String lights, tropical plants, and lavish greenery—this Holly Farm wedding truly was a hidden tropical oasis. When Ranu and Rob found this venue—nestled in the hills of California—they knew it was the one because of how unique it is. And to go with the theme of the venue, the floral arrangements from Big Sur Flowers gave the feeling of an island destination with pops of pink anthuriums and strung carnations.
The fashion in this wedding is as spectacular as the location. Ranu wore a stunning bridal gown with a floral chiffon overlay and a plunging neckline. And for total sunny California vibes, the bridesmaids rocked matching dandelion yellow gowns. Thankfully, Kadi Tobin captured every inch of this lush, detailed-filled nuptial so keep scrolling to see this tropical hideaway.
Ranu and Rob
Holly Farm, Carmel Valley, CA
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Our first look and private vows were the most intimate and special part of the day. Having time before the ceremony to just be with each other and say our vows was incredibly emotional but unforgettable. The photos captured from these moments were also some of the most tender and loving, and we both felt more prepared going into our ceremony and reception after having a little bit of alone time just for us.
Wedding Advice For Nearlyweds
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the details, but zooming out and seeing the bigger picture can help you make decisions on where to spend your money and effort. Also, save yourself a headache and work with vendors that are communicative and trusted. Finally, if you’re agonizing over a decision that won’t impact your wedding budget that greatly, go for the option you feel the strongest about. At the end of the day, you’ll save mental energy by having made the decision and know in the end it’s what you envisioned.
A Holly Farm Wedding
Our venue just felt so magical. The Holly Farm team really makes you feel like a part of the family, and their hospitality is so special and unique. It truly feels like such a unique space that is an oasis in Carmel Valley. We were just absolutely wowed by the mix of spaces, the on-site accommodations, and the beauty of the plants everywhere. We both knew immediately that it was the venue for us, especially knowing that they only host one wedding per weekend and guests tend to stay for several days.
Bringing A Slice of NYC to California
We DIY’ed our table names and cards. Having our wedding in California was exciting for us because we love destination weddings and traveling. But we also love our NYC neighborhood, the East Village, and we wanted to make sure that felt like a part of the weekend too. I bought a disposable black and white camera and walked around my neighborhood to take pictures of all of our favorite bars and restaurants. Then, I got the film developed and mounted the photos on table cards, which I then had a friend calligraphy on. I loved that we were able to bring a slice of NYC to California.
Congratulations to Ranu and Rob on their lavish Holly Farm Wedding. And thank you to Kadi Tobin for capturing and sharing this day with us. We know that finding the perfect venue can be difficult. So, we created this helpful guide to find it and a helpful guide to personalize it to fit your unique personalities.
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There are many ways to be present on your wedding day, but taking a moment away from everyone can truly be special. Hayley and Cody did just that by adding a private vow ceremony where they read their handwritten vows back-to-back. While their wedding we’re publishing wasn’t their original plan (thanks COVID), they truly made the most of it. They even had their first dance at their altar—how special!
To top it all off, the couple said their “I do’s” at the beautiful Cornerstone Sonoma. With a perfectly autumn color palette and lush floral arrangements by Aimee Lomeli, this wedding gave us minimalist bohemian vibes we never knew we needed. On top of that, we are gushing over Hayley’s two different bridal capes that she paired over her sleek white dress.
Get the tissues ready because Lukas Korynta captured some truly tear-jerking moments that we can’t wait to share.
Cody and Hayley
Cornerstone Sonoma, Sonoma, CA
Tear-Jerking Private Vow Ceremony
We personalized our wedding by having a private vow ceremony. Due to all we went through within the year, we felt that sharing our hearts, our promises, and our words were stronger and more intimate with just us together. We read our vows back-to-back and we wanted our first look to be as we walked down the aisle.
Remember What’s Most Important
Our advice to nearlyweds is to find the important moments— important things that you and your partner want to share on your big day. Before you start the planning, know what those are. It’s so easy to get lost in outside voices. At the end of the day, it’s a day that you and your partner will hold close to your heart. Make those important moments happen. The two most important voices are you and your partner. Keep it that way.
A First Dance At The Altar
We had to get creative and think outside the traditional wedding day. With all of the hurdles 2020 threw at us, it ended up being a perfect day. It may have been different from our first plan, but it turned into something beautiful. Our favorite moment of the day had to be the first dance. We decided to do something different and share our first dance immediately after our first kiss. It ended up being romantic, emotional, and a moment we will never forget.
Shifting Wedding Plans
Prior to the COVID guidelines and wildfires, we wanted to have a day that was fun for our guests with many games, an amazing dinner service with interactive food stages, and watching pizza being made. Then as the year progressed, we really had to rethink what was important. In the end, we knew what was most important for us: to get married, say I do, and have something beautiful come out of 2020.
