Intimate And Eclectic Northern California Wedding

We really want you to feel like you are a guest at our next wedding. Imagine driving through the Red Woods of Northern California, passing by the Ocean and winding through wine country. Your final destination is Spring Ranch in Mendocino, California. The moment you step out of your car, you smell the calming scent of all the eucalyptus trees, and immediately see all the hard work that Alexis and Santiago put into their Eclectic Northern California Wedding.

Sit back relax and enjoy the wedding. Photographed all by Chelsey Paul, who did an over the top job capturing every last detail and then some. There are so many more photos to see in the full gallery here. You must read on to here from the bride how this wedding story came to life.

From the bride:
Since most of our friends and family would be traveling eight hours to spend the weekend with us, we wanted to make our appreciation for their support glaringly clear from the moment they arrived. We penned welcome love letters to each of our guests, wrote a mini guidebook to the area, baked welcome treats, brewed beer, and made boozy homemade jams that doubled as table assignments and favors.

If Santiago would have been a hands-off groom, there’s no way this would have all happened (not to mention the making of signs, piñatas and bouquets). Luckily, he’s a designer and crafting things with his hands is something he does on a daily basis. We treasured being able to share our work with our guests, and they were touched by the thought and detail that went into everything.

One thing the bride would have done differently:
I wish I would have had my makeup done with my mom. There was so much running around over the weekend that I really felt like I missed that alone time with her that I was desperately craving. Make sure you set at least an hour aside for some mom time if the two of you are close.

Paper Bouquets:
Since our ceremony was taking place next to the ocean and our reception was both in and outside of a big, beautiful, historic barn surrounded by gigantic eucalyptus trees, it seemed silly to try to have a bouquet compete with the natural beauty of the area. So I went with a paper option. This served two purposes. Firstly, the material was a nice contrast to the natural setting. Secondly, I didn’t spend money on something that I felt was minor. For six bouquets and 12 boutineers, we spent $16. Anthropolgie magazines have beautiful hues, so I picked five copies up, got some Elmer’s glue, floral wire, and a little lace to wrap the handles with. Then, I spent an insane amount of time folding paper. Tip: Throw a paper-folding wine party for your friends and do it assembly line style. It worked out brilliantly!

Our wedding planner, Sonya Houston, went as far as helping me orchestrate Santiago’s surprise wedding gift: Gene Parsons, formerly of The Byrds, played banjo at the ceremony and reception. We had let the dream of Gene go at the beginning due to the budget, but I knew how much Santiago admired Gene and how much he wanted him there. Sonya made it happen, and it’s one of the few times I’ve seen Santiago so overcome with emotion that he cried. A bit of advice from the bride :If you plan on having music at a cliff side ceremony be sure that the musicians are amped, otherwise their music will get lost in the wind and the roar of the ocean.

Keeping things personal was paramount. This was the joining of two families from two very different places (My family is from a small town in South Dakota, and Santiago’s pack is from Mexico City.), and we wanted to create an environment that allowed people to get to know one another. Our venue, Spring Ranch, has been filled with magic and an incredible amount of detail by its owners and it made for the perfect backdrop for our gathering

We kept that idea of intimacy in mind when choosing our vendors as well. We formed tight knit relationships with all of them, and because we worked closely with them, but still recognized that they were the experts, the inspiration and vision bloomed and everyone went above and beyond.

How to cut costs on your liquor budget.
Our wedding planner told us from the start, “The best way to cut down your booze bill is to stick to signature drinks and bypass the bubbly.” (Most champagne is dumped at the end of the night! Can you believe it?) So, we went to a bar in San Francisco known for crafty classic cocktails (15 Romolo), and asked for three gin cocktails, three rye cocktails, and three tequila cocktails (Santiago’s Mexican, so tequila was a must). With a group of our friends, the tasting session began! After much passing around, many gulps, and much debate, we narrowed it down to three.

The bartenders wrote down the recipes and sent us on our tipsy way. Santiago also made all of the bottled beers and the rest we got in the form of kegs from North Coast Brewery. (Kegs are much cheaper than bottles and much less waste!) The winery we worked with offered 40% off wedding orders as long as you joined their wine club (Wine shipments all year long?! This is a no brainer! Sign up, save, and swill all year long!)

As you can see – from start to finish the couple made the event personal and really thought about their friends and family throughout the event. Making sure they were comfortable, well fed and had a great time. From the welcome bags to a homemade movie theater they thought of it all. There really are so many more incredibly thoughtful details in the full gallery here.

If someone asked me to do it every year, the exact same way with the same exact same supportive and loving group of family and friends – both old and new – I would certainly say “I do.”

