We all went crazy for the modern bohemian vibe of this Northern Calfornia celebration. Annie and Jake’s whimsical celebration in the Russian River Valley is the stuff of sun-dappled afternoon dreams, and we simply can’t get enough! Details we adore include the bridesmaids’ woven white dresses, the couple’s graphic stationery suite, and dinner in the apple orchard at their tranquil venue, Dawn Ranch Lodge.
“The best advice we received, and the most important thing we kept in mind while we planned our wedding, was not to forget what our wedding day was about – the love between us, and our union. We could have easily get forgotten this when we were obsessing over tablecloths or playlists.”
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Don’t feel obligated to invite too many people. And don’t be afraid to ask for help!
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? I stayed out too late the night of the rehearsal dinner. I was so excited to have all my favorite people in one spot that I didn’t pay attention to the clock and ended up paying for it the next day.
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? We love western Sonoma County, and Guerneville has always been a special place to us. It is casual wine country and there was so much for our guests to do: float on the river, hike, eat great food, and go wine tasting. Our guests stayed in Dawn Ranch Lodge‘s cabins and the hotel across the street, and all of our wedding events, including the rehearsal dinner, were on the property, so guests didn’t have to go far. For the weekend, the Lodge became “Camp McKHable.”
Did you include something old, new, borrowed and blue? Jake’s great grandmother’s ring, given to me that day was my something old, and his sister’s handkerchief, which I used to wipe away tears of joy during our first look, was my something borrowed and blue. Another something blue was a necklace from my mother, given to me the morning of our wedding.
“We didn’t want a ‘traditional’ ceremony – one that felt overly formal and stuffy, but we also wanted to make sure the ceremony had weight and importance. We worked hard to make it a reflection of the people gathered in the meadow, our families, and us as a couple.”
Your ceremony in three words. Non-traditional, heartfelt, and us.
Who officiated your ceremony? We asked Jake’s dad, Mike, who is one of the most thoughtful and spiritual people we know, to officiate our ceremony. As a writer and person with tremendous public speaking presence, he was able to perfectly capture the moment and communicate our hopes and values with the ideal combination of lighthearted emotion, sincerity, and love.
What were your ceremony readings? Jake’s parents’ read “i thank You God for most this amazing” by e.e. cummings at their wedding, so it was special for us to include it in our ceremony, and since we are both big fans of the Grateful Dead, Robert Hunter’s “I Will Love You” was a perfect fit.
What were your vows like? This was actually one of the only aspects that was traditional. Reciting traditional vows to one another felt meaningful and poignant.
What was your ceremony music? A guitarist from our band played as guests filtered into the meadow. The Beatles “All You Need is Love” was our processional, and Annie walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon in D. After the ceremony was over, the entire wedding party walked out to “Ooh La La” by Faces.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? From Jake: The love and happiness in the meadow was palpable. Seeing some of my tough-guy friends crying was indicative of how everyone was there in the moment, and part of our love and union. But, for me, having my father be the one who pronounced us “husband and wife” while he choked up made my heart soar. // From Annie: I loved having everyone outside in the beautiful meadow with the sun peaking through the redwoods. I thought I was going to be very nervous standing in front of everyone, but I was overcome with a feeling of love and calm, one I’ll never forget. I was so happy to be marrying Jake in front of my family and friends.
“Everyone let their hair down and had a blast. Dinner was in an apple orchard, followed by dancing by the pool. This broke our night into distinct events, set the mood and gave our guests a clue where they needed to be. Plus, with the Giants in the playoffs and late night skinny dipping in the pool, there was plenty of energy to keep the party going!”
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? We wanted it to be a true reflection of us as individuals and as a couple. The natural beauty and rustic charm of Dawn Ranch, and Guerneville’s eclectic, hippy vibe suited our style and provided inspiration. I added my creative touch, and every detail, down to the DIY dream catcher escort cards and indigo-dyed napkins, perfectly represented us.
What was your first dance song? Our first dance was to Bonnie Raitt’s “Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About.” My dad and I danced to Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers,” and Jake and his mom hit the dance floor to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man.”
Did you have a signature cocktail? No signature cocktail, but we had great local beers on tap, including Lil’ Sumpin’ and Trumer Pils. Since our wedding was in wine country, we also selected our favorite local wines.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Our favorite part of the reception were the toasts. Jake’s childhood friend and my sister each gave heartfelt and humorous speeches, and my dad’s toast included an amazing slide show. It was a big surprise, and such a loving moment.