A Vibrant Fall Wedding on a California Ranch
The first time Caroline and Jose showed up on each other's dating apps, the busy San Francisco CEOs—he founded a biotech firm; she oversees a non-profit—couldn't make their schedules match. But later, when they found each other on a second dating app (their shared love of running and commitment to their families brought them together yet again!), they knew they had to make it work. "We both had pictures of ourselves running with our parents," they say, "and loved how we each seemed active and loved family. And were cute, of course!"
Less than two years later, Caroline's parents decided to travel to Peru to meet Jose's mother and father. While the families were at dinner together, Jose asked Caroline's parents for their blessing to propose. After they said yes, Jose surprised the entire group—including Caroline—by dropping to one knee and pulling a ring out of his pocket. "The moment was priceless," says the couple.
On November 24, 2018, after a seven-month-long engagement, the pair celebrated their marriage with a wedding for 130 guests at Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley, California. They incorporated Peruvian elements in honor of Jose's heritage—including cozy shawls from Lima and drink accents—and brilliant fall shades through the bouquets and ceremony decorations. As for the highlights? Caroline's sister organized a flash mob during the reception and the bride and groom joined the band on stage for an end-of-the-night sing-along to "Sweet Caroline." "[It was] memorable, heartfelt, and pure bliss," says the couple,"—an outpouring of love and joy for all of our friends together, and the day of our lives that we would like to re-live the most!"
Crisp and Classic
White invitations from Heart Paper Soul with pale letterpress text in two languages invited guests to the afternoon ceremony; the suite also offered a subtle nod to their venue, Holman Ranch. "We love nature and trees, so they adapted a picture of the Holman Ranch tree in a subtle and natural green and cream," says the couple.
With This Ring
Jose had a clear idea of the engagement ring he wanted to give Caroline—if not the exact cut. "If this was going to be a ring that she would wear daily, then it had to fulfill many different requirements," he says. "Unique and understated elegance is the best way to describe what I wanted to communicate. I knew the size was not critical, but I wanted it to be unique." With the help of his best friend, an artist in Hong Kong, who recommended a local jeweler, he chose a low-profile "unique and traditional" rose-cut stone.The couple shopped for their wedding bands together; Jose chose a traditional wide band, while Caroline opted for one with alternating diamonds and sapphires.
A Perfect Sweetheart
Caroline estimates that she tried on "maybe 30" wedding dresses before finding her Maggie Sottero wedding dress, complete with a sweetheart neckline. "I wanted something with more of an architectural design versus floral, and I loved how the bodice of the dress had that structured design that flowed down through the back of the train," she says. She found the pewter undertones in the material flattering to her skin tone and loved the low back and long train: "When else do you get to wear a train?! But it wasn't heavy, so I could still dance—I'm not sure I left the dance floor the entire time the band was playing." Chunky Cole Haan heels in a rich red helped her dance the night away, while a Kate Middleton-inspired headpiece, her grandmother's diamond earrings, and an array of small flowers in her hair finished her look.
Shades of Fall
Jose wore a custom suit and shirt from San Francisco suitmaker Tailors' Keep. "Caroline and I went through a couple of iterations and settled on a three-piece suit of Italian wool in a charcoal color," says Jose. A watch he already owned—a silver Tag Heuer—made for a sentimental accent. "My mom bought me the watch that I wear almost every day, and it could not miss this day," he says.
Toe to Toe
Jose finished his look with socks in an unexpected print that were a gift from Caroline's mother—"My mother-in-law loves buying me all things Peruvian, so she got me a pair of alpaca socks featuring llamas to stay on theme with my Peruvian heritage," he says—and
shoes that caused a little controversy with his fiancé. "Caroline and I had an interesting conversation," he says, "about if shoes without shoelaces were considered elegant or not."