Skimp on Dessert?
More cookies! Everything I read said if you’re going to skimp somewhere skimp on dessert. Not so! The cookies disappeared as soon as they appeared. Handheld treats are easier to eat and therefore vanish faster. Plan accordingly. If you want to get away with less dessert, go for something that requires a plate and a fork.

Another thing that the bride would have done differently:
I definitely would have had our wedding planner involved in the movie night (which we did in lieu of a rehearsal dinner) and also with the morning-after-scone-and-muffin sesh. We wanted to spend as much time as possible with everyone during the weekend, so we added these little bookend get togethers. The only problem was, that since Sonya wasn’t running the show, I was. So I actually didn’t get to bond with friends and family as much as I wanted to. We still had the caterer involved and Khamoor of Mendocino Floral propped the movie night, which was a big help, but it makes a huge difference when you have someone behind the scenes. It really takes you from being a hostess to being a guest at your own wedding.

View Entire Gallery
Photographer: Chelsey Paul
Venue: Spring Ranch
Makeup: Mendocino Beauty
Hair: Mendocino Beauty
Cake: Franny’s Cup and Saucer
Caterer: Karina’s Catering
Coordinator: Sonya Houston of Mendocino Weddings
DJ: Joanna Schultz
Dress Designer: BHLDN (Mille Petals Corset Gown)
Flowers: Khamoor Poehlmann of Mendocino Floral Design
Shoe Designer: Remix Vintage Shoes for BHLDN
Veil or Hair Accessories: Twigs and Honey
Prop or Furniture Rentals: Wine Country Rentals
Banjo Player: Gene Parsons

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  1. What a beautiful wedding! I love the gorgeous location, the unique bridesmaid looks, the bride’s stunning gown, and all the rustic details…everything is absolutely amazing!

  2. -100. @weddingchicks says:

    Eclectic Northern Cal Wedding w/ some super sweet details! @Wedinmendocino @twigsandhoney @chelseympaul @BHLDN @WCParty

  3. -100. Courtney Aaron says:

    Such a wonderfully eclectic wedding!

  4. oooh drooling over the blue bridesmaids dress!

  5. I absolutely LOVE the bouquets! All of the details are just amazing–especially those cute needle work table numbers.

  6. -100. Katrina-Marie Resman says:

    The photographer did an amazing job- crafting each picture just as the bride created every sweet detail. Beautiful.

  7. -100. Beth P. says:

    Love these photos. Such good ideas!

  8. -100. @twigsandhoney says:

    RT @weddingchicks: Eclectic Northern Cal Wedding w/ some super sweet details! @Wedinmendocino @twigsandhoney @chelseympaul @BHLDN @WCParty

  9. -100. @MagnetStreetWed says:

    Eclectic Northern California Wedding via @Weddingchicks

  10. -100. Sharon says:

    WOW!! I LOVE this wedding so much! So many details that are right up my alley!

    Alexis, if you are reading the comments, PLEASE email me; I would love more deets on your wedding ideas! You really planned this well.

  11. -100. Alexis says:

    @ Black Lamb Photography —–
    My mom did the needle work table numbers and took her inspiration from

    @ Sharon —–
    I would be happy to share more details with you. Just leave your email and I’ll contact you!

  12. -100. Claire says:

    I love the navy lace bridesmaid dress! Where is it from?

  13. -100. Skye says:

    I am in love with the blue lace bridesmaid dress!!! Would you please tell me where you bought it? Thank you so much!

  14. -100. Sharon says:

    @Alexis, whoops! I guess an email addy would be helpful, eh?
    claychik (at) gmail

    Thank you!

  15. -100. Alexis says:

    The blue lace bridesmaid dress was one that my friend already had in her closet. It’s DVF and is still available in a slightly different version at Barney’s:,default,pd.html?utm_medium=cse&utm_source=google+cse&zmam=51982951&zmas=1&zmac=1&zmap=00505017154437

  16. -100. Krista says:

    Where did you purchase the navy blue lace bridesmaid’s dress?

  17. -100. Beth says:

    Can you tell me where you found your shoes?! I’m desperately needing to find a vintage pair of flats and unfortunately all the good ones I’m finding have heels!

  18. -100. Alexis says:

    Hi Beth,

    I ordered my shoes from BHLDN. They don’t have that exact shoe anymore (nor is it a flat), but they do have a similar version:

    If you don’t dig those, they have loads of vintage inspired looks. Good luck!

  19. -100. Ali says:

    I love your wedding! Where did your guests stay? Did you have events planned during the day?

  20. -100. Emma says:

    Hey! I was looking on your blog and LOVE your dark blue lace dress. May I ask where you found it?
    -Emma, in desprate need of a wedding dress.

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