The Ojai Valley Inn & Spa plays host to some of the most amazing weddings you’ll ever lay your eyes upon; that goes without saying. So take a stunning twosome and add in a world of beautiful details and you’ll be gasping your way to The Vault in a real hurry. It’s breathtaking florals from Rockrose Floral Design meets the beauty stylings of Kacee Geoffroy meets an entire gallery of awesome from Jillian Rose. Head there for a looksie.
From the Bride… The Ojai Valley Inn had always been a special place for my family, but it just so happened that I had planned a surprise golf weekend for Dane’s birthday the weekend after he surprised me with a proposal. We knew instantly that they wanted to get married there and bring the warmth and calm energy of Ojai to their wedding. We also figured out that we could use our wedding as a way to strong-arm all of our favorite people into going on vacation with us, which was what we really wanted: a weekend together with our closest family and friends, that just so happened to feature a wedding at the end.
Because Ojai is such a special place, we wanted everything we did to be a complement to the natural beauty of each of the sites and of Ojai in general. From our color scheme to the dresses that the bridesmaids wore to the eclectic mix of florals and succulents, we wanted our look to be beautiful but also true to the people and place involved; the bridesmaids chose their own dresses on the green color spectrum, each expressing their own style; I wore my favorite sneakers under my wedding dress; we decided to forgo a tent for a light structure so that it would truly feel like a party under the stars. At a site as wonderful as Ojai, and with such awesome friends and family supporting us in our bridal party, it wasn’t a heavy lift.
That said, Vikki and Shannon from All You Need is Love Events, our fabulous wedding planners, helped us translate our eclectic style into something both romantic and accessible, with a wide range of elements that we felt really honored our relationship, our guests, and our love of an awesome party. We loved the florals from Rockrose and the whole bridal party loved lounging around in shortie sets from Plum Pretty Sugar. Having been a bridesmaid myself, I knew that the getting ready process can include a lot of standing around with not much to do; this wasn’t the case on our wedding day. All of my incredibly creative friends handmade all of the signage, including for our dog-inspired signature cocktails, the Wrigarita (our Chihuahua-pug, Wrigley) and the Moscow Miles (our shepherd-hound, Miles). The whole weekend felt like such a team effort that drew on everyone’s unique talents and generosity, and we were incredibly blessed to have so many wonderful people around us.
My grandmother, Marjorie, wasn’t able to travel to California for the wedding, but I wanted to feel like she was there with us in spirit. I took a blue lace gown of her mother’s (my great-grandmother’s) that she gave me a few years ago to a dressmaker and had them cut a piece of the lace to wrap around my bouquet. We also made special video messages to her that we will watch together in Chicago and share the memories of the day. Dane’s grandfather, Hal, brought photos of Dane’s great grandparents that we displayed, together with other vintage photos of those that came before us.
Dane and I were honored to be married by my favorite professor from college, Dr. John K. Roth, from Claremont McKenna College, who flew down from his home in Winthrop, Washington with his wife Lyn to join in the weekend. Our ceremony felt like a beautiful reflection of us as a couple and our wonderful families and the teachers along the way, and we were able to make it this way with his help.
When Dane and I met, I had just moved back to the U.S. after two years overseas, where I had forgone fashion for a pair of comfortable Campers sneakers I bought in Spain and wore throughout my travels in Asia. I continued to sport on the streets of New York City, and though lots of people have told me it’s time to toss them over the years, I decided they were the most fitting pair of wedding shoes I could think of – something to remind me of where I’ve been and who I am.
Dane and I are both dedicated to the wedding dance party, and the openness and romance of the Herb Garden Lawn seemed to bring everyone onto the dance floor. People were also free to enjoy the space however they wanted, from lawn games to a vintage airstream from Classic Party Rentals where a group of cousins set up shop. We loved the light wall behind our head table that made the whole space seem even more romantic and magical, and were delighted to see couples snap their own photos in front of it.
It’s incredibly hard to pick a favorite memory; it felt like a mix of “best days ever” one after another. Spending the day with my mother, mother and stepmother-in-law, and best friends / and for Dane, bro-ing out with his best friends, brothers, brothers-in-law, dad and grandpa all felt like their own fun vacations. The most moving moment was walking down the aisle with both of my parents to Dane, and I’ll never forget the joy of looking at our family and friends as they affirmed their willingness to support and nurture our marriage. And then the dancing… a four-person slow dance with my parents, our nieces and nephews under three dancing with each other until way past their bedtimes, a dance-off between my brothers and my dad to Tower of Power, and dancing our pants off as a married couple. The sparkler send off to the afterparty made us feel like celebrities and we loved all the touches (pasta, pizza, sliders and hours more of sweaty dance party) of our afterparty – we didn’t want the expert spinning of DJ Swon to end!
While the memories of our wedding will last a lifetime for Dane and me, we were so incredibly grateful to Jillian Rose’s photography and Ryan McDuff’s videography that will help us share it with our families and remember how incredibly blessed and blissful we felt on that day. They felt like friends at the party, but what they captured was incredible.
Photography: Jillian Rose Photography | Event Planning: All You Need Is Love Events | Floral Design: Rockrose Floral Design | Wedding Dress: Watters | Catering: Ojai Valley Inn And Spa | Make Up: Kacee Geoffroy | DJ: Red Shoe | Ceremony Music: Jason Sulkin | Linens: La Tavola | Ojai Valley Inn: Ojai Valley Inn & Spa | Photo Booth: Lucky Photo Booth | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals | Video: McDuff Productions