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Elise + Tristan
DJ/Band – DJ Eddie Z, firstname.lastname@example.org
Twin Creeks Ranch (private residence)
How did you meet? We actually met online on eHarmony!
Where was your first date? Biba in downtown Sacramento
Where did you get engaged? On a beach in Kauai…on horseback, no less!
What was you first impression of each other? Elise: Tristan was dressed in khaki shorts and a collared polo shirt, which was not what I was expecting knowing he was a farmer – he cleans up nice! I thought he was good looking, outgoing, friendly, and a great conversationalist. He just made me feel comfortable right off the bat…which is likely why we ended up being the last people in the restaurant that night! I also remember him calling me when I got home to make sure I’d made it and to tell how much he enjoyed our date – it was really sweet! Tristan: When Elise walked in the door the first thing I noticed was her tall, slender, athletic stature. She was a natural beauty that demanded respect, and commanded the attention of the room. As we ate dinner, and conversed throughout the night I was amazed to find that Elise was as intelligent and funny as she was attractive. I knew from that first night that I had found someone special.
When did you start planning your special event? Within days of our engagement. We had our date set by the time we left Kauai!
What was the most fun detail in planning your wedding? The personal features, especially considering our wedding was held at Tristan’s family’s ranch. And, of course, the dress! However, food and cake tasting was pretty great too!
How did you choose your style/theme? Considering the venue was the family ranch and Tristan is a farmer, we knew we would have a country theme. That being said we still wanted an elegant, classy, and timeless event. I think Ramona coined the theme as “country elegance,” which fit the event perfectly.
What was the most difficult detail to agree on? We actually seemed to agree on just about everything when it came to planning. Luckily our visions were pretty in line! Maybe the only parts that took some discussion were items that were a lot more expensive than we had anticipated that were still really important to either of us. The single most difficult task was cutting down our (initially WAY too large) guest list!
What was the most unique detail about your ceremony? Reception? I think the location of our ceremony was pretty unique. We bused guests out to an island on the ranch and circled everyone under a giant old oak tree. Tristan and his crew also worked to mow a curved path in the shoulder-high brush back from the aisle so no one could see the wedding party until we reached the beginning of the aisle – it turned out really neat and also created a very intimate amphitheater -type feel! As far as our reception, I think the single most unique aspect was that we closed off one end up the lawn area with a lineup of Tristan’s largest tractors and hit them with up lights. So many of our guests ended up taking photos on the tractors, and the kids loved dancing in front of the up lighting, too!
What personal touches did you include in your ceremony? Reception? We wrote and read our own vows, and Tristan’s cousin Aubrey provided a beautiful, personal blessing to begin our ceremony. Tristan and I each have a sister and wanted to include them both in the ceremony as well, so we selected a reading about marriage that the two of them read together before we said our vows.
What was the inspiration behind your flowers? So many Pinterest pins! I wanted soft pinks and peaches, as well as lots of greenery. Tristan farms rice, and our wedding date was just before harvest, so we were actually able to work with our florist to incorporate accents of rice into most of our floral pieces!
How did you choose your wedding colors? Our wedding was in September, so it’s not really summer and not quite fall yet. I knew I wanted champagnes/golds as accents, and the soft peaches and pinks seemed to fit the between season well.
Did your pet play a role in your wedding? Unfortunately not – our dogs would have been too crazy!
What was the inspiration for the dress you chose? Who is the designer of your gown? In line with everything else about our wedding, I wanted something timeless, elegant, and not overly complicated or fancy. Considering the venue, I knew I wanted lace, but also some sparkle. My dress had just enough sparkle and pearl detail to make it elegant, feminine, and special without being poofy or too much of a “princess dress.” The dress also had to pass the “dance test” to make sure I would still be able to party on dance floor! The dress was by Casablanca and was purchased at Miosa Bride.
In one paragraph, please describe your wedding day.
