A Whimsical Red-and-Turquoise Vintage Wedding Outdoors in California
Vanessa and Calvin
There wasn't a dull moment when Vanessa Vellozzi married Calvin Michael West. And that was just how the couple planned it. "We wanted people to interact and have a great time and not feel like they were just there for the 'Calvin and Vanessa Show,'" says Vanessa, a graphic designer. For their three-day celebration, they turned the grounds of Dawn Ranch Lodge in Guerneville, California, into an action-packed amusement park with Ping-Pong tables, a cart loaded with Frisbees and other sports paraphernalia, and areas for playing badminton, bocce, cornhole, and ladder golf.
Vanessa designed all of the playful elements in their punchy palette, including a note (top left) alerting guests to the couple's wedding website and a save-the-date postcard with one of their engagement photos (second row). The multilayered invitation (third row) started out as another shot of the bride and groom with a map on the back. Recipients unfolded it to see the event details (pictured), then undid it again to reveal a poster of paper hearts inside a Mason jar. The enclosed R.S.V.P. card (bottom) featured a word search including "kiss" and "smile."
Guests stayed in these cute cabins at the resort where the couple married. "It was great that everybody could stay on the property without worrying about drinking and driving or being late," says Vanessa. "People could just run around and do whatever they wanted."
The welcome gifts in each cabin included alpaca-shaped chocolates in glassine pouches, as well as socks woven from alpaca wool. The latter, which came with a tag that read "Nobody’s Gettin' Cold Feet," were a gift from Vanessa's parents, who raise the animals.
Custom beer cozies were also among the welcome presents. "We had a blast coming up with cute wording for everything," says Vanessa.
How to make inexpensive baby's breath look fabulous? Amass it in "big clouds," says Vanessa. Accents of dusty miller and, in the bride's bouquet, bright spray roses complemented the aqua-and-persimmon color scheme.
To recreate them, you need just one affordable bunch of baby's breath per bouquet (fiftyflowers.com). Wrap the stems with a ribbon, and finish with a bow. To get Vanessa's look, add in a few roses.
Fans to Keep Cool
At the ceremony, printed fans were arranged on a refreshment table next to carafes of water, lemonade, and iced tea.
The Ceremony Program
Booklets modeled after a kid’s activity pad with built-in pencil holders kept guests occupied before the ceremony got under way.
Copycat the puzzles that appeared in their programs: Create one with Wordsearch Maker, and then ask your stationer to print it for you.
The programs included a giant thank-you note from the couple.
Saying "I Do"
A friend of the couple's performed the late-afternoon ceremony.
Scoring the Kiss
The couples' attendees wanted to do something special to surprise them, so a pal rounded up a dozen people to "score" the first kiss. When the newlyweds turned to face the crowd, signs proclaiming "10" or "9.5" shot up.
Vintage-y signposts, made by Vanessa's dad and painted by the bride and groom, directed guests on to the reception and around the resort for the weekend.
The other side of a magnetic board held the seating cards: pins (created with a button maker) printed with guests' names and affixed to stamped card-stock cutouts.
At the outdoor afterparty, guests filled long wooden tables laid with table runners the couple made from vintage fabric. "The sun was setting right as dinner started, so we had beautiful lighting coming from the orchard," says Vanessa.
On the couple's private table, custom "Mr." and "Mrs." vases, by Maid of Clay Ceramics, were filled with Lisianthus, baby's breath, and Bupleurum.
A foodie friend of the couple's worked with the chef at Dawn Ranch Lodge to design a family style meal with a Southern Italian theme -- a nod to Vanessa's heritage.
Dice and decks of cards packaged in muslin bags bearing the words "fun" or "play" served as tabletop icebreakers at the party.
The "Guest Book"
In lieu of signing a guest book, partygoers circled their names in a giant word search made by the bride's brother (also a graphic designer) and mounted on an easel.
Location and Catering: Dawn Ranch Lodge
Stationery: Jack and Ginger Studios
Music: DJ Funklor
Rentals: Wine Country Party & Events
Wedding Photography: Chris and Sarah Rhoads
Bride's Attire: Priscilla of Boston (dress); Vera Wang (shoes)
Bridesmaid Dresses: J.Crew
Makeup: Joshua Conover
Chocolates: Carter's Chocolates
Hair: Gillian BenAry
Cake: Sibby's Cupcakery
Socks: AdoraBella Alpacas