One Couple's Elegant-Meets-Rustic Oceanside Wedding in California

Emma mike California wedding Corbin gurkin couple dog
Photo: Corbin Gurkin

The bride and groom tied the knot on a bluff, enjoyed cocktails on the beach, and then moved to a rustic barn for dinner.

01 of 19
Emma mike California wedding Corbin gurkin couple
Corbin Gurkin

Elaborate proposals have their place, but for some couples, spontaneity is everything. "I decided to propose 20 minutes before I actually did," says Michael Tellum, a sports agent, about his engagement to Emma Diebold, an interior designer, which took place outside of their Los Angeles home. "I wanted to surprise her." The couple was practicing tricks with their puppy, Rory, and Mike was trying to get him to give a high five. He said, "Should I get down on one knee?" Before Emma knew what was happening, he did just that, and was facing her, ring in hand.

Emma and Mike first met through a mutual friend but didn't have a date for seven years. Once they did, they never spent more than a weekend or two apart, despite the fact that they lived on opposite coasts—she in New York, he in Los Angeles. Six months in to their relationship, Emma moved to California.

When they began to plan their wedding, the couple knew they wanted a memorable weekend away for their many long-distance travelers, but also a convenient spot for their L.A. contingent—in one dream-venue package. "I always wanted to be near the ocean," Emma says, "but I was attracted to the rustic barn idea on Pinterest, too." Rancho dos Pueblos, an oceanside ranch outside Santa Barbara, ticked all the boxes. The couple loved its wild, unmanicured vibe. "We wanted things to feel organic and easy." A palette of gray and rose gold, and plenty of greenery, complemented the setting.

The Jewish ceremony was held on a bluff overlooking the ocean on September 17, 2016; afterward, the couple's 200 guests enjoyed cocktail hour on the beach—Mike's favorite spot, and, for him, the best food of the day. "We had crispy rice spicy tuna, our favorite; pizza, my favorite; tacos to represent California; and cheesesteaks for my Dad's family from Philly," he recalls. Then it was on to the barn for dinner, and dancing in a nearby clearing, surrounded by lantern-lit trees.

Not everything went according to plan: The ceremony started late, so they had to trim time from dancing later on, but Emma and Mike took things in stride. They made a point of taking it all in—even ducking out during dinner with just their photographer and videographer for sunset shots on the beach. It was the part Emma remembers best. "I loved having a moment to ourselves."

02 of 19


Emma mike California wedding Corbin gurkin save the date
Corbin Gurkin

A floral mandala with die cut flowers revealed the details on Emma and Mike's Amber Moon Design save-the-date cards, which were placed in square gray envelopes with calligraphy by Anne Robin and paired with vintage stamps.

03 of 19

The Invitation Suite

Emma mike California wedding Corbin gurkin invitations
Corbin Gurkin

The invitation suite, also created by Amber Moon Design, featured rose gold foil on squid ink cardstock. Vintage flora-and-fauna stamps added to the botanical theme.

04 of 19

A Warm Welcome

Emma mike California wedding Corbin gurkin welcome bag
Corbin Gurkin

Welcome gifts referenced a running joke about Mike's travel necessities: a sleep mask (printed with their hashtag) and earplugs (to ensure well-rested guests).

05 of 19

Three's Company

Emma mike California wedding Corbin gurkin couple dog
Corbin Gurkin

Emma wore a Mira Zwillinger wedding dress, Mike donned an Ermenegildo Zegna suit, and Rory, their Australian labradoodle, stole the show in a floral wreath that coordinated with the bride's bouquet and the groom's boutonnière. Moon Canyon Design used lunaria, locally-grown distant drum roses, spray roses, lisianthus, exploding grass, heuchera leaves, blushing bride protea, pieris, poppy pods, and more in the flower arrangements.

06 of 19

Pretty Details

Emma mike California wedding Corbin gurkin couple
Corbin Gurkin

The bride loved her Mira Zwillinger veil and wedding dress so much that she refused to take off her headpiece or bustle her train until she absolutely had to for practical reasons. The illusion cap sleeve gown with embroidered leaves was Emma's nod to nature and she loved that her gown "felt natural but not overly floral." Here, Emma and Mike pose before the ceremony on the bluff overlooking the ocean, where the ceremony took place.

07 of 19

The Ceremony

Emma mike California wedding Corbin gurkin jewish ceremony
Corbin Gurkin

The couple exchanged handwritten vows in a Jewish ceremony; Emma had converted to the faith before the wedding.