Getting the Blues
The couple mixed their friends and family throughout the bridal party, with one of Jose's close female friends joining Caroline's bridesmaids and some of her male friends standing up alongside Jose's brother as groomsmen. The women chose their own gowns in dusty blue shades to contrast the bright bouquets; the men wore their own dark blue suits. The attendant who stole the show, however, was the ring bearer: Mr. Wiggles, the pug.
Their First Look
On the morning of the wedding, Caroline and Jose joined some of their guests for a cleverly-named 5K: "Race to the Altar." But a few hours later, they saw each other in their wedding clothes for the first time, meeting up with the bridal party for portraits on the lawn by the venue's iconic tree before the ceremony. "Any anxiety I had melted away because that moment felt right, Jose felt so right, and it was complete bliss," says Caroline, "but it was also so comfortable and reassuring to be with him." Jose agrees: "It was incredible to see Caroline in her wedding dress with such a stunning setting behind her, surrounded by our closest family and friends, and realize that this was going to happen. It was amazing!"
An Incredible View
The couple set up the ceremony outdoors on the Holman Ranch lawn, with the view of Carmel Valley in the background. "There had been fires and smoke the previous week, and the forecast predicted a lot of rain," says the couple. "It was misting the morning of, but right before the ceremony the clouds parted, there was a rainbow, and then some wonderful dramatic lighting during the ceremony reception. We felt very lucky and it was very beautiful."
Caroline's father walked her down the aisle to an instrumental version of "Stand By Me," performed by
, in one of the day's most emotional moments. "My father had an accident in early 2018 that left him paralyzed on his left side," says Caroline. "He worked incredibly hard to be able to walk me down the aisle, and there was not a dry eye the entire ceremony."
Caroline and Jose asked their friends Kofi and Kate, also a couple, to officiate their wedding. "They were truly incredible, both by being funny, loving, and authentic about how hard marriage is and inclusive of the wedding attendees," says the couple. Readings in Spanish and Portuguese included some of the couple's favorite poetry, and they finished the ceremony with vows they had written themselves. "Caroline and I had not read each other's wedding vows, but there were so many similarities and cues from each other that it seemed we had coordinated them," says Jose.
Outdoor lounges let guests enjoy the beautiful views and seasonal temperatures during the cocktail hour; colorful blankets incorporated autumn colors.
Toasting the Newlyweds
The ranch's natural landscape provided a colorful backdrop for the rustic barrel bar from Bar Cart Cocktail Co., which offered three signature cocktails in addition to wine and beer.
A Cozy Meal
Long wooden tables set up on the venue's Rose Patio offered intimate seating for a sit-down dinner. Overhead string lights created a cozy glow as guests were served a family-style meal from Paradise Catering that included salmon and chicken.
Boards and Blooms
Low centerpieces in wooden vessels incorporated the bright colors of the bouquets, rich red and gold fall foliage, emerald-toned succulents, and lush leaves and berries. "We love reds and oranges, and wanted to have colors that complemented the green and yellow landscape," says Caroline. Wooden plaques with scripted table numbers were a rustic accent to the flowing table runners.
Dinner Is Served
At each place setting, bright white china and silver flatware added an elegant contrast to the wooden tables and colorful flowers. Guests found their table number on a large wooden sign outside the space, while custom driftwood tags helped guide them to their specific seats.
Wrapped in Love
Jose's parents brought Peruvian shawls for wedding guests to use as the sun went down and temperatures dropped—and for them to take home as favors. "They were truly beautiful," says Caroline. "Many people wore them during brunch the next day, and I still see them on people's couches when we visit!"
Photography, Carlie Statsky
Venue, Holman Ranch
Event planning, E Events Co.
Catering, Paradise Catering
Flowers, Seascape Flowers
Videography, The Poffs
Stationery, Heart Paper Soul
Cake, Buttercup Cakes
Bride's gown, Maggie Sottero
Bride's shoes, Cole Haan
Hair and makup, Kelly Jones Makeup & Hair
Groom's suit, Tailors' Keep
Transportation, Main Event Transportation
Bar Service, Bar Cart Cocktail Co.