Colorful California Wedding at Dawn Ranch :: Megan & Evan

After nearly ten years of blogging, we have some real gems in our archives, and it seemed a shame to think they might be buried by newer posts! So we’re dusting off our favorites…

Photography by Christina McNeill.


Color was second only to love on Megan and Evan’s wedding day! As the bride says, for her, color “exudes happiness” so there was plenty of it at their celebration. Bold colors, playful details (like paper airplane ceremony programs!), and a darling couple with mile-wide smiles make this charming wedding one you won’t want to miss.


Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  I wore my great grandmother’s diamond and sapphire bracelet – for something old and something blue. I also had small pieces of lace from my mom’s and mother-in-law’s wedding dresses sewn into the train of my gown as a silent tribute to both sets of parents.




Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  Dawn Ranch Lodge was the perfect venue to celebrate our love for one another while sharing the weekend with our family and friends in wine country. All wedding guest stayed in charming cabins on site throughout the weekend and were invited to attend the Friday night rehearsal dinner “I Do BBQ” – an evening topped off with burgers and s’mores around the fire pit for dessert. The bright rustic flowers, handmade bow ties and vibrant bridesmaid dresses were a tribute to our playful and authentic love for one another and my passion for color.





The ladies carried brightly colored bouquets of pink and yellow peonies, accented with orange dahlias, roses, ranunculus, blue nigella sativa, succulents, and foliage.


The Ceremony


Your ceremony in three four words. Rustic, colorful, authentic, playful.

Who officiated your ceremony?  Neither of us are very religious, and felt that it wouldn’t be appropriate to ask an unfamiliar minister to officiate. Instead, we chose a very close family friend, for a non-religious ceremony. We chose Eric because he grew up with Megan, and their families shared many celebrations together throughout the years. It felt like a perfect fit. In addition, we felt his genuine personality and light heartedness was a perfect tribute to our relationship.

Ceremony music: Processional: Pachelbel’s Canon in D // Recessional: Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”

Classical Guitar by Jean Paul Buongiorno.




What were your ceremony readings? How Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog” by Taylor Mali, and a “Blessing of the Hands”.

What were your vows like?  We chose to write our own vows with the feeling that it would be more personal. We wrote them down and have since kept them in a safe spot to re-visit together in the years ahead.



What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  The feeling that we were sharing the most intimate day of our lives with family and friends who have supported us both individually and as a couple throughout many stages in life. It was amazing to have the love and support from the most important people in our lives from all over the country together in one spot.

Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  When each guest took their seat, they found a single river rock on their chair. We asked each guest to make a wish for our future together on the rock, and then collected the rocks at the end of the ceremony. They will eventually be used in the garden of our first home.


Ceremony programs were folded into paper airplanes to toss as the newlyweds walked back up the aisle – such a playful touch!


The Reception





How would you describe your reception?  Rustic and romantic.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  My love for color – to me it exudes happiness.

Did you have a signature cocktail?  Moscow Mules – the wedding party received handmade hammered copper mugs as part of their gifts. Dawn Ranch staff collected all mugs prior to the ceremony, and had drinks poured and ready for the wedding party in the mugs immediately after. Our other guests were served Moscow Mules at the cocktail hour.



Family Style Dinner Menu: FIRST: Mixed Green Salad with Shaved Apples, Candied Pecans & Honey Champagne Vinaigrette // SECOND: Grilled Mary’s Organic Rosemary Chicken Breast served on top of Napa Cabbage, Sauteed Onion and Bacon Hash, Fingerling Potatoes, Cipollini Onion Sauce // SIDES: Sun-Dried Tomato, Kalamata Olive, and Scallion Couscous / Polenta Milanese / Seasonal Vegetables // SWEETS: Pocket Pies from Crisp Bake Shop in Blueberry Lemon, Rhubarb Cream Cheese, Apple Salted Caramel and Banana Nutella Pocket Pies

Catering by Dawn Ranch Lodge. Pocket Pies by Crisp Bake Shop.




Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about?  We worked with Beth, one of my Maids of Honor and best friends, to produce a majority of the paper goods, including Welcome Basket details like the itinerary. Evan’s mom made the napkins, as well as his bow tie!





What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  Megan: Marrying my best friend and dancing with my dad. He’s really the best. // Evan: The father/daughter and mother/son dances. Evan chose a song very sentimental to his mother, but kept it a surprise – it was a very heartfelt moment.

Special dances:  First Dance: “Today” by Joshua Radin // Father/Daughter:“Over The Rainbow” by Israel ‘Iz’ Kamakawiwo’ole // Mother/Son: “You Are My Sunshine” by Elizabeth Mitchell


What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Take a moment during the reception to be with your husband and reflect on the day. It was awesome to step away and watch our best friends and family tear it up on the dance floor in celebration of our day. All the hours of planning and preparation are gratified in this moment!

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Hire a planner! There are so many decisions to be made, vendors to align, and schedules to coordinate. Your day will come fast, and you’ll be so thankful to have someone else there to manage the details so you can enjoy the amazing weekend with loved ones.



Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  Trust me when I say that there will be unexpected costs throughout the process. Early on you will want to choose the best of the best for EVERYTHING – the further along you go the more you realize this is probably not possible. Don’t be afraid to prioritize early, and decide where you’re willing to sacrifice.

If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  Not a thing. It’s a process and in the end, it all works out the way it should. Trust this.





Tell us about your cute cake!  In addition to the hand pies, we also had a cutting cake that was shared between us that evening and saved to eat on our first anniversary.

Cake by Patisserie Angelica







Vendor Credits

Photography: Christina McNeill / Venue, Catering: Dawn Ranch Lodge in Guerneville, California / Floral Fesign: Shotgun Floral Studio / Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero / Birdcage Veil: Tessa Kim / Bride’s Shoes: TOMS Denim Wedges / Bridesmaid Dresses: J.Crew / Hair, Makeup: Katie Nash // Groom’s Suit, Shoes: J.Crew / Invitations, Save the Dates, Welcome Baskets, Thank You Cards: Maid of Honor, Elizabeth Hummert / Programs, Menus, and Signage: Enjoy Events (closed) / Cake: Patisserie Angelica // Mini Pies: Crisp Bake Shop / DJ: DJ John Piazza / Classical Guitarist: Jean Paul Buongiorno


Christina McNeill and Shotgun Floral Studio are Snippet & Ink Select vendors. This post contains affiliate links.


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