Ojai Wedding from Ryan Ray Photo + Love and Splendor
April 4, 2013
CasualVintageOutdoor Weddings
Few weddings stop me dead in my tracks but this one has reduced my brain to producing only short phrases like the colors: wildly vibrant, the Bride: insanely adorable, and the whole event: what dreamy Mcdreams are made of. The longer version tells the tail of a crazy talented group of vendors like Events of Love and SplendorHeavenly Blooms, Found Vintage Rentals and Julie Song Ink, descending on Ojai Valley Inn & Spa for a colorful celebration you need to see to believe. So carve out some time and dive into Ryan Ray's beautiful imagery right here in the full gallery. And be sure to save three minutes and twenty-nine seconds for a film captured by Elysium Productions that will make you fall even more in love with Anna and Sean.
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From Love and Splendor...Anna and Sean decided early on that they wanted to have a semi-destination wedding: a celebration that was close enough to their native Los Angeles for easy guest travel, but unique enough to feel like a getaway. They landed on the charming hillside town of Ojai, known for an excellent farmer's market, quaint shops, and organic produce. Ojai is also famous for their dramatic pink-tinged sunsets, created when the sun is setting across the Topatopa Bluffs.  Anna and Sean selected the luxurious Ojai Valley Inn and Spa as the setting for the nuptials, because it is the perfect balance of luxury and that signature Ojai charm.  The sprawling property features an incredible full-service spa and wellness center, great golf, meandering bike paths, beautiful gardens and fabulous dining.  Most of the wedding guests ended up staying with us at the property and I think I speak for everyone when I say no one was ready to leave!

Anna envisioned a small, intimate wedding set in the Herb Garden at the Ojai Valley Inn, where they would exchange vows and then dine al fresco under a gorgeous vine-covered pergola.  She and Sean drew up a guestlist of closest family and friends, and then gave me the reins to really create the day for them!  I was completely ecstatic to run with my vision of the day for them; I can't tell you how fun it is to plan a wedding for your sister, a person you know so well!  Anna has worked with me planning and designing weddings for years, so I had picked up on her style over time.  Anna is a vibrant and vivacious personality, so I knew that we wanted to embrace a bright and cheery palette for the wedding.  She completely entrusted me with most of the details, which allowed me to really get creative and run with my ideas.  We began with a lovely range of citrus-inspired hues: coral, raspberry, tangerine and yellow. Ojai, the setting of the celebration, is known for their citrus (especially their "pixie" tangerines), so I wanted to reference that in the design of the wedding.  I enlisted talented illustrator and graphic designer Julie Song, of Julie Song Ink, to create a beautiful watercolor stationery suite for their invitations.  She incorporated images of lemons, coral charm peonies, sunflowers (a nod to Anna's favorite flower) and of course the magnificent pink-tinged Ojai sunsets in her pieces. The hand lettering and whimsical feel of the stationery really set the tone for the rest of the look of the wedding.

Guests arrived at the Herb Garden for the ceremony, and discovered an enchanting set up of vintage settees and sofas in lieu of traditional chair seating. With the gorgeous inventory of vintage furniture from {found} vintage rentals, we were able to design a much more cozy and elegant space for exchanging vows. Each settee was unique, but the arrangement felt cohesive in feel, with lots of feminine and neutral colors, luxe fabrics like velvet and linen, and button-tufting and gilded details. Small side tables were placed amongst the upholstered seating for guests to set down their watermelon lemonades once the ceremony was underway. In keeping with the residential feel of the ceremony, a stunning vintage mantel from {found} was the focal point of the ceremony, covered with framed photos of the couple, and copious candelight, flowers, and garland from Heavenly Blooms. With such an intimately-sized group, it felt like an al fresco gathering at someone's home.

