and cozy as they enjoyed the evening. For desert, we had marzipan-layered cake and “Bem Casados” which are individually wrapped Brazilian treats that are meant to bring luck to the newly married couple.

Sarah Pink was a wonderful florist to work with. I showed her endless pictures of French gardens and told her I wanted our wedding to look and feel like that. She made the vision come to life with delicate peonies and garden roses. For center pieces, we used milk glass and teacups, since I love traditional tea parties and I collect vintage teacups. Sarah also built a beautiful Chuppah for us, which is the canopy under which a couple gets married in a Jewish wedding. It is meant to represent the home that they will build together, and it is open on all sides so that family and friends will always be welcome.

Directly after the ceremony, Eric and I snuck away for some alone time before meeting up with our guests for the reception. They had set up a picnic table in the organic vegetable garden for us with a sampling of our appetizers and two glasses of champagne. We watched the sunset together and toasted to our new marriage. We were even visited by a family of four deer who came right up to us. It was such a special moment.

Photography: Onelove Photography | Florist: Pink Petals | Wedding Gown: Alvina Valenta | Cake: Layers | Stationary: Betsy White Stationery Boutique | Bridesmaids Dresses: J Crew | Caterer: Carmel Valley Ranch | Calligraphy: MM Ink | DJ: Golden State Productions | Rabbi: Rabbi Bruce Greenbaum | Ceremony and Reception: Carmel Valley Ranch | Live Music: Monterey String Trio | Makeup and Hair: Kim Larson Bridal | Rentals: Hartmann Studios | Shoe Designer: Jimmy Choo

Hayley Paige and Jim Hjelm Occasions are members of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. onelove photography, JLM Couture, Inc, MM Ink and Carmel Valley Ranch are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
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Elegant and Relaxed Ranch Wedding

Here’s living proof you can plan a stunning wedding from the other side of the country. This New York couple picked the splendid Holman Ranch in the bride’s native California for their Caribbean-inspired nuptials. Coral hued bouquets from Fionna Floral and DIY ikat runners obviously made photographer Cooper Carras‘s job a delight. Inspired? Make sure to check out the full gallery!

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Summer
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Romantic

From The Bride…There were a couple things we knew we were searching for when my husband and I went to plan our wedding: an outdoor ceremony and reception, long tables, Italian string lights twinkling overhead, good food, good music, good drinks and most importantly a weekend with good friends and family. I am writing this post, because I know how much Style Me Pretty helped me when it came to sifting through the endless possibilities for wedding planning, and really crystallize the choices that best reflect you as a couple.

Holman Ranch is spectacular. It is an intimate escape with a special combination of natural beauty and relaxed elegance. My husband and I knew we would be able to spend a weekend full of fun with our guests and enjoy special time with loved ones who flew in from around the world. Planning the wedding from New York, where we live, was a challenge, but once we picked Holman everything seemed to fall into place.

As a California girl at heart, I knew I wanted an outdoor ceremony and reception. Sky, mountains, and hills are all around you as you say your vows. It’s absolutely breathtaking. My husband and I both love running, biking and being out on the water, so being able to stage every part of our wedding outside was a real draw. Moving from the ceremony, to the cocktail hour, to the dinner, to dancing has a magical quality of discovery to it.

We were engaged in the Caribbean, on a beach we had visited many times together. We knew we wanted to incorporate elements from this very special day into our wedding reception. He proposed by carving “Will You Marry Me?” into a piece of driftwood, that I discovered in the sand. We decided to name every dining table after a beach we had been to together. Selecting the names of the beaches and carving them in with the latitude and longitude was a memorable, if unexpectedly challenging part of the wedding planning process. Each place-card was then attached to a piece of driftwood, directing you to your table. My brother, of AJ Bain Design, created all of our paper products from menus, to programs, to our save the dates which were printed on wood. My mom designed the beautiful blue ikat table runners and pillows that reminded us of the changing colors of the ocean in the Caribbean  After dinner we served bushwacker’s a local drink that tastes like liquid tiramisu.

Our unflappable planner, Amy Byrd, helped us pull together the weekend we were hoping for. She was unstoppable, ever ready, and incredibly observant. We got to enjoy the day as she took care of all the small stuff. She helped steer us to a wonderful set of vendors that were perfect for the intimate wedding we wanted. That includes Nancy and John at Paradise Catering who spent a great deal of time working with us to come up with a fantastic seasonal menu. They created an ideal meal— including recreating an amazing fig salad that we both love.

