This California Couple's International Travels Inspired Their Outdoor Wedding Weekend
Allison Pratt and Max Delaney first crossed paths by chance at a Halloween party in 2015—but as it turns out, the future bride-to-be essentially manifested the moment into happening. "I was visiting my aunt, who lives in Stinson, California, with my mom, sister, and friend. Max lived in Stinson at the time," Allison says. "I jokingly said to my mom and aunt as I left for the Halloween party, 'I am going to meet my future husband tonight.' And, in fact, it actually happened!" After introducing themselves at the bar, the pair immediately felt like they had known each other for a lifetime. Little did they know that this chance meeting would lead to an engagement nearly three years later. "We got engaged in Dublin in September 2018 after traveling in Spain and Ireland," she says. "We were sitting at Trocadero's and decided we wanted to commit to being together forever. We found a jeweler who was still open, and Max bought a claddagh ring. We had a ring designed with family stones when we returned home."
When planning their big day, the couple had a few non-negotiables. "More than anything, we wanted an entire weekend with everyone we loved most. If family and friends were going to travel from all over the country to Northern California, we wanted to provide a whole weekend of celebration, music, and delicious food," Allison notes. "It was also important to us that everything was outdoors and that everything felt natural and relaxed."
To make sure their vision truly became a reality, the pair worked with Lauren Wakefield of Ryder Sloan Events who helped arrange their wedding day—and then rearrange it when the team hit a major bump in the road. "We had planned an entire wedding weekend at another venue in Northern California, but in March 2019 the venue flooded. We had to pivot quickly and find new venues and lodging for guests in a pretty short amount of time," Allison recalls. "None of this would have been possible without her!" After picking a new venue—Beaulieu Garden—the couple welcomed 150 guests on September 6, 2019, for their Friday night nuptials—and then threw a post-wedding celebration on Saturday to highlight their love for travel and one another.
"Momental Designs is known for their hand-painted designs and we knew they had to be brought on board to create some truly custom works of art for their paper goods," planner Lauren Wakefield of Ryder Sloan Events says. "The invitations were framed by trees just like the magical tree-lined driveway of Beaulieu Garden and accented by colorful red poppies—a favorite of Allison's." A red poppy wrapped in twine served as a tag; a coastal bird painted on the RSVP cards finished the suite.
While Allison tried on over 50 wedding dresses, she knew she found "the one" in her Temperley London ensemble, which was complete with rose embroidery on chiffon and dotty tulle. "Samira Araghi, the owner of Wild Bride [where I bought my dress], is incredible," Allison shares. "She could tell I was uncomfortable in dresses and she made me feel completely at ease, as well as excited about my gown."
The bride's natural, loose bouquet— filled with a mixture of flowers like red rudbeckia flowers, peach anthurium, and viburnum berries—added a pop of color to her look.
Flowers in Her Hair
The bride added a few red roses, which spoke to the event's color palette of crimson, purple, blues, and neutrals, to her hair for her walk down the aisle.
Allison had her sister and two sisters-in-law by her side as bridesmaids; all held bouquets filled with brick red garden roses, chocolate cosmos, viburnum berries, and a bean pod.
"I wanted neutral dresses to highlight the colorful flowers in the bouquets and in their hair," Allison shares. "I sent them links to champagne BHLDN dresses I liked and they were able to pick out their own style. I also had necklaces made for my bridal party and our moms with garnets and gold coins. They all looked so beautiful!"
Suited for Success
Max donned a light gray Bonobos suit with an eggplant-hued tie and light brown leather shoes.
Clematis pods, oat grass, and garden roses completed the wedding party's boutonnières and corsages.
The ceremony unfolded at Beaulieu Garden, which the couple loved—its tree-lined canopy was a major draw. Flower Casita created the organic floral arrangements on the aisle, which looked as if they had grown there.
On the way to the ceremony, guests stopped at the "toss bar," which was topped with an array of fragrant, meaningful herbs they showered on the couple during the recessional.
