Chic Weddings/Real Weddings

Stunning Ranch Wedding in California with Spanish-Inspired Decor

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It’s very rare that a bride tells us the colour palette for her wedding includes cobalt, sapphire, fuchsia, and gold – but for today’s real wedding, the result of these bold pairings is pretty stunning.

After some bumps along the way, Cara & Michael finally got to design their dream ranch wedding, at Holman Ranch in idyllic Carmel in California.

With a Spanish-influence for their decor, their day was filled with dramatic details, rich colours, and luxurious textures, making it striking, romantic, and so personalised.

Their outdoor ceremony – which might just take your breath away when you see it – overlooked a spectacular valley, with florals, foliage, pampas grass and church-style mirrors adding a sense of occasion to the natural backdrop.

For their courtyard reception, bare tables gave a rustic ranch touch to tall candelabras, coloured glassware, and fabulous food.

And at the centre of it all, stunning bride Cara and her dashing groom Michael, heading off for the most beautiful, striped-back, natural golden hour photo-session with RebeccaMarie Photography.

This wedding is one of a kind, and I just know you guys are going to love it…

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Our Love Story

Michael tried to keep their trip to Carmel, CA (Cara’s hometown) for Valentine’s Day a surprise.

Knowing Cara’s love for horses through the childhood memories she shared, Michael set up a horseback riding trip along the beach the next morning once they arrived. As they drove up to an area hidden by sand dunes, Cara’s eyes widened as she saw the horses saddled and waiting.

While Cara was on cloud nine as they rode along the beach, Michael was trying to find the right time to retrieve the ring from his pocket and propose.

The one thing Michael didn’t plan for was Cara’s horse was not very friendly to Michael’s. Every time he tried to get close enough, Cara’s horse pinned its ears back in anger.

As we headed back to unsaddle, Michael knew he needed to go to plan B. Of course, the back-drop was still perfect despite the unsuccessful proposal attempt on horseback.

They headed down to the beach with Cara leading the way. Michael got on one knee and Cara continued to walk. Once she realized he was no longer behind her, she turned and saw him. To this day we don’t know exactly what was said, we were so in the moment that the world and everything else faded into the distance.

Of course, we do remember that Cara said “Yes!”.

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Gorgeous Outdoor Wedding by Rebecca Marie Photography 42
Gorgeous Outdoor Wedding by Rebecca Marie Photography 36

Changing Plans

Immediately we were drawn to Holman Ranch due to the large oak trees, sprawling vineyard, the Spanish influence and its location in Carmel Valley.

When we started our wedding planning, I was traveling six days a week from Denver to Florida. Because we felt like we could not get out to California enough to plan the wedding, we decided to book a local venue in Colorado to make things easier. While I always thought my wedding would be amongst the oak trees, Castle Cliff Estate offered a stunning alternative nearby our home.

After booking all the vendors, putting our final deposits and sending out our invitations for our September 2014 wedding, I received news of a sick family member and news that my company was about to collapse and my job had been eliminated.

With this news, we decided to move the wedding out another year. Our vendors were very understanding and cooperative. I myself, was pretty devastated.

After I started at a new company, Michael and I were watching the news in bed when all of a sudden there was a feature on our venue.

Due to some zoning issues, the venue was cancelling the year’s weddings and re-funding the deposits. We were completely shocked and left scrambling to find another venue. Everything we planned was completely ruined by this news.

We were at the point where we were about to give up. I thought back to Holman Ranch and how I always felt drawn to that venue. I shared my story with Hunter at Holman Ranch and she was so accommodating. We knew at that moment, Holman Ranch should have been our venue all along.

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The Music

The guests were met by a Spanish serenade by Johan Sotelo as they took their seats. He stole their hearts during cocktail hour and dinner.

Johan performed his track ‘Solo Con Verte’ for the bride’s processional and sang ‘All of Me’ for the couple’s first dance on the Rose Patio.

Fredo, the bride’s friend and local radio host, MC’d the wedding and DJ’d after dinner in the Carriage House.

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Gorgeous Outdoor Wedding by Rebecca Marie Photography 51
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The Photography

RebeccaMarie caught our eye when planning the first wedding.

She had done a shoot with one of the vendors we were looking at using. Her talent was undeniable and we had to bring her out to California to shoot at Holman Ranch.

Our favorite moment was getting whisked away by golf cart and taken out to a picturesque oak tree with our photographer. That moment made it all come together.

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Gorgeous Outdoor Wedding by Rebecca Marie Photography 66
Gorgeous Outdoor Wedding by Rebecca Marie Photography 68
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The Theme

We wanted to incorporate Carmel’s Spanish influence into our wedding.

Our color palate of cobalt, sapphire, fuchsia, golds and iron was inspired from the San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission (Carmel Mission) gardens and Spanish tiles. The focus of our design was to highlight the beauty of Holman Ranch’s stone walls and oak-beamed ceilings.

We chose neutral exposed tables so the beauty ofthe Rose Patio could be captured and incorporated pops of color (including the bridesmaid dresses) throughout the venue.

We wanted our guests to enjoy the whole grounds so we set up seating nooks to allow the guests to relax and take in the venue.

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Gorgeous Outdoor Wedding by Rebecca Marie Photography 58
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The Budget

We splurged on furniture, décor, stationary and catering. Loving design, it was important to stage the wedding and add elements that captured our design aesthetic. Of course, stationary is your first impression so we splurged on our save-the-dates, invitations and day-of stationary.

Momental Designs was fabulous to work with and we had the ability to be apart of the complete design process of our stationary.

We splurged on catering but it was well worth it. Paradise Catering created a memorable meal that people still talk about. I heard from many guests that it was some of the best food they have had.

We saved in floral by using ornamental grasses and eucalyptus runners. To keep the budget down, we were able to use the runners for the ceremony and reception. We also used some décor that we brought from our home in Colorado.

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Gorgeous Outdoor Wedding by Rebecca Marie Photography 64

The Honeymoon

We stayed in Carmel a couple nights after the wedding. We are planning a honeymoon to see family in New Zealand in May.

We recommend waiting to take a honeymoon because you are so exhausted afterward that you may not enjoy your first day or two.

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