Our florist, Sarah, of Fionna Floral, captured an unstructured elegant look in stunning arrangements. We knew that during the ceremony we didn’t need to compete with the landscape at Holman, so we created two large bouquets of white delphinium with white passion flower. Two smaller arrangements marked the start of the aisle. When it came to the rest of the flowers I knew that wanted color in our wedding, and lots of it. Pink really popped in a natural landscape of blues and greens. We used dhalias and passionflowers throughout our arrangements. We also anchored many of the floral centerpieces at dinner with protea– in honor of the South African side of my family.

One unexpected challenge we encountered was finding our wedding cake. Bobby and I knew we didn’t want a traditional cake. We decided on Key Lime Pie, in honor of a sentimental connection to Key West. Finding a Key Lime Pie in San Francisco and the Monterey Peninsula proved to be well… difficult! After rounding up a taste test judged by my family, the unanimous winner was the amazing Black Jet Baking Company in San Francisco.

We feel tremendously lucky to have had such a memorable day surrounded by so many friends and loved ones.

Photography: Cooper Carras | Wedding Planner: Amy Byrd Weddings & Events | Catering: Paradise Catering | Ceremony & Reception: Holman Ranch | Floral: Fionna Floral

Holman Ranch is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
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Handmade Travel-Inspired Wedding at Holman Ranch

Holman Ranch is known around these parts for hosting gorgeous weddings, and this beauty designed by Paper & Plumes and coordinated by Engaged & Inspired proves that theory in the prettiest of ways. With bespoke handmade details around every corner, and a couple so in love you can almost feel it through the screen – this gallery is just as gorgeous as they get.

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Fall
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Elegant

From the Bride…Our relationship started one warm and sunny Christmas day in Southern California 13 years ago. Both of our families gathered together for Christmas, and we were introduced to each other. I was 14 years old. This yearly tradition continued but it wasn’t until seven years later that our real story began… Google chat had EVERYTHING to do with it. Joel was sent alone on business to Dublin, and I was finishing up my final year of college in Utah. We would chat all morning and evening long about everything and anything from our favorite foods and bucket list items to our past relationships and thoughts on love as well as personal aspirations. We grew closer and closer each day, instantly becoming the best of friends. I knew I was going to marry Joel.

After I graduated from college a year later, I moved back to California and decided to visit Joel in San Diego. It was during this visit that we realized we were made for each other. For a few months, we spent almost every weekend flying to and from San Francisco and San Diego. Then Joel finally moved to San Francisco. Our friendship turned into love.

For three years, we visited the most beautiful places, ate the best SF has to offer, and continuously inspired each other with more and more love. We were lucky in life and lucky in love…and we still are.

From the Groom…On September 2, 2012, I had the honor of asking Sariah to marry me. After a day exploring Angel Island, solitary confinement at Alcatraz and getting hands-on with science exhibits in the Exploratorium, we ended our “tourist day” under the dome at the Palace of Fine Arts, our favorite place in San Francisco. I had suggested on our way out that we should take some self-portraits under the dome. Despite her positive response, I could tell she was onto me. It made for a very awkward and nerve-wracking 200 steps to the pre-determined area. Little did she know that I also had 20 of our closest friends hiding in the bushes and a couple photographers across the pond to capture the moment. I set up my SLR camera on the ground for a “timer” shot, but really I was shooting video the entire time. This, including my initial fumbling into my lens bag for the ring box, is what ensued:

Inspiration Behind the Day…Joel and I envisioned our wedding to be a fun, relaxed and magical day about everything we love in life. We wanted it to be unique with a lot of heart. From our save the dates until the last dance of our wedding, we wanted the whole experience to be special not only for us but for our family and friends as well.

Even before Joel and I became friends, we had a common passion for traveling. Now, our relationship thrives from new adventures in beautiful places. We also appreciate the labor of love put into anything handmade and beautifully aged/vintage so it was a simple and perfect decision to theme our celebration into a lovingly handmade, travel-inspired wedding.