Our wedding day was special because of all of the friends and family who came to celebrate with us. The morning started off with each of us getting to spend time getting ready with our friends and family who were in the wedding. At one point, I caught myself having so much fun with my bridesmaids, my mom, and mother-in-law that I almost forgot what we were all getting ready for! Some time before the ceremony, Tristan and I had our first look. We were hesitant to do a first look because we didn’t want to “ruin” the surprise of seeing each other at the ends of the aisle, but honestly the first look was incredibly special for both of us. It provided a bit of a calm before the storm and a moment to reflect on how important this day was for us and how lucky we were to have found each other and to be in that moment together. I’d say I was cool, calm, and collected most of the day, but there’s something about those final moments before you walk down the aisle that can really put it all into perspective! Our ceremony was perfect for us and provided the right balance between sentiment and humor. I will never forget how much the words in Tristan’s vows completely blew me away that day. I am SO glad we had a videographer to capture it all. As far as the reception, both of us just wanted to get the party started and enjoy time with our family and friends. Our number one priority was to keep all our guests on the dance floor all night, and I’d say we succeeded! We actually had such a great time we didn’t want to stop the music for cake cutting or garter/bouquet toss, so we decided to audible and skip those traditions altogether. At one point Ramona asked me what we wanted to do from then on and I distinctly remember saying, “We want the buses to stay longer, we want the bar to stay open, and we want the DJ to keep playing!”
How did your wedding reflect the dream wedding you had as a child? It was truly more beautiful than I ever imagined. The ceremony location felt almost magical, and the design of the reception was just gorgeous. When I look back at the pictures, it all feels like it really was a dream!
If you could go back and change one thing about your wedding day, what would that be? I probably would have quadruple checked with the bus company we hired to make sure they knew where they were going, no matter how many times they said they understood!
How did you pick your first dance song? What song was it? “My Best Friend” by Tim McGraw. We actually had another song picked out, and a few days before the wedding Tristan told me he just didn’t think it was the right song. I played him My Best Friend that night in our kitchen because it is the song I used to say I would use as my first dance song back when I was in high school. As soon as we listened to it together, we knew it was the absolute perfect song for us.
What was the funniest OOPS moment of your wedding day? There were 2 and they both have to do with the dress! After being introduced at the reception, our wedding party made a tunnel for us to run through. At this point, my dress had already been bustled. Tristan was behind me as we were going through the tunnel and accidentally stepped on the back of my dress, ripping out my bustle and all the bustle hooks along with it! I believe I turned to him and said “Babe, you busted by bustle!” He felt so bad, but honestly I was so far on cloud 9 it didn’t bother me much! Luckily, my MOH came prepared with safety pins, and fastened a makeshift bustle that held up for the rest of the night. It wasn’t exactly pretty, but it worked! Later in the evening during my brother/sister dance, my brother dipped me to finish out our song and during the dip, one of the straps on my dress popped off! My MOH came to the rescue with her safety pins once again…and once again it wasn’t the prettiest fix, but it held for the night!
Any other details/comments you would like to share? Tristan’s grandfather had not been well for some time, but was able to make it to our wedding. Sadly, he passed away shortly after. We can’t help but think that he was holding on just long enough to see his grandson get married. Our wedding will always be that much more special because all of the family came together and got to see Grandpa one last time, and we have such beautiful photos with him from that day.
We recently opened our showroom and invited our favorite vendors to share in the YAAASSS bridal experience with you, our 2018 engaged couples. Thank you for attending our Bridal Open House. We look forward to being a part of your special day.
Amazing video provided by Gianni of Littlefoot Productions.
Together with our vendors, we have come up with a collection of images from the SCW Bridal Open House. Enjoy!
Dawn Webber, Destinations By Dawn
Simple Country Weddings, Ramona Arnold And Ranae Kautz
Wendy Chhabra, Freckled Photographer
Rita Temple, Temple Photography
Photo credit: Nelson J Photography
Ready to say I do?
Our rustic wedding venue offers a wedding site with views of our vineyards as well as the Four Seasons Barn, a fully heated and air-conditioned barn for year-round celebrations. The Highlands Estate wedding venue was just given the 2018 Couple’s Choice Award by WeddingWire. The Estate is located in the Yorkville Highlands Valley and surrounded by the Alexander and Anderson Valleys and is easily accessible from anywhere in northern California including the Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa, Sacramento and San Francisco bay areas! Check out our Wedding Gallery to see just some of the locations and views around the property.
