Guerneville Wedding from D.Lillian Photography
December 4, 2013
Classic WeddingsRustic WeddingsOutdoor Weddings
There are so many, many things I adore about this wedding, I am not even sure where to begin.  From the stunning Monique Lhuillier gown (hello Sunday Rose) to the adorable + breathtaking setting to the bride and groom who know a thing or two about throwing a fabulous party (think awesome 80's cover band, yummy donuts and a cute "flower pup"), it's pretty much perfection from start to finish.  Oh, and the gallery of love-filled moments captured by D.Lillian Photography?  Soo pretty.  See it all here.
And a little something special from Paperback Weddings?  Yes, please.
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From D.Lillian Photography... Arriving at Jenny and Calebs wedding venue, hidden between redwoods built like giants that bordered the banks of the Russian River, felt like I had truly arrived at a Summer camp I NEVER wanted my parents to pick me up from. It was more of a weekend retreat for both Jenny and Caleb and their wedding guests, as they were invited to stay for an entire weekend full of canoeing, BBQing, and s'moring (?) over a bonfire with a perfect soundtrack of live music to go along with it. The stunning landscape of ancient apple orchards, bamboo groves, and grassy meadows were really just natural bonuses the property provided.

I feel compelled to note this wasnt your typical, rustic themed wedding. Sure, there were redwood trees and vintage cottages that lined the parameter of the property, but both Jenny and Caleb had some other elements in mind for their dream wedding, beyond just a gorgeous landscape. They walked down the aisle to Jenny's cousin playing the acoustic guitar, their not-so-small Bernese Mountain dog was the flower girl, and they surprised their guests with a mariachi band leading the way to the cocktail hour. The reception was anything but ordinary either - I remember frantically looking around for the cake during the reception, eagerly anticipating its arrival (not just because I wanted a piece), and much to my surprise, they had two separate dessert stations designated for mini donuts and crepes, instead of a traditional wedding cake. The TOP SECRET surprise that officially kicked off the dancing also did NOT disappoint.

Throughout many of the speeches of the night, it became very obvious that Jenny and Calebs first date centered around this one 80's cover band. It was also known that when Caleb picked Jenny up for said first date, Jenny was in full-blown 80's attire. Caleb hunted this same 80's cover band down, found a way to get them to the wedding, and brought the dynamic of their relationship full-circle by surprising her. It was kind of like watching an Oprah's Favorite Things episode, but really, it was just, Caleb's Favorite Thing, which was clearly just to see Jenny smile.

From the Bride... Immediately after getting engaged during a snowy Lake Tahoe hike, Caleb and I began planning our special day. During our conversations, we realized that we didn't just want a wedding day, but a whole wedding weekend with all of our family and friends. It didn't hurt that during my pre-engagement Style Me Pretty perusing, I saved some ideas on venues and styles.

The first venue we visited was the first one we booked. Dawn Ranch Lodge had everything we were looking for: outdoor venue, dog friendly, summer camp style with lodging for most of our guests. There are 53 cute cabins on the property, paths lined in century old redwood trees, a beautiful meadow for our ceremony and a magical apple orchard for our reception. We knew that this would be the perfect place to allow our friends and family to really experience everything.

Our wedding weekend was unbelievable! On Friday afternoon we had over half of our guests float the Russian River in canoes and capped off the day with a wonderful BBQ complete with live music and s'mores around a bonfire. In between food and drinks, our friends were able to play lawn games and enjoy each others company.

Our wedding day was by far the best day of our lives. I walked down the aisle to my cousin playing acoustic guitar, our giant dog was the flower girl, we had a good friend officiate our wedding and after the "I do's" we surprised our guests with a mariachi band leading the way to the cocktail hour. The wedding reception did not disappoint either; Caleb and I love sweets so instead of the traditional wedding cake we had two dessert stations of mini donuts and crepes. To top it all off, my amazing husband surprised me by bringing back the 80's cover band that we went to see on our first date! I wish we could re-live this weekend over and over again!