Little Ones in Stride
Allison notes that the couple's "flower children" did an amazing job on the big day. "The four of them walked down the aisle holding hands and throwing flower petals," she says. "For the majority being under two years old, we were all very surprised and pleased with how well they pulled it off!"
Walking Into a New Chapter
After Allison made her way down the aisle with her mom and dad on either arm, the couple conducted a ring warming: "Our closest friends passed around our wedding bands and set intentions while holding them," the bride shares.
Words of Love
At the start of their vow exchange, the pair read an excerpt from Tyler Knott Gregson: "I love you in ways you've never been loved, for reasons you've never been told, for longer than you think you deserved, and with more than you will ever know existed inside me."
Their wedding party also took part in the meaningful service. Allison's friend—who was also there when the bride and groom first met—read "The Invitation" by Oriah Mountain Dreamer; one of Max's closest friends read "On Marriage" by Kahlil Gibran. The couple wrapped the readings with a poem by Nayyirah Waheed, which was printed on the back of the ceremony program.
Bellarosa String Quartet played "Could You Be Loved" by Bob Marley as the couple walked back up the aisle, after being pronounced husband and wife.
Birds and Bubbly
At the cocktail hour, a natural wood round bar was covered in vines and flanked by a stone peacock, as a nod to the duo's joint love of birds.
As for the drinks on offer? Allison and Maxed chose a classic Old Fashioned and mezcal margaritas as their signature drinks.
Custom Seating Chart
"Upon arrival at Beaulieu's twinkle light-lit dinner arbor, guests discovered bookshelves of traditional glowing Thai lanterns with their names and table assignments calligraphed on the outside," Lauren says. "Ryder Sloan Events customized many of the details throughout the wedding—creating all of the signage in house and calligraphing the seating chart lanterns with the help of CalligraBree."
Once guests found their names on the lanterns, they floated them on the pool with well wishes and intentions for the newlyweds. "The couple vacationed in Thailand early in their relationship and this was a fun way to remember that trip. As the night grew darker, the lanterns glowed beautifully!" Lauren adds.
"Under the arbor, long dinner tables were covered in a soft, natural colored linen, showcasing the bolder wildflower-inspired centerpieces," Lauren shares of the reception décor.
In Full Bloom
Simple place settings, complete with ocean-blue plates, rose gold flatware, and smoky goblets, further enhanced the arrangements.
"Momental designed and hand-painted the table name signs with coastal birds and florals similar to to those on invitation suite; each table was named after a significant place the couple had visited together," Lauren adds.
The duo's four-tier naked cake, composed of honey pistachio and raspberry almond cake layers, was layered with vanilla buttercream and finished with gold leaf and seasonal fruit.
Solo for the Groom
While Allison and Max love to travel, they also love music—especially when the groom performs. "Max plays the guitar, and music has been a huge part of our relationship as well," Allison says. "We have spent a great deal of time writing songs together, seeing live music, and attending Max's live performances." The groom took to the stage to perform once again in honor of their special day.
Max and Allison envisioned a backyard barbecue, crafting a breezy color palette of late-summer yellows, greens, and whites alongside natural wood and amber tones.
A special musical guest serenaded the couple during the gathering. "For one of our first dates, we went to a local San Francisco venue to see Sean Hayes perform," Allison shares. "We had both been big fans of his music for many years. He was able to perform at our Saturday cocktail hour and that was a huge highlight for us!"
Dancing the Day Away
"Dancing to a live performance of our song—'When We Fall In'—in front of all of our friends and family meant the world to us," says the bride.
The couple took a personalized approach to the party's décor, repurposing Max's old surfboards for the seating chart. Ryder Sloan Events and CalligraBree hand-painted the "Dinner is Surf-ed" phrase along the tops, along with guests' names and assignments.
The family-style meal featured dishes like caramelized "brick cooked" chicken with salsa verde, St. Louis ribs and barbecue sauce, and mac and cheese.