California Ranch Wedding in Gilroy :: Cameron & Paul

Happy New Year! I can think of no better way to ring in 2015 than with this cheery ranch wedding in California – sweet yellow flowers, an elegantly rustic outdoor setting, classic bridal style. Gorgeous!

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Did you include any other traditions in your wedding?  Something old: My veil has been worn my all the women on my mom’s side of the family dating back to my great grandmother. Something new: My dress. Something borrowed/blue: My mom’s sapphire and pearl horse shoe pin that my grandmother gave her on her wedding day to my dad. It was originally gifted to her by my grandfather for an anniversary gift. My sister and I both borrowed it for our wedding days.


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The Ceremony

“For as long as I can remember, I wished that one day I would be married at my family’s ranch. It is a place rooted in memories, family, love and tradition. The ceremony took place under a large madrone tree which was planted by my grandfather. My sister was also married under the madrone the year before.”


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Your ceremony in three words.  Classic, Cheerful, Warm

Who officiated your ceremony?  The same priest who married my parents and my sister also married us. He and my father lived together in college and he has been a dear friend of our family for my entire life. We were married under the Madrone tree where my sister had been married the year before and our yellow lab, Purdey was our ring barrier.

Did you include any traditions in your ceremony?  The ceremony and vows were traditional, but we did add a few traditions of our own including a bag piper, bluegrass band, our dog Purdy the ring bearer, and a Scottish hymn performed by Paul’s cousins.


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What was your ceremony music?  The ceremony music began with a bagpiper who lead our guests to their seats and the rest of the music was instrumental and preferred by a bluegrass band. The processional song I chose for our parents and grandparents was Red River Valley. I chose this because it reminds me of the ranch and it is also known as the Cowboy Wedding Song. My bridesmaids processed to Here Comes The Sun, and my dad and I walked down the isle to Wild Mountain Thyme. Paul’s cousins and aunt sang “Wild Mountain Thyme” during the ceremony. It is such a beautiful Scottish hymn and was definitely one of the highlights for me.

What were your ceremony readings?  “On Love” by Thomas Kempis, “Love is an Adventure” by Pierre Tielhart de Chardin, and “Wedding Prayer” by Robert Lewis Stevenson was printed on the back of our programs.

What were your vows like?  We said traditional vows.

What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  Walking down the aisle with my dad and seeing Paul and all of our friends and family standing and smiling at me. It all seemed to hit me at once and I was overwhelmed with happiness. I remember my lower lip was uncontrollably quivering and it took everything I had not to burst into happy tears.


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The Reception

“Our reception was light hearted, boisterous, farm to table, yellow, rustic and romantic. Our band had tons of energy and had everyone out on the dance floor after dinner – they played 30 minutes past their contract! We also had bistro lighting strung over the pool and large paper globe lanterns hanging in the oak trees over the dance floor that helped create the warm and majestic ambiance I was after.”


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Why did you choose this location for your reception?  Our cocktail reception opened into the ceremony area once the chairs were moved. Our dinner reception area was around the pool also adjacent to the ceremony location.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  I was inspired by the idea of an outdoor French, Provence bistro. I imagined lots of yellow, garden roses, herbs, bistro lights natural wood and stripes! I also love texture and wanted everything to be in keeping with the natural beauty of the ranch.

Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception.  One of my favorite details was our escort card table. We had them set up on a rustic, vintage wagon with antique bottles filled with posies and herbs.


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signature cocktail: firefly sweet tea vodka, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, sparkling water, mint // amuse: sweet white corn soup with dungeness crab, basil and chili oil // salad: frog hollow grilled peaches, county line arugula, endive and butter lettuce, with sherry vinaigrette, marcona almonds and chevré // entree: rack of lamb with marble potatoes, sea salt and local cress, with gypsy peppers, toy box eggplant, baby artichokes, summer squash and mediterranean salsa verde // dessert: passed chocolate and salted caramel pots de creme / gourmet s’mores station / coconut pineapple wedding cake with cream cheese frosting

Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about?  My mom and I spent several weekends and week nights making rosemary olive oil bottles, rosemary sea salt favors, welcome candy bags and tying ribbons to everything. For the rosemary sea salt favors we got small Weck jars and filled them with rosemary sea salt. The labels said “Rosemary sea salt to remember our day,” as rosemary is the symbol of remembrance. It was all very time consuming, but we had fun with it, and lots of laughs!


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What was your first dance song? Father/daughter or mother/son dance?  Paul and I danced to “Rose of My Heart” by Johnny Cash and “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher” by Jackie Wilson. My dad came out to the dance floor with the theme song from The Good, Bad and the Ugly (a tradition my sister started the year before) and we danced to “Do You Believe In Magic” by The Lovin’ Spoonful. Paul and his mom danced to “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  It all goes so fast, so remember take a few private moments to take it all in.

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Try to have fun and enjoy the process as much as you can. Stress is inevitable, but at the end of the day, it should be an enjoyable experience.

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding?  By the end of the night our two family’s were on the stage with the band, screaming whatever song they were singing at the top of our lungs and all of the men had their shirts ripped open.

What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  This is a tough question…sabering the champagne and cutting our cake was a special moment that I will remember forever.


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Vendor Credits

Photography: Silvana di Franco / Event Planning & Design: MAP Events / Venue: Private Family Ranch in Gilroy, California / Dress: Oscar de la Renta / Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaid Dresses: J. Crew / Stationery: Bella Figura / Calligraphy: Papineau Calligraphy / Floral Design: Brown Paper Design / Hair, Makeup: Sarah Hyde / Rentals: Classic Party Rentals / Ceremony Music: The Get Down Boys / Band: Notorious / Catering: Sage Catering / Cake: SusieCakes / Linens: La Tavola / Lighting: Got Light


Silvana di Franco, and La Tavola are Snippet & Ink Select vendors.


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