Rustic Fall Ranch Wedding in Santa Ynez
February 17, 2016
Al FrescoRusticRustic Weddings
We may be in the thick of winter but this little beauty has me dreaming of sipping hot cider on a crisp fall day. Of course, that's only natural when talents like Rifle Paper CoS.R. HoguePure Joy Catering and Team Hair And Makeup are involved. It's a lesson in pairing neutrals with a stunning natural landscape, and Jen Rodriguez and Amari Productions captured from beginning, middle to end. Trip to The Vault for more? Yes, indeed.
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From The Bride...Sitting here as I try to describe the magic of our wedding day, I realize that there aren't words to really truly describe the love, the happiness, energy and joy that we experienced on our big day. My best attempt at it simply comes down to reveling in how all the LOVE around us was absolutely palpable. The love we felt for each other, the love that was exuding from our friends and family, it truly was the most incredible day. As we prepared to start off our wedding weekend, someone told me our wedding day will be a day where we can truly look around and know that every single person there is happy for us, loves us and supports us, and is there to celebrate the fact that we found each other. From family to friends, old and new, that weekend we were the most loved people in the world and the magic was undeniable.

Joe and I always knew we wanted an intimate wedding, but we wanted to make sure we did it right. We wanted our day to represent us, and while we always tried never to lose sight of the fact that this is OUR day, as advised and reminded us by our loved ones (this is where I need to take a moment to thank all of our brave comrades who had planned their weddings before us for their words of wisdom and advice), we quickly realized that wedding planning is no joke.

We planned for a little over a year, which initially seemed like plenty of time, but that time flew by! There was lots of pouring over details, and I won’t lie - there were disagreements, there were stressed out breakdowns (solely on my end, thanks husband for patiently and gently snapping me out of it when I would subtly veer into Bridezilla territory). But at the risk of sounding dramatic, the planning process really was a testament to how good of a teammate we were to each other. We budgeted, problem solved, Joe learned and mastered the art of feigning excitement at every little thing ("oh I LOVE the dark stained wood!", “that leaf is SO green! Awesome!”), we daydreamed, planned, laughed, bonded, and planned some more. Looking back, there is nothing we would want to do differently in the year and a half we spent to build our dream day. And a dream day it was.

The overall aesthetic and feel of our day really became a tangible concept when we found Apple Creek Ranch. The main house, the deck overlooking fields of greens, the barn and nature all packaged into one beautiful ranch, we were sold. We wanted our wedding to feel like a big outdoor dinner party with closest friends and family, and this environment completely lent itself to that level of intimacy. When it came to colors, there wasn't any question that we wanted to do neutrals, but we also knew we wanted a pop of color. Considering the outdoors-y feel of our venue, I thought it would be cool to have greenery and leaves be our accent color. Neutral cream, pale pink and white flowers accentuated by bright green gardenia leaves. My favorite flowers are peonies, but they are not in season in October, so naturally, my flower-knowledge-mind was blown when I learned about Juliette Garden Roses (how did I not know about these until now!). Those beauties are STUNNING, and paired with bright green leaves, it was exactly the color palette and floral goodness I was envisioning in my head. Shout out to Carla at S.R. Hogue & Co., who nailed our floral vision – thank you!

Speaking of the aesthetic, from very early on in the planning stages, photography was a very important component for Joe and me. These were going to be snapshots to capture every sparkling moment and joy of our day, and we wanted to make sure we had someone who can create a beautiful visual story for us, and we found that in the most amazing Jen Rodriguez. With all the open fields and greenery surrounding the ranch, the possibilities were endless, but the type of shots I wanted were a sort of structured look, a la Vanity Fair, mixed in with the whimsical oh-hey-look-at-us-roaming-the-field look of a Ralph Lauren shoot. I know this sounds like complete mumble jumble, but when I mentioned this to Jen, she didn't even skip a beat and made our photography vision come to life. We couldn't have asked for better photos that captured the love of the day as perfectly as Jen and Antoine did. So THANK YOU Jen and Antoine, we are so happy we found you guys. Also, a major THANK YOU to all of our amazing vendors, we truly feel like we hit the jackpot with everyone who was involved with our wedding and for that, we are grateful.

I can sit here for a few more hours re-living and describing every beautiful moment from our day, but this post would be WAY too long, so I’ll just describe one of my most favorite and unforgettable moments of the day. I want to believe that I was pretty calm on the day of our wedding leading up to the ceremony, and I’m pretty sure I was, but as that moment of walking down the aisle to finally see my Joe (we hadn’t seen each other since the night before – a major shout out to our incredibly nimble and stealth bridal party for making sure Joe and I didn’t lay eyes on each other the entire day prior to the ceremony!), I started getting a bit nervous and anxious. What if I fall down the stairs! What if my dad steps on my dress and I literally roll down the aisle to my groom?! What if I ugly cry the entire time?! But. I kid you not, all of that anxiety and worry subsided the moment I saw Joe at the end of the aisle smiling (and crying, awww) at me. All those things that my friends said about the moment you walk down the aisle towards your groom were TRUE. In that moment, it was just Joe and me, just us two. Nothing else mattered and everything was perfect as I was about to marry my best friend.

If any future bride has taken the time to read my write up as far down as this paragraph and is looking for any advice, I would say first of all, thanks for reading this far, and secondly, enjoy the ride and have fun! Planning can seem like a beast and for the most part, it is, but the anticipation for the big day and the fun decision making (especially the food and cake part), is such a big part of the fun and it really will go by fast. I say savor everything, and I’m not generalizing about boys, but mine particularly didn’t know anything about wedding planning when we started planning, and what helped was just simply communicating to him the specific things you need help on, and specific tasks he can take on. This empowered him to take ownership of certain elements of the wedding he wouldn’t necessarily have had strong opinions about, and it took the guessing game out of him trying to figure out what he’s supposed to do.

Wow, writing this just took me back to the day and I wish we could do it again! Just the other day, I overheard Joe tell one of his newly-engaged friends, “Dude just act SUPER enthusiastic about everything and say everything is awesome,” and it made me smile. Now my husband has become the sage married guy giving wedding planning advice to his newly minted engaged buddies. Oh how far we’ve come.

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