Because we love nature, we really wanted to have our wedding outdoors, and Holman Ranch was the perfect place. When Joel and I first set foot on the property, it was love at first sight. The gorgeous grassy ceremony location overlooks their vineyards and olives trees with a breathtaking backdrop of the mountains. The romantic rose patio leads perfectly back to the rustic barn house and the last thing you see before leaving is that magical oak tree. We just knew it would set the perfect scene for the best day of our lives.

Paper and Plumes, an event planning venture with my best friend /maid of honor, with the help of some family and friends, was behind the design and every handmade detail of the wedding. From the 40-foot lace burlap runners, chevron napkins, luggage tag escort cards, hand-typed and folded paper airplane name cards, to the rustic wood framed world map guest book, customized chalkboard and wooden signs, travel straws and wood crate tables, we did it all…and we loved every second of it.

Favorite Memories of the Day…Per the advice of our wonderfully talented photographer and friend, Stacey, we took a few moments to have a private moment right after the ceremony. Sitting alone with my new husband immediately after we vowed to love each other for the rest of our lives was truly priceless. I felt very lucky and grateful to have such an amazing man and partner with whom I can share forever.

Another unforgettable moment was our first dance. Our talented and dear friends, Chris and Laura Stephens, performed an acoustic medley of two of our favorite songs: “You are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne and “Better Together” by Jack Johnson. Their beautiful voices, the positive energy surrounding us from all of our friends and family and our love…it was one of the best moments of my life!

Noteworthy Items…Shoes. Christian Louboutin from Paris. It is our favorite city in the world, and I wanted to have a piece of it with me for the wedding. 

Photographer. After talking with Stacey over the phone, I knew she would be the perfect photographer. I loved her style and her personality. However, she was above what we had budgeted, so we talked about it and decided to look for other options. A couple weeks later, Joel suggested that I call Stacey to tell her our final decision. Inside, I was dreading making the phone call because I just loved her so much, so I kept putting it off. Joel kept checking in with me to see if I had called. When I finally called, Stacey mentioned that she had just been booked for a wedding on the day we wanted to reserve. My heart dropped, as I had secretly hoped we would be able to book her somehow. She then said, “Do you know a Joel Gutierrez?” Best. Wedding. Surprise. Ever. I was ecstatic! Not only was I about to marry the sweetest and most thoughtful man, but we will also have Stacey Pentland Photography there to capture it. :)

Carriage Lawn. This was one of my favorite areas at the wedding. We created a lounge area for our guests using haybales from the ranch and custom-designed wood crate tables (thanks, Dad!). We also set up a scotch library for Joel and all of our whiskey-loving friends using a vintage wheeled cart from India. It was a hit! At night, the cafe string lights courtesy of our wedding coordinator, Engaged & Inspired, framed the area just perfectly.

Wedding Website and Invitation Suite. Inspired by rossplusjess.com, I learned how to use Adobe Illustrator and Squarespace to create a custom wedding website for us (www.luckyinlifeluckyinlove.com). I also worked with Mary Rauzi, an amazing graphic designer, to create a custom save the date and invitation suite to get our guests excited for the wedding!

Vendors…We’re very thankful to the best vendors ever. The day wouldn’t have been so perfect if it weren’t for each of them. Joel and I will be forever grateful.

Photography: Stacey Pentland Photography | Videography: De Novo Studio | Event Design: Paper & Plumes | Wedding Dress: Pronovias Barcelona | Cake: Shannie Cakes | Invitations: Mary Rauzi | Ceremony Venue: Holman Ranch | Reception Venue: Holman Ranch | Jewelry: Tiffany & Co. | Caterer: Island View Catering | Make Up: Nancy Chew | Hair: Sabrina Ornelas | DJ: DNA Entertainment | Groom's Attire: J.Crew | Groomsmen's Attire: J.Crew | Alfajores Desserts: Passion Pastry | Bride's Wedding Boots: Hunter Boots | Bride's Wedding Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Cake Pops And Pie Pops: Sweet Lauren Cakes | Cake Toppers: Pegged | Coordination: Engaged & Inspired | Flower Girl Dresses: Olive & Fern | Groom's Bow Tie: Burberry | Rentals: Chic Event Rental | Wedding Programs: B Is For Brown

J.Crew is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. Holman Ranch and Sweet Lauren Cakes are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
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