08 of 19

The Girls

Emma mike California wedding Corbin gurkin bridesmaids
Corbin Gurkin

Emma's bridesmaids wore coordinating in-palette gowns.

09 of 19

A Lively Escort Card Display

Emma mike California wedding Corbin gurkin escort cards
Corbin Gurkin

Air plants were used throughout the wedding, including on a pinboard amidst calligraphed escort cards.

10 of 19

The Boutonnières

Emma mike California wedding Corbin gurkin boutonnieres
Corbin Gurkin

Locally-grown garden roses and white spray roses were the main focal points in the boutonnières, but Moon Canyon Design also used lunaria, lisianthus, explosion grass, and heuchera leaves to round them out.

11 of 19

The Scenery

Emma mike California wedding Corbin gurkin bluff ocean
Corbin Gurkin

The view from the bluff where the ceremony took place was calm and serene, and one of the reasons Emma and Mike chose Rancho dos Pueblos as their venue.

Before dinner the newlyweds went down to the beach for sunset photos and a moment on their own—which both Emma and Michael call out as one of their favorite parts of the day.

12 of 19

Quite the Setting

Emma mike California wedding Corbin gurkin sunset moon
Corbin Gurkin

Nobody could have predicted that the sunset's natural color palette would perfectly coordinate with the hues used throughout the wedding.

13 of 19

Familiar Faces

Emma mike California wedding Corbin gurkin sillhouettes
Corbin Gurkin

Cut Arts created two silhouettes for each guest, one to be placed in a guest book with a personal note from that person and one for each guest to take home.

14 of 19

The Reception Spot

Emma mike California wedding Corbin gurkin wreath
Corbin Gurkin

The outside of the barn was adorned with gray fabric to coordinate with the rustic chic vibe of the day. A wreath hung just above the drapery with a grapevine base and was decorated with raspberry vine, ninebark and cecropia leaves, adding a floral element to the exterior.

15 of 19

All Aglow

Emma mike California wedding Corbin gurkin
Corbin Gurkin

Duet Weddings created a wram, romantic reception atmosphere by using a simple swagging of bistro bulbs, which mimicked the lines of the barn's architecture. The planning team felt that sometimes less is more in a rustic setting. They designed a party that was not a complete transformation, but rather added simple, key touches that allowed the space's natural beauty to shine.

16 of 19

The Reception Tables

Emma mike California wedding Corbin gurkin table setting
Corbin Gurkin

Centerpieces included lace cap hydrangea, hellebore, lunaria, and chocolate cosmos. Die-cut calla-lily-illustrated menus by Amber Moon Design were printed on varying tones of gray cardstock fanned and secured with rose gold brads with the table number calligraphed on the front to help guests find their seats. Café au lait colored taper candles added plenty of warmth to the table, which was full of texture thanks to gray matte stoneware, sleek flatware, and velvet tablecloths.

17 of 19

The First Dance

Emma mike California wedding Corbin gurkin first dance
Corbin Gurkin

Bella Vista Lighting provided hole punched lanterns with metal stars that hung from trees flanking the band, creating a whimsical, romantic effect on the dance floor. It served as the perfect backdrop for Emma and Mike's first dance to the Beatles' "Across the Universe." Emma slipped into white lace Toms so she and her husband could easily show off the moves they learned during the dance lessons they'd taken before the big day.

18 of 19

A Simple Cake

Emma mike California wedding Corbin gurkin cake
Corbin Gurkin

Air plants accented buttercream-frosted alternating tiers of vanilla bean and double chocolate cake made by Lelé Pâtisserie.

19 of 19


Emma mike California wedding Corbin gurkin dog
Corbin Gurkin

Location, Rancho Dos Pueblos

Event planning and design, Duet Weddings

Catering, Duo Catering

Flowers, Moon Canyon Design

Photography, Corbin Gurkin,

Videography, Sharkpig

Officiant, Cantor Michael Anatole

Stationery, Amber Moon Design

Calligraphy, Anne Robin

Cake, Lele Patisserie

Music, Supernova; Dart Collective

Rentals, Casa de Perrin; Found Rentals; La Tavola Fine Linen Rental; Town and Country Rentals

Bride's gown and veil, Mira Zwillinger

Hair and Makeup, Symmetry Nyrie; Sheila Ray Stone

Groom's suit, tie, shirt, and shoes, Ermenegildo Zegna

Lighting, Bellavista Designs

Transportation, Jump on the School Bus

Alcohol, Liquor and Wine Grotto

Silhouette Artist, Cut Arts

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles