Summer Wedding in the California Wine Country
May 4, 2010
United States

With spring in full swing and the sun in our sights, we are chomping at the bit for those long summer days. Since we still have a few months left to go, why don't we settle for gazing longingly at this pretty summer wedding. Not so bad, is it? In fact, it just might be what the doctor ordered. Captured by Verite Photography, the sunny, happy smiles are the perfect compliment to the casual elegance of the day and the rustic details are right at home at this gorgeous California Ranch. They don't call it the Golden State for nothing. I think I can almost smell the sunscreen.

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{Click here for the FULL gallery of vitamin d soaked details}

Once we decided we were going to get married at the ranch the real work began! Andrew's cousin, Jocelyn Arelt, is a well respected and extremely talented wedding planner. She had an integral part in helping guide me through the process and we had a lot of fun together. We determined that the most important thing was that the wedding feel comfortable, warm and relaxed, with a "western elegance." The hardest part of planning the wedding was that I loved everything, especially with vendors like Hello! Lucky and a blog for inspiration like Style Me Pretty, the possibilities were endless!  I had a hard time making up my mind but ultimately was thrilled with the way all of the details were woven together.

Hello! Lucky was fantastic to work with. I emailed them dozens of times a month, and they kept coming up with more and more fantastic details to tie my western elegant wedding together.  The details were so important to me and I loved scouring the Ribbonerie for vintage ribbon, buying every mercury container I came across or searching obscure stores for unique ginham fabrics and slowly it all come together.

Upon arrival to Healdsburg, each guest received a gift basket with my mother-in-law Rosie's famous flapjack cookies, a bottle of wine from our ranch and other local goodies. We spent Friday evening at the Healdsburg Hotel visiting with all of our guests under the bare bulbs in the courtyard, watching a slide show of life moments and enjoying some great California wines.

The wedding day was a dream come true!  I spent the morning with my sisters, swimming, getting a little sun and rexlaxing for the big day. I couldn't wait to see how all of the details we had worked on for so long were going to finally come together. We were married in the middle of an oak grove in sight of the oak tree where Andrew proposed.  Our minister was a close family friend. Our wedding party was made up of siblings and life-long friends and we seated everyone on hay bales in the shade of a hundred year old oak tree.  Oh, and it was 106 degrees, but it didn't matter!

The most amazing part of our wedding was that Valerie Arelt (Jocelyn's mother, and Andrew's aunt) did all of the flowers. I was so blessed to have such a sought after floral designer be more than delighted to design my wedding.  My mother-in-law Rosie worked alongside her sister and helped with all of the design details. It was a family affair!  Planning the design and wedding together was a wonderful way to become close with Andrew's family and Valerie brought my dream wedding to life!  Every element from the tiny arrangements on the cocktail tables to my bouquet or the floral collars on the horses to the wreath around the barn turned out to be sheer perfection.  Because I fell in love with so many color combinations, Valerie helped me execute a few different looks: soft creams and yellows for the ceremony, yellows and greens for cocktail hour, and a reception in vibrant orange colors- to match the evening sunset and all the orange and fuscia roses which grow on the ranch. It was perfect!

The food was catered by our dear friends the Jimtown Store; the local, organic farm to table cuisine was delicious. The meal was a combination of family-style and French service- which I thought would make the wedding feel more like a dinner party- rather than a really formal affair.  The presentation and styling Carrie Brown executed was the perfect blend of rustic and elegant, while Peter Brow, the chef, truly mastered the feast of hanger steak, halibut, and sausage which guests raved about. And the perfect Endings cake was divine! But most importantly, I couldn't have accomplished putting together this wedding without the loving support and help of my husband Andrew who put up with every moment, and wanted to be as involved as he could be (or I would let him be).

Photographer: Verite Photography / Venue: Bride's Family Ranch RioLago Ranch and Vineyard / Event Coordination: Arelt Event Design / Flowers and Design: Valerie Arelt / Invitations and Stationery: Hello! Lucky / Tent: Zephyr Tents / Food: The Jimtown Store / Cake: Perfect Endings / Dresses: Monique Lhuillier / Bridesmaid Dresses: Vineyard Collection / Groomsmen Shirts and Ties: Thomas Pink / Linens: La Tavola Linens