Photography by Kate Webber.
This elegant, relaxed wedding is a lesson in keeping it simple. The glowing bride in her effortless Mira Zwillinger gown, a fresh palette of white florals and wild greenery, and a gorgeous location at Dawn Ranch Lodge is the perfect setup for an unforgettable day. One particularly fun (and meaningful) idea? Including the mascot from the college where the couple met for after-ceremony photos!
We simply cannot get over the bride’s Mira Zwillinger gown. How amazing does she look? The beading on the illusion netting is so intricate, and offset so beautifully with the simple pleated skirt.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? My Something Old was a locket with my late mother’s photo pinned to my bouquet – a thoughtful gift from my bridesmaids. Having each lost a parent, Stephen and I spent quite a bit of time contemplating the best way to incorporate them both into the day.
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? Set aside the Russian River, the property and ceremony location had a long history and felt perfect for our wedding celebration. We wanted each event we hosted throughout the weekend to compliment the Northern California flora and fauna and character of Dawn Ranch Lodge. The ceremony was held in a century old heirloom apple orchard. We loved imagining our nuptials taking place in a location so rich in history where San Franciscan families had been coming for over a century to vacation and escape the city.
Your ceremony in three words. Unforgettable, joyous, thoughtful.
Who officiated your ceremony? How did you choose him/her? A good family friend married us. We felt that she was the perfect person to help us on such a memorable day – balancing a ceremony that was both religious yet lighthearted.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? Stephen and I wanted our ceremony to be unique to the two of us, while still incorporating classic scripture options. Our officiant and good family friend helped provide us with direction and guidance, while allowing us to create our own vision, which was important.
What were your ceremony readings? Song of Solomon 8:6-7 and Colossians 3:12-17
What were your vows like? We wrote our own vows, which was important to us. You rarely get a chance to publicly express your love for your partner, and we thought there was no better time to share our thoughts and emotions. We wanted the ceremony to feel modern while still keeping traditional elements, so reciting our own vows was a good balance with the traditional scripture readings.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? My favorite part of our ceremony was the feeling of pure joy and happiness emanating from our family and guests. From first stepping foot down the aisle, to greeting Stephen the energy was contagious. Not only do we love and support each other, but it really becomes evident when everyone close to you gathers to witness and celebrate your love.
What was your ceremony music? Stephen and I spent many hours researching the perfect music, and I still smile when I think back to the sounds of the violin and cello begin to play:
Allegro from Sonata in F Major, Op. 1 – Beethoven
Air on the G String from Suite #3 in D Major – Bach
Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring– Bach
All You Need is Love – The Beatles
My father walked me down the aisle to Dreams by Fleetwood Mac. After moments of laughter and tears, Stephen and clasped hands and walked out to This Must Be the Place by the Talking Heads. The last song was greeted by cheering and was a great signal for the party to begin.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? Both Stephen and I attending the University of California, Berkeley, as did our families and a large number of our wedding guests. Immediately following the ceremony, we were greeted by Cal’s mascot, Oski. Cal holds such a special place in our hearts – that moment was filled with smiles and joy.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Visiting the venue multiple times helped generate ideas on how best to utilise all of its different spaces properly. We relied on a team of experts to give advice and recommendations and share best practices. There are so many online resources today to help inspire you.
How would you describe your reception? White and green floral arrangements complimented the outdoor space, creating a timeless backdrop for photography. We ate and danced under a white zephyr tent in the middle of a green meadow just steps away from the heirloom apple orchard where our ceremony took place. Dinner was served on tables covered in Belgian linen and was made up of family-style plates full of locally sourced meat and vegetables. At night, when it was all over, guests made their way back to 100-year-old cabins lit by the light of bistro lights hanging from age old sycamores.
What was your wedding menu? Our menu was ‘farm to table’, with most vegetables grown by the proprietor himself. All of the food and beverages were sourced locally.
Artisanal Bread / Massa Ranch Heirloom Tomato Salad with Fresh Mozzarella, Basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Saba Drizzle / Grilled Mary’s Organic Rosemary Chicken Breast with Napa Cabbage, Sautéed Onion and Bacon Hash, Fingerling Potatoes and Cipollini Onion Sauce / Grilled Tri-Tip with Blue Cheese Potatoes, Cherry Red Wine Sauce / Seasonal Local Vegetables
Why did you choose this location for your reception? The meadow in which the reception was held was more playful than serious as we wanted the guests to transition to a space that would be dedicated for celebration.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? The speeches were beyond thoughtful and memorable. Its an honor to hear people you care about so much speak on your behalf on such a special day. Looking around and seeing all of the people who have travelled to help you celebrate is unforgettable.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? You’re throwing a large party – think of the details which will be most appreciated by your guests (and also those that will go unnoticed) to help prioritize.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Divide the planning tasks and stick to a schedule to minimize stress. Think about what will be memorable and important to you versus what is protocol. Make decisions for yourselves, not for anyone else.