Congratulations to Hayley and Cody on your wedding day, and thanks for sharing your private vow ceremony with us. And major shout out to Lukas Korynta for beautifully capturing this day. If you’re planning a wedding, take some stress off your shoulders by checking out our wedding planning tips, and advice for wedding planning during COVID.
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If eloping is the trend, then let’s make it a grand one. Opting for an adventurous elopement, BriAnna and Katlynn headed to Yosemite National Park to elope in the most hopelessly romantic way possible. With laced, chiffon bridal gowns, matching white boots, and their daughter as their witness, this couple planned a beautiful day with mountain views and a park all to themselves.
They ended their sunset excursion with champagne popping cliffside as the sky turned purple—perfection. Whether you’re looking for yet another excuse to whisk away and elope with your partner or not, grab your boots and let’s go hiking with Junebug member Kylie Farmer Photography to Yosemite National Park. These photos are too good to pass up.
BriAnna and Katlynn
Yosemite National Park, CA
Planning Sunrise To Sunset
The most important part of this day was planning how we were going to do our first look. Since we were doing it at sunrise, we had to really think about what time to get up and where to get ready. We stayed in a camper at AutoCamp, which we highly recommend. Kylie helped with all of that, and it went smoothly for the most part! I got ready in the camper with our daughter, and Bri walked up in the dark to the lobby bathroom to get ready.
Our Eternal Vow
The most memorable part of the day for the two of us was definitely when we exchanged our vows on the top of the mountain with the sunrise peeking through. It was such a magical moment and feeling.
Elopement Wedding Advice
My biggest piece of advice would be to not get too stressed out about your planning. Remember that this is simply a celebration of the love you have for each other. Stay in the present and enjoy the planning. The day comes and goes so fast! Choose what is most important to you and do just that.
Why They Chose A Yosemite National Park Elopement
California holds a special place in our hearts. We got engaged in March of 2019 on the coast of California in Mendocino. We knew we wanted to be surrounded by the beauty of trees and mountains, and Yosemite just felt right.
We were looking on Pinterest and Etsy for artificial bouquets because we didn’t want to go through the hassle to find real ones out in California. Plus, we didn’t know how we’d preserve them before we went home. Since we paid for everything ourselves, we weren’t able to afford the Etsy bouquets we loved. Then, I had an idea to try and make our bouquets! So I masked up, went to the nearest craft store, and bought flowers, filling, twine and ribbon. They survived checking them on our plane, hiking with them all day, and shoving them in suitcases, and are now a keepsake.
Congratulations to BriAnna and Katlynn on your beautiful national park elopement. Shoutout and thank you to Junebug member Kylie Farmer Photography for sharing this day. If you’re ready to elope, check out our ultimate elopement planning checklist and 16 elopement ideas that will make your day extra special.
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When you can’t decide on a venue, sometimes it’s best to go with a place that you’re sure to be comfortable in—like your own backyard. Thankfully for Aubrey and Dimitri, their backyard is their family’s private estate in the mountains of Escondido, California. The gorgeous natural colors of the ranch mixed with some beautiful pops of pink made this couple’s I do’s picturesque, to say the least.
Almost every inch of this wedding was a “do it yourself” project—making it the ultimate DIY wedding. From a handcrafted arch to the bar inside the barn, this couple created an elegant, rustic, chic wedding with their two hands—and some help from their families too.
Keep scrolling to see some seriously gorgeous photos captured by Tayler Ashley Photography that include a donut bar, a beautiful red barn reception, and a star-embellished reception gown.
Aubrey and Dimitri
A Backyard DIY Wedding
The entire wedding was pretty much DIY since a wedding had never been hosted there before. My dad built the circular arch used for our ceremony. We painted things, we grew flowers, and we added power for lighting in some areas. We also built the deck over the pool to have the ceremony on top of it and then we built the bar inside the barn. We pretty much did everything ourselves.
Two Dresses Are Better Than One
My wedding dress had a little bit of every style that I loved. Wedding dress shopping was definitely a highlight, but it was very difficult because I really liked every dress I tried on. I wanted something A-line, but also fitted—something with 3D flowers and sparkle. The dress I chose had it all. My Wedding gown is Muse by Berta in the style “Caroline.” I got it at The Bustle store in Del Mar, California. This store is the only location in San Diego that carries designer Berta dresses. My Reception gown or “Cake Cutting Dress” was a Willoby by Watters Orion gown that I got from Bhldn. I fell in love with it because of the stars. Knowing this would be one of the only opportunities to wear such beautiful gowns, I decided I might as well take advantage and wear two!
Backyards Are A Perfect Venue
My family’s ranch was always in the back of my mind as a venue option. After touring a few different venues, none of them felt special. I wanted our wedding to be one-of-a-kind and knew that hosting it at my family’s ranch would be incredibly unique, and meaningful to me. It’s where I grew up and I wanted to create more memories in that place.
