Big Sur Wedding by Larissa Cleveland + Allison Weddings
February 11, 2011
Big Sur

Be still my heart.  I am completely head over Jimmy Choo heels for this whimsical wedding by Larissa Cleveland and Allison Weddings.  Big Sur is so magical and full of romance (I should know...I got engaged there!) and what better way to show it off than a foggy, al fresco reception packed with love-filled ceremonies and heartfelt touches.  It seems like the stars aligned and the coastal sea breezes united to create a perfect union for this lovely bride and groom.  Lucky for us there is more romance and enchantment in the full gallery!

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Location was a really important element for us.  We wanted something outdoors in a natural setting, a place that was beautiful in an of itself and didn't need much added to it.  We knew we wanted the ceremony in a grove of trees and a field for the dinner table, so we were looking for a property with multiple locations to use throughout the day.  We were incredibly lucky to find Rancho Rico, because in addition to the fantastic ceremony and dinner locations, their house had a big, high ceiling artist's room upstairs with double doors that opened to a meadow -- perfect for the after dinner festivities!

The ceremony was the critical part of the day -- we put a lot of thought into how to make it personal and reflect us, rather than just going through the motions.  We did a few things in particular:

1) We lit a candle in the beginning of the ceremony to symbolize our loved ones who weren't there.  This has special significance because my grandmother passed away a two months before the wedding and it was an important way for me to honor her on our wedding day.  The candle followed us throughout the entire day, even to the after party!

2) In the beginning of the ceremony we did a "walk down memory lane" -- Max and I dug into our email accounts and pulled out little snippets of our communications over the years, going back and fourth and reading them to our guests.  It really set the tone for the ceremony, bringing everyone into our relationship in a very personal way.

3) We had the guests pass our rings to each other throughout the ceremony, to symbolize their blessing of our union.

The dinner was another key element, in fact much of our wedding was inspired by the images of a long table in the middle of a field from Outstanding in the Field dinners.  The property had an incredible location for it -- this little meadow that came up out of no where on the path, just big enough for the table, then dropping down to the ocean hundreds of feet below.  The fog broke for just long enough to see the view when we arrived there after the cocktail hour.  All of the food for the dinner was sourced locally, many things were from the ranch where we had the wedding itself!

We also had several fun, interactive elements for our guests.  We had a tree of "keys to a happy marriage,"  where guests would pick an old, rusty skeleton key, attach a note with their marital advice to it, and tie it to a tree.  We're turning them into a piece of artwork for our home.  When guests arrived to the dinner table, we had a trunk full of eclectic, colorful plates where each guests chose one to use for dinner -- Max and I spent the summer collecting interesting plates from garage sales and thrift stores.

Finally an unplanned element -- the fog!  At first we were upset that the weather was so uncooperative, but in the end it made the entire day truly magical.

At the very end of the night, Max and I carried the candle we lit at the beginning of the ceremony symbolizing our relatives from the after party to our room (I never imagined it would make it that far into the night!).  It was really beautiful for us to end the night carrying this symbol of my grandmother, which stayed with us throughout the entire day.

Wedding Photography: Larissa Cleveland / Design + Coordination by: Allison and Lori of Allison Weddings / Wedding Venue: Rancho Rico / Catering: Outstanding in the Field / Florist: Hunt Littlefield / Hair and Makeup: SHE artists / Dress:  Vera Wang / Shoes: Jimmy Choo