A Bohemian Summer Wedding in California's Wine Country
Jena Wilson and Donny Myrick started dating in middle school but spent years apart while they were away at college. During a two-week window when Jena was home on break, her friend made it her mission to reconnect the pair—the couple essentially picked up right where they left off. "It was on this night that I sat talking to Jena until five in the morning that I knew my feelings for her never left," Donny says.
After dating for another three years, Donny planned a surprise proposal during a trip to a winery in the Santa Ynez Valley. "We got there and about 30 seconds into our tour we were being shown this romantic underground cave," Jena remembers. "I walked into a room with my engagement ring set on the table with candles." The best part? Donny popped the question with both of their families present ("They all drove out an hour to be there," says the bride) to witness the big moment.
Even though Jena works as the Director of Events at her family's ranch, Greengate Ranch and Vineyard, where the pair hosted their wedding, the couple enlisted Kelsey from A Lovely Creative to make sure their big-day design and execution was flawless. The newlyweds, and the 150 guests who joined them for their boho-inspired vineyard wedding on August 18, 2018, maintain that everything about the event was picture perfect, the result of a team of incredible vendors. "Something that was also super meaningful to me was that all of our vendors are people we can call friends. I knew my guests were in great hands, being served delicious food and amazing drinks by genuinely nice people that we have formed personal relationships with through working in the industry," says Jena.
As for her best advice for all brides-to-be? "Give yourself time to adjust and relax. If you haven't handled everything at least a week before your wedding, don't feel bad asking someone for help—and delegate some tasks," she adds. "You have no idea how your body and mind will react to such a big life event!"
The Engagement Ring
Donny customized a five stone engagement ring for Jena, featuring an assortment of gray and white diamonds in the center. The diamonds on each end of the main setting were taken from a tennis bracelet that Jena's father once gifted her mother.
The overall style for the big day was inspired by an Instagram photo Jena and her planner came across, which featured statement-making rattan light fixtures. With the aim to incorporate natural wood and woven elements into the invitation suites, Prim & Pixie designed taupe invitations with a rattan back. The envelope liners featured a marbled geode pattern—another detail that carried into the big day. The wedding date was stamped onto a wooden belly band.
The venue was an easy choice for this couple—Jena's family owns Greengate Ranch and Vineyard in San Luis Obispo, California, and the pair even lived and worked there together when they first began dating. "It has always been the perfect place for us to relax after business hours and roam the 140-acre property with our two dogs," Jena says.
This bride had her eye on the "Inca" wedding dress long before her first bridal appointment at Grace Loves Lace. "I love the style of their dresses so I figured if not the 'Inca,' I would find something else I loved," Jena says. She tried on the gown and instantly fell in love with its lace long-sleeves, high neckline, and open back. "My favorite thing about it is how light and comfortable it is, while still being very classic and modest with the white underlay."
The Groom's Look
Chrysanthemums and dried palm berries made for unexpected, but on-theme boutonnières.
Jena's bridesmaids and maid of honor wore deep gray dresses from Nomad Boutique, which featured floor-length lace over a romper.
The First Look
Having recently bought a new home across the street from the venue, Jena and Donny had their first look at their house before heading to their ceremony site for family photos.
The couple chose to have their ceremony on the property's Terrace Lawn, where they often sat on the steps and watched their dogs play when they lived there.
The bride and groom exchanged personal vows in front of a unique hexagon altar, which the couple has since installed in their backyard. For Donny, reciting his vows was the most memorable part of the entire wedding day. "Back in middle school and high school I use to write poems to Jena, so I decided to input some of my old lines into my vows," he says. "As we did not share our vows before the wedding, I was stunned to hear Jena finish her vows quoting an old poem with the same line I had put down as the very first sentence in my vows. To me this showed the great history and bond we share."
Cocktail Hour with a Vineyard View
While the couple shared a much-needed quiet moment together post-ceremony, guests headed over to a lawn overlooking the grounds' vineyards for the cocktail hour. There, they enjoyed music from an acoustic duo, The Cimo Brothers, and some of the pair's favorite appetizers, like sushi and pigs-in-a-blanket from Field to Table.
Several Signature Cocktails
Along with plenty of wine, beer, and liquor options, Sidecar Cocktail Co. served Jena and Donny's guests several signature cocktails, including a daquiri and an old fashioned.
The Seating Chart Installation
This couple chose a large installation with an agate-patterned wallpaper as the background for their seating chart. Guest names were written in white on wooden hexagons with an acrylic overlay by Lovelyfest.
The Boho Reception
For the reception, rattan light fixtures from Bella Vista Designs hung over a large white dance floor. Long farm tables were topped with a simple gauze runner to showcase the natural wood and lush floral garlands; round tables were covered with creamy velvet cloth.
The Tabletop Details
Each guest's place setting included a classic white plate topped with with a menu and an personalized acrylic hexagon by Lovelyfest. Gold-rimmed glassware added a metallic accent to the table, while glowing candles created a cozy setting.
The First Dance
Jena and Donny shared their first dance to "From the Ground Up" by Dan + Shay. "This song talks about how Grandma and Grandpa painted a picture of being together for a lifetime, and I want that to be us one day, no matter the hardships that come," Jena says. "My Grandma and Grandpa have been a big inspiration to us—they have been married now for 74 years!"
The Photo Booth Van
Jena and Donny brought in an SLO Photobus van to allow guests to bring home memories of the wedding. "The owner made all of these adorable felt props that were really nice quality," Jena says. "We still look through those photos at all of our silly guests!"
The Agate Design Wedding Cake
The newlyweds asked Paper Cake Events to create a stunning agate two-tier to match the escort display.
All the Desserts
Photography, Ashley Ludaescher
Venue, Greengate Ranch & Vineyard
Event planning and design, A Lovely Creative
Flowers, April Flowers
Invitations, Prim + Pixie
Calligraphy and escort display, Lovelyfest
Bride's gown, Grace Loves Lace
Hair and makeup, Janet Villa
Bridesmaids' dresses, Nomad Boutique
Groom's suit, Suit Supply
Groomsmen's suits, Mens Wearhouse
Catering, Field to Table Events
Bar, Sidecar Cocktail Co
Cake and desserts, Paper Cake Events
Ice cream truck, Negranti Creamery
Ceremony music, Cimo Brothers
Reception music, Malik Thorne
Lighting and drapery, Bella Vista Designs
Photobooth bus, SLO Photobus