What Planning An Elegant Ranch Wedding In A Backyard Really Means
As far as planning a wedding “in your own backyard” versus a normal venue—it’s a whole new world! There are many details that you have to think about when having a wedding at your own home. Like, “how many people can you fit in this area? Is there power, lighting, restroom availability, wheelchair access, shelter for bad weather, parking?” The list of questions you have to think about goes on and on. However, there are a lot of positives too. We were able to work on it whenever we wanted, try our ideas out, have rentals delivered a day or two earlier, basically there are none of the limitations. My favorite bonus is that you get to put so much of your time, money, and effort into your own place.
Don’t Stress The Small Stuff
It’s not all going to be perfect. At the end of the day, it feels like it was perfect though. Go over your timeline a bajillion times and then do a walk through at the actual times to see what your lighting, etc will be like in those moments. I didn’t think I needed to say this, but remind your vendors that you’d prefer they dress to blend in with the background or with your guests. Otherwise, you might end up with vendors drawing attention in a way that you didn’t expect.
Wedding Advice For Nearlyweds
Research vendors carefully! Don’t feel pressured to choose someone you’re not excited to work with just because they are all telling you that you’re running out of time. If they aren’t exactly what you are looking for, don’t commit.
Congratulations to Aubrey and Dimitri on their beautiful ranch wedding! Big thank you to Tayler Ashley Photography for capturing this ceremony and for sharing it with us. Need more backyard wedding inspiration? Check out this rustic fall backyard wedding and this cozy backyard boho wedding.
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Caitlin and Farley’s Australian-inspired wedding at The Highlands Estate was full of tiki drinks, an oyster bar, a life-size cardboard cut out of Steve Irwin, and a 90-year-old grandpa dancing to Marvin Gaye. Sound fun? We know! The couple proved they know how to throw one serious party.
With the help of planner Brianna Lopez, the two combined their love for the land down under and San Francisco–where the two met. While we could do all of the talking about this colorful DIY affair, we love how their photographer Paige Nelson described the details!
Photographer Paige Nelson On The Couple’s Special Day
The couple currently lives in Australia and planned their destination wedding day at The Highlands Estate–just outside San Francisco, where the couple began their journey. Farley has a Ph.D. in Ornithology, and his research focused on the Australian magpie, so his suit jacket lining had a custom embroidery of the bird. All of his groomsmen had personalized Indochino jacket linings with embroidered inside jokes as well.
Caitlin, Farley, and her mom made the cheesecloth table runners. The mother of the bride made all of the bouquets. Her sister, Megan, made the three cakes that featured handmade toppers of their cat and dog. Her best friend and bridesmaid, Sarah, did her hair and makeup.
The oyster bar–one of Caitlin and Farley’s food obsessions–opened at cocktail hour. Farley is passionate about tiki drinks and Caitlin loves gin, so the couple offered a “his” and “hers” cocktail. For her speech, the groom’s sister brought in a life-size cardboard cutout of Steve Irwin.
Lauren and Erik
The Highlands Estate, Cloverdale, CA
Combining Australia and San Francisco
Our relationship evolved in San Francisco, and we spent a lot of time exploring the more rural areas of California. We both love the Californian landscape–vineyards mixed into the rolling hills and the surrounding forests. Australia became home for the last four years, so it was important to combine the two lifestyles together. Family and community are incredibly important to us, so we wanted to create a vibe that connected everyone and everything that matters to us. This is how the farm table, family-style meal came to be. Touches like the table names of where our guests traveled from, hints of our obsession with games, and our two favorite cocktails helped us create this personal “us” vibe.
Why The Highlands Estate
We wanted an outdoor venue. We liked the option of having the barn in case the weather was bad. What really sold us were the included farm tables. Those were non-negotiable for me, and including them in the venue cost sealed the deal.
Personalizing The Ceremony
Farley’s father and best friend were our celebrants. Mike told a personal story of us, and Jack (Farley’s Dad) did the official ceremony. We did a handfasting ceremony with rope from his family sailboat. We said our own vows. Then, we toasted with everyone after we said, “I do.”
Wedding Planning Date Nights
Farley established “wine wedding Wednesdays” where every Wednesday for most of the year in the lead-up, we ate dinner and drank wine while we planned. Not every night was productive, some ended in fights, but it meant the wedding was planned together, and it ensured both our voices were heard.
A Non-Stop Dance Party
The dance floor was incredible. We kicked the reception off with a shared first dance–inviting our guests to join us, rather than watch us. This ignited a dance party that had nearly every single guest on the dance floor most of the night. Caitlin’s Irish 90-year-old reserved Grandfather even grabbed her for a dance that shocked everyone.
Congratulations again to Caitlin and Farley on their colorful DIY Aussie-inspired wedding at The Highlands Estate. We’re so glad Paige Nelson Photography was there to capture every detail. If you’re feeling inspired to add some DIY touches to your wedding, check out our DIY wedding guide where we breakdown everything you need to know about planning your own!
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