Romantic Rancho Las Lomas Summer Wedding
April 24, 2015
Classic WeddingsAl FrescoOutdoor Weddings
Any wedding that has a gorgeous display of homemade jam (not to mention a groom who is game to rock a superman suit and make it look good) is A-okay in my book. Add to that an absolutely stunning design from A Good Affair Wedding & Event Production filled with the prettiest of peaches and a rustic-meets-alfresco elegance against a backdrop as pretty as Rancho Las Lomas, with a menu from 24 Carrots and photographs by Studio EMP ... well whew! You can be certain that here at SMP, we've already fallen head over heals.
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From Joel Maus + Lorely Meza For Studio EMP... After seizing the opportunity to take her last teaching credential class in Madrid, Spain during the summer of 2008, Michella decided there had to be some way to get back to the country she was so fond of. She completed her elementary teaching credential in California, and then in January 2009 she hopped back on a plane headed for Madrid. With high hopes of improving her Spanish enough to obtain a Spanish teaching credential, Michella had no idea what more was in store for her on the other side of the Atlantic.

After many intensive Spanish classes, private English classes, Google translations, tapas, and fiestas later, Michella found herself with an amazing group of Spanish friends whom she actually met through talking to a Spaniard named David sitting next to her on her first plane ride to Madrid.
On December 5, 2009, Michella was getting over a cold when she got a call from the group, saying there was a party that night. It didn’t take much for her amigos to convince her to go, and that’s when fate stepped in. It was that very night at a nightclub when her friend Alberto mentioned that his old friend from elementary school, Alejandro, happened to be there too. He introduced them to each other, telling Michella that he was very kind and extremely good-looking while telling Alejandro that Michella was a blue-eyed blonde from California who spoke Spanish. Alejandro took Michella by the hand, and they talked and danced the night away. At the end of the night, he even walked her home when it started to rain, and they danced some more. Sure enough, Alejandro was successful in getting Michella’s number.

It didn’t take very long before they fell in love. Alejandro and Michella got to know each other better while sharing their languages, cuisines, and cultural idiosyncrasies. The couple took advantage of every opportunity they had to travel the world. It was on one of those trips, three years after they met to the day that Alejandro decided to propose in Rome, Italy. As soon as they dropped off their suitcases at about one o’clock in the morning, Alejandro persuaded Michella to visit the nearby Trevi Fountain. Unfortunately, a Japanese film crew that was shooting a movie spoiled Alejandro’s plan, and he had to wait one more day! The following night after a romantic dinner at the top of the Spanish Steps, they walked through the city admiring the Italian Christmas lights and made their way back down to the Trevi Fountain again. Alejandro proposed, and Michella said “yes” about a hundred times, followed by a hundred more of “si,” just to make sure!

From the Bride... I wanted something vintage, yet classy and very summery. Natalie came up with the term “rustic elegance” which really captured the vision. I also wanted to incorporate summer fruits and berries. One of my favorite summer memories is of my Dad and I picking blackberries in our backyard, then making jam. We ended up making 140 jars of blackberry jam for favors! Natalie came up with the idea of adding fresh peaches to decorate the tables, which not only gave the centerpieces a summery touch, but also smelled wonderful!

I wanted to have a beautiful wedding, the kind you stare at in wedding magazines and dream of every since you watched your first Disney movie. I love entertaining and working with themes, color palettes, and décor, so I could hardly wait to plan my special day! Especially since I married a Spaniard and was having family and friends fly over from Spain, I wanted a traditional American wedding, but one with enough pizazz to wow my guests and make sure they enjoyed themselves. Alejandro and I wanted a vintage theme, yet classy and elegant. I also wanted to play up the summery southern California theme too since to our guests from Spain, this was going to be like “a wedding in the movies.”

A special touch that made my wedding very meaningful was incorporating both Castellan Spanish and English. We had a bilingual ceremony and recited our personal vows in both languages. We even had my father’s welcome speech, the best man’s speech, and my matron-of-honor’s speech translated. The music we played was from both countries as well. I think it really made everyone feel like part of the celebration and I know they appreciated it.

The monarch butterfly release in memory of my mother was very touching. Instead of feeling sadness because of her absence, I felt happiness knowing she was right there celebrating with us. The butterflies landed on the flower arch above us, in my bridesmaids’ bouquets, and among the guests. There was even one under my veil that stayed during the whole ceremony. Ever so often, the butterflies would gracefully fly around and choose a new spot to sit. It was quite magical.

I loved all the vintage pieces Natalie found-- from the antique windows on either side of the flowered arch, to the shoe racks that displayed the our blackberry jam favors, to the mint and blush furniture used during cocktail hour and later on during dancing. However, the details I adored the most, hands-down were the elegant chandeliers that dramatically encircled the ceremony and reception. Everything looked absolutely perfect!

When Alejandro and I walked back from taking couple pictures, I teared up when I saw how gorgeous everything was for the reception. We were both taken aback and thinking, “Wow, this is OUR wedding?” We loved the wooden tables, the beige linens that had just a touch of gold sparkle, the lovely flowers, the glass jewelry boxes filled with roses, the romantic mercury votive candles, and of course the fresh peaches!

My favorite DIY projects were the favors, the postcards, the flip-flops, and the photo booth props. Since Alejandro and I love to travel (and I’ll admit that I have kept a postcard collections since I was 12!), we started collecting vintage postcards from all our favorite places we’d visited for the wedding. Instead of having a guestbook, we asked our guests to “send us some love” by choosing a postcard, writing a message, and addressing it to us in Spain. My dad and sister have been sending us a few postcards every week. It’s really fun to receive them and relive the day a bit!

I searched every Old Navy from Orange to LA in search of mint, pink, and beige flip flops. Our female guests really appreciated them and they were great favors, especially since they were very “California.”

We had an amazing photo booth that already came with fun hats and disguises, but wanted to spice things up a bit by adding a dose of our Spanish and American cultures to the mix! In Madrid, Alejandro and I purchased Spanish flags, flamenco and bullfighter aprons, castanets, pretty fans, and other knick knacks. In California, I got American flags, swimsuit aprons, colored sunglasses (that were also favors) and silly 4th of July headbands and hats. Everyone said one of the best things about the wedding was our photo booth!

The biggest piece of advice would be to start your ceremony early so you have enough time to greet and chat a little with each table.

My best moments were during the ceremony. As I stood next to my father at the end of the isle looking up at my husband-to-be and our best friends on either side, I was absolutely blown away by the monarch butterflies released in memory of my mother. It was such a special moment because I knew she was there celebrating with us.

My other favorite moment was when Alejandro and I exchanged our personal vows in both English and Spanish. Hearing Alejandro speak from his heart in the language we fell in love in living in Spain and then him speaking in my native language was endearing and very meaningful. It was not only a way for all of the Spaniards and Americans to all involved in the ceremony by understanding everything, but also a way of showing our commitment and the unifying of two different families, backgrounds, and cultures.

From the Groom... The best moment of our wedding was when Michella and I expressed our feelings for each other in English and Spanish during our personal vows. Although we were surrounded by people, it was an intimate moment between the two of us, and it seemed as if we were all alone.
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