Santa Margarita Ranch Wedding: Julia + James

Julia described her wedding as a “country-bumpkin-rustic-shabby-chic-church-picnic wedding” and I just love it! Julia + James really wanted their wedding to reflect the simple, warm family values they grew up with. Lively down-home band? Check. Kids included? Definitely. Every step of the way they asked themselves, “Does this represent who we are or what we strive to be?” And it shows. And not only is their wedding beautiful, it was planned in 6 months – and was planned remotely (they live in St. Louis and the wedding took place in Cali)!

Congrats to Julia + James and thanks so much to our amazing sponsor, Ashley Maxwell for sharing the gorgeous photos! And did I mention Julia + James found their photographer here on GWS! I just LOVE being able to connect amazing couples with awesome vendors. Yay Love!

old theatre wedding marquee

bridesmaid dresses hanging

bride's shoes

rustic wooden crate

bridal hair pieces

bridemaids in pastel

groom in beige suit

groom wearing floral tie

Love the groomsmen ties from General Knot – they are all made with vintage fabrics!

groomsmen and streamliner

What song did you walk down the aisle to? Bluegrass version of the Wedding March. We exited to “She Said Yes!” by Mumford & Sons. Both played by Bremen Town.

ring bearers and sign

burlap wedding altar

burlap wedding altar

bride and groom in tall grass

We loved Santa Margarita Ranch from the moment we saw it back in early January, only three weeks after getting engaged. It was the first and last venue we checked out — it was perfect.  We both have large families and lots of friends that feel like family. We wanted our wedding to feel like a sweet summer church picnic.

 bride and groom by old truck

bride and groom in field

barn wedding reception

bride and groom name initals decor

snow cones at wedding

lollipop favors

rustic centerpiece

chalkboard reception sign

birdie wedding cake topper

honey jar favors

reception sign

bride and groom reception exit

Most memorable moment of your wedding day?
Julia: Holding James’s hand as we walked back down the aisle together as husband and wife with friends and family cheering! We had the most amazing band named Bremen Town covering a Mumford & Sons song, “She said Yes!” It was perfect!
James: I have to agree with Julia. Walking back down the aisle, knowing the rest of the evening we got to love and appreciate all the fruits of our (mostly her) hard work. Also, driving away in the truck… feeling on top of the world, knowing we had just experienced something so genuine and amazing. And the awesome food. Oh, and the stellar music.

Any advice for those planning now?
Julia: LOVE every moment of the planning process, it flies by! Just love and be grateful for all the darling family and friends that are there supporting you on your big day, it is just so special. Oh! And most importantly, find a way to have time stand still on the day of your wedding day.
James: Don’t try to self-will the perfect wedding day. Love the twists and turns. Be patient with the process. Know that if you and your future-spouse have laid a good foundation, then your day will turn out perfectly regardless of anything unexpected. “Patience must have her perfect work” (James 1:4, KJV).

Also, we used a couple of great sites to organize our wedding day. We used Wedding Window to share information and have people RSVP for different wedding events. was great as it let people buy us activities on our honeymoon.

photography: Ashley Maxwell // venue: Santa Margarita Ranch in Santa Margarita, California // event coordinator + floral design: Jenn Hocker with Allure Event Designs // wedding dress: Casablanca, customized 1914, from Happily Ever After Bridal in Chesterfield, Mo. // hairpieces: Which Goose // shoes: Bride – Seychelles, Groom – Frye // bridesmaid dresses: Alfred Angelo // groom Suit: Indochino // groomsmen ties: General Knot // cinematography: Stillwater cinematography // invitations + paper goods: Bride and Groom (design for paper goods) Kamren Charpentier (invitations) Sealed with a Kiss (program assembly) // catering: Trumpet Vine Catering // cake: The Cakery // music: Bremen Town

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  1. Is there any way to find out the name of the Seychelles shoes the bride is wearing? They’re amazing!

  2. love the diff colored bridesmaid dresses. such soft colors!

    Now… coherence:
    I love the old movie house. So romantic!!! The happy, shiny people are just so nice to see and look at in photos. Gorgeous beyond gorgeous couple and wedding!

  4. Snow cones = brilliant. And I am in love with the groom’s tie.

  5. Obsessed – perfectly rustic chic wedding!

  6. I’m the lucky groom in these pictures. @Diane, I think Julia got her shoes at Anthropologie. @Jennifer, we meant to include my tie and the groomsmen’s ties in the vendor list. We found these awesome ties made from legit, American vintage fabrics on Our ties specifically were made from fabric that dates back to the 1930s.

  7. How did you find the Bremen Town musicians? I’m getting married nearby, they sound great!

  8. OMGosh!!!! I loved EVERYTHING about this wedding!! The venue, the clothes, the flowers, the hair and makeup, etc. All the pictures showed exactly who this couple was! Congrats on keeping it real!

  9. Where are the groomsmen’s ties from? Super cute!

  10. I love every…single…little…detail!!!

  11. @Britt, we found Bremen Town via our videographers. They were awesome. You can find them on Facebook or at

    @Mary, the ties are from an awesome shop called If someone at Green Wedding Shoes reads this, can you add to the vendor’s list? Also, refer to my previous comment about how those ties come about…

  12. Oh! How special!! Thank you for posting our special day!! Made me all misty-eyed…:)
    And thanks for all the sweet feedback.
    Plum Pretty Sugar, my wonderful MOH gave the sweetest robe the morning if the wedding from your shop! I love it!! The pic of me wearing it in the bridal cottage pre ceremony are on Ashley Maxwell’s site:
    Thanks for such wonderfully girlie, pretty, bridal robes! Eee!

