Philanthropy is what first brought Lara & Austin together. Although they didn’t exchange numbers at the Harvey relief donation center, fate intervened when a chance encounter on the street resulted in their first date over lunch! Gathering friends and family around the table for a shared meal is something they both love, and they dreamt that their wedding to be an extension of this.
So grab your glass and meet me al fresco! Their wedding is great inspo for the couple that would rather spend their weekend in the great outdoors than sitting inside – and for those who would choose a night at their local brewery over a crowded club. The guiding phrase of this wedding was effortless elegance. Think: natural materials contrasting with soft textures. But make no mistake, this couple loves a good party! Once dinner was wrapped, the horn section of the live band invited everyone to continue celebrating on the dance floor. With personal details, natural textures, and community-focused flow, this wedding was immersed in the essence of a California wine country retreat.
Bride Lara was eternally grateful to her planner Skylar with Chancey Charm Houston for sticking by the couple’s side during the entire process! Photographer Kayla Esparza captured every magical detail in Carmel Valley California that you all are sure to love!
A Classic and Show Stopping Bridal Look
The bride shared with us the process of finding her perfect dress!
“Before dress shopping, I looked back at some of my old Pinterest board pins and…wow am I glad I did not choose my dress in 2010. To avoid having to explain to my future daughter why mommy chose a chevron-patterned dress, I knew that I wanted to steer clear of anything “trendy” and instead look for details that have stood the test of time. To me, that meant lace, a sweetheart neckline and a cathedral length veil. It took a few tries, but I finally found “the one” at Brickhouse Bridal.
OMG! The train of our dreams!!
The Couple’s First Look
L + A always knew they wanted their wedding to be both intimate and a true expression of who they are as a couple. With that in mind, they worked with their planner to take their (at times lofty) ideas and hone them into an experience that felt authentic and cohesive. Skylar did not disappoint and kicked things off with a bang when she found their venue, Gardener Ranch in Carmel Valley, CA.
It was important to the couple that they find a place that could host their entire family + wedding party for the whole weekend. When Skylar found Gardener Ranch, the two fell so in love that they booked it sight unseen. Neither of them had even been to Carmel before! But this turned out to be one of the best decisions they could have made as it afforded the space and time to truly be together throughout the entire weekend. Pure magic!!
The Wedding Party + Ceremony
And it was all yellow… 💛 These ladies look absolutely stunning in their mismatched gowns within the same color palette!
Well hello gentlemen!! Looks like these fellas know how to dress to impress!
The florals by Crimson Horticultural Rarities all focused on a “fresh picked” look and lots of variety! The ceremonial florals were made to look as though the flowers were growing with the existing tree!
Congrats Lara and Austin!! You guys are MARRIED!!
Who Needs Tradition!
The couple decided to do away with some “traditional” elements that didn’t bear significance to them. For example, instead of having a cake, they opted for a champagne tower (much harder than it looks but always a great choice).
We are obsessing over this color-blocked seating chart banner that hung beneath the Bazar-inspired silks installation! All of the silks were sourced from Thailand, a nod to the bride’s cultural background!
The tablescape featured 3 different combinations of eclectic glassware to make the table feel “homey”!
The bride collects brass candlesticks, which were an important part of the design. The rest of the decor was kept simple so guests had plenty of space to place platters for the family-style meal!
Lara comes from a Thai heritage so they decided to include traditions and festivities into their Friday night rehearsal dinner.
“From a Thai cooking demonstration by our fabulous caterer (Chef Bruce with Party for Your Palate) to the Thai silks installation, to the tradition of the groom passing through 7 ‘gates’ in order to prove his worth and claim me as his bride (this turned out to be one of the most fun events of the whole weekend!!)”
Organic-shaped table inspiration incorporated draping floral garlands and dried florals and the result was stunning!
A Night to Remember
The couple carefully curated little touches that felt like themselves on their wedding day. This was seen through choices such as having Austin’s father officiate the ceremony, creating signature his/hers cocktails, and crafting playlists for each chapter of the evening!
The bride wrestled with whether or not she wanted to do a “second look.” Ultimately, being able to break it down comfortably on the dance floor was the deciding factor for her!
“I noticed that once I changed into my second look, it really helped transition the mood of the evening and let everyone know it was time to party. I got my dress from a local boutique, then had my mom sew on a pearled, tulle waist skirt to look like a dress that I’d seen on Instagram. I ordered my short veil, pearled gloves, and beaded belt from Amazon – this goes to show that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to create your reception look!”
Instead of the typical grand exit with sparklers or confetti, the two jumped straight into the pool followed shortly after by the rest of their wedding party!
The most memorable moment of the day had to be cannon balling dress/veil/heels and all into the (heated, thank god) pool at the end of the night. While your wedding day is a momentous occasion that, for many, cements your status in the #adulting world (gross) - it was a great reminder that at the end of the day it’s important to never forget the voice of your inner child telling you to have fun, be playful, and jump!
The couple shares that reflecting back, they’re glad they held true in keeping what was important to them and did away with what wasn’t!
First and foremost, I cannot stress how vital it was to have Skylar, our fearless/fabulous wedding planner, by our side through the entire process. She was worth every penny. I would also say that it’s important to choose/hire vendors who you really vibe and get along with. This makes the planning and “vision-sharing” process so much easier because you already inherently trust their judgement. Not to mention, it makes for a lot more fun on the planning calls and day of events! Lastly, I would just reiterate to stay true to who you are as a couple. Don’t compromise on keeping what’s sacred to you and don’t feel guilty about nixing the rest.
Congrats to the happy couple! The team at GWS wishes you nothing but the best!!
photography: Kayla Esparza // venue name: Gardener Ranch, Carmel Valley, California, USA // florals: Crimson Horticultural Rarities // hair stylist: Hey Lovely Makeup // makeup artist: Hey Lovely Makeup // videography: Rust & Honey // paper goods: Isidore & Augustine // catering: A Party for Your Palate // furniture rentals: Kiss Me in Carmel Vintage Rentals // linen rentals: Decor by Dulce // specialty rentals: Chic Event Rentals // music: Lucky Devils Band // photo booth: Smith House Photo // Guest Book: After the Tone // Transportation: Sub Shuttle Inc // Wedding Submission Services: Published + Pretty