Real Wedding: Laura & Justin

Laura and Justin have some of the most beautiful wedding photos I’ve ever seen – so many frame-able shots from photographer Molly Watson. Not only was their wedding stunning, it was also incredibly thoughtful and meaningful, from Laura’s lovely DIY details to the couple’s venue choice. And I just love these words of wisdom from the bride: “The best advice I received was that a wedding is only as stressful as you make it. Don’t lose perspective of the purpose of the day, which is really to create and celebrate a vast new space for love to reside in your life.”

Says Laura of the ceremony, “We were on top of a big hill overlooking 500 acres of undeveloped golden hills. The view against a big, bright blue sky was breathtaking – and I think it heightened people’s connection to our ceremony as a result. Our Rabbi was Rabbi Avram Davis from Berkeley. He has an incredible ability to bring people together through an appropriate balance of seriousness and laughter. There were only 5 Jewish people at the whole wedding so this quality was essential, as we wanted everyone to feel a part of our special day. After we signed the Ketubah, Rabbi put me and my bridesmaids together in a circle and told them they were there because I trusted them and therefore it was their job to shepherd me through all the things that marriage brings. He did the same with the groomsmen and it was very touching.”

How incredible is that oak tree?!

Laura baked shortbread and black pepper shortbread, which she packaged in glassine bags that she goccoed with a gold oak tree, as a nod to the big beautiful oak found on the Taber Ranch property. The couple’s Ketubah was displayed on the escort card table.

Laura printed the menus herself, using gold ink and doilies, which were placed under clear glass plates. The wedding cake included two flavors: Raspberry Royale (white cake soaked in raspberry syrup, filled with mascarpone and fresh raspberries) and Hazelnut Grand Marnier. The cake was wrapped in white chocolate rather than fondant, and decorated with branches and Kelsey plums.

Laura sweetly answered some questions about the day…

Why did you choose this for your wedding? We wanted our wedding to be elegant, but accessible, so we went with the theme of rustic elegance. We were so inspired by the natural beauty of Taber Ranch and we knew that our friends would find it warm, invited, and awe-inspiring. To us, getting married in the spring was symbolic – the beginning of something new. We also wanted a small wedding, where each person felt how important they were in our lives. All the love that went into making small homemade favors and invitations was a way for us to demonstrate how special these people were to us.

Do you have any DIY tips for other brides? In my case, going DIY didn’t always mean saving a lot of money. There were all sorts of materials that I needed in order to do things myself, and it probably would have been cheaper in some instances to just go out and buy them already made. So it’s a balancing act – each person needs to decide how much effort they are willing to put in order to have that “special DIY feel.”

What was your favorite moment or part of the day? The Hava Nagila was an amazing experience that made me feel really connected to the many generations of brides and grooms before me, but we added a little twist: my husband was raised Catholic and went to Notre Dame, where they have a tradition that whenever they score touchdowns, a person is thrown into the air repeatedly to celebrate (they call it push-ups). Justin’s groomsmen did that during Hava Nagila – not traditionally Jewish, but very fun!

What advice do you have for other brides? Make decisions together, with your husband-to-be. As an attorney, I didn’t have the time to do everything by myself, so I worked with my husband to divide and conquer our tasks. There were obviously some things that didn’t fit his interests, but there was always something for him to take ownership of, which he did. The process brought us closer together as a team, and I believe he felt more connected to the day as a result.

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day? Taber Ranch is pretty remote, but there was nothing else that compared in beauty. So we made it work – we had our friends stay at the Citizen Hotel in Sacramento, which is only 15 minutes from Sacramento International Airport, then we bused people from Sacramento the day of the wedding. We made soundtracks for 45 minute drive, and on the way back there were cocktails – everyone was able to enjoy themselves without having to worry about transportation.



Ceremony Drinks: Lavender Lemonade // Signature Cocktails: “Le Cheval” made with Cucumber, Lime, Vodka and Ginger Beer and “Strawberries in Vodka” made with Fresh Strawberries, Vodka, Simple Syrup and Lemon Juice // Passed Appetizers: Smoked Salmon on House Made Potato Chip, California Spring Rolls, Wild Mushroom Risotto Cake // First Course: Salad of Baby Green Oak Lettuce and Arugula with Watsonville Strawberries, Blue Cheese and Toasted Pistachios // Choice of Entree: Grilled Alaskan Halibut with Wild Rice and Grilled Asparagus, Grilled Niman Ranch Hanger Steak with Mashed Potatoes, or Squash Agnolotti with Spring Garlic Nage // Dessert: Wedding Cake



Vendor Credits

Photography: Molly Watson / Planner: Lauren Geissler of Downey Street Events / Venue: Taber Ranch in Capay, California / Bride's dress, veil: Atelier des Modistes / Bride's shoes: Miu Miu / Hair: Shannon Dean / Makeup: Christi Reynolds Makeup Artistry Groom's suit: Sarar / Flowers: Botanica Floral Designs / Officiant: Rabbi Avram Davis / Harpist: Ricardo Tan / DJ: Sonny Garcia of Fog City Entertainment / Catering: Culinary Specialists / Cake: Torino Baking / Rentals: Celebrations Party Rentals

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