  13. Thanks James + Julia! I added the ties to the feature along with the link for Bremen Town.

    And Julia, I LOVE the Plum Pretty Sugar robe – you have a super sweet MOH! :)

  14. Wow! i love every aspect of this wedding. Looks like so much thought was put into every detail.

  15. Congratulations! Absolutely lovely wedding. What was the source for the honey you used as the guest favors? Thanks in advance, and again, congratulations and best wishes!

  16. One of the most beautiful shabby chic rustic weddings I’ve ever seen!

  17. I had the pleasure of designing this lovely couple’s wedding ties- a great time, every step of the way! And what a beautiful wedding it looks to have been!
    All the best to you both,
    General Knot & Co.

  18. This wedding makes me so nostalgic! I grew up in the area and remember driving by the Dew Drop Inn in Santa Margarita. Such a beautiful area. We got married in the area as well and had a cake from The Cakery. The one thing my husband regrets is that we didn’t eat more cake (it was delicious and they are truly artists)! Love that canopy and those table numbers, not to mention the fabrics. Such an adorable wedding.

  19. This is the cutest rustic wedding and the photography is A-MAZ-ING. Love, love, love.

  20. so light and airy and i love the bridal party’s outfits and the couple’s pictures and the beautiful location and umm everything. so beautiful.

  21. Hardly rustic! This is one of the freshest looks I’ve seen in ages. The photos are stunning as are all the details. Terrific! Congratulations.

  22. Lovely wedding! I love the snow cones! Great idea!

  23. I love the flowers, bridesmaids hairpieces, I love the ties. There are so many things I love about those pictures…:)

  24. Tampa wedding photographer - life long studios on:

    I love how the photographs highlight the theme of the wedding. The photographer really used the available details, lighting, etc… To tell am amazing story. Ilove it when I see all the hard work it takes to put on a wedding like this come out so breathtaking as this one! Amazing job keep up the good work.

  25. I love the colors she chose for her wedding…simple but fun!

  26. This is one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever seen, such attention to details, and that cake is super cute!
    Love all the soft pastels and texture. Great job and congrats to the beautiful couple :)

  27. @Heather, here is the link to the honey we used:

    Thanks for the sweet comment. We loved every bit of the prep and day!!

  28. I don’t even have words for how much I love this wedding. The bride and groom are so cute, the colors are amazing, the BM dresses are adorable, the flowers are gorgeous, the details are fantastic… {takes breath} and the images are so so stunning. Wowza.

  29. Candace from Chino, CA on:

    We love! It was one of the primary sites Julia used to find great ideas. What a joy it was to share planning and preparation with Julia and James for a wonderfully memorable wedding! The venue was amazing, the photographer exceptional, the food delectable, the music terrific, and the entire experience, a blessing! ~~Candace, Mother of the Bride

  30. Totally gorgeous. So wonderful when a photographer captures all the little details. That’s not always the case. Great work! Beautiful wedding design!

  31. This wedding is absolutely beautiful! I have very similar ideas for my wedding day! I was wondering if the any of the items are available to be sold? I would love to purchase some of the peices used in this wedding.

  32. @ Tanya sure! Many of the items are family heirlooms so those aren’t for sale…but a lot of the goods we found at antique stores, vintage shops or just good ol’ fashion late night craft time! Email us!

  33. Hello,

    Such a pretty wedding! I am using that exact color blue and was wondering where you got your bridesmaids dresses- they are so cute!!!


  34. @Amy, the BM dresses are from Alfred Angelo and the blue color is called Robin’s Egg Blue! Have fun…love that color. Yeah weddings!!!!

  35. I’ve been trying to find the Seychelles shoes from Antropologie and can’t find them anywhere online! Does anyone know the style name of the shoe? They’re so cute, I’d love to find them!

  36. @Diane, the shoes are from Anthro. They are called Spectator Espadrilles…they should pop up with a Google search. And….I’m pretty sure they are on sale now! Whoohoo! Happy shoe shopping ;)

  37. WHAT incredible images to capture the perfect day!! This couple has the sparkle, genuine love and happiness to last forever! And you can tell everyone at the wedding benefited from the same love! I can’t wait for a video from this wedding! AMAZING!

  38. Ahh! Gorgeous wedding! I’m a photog from St. Louis, totally envious of that Cali light.

  39. My family’s business is wedding DJing. We practically live right down the road from Santa Margarita Ranch and my stepdad (with my sister and I as helpers) work 3 or 4 weddings here every year. This location is one of my favorites.

    That being said… This one of the cutest weddings I have seen there. It makes me wish that I had worked at this wedding!

  40. I LOVE this wedding, attention to detail is explicit. So beutiful. I am getting married in 2 weeks and would love to use some of the details you have. Where did you get the vintage bird cake toppers. I also love the little door angers you used on the caravan doors. Beautiful!!!xxxx

  41. Hi Ame!
    Thanks for your sweet comment, we sure had fun planning and creating! We had the bird cake toppers made from CinnamonBirds on–she will do custom birdies to match the bride and groom. And the bride and groom door hangers were from a little shop in Mission Viejo, Ca called Daisy Shoppe ( Happy Wedding! xo

  42. Julia,
    You’re wedding is Absolutely breathtaking! Did you make the flower girl dresses? They match the bridesmaids and incorporate your colors to beautifully!

  43. Thanks, Hannah!
    We had a wonderful gal (amandarosebridal) on make the lil’ ladies flower girl dresses. We gave her the color swatches from the BM dresses and an idea of what we had mind for the look…and BAM! There they were-just PERFECT!

  44. This is a perfectly delivered wedding. I have forwarded it to friends because it is just stunning wedding eye candy! Now this is what you call attention to detail and keeping it real!

  45. Thanks Julia! They are truly perfect. I too, forwarded the page to friends via their facebook walls haha Everyone is obsessed with it. Stunning Wedding! Did you have the BM hairpieces made as well?


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