The natural beauty of Calamigos Ranch reflected the setting of Emily and Phil's first date under the stars, making it the perfect location for them to exchange vows. The professionals at Lux Events & Design made sure the rustic mood and atmosphere carried over into the cozy indoor space where this happy couple held their reception.
Keep reading to hear more about Emily and Phil's journey and how they pulled together this fabulous rustic pink wedding. See all the special moments, the handcrafted elements, and mouth watering food all captured by Megan Welker Photography in the full gallery here.
From the Bride and Groom:One seemingly typical Saturday in April 2011, we each made a casual decision to attend a mutual friend’s birthday party. Little did we realize that we would begin the day as strangers, but end the night as best friends.
From the Groom:We decided having all of our immediate family there was the most important thing to us since my grandmother is 97 and unable to travel far. Emily wanted a venue that still represented the country-ranch style feel of her Texas home, and it was love at first sight when we visited Calamigos Ranch in Malibu- in the same mountains we had spent our first date.From the Bride:Coming from a large family of amazingly artistic people, it was important for me to incorporate as many DIY elements as possible to make it seem more like a homegrown celebration, and less like an event. I’m not sure I could have kept my sanity through the process had it not been for the support of family and friends.
Philip’s childhood Cantor married us, which made it that much more special. We had a Jewish ceremony, but still incorporated elements of my Christianity into the reception by having my parents read a verse that was also read at their wedding. The stone walkway became an elegant stage for our processional, leading up to the natural wooden arbor that became a most beautiful Chuppah draped in soft white linen and adorned by flowers by our amazing florist The Little Branch . Eyes were naturally drawn upward, toward two lovers sealing their souls before God and Family.
The reception was in a rustic old cattle ranch dining lodge with a stunning stone fireplace that kept our guests cozy as they cut a rug on the dance floor. The oak barrels placed throughout the ranch house reminded people that there were libations to partake in. One had a sense of being in the middle of nowhere and happy to feel free from the city.
We are crazy about sweets so we had not only a three-tiered chocolate coconut cake, but 22 pies. We used Emily’s grandfather’s Naval sword to cut the cake, a tradition started by Emily’s parents.
Our greatest piece of advice to couples about to embark on this fantastic, stressful, long, wonderful, memorable, twisting journey, is to never forget that everyone, from the vendors you choose, to the friends that you can’t live without, to the family members you see only once a year, everyone is there to celebrate YOU. In their eyes, you both can do no wrong today. Do not feel obligated, guilty or nervous about the tasks you set out to do. Do not worry about the stumbles in the speech, the misstep in the first dance, or looking perfect for every photo. For today, tonight and for all moments in between are for you. Laugh and breathe deep, everyone says it because it’s true - it goes by too quickly.
Read more to hear all about how Phil proposed to Emily, what they were looking for in a venue as well as learn what they would have done differently.
From the Bride and Groom:Our first date was a fast and winding night drive through the Malibu mountains to let off steam after a stressful day of work. We took the road until it gave out, ending at a cliff overlooking the dark ocean. We arrived at its end just in time to witness a lone shooting star light up across the sky. We looked into each other's eyes and recognized this was something special, the beginning. How fitting it was that one year later, high up on a mountaintop, surrounded by nature, we promised ourselves to each other. And as she said yes and my heart pounded through my chest, a downpour of shooting stars enveloped the evening sky - I had no idea there was to be a meteor shower that night! Right then and there, we both became believers that some things are indeed meant to be.
When we set out in search of a venue, we knew we wanted our ceremony to be outside, since nature had been such a big part of our courtship. And we knew we wanted our reception to be inside, since Emily had been to too many outdoor receptions where she was freezing - and Emily does not enjoy being cold.
My #1 piece of advice when it comes to wedding planning is not to be afraid to ask for help. Weddings are so special and typically, people are honored if you ask them for help. It makes the day so much more special to know all the contributions the loves of your life made to it.
The only thing we would have done differently is budgeted our time spent at the reception better. We had a really amazing videographer, so we jumped at the chance to get some creative shots for the video. We will love having these later, but had to sacrifice some special moments on the dance floor. Our advice to other brides and grooms is to be in the moment as much as possible and not worry as much about staying right on schedule or getting the perfect shots. The perfect shots will end up being the un-posed ones where you are having a blast celebrating with all the people that came to celebrate you!