Chileno Valley Ranch is one of the most breathtaking places you’ll ever see – it really embodies the beauty of Northern California, and it’s no wonder why Jessica and JF chose it for their May wedding. Select vendors Esla Events and Skyla Arts were also on hand for this simply elegant wedding amid the rolling hills of Petaluma.
“We chose this location because Chileno Valley Ranch, and its owners, Sally and Mike Gale, tell a wonderful story of triumph and grace over adversity, amidst a setting of natural and human inspiration – the beauty of the rolling hills, the rich history of the Ranch, the Gales’ ongoing commitment to the land.”
“We combined German and Jewish traditions in our wedding. For Jewish traditions, we signed a Ketubah, had a Chuppah, blessed the wine, and had our friends and family participate in our own version of the 7 Blessings. For the German, our guests threw rice on us as we walked down the aisle after the ceremony, and then we sawed a log as our first task to complete together as a married couple.”
Your ceremony in three words. Personal, Inclusive, Joyous.
How did you go about planning your wedding ceremony? Jessica’s sister, Beth, officiated. With Beth’s guidance, the three of us planned the entire ceremony together. Throughout the planning, we shared many phone calls, Facetime sessions, laughs, and tears. We wrote our own vows, and chose readings that we felt reflected our commitment to each other and our community, and the values we hold dear as we build our lives together. Beth asked each of us to answer a few questions without consulting each other, and incorporated our responses into the ceremony.
What was your favorite thing about the ceremony? That our closest friends and family were part of it, from the officiant and chuppah holders to readers, blessings, and a musical performance.
Processional, wedding party: Winter from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi
Processional, bride: Canon in D by Pachelbel
Ceremony song (performed by bride’s cousins): Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond
Recessional: All You Need Is Love by The Beatles
“We wanted all of the details in our wedding to be considered, thoughtful, and deliberate. We didn’t want anything that felt unnecessary, but also wanted plenty of details that would surprise guests and help them feel more connected to us, each other, and our special day. For example, we had a sign greet our guests but instead of just having arrows pointing to the ceremony and reception areas, we added both of our hometowns (from where many of our guests had traveled) as well as the Pacific Ocean, to help our out-of-town guests get oriented.”
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Our friends and family coming from all corners of the earth to celebrate with us.
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? Our first dance and sawing the log together [a German tradition representing the first obstacle to overcome as a married couple].
What was the best advice you received as a bride? To have a glass of champagne with my girlfriends before the ceremony. And to take a moment to step away from the party and just take in all in, together.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Hire Laurel Anderson [from Esla Events].
Are there any other special details to share? A sense of place was reflected in details like our menus, which were designed with the menu on one side, and a map of northern California on the back. We also wanted to make each and every one of our guests feel welcomed and connected. Our dinner table layout included two long tables, which helped create a great a sense of togetherness.
Signature Drink: “Der Anleger” (Sparkling Wine, St. Germain, Seltzer, Strawberries) // Salad: Arugula, Butter Lettuce, Golden Red and Yellow Beets, Walnuts, Citrus Dressing // Entrees: Miso Glazed Black Cod with Green Papaya Salad / Lemon Pepper Rubbed Tri-Tip with Housemade Tomato Jam and Peppered Syrah Sauce / Crisp Mascarpone Polenta Cake with Kalamata Olives, Thyme, Tomato Coulis // Sides: Grilled Farm-Fresh Vegetables / Saffron Risotto Cakes // Dessert: Chocolate Coupes with Coffee-Molasses Ganache / Mini Key Lime Pies with Meringue Lids / Mini Balsamic Strawberry Tarts with Fresh Strawberries / Chocolate Chip Cookies
First Dance Song: Bring It On Home by Sam Cooke