A Vintage and Whimsical Outdoor Destination Wedding in California
Naya and Oliver
After a two-year friendship, Naya Peterson, owner of the urban edible gardening store Fire Escape Farms and Oliver Fross, a director at the Gap, decided to add romance to their relationship. Their love blossomed in the Bay Area, and two and a half years later, they were planning the rest of their lives together, starting with a charming camp-themed wedding.
Naya and Oliver took all the joy and excitement of a classic childhood summer – think creaky cabin beds, archery lessons under the trees, arts and crafts – and squeezed it into one spectacular weekend in California’s Carmel Valley.
Douglas Ranch, a family-run summer camp in operation from the 1940s to 2012, was the perfect venue to host every aspect of the pair’s wedding weekend, including the lodging for their 170 guests. “We loved the idea of spending a whole weekend with everyone we love in a relaxed fun environment,” said Naya.
Since wedding guests would be staying in cabins on the campgrounds, a map of Douglas Ranch highlighted all the site's main attractions.
Naya and Oliver provided a bit of packing guidance. They sent a checklist of wedding-weekend essentials along with each invitation, including swimsuits, water bottles, and bedding for bunking up comfortably in their cabins.
Prior to Saturday’s 4pm ceremony, guests attended a group brunch before partaking in an afternoon of crafts, riflery, and archery. Even the bride and groom picked up their own bow and arrows before it was time to change into their wedding attire.
The talented groom showed wedding guests how it was done on the archery range.
All of the bride's day-of jewelry was vintage, including her engagement ring which had an extra special history: Oliver took the stone from his paternal grandmother’s ring and the setting from his maternal grandmother’s to make a ring just for Naya.
Behind the Seams
All suits made at Al's Attire come with a custom label sewn above the inside jacket pocket, and Oliver's was marked with his name.
The bride carried a simple bundle of blooms with pops of bright orange ranunculus designed by florist Casey Dolan, one of Naya's best friends since childhood.
The Ring Bearers
Ring bearers Charlie and Leo posed for a portrait with bride and groom wearing matching teal and white gingham suspenders and bowties from MeandMatilda.
Naya rode to the ceremony in a light blue vintage car on loan from the couples' friend.
Keeping with the classic summer camp theme, Jessy Brown handcrafted an array of rustic ceremony decorations. Handmade arrows tied together with muslin and decorated with flowers and moss were scattered throughout the area.
Oliver and Naya wrote their own ceremony, which was officiated by friend James Home. "It was very important to have the ceremony encompass what we want our marriage to be," said Naya. A trio of guests read poems, and another friend played the violin for the procession.
Old crates became shadowboxes filled with photos of the bride and groom as well as special objects. They adorned nearby oak trees to create an intimate setting as Champagne and hors d'oeuvres were passed after the ceremony.
Naya put together the escort cards complete with small handmade arrow pins that were later worn on wedding guests' lapels, hats, and scarves.
Wildflowers dotted reception tables while strings of lights hung overhead. One special item on the menu: a "Lady of the Lake Gin" signature cocktail made with homemade tonic.
Bright table numbers reminiscent of the stationery suite marked the seating arrangements.
Mason jars were perfect casual flower vessels.
The Head Table
The special reserved seats for the happy Mr. and Mrs. at the reception were marked with colorful signage.
Fun and Games
Yet another advantage of getting married at a summer camp? Fun games everywhere, including ping pong, which guests played after dinner.
Mexican blankets wrapped with a tag that read "I'm yours" were given as favors to keep guests warm during the weekend and beyond. "I regularly see the blankets on beds, as rugs, and over animals on my friends' Instagram feeds," said Naya.
The First Dance
For their first dance as husband and wife, Naya and Oliver spun to "10 Mile Stereo" by Beach House.
More dancing and celebrating followed the reception with late night snacks and a second celebration in the lodge for the serious partiers.
To top off the weekend, Sunday was filled with more lighthearted activities and culminated with a pool party -- a perfectly planned finale since the toasty temperatures were quite a surprise for late October.