Every single day at SMP is a good one. I can’t deny that in the slightest. But on those days when I get to dive head first into a wedding crafted by some of my most favorite people in the whole world? Those are the days that I cherish. That I thank my lucky stars I get to call this my job. So to Jose Villa and Kate of Flowerwild, I raise my coffee mug because this Holman Ranch wedding has the secret sauce. A blend of utterly gorgeous style, picture perfect images and a wildly in love couple. Really, what more could you want? And since we’re celebrating Kate’s upcoming workshops, we officially declare it 5PM somewhere in the world and well worthy of a glass of bubbly. Just make sure to check out the full gallery and a film to wrap it all up by Stillwater Cinematography before you head off entirely into champagne induced wedding heaven.
From the Groom….Yes, you read that right: the groom. And the reason I’m sending this in is because I wanted this day to be perfect. Marriage has been one of the most important things to me my whole life, and I was a huge part of planning the wedding. My wife, Rachel, is way out of my league and I had to put on a good show so there’d be no turning back. Just kidding. But seriously, she is perfect and I wanted the ceremony surrounding our union to be equally perfect. Our wedding was, well, pretty unreal. For three days our guests were ushered from activity to activity in Carmel Valley and around the beautiful vineyards of the 400-acre Holman Ranch. Most of our guests traveled a huge distance to be there (some even from China, Brazil, Pakistan, India, and Kuwait) – so we made it a point to host them the entire time they were with us.
The big day: It. Was. Incredible. Holman Ranch (as you’ve seen), doesn’t need much decoration. Its fastidiously kept grounds and natural foliage surrounded every event – from the ceremony, to the cocktail reception, to the dinner, to the dancing. The talented Kate Holt (Flowerwild) placed two beautiful urns on either side of the ceremony veranda – simple, elegant, and designed to match the natural colors of the surrounding ranch. My bride’s bouquet was perfect and the floral arrangements on the dinner tables tied everything together. If it had been appropriate to say “boom shaka-laka,” well, I would have said it. Everything looked perfect. Elegant without trying too hard. From the first moment, guests were zipped on golf-carts from the tree-covered parking lot to the ceremony lawn. We designed this to be an experience. Lemonade (courtesy of our wonderful chef, Michael Jones) met them as they were ushered to their seats, white-canvas umbrellas covered them as the afternoon sun smiled upon us, and a string quartet switched from the classics to jazz after the ceremony as everyone strolled to the cocktail reception. Fresh salmon and oyster stations, a collection of my favorite beers (Chimay, Delerium, Duvet), and custom-made craft cocktails kept everyone festive until dinner.
Then the dinner. Holy moly, it doesn’t get better than this. Rachel (wifey) worked on Cannard farms for a year (supplies Chez Panisse), and food is important to us. After months of searching, we found the unbelievable Michael Jones hidden away in Chachagua deep in Carmel Valley. Fresh Salmon from Monterrey, Wagu beef, the most unreal-delicious strawberries from two miles away from the ranch… everyone agreed it was one of the best meals they’d ever had. (And for the record, we’re not that couple from Portlandia that visits the chicken farm… okay well only a little.) And the whole trick, in our opinion, was mixing our splurges with our DIY’s. Interspersed between Kate’s floral splendor were vintage frames we found for $5/each with old photos of our grandparents. Our menu and thank-you cards we printed on simple recycled paper; the ribbon we found at an antique store – a SPOOL for $9. We had a friend help us with the calligraphy of our place-sets. Another friend rented a bus from Google (haha yes, it’s an employee perk) for SUPER cheap to take everyone around the valley for the day.
In the end, we couldn’t have possibly been happier with how things turned out – as hopefully you saw from the pictures from the incredibly talented Jose Villa. And after all the hard work, all of the challenges, and all the time we spent preparing for that single moment (I was definitely called “groomzilla” a couple times) I’d do it over again if it meant being able to relive it. It was, after all, perfect.
Wedding Photography: Jose Villa Photography / Wedding Venue: Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley, California / Floral Design: Kate Holt of Flowerwild / Wedding Coordination: Coastside Couture / Wedding Cinematography: Stillwater Cinematography / Officiant: Mort Levitt / Wedding Catering: Michael Jones of A Moveable Feast / Wedding Cake: Parker-Lusseau Pastries & Cafe / Wedding Dress: Grace by Monique Lhuillier / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew / Hair: Danae Kahle / Tuxedo: Caruso for Neiman Marcus / Groomsmen’s Tuxedos: Black by Vera Wang