Rachael and Eric were married at the Four Seasons Rancho Escantado Resort in Santa Fe, N.M. on September 20. “We looked for a while for the venue,” Rachael said. “It was the most difficult detail to lock down. We knew we wanted a small wedding, and we wanted to feel like we eloped. When we saw the Four Seasons Rancho Escantado and spoke with their amazing staff, we knew our destination wedding, at home, would be possible. We stayed the whole weekend, and enjoyed having people in one place for three days. It was calm and magical; the grounds make any occasion.” The bride wore a v-neck lace fit ‘n’ flare wedding gown with capped sleeves and an illusion back, accessorized with her hair half-up/half-down in loose curls, floor-length veil, and a pair of t-strap high heels, while the groom wore a black tuxedo, accessorized with a bow tie. “That’s the best part of our wedding, no moment out shined any other,” she said. “We were totally present and in the company of our closest family and friends. I think about all the moments equally. The morning of our wedding day, I took a yoga class at the studio where a few joined me. Eric swam in the pool and soaked in the hot tub and others took the kids for a hike. Everyone was in their element because we were. We had a team of professionals we enlisted and trusted, which means NOT micromanaging.” Once the exchanging of vows were sealed with a kiss, it was official, almost 25 witnessing. Cocktail hour began on the courtyard followed by the reception shortly thereafter. Tables were decorated with ivory linens, white napkins, lace runners, metal centerpieces filled with baby’s breath, lavender, and dusty miller, surrounded by upholstered chairs. “Eric and I decided to pick out gifts for each person individually and give a card with each gift explaining why we chose that present for them,” Rachael said. “We handed out the gifts as a way of thanking these special ones for sharing in our journey with us. That’s the beauty of a small wedding, you love and cherish your guests. Weddings are a personal experience and an intimate attendance represents that.” A three-tiered cake was cut concluded the five-course dinner. The newlyweds’ best advice? “Throw a party that you would want to be at,” she said. “We did what we wanted in the way we wanted. We reduced our guest list to be able to afford the details and elegance important to us. It was all about being in the moment and enjoying the party. Whenever I had a difficult time with details, Eric always reminded me that we were just throwing a party. Thinking of it this way helped me to step out of the ‘I have to’ and into the ‘I want to.'” At the end of the night, they jumped into the pool. How fun!
Simone and Jamal were married at Casa Feliz in Winter Park, Fla. on October 4. “The venue is beautiful on it’s own, but then you decorate it with a couple as gorgeous as Simone and Jamal, and it really can’t get much better for a photographer,” Rachel Bolen of Thirteenth Moon Photography LLC wrote on her blog. “When we met Simone last year, she was so nervous about everything. All I wanted to do was hug her and tell her that all of the planning would get easier. She wanted to incorporate a lof of DIY details into her wedding day and really pull together a rustic elegance that the venue just really highlighted.” The bride wore a sweetheart lace fit ‘n’ flare wedding gown, accessorized with her hair in a sideswept ponytail, birdcage veil, pink sash, and a pair of Betsey Johnson jeweled bow peep-toe high heels, while the groom wore a three-piece gray suit, accessorized with a tie. Bridesmaids wore long chiffon dresses and carried bouquets of gaden roses, hydrangeas, and berries. Guests were greeted with a chalkboard sign that said, “welcome to our wedding.” The ceremony took place outside in the restored Spanish-inspired farmhouse’s front lawn. The brick sidewalk’s aisles were lined with lanterns filled with pillar candles. Once the exchanging of vows were sealed with a kiss, it was official! Plus, a fist pump. Cocktail hour began followed by the reception shortly thereafter in the courtyard strung with cafe lights. Tables were decorated with navy blue linens, gold charger plates, white napkins, picture frame numbers, and boxes, which served double-duty as favors, at each place setting. In lieu of a traditional guest book, a globe was signed with well-wishes. Dinner and dancing concluded with a three-tiered fondant-covered cake and “flamin’ s’mores.” At the end of the night, they exited amongst a sea of bubbles.
