California Wedding at Santa Lucia Preserve
January 29, 2014
Classic WeddingsOutdoor WeddingsSpring Weddings
Sylvie Gil's images are nothing short of gorgeous. She constantly sends over some of the prettiest parties captured in a way that makes our jaws drop, and this Santa Lucia Preserve beauty is the perfect example. With beautiful blooms from Hunt Littlefield, a gorgeous couple and one stunning setting - it can only be described as barn wedding gone glam, and every picture perfect image is waiting for you right here.
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From the Bride...Brady and I started dating in our first year of medical school in Boston, where we bonded over a mutual love of the west coast, skiing and the outdoors. Fittingly, he proposed while we were surrounded by mountains, water and trees, on vacation in Lake Tahoe. We had a long, lovely engagement – almost two years – and squeezed our wedding weekend in the two weeks between graduating and starting as residents back in Boston. Luckily, graduate school gave us ample free time to fly cross-country to plan our Carmel-based wedding.

We loved the idea of having a wedding that felt like a quintessential Californian experience, given our celebration required long flights for so many guests. The Preserve - with its towering redwoods, grassy hills, rustic yet pristine barn, and the occasional glimpse of wild boar – offered just that.

The weekend started with a misty Friday night bonfire on Carmel Beach, complete with sunset, s’mores and wines from Napa and the Willamette Valley (representing our home states) and welcoming everyone to the California coast. On the big day, guests were shuttled from the Preserve gates, through the rolling hills of the Santa Lucia Range, to the redwood grove. There, our dear friend from business school, who was ordained especially for our wedding and had crafted a personal ceremony filled with advice from our families, married us. We included subtle nods to my Chinese heritage, with matte gold foil invitations stamped with the ‘double happiness’ and a tea ceremony in the midst of the redwoods. Our incredible florist used ginger jars and celadon vessels for our ceremony and reception pieces to bring about the chinoiserie aesthetic without being overt. The cocktail hour featured a Spanish guitarist, parasols, and corn hole hand-made by Brady’s dad. From there, our guests moved to the old barn where alternating high and low arrangements of blush peonies, creamy hydrangea, garden roses, orchids and ferns drew the eye up to the chandeliers. Above the two kings tables flanking either end of the barn hung custom wood pieces from which orchids and candles were strung. We kept the outdoor feel going with Japanese maples strewn throughout the barn’s interior. After sunset, an enclave outside the barn doors with rustic Adirondack chairs and a fire pit provided a breath of west coast air for people to enjoy. Individual jars of jam (crafted by Brady’s mom from wild Oregon berries) acted as a final “thank you” before guests boarded shuttles home.

Our wedding – with much thanks owed to our incredibly professional and creative vendors – turned out even more lovely than we could have hoped. Some of the best parts though were the surprises that Brady and I had nothing to do with. My parents’ toast (but really a roast) to open the dinner – Best. Speech. Ever. Brady’s dad and sister surprising everyone with a song. The uncontrollable bhangra that happened on the dance floor. The crying (lots and lots of crying, especially on my part). The rare moments that Brady and I got to spend alone and realizing we were married. At the end of the day, we felt so incredibly fortunate to share our celebration with the people we love the most, in particular our families, who provided extraordinary support throughout. We will never be able to say this enough, but to our parents, if you’re reading this – thank you for everything, thank you for your love.