Dana and Joel Sanders, who live in San Diego and work for All Peoples Church, met through mutual friends when they were college students in Texas. Friends for years, they eventually started dating and were engaged five months later. Their early autumn wedding was relaxed and intimate -- even with 250 guests.
Dana and Joel chose to wed on her family's ranch in Boulevard, California, on the afternoon of October 2, 2010. "The West Valley has always been my favorite spot on the land because of the huge live oak trees, massive boulders, and the swing," Dana said. "We loved the idea of getting married away from the city and surrounded by nature."
Cream-colored canvas and garlands of fresh gardenias anchored the wedding site. During the ceremony, which was led by the couple's dear friend and pastor, Robert Herber, thunder rolled in the distance and a light rain began to fall. The couple were under the oak tree and couldn't feel the precipitation, but they did see the umbrellas going up in the seats. Joel looked his bride in the eyes and reassured her it would be okay. And after the pastor asked everyone to pray for the rain to stop, it did, almost immediately. The pair exchanged personalized vows, took communion, and shared a group prayer. At the conclusion, they walked back up the aisle to "Rise" by Eddie Vedder.
In honor of Joel's Texas roots (and the place where the couple's relationship began), dinner consisted of barbecued delicacies, such as smoked chicken and brisket, prepared by Smokey Joe BBQ.
Strands of lights hung over the long tables, which were covered in burlap and muslin.
Photography: Sean Walker
Rentals: Abbey Party Rentals
Wedding planning: Krystel Tien from Couture Events
Hair: Heather Molchanoff of Hot Seat Salon
Makeup: Crista Nicole of Crista Nicole Artistry
Engagement ring and bride's wedding band: Claude Thibeaudeau from Blumenthal Jewelers
Groom's wedding band: David Yurman
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