A vintage vanity was used as a guest sign-in station, and guests tucked handwritten well wishes into the drawers. A welcome beverage station was decked out with stunning citrus topiaries and featured fresh watermelon lemonade, iced tea and citrus and cucumber water.  A classical guitarist played in the background, completing the idyllic scene. The ceremony was a traditional Christian ceremony, and the bridal party was made up of only siblings: Anna's sister (me!) and Sean's brother.  I walked in with my husband and 3-month old daughter (their new niece!), and Anna was escorted by both of our parents.  The classical guitarist played Beatles songs including "Across the Universe" and "Here Comes the Sun" for the processional.  There were joyful tears shed as they exchanged traditional vows, and they recessed to "Better Together" by Jack Johnson, also performed by the guitarist.

Cocktail hour took place on a lower lawn where guests could enjoy a phenomenal spread of California artisan cheeses, truffle honey, local citrus chutneys and nuts and more.  Passed hors d'oeuvres included some of the couple's favorite treats, including bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with gorgonzola, and double smoked bacon-wrapped scallops with maple glaze (are you sensing a trend??).  Brandt Jacobus (guitarist) continued to entertain guests as they mingled.  Bocce ball and croquet were also set up for guests to enjoy as the sun slipped behind the mountains for that magical "pink moment" Ojai is known for.  Little furniture vignettes from {found} dotted the cocktail area for comfy lounging. As the sun set, guests were invited back up to the garden underneath the long covered portico.  We had a local singer and guitarist, Ray Fortune, play for this portion of the evening.  His beautiful voice was the perfect accompaniment to the setting we created.  All 39 guests were seated at a long table (created using multiple vintage dining tables) in an eclectic mix of upholstered and bistro-style vintage chairs.  Overhead, delicate crepe paper blooms (which I handmade) were strung alongside glass spheres sparkling with light.  The scene was positively enchanting.  A citrus "chandelier" was suspended over the cake at one end of the portico, and the bar was placed at the opposite end.  

The magnificent table was overflowing with stunning floral arrangements nestled in pressed glass goblets and footed bowls.  Tangerines and lemons were nestled amongst peonies, amaryllis, garden roses, bougainvillea, craspedia and more.  The look was lush and abundant, feminine and romantic, yet also youthful and fresh.  Of course, tons of candelight added drama and mood to the table.  The table was sparkling! Placesettings featured the white-on-white lacey designs of gorgeous Spode Jewel china via Casa de Perrin tabletop rentals, as well as clear pressed glassware.  Guests found their assigned seats via dainty paper "lemon slices" affixed to each wine glass like a little garnish. Cheery yellow and white patterned napkins from La Tavola added a touch of playfulness.  Guests also discovered an amazing menu atop their plates.  I teamed up once again with Julie Song on these labors of love.  Her stunning illustrations and hand-lettering were designed in a menu that was over 2' long and printed on a crisp white linen.  I handcut each menu and then sewed them along the top to roll up as a scroll on porcelain branches (actually drink stirrers from BHLDN!!)  I hand-dyed lace trim to add as a tie to each scrolled menu.  I loved hearing the gasps of delight as each guest unrolled their scrolls at the dining table, stunned at the dramatic display of the feast to come!  The memorable meal included a crab and corn chowder with green chile corn fritters, a composed tomato and burrata salad, merlot braised short ribs with garlicky prawns, a berry trifle and a delectable wedding cake made with Ojai's signature pixie tangerines.

Wedding Photography: Ryan Ray Photo | Wedding Venue + Catering: Ojai Valley Inn & Spa | Wedding Planning + Design: Events of Love and Splendor | Floral Design: Heavenly Blooms | Wedding Cinematography: Elysium Productions | Stationery + Calligraphy:Julie Song Ink | Furniture Rentals: found vintage rentals | Tabletop Rentals: Casa de Perrin | Ceremony Music: Brandt Jacobus | Reception Music: Ray Fortune | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen | Hair + Makeup: Nicole Deanne Bridal Hair and Makeup | Wedding Dress: Galina | Shoes: BHLDN | Bridesmaid Dress: Jenny Yoo  | Groom’s Suit: Hugo Boss