Melanie & Michael | Orcutt Ranch Wedding from Rad + In Love

I love the way the ladies of Rad + In Love look at weddings. Their photos are full of love and emotion captured in a way that is beautiful and fun and totally unique. Melanie and Michael’s wedding is no exception, with so many sweet moments caught on camera. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that the bride and groom are a fun loving pair who wanted their day to be all about friends and family – definitely take the time to read what the lovely bride wrote about the day. It’s truly inspiring.

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Says the bride: “We made these little books for everyone entitled YOU YES YOU. In it we included every single guest that was in attendance. We wrote each person’s connection to us, as well as a little something about them. Some were funny, some were sweet, others were downright inappropriate. It really made people feel like they were there for an actual reason, not just another name on a guest list. It was such a huge treat to see our guests find themselves in the book and read what we wrote for them. It took us about four months to complete.” The programs also featured a red and white YES button with the instructions to “Pin this button over your heart as a symbol of support for this union.”

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Shares the bride, “A great moment for me was during the vows. My bridesmaid Jenny had written a song for me years ago and when Michael began his vows, she and our brothers softly hummed the tune in harmony in the background while he spoke. It made an already emotional moment almost unbearable. In the best of ways. Also, although we wrote our own heart wrenching vows, we followed up with the traditional exchange of vows, which are so simply perfect and do not get enough credit.”

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Favorite part of the day? “Right after the ceremony, we invited all of our guests to take part in the recessional, which is a Sicilian tradition. We all walked together down a big dirt road to the reception, as our brothers played the accordion and fiddle and my sister sang traditional Sicilian folk songs. It was unreal. We were there surrounded by every single guest at our wedding. The excitement and love were so thick it felt like it was propelling us forward.”

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From the photographers: “Many of Melanie and Michael’s friends performed for them at their wedding. Everyone sang and danced late into the night. I was high on love from this wedding for days.”

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Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  Orcutt Ranch could accommodate our huge families and our tiny bank accounts. It is a city park, so at any moment a couple weekend hikers could waltz through, but the more the merrier. Also, it was super gorgeous and unpretentious as hell.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  The one thing we kept coming back to was “community.” We wanted everyone there to feel like they were a part of our union. That and the song “Love Story” by Randy Newman. It essentially is a play-by-play of our wedding day, and hopefully our life.

What other music was part of your wedding day?  During the ceremony, Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s “Hello My Baby” played while guests of note processed, and Jenny O played “Sun, Moon, and Stars” while the wedding party processed. She also played “Love Story” by Randy Newman for our first dance and “Forever” by The Beach Boys for the Father/Daughter dance. Luke Rathborne played his song “Solon Town” for the Mother/Son dance. Becky Calinsky played “Old Kentucky Home” by Randy Newman while we sang it for addendum to the first dance.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  To get a day-of coordinator. Allie was indispensable. Talk about giving yourself an effing break already.

What advice do you have for other brides?  1. Get a day-of coordinator. 2. That thing you’re stressing about?… NO ONE IS GONNA NOTICE.

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  We, like everyone, had a tight budget. And we stayed within it. We designed our stationery and invitations – our invites literally cost us $75 total. / If you can find one vendor that you trust and that works for your budget, find all of your other vendors through them. They will lead you in the right direction. / Look into public spaces! Our venue ended up costing us $2000 for a 12-hour day. / Anywhere we could cut a corner, we did. Chairs for example: we used the same chairs from our ceremony for our reception. We just asked 10 of our male guests ahead of time if they would move the chairs after the ceremony for us. They were so happy to help and it only took them 10 minutes to move 175 chairs. Saved us over $400. / Find a small local chain to cater. Local means you can trust the quality and the people. Chain means it’s gonna be more cost-effective. Ours was Stonefire Grill. It was buffet style and it was perfect and we spent $4000. No one cared that it was BBQ.

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?  Yes. We encouraged our guests to bring their kids. This was so important. The kids made everything light and loose and fun. Any table that had a kid at it had a big basket full of crayons, tattoos, stickers, paper, bubbles, etc. so the kids felt special. / We never left our guests. A lot of people told me to take some time after the ceremony, but we really did not need or want to. There was no grand entrance or separation between us and them. We were all in it together and it felt so right. / The other thing that made it so special was the involvement of our guests in the entire day. Our friends performed our first dance songs, my high school youth minister was our DJ, my uncle made our simple gold wedding bands, a friend did our flowers, all of my aunts and cousins brought the desserts, my 10 year old nephew and my best guy friend filmed the entire event, and we did all of the clean up. Michael and I changed into tennis shoes at the end of the night and cleaned the heck outta that place. It was so important to us to see this thing to completion. It felt great. I can’t explain it. There was something very emotional about being the last to leave, knowing that we had taken care of all of our guests, all of these people that were so important to us and had been there for us on our first day to help us take our first step.

Vendor Credits

Photography: Rad + In Love / Venue: Orcutt Ranch in West Hills, California / Day-of Coordinator: Allison Shane, Pop the Champagne Events / Bride's Dress: Nicole Miller / Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens / Veil: Gilded Shadows / Groom's Attire: J.Crew / Stationery Font: Molly Shiot / Stationery Printer: NonStop Printing / Rentals: EZ Party Rentals / Classic Guitar: Albert Diaz / Cello: Becky Calinksy / Singers: Jenny O, Luke Rathborne / Catering: Stonefire Grill, Brent's Deli / Custom Stamp: Yellow Owl Workshop / Hair, Makeup: Page Mahon / Photo Booth: Photoboothology Rad + In Love is a Snippet & Ink Select vendor.

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