Romantic + Rustic Santa Lucia Preserve Wedding
September 22, 2015
RusticRustic WeddingsSummer Weddings
From a must-read Charleston yacht proposal story below to their Carmel soiree at Santa Lucia Preserve, Emily and Sanjay sure knew how to celebrate their love in serious style, with a touch of tradition. Think neutral shades blended with blush, beauty touches by The Hair + Makeup Company, wildly sweet blooms by Seascape Flowers, ceremony doors from the Bride's childhood home and so much more. Their story is told so beautifully by Brittrene Photo right here in THE VAULT.
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From Brittrene Photo... In high school, Sanjay knew Emily but Emily didn't know Sanjay (a typical beginning to any blossoming romance). He watched her from afar - just kidding - he tried to approach her (unsuccessfully) at a couple high school parties, but the two never formally met. Until... they both ended up at Loyola Marymount University and connected through mutual friends, when Emily was a freshman and Sanjay was a junior. Sanjay's not afraid to admit that he organized a party bus to take a group of friends to a college bar, and specifically made sure that Emily was on that bus. When she dropped her phone on a crowded dance floor later that night, Prince Charming found each piece and put it back together, in a Darwinian demonstration of his ability to provide for her. Since then, Sanjay and Emily (and their families) would be virtually inseparable for 8 years, traveling to Austin together, raising a "test baby" (their Wheaten Terrier, Kyla), and returning to their native, Bay Area.

In early 2014, Sanjay took Emily on a trip to Charleston. They spent the weekend at a romantic bed-and-breakfast, eating at remarkable restaurants, traveling through the back-country, and relaxing. While shopping downtown one day, Sanjay kept checking his watch, and Emily didn't know why. After an ambitious Stetson straw hat purchase, Sanjay told Emily it was time to go back to the B & B to get ready for the evening. He surprised her with a trip to the harbor, where he had rented a private yacht to take them out on the water to watch the sun set.

Following an hour of sailing and dolphin-watching, the captain recommended that the couple spend some time on the bow of the boat, where Sanjay eventually asked the question he always knew he would, on bended knee. After making the best decision of their lives, Sanjay and Emily enjoyed a bottle of 1993 Dom Pérignon, and watched the sun set over Charleston.

At the time, Emily had no idea that Sanjay had hired a captain who moonlit as a photographer, and that photos of the entire event would later surface. Emily's response: "Good thing you didn't wear that straw hat..."

The wedding took place at the private and exquisite Santa Lucia Preserve in Carmel, California. From the moment the couple began wedding planning, they knew they wanted a venue that was secluded and naturally stunning. The exclusive Preserve was the perfect fit to reflect their rustic elegant taste. The couple decided that redwood trees would be the perfect backdrop for their ceremony, and chose the onsite barn for their reception. The pair also incorporated personal touches during every step of the planning process. Champagne bottles with personalized labels were sent to guests as save-the-dates. The couple also hosted a “Wish Upon A Balloon” event on the beach during their wedding weekend, in which guests wrote wishes for the newlyweds on glowing LED balloons before releasing them into the air.

The wedding day was also packed with meaningful moments. The wedding party walked down the aisle to a string quartet playing, and featured the newlywed’s fur baby as the flower dog. The ceremony was made even more personal when the couple read the vows they had written for one another. The groom, having a flair for romance, also surprised his bride multiple times throughout their wedding day. Not only did he have their wedding bands engraved with a phrase from their first dance song (“living in” + “a dream”), but he shocked her with a second band in the middle of the ceremony, in front of their guests. Later she discovered that the second band was also engraved: with the coordinates of the redwood grove in which they got married. Later that night, he performed a song that he had written for her.

Another special moment occurred before the wedding ceremony. The bride and groom did not want to do a first look, but the bride chose to do one with her father, before he walked her down the aisle. Moreover, the couple got married during a blue moon, on the bride’s parents’ 35th wedding anniversary. Talk about good luck!

The especially delightful aspect of the wedding was the union of two like families, who really love each other. Sanjay is half Indian, half Greek, Emily is mostly Irish, and the two families blend together beautifully. Two days before their wedding, friends and family alike celebrated the couple with a Hindu ceremony, in which the bride and groom wore traditional garb. They look forward to celebrating as “one big happy family” for years to come.

Memorable Details
- The ceremony doors were from the bride’s childhood home.
- The dinner tables were adorned with antlers and stories of the couples’ favorite eateries, reflecting their love of food.
- Most of the details were DIY projects, including the corn hole boards used during the Cocktail Hour.
- Favors included customized beer koozies and matchboxes.