Whimsical Ranch Wedding: Michele + Luke

bride and groom by a windmill

Michele + Luke wanted their wedding to be fun, quirky, modern and chic all at the same time – absolutely love that! By getting married on a ranch, they knew they could have the best of both worlds: a peaceful and simple ceremony, followed by a funky, vibrant reception. Involving pops of color was important to them from the beginning. One of the first ideas Michele decided on was to use white styrofoam wig heads as the centerpieces with bright bursts of flowers exploding from the top of the heads. Using black + white as a base allowed the reception to feel simple and classic while helping the pops of color to do just that, pop. So super fun! Thanks to Paige Newton Photography for the lovely photos and congrats to Michele + Luke!

black boq heels

mixed bouquet

Each of the hairpieces were handmade by the bridesmaids. Michele’s mother-in-law and sister-in-law did all the florals.

hair acessories for bridesmaids

mixed dresses bridesmaids

groomsmen in black

drawing boutonnieres

From Michele, At the end of the day, we wanted our wedding to be a unique and personal expression of our love. One of the ways we were able to accomplish that, was to have a song that Luke orchestrated as our processional. That phenomenal piece of music represented the culmination of every emotion I was feeling that day, making it even that more special. Placed on either side of our handmade chuppah, were two banners that I made with lyrics from the Beatles song “I Will.” I knew that the design of ceremony shouldn’t try and compete with the beauty of the ranch, so adding the burlap banner with white letters made a soft, yet meaningful statement.

tassle garland altar

tassle garland altar

tassle garland altar

Tell us a bit about your music
Processional: Suisun by Luke Franks
Recessional: Cecilia by Simon and Garfunkel
First Dance: If I should Lose You Nat King Cole

bridal party bouquet tossing in air

bride and groom

tissue paper ball reception decor

tissue paper ball reception decor

bright reception decor

bright reception decor

bright reception decor

Such a fun + festive reception tent! Just love all the pops of color and the chevron table runners. :) Michele’s step-dad + brother made all the food for the wedding and their cake was by their friend Nia. Such a creative + talented family!

chalkboard seating chart

dessert bar, arrow cupcakes

honey favors

Most memorable moment of your wedding day?
I’m sure Luke would agree that there was a tie for most memorable moment of our wedding day. During the reception, Luke, his sister Paige (who was one of my fabulous bridesmaids), and our friend Jaimee each performed a song. They were all backed up by some of our favorite guys, who happen to not only be Luke’s old band-mates, but incredible musicians. This “mini-concert” was one of the happiest moments of my life and the one thing I didn’t want to have a wedding without. Music plays a huge part in our lives (being that Luke is a singer-songwriter) and I couldn’t have been happier with how it went. This memorable moment is tied with one that came soon after.

For the after-reception dancing, Luke and I had planned to do a traditional Jewish chair dance. Although we had casually talked about it with our groomsman (who would do the lifting) we never actually practiced or told them when it would happen. During our dance party, I randomly decided that it was time for the chair dance. As the music started I signaled to some bridesmaids and groomsman that it was “time”. The spontaneity and burst of adrenaline we felt as it all came together in a matter of seconds was thrilling and joyous.

first dance

Any advice for those planning now?
If you’re doing a DIY wedding like I did, allow the people you love to help. It not only is an incredible bonding experience, but it makes your wedding day even more special. I am beyond blessed to know so many talented people. Involving my closest friends and family in the process was the greatest decision I made and I am so grateful for all they sacrificed!

Also, one of the greatest pieces of advice that I received for doing a DIY wedding like mine was to stop looking! At some point you have to stop looking at all the wedding blogs and focus on the details that you know you love. The more you look, the more you begin to second-guess your ideas and that is a scary feeling. I had a huge list of projects in the beginning, but over time I had to choose the ones that were the most meaningful and complemented the overall vision.


photography: Paige Newton Photography // venue name: Rush Ranch, Suisun, CA // wedding dress: reddoll designs // hair stylist: Amanda Rivera // makeup artist: Amanda Rivera // groom attire: Zara // paper goods: Lyndsie Smith Design + Photography // signage: Kate VandenBerghe // cinematography: brother Nick Zitlin // invitations: Lyndsie Smith Design + Photography // music: Luke Franks, Jaimee Harris