This Upscale California Garden Party Is Proof That a Classic Wedding Can Feel Personal
Despite their wedding date—August 18, 2018—having multiples of the lucky number eight, Katie and Mike insist they didn't pick it for good fortune. They'd already had that in meeting each other—the date was fortuitously the one that worked with their busy schedules. Luck also didn't have much to do with the wedding itself, held at Kestrel Park in Santa Ynez, California. Rather, the couple's wedding day was what Mike calls an "amazing culmination of a lot of hard work and a beautiful expression of what we hoped it would be—traditional yet deeply personalized; elegant, classic, but authentic; and an incredibly great party."
Choosing an "upscale garden party" as their theme, the couple worked with planner Davia Lee Weddings to create a relaxed, but upscale celebration that showed off the best Southern California has to offer: stunning scenery, incredible food, and, of course, perfect weather. "We wanted the day to have gravitas, but not feel stuffy or unapproachable," explains Katie.
Their color palette of ivory and green kept things classic, and allowed the scenery to shine. And their attention to detail was matched by their commitment to being good hosts to their 175 guests. "I think people really noticed that we put a lot of care and thought into our day and were truly present for our guests," says Katie. "Beyond the talk of décor, we still receive compliments from our guest on how we were 'hosts' at our wedding and that we made sure each person felt our connection to them and our connection to each other. Everyone felt so taken care of."
Classic Green Invites
Copper Willow Paper Studio created an invitation suite using Mike's favorite color—green—for the invitations' text and envelopes, which were hand-addressed in white ink. "We really loved bringing the dark green color in where we could on the invitations," explains Katie.
The Great Outdoors
Kestrel Park was the perfect venue for the couple, who were determined to help guests traveling from abroad enjoy the outdoors during their event. "I fell head-over-heels in love with the property the moment we first visited," says Katie. "It's just the dreamiest space."
Katie tried on two different gowns before she decided on her wedding dress. She went home with the second option she'd slipped into—a form-fitting Sareh Nouri number with a bateau neck and subtle trumpet flare. "When I see something I love, I'm certain and confident and ready to move forward," says the bride of her quick choice. "The salesperson was pretty adamant I try a third style, but it was a lost cause."
Katie's bridesmaids joined her in wearing ivory, donning floor-length Lela Rose gowns.
Her dress also featured a plunging back and dramatic bow. "It was a fun surprise," Katie says of those details. "It was a little something extra without taking me out of my comfort zone. If I could wear that dress tomorrow I would—and maybe I will!"
The Dapper Groom
Mike worked with Dutch retailer SuitSupply to create a custom midnight-blue tuxedo "with wool from Vitale Barberis Canonico mill, grosgrain silk lapels, and piping," he says. His silver cuff links were a gift from his groomsmen; he wore his grandfather's watch, too.
A Loose Bouquet
Camellia Floral Design created Katie's large bouquet from a mixture of gardenias and David Austin roses, two of the bride's favorite flowers. Its hand-gathered look, Katie says, "was a "fun statement against a more classic, fitted dress."
The bridesmaids also carried gardenias.
Velvet-tied boutonnières were made from a variety of greens, including ferns; Mike's featured two small ivory roses and sweet-smelling eucalyptus.
A Sycamore-Lined Ceremony
The couple held their ceremony in Kestrel Park's Sycamore Alley, a space that—true to its name—is lined with beautiful sycamore trees. Low-to-the-ground floral arrangements at the back and front of the space looked as though they were part the of garden.
Katie and Mike saw each other for the first time on their wedding day during the service. "I remember wiping tears out of my eyes. She had a huge smile on her face," Mike recalls.
A string quartet played during the couple's cocktail hour, held at the park's Kitchen Garden.
Escort Card Station
Katie and Mike placed two garden carts just outside of their reception space, where guests could find their framed seat assignments. The carts were decorated with potted herbs.
Under the Tent
Post-cocktail hour, the reception took place under "the coolest sailcloth tent," Katie says, in a space close to the park's arena and horse stables.
An Extra-Long Head Table
The head table sat 30 people—and featured a dramatic greenery backdrop. Edison bulbs and additional greens were hung above the dance floor.
Squares and Rectangles
Guests sat at a mix of square and rectangular tables topped in cream-colored velvet linens.
Centerpieces were made from "super lush flowers and greenery," Katie says, and kept low so they didn't feel "overpowering or distracting." Candles also dotted the tabletops.
On the Menu
Menu items were hand-written on handmade paper; the notes were placed on top of stone plates. "The plates were the best," says Katie, describing them as "super modern [and] in direct contrast to the ultra-classic feel of the rest of the table. It looked so cool."
Lounge areas inside the tent gave guests a comfortable, but posh place to sit.
A Not-So-Simple Cake
While Katie and Mike's cake looked simple on the outside, it was made from anything-but-simple flavors: lavender lemon honey and salted chocolate pudding.
A Slice of Advice
Katie offers this cake-cutting tip to other couples: "Do not cut from the top. It will fall," she says. "Mike and I went rogue and cut from the top piece and sure enough—it fell. We still ate it."
Photography, Jen Huang Photography
Location, Kestrel Park
Event planning, Davia Lee Weddings
Flowers, Camellia Floral Design
Videography, T & C Studios
Stationery, Copper Willow Paper Studio
Cake, Enjoy Cupcakes
Bride's gown, Sareh Nouri
Bride's shoes, White by Vera Wang
Hair and makeup, Plush Aesthetics
Bridesmaids' dresses, Lela Rose
Groom's suit, SuitSupply
Lighting, SPARK Creative Events
Transportation, Go Executive Limo