Rustic Summer Wedding at Orcutt Ranch
December 19, 2014
RusticRustic WeddingsSummer Weddings
I think I've seen the prettiest of the pretty and then along comes a show stopper like this one. These two beautiful brides captured my heart and my time, because I literally can't stop going through every single photo in this gallery by Laurie Wilson of Gather West Photography. The Little Branch and Lavender Grey Events have lifelong fans in me and I'm starting my weekend off early with all this lovely right here.
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From A.J.... It was eight years ago that I met my wife on a snowy location while we were filming a movie. At the time, same-sex marriage was far from being legal, and as the years went on, our hopes of getting married in front of our family and friends started to fade. But our love didn’t. So, seven years into our relationship I decided to propose on another cold, snowy night in Boston, and thought that even if it wasn’t legal in our home state of California, at least we would be starting a new chapter. What we didn’t expect was same-sex marriage passing just months later and the outpouring of calls we received from friends and family asking – when’s the big day? Yikes! The pressure was on. It was really happening and we knew we had to start planning.

At first we didn’t know exactly where to begin – but we knew one thing. After two cold, snowy nights of memories, we wanted a warm night of dancing under twinkle lights at a location that felt intimate, yet still expansive, merging our East Coast and Midwest backgrounds, yet keeping in Los Angeles, and putting together a celebration that would share what we love – creative design, a communal feel, and culinary deliciousness.

With a small budget to work with, we had difficulty finding an outdoor venue in our range. We were close to giving up and then I discovered one last option – Orcutt Ranch in West Hills – an affordable location that provided a beautiful blank canvas to make our own. I had scored big points with my wife on this venue find, but the truth is everything else is the DIY magic of Annie. From the invitation and ceremony program design, to the hand-stamped lavender satchels for blessings during and after the ceremony, to the glitter gold A & A that glistened in the window of our on-site pop-up Sweet Shoppe. Granted, the DIY projects didn’t always go so smoothly. To this day there’s still disco shrubs in our backyard covered in gold paint!

As Annie continued month after month with DIY projects, and we were guided by our extraordinary coordinator, Lauren, I entered the decision making on the things I knew best – food and flowers. And since we saved money on our venue cost, we were able to splurge a little. We eat organic and love farm-to-table so Heirloom was a definite to create a foodie’s paradise complete with a Crostini Station. While sipping Lavender Whiskey Sours and nibbling on pickled everything, our guests then segued to a rustic family style dinner offering 24-hour braised short rib, halibut with fennel, and beet ravioli.

When it came to florals we wanted them to feel unique and alive – each table to have its own terrarium of succulents and moss cohabitating with pops of fresh flowers. We wanted it to feel earthy and grounded. The Little Branch took these ideas and delivered beyond our expectations. From the centerpieces to the bridal bouquet to the ceremony backdrop, we fell in love with the beauty surrounding us. It’s rare that life feels magical, but it did that day.

Of course the day before we had a panic attack because the forecast predicted rain on our wedding day. When does it ever rain in August in LA?!? Our officiant, Venice-based Kundalini instructor Guru Jagat, calmed us and said that if it rained a little it would be auspicious, and if we were lucky, we’d even have a rainbow. Well, light drizzle that morning gave way to gorgeous light, and as our first dance was ending, our DJ grabbed the attention of everyone and pointed up. Yes, unbelievably so, a rainbow. A most perfect, surreal moment, on a most perfect, surreal day overflowing with love and endless sweets, of course.
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