Julia and Paul were married in a traditional church ceremony at Corpus Christi Catholic-Christian Faith Community followed by a reception at Dove Canyon Courtyard in Dove Canyon, Calif. on October 26. “When we first drove up to it, I said no way because it is in the back of a strip mall and didn’t look appealing,” Julia said. “My fiance said we were already there, so we had to go in. As soon as we walked into the courtyard, I knew it was the place! It just felt so magical with all the twinkle lights everywhere. Truly like a dream.” The bride wore a custom-made lace fit ‘n’ flare wedding gown, accessorized with a pair of sparkly peep-toe high heels, while the groom wore a three-piece gray suit, accessorized with a striped tie. Bridesmaids wore long navy blue chiffon dresses and carried bouquets of hydrangeas, cala lillies, and roses. “I wish I could wear my dress everyday,” she said. “Walking down the aisle and seeing my soon-to-be husband for the first time [was most memorable]. We didn’t do a first look, so it was the first time that day that we saw each other. I have never been filled with so much joy in my life. It was an incredible feeling.” Cocktail hour began with an assortment of libations, including a signature Lychee martini. Tables were decorated with white linens, yellow napkins, and a CD at each place setting, which also served double-duty as favors. In lieu of cake, there was lots and lots of cupcakes. Yum! The newlywed’s best advice? “Take some time to do things together during the planning process that have nothing to do with the wedding,” Julia said. “It can become very stressful and overwhelming at times. You need to take some time to breathe and remember what it is really all about. Don’t get too caught up in all the minor details that you lose sight of that.”
Shannon and Steve were married at Tivoli Tool! in Laguna Beach, Calif on September 15. The couple opted to have a first look prior to the ceremony with the sand between their toes along the Pacific Ocean. Shannon wore a sweetheart ruched wedding gown accented with a beaded embellishment and carried a eco-friendly bouquet of succulents, roses, dahlias, berries, and scabiosa pods. To make her maid of honor stand out, she wore a coral chiffon dress whereas her bridesmaids wore aqua chiffon dresses. Steve said “I do” to his bride in the garden courtyard next to a waterfall backdrop. Guests were escorted to their seats with ombre tags attached to vintage keys. As the sun set, twinkling lights and heart-shaped paper decor hung overhead as the newlyweds performed their first dance and cut the three-tiered wedding cake topped with glittery signage.
1. What was the one thing about your venue that made you know it was the one?
Markus and I wanted a quiet, secluded, private venue for our wedding ceremony and reception. We also wanted our venue to serve as a hub where our families could meet, mingle, relax, bliss out, and get to know one another (they had not met before our wedding!) A private residence seemed to be the best fit for our needs, so we looked up homes on VRBO.com. After visiting several in Malibu, we settled on our original venue because of the exceptional attention to detail that the owners paid to the building of their home, which had just been completed, and because it was completely off the grid (solar and wind powered, and had its own septic system). And the VIEW. The view was 180 degrees of pure coastal beauty. It was everything we wanted and everything we never anticipated we would want.
After the fire, Markus and I scrambled to find a venue that would match in every way (we had built our wedding’s visual theme around that house’s unique Moroccan flair, and we had settled on a functional theme of green/eco-concious in regards to our vendors and decorations). But sadly, due to budgetary constraints, and the timing (a mere two months before our wedding date and at the peak of wedding season), we couldn’t find anything that came even close. We had a few kind offers from family and friends to have the wedding at their homes, but Markus and I said, “Why not just have it at ours? We love our apartment.” We love it so much we LIVE THERE. So we settled on having the ceremony in our little courtyard, and the reception at a favorite restaurant (Off Vine in Hollywood – a venue which, coincidentally, had also burned down – in 2008 – and was rebuilt and reopened a few years later).
Looking back at our choice, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. We feel at peace and in our element at our home. We felt pride being able to host our own wedding in such a beautiful space with our closest family and friends.
2. Which three details from your wedding were your favorites?
1. I love that after everything we went through to plan and re-plan a wedding, we both agree that we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. We grew together in the process and are still hearing how beautiful and intimate it was from our family and friends.
2. Having my father be able to walk me down the aisle. My father has no cartilage in his ankles, and at several points over the last year and a half I was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to walk with me, but this past year has been exceptionally kind to him, health-wise – his mobility and energy have improved immensely – so he was able to be right there with me (and my mom!) walking with me towards my future.
3. When I got the pictures back from Yair, we came across one of the groomsmen during the ceremony (as we were saying our vows) and not one…not two…but THREE were clearly emotional. Knowing that our family and friends were right there with us, feeling the gravity of the occasion is such a beautiful gift and definitely reflects how we felt that day.
3. Give us the one moment in your wedding day you can’t stop thinking about.
My husband’s vows. They were awesome. They inspired laughter and tears, and they were completely organic to our relationship.