Photo credit: A Tale Photography
Photo credit: Nick Kovak Photography
Photo Credit: Katch Silva Photography
Photo credit: Russie Denay Photography
Photo credit: The Highland Estates
Wedding Planning & Day of Coordination: Simple Country Weddings
DJ/Band Dj Eric Carido/The Rich Martini Band
Caterer: Chef Russ-The Hidden Table
Photographer Russie Denay
Venue: The Highlands Estate
Shuttle/transportation: MGM Transportation
Floral: Florals By Alana Marie
Gown: Grace Loves Lace
Shoes: Grace Loves Lace
Anklets: Salita Matthews for Grace Loves Lace
How did you meet? Bay To Breakers. Bay to Breakers is an annual race across the City (from the Bay to the breakers aka: ocean beach). Some people actually run the race. Most people dress up and party along the course. The race has a really long history and has changed a lot over time. People used to build entire floats and roll beer kegs across the city. It’s a pretty crazy day. I was with a group of friends and we had all gone as the cast of ghostbusters. Near the end of the race a lot of people end up in Golden Gate Park. Chris was dressed as an astronaut at a BBQ with some of his friends in the park. My girl friend went to high school with some people at the BBQ Chris was at and our two groups combined. I pretty rarely gave out my phone number but I remember really hoping Chris would ask for it (he did).
Where was your first date? Our first date was at a little restaurant in my old neighborhood. I made him take me there because they had fancy whisky drinks and nice lighting. I remember telling him I didn’t want a boyfriend. LOL
Where did you get engaged? Camping in our favorite spot in Humboldt. We go to this spot that’s really private and not technically part of a campground. We have to get a code from the rangers to the lock on the gate that leads to the fire road. Chris made me breakfast before I got out of our tent and greeted me with champagne that he had snuck into the truck while packing. He was playing Al Green and had everything all prepared. I was so surprised that instead of replying “yes,” I said, “RIGHT, NOW?!” as in, “you’re doing this right now?” I had just rolled out of a tent and felt ill prepared. Obviously, I wasn’t mad about it.
When did you start planning your special event? Not long after the engagement. A lot of our friends have already gotten married so we were pretty aware of timelines, we got some of the best advice from our friends. Chris is also really organized so he probably had a spreadsheet the week after we got back from camping.
What was the most fun detail in planning your wedding? One of our favorite parts was figuring out the seating chart. Chris is very extroverted and I’m an introvert, we have lots of different ideas about social interaction and personalities, so it was fun figuring out which people should sit with whom. I think we struck a good balance, no one got too rowdy 😉
How did you choose your style/theme? I tried to emulate our apartment’s neutral palate which is inspired by nature. I wanted pretty minimal decor, but lots of greens and white flowers on the tables.
What was the most difficult detail to agree on? Chris gave me free reign because he digs my style. Initially, it was hard to agree on whether we wanted a “camping” wedding where all our guests would’ve camped on whatever property our venue was on or a situation where people have to stay in hotels nearby. Some of our friends have done the camping weddings and it allows for the party to go all night, we liked that idea. We couldn’t find a venue that could do this that also fit our other needs, so we figured out another way to keep the party going all night.
What was the most unique detail about your ceremony? Reception? We didn’t have a bridal party because we have too many special people in our lives to choose from and we also decided to be kind of selfish and thought the ceremony/pictures/day should be about us. Our close friends still planned things like bachelor/bachelorette parties, we just didn’t opt in for all of the traditional stuff. Since we didn’t have a bridal party, we had our immediate family members walk down the aisle ahead of my dad and I. We used the same song the entire time because I didn’t think I needed a special song just for me. I also had a song in mind (The Build Up by The Kings of Convenience) that changed enough near the end when I walked down the aisle that it didn’t matter.
What personal touches did you include in your ceremony? Reception? Chris’ best friend officiated our ceremony which is funny because Chris officiated his wedding 3 years prior. It was nice to be up there with our friend and someone who could tell possibly embarrassing stories about both of us. We also both wrote our vows which were pretty personal. For our reception, we were mostly just concerned with good food, drinks, and music. We chose food that wasn’t fussy and had lots of different options for everyone. Chris’ brother is a wine and beer maker and he and Chris made the beer a few weekends before the wedding. All the wine was made by Chris’ brother. We also had the same jazz band that played at Chris’ parents’ wedding play during dinner. Since Chris’ stepdad plays in that band he asked me for specific song requests. They practiced one of my favorite Miles Davis songs just for me and played it during our reception. We also knew our DJ which was really important. We both love music as do our friends so we made sure we had a DJ who knew what we wanted. During the ceremony I wore Chris’ aunt’s (who passed away) necklace in my hair as a headpiece and Chris wore old San Francisco MUNI token cufflinks.
What was the inspiration behind your flowers? I wanted a lot of eucalyptus because it reminds me of how some of my favorite places in the City smell. We have a lot of Eucalyptus trees here and in the headlands where Chris and I hike often. For flowers, I knew I just wanted some specific white flowers like queen annes lace, dahlias, and hydrangea. My mom is an amazing Gardner, so I grew up with an affinity for some pretty specific plants. It was easy to pick a few of my favorites that look good white and wouldn’t wilt in the sun. I was actually pretty worried about wilting since it was predicted to be over 100 degrees the day of, but thankfully I had a very reassuring planner working with a florist that knows what she’s doing 😉
How did you choose your wedding colors? Chris and I are in love with California, we both grew up here and we both love the outdoors, camping, long road trips across the state, and walks around the City. Going with neutrals and green made us both really happy because it reminds us of our apartment which is generally inspired by nature and our hiking adventures. We chose the venue because the surrounding palate is very California-lots of browns and green with a big blue sky for a backdrop. When considering color and decor, I kept this in mind.
What was the inspiration for the dress you chose? Who is the designer of your gown? I didn’t have any inspiration other than I generally don’t like traditional wedding dresses. I knew what I didn’t want. I knew what I didn’t want so much that it was actually kind of hard to find something so simple and minimal that would qualify as something I DID want. I need to be able to move around and be comfortable. I saw Grace Loves Lace on Instagram and was initially sad because they didn’t have a showroom in the United States. Lucky me though, the summer we got engaged they opened a showroom in LA where I scooped up my best friend and mom and made a weekend out of it. I didn’t try on any other designers. After putting on my dress at Grace Loves Lace it was a done deal.
In one paragraph, please describe your wedding day. Our wedding was beautiful, set in the scenic Anderson Valley in Sonoma. With the setting off the barn and winery, it was the perfect location to welcome our family and friends. We wanted to keep the day low key but elegant. A time to have fun and let lose, not be too serious. We started our guests off with good drinks on arrival, live music before and during dinner with a DJ/dance party after. We wanted the day to be entirely our style and did everything our way, not caving to traditions and expectations others might have. After a very personal ceremony, great drinks, delicious dinner and dancing, we had a late night pool party to close the night out with family and friends.
How did your wedding reflect the dream wedding you had as a child? I didn’t have a “dream,” wedding growing up, I had a dream career. Haha! I thought if I was lucky enough to find the right person that my wedding wouldn’t really matter. I still think this is true and I’m still not a huge fan of weddings, it’s not that I’m not romantic. It’s just that weddings can be a lot of different things to different people. You do you, I’ll do me. Chris and I wanted our wedding to be in a beautiful outdoor space where we could throw all of our friends and family a huge party, eat good food, drink good drinks, and dance. Being able to add flowers and decor was a huge bonus.
If you could go back and change one thing about your wedding day, what would that be? We wished our venue could’ve accommodated us for longer. We like loud music and we like to party past 10, so that was initially a bummer. Instead, we took a shuttle bus to Chris’ parent’s house and had a pool party with all our friends who wanted to continue celebrating with us. Who knew I’d end up in a bikini on my wedding night?
How did you pick your first dance song? What song was it? Baby by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti is our song. I’m not really sure how it happened other than I remember playing it a lot when we were first dating. It was difficult to choose between the original late 70s Donnie and Joe Emerson version of the song and Ariel’s cover.
What was the funniest OOPS moment of your wedding day? It wasn’t necessarily and OOPS but one of Chris’ friends commandeered the mic and made an unplanned speech and then forced/guilted another friend at the table into finishing her speech. To be honest, speeches wouldn’t have been the same without this addition and I’d be a little surprised if it hadn’t happened. Looking through the pictures and reliving